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Here’s why Trump’s allying with Saudi Arabia against Iran is complete folly

US President Trump is proposing to give $300 billion of arms to a Saudi regime led by the reckless Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is openly talking of launching a pre-emptive war against Iran.

Alexander Mercouris

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One of the most concerning things about President Trump, which has become increasingly obvious ever since he was inaugurated President, is that he is a President who those around him find very easy to manipulate.  There are numerous reports, which I believe, that he tends to do whatever the last person he speaks to urges him to do.

Unfortunately Trump’s intense hostility to Iran means that he has just been manipulated by arguably the most dangerous man on the planet, with the result that the US is now drifting into an alliance with Saudi Arabia against Iran.

That Iran is in almost every respect a far more modern and far more democratic society that Saudi Arabia is or can ever be I have previously discussed.  That under the leadership of its de facto ruler – the 31 year old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – Saudi Arabia is on course to bankrupting itself, making it an inherently unstable partner and ally, I have also recently pointed out.

The problems with the leadership Prince Mohammed bin Salman do not however end at the Saudi border.  His public comments show that he is also pathologically hostile to Iran, more so – if that is possible – that any other Saudi leader.  Consider for example his quite extraordinary and very alarming comments about Iran in his recent interview with Al-Arabiya, a media broadcaster funded by the Saudis which reflects their views

Can we see a direct dialogue with Iran in the future despite what it is doing in the region?

How do you communicate with someone or a regime that’s completely convinced that its system is based on an extremist ideology that relies on texts in its constitution and in Khomeini’s legacy and that stipulates that it must control Muslims in the Islamic world and spread the Twelver Jaafari sect in the Islamic world so Imam Mahdi comes.

How do I convince these of anything? What interests are there between me and them? How do I communicate with them?

When there’s a problem between me and another state, we begin by solving it. For example, if there’s an economic problem, we communicate and I see what you want and you see what I want and we understand how to address the problem.

If, for example, it is a political problem, like the case is with Russia and how we communicate regarding Syria, we discuss what their interests are and what my interests are.

How do we communicate on Yemen? We discuss interests.

But with Iran, how do we communicate? Their logic is based on the notion that Imam Mahdi will come and that they must prepare the fertile environment for his arrival and they must control the Muslim world.

They deprived their own people of development for more than 30 years and put them through starvation. The people have bad infrastructure because the regime only wants to achieve this aim related to Imam Mahdi.

The regime will not change its mindset overnight; otherwise, its legitimacy inside Iran will come to an end.

The mutual points, which we can agree on with this regime, are almost non-existent.

This regime was tested during more than one phase, like during the time of Rafsanjani and everything turned out to be mere charades. The strategy of expansion was adopted after the Khomeini revolution happened. When the world got angry, they brought a peaceful leader and at the time it was Rafsanjani. They did that to gain the trust of the world and our trust. They gained our trust.

After that they got to another phase of providing a good environment, an extremist leader was assigned so the expansion resumes. This is what we saw during the reign of Ahmedinejad and we saw how they expanded in Iraq, Syria and other areas.

Then they’d assign another leader to maintain the gains and satisfy the rest of the world (NB:this comment clearly refers to President Rouhani – AM).

Then they’d again assign an extremist leader to resume expansion.

This will not happen. This is over. A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice.

We were bitten once. We will not be bitten again.

We know we are a major target for the Iranian regime. Reaching the Muslims’ qibla is a major aim for the Iranian regime.

We will not wait until the battle is in Saudi Arabia but we will work so the battle is there in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia.

(bold italics added)

This is paranoid stuff.  It says that regardless of what ruler the Iranian people choose, and regardless of what the Iranians themselves say, Iran is in reality always on a mission to conquer Saudi Arabia and all Muslims everywhere, supposedly because Khomeini programmed Iran that way and Iran’s constitution requires it, and nothing can ever change it.

I cannot speak of Khomeini, though I remember him well and I cannot remember anyone reporting him speaking in this way.  However the text of Iran’s constitution can be easily found, and it contains none of the apocalyptic and megalomaniac injunctions Prince Mohammed bin Salman says it does.  Instead it contains provisions like this

Article 11

In accordance with the sacred verse of the Qur’an (“This your community is a single community, and I am your Lord, so worship Me” [21:92]), all Muslims form a single nation, and the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has the duty of formulating its general policies with a view to cultivating the friendship and unity of all Muslim peoples, and it must constantly strive to bring about the political, economic, and cultural unity of the Islamic world.

Freedom of religion

Article 12

Official religion

The official religion of Iran is Islam and the Twelver Ja’farî school [in usul al-Dîn and fiqh], and this principle will remain eternally immutable. Other Islamic schools, including the Hanafî, Shafi’î, Malikî, Hanbalî, and Zaydî, are to be accorded full respect, and their followers are free to act in accordance with their own jurisprudence in performing their religious rites. These schools enjoy official status in matters pertaining to religious education, affairs of personal status (marriage, divorce, inheritance, and wills) and related litigation in courts of law. In regions of the country where Muslims following any one of these schools of fiqh constitute the majority, local regulations, within the bounds of the jurisdiction of local councils, are to be in accordance with the respective school of fiqh, without infringing upon the rights of the followers of other schools.

Article 13

Zoroastrian, Jewish, and Christian Iranians are the only recognized religious minorities, who, within the limits of the law, are free to perform their religious rites and ceremonies, and to act according to their own canon in matters of personal affairs and religious education.

Article 14

In accordance with the sacred verse (“God does not forbid you to deal kindly and justly with those who have not fought against you because of your religion and who have not expelled you from your homes” [60:8]), the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and all Muslims are duty-bound to treat non-Muslims in conformity with ethical norms and the principles of Islamic justice and equity, and to respect their human rights. This principle applies to all who refrain from engaging in conspiracy or activity against Islam and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

…….

Foreign Policy

Article 152

The foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based upon the rejection of all forms of domination, both the exertion of it and submission to it, the preservation of the independence of the country in all respects and its territorial integrity, the defence of the rights of all Muslims, non-alignment with respect to the hegemonist superpowers, and the maintenance of mutually peaceful relations with all non-belligerent States.

Ownership of natural resources

Article 153 Any form of agreement resulting in foreign control over the natural resources, economy, army, or culture of the country, as well as other aspects of the national life, is forbidden.

Right to self determination

Article 154

The Islamic Republic of Iran has as its ideal human felicity throughout human society, and considers the attainment of independence, freedom, and rule of justice and truth to be the right of all people of the world. Accordingly, while scrupulously refraining from all forms of interference in the internal affairs of other nations, it supports the just struggles of the mustad’afun (the oppressed – AM) against the mustakbirun (the oppressors – AM) in every corner of the globe.

Some of these provisions are based on general Islamic concepts universally shared by all Muslims, whilst others reflect the origins of Iran’s Islamic Republic in the revolution that brought down the Shah.  Others are standard provisions common to most constitutions.

The provision in Article 11 about the essential unity of all Muslims – including Sunni and Shi’a Muslims – and of all Muslims forming a single community of believers, is one that all Muslims share or are supposed to share.  It does not imply a desire to conquer other Muslim states as part of some apocalyptic project to pave the way for the coming of the Mahdi.  On the contrary Article 152 specifically rejects “all forms of domination, both the exertion of it and submission to it”, whilst Article 12 calls for respect to be shown to other forms of Islam – including Sunni Islam – and Article 13 calls for similar respect to be shown to Iran’s historical religious minorities, the Zoroastrians, the Christians and the Jews.

As for Article 154, the provision aligning Iran with the struggle of the oppressed everywhere reflects Khomeini’s ideas and the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary origins.  The Oxford Dictionary of Islam explains the concept in this way

Mustad’afun: the lower classes; the downtrodden; the meek; “the barefoot.” Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (d. 1989 ) popularized this concept in revolutionary Iran. The term also refers to those who are deprived of the opportunity to develop their full potential. Khomeini spoke of two diametrically opposed versions of Islam: that of the mutakbarun (the rich and arrogant) and that of the mustadafun. This group was Khomeini’s popular base of support; he maintained that the Islamic revolution ( 1979 ) was made by the mustadafun and must serve their interests.

One can see why the Saudis and Prince Mohammed bin Salman would be not be happy with this, and might see Islam interpreted in this way as a threat to their positions.  However the fact remains that this is a stance ultimately rooted in the ideology of post Second World War anti-colonialist movements, possibly also drawing ideas from 1970s Catholic Liberation theology and Marxist class struggle theories, such as might be expected of a 1970s revolutionary leader, which is what Khomeini ultimately was.  It is not a theological call to conquer the Muslim world in order to pave the way for the Mahdi, and the wording does not allow for it to be interpreted in that way.

The problem is that not only does Prince Mohammed bin Salman make all these groundless and paranoid assertions about Iran, but in typical Dr. Strangelove fashion he talks of launching a pre-emptive war to prevent the terrifying things he expects from Iran from coming to pass.  How else is one to interpret his astonishing comment about “not wait(ing) until the battle is in Saudi Arabia but….work(ing) so the battle is there in Iran….”.

This is the man, with his alarming combination of recklessness and paranoia, with whom Trump is aligning the US.  Moreover Trump has now agreed to give this man – who is openly talking of launching a pre-emptive war against Iran – $300 billion of US weapons to upgrade his military.

Even Prince Mohammed bin Salman probably realises that even with this tidal wave of weapons Saudi Arabia can never by itself defeat Iran.  However by lending him US support Trump is also making it possible for Prince Mohammed bin Salman to leverage US support in order to create what he obviously intends to be a Saudi led Sunni grand coalition against Iran.

This is what the so-called Riyadh Declaration – signed by Trump and 55 other Muslim leaders during Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia – is all about.  That it is Iran and not Al-Qaeda or ISIS which is the primary target is obvious from the text.  This straightforwardly sets up a military alliance led by Saudi Arabia with its headquarters in Riyadh.  Its purpose supposedly is to fight terrorism.  However Al-Qaeda and ISIS – the two great terrorist organisations which straddle the Middle East – are mentioned in the case of ISIS only once, whilst Al-Qaeda is never mentioned at all.  Contrast this with what the Riyadh Declaration has to say about Iran

2- The leaders confirmed their absolute rejection of the practices of the Iranian regime designed to destabilize the security and stability of the region and the world at large and for its continuing support for terrorism and extremism.

3- The leaders condemned the Iranian regime’s hostile positions and continuing interference in the domestic affairs of other countries in a flagrant violation of the principles of international law and good neighborhood, confirming their commitment to confront that.

4- The leaders are committed to intensify their efforts to observe the security of the region and the world at large, and firmly confront the subversive and destructive Iranian activities inside their countries and through joint coordination.

5- The leaders underlined the dangerous Iranian ballistic missiles program and denounced the Iranian regime’s continuing violations for Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

It is impossible to avoid the impression that alongside his wildly over-ambitious domestic and economic policies, Prince Mohammed bin Salman also intends a war against Iran, and is trying to involve both the US and the rest of the Muslim world in it.

In reality Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plans are most unlikely to work out as he imagines.

Firstly, it is barely conceivable that most of the other Muslim leaders who signed the Riyadh Declaration seriously intend to involve their countries in a Saudi led war against Iran.  Probably they only signed the Declaration in order to get their hands on the Saudis’ money. Once it is in their pockets all the brave words about a Saudi led alliance against Iran will surely be quietly forgotten.

Secondly, one has to wonder how enthusiastic the US public will be if one day its leaders demand that the US go to war with Iran to extricate Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Saudi Arabia from whatever mess they get themselves into.

As for the Saudi military, as my colleague Adam Garrie rightly says, its performance in combat has been dismal.  It has failed to defeat even the lightly armed Houthi militia in Iran, and even with $300 billion of extra weapons from the US it stands no chance of ever defeating Iran.

The fact that Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plans for war against Iran are completely unrealistic – just as his grandiose economic schemes are – does not however make him any the less dangerous.

The fact remains that President Trump – almost certainly without fully realising it – is committing the US to support the reckless projects of a wilful young man with overweening ambitions and only a tenuous grasp of reality, who is talking – apparently in all seriousness – of setting the whole Middle East on fire by launching a war against Iran.

That in itself in itself should be a cause of serious concern.  However in the US it seems it barely is.

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New Zealand weapons ban dream move of leftist activists

The American left is sure to pick this up and start screaming for an “assault weapons ban” because this supports their agenda so well.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Reuters reported on Thursday, March 21 that the Prime Minister of New Zealand enacted a sweeping change, banning weapons of the type that were used in the massacre of at least fifty Muslims, who were gunned down on livestream while in Friday prayer services in Christchurch last week. We quote from the Reuters piece below, with added emphasis:

New Zealand will ban military-style semi-automatic and assault rifles under tough new gun laws following the killing of 50 people in its worst mass shooting, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday.

In the immediate aftermath of last Friday’s shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, Ardern labeled the attack as terrorism and said New Zealand’s gun laws would change.

“On 15 March our history changed forever. Now, our laws will too. We are announcing action today on behalf of all New Zealanders to strengthen our gun laws and make our country a safer place,” Ardern told a news conference.

“All semi-automatic weapons used during the terrorist attack on Friday 15 March will be banned.”

Ardern said she expected the new laws to be in place by April 11 and a buy-back scheme costing up to NZ$200 million ($138 million) would be established for banned weapons.

All military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles would be banned, along with parts used to convert weapons into MSSAs and all high-capacity magazines.

Australia banned semi-automatic weapons and launched a gun buy-back after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 in which 35 people were killed.

Ardern said that similar to Australia, the law would allow for strictly enforced exemptions for farmers for pest control and animal welfare.

“I strongly believe that the vast majority of legitimate gun owners in New Zealand will understand that these moves are in the national interest, and will take these changes in their stride.”

This is undoubtedly going to be real red meat (or perhaps real vegetables) for the anti-gun lobby in the United States. This is because New Zealand strongly resembled the US in terms of firearm rights and the penetration of numbers of guns in the populace of this remote island nation. Reuters continues, with statements that would probably surprise, even horrify some gun owners in the States, but which are doubtlessly useful for the application of pressure on such individuals:

New Zealand, a country of fewer than 5 million people, has an estimated 1.2-1.5 million firearms, about 13,500 of them MSSA-type weapons.

Most farmers own guns while hunting of deer, pigs and goats is popular. Gun clubs and shooting ranges dot the country.

That has created a powerful lobby that has thwarted previous attempts to tighten gun laws.

Federated Farmers, which represent thousands of farmers, said it supported the new laws.

“This will not be popular among some of our members but … we believe this is the only practicable solution,” a group spokesman, Miles Anderson, said in a statement.

The main opposition National Party, which draws strong support in rural areas, said it also supported the ban.

The changes exclude two general classes of firearms commonly used for hunting, pest control and stock management on farms.

“I have a military style weapon. But to be fair, I don’t really use it, I don’t really need it,” said Noel Womersley, who slaughters cpoliticalattle for small farmers around Christchurch.

“So I’m quite happy to hand mine over.”

To be absolutely fair, the attack on the mosques was an awful event, made the worse by the shooter’s deliberate attempts to politicize various aspects of what he was doing and what he “stood for” as an attack ostensibly against US President Donald Trump, some seven thousand miles away in the United States.

The immediate reaction of the people interviewed, some among them related or friends with the victims of the massacre, was to embrace the weapons reform laws:

Nada Tawfeek, who buried her father-in-law killed in the attacks, Hussein Moustafa, on Thursday, welcomed the ban.

“It’s a great reaction. I think other countries need to learn from her [Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern],” Tawfeek said.

Mohammed Faqih, a member of the Islamic clergy who flew in from California and attended the funerals for some victims on Thursday, said he was “extremely grateful” for the gun ban.

“I wish our leaders in the States would follow on her footsteps and do the same thing,” he said.

One can expect there to be quite the outcry among American liberals about gun control, especially if anything remotely resembling this event takes place or is thwarted in coming days in the US.

It may seem very cold and cruel to focus on the political angle of this story rather than the human tragedy that it is. However, in this situation we have seen signs that the most vile form of human tragedy has actually taken place – the murder of dozens of innocent people for a mere political point. Indeed this thought has been noted and vilified already, as Mr. R.X. Dentith, writing for the New Zealand website Spinoff here quoted:

American paleo-conservative Rush Limbaugh was one of the first to note: “There’s an ongoing theory that the shooter himself may, in fact, be a leftist who writes the manifesto and then goes out and performs the deed purposely to smear his political enemies, knowing he’s going to get shot in the process. You know you just can’t – you can’t immediately discount this. The left is this insane, they are this crazy. And then if that’s exactly what the guy is trying to do then he’s hit a home run, because right there on Fox News: ‘Shooter is an admitted white nationalist who hates immigrants.’”

…[P]eople like Limbaugh… can’t stomach the idea the terrorist action in Otautahi might be motivated by the kind of rhetoric Limbaugh helps disseminate – tend to think there is a culture war going on, and they are on the losing side.

This war has many names, and the enemy is easily identified: it is the battle against Cultural Marxism; the fight against Toxic Feminism; the resistance to Identity Politics; and the fear of the Great Replacement, the thesis at the heart of the terrorist’s own manifesto.

The Great Replacement thesis posits that the majority white European countries are being “invaded” by non-white, non-European peoples. Not just that, but due to declining birth rates in the West, this “invasion” constitutes a wholesale replacement of the white population over time.

Mr. Dentith tries further to knock down this notion of the Great Replacement. However, he misses a much more basic point.

Someone who goes and takes human lives and broadcasts them for any reason is not a mere political operative. The person who does this is a very sick, deranged human being indeed. Evil is certainly appropriately used here.

However, evil is often quite cunning, and despite the intellectual arguments about the reality or non-reality of any particular manifesto statement, in this case, the killer played the media with infernal intelligence, and they took the bait. It is possible that Prime Minister Ardern also took the bait, in this most awful of bad situations, and to give her credit, she took swift actions to try to “correct” what was wrong.

But the problem here was not the type of weapons used. The problem is the fact that they were used by a person who thought these fifty people’s lives were worth nothing more than a bit of policy change. One of the worst examples of human evil in recent times, this incident shouts to the world that there is a problem, but the problem remains unsolved, even though many people will hand over their firearms out of a genuine wish for compassion to those lost and the hope that somehow this action will prevent a future incident.

But the logic of this emotional reaction is nil. And what is worse is that the American Left knows this, but does not care. The movers and shakers of liberalism will likely milk the actions of sincerely horrified New Zealanders for all they are worth to try at affecting change in American constitutional rights.

And the innocent dead will not rest in peace, because the real problem has not even been examined.

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Upstart Populist Party Shocks In Dutch Election Upset, 2 Days After Utrecht Attack

International reports have described the FvD as receiving “a surge of last-minute support” in the days following the Utrecht attack.

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Via Zerohedge…


Dutch voters have sent shock waves through Europe at the polls on Wednesday in the wake of Monday’s deadly Utrecht terror shooting, in which a now detained 37-year old Turkish man went on a terrifying tram killing spree which left three dead and three injured.

Euroskeptic party, Forum for Democracy (FvD), has emerged victorious in key provincial elections this week, paving the way to making it one of the two largest groups in the Dutch Senate, and representing growing Dutch frustration with the recent unprecedented refugee influx in Europe.

Newcomer Forum for Democracy party is led by 36-year-old Thierry Baudet, who is a critic of the EU and of the Netherlands’ immigration policies, via EPA

International reports have described the FvD as receiving “a surge of last-minute support” in the days following the Utrecht attack, which investigators have since described as having a “terror motive” based on a letter found in shooter Gokmen Tanis’ possession.

Forum for Democracy party leader Thierry Baudet had immediately placed ultimate blame  for the incident on the government’s “lax immigration policies” and provocatively stated a day before the elections (referencing his political rival)

If people want more deadly shootings like the one in Utrecht, then they have to vote for the VVD.

Baudet, riding a wave of renewed Euroskeptic sentiment, and whose party also wants to see more military spending, green initiatives, and an easing on income tax while greatly restricting the borders, said in the aftermath of Wednesday’s vote: “The voters in the Netherlands have spread their wings and shown their true power.”

Referencing the Utrecht attack and other deadly terror incidents on European soil, he added: “We have been called to the front because we have to. Because the country needs us.”

Three were killed and several injured in Monday’s Dutch tram terror attack, which raised the country’s emergency threat level to five as it was unfolding, its highest level.

Interestingly, the 36-year old Baudet and his party continued campaigning down to the last moments even as others stopped in the wake of Monday’s attack which rocked the Netherlands. According to Al Jazeera:

Following the lead of US President Donald Trump, Baudet opposes immigration and emphasises “Dutch first” cultural and economic themes. He opposes the euro and thinks the Netherlands should leave the European Union.

Baudet had continued campaigning when other parties stopped after Monday’s attack in Utrecht, in which a gunman shot three people dead on a tram. The populist leader blamed the incident on the government’s lax immigration policies.

The FvD is now set to take 12 seats in the upper house of parliament, which is equal to Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative VVD Party, a scenario before this week considered unlikely according to many observers.

The FvD slightly outscoring the VVD means Rutte’s government has lost its majority for the 75-seat Senate ahead of upcoming May elections.

In a post-election speech on Wednesday, Baudet described further that what’s now being described in international media as “an upstart populist party [that has] shocked the Dutch political establishment” as punishing the arrogance of elites.

In his pro-Western civilization themed remarks, Baudet added, “We are standing in the rubble of what was once the most beautiful civilization in the world.”

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High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

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