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Foreign Policy Focus

Foreign Policy Focus is a podcast hosted by me, Kyle! It covers current events overseas and how those events affect you at home. While US military operations in the Middle East seem like they are on the other side of the world, they have real impacts on the everyday lives of Americans. Wars are the most costly of all US government actions and politicians use them to strip away rights of Americans. Knowing what your government is doing around the globe will give you insight into what they are doing at home.
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Foreign Policy Focus is a podcast hosted by me, Kyle! It covers current events overseas and how those events affect you at home. While US military operations in the Middle East seem like they are on the other side of the world, they have real impacts on the everyday lives of Americans. Wars are the most costly of all US government actions and politicians use them to strip away rights of Americans. Knowing what your government is doing around the globe will give you insight into what they are doing at home.

Dec 11, 2019

On this Foreign Policy Focus and Around the Empire swap cast, Kyle and Joanne discuss the Democrats' efforts to impeach Trump over Russiagate. Statements by Nancy Pelosi and witnesses in the impeachment hearings show the blob's real aim to prevent Trump from adopting a more realistic foreign policy towards Russia. The hosts also cover Attorney General Barr's interview about the FBI IG report on the investigation into Trump's campaign. Barr explains why the media's coverage of the report is misleading and the Durham report could reveal the intelligence community's role in the origin of Russiagate. 

Dec 9, 2019

On FPF #427, I explain how the shooting at the US base in Flordia was a part of the war the US is fighting in the Middle East. The shooter was a Saudi officer who was training at the base. Before the shooting, the Saudi posted about American crimes against Muslims being the motivation for his attack. While in the US, this will be presented as an act of terror only preventable by killing more Muslims in the Middle East, the reality is more war in the Middle East will only create more terror attacks in the US. 

Links

  • The charges against journalist Max Blumenthal have been dropped. He was accused of simple assault while trying to deliver food to the Venezuelan embassy in DC. No evidence has been produced of the assault and what evidence that may have existed appears to have been deleted. Five months after delivering food to the embassy, Max was arrested and held for two days at the end of October. [Link]
  • Jeff Bezos is pushing other tech companies to work with the Pentagon saying, “we are the good guys.” [Link]
  • CBP reverses a plan that would have required all US citizens to be photographed leaving and entering the US. [Link]
  • The US House votes in favor of a resolution that condemns Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. [Link] 

Mexican Cartels 

  • Trump says he will not designate Mexican cartels as terror groups. [Link]
  • The Mexican President meets with AG Barr and says he will work with the US to prevent the flow of weapons into Mexico, but would not permit another operation like fast and furious. [Link]

Shootings

  • A US sailor killed two civilians Department of Defense employees before killing himself at the Pearl Harbor Shipyard. [Link]
  • A Saudi air force officer training in the US shot and killed three people in a US base. Post by the Saudi suggests he carried out the attack in response to US foreign policy. [Link]

NATO

  • Turkey says it expects NATO members' support in Syria after it dropped its objection to NATO’s Baltic defense plan. [Link]
  • Trump and Canada’s leader clash at the NATO conference. Trump called Trudeau two-faced and complained Canada is not meeting the 2% defense spending target. [Link]
  • Trump suggests he could sanction Germany for not meeting NATO’s 2% defense spending target. [Link]
  • Hungary says it will block Ukraine’s NATO membership over Ukraine’s language law. [Link]
  • Putin says Russia will extend the New Start Treaty without any preconditions or discussions. [Link]

Ukraine

  • Ukraine’s president says he will look to swap the rest of the POWs from the Ukrainian Civil War in talks with Russia next week. [Link]
  • Trump’s 2020 budget requests $250 million in lethal aid to Ukraine. [Link]

North Korea

  • North Korea says it carried out a test at a long-range missile facility. The facility was partially deconstructed when the US and North Korea were making diplomatic progress. [Link] In response to the missile test Trump says North Korea risks losing everything and calls on Kim Jong-un to denuclearize. Trump also warned North Korea against interfering in the 2020 elections. [Link]
  • A North Korean official says denuclearization is off the table in talks with the US. [Link]

GCC

  • Qatar confirms that it is in talks with Saudi Arabia to resolve the GCC dispute. [Link]

Iran

  • Trump is considering a plan that would send an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East. [Link]
  • Japan will deploy 270 sailors to the Middle East to protest its ships. [Link]
  • A senior Pentagon official says Iran could act aggressively. [Link]
  • Iran says protesters have been killed in recent weeks but far less than the claimed 200 claimed by Amnesty International. [Link]
  • Iran’s president calls on all unarmed protesters to be released. [Link]
  • The Navy claims to capture a ship carrying advanced missile parts from Iran. [Link]
  • The US and Iran exchanged prisoners. The US released an Iranian scientist who was held for violating sanctions. Iran released and American-Chinese student who was accused of espionage with little evidence. [Link]

Iraq

  • Masked armed men in Iraq killed at least 23 protesters. The home of influential cleric Sadr was targeted by a mortar fired from a drone. [Link]
  • A US official says Iran may have been behind an attack that hit an Iraqi airbase that houses US soldiers. He did not provide evidence and admitted he was still waiting for evidence to come in. [Link]

Syria

  • Secretary of Defense Esper says the repositioning of American troops in Syria is complete, and troop levels in Syria will fluctuate around 600. [Link]

Yemen

  • The Sudanese leader says his country only has 5,000 troops in Yemen, down from 15,000. [Link]

 

Dec 9, 2019

On FPF #427, I explain how the shooting at the US base in Flordia was a part of the war the US is fighting in the Middle East. The shooter was a Saudi officer who was training at the base. Before the shooting, the Saudi posted about American crimes against Muslims being the motivation for his attack. While in the US, this will be presented as an act of terror only preventable by killing more Muslims in the Middle East, the reality is more war in the Middle East will only create more terror attacks in the US. 

Links

  • The charges against journalist Max Blumenthal have been dropped. He was accused of simple assault while trying to deliver food to the Venezuelan embassy in DC. No evidence has been produced of the assault and what evidence that may have existed appears to have been deleted. Five months after delivering food to the embassy, Max was arrested and held for two days at the end of October. [Link]
  • Jeff Bezos is pushing other tech companies to work with the Pentagon saying, “we are the good guys.” [Link]
  • CBP reverses a plan that would have required all US citizens to be photographed leaving and entering the US. [Link]
  • The US House votes in favor of a resolution that condemns Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. [Link] 

Mexican Cartels 

  • Trump says he will not designate Mexican cartels as terror groups. [Link]
  • The Mexican President meets with AG Barr and says he will work with the US to prevent the flow of weapons into Mexico, but would not permit another operation like fast and furious. [Link]

Shootings

  • A US sailor killed two civilians Department of Defense employees before killing himself at the Pearl Harbor Shipyard. [Link]
  • A Saudi air force officer training in the US shot and killed three people in a US base. Post by the Saudi suggests he carried out the attack in response to US foreign policy. [Link]

NATO

  • Turkey says it expects NATO members' support in Syria after it dropped its objection to NATO’s Baltic defense plan. [Link]
  • Trump and Canada’s leader clash at the NATO conference. Trump called Trudeau two-faced and complained Canada is not meeting the 2% defense spending target. [Link]
  • Trump suggests he could sanction Germany for not meeting NATO’s 2% defense spending target. [Link]
  • Hungary says it will block Ukraine’s NATO membership over Ukraine’s language law. [Link]
  • Putin says Russia will extend the New Start Treaty without any preconditions or discussions. [Link]

Ukraine

  • Ukraine’s president says he will look to swap the rest of the POWs from the Ukrainian Civil War in talks with Russia next week. [Link]
  • Trump’s 2020 budget requests $250 million in lethal aid to Ukraine. [Link]

North Korea

  • North Korea says it carried out a test at a long-range missile facility. The facility was partially deconstructed when the US and North Korea were making diplomatic progress. [Link] In response to the missile test Trump says North Korea risks losing everything and calls on Kim Jong-un to denuclearize. Trump also warned North Korea against interfering in the 2020 elections. [Link]
  • A North Korean official says denuclearization is off the table in talks with the US. [Link]

GCC

  • Qatar confirms that it is in talks with Saudi Arabia to resolve the GCC dispute. [Link]

Iran

  • Trump is considering a plan that would send an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East. [Link]
  • Japan will deploy 270 sailors to the Middle East to protest its ships. [Link]
  • A senior Pentagon official says Iran could act aggressively. [Link]
  • Iran says protesters have been killed in recent weeks but far less than the claimed 200 claimed by Amnesty International. [Link]
  • Iran’s president calls on all unarmed protesters to be released. [Link]
  • The Navy claims to capture a ship carrying advanced missile parts from Iran. [Link]
  • The US and Iran exchanged prisoners. The US released an Iranian scientist who was held for violating sanctions. Iran released and American-Chinese student who was accused of espionage with little evidence. [Link]

Iraq

  • Masked armed men in Iraq killed at least 23 protesters. The home of influential cleric Sadr was targeted by a mortar fired from a drone. [Link]
  • A US official says Iran may have been behind an attack that hit an Iraqi airbase that houses US soldiers. He did not provide evidence and admitted he was still waiting for evidence to come in. [Link]

Syria

  • Secretary of Defense Esper says the repositioning of American troops in Syria is complete, and troop levels in Syria will fluctuate around 600. [Link]

Yemen

  • The Sudanese leader says his country only has 5,000 troops in Yemen, down from 15,000. [Link]

 

Dec 6, 2019

On FPF #426, I review the recently released on Amazon movie, The Report. The movie tells the story of the CIA torture program after 9/11 and Daniel Jones' effort put together a report on the program. The movie is well done and generally gets the narrative correct. I breakdown some of the best and worst themes in the movie. 

Links

The New York Times publishes drawings by CIA torture victim Abu Zubaydah of the abuse inflicted on him. [Link]

Dec 4, 2019

On FPF #425, I explain why NATO should be dissolved. NATO leaders are meeting in London and there are plenty of issues among the members. Turkey is recently purchased Russian made air defense systems and is refusing to sign off on defense plans unless other countries label the Syrian Kurdish militia as a terror group. France is accusing Turkey of using terror proxy groups against the Kurds in Syria. The French president recently called NATO brain dead, identifying the alliance lacks an enemy. Trump said he would not be surprised if Franch leaves NATO and is threatening sanctions on Franch. Trump is also frustrated that many member states are making no progress in meeting the NATO target of spending 2% on defense. 

Links

  • Texas is seeking the death penalty against a man who killed someone breaking into the window of his home. The intruder was a SWAT team member in a no-knock raid. The police only found a glass pipe and grinder. [Link]
  • Jordan Smith explains fingerprint analysis can be a complex and subjective science. The so called experts who testify in criminal trials have dubious qualifications. [Link]
  • Trump is using the PATRIOT Act to indefinitely detain a non-US citizen in the US. Trump is the first president to use this power. [Link]
  • The Trump administration is considering adding a regulation that would require all US citizens to be photographed entering and leaving the country. [Link]
  • General Dynamics will get a $20 billion contract to build Virginia class submarines. [Link]
  • The Navy awards General Dynamics with a three-quarters of a million-dollar contract to supply the ground systems for the Navy’s satellite communications. [Link]
  • Singapore is attempting to enforce its fake news law. It claims a blog posted fake information. Singapore first pushed the author to publish a correction. He refused and is not under investigation. Singapore then asked Facebook to post a correction. Facebook has not responded. [Link]
  • Julian Assange will testify in a Spanish court about a Spanish company spying on him while he was in the Ecuadorian embassy. The Spanish company is accused of illegally spying on Assange’s privileged conversations with lawyers and passed the intelligence to the US. [Link]

NATO/New Cold War

  • NATO countries are working on a plan to pay more of NATO’s budget in an attempt to appease Trump. France has said they will not sign on to the plan and already contribute enough to defense. [Link]
  • Russia formally proposes to extend the NEW START Treaty for five years. Russia says it is also open to a shorter extension. [Link]
  • Trump says Russia wants to make an agreement on arms control and nuclear. Trump suggested bringing China into the deal. [Link]
  • A senior State Department official says Russia is in compliance with the NEW START Treaty. [Link]
  • Russia showed US inspectors its hypersonic nuclear missile system under the auspices of the NEW START Treaty. [Link]
  • The Trump administration is 100% duties on $2.4 billion in French champagne, cheese, and other products in response to a French tax on digital products. [Link]
  • Trump says he can see France leaving NATO. [Link]
  • The French president says Turkey is working with ISIS proxies. [Link]
  • US Senators, led by Graham, send the White House a letter calling for sanctions against Turkey for buying S-400 air defense systems from Russia. [Link]
  • NATO awards Boeing a $1 billion contract to upgrade AWACS recognisances planes. [Link]
  • Turkey is refusing to sign off on a NATO defense plan until NATO starts recognize the Syrian Kurdish militia the YPG as a terror group. [Link]
  • Turkey says their newly purchased Russian-made S-400 air defense system will not be integrated into NATO’s air defense. Russia says Turkey is looking to purchase more S-400s. [Link] 

Latin America 

  • Pompeo says the US will support Latin American countries trying to suppress riots and unrest. [Link]
  • Trump will place steel and aluminum tariffs on Brazil and Argentia. Trump accuses the countries of currency manipulation that is harming American farmers. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • Secretary of State Esper says the US withdrawing troops is not necessarily tied to negotiations with the Taliban. [Link]
  • The US killed a family of six with a drone strike in Afghanistan. [Link]
  • Trump traveled to Afghanistan on Thanksgiving. He said he believes the Taliban would engage in a ceasefire. The Taliban confirmed they have resumed talks with the US. [Link]
  • The top US general says peace talks have a higher chance of working this time. [Link]
  • Fifteen members of an Afghan family were killed by a roadside bomb on the way to a wedding. [Link]

Israel

  • A UN report estimates the Israeli occupation of Palestine has cost the Palestinian economy $48 billion from 2000-2017. [Link]

Syria

  • The UAE says it hops Syria stabilizes under Assad. [Link]
  • Heavy clashes in Idlib Syria have killed 96 people over two days. [Link]
  • A Syrian airstrike killed ten civilians at a market in Idlib. A Turkish airstrike killed ten civilians in a Kurdish region of Syria. [Link]
  • Two Turkish soldiers were killed by a mortar attack in southern Turkey near the Syrian border. [Link]
  •  

Yemen

  • 20 African migrants were killed traveling through Yemen to Saudi Arabia. Reports say they may have been killed by an airstrike. [Link]
  • The Red Cross says 128 Houthi prisoners of war have been released by Saudi Arabia. Saudi claims to have released 200 prisoners. [Link]
  • The Houthi claim to have shot down a Saudi helicopter. [Link]
  • A German court reverses a de facto ban on selling armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia. [Link]
Dec 2, 2019

Scott Horton returns to the show to discuss the turmoil in Iraq. The prime minister resigned over the weekend as government forces have now killed over 400 protesters since October 1st. Scott explains how the Iraq War removed Saddam from power helping to expand Iranian influence in Iraq. After the defeat of Saddam, the US installed an extremely corrupt government led by the Shia. Scott breaks down who the main figures in Iraqi politics are and their ties with Iran. 

Amazon Smile Link

Scott Horton is the host of the Scott Horton Show, the director of the Libertarian Insitute, the editorial director of Antiwar.com, and the author of Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan. 

 

Nov 27, 2019

On FPF #423, I break down an Oliver Stone tweet saying the US should develop a more diplomatic relationship with Russia. I look at some of the reasons, so many Americans reflexively oppose the US strengthening ties with our nuclear rival. I take on some establishment lies that created the dangerous situation we are now in with Russia and explain Trump has been more aggressive against Russia than Obama. 

Links

  • Russia showed US inspectors its hypersonic nuclear missile system under the auspices of the NEW START Treaty. [Link]
  • The Pope visits Nagasaki to call for an abolition of nuclear weapons. [Link]
  • Turkey is refusing to sign off on a NATO defense plan until NATO starts to recognize the Syrian Kurdish militia the YPG as a terror group. [Link]
  • Erdogan says Turkey will manufacture fighter jets in house. [Link]
  • NATO countries are working on a plan to pay more of NATO’s budget in an attempt to appease Trump. France has said they will not sign on to the plan and already contribute enough to defense. [Link]
  • Turkey says their newly purchased Russian-made S-400 air defense system will not be integrated into NATO’s air defense. Russia says Turkey is looking to purchase more S-400s. [Link] 

War Crimes

  • The Navy is pushing back against Trump’s decision to restore the pay and rank of war criminal Navy Seal Eddie Gallagher. [Link]
  • The Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer proposed a secret deal to the White House that would allow Gallager to retire a Navy Seal. Publicly, Spencer pushed to hold a hearing to determine if Gallager would be allowed to retire a Seal. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper asked for Spencer’s resignation in response to the secret proposal. [Link]

Bolivia

  • The coup government in Bolivia has passed a new law that annuls the recent election won by Evo Morales and bars him from the coming election. The government made an agreement with protesters to withdraw the military in exchange for the end of protests. [Link]
  • Bolivia’s coup government is investigating the former president for sedition and terrorism. [Link] 

UK

  • The UK is refusing to hand control of the Chagos Islands to Mauritius. A UN court rules the UK had to return the islands. [Link]

China

  • The US accuses China of attempting to influence the Taiwanese election. [Link]
  • The US sailed warships through waters claimed by China in the South China Sea. [Link]
  • Pro-democracy parties win a majority of council seats in an election. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • Trump says the US is working on a deal with the Taliban. [Link]
  • An American civilian was killed by a grenade attack on a UN convoy in Afghanistan. [Link]

Iraq

  • The State Department has cut or withdrawn almost all personnel in Iraq, overseeing the distribution of $1.16 billion in aid. [Link] 
  • Iraq shuts down 12 tv and four radio stations for supporting the protest movement. [Link] 

Libya

  • US officials meet with Libyan strongman Haftar. Haftar controls the majority of the country and is fighting an offensive for Tripoli. The US pushed Haftar to end the offensive. [Link]
Nov 25, 2019

Joanne Leon returns to the show to cover the second week of the impeachment hearings. Joanne explains that some of those who testified did so to push the establishment's narrative on Ukraine and Russia. Fiona Hill, as one example, attempted to the line that Ukraine did not interfere in the 2016 election and Russia did. Other deep state actors pushed the importance of Ukraine joining NATO and the US continuing military aid to Ukraine. 

Joanne breaks down the testimony of Ambassador Sondland. While his opening statement produced several headlines claiming a "bombshell," she explains that it was again another dud. Joanne and Kyle also discuss Tulsi's highlights from the recent DNC debate. 

Joanne Leon is the host of the Around the Empire podcast.  

Nov 20, 2019

On FPF #421, I discuss Trump getting Iran and Israel wrong. Trump continues the failed maximum pressure campaign against Iran. The Iranian people are suffering but their leaders remain firmly in place. The US continues to place more sanctions on Iran and Iran responds by moving away from more commitments outlined in the defunct JCPOA. The US is now looking to exploit protests in Iran in an attempt to weaken the leadership. 

Like Trump's Iran policy, Trump has been wrong on Israel from the start. Trump has already taken major steps moving the US embassy and recognizing the Golan Heights as Israel territory. Now, the Trump administration has changed the US position on Israeli settlements.  The settlements clearly violate international law - and for the past four decades, the US has agreed - now the US says that isn't the case. The move is being seen as a boon to Netanyahu, who is in a power struggle, and to legitimize any Israel decision to annex parts of the West Bank. 

Links

  • Amazon will protest the Pentagon awarding the Penton’s cloud contract - JEDI - to Microsoft. [Link]

Ukraine

  • Russia will return three ships to Ukraine. Russia seized the ships after the Ukrainian ships entered Russian waters without permission. [Link]

Bolivia

  • Officials of the coup government in Bolivia are threatening opposition legislators and journalists. [Link]
  • At least 23 people have been killed during protests in Bolivia. [Link]

NK

  • North Korea says it is not going to engage in talks with the US just so Trump can brag about it. North Korea wants to put changing the hostile policy on the table. [Link]
  • The US and South Korea postponed upcoming wargames. [Link]
  • Trump tweets at Kim Jong-un telling him to make a deal soon. [Link]
  • North Korea says it will not engage in talks with the US unless the US hostile policy is on the agenda. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • From January through October, the US dropped over 6,000 missiles and bombs on Afghanistan. [Link]
  • American and Australian hostages were released by the Taliban in exchange for three Taliban officials. [Link] 
  • The Afghan government claims victory over ISIS-K. It says over 600-IS fighters have surrendered to the government over the past few weeks. [Link]
  • 12 civilians - including three children - were killed by a car bomb in Kabul. [Link]

Israel 

  • Pompeo announces the US no longer views Israeli settlements are inconsistent with international law. [Link]

Iran

  • Protest breakout in Iran over rising fuel prices. At least one person has died during protests. [Link]
  • Amnesty International reports that over 100 people were killed during protests in Iran. [Link]
  • New documents from Iran are leaking showing how Iran capitalized on the Iraq War to gain influence in a new Iraqi government. [Link]
  • The IRGC warns it will use decisive and revolutionary force to end protests. [Link]
  • Pompeo says the US stands with Iranian protesters. [Link]
  • Pompeo says the US will end sanction waivers for Iran’s Fordow nuclear site. [Link]
  • Iran now has 130 tonnes of heavy water. The JCPOA limited Iran to under 130 tonnes. [Link]

Syria

  • Turkey is threatening to attack northeastern Syria if all Syrian Kurdish forces as withdrawn. [Link]
  • Turkey says Syria Kurds killed 10 people with a car bomb in a Turkish controlled in northern Syria. [Link] 
  • Russia announces it has taken control of a former-US base in northern Syria. [Link]

Libya

  • Seven civilians were killed by an airstrike at a biscuit factory in Libya. Haftar’s forces are behind the attack. [Link]
  • The US carried out four drone attacks in southern Libya at the end of September. Officials claim the attacks killed roughly ⅓ of the 150 IS fighters in Libya. The drones were launched from Niger. [Link]
Nov 18, 2019

Joanne Leon returns to FPF to discuss the first public impeachment hearing. Joanne gives a break down of Kent and Taylor's testimony. Joanne explains the MSM headline of bombshell revelations are simply wrong.  While the hearing were meant to focus on Trump's alleged quid pro quo, it was Trump's idea of withholding military aid to Ukraine that created so much concern among career bureaucrats. 

Joanne Leon is the host of the Around the Empire podcast. 

Nov 15, 2019

On FPF #419, I discuss all the money the US is wasting on war. The Watson Institute has an update on the cost of war project; the US has spent $6.4 trillion since 2001 on the Terror Wars. The wars have been a complete failure, took thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of lives of innocent civilians, made the world a less safe place, and spread the Osama bin Laden ideology. We must end the wars to save money and lives. 

Links

Terror Wars

  • The Watson Institute reports the US spent $6.4 trillion on the Terror Wars. [Link]

Bolivia

  • Bolivia’s interim president decares Morales and his vice president cannot run for president in upcoming elections. [Link]

North Korea

  • North Korea rebuffs an offer from the US to engage in December talks. North Korea said the offer was just to appease Kim Jong-un’s year-end deadline. North Korea called on the US to call off scheduled war games with South Korea. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • An American diplomat says the planned prisoner swap for  American and Australian professors did not happen. [Link]

Syria

  • The US sanctions 22 companies and individuals for assisting Syria’s WMD program. [Link] 
  • DefSec Mark Esper says about 600 troops will remain in Syria to defeat IS and guard the oil. [Link]
  • Trump is withholding troop numbers for Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. [Link]
  • A senior administration official says the US has no intention of ending its alliance with the Syrian Kurdish militia. [Link]
  • The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports two civilians were killed by Turkish forces during a joint Turkish/Russian parol through a Kurdish city. [Link]
  • US drones captured video of Turkish backed Syria rebels committing war crimes against Syrian civilians. [Link]
  • France agrees to take back 11 suspected jihadists from Turkey. [Link]
  • Russia identified 2,000 Russian nationals living in the Middle East with connections to people who are members of militias. [Link]
  • The founder of the White Helmets has been found dead outside of his home in Istanbul. He is believed to have fallen off of a balcony. [Link]
  • Turkey has started to deport people who are either suspected IS fighters or connected to IS fighters. Turkey has complained that foreign countries are too slow to take back their captured IS fighters. An American and German were the first people deported. [Link]
  • Five people were killed in three bombing in northeast Syria. [Link]

Iraq

  • Four more protesters were killed by Iraqi government forces. Over 300 protesters have been killed since October 1. [Link]

Israel 

  • 13 people were killed by israeli strikes in Gaza on the second day of fighting. [Link]
  • After more than two days of fighting a cease fire has been reached between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Israeli airstrikes in Gaza killed at least 34 people. Half of the dead are civilians, including eight children. [Link]

Yemen

  • A Houthi missile kills five Saudi backed Yemeni soldiers at a major Yemeni army base. [Link]
  • Sources report talks are intensifying between Saudi and the Houthi. [Link]

DRC

  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo forces killed the leader of a militant Hutu group. [Link] The Congolese Army also claimed to kill 25 Islamist militants. [Link] 

 

Nov 13, 2019

On FPF #418, I discuss the events in Bolivia that led to Morales' resignation. Mainstream sources and groups claim Morales deserved to be removed from power after violating term limits and rigging a recent election. I explain the alternative narrative that Morales was removed by a military and police coup. I cover ties coup leaders have with the US.

Links

Bolivia

  • Bolivia's president resigns, says he was forced out by a coup. He was facing calls from the military and police to step down after the OAS claimed he fraudulently counted votes in the recent election. Dave DeCamp explains that the OAS claim that the former Bolivian president engaged is disputed by other groups. The US is backing the change of power. [Link]
  • The former Bolivian president Morales has accepted asylum in Mexico. [Link]
  • Bolivian Senator Jeanine Anez declares herself interim president. [Link]

Afghanistan

  • Afghanistan will release three Taliban members - including the leader of the Haqqani Network. In exchange for the Taliban release American and Australian professors. [Link]
  • A US airstrike killed four Afghan soldiers. [Link] The US envoy to Afghanistan says the US supports the swap. [Link]
  • Seven people were killed by a car bomb in Afghanistan. [Link]

Israel 

 

  • The Israeli high court upholds a ruling that bars a Human Rights Watch official from the country because of his past support for BDS. [Link]
  • Israel forces shot a Palestinian man dead in the West Bank. [Link]
  • Israel says it killed the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Israel also targeted another member of the group who lived in Damascus. The target in Syria was not killed; however, two people were killed in the Israeli strike. The targeted strikes have started a round of fighting between Israel and Gaza. [Link]
Nov 11, 2019

Will Porter returns to Foreign Policy Focus to discuss his recent work on Assange, Syria, and Yemen. Kyle and Will talk about the dangers of Assange's condition and solitary confinement. Will explains how the formerly US-backed Syrian rebels are now committing crimes against the Syrian Kurds. Will looks at some of the recent developments in Yemen, including more US weapons arriving. 

Will Porter is a staff writer at RT. He has published articles at Consortium News, Antiwar.com, and the Libertarian Institute. 

Links

POGO  - solitary confinement

Will Porter - US weapons in Yemen

Nov 8, 2019

On FPF #416, I discuss tech companies' ties to the military. Tech companies often present themselves as being 'progressive,' and some even have human right statements. Last year, Google employees quit in protest over the company contracting with the Pentagon to provide AI recognition for drones. Google said it would not renew the contract for the program. However, Google now seeks more business with the Pentagon. 

Links

  • Google will continue to contract with the Pentagon. [Link]
  • Two Twitter employees are charged with spying for Saudi Arabia. One employee has been arrested, and the other is in Saudi Arabia. A Saudi citizen has been charged as well. [Link]
  • A State Department official says Russian trolls are to blame for the protests in Chile. [Link] 

IS?

  • An Islamic State affiliate is blamed for an attack near the Tajikistan/Uzbekistan border. Fifteen militants have killed as well as a soldier and a police officer. [Link]

Kashmir

  • At least one person was killed and several injured by a grenade attack in Kashmir. Some of the injured were Indian soldiers. [Link]

Israel

  • The Israeli high court upholds a ruling that bars a Human Rights Watch official from the country because of his past support for BDS. [Link]

Syria

  • Israel says it is providing diplomatic and humanitarian assistance to the Syrian Kurds. [Link]  
  • At least 30 people were killed in fighting between Syrian Kurds and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels. [Link]
  • Syrian government forces are moving into areas near the oil fields the US claims to be controlling. [Link]
  • The State Department says the oil produced from the US-occupied oil fields in Syria is going to local communities. [Link]
  • The US is building two bases in the region of the Syrian oil fields. [Link]

Iraq

  • Protesters blocking an Iraqi port have caused a $6 billion loss in commerce. [Link[ 
  • Iraqi officials say the prime minister has authorized increased violence against protesters. [Link]
  • The UN reports 97 Iraqi protesters have been killed since October 25th. [Link]
  • The backing of Sadr? - SHS w/ Elijah

Africa 

  • Egypt claims to have killed over 80 jihadists in the Sinai over the past month. [Link]
  • Gunmen killed at least 37 people in Burkina Faso. The dead were workers for a Canadian mining company. [Link]
  • The Islamic State claims responsibility for an attack in Mali that killed 53 soldiers and one civilian. [Link]
  • Militants killed ten people in the Congo. The Democratic Republic of the Congo recently launched an offensive against a major rebel group. [Link]
Nov 6, 2019

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]
Nov 1, 2019

Kalmen Barkin joins Foreign Policy Focus to talk about Israeli elections. Israel has now had two elections without picking a new prime minister and it is possible Israel will soon have a third election. The front runners in the election are Netanyahu and Gantz. Kalmen breaks down what is happening in Israel, who the frontrunners are, and what it means for the Palestinians. 

Kalmen Barkin is a New Hampshire based libertarian who spent a significant amount of time in the Israeli right before becoming a libertarian.

Links

Is Netanyahu Finally Going to Lose Power? Does it Even Matter?

Oct 30, 2019

On FPF #413, I discuss the importance of international watchdog groups, the OPCW [chemical weapons] and IAEA [nuclear technology]. Two whistleblowers have come out and exposed lies and misleading information in the OPCW's report on the alleged chemical weapons attack in Douma. One critical report released by a whistleblower showed the suspected scene of the chemical weapons attack was staged. The IAEA just selected a new head that is backed by the US. The IAEA fills important roles like inspecting and certifying the Iran Nuclear Deal. 

Links

Caitlin Johnstone on Douma report

Oct 28, 2019

On FPF #412, I break down the death of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi. Baghdadi is reported to have killed himself - and three of his children - after being cornered by US forces. I discuss what his death means for the future of ISIS. Trump gave a speech announcing Baghdadi's death. I examine some of the highlights from the speech. 

Oct 25, 2019

Phil Gibson returns to the show to talk about Trump's Syria speech and cryptos. Trump said the ceasefire the US created along the Turkish/Syrian border has become permanent and the US is to thank for the new peace in the region. Phil and Kyle explain how other forces are working to stabilize a region that is in part in chaos because of endless American wars. In his speech, Trump signaled his opposition to America being the world policemen and the forever wars. However, he also said some American troops will remain in eastern Syria to guard the oil. 

Oct 23, 2019

On FPF #410, I discuss Hillary Clinton's suggestion that Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian agent out to undermine the DNC by running the third party. In Tulsi's brilliant response, she addressed Hillary as "Queen of the warmongers." Tulsi's decision to take the gloves off and go after Clinton's war hawk record is essential. The conflict could help Tulsi's candidacy and bring her message of 'ending the wars' to the spotlight. 

Links

  • Canada’s president Trudeau wins reelection. [Link]
  • Protests continue in Chile over public transportation. So far, at least 15 people have been killed and 2,600 arrested. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • The Pentagon is drawing up plans to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan. [Link]
  • The Commander of US Forces in Afghanistan says 2,000 troops have left Afghanistan this year. [Link]

Iraq

  • The Iraqi government says US forces leaving Syria have no permission to stay in Iraq. [Link]
  • Six Iraqi security forces were killed by an IS attack in northern Iraq. [Link]
  • A report finds that 157 people were killed during Iraqi protests. Eight of the dead were members of the Iraqi security forces. The report found evidence of security forces targeted protesters with sniper fire. [Link]

Kashmir

Two soldiers and one civilian were killed in clashes between India and Pakistan. [Link] 

Oct 21, 2019

On FPF #409, I cover Assange, Afghanistan, and Syria. Assange's legal team requested an extension on his extradition hearing date. Assange is locked in solitary confinement at a UK prison with limited access to his legal team. 

Secretary of Defense Esper traveled to Afghanistan, possibly on the mission of restarting talks with the Taliban. Esper said the US could reduce US troops levels from 14,000 to 8,600 without impacting counter-terrorism operations. 

The ceasefire continues to hold in northern Syria as some US troops exit Syria into western Iraq. The troops remain in western Iraq to fight ISIS. Trump is now considering keeping 200 troops in eastern Syria to keep oil fields from Assad's control. 

Links

US News

  • Secretary of Energy Rick Perry resigns. Trump nominates Dan Brouillette to replace Perry. 
  • Three US soldiers were killed in a training accident. [Link]
  • US Warships are being built over budget and years beyond the initial project completion date. Even when ships are finished, they often have critical issues that keep them from being ready for combat. [Link]
  • The US imposed sanctions against Cuba for human rights violations and support for Venezuela. The sanctions target Cuba’s access to commercial airlines. [Link]
  • The US extends sanctions waivers for Iraq to import Iranian energy for another 120 days. [Link]
  • CNN reports US weapons sold to the UAE were transferred to southern separatists in Yemen and used against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government. [Link]
  • The US restores aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvidor. The aid was cut because Trump felt these countries were not doing enough to help stop refugees from coming to the US. [Link]
  • The US sent a warship into the Black Sea. This is the 7th US warship to enter the sea this year. Last year the US sent five warships into the Black Sea. [Link]

Assange

  • A UK judge denies Assange’s request to delay his extradition hearing for three months. [Link]

Protests

  • 20 South Korean students were arrested for attempting to enter the US ambassador's home in protest of US troops in South Korea. [Link]
    • The US is reported to have offered North Korea partial sanctions relief in exchange for North Korea getting rid of key parts of its nuclear program. [Link]
  • At least three people have died during protests and riots in Chile. The three deaths are reported to have come in a supermarket arson fire. Police are reported to have shot two protesters. [Link]
  • Lebanon’s prime minister says a deal has been reached for economic reforms. Protesters have been gathered in Lebanon demanding reforms. [Link]
  • Protests continue to Catalonia as the Spanish government has imprisoned the region’s former leadership. The protests have seen over 100 injured a dozen people arrested. The Catalan leadership has now called for a new independence referendum. [Link]

Israel

  • Netanyahu says he cannot form a government. His political rival, Gantz, will now attempt to form a government. [Link]
  • Senator Warren suggests that if she becomes president, she may make Israeli aid conditional on stopping building settlements in the West Bank. [Link]
  • Jared Kushner will travel to Israel at the end of the month to meet with Netanyahu and his main political challenger, Gantz. [Link]
  • Israeli forces shot a Palestinian dead in the West Bank. The man ran at the soldiers with a knife. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • Record 4,000 Killed/Injured July-September. [Link]
  • Sixty-two people were killed in the bombing of a mosque. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. [Link]
  • Secretary of State Mark Esper traveled in Afghanistan in an effort to restart talks with the Taliban. Esper said the US could cut troop levels to 8,600 without impacting counter-terror operations. An administration official said people in the administration did not realize Trump maybe serious about pulling troops out of Afghanistan until he withdrew troops from Syria. [Link] 
  • Secretary of Defense Esper says the US has long-standing commitments to Afghanistan, unlike with the Syrian Kurds. [Link]

Syria 

  • At least some US troops have moved from eastern Syria into western Iraq. [Link]
  • All US troops withdrawing from Syria will go to western Iraq for anti-Islamic State operations. [Link]
  • Trump may keep 200 US soldiers in eastern Syria for anti-Ismalic State operations and to prevent Assad from reclaiming Syrian oil fields. [Link]
  • Erdogan says if all Kurdish forces are not out of the agreed-upon safe zone by Tuesday evening, Turkey will resume the invasion of Syria. [Link]
Oct 18, 2019

On FPF $408, Will Porter returns to the show to update what is happening in Syria. There is a lot of conflicting reports about what is happening in Syria. Will dives into all the rumors and explains what is the actual situation in Syria. 

Will and Kyle discuss Trump's decision to leave Syria. Trump has received nearly universal condemnation from the establishment. However, he did make the correct choice in taking US troops out of harm's way. Will and Kyle look at the bills taken up in Congress that object to Trump's move. 

 

Oct 17, 2019

On FPF #407, I discuss the impact of US weapons is having around the world. In FY2019 the US sold over $54 billion in weapons. Some of those weapons aided the slaughter of Yemen. In a recent article, Stu Smallwood highlights how US F-35 sales to South Korea are harming the Korean peace process. For years, the US gave weapons to the Syrian Kurds. Now, the US-NATO allies Turkey are fighting against the US-armed Syrian Kurds. 

Links

  • The US sold over $54 billion in weapons during the fiscal year 2019. [Link]
  • Spain is seeking to extradite the former Catalan president from Belgium. The Spanish government made two previous requests that were rejected by Belgium. Spain is looking to extradite the president because he held an independence referendum for Catalonia. [Link]
  • Both frontrunners in Afghanistan’s recent presidential election are accused of major voter fraud. [Link]
  • The UN reports 85 civilians were killed in last month’s election. [Link]
  • At least three people were killed by a truck bomb in Afghanistan. [Link]
  • Two US officials say the US carried out a cyberattack against Iran after Saudi oil facilities were attacked on September 14th. [Link]
  • Daniel Larison explains the Yemeni government policy of charging duties at the Port of Aden before ships can dock at the Port of Hodeidah has increased fuel prices by 100%. Larison says this will likely make the cholera outbreak worse. Over 600,000 Yemeni have contracted cholera in 2019. [Link]
  • Saudi forces have taken control over Aden after UAE forces withdrew. [Link]
  • More than 1,000 Palestinians have developed bone infections after being shot by Israeli forces. [Link]
  • Turkey says it will start taking offers on replacements for the F-35. After Turkey bought the S-400 air defense system from Russia, the US blocked F-15 sales to Turkey. [Link]
  • Pompeo and Pence are expected to travel to Turkey to meet with Erdogan. [Link]
  • Turkey says it will retaliate against US sanctions. [Link]
  • Russia is now carrying out patrols to keep Syrian and Turkish forces from clashing near the border. [Link] Trump said he is fine with Russia assisting Assad in Syria. [Link]
  • Turkey’s president said an attack from the Syrian army killed a Turkish soldier. [Link]
  • The US announces it has withdrawn from Manbij. [Link]
  • Italy bans weapons sales to Turkey. [Link]
  • Turkey’s leader Erdogan says he will never declare a ceasefire in northeastern Syria and he is not concerned about US sanctions on Turkey. [Link]
  • A senior Pentagon says the US soldiers assisted Russia in moving through dangerous areas outside of Manbij as the US soldiers were leaving the area. [Link] The Syrian Army took over several bases that were abandoned during the US withdraw. [Link]
  • Senator Graham said the US must remain in Syria so 200 Israeli troops can remain in Syria to combat Iran. [Link]
Oct 14, 2019

Foreign Policy Focus and Around the Empire's latest swapcast covers the borg's meltdown because some US troops are leaving Syria. Joanne and Kyle recap what has happened in the past two weeks in Syria. The US announced pulling some troops from the Turkey/Syria border. In response, Turkey carried out its long-threatened invasion of Syrian Kurdistan. The Syrian Kurds then cut a deal with Assad, brokered by Russia, to move in and prevent the Turkish invasion. Trump finally announced all US troops in northeast Syria are withdrawing. 

The foreign policy establishment has condemned the move by Trump as betraying the Kurds and helping ISIS. The borg has failed to accept any responsibility for the position of the Kurd. It was Obama's establishment-approved Syria policy that created the problem for the Kurds to begin with. 

Oct 9, 2019

On FPF #405, I discuss the country's nearly $1 trillion dollar deficit in 2019. The US war state continues to spend massive amounts of money as the country drowns in debt. I explain that the money on the military is waster and is harming the living standards of Americans. I also look at the role of the FED in hiding the true cost of the war state. 

Show Notes

Out of Money

  • The federal deficit for this year is $984 billion. [Link]
  • The State Department approved $68 billion in weapon sales in 2019. [Link]
  • The UN warns of a huge budget shortfall that may mean employees not getting paid in the coming months. The budget shortage has already delayed some meetings and limited travel. [Link]

US News

  • A Customs agent refused to allow a Defense One writer to enter the US until he said he wrote propaganda. [Link]
  • A key figure in Trump’s maximum pressures policy - Sigal Mandelker - is leaving the administration. [Link]
  • The FBI detained a Russian lawmaker for an hour after she arrived in the US. [Link]

-gates

  • Attorney General Barr has been traveling to other countries in the investigation into the origins of Russiagate. [Link]
  • Trump told former UK Prime Minister Thersa May that he had doubts if Russia was behind the poisoning of the Skripals. [Link]

Europe

  • A US F-16 crashed in Germany. [Link]
  • The US and Grease sign a new defense pact. The US will build a naval and airbase in northeast Greece. [Link]

NK

  • Japan rescued 60 North Korean fishermen after the North Korean fishing ship collided with a Japanese patrol ship. [Link]

Afghanistan 

  • The UN reports the US airstrikes on Afghan drug targets are unlawful. The UN is investigating a strike that caused at least 39 casualties. [Link]

Iraq

  • At least 110 people have been killed during protests in Iraq. Violent protests started last Tuesday. This Tuesday’s night protests had no new reports of deaths. [Link]

Syria

  • Mike Pompeo claims the Iranian oil tanker - that was seized by the UK and then released - sold its oil to Syria. [Link]
  • Syrian Kurds signal they are willing to talk with Assad and Russia about the likely Turkish invasion of northeast Syria. [Link]
  • A Turkish official says Turkish forces with allied Syrian rebels will start to move into northeast Syria. [Link]
  • The Syrian government says it will oppose Turkish aggression into Syria and signaled a willingness to talk with the Kurds. [Link]
  • Daniel Davis
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