North America

On Thin Ice: The Iran Nuclear Deal at Three

Remarkably, the Iran nuclear deal has survived the Trump administration’s withdrawal. ICG Now it must weather 2019, its year of greatest peril, as mounting U.S. pressure tests Iranian patience. With Europe’s help, Tehran must keep sticking to the agreement in anticipation of sunnier times ahead. What’s new? The Iran nuclear deal is entering its fourth year of implementation, with Iran remaining in full compliance with its obligations. Meanwhile, the Trump administration, which unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from the deal in ... Read More »

Rahaf al Qunun pledges to use her freedom to campaign for others after being granted asylum in Canada

In a week, Rahaf al Qunun has gone from being barricaded inside a Bangkok airport hotel room to being the most recognised refugee on the planet. Sophie McNeill ABC After landing in Toronto on Saturday, she has spent the last 48 hours trying to come to terms with the incredible events of the past week. The 18-year-old fled her Saudi family while visiting Kuwait, before flying to Bangkok on January 5. She had a valid visa to Australia, but was… ... Read More »

Migrant caravans are making their way to the US border — but the journey is far from easy

Imagine you’re 13 years old. You don’t want to sell drugs for a gang, so one of their thugs tries to kill you. Foreign Correspondent By Eric Campbell ABC You have no family, so you flee for your life, crossing jungles and rivers on a dangerous 4,000-kilometre journey to find safety. When you finally arrive, you face American soldiers who’ve been authorised to kill you. We spent three days with that boy. His name is Daniel and he’s one of ... Read More »

Trump threatens to ‘devastate’ Turkish economy over Syrian Kurds

US President Donald Trump has threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria following a planned pullout of US troops. BBC In two tweets on Sunday, Mr Trump said that he did not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey either. US forces have fought alongside a Kurdish militia in northern Syria against the Islamic State (IS) group. Turkey, however, regards the People’s Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken angrily about American ... Read More »

Docs Show US To Massively Expand Footprint At Jordanian Air Base Amid Spats With Turkey, Iraq

Tens of millions of dollars will turn this base in Jordan into a new major regional hub for combat jets, drones, cargo planes, and more. Joseph Trevithick The Drive The U.S. military is moving ahead with plans to dramatically expand its presence at Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan to better accommodate a broad mix of fighter jets, ground attack aircraft, armed drones, cargo planes, and… The multi-million-dollar construction project comes as President Donald Trump’s administration moves to withdraw American ... Read More »

US withdrawing gear from Syria, but not troops

The US military has begun moving non-essential gear out of Syria but is not withdrawing troops for now, defense officials said amid uncertainty over America’s planned exit from the war-battered nation. Washington – AFP Hurriyet President Donald Trump last month claimed ISIL had been defeated in Syria and said all US troops were “coming back now.” But in the weeks since he gave the order, and the Pentagon began to implement it, Trump himself and members of his administration have delivered mixed messages about when ... Read More »

US House Democrats file bills to stop offshore drilling, exploration

House Democrats on Tuesday, 8 January, introduced a series of bills that would block the Trump administration from permitting offshore drilling in various regions of the U.S. exclusive economic zone. Steve Bittenbender SeafoodSource Opponents of offshore drilling claim the practice could devastate both the environment and the economies of coastal communities, with the fishing industry particularly at risk. “President Trump’s dangerous plans for offshore drilling will risk the livelihoods of millions on the Atlantic Coast and in New Jersey,” said ... Read More »

Xi Jinping will Give Donald Trump a Victory on Trade

Expect Trump to declare a “triumph” in a great trade deal that will feature China’s purchase of more than a trillion dollars of additional U.S. products. Graham Allison The National Interest With the conclusion of the first round of negotiations yesterday in Beijing, the way ahead for the United States and China to avoid a full-scale tariff war has become clear. With fifty days remaining before the March 1 end of the truce Trump and Xi announced to prevent U.S. ... Read More »

Tumor-free flounder are just 1 dividend from the cleanup of Boston Harbor

Thirty years ago, during the 1988 presidential campaign, then-Vice President George H.W. Bush took a boat ride across Boston Harbor and derided the environmental record of his rival, Massachusetts… Michael Moore The Conversation Bush was right. For decades Boston had been dumping barely treated sewage into the harbor, although a court-ordered cleanup was just starting. Since 1986 colleagues and I have studied tumors in Boston Harbor flounder, which were a major driver of public outcry over the state of the ... Read More »

The US could lose its crown as the world’s most powerful economy as soon as next year, and it’s unlikely to ever get it back

The United States of America could lose its position as the world’s biggest economy as soon as next year — and once that happens, it is unlikely to regain the top spot as developing Asian economies power… Will Martin Business Insider According to research released this week by Standard Chartered Bank, China is likely to become the world’s biggest economy at some point in 2020, when measured by a combination of purchasing-power-parity exchange rates and… Using PPP alone, China is ... Read More »

How Big Is Turkey’s Stick? #TurkeyUS

The strained relationship between Turkey and the U.S. appears unlikely to improve any time soon. Semih Idiz Sigma Insight Turkey There is simply too much of a backlog of unresolved issues for the situation to change for the better. The visit to Ankara by the high level delegation, headed by President Donald Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, did little to ameliorate tensions between the two capitals. To the contrary, it seems to have aggravated the… The atmosphere was already ... Read More »

The End of Likability Politics

The nasty women of America are delivering on their promises—and they don’t care what their conservative male colleagues think. Katha Pollitt The Nation Last month, Politico asked how Elizabeth Warren could “avoid a Clinton redux—written off as too unlikable before her campaign gets off the ground.” The piece (written by a woman, sigh) ran the day the Massachusetts senator announced she was “exploring” a run for the White House. No time to lose, apparently, when it comes to setting the ... Read More »

Don’t Blame Everything on Erdogan

The Turkish government doesn’t have a soft spot for the Islamic State, and Ankara stands to lose more than anyone if the terrorist group makes a comeback. Selim Sazak FP Washington’s Turkey experts were left working overtime during the holidays when a routine conversation between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan ended with the announcement that the… Trump’s maneuver had raised worries that a premature withdrawal risks reversing the gains that have been made against the Islamic State. Indeed, on ... Read More »

Turkey and the Kurds turn to Russia to solve problems sparked by U.S. exit from Syria

BEIRUT — Both Turkey and the Syrian Kurds are now pinning their hopes on Russia to resolve the problems created by President Trump’s abrupt decision last month to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, which has threatened to ignite a… Liz Sly The Washington Post Turkish officials said Wednesday that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to visit Moscow this month for talks on Syria and other issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kurds have already reached out to Russia ... Read More »

Vietnam requests other countries to respect international law

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang underlined Vietnam’s stance on the US vessel USS McCampbell’s passage through Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) waters, while responding to reporters’ questions regarding the… Hanoi (VNA) “Vietnam has sufficient legal grounds and historical evidence testifying its sovereignty over the Hoang Sa and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes in conformity with international law,” the spokesperson said. She stressed that as a member of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982 and a ... Read More »

Trump administration downgrades EU mission to US

The Trump administration has downgraded the diplomatic status of the European Union’s delegation to the United States, an EU official has confirmed to DW. Michael Knigge The demotion happened at the end of last year without notice. The unannounced move by the US State Department, which has not previously been reported, downgraded the EU delegation’s diplomatic status in Washington from member state to international organization. “We don’t exactly know when they did it, because they conveniently forgot to notify us,” an ... Read More »