Trump’s “America First” Means We Have No Influence Anymore

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Syria, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Donald Trump sure has made the rest of the world respect us: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected a U.S. offer to mediate a cease-firebetween Turkish forces and Kurdish militants in northeastern Syria….“The terrorists should drop their weapons and leave the area that we have identified as the safe zone,” he said in a speech Wednesday to the Turkish parliament. He vowed to press … Read More

Turkey Bombs US Forces, Apparently By Mistake

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

War is messy. War is unpredictable. An unstable peace is prefereable to a war. And this is why: A contingent of U.S. Special Forces has been caught up in Turkish shelling against U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria. Newsweek has learned through both an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and senior Pentagon official that Special Forces operating in the Mashtenour hill … Read More

Turkey Now Heading Into Syria

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Syria, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Sorry Kurds. A bad situation in Northeast Syria is about to get much worse. Sources say that US officials have just informed the Syrian Kurds that Turkey is likely to attack on air and ground in next 24 hours. The United States, per Trmp’s ill-advised pullout, will do nothing. Targets are Tal Abyad and Ras al Ayn. Ironically Tal Abyad … Read More

Putin’s Poolboy Reverses US Policy On Turkey

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Syria, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

He didn’t consult allies. He didn’t consult Congress – even Republicans. I’m not sure he even consulted his advisers. But I’ll give dollars to donuts he talked to Putin about this. This morning, Americans woke to this… out of the blue: So President Trump has given his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces … Read More

Our Next Conflict In The Middle East?

Ken AshfordIran, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Two oil fields in Saudi Arabia were attacked on Saturday. In short, A drone strike was said to have knocked out half of the Saudis’ daily oil production. The Houthi rebel group in Yemen assumed responsibility, but many were doubtful. Trump, exhibiting an embarrassing toadie-ism, tweeted: Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know … Read More

The Real Collusion May Be With Saudi Arabia

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

It’s becoming clear that the Trump Administration came into being seeing the United States as an asset for sale. NBC: Whistleblowers from within President Donald Trump’s National Security Council have told a congressional committee that efforts by former national security adviser Michael Flynn to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia may have violated the law, and investigators fear Trump is still considering it, … Read More

ISIS Not Defeated

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Syria, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

NBC News reports: U.S. service members were among those killed by an explosion in Syria on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the coalition fighting the Islamic State group said. Earlier, a senior Kurdish security official told NBC News that members of the U.S.-led coalition were caught up in a blast at a market in the northern city of Manbij. The official could … Read More

Crazy Days

Ken AshfordGeneral corruption, L'Affaire Russe, Middle East, Stormy Daniels & Karen McDougal Affairs, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

It’s impossible to keep up with the news anymore. Here is just today: Donald Trump’s inauguration committee is under investigation. Apparently they managed to spend twice as much as any other recent president for an inaugural celebration that was half the size of any other recent president. Maria Butina pleaded guilty to infiltrating the NRA on behalf of Russia. Trump is now on … Read More

Trump Gives MBS A Thanksgiving Pardon

Ken AshfordCrime, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

BREAKING: Trump says he’s taking no new punitive measures against Saudi Arabia over the killing of US-based Saudi columnist. — The Associated Press (@AP) November 20, 2018 Trump on MBS/Khashoggi: “Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe … Read More

Trump Administration Tries To Cover For Saudis

Ken AshfordForeign Affairs, Middle East, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

If Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Riyadh to read the Riot Act to Saudi rulers over the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi, he hid it well behind cheery smiles and professions of amity. But then outrage has been conspicuously absent from the Trump administration in the two weeks since Mr. Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, never to be … Read More

Breaking: Saudis Admit To Killing Khashoggi: Said It Was An Accident

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Trump & Administration, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

It looks like the Saudi prince is trying to clear his name by throwing certain operatives under a bus. Source tells NYT the Saudis are preparing to describe a scenario that would protect MBS from blame. The source said the royal court would soon put out a narrative that an official within the kingdom's intel services carried out the killing … Read More

President “America First” Is Sure Quick To Believe Other Countries

Ken AshfordCrime, Foreign Affairs, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Fielding a question on the White House lawn, Donald Trump showed that he is always ready to believe a dictator … even when it requires saying something utterly ridiculous. Asked about the disappearance, and suspected murder, of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump was ready to say who it wasn’t. Trump: The king firmly denies any knowledge of it.  And, just like Vladimir Putin … Read More

The Apparent Murder of Khashoggi and the Chaos of The US-Saudi Relationship

Ken AshfordCrime, Foreign Affairs, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Jamal Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi Arabian journalist and Washington Post columnist who has been critical of his country’s government, vanished last week. His disappearance is straining Turkey-Saudi relations and could complicate Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent attempts to recast his government as forward-thinking and reform-minded — as well as his country’s close relationship with the US. The 59-year-old … Read More

Trump Keeps Campaign Promise; Dozens Killed

Ken AshfordMiddle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

… and the United States loses its status as an honest broker of Mideast Peace. That’s what happens when the US Embassy got moved to Jerusalem, a political move that is more symbolic (in its support for Israel) than practical: ZEITOUN, Gaza Strip — Israeli soldiers on Monday killed 41 Palestinians demonstrating along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip … Read More

Trump Recognizes Jerusalem As Capital Of Israel

Ken AshfordForeign Affairs, Godstuff, Middle East, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Trump’s speech in a nutshell: “Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: That Jerusalem is Israel’s capital,” Trump said. “This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.” This is the actual presidential proclamation on Jerusalem. PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP’S PROCLAMATION ON JERUSALEM AS THE … Read More