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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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Now displaying: November, 2019

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.

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?

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