Stories We’re Watching
Defying US Sanctions, France, Germany & the UK Set up INSTEX for Trade with Iran
Germany, France, and the UK have agreed to establish a payment chanel to evade US sanctions on Iran. In an announcement earlier today, the three countries unveiled the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) meant to avoid using the SWIFT financial messaging service. Many in Europe have expressed a desire to uphold the Iran nuclear agreement that President Trump abruptly cancelled. Today, President Trump seemed to agree with Iran President Hassan Rouhani, tweeting: “Iran is in financial chaos now because of the sanctions and Iran Deal termination.” Regional and financial analysts have pointed to corruption and mismanagement as leading causes of Iran’s financial woes.
- Reuters: Skirting U.S. sanctions, Europeans launch trade mechanism for Iran
- Deutsche Welle: What is the EU-Iran payment vehicle INSTEX?
- Bloomberg: Europe Protects Itself From Trump’s Caprice
- NYT: 3 European Nations Create Firm to Trade With Iran
US Asks Allies to Help Form Buffer Zone in Northern Syria, Senators Urge Trump to protect Kurds after US withdrawal
The US is seeking to persuade allies to help form a buffer zone in Northern Syria. Since abruptly announcing the US withdrawal, Erdogan has vowed to attack the US-allied Kurdish militia and to form his own buffer zone. Next week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to host officials from coalition countries for meetings at the Department of State. Syrian Kurds have informed US officials that they are considering joining forces with the Assad regime if the US withdraws support. US lawmakers have urged President Trump to protect the US allies.
- DefenseNews: Lawmakers urge Trump to protect Kurds after US withdrawal
- WSJ: U.S. Asks Western Allies to Help Form Buffer Zone in Northern Syria
- smallwarsjournal: Syrian Kurds Tell Washington May Join Forces With Assad
- Los Angeles Times: Islamic State could exploit simmering ethno-sectarian tensions to forge
EU Parliament Recognizes Guaido as Venezuelan Interim President
The European Parliament has voted to recognize Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president. The non-binding resolution also calls on all other EU governments to follow suit and is the latest in an international show of support for Guiado. Analysts warn of the increasing risk of violence from the Maduro-controlled military and special police units. Despite mounting international pressure and increased US sanctions on the country’s oil industry, Maduro has refused to step down.
- Reuters: EU parliament recognises Guaido as Venezuelan interim president
- The Independent: EU parliament recognises Juan Guaido
- NPR: Stop The Maduro Genocide’: Protesters March In Venezuela With US
- Voice of America: Venezuela Sanctions, Amnesty Promise Attempt to Break Maduro
US to Withdraw from INF Treaty on Saturday after Beijing Talks Fail
Officials from Russia and the US met yesterday on the sidelines of the P5 Nuclear meeting in Beijing to discuss the US withdrawal from the INF treaty. Unless Russia agrees to dismantle their 9M729 missile by tomorrow, the US will begin withdrawing from the cold-war era treaty on Saturday. Nuclear weapons and arms control analysts warn that the move is likely to exacerbate regional arms races and increases the risk of accidents.
- Voice of America: US, Russia Nuclear Treaty Talks Fail
- Reuters: US to stop complying with nuclear pact with Russia after talks flop
- Council on Foreign Relations: The Ailing INF Treaty: What to Know
Mueller Updates: Russian Hackers Leaked Evidence to Discredit Investigation, Lindsey Graham Asks FBI to Brief Senate on Stone’s Arrest
In a court filing yesterday, federal prosecutors allege that Russian hackers leaked evidence to discredit the Special Counsel’s investigation into Russian election interference. Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham has called for the FBI to brief the Senate on Roger Stone’s arrest, which critics have attempted to characterize as inappropriately harsh. In a court filing released earlier today, prosecutors describe the evidence against Stone as “voluminous and complex.”
- Time: Lindsey Graham Requests Roger Stone Raid Briefing From FBI Director
- Bloomberg: Russia Ordered to Pay 10 Million Euros to Georgians It Harassed
- The Guardian: Russians leaked Mueller investigation evidence online, prosecutors say
From Deep State Radio
BLOG: Fixing America’s Rigged System Is Job Number One for New Leaders
For decades, the US system has been rigged for the rich, for whites, for men. Fixing that so that everyone may benefit from America’s growth and share in our country’s critical decisions is the central issue of the 2020 election and the next decades.
It is also the central mission of the Democratic Party. The GOP has demonstrated that they are the party of Wall Street. The Dems are and should be the party of Main Street. But Dem centrists have been coopted by Wall Street for decades as well. Continue
WASHINGTON FOR BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE: Fierce, Funny and Incredibly Honest: A Conversation with Alyssa Milano
Alyssa Milano is the ultimate hyphenate: actress, producer, entrepreneur, host and activist. It’s her role as an activist that is making a difference in our crazy dumpster-fire world. Realizing at a young age that with fame came an opportunity to effect change, Alyssa has always used her voice to help others. As an AIDS activist, a UNICEF Ambassador to #METOO Champion, she has been a fierce advocate for those in need. Alyssa and I talk candidly about #METOO and men’s fears (hint: you don’t have to fear being accused of rape if you don’t rape anyone), why she won’t endorse anyone for 2020, women in politics and why Bill Prady called her superwoman. Tune in!
NATIONAL SECURITY MAGAZINE: Rep. Ted Lieu: We Are at the Beginning of a New Era in Congressional Foreign Affairs Oversight
Congressman Ted Lieu of California, is one of the smartest, hardest working members of the U.S. Congress. A member of the Democratic Leadership, Lieu, brings an undergraduate degree in computer science from Stanford, a magna cum laude law degree from Georgetown where he edited the law review, a background as an Air Force J.A.G. officer, an on-going role as colonel in the Air Force reserve and extensive legislative experience in California to his current work on the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees. He has been an outspoken critic of President Trump and his enablers in the U.S. Congress and is leading the new Democratic majority’s efforts to uncover the truth about Trump’s ties to the Russians, the Chinese, the Saudis and others who may have responded to the “For Sale” sign the president put up on the front lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Don’t miss this conversation with one of the rising stars of the U.S. Congress and the Democratic Party.