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The latest Iran-Saudi flare-up exposes Trump's bankrupt Middle East policyEnd support for the war in Yemen, change the relationship with Saudi Arabia, and talk to Iran – the answers for the US are clear ‘While there is growing support to completely change America’s Middle East policy US policy remains stuck in a rut.’ Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/ReutersThe fact that the United States is up in arms over an attack with no reported casualties on an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia – while at the same time supporting Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands – tells us everything we need to know about how messed up US priorities in the Middle East are.If anything, the latest round of tensions between the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia – and the debate over whether or not to retaliate militarily against Iran – illustrates the many ways US policy in the region is bankrupt, and how Trump crafts US policy based on the interests of other countries, not America.The years-long struggle for regional influence between Iran and Saudi Arabia and their partners plays out in proxy wars that rip the region apart, such as the current humanitarian catastrophe in Yemen. The US has taken Saudi Arabia’s side in this regional conflict, in which there is no “good side”, and in the process only exacerbated the tensions and violence.Iran is a bad actor, and the United States already takes serious steps to curb its support for terrorism, and to defend Israel. But Trump is making the threat worse by ending the Iran nuclear deal and provoking Iran. We now find ourselves in yet another edition of Trump’s deadly reality show: will he or won’t he strike?! Will he or won’t he risk the lives of American soldiers in an unnecessary war?! Or will he try to manufacture another photo-op summit that does nothing but mask the real problems?! Tune into Twitter to find out! Like everything he touches, Trump has turned America’s Iran policy into a farce, while increasing the likelihood of tragedy.Saudi Arabia, America’s longtime supposed partner, is also a bad actor. For too long America has stomached Saudi Arabia’s support for extremist ideologies, destabilizing policies, and repression at home. But Trump takes it to an extreme by seemingly outsourcing US policy to Riyadh. After the recent attacks, Trump literally said: “We are waiting to hear from the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed.”Jared Kushner must have done a facepalm – it’s supposed to be secret when Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, sends his orders over WhatsApp! Trump summed up why he always sides with Riyadh, even after the Saudi leader ordered the murder of the US journalist Jamal Khashoggi: “Saudi Arabia pays cash.”One of the most devastating results of US policy has been the humanitarian disaster in Yemen. Because Saudi Arabia entered the war on one side, while Iran supports the other, the United States has blindly followed Saudi Arabia in fueling this conflict that is starving children and killing innocent civilians. The conflict has taken the lives of at least tens of thousands of people, and a United Nations panel recently said that all sides might be committing war crimes.Israel – and Trump’s relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu – is at the center of this as well. Israel is a close and important ally, but Trump and Netanyahu have personalized, politicized and radicalized the US-Israeli relationship. While Trump attempts to use the relationship as a political wedge by falsely painting his opponents as enemies of Israel, Netanyahu pushes for conflict with Iran and takes steps that make peace with Palestinians all but impossible – steps that Trump openly supports. The two feed off each other and support one another’s agendas, which are bad for the relationship and bad for the region.Since the end of the cold war, US policy in the region has been driven by numerous considerations: countering Iran, fighting terrorism, supporting stability, protecting oil markets and defending Israel. While aspects of these policies were faulty long before this administration, today things are very different. Fossil fuels are destroying life in earth. Actions taken in the name of countering Iran often feed instability. Trump has warped our partnership with Israel into blind support for a self-destructive Israeli government.In partnering with autocrats to fight terrorism the United States has sacrificed other priorities. The Arab spring, the war in Syria, and myriad other calamities have illustrated how tyranny in the region is undermining – not supporting – stability. And now, ties between Saudi officials and businesses and the Trump family raise serious questions about whether Trump’s Middle East policies are being driven in part by efforts to line his own pockets.Whatever happens in response to this latest flare-up, the answers for the United States are clear: end support for the war in Yemen. Fundamentally change the relationship with Saudi Arabia. Talk to Iran about the entire range of concerns. Bring the sparring sides together to reduce regional tensions. Stop giving Netanyahu a blank check and return support for Israel to the principles of supporting democracy and a two-state solution. And stop supporting autocrats and start supporting the people.While there is growing support to completely change America’s Middle East policy – evidenced by the bills ending US support for the Yemen war that passed Congress – US policy remains stuck in a rut: Trump vetoed these congressional attempts to end support for the Yemen war and every time tensions spike, too many voices on both sides of the aisle respond with the kneejerk reaction of considering military action against Iran.If America is going to make big changes to shore up the capacity of US leadership to tackle the biggest challenges it faces, one of the first orders of business will be to fix America’s bankrupt Middle East policy. Now would be a good time to start. * Michael H Fuchs is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for east Asian and Pacific affairs


9/18/2019 7:08:09 AM

Sheriff indicted for plotting to kill deputy who had tape of his 'racially offensive' remarksA North Carolina sheriff was indicted for obstruction of justice for allegedly plotting to kill one of his deputies.


9/17/2019 12:57:29 PM

UPDATE 1-Russia detains two N.Korean vessels after one opens fire - reportsRussian border guards have detained two North Korean boats in Russian territorial waters in the Sea of Japan after one of them attacked a Russian patrol, local media cited the Federal Security Service (FSB) as saying on Tuesday. A Russian border patrol discovered two North Korean schooners and 11 motorboats fishing illegally off its far eastern coast and detained the first vessel, prompting the second one to open fire, the FSB was quoted as saying. Three Russian border guards were wounded in the incident.


9/17/2019 9:36:18 AM

A 22-year-old from Minneapolis who is jailed in Syria says ISIS recruited him on TwitterAbdelhamid Al-Madioum, a naturalized US citizen, told CBS News his story from a prison in Syria, run by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.


9/18/2019 9:10:03 AM

White House, DOJ Reps Meet with Top Republicans on Expanding Background Checks for Gun SalesRepresentatives from the White House and the Department of Justice met Tuesday with senior Republicans to discuss expanding background checks for the sale of firearms within the parameters of legislation first introduced by Senators Joe Manchin (D., W.V.) and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).The relevant legislation seeks to expand background-check requirements to include "all advertised commercial sales, including sales at gun shows,” according to an idea sheet first obtained by The Daily Caller.Such background checks would be conducted “either through an FFL [Federal Firearm Licensee] or through a newly-created class of licensed transfer agents.”White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said that President Trump did not necessarily approve of the plan, despite the fact that White House Director of Legislative Affairs Eric Ueland is among those circulating the idea sheet.The Tuesday meetings were attended by Ueland as well as Attorney General Bill Barr. Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina were also present. There was a planned meeting between Barr and Utah senator Mike Lee, but Barr canceled the meeting.The Manchin-Toomey bill failed to pass last April after it didn't muster enough votes to survive a filibuster. The bill has remained a moderate alternative to more sweeping legislation that would mandate background checks on any and all gun sales. It would require background checks for any commercial sales at gun shows as well as over the Internet. It also expressly prohibits the formation of a national gun registry.


9/18/2019 11:22:25 AM

No severe impacts from Imelda as it moves through TexasTropical Depression Imelda has deluged parts of Southeast Texas with rain, but officials in Houston and surrounding communities said Wednesday that so far there have been no severe consequences. Glenn LaMont, deputy emergency management coordinator in Brazoria County, located south of Houston along the Gulf Coast, said that despite the heavy rainfall he has seen no reports of flooded homes or people stranded. "It's too early to breathe a sigh of relief," LaMont said.


9/18/2019 7:09:12 PM

Andrew Yang: No apologies for the Asian jokesDuring his unlikely rise, Yang has taken heat for playing up Asian stereotypes


9/18/2019 7:05:56 PM

Philippines Arrests Hundreds of Chinese For Alleged Cybercrimes(Bloomberg) -- About 600 allegedly illegal Chinese workers have been arrested in the Philippines in less than a week after Beijing’s call for a crackdown on online gambling.Some 324 undocumented Chinese nationals will be deported after being apprehended on Monday in the western Palawan province for alleged cybercrimes, the Philippines’ immigration bureau said in a statement Tuesday.The agency also said in an earlier statement it had arrested 277 Chinese nationals last Wednesday for allegedly conducting illegal online operations in Pasig City in the Philippine capital, Manila. Those arrested are wanted for fraud and investments scams in China, the immigration bureau added, citing information from Chinese authorities.Last month, China urged the Philippines to crack down on online casino operations catering mostly to Chinese nationals. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will not ban the billion-peso industry despite Beijing’s opposition, as it benefits the Southeast Asian nation.To contact the reporter on this story: Andreo Calonzo in Manila at acalonzo1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Cecilia Yap at cyap19@bloomberg.net, Ruth Pollard, Ditas LopezFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


9/17/2019 4:33:25 AM

How Vietnamese Commandos Sank A U.S. 'Aircraft Carrier'The sinking of the Card was a stunning victory for the Viet Cong, yet little remembered today. It illustrated how vulnerable naval vessels can be even when faced with a low-tech enemy … and how difficult maintaining port security can be in a war with no real front.


9/18/2019 8:43:00 AM

Retired federal judge gets fined and barred for 2016 anti-Republican commentsThe U.S. Office of Special Counsel ruled against Carmene ‘Zsa Zsa’ DePaolo, a former immigration judge, for comments she made during a 2016 immigration hearing. Her comments reflected her beliefs that a Clinton administration would do more for immigration reform. She was fined the maximum possible civil penalty of $1,000 and slapped with a 30-month debarment from federal service.


9/17/2019 1:39:59 PM

Georgia homeowner kills three teens wearing masks in possible 'stand your ground' caseThe fatal shooting of three teens by a Georgia homeowner this week could be a 'stand your ground' case, the Rockdale County Sheriff says.


9/17/2019 3:15:09 PM

Trump to bar California from setting vehicle emission rules: sourcesThe Trump administration will announce as early as Wednesday it is revoking California’s authority to set its own greenhouse gas and vehicle fuel efficiency standards and barring all states from setting such rules, two auto industry officials said on Tuesday. The move is sure to spark legal challenges over issues including states' rights and climate change that administration officials say could ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump met with senior officials last Thursday and agreed to greenlight the plan to bar California from setting tailpipe emission standards or requiring zero emission vehicles, Reuters reported last week.


9/17/2019 2:38:30 PM

Belgian F-16s scrambled to intercept 2 Russian nuclear-capable supersonic bombers over the Baltic SeaThe Belgian Air Force intercepted two Russian Tu-160 supersonic, nuclear-capable bombers at close range in Baltic airspace.


9/17/2019 2:23:26 PM

Michelle Malkin Smears Cokie Roberts on the Day of Her Death: ‘One of the First Guilty Culprits of Fake News’Charley Gallay/Getty for International Innovators of Justice/American Justice AllianceHours after the world learned that journalist Cokie Roberts had passed away following complications from breast cancer, right-wing provocateur Michelle Malkin took a swipe at the reporter’s legacy by calling her “one of the first guilty culprits of fake news.”Taking part in a panel at the Paley Center on Tuesday, Malkin joined an array of liberal and conservative commentators and media figures to discuss whether the media is biased.At one point in the discussion, Malkin—who has recently been making the media rounds hawking her latest anti-immigrant book—took aim at Roberts.“Cokie Roberts, of course, passed away today and God bless her for an incredible career that she had but I distinctly remember that she was one of the first guilty culprits of fake news,” she declared.“We’re doing this today?” CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter, who was also on the panel, interjected.“Yes, yes we are,” Malkin confirmed.“You’re attacking her today,” Stelter continued. “I just want to be clear: The body isn’t even cold yet.”Malkin, meanwhile, said her remark was “pertinent” to the issue of “fake news,” bringing up an instance in 1994 when Roberts stood in front of a projection of the Capitol to do an ABC News report from the State of the Union address.“This was a deliberate attempt to deceive the viewing public into thinking she was actually there live covering it,” Malkin added. “Fake news has existed far longer than before President Trump even had the idea of running for office.”Malkin’s remarks, predictably, were not well received by the attendees, with many in the audience shouting at her to leave and go home. Tuesday was far from the first time that Malkin has kicked dirt on a prominent figure after he or she has passed away. During this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, Malkin slammed the “ghost of John McCain” for what she described as his weak immigration policies.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.


9/18/2019 1:44:03 AM

Nigerian women protest over apparent serial killingsWomen in southern Nigeria marched in the streets on Wednesday to protest the deaths of several women in hotel rooms by what appears to be a serial killer. "Their killers must be found," the women chanted, many dressed in black for mourning, during the second day of protests in the city of Port Harcourt in the oil-producing Niger Delta region. Eight women have been strangled in hotel rooms in Rivers State in the past two months, police spokesman Nnamdi Omoni said.


9/18/2019 10:35:10 AM

Three hunters mauled in grizzly bear attacks at Yellowstone: 'He was in their face before they even had chance to grab a gun'Three hunters were badly hurt in two separate grizzly bear attacks in Montana on the same day, state officials have said.All three suffered “moderate to severe” injuries after being mauled by a lone bear in the Gravelley Mountains on Monday, according to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks agency.


9/18/2019 3:37:39 PM

What Were the Mach 10 UFOs That Iran's Jets Encountered?Does the U.S. have a super-secret spy plane?


9/17/2019 8:00:00 PM

‘The ground is shifting’: Arizona emerges as a 2020 trouble spot for TrumpDemocrats appear to have their best shot at capturing the state since Bill Clinton won it more than two decades ago.


9/18/2019 4:00:35 AM

29 bodies found in plastic bags in Mexico mass graveMexican forensics experts have found at least 29 bodies stuffed in 119 plastic bags that were dumped in the bottom of a well outside the western city of Guadalajara, officials said Tuesday. Experts have been working to establish how many victims are in the mass grave since it was discovered earlier this month in a remote area known as La Primavera, about a 45-minute drive outside Guadalajara, Mexico's second city. "We have 13 complete corpses and 16 incomplete, for a total of 29 bodies," said Gerardo Solis, chief prosecutor for the state of Jalisco, which has been hit by a wave of violence in recent years driven by drug cartel turf wars.


9/17/2019 1:05:41 PM
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