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Can Saud And Israel Drag Trump Into War With Iran?

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~By Saeed Naqvi

The New York Times Op-Ed page headline said it all:

“I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again.” The column written by Col. Lawrence Wilkerson appeared on February 5, 2018. The date is significant because exactly 15 years ago, on February 5, 2003, Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, spoke at the UN, making out a case for a pre emptive war with Iraq. Remember those satellite pictures, sinister vehicular movement, “confirming” the presence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in that blighted country.

Powell’s Chief of Staff who actually helped draft the speech was Lawrence Wilkerson, now a much chastened man. He learnt the hard way that both he and his boss Powell had been set on a Fool’s Errand by the Intelligence community. There were no WMD’s in Iraq.

The “war of choice” with Iraq “resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the US-led coalition,that destabilized the entire Middle East”, he says.

Wilkerson, the perennial insider, then draws comparisons with the current mood in Washington.

“Just over a month ago, the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said that the administration had ‘undeniable’ evidence that Iran was not complying with the Security Council Resolutions regarding its ballistic missile programme and Yemen. Just like Mr. Powell, Ms. Haley showed satellite images and other physical evidence available only to the US Intelligence community to prove her case.”

“It’s astonishing how similar that moment was to Powell’s 2003 presentation.”

For obvious reasons, in his New York Times article, Wilkerson is circumspect. He does not name Israel as driving President Trump’s policies. But speaking at National Press Club, he is much more unfettered and direct in answering the basic question: who is pushing America into a conflict with Iran?

“Avigdor Lieberman (Israeli Defence Minister) and Benjamin Netanyahu and their acolytes in this country (US), among whom I put Nikki Haley – they have determined that it would be best if American troops also participated in the overthrow of the Tehran regime.”

Wilkerson is full of admiration for the Israeli Defence Forces which could handle “anything Iran threw at it militarily”. Also, “Israel’s 200 nuclear weapons could decimate Iran”. Wilkerson then asks: “so, why this attempt to suck America into this conflict?” He puts it down to “crass opportunism” – “better to squander your ally’s blood and treasure than your own.”Can Saud And Israel Drag Trump Into War With Iran?

It is possible to argue that if Wilkerson went along with the exaggerations in 2003, what is the guarantee that he is not once again exaggerating present dangers?

There is nothing about the present White House that leaves one sanguine on any count. It would be rank bad form to compare the President of the United States with Caligula but folks are making that comparison to good effect. Caligula elevated his horse to a cabinet rank. Donald Trump has committed no such misdemeanor thus far. But no one can bet on the future.

While his buddies across the Atlantic are in convulsions over Putin dispensing nerve agents on the streets of Britain, Trump has made a quiet telephonic contact with the same Russian gent. No one can make out whether he is cooing or barking on the telephone line.

Washington’s current policy towards Iran, which carries Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s imprimatur, is quite transparent: leave it outside the regional order the US seeks to impose in West Asia (Middle East). And then defang Iran in every possible way, including military action.

This is the exact opposite of the order Barack Obama-John Kerry had sketched for the region.

The 2015 nuclear deal with Iran was signed within a certain conceptual framework. Pivot to Asia had acquired greater saliency in Obama’s scheme. China’s extraordinary rise required the US to pay greater attention to the Pacific region. This entailed that day to day supervision of West Asian affairs by the US would no longer be possible.

The US was not running away from its West Asian responsibilities. The legitimacy conferred on Iran after the nuclear deal made it a key player in the new West Asian balance of power which Washington was proposing. Other players in this arrangement would be Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar. But Saudi Arabia and Israel, sleeping in the same bed in Syria, were totally averse to having Iran as a player in the new West Asian balance. It was galling for the Israeli-Saudi duet when Russia with the help of Irancontrolled militias and Turkey’s switch in favour of Assad, turned the tide in Syria.

This is when Trump appeared in the White House, not quite Caligula incarnate but more or less there. As candidate he had told Jake Tapper of the CNN that billions of dollars had been given to groups in Syria who may well have been the Islamic State. “I think they were the Islamic state”, he said with certainty. The interview is available on youtube.

Instead of wasting money on questionable groups, Trump has fallen back on a strategy closest to his heart: making money. Towards this end he has American boots on the ground in Syria for which a prohibitive bill will be submitted to an embattled, Saudi King-to-be, running helter skelter between Yemen, Syria, Qatif and the occupants of Riyadh’s Ritz Carlton hotel.

Mohammad bin Salman is not a comforting sight to a Benjamin Netanyahu, on sixes and sevens with the noose of corruption allegations tightening around his neck. Meanwhile, Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran axis continue to menace.

Might Trump, in search of some success, be pushed into a pre emptive war on Iran? Can he at a time that Putin is glaring at him, eye-ball to eye-ball? True, key appointments around him can only add to Trump’s recklessness and hawk of hawks Nikki Haley is not budging from her position.

If he goes down that route he should glance at the elementary data Wilkerson has furnished: Polls show at least 4 billion people think we’re (the US) the number one threat to their security in the world; think about that for a minute – “We’ve already done Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. We’d just be seen as continuing trend if we embark on Iran”. Is this to be America’s lasting heritage?

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Slovakia’s Prime Minister safe after surviving multiple gunshot

The assailant critically injured 59-year-old Prime Minister Fico by shooting him five times.

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Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed today that Prime Minister Robert Fico’s condition is stable, with his life no longer in immediate danger, following an alarming incident where he was shot multiple times.

The Prime Minister was shot by an assassin while he was leaving a meeting on Wednesday.The assailant critically injured 59-year-old Prime Minister Fico by shooting him five times.

Following the attack, Prime Minister Fico was urgently airlifted to the hospital, where he underwent extensive surgery that lasted several hours. Defence Minister Robert Kalinak, addressing reporters from outside the hospital where Fico was receiving treatment on Wednesday, described the Prime Minister’s condition as critical, emphasising that he was fighting for his life.

The identity of the suspect is yet unconfirmed as the police further investigate. Unconfirmed reports from local media suggest that the assailant may have been a 71-year-old writer and political activist.

A video is currently circulating in which the alleged perpetrator can be seen. In the clip, he mentions that he does not agree with government policy.

The shooting has sparked international concern. Expressing shock over the incident, PM Modi conveyed his solidarity with the people of the Slovak Republic, wishing Prime Minister Fico a speedy recovery. He strongly condemned the shooting, denouncing it as a cowardly and despicable act while emphasising the need for unity against such violent acts and reaffirming India’s support for Slovakia during these challenging times.

Earlier, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen also expressed disapproval of the vile attack on Prime Minister Robert Fico . On X, she stated that such acts of violence have no place in society, undermining democracy, the most precious common good. Von der Leyen extended her thoughts to Prime Minister Fico and his family, highlighting the European Union’s solidarity during this challenging time. The condemnation from EU leadership underscores the gravity of the situation and the need for a united stance against violence targeting political figures. As the investigation unfolds, international support for Slovakia remains steadfast, emphasising the importance of upholding democratic principles and ensuring the safety of leaders across Europe.

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World Earth Day 2024: Google Doodle showcases aerial view of planet’s natural beauty

Google celebrated Earth Day 2024 with a special doodle featuring an aerial view of our planet’s biodiversity.

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Google shared a doodle today to celebrate World Earth Day 2024, which showcased aerial photos of the planet’s biodiversity and natural beauty. Google reminded us of the importance of protecting planet earth for future generations with the help of this doodle.

The Google letters depict specific locations across the globe where people, communities, and governments work every day to help protect the planet’s natural beauty, biodiversity, and resources, according to the explanation of the annual Earth Day 2024 doodle on their website.

It said, these examples remind us that there’s much more to do to address the climate crisis and biodiversity loss, but also offer the promise of hope and optimism.

The islands of Turks and Caicos are represented by the letter “G.” The islands’ conservation efforts are concentrated on protecting important regions for biodiversity and addressing persistent environmental problems.

The largest reef in the southern Gulf of Mexico and a UNESCO biosphere reserve, Scorpion Reef National Park, is represented by the letter “O” in the Mexican flag.

The letter “O” features Iceland’s Vatnajokull National Park, which was designated as a national park in 2008 following decades of advocacy. The ecology within and surrounding the biggest glacier in Europe is safeguarded by this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The letter “G” has the Jau National Park in Brazil on it. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the biggest forest reserves in South America.

The Great Green Wall of Nigeria is represented by the letter “L,”  and the Pilbara Islands Nature Reserves of Australia are represented by the letter “E.”

Meanwhile, Earth Day is a worldwide event that promotes protection of the environment every year. April 22 serves as a reminder of the importance of conservation efforts and sustainable practices to guarantee a healthier world and a brighter future.

The occasion inspires people across the world to come together and take action to protect the environment, strengthening our bonds with nature and promoting good change.

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Bigg Boss 14 contestant Rahul Vaidya struggles walking in knee deep water, compares Dubai rains with Mumbai floods

Singer and TV personality Rahul Vaidya was recently stranded in the Dubai rains.

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Rahul Vaidya, who was in Dubai ahead of his show which was scheduled to take place today, left the country due to heavy rains and reached Kolkata. The artist shared on social media his encounters in the UAE city, including challenges like walking through knee-deep water. Rahul provided an update regarding the heavy rainfall in Dubai on his Instagram profile.

The Bigg Boss 14 contestant revealed that he was in Kolkata and prepared to do an evening performance. Recalling the terrifying period he went through, Vaidya said there was a lot of confusion and panic in Dubai. The situation was similar to that when heavy floods hit Mumbai in 2005.

Vaiday also posted seval other images and videos of cars that were underwater and flooded roadways. The Bigg Boss 14 contestant, who shared his ordeal, claimed that even though it had just rained for two hours, the situation was dire.

In one of the video, which went viral he can be seen struggling in walking in knee-deep water. He can be also seen holding his sneakers in one hand and with other hand he was seen managing other things.

This is the result of the two hours of rain that it had, he can be heard saying in the video. Vidya also said he dosen’t believe Dubai is accustomed to a lot of rain. Everything had stopped working, he remarked.

After taking part in the first season of the singing reality show Indian Idol, Rahul Vaidya gained widespread recognition. In addition to Bigg Boss, he took part in Khatron Ke Khiladi 11.

Meanwhile, heavy rains that triggered flooding in the UAE and Bahrain, which left 18 people dead in Oman on Sunday and Monday, have paralyzed the financial hub of the Middle East, Dubai.

A lot of incoming flights were diverted from Dubai’s international airport because of the rain. At 7:26 p.m., the busiest airport in the world for foreign visitors stopped accepting new arrivals; a gradual resumption was announced for more than two hours later.

Images of planes navigating flooded tarmacs are making the rounds on social media.

According to pictures shared on social media, the flagship malls Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates both experienced heavy floods, while at least one Dubai Metro station had water up to the ankles.

There were several road collapses, severe flooding in residential areas, and numerous reports of leaks from windows, doors, and roofs.

Due to the unfavourable weather, schools around the United Arab Emirates were forced to close, and as more storms are predicted, the closures are anticipated to last until Wednesday. The government of Dubai allowed its staff to work remotely till this Wednesday.

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