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Weekly U.S. War and Foreign Policy Roundup 6/30/19

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North Korea

President Trump became the first sitting U.S. president to step foot in North Korea on Sunday, in an effort to reopen talks with North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un. The two met in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between the two Koreas.

The impromptu meeting was Trump’s idea, “We were in Japan for the G20 and I said, ‘hey I’m over here I want to call Chairman Kim,’” the president told reporters.

Trump and Kim crossed into South Korea and held an hour long closed-door meeting.  For a brief moment, they were joined by South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in, an unprecedented three-way gathering.

The two leaders agreed to set up teams to resume stalled nuclear talks. Chairman Kim invited Trump to visit North Korea’s capital Pyongyang, Trump returned the favor and told reporters, “I would invite him right now, to the White House, absolutely.”

North Korean officials have expressed that they are displeased with certain members of Trump’s cabinet. Back in April North Korea’s foreign ministry official Kwon Jong-gun had this to say about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, “Even in the case of possible resumption of dialogue with the US, I wish our dialogue counterpart would not be Pompeo but… [another] person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us.”

An unnamed North Korean spokesman called National Security Advisor John Bolton a “warmonger” and a “defective human product” back in May. The comments came after Bolton said recent missile tests by North Korea were a violation of UN resolutions.

The images of the U.S. president and chairman of North Korea walking and smiling together through the DMZ into South Korea are powerful. Critics of the meeting said it was largely symbolic and no real progress was made, but the renewing of the two leaders friendship makes it far less likely North Korea will use their missiles anytime soon.

Denuclearization may be the goal for some, but ending the decades old war between the two Korea’s is the priority for the people of the Korean Peninsula. President Trump’s willingness to have an open dialogue with Kim should be celebrated, and he should be encouraged to opt for diplomacy with more foreign leaders.

Iran

In the latest move of U.S. aggression against Iran, President Trump sanctioned Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei on Monday. Trump called the increased sanctions “hard-hitting”, saying they would deny the supreme leader and his office access to key financial resources. The sanctions came in response to Iran shooting down a U.S. drone, which they said violated Iranian airspace. President Trump called off an airstrike last week, with minutes to spare after his generals estimated the strike would kill 150 Iranians. Trump said the airstrike would not be “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

On Tuesday Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani said Trump is “afflicted with a mental disorder.” Rouhani called the sanctions against Khamenei “outrageous and idiotic”- since the 80-year-old supreme leader has no overseas assets.

These comments from Rouhani most likely triggered Trump’s flurry of tweets he sent out later that day. “Iran leadership doesn’t understand the words ‘nice’ or ‘compassion,’ they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone,” he wrote in one tweet.

In another tweet Trump threatened the country with obliteration, “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.”

It is worth noting that most media outlets translated Rouhani’s comments to “mentally retarded.” The word that had been translated to “retarded,” translates to “disability” or “handicap” according to google translate and many Persian to English dictionaries. It’s possible that Trump’s extreme reaction to the comments were due to the mistranslation, although that’s certainly no excuse for threatening a country with “obliteration.”

On Friday, the Senate rejected a proposal that would have required the White House to gain congressional approval before taking military action against Iran. The effort needed 60 votes to pass and came up short with a vote of 50-40.

U.S. special envoy to Iran, Brian Hook, threatened sanctions on any country that imports Iranian oil on Friday. Hook said, “We will sanction any imports of Iranian crude oil.” Since the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal, some European nations have tried to keep the deal alive and continue to buy oil from Iran but Hook said, “There are right now no oil waivers in place.” For a short time, the U.S. did have waivers in place for certain allies.

The U.S. has deployed an unspecified amount of F-22 fighter planes to Qatar amid tensions with Iran. The F-22 Raptor stealth fighters have been deployed “to defend American forces and interests,” according to a statement released by U.S. Air Force Central Command on Friday.

Afghanistan

Two U.S. soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday, bringing the number of U.S. military members killed this year in the war to 11. The two soldiers were part of a special forces team and were killed in a firefight with the Taliban. The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers as, Master Sgt. Micheal B. Riley, 32, from Heilbronn, Germany, and Sgt. James G. Johnston, 24, from Trumansburg, New York.

In an attack on Saturday night, the Taliban killed at least 19 after ramming four armored vehicles into a government compound in the Maruf district. On Friday night Taliban fighters killed at least 25 U.S. backed government forces during fighting in the northern Baghlan province.

This violence occurs as the U.S. and Taliban are holding peace talks in Qatar, the seventh round of talks got under way on Saturday. Reuters news agency quoted Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, “We will continue to fight against foreign and Afghan forces until a peace deal is signed.”

The Taliban has made it clear over and over, that they will not negotiate with the U.S. backed Kabul government until all foreign occupation forces leave Afghanistan. There are currently 17,000 foreign troops in the country, 14,000 of them American.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a surprise trip to Kabul on Tuesday, “We’re working to bring Afghans together to negotiate at the table to decide the future of their own country,” he said. “When that table is put together it will be large table. It is crucial to include not just the Taliban and the government, but also representatives of opposition parties, civil society, including women and youth.”

Yemen

At least eight people from one family were killed when a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit a house in Yemen’s southwestern province of Taiz on Friday, local sources told Xinhua news agency. The airstrike hit a house in the Warzan area of the Khadir district, killing the family inside, including women and children.

The United Arab Emirates, one of Saudi Arabia’s key allies in their fight against the Houthis of Yemen, is scaling back their military presence in the country. The UAE has pulled some troops out of the southern port of Aden and Yemen’s west coast, according to two diplomats.

“It is true that there have been some troop movements…but it is not a redeployment from Yemen,” a senior Emirati official told Reuters, adding that the UAE remains fully committed to the military coalition and “will not leave a vacuum” in Yemen.

The UN mission to Yemen is going to resume peace talks with the U.S. and Saudi backed government. Peace talks were delayed after Yemen’s exiled President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi accused UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths, of siding with the Houthis.

The UN oversaw the withdrawal of Houthi troops in the port of Hodeidah as part of a brokered agreement. Hadi’s accusation was that the Houthi’s handed the port over to Houthi-friendly forces.

Hadi has been living in exile since the Saudi bombing campaign began in Yemen. Since then the U.S. backed Saudi-led coalition has launched over 19,000 airstrikes and have killed over 8,000 civilians as result of direct targeting, not to mention those dying of starvation and preventable disease due to the blockade on the country.

Venezuela

Speaking at the G20 summit on Saturday, Trump denied that U.S. efforts to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, telling reporters, “things take time.”

Trump’s envoy to Venezuela Elliot Abrams spoke at a press conference on Tuesday, reinforcing his support for opposition leader Juan Guaido. Abrams said, “Interim president Juan Guaido continues to travel throughout the country distributing humanitarian assistance, organizing health clinics and spreading an important message that he seeks a peaceful democratic transition.”

In an interview with BBC this week, Guaido said military force is still an option, “if the dictatorship wants to continue usurping power, keeps killing our young people and continues with their repression, then there’s the option of force.” Guaido said the force, “doesn’t have to be international,” although he has already failed at turning the Venezuelan military against Maduro.

U.S. sanctions are still in effect in Venezuela, which the Center for Economic and Policy Research had determined were responsible for the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans in a report they released in April.

Iraq

On May 14th, a Saudi oil pipeline was hit by a drone strike, and Yemen’s Houthis immediately claimed responsibility. Now, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials are claiming the attack originated from Iraq. The U.S. is trying to link the attack to Shi’ite militias in southern Iraq.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi told reporters that US officials had contacted Baghdad recently, alleging the drones may have taken off from Iraq.

The prime minister denied the attacks could have come from Iraqi territory. “All of our intelligence services and our air force denied these reports because the airspace is known,” he said.

Libya

U.S.-Made Javelin anti-tank missiles have been discovered at a military base in Libya that belongs to rebel leader General Khalifa Haftar. The New York Times reported the discovery on Friday, the rebel leader has been waging a month’s long offensive against the internationally recognized government in Tripoli.

The markings on the missiles indicate they were sold to the UAE in 2008. If the arms were then sold or transferred to Haftar it would violate the UN arms embargo on Libya. A U.S. state department official said they will be investigating the matter. Other weapons found at the base were made in China and most likely supplied by the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Syria

According to Syrian state TV station al-Ikhbariya, Israeli warplanes have fired missiles targeting Syrian military positions in Homs and the Damascus oustskirts, in an attack that killed four civilians and wounded another 21. The Syrian state media station said the attacks were launched from Lebanon airspace.

Syrian government forces and insurgent forces clashed on Friday in the country’s northwest. The Syrian government was trying to take back two villages they lost earlier in the month, according to state media and Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor.

The war monitor said the Syrian government launched an offensive to take back the villages of Jubayn and Tel Milh. From Friday’s fighting alone, 51 government troops and 45 rebel insurgents were killed.

Culture

Communist Hammer and Sickle Painted on North Carolina WWII Memorial

The names on the memorial “are veterans and deserve the honor, respect, and dignity.”

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The Communist hammer and sickle symbol was spray painted on a North Carolina World War II Memorial over the weekend.

The memorial in the Evergreen Cemetery in Charlotte honors over 500 people from the county who died in the war.

The vandals also wrote “Glory to the day of heroism June 19, 1986,” a likely reference to the violent Communist Party of Peru.

“On June 18, 1986, the Shining Path began to protest the Peruvian government’s use of torture on its members and their movement to different prisons,” the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reported when another statue was vandalized with the same message in May. “Although the Peruvian government at first tried to negotiate with the Shining Path, the members refused, he said, and the government sent troops into the prisons the next day — bombing two facilities and executing inmates who were in the Shining Path.”

Over 200 people were killed.

“That day immediately began to be called ‘The Day of Heroism.’”

Fox News reports that a portion of the WWII monument that read, “Dedicated to the memory of the Mecklenburg heroes of World War II who made the supreme sacrifice that you might live in liberty, freedom and peace,” was also covered in yellow paint.

Air Force veteran Wayne White gathered friends to help clean the memorial after seeing that it was defaced on social media. He told Fox 17 that the names on the memorial “are veterans and deserve the honor, respect, and dignity.”

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BREAKING: Portland Militants Attempting to Set Up New ‘Autonomous Zone’ After Seattle Version Overtaken By ‘Warlord’

One of the Seattle leaders has already been accused of sexual assault.

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Militant leftists in Portland are now attempting to set up their own “autonomous zone,” free of police, after the Seattle version was overtaken by an armed “warlord” just one day in.

One of the leaders of the Seattle version has also already been accused of sexual assault and threatened to commit suicide after admitting that they are a “serial abuser.”

The Portland militants began setting up their “autonomous zone” late Wednesday evening using barbed wire fences. Apparently, walls and fences are no longer racist.

https://twitter.com/BlairStenvick/status/1270959491589132288

https://twitter.com/BlairStenvick/status/1270960536440565761?s=20

Portland Police have been attempting to discourage the construction, but were being ignored as of 11:30 p.m. local time.

“PPB says there’s criminal activity occurring in crowd, tells nonviolent demonstrator to leave. They sound not pleased by the new fence!” Portland Mercury reporter Blair Stenvick tweeted.

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https://twitter.com/BlairStenvick/status/1270964119315701760?s=20

In Seattle, six square blocks surrounding the abandoned Seattle Police Department East Precinct have been under the control of militant leftists for several days. Within the first 24 hours, an armed Airbnb Superhost named Raz Simone took control of security operations and has been accused of using violence in multiple livestreamed incidents. He has been accused of running the area like a “warlord.”

“While Washington is an open carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used intimidate community members,” Seattle Assistant Police Chief Deanna Nolette told KOMO News.

There are also allegations that Simone’s team have been extorting local businesses in the area, demanding $500 protection fees.

“We have heard anecdotally of citizens and businesses being asked to pay a fee to operate within this area, this is crime of extortion,” Nolette said.

Simone has denied the allegations saying there’s “definitely no extortion, definitely nothing of that,” adding, “we’ve invited people to come in.”

The chaos caused by the autonomous zone has impacted how police can respond to calls in the city.

“Right now, we are on priority calls only, which means the people, city wide who need a police response are not receiving it,” Nolette said. “That to us is just not acceptable.”

The “warlord” isn’t their only problem, Nationalist Review reports that according to at least two exes and one current partner, the “trans lesbian” leader of the autonomous zone has repeatedly abused the women that they’ve been with.

One of the leader’s previous partners wrote, “I’m her ex. Even if she isn’t doing it consciously, she has done things like this on multiple occasions, including assaulting [people], and, despite acknowledging she’s in the wrong, has refused treatment. She has threatened suicide numerous times. She’s not being gaslit.”

Another former partner explained that just recently the leader had physically and sexually assaulted them, saying “You punched me in the f***ing face a few days before you shoved me off the bed for making a sh*t joke. I constantly push your hands away and tell you to stop touching my chest. One time I told you to stop and you cried and got all depressive.”

There are also reports that they are running out of food and having problems with theft, leading to them seeking more security.

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Confederate Soldier Statue Takes Out Vandal Trying to Topple It

The lawless mobs have faced seemingly zero consequences for their actions, until Wednesday night, when the statue won.

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A vandal has been critically injured after a group of criminals attempted to illegally topple a confederate statue in Virginia.

The vandals were trying to tear down two statues in Portsmouth, Virginia, when one of them fell directly on one of their accomplices.

“We could see that his skull was actually showing,” one witness said.

Ironically, the police were called to the scene for help by the anti-cop militants.

The vandal reportedly lost consciousness and began convulsing on the ground.

Rioters and vandals have been destroying historic statues in cities across the US in recent days. Earlier on Wednesday, a statue of Christopher Columbus was beheaded. The day before, rioters in Virginia pulled down another Columbus statue and threw it in a lake.

The lawless mobs have faced seemingly zero consequences for their actions, until Wednesday night, when the statue won.

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