Checkpoint Asia

Podcast: Trump’s Real Ukraine Scandal

Update on impeachment, Assange, and Syria

On FPF #415, I cover important new dealing with US foreign policy. The House is moving forward with impeaching Trump. I argue that Trump’s decision to give military aid to Ukraine is more of a scandal than the alleged quid-pro-quo. A UN investigator said Julian Assange’s life is in danger because of the conditions he is being held in. I discuss the importance of getting Assange out of jail; for his own health and the rights of all journalists. The US policy in Syria remains unclear. I update some recent development and the problems with Trump’s ‘stay for the oil’ plan. 

Links

  • The House votes for rules in the impeachment hearings. [Link]
  • Steve Beigun has been named the number two at the State Department. Beigun will retain his duties negotiating with North Korea. [Link]
  • Tulsi Gabbard introduced a War Powers bill to remove US troops from Syria. [Link]
  • US veterans are increasingly suffering from cancer. [Link]
  • Russia says it is too late to negotiate a replacement agreement to the New START Treaty. Russia says there is still time to extend New START. [Link]

Assange

  • An independent UN investigator into human rights says the UK is putting Julian Assange’s life at risk with arbitrary detention. [Link]

Mexico

  • Trump says he will surge to fight violent crime. His new push will include $600 million in military equipment to police forces. [Link]
  • Mike Maharrey explains Trump’s law enforcement surge is unconstitutional. [Link]
  • Thomas Knapp

Sanctions

  • The Treasury Department announces sanctions on five Venezuelans. [Link]
  •  The US imposed sanctions on Iran’s construction sector. The US announced it would extend waivers on sanctions for 90 days for work on redesigning Iran’s nuclear facilities. [Link]
  • The US places sanctions against nine Iranians described as being the Ayatollah’s inner circle. [Link]
    • Iran announces they will being using Uranium gas in centrifuges at the Fordow nuclear facility. Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to only use the facility for research. The US broke the JCPOA last year and Iran has been reducing its commitments to the broken deal. [Link]
    • Iran announces installing new advanced centrifuges and developing a new, more advanced centrifuge. [Link]

Catalonia 

  • The Spanish high court reissues arrest warrants for three members of the former Catalan government that held an independent vote in 2017. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • Nine children were killed by a landmine in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. [Link]

Israel

  • A leaked video shows an Israeli police officer shooting a Palestinian man in the back as he walked away from the officer. The officer was released from the police but joined the army. She may face charges. [Link]

Iraq

  • At least 13 protests have been killed in Iraq since Monday. [Link]
  • Protesters in Iraq blocked a main port over the weekend. The protesters also attacked an Iranian consulate. [Link]
  • Six more people were killed during protests in Iraq. The protesters are being killed with live fire, rubber bullets, and from being directly hit with tear gas canisters. [Link]

Syria

  • Turkey says it will send captured foreign ISIS fighters back to their home countries. [Link]
  • Twelve people were killed by a car bomb in a Turkish controlled area of northeastern Syria. The dead included Turkish backed rebels and civilians. Turkey blames Syrian Kurds for the attack. [Link]
  • Turkey releases 18 captured Syrian soldiers to Russia. [Link]
  • US troops report lacking order and not understanding the mission. [Link]
  • Turkish backed Syrian rebels attacked Syrian Kurdish positions south of the safe zone. [Link]
  • Turkey says the US continues to hold joint patrols with Syrian Kurds in an agree the US agreed it would clear of armed Kurds. [Link] 
  • Iran signs contracts with Syria to rebuild the country’s power grid. [Link]

Yemen

  • Saudi Arabia is inflicting a famine on Yemen. [Link]
  • The Houthi claim to down a US-made ScanEagle drone near the Saudi border. [Link]
  • Trump tweeted about Yemen today

Niger

  • AFRICOM says the US will begin armed and unarmed air operations in Niger. [Link]