Iranâ€™s Revenge Plans Could Reach Latin America
U.S.-Iran Confrontation Highlights Divisions Between and Within Americaâ€™s Political Camps
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Pelosi and the War Powers Resolution www.majalla.com
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Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate Qasem Soleimani last week has sent shockwaves throughout the region. Iran and its allies have vowed to avenge the General’s death, as thousands flooded the streets of Tehran to attend his funeral processions. By all means, the drone strike has caused Iran to be on edge, as it attacked US military bases in Iraq and erroneously shot down a passenger plane thinking it was a US air force plane. Trump’s actions have left Western powers divided, as the world fears the prospect of another endless war in the Middle East. This issue of Majalla takes a look at the events that have taken place this week regarding the US-Iran tensions, and how different sides of the political spectrum are handling the situation. Ali El Shamy writes this week’s cover story which centers on the Democrats’ joint War Powers Resolution which attempts to curb Donald Trump’s actions in Iran and more importantly withdraw forces from the Islamic Republic. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is one of the architects behind the resolution and is hoping to re-establish Congress’s constitutional right to authorize the president’s decision to use military force. The writer draws comparisons between this resolution and that of 1973, which passed Congress. However, a key difference between that time period and present-day is the fact that in 1973 both chambers of Congress were Democrat-dominated, which is why Nixon couldn’t stop its passing, however, this time around only the House is controlled by the Democrats. While the House has already voted in favor of limiting Trump›s war powers, the Senate is unlikely to do the same. Joseph Braude gives an overview of the events in Iran, and the different reactions from the Republicans and Democrats. Republicans were united in praising Trump’s decision and thought that Iran’s recent attack on US bases in Iraq, which caused no casualties, did not any retaliatory response. Democrats, on the other hand, were much more divided. Establishment Democrats such as Joe Biden said that Soleimani was a threat to the US, but questioned Trump’s foresight into preventing further escalation. Progressives such as Bernie Sanders stated that Trump had violated international law and that he brought the US closer to another war in the region. Even though it is not widely known, Iran has been partaking in clandestine activities in a number of South American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. Now that Iran has vowed to avenge Soleimani, there are some fears that it could reactivate its operations in South America to have greater proximity to the US. Yasmine El-Geressi writes on the history of Iran and Hezbollah’s operations in South America and the major attacks it conducted in the continent, she also writes on how pro-Iranian groups have been enlisted the help of drug cartels for terrorist activities. We invite you to read these articles and more on our website eng.majalla.com. As always, we welcome and value our reader’s feedback and we invite you to take the opportunity to leave your comments on our website.
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A Weekly Political News Magazine
30 How to Avoid Another War in the Middle East
Issue 1782- January- 10/01/2020
26 The Death of the U.S.-Iraqi Relationship
34 Wil Iran’s Response to the Soleimani Strike Lead to War?
22 The Leftist-Centrist Divide in Britain’s Labor Party
09 Egypt, France, Greece, and Cyprus Denounce Turkey-GNA Deal
Harry and Meghan’s Likely Move to Canada Could Cost them Millions 3
44 Hormones and Breast Cancer: What You Should Know
An injured koala rests in a washing basket at the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park in the Parndana region on January 08, 2020 on Kangaroo Island, Australia. (Getty)
A Christmas tree is seen on a street in the capital Cairoâ€şs Muqattam area during Coptic Orthodox Christmas celebrations, on January 2020 ,07. (Getty)
conducted, American, British and Canadian intelligence indicates that Iran accidentally shot down the aircraft, most likely mistaking it for a military airplane. Tehran denies these claims and says that technical problems were the cause of the crash.
Iraqi Parliament Votes for Withdrawal of US Troops, Trump Threatens Sanctions One day after Soleimani’s assassination, the Iraqi parliament quickly voted in favor of a withdrawal of American troops in Iraq. This
Iran Attacks two US Military Bases in Iraq, Attack Results in No Casualties
Ukrainian Passenger Jet Crashes Over Tehran
Days after a US drone strike assassinated Soleimani in Baghdad, Iran made its first attempt of retaliation. In the early hours of Wednesday morning local time, Iran launched missiles at US bases in Irbil and Al Asad near Baghdad. Thus far, no casualties have been reported and the minor attack has made analysts think that Iran is trying as best as it can to avoid a wider conflict with the US, but many are still unsure if this is the be all end all of Iran’s plans to avenge Soleimani.
In the midst of the boiling tensions in the region, a Kyiv-bound passenger jet crashed shortly after takeoff near Tehran on Wednesday. The plane carried 176 passengers, including 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 Swedes, 4 Afghans, 3 Germans, and 3 British nationals. The fact that the plane crash happened in Iran meant that the Islamic Republic had a priority to lead the investigation, while troubled American company Boeing also had a stake in the inspection given that one of its planes crashed. While investigations into the crash are still being
comes just after major turning points in the Iran-US conflict took place in Iraq, including Soleimani’s death, Iran’s attacks on the Irbil and Al Asad bases and the storming of the US embassy in Baghdad. For its part, the US has actually decided to send 3,000 more troops to the region most likely to reinforce security for its bases and interests amid threats from Tehran and its proxies. Moreover, Trump responded to Iraq’s request with a threat of sanctions to make up for the money the US spent to fund its military presence in Baghdad.
US House of Representatives Votes in Favor of War Powers Resolution In an attempt to curb Donald Trump’s activities in Iran, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced a resolution that would require Trump to seek authorization from Congress before using military force, and if this resolution passes both
secretary, is the favorite to win the race as he managed to quickly secure the required number of nominations from 22 Labor MPs as well as the backing from Unison, the largest union in the country. Leftist and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rebecca Long-Baily, is the second favorite to win the race but her close relation with Corbyn and her unwavering support for him might cost her in the long run. The other four candidates include Lisa Nandy, Jess Philips, Clive Lewis, and Emily Thornberry. chambers he would be required to stop military operations against the Islamic Republic within 30 days. The resolution passed 194-224, with only 3 Republicans joining the Democrats in voting for it. Senator Tim Kaine has introduced a similar resolution to the Senate, but given the Republican domination of that chamber, it is unlikely to pass there.
Egypt, France, Greece, and Cyprus Denounce Turkey-GNA Deal This week, foreign ministers from France, Greece, Cyprus, and Italy met with their Egyptian counterpart to discuss two controversial deals signed between Ankara and the Government of National Accord (GNA). The first was a military pact that has brought the already allied Turkey and GNA closer together, and the second was a maritime deal which gives Ankara exclusive exploration rights to the natural gas-rich areas in the Mediterranean. The statement signed by all participating foreign ministers, except Italy,
called the deals void and that they posed a threat to the security in the region. The agreement «infringes upon the sovereign rights of third states, does not comply with the law of the sea» and does not have legal enforceability, the ministers said in their statement. The ministers «reiterated the necessity of full respect of the sovereignty and the sovereign rights of all states in their maritime zones in the Mediterranean.» They condemned Turkey›s drilling in the exclusive economic zone and territorial waters of the Republic of Cyprus, calling on Ankara to «immediately cease all illegal exploration activities».
The UK’s Labor Party announces its Six Candidates in the Leadership Race The Labor party has narrowed down its list of potential Corbyn successors to six. Centrist Sir Keir Starmer, the former Shadow Brexit
Boris Johnson’s Brexit Deal Passes Parliament Johnson and Von Der Leyen Have First Meeting After more than three years of political deadlock, the British parliament has finally given its stamp of approval for a Brexit deal. Unsurprisingly, the Tories newly found a majority in parliament was a massive factor in the deal’s passing, as 330 MPs voted in favor of while, while only 231 voted against it. The UK is now poised to leave the bloc on January 31, but this won’t be the end of the saga as the processes of other negotiations with the EU are set to begin. The first of these negotiations happened this week as Ursula von der Leyen, the new President of the European Commission, came to London to begin the next round of Brexit talks with Johnson.
Pelosi and the War Powers Resolution The House Speaker’s Mission to Stop Further Escalation in Iran by Ali El Shamy
tirelessly attempting to weaken the Iranian regime, the action has only aligned the Iranian people closer Donald Trump’s hasty decision to assassinate Qassem with the government and hardline voices have been Soleimani last week has opened up a can of worms vindicated. If Soleimani’s public funeral has shown in the region. While the administration has been anything, it has shown that both the government and
the people no longer have the appetite to sit down and restart negotiations with Western states and the regime will undoubtedly accelerate its nuclear program. Declarations of revenge from Khamenei, Nasrallah and other leaders within the Iranian sphere of influence shouldn’t be taken lightly as US bases and US regional allies will be seen as fair game. Things look bleak for the region, and if the situation does not cool down soon we may soon witness a tragic humanitarian crisis that will cause the loss of life of many Iraqis, Iranians, and Americans. Less than a week after Soliemani’s assassination, Iran launched missiles on US bases in the Iraqi provinces of Anbar and Erbil in retaliation to the assassination, potentially marking the beginning of a series of deadly fire exchanges between Iran and the US.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, arrives at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 2020 ,7. (Getty)
While most Republican members of Congress have praised Trump’s action last weekend, Democrats displayed much more mixed responses. Most agreed that Soleimani did have blood on his hands, however, many would also say that his assassination could potentially drag the US further in an armed conflict with Iran. Democratic Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders even echoed the ghosts from the Iraq war, which caused the deaths and displacements of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and 4,500 Americans, and emphasized how much more devastating a war with Iran would be. Shortly after the American drone strike, some major Democrats have called for legislation that would bring war authorization powers back into Congress. Such calls came amid the fact that Trump made such as drastic move without consulting any of the chambers of Congress, which is constitutionally illegal. As such, Nancy Pelosi has recently announced that the House would vote on a War Powers Resolution aimed at keeping the President’s use of military force in check. Similarly, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine has also introduced a war powers resolution in the Senate. If this joint resolution passes, then Trump would have 30 days to end military action in Iran, unless Congress gives him the authority to use military force against the Islamic Republic.
TRUMP ACTING UNCONSTITIONALLY? According to Article 1, Section 8 of the US constitution, Congress has the power to declare war and the next article states that it is then up to the
Declarations of revenge from Khamenei, Nasrallah and other leaders within the Iranian sphere of influence shouldn’t be taken lightly as US bases and US regional allies will be seen as fair game. President, as Commander in Chief of the military, to execute war and direct the military. Even though the President is the Commander in Chief, he or she does not have the authority to act without consulting Congress, the general exception to this is when the lives of American civilians are under imminent threat and the president has to act quickly to protect them. In spite of this, Congress has only formally declared war 5 times in its history. The more common course of action that Congress has taken to give the President war powers is the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), when Congress does this it effectively abdicates its powers and grants the president permission to use military action and in some cases go to war without a formal declaration from Congress. Though the term Authorization to Use Military Force was technically used the first time in 2001 shortly after 11/9, the phenomenon has a historical precedent that dates back to 1798 during the US’s quasi-war with France. AUMF has also famously been used in 1964 to grant the US permission to become more directly involved in Vietnam. The resolution was put forward after attacks on two American Navy destroyers off the Gulf of Tonkin, gave President Johnson the military authority to “promote the maintenance of international peace and security in Southeast Asia”. Technically, President Trump’s drone strike is unconstitutional because he did not consult Congress beforehand. Nevertheless, the precedent that the 2001 AUMF set has effectively given the President extra-constitutional powers in using military force. It is these extra-constitutional powers that both the Bush and Obama administration exploited to justify their use of drone strikes in the Middle East. If the joint resolution passes, then this might be a major step for Congress to regain its constitutional power to authorize uses of force. However, this is not the
first time in which Congress has attempted to curb the president’s unauthorized use of military force.
WAR RESOLUTION ACT 1973 The last time Congress formally declared war was during World War II, since then the US has participated in many armed conflicts without a formal declaration of war from Congress. As previously stated, however, Congress has historically authorized the President to use military force whenever the former needed to justify going to war and the Vietnam War is one of the most famous historical examples. The US’s war efforts in Vietnam and Southeast Asia proved to be costly, and no prospect of a victory seemed to insight. When Richard Nixon became president in 1969, he began covert bomb operations in Cambodia, which he had kept secret from Congress for about the year. This incident, along with the Vietnam War, intensified public distrust in the government. As such, after the war effectively ended in 1973, Congress introduced and passed the War Powers Resolution, which would require the president to consult Congress before any military hostilities, and the president sends in the military to conduct an operation he would have to withdraw troops from the conflict within 60 days in the case that Congress did not declare war or authorize the use of force. Despite an attempt from Nixon to veto the resolution, it still passed and became enshrined in law.
DEJAVU? Similar to Nixon and the secret Cambodia bombings,
Nancy Pelosi has recently announced that the House would vote on a War Powers Resolution aimed at keeping the President’s use of military force in check.
Trump conducted the drone strike covertly and without consulting Congress. In a similar vein, the Democrats in both the House and the Senate have responded to the operation and are seeking to regain the legislative branch’s power to check and balance the executive branch’s ability to go into war. Senator Tim Kaine published the joint resolution which will be put to vote in both bodies of Congress. The resolution has emphasized that Congress has not authorized Trump to conduct the drone strike on Soleimani, The resolution also stated that making such a move without a proper debate in Congress was unfair to US military service members and other Americans whose lives are at risk from the hostilities between the US and Iran. It also cited the Department of State Authorization Act of 1984 and 1985 to justify the removal of US forces involved in hostilities overseas without the declaration of war or authorization of use of force. Furthermore, if passed Trump would have 30 days to remove US armed forces involved in hostilities against the Islamic Republic, unless, of course, Congress grants Trump permission to keep them either via a declaration of war or an authorization of the use of force.
Pieces of missiles are seen at the rural area of Al-Baghdadi town after Iran›s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) targeted Ain al-Asad airbase in Iraq, a facility jointly operated by U.S. and Iraqi forces, in Erbil, Iraq on January 2020 ,08. (Getty)
Similar to Nixon and the secret Cambodia bombings, Trump conducted the drone strike covertly and without consulting Congress. WILL THE RESOLUTION PASS? Back during 1973, the Democrats dominated both chambers of Congress and as a result they were able to pass it to the next stage (the president signing it into law). Even after Nixon vetoed it, the Democrats had enough members to overturn that veto. Given the fact that the Republicans currently outnumber Democrats in the Senate, it is unlikely to pass there and a passage in the House alone is not sufficient for it to go on to the next stage. Even if by some miracle the resolution passes in both chambers, then Trump will undoubtedly veto it. While this is a valiant effort from both Pelosi and Kaine, it will most likely not result in anything substantial.
The young Khmer Rouge guerrilla soldiers atop their US-made armored vehicles enter 17 April 1975 Phnom Penh, the day Cambodia fell under the control of the Communist Khmer Rouge forces. (Getty)
U.S.-Iran Confrontation Highlights Divisions Between and Within America’s Political Camps Democrats are Torn Between Rival Camps as Their Presidential Primary Enters its Most Competitive Phase by Joseph Braude Iran’s missile retaliation on the U.S. military presence in Iraq seems set to bring this round of escalation between Washington and Tehran to a close. The nearly
weeklong crisis that began with the U.S.’s targeted strike on Qassem Soleimani has exposed key fault lines both between and within Washington’s main political camps. Republicans celebrated both the initial operation and deemed Iran’s final missile strike to be unworthy of
a serious response. For their part, Democrats were torn between antipathy to Soleimani himself and criticism of key Trump decisions in the midst of a competitive primary.
REPUBLICANS BACK TRUMP, URGE NO FINAL RETALIATION Among Republicans, reaction to the killing of Qassem Soleimani moved swiftly from support for the measure to support for deescalation. As President Trump himself put it,“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion,” and his elimination «should have been done long ago.” But following Iran’s January 7 retaliatory missile strike, Trump indicated that there would be no military response, saying that that the administration “continue[s] to evaluate options in response to Iranian aggression” and promising that “the U.S. will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.” This transition — enthusiasm for the initial strike, and a willingness to let Iran’s bloodless missile response be the last word — was mirrored by Congressional Republicans at large. Senator Cruz, a leading rival of Donald Trump’s for the Republican nomination in 2016, even floated a resolution expressing official support for Soleimani’s killing, worded in nearly identical fashion to the 2011 resolution that commended the Obama administration for killing Usama Bin Laden. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (3rd L), Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L3-) and Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani (L2-) attend the funeral ceremony of Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iranian Revolutionary Guards› Quds Forces, who was killed in a U.S. drone airstrike in Iraq, in Tehran, Iran on January 2020 ,06. (Getty)
The relatively moderate candidates who remain - Joe Biden and Pete Buttigeig - have voiced a measure of satisfaction at Soleimani’s removal tempered with criticism for President Trump’s technical handling of the crisis. the crisis. Former Vice President Joe Biden called Trump “dangerously incompetent … No one wants war. But it’s going to take hard work to make sure we don’t end up there accidentally.” For his part, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said “there is no question that Qassim Suleimani was a threat to [American] safety and security, [but] … there are serious questions about how this decision was made and whether we are prepared for the consequences.”
On the progressive wing of the party, Senator Bernie Sanders unambiguously denounced what he referred to as Soleimani’s “assassination” at the hands of Donald Trump: “Trump›s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars.” Sanders also labelled the operation a “violation of international Another former-rival-turned-ally, Senator Lindsey law” and added that, while Soleimani was a “bad news Graham, supported both the initial operation and guy” he was also a “ranking official of the Iranian Trump’s decision not to publicly retaliate for Iran’s government.” missile attack: “In my view, retaliation for the sake of retaliation is not necessary at this time. What is Caught between these two wings of the party necessary is to lay out our strategic objectives regarding was Senator Elizabeth Warren, still viewed as a Iran in a simple and firm fashion.” leading contender for the nomination. Initially Warren denounced Soleimani as «a murderer, COMPETING RESPONSES FROM responsible for the deaths of thousands, including MODERATE, PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS hundreds of Americans,” even as she labelled Trump’s move “reckless.” Two days later, after By contrast to the relatively united Republican camp, facing criticism from activists, Warren referred to Democrats are torn between rival camps as their Soleimani as only «a government official, a highpresidential primary enters its most competitive phase. ranking military official» -- and suggested that The relatively moderate candidates who remain — Joe Trump may have launched the operation because Biden and Pete Buttigeig — have voiced a measure he “could be facing an impeachment trial in the of satisfaction at Soleimani’s removal tempered with Senate [and] we know he›s deeply upset about criticism for President Trump’s technical handling of that.”
Iranâ€™s Revenge Plans Could Reach Latin America Tehran Could Use its Vast Networks in the Region to Avenge Soleimaniâ€™s Death 16
Much has been written about Hezbollah’s presence in the “triple frontier” area along the ParaguayArgentina-Brazil border in South America, the Iran-backed terrorist group’s most active financial hub in the region.
People holding pictures of victims of the 1994 bombing attack against the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish community center that killed 85 people and injured 300, during the commemoration of the attack›s 24th anniversary, in Buenos Aires on July 2018 ,18. (Getty)
by Yasmine El-Geressi For the majority of his 20 year career at the top of Iran’s Quds force, Qassem Soleimani methodically operated in the shadows to build Iran’s vast network of proxies, militias and allies across the Middle East and beyond. Now, that same network is likely poised to avenge his killing as part of Iran’s vowed «harsh retaliation” which began on Tuesday when Tehran launched missiles at US troops in Iraq. But this is unlikely to be the end of Iran’s reaction, and while many analysts have zeroed in on Iran’s ability to retaliate in the
Middle East, Tehran has gone much further from home in the past to avenge perceived grievances. Blowbacks from Iran pose a threat that could strike just about anywhere in the world – even in a region as far removed from the Middle East as Latin America where the heat of Iran’s expansionism has been felt. Experts say that, Iran-backed Hezbollah, fired with a zeal to avenge the death of Soleimani, could pose a serious security threat to the region and beyond in the days to come. Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for the Study of a Free and Secure Society, a global security expert who specializes in asymmetric warfare theory and transnational threats, says that now that Soleimani is dead, “Iran can activate Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) networks in at least sixteen Latin American countries to take revenge against the United States and/or our allies in the region.” According to Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of strategy and management consultancy company Cornerstone Global Associates, going forward, “it is likely Latin America will be an even more important frontier for Hezbollah as it is a region in which the group has invested so many resources.” Henry Rome, Iran analyst with Eurasia Group, says that Iran is not likely to attack Saudi Arabia or oil infrastructure in the Emirates, and it should stay away from the US bases, but that it is more likely to respond in unpredictable, asymmetric ways “akin to the Iran-backed attack in 1992 against a Jewish community centre in Argentina.” In the 1992 and 1994, the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah planned and carried out two attacks on Jewish and Israeli sites in Buenos Aires,
Argentina that killed more than 100 and injured hundreds more. The trigger for those attacks was Argentina’s suspension of cooperation on nuclear technology with Iran. Iran and Hezbollah denied responsibility for the deadliest attack the country’s history, but in 2015, Argentinian special prosecutor Alberto Nisman publically accused then-president Fernández de Kirchner of having covered up Iran’s role to preserve diplomatic relations. Several days after he made this accusation, he was found dead in his apartment, in circumstances that remain suspicious. The combined attacks inflamed public opinion in Argentina and elsewhere against Hezbollah. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, the future Pope Francis, signed a document demanding justice for the victims, and Argentine prosecutors later issued an arrest warrant for Hezbollah’s military chief, Imad Mugniyah. In 2007, Interpol followed suit, issuing a red notice for the Hezbollah leader. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended a Latin America counter-terrorism conference last year that focused on Iran and Hezbollah, and coincided with the date of the bombing at on July 1994 ,18. At the commemoration, Pompeo blamed Iran for causing the death of so many victims, saying, “they were killed by members of a terrorist group, Hezbollah, and had help that day from Iran.” The US focus on Iran and Hezbollah has been welcomed by those who understand the gravity of the threat they pose in Latin America. Also on the 25th anniversary of the Jewish centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina announced that it had designated Hezbollah a terrorist organisation and frozen its assets. “At present, Hezbollah continues
But even beyond the Tri-Border Area, Hezbollah is well-entrenched in Venezuela, where the Shiite terrorist group has long worked to establish a vast infrastructure for its criminal activities.
to represent a current threat to security and the integrity of the economic and financial order of the Argentine Republic,” Argentina›s Financial Information Unit said. Argentine officials say Hezbollah is engaged in illegal activities between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay to finance its operations elsewhere. In August 2019, Paraguay— where much of Hezbollah’s fundraising in the area was carried out—followed suit and designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Much has been written about Hezbollah’s presence in the “triple frontier” area along the Paraguay-Argentina-Brazil border in South America, the Iran-backed terrorist group’s most active financial hub in the region. The Lebanese militant group has been active in South America since the early 1980s. It has used its influence in the region to recruit Latin America›s Lebanese diaspora, known in the region as «turcos,» and other Muslim populations. But in recent years, the group has shifted its focus from bombings to raising money by joining South America›s lucrative drug-trafficking businesses. Iran and Hezbollah have repeatedly attempted
Iran›s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, center, and President Hassan Rouhani, left of him, praying near the coffin of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Tehran. (Reuters)
to engage in transactional relationships with transnational organized criminal groups in Latin America. The most glaring example of that strategy was the plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States in 2011. In October of that year, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York charged two Iranian men with attempting to recruit members of a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the Saudi ambassador, most likely with a bomb planted in a restaurant in Washington, D.C. According to the complaint against the two men, the mastermind of the plot was Golam Shakuri, a Quds Force official based in Iran; Shakuri directed Manssour Arbabsiar, an Iranian American dual national, to approach members of a drug cartel and offer to pay them to assassinate the ambassador. Manssour unintentionally approached a confidential source for the Drug Enforcement Administration Agency, who posed as a member of a cartel and agreed to carry out the bombing. But even beyond the Tri-Border Area, Hezbollah is well-entrenched in Venezuela, where the Shiite
Experts say that, Hezbollah, fired with a zeal to avenge the death of Soleimani, could pose a serious security threat to Latin America and beyond in the days to come terrorist group has long worked to establish a vast infrastructure for its criminal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and illicit smuggling. For example, Margarita Island, located off the coast of Venezuela, is a wellknown criminal hotbed where Hezbollah members have established a safe haven. In contrast with the hardening stances of Brazil and Argentina, the government of Venezuelan socialist President Nicolas Maduro views Hezbollah as a natural ally as part of a policy first adopted by his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, who deepened ties with Iran when he came to power in 1999.
Where are US Troops and Bases Near Iran?
Iran ﬁred missiles Wednesday at Iraqi bases housing the US military in the ﬁrst act of Iran’s promised revenge for the killing of Qasem Soleimani. Across the Middle East, these threats have put on high alert the bases, ports and other installations where US troops are based or pass through.
Iraq 6000 troops
Incirlik Air Base - U.S. stores upwards of 50 B-61 nuclear gravity bombs at Incirlik. Izmir Air Station
Al Asad Air Base Task Force Lion which advises, assists and “enables” the Iraqi military, operates out of here.
Dimona Radar Facility - Used to spot potential incoming ballistic missiles from Israel Mashabim Air Base / Bisl’a Aerial Defense School
Camp Arifjan - Serves as U.S. HQ in Kuwait. Kuwait Navy Base / Camp Patriot – US army facility Camp Buehring Ali Al Salem Air Base
The U.S. Naval Research Unit 3
Bagram Air Base Shindand Air Base Kandahar International Airport
Muharraq Air Base - The Combined Task Force 53 aviation unit is based here. Naval Support Activity U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and headquarters of the U.S. 5th Fleet. Shaikh Isa Air Base
Al Udeid Air Base – Biggest US base in the Middle East Camp As Sayliyah
Al Dhafra Air Base Busiest U.S. base in the world for surveillance ﬂights. Port of Jebel Ali – Biggest US navy port of call Fujairah Naval Base - A logistical “land link” to Jebel Ali should the Strait of Hormuz be closed.
Muwaffaq Salti Air Base
Saudi Arabia 3000
Eskan Village - Serves as a housing facility for U.S. military personnel and Saudi army personnel.
Port of Duqm - Expanded facilities allow for the repair and maintenance of U.S. Navy vessels. Salalah Port - Provides material aggregation, trans-shipment, short-term storage and delivery functions for visiting U.S. Navy vessels. Muscat international Airport Masirah Air Base RAFO Thumrait Air Base RAFO Musannah
The Leftist-Centrist Divide in Britainâ€™s Labor Party How a Political Identity Battle Might Unfold during its Quest for a Successor by Ali El Shamy The beginning of 2019 seemed bleak for the Conservative Party. Having faced three defeats in parliament over her deal Theresa May was left with no option but to resign at the end of March. Soon after succeeding May as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson
faced similar challenges both within and outside his party. However, his new 80 seat majority gave him the bounce he needed to pass his deal with no trouble and more importantly revived the Conservatives as the powerhouse of British politics. Meanwhile, the election did not end well for Labor, which lost 60 seats since the last election. While Labor leader,
Jeremy Corbyn, did announce that he would not lead the party into another election, he has yet to resign from his post and allow the opposition party to begin its healing process. The reason the opposition leader cited for not resigning was to ensure that the party has a “process of reflection” and to help it “move into the future”. LEFTISTS AND CENTRISTS :2020 DECISION GO HEAD TO HEAD, AGAIN
Labour›s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer (L) and Labour›s Shadow Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Rebecca Long-Bailey (C), leaves after a Brexit meeting at the cabinet office in London on April 2019 ,9. (Getty)
While the Conservative party has more or less had a consistent political identity for the past 50 years, the same cannot be said for Labor which has traditionally been a socialist party that favored policies such as public ownership of industries. As a matter of fact, clause 4 of the party’s constitution advocated for the public ownership of the means of production. It wasn’t until Tony Blair became the leader of the party in the 1990s when he rebranded the party to become more centrist and free-market embracing. Thus, “New Labor” was born, and with it came the amendment of clause 4 which removed the socialist ideals of the party. Despite initial popularity, New Labor’s public approval would wane over the next decade. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership election in 2015 marked another identity shift in the party, as it once again started moving back to its leftist ideology. This marked a new war within Labor which placed centrist members against their leftist equivalents, but another Corbyn victory in the 2016 Labor leadership election meant that the party would remain left-leaning for the foreseeable future. It seems now that the party could be on the verge of a second identity crisis, as left-leaning candidates are set to take on centrist candidates in this year’s leadership race. As it stands, the final six candidates have been named and if polls are correct, then the frontrunners in this leadership race will be Sir Kier Starmer and Rebecca Long Baily. These two candidates represent the competing spectrums of Labor, with Starmer representing the centrists and Baily representing the leftists. LONG BAILY AND CORBYN’S SHADOW It is evident that Baily has an advantage over other candidates, namely the fact that she has a background that can help her appeal to the typical Labor voter, many of whom opted to vote for the Tories in the last general election. She has a Northern background; her
To gain the trust of other party members and regain votes from the public, Long-Baily will need to put forward a clear strategy that addresses the grievances of the electorate. father was a working-class man who also represented trade unions. She spent her youth years working various jobs, such as a post carrier and in a furniture factory before studying at Manchester Metropolitan University. In short, she has not had the privileged upbringing that has become typical for most high profile politicians at Westminster. She emerged up the ladder of the Labor party in 2015, a year when she achieved two major milestones. The first one was during the 2015 General Election when she was elected the MP for Salford and Eccles and a few months later in September the then newly elected leader Jeremy Corbyn appointed her into the shadow ministry. Given her left-leaning stances, she became one of Corbyn’s most trusted colleagues having remained in his shadow cabinet to this day. Out of all the candidates, she is the one who is most aligned with Corbyn’s policies and stances. In her article to The Tribune, she officially announced her candidacy for the party’s leadership, she additionally vehemently defended Jeremy Corbyn, his policies and election manifesto. It is her opinion that the reason why Labor suffered such a devastating loss, wasn’t because of its campaign promises but rather because of its incoherent campaigning. In the day after the election, Opinium published a poll where they asked those who did not vote Labor on their reason behind their choice. The poll showed that 43 percent cited the leadership of Labor as the main cause behind their decision not to vote for the party, 17 percent said it was the party’s stance on Brexit and finally 12 percent said their economic policies. More telling is the fact that 45 percent of Labor voters who defected to the Tories during the last election said that Corbyn’s leadership was the main driving force, while only 6 percent said it was because of the party’s economic policies. This shows that Long Baily is right about one thing and wrong about another; she was right to say that the
party’s manifesto (with the exception of its Brexit section) wasn’t the cause of Labor’s loss, however she is wrong to passionately defend Corbyn since he is the largest factor that resulted in their electoral losses. In an ill-advised move, during an ITV interview, she rated Corbyn’s leadership a “10 out of 10” and asserted that the negative press he received diminished his public image. While it is true that many sections
Starmer’s experiences as a lawyer and his challenge against the May government have shown that he is capable of winning, something the Labor party is desperate for.
of the media haven’t been kind to Corbyn, he has done little to address the grievances that the press had with him and quite frankly Corbyn’s past did make him rather unelectable. One shouldn’t forget that his friendliness towards terrorist and extremist groups was a major concern for the electorate, for instance, a video of him from 2009 shows him calling Hezbollah and Hamas “our friends” and more recently a report showed him doing a Muslim Brotherhood salute. Moreover, he failed time and time again to address the antisemitism within the Labor party, showing that he, at best, is indifferent to such radical views or, at worst, is supportive of such radical views. While Long Baily has been one of Corbyn’s trusted right-hand colleagues, it is paramount for her to start distancing herself from him because the polls show that the party’s economic policies are popular with Labor’s traditional base, it was just the party’s confusing Brexit plan and Corbyn’s leadership that blew them out of the water. Furthermore, MPs within her party will most likely want to distance the party away from Corbyn and the fact that she still publically
British Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Rebecca Long-Bailey addresses the audience before Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell gives a prebudget speech at Church House on November 2017 ,16 in London, England. Mr McDonnell today announced the Labour party›s key demands for next week›s budget. (Getty)
Labour leader hopeful Keir Starmer speaks at Unison on January in London, 2020 ,9 England. Keir Starmer is running for leader of the Labour Party following Jeremy Corybn›s decision to step down following 2019 their party›s General Election )results. (Getty
praises him and his leadership will not bode well with her colleagues. To gain the trust of other party members and regain votes from the public, she will need to put forward a clear strategy that addresses the grievances of the electorate, she will also have to illustrate how her democratic socialist plans will come into operation and why they will be effective. KEIR STARMER: THE RISING LEFT-CENTRIST Like Long Baily, Starmer was first elected into parliament during the 2015 election, when he became MP for Hoborn and St Pancras. Moreover, he has also been part of Corbyn’s shadow cabinet, but has not been shy to voice his disapproval of the leader. For instance, in 2016 he resigned as Shadow Home Secretary to protest Corbyn’s leadership, but he would return later after the referendum to become Shadow Brexit Secretary. In his role, he utilized an old parliamentary procedure called the “humble address” to force Theresa May’s government to publish the legal advice on its final Brexit deal, something that
already made the shining star more prominent in the party. Before his entry into politics, he was a lawyer who represented workers in a number of cases, and he was famously part of the defense team for Steel and Morris in the McLibel case. Nevertheless, it should be noted his time as a lawyer also had him take some right-wing stances, for example he defended MI5 and MI6 agents accused of using torture during the Iraq War, and he also chose not to persecute police officers who had mistakenly murdered two civilians. He is, however, so far the favorite to win the leadership race, given that he was the first candidate to reach the nomination threshold from 22 Labor MPs, moreover, he managed to secure the backing of Unison, the largest trade union in the UK. Although, he hasn’t given any particular promises during the campaign, he has displayed himself as a unifying figure that can unite the party and bring it back to winning ways. One thing is for sure, his experiences as a lawyer and his challenge against the May government have shown that he is capable of winning, something the Labor party is desperate for.
The Death of the U.S.-Iraqi Relationship Soleimani Wasn’t the Only Casualty of the U.S. Strike in Baghdad by Emma Sky The assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani on the outskirts of Baghdad was a major escalation in the conflict between the United States and Iran. But the U.S. drone strike that killed the powerful commander of the Quds
Force within Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps might claim another casualty as well: the U.S.-Iraqi relationship. Allied with both the United States and Iran, Iraq now finds itself as the frontline battleground for these two foes. The precarious state of Washington’s relationship
with Baghdad was apparent even before the United States killed Soleimani on January 3. It was thrown into stark relief on New Year’s Eve, when Iraqi security forces looked the other way as hundreds of Iraqi militia supporters attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone. Embassy staff were kept under lockdown and U.S. Apache helicopters hovered overhead as the pro-Iranian militia supporters breached the outer cordon, burned American flags, ransacked guard posts, and sought to scale the walls before U.S. marines pushed them back with tear gas.
Supporters of Iraq›s Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force protest outside the US embassy in the Iraqi capital Baghdad on January 2020 ,1 to condemn the US air strikes. (Getty)
Such a scene would have been difficult to imagine back in 2009, when the U.S. embassy moved out of the Republican Palace and opened its current facility on the banks of the Tigris River. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad was the largest in the world, covering 104 acres and staffed with 12,000 people. It symbolized the high hopes that both countries had for the U.S.Iraqi relationship. The United States’ reputation had suffered a blow in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, but it recovered somewhat during the troop surge of 2007, when U.S. forces helped defeat al Qaeda in Iraq and bring Iraq’s civil war to an end. By 2009, U.S. forces had largely transferred responsibility to Iraqi security forces, and Iraqis were hopeful that their country was headed in the right direction. But then everything unraveled. The trouble started in the aftermath of the 2010 elections. The United States and Iran both supported Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s bid for a second term, even though his coalition didn’t win the most votes. Once he had formed a government, Maliki went on to pursue sectarian policies that created the conditions for ISIS, to rise from the ashes of al Qaeda in Iraq, proclaiming itself the protector of the Sunnis against Maliki’s Iranian-backed regime. President Barack Obama’s administration had hoped to keep a residual force in Iraq, but it failed to negotiate a new security arrangement when the existing Status of Forces Agreement expired in 2011, precipitating the withdrawal of all U.S. forces from the country. ISIS took advantage of the situation and by 2014 it had seized more than a third of Iraq. Only then did the Obama
The United States’ reputation had suffered a blow in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, but it recovered somewhat during the troop surge of 2007, when U.S. forces helped defeat al Qaeda in Iraq and bring Iraq’s civil war to an end. administration finally withdraw its support from Maliki, and, at the request of Iraq’s new prime minister, Haydar Abadi, sent U.S. troops back to Iraq with the mandate to support the fight against ISIS and to train and advise Iraqi forces. Among the forces that battled ISIS alongside the United States was Kataib Hezbollah (KH), an Iran-backed Shiite militia that was officially folded into the Iraqi security forces through an umbrella group known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. But once the common enemy was defeated, KH turned its sights on U.S. forces in Iraq—at the direction of Iran. The Iraqi government was either unwilling or unable to stop the group from firing rockets at U.S. facilities, as it did on December 27, when it killed a U.S. contractor and wounded three U.S. military personnel at the K1 military base in Kirkuk. The United States responded to this most recent attack with air strikes intended to degrade KH’s ability to conduct future attacks by eliminating their weapon storage facilities and command and control in five locations in Iraq and Syria. But the air strikes also killed more than two-dozen KH fighters and prompted supporters of the militia to launch an assault on the U.S. embassy on New Year’s Eve. Joining KH supporters outside the U.S. embassy were three of the strongest pro-Iranian militia leaders in Iraq: Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of KH and deputy commander of the Popular Mobilization Forces, who was previously convicted of bombing the U.S. embassy in Kuwait; Qais Khazali, the leader of
Asaib Ahl al-Haq, whose group was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of U.S. soldiers and British contractors in Iraq; and Hadi alAmeri, the leader of the Badr Corps. After two days of protests, the militia leaders ordered their supporters to go home, claiming that they had secured the support of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mehdi to push forward legislation to evict U.S. forces from Iraq. Mehdi has since denounced the U.S. air strikes on KH and condemned the assassinations of Soleimani and Abu Mehdi alMuhandis, an Iraqi militia commander who died alongside him in the U.S. drone strike, calling them a violation of Iraqi sovereignty and of the terms under which U.S. forces operate in the country. Mehdi’s response to the protests at the U.S. embassy stands in stark contrast to the government’s response to antigovernment protests that have swept the country over the last three months. Since October, tens of thousands of young Iraqis have taken to the streets of Baghdad and other cities to express their frustration with government corruption, poor public services, unemployment, and Iranian interference. Theirs is the largest grassroots mobilization since the ouster of Saddam Hussein. Demonstrators called not only for new leaders but for an overhaul of the post2003- political system that institutionalized sectarianism and created a kleptocracy in which Iraq’s political elites divvy up the country’s oil wealth. The demonstrations forced Mehdi to resign as prime minister (although he remains in a caretaker
But once the common enemy, ISIS, was defeated, Kataib Hezbollah turned its sights on U.S. forces in Iraq—at the direction of Iran.
capacity as his replacement is negotiated) and won the passage of a new election law, but not before Iraqi security forces and Iran-backed Shiite militias killed more than 500 protesters and wounded another 21,000. Taking to social media during the siege of the U.S. embassy, some Iraqis observed acidly that the pro-Iranian Iraqis carrying out the assault were the same ones they had been protesting against for months. The aspirations of reform-minded demonstrators are likely to be drowned out by the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran. Heightened instability may prompt the government to take even harsher measures to shut down the protests, which they regard as an existential threat. Iraq’s ruling political parties have little incentive to make real changes to a system from which they benefit. For their part,
Iraqi counter-terrorism forces stand guard in front of the US embassy in the capital Baghdad on January 2020 ,2. (Getty)
Iranian leaders see control over Iraq as essential to their political survival, an economic “lung” to alleviate the crush of sanctions, and a crucial overland logistical supply link to the Syrian regime and Lebanese Hezbollah. Iran remains the most influential external actor in Iraq, with deep ties to Iraqi politicians and Shiite militias. After the events of the last week, the Trump administration may decide that a U.S. presence in Iraq is no longer tenable, particularly in an election year. Trump has repeatedly declared his intention to withdraw U.S. troops from the region. And to many Americans, the attacks on the U.S. embassy and chants of “Death to America” conjure up memories of Tehran in 1979, when Iranians overran the U.S. embassy there and took American diplomats hostage, and Benghazi in 2012, when Libyan militants killed
Iran-backed Shiite militias killed more than 500 anti-government protesters in Iraq and wounded another 21,000. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The United States already shuttered its consulate in Basra, and reduced staff in Baghdad and in the consulate in Erbil out of concern about increasing threats from Iranian-backed militia. Closing the embassy in Baghdad would be a wretched end to the U.S. relationship with a country in which it has invested so much blood and treasure. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
How to Avoid Another War in the Middle East De-escalating After the Soleimani Strike 30
The Trump administration needs to prepare for a full range of contingencies: cyber-attacks, terrorist attacks abroad and on U.S. soil, attempts to assassinate U.S. officials, and more assaults on Saudi oil fields. already out crowing with patriotic tweets reminiscent of the “Mission Accomplished” banners rolled out in the first weeks of the Iraq War. But what was true then in Iraq is true now: the crisis will not end here. Iran’s retaliatory actions will unfold over time, often in ways no one expects, and they won’t be limited only to Iraq or even to the Middle East. The Trump administration needs to prepare for a full range of contingencies: cyber-attacks, terrorist attacks abroad and on U.S. soil, attempts to assassinate U.S. officials, and more assaults on Saudi oil fields. Iran will likely take more provocative steps on its nuclear program: in fact, the country was already expected to announce its latest move away from the 2015 nuclear accord, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Protesters hold up photographs as people demonstrate after the U.S. airstrike in Iraq that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qasem Soleimani on January 2020 ,3 in Tehran, Iran. (Getty)
by Kelly Magsamen Killing the Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani may well have been the most consequential foreign policy decision of Donald Trump’s presidency. Its repercussions will be felt for days, months, and even years to come— but what exactly they will be depends on what the Trump administration does next. The strike has been explained by senior U.S. officials as both an effort to deter future Iranian aggression and an act of preventive defense in the face of an imminent attack. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are
Trump needs a strategy that does more than respond to Iran’s tactical moves as they come. He must decide how he wants to resolve this crisis and work backward from there. The U.S. goal at this point should be to de-escalate the situation and avoid a wider war, and to do so in a way that leaves Americans safer in the long term. To this end, the administration will need to send clear, consistent messages that are not unnecessarily provocative, while quietly working to ensure the safety of vulnerable U.S. diplomatic outposts. Washington should coordinate with U.S. allies, and it must attempt to open a diplomatic channel to Tehran, through a third party if necessary. Anything short of this risks plunging the United States into yet another costly Middle East adventure.
NO GOOD OPTIONS In the near term, Iran’s response to Soleimani’s assassination will occasion crucial decisions: Does the United States continue tit-for-tat strikes? Does it escalate,
which would involve substantial deployments and additional U.S. military action? Or does it to try to deescalate, for example, by opening a diplomatic channel? The Trump administration will have to decide how best to defend U.S. personnel at vulnerable diplomatic posts abroad and whether to evacuate U.S. citizens from certain locations. Some moves – such as sending additional forces to the Middle East – will straddle the line between deterrence and escalation. And any move can be misinterpreted. Sustaining a low-level tit-for-tat will be nearly impossible, because more miscalculations are likely on both sides—as the recent history of U.S. retaliation for Iranian-backed attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq already attest. But de-escalating will be difficult, too, given the rhetorical bravado on both sides and the lack of the kinds of working diplomatic channels to the Iranian government. Further escalation, meanwhile, would probably mean a wider, conventional war. All of these decisions will unfold against the backdrop of regional turmoil: Iraq’s parliament is now considering kicking U.S. troops out of the country, a move that would hinder the fight against ISIS, in the near term and open the way for even greater Iranian influence in Iraq over the long term. To effectively handle the repercussions of the strike on Soleimani, the Trump administration will need domestic support. But the president launched the strike without consulting Congress or preparing the public or U.S. allies for what might come next. Over the coming days, Trump and his team will need to earn the trust of the American people and persuade them that the intelligence reporting justified the decision. This would be no easy task for any president after the Iraq war, but it will be especially hard for the deliberately divisive Trump. He will have to make his case while clearly articulating his administration’s plan for avoiding yet another Middle East war that the American public does not want. And he will need to do all of this while staring down
Further escalation would probably mean a wider, conventional war.
the impending impeachment trial that stems from his decision to place personal political interests above U.S. national security. Trump will also need the support of Congress. The administration’s failure to consult with even the House and Senate leadership or the Gang of Eight – made up of Senate and House Leaders and relevant Committee Chairs – before the airstrike was inexcusable. There was clearly time for a briefing, and the Gang of Eight has a reputation for avoiding leaks. The administration will now need to fully brief Congress and persuade members that it has a sound strategy, an adequate legal justification, and a plan in place to keep Americans safe at home and
Iranians walk next to a wall painting of Iranian soldiers in a street of Tehran, Iran, 09 April 2019.
abroad. Any serious widening of this conflict will require the administration to obtain congressional authorization. Last year, members of Congress across both parties made clear that they were not in the mood to authorize war with Iran and passed legislation to that effect. Trump will also have to work with other countries. He needs U.S. allies (as well as China and Russia) to share intelligence about potential retaliatory attacks and uphold U.N. Security Council resolutions if Iran ramps up its nuclear-weapons development. That France—and not just Russia and China—has already condemned Soleimani’s assassination is not a good sign. There is no coalition of the willing right now to punish Iran
further, and “maximum pressure” is not achieving its desired results. Unfortunately, Trump is unable to draw upon a surplus of goodwill around the world. Most other governments see the administration’s Iran policy as a self-inflicted wound, starting with the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. The transatlantic relationship – essential for an effective Iran strategy—is at its weakest since 2003. After all, Trump remains in a tariff war with European countries. As it stands, the United States seems to be once on the brink of another deepening military conflict in the Middle East. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
Will Iran’s Response to the Soleimani Strike Lead to War? What Tehran Is Likely to Do Next by Ilan Goldenberg Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, was one of the most influential and popular figures in the Islamic Republic and a particular nemesis of the United States.
He led Iran’s campaign to arm and train Shiite militias in Iraq—militias responsible for the deaths of an estimated 600 American troops from 2003 to 2011— and became the chief purveyor of Iranian political influence in Iraq thereafter, most notably through his efforts to fight ISIS. He drove Iran’s policies to arm and
support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including by deploying an estimated 50,000 Shiite militia fighters to Syria. He was the point man for Iran’s relationship with Hezbollah in Lebanon, helping to supply the group with missiles and rockets to threaten Israel. He drove Iran’s strategy to arm the Houthis in Yemen. For all these reasons and more, Soleimani was a cult hero in Iran.
The United States must, at a minimum, expect to find itself in conflict with Shiite militias in Iraq that will target U.S. forces, diplomats, and civilians.
In short, the United States has taken a highly escalatory step in assassinating one of the most powerful men in the Middle East.
interest in starting a new war in the Middle East—and yet, here we are at the precipice.
The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump argues that Soleimani was a terrorist and that assassinating him was a defensive action that stopped an imminent attack. In May 2018, Trump left the Iran nuclear agreement and adopted a “maximum pressure” policy of economic sanctions on Iran. For a year, Iran responded with restraint in an effort to isolate the United States diplomatically and win economic concessions from other parties to the nuclear agreement.
A protester holds a poster with the image of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike in Iraq, in the Kashmiri town of Magam on January ,3 2020. (Getty)
But the restrained approach failed to yield material benefits. By May 2019, Tehran had chosen instead to breach the agreement and escalate tensions across the region. First came Iranian mine attacks against international shipping in May and June. Then Iran shot down a U.S. drone, nearly touching off an open conflict with the United States. In September, Iranian missiles struck the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia—arguably the most important piece of oil infrastructure in the world. Shiite militia groups began launching rockets at U.S. bases in Iraq, ultimately leading to the death of an American contractor last week. Retaliatory U.S. strikes eventually brought us to the Soleimani assassination. The most important question now is how will Iran respond. The Islamic Republic’s behavior over the past few months and over its long history suggests that it may not rush to retaliate. Rather, it will carefully and patiently choose an approach that it deems effective, and it will likely try to avoid an all-out war with the United States. Nonetheless, the events of the past few days demonstrate that the risk of miscalculation is incredibly high. Soleimani clearly didn’t believe that the United States was going to dramatically escalate or he wouldn’t have left himself so vulnerable, only a stone’s throw away from U.S. military forces in Iraq. For his part, Trump has been adamant about his lack of
The United States must, at a minimum, expect to find itself in conflict with Shiite militias in Iraq that will target U.S. forces, diplomats, and civilians. Iraq is the theater where the U.S. strike took place and therefore the most rational place for Iran to immediately respond. Moreover, the militia groups have already been escalating their activities over the past six months. They are among Iran’s most responsive proxies and will be highly motivated, given that Abu Mahdi alMuhandis, one of their top commanders, was killed in the strike along with Soleimani. Whether a U.S. presence in Iraq is still viable remains an open question. The security situation, which has certainly now been complicated, is not the only problem. The assassination was such an extreme violation of Iraqi sovereignty—done unilaterally, without Iraqi government consent—that Iraqi officials will come under tremendous political pressure to eject U.S. forces. Many Iraqis have no love for either the United States or Iran. They just want to have their country back to themselves and fear being put in the middle of a U.S.-Iranian confrontation. The current situation could turn into a worst-case scenario for these citizens. But a chaotic U.S. withdrawal under fire could also present real dangers. The mission to counter ISIS remains a going concern, and if the United States is forced to leave Iraq, that effort could suffer a serious blow. ISIS retains an underground presence and could take advantage of the chaos of an American withdrawal or a U.S.-Iranian conflict to improve its position in Iraq. The repercussions of the assassination won’t necessarily be confined to Iraq. Lebanese Hezbollah, which enjoys a close relationship with Iran and is likely to be responsive to Iranian requests, could attack
American targets in Lebanon. Even if Iran decides to avoid a major escalation in Lebanon, Hezbollah operatives are distributed throughout the Middle East and could attack the United States elsewhere in the region. Alternatively, Hezbollah may choose to launch missile attacks on Israeli territory, although this response is less likely. Hezbollah wants to avoid an all-out war with Israel that would devastate Lebanon, and the Trump administration has publicly taken credit for killing Soleimani, increasing the likelihood that a retaliatory strike will target the United States directly. Iran could conduct missile strikes against U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates or against oil facilities in the Gulf. The accuracy of Iran’s missile strikes on the Abqaiq oil facility in September took the United States and the rest of the world by surprise, although Iran did purposefully attempt to keep the attack limited and symbolic. In the current climate, Iran could choose to become much more aggressive, calculating that in the arena of missile strikes it has been highly successful in landing blows while avoiding retaliation over the past six months. We should also expect Iran to significantly accelerate its nuclear program. Since the Trump administration left the Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018, Iran has been quite restrained in its nuclear response. After a year of staying in the deal, in May 2019, Iran began to incrementally violate the agreement by taking small steps every 60 days. The next -60day window ends next week, and it is hard to imagine restraint in the wake of Soleimani’s death. At a minimum, Iran will restart enriching uranium to 19.75 percent, a significant step toward weapons-grade uranium. It has recently
Even if Iran decides to avoid a major escalation in Lebanon, Hezbollah operatives are distributed throughout the Middle East and could attack the United States elsewhere in the region.
threatened to go even further by walking away from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty or kicking out inspectors. These would be profoundly dangerous moves, and until this week most analysts believed Tehran was unlikely to actually make them. Now they may well be on the table. Perhaps the most provocative thing Iran could do is carry out a terrorist attack on the U.S. homeland or attempt to kill a senior U.S. official of Soleimani’s stature. This would be much more challenging for Iran to pull off than an attack on U.S. interests or personnel overseas but may be deemed by Iran as appropriately proportional. The last time Iran is known to have attempted an attack in the United States was in 2011, when American law enforcement and intelligence agencies foiled a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington by blowing up a restaurant. In that case, the plot was detected early on and easily foiled because of poor Iranian tradecraft. The episode suggested that Iran is much less capable outside the Middle East than inside it, an assessment that is buttressed by foiled Iranian bombing attempts in Denmark and France this year. So while Iran may try to conduct an attack inside the United States, it would need to get lucky to succeed.
President Donald Trump speaks during a ‹Evangelicals for Trump› campaign event held at the King Jesus International Ministry on January 2020 ,03 in Miami, Florida. (Getty)
Iran could conduct missile strikes against U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates or against oil facilities in the Gulf. The Trump administration should do all that it can to harden U.S. facilities and protect Americans while absorbing some of the inevitable blows to come. It should also reach out to Iran through U.S. partners that have good relations with the country, such as Oman, to try to de-escalate while also setting clear redlines in private to avoid an Iranian miscalculation. Iranâ€™s desire for revenge and the political momentum that desire is already beginning to generate may inevitably draw it and the US into a major conflict. This article was originally published on ForeignAffairs.com.
Harry and Meghan’s Likely Move to Canada Could Cost them Millions Their Decision to Step Down as Senior Royals Raises the Questions: Where Will they Live and What Will They Live On? by Martha Ross With Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announcing Wednesday that they are stepping down as senior members of the royal family, working to become “financially independent” and relocating half-time to North America, their dramatic decision raises plenty of questions, including: Where will they live and what will they live on? Will the Duke and Duchess of Sussex move to Canada, where they spent much of their long holiday break? If so, where in Canada? British Columbia?
and reportedly the royal family — with their announcement, which is unprecedented in modern history. On their official Instagram Wednesday evening, the couple said they had decided “after many months of reflection and internal discussions” to transition this year to “a progressive new role” within the royal family. “We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the announcement read.
Will they also keep Frogmore Cottage at Windsor Castle, which underwent 3$ million in taxpayer-funded renovations before the birth of their son, Archie, last May?
As has been rumored for many months, the couple also plan to move away from the United Kingdom — at least for part of the year. They said they want to “balance” their time between Harry’s home country and somewhere in North America, U.S.-born Meghan’s home continent.
Harry and Meghan stunned royal fans —
Harry and Meghan said this “balance”
Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex wave as they leave Windsor Castle after their wedding to attend an evening reception at Frogmore House, hosted by the Prince of Wales on May 2018 ,19 in Windsor, England. (Getty)
will allow them to raise their son “with an appreciation for the royal tradition” while also “providing our family with the space to focus on the next chapter, including the launch of our new charitable entity.” No doubt, the “space” they are talking about refers to living in a country without the aggressive British tabloid press, which has appeared to take delight in regularly filing negative reports about the couple and about the former TV actress individually. But the “space” could also mean getting away from the royal family — or the constraints of being so closely tied to the family. For its survival, historians say, the monarchy must maintain public favor, which means it must operate within certain constraints, especially when it comes to media relations. Harry and Meghan could also have been looking for “space” from an institution that they evidently don’t believe has sufficiently appreciated their potential to use their global
The couple are assigned six Metropolitan Police bodyguards, who each earn more 130,000$ per year. fame for worthy causes. The BBC reported that no other member of the royal family had been consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their statement and reported that Buckingham Palace is “disappointed.” The palace then released a statement of its own, saying, “Discussions with The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.” The couple remain patron of all the same charities as before and will spend much of 2020
shaping their soon-to-be-launched #SussexRoyal foundation to respond to the pressing needs of the modern world. Similarly, Harry and Meghan’s statement doesn’t address specifics, including where in North America the couple will base themselves or the nature of Sussex Royal charitable
If this “progressive new role” means they stop doing the dayto-day work of senior royals, they could immediately lose access to the estimated 10.5$ million a year from the Sovereign Grant that is divided between Harry and William.
foundation they hope to launch. Speculation rests on them either moving to Toronto — where Meghan filmed her TV series “Suits” and where they enjoyed their early secret courtship — or to Vancouver. The couple holed up in a 14$ million oceanfront mansion on nearby Vancouver Island over the Christmas holidays. But the couple’s desire to become financially independent seems necessary, given that they could lose “millions” if they quit being royals, according to an analysis by the Daily Mail. If this “progressive new role” means they stop doing the day-to-day work of senior royals, they could immediately lose access to the estimated 10.5$ million a year from the Sovereign Grant that is divided between Harry and William. This grant is funded by the taxpayer. The Daily Mail also said the couple would be responsible for covering the cost of their staff,
An arrangement of UK daily newspapers photographed as an illustration in London on January 2020 ,9, shows front page headlines reporting on the news that Britain›s Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, plan to step back as «senior» members of the Royal Family. (Getty)
Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex watch the RAF flypast on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, as members of the Royal Family attend events to mark the centenary of the RAF on July 2018 ,10 in London, England. (Getty)
that includes a private secretary and a nanny for Archie. That cost is around 1.3$ million a year. But Harry and Meghan will hardly be destitute. By most measures, they already should be “financially independent.” Harry’s net worth is said to be close to 40$ million, which includes about 26$ million he inherited from his late mother, Princess Diana, the Daily Mail said. Meanwhile, Meghan has a net worth of around 5$ million, from the 50,000$ per episode she earned while on “Suits.” But another source of income for Prince Harry is the annual allowance in the millions of pounds that he receives from Prince Charles’s 1.5$ billion Duchy of Cornwall estate. Charles is hardly likely to cut his son off from this source of income, the Daily Mail said. Another valuable asset the couple probably won’t lose is Frogmore Cottage, which was a
gift from the queen, the Daily Mail said. But if Harry and Meghan buy a new home across the Atlantic, whether in Toronto, Vancouver, her hometown of Los Angeles or someplace else, they’ll have to cover that cost themselves, the Daily Mail and the Sun said. Up in the air is whether they will have to cover the costs for their security, the Daily Mail said. The couple are assigned six Metropolitan Police bodyguards, who each earn more 130,000$ per year. They are expected to require police protection for the rest of their lives, whether they or the British government pays. Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams told the Daily Mail that a move to Canada will be a huge and costly “undertaking.” “They will have to find a location that wants you, the security costs would be vast and impossible to estimate,” Fitzwilliams said.
A Weekly Political News Magazine
Issue 1782- january- 10/01/2020
Carlos Ghosn: From Automotive Visionary to International Fugitive
Hormones and Breast Cancer: What You Should Know New Research Again Links Increased Breast Cancer Risk to Longer Use of Hormone Therapy 44
Women who take hormone therapy for a longer amount of time have a higher risk of developing invasive breast cancer than women who use the treatments for a shorter period. in individual women, and their body mass index. Researchers began gathering the studies in 1992 and continued until 2018. We asked Dr. Wendy Chen, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, to help us sort through both the old and new information on hormone use and breast cancer and what it means for women considering starting hormone therapy. What›s the connection between hormone therapy and breast cancer? It›s been known, and this study appeared to confirm, that women who take hormone therapy for a longer amount of time have a higher risk of developing invasive breast cancer than women who use the treatments for a shorter period. Risk continues to increase over time and does not plateau, says Dr. Chen.
by Harvard Women›s Health Watch The link between hormone therapy and breast cancer has been recognized for years. But an analysis published Aug. 2019 ,29, in The Lancet has added some additional information to the discussion. The analysis looked at 58 studies that included information on the type and timing of hormone use
Unlike past studies, such as the Women›s Health Initiative, which found that breast cancer risk started to rise only after two to three years of hormone use, the Lancet study found that breast cancer risk rose almost immediately when a woman started hormone therapy. But that observation may be due to imprecise information about the duration of hormone therapy in some of the data that the study authors used for their analysis, says Dr. Chen. It›s reasonable to say that risk of breast cancer starts to rise a year or so after starting hormone therapy and continues to climb from there. Is there a difference in cancer risk depending on the type of therapy a woman uses? Yes. In the Lancet study, while both estrogen-only therapies and progesterone-estrogen combinations elevated the risk of breast cancer, risk was higher in
women who took the combination treatments. The Lancet study also found that the risks of estrogen-only therapy appear to be higher in normal-weight women compared with obese women. This may be the case because women with obesity already have higher breast cancer risk because they have higher levels of estrogen in their blood. «I›m still not comfortable saying that if you are overweight you don›t have to worry about taking hormones,» says Dr. Chen. Women with obesity had the same elevated risk as normal-weight women when taking estrogenprogesterone combination therapies. Does vaginal estrogen also raise the risk of breast cancer? This study confirmed that vaginal estrogen treatments don›t appear to raise the risk of breast cancer. «It›s unlikely that vaginal estrogens would be associated with a large increase in breast cancer risk,» says Dr. Chen. Does hormone therapy bring greater risks if it›s started at a younger age? The study seems to indicate that this is the case, but there›s reason to question that conclusion. Younger women in this study generally took hormones for a longer period of time. So, risk appears to relate more to the duration of use than to the age a woman started taking hormone therapy. Do the breast cancer risks related to hormone therapy go away once you stop taking hormones? No. The risk of breast cancer related to hormone use remains high years after hormone therapy stops. Based on all this information, should women take
Women who stop hormone therapy suddenly may experience a resurgence in symptoms.
hormones to manage menopausal symptoms? «The bottom line is that if someone wants to use hormone therapy for a few years to manage menopause symptoms, that›s still reasonable to do in most cases,» says Dr. Chen. But ideally, women should only take hormones for as short a time as possible. «In general, what I say to patients is to use nonhormonal strategies first,» says Dr. Chen. If nonhormonal strategies aren›t working and your
symptoms are mainly vaginal, consider a vaginal estrogen. Someone who has multiple symptoms, such as hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal symptoms, could consider hormone therapy with a pill or patch if other strategies fail and symptoms are truly bothersome. In addition, hormones should only be used if medically indicated. Many people mistakenly believe that using hormones will make them look younger or extend their life span. It won›t.
How long is too long when it comes to hormone therapy? «Five years is really the outer limit for hormone use. Ideally it should be for a year or two at the most, and it should be directed toward addressing symptoms,» says Dr. Chen. If you do opt for hormones, be certain to taper off rather than stopping them abruptly when you are ready to discontinue treatment. Women who stop hormone therapy suddenly may experience a resurgence in symptoms.
Carlos Ghosn: From Automotive Visionary to International Fugitive Majalla - London Carlos Ghosn is an automotive tycoon of French Lebanese origin famed most as the CEO and chairman of Renault and Nissan. He is known as ‘Le cost killer’, ‘ice breaker’ and ‘Mr. Fix it’ for the way he orchestrated financial turnaround at Nissan. Now, he is one of the most famous white-collar fugitives in recent years. Ghosn was born in Porto Velho, Brazil, on March 1954 ,9 to Lebanese immigrant parents. After spending time in Beirut as a child, he studied at the prestigious École Polytechnique in at Ecole Polytechnic (1974) and Ecole Des Mines De Paris (1978) to obtain engineering degreesb.before joining Michelin. He speaks in his autobiography of always feeling slightly different because of his background. This cultural diversity, he says, made him more willing to integrate and understand other countries. It›s one reason he succeeded in Japan›s relatively insular corporate environment. Being multilingual has also helped. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, French and English, and picked up a good working knowledge of Japanese during his time at Nissan. His first job was at Michelin, the largest tire manufacturer in Europe. From 1978, he spent 18 years in the company where he was gradually promoted to higher positions in France and Germany. He went on to become the Chief Operating Officer of the tire company’s South American operations. In 1990, he became CEO of Michelin North
America. His role included car engineering, development, advanced research, powertrain operations, car manufacturing and procuring and administration of Renault doings in South America. Ghosn was poached by Renault in 1996, where he was nicknamed “Le Cost Killer” for his brutal restricting programme. He helped the ailing company return to profitability within a year. He then joined Nissan as the Chief Operating Officer in 1999 while it was under 20$ billion and very few its models were lucrative. Once again Ghosn worked his magic and even received some criticism from the Wall Street Journal that disapproved his radical methods. But contrary to these accusations, Nissan’s profits elevated from their loss of more than 6$ billion to a profit of 2.7$ billion, cementing Ghosn’s status as one of the world’s most successful business leaders. During the last decade, Ghosn championed consolidation and alliances as the only way forward for a global motor industry that was sinking into recession and needed to tackle overcapacity That strategy continued in 2016, when he took charge at Mitsubishi after Nissan threw its struggling Japanese rival a lifeline, buying a one-third stake for about 2.2$bn (1.5£bn at the time). That three-way alliance has itself formed partnerships with other carmakers in Europe, China and Russia. Ghosn not only turned around Nissan, he became a superstar in the process. In a 2011 nationwide poll of who the Japanese would like to run their country, he came seventh, in front of Barack Obama (ninth). Another poll said
he was the man most Japanese women wanted to marry. All that serves to illustrate just how shocking it was when Ghosn›s glittering career abruptly imploded when he was arrested in Japan on charges of financial misconduct – which he denies – in November 2018. waiting. He has been accused by Nissan of underreporting his salary and using company assets for personal use. But some see it as part of the firm›s attempt to rebalance power in its alliance with Renault and Mitsubishi. Renault and the French government continued to support him at first, presuming him innocent until proven guilty. However, they ultimately found the situation untenable and Ghosn was made to retire as chairman and CEO of Renault on 24 January 2019. While out on bail granted in early March, Ghosn was rearrested in Tokyo on 4 April 2019 over new charges of misappropriations of Nissan funds. On 8 April 2019 Nissan shareholders voted to oust Ghosn from the company›s board. He was released again on bail on 25 April. In June Renault uncovered 11 million euros in questionable expenses by him, leading to a French investigation and raids. Ghosn later fled from Japan to Lebanon on 30 December, breaking his bail conditions. The details of his escape remain sketchy, with Japan saying it is still investigating how he managed to slip past strict security measures imposed as part of his bail conditions but theorises about how he escaped include hiring private security operatives and fleeing in a musical instrument case. On 2 January 2020, Interpol issued a red notice to Lebanon seeking Ghosn›s arrest.