As the chants broke out ‘send her back’; the US President momentarily paused – briefly — for- added effect to the verbal ‘attacks’ of the black American-Somali Congresswoman.
There was no room for mistakes, mishaps or misinterpretation – the whole thing was heavily scripted with the leader of the ‘free world’sticking to it with the aid of a telempropter like glue. And it worked.
Earlier during the day Trump said he was ‘cherishing’ and ‘enjoying’ the race war he wged against 4 black congresswomen – ‘The Squad’.
BRUSSELS — With strong memories of the last catastrophic war in Iraq, Europeans are united in opposing what many consider the United States’ effort to provoke Iran into a shooting war. Yet, despite the strains in trans-Atlantic relations in the Trump years, flat-out opposition to Washington remains an uncomfortable place for European nations.
Initially, not even pro-American Britain would go along with the Trump administration, with officials defending a senior British general in the coalition fighting the Islamic State who said that there was no enhanced threat from Iran in Iraq and Syria.
The Pentagon has reportedly drawn up a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if President Trump decides to take military action against Iran. The New York Times reports the Pentagon presented the proposal on Thursday after National Security Advisor John Bolton requested a revision to an earlier plan. Bolton has long advocated for attacking Iran. According to the Pentagon, far more than 120,000 troops would be needed if a ground invasion was ordered. This comes as tension continues to escalate between the United States and Iran. The United States recently deployed the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the region claiming there was a “credible threat by Iranian regime forces.” Iran has announced it will stop complying with parts of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and resume high-level enrichment of uranium in 60 days if other signatories of the deal do not take action to shield Iran’s oil and banking sectors from U.S. sanctions. The U.S. has attempted to cut Iran off from the global economy, even though Iran has remained in compliance with the nuclear deal. We speak with Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a Middle East Security and Nuclear Policy Specialist at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He served as spokesperson for Iran in its nuclear negotiations with the European Union from 2003 to 2005.
But that brought an American rebuttal, and soon the Europeans, reluctant to confront Washington directly, softened the criticism. Britain officially rowed back, saying that it now agreed with the Americans, while Germany and the Netherlands suspended their troop training in Iraq, citing the American warnings. (Germany subsequently said it was planning to resume the training exercises.)
Window dressing aside, however, there was little doubt about where the Europeans stood on the Iran issue.
“Every single European government believes that the increased threat we’re seeing from Iran now is a reaction to the United States leaving the Iran nuclear agreement and trying to force Iranian capitulation on other issues,” said Kori Schake, a former Pentagon official who is now deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“They believe that the U.S. is the provocateur and they worry that the U.S. is reacting so stridently to predictable Iranian actions in order to provide a pretext for a U.S. attack on Iran,” Ms. Schake said.
European government officials say they believe that Mr. Trump does not want a major war in the Middle East. But they also believe that his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, does.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
It is a far cry from the debate preceding the 2003 Iraq war, which “split Europe in two,” said Tomas Valasek, the director of Carnegie Europe and a former Slovak ambassador to NATO. “This is a case of all European governments saying to Washington that this is insane, we shouldn’t be here, and it’s your fault that we’re actually talking of war.”
For a supporter of the trans-Atlantic relationship, he added, “the last thing you want to do is unify Europe on an anti-American basis, and that’s what Trump” and his national security adviser, John R. Bolton, have done.
Senior European government officials say they believe that Mr. Trump, as he said on Thursday, does not want a major war in the Middle East. But they also believe that Mr. Bolton does. They often cite a New York Times opinion article by Mr. Bolton in 2015, when he was out of office, entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”
And European officials are baffled by Mr. Trump’s insistence that he simply wants to force Iran into new negotiations. Why, they say, would Tehran, whose supreme leader regards Washington as duplicitous in any event, concede or even value any deal done with the president who just abandoned a nuclear deal so painfully negotiated with the last American president?
“Why would they trust us now after Trump pulled the plug on the last thing they negotiated with Washington?” Ms. Schake said.
The public position of European officials has been to urge “maximum restraint,” as the European foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, put it. That was a riposte to Washington’s stated policy of “maximum pressure” on Tehran, including punishing economic sanctions designed to block its international trade, especially in oil, on which the economy depends.
Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, speaking this week to a government audience. European leaders wonder why President Trump believes the Iranians can be pressured into new talks.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images
Muslim pilgrims walk out after the Friday prayer at the Grand mosque ahead of annual Hajj pilgrimage in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 17, 2018. Image: REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
“This is the first time I see the Grand Mosque and the Kaaba. It is the best feeling of my life to be able to perform the hajj,” said Mostafa, 50, as he looked at the cube-shaped structure towards which Muslims turn in prayer five times a day.
The accountant traveled to Saudi Arabia from Turkey where he has lived for five years since fleeing Aleppo in Syria. “War destroys everything … Life in Turkey is hard and I barely earn enough.”
But he was able to join about 2 million Muslims, including 1.68 million from abroad, flooding Mecca’s narrow streets for the annual rite which starts on Sunday.
Nayef Ahmed, 37, told Reuters that in order to afford the hajj he had to sell a plot of land in Yemen, which is embroiled in a three-year proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“Because of the war the prices are very high. But being here I feel comfort and peace and I pray to God for the war to end.”
Arab Israelis in Saudi trial for alleged plot to attack hajj
Two Arab Israelis went on trial in Saudi Arabia on Monday for allegedly plotting an attack during the Muslim hajj pilgrimage, according to the charge.
Saudi Arabia stakes its reputation on its guardianship of Islam’s holiest sites and organising a peaceful hajj, which has been marred in the past by deadly stampedes, fires and riots.
The interior ministry has put in place measures to confront any security threat from militant attacks to political protests, but no specific threats have been detected, a spokesman said.
“We will prevent any actions that are not part of the hajj ritual and any act that may impact the safety of pilgrims or their ability to perform the rite,” Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour Turki told Reuters.
Every able-bodied Muslim who has the means should perform the hajj at least once in their lifetime under a quota system.
“I came for umrah (minor pilgrimage) in 2007 and today after 10 years of registering and waiting, I am here,” said Najwa, 59, from Tunisia. “I cannot describe the feeling. I cry every day.”
The hajj itinerary retraces the route Prophet Mohammad took 14 centuries ago. Saudi Arabia has made use of technology to manage the flow of millions at the same place at the same time.
Iran pilgrims make return to hajj with bitter memories
Reza from Iran is torn between the joy of taking part in this year’s annual hajj pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites and bitter memories of the 2015 …
11 months ago
This includes electronic identification bracelets, connected to GPS, that were introduced after a 2015 crush killed hundreds.
“There is a comprehensive electronic agenda for every pilgrim and we have provided many apps that offer guidance,” Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammed Bintin told Reuters.
“We have a fleet of more than 18,000 buses, all of them linked to a control system that tracks their path.”
He said a high speed railway between Mecca and Medina had been completed and was being now being tested.
Pilgrimage is the backbone of a plan to expand tourism under a drive to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil. The hajj and year-round umrah generate billions of dollars in revenues from worshippers’ lodging, transport, fees and gifts.
Officials aim to increase the number of umrah and hajj pilgrims to 15 million and 5 million respectively by 2020, and hope to double the umrah number again to 30 million by 2030.
Rohingya Muslims, who fled the massacre of Chut Pyin in Myanmar, tell Campbell MacDiarmid of their battle for dignity
A young Rohingya refugee in a camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, August 11 2018. Campbell MacDiarmid for The National
bY CAMPBELL MAcDIARMID ~~It was once called the Village of Bitter Gourds for the vegetables that residents grow in Chut Pyin. As well as the gourds, the lush fields around their homes in northern Rakhine State produced a profusion of rice, pumpkins and okra.
But last year, the rice paddies of Chut Pyin became killing fields, as Myanmar soldiers and Buddhist extremists carried out a brutal massacre of the Rohingya villagers. On August 26, nearly 400 of them were killed and the village razed, while those who survived fled on foot across the border into neighbouring Bangladesh. The bitter gourds of Chut Pyin were supplanted by bitter memories for the more than 1,000 odd people to whom that bountiful home is just a memory.
Mohammad Haror, six, left, embraces his brother Mohmmad Aktar, fourIMAGE: REX FEATURES
Instead, 12 months on, the villagers live in a tight cluster of tarpaulin and bamboo huts atop a small hillock in the Kutupalong-Balukhali Refugee Camp.
“You won’t find anyone around here who didn’t lose at least one family member,” says Mohammed Sadiq, a grey-haired farmer in a white skull cap, whose granddaughter and daughter-in-law were both killed.
Of the 1,400 Rohingya who lived in Chut Pyin, 358 were killed and another 94 were wounded, according to Ahammed Hossain, who was once the village foreman.
According to Mr Hossain, a boyish 25-year-old who wears a T shirt emblazoned with the white sign of the Hollywood hills, a further 59 men were detained by Myanmar soldiers and have not been released. At least 19 women were savagely raped. He recounted how he found his own sister dying in the bushes after being raped and shot.
“I couldn’t save her,” he says flatly. His father and brother were also killed, he added, the numbness of loss palpable in his voice.
The massacre at Chut Pyin – which has been documented and corroborated by various international rights groups – became the most notorious example of the Myanmar government’s campaign to expel the ethnic minority Rohingya from its lands, and precipitate a mass exodus of refugees into Bangladesh.
Today, as Bangladesh and Myanmar discuss the return of refugees, the villagers of Chut Pyin hold up their experience as evidence of why greater international involvement is needed to protect the rights of Rohingya Muslims.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith has defended Boris Johnson after he compared women in burkas to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.
Fellow Brexiteer Duncan Smith said there was not anything “particularly wrong” with comments the ex-foreign secretary, who faces an investigation by the Conservative Party, made about Muslim women in a Sunday Telegraph article.
He said people “may not agree with the tone or the jokes” made in the article, but that Johnson was exercise his “freedom of speech” and was defending the government line not to ban the burka, as Denmark has done.
Numerous leading Muslim figures, including Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, have condemned Johnson’s use of language.
One hundred Muslim women who wear a burka or niqab have written to Tory chairman Brandon Lewis to demand Boris Johnson be thrown out of the Conservative Party.
But Duncan Smith said: “We have a thing called freedom of speech in this country and I don’t believe that just because somebody takes offence that means therefore that there has to be an inquiry in terms of whether or not that individual should be shut down for saying what they believe.”
He added that those who “believe strongly in equality for women “take a very different view” on burkas, adding: “Most Muslim women don’t wear one and as I understand it that is their choice, and that’s what I uphold, their choice.”
PA WIRE/PA IMAGES Theresa May has backed calls for Boris Johnson to apologise
Johnson was urged to apologise by both Lewis and Prime Minister Theresa May, and after several complaints were submitted to the party, an internal investigation will now take place.
Denmark has ridiculed itself by banning burkas, activist tells Euronews
“We live in a land that has freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom of choice and if you want to uphold those there will always be those that take offence,” Duncan Smith told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
The letter signed by 100 women said Johnson made a “deliberate choice” to inflame tensions, which could pave the way for “bigots to justify hate crime”.
Speaking as “free women who are able to speak for ourselves”, the group warns “all personal choices should be respected”, adding that an apology from Johnson would be “insufficient”.
According to the party’s code of conduct, members should not use their position to “bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others”, with the prospect of suspension or expulsion for those found to be in breach.