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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.

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. 

Dec 30, 2019

On FPF #436, I do the second half of my end of year wrap up. I continue to ask if American foreign policy has made Americans safer. I look at the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. In all cases, the wars led by the war party are making us less safe. 

Dec 27, 2019

On FPF #435, I discuss how Trump's foreign policy has been unsuccessful and made Americans less safe in 2019. I break down Trump's 2019 policy in Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Trump has moved the world away from arms control and towards more war. 

Dec 25, 2019

On FPF #434, I update the most important news of the last week. I discuss Kim's upcoming end of year deadline and what could happen if the US fails to engage North Korea in meaningful talks. Trump signed the 2020 NDAA this week. The bill will sanction European energy projects like the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. In Libya, regional powers continue to escalate the civil war. 

Links

  • Senator Rand Paul airs his Festivus grievances. Including the US spending $22 million on Serbian cheese and $700,000 on smoking fish. [Link]
  • Trump signs the 2020 NDAA. [Link]
  • A judge's ruling will allow the US government to seize the money Snowden has made from his book. [Link]
  • Daniel Larison explains the Trump travel ban continues to ruin peoples’ lives. [Link]
  • ICE is using contractors to detect and arrest illegal immigrants on social media. [Link]
  • At least 61 soldiers stationed at a base in Uzbekistan in the early days of the Afghanistan War are suffering or have died from cancer. The vets are struggling to get care from the VA. [Link] 
  • Russia extends American Paul Wheelen’s detention another three months. Wheelen is accused of espionage by Russia. [Link]
  • Russia and Ukraine come to an agreement on the amount Ukraine will change Russia to transit gas through Ukraine to the rest of Europe. [Link]
  • Russia officially opens a rail route from Russia’s two largest cities to Crimea. [Link]
  • Russia’s foreign minister says the Nord Stream 2 and Turkstream pipeline will be completed despite US sanctions. [Link]
  • Russia says it is willing to include its new hypersonic nuclear missiles in a renewal of New Start. [Link]
  • The US and South Korea carry out military drills simulating capturing high value North Korean targets. [Link]
  • The Indian government will conduct a census in 2020. [Link]
  • At least 13 people have been killed during protests in India. Muslims are protesting a law that discriminates against Muslims by granting citizenship to non-Muslims who live in India. [Link]
  • The Taliban kill 15 Afghan government forces in an attack. [Link]
  • The Independent Election Commission claims that Afghanistan’s President Ghani won with just over 50% of the vote in the September 28th election. The result is only a preliminary and contested by the second-place finisher. [Link]
  • Afghan officials say a runoff in September elections is likely. Preliminary results show Afghanistan’s president won reelection with a narrow majority. Thousands of election complaints have already been filed, that will dip his vote total below 50%. [Link]
  • Taliban elders agree to a short term ceasefire that will take effect once a deal with the US has been finalized. [Link]
  • The Taliban kill a US soldier in northern Afghanistan. [Link]
  • Iran reopens part of its AROK nuclear reactor in compliance with the JCPOA. [Link]
  • Iran, Malaysia, Tukrey, and Qatar agree to trade more and discuss the possibility of trading in gold. [Link]
  • The bomb sniffing dogs the US sends for foreign countries are subject to mistreatment, leading to death. Ten percent of the dogs sent to Jordan died and ten dogs sent to Egypt died. [Link]
  • As Assad’s forces advance on the last major al-Qaeda holdout in Syria, 10,000s of Syrians are fleeing into Turkey. [Link]
  • The opposition in Syria fired rockets at Syria’s oil refinery in Homs, causing minor damage. [Link]
  • Twitter permanently suspends 10,000s of accounts associated with a Saudi man accused by the US of spying. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia sentenced five people to death and three to long prison sentences for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The court ruled it was not a premeditated decision. A top adviser to de facto ruler MbS was not among the punished. Evidence suggests MbS was involved in the planning of the murder. [Link]
  • Iraq’s parliament passed a new election law. Under the new law, voters can choose individual members of parliament. Previously, Iraqis could only choose off party lists. [Link]
  • Two Iraqi soldiers were killed by a car bomb. [Link]
  • Warring parties in Yemen exchange 135 POWs. [Link]
  • Twelve aid agencies withdrew from a Yemeni town after their offices came under attack by unknown militants. [Link]
  • A car bomb kills seven civilians in Somalia. [Link]
  • Haftar’s forces seize a ship with a Turkish crew off of Libya’s coast. [Link]
  • Haftar’s government claims that Turkey is moving military equipment into Libya with civilian aircraft. It warned it could shoot down civilian plans with military equipment. [Link]
  • Turkey’s parliament recognizes an agreement with Libya’s UN-backed government that allows Turkey to deploy forces to Libya. [Link]
  • Israel announces its opposition to Turkey and Libya’s eastern Mediterranean agreement. [Link]
  • The US will create an Envoy to Combat Terrorism in Sahel region of Africa. The envoy will coordinate with the intelligence community, State Department, and Pentagon to ramp up the fight against Islamist groups in the Sahel. [Link]
Dec 23, 2019

I invited Sam Jacobs on the show to discuss the dark history of the ATF. Sam has a recent article covers the ATF gun-walking operations know as 'Fast and Furious.' Sam explains how the program provided arms to deadly cartels. The weapons were used to kill many Mexicans and a US border agent. Sam covers the ATF murders a Ruby Ridge. During the standoff, AFT's incompetence and blood lust led to a 14-year old boy and an innocent woman to be gunned down. 

Sam Jacobs is the lead writer and chief historian at Ammo.com. Work from Ammo.com's Resistance Library has been featured by USA Today, Reason, Bloomberg's Business Week, Zero Hedge, The Guardian, and National Review as well as many other prominent news and alt-news publications.

Links

Ammo.com - Podcast

Ammo.com - Fast and Furious

Ammo.com - Ruby Ridge

Dec 20, 2019

On FPF #432, I explain my view that the Democrats' case for impeaching Trump is very weak. The House passed two articles of impeachment this week, although House leadership is now preventing those from going to the Senate. While everyone is distracted with these potential minor crimes committed by Trump, there are major news stories breaking around the world. I cover several of those stories in the second half of the show. Many of those stories are about actual serious crimes Trump is committing. 

Links

NDAA

  • The 2020 NDAA requires the DNI to release a report on who is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. [Link]
  • The Senate passes the 2020 NDAA. [Link]
  • Germany believes sanctions passed in the 2020 NDAA could impact their work on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. However, the sanctions include a 30 day “cool down” period, and Germany may be able to complete the pipeline during that time. [Link]
  • The US national debt increased by $1.2 trillion in 2019. [Link]
  • Both houses of Congress introduce bills to push Trump towards renewing New Start. [Link]

Korea

  • South Korean and the US were unable to make a deal about South Korea’s payment for US troops deployed to South Korea. South Korea is willing to pay $1 billion a year, the US is demanding $5 billion. [Link]
  • DefSec Esper says the US expects North Korea to carry out more weapons tests. [Link]
  • Russia and China call for some sanctions to be lifted on North Korea. The US says now is not the time to lift sanctions. [Link]

South America

  • Venezuelan children are facing increasingly worse malnutrition. [Link]
  • The Trump administration is considering ramping up the pressure on Venezuela. This could include an oil blockade. [Link]
  • Trump voices support for the coup government in Bolivia. [Link]
  • Bolivia’s coup government issues an arrest warrant for the former president Morales. Morales is now a refugee in Argentina. [Link]

Europe

  • NATO receives its second of five Global Hawk spy drones. It hops to have all drones by 2022. The drones cost $1.5 billion and were expected to be delivered by 2017. [Link]
  • Spain’s high court finds the leader of Catalonia guilty of disobedience. [Link]
  • Germany says it will not retaliate against the US for sanctions in the NDAA that target the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. [Link]
  • The US removes sanctions of Latvia's second-largest port. The Latvian government seized the port after the US sanctioned Aivars Lembergs. [Link]

India

  • Protests are spreading in India against a proposed law that would grant citizenship to non-muslims from neighboring countries living in India. [Link]
  • The Pentagon is dismissing the Afghanistan Papers. [Link]
  • Ten members of a Afghan family were killed when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb. [Link]

Middle East

  • An Israeli power company is cutting power to some areas of the West Bank for three hours a day over a Palestinian electric company not making debt payments. [Link]
  • Israel bars Gazan Christians from visiting holy sites in Israel and the West Bank this year. [Link]
  • The Qatari foreign minister says the stalemate between Qatar and the GCC has been broken. [Link]
  • Saudi Arabia launches a $1.5 million lobby effort in the US. [Link]
  • Secretary of Treasury Munchin said Iran’s attack on Saudi oil infrastructure was an attack on the world economy. [Link]
  • In a move likely aimed at pleasing Turkey, the State Department says Trump will not recognize the Armenian Genocide. [Link]
  • In the first half of 2020, the US State Department will cut about 130 people from its embassy in Erbil. [Link]
  • Secretary of Defense Esper calls on Iraq to stop attacks on bases that house US soldiers. [Link]
  • Despite a ceasefire agreement in 2018, 799 civilians have been killed in the city of Hodeida in 2019. [Link]
  • The Houthi and Yemeni government will meet for two day talks about Hodeidah this week. The UN is backing the talks and the hope is allowing more humanitarian goods to enter the port at Hodeidah. [Link]

Africa

  • A US airstrike killed one person in Somalia. The US claims that the person was a member of al-Shabaab. The airstrike was at least the US 60th in Somalia this year. [Link]
  • Turkey will deploy military forces to a base somewhere in Libya. [Link]
  • Haftar’s army is advancing on Tripoli. Libya’s capital city is held by the UN-recognized government. [Link]
  • Boko Haram militants killed 14 civilians in Chad. [Link]
  • Islamist militants in Nigeria killed four humanitarian workers who have been held hostage for several months. [Link]
  • Militants in the Congo killed 22 civilians. Militants have killed over 150 people since the government began a crackdown on the militants on October 30th. [Link]
  • Ebola cases are on the rise after treatment centers were attacked and shut down. Over 2,200 people have died during the outbreak. [Link]
  • Sudan’s former president Bashir has been sentenced to two years in a reform facility for corruption. [Link]
Dec 18, 2019

Mike Maharrey returns to FPF to discuss Defend the Guard. Defend the Guard is a bill introduced at the state level that prevents the federal government from using National Guard troops in undeclared forever wars. The movement is growing as more states will consider the bill in 2020. Mike explains how you can help bring Defend the Guard to your state. 

Mike Maharrey is the author of Our Last Hope. He is the host of the Thoughts from Maharrey Head podcast and the Friday Gold Wrap. Mike is the managing editor at Schiff Gold and the communications director at The Tenth Amendment Center

Links

Bring Defend the Guard to your state

Dec 16, 2019

On FPF #430, I discuss the 2020 NDAA. The bill is filled with funding and approval for more war. An earlier version of the bill actually provided some limitations on the president's war-making powers. However, it was stripped out during the conference committee. I break down my own article about the 2020 NDAA on the show. 

Dec 13, 2019

On FPF #429, I discuss the Afghanistan Papers. The large cache of documents were released by the Washington Post via FOIA. The papers show the successive White House administrations and Pentagon generals knew the Afghan War was unwinnable but continued to send Americans to Afghanistan to kill and be killed. 

Links

Scott Horton Show - Sjursen, Hoh, and Davis

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]
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