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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: January, 2020

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.

Jan 31, 2020

On FPF #449, I cover some of the details of Trump's "Deal of the Century" and explain why it is meant to be rejected by the Palestinians. While Trump claims the deal creates a Palestinian State, the deal actually gives limited autonomy to a collection of several small, disconnected areas that will be called Palestine. The Palestinians will not have a military and minimal border crossings. For these reasons - and many more - the Palestinians denounced the peace plan. I argue the point of the plan was for the Palestinians to reject it, so Israel will have the excuse to continue the occupation and theft of Palestinian land. 

Links

Kelley Vlahos - Foreign funding for think tanks

Reuters - Netanyahu V Trump

Defense One - Lockheed record sales

Jan 29, 2020

On FPF #448, I discuss several news stories that are being ignored as the media obsessively covers impeachment. In Afghanistan, a US plane was downed and the UN announced it needs to provide basic aid to an additional three million Afghans this year. The US Embassy in Baghdad was hit with a rocket. The Iraqi security force continues to kill protesters. Many of the protesters are demanding American forces leave. Trump announced his Isreal/Palestine "Deal of the Century." The deal appears DOA as it fails to meet even basic Palestinian demands. 

Links

Daniel Larison on New Start

Jan 24, 2020

On FPF #447, I discuss the Democrats push to demonize Russia in a failing attempt to impeach Trump. Rep Adam Schiff has led with Cold War rhetoric to try to pump up a lacking case. The narrative the Democrats are pushing forward against Trump is dishonest and dangerous. Fanning the flames of Russiagate will lead to a potential war and more of our tax dollars wasted. 

Links

Daniel Lazare on Impeachment

Jan 22, 2020

On FPF #446, I discuss the US continuing to push Juan Guaido's failed coup attempt against Maduro. Nearly a year ago, Guaido declared himself president of Venezuela with the backing of the US. He claimed this authority from his position as the leader of a legislative body. Gaudio lost his position in the congress and seemingly his claim to the presidency. However, Secretary of State Pompeo recently said the US would continue to support Guaido and announced more sanctions against Venezuela. 

Jan 20, 2020

On FPF #445, I debunk lies about North Korea and Iran. On North Korea, the blob often claims the US must take an aggressive position on  North Korea because of North Korean nuclear weapons. I explain how the North Korean nuclear weapon program is a reaction to America's hostile policy towards North Korea. The war state is also pushing the claim that Iran is getting closer to a nuclear weapon. Iran continues to be inspected by the IAEA and does not have a nuclear weapons program. 

Jan 17, 2020

On FPF #444, I discuss the Congressional hearing of the Inspector General for the Afghan War. During his testimony, he said US officials have a "disincentive" to tell the truth about the situation in Afghanistan, and we have created a situation that basically requires people to lie. The lies being told about Afghanistan ensure the US will not leave the country after nearly two decades, and Americans do not know the war has long been lost. So we will continue to send our money and children to Afghanistan to be wasted. 

Jan 15, 2020

On FPF #443, I discuss the fallout of the Soleimani assassination and the lies the Trump administration is telling. Trump and his team have had to walk back all their claims that Soleimani was an imminent threat. Now, Pompeo has claimed the decision was made to establish real deterrence over Iran. The Iraqi government is now pushing the American forces to leave, but the US is refusing to listen. Protesters have taken to the street in Iran to protest their government after a Ukrainian flight was shot down by the Iranian military. 

Jan 13, 2020

Will Porter returns to Foreign Policy Focus to talk about Trump's 'maximum pressure' strategy. Will covers the recent news that Iran shot down the Ukrainian civilian flight, killing 176 people. Will and Kyle explain how Trump's maximum pressure against Iran created the tensions leading to the deadly event. Will and Kyle breakdown their recent article Maximum Failure: Trump’s Convulsive North Korea Strategy Can’t Bring Kim to the Table. The article explains how Trump squandered his opportunity to bring peace to North Korea with maximum pressure and poor staffing decisions. 

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

Jan 10, 2020

On FPF #441, I cover the assassination of Soleimani and the subsequent Iranian missile attack. The Iranian missile attack did not kill anyone, and that appears to have been the Iranian intention. The symbolic response to Trump's act of war, allowed Trump to back away from the brink of a shooting war with Iran. However, I argue it is incorrect to believe Trump is a strategic mastermind playing 3D chess. Heightened tensions with Iran only exist because Trump withdrew from the Nuclear Deal and started an unprovoked economic war against Iran. The US economic war put the US and Iran on the path to a shooting war, and the US will remain on that path until it abandons sanctions. 

Links

Maximum Failure by Will Porter and Kyle Anzalone

  • Trump addresses the nation on the Iranian missile attack against Iraqi bases housing US soldiers. Trump says it appears Iran is standing down and no Americans were injured or killed. [Link] In his address, Trump said he is placing powerful new sanctions on Iran. [Link] Rand Paul said the Trump invoking Congressional authority given in 2002 to assassinate Soleimani is absurd. [Link]
  • Senator Mike Lee bashes the Trump admin’s briefing on the Soleimani assassination saying, “probably the worst briefing at least on a military issues I’ve ever seen.” [Link]
  • The House will vote on a War Powers Resolution this week that condemns Trump’s assassination of Soleimani and emphasizes that Congress has not given the president authority for war with Iran. The White House is dismissing the resolution as not constraining the president’s authority to start a war with Iran. [Link]
  • Vice President Pence said the US has received intelligence that Iran instructed Shia militias not to attack US forces. [Link]
  • China says it shares highly similar views with Russia on the Middle East. [Link]
  • Iraq’s Prime Minister received a verbal notification from Iran that Iran was going to carry out a missile attack on two Iraqi bases before the bases were hit. He then informed the Americans of the coming attack. [Link]
  • Some Iraqi leaders, with ties to Iran, respond to the missile attack by saying Iran had a right to respond. [Link]
  • The Iraqi military say none of its forces were wounded or killed by the missile attack. [Link]
  • Satellite photos show the damage done to two Iraqi bases hit with Iranian missiles. [Link]
  • Trump responded to the missile strikes in a tweet that said “all is well.” [Link]
  • After the Iranian missile attack, the Iranian government put out several statements saying it will respond if the US strikes back. The Iranian statements were similar to statements made by the US government after the assassination of Soleimani. [Link]
  • Influential Iraqi Shia Cleric Sadr calls on Shia militias to stand down while the US and Iran work towards de-escalation. [Link]
  • Congressman Duncan Hunter announces he will resign his seat on January 13th. [Link]
  • In December of 2018, two US warplanes collided during a training mission, killing six. The initial report on the issue pointed out problems of soldiers at low ranking levels like drug use and affairs. However, the squadron of F-18s had frequently reported to the chain of command problems with the planes. The squadron did not have enough parts for their planes and pilots could not get enough flight time. [Link]
  • A plane crashed in Iran shortly after taking off. The plane was a Boeing 737-800 owned by a Ukrainian airline. The plane was scheduled to travel to Ukraine and was mostly carrying Iranian, Ukrainian, and Canadian passengers. [Link]
  • Spain has imprisoned several Catalan leaders who held an independence vote in 2017. One of those imprisoned is also a member of the European Parliament. As a member of Parliament, he should have immunity. However, the Spanish high court says he will not be released. [Link]
  • Protesters in Vietnam attacked a military base with hand grenades and petrol bombs. Three police officers and one protester was killed. [Link]
  • Two Afghan pilots were killed when their military helicopter crashed. [Link]
  • Four Turkish soldiers were killed by a car bomb in northeast Syria. [Link]
  • Al-Shabaab kills three people in Mogadishu with a car bomb. [Link]
  • Turkey and Russia issue a statement calling for a ceasefire in Libya starting January 12th. Turkey and Russia back opposite sides in the Libyan War. [Link]
  • The US sanctioned South Sudan’s vice president. [Link]
  • Militants dressed as soldiers entered a Nigerian town. Then killed all the soldiers and destroyed 750 homes. [Link]
  • Eighteen UN Peacekeepers were wounded by a rocket attack in Mali. [Link]
Jan 8, 2020

On FPF #440, I cover all the breaking news from Iraq, including Iran's missile attack on the al-Asad Airbase in Iraq. The attack was a response to the US assassination of Soleimani. The assassination has provoked moves by several actors. US and allies are moving troops in and out of Iraq. The Iraqi government voted to kick Americans out of Iraq. Trump took to Twitter to make several threats of what would happen if Iran responded by harming American interests. 

Links

Around the Empire - Elijah Magnier

Soleimani Update

  • Trump said Soleimani was killed because he had killed Americans and planned to kill more. After the killing of Soleimani, Secretary of State Pompeo said the US carried out the attack to prevent an inanimate attack that endangered 100s of US soldiers. Pompeo said the US  is committed to de-escalation. [Link]
  • Daniel Larison explains the Trump admin’s intelligence that Soleimani presented an imminent threat to Americans. The legal authority for the strike is very thin. [Link]
  • The Department of Homeland Security says there are no credible threats to the US homeland. [Link]
  • Iran says Soleimani was in Iraq to give a message to Saudi Arabia. Saudi and Iran have been working through Iraqi back channels to reduce tensions. [Link]
  • Iran names the Quds Force deputy Esmail Ghaani to replace Soleimani as the head of the Quds force. [Link]
  • Iran said it will retaliate against the US for the killing of Soleimani. [Link]
  • Iran says it will no longer abide by the limits set in the Nuclear Deal. The US withdrew from the deal in May of 2018, and at the time, Iran was still complying with the deal. After the US left the deal and reimposed sanctions on Iran, Iran has stepped back from its commitments to the deal. Iran will continue to allow IAEA inspections of its facilities. [Link]
  • The US urges all citizens to leave Iraq. [Link]
  • US oil workers in southern Iraq are leaving the country following the US assassination of Soleimani. [Link]
  • The US will deploy about 3,500 paratroopers to the Middle East. [Link] The US will also deploy a task force of Army Rangers. [Link]
  • The US deploys six B-52 bombers to Deigo Garcia. The US deployed B-52s to May and those returned to the US a few months after. [Link]
  • Germany is moving 30 of its 120 soldiers deployed to Iraq to Jordan or Kuwait. [Link]
  • The US will designate the Iraqi Shia militia Asaib Ahl al-Haq a terror group. [Link]
  • The US-led coalition fighting the US says its new mission is to protest coalition forces. [Link] The coalition has also paused the training of Iraqi forces. [Link]
  • Trump threatens to strike 52 Iranian targets if Iran responds to the American assassination of Soleimani. [Link]
  • Secretary of Defense Esper suggests the Pentagon may not follow Trump’s order to commit war crimes and target Iranian cultural sites. [Link]
  • Trump ‘informs’ Congress through Twitter that if Iran targets Americans he will strike back, even with disproportionate force. [Link]
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says the House will vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit Trump’s war-making abilities against Iran. [Link]
  • Trump gives a report to Congress on the operation and decision to assassinate Soleimani. The entire document is classified. [Link] NATO suspended the training of Iraqi forces. [Link]
  • Americans respond to the assassination with protests in cities across the country. [Link]
  • On Saturday, several reports of rockets hitting Iraqi bases and various sites around Baghdad. [Link]
  • Three Rockets hit Baghdad on Sunday. [Link]
  • Iraq’s prime minister - along with most other high rankings and influential Shia Iraqis - condemn the assassination of Soleimani. [Link]
  • Iraq's parliament passed a resolution that calls for working to have the withdrawal of all foreign forces. The resolution targets the US. Iraq’s Prime Minister - who is in a caretaker’s role - said he is working on a plan to expel all foreign troops. [Link] In response to the resolution, Trump says the US will not leave Iraq until Iraq pay the US for military infrastructure the US built. Trump says he can force the Iraqis to pay through sanctions. [Link]
  • A leaked Department of Defense memo to Iraq appeared to suggest the US was withdrawing from Iraq. Esper said the memo was poorly worded and incorrect. The memo was informing the Iraqi government of increased US troop movements in Iraq. [Link]

Kenya

  • Al-Shabaab carries out an attack on a Kenyan military base that houses US forces. [Link]
  • One US soldier and two Department of Defense contractors were killed in the attack. [Link]
  • The US has deployed additional forces to Kenya to increase security. Al-Shabaab carried out an attack on a telecommunications mast. Four civilians were killed in the attack. [Link]

Libya

  • Turkey will begin deploying forces to support Libya’s UN-recognized government, the Government of National Accord. The government's military was attacked by the Libyan National Army on Saturday, killing 33. [Link]
  • The Libyan National Army is advancing on the city of Sirte. The Government of National Accord has held Sirte since it was liberated from the Islamic State with the help of US airpower in 2016. The LNA claims to control the city. [Link]

Sahel

  • Fourteen people died when a bus of students hit an explosive device in Burkina Faso It is unclear who planted the explosive device. [Link]
  • At least 30 people were killed when a bomb exploded on a bridge in Nigeria. [Link]
Jan 4, 2020

Scott Horton returns to Foreign Policy Focus to cover the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Force. Scott discusses the importance of Soleimani and why his killing could spark more conflict in the Middle East. He then debunks the claims coming out of the Trump admin that Soleimani killed 100s of Americans and Iran was behind 9/11. Kyle and Scott review key points of the Iraq War to explain how Iran - and Soleimani - became so influential in Iraq. 

Links

Jan 3, 2020

On FPF #438, I talk about the torture of Chelsea Manning. Chelsea heroically leaked to Wikileaks the Afghan war logs, Iraq War documents, and State Department cables that revealed US war crimes. Chelsea was given 35 years for liberating the documents. She spent the first two years of her sentence mostly in solitary confinement.

After allowing Chelsea to rot in prison for seven years, Obama finally granted her clemency at the end term. However, the Trump Administration is aggressively attempting to turn journalism into a crime by prosecuting Julian Assange for publishing the documents Manning gave to him. Chelsea was ordered to testify in Assange's case, but she has ignored the Grand Jury and refused to testify. As a punishment, she has been thrown in jail without charges. She has now spent most of 2019 behind bars, and 2020 looks like more of the same. The UN Special Rapporteur for Torture just released a report showing Manning prison stay is tantamount to torture. 

Links

  • The UN Specia Rapprator for torture says Chelsea Manning is being tortured. [Link]
  • The Army determined that the app Tic Tok is a security threat and banned soldiers from using it. The Chinese made app was previously used by the Army to effectively recruit from Generation Z. [Link]
  • Kim Jong-un announced North Korea is no longer bound by any self-imposed moratoriums on nuclear program testing. Kim has warned since April North Korea will leave the unofficial ‘freeze for freeze’ status North Korea and the US engaged in since the 2018 Olympic games. Kim says North Korea will release a new weapon soon. [Link]
  • Gold Star families are suing several defense contractors that operated in Afghanistan. 
  • Netanyahu seeks immunity from the corruption he is facing. Netanyahu needs majority support in parliament to receive immunity. [Link]
  • The Syrian Observatory for human rights reports just over 11,000 Syrians were killed in 2019. The dead includes 3,500 civilians. This is the lowest total since the war in Syria broke out. [Link]
  • Protests resumed on New Year’s Day. Protests subsided after the Shia militia leadership called for protests to end. [Link]
  • DefSec Esper says the US deployed more forces to protect the US Embassy in Iraq. [Link] The forces include 100 additional Marines at the embassy and 750 paratroopers in the region. [Link] Reports say the US is preparing to deploy another 4,000 troops to the Middle East. [Link]
  • Secretary of Defense Esper said the US sees signs Iran or a proxy is preparing another attack against the US. Esper said the US would take preemptive action to prevent an attack. [Link]
Jan 1, 2020

On FPF #437, I discuss Iraqi protesters breaking into the US Embassy in Baghdad. The protesters took to the street outside of the embassy in response to US airstrikes on an Iraqi militia. The US claims the strikes targeted an Iranian backed militia that had attacked an Iraqi military base. However, the US has not provided any evidence for this claim. The Iraqi government has called the strike a breach of their sovereignty. I explain how this will likely power Iran. 

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