House Votes to 'Enhance the Border Security' of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia--Not the USA
The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has voted to fund efforts to "enhance the border security" of Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia while moving to deny all funding to build walls, fencing or any other structures to enhance the border security of the United States.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants have their priorities.
To them, borders on the other side of the world are more important than our own.
On June 19, the House approved a massive spending bill. In an act of legislative polygamy, it "married" the appropriations bill for the Department of Defense to the appropriations bills for the Department of State, the Department of Energy, and the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services and Education.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated this monstrosity would cost taxpayers $984.7 billion in fiscal 2020.
Yet there is one thing this bill would forbid the Trump administration from spending one penny to accomplish.
On page 304 (of 650), it says: "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act or any prior Department of Defense appropriations Acts may be used to construct a wall, fence, border barriers, or border security infrastructure along the southern land border of the United States."
A month later, the House Appropriations Committee sent the full House a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security.
This bill — so far — is unmarried and would cost taxpayers $63.8 billion.
President Trump had requested that it include $5 billion to use in constructing barriers at the border.
How much did the committee give him?
"No funding is provided in the bill for new physical barriers along the southwest border," said the committee report.
It also said, "The recommendation provides no funding for additional Border Patrol Agents."
Thus, the Democrat-controlled House is advancing discretionary appropriations bills that would spend more than $1 trillion in one year but provide zero dollars to build physical barriers to stop illegal aliens, human traffickers and drug smugglers from crossing our southern border.
Yet that does not mean the Democrat-controlled House is not planning to spend some money to enhance border security.
It just depends where the border is.
In that 650-page spending bill that prohibits Defense Department money from being used to defend the southern border of the United States, there is a section that creates a $1.295 billion fund for use by the secretary of defense.
"For the 'Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund', $1,295,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2021," says the bill. "Provided, That such funds shall be available to the secretary of defense in coordination with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance, including training; equipment; logistics support, supplies, and services; stipends; infrastructure repair and renovation; and sustainment, to foreign security forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals participating, or preparing to participate in activities to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and their affiliated or associated groups."
"Provided further," says the bill, "That these funds may be used in such amounts as the Secretary of Defense may determine to enhance the border security of nations adjacent to conflict areas including Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Tunisia resulting from actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria."
So, the secretary of defense could take a chunk of this $1.295 billion and give it to the government of Egypt to secure its border with post-Gadhafi Libya, where ISIS is active.
And he could give a chunk to Tunisia to secure its border with Libya.
Or he could give some American tax dollars to unnamed "irregular forces, groups, or individuals" who, someplace in this world, are "preparing to participate in activities" to counter ISIS, or at least groups that are "affiliated or associated" with ISIS.
But according to the House appropriations bills, President Trump cannot spend a penny to build structures at our own border to secure our own territory and our own people.
By contrast, the Republican-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee has approved a Homeland Security spending bill that does include $5 billion to build "pedestrian fencing" — to stop people on foot and in vehicles from crossing our southern border. Also, that committee's defense spending bill does not prohibit the president from using defense money to build barriers to defend our own border.
It even includes a larger fund ($1.8 billion) than the House bill that, among other things, can be used "for enhanced border security" not only in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia but also in Oman.
We are now more than a month into fiscal 2020. The government is running on a continuing resolution that expires Nov. 21.
President Trump should deliver a simple message to Speaker Pelosi: He is not going to sign a spending bill that funds border security in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Tunisia but not California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
He should put America first — even if Pelosi will shut down the government trying to stop him.
(Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSNews.com.)
US sends 3,000 more troops to defend Saudi monarchy
The Pentagon confirmed Friday that 3,000 more US troops are being deployed to Saudi Arabia to defend the blood-soaked monarchy led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and prepare for war against Iran.
The deployment includes two fighter squadrons, one Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW), two more Patriot missile batteries, and one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
According to a Pentagon statement Friday, the US Secretary of Defense phoned Crown Prince bin Salman (who also holds the post of Saudi minister of defense) to inform him of the coming reinforcements, which he said were meant “to assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.”
The Pentagon also acknowledged that the latest escalation brings the number of additional troops sent into the Persian Gulf region since May to 14,000. They have been accompanied by an armada of US warships and a B-52-led bomber task force. The Pentagon has also announced that an aircraft carrier-led battle group will remain in the Persian Gulf.
US soldiers deployed in the Middle East (U.S. Army by 1st Lt. Jesse Glenn)
While initiated as a supposed response to unspecified threats from Iran, the US buildup in the Persian Gulf region has constituted from its outset a military provocation and preparation for a war of aggression. This military buildup has accompanied Washington’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign of sweeping economic sanctions that are tantamount to a state of war. The aim, as the Trump administration has stated publicly, is to drive Iranian oil exports down to zero. By depriving Iran of its principal source of export income, Washington hopes to starve the Iranian people into submission and pave the way to regime change, bringing to power a US puppet regime in Tehran.
The latest military buildup was announced in the immediate aftermath of an attack on an Iranian tanker in the Red Sea, about 60 miles from the Saudi port of Jeddah.
The National Iranian Tanker Co. reported that its oil tanker, the Sabiti, was struck twice by explosives early Friday morning, leaving two holes in the vessel and causing a brief oil spill into the Red Sea.
While Iranian state news media blamed the damage on missile attacks, a spokesman for the company told the Wall Street Journal that the company was not sure of the cause.
Some security analysts have suggested that the fairly minor damage to the vessel could have been caused by limpet mines. Such mines were apparently used last June when two tankers—one Japanese and one Norwegian-owned—were hit by explosions in the Sea of Oman. At the time, Washington blamed the attacks on Iran, without providing any evidence. Tehran denied the charge, saying that it sent teams to rescue crew member of the damaged tankers.
The Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) quoted an unnamed Iranian government official as stating that the Iranian tanker had been the victim of a “terrorist attack.”
“Examination of the details and perpetrators of this dangerous action continues and will be announced after reaching the result,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.
The National Iranian Tanker Co. issued a statement saying that there was no evidence that Saudi Arabia was behind the attack.
The incident raised the specter of an escalating tanker war that could disrupt shipping through the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world’s oil supply flows. News of the attack sent crude oil prices spiking by 2 percent.
In addition to the June attacks on the tankers in the Gulf of Oman, in July British commandos, acting on a request from Washington, stormed an Iranian super tanker, the Grace 1, in waters off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar. In apparent retaliation, Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized the British-flagged Stena Impero for what Tehran charged were violations of international maritime regulations as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz. Both tankers were subsequently released.
Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement charging that the Iranian super tanker, renamed the Adrian Darya 1, had offloaded its oil in Syria in violation of European Union sanctions and a pledge made by Tehran to the UK at the time of the vessel’s release. He demanded provocatively that “EU members should condemn this action, uphold the rule of law, and hold Iran accountable.”
The Trump administration, which in May of last year unilaterally and illegally abrogated the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the major powers has been pressuring the European signatories to the deal—Germany, France and the UK—to follow suit.
While the respective governments of the three countries have insisted that they still support the nuclear agreement, they have repeatedly bowed to Washington’s war drive, while failing to take any significant actions to counter the effects of the US “maximum pressure” campaign and deliver to Tehran the sanctions relief and economic normalization that it was promised in exchange for curtailing its nuclear program.
Most recently, the three European governments backed Washington in blaming Iran for a September 14 attack on Saudi oil facilities that temporarily shut down half of the kingdom’s oil production and sent crude prices spiraling by 20 percent—again without providing a shred of proof.
Washington is seeking to topple the Iranian regime or bully it into accepting complete subordination to US imperialist predatory interests in the energy-rich and geostrategically vital Middle East.
The US sanctions regime and military buildup have placed the entire region on a hair trigger for the outbreak of a catastrophic war that could engulf not only the Middle East, but the entire planet.
All of the regimes involved in the escalating conflict are gripped by crises that make the drive to war all the more explosive.
The impact of the sanctions on Iran’s economy has been devastating. It is estimated that oil exports last month fell to just 400,000 barrels per day (b/d), compared to 1.95 million b/d in September 2018. Left with little means of combating spiraling inflation and growing unemployment, Iran’s bourgeois-clerical regime is caught between intense pressure from imperialism on the one hand, and the growth of social opposition among Iranian workers and poor on the other.
The Saudi monarchy is confronting the debacle of its four-year-old and near genocidal war against the people of Yemen, made possible by the weapons and logistical aid provided by Washington, even as Prince bin Salman remains a global pariah for his ordering of the grisly assassination of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year in Istanbul.
Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, incapable of forming a new government after two elections and confronting criminal indictments, has grown increasingly concerned over the apparent lack of appetite by the Persian Gulf Sunni monarchies for military confrontation with Iran and Washington’s failure to carry out military strikes after the downing of its drone in June and the attacks on the Saudi oil facilities last month. Clearly, Tel Aviv, which has cast Iran as its strategic enemy, would have a motive for attacking Iranian tankers in the hopes of provoking a response that could lead to US military action.
And then there is Trump. He has proclaimed his determination to halt the “endless wars” in the Middle East and provoked a political firestorm by pulling back a relative handful of US troops in Syria, allowing Turkey to launch a long-planned attack on the Pentagon’s erstwhile proxy force, the Kurdish-dominated YPG militia.
Faced with an escalating political crisis and growing social tensions within the US, along with an impeachment investigation by the Democrats in Congress that is focused entirely on the national security concerns of the CIA and the Pentagon, he has ample motive for launching a new war.
While the Democrats’ exclusive focus on Trump’s failure to pursue a sufficiently bellicose policy against Russia and prosecute the war for regime change in Syria has allowed the US president to absurdly posture as an opponent of war, the reality is that he has overseen a staggering increase in military spending designed to prepare for “great power” confrontations, particularly with China.
Meanwhile, whatever his political pretense, Trump has done nothing to end any of the wars in the Middle East. While he has ordered US troops to pull back, allowing the Turkish invasion, none of them have been withdrawn from Syria.
With the latest buildup of US forces in Saudi Arabia, Washington is preparing, behind the backs of the working class, to launch a catastrophic military conflict with Iran. The most urgent task posed by these developments is the building of a global antiwar movement led by the working class. This movement must be armed with a socialist and internationalist program to unify working people in the United States, Europe and the Middle East in a common struggle against imperialist war and its source, the capitalist system.
TRUMP AND THE MURDERING 9-11 MUSLIM SAUDIS…
Why is the Swamp Keeper and his family of parasites up their ar$es??
WHAT WILL TRUMP AND HIS PARASITIC FAMILY DO FOR MONEY???
JUST ASK THE SAUDIS!
JOHN DEAN: Not so far. This has been right by the letter of the special counsel’s charter. He’s released the document. What I’m looking for is relief and understanding that there’s no witting or unwitting likelihood that the President is an agent of Russia. That’s when I’ll feel comfortable, and no evidence even hints at that. We don’t have that yet. We’re still in the process of unfolding the report to look at it. And its, as I say, if [Attornery General William Barr] honors his word, we’ll know more soon.
“Our entire crony capitalist system, Democrat and
Republican alike, has become a kleptocracy
approaching par with third-world hell-holes. This
is the way a great country is raided by its elite.” ---
- Karen McQuillan AMERICAN THINKER
PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES DONALD TRUMP: Pathological liar, swindler, con man, huckster, golfing cheat, charity foundation fraudster, tax evader, adulterer, porn whore chaser and servant of the Saudis dictators
THE TRUMP FAMILY FOUNDATION SLUSH FUND…. Will they see jail?
VISUALIZE REVOLUTION!.... We know where they live!
“Underwood is a Democrat and is seeking millions of dollars in penalties. She wants Trump and his eldest children barred from running other charities.”
Opinion: Trump And Pompeo Have Enabled A Saudi Cover-Up Of The Khashoggi Killing
AARON DAVID MILLER
In the weeks following the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump spent more time praising Saudi Arabia as a very important ally than he did reacting to the killing.
End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President
It has been a year since Saudi journalist and columnist Jamal Khashoggi entered Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul where he was slain and dismembered. There is still no objective or comprehensive Saudi or American accounting of what occurred, let alone any real accountability.
The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's admission in a recent that he takes "full responsibility," while denying foreknowledge of the killing or that he ordered it, sweeps under the rug the lengths to which the Saudis have gone to obscure the truth about their involvement in the killing and cover-up.
The Saudis killed Khashoggi but Trump acquiesced in the cover-up and worked hard to protect the U.S.-Saudi relationship and soften the crown prince's pariah status.
The administration's weak and feckless response to Khashoggi's killing was foreshadowed a year before it occurred. In May 2017, in an unusual break with precedent, Trump visited Saudi Arabia on his inaugural presidential trip; gave his son-in-law the authority to manage the MBS file, which he did with the utmost secrecy; and made it unmistakably clear that Saudi money, oil, arm purchases and support for the administration's anti-Iranian and pro-Israeli policies would elevate the U.S.-Saudi "special relationship" to a new level.
Predictably, therefore, the administration's reaction to Khashoggi's killing was shaped by a desire to manage the damage and preserve the relationship. In the weeks following Khashoggi's death, Trump spent more time praising Saudi Arabia as a very important ally, especially as a purchaser of U.S. weapons and goods,than he did reacting to the killing. Trump vowed to get to the bottom of the Khashoggi killing but focused more on defending the crown prince, of being "guilty before being proven innocent."
Those pledges to investigate and impose accountability would continue to remain hollow. Over the past year, Trump and Pompeo have neither criticized nor repudiated Saudi actions that have harmed American interests in the Middle East. Two months after Khashoggi's death, the administration, in what Pompeo described as an "initial step," on 17 Saudi individuals implicated in the killing. But no others have been forthcoming, and the visa restrictions that were imposed are meaningless because none of the sanctioned Saudiswould be foolish enough to seek entry into the United States.
What's more, the administration virtually imposing sanctions on the Saudis for human rights abuses and vetoed another bipartisan resolution that would have ended U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia's inhumane military campaign in Yemen.
The Saudis opened a trial in January of 11 men implicated in the killing, but the proceedings have been slow and secretive, leading the United Nations' top human rights expert to declare that "the trial underway in Saudi Arabia will not deliver credible accountability." Despite accusations that the crown prince's key adviser Saud al-Qahtani was involved in the killing, he's still advising MBS, and will likely escape punishment. A year later, there are still no reports of convictions or serious punishment.
The Trump administration has not only given the crown prince a pass on the Khashoggi killing, but it has also worked assiduously to remove his pariah status and rehabilitate his global image. Barely two months after the 2018 slaying, Trump was exchanging pleasantries in Buenos Aires and holding out prospects of spending more time with him. Then this past June, at the G-20 in Osaka, Japan, Trump sang his praises while dodging questions about the killing. "It's an honor to be with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, a friend of mine, a man who has really done things in the last five years in terms of opening up Saudi Arabia," .
And you can bet that when Saudi Arabia hosts the G-20, scheduled to be held in its capital of Riyadh in November 2020, the Trump administration will be smiling as its rehab project takes another step in its desired direction.
Trump has failed to impose any serious costs or constraints on Saudi Arabia for the killing of a U.S. newspaper columnist who resided in Virginia or for the kingdom's aggressive policies, from Yemen to Qatar. In the wake of the Khashoggi killing, the administration should have made it unmistakably clear, both publicly and privately, that it expected a comprehensive and credible accounting and investigation.It should have suspended high-level contacts and arms sales with the kingdom for a period of time. And to make the point, the administration should have supported at least one congressional resolution taking the Saudis to task, in addition to triggering the Magnitsky Act, which would have required a U.S. investigation; a report to Congress; and sanctions if warranted.
The dark stain of the crown prince's apparent involvement in Khashoggi's death will not fade easily. But for Trump and Pompeo, it pales before the great expectations they still maintain for the kingdom to confront and contain their common enemy, Iran, as well as support the White House's plan for Middle East peace, defeat jihadists in the region and keep the oil spigot open.
Most of these goals are illusory. Saudi Arabia is a weak, fearful and unreliable ally. The kingdom has introduced significant social and cultural reforms but has imposed new levels of repression and authoritarianism. Its reckless policies toward Yemen and Qatar have expanded, not contracted, opportunities for Iran, while the Saudi military has demonstrated that, even after spending billions to buy America's most sophisticated weapons, it still can't defend itself without American help.
Meanwhile, recent attacks on critical Saudi oil facilities that the U.S. blames on Iran have helped rally more American and international support for the kingdom.
When it comes to the U.S.-Saudi relationship and the kingdom's callous reaction to Khashoggi's killing, the president and his secretary of state have been derelict in their duty: They have not only failed to advance American strategic interests but also undermined America's values in the process.
The U.S. Military is Sending Thousands of Troops and Even B-1 Bombers into Saudi Arabia (To Counter Iran)
The National Interest•November 3, 2019
On October 6, around fifty U.S. commandos in northeastern Syria tasked with hunting down ISIS forces were withdrawn from territory near the Turkish border controlled by the Kurdish-Arab SDF faction.
The U.S. withdrawal was a prerequisite for a Turkish attack against the SDF which subsequently took place. The remaining hundreds of U.S. forces elsewhere in northeastern Syria were endangered in the crossfire and had to be withdrawn a few days later.
The U.S. withdrawal was post-hoc justified on the basis that they were no longer needed in the Middle East and it was time to “bring the troops home.”
But in the weeks since, the United States has deployed over 3,000 more troops to the Middle East—including hundreds of National Guardsmen in Syria, and thousands of soldiers and airmen deployed to Saudi Arabia.
While a companion article looks at the deployment of a mechanized battalion to defend an oil field in southeastern Syria, this second part looks at the rapid buildup of U.S. forces in the wealthy Kingdom in response to intensifying clashes with Iran following the United State’s withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Tehran.
Return to the Kingdom
The deployments to Saudi Arabia marks a dramatic turn around from sixteen years earlier in 2003, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld pulled out thousands of U.S. troops. Their presence had long been cited as a factor radicalizing Muslims across the planet who objected to the presence of foreign troops so close to the holy city of Mecca.
Apparently, these concerns have since faded, despite political headwinds from a U.S. Congress angered by Saudi Arabia’s grisly murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its consulate in Istanbul.
The buildup has been prompted by Iranian harassment of shipping in the Persian Gulf, the shootdown of U.S. surveillance drone over the Persian Gulf in June, and a drone and missile attack on Saudi oil refineries in September that was almost certainly of Iranian origin but which Yemeni rebels took credit for.
First, following the loss of drones in June, that the Defense Department announced it was doubling troop deployment to the Kingdom from 500 to 1,000 personnel.