Saturday, November 18, 2017

Trump Squeaks

"President Trump said he’s delaying a new policy allowing the body parts of African elephants shot for sport to be imported until he can review ‘‘all conservation facts.’’ The US Fish and Wildlife Service said Thursday that it will allow the importation of body parts from African elements shot for sport. The agency said encouraging wealthy big-game hunters to kill the threatened species would help raise money for conservation programs. Animal rights advocates and environmental groups criticized the decision. On Friday, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged the administration to reverse the policy, calling it the ‘‘wrong move at the wrong time.’’ Trump tweeted Friday that the policy had been ‘‘under study for years.’’ He said he will review the issue with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Meanwhile, on Friday....."

Related: The Bo$ton Globe's Big Game Hunt

Mugabe now a mouse:

"Zimbabwe’s governing party moves to expel Mugabe, effectively endorsing coup" by Jeffrey Moyo New York Times   November 17, 2017

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s governing party moved Friday to expel President Robert Mugabe from its ranks, taking the first step in legally ousting the 93-year-old leader after a military coup two days earlier.

A majority of the leaders of the party, ZANU-PF, recommended Mugabe’s expulsion from the very organization that he had controlled with an iron grip since independence in 1980, according to ZBC, the state broadcaster.

Similar steps, possibly over the next week, by the party’s central committee, Parliament, and Mugabe’s Cabinet could legally end his presidencyin keeping with coup leaders’ attempts to soften the image of a takeover that the military insists was not a coup.

The military arrested Mugabe early Wednesday, effectively ending his 37-year rule, although it allowed him to appear in public Friday to address a university graduation.

Later Friday, party members endorsed the military’s efforts to stabilize the economy and defuse political instability. They echoed military commanders in arguing that the intervention was aimed at rooting out a cabal of corrupt interlopers who had clouded Mugabe’s judgment and his ability to govern.

“Many of us had watched with pain as the party and government were being reduced to the personal property of a few infiltrators with traitorous histories and questionable commitment to the people of Zimbabwe,” the party leaders said in a resolution. “Clearly, the country was going down the wrong path.”

The resolution recommended that Mugabe be removed for taking the advice of “counterrevolutionaries and agents of neo-imperialism”; for mistreating his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mugabe abruptly dismissed last week; and for encouraging “factionalism.”

I didn't know Zimbabwe's government was infested with Zionist warmongers as is the U.S. government. Trump must take notice.

It urged the “immediate and unconditional reinstatement” of Mnangagwa, who appears poised to succeed Mugabe, at least until national elections next year.

Zimbabwe's Barak Obama?

Party members also moved to schedule a march for Saturday in support of the military.

Over the past few days, the military has been in negotiations to find a peaceful and face-saving way for Mugabe to exit the scene, in talks mediated by South Africa and other countries in the region and by the Roman Catholic Church.

The military has insisted that its intervention was not a coup. The Herald, the state-run newspaper, said the military “had taken action to pacify the degenerating political, social, and economic situation in the country,” which “if left unchecked would have resulted in violent conflict,” and said the action was intended “to flush out reactionary and criminal elements around the president.”

Oh, that's already been done. Flynn and Bannon are gone.

On Friday, Mugabe was freed — if only temporarily — to address a university graduation ceremony. It was his first public appearance since the military placed him under house arrest — an illustration, perhaps, that this was no ordinary attempt to oust a despot.

Mugabe, 93, has dominated his country since independence from Britain 37 years ago, surviving through a blend of political skill, brutality, manipulation, and patronage dispensed among a corrupt elite.

Feel like I'm looking in a mirror, and if the dollar is ever dropped as the reserve currency of the global $y$tem we will be Zimbabwe.

Those days “are numbered,” though, said Chris Mutsvangwa, leader of Zimbabwe’s influential war veterans’ movement, which was founded to represent those who fought in the seven-year liberation war in the 1970s but has emerged as a powerful political force.

At a news conference, Mutsvangwa cranked up pressure on Mugabe, saying the longtime leader would face huge calls for his ouster at a rally Saturday.

At his news conference, Mutsvangwa said several key regions in Zimbabwe’s Shona-speaking heartlands — the base of ZANU-PF’s support — had approved calls for the president’s expulsion. Mugabe himself has in the past used orchestrated maneuvering in the provinces to undermine national figures in Harare.

The talks involving the Catholic Church and South African mediators are intended to devise a transition that would have the appearance of constitutional legitimacy while providing a decorous departure for a leader whose role in the preindependence liberation struggle is central to the national narrative.

The military’s ultimate intention has apparently been to effect a transfer of power without the appearance of illegality that might draw further opprobrium from outside Zimbabwe or frighten off potential investors.

Outside the main cities Friday, the military set up roadblocks on main highways, apparently to thwart any attempt at organized resistance.

Buses traveling from Bulawayo, the second city, to Harare, the capital, were pulled over and boarded by soldiers who checked documents and asked passengers about their business.....

More of a police state than when Mugabe was in charge!


Mugabe is no Kenyatta, that's for sure.


"Violence kills at least 5 children in Damascus suburb" Associated Press  November 17, 2017

BEIRUT— At least five children and two rescue workers were killed Friday in a Damascus suburb during a government bombing campaign amid escalating violence in and around the capital despite a truce, activists reported.

State media said that rebels shelled government-controlled neighborhoods of Damascus, killing at least three civilians.

Meanwhile, activists said militants from the Islamic State blew up a car bomb at a gathering of displaced Syrians in the eastern of the country, killing dozens.

Friday marks the fourth day of violence in Damascus and its suburbs, despite a truce brokered by Russia, Turkey, and Iran that went into effect in August. So far, omore than 40 people have been killed, mostly in rebel-held suburbs but also in the government-controlled capital.....

And the 800-pound elephant in the room that ain't going anywhere?



"The surprise resignation by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri stunned the Lebanese, many of whom saw it as a sign the Sunni kingdom — the prime minister’s chief ally — had decided to drag tiny Lebanon into its feud with the region’s other powerhouse, the predominantly Shi’ite Iran....."

In what is known as Plan B, since they lost Syria. 

"Iraqi forces retake last town under ISIS control" by Mustafa Salim Washington Post  November 17, 2017

BAGHDAD — Iraqi forces wrested back the final piece of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate, the country’s military said on Friday, reclaiming the small town of Rawa near the border with Syria.

Still, Iraqi officials warn, the extremist group poses a threat as it turns to more traditional terrorist tactics. Since losing its de-facto capital of Mosul in July, the militant group has been able to stage deadly suicide bombings and its gunmen have struck civilians throughout Iraq.

While state television heralded the victory in Rawa, there was a muted response in Iraq to the development. Since winning back Mosul in July, and later the smaller but populous towns of Tal Afar and Hawija, Iraqis have largely considered themselves on a post-Islamic State footing.

Some 3.2 million people displaced by the fighting remain in camps while independent organizations say the civilian death toll from the US-led air-war is much more massive than has been announced.....

And it is about to get much worse.


SeeUS launches Libya drone strike as Africa operations appear to ramp up

Over the past week, the U.S. military conducted six days of airstrikes against ISIS and al-Shabaab in Somalia. In all, 28 airstrikes have been launched against Somalia in 2017, according to the U.S. Africa Command. Meanwhile, the U.S. has conducted over 100 airstrikes against ISIS and Al Qaeda in Yemen this year. Since President Trump took office, the U.S. military has already dropped twice as many bombs on the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan than it did all of last year.

Not the kind of change I wanted.

"In Pakistan on Friday, police told and estimated 5,000 protesters at an Islamist rally near the capital, Islamabad, to disband to avoid a crackdown, the Associated Press reported. The warning came a day after a court asked the rally organizers — the small Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah party — to end the dayslong protest that has disrupted life in Islamabad and forced many commuters to find alternate routes. The demonstrators began camping out last week at the main Faizabad crossing, which links the garrison city of Rawalpindi with Islamabad. They have been demanding the removal of the country’s law minister, Zahid Hamid, over a recently omitted reference to the prophet Mohammed in a constitutional bill."

Occupy Pakistan?

At least the North Korean army is in terrible shape, 'eh?


Meanwhile, back in the war zones in this hemisphere:

"The White House sent Congress a $44 billion disaster aid request that’s already under attack from lawmakers from hurricane-hit regions as way too small. The request, President Trump’s third since hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria slammed the Gulf Coast and Caribbean, would bring the total appropriated for disaster relief this fall close to $100 billion — and that’s before most of the money to rebuild Puerto Rico’s housing stock and electric grid is added in. The measure arrives as lawmakers and the White House face numerous budget-related issues by year’s end, including a deadline of Dec. 8 to avert a government shutdown. Top Capitol Hill leaders are also negotiating bipartisan spending increases for the Pentagon and domestic agencies in hopes of passing a catchall government funding bill. They are also seeking to renew a popular program that provides health care to children from low-income families....."

RelatedHead of Puerto Rico's electric utility resigns amid scrutiny

At least there weren't any nuclear reactors on the island, and the nursing home tragedy in Florida during Irma is all but ashes now.

Also see:

Massport paves way for new Seaport hotel and apartment complex

You can take a shuttle over.