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Can Kim trust Trump?

All it would take would be some pretext alleging that Pyongyang is up to no good, and suddenly the deal could be off with the articulation of Trump’s pen

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US President Donald J. Trump actually followed through on his meeting with Korean leader Kim Jong Un, despite the on again off again track record of talks between the two leaders. Not only that, he actually didn’t just get up and walk out, as he had threatened to do, if his gut didn’t signal to him that the discussions were going to bear fruit. But as we know, Trump loves the shock and awe factor, and that’s part of how he operates. He likes to create conditions of suspense so that everyone sits on the edge of their seats wondering what he’s going to do, so that whatever he does is like a bolt from the blue. And that’s sort of what happened here. But the story hasn’t concluded yet. The meetings were surprising in that they occurred, in and of themselves, but the outcome isn’t as much surprising, largely because there wasn’t a whole lot of room for legitimate and meaningful progress towards any actual goals being accomplished on such an initial meeting.

When the French President Emmanuel Macron travelled to DC to butter up Trump in an effort to secure the preservation of the nuclear non proliferation deal with Iran, not much was accomplished, except for the usual ‘maybe, maybe not’ routine, although it’s not as though, even if Trump were indeed willing at some point to take that path, that Trump would have actually committed to sticking with the deal because of the relations between the two leaders, which were apparently improved considerably by their meetings, so that he would sign on to something meaningful in renewing the agreement. Although in the case of North Korea here, we do at least have Trump’s signature on a statement of intent to push forward with negotiations to iron out a peace agreement, an apparent end to America’s provocative activities on the peninsula, and the eventual full denuclearization of the North Korean regime.

Essentially, the joint statement says that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the United States of America are declaring their intentions to develop diplomatic relations between their two nations, promote peace on the Korean peninsula together, work towards a denuclearization programme, and the recovery of the remains of POW/MIAs. It doesn’t really say or do anything meaningful in the context of achieving any of those things other than declaring that these are the intentions of these two nations going forward. But of course, it doesn’t have to, either.

Trump has additionally declared that the ‘provocative and expensive’ military exercises were going to stop, which encountered a snag over what VP Pence meant by saying that exercises will, in fact, continue. Criticisms from many mainstream analysts and media outlets on the joint statement and the announcement by Trump about the military drills in South Korea range from concerns that the document is not specific enough with its definitions or lack of certain conditions to worries that Trump is giving up war games exercises without getting enough in return to the fact that the meeting didn’t come out with any formal results on the issues of peace or denuclearization.

Personally, I find these criticisms to be quite silly. Nothing has been defined or laid out to even be signed off on in the manner of really getting anything done by this meeting up to date, so that the concept that everything was to be sorted out and dealt with in one initial meeting is really shallow thinking, and very unrealistic. Complaining that a declaration to dismantle a nuclear arsenal is not enough in exchange to cut back on some military war games is simply dumbfounding, as I’m not quite sure how you intend to get more in return for something like that, the very prospect of such an exchange is entirely disproportionate, although granting that the cessation of the war games drills isn’t all there is or may be as this process moves forward, but that’s not really giving very much in exchange for nuclear disarmament. If anyone is giving more than they’re getting, it looks like the DPRK is putting the most skin in the game. After all, America still has 28,000 boots in South Korea and the ROK and Japan are both still in America’s nuclear defense umbrella.

If one wants to look for reasons to criticize what happened in Singapore between Trump and Kim, there is no shortage of ways and reasons to do so, but reason seems to be the last thing that the mainstream media wants to employ. Primarily, one can look to the fact that Trump’s agreement to something is no indication that he intends to stand by it. Just before he hopped on board Air Force One to head to Singapore in order to have this meeting with Kim, he had approved of the communique to be issued by the G7 summit, but reneged on that once he got on his plane. The tariffs regime relative to China is something that can be pointed to, as back and forth tariffs measures were levied by Washington and Beijing before some sort of agreement was brokered to cut back on these measures, before they were renewed on Washington’s part.

What’s more is Trump’s apparent disdain for multilateralism in preference for bilateral agreements, while this Korean situation is a multilateral one of its very nature, and will include the signatories to the original armistice, in order to establish a peace regime, and several regional powers who want to realize a nuclear free Korean peninsula, so that we’re staring down the barrel of a multilateral agreement being hammered out here if the process manages to progress that far. That is, unless all the parties involved are successful enough in stroking his Trump Tower sized ego by making him feel like it was all his accomplishment

Of course, any deal reached between Trump and Kim must be a ‘good’ deal or else Trump won’t sign on to it, or at the least won’t stick with it. The Iran deal was branded as a ‘bad’ deal by Trump, and so he backed out of it. But another concern is that of Trump’s own fickleness. His reversal of position on the G7 communique wasn’t about the contents of the statement itself, but over the fact that the Canadian PM said that Trump’s logic for levying tariffs on Canada over ‘national security’ reasons was ‘insulting’, which criticism was perceived by Trump as a sort of back stab, and, as a reprisal for such mean words, he instructed his delegates not to endorse the statement that the G7 was still to issue, even though he had previously approved of it. .

But Trump’s behaviour regarding the Iran nuclear deal is what really takes the cake, and serves as the closest possible comparison to a denuclearization agreement on the Korean peninsula. Much fuss is being made over the insistence that the nuclear disarmament by the DPRK must be ‘complete’ irreversible, and verifiable’. Who decides whether whatever actions the DPRK takes in that regard meet those standards? The IAEA? Their word isn’t good enough on the Iran deal, as they have been regularly certifying Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA for years, and they’ve got a level of access to Iran’s facilities that is deemed ‘unprecedented’.

But Washington, and Tel Aviv, insist that Iran is actually violating the terms of the deal and operating a clandestine nuclear program, and that’s the main reason why the JCPOA was a ‘bad’ deal. Well, that and the fact that Iran lends some assistance to Assad in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and allegedly sponsors militant muslim radicals the world over. And maybe because they’re just Iran and Iran is definitely the bad guys, no matter what. Similarly, that’s likely why so many of Trump’s apologists who want to defend his backing out of the JCPOA insist that ‘the JCPOA wasn’t perfect’, as though that somehow justifies scrapping it without any sort of replacement at all. But then, Washington’s demands told us what the real issue is, and it’s not about whether they really think that Iran is training and funding a bunch of radicalized Sunnis to go about on murderous rampages all around the world (even though the Iran government and the Sunnis are not best of pals) but that Iran is assisting Assad in Syria.

Washington basically demands that Iran give up its foreign policy and basically any and all armaments, not just the nuclear stuff. That’s not because Iran is a threat to the stability of the Middle East, or is bombing every other country in the Middle East, or funding and training terrorists to do that sort of thing, no, that’s the Americans who openly do that stuff. If training and funding terrorists for the purpose of destabilizing nations in the Middle East is a good reason for a nation to give up its foreign policy and its military capabilities, in addition to its nuclear arsenal, then where are the cries that Washington repurposes the insanely massive military budget and focuses only on its domestic concerns and lets the Middle East finally realize peace and development? But that’s right, the apologists also tell us the JCPOA wasn’t ‘perfect’ because Tehran could still make ballistic missiles, even if they’re not nuclear warheads.

That might be a major concern if one thought that Iran was going to use that somewhere, as if the allegations that come out of Washington and the mainstream media were accurate. You know, like the stuff they tell us about Russia. The election hacking of just about everybody, the skripal poisonings, the hacking of diplomatic offices, to the cold of winter, you name it, the Russians are behind it. It’s Washington and the MSM that keep cranking these allegations out, and they’re the same ones telling us that Iran is this big threat that’s behind all the bad stuff in the Middle East, like the destabilization of Iraq, or Libya, or Syria, or Yemen… scratch those last four, that was somebody else, pay no heed. But everything else, those Iranians are behind it, and they are a force for chaos and destabilization. Well, perhaps in the opinion of the guy who made his little presentation about Iran’s alleged violations of the JCPOA that Trump made reference to in his withdrawal declaration, maybe so.

No, that’s about the interests of Israel and the Gulf States, and painting Iran as the villain is how that goal is accomplished. The rhetoric about Iran is no more true than Saddam’s WMDs or Putin’s hacking the American elections in order to put Trump in the Oval Office. But it served as a good enough of an excuse to scrap a multilateral nuclear non proliferation agreement against the urgings of every other signatory and many other nations the world over. If that’s how Washington makes its decisions, that essentially means that at any point in time, Washington could decide that it thinks that North Korea is actually violating its nuclear disarmament agreement, no matter how stringently its is supervised and overseen and no matter who performs that task. All it would take would be some pretext, some allegation that Pyongyang is up to no good, and suddenly the deal could be off with the articulation of Trump’s pen.

 

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John SmithEol AwkirucaandyoldlabourStop Bush and Clinton Recent comment authors
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John Smith
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John Smith

The answer : No.
The “writer” just wasted these additional 1499 words…comment image

Eol Awki
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Eol Awki

The document signed afterwards really says nothing. However, Trump’s statement during his press conference should be of prime concern to Kim. What has changed with the US stance on NK? Nothing. Nothing at all. NK must give up their nuclear capability BEFORE the US is willing to even consider relief of sanctions, guaranteeing NK’s security. He said it clearly for all to hear – denuclearisation must proceed to the point of no return before the US will promise anything. The only thing either party really got out of this exchange was good global PR. I hope NK is not really… Read more »

ruca
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ruca

No!

andyoldlabour
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andyoldlabour

There is no way that he can be trusted. I wouldn’t even shake hands with someone like Trump, because I wouldn’t know if I was going to get my hand back.

Stop Bush and Clinton
Guest
Stop Bush and Clinton

Trump can be trusted on this as long as:
1. He has an interest in sticking to what he promised for ulterior motives (“let’s pull the military out of Korea because we need them to invade Iran and Russia!”)
2. He doesn’t talk to Bolton, who usually convinces Trump of the opposite every time he tries to do something right

Given 1., North Korea should be safe at least until Iran is a nuclear wasteland – but 2. is a problem, he’s obviously talking to Bolton already.
Someone send Bolton to Gitmo…

colum
Guest
colum

https://www.rt.com/news/429565-trump-nuclear-north-korea/

Well butter me up buttercup and bend over

If the RT article isn’t a prelude to a D*cking I don’t know what is
Who’s F***’d is to be seen but such niceties aren’t exchanged without a view to a ‘love in’, be it with a reach around for Trump by Kim, a sand paper Stra-pon for Kim by Trump, Barbed wire DIll Dough for Trump by the deep state or a feather duster for us for being too cynical for our own good. Only time will tell.

Patrick Woolley
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Patrick Woolley

Trust America with keeping to their terms as per a peace treaty?

Sure, why not – if you want your country destroyed and want to be beaten to death by barbarians, that is.

MyWikiDisQus
Guest
MyWikiDisQus

President Trump: “I want a Nobel peace prize like Obama got. How can I do that?”
Chief of Staff, Kelly: “There is one way, sir. Offer a nuclear weapons deal with North Korea.”
President Trump: “Yeah, that might work. But can I renege on it after I get the award?”
Chief of Staff, Kelly: “Sure you can, Mr. President. George Bush did it and so can you.”
President Trump: “Great! Let’s go over there and lie like a rug.”

mijj
Guest
mijj

the question is really about US integrity (not just Trump). Can the US be trusted? .. to seek clarity, rephrase as: “Can the Mafia be trusted?” => Of course not.

Julie . C W B.
Guest
Julie . C W B.

Of course not. No one outside the US trusts trump.

John Vu
Guest
John Vu

Can you trust deepstate?

Linda Wren
Guest
Linda Wren

Frankly? No!

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Saudis Admit Khashoggi Killed At Consulate “In Fist-Fight”, King Salman Fires 5 Top Officials

Saudi Arabia confirmed tonight that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at its consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

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Democrat Congressman Adam Schiff has weighed in on the Khashoggi murder admission from KSA claiming “the Saudi report of Khashoggi is not credible.”

The White House issue a statement…

Via Zerohedge


Saudi Arabia confirmed tonight that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at its consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

In a statement put out on Saudi state television, citing an initial investigation by Saudi prosecutors, SPA said that:

“an argument erupted between him [Khashoggi] and others whom he met in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul leading to a fistfight which led to his death.”

Prosecutors said the investigation was still ongoing and that 18 people, all Saudi nationals, had so far been arrested, SPA reported.

“The Kingdom expresses its deep regret at the painful developments that have taken place and stresses the commitment of the authorities in the Kingdom to bring the facts to the public,” the statement said.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has removed a key royal adviser and a senior intelligence official..

King Salman issued an order to remove Saud al-Qahtani, an adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the state-run Ikhbariya television.

The monarch also relieved deputy intelligence chief Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri.

This follows the narrative reported by The New York Times on Thursday that Riyadh is looking to blame Assiri for the purported murder of Khashoggi in an effort to shield Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from the blame.

Saudi King Salman has also ordered the formation of ministerial committee led by crown prince Mohammad bin Salman to restructure the general intelligence agency.

As Ali Shihabi, Founder, The Arabia Foundation, tweets:

“The removal of two top officials, a cabinet ranking, very powerful and close advisor of MBS and the Deputy Head of Foreign intelligence + 4 other Generals in foreign intelligence (virtually its whole top leadership) cannot be written off as a cover up. This is unprecedented.”

This is not saying “rogue killers” but implicating virtually the whole top leadership of foreign intelligence. They carried out a mission that went sour very quickly and tried to cover it up initially. Bad news travels slowly to the top.”

We await President Trump’s “very severe consequences.”

 

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Pat Buchanan: Caravan Puts Trump Legacy on the Line

Unwanted mass migration is the issue of our time, as there is no foreseeable end to it before it alters America irremediably.

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org:


Our mainstream media remain consumed with the grisly killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and how President Donald Trump will deal with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Understandably so, for this is the most riveting murder story since O.J. Simpson and has strategic implications across the Middle East.

Yet far more critical to the future of our civilization is the ongoing invasion of the West from the Third World.

Consider the impact of the decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015 to throw open Germany’s doors to 1 million refugees from Syria’s civil war.

Last weekend, in a crushing blow to Merkel, the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party of her CDU, won its smallest share of the vote in half a century, 37 percent. Her coalition party, the SPD, saw its share of the Bavarian vote fall to a historic low of less than 10 percent.

The right-wing Alternative for Deutchland saw its support rise to 10 percent and has become a force in German politics. Some conservatives are urging the CDU to adopt the AfD hardline on illegal immigration.

The message sent by the Bavarian electorate is the message voters across Europe have been sending to their own capitals for years: You are failing in your first duty — defense of the homeland from foreign invasion. Mass migration of unassimilable peoples and cultures from a global South represents an existential threat to our Europe.

As Merkel’s chancellorship approaches its end, French President Emmanuel Macron, her progressive EU partner, has seen his approval fall to below 30 percent.

The U.S.-led NATO alliance may guard the Baltic and Black Sea regions against a Russian invasion from the east. But in Central, Southern and Western Europe, the more feared invaders are the peoples of Africa and the Muslim world, whose numbers are expected to triple or quadruple by this century’s end.

And as their numbers grow, so, too, does their desperation to escape, even at risk of their lives, the poverty, wars and repression of their homelands to cross the Med and fill the empty spaces left by a depopulating Europe.

It also now appears that the U.S. elections, not three weeks away, may be affected by another immigration crisis on the U.S. border.

As of Thursday, a caravan of 4,000 refugees without visas had crossed from Honduras into Guatemala and was heading toward Mexico. By Election Day, it will either have been stopped, or it will be here. And this caravan is a portent of things to come.

According to The Washington Post, during FY 2018, which ended last month, 107,212 members of “family units” crossed over into the U.S., “obliterating the previous record of 77,857 set in 2016.”

Citing DHS figures, the Post adds, “Border patrol agents arrested 16,658 family members in September alone, the highest one-month total on record and an 80 percent increase from July.”

When Trump, under intense political fire, ended his “zero tolerance” policy of separating refugees from their children, this message went out to Mexico and Central America:

Bring your kids with you when you cross the border. They will have to stay with you, and they cannot be held for more than 20 days. Thus, when they are released, you will be released to await a hearing on your claim of asylum. The odds are excellent that you can vanish into the U.S. population and never be sent back.

Enraged, Trump has threatened to cut off aid to El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala if they do not stop the caravans and has warned Mexico he will use the U.S. military to secure our border.

Unwanted mass migration is the issue of our time, as there is no foreseeable end to it before it alters America irremediably.

As these migrants are almost all poor, not highly skilled, and do not speak English, most will join that segment of our population that pays no income taxes but qualifies for social welfare benefits like food stamps, medical care and free education in our public schools.

They are thus a net drain upon the resources of a nation that is already, at full employment, running a deficit of $779 billion a year.

These migrants, however, are a present and future benefit to the Democratic Party that built and maintains our mammoth welfare state, and which, in presidential elections, routinely wins 70 to 90 percent of the votes of people whose trace their ancestry to Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Not without reason, Democrats believe that if they can change the composition of the American electorate, they can control America forever.

If Donald Trump was elected on any one issue, it was immigration and his promises to secure the border, build the wall and halt the invasion.

How he deals with the impending crisis of the migrant caravan may affect both the fate of his party in November and his presidency in 2020.

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‘Mohammad bin Salman Must Go’, but US-Saudi Ties Are Here to Stay

Was it possible that Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was so arrogant that he could not imagine the consequences of such a heinous crime?

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Mohammad bin Salman is fully aware of the Western elite’s understanding of its own values. While he may be given a pass to bomb Yemen and kill thousands of innocent civilians, he should know better than to dare touch a Washington Post columnist – “one of ours”, as one MSNBC host said. Did he not realize there would be consequences?

As more information came out, many analysts began to confront the most obvious question. Was it possible that Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was so arrogant that he could not imagine the consequences of such a heinous crime? How could MBS betray Trump this way, not anticipating that the Democrats and the mainstream media would jump all over Trump’s friendship with him? Could he be so foolish as to place in jeopardy foreign investments planned at the Davos in the Desert conference on October 23? The answer to that question is apparently: yes, he could.

The only rational explanation for this behavior is that MBS thought he could get away with it. Remember that we are talking about someone who had Saad Hariri, the prime minister of Lebanon, kidnapped and carried off to the Kingdom, with his whereabouts unknown for days but with very little reaction from the mainstream media or Western politicians. It is possible that in this instance, MBS simply misjudged the level of Khashoggi’s popularity amongst neoliberals of the Washington establishment, provoking an unexpected response. Furthermore, the thesis that the Saudis understood that they had some kind of green light from Trump is not to be totally dismissed. Such a backlash is what you get from having a big mouthpraise your friends too much, and tweet all the time.

The rapidity with which the US media, and especially dozens of Republican and Democratic senators, attacked Saudi Arabia, blaming it for the atrocious crime, is rather unusual. After all, the Saudi elites have been inclined to behave in such a manner over the last 40 years. But it also highlights the ongoing inconsistency and double standards: nothing is said about Yemen, but the Kingdom is currently under the strongest censure for allegedly offing a journalist.

As I had already pointed out in my previous article, Khashoggi was clearly part of a faction opposed to the current ruling royal family in Saudi Arabia, headed by MBS. To understand this Saudi golden boy of the US mainstream media as well as military-industrial-spying complex, we have to go back to Mohammed bin Nayef. Bin Nayef has been under house arrest for almost two years, immediately purged by MBS as soon as he assumed power as crown prince. Bin Nayef has for decades been the CIA’s go-to man in Riyadh, helping the CIA & Co. pretend to “fight” al Qaeda in the Kingdom while using al Qaeda as a tool to inflict damage on US geopolitical adversaries.

The removal of bin Nayef by MBS was greeted with anger by a part of the US establishment close to Washington think tanks and the CIA and was never fully digested. MBS and his father, King Salman, needed to consolidate power around the throne at the time, and bin Nayef was certainly part of the faction opposing MBS, as was Khashoggi.

Naturally, these antipathies were set aside by the CIA, think tanks and neoliberals in the media due to to the importance of the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US, especially vis-a-vis the US Petrodollar. MBS even undertook a tour in the US to help smooth the relationship with the West, being hailed as a new reformer, if you can believe that.

Nowadays,the relationship between Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Washington is based on the strong friendship between Trump and MBS and Trump and Netanyahu. Furthermore, the strengthened link between Trump and MBS, facilitated by son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is close to Israel, served to create a new alliance, perhaps even hinting at the possibility of an Arab NATO. Israel is eager to see more Saudi and US engagement against Iran in the region, and the Saudis similarly praise Israel and the US for being engaged in a fight against Iranian influence in the region. In this way, Trump can please his Israeli friends and see Saudi money pour in as investments.

These agreements have led to a series of disasters in the Middle East that go against the interests of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the US. Israel’s recklessness has led to the deployment of a wide range of Russian state-of-the-art weapons to Syria, preventing Israel and the US from acting as freely as before. The disastrous Saudi war in Yemen, the almost diplomatic break with Canada, the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon, and now the Khashoggi affair, have further weakened and isolated Saudi Arabia, MBS, and therefore Trump. The US is no longer able to influence events on the ground in Syria, and so the initial plans of Israel and Saudi Arabia have foundered, after having devoted hundreds of millions of dollars to arm and train terrorists to overthrow Assad.

The Khashoggi affair plays into this situation, exacerbating the war between elites in the US as their strategies in the Middle East continue to fail. The neoliberal mainstream media immediately used the Khashoggi story to pressure Trump into taking a firm stance against one of his last friends and financiers, trying to further isolate him as the midterms approach. Many in the US deep state are convinced – as they were convinced that Clinton would win the presidency – that the House and Senate will end up in Democratic hands in the November elections, paving the way for Trump’s impeachment and for Mike Pence to become president. Pence, a prominent figure of the evangelical right, would be the perfect president for Israel, placing Tel Aviv in the driving seat of US foreign policy as never before. In this scenario, it would certainly be preferable for certain parts of the elite to have a different figure at the helm in Saudi Arabia, seeing as MBS appears to be an unstable leader. Possibly they would prefer someone tied to the US secret services – someone like Mohammed bin Nayef. For these reasons, Democrats, some Republicans and the mainstream media have gone all out against MBS and Trump.

Turkey seems to be using the situation to further widen the fracture between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world. Since Doha is paying the bills for Erdogan these days, with the Turkish lira at a low, it is essentially the Al Thani family running the PR show in the Turkish media. It looks like the Qatari media are paying back with interests all the negative media they received from the Saudis over the past year. Despite this, neither Ankara nor Riyadh is intent on any kind escalation, both knowing that any suffering on their part is a boon for their enemies.

An interesting aspect related to the Khashoggi affair concerns the sources of the news about the investigation, all anonymous and coming from Turkish police or from people linked to the top echelons of the Turkish state. Knowing the odd state of relations between Ankara and Riyadh, and especially between Turkish ally Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all this news coming from one source should at least be taken with a grain of salt. What is certain is that the Turks had immediate knowledge of the matter regarding who, what, where, when and why. This means that they must have bugged the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, allowing the MIT, Turkey’s intelligence service, to know in real time what was happening to Khashoggi. The story concerning the Apple watch appears to be an attempt by the Turks to thrown off the scent Saudis who may be scratching their heads wondering how the Turks came to have such intimate knowledge of what transpired in their consulate.

For Turkey, the Khashoggi affair could be the occasion for a rapprochement with the US, following a deterioration in relations in the last two years. Turkey has few friends left, and after being cornered by Russia and Iran in Astana with regards to Syria,  it also has to deal with the tensions between Riyadh and Qatar as well as balance its relations with Iran and Israel. Erdogan would like to exploit this event as much as possible, and the release of Pastor Brunson seems to indicate Ankara’s willingness to extend an olive branch to Washington.

Russia, Syria and Iran have everything to benefit from this ongoing internal quarrel between elements within Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Qatar and the US. Whatever the outcome of the Khashoggi affair, Moscow, Tehran and Damascus can only benefit from any deterioration of relations between these countries.

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