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Bad Cop – Good Cop, Part Deux – Trump blasts Iran deal, while Macron proposes fixing it

CNN and mainstream media rushes to condemn American President while missing the vital point that both leaders actually AGREE on the basic premise – the Iran deal is lousy!

Seraphim Hanisch

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Once again, the mainstream American press is blindsided by their commitment to defraud the US President. Last week, CNN and other networks excoriated President Trump because he did NOT go for new sanctions against Russia, but stopped them from happening. Today the media narrative pivoted to Iran, and as usual, President Trump has launched into this problem with all rhetorical guns a-blazing:

From CNN.com:

Hours of intensive talks and elaborate displays of bonhomie between President Donald Trump and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday failed to yield clarity on the fate of the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump has derided and Macron hopes to salvage.

More successful were Macron’s appeals to rethink an immediate exit of US troops from Syria, which Trump conceded could not happen until the US is able to “leave a strong and lasting footprint.”

It amounted to a split outcome for Macron, who arrived in Washington hoping to sway Trump away from isolationist decisions that loom in the coming months. Trump has insisted his pledges to rip up the Iran deal and bring American troops home from war amount to promises his voters expect him to fulfill.

Trump opened the day railing against the Iran accord, calling the Obama-era agreement “insane” and “ridiculous” for failing to contain Tehran.

from Politico.com:

The U.S. president, alongside Macron on Tuesday, repeatedly belittled the Obama-era agreement but didn’t say for sure if he’d walk away from it next month.

“It was insane. Ridiculous. It should have never been made,” Trump said of the deal. He warned Iranian officials that if they restart their nuclear program, they’re “going to have big problems, bigger than they’ve ever had before.”

And Foxnews.com:

“If Iran threatens us in any way, they will pay a price like no country has ever paid,” Trump said, noting that when the Obama administration made the Iran deal in 2015, they “should have made a deal that covered Yemen, Syria and other parts of the Middle East where Iran is involved.”

Meanwhile, Macron said that he was unclear what Trump would decide in terms of the deal. He must announce a decision whether to re-certify on May 12.

“[I hope] we can combine our common views and differences. [I have] always said we should not tear apart JCPOA and have nothing else—that would not be a good solution,” Macron said. “It’s not about tearing apart the agreement, but about building something new that will cover all concerns.”

Earlier Tuesday, Trump held an Oval Office meeting with Macron where they discussed several important foreign policy issues – including the Iran Nuclear deal.

“People know my view. It is a terrible deal that should have never been made,” Trump said during the meeting. “Iran seems to be behind everything where there is a problem. You look at what’s happening, in any—virtually any place in the Middle East, and Iran is behind it.”

The left-leaning networks such as CNN and Politico keep trying to capitalize on the idea that President Trump is insane because of his bellicose-sounding rhetoric. What they often – and deliberately – miss is the fact that this is actually the opening play in serious negotiations. We saw it played to the hilt with North Korea, and the result was that Kim Jong-un is now expected to meet the American president for negotiations, plus the North Korean leader has stopped nuclear weapons testing as well as missile testing, and is open to further peaceful initiatives.

We are seeing this play out in Syria and with Russia, though right now the dust is still thick in the air from those surgical airstrikes that damaged nothing important and injured no one. We are covering this development constantly.

But here with regard to Iran, the perspective is still warped by media hatred for President Trump. Never mind what Iran’s own leader just did:

Early Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the U.S. there would be “grave” consequences if the U.S. withdraws from the nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, noting that Iran would “strongly resist” any plans for the U.S. to withdraw.

and further, the media plays French President Emmanuel Macron against Donald Trump, when the reality that Mr. Macron himself alluded to is very different:

Macron said, “I think we are overcoming it by deciding to work towards a deal, an overall deal that will enable us to deal with the nuclear issue, but also treat it together with another three issues which were not being dealt with so far.”

Macron, whose visit to Washington is aimed in part at urging Trump to stick with the 2015 accord, said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) should be seen as the “first pillar” of a broader framework that would also restrict Iran’s regional influence, its ballistic missiles and its nuclear activities post-2025, when the existing deal expires.

In analyzing this apparent disagreement, one must remember that uniformity is not required. Iran got most of what it wanted in the Obama-era JCPOA, which is not even really a treaty. Iran got money and a partial release from sanctions, and then continued to defy its supposed partners by conducting missile tests. Even as short as one year after the agreement was reached, as this document shows, there were significant problems both present and future, for while Iran promised not to make a nuclear weapon at the present time, its motives for the future remained unknown and unclear.

Now, Iran and Russia are allied nations. Russia has a far different perspective on Iran and its activities than the embittered policy of the US displays. One would suspect that the truth falls here between the West’s distrust and Russia’s friendliness. After all, every nation and every national leader claim the ability to make their own case. But the overall review of the agreement suggests that President Trump is correct – that the present state of the agreement is something that gives Iran far more benefit than it offers the other national parties involved. And to that end, the agreement must be revamped.

President Trump wrote quite a number of books in his life, and a lot of them are about making deals in business. What we see here is the dealmaker in action. In fact, President Trump’s hard-driving and provocative view is still a new activity among world politicians, and Rouhani’s own response to try to warn America will not work. It is also an empty threat, and by being so bellicose, Rouhani does not have the ability to easily outfox the wily master negotiator.

Macron can help as the “good cop” in such a deal, helping steer Iran toward a real deal that exacts the concessions the West needs from the Persian power, and moving toward a deal that actually creates increased security against bellicose actions by anyone.

It should be fun to watch.

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BARR: No collusion by any Americans

Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Alex Christoforou

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Attorney General Barr found no one in the Trump campaign colluded with “Russia” to meddle in the 2016 US election.

A devastating blow to Democrats and their mainstream media stenographers.

Trump reacted immediately…

Via RT…

With the full report on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into claims President Donald Trump colluded with Russia about to be released, Attorney General William Barr is giving a press conference about its findings.

Barr maintains the allegation that the Russian government made efforts to interfere in the election through the Internet Research Agency, an alleged Kremlin-control “troll farm”, as well as “hacking efforts” by the Russian intelligence agency GRU.

The bottom line, Barr says, is that Mueller has found Russia tried to interfere in the election, but “no American” helped it.

Barr explained the White House’s interaction with the Mueller report, whether Trump used executive privilege to block any of its contents from release, as well as on how the Justice Department chose which bits of the 400-page paper to redact.

On the matter of obstruction of justice, Barr said he and his deputy Rod Rosenstein have reviewed Mueller’s evidence and “legal theories”, and found that there is no evidence to show Trump tried to disrupt the investigation.

He said Trump never used his powers to interfere with Mueller, and thus had no “corrupt intent” in the matter.

Most of the redactions in the report were made to protect ongoing investigations and personal information of “peripheral third parties”.

Barr said that no-one outside the Justice Department took part in the redacting process or saw the unredacted version, except for the intelligence community, which was given access to parts of it to protect sources.

Trump did not ask to make any changes to Mueller’s report, Barr said.

Trump’s personal counsel was given access to the redacted report before its release.

A number of Trump-affiliated people, as well as Russian nationals, have been indicted, charged or put on trial by Mueller over the course of the past two years, but none for election-related conspiracy. Still, Democrats in Congress as well as numerous establishment media personalities have been insisting that Barr, a Trump pick for AG office, is somehow “spinning” its findings in order to protect and exonerate Trump, and are calling to see the full report as soon as possible.

They have equally condemned Barr’s decision to hold a news conference before the report is release, claiming he is trying to shape the public perception in Trump’s favor.

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Moscow’s Strategy: To Win Everywhere, Every Time

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Important events have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa in recent weeks that underline how the overall political reconfiguration of the region is in full swing. The Shia axis continues its diplomatic relations and, following Rouhani’s meeting in Baghdad, it was the turn of Adil Abdul-Mahdi to be received in Tehran by the highest government and religious authorities. Among the many statements released, two in particular reveal the high level of cooperation between the two countries, as well as demonstrating how the Shia axis is in full bloom, carrying significant prospects for the region. Abdul-Mahdi also reiterated that Iraq will not allow itself to be used as a platform from which to attack Iran: “Iraqi soil will not be allowed to be used by foreign troops to launch any attacks against Iran. The plan is to export electricity and gas for other countries in the region.”

Considering that these two countries were mortal enemies during Saddam Hussein’s time, their rapprochement is quite a (geo)political miracle, owing much of its success to Russia’s involvement in the region. The 4+1 coalition (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria plus Hezbollah) and the anti-terrorism center in Baghdad came about as a result of Russia’s desire to coordinate all the allied parties in a single front. Russia’s military support of Syria, Iraq and Hezbollah (together with China’s economic support) has allowed Iran to begin to transform the region such that the Shia axis can effectively counteract the destabilizing chaos unleashed by the trio of the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

One of the gaps to be filled in the Shia axis lies in Lebanon, which has long experienced an internal conflict between the many religious and political currents in the country. The decision by Washington to recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel pushed the Lebanese president, Michel Aoun, to make an important symbolic visit to Moscow to meet with President Putin.

Once again, the destabilizing efforts of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans are having the unintended effect of strengthening the Shia axis. It seems that this trio fails to understood how such acts as murdering Khashoggi, using civilian planes to hide behind in order to conduct bombing runs in Syria, recognizing the occupied territories like the Golan Heights – how these produce the opposite effects to the ones desired.

The supply of S-300 systems to Syria after the downing of the Russian reconnaissance plane took place as a result of Tel Aviv failing to think ahead and anticipate how Russia may respond.

What is surprising in Moscow’s actions is the versatility of its diplomacy, from the deployment of the S-300s in Syria, or the bombers in Iran, to the prompt meetings with Netanyahu in Moscow and Mohammad bin Salman at the G20. The ability of the Russian Federation to mediate and be present in almost every conflict on the globe restores to the country the international stature that is indispensable in counterbalancing the belligerence of the United States.

The main feature of Moscow’s approach is to find areas of common interest with its interlocutor and to favor the creation of trade or knowledge exchange. Another military and economic example can be found in a third axis; not the Shia or Saudi-Israeli-US one but the Turkish-Qatari one. In Syria, Erdogan started from positions that were exactly opposite to those of Putin and Assad. But with decisive military action and skilled diplomacy, the creation of the Astana format between Iran, Turkey and Russia made Turkey and Qatar publicly take the defense of Islamist takfiris and criminals in Idlib. Qatar for its part has a two-way connection with Turkey, but it is also in open conflict with the Saudi-Israeli axis, with the prospect of abandoning OPEC within a few weeks. This situation has allowed Moscow to open a series of negotiations with Doha on the topic of LNG, with these two players controlling most of the LNG on the planet. It is evident that also the Turkish-Qatari axis is strongly conditioned by Moscow and by the potential military agreements between Turkey and Russia (sale of S-400) and economic and energy agreements between Moscow and Doha.

America’s actions in the region risks combining the Qatari-Turkish front with the Shia axis, again thanks to Moscow’s skilful diplomatic work. The recent sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, together with the withdrawal from the JCPOA (the Iranian nuclear agreement), has created concern and bewilderment in the region and among Washington’s allies. The act of recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as belonging to Israel has brought together the Arab world as few events have done in recent times. Added to this, Trump’s open complaints about OPEC’s high pricing of oil has forced Riyadh to start wondering out aloud whether to start selling oil in a currency other than the dollar. This rumination was quickly denied, but it had already been aired. Such a decision would have grave implications for the petrodollar and most of the financial and economic power of the United States.

If the Shia axis, with Russian protection, is strengthened throughout the Middle East, the Saudi-Israel-American triad loses momentum and falls apart, as seen in Libya, with Haftar now one step closer in unifying the country thanks to the support of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France and Russia, with Fayez al-Sarraj now abandoned by the Italians and Americans awaiting his final defeat.

While the globe continues its multipolar transformation, the delicate balancing role played by Russia in the Middle East and North Africa is emphasized. The Venezuelan foreign minister’s recent visit to Syria shows how the front opposed to US imperialist bullying is not confined to the Middle East, with countries in direct or indirect conflict with Washington gathering together under the same protective Sino-Russian umbrella.

Trump’s “America First” policy, coupled with the conviction of American exceptionalism, is driving international relations towards two poles rather than multipolar ones, pushing China, Russia and all other countries opposed to the US to unite in order to collectively resist US diktats.

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Nigel Farage stuns political elite, as Brexit Party and UKIP surge in polls (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 144.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party’s stunning rise in the latest UK polls, which show Tory support splintering and collapsing to new lows. Theresa May’s Brexit debacle has all but destroyed the Conservative party, which is now seeing voters turn to UKIP and The Brexit Party.

Corbyn’s Labour Party is not finding much favor from UK voters either, as anger over how Britain’s two main parties conspired to sell out the country to EU globalists, is now being voiced in various polling data ahead of EU Parliament elections.

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Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk:


The Guardian reports Tories Hit by New Defections and Slump in Opinion Polls as Party Divide Widens.

The bitter fallout from Brexit is threatening to break the Tory party apart, as a Europhile former cabinet minister Stephen Dorrell on Sunday announces he is defecting to the independent MPs’ group Change UK, and a new opinion poll shows Conservative support plummeting to a five-year low as anti-EU parties surge.

The latest defections come as a new Opinium poll for the Observer shows a dramatic fall in Tory support in the past two weeks and a surge for anti-EU parties. The Conservatives have fallen by six percentage points to 29% compared to a fortnight ago. It is their worst position since December 2014. Labour is up one point on 36% while Ukip is up two points on 11%.

Even more alarmingly for the Tories, their prospects for the European elections appear dire. Only 17% of those certain to vote said they would choose the Conservatives in the European poll, while 29% would back Labour, and 25% either Ukip (13%) or Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party (12%).

YouGov Poll

A more recent YouGov Poll looks even worse for the Tories

In the YouGov poll, UKIP and BREX total 29%.

Polls Volatile

Eurointellingence has these thoughts on the polls.

We have noted before that classic opinion polls at a time like this are next to useless. But we found an interesting constituency-level poll, by Electoral Calculus, showing for the first time that Labour would get enough constituency MPs to form a minority government with the support of the SNP. This is a shift from previous such exercises, which predicted a continuation of the status quo with the Tories still in command.

This latest poll, too, is subject to our observation of massively intruding volatility. It says that some of the Tory’s most prominent MPs would be at risk, including Amber Rudd and Iain Duncan-Smith. And we agree with the bottom-line analysis of John Curtice, the pollster, who said the abrupt fall in support for Tories is due entirely to their failure to have delivered Brexit on time.

The Tories are facing two electoral tests in May – local elections on May 2 and European elections on May 23. Early polls are show Nigel Farage’s new Brexit party shooting up, taking votes away from the Tories. If European elections were held, we would expect the Brexit party to come ahead of the Tories. Labour is rock-solid in the polls, but Labour unity is at risk as the pro-referendum supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to put the second referendum on the party’s manifesto.

Tory Labour Talks

The Tory/Labour talks on a compromise have stalled, but are set to continue next week with three working groups: on security, on environmental protection, and on workers’ rights. A separate meeting is scheduled between Philip Hammond and John McDonnell, the chancellor and shadow chancellor. The big outstanding issue is the customs union. Theresa May has not yet moved on this one. We noted David Liddington, the effective deputy prime minister, saying that the minimum outcome of the talks would be an agreed and binding decision-making procedure to flush out all options but one in a series of parliamentary votes.

May’s task is to get at least half of her party on board for a compromise. What makes a deal attractive to the Tories is that May would resign soon afterwards, giving enough time for the Tory conference in October to select a successor before possible elections in early 2020.

This relative alignment of interests is why we would not rule out a deal – either on an agreed joint future relationship, or at least on a method to deliver an outcome.

Customs Union

A customs union, depending on how it is structured, would likely be worse than remaining. The UK would have to abide by all the EU rules and regulations without having any say.

Effectively, it will not be delivering Brexit.

Perhaps May’s deal has a resurrection.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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