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Pressure Mounts on President Biden Over USA Iran Conflict

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Pressure Mounts on President Biden Over USA Iran Conflict

President Joe Biden was under enormous political pressure Monday to react against Iran after a deadly drone strike on US troops, creating a significant challenge for the Democrat in an election year.

Striking Iran would significantly increase the likelihood of the larger war that Biden claims he is attempting to avoid, not to mention the possibility of more US caskets returning home in the months before elections.

However, with Republicans encouraging the 81-year-old to target Iran directly, Biden cannot afford to appear weak as he battles with dismal favour ratings ahead of a likely rematch with former President Donald Trump.

The White House said Monday that Biden was “weighing his options” for a “very consequential” response to the attack on a Jordanian base that killed three US personnel, the first to die in hostile action since the Israel-Hamas conflict began on October 7.

Biden vowed, “We shall respond” during a campaign rally at a church in South Carolina on Sunday, one of several he has held in recent days to begin his push for a second term. Iran has denied any involvement in the incident, which Biden blamed on Iran-backed militias.

John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, firmly rejected the idea that the election would impact Biden’s decision.

However, the issue has evolved into a political weapon for Republicans, particularly Trump, as he seeks reelection to the White House in November and vengeance for his 2020 loss to Biden.

trump biden weakness

Trump blamed the killings on “Joe Biden’s weakness and surrender,” referring to a deal the Biden administration struck with Iran last year to liberate US hostages in exchange for unblocking $6 billion in Iranian money.

He may also point to the fact that he ordered the US strike that killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards general Qasem Soleimani in 2020 — though Trump has acknowledged cancelling another strike on Iran with 10 minutes to spare in 2019 despite being “cocked and loaded.”

Other Republicans announced that they would use Iran as a test of Biden’s power ahead of the midterms.

Direct strikes on Iranian land would be a massive escalation, but even little action against Tehran’s proxies may stoke the flames of confrontation while destabilising efforts to establish a ceasefire in Gaza.

USA Iran Relations

USA Iran relations have reached a new low under the Biden administration. Tensions have escalated, and the prospects for reconciliation seem bleak.  From nuclear negotiations to regional conflicts, the dynamics between these two nations have undergone a significant shift, prompting concerns about the potential for further hostilities.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, has been a focal point in the strained USA Iran relations.

President Biden’s efforts to revive the agreement have faced numerous obstacles, with Iran advancing its nuclear program and the US expressing dissatisfaction with Iran’s non-compliance. 

The failure to reach a consensus on the JCPOA has heightened animosity and scepticism, pushing the relationship to a precarious juncture. Beyond the nuclear impasse, both nations’ involvement in regional conflicts fueled the fire. 

USA Iran

The USA’s retaliatory actions against Iranian-backed groups in Iraq, Yemen, and Syria have stoked tensions, with Iran’s support for militant proxies in the region further exacerbating the contentious atmosphere. 

The risk of a broader regional conflict looms large, casting a shadow over any potential diplomatic breakthrough. Domestic political dynamics in the USA and Iran have also played a pivotal role in shaping current affairs. 

The upcoming US presidential election and the internal power struggles within Iran have injected additional complexities into an already volatile situation. 

The influence of domestic politics on foreign policy decisions has contributed to the entrenchment of adversarial positions and hindered the prospects for de-escalation. As USA Iran relations deteriorate, the potential for a shift towards constructive engagement still needs to be discovered. 

The absence of meaningful dialogue and the entrenchment of mutual distrust have created uncertainty and instability. The risk of unintended escalations and miscalculations underscores the urgency of addressing the deepening animosity between the two nations.

The current state of USA Iran relations under the Biden administration reflects a troubling trajectory marked by rising tensions, stalled negotiations, and regional entanglements. 

The absence of a viable pathway towards reconciliation poses significant challenges and raises profound concerns about the potential for further deterioration in the relationship. 

As the dynamics continue to evolve, a concerted effort to de-escalate and engage in meaningful dialogue becomes imperative to prevent a further escalation of hostilities and foster a more stable regional environment.

By Geoff Thomas

The 2024 Election Risks For Biden After Deadly Jordan Attack

The 2024 Election Risks For Biden After Deadly Jordan Attack

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Putin Says Russia Has No Intention Of Putting Nuclear Weapons In Space, Denying US Claims

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MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Moscow has no plans to put nuclear weapons in space, asserting that the country has just acquired space capabilities equivalent to those of the United States.

Putin’s warning comes after the White House confirmed last week that Russia had received a “troubling” anti-satellite weapon capability, albeit such a weapon is not currently operational. White House national security spokesperson John Kirby stated that it would violate the international Outer Space Treaty but declined to comment on whether the weapon is nuclear-capable.

putin

Putin Says Russia Has No Intention Of Putting Nuclear Weapons In Space, Denying US Claims

The deployment of “nuclear weapons or other types of weapons of mass destruction” in orbit as well as the stationing of “weapons in outer space in any other manner” are both prohibited by the convention, which more than 130 nations have signed, including Russia. The White House stated that it would seek to engage the Russians directly on the issues.

“Our position is quite clear and transparent: we have always been and remain categorically opposed to the deployment of nuclear weapons in space,” Putin said in a statement. “Just the opposite, we are urging everyone to adhere to all the agreements that exist in this sphere.”

During a meeting with his defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, Putin stated that Russia has only achieved space capabilities that “other nations, including the United States, have.”

putin

Putin Says Russia Has No Intention Of Putting Nuclear Weapons In Space, Denying US Claims

“And they know it,” he added.

“We haven’t deployed any nuclear weapons in space or any elements of them to use against satellites or to create fields where satellites can’t work efficiently,” Shoigu said in an interview.

Shoigu claimed that the White House may have concocted assertions about a new Russian space capacity to pressure Congress to back Ukrainian aid and to convince Moscow to resume nuclear arms control talks, which Russia has postponed due to tensions with the U.S. over Ukraine.

putin

Putin Says Russia Has No Intention Of Putting Nuclear Weapons In Space, Denying US Claims

Putin did not rule out future discussions with the United States, but he restated his belief that Washington’s determination to Russia’s defeat in Ukraine makes them impossible at the moment.

“The U.S. and the West, for one thing, are calling for Russia’s strategic defeat, while, on the other hand, they would like to have a dialogue on strategic stability, pretending that those things aren’t connected,” Mr Putin said. “It won’t work.”

SOURCE – (AP)

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RUSSIA: The Kremlin Has Never Been Richer – Thanks To A US Strategic Partner

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Russia is entering its third year of war in Ukraine with an unprecedented amount of cash in government coffers, bolstered by a record $37 billion in crude oil sales to India last year, according to a new analysis, which concludes that some of the crude was refined in India and then exported to the United States as oil products worth more than $1 billion.

This cash flow, which ultimately benefits Moscow, stems from India raising its purchases of Russian crude by more than 13 times its pre-war levels, according to a study by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) shared exclusively with CNN. According to the study, it amounts to US strategic partner New Delhi stepping in to replace crude purchases by Western purchasers, which have been decreased due to sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Despite the fact that Russian crude sales to India are not subject to sanctions and are entirely legal, experts’ examination of shipping lanes indicates that this significant amount of shipments may involve the Kremlin’s so-called “shadow fleet” of crude tankers, which Moscow specifically created to try to conceal who it is trading with and how while also maximizing the Kremlin’s profits.

kremlin.

RUSSIA: The Kremlin Has Never Been Richer – Thanks To A US Strategic Partner

CNN spotted a possible component of that intricate exchange off the Greek port of Gythio earlier this month. Two oil tankers, one large and the other smaller, sat next to each other for a ship-to-ship transfer, which entails transporting crude oil between vessels, often to conceal its origin and ultimate destination.

The two tankers have a colourful history. Both had departed from Russia weeks before. According to shipping tracking agency Pole Star Global, one is owned by an Indian corporation accused of sanctions violations, while the other was previously controlled by a person subject to separate US penalties.

“Transfers are (sometimes) done legally, but they’re also used as an illicit tactic to evade sanctions,” said Pole Star Global’s David Tannenbaum. “You’re adding multiple layers to the shell game of vessels as they try and confuse authorities as to where this oil is coming from and who’s buying it at the end of the day.”

Analysts claim dozens of identical transfers occur each week in Greece’s Laconian Gulf, a convenient stop on the way to the Suez Canal and Asian markets.

Earlier in February, the US Treasury imposed a new set of penalties on ships and organizations suspected of assisting in the movement of Russian oil in violation of US sanctions to impede the operation of Russia’s shadow fleet.

In late 2022, the United States led a coalition of countries that agreed to a “price cap,” promising not to buy Russian crude for more than $60 per barrel. These countries also prohibited their shipping and insurance companies, which are major players in global shipping, from assisting the movement of Russian crude beyond that price.

“The price cap was the real trigger for the creation of the shadow fleet,” stated Viktor Katona, head of crude oil analysis at trade research firm Kpler. “The longer the supply chains, the more difficult it is to disentangle ship-to-ship transfers, the more difficult it would get… to determine the real cost of a Russian barrel.”

Some oil trading between Russia and India is open and transparent. Windward, a maritime artificial intelligence company, analyzed global shipping movements for CNN and discovered 588 direct voyages by oil tankers from Russia to India last year.

However, some trade between the two countries is more complicated, as CNN discovered off the Greek coast. Pole Star Global investigated the same route last year and discovered over 200 journeys by Russian ships that made a transfer in the Laconian Gulf to another ship that continued to India.

Tannenbaum of Pole Star Global stated that the business “suspected” that the primary motivation for these transfers was to avoid sanctions because “almost all of these vessels” had ties to the United States or the European Union and would be subject to the price cap. “The bay is fenced. It is out of the way. And so they can carry out this activities in a pseudo-anonymous manner.”

Windward CEO Ami Daniel concurred, saying, “That is part of a Russian methodical, systemic effort to just make everything much more complicated.” He described the motive for Russia and oil dealers to avoid sanctions as “gigantic,” saying: “You really needed to have a reason to transfer 60-plus million barrels in the middle of the ocean and export them to India because it’s much easier not to do that – to sail directly.”

russia

RUSSIA: The Kremlin Has Never Been Richer – Thanks To A US Strategic Partner

The shadow fleet has allowed Russia to establish a parallel shipping network that can withstand Western sanctions’ shifting tactics and focus, with hundreds of tankers owned in secret and operating on convoluted routes. Windward estimates that the fleet increased to 1,800 vessels last year.

India’s crude purchases have had the overall effect of lessening the burden of oil sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russia’s federal revenues soared to a record $320 billion in 2023 and are expected to increase even further. According to some estimates, around one-third of the money was spent on the Ukrainian war last year, and a larger part is expected to be spent on the fight in 2024.

The funds at the Kremlin’s disposal place Moscow in a better position to sustain a long war than Kyiv, battling to retain the urgently required flow of Western funding.

According to RAND economist Howard Shatz’s examination of public statistics from the Russian finance ministry, Russian government revenue and expenditure reached all-time highs in 2023. However, Moscow has yet to balance its books, indicating the war’s high cost and the impact of sanctions on oil earnings.

“Despite the jump in revenues, the federal budget deficit was at its third-highest… larger only in 2022 and 2020,” added Mr. Obama. “Tax on domestic production and imports are both high and effective, which means they are taxing their population to pay for this war,” he said.

India has defended its purchases from Russia as a way to keep world prices down by not competing with Western nations for Middle Eastern oil. Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, told CNBC this week that if the country starts importing more Middle Eastern oil, the price will be less than $75 or $76. “It will cost $150.

India’s intricate involvement in global oil trading is reflected in the fate of the oil products produced from Russian crude. Some crude is converted into oil products at refineries along India’s western coast before being transported to the United States and other nations that have imposed sanctions on Russian oil. Sanctions do not affect products refined outside Russia, which critics call a “refinery loophole.”

The CREA estimated that the US was the largest consumer of refined products from India derived from Russian crude last year, worth $1.3 billion between early December 2022, when the price cap was implemented, and the end of 2023. The projections are based on publicly available shipping and energy statistics.

kremlin

RUSSIA: The Kremlin Has Never Been Richer – Thanks To A US Strategic Partner

The value of these oil product exports increases dramatically when US partners imposing sanctions on Russia are added. The CREA anticipated that these countries would buy $9.1 billion in oil products derived from Russian crude oil in 2023, a 44% increase over the previous year.

Moscow has developed a way to profit from the refining and export process. One of the Indian refineries and ports that handle Russian crude is in Vadinar and is operated by Nayara Energy, a 49.1 %-%-owned subsidiary of Russian state oil major Rosneft. The CREA anticipated that the US will import $63 million in oil products processed in Vadinar in 2023, with Russian crude accounting for roughly half of the crude utilized in the plant. Everything is above board.

However, the organization’s assessment stated that exports from Vadinar “lead to significant tax revenues for the Kremlin in the form of taxing the exported Russian crude oil” and profits Rosneft gained from refining and reselling to Moscow’s Western opponents.

Nonetheless, researchers say the profits that may be earned from even the tiniest evasion of sanctions against Russia are enormous, given the large sums involved in selling a single oil tanker’s cargo. “You’re talking about something which is amazingly lucrative,” remarked Daniel at Windward. “Traders face significant temptation to engage in such behaviour.” They earn $10 to $40 million in four or five months. I don’t think there’s any other opportunity in the world to achieve it.”

SOURCE – (CNN)

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US Truckers Boycott Corrupt New York, Rally Behind Trump

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US Truckers Boycott Corrupt New York, Rally Behind Trump

Truckers in the United States have hinted that they will soon stop making deliveries to New York City in protest of former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud case, in which he was ordered on Friday to pay $355 million in fines for various fraud counts involving his commercial enterprise.

Trucker Chicago Ray launched the move, which gathered traction after he posted a video on social media saying that some truckers refuse to bring products to the city.

In the video, Ray indicated that other drivers he had spoken with planned to suspend deliveries in protest of the Manhattan Supreme Court verdict delivered last Friday.

“I’ve been on the radio for an hour and spoke with roughly ten drivers… “And they’re going to start refusing loads to New York City on Monday,” Ray added in the video released on X.

Ray said he didn’t know “how far across the country this is” or how many trucks would protest Trump’s decision, “but I’ll tell you what — you f*** around and find out,” he said.

“Our managers won’t care if we refuse the cargoes; we’ll simply move elsewhere. “Do you know how f***ing difficult it is to enter New York City with one of these motherf***ers?” the trucker asked, referring to his vehicle. “Man, f*** that.”


Later in the video, Ray said that 95 or 96 per cent of American truckers backed Trump over President Joe Biden and promised to deliver any updates on the protest’s specifics by tomorrow.

Former President Donald Trump retweeted Ray’s video on his Truth Social account Saturday night. “What an honour to have so many great patriots on the side of freedom! Joe Biden’s Unfair and Dangerous Weaponization of Law Enforcement poses a significant threat to democracy. “Make America Great Again!” The post reads.

Two days ago, Manhattan Judge Arthur Engoron levied substantial penalties on Trump, his companies, and co-defendants for allegedly misleading financial statements. The court made its decision without a jury.

Trump’s adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric must pay $4 million after Engoron found them guilty of fraud, including making false financial statements, altering business documents, and conspiring. Allen Weisselberg, the former CFO of the Trump Organisation, also faces a $1 million fine. All offenders received a $364 million penalty fine on Friday afternoon.

Trump truckers New York

As part of the decision, the Trump Organisation is prohibited from making loans in New York for the next three years. The 92-page decision also prohibits Trump from “serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York” during that time.

Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, called Engoron’s judgement a “manifest injustice” and said the former president intends to appeal.

“It is the culmination of a multi-year, politically fueled witch hunt that was designed to ‘take down Donald Trump,’ before Letitia James ever stepped foot into the Attorney General’s office,” Habba said in a statement. “If this decision stands, it will serve as a signal to every single American that New York is no longer open for business.”

Democrats’ unrelenting pursuit of former President Trump has dominated political debate. The Democrats’ unwavering focus on probing Trump’s behaviour has exacerbated tensions and worsened the political gap.

Their never-ending efforts to bring Trump accountable for alleged wrongdoing have dominated the news and divided public opinion. The continuous scrutiny has only increased, with Democrats showing no indications of backing down in their quest for justice.

The endless investigations and legal battles have highlighted the deep polarisation that defines modern American politics, impeding the path to unification and cooperation.

Biden has armed the Justice Department, utilising its authority to target political opponents and suppress dissent.

Critics claim this decision weakens the department’s independence and impartiality, transforming it into a vehicle for partisan objectives. The administration’s activities have aroused concerns about the erosion of civil freedoms and the rule of law, prompting some to demand greater supervision and accountability.

The politicisation of the Justice Department has ignited a heated discussion about the appropriate role of law enforcement in a democratic society.

Report Claims Obama’s CIA Used “Five Eyes” Agencies to Spy on Trump in 2016

Report Claims Obama’s CIA Used “Five Eyes” Agencies to Spy on Trump in 2016

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