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Wednesday, 14 November

04:42

2018 CNMI Election Results The Saipan Blog

3:32 AM
I'm in Washington, DC waiting to find out who won the elections in Saipan.  The polls closed at 7 PM Chamorro Standard Time -- 8 hours ago.  There is no live television coverage from Saipan, nor a live feed from any election headquarters, so the best source of information are the newspapers and social media.

So far the best info has come from Marianas Variety editor Zaldy Dandan.  He's been posting updates on the progress on his Facebook page -- and there hasn't been much so far.  KSPN2 News has been running Facebook live every now and then.  It's not very exciting watching a bunch of people (The Election Commission) sitting at a table.  They went to the Republican Party and Independent/Democrat Party headquarters earlier in the night and did some live interviews.  The Marianas Variety and Saipan Tribune have been slow to post updates on their websites, but there's not much to update on really, other than the votes have been collected and they are being counted.

There is also a government website, but it has not been updated once.

Still waiting...

03:59

Pakistans Prime Minister Pays Visit to China New Eastern Outlook

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Pakistans Prime Minister Imran Khan accepted an invitation from his Chinese colleague Li Keqiang to visit China from 2 to 5 November. The official trip and its outcomes are noteworthy for a number of different reasons, but especially when viewed from the perspective of assessing the political puzzle shaping itself in the Indo-Pacific at the moment.

Pakistans importance in the regional game is fairly obvious (while Chinas role is self-explanatory). The nation is located in the region where interests of world and regional players such as China, India, the US, Russia, Japan and Iran collide. And Pakistan is not merely a pawn in the multifaceted rivalry among them.

In recent months important changes have taken place in Pakistans politics, which could have resulted in (but have not as yet) significant alterations to the part of the previously mentioned puzzle that, due to its geographic location, is referred to as the South Asian sub-region.

We would like to remind the readers that the Movement for Justice party, headed by the former professional athlete Imran Khan, won in the scheduled parliamentary elections on 25 July of this year. As a result the Pakistan Muslim League party, headed by the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was removed from power. Nawaz Sharif was actually ousted from the post of Prime Minister after the Supreme Court of Pakistan sentenced him to 10 years in prison for corrupt practices.

One of the key issues that Imran Khans pre-election rhetoric focused on was the need to stop the war against India stemming from the Kashmir conflict (de facto uninterrupted but mostly smoldering in nature), and to normalize their relations.

Assertion about the countrys tough financial situation was his second focal point. Thinly veiled hints were made that the financial predicament, the country found itself in, stemmed from the agreement, supported by the former government, to establish the over 3,000 km ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will connect PRCs Western provinces with the Pakistani port of Gwadar on the shores of the Arabian Sea.

Apparently, the Pakistani treasury was depleted as a result of enormous (almost one-time) outlays that will take a long time to pay off. It is importan...

00:01

What The Mid-Term Elections Tell Us About US Interior Conflict OrientalReview.org

The US mid-term elections have been interpreted by the major medias in terms of the partisan divide between Republicans and Democrats. However, continuing his in-depth analysis of the social fabric, Thierry Meyssan sees a clear retreat of the Puritans faced with the Lutherans and the Catholics. Donald Trumps political realignment, just as that of Richard Nixon before him, is close to succeeding.

The post What The Mid-Term Elections Tell Us About US Interior Conflict appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

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Tuesday, 13 November

22:55

Russia Hosts Milestone Conference on Afghanistan to Kick-Start Peace Process Strategic Culture Foundation

The Moscow conference demonstrated that Russia has become a potentially vital bridge between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and the US at a time when Washington is seeking to end this war that is sapping its resources.

22:25

Unwrapping Armageddon: The Erosion of Nuclear Arms Control Strategic Culture Foundation

The INF Treaty came about because of strong opposition and huge demonstrations in Europe and the United States. That kind of pressure, coupled with a pledge by countries not to deploy such weapons, will be required again, lest the entire tapestry of agreements that kept the horror of nuclear war at bay vanish.

21:55

The Plan: Why Israel Is Bent on Supporting Arab Division Strategic Culture Foundation

Had Syrians known what was planned for them by Washington and Tel Aviv, they might have avoided the death and destruction in Syria, for patriotism and wisdom call upon the various factions in the State to put aside their differences and confront the external threats.

21:50

Moscow Initiative Compliments the Afghan-Led Peace Process New Eastern Outlook

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On November 9, 2018, Russia hosted the first round of Moscow initiative to resolve the Afghan conundrum, signifying its ever increasing interest in the country that has evolved, over the last 17 years, from a hot-bed of conflict between the US and the Taliban, including Al-Qaeda, to a strategic stalemate between the US and the Taliban, witnessing also the discreet rise of the Islamic State in Khorasan (IS-K) in Afghanistan, threatening the entire Central Asia and Russia with its tendency to reach beyond the land it comes to inhabit. The rising threat of IS-K explains why Russia has become active in initiating a peace process to achieve its settlement, but for the Western officials, Russian initiative is only an attempt on its part to make things complicated for a peace process that must be Afghan-led & Afghan owned. This is not only ironic given that the West, specifically the US, has failed to end the war in the 17 years, but also factually wrong since Moscow initiative doesnt contradict the idea of an Afghan-led peace process.

As such, while the Moscow initiative deepens Russian role in Afghanistan and there is nothing wrong with deepening ties with ones neighbouring country it does also compliment the concept of Afghan-led peace process in important ways. In other words, contrary to Western projections, the Moscow initiative is nothing about pushing the US/the West out of the game. First of all, the nature of the summit held itself signifies how it was centred on the idea of Afghan-led peace process. For instance, the Afghan High Peace Council, which attended the event, reiterated in its statement that the purpose of the summit was only to discuss the subject of direct talks with the Taliban and [they] asked them [Taliban] to choose the place and the starting time. Clearly, this is an Afghan peace council talking to an Afghan militant group, Taliban, asking them to initiate dialogue. Moscow seems only to fit as a facilitator rather than a dictator of peace terms.

The Talibans response, on the other hand, also shows how they, too, want to make it a totally Afghan-led peace process. For instance, the Taliban emphasised that talks with Kabul were possible only after a formal and full withdrawal of external forces. Now, the external forces are those of the US, and not of Moscow, and no truly Afghan-led peace process can work to a logical and peaceful end as long as Afghanistan and Kabul remain captive to the US geo-political interests; hence, the Talibans demand for US withdrawal.

The very peace process that the US re...

21:25

Moscow Format: India Reaches Out to the Taliban Strategic Culture Foundation

India could possibly give the Taliban recognition in return for their assurance that they will not attack or disrupt Indian-led projects in Afghanistan. Looking at the political side, India does not want to be left out in this highly important Afghan peace process. It wants to have a stake in whatever outcome is reached.

20:55

The Intensified "Ukrainization" of New NATO Member Montenegro Strategic Culture Foundation

It turns out that, for the geostrategists in Washington, London, Berlin, Paris and Brussels, communism wasnt all that bad, after all, and that it had many quite useful features.

19:55

A Century After WWI"s End Strategic Culture Foundation

Adam Hochschild Cautions: Think Long and Hard Before Starting a New War

19:55

Pompeo"s Albright Moment Arrives Strategic Culture Foundation

Its getting harder and harder for Pompeo and Trump to defend their positions on Israel and Saudi Arabia as their behavior becomes more erratic and shameful.

16:55

The UKs New Omani Base Is Part Of Its Post-Brexit Pivot To The Indian Ocean OrientalReview.org

The larger pattern thats becoming apparent is that the UK is seeking to reestablish itself as an important economic and military power in the Indian Ocean Region, albeit on a much lesser scale than what it used to be but nevertheless still playing a part in this increasingly competitive area through which most of the worlds trade traverses.

The post The UKs New Omani Base Is Part Of Its Post-Brexit Pivot To The Indian Ocean appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

16:52

Casualties of American Democracy: Trump Serves Up Immigrants as Scapegoats New Eastern Outlook

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One thing that is most predicated about the American political landscape is the pack-of-lies that flows before elections, especially under the Trump administration. We have heard so many recently that most have even stopped trying to separate the truths and half truths from the lies which have snowed under the political process.

Russiagate, the alleged meddling in the 2016 elections, is just for starters. Whether it is allegations of WMDs in Iran or North Korea, or the ills of fake news, spies-for-hire, the agendas of CNN or the real agenda of the Washington Post, there is always an allegation, always a rebuttal, and so much noise is made we no longer want to engage with whether any of it is accurate or not.

We have become what Peter Finch warned we would become in his famous rant in Network people who just want to stay in our smaller and smaller worlds with our steel-belted radials, hoping everyone will feed us news, however they want and leave us alone.

Much of what is reported has truth. But what are we to believe anymore? If someone tells us outright lies and spices them up with a measure of truth, does that justify the lie?

Casualties of Democracy

Politics is not about right or wrong any more but blatant lies. Many of these just come naturally, the rest as part of the subterfuge. As Soviet citizens discovered, the way to interpret the news is not to listen what is said, but to understand why it is being said.

At present immigration is being made into a huge topic in the US. The US was founded and built by immigrants, so why are they suddenly news? Because this is the standard trick rolled out when a government feels it is in deep trouble. The very nature of democracy makes immigrants the easiest target when you are too afraid to alienate everyone else.

Every policy and every political statement affects someone. Even if 99% of people are better off as a result of them, there are always some who lose out. Politics is all about choosing who you can afford to hurt to help your chosen constituency, and how you can then explain that.

This is why the poor, those who can exert the smallest influence on the economy, are always blamed...

10:32

The WWI Conspiracy Part One: To Start A War The Corbett Report

What was World War One about? How did it start? Who won? And what did they win? Now, 100 years after those final shots rang out, these questions still puzzle historians and laymen alike. But as we shall see, this confusion is not a happenstance of history but the wool that has been pulled over our eyes to stop us from seeing what WWI really was. This is the story of WWI that you didn't read in the history books. This is The WWI Conspiracy.

08:34

Israeli incursions into Gaza are the rule, not the exception +972 Magazine

Israeli troops have crossed into Gaza over 70 times this year alone, according to the UN. And those are only the incursions we know about.

Illustrative file photo of Israeli troops deployed along the Gaza border. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Illustrative file photo of Israeli troops deployed along the Gaza border. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Since Israeli special forces troops got into a deadly firefight with Hamas commandos deep inside the Gaza Strip Sunday night, Israel has dropped dozens of bombs and missiles into Gaza and Hamas has fired hundreds of rockets into Israel.

The New York Times described the special forces raid as the first known Israeli ground incursion into Gaza since Operation Protective Edge, in July 2014.

That couldnt be further from the truth.

[tmwinpost]

Since the start of 2015 through the end of October 2018, the Israeli army made 262 known ground incursions and operations to level land inside the Gaza Strip, including over 70 this year alone. This does not include the unknown number of covert operations like the one that went awry on Sunday.

As one retired Israeli general explained on national television, such covert raids across enemy lines are actually...

08:14

Hamas didnt start this fight, but it wont win it either +972 Magazine

If Hamas allows Israel to drag it into another lopsided fight, it will not only cost the lives of countless innocent civilians in Gaza, it will also distract from ongoing mass resistance to the siege.

Palestinians inspect the rubble left of a Hamas facility destroyed by the Israeli army following a botched Israeli incursion into Gaza, November 12, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Palestinians inspect the rubble left of a Hamas facility destroyed by the Israeli army following a botched Israeli incursion into Gaza, November 12, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Israels killing of Hamas commander Nour Baraka on Sunday and the predictable response from the Islamist movement have sparked fears of renewed hostilities between the two sides. Although it remains unclear whether Barakas killing was planned or the result of a botched Israeli intelligence-gathering operation, many observers see parallels with Israels 2012 assassination of Ahmad Al Jabari, then the head of Hamas military wing. That incident set off eight days of fighting in which six Israelis and 167 Palestinians were killed.

If the deadly exchange six years ago was about avenging a senior Hamas commander, its casualties, even according to the Israeli militarys official figures, were mostly civilian. The same outcome would surely follow another confrontation, as any sustained Israeli...

07:59

Trump Trade War Hides Military Industrial Agenda New Eastern Outlook

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In geopolitics events are rarely what they seem to be. This is especially true when we look more closely at the otherwise bizarre war launched this spring under the guise of trade war, supposedly redressing Americas huge annual balance of trade deficits, the most extreme being that with China. The true driver behind Washingtons otherwise inexplicable tariff war attacks on especially China make sense when we view them through the prism of a new Administration report on the defense industrial base of the United States.

In early October a US Government inter-agency Task Force, headed by the Department of Defense (DoD) released the unclassified part of a year-long study on the domestic industrial base required to provide vital components and raw materials for the US military. Titled Report Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States, the Interagency Task Force document was commissioned a year ago in a little-noted Executive Order 13806 of the US President.

The report is the first such detailed analysis of the adequacy or lack of, of the industrial supply chain that feeds vital components to the US Military in recent years.

The 300 Gaps

01:42

Who has the Capacity to Boss Trump Around New Eastern Outlook

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Throughout the year, Washington has been steadily expanding its sanctions regime against Iran, with the latest package coming into full force at the beginning of November. Although it does not aimed directly at the oil and gas industry of the Islamic Republic of Iran, theres no doubt that this package will have a massive negative impact on its economy. So far, Tehran has been patching holes in its budget with oil and gas revenues, and as the number of such holes start to multiply under the massive US pressure, while its hydrocarbon revenues plummet, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to tell that something has got to give.

Its crystal clear that the ultimate goal that the West is allegedly going after is putting an end to Irans hydrocarbon exports, but this goal is simply unattainable. The Trump administration is fully aware of this fact, and yet it carries on its rhetorics against Tehran. Even those of its partners that have always been described as pro-Western, such as Japan and South Korea are now infuriated by the fact that they had to suspend contracts with a time-tested and reliable supplier of oil. This resulted in Washington making exceptions in its sanctions regime to provide temporary relief to those countries that cannot survive without Iranian oil without facing a major financial crisis.

However, the situation is drastically different from what one could observe back in 2015, when a large number of international players decided to turn their backs on Iran over a number of fundamental difference they had with Tehran over the content of its nuclear program. These days theres no coalition to support Washington, as a matter of fact Brussels has recently announced its intention of creating a special financial vehicle that will allow European businesses to bypass American sanctions. Thus, instead of leading by example Washington has put itself in an international isolation.

If anyone is still amazed by Washingtons detachment from its principal allies across the globe and their national interest, one shouldnt really be all that surprised. As the Trump administration is in no way pursuing a secret master plan that will allow the US to regain its status of the last geopolitical hegemony, instead its following the orders of an outside force. And dont rush to the conclusion that its Russia that is pulling the strings, as Israel has been demanding Washington to bring Tehran down by all means possible for years now. Curiously enou...

Monday, 12 November

23:57

We Are Heading For Another Tragedy Like World War I OrientalReview.org

Amid all the usual patriotic cant from politicians, imperialists and churchmen about the glories of this slaughter, remember that World War I was a contrived conflict that was totally avoidable. Contrary to the war propaganda that still clouds and corrupts our historical view, World War I was not started by Imperial Germany.

The post We Are Heading For Another Tragedy Like World War I appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

22:40

US Pressure Fails to Affect Russia"s Growing Arms Exports Strategic Culture Foundation

The US-imposed sanctions have failed to reduce the demand for Russian weapons. China, India as well as many other countries refuse to bow.

22:25

FBI: Neo-Nazi Militia Trained by US Military in Ukraine Now Training US White Supremacists Strategic Culture Foundation

According to a recent FBI indictment, several American white supremacists were allegedly radicalized by and received training from Ukraines neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which receives funding from the current government of Ukraine as well as the U.S. government. The group has also received weapons from the Israeli government.

21:55

World War I Homage A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes Strategic Culture Foundation

While the empty, self-indulgent rhetoric was ringing out, one couldnt help but recall some of the most glaring contemporary contradictions that were blocked out with awesome Orwellian efficiency.

21:25

"Entire Families Wiped Out': US Airstrikes Killed Many Civilians in Syria Strategic Culture Foundation

One year after the U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS ended in Raqqa, Khamis' team is still recovering the remains of the battle's casualties... For now, Raqqa's people are left to count their dead largely alone, while the U.S. and other powers strike elsewhere in Syria.

21:00

The Untold Lives Of The Saudi Royal Family Strategic Culture Foundation

Saudi Arabia is a controversial region of the world thanks to its royal family known as the House of Saud. They have dealt with turmoil within the ranks and have wreaked havoc on those who disobeyed them. 

20:55

After Midterms, Will Trump Go On Risking World Trade and the Off-Shore Dollar Sphere? Strategic Culture Foundation

The Russian leadership cannot have failed to notice that Trumps twitter missiles are also opening up Europe, in a new as yet undefined way

19:55

Mega Srebrenica in Iraq Causes Mostly a Yawn Strategic Culture Foundation

The prospects of unworthy Iraqi victims in the provinces of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salahuddin and Anbar for securing the benevolent attention of Western justice are bleak, writes Stephen Karganovic.

17:32

Turkeys Sea Bandit Threats Are Indirectly Aimed Against The US OrientalReview.org

Turkey is beginning to feel like its notional American ally is containing it despite the incipient rapprochement that the two Great Powers are presently involved in, and it thinks that blustering against what it suspects are the US-backed plans of its Greek and Cypriot neighbors will scare them off and succeed in calling the US bluff.

The post Turkeys Sea Bandit Threats Are Indirectly Aimed Against The US appeared first on OrientalReview.org.

15:59

Central Asian Power Industry to Support Afghan Economy New Eastern Outlook

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The power generating sector plays a crucial role in re-establishing peace and stability in the territory of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. No modern nation can hope for rapid and stable development when facing energy shortages. And this is especially true for war-torn Afghanistan. International armed forces are waging a war against terrorists who occupy parts of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. In the meantime political and business circles in countries that are keen on re-establishing peace on Afghan soil have been devising and financing large-scale projects, which can help Afghanistan to develop various sectors of its economy including its power industry.

According to 2017 data, almost 19 million Afghan residents, i.e. over half of the nations entire population, have no access to electricity. Power use far exceeds its generation, with imports from neighboring countries compensating for this shortage. However, Afghan residential districts still lack energy supplies for their heating and lighting needs, while manufacturers cannot meet their operational requirements.

Afghanistan receives considerable amounts of electricity from its neighbors, such as Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. These Central Asian countries are fully aware that the situation in Afghanistan impacts their own well being as well as regional security. Therefore, they try to help their troubled neighbor as much as possible. Tajikistan, for instance, exported 1.4 billion kWh worth of energy to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 2017. A meeting between Shukurjon Zuhurov, the Chairman of Tajikistans Assembly of Representatives, and Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, took place in June 2018. At this meeting Zuhurov announced that Tajikistan plans on increasing its energy supplies to Afghanistan to 1.5 billion kWh. In addition, the Tajik politician reiterated once again that Dushanbe views economic growth and reduction of tensions in Afghanistan as the foundation of peace and stability in the whole region.

Uzbekistan also decided to considerably increase its electricity supply to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 2018. Afghanistan has been importing Uzbek energy supplies since 2002. Every year the two nations sign a new agreement that accounts for growing Afghan needs. This has resulted in an increase in Uzbek electricity supplies to Afghanistan from 62 million kWh in 2002 to 200 million kWh in 2017. In 2018 the two sides signed an agreement on supplying 2 billion kWh.

...

07:07

Western Media "Discovers" Saudi Atrocities in Wake of Khashoggi Fallout Land Destroyer

November 12, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Nothing illustrates the cynical and deceitful nature of Western "journalism" better than the recent, apparent US-Saudi fallout in the wake of the alleged death of Washington Post Saudi correspondent, Jamal Khashoggi.


Khashoggi allegedly disappeared and has been reported killed at the hands of Saudi consulate staff in Istanbul, Turkey. Of course, the US, UK, EU, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are among the most dubious actors in modern geopolitics. Ascertaining the truth regarding the events surrounding Khashoggi may ultimately turn out to be an insurmountable task.

But the various narratives and reactions of Western political and media circles still provides us insight into the true character of Western international relations including extreme hypocrisy regarding human rights, the use and abuse of Western media platforms to selectively cover events around the globe to favor Western interests, and the ultimate fate that awaits other US "allies."

The New York Times Suddenly Notices "Overlooked" Yemen War

The New York Times in a series of social media posts and articles seems to suddenly notice the long list of atrocities Saudi Arabia is responsible for - including the ongoing war in Yemen. In a social media post published on Twitter, the New York Times would claim:
The Khashoggi crisis has called attention to a largely overlooked Saudi-led war in Yemen. On a rare trip to the front line, New York Times journalists found Yemenis fighting and dying in a war that has gone nowhere.
Of course, it is impossible that a newspaper as large, as prominent, as well-known and well-funded as the New York Times simply "overlooked" the "Saudi-led war in Yemen."

It was the systematic and concerted cover up by the Western media regarding the war - which began in 2015 - that provided Saudi Arabia the impunity with which it executed the war.

...

04:00

Free and Fair Elections: The Model New Eastern Outlook

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Every time there is a major election in the US, pundits reference the Florida Recount that handed the presidency to George Bush instead of Al Gore in the year 2000, clearing the way for a US assault on the Middle East following the attack by Al Queda on September 11, 2001.

The tedious recount lasted for six weeks and was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court a unique and disappointing outcome for the Democrats.

This years mid-term elections have seen an unprecedented number of female candidates running for the House, the Senate, governorships and state houses, many of them black. Four days after the vote, several outcomes are in dispute, the most egregious attack on the democratic system being waged in Georgia, where the man running to be governor happens to be in charge of the voting system. His black female opponent demanded during the election that he resign from the job that gives him control over that process, and she is now demanding a recount, which he, in that capacity, tried to refuse.

Recounts are in process in several other elections in which Democratic candidates are alleging irregularities, electoral rules being very specific as to the conditions that call for this recourse. Unlike most other countries, the role played by the legal system in elections is very detailed, and candidates routinely make use of it when they are not satisfied with the results.

In this particular election, with so many first-time mainly Democratic candidates running, the challenges have multiplied, breathlessly reported by the press. Given the stakes associated with control of either the House or the Senate, this is not surprising, however there are other particularities with respect to US elections. For example there is Gerrymandering the redrawing of electoral districts that is carried out regularly by whichever party is in control. It involves the fine art of putting as many of ones own voters in a given district as possible, in order to boost ones candidates chances of winning, results in elections being determined by how many Jewish voters a district includes or how many Blacks or college students.

...

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