Friday, August 10, 2018

The diplomatic feud between Saudi Arabia and Canada shows no signs of slowing down

Pretty-boy Trudeau may not be aware of it but the Saudis are right in international law.  After the devastating religious wars in Europe, the Peace of Westphalia was drawn up and agreed to  -- in 1648.  It provides that countries will not involve themselves in the internal affairs of other countries.  That has been respected ever since and has served to avoid a lot of international conflict. Good ol' law-abiding Canada is for once outside the law -- in order to serve typically Leftist virtue claims

IT ALL started with a single tweet. Now Saudi Arabia’s bitter feud with Canada has been escalated to a new level.

Last Friday, Canada said it was “gravely concerned” by the arrest of women’s rights campaigners in Saudi Arabia, including award-winning activist Samar Badawi.

Since then, relations between the two countries have only plunged further and further.

First, the Middle Eastern giant expelled the Canadian ambassador from Riyadh and recalled his Saudi counterpart in Ottawa.

Then it suspended all Saudi state airline flights to Toronto, ended thousands of scholarship programs for Saudi students in Canada, and froze “all new business” with Ottawa.

Now, Saudi authorities have announced they will halt all medical treatments in Canada, and transfer Saudi patients to hospitals outside the country.

They’ve also moved to withdraw 800 Saudi medical students working around the country.

It’s yet another warning to the West reflecting Riyadh’s newly assertive foreign policy.

Asked if the Canadian government would consider apologising, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told journalists: “Canadians have always expected our government to speak strongly, firmly, clearly and politely about the need to respect human rights at home and around the world. We will continue to do that.”

Meanwhile in Riyadh, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told reporters Canada needed to “fix its big mistake.  There is nothing to mediate. A mistake has been made and a mistake should be corrected,” he said. “The ball is in Canada’s court.”

He also noted the kingdom was considering taking “additional measures” against Canada, without going into detail.

Analysts say Saudi Arabia is using Canada to send a message to the world: don’t criticise our kingdom or our human rights record.

It reflects Riyadh’s newly assertive foreign policy under Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud.

“It’s pretty clear that he’s using Canada to send a message to the rest of the world that if you want to trade with Saudi Arabia, then you need to shut up on human rights,” Nader Hashemi, director of the University of Denver’s Center for Middle East Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, told Al Jazeera.

He said the prince is “drunk on power”, “arrogant” and “believes that he has Donald Trump in his back pocket and can do whatever he wants”.

The United States, which has strong ties with both Saudi Arabia and Canada, has taken a neutral stance in the feud. “Both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters. “We can’t do it for them. They need to resolve it together.”

President Donald Trump has been reluctant to criticise Saudi Arabia for its human rights record



How Donald Trump just keeps winning

Here's an amazing stat: In the last 14 contested Republican primaries where President Donald Trump has endorsed a candidate, his pick has won -- or is leading -- all 14 times.

That's remarkable.  And it speaks to the fact that despite Trump's weak numbers among the general populace, he remains a massively powerful force within the GOP -- someone who can make and break candidacies with a single tweet.

Take Tuesday night. Trump endorsed John James in Michigan's Republican Senate primary, Bill Schuette in the Michigan governor's race and Kris Kobach in the Kansas gubernatorial primary.

James, who had been considered an underdog prior to the Trump endorsement, won the right to face Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow. Schuette, the sitting attorney general, crushed the state's lieutenant governor and several other challengers for the right to take on Democratic former state Senate Majority Leader Gretchen Whitmer in the fall.

But Trump's biggest coup appears to be his endorsement of Kobach, the controversial secretary of state who currently holds a lead of fewer than 200 votes over appointed Gov. Jeff Colyer. Kobach, who led Trump's short-lived commission to investigate electoral fraud, is a favorite of the state's Trump conservatives but viewed very, very suspiciously by the party's establishment. His victory, if it holds, would make the Kansas governor's race competitive.

Trump, never one to avoid the tooting of his own horn, tweeted this out on Wednesday morning: "5 for 5!" Presumably, that's a reference to Trump's endorsement record on Tuesday -- counting Troy Balderson's apparent win in the Ohio congressional special election and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley's easy win in the state's Senate primary race alongside Kobach, Schuette and James.

In a subsequent tweet, Trump offered his conclusion based on Tuesday's results: "As long as I campaign and/or support Senate and House candidates (within reason), they will win! I LOVE the people, & they certainly seem to like the job I'm doing. If I find the time, in between China, Iran, the Economy and much more, which I must, we will have a giant Red Wave!"

What Tuesday (re)proved is that Trump has tremendous power to move Republican voters behind his preferred candidate. Without the Trump endorsement, there is no way James is the Senate nominee in Michigan. And Kobach almost certainly comes up short without Trump. (Schuette and Hawley likely win without Trump, although perhaps not by the same wide margins.)

This should not be surprising -- as poll after poll has shown that Trump is among the most popular Republican presidents ever among Republicans. The latest Gallup weekly tracking poll showed that 89% of Republicans approved of the job he is doing. And that's in a poll in which Trump's overall approval among the broader electorate is just 41%!

Trump's takeover of the party is total. The Republican base is almost entirely aligned with him; those who cross Trump -- especially people in the GOP -- are made to feel the pain. (See: John McCain, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker.)



Most Of The Candidates Dimwit Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Endorsed In Yesterday's Primaries Lost

She’s not even in Congress yet, but Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Party’s rising star and unapologetic socialist, endorsed a slate of candidates in last night’s primaries. While all eyes were on Ohio’s 12th congressional district, Missouri, Michigan, Kansas, and Washington also had primaries.

Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Cori Bush running in Missouri’s first congressional district and Abdul El-Sayed and Fayrouz Saad in Michigan. El-Sayed and Saad were running for governor and Congress respectively; Saad was running in the Mitten State’s 11th congressional district.

 Well, it seems the seeds of a left wing revolution won’t be taking root. All of the candidates she backed for August 7th lost—all of them. It wasn’t just by a little. All of them lost quite handily—some of them by a lot

Ocasio-Cortez became a household name among left wingers for booting Rep. Jim Crowley in an upset primary win that mirrored the GOP’s ouster of then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 by conservative insurgent Dave Brat.

She’s anti-Immigration and Customs Enforcement, pro-Medicare-for-All, housing for all, etc. all of the left wing goodies you can think of; Ocasio-Cortez is for it and with it absolute economic catastrophe.

She’s proven to be clueless on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and seems to know next to nothing about the budget. She said that the military had undergone a $700 billion increase. No, not true. So, at least her left wing seeds of revolution got drowned out.

The last thing we need on the Hill are more of these clowns. I say that in general. Politically, Democrats--these are your crazed spawn. We're just here to watch the show, and see winnable races get torpedoed because these comrades are totally out of step with normal Americans.



EU Unable to Neutralize US Sanctions against Iran

The European Union has announced a new regulation aimed at shielding European companies from the impact of US sanctions on Iran. The measure, which has been greeted with skepticism by the European business media, is unlikely to succeed: it expects European companies to risk their business interests in the US market for interests in the much smaller Iranian market.

The so-called "Blocking Statute" entered into effect on August 7, the same day that the first round of US sanctions on Iran officially snapped back into place. Those sanctions target Iran's purchases of US dollars — the main currency for international financial transactions and oil purchases — as well as the auto, civil aviation, coal, industrial software and metals sectors. A second, much stronger round of sanctions targeting Iran's oil exports, takes effect on November 5.

The action follows up on President Donald J. Trump's decision on May 8 to withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal) negotiated by the Obama administration, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for a freeze on its nuclear program.

The Trump administration said that the deal negotiated by the Obama administration did not go far enough to curtail Iran's nuclear weapons program, or its ballistic missile program, or its malign behavior in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The reimposed US sanctions apply not only to American citizens and companies, but also to non-American individuals and companies. In a legal concept known as extraterritoriality, any company based outside of the United States must comply with American sanctions if it uses dollars for its transactions, has a subsidiary in America or is controlled by Americans.

In an August 6 statement, Trump said:

"The United States is fully committed to enforcing all of our sanctions, and we will work closely with nations conducting business with Iran to ensure complete compliance. Individuals or entities that fail to wind down activities with Iran risk severe consequences."

In an August 7 tweet, Trump repeated that threat:

"The Iran sanctions have officially been cast. These are the most biting sanctions ever imposed, and in November they ratchet up to yet another level. Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States."

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK openly admitted that for the EU the Iran deal is all about money and vowed to protect European companies from US penalties:

"We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231. This is why the European Union's updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.

"The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas. On these, as on other topics, our work continues, including with third countries [China and Russia] interested in supporting the JCPOA and maintaining economic relations with Iran."

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (pictured) and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and the UK openly admitted that for the EU the Iran nuclear deal is all about money and vowed to protect European companies from US penalties. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

The Blocking Statute, originally adopted by the EU in 1996 to help European companies avoid US sanctions on Cuba, was updated in June 2018 to include sanctions the US is re-imposing on Iran. The document, riddled with EU jargon, states:

"The Blocking Statute allows EU [economic] operators to recover damages arising from the extra-territorial sanctions within its scope from the persons causing them and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court rulings based on them. It also forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions, unless exceptionally authorized to do so by the [European] Commission in case non-compliance seriously damages their interests or the interests of the Union."

In other words, the EU is prohibiting EU citizens and companies from complying with US sanctions and is authorizing EU companies hit by US sanctions to sue the US government for compensation in European courts.

In addition, European companies that do pull out of Iran without approval from the European Commission face the threat of being sued by EU member states.

Many European commentators said the EU scheme would be unworkable, especially for European multinational corporations with business interests in the United States.

The London-based Financial Times wrote:

"Diplomats and lawyers have raised serious doubts about the EU's ability to protect European businesses operating in Iran from the US measures.

"The blocking statute, first drawn up in 1996, has rarely been tested. One senior EU official said there was little legal precedent for judges in EU member states to reclaim damages from third countries like the US if sued by companies."

In France, Le Figaro wrote that European Commission's response to US sanctions was "hasty" and amounted to a "political gesture."

Le Monde described the EU's measure as a "political signal for the Iranian regime, which demanded signs of European commitment to defend the JCPOA."

"Total, Maersk and Peugeot have already decided to leave Iran. Moreover, companies investing in Iran do not seem to believe much in the effectiveness of the regulation. The oil group Total, the ship-owner Maersk or the automaker Peugeot have already decided to leave. German group Daimler announced its withdrawal from Iran yesterday. These groups are more afraid of the US's ability to implement sanctions than the EU's wrath."

In Germany, the public broadcaster ARD published an opinion article by Brussels correspondent Samuel Jackisch titled, "Well Roared, Paper Tiger — EU Defenseless against US Sanctions." He said that the EU's new policy was "logical, but largely meaningless," and an attempt by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to "defend her political legacy." He added:

"The EU can try to turn the tables on transatlantic relations, but in the end the US still comes out on top.

"The German export industry's business with Iran may not be small at around three billion euros. However, the bottom line is that the same companies export 35 times as much to the USA. The EU is demanding that its largest corporations risk the entire cake for a few more crumbs."



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


No comments: