Tearing it down: Large crowd cheers as protesters deface large banner of Supreme Leader Khamenei. This is an illegal act in Iran which carries the death penalty. #IranianProtests #IranProtests pic.twitter.com/nPIggXz4gy— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) December 31, 2017
Via Melanie Phillips: BBC4's Jo Coburn interviews
The Rt. Hon. Edwina Currie, former Conservative minister; Lord Levy, Middle East envoy for Tony Blair when prime minister; The Rt. Hon. Sir Oliver Letwin, M.P., senior adviser to David Cameron; Jon Lansman, founder of Momentum, the grass-roots movement that supports Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader; Rabbi Jonathan Romain of Maidenhead Reform Synagogue; Melanie Phillips, columnist on "The Times" and Ruth Smeeth, Labour M.P. for Stoke-on-Trent, Northon changing allegiances for Jews in the UK.
US President Donald Trump announced that the US government officially recognized the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and announced that the US embassy in Israel would be relocated to Jerusalem in a speech at the White House Wednesday.
"After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result," Trump said.
"Therefore, i have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. ...
Andy Ngo at Quillette:
When I started my graduate education at Portland State in 2015 after a long hiatus from academe, I attended an event titled, “Students of Color Speak Out.” The university president encouraged all students, staff and faculty to attend the event, organized in reaction to alleged racial tensions on campus. As a student of color and the gay son of refugee immigrants, the event’s premise interested me.Read the rest at the link.
As I sat in the front, I listened to students detail their daily trauma of existing on a campus that was majority white. Students representing many ethnicities repeatedly shared feeling unsafe. I was confounded because their anecdotes spoke of an experience that sounded similar to those who lived in apartheid-era South Africa or Jim Crow Mississippi — not something I remotely recognized in ultra-progressive Portland. Still, I was sympathetic and recognized that my personal experiences may not be shared by others.
My optimism was challenged once I began to pick up on the theme connecting the speeches. ...
Lee Smith at The Federalist:
Court filings released last month by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence suggest growing evidence of a pay-to-publish scandal that may shake large parts of the Washington press corps.
At the center of the controversy is the Washington DC-based communications shop Fusion GPS, which assembled and distributed the so-called “Steele dossier.” It’s named after former British spy Christopher Steele, who is believed to have authored the document alleging that Donald Trump and members of his campaign colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. Steele acknowledges that some of the dossier’s information is sourced to Russian officials, including a “top-level intelligence officer.”
... Now the court filing from the U.S. district court for DC shows that Fusion GPS paid several journalists, including three who reported on “Russia issues relevant to [the committee’s] investigation,” the House Intelligence Committee said in a court filing. ...
A veteran FBI counterintelligence agent was removed from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team investigating Russian election meddling after the discovery of an exchange of text messages seen as potentially anti-President Donald Trump, a person familiar with the matter said Saturday.
The removal of the agent, who also had worked on the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, occurred this summer. The person who discussed the matter with The Associated Press was not authorized to speak about it publicly by name and spoke on condition of anonymity. ...
See previous post at CL: World Today 2017-11-30.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo has warned Pakistan that if it does not eliminate the alleged safe havens inside its territory, the United States will do “everything we can” to destroy them.(Via Zalmay Khalilzad at Twitter.)
As Defence Secretary Jim Mattis arrives in Islamabad on Monday to persuade Pakistan to support the new US strategy for Afghanistan, the Trump administration is sending mixed signals to its estranged ally. The new strategy seeks Pakistan’s support to defeat the Taliban in the battlefield as Washington believes that only a defeat will force them to reconcile with the Afghan government. ...
Since 2004, the CIA has conducted drone strikes in Fata and recent media reports have suggested that the Trump administration may expand those strikes to cover other areas inside Pakistan.
See previous post at CL: World Today 2017-11-30.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was ousted from power in 2011, was killed by his former allies, the Houthi rebels, who helped Yemeni military units loyal to Saleh overrun the capital Sanaa in 2014; alliance with Houthis frayed amid suspicions Saleh was leaning towards coalition backing rival Hadi.
A video circulating online purported to show Saleh's body, his eyes open but glassy, motionless with a gaping head wound, as he was being carried in a blanket by rebel fighters chanting "God is great" who then dump him into a pickup truck. Blood stained his shirt under a dark suit.
Circumstances of his death remained unclear but some officials said rebels killed him as he tried to leave the capital. ...
Ali Abdullah Saleh, the deposed president of Yemen who ruled for more than three decades, has died in the latest outbreak of violence in the country’s civil war, members of Saleh’s political party said Monday.
Saleh’s death was also announced by the Yemeni rebel group that drove him from power in 2011 and then later made an alliance with Saleh’s militia forces. The Associated Press also reported the death. ...
National Super Alliance leader Raila Odinga has maintained the opposition will not relent in its campaign for electoral reforms to give Kenyans an opportunity to elect leaders of their choice.
Mr Odinga, who spoke in Kakamega Town on Sunday accompanied by Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, said Nasa would not be intimidated by the Jubilee administration to abandon the quest for free and fair elections. ...
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Kurdish forces have announced they are entering a new phase in northern Deir ez-Zor province after the military defeat of ISIS and asked for coalition and Russian backing as they work to maintain peace in the liberated areas.Go to the link for the rest.
"We thank the international forces: the International Coalition and the Russian forces including their commanders in Hmeimim [air base] for offering air support, logistical advice, and cooperation on the ground” following the defeat of ISIS in rural areas east of the Euphrates River, stated the General Command of the YPG, the Kurdish armed force in northern Syria, in a statement released following what the YPG said was a joint press conference with Russian military officials on Sunday. ...