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The UN General Assembly vote on Jerusalem: Nikki Haley again fails the US

Threats and insults directed at UN Member States merely hardened attitudes against the US

Alexander Mercouris




Not for the first time Nikki Haley as the US’s UN ambassador has acted in a way which furthers her own political interests within the US as opposed to those of the Trump administration of which she is a part.

I say this because of her extremely ill-advised conduct both in the UN Security Council session on Monday and during the extraordinary UN General Assembly session today.

Any well-informed diplomat should have known prior to the UN Security Council and General Assembly sessions that the great majority of UN Member States would oppose US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.  Any well-informed diplomat would have so advised the President and would also have advised the President that any vote against the US in the UN General Assembly would be both overwhelming and symbolic.

To be clear, the resolution the UN General Assembly has just voted on about Jerusalem is in theory legally binding on all UN Member States including the US, and is part of international law just as UN Security Council resolution would be.

This is because the UN General Assembly convened today under the extraordinary procedure created by UN General Assembly Resolution 377 (V) (A) on 3rd November 1950.

This procedure – known as “Uniting for Peace” – can be invoked by the UN General Assembly whenever the UN Security Council is unable to reach a consensus on any issue which affects peace.

Here is what Professor Christian Tomuschal of Humboldt University Berlin has to say about it

The most important part of resolution 377 A (V) is section A which states that where the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, the General Assembly shall seize itself of the matter. Procedural and substantive steps are suggested. First of all, if the Assembly is not in session, it may meet in emergency special session at the request of the Security Council or of a majority of its own members. Second, such a session shall be convened with a view to making appropriate recommendations for “collective measures…including the use of armed force when necessary”.

However though a resolution of the UN General Assembly made in accordance with the “Uniting for Peace” procedure is legally binding on UN Member States, there is no mechanism to enforce it, as there is when the UN Security Council votes for a resolution made under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Here is what Professor Tomuschal has to say about that

Although the General Assembly did not attempt to arrogate to itself powers akin to those rooted in Chapter VII of the Charter, it stands to reason that originally resolution 377 A (V) was hardly reconcilable with the Charter. Articles 11 and 12 establish unequivocally the primacy of the Security Council with regard to all matters relating to international peace and security. As far as procedure is concerned, Article 12, paragraph 1, stipulates that while the Council is exercising its function in respect of any dispute or situation, “the General Assembly shall not make any recommendation with regard to that dispute or situation”. On the other hand, where “action” seems to be necessary, the General Assembly is enjoined to refer the matter to the Council (Article 11, paragraph 2). This configuration, however, was hard to uphold. Politically, it is definitely quite unwise to keep the General Assembly on the sidelines when a major conflict erupts. Almost as a logical consequence, Article 11, paragraph 2, and Article 12, paragraph 1, have suffered an erosion process of which resolution 377 A (V) constitutes only one element among many others. In its Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the ICJ has formally confirmed that the prohibition of simultaneous action has been superseded by practice (I.C.J. Reports 2004, p. 136, at paras. 27-28).

In plain English, a resolution of the General Assembly under the “”Uniting for Peace” procedure is unenforceable except through the UN Security Council and is recognised by international law as such and is therefore ultimately essentially symbolic.

Given that this is so Nikki Haley’s correct response was to advise the President (1) that the General Assembly was certain to vote for the resolution; (2) that the vote would be purely symbolic; and (3) that the US should therefore be relaxed about it.

Given that situation the correct thing to do was to do everything possible to lower the temperature in advance of the General Assembly session today so as to play down the significance of the vote and limit the diplomatic damage.

Instead Nikki Haley did the diametric opposite.

Instead of playing down the significance of what was happening she ramped it up by hurling abuse and threats at the other UN Member States first at the UN Security Council on Monday and then before and during the UN General Assembly session today.

Here is how the UN’s media centre reports her comments at the UN Security Council session on Monday

NIKKI R. HALEY (United States), speaking after the vote, explained that she had cast the veto in defence of her country’s role in the peace process.  The President of the United States had taken care not to prejudge final status negotiations, including boundaries in Jerusalem, a position that was in line with previous Council resolutions, she said.  He also supported the status quo on holy sites and the two‑State solution.  Emphasizing that the United States had not harmed the peace process, she said it had the courage to recognize a fundamental reality, and the sovereign right to decide where to put its embassy.  Describing the accusation that her country was setting the peace process back as scandalous, she said that a peace process that could be damaged simply by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was not a peace process.  Today, the Council had witnessed an insult that would not be forgotten, she said, adding that the United Nations was doing more harm than good for the cause of peace.  For those reasons, and in the best interests of both peoples firmly in mind, the United States had voted “no”, she said.

(bold italics added)

Talking wildly of member states of the UN Security Council – including allies of the US such as Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Egypt and Ukraine – “insulting” the US, and threatening them that their “insult” would “not be forgotten” merely because they voted in favour of a resolution that is in accord with all previous resolutions of the UN General Assembly and of the UN Security Council on the subject of Jerusalem was preposterous and needlessly rude and threatening.

Haley then capped this disastrous statement by warning UN Member States that she was making a list of all those Members States who dared to vote for the resolution in the General Assembly today, and that she would report about it to the President.

At one point during the session today she even appeared to hint that the US might actually consider withdrawing from the UN entirely.

The latter threat is of course an empty bluff, but it will have annoyed many UN Member States who voted for the resolution but who otherwise consider themselves loyal allies of the US, but who also do not care to be publicly threatened in this way or to see the United Nations – the key body at the heart of the whole system of international relations and of international law – treated in this disrespectful way.

The contrast with the calm way Russia invariably responds to the multiple votes the Western powers engineer against it in the UN Security Council is instructive.

Despite the fact that Russia is normally in a minority in the UN Security Council on contentious issues, its care in explaining its now frequent use of its veto explains why even at the height of the crises in Ukraine and Aleppo it managed to avoid finding itself at the wrong end of a General Assembly vote under the “Uniting for Peace” procedure of the sort the US lost today.

Unfortunately Haley’s petulant behaviour appears to have rubbed off on the President himself, who also threatened to cut off financial aid to those UN Member States who voted for the resolution today.

The problem with Nikki Haley as I have discussed previously is that she is not really a diplomat at all.  Instead she is a politician with her eye very much on the White House.

The result is that she conducts herself both in the Security Council and in the General Assembly not as a diplomat should do but as a politician who is permanently on campaign, striking rhetorical poses which might impress some voters in the US but which do nothing good for the US’s international position.

Unfortunately with Rex Tillerson the US’s highly competent Secretary of State coming under growing pressure, there does not seem to be anyone in Washington who has either the wish or the ability to rein her in.

The result is that we are likely to see more performances of this sort in future.

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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.



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



Authored by Patrick Buchanan via

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?



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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