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Ed Webb

President Trump's thoroughly confusing Fox Business interview, annotated - The Washingt... - 0 views

  • When you see that, I immediately called General Mattis.

    I said, what can we do?

    And they came back with a number of different alternatives.  And we hit them very hard.

    Now, are we going to get involved with Syria?

    No.  But if I see them using gas and using things that — I mean even some of the worst tyrants in the world didn't use the kind of gases that they used.  And some of the gases are unbelievably potent.

    So when I saw that, I said we have to do something.

  • people just don't see this, the level of brutality, the level of viciousness.
  • I was sitting at the table.  We had finished dinner.  We're now having dessert.  And we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you've ever seen and President Xi was enjoying it.

    And I was given the message from the generals that the ships are locked and loaded, what do you do?

    And we made a determination to do it, so the missiles were on the way.  And I said, Mr. President, let me explain something to you.  This was during dessert.

    We've just fired 59 missiles, all of which hit, by the way, unbelievable, from, you know, hundreds of miles away, all of which hit, amazing.

    BARTIROMO:  Unmanned?

    Brilliant.

    TRUMP:  It's so incredible.  It's brilliant.  It's genius.  Our technology, our equipment, is better than anybody by a factor of five.  I mean look, we have, in terms of technology, nobody can even come close to competing.

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  • So what happens is I said we've just launched 59 missiles heading to Iraq and I wanted you to know this. And he was eating his cake. And he was silent.
  • But I think he understood the message and I understood what he was saying to me.
Ed Webb

New Putin Doctrine Says U.S. Pressure 'Undermining' Global Stability - 1 views

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    UK and Netherlands no longer considered important in Russian strategy. Harsher language on US policy as threat to global security.
Ed Webb

Hitting the Reset Button on the International Order | Foreign Policy - 0 views

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    Good, if gloomy, discussion on prospects for the U.S.-led international order under the Trump administration.
Ed Webb

US buys ads on Facebook to fight militants - 0 views

  • the US has found this year that online ads on social media websites like Facebook, rather than posts, are a cost-effective way to fight the propaganda of the Islamic State (IS) and other militant groups
  • Facebook's detailed metrics for advertisers helps the government campaign reach its targets - people who might be groomed online by militants.

    "Using Facebook ads, I can go within Facebook, I can grab an audience. I can pick country X, I need age group 13 to 34, I need people who liked Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or any other set, and I can shoot and hit them directly with messages," he said.

    "In some places in the world, it's literally pennies a click to do it," he said.  

  • Facebook, he noted, offers the government access to affordable amassed and collated user data for singling out target groups and individuals for anti-militant ads the US government runs.

    "The best I can do right now is to have access to big data and to use the analytics tools on the social media platforms, the Facebooks and the others,"

Ed Webb

Russia may sell Iran $10 billion worth of tanks and jets in new arms deal - 0 views

  • further cement an alliance between Moscow and Tehran that is likely to prove a major stumbling block for any rapprochement between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, who has vowed to rip up a nuclear agreement with Iran that the Kremlin supports.
  • until 2020 deliveries of conventional weapons must be approved by the United Nations Security Council
  • Sergey Ryabkov, a deputy foreign minister, said on Monday that Russia’s support for the Iran deal “has not changed,” indicating that it would oppose any attempt to re-negotiate it.

    Russia has increased arms sales in recent years as it seeks to earn foreign currency and support potential allies in its confrontation with the West. 

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  • a $2 billion contract to deliver 24 advanced SU-35 jets to China, ending a decade-long unofficial moratorium on sales of hi-tech weaponry to Beijing because of fears over technology piracy.
  • Iran and China announced an agreement to hold joint military drills and cooperate in fighting terrorism
Ed Webb

Europeans agree defense plan after campaign swipes by Trump | Reuters - 0 views

  • The European Union on Monday agreed a defense plan that could see it sending rapid response forces abroad for the first time, as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's criticism of allies appeared to galvanize Europe into revamping its strategy.
  • "Europe needs to be able to act for its own security," French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters.

    "This will allow Europe to take a step towards its strategic autonomy,"

  • The EU has 17 military and civilian missions underway - many of them out of the classic European theater, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Mediterranean where it is seeking to stem migrant flows from Libya and uphold a U.N. arms embargo.
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  • The election of a Russia-friendly political novice as president in Bulgaria - a member of both the EU and NATO - has given further impetus to French and German efforts to improve common defense operations.
  • "Rather than dreaming of a European army, the best approach to the Trump presidency is for European countries to step up their own defense spending," Fallon told reporters in the margins of the meeting.

    The EU's Mogherini, who chaired the gathering, went out of her way to say there were no plans to form a European army and countries would retain control over their militaries.

  • Some eastern and Baltic EU nations worry stronger European defense coordination could duplicate or undermine NATO, while Ireland, Sweden and Austria are more generally cautious.
Ed Webb

Adviser says Trump won't rip up Iran deal, signals he may not move embassy | The Times ... - 0 views

  • adviser to President-elect Donald Trump said the new US leader will “review” the Iran nuclear agreement, but will stop short of ripping up the landmark international pact.
  • signaled that Trump might not move the US Embassy to Jerusalem immediately and indicated he would make negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal a priority right off the bat.
  • appeared to represent a break with some comments made by other Trump advisers and the president-elect himself, and highlighted persisting confusion over what the contours of a Trump administration’s foreign policy may look like
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  • “He will take the agreement, review it, send it to Congress, demand from the Iranians to restore a few issues or change a few issues, and there will be a discussion,” Phares added. “It could be a tense discussion but the agreement as is right now — $750 billion to the Iranian regime without receiving much in return and increasing intervention in four countries — that is not going to be accepted by the Trump administration.”
    • Ed Webb
       
      Note that it is a multilateral deal, so five other powers would also have to agree, as well as Iran itself.
  • State Department spokesman Mark Toner warned that nothing was stopping Trump from tearing up the agreement, rebuffing comments from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that the pact was enshrined by the United Nations Security Council and could therefore not be canceled by one party
  • Toner said if Trump pulls out of the agreement, it could fall apart and lead to Iran restarting work toward a bomb
  • Phares also told the BBC that while Trump was committed to moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as other presidential candidates have vowed, he would not do so unilaterally.

    “Many presidents of the United States have committed to do that, and he said as well that he will do that, but he will do it under consensus,”

  • Phares did not elaborate on what consensus would be sought for such a move, which would break with decades of precedent and put Washington at odds with nearly all United Nations member states.
  • Earlier Thursday, Trump Israel adviser Jason Dov Greenblatt told Israel’s Army Radio that the president-elect would make good on his promise.

    “I think if he said it, he’s going to do it,” Greenblatt said. “He is different for Israel than any recent president there has been, and I think he’s a man who keeps his word.

  • Phares also indicated efforts for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal would be a top agenda item for Trump, casting doubt on a claim by Greenblatt that Trump would not necessarily prioritize trying to push the Israelis and Palestinians into peace negotiations.
  • “He will make it a priority if the Israelis and Palestinians want to make it a priority,” Greenblatt said. “He’s not going to force peace upon them, it will have to come from them.”
  • The gap in signals coming out of Trump’s camp is consistent with frustration some have pointed to in trying to demystify what Trump’s foreign policy will be.

  • Tzachi Hanegbi, a minister-without-portfolio who is a close confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Thursday that the Iran nuclear deal and construction over the Green Line — the two most contentious topics between the Obama administration and Netanyahu — will no longer be a source of tension between Israel and the United States under a Trump presidency.
Ed Webb

Senior Saudi prince says Trump shouldn't scrap Iran deal | Reuters - 0 views

  • U.S. President-elect Donald Trump should not scrap a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers but should take the nation to task for its "destabilizing activities" in the Middle East, said a former senior Saudi official.
  • "I don't think he should scrap it. It's been worked on for many years and the general consensus in the world, not just the United States, is that it has achieved an objective, which is a 15-year hiatus in the program that Iran embarked on to develop nuclear weapons," Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief and ex-ambassador to Washington and London said on Thursday.
    • Ed Webb
       
      Turki is a very powerful member of the Saudi royal family and widely listened to on security issues
  • would like to see if the deal could become a "stepping stone" to a more permanent program "to prevent proliferation through the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East."
    • Ed Webb
       
      A long-term goal on which Saudi and Egypt agree, and they don't agree on much. Of course, a major target of this would be Israel.
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  • His views are described by insiders as often reflecting those of the kingdom's top princes and as influential in Riyadh foreign policy circles.
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