US struggles to counter Chinese maritime hegemony

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has spoken out against China’s strategy of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers, and, more recently, the landing of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft at Woody Island. There are, Mattis warned, “consequences to China ignoring the international community.”

But what consequences? Two successive US administrations – Barack Obama’s and now Donald Trump’s – have failed to push back credibly against China’s expansionism in the South China Sea, which has accelerated despite a 2016 international arbitral tribunal ruling invalidating its territorial claims there. Instead, the US has relied on rhetoric or symbolic actions. Continue reading

Pompeo in stark warning: We won’t let Iran develop a nuclear weapon

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“We’re watching reports that Iran plans to increase its enrichment capacity,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Thursday, June 7. “We won’t allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. Iran is aware of our resolve.”

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Obama-era license aimed to let Iran convert money in dollars

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FILE – In this April 16, 2018, file photo, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference in Cincinnati. The Obama administration secretly sought to give Iran brief access to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions kept in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, despite repeatedly telling Congress and the public it had no plans to do so. That’s according to an investigation by Senate Republicans released June 6. “The Obama Administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran,” said Portman, the subcommittee’s chairman. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, file)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration secretly sought to give Iran access — albeit briefly — to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions kept in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, despite repeatedly telling Congress and the public it had no plans to do so.

An investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday sheds light on the delicate balance the Obama administration sought to strike after the deal, as it worked to ensure Iran received its promised benefits without playing into the hands of the deal’s opponents. Amid a tense political climate, Iran hawks in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere argued that the United States was giving far too much to Tehran and that the windfall would be used to fund extremism and other troubling Iranian activity.

The report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed that under President Barack Obama, the Treasury Department issued a license in February 2016, never previously disclosed, that would have allowed Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman from Omani rials into euros by exchanging them first into U.S. dollars. If the Omani bank had allowed the exchange without such a license, it would have violated sanctions that bar Iran from transactions that touch the U.S. financial system. Continue reading

U.S. Military Set To Deploy THAAD Anti-Missile System In Germany

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The United States is looking to establish a powerful missile shield in Germany in a potential move that would further inflame tensions with both Moscow and Tehran.

Though NATO has long insisted that its missile defense systems are not directed at Russia, the Kremlin has repeatedly condemned what it sees as NATO encroachment in Eastern Europe, especially after countries like Romania — which is not engaged in any ongoing conflict with Russia — have recently installed their own US-supplied ballistic missile systems, with renewed multi-billion dollar Patriot missile expansions to follow. Continue reading

Obama Allies Scheme to Kneecap Trump’s New National Security Team

Fred Fleitz

 

Organizations and individuals entrenched in the Obama administration’s pro-Iran echo chamber are engaging in a new plot to defame top White House national security officials, a campaign that mirrors a successful effort by these same groups to oust former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to sources familiar with the new effort.

After targeting Flynn, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former senior Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka, organizations closely tied to the Obama administration are setting their sites on National Security Adviser John Bolton and his newly formed team. Continue reading

If Iran resumes enrichment, the US and Israel poised to attack its facilities

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: If Europe fails to back Iran against the US, Tehran will resume uranium enrichment. He is asking for trouble. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei tried Wednesday, May 23, to counter Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s ultimatum with one of his own for the European powers, the UK, France and Germany, which are trying to save the 2015 nuclear deal after the US walkout. The dictates he put before them included: European banks must safeguard trade with Iran and stop seeking new negotiations on Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional Middle East activities to gratify the US president. The Europeans must further guarantee Iran’s oil sales and compensate Tehran for losses incurred from US sanctions. If Europe fails to meet Khamenei’s demands, Iran will go back to enriching uranium, effectively turning its back on the 2015 nuclear deal, he warned. Continue reading

Bill Gertz Explains Chinese Spying on America and American Industry: ‘It’s a Three-Pronged Threat’

 

Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz explained the scope of Chinese spying on American industry Wednesday on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

“It’s a three-pronged threat. You have traditional spying. Right now in Alexandria (Virginia), there are two ex-CIA officers who are under investigation or being prosecuted for spying-related activities in China,” Gertz said. “Then you have the cyber threat, and this is a massive theft of technology from both the government and the private sector. Continue reading

Iran Targets the Gulf

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The Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Iran offered “support to al-Qaeda in exchange for targeting the Gulf,” according to CIA documents captured last year from Osama bin Laden’s compound.

 

  • Our allies are finally becoming force multipliers — joining with America to use its talent and technology finally to defeat the jihadist threat. We should assist and encourage the UAE and Saudi Arabia, not abandon them.

More than 7,000 miles from Washington and far from America’s headlines, a war in Yemen is rewriting America’s strategy against Iran and terrorism.

The three-sided civil war pits two radical Islamist forces — Al-Qaeda’s largest surviving army and Iran’s biggest proxy force — against each other and six of America’s Arab allies. U.S. Special forces carry out covert raids and CIA drones rain down missiles on terror leaders. Continue reading

Why Trump cannot merely contain Iran

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In a May 8 ceremony at the White House, President Donald Trump holds up a signed proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the Iran nuclear agreement. (Reuters)

 

In the Middle East, the US has done more good when it helps create order and liberty than when it simply opposes bullies.

As he promised as a candidate, President Trump has taken the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The pact certainly came with potential flaws in containing Iranian weapons. Yet the withdrawal poses an even bigger issue: Will the US now bring a new order to the Middle East, one that can deal with Iran in other ways? Continue reading

Trump Walks from Iran Nuke Deal

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(Photo Credit: White House)

 

The president called the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action ‘one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered.’

President Donald Trump announced this afternoon that he is walking away from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal in a speech from the White House. The president explained the deal negotiated by the Obama administration and several European countries fails to protect U.S. national security interests and has enriched the Islamic Republic’s regime. Those funds, he added, have been used to enable “malign behavior” throughout the Middle East. Continue reading

An Obituary for America: Germany Celebrates the End of the United States

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U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the White House on April 27. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

 

The editor in chief of Europe’s largest newsmagazine has written America’s obituary—quite literally. The title of Klaus Brinkbäumer’s new book is An Obituary for America: The End of a Friendship and the Future of the West.

In it, the Der Spiegel editor in chief reaches two surprising conclusions: America is dead, and Germany should be happy about it.

Spiegel Online published an article adapted from Brinkbäumer’s book under the title “Thank You, Donald! What Trump Means for Germany’s Future.”

The U.S., writes Brinkbäumer, is no longer a reliable partner. Therefore “we must emancipate ourselves.” Continue reading

US Navy Resurrects Its Cold War-Era Atlantic Fleet To Counter Russia

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In a stunning surprise, the United States Navy announced Friday that it would reactivate its Second Fleet to counter the increasing threat from Russia.

Admiral John Richardson, chief of naval operations, said the fleet, deactivated in 2011, could oversee roughly 6,700,000 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to the Caribbean Sea and from the East Coast of the United States to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Our National Defense Strategy makes clear that we’re back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex,” said Admiral Richardson. Continue reading

Ukraine: Is Russia Planning A New Invasion?

Pictured: A Russian-backed rebel observing Ukrainian army positions near Donetsk, Eastern Ukraine, May 17, 2015. (Image source: Mstyslav Chernov/Wikimedia Commons)

 

  • Russia’s aggression into Ukraine came in direct violation of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum.
  • “After four years of war, Russia has at least 260,000 troops deployed along the Ukrainian border,” ready to advance. — Oleksandr Turchynov, Chairman of Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council, April 13, 2018.
  • The First Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Security Service, Viktor Kononenko, recently reported that Russia might be planning another attempt to destabilize Ukraine in the fall “under the pretext of protecting the Russian-speaking population”.

This April marks the fourth year of the ongoing war in Ukraine between the Ukrainian military and Russian backed separatists in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics in eastern Ukraine, also known as the Donbas region. Prior to the beginning of the war in eastern Ukraine in April 2014, Russia annexed Crimea.

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Intel Officers: This is Treason

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Kevin Shipp says there is a ‘civil war’ taking place within the U.S. government.

A group of retired intelligence officers from the CIA, FBI, NSA, and Justice Department held a press conference Friday demanding Attorney General Jeff Sessions prosecute leading Obama administration officials for crimes against the Trump administration. Continue reading

Trump is Doing What Kennedy Tried To Do – Kevin Shipp

Former CIA Officer and whistleblower Kevin Shipp says what is going on with Donald J. Trump “is an ongoing coup to remove a duly elected President.” Shipp contends, “This is a huge constitutional crisis like the country has never seen before. This makes Watergate look like a Sunday school class.” Continue reading

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