Here’s how it might go down, according to a trio of experts.
Donald Trump predicted back in 2013 that the US would eventually go to war with Iran. At the time, Trump was merely a rich guy and right-wing gadlfy criticizing Secretary of State John Kerry on Fox News, but later, as a presidential candidate then a president, his rhetoric and policies have been strikingly antagonistic.
Trump promised to renegotiate Barack Obama’s signature deal with Iran on nuclear weapons during the 2016 campaign, and though he hasn’t done that, he has staffed his White House with people hostile toward Iran. That includes Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who has implied that Iran and ISIS are on friendly terms.
Shortly after Trump took office, Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked a Saudi ship, killing two people—and in pretty a wild leap leap of logic, the White House described it as an Iranian attack. In April, Trump said Iran wasn’t “living up to the spirit” of the nuclear deal. During a May trip to the Middle East, Trump appeared to side more aggressively with Saudi Arabia against Iran than past presidents, then continued that anti-Iran rhetoric in Israel.
Over the weekend, a report claiming that the Saudi coastguard had killed an Iranian fisherman, an announcement by Iran that it had fired multiple ballistic missiles into eastern Syria to target ISIS in retaliation for an attack in Tehran, and the shooting down of a Syrian plane by a US-led coalition only heightened tensions in the region.
THE GOP’S 2016 presidential upset wasn’t surprising just because it put Donald Trump in the White House; it also proved the party had vastly improved its ability to exploit data, including precision ad targeting campaigns on Facebook. Now comes the fallout of all that information hoarding: A California-based security researcher says Republican-linked election databases were inadvertently exposed to the entire internet, sans password, potentially violating the privacy of almost every single registered voter in the United States.
In Minnesota, protesters took to the streets Sunday for a third straight day after a St. Anthony police officer was acquitted Friday in the killing of a black motorist he shot five times during a traffic stop last year. Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted on charges of manslaughter for killing Philando Castile, an African American who worked as a school nutrition services supervisor for the Saint Paul Public Schools. The shooting made international headlines after Castile’s girlfriend documented the aftermath of the shooting by broadcasting live on Facebook from the car moments after Castile was shot. In the video, Officer Yanez is seen pointing a gun at her and her 4-year-old daughter. About 2,000 demonstrators gathered outside Minnesota’s state Capitol in St. Paul on Friday evening, and a series of speakers demanded justice for people of color in the judicial system and police accountability. Several protesters blocked a main interstate between St. Paul and Minneapolis Friday night, resulting in 18 arrests. Peaceful demonstrations continued throughout the weekend. Protesters also gathered in New York on Saturday. Democracy Now!’s Sam Alcoff filed this report.
Qatar will not negotiate with Arab states that have cut economic and travel ties with it unless they reverse their measures and lift the blockade, its foreign minister said, ruling out discussions over Qatar’s internal affairs including Al Jazeera TV.
“Qatar is under blockade, there is no negotiation. They have to lift the blockade to start negotiations,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told reporters in Doha on Monday.
“Until now we didn’t see any progress about lifting the blockade, which is the precondition for anything to move forward.”
Sheikh Mohammed said Qatar had still not received any demands from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, who severed relations two weeks ago, triggering the worst Gulf Arab crisis in years.
The threat of direct Russian-American confrontation in Syria escalated on Monday after Moscow said it would treat any plane from the US-led coalition flying west of the Euphrates river as a potential target.
Russia said it was responding to US planes shooting down a Syrian air force jet on Sunday. The US said its planes had acted to defend US-backed forces seeking to capture the Islamic State capital of Raqqa in north-east Syria.
It was the first such US attack on a Syrian warplane since the start of the country’s civil war six years ago.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said the US strike “has to be seen as a continuation of America’s line to disregard the norms of international law.
“What is this if not an act of aggression? It is, if you like, help to those terrorists that the US is fighting against, declaring they are carrying out an anti-terrorism policy.”