Who wants to start World War III?

An opinion piece in our local English language newspaper this morning:

US sanctions on Turkey are wrong and can backfire

US Turkey

A smile on his face and knife in the other hand for back-stabbing

The U.S. Treasury’s move to put Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on its sanctions list on Aug. 1, saying that it was because of their role in the arrest of American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, caused outrage in Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Ministry strongly condemned it, asking for its cancellation while also vowing to take reciprocal action. Four parties in the Turkish Parliament released a joint declaration against the American move. The Turkish-American Business Council was the first institution to protest the move as “unacceptable” and called on the two sides’ presidents, Donald Trump and Tayyip Erdoğan, to give diplomacy a chance in order to put the two allies’ relations back on track. 

In a nutshell, the U.S. sanctions worked as a “rally round the flag effect” factor in Turkey. And not only in Turkey. The move instigated by Vice President Mike Pence is likely to endorse Erdoğan’s “hero against the imperialist hegemony” image among Muslims, not at a governmental level, but among the general public. This is the first time the U.S. is imposing sanctions, and in a very heavy way, on a NATO ally. The sanctions are issued under the Global Magnitsky Act of 2012, which had been issued for 18 Russian officials and businessmen before. On Aug. 2, the U.S. moved to sanction some more Russian figures under the same act.

Read the whole article

Turkey and Iran are next-door neighbours. Where are the “United” States? Check your map if you’re not sure . . .

Iranian FM slams US sanctions on Turkey

Iran FMIranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has criticized the United States’ sanctions on Turkey on Twitter on Aug. 2. 

“US’ unlawful sanctions against two Turkish ministers – from an allied country – illustrates not just US administration’s policy of pressure and extortion in lieu of statecraft, but that its addiction to sanctions knows no bounds,” Zarif said.

Source

And a slightly different take from news.com Australia:

IF the world’s economy had a jugular vein, it would be the Strait of Hormuz. It’s a narrow channel linking the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea. And through it flows the lifeblood of the world — oil.

Iran US war

If they’re playing a game, it’s a very dangerous one!

And Iran has it within its grip.

President Trump ordered new sanctions against Iran on Monday. Iran’s leadership has replied by threatening to shut down the Strait if it is barred from exporting oil.

Yesterday, Iranian naval commander, Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, said his military was ready to close the strait if ordered to do so. These exercises demonstrate it is willing and capable.

And Turkey’s government has said it will not support the USA’s sanctions against Iran. Meanwhile, President Erdoğan’s “hero against the imperialist hegemony” image is not only perceived by Muslims:

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro attended the extraordinary summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul in December last year

maduro in Istanbul

Venezuela’s President Maduro with Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın

President Nicolas Maduro was among the attendees of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) extraordinary summit held in Istanbul on Wednesday upon Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s call following U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem.

Maduro, who is in Istanbul for another meeting, attended the summit as a special observer. Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and Minister of Communication Jorge Rodriguez were also present at the extraordinary summit.

On Monday Maduro stated that Trump’s declaration was “illegal, absolutely illegal.” He went on to say that it was a provocation and a declaration of war against the Arabs, Muslims and the good people of the world.

Source

They_Were_All_Out_of_Step_But_Jim_sheet_music_cover_artMy Grandma Jessie used to have a story she’d quote to pointedly criticise someone whose selfish arrogance refused to acknowledge that there were others in the world who might have a valid point-of-view. The proud mother was watching from her window a regiment of soldiers marching up the street. “Did you notice?” she said. “They were all out of step but Jim.”

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I’m cheering for Vlad the De-railer!

Who do those Americans think they are?

Russia Secretly Helped Venezuela Launch a Cryptocurrency to Evade U.S. Sanctions

putin_maduro.jpeg_1718483346

Everyone needs a big friend when the bullies are out to get you!

President Donald Trump may not have realized on Monday that his executive order would step on Russia’s toes. Its official target was Venezuela, specifically the country’s plan to create the world’s first state-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, which went on sale Tuesday.

But behind the scenes, the petro was in fact a collaboration—a half-hidden joint venture between Venezuelan and Russian officials and businessmen, whose aim was to erode the power of U.S. sanctions, sources familiar with the effort told TIME.

Trump’s executive order did not mention the petro’s Russian backers, whose role has not previously been reported. Citing economic sanctions that the U.S. imposed against Venezuela in August, the order simply made clear that anyone who buys or uses the new cryptocurrency would be in breach of those sanctions, as would anyone under U.S. jurisdiction who helps Venezuela develop the petro. “Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited,” the document states.

Source: Time Magazine