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Pakistan PM Abbasi puts up brave face at UN but will it matter in reality?

Pakistan PM Abbasi puts up brave face at UN but will it matter in the reality?

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Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who replaced Nawaz Sharif in July this year after he was ousted in connection with corruption charges, tried to put up a brave face at the United Nations General Assembly session on Thursday, September 21, especially at a time when his country is facing serious challenges to its foreign policy.

Abbasi, who caught a special attention the day before for not sporting a tie while meeting world leaders, media personalities and a high-profile audience at the world body, spoke on various issues on Thursday, clearly trying to send across the message that Islamabad is not rattled despite the tough challenges it is facing at the moment on various fronts.

Brave face, but for how long?

But how long will this ‘bravery’ stand in reality? Abbasi’s meeting US Vice President Mike Pence and the two sides’ resolve to revive the relationship which has been adversely affected of late, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani’s appeal to Islamabad in his UN speech to engage in dialogue with Kabul and also, the Pakistani Army chief General Qamar Bajwa’s meeting with Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Omar Zakhilwal last month suggest that there is an urgency among the concerned parties to resume the process which can lead to stabilisation of Afghanistan. But does Pakistan itself have enough political stability to prove that Abbasi’s words are meant to be real?

Abbasi said in his speech that it is “galling” for Pakistan to see the amount of blame everybody puts on it for the “military and political instability in Afghanistan” especially after the big sacrifices it has made while contributing towards the campaign against global terror.

The premier’s take sounds good but it is not consistent with the policy that Pakistan has taken over the years – its civilian government, military, ISI, business, law-keepers etc. etc. – towards patronising the Taliban in Afghanistan in every possible way. The Pakistani policy-makers had always hoped that patronising the Taliban would bring it strategic advantage and also economic blessings but the real outcome has been something else.

Years of policy blunders, lack of vision and a stubborn stance on backing the Taliban have hurt Pakistan’s interests more than not. The September 11 attacks had put Pakistan’s dangerous Afghanistan policy under a serious threat and while former president Pervez Musharraf had somehow walked the tightrope in the wake of 9/11 to balance between the US and Taliban, the subsequent leaderships in Islamabad have never succeeded in finding a strong policy to tackle its foreign policy challenges. Sixteen years since 9/11, the Pakistani establishment has not only been badly exposed, but it has also seen a sharp rise in the number of its adversaries, locally as well as globally.

Abbasi said at the UN that Pakistan is not prepared to be anyone’s “scapegoat” but the reality is that the Pakistani state has mostly remained ineffective in pursuing a sound Afghan policy all these years, leading to the surrounding countries distrusting it more for allegedly destabilising the region. To bring into effect a paradigm shift which is essential for Pakistan if it wants to see it at a better position on the Afghanistan issue, Abbasi needs to show an iron will towards bettering relations with its neighbours, including India. But that is much easier said than done.

Abbasi playing to the galleries before elections?

Pakistan’s foreign policy is clearly a prisoner of the past and a little-weight leader like Abbasi is parroting from the old script just to keep the constituencies of himself and his party happy, perhaps because the national elections in Pakistan are not far off. But by issuing hot statements against India and not showing any interest to depart from the game plan of patronising the extremists in Afghanistan to disrupt New Delhi’s plans in that country, Pakistan is only ensuring that its cooperation with either Kabul or Washington to uproot terror will remain unsatisfactory and it will, in turn, build up pressure on Islamabad, despite the presence of its all-weather friend China.

To allow itself a chance to return to reckoning on the international stage, Pakistan must focus on improving its relations with India and Afghanistan which in turn can pave for better Pakistan-US ties. But for that to happen, Islamabad needs a strong leadership and also a foreign policy of consensus which will be free of selfish and suicidal schemes. Under the premiership of Abbasi whose duration in office nobody really knows, expecting a Pakistani policy seeking a genuine solution of the Afghan crisis is akin to daydreaming.

The opinions of this author may or may not reflect the views of The Duran PLC

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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