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Mike Pompeo tours Middle East to challenge John Bolton as U.S. foreign policy TSAR (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 57.

Alex Christoforou

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Mike Pompeo’s speech in Cairo, Egypt last week will win no hearts and change no minds among in the Arab world, as the the U.S. Secretary of State delivered an empty sermon that was better suited for a dumbed down audience following MSNBC or CNN.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Pompeo’s trip to the Middle East and his deeply flawed and cynical speech in Cairo.

Via Bloomberg

Most Arabs will have paid it no heed at all, since Pompeo is widely regarded as having no “wasta” (connection or influence) on the Trump administration’s Middle East policy. (Had this speech come from the man who does, Jared Kushner, it might have received much more attention.) But those who did listen would have concluded that it more accurately reflects the administration’s view of their region than anything they’ve heard before.

There was, to be sure, the occasional bromide about the U.S. being a “force for good” in the region, but Pompeo spared his audience the invocations of American values that most Arabs have come to regard as insincere sanctimony — the more so since President Barack Obama’s quick retreat from the pieties that freighted his 2009 Cairo address.

Pompeo’s speech was also refreshingly uncontaminated by faux sympathy for — much less support of — the aspirations of ordinary Arabs. The secretary of state professed no interest in his audience’s greatest concerns: the scarcity of economic opportunity, good governance and social justice, or the abundance of corruption and repression. There was only a desultory appeal to Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, to “unleash the creative energy of Egypt’s people, unfetter the economy, and promote a free and open exchange of ideas.”

Remarkably, the word “democracy” only once escaped Pompeo’s lips, and then only tangentially, in a reference to Iraq. The only real Arab democracy, Tunisia, didn’t come up at all. (Obama, by contrast, devoted an entire section of his speech to the promotion of democracy.) The region’s despots, on the other hand, received fulsome praise — none more than El-Sisi, whom he hailed as a steadfast partner in the fight against terrorism, as well as a champion of religious freedom.

Pompeo saved his broadsides for the regime in Tehran and its “deadly ambitions,” and declared that the U.S. would “use diplomacy and work with our partner to expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria. And he promised that the Trump administration would keep up the fight against ISIS, suggesting this could be done mostly from the air.

This may have mystified his audience: unlike their leaders, most Arabs regard Iran as a very distant threat. And, having seen a Saudi-led coalition fail to defeat Yemen’s Houthi rebels with a campaign heavily reliant on airpower, they will rightly question the U.S. ability to eliminate ISIS in that fashion.

Still, there is virtue in knowing the Trump administration’s worldview, and Pompeo certainly provided that. Any Arab listeners who listened through to the end will reasonably have concluded that the speech was less about what the administration stands for, and more about what it is against: Iran, Obama’s policies, and terrorism … more or less in that order.

They’d be right.

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Via Zerohedge


Continuing his eight day tour of the Middle East which kicked off with a speech at Cairo University, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced the United States will host an international summit next month focusing on Middle East security and Iran’s regional influence in what appears the latest attempt to reassure allies like Israel and Saudi Arabia that in pulling out of Syria the US will still seek to prevent Iranian expansion and entrenchment in the region. In total Pompeo will visit nine nations, including Gulf GCC countries were he’s expected to continue a heavily anti-Iran message to allies.

In an interview with FOX while speaking from Cairo, Pompeo said the international gathering would take place Feb. 13 to Feb. 14 in Poland to “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence.”

“We’ll bring together dozens of countries from all around the world,” he added, noting that invitees would include leaders from Asia, Africa, the Western Hemisphere, Europe and the Middle East, according to FOX. The White House has in recent months sought to keep up an intense “pressure campaign” on Iran and new sanctions after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The US has also warned Iran to cease it’s “illegal” space program to launch satellites into orbit, saying the ballistic technology used in tests and launches only serve to further Iran’s nuclear delivery capability. Early this month Pompeo threatened Iran via Twitter statement over plans to fire off Space Launch Vehicles which possessed, as Pompeo claimed“virtually the same technology as ICBMs” in a “defiant” launch that will “advance its missile program” — a threat which Tehran rebuffed.

Notably, France on Friday affirmed Pompeo’s warning, and in a statement condemned Iran’s upcoming space launches. After Iran again announced it plans to put two satellites into orbit in the coming weeks,  Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters, “France recalls that the Iranian missile program is not conform with U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231,” and added, “It calls on Iran to immediately cease all ballistic missile-related activities designed to carry nuclear weapons, including tests using ballistic missile technology.”

Iran, for its part, has always maintained it is free to develop a “peaceful” space program, pointing out that the wording of the UN resolution leaves open the possibility of missile development programs unrelated to the delivery of nuclear weapons.

The resolution says that Iran “is called upon” not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles “designed to be capable” of nuclear warhead delivery while stopping short of explicitly banning the activity.

Meanwhile, on Friday the US Secretary of State arrived in Bahrain, after which he will visit the United Arab Emirates, where he’s expected to push both a unifying message among increasingly splintered Gulf allies amidst an ongoing dispute with Qatar and give reassurance that the US is not abandoning the region to Iranian influence by its Syria exit. Toward this end he’ll promote the administration’s idea of an “Arab NATO” to counter Iran in the broader Middle East.

Ahead of Pompeo’s tour of the Gulf states, the State Department issued a formal statement saying American partnerships with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) “are critical to achieving shared regional objectives: defeating ISIS, countering radical Islamic terrorism, protecting global energy supplies, and rolling back Iranian aggression.”

During the Friday FOX interview, Pompeo made some especially revealing comments about how the White House sees Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s future:

Pompeo’s predecessor, Rex Tillerson, said in October 2017, that Syrian President Bashar al Assad had no role in Syria’s political future, but when asked whether that is still the U.S. position, Pompeo today said the Assad regime will be part of those conversations.

“We want to make sure all the options are open as that political discourse begins,” Pompeo said. “We are very hopeful that we will get the bad actors in the region, the Russians and the Iranians, to come to the table, along with the regime and all the other stakeholders in there to come to the table and have conversations about what a post-civil-war political structure might look like in Syria.”

Pomepo ultimately suggested the fate of Assad will be in the Syrian people’s hands, in what is perhaps the most significant acknowledgement of Washington’s complete turnaround on Assad to date. This as it appears President Trump’s promised US troop “full” and “immediate” withdrawal from Syria appears to finally be in motion.

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Olivia KrothShaun RameweTaras 77 Recent comment authors
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Taras 77
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Taras 77

Neither one of them has a clue as to the meaning of diplomacy but both are equally dangerous.
Long past time that the US joins the world as a civilized nation, respective of others’ interests , trashes the neo con attitute of my way or the highway.

Bullying in the long run never works and almost 100% counterproductive!\
Look at the outrage in Germany over the us attitude about buying more expensive us gas or russian gas-defies common sense.

Olivia Kroth
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Pompous ass Pompeo and Bolton: two US clowns making fools of themselves in the Middle East.

Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

Perfect assassination material.

Olivia Kroth
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Yes!

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Why did Trump recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory?

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 116.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the reasons behind US President Trump’s sudden recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

Following Trump’s statements as US President, acting Israeli Foreign Minister is saying that Trump will make it official and sign an executive order to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Syrian border territory on Monday.

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Via DW

Israel says White House officials are preparing an official document to codify support for Israel’s sovereignty of the Golan Heights, which will be signed by US President Donald Trump on Monday.

The signing of the decree will be witnessed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during talks with Trump at the White House, Israel’s acting foreign minister, Israel Katz (pictured), said in a Tweet.

“Tomorrow, President Trump, in the presence of PM Netanyahu, will sign a decree recognizing Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan. Israel-US ties are closer than ever,” Katz said.

Israel seized the strategic plateau from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, subsequently annexing it in 1981 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Trump’s tweet annoys allies

Trump broke with decades of US Middle East policy when he posted a Tweet on Thursday that said it was time to accept Israel’s widely-contested claim to the border territory.

The decision has been criticized by many US allies — Germany, Britain, France and the EU have all said they still consider the Golan Heights to be “occupied” by Israel.

Syria and other states in the region said the recognition, if confirmed, would violate international law.

Netanyahu has long pushed for Washington’s endorsement, and many analysts see Trump’s comments as a campaign gift ahead of Israel’s April 9 election.

In 2017, Trump drew condemnation throughout the Middle East when he recognized the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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Russia Gives US Red Line On Venezuela

Political force is out. Military force is out. Respect international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty. That’s Russia’s eminently reasonable ultimatum to Washington.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


At a high-level meeting in Rome this week, it seems that Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied.

Meanwhile, back in Washington DC, President Donald Trump was again bragging that the military option was still on the table, in his press conference with Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro. Trump is bluffing or not yet up to speed with being apprised of Russia’s red line.

The meeting in the Italian capital between US “special envoy” on Venezuelan affairs Elliot Abrams and Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov had an air of urgency in its arrangement. The US State Department announced the tête-à-tête only three days beforehand. The two officials also reportedly held their two-hour discussions in a Rome hotel, a venue indicating ad hoc arrangement.

Abrams is no ordinary diplomat. He is a regime-change specialist with a criminal record for sponsoring terrorist operations, specifically the infamous Iran-Contra affair to destabilize Nicaragua during the 1980s. His appointment by President Trump to the “Venezuela file” only underscores the serious intent in Washington for regime change in Caracas. Whether it gets away with that intent is another matter.

Moscow’s interlocutor, Sergei Ryabkov, is known to not mince his words, having earlier castigated Washington for seeking global military domination. He calls a spade a spade, and presumably a criminal a criminal.

The encounter in Rome this week was described as “frank” and “serious” – which is diplomatic code for a blazing exchange. The timing comes at a high-stakes moment, after Venezuela having been thrown into chaos last week from civilian power blackouts that many observers, including the Kremlin, blame on American cyber sabotage. The power grid outage followed a failed attempt by Washington to stage a provocation with the Venezuelan military over humanitarian aid deliveries last month from neighboring Colombia.

The fact that Washington’s efforts to overthrow the elected President Nicolas Maduro have so far floundered, might suggest that the Americans are intensifying their campaign to destabilize the country, with the objective of installing US-backed opposition figure Juan Guaido. He declared himself “acting president” in January with Washington’s imprimatur.

Given that the nationwide power blackouts seem to have failed in fomenting a revolt by the civilian population or the military against Maduro, the next option tempting Washington could be the military one.

It seems significant that Washington has recently evacuated its last remaining diplomats from the South American country. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo commented on the evacuation by saying that having US personnel on the ground “was limiting” Washington’s scope for action. Also, American Airlines reportedly cancelled all its services to Venezuela in the past week. Again, suggesting that the US was considering a military intervention, either directly with its troops or covertly by weaponizing local proxies. The latter certainly falls under Abrams’ purview.

After the Rome meeting, Ryabkov said bluntly: “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

For his part, Abrams sounded as if he had emerged from the meeting after having been given a severe reprimand. “No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” he told reporters.

“A better understanding of the other’s views,” means that the American side was given a red line to back off.

The arrogance of the Americans is staggering. Abrams seems, according to US reporting, to have flown to Rome with the expectation of working out with Ryabkov a “transition” or “compromise” on who gets the “title of president” of Venezuela.

That’s what he no doubt meant when he said after the meeting “there was not a meeting of minds”, but rather he got “a better understanding” of Russia’s position.

Washington’s gambit is a replay of Syria. During the eight-year war in that country, the US continually proffered the demand of a “political transition” which at the end would see President Bashar al Assad standing down. By contrast, Russia’s unflinching position on Syria has always been that it’s not up to any external power to decide Syria’s politics. It is a sovereign matter for the Syrian people to determine independently.

Nearly three years after Russia intervened militarily in Syria to salvage the Arab country from a US-backed covert war for regime change, the American side has manifestly given up on its erstwhile imperious demands for “political transition”. The principle of Syrian sovereignty has prevailed, in large part because of Russia’s trenchant defense of its Arab ally.

Likewise, Washington, in its incorrigible arrogance, is getting another lesson from Russia – this time in its own presumed “back yard” of Latin America.

It’s not a question of Russia being inveigled by Washington’s regime-change schemers about who should be president of Venezuela and “how we can manage a transition”. Moscow has reiterated countless times that the legitimate president of Venezuela is Nicolas Maduro whom the people voted for last year by an overwhelming majority in a free and fair election – albeit boycotted by the US-orchestrated opposition.

The framework Washington is attempting to set up of choosing between their desired “interim president” and incumbent Maduro is an entirely spurious one. It is not even worthy to be discussed because it is a gross violation of Venezuela’s sovereignty. Who is Washington to even dare try to impose its false choice?

On Venezuela, Russia is having to remind the criminal American rulers – again – about international law and respect for national sovereignty, as Moscow earlier did with regard to Syria.

And in case Washington gets into a huff and tries the military option, Moscow this week told regime-change henchman Abrams that that’s a red line. If Washington has any sense of rationale left, it will know from its Syria fiasco that Russia has Venezuela’s back covered.

Political force is out. Military force is out. Respect international law and Venezuela’s sovereignty. That’s Russia’s eminently reasonable ultimatum to Washington.

Now, the desperate Americans could still try more sabotage, cyber or financial. But their options are limited, contrary to what Trump thinks.

How the days of American imperialist swagger are numbered. There was a time when it could rampage all over Latin America. Not any more, evidently. Thanks in part to Russia’s global standing and military power.

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With RussiaGate Over Where’s Hillary?

Hillary is the epitome of envy. Envy is the destructive sin of coveting someone else’s life so much they are obsessed with destroying it. It’s the sin of Cain. She envies what Trump has, the Presidency.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


During most of the RussiaGate investigation against Donald Trump I kept saying that all roads lead to Hillary Clinton.

Anyone with three working brain cells knew this, including ‘Miss’ Maddow, whose tears of disappointment are particularly delicious.

Robert Mueller’s investigation was designed from the beginning to create something out of nothing. It did this admirably.

It was so effective it paralyzed the country for more than two years, just like Europe has been held hostage by Brexit. And all of this because, in the end, the elites I call The Davos Crowd refused to accept that the people no longer believed their lies about the benefits of their neoliberal, globalist agenda.

Hillary Clinton’s ascension to the Presidency was to be their apotheosis along with the Brexit vote. These were meant to lay to rest, once and for all time, the vaguely libertarian notion that people should rule themselves and not be ruled by philosopher kings in some distant land.

Hillary’s failure was enormous. And the RussiaGate gambit to destroy Trump served a laundry list of purposes to cover it:

  1. Undermine his legitimacy before he even takes office.
  2. Accuse him of what Hillary actually did: collude with Russians and Ukrainians to effect the outcome of the election
  3. Paralyze Trump on his foreign policy desires to scale back the Empire
  4. Give aid and comfort to hurting progressives and radicalize them further undermining our political system
  5. Polarize the electorate over the false choice of Trump’s guilt.
  6. Paralyze the Dept. of Justice and Congress so that they would not uncover the massive corruption in the intelligence agencies in the U.S. and the U.K.
  7. Isolate Trump and take away every ally or potential ally he could have by turning them against him through prosecutor overreach.

Hillary should have been thrown to the wolves after she failed. When you fail the people she failed and cost them the money she cost them, you lose more than just your funding. What this tells you is that she has so much dirt on everyone involved, once this thing started everyone went along with it lest she burn them down as well.

Burnin’ Down da House

Hillary is the epitome of envy. Envy is the destructive sin of coveting someone else’s life so much they are obsessed with destroying it. It’s the sin of Cain

She envies what Trump has, the Presidency.

And she was willing to tear it down to keep him from having it no matter how much damage it would do. She’s worse than the Joker from The Dark Knight.

Because while the Joker is unfathomable to someone with a conscience there’s little stopping us from excising him from the community completely., even though Batman refuses.

Hillary hates us for who we are and what we won’t give her. And that animus drove her to blackmail the world while putting on the face of its savior.

And that’s what makes what comes next so obvious to me. RussiaGate was never a sustainable narrative. It was ludicrous from the beginning. And now that it has ended with a whimper there are a lot of angry, confused and scared people out there.

Mueller thought all he had to do was lean on corrupt people and threaten them with everything. They would turn on Trump. He would resign in disgrace from the public outcry.

It didn’t work. In the end Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen and Roger Stone all held their ground or perjured themselves into the whole thing falling apart.

Andrew Weissman’s resignation last month was your tell there was nothing. Mueller would pursue this to the limit of his personal reputation and no further.

Just like so many other politicians.

Vote Your Pocketbook

With respect to Brexit I’ve been convinced that it would come down to reputations.

Would the British MP’s vote against their own personal best interests to do the bidding of the EU?

Would Theresa May eventually realize her historical reputation would be destroyed if she caves to Brussels and betrays Brexit in the end?

Always bet on the fecklessness of politicians. They will always act selfishly when put to the test. While leading RussiaGate, Mueller was always headed here if he couldn’t get someone to betray Trump.

And now his report is in. There are no new indictments. And by doing so he is saving his reputation for the future. And that is your biggest tell that HIllary’s blackmail is now worthless.

They don’t fear her anymore because RussiaGate outed her as the architect. Anything else she has is irrelevant in the face of trying to oust a sitting president from power.

The progressives that were convinced of Trump’s treason are bereft; their false hope stripped away like standing in front of a sandblaster. They will be raw, angry and looking for blood after they get over their denial.

Everyone else who was blackmailed into going along with this lunacy will begin cutting deals to save their skins. The outrage over this will not end. Trump will be President when he stands for re-election.

The Wolves Beckon

The Democrats do not have a chance against him as of right now. When he was caving on everything back in December it looked like he was done. That there was enough meat on the RussiaGate bones to make Nancy Pelosi brave.

Then she backed off on impeachment talk. Oops.

But the Democrats have a sincere problem. Their candidates have no solutions other than to embrace the crazy and go full Bolshevik. That is not a winning position.

Trump will kill them on ‘socialism.’

The Deep State and The Davos Crowd stand revealed and reviled.

If they don’t do something dramatic then the anger from the rest of the country will also be palpable come election time. Justice is not done simply by saying, “No evidence of collusion.”

It’s clear that RussiaGate is a failure of monumental proportions. Heads will have to roll. But who will be willing to fall on their sword at this point?

Comey? No. McCabe? No.

There is only one answer. And Obama’s people are still in place to protect him. I said last fall that “Hillary would indict herself.” And I meant it. Eventually her blackmail and drive to burn it all down led to this moment.

The circumstances are different than I expected back then, Trump didn’t win the mid-terms. But the end result was always the same. If there is no collusion, if RussiaGate is a scam, then all roads lead back to Hillary as the sacrificial lamb.

Because the bigger project, the erection of a transnational superstate, is bigger than any one person. Hillary is expendable.

Lies are expensive to maintain. The truth is cheap to defend. Think of the billions in opportunity costs associated with this. Once the costs rise above the benefits, change happens fast.

If there is any hope of salvaging the center of this country for the Democrats, the ones that voted against Hillary in 2016, then there is no reason anymore not to indict Hillary as the architect of RussiaGate.

We all know it’s the truth. So, the cheapest way out of this mess for them is to give the MAGApedes what they want, Hillary.

And hope that is enough bread and circuses to distract from the real storm ahead of us.

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