President Akufo-Addo Gets a Birthday Bash at Harvard

President Akufo-Addo signing the CFTA Agreement

Students of the Kennedy School of Government, at Harvard University, Boston, United States of America surprised President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on his birthday.

The President was blown away when the students started singing a happy birthday song for him.

President Akufo-Addo burst into his signature laughter and expressed delight at the love showed him.

U.S. Embassy and Knutsford Discuss Women in Agriculture

farmers

The United States (U.S) Embassy in Accra, in collaboration with the Knutsford University Collage on Wednesday, held a panel discussion on the topic: “Women in Agriculture: Reversing Trends, Changing Lives.

The programme attracted stakeholders from the Agricultural sector majority of whom were young women with an aim to share knowledge, achievements and challenges of women in agriculture.

Mrs Elizabeth Ategou, the Cultural Attaché of the U.S Embassy in her opening remarks underscored the important role that women played in agriculture and their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product.

She said giving them further push through sustained investments, would produce a multiplier effect, as they usually reinvest a large portion of their incomes in their families and communities to enhance national development, as women had the ability to use very little resources to achieve greater outcomes.

Mrs Ategou said the programme was also part of the activities to climax the annual Women’s History Month celebrations, and to discuss how best to support women to expand their production and businesses, as well as whip the interest of the youth to take to agriculture as a business.

The panel discussion which was moderated by Ms Monipel Ansong, the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of MS Food Safety, led Madam Stella Saaka, the Regional Organising Secretary of the Women in Agriculture Platform and the 2019 U.S Embassy Ghana’s Woman of Courage awardee, Ms Margaret Agyeman, an Agronomist and Agriculture Consultant, and Ms Portia Agyei-Yeboah, Founder of OAK Foundation, the discussants, to share their knowledge and experiences on the subject with the participants.

The convergent points raised by the three discussants included the fact that for women to thrive in agriculture, there should be persistent advocacy for their inclusion both at the decision-making levels, as well as giving them rights to land ownership.

They admitted that although women were now doing tremendously well in the agricultural sector compared to previous years, there was still more to be done in areas such as encouraging more young women to get passionate about agriculture as a business, being innovative, and improving collaboration and networking with institutions to leverage the use of existing resources and support for the expansion.

Other areas of concern raised by the panel included challenges with access to technology, funding for small holder women farmers, as well as market for their produce.

Madam Saaka shared with the participants how she was able to engage with the traditional authorities in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region to release some productive lands to women in the community for farming, and also provided them with training for value addition to their produce.

She spoke about the funding support received from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to train some young girls in the use of sweet potatoes for making drinks, and the market access created through her fervent advocacy and engagement with other stakeholders.

She said although not easy, there was the need to encourage women to open up for expansion through their acceptance of the use of new technologies to change their old methods of farming.

Ms Agyei-Yeboah said women farmers needed capital, in the form of flexible loans for sustainable agriculture, and appealed to the private sector to help in addressing this concern, and also urged women to form groups so they could access such funding assistance for their expansion.

Ms Agyeman indicated that agriculture was the sure way to eliminating poverty especially among women, and urged them to remain focused in expanding their production levels from peasant-based to large business farming entities.

Professor John Essel, the Pro-Chancellor of the Knutsford University College, pledged the institutions commitment towards stepping up its partnership with the U.S Embassy to host new programmes that would open doors of opportunities for the youth to enter into agriculture for ensure food security.

U.S will try to re-engage DPRK Whilst Diplomatic Efforts Continue

DPRK

The United States will “re-engage” with Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), over denuclearization-related issues of mutual concern, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.

In an interview with B98 FM, a radio station of the U.S. state of Kansas via teleconference, Pompeo said that “we believe we’re still moving forward. It’s certainly difficult — we knew it would be. It’s been a decades-long challenge,” according to the interview transcript circulated by the U.S. Department of State. “But we have the toughest economic sanctions in history, but the most promising diplomatic engagement in history as well,” he continued. “And so we made a little bit more progress in Hanoi, now three weeks back, when President Trump traveled there to meet with Chairman Kim.” “We’ll re-engage with him. It’s incredibly important that we take down the threat not only for America and for Kansas, but for the entire world,” said the U.S. top diplomat. In a separate interview with other local Kansas media outlets on the same day also via teleconference, Pompeo said that the U.S.-DPRK engagement over the Korean Peninsula denuclearization is “a long journey.” “It’s going to be difficult. To convince North Korea (the DPRK) to give up their nuclear weapons took a great deal of work,” he said. “We made a little bit of progress in Hanoi along that route, not nearly as much as we had hoped, but the effort continues because it’s important.”

Speaking of the reasons why the Hanoi summit has failed to lead to the agreement signing, Pompeo said that “it’s clearly a range of issues around timing and sequencing and how it is we achieve this.”
“President Trump’s commitment … has to follow the verified denuclearization of North Korea. And getting that sequencing right and getting it laid out in a way that each of the parties can agree to and take down the tension level along the North and South Korean border, it matters to … our important partners, and it matters to the whole world,” he said. Noting earlier on Friday that Washington is still hopeful for continued talks with Pyongyang, Pompeo confirmed that there are ongoing negotiations between the two sides. The second summit between the DPRK’s top leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi ended without agreement on Feb. 28.

On Friday, DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui blamed the U.S. side for the failure of the Hanoi summit, saying the talks failed because the U.S. side lacked sincerity. Other parties concerned have also tried to promote the U.S.-DPRK dialogue. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said earlier on Monday that China hopes the DPRK and the United States would cherish the hard-won momentum of dialogue and keep talking until a peaceful denuclearized Korean Peninsula is realized. “After the Hanoi summit, the DPRK and the U.S. both expressed willingness to continue dialogues. We commend and encourage this,” Geng said, adding that the key to keeping up and advancing dialogue is to accommodate all parties’ legitimate concerns in a balanced way, build up mutual trust and consensus, take phased and synchronized steps, and start with easier moves. “As the nuclear issue has dragged on for decades and complicated factors are at play, one cannot expect it to be solved overnight. All parties need to have reasonable expectations. One shouldn’t set the bar too high at the outset or make unilateral, unrealistic demands,” Geng quoted Foreign Minister Wang Yi as saying.
South Korea’s presidential Blue House said Sunday that both the DPRK and the United States “never” wanted to go back to the past confrontation and tension.

Though Kim and Trump failed to reach an agreement in Hanoi, both Pyongyang and Washington made clear their willingness to continue diplomacy and negotiations, the Blue House noted, adding that the South Korean government will make best efforts to help resume the DPRK-U.S. negotiations as soon as possible in close cooperation with the United States while encouraging the DPRK to stay in the dialogue track.

Morocco, U.S Begins Annual Military Exercise in Southern Morocco

An U.S. army soldier sits on top of an armored vehicle during the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States in Pocheon, northeast of Seoul, March 25, 2015. (Xinhua/Seongbin Kang)

Morocco and the United States launched Saturday the 2019 edition of their annual military exercises named “African Lion” in southern Morocco.

The drills will be held until April 7 with the participation of thousands of military personnel, according to a statement from the General Staff of the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces.

The exercise involves various types of training including command post, maneuvering, peace keeping operations and aerial refueling, the statement said.

It will also include training on counter-terrorism operations, land and air exercises, as well as a tactical simulation, it added.

Military units and observers from Canada, Spain, Britain, Senegal, Tunisia, in addition to the United States and Morocco will take part in the exercise, the same source said.

On the sidelines of the drills, medical services will be provided to local populations in the region of Tata by medical teams made up of doctors and nurses of the Royal Armed Forces and the U.S. Army.

African Lion is an annually scheduled exercise designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures. Enditem

U.S. to Cut Special Trade Arrangements for India and Turkey

US President describes impact of Paris Accord

The United States intends to move India and Turkey out of a program under which a group of developing countries receive preferential trade treatment, the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) office announced Monday.

According to a statement issued by the USTR’s office, India’s termination from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program “follows its failure to provide the United States with assurances that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to its markets in numerous sectors.” Turkey is kicked out because “it is sufficiently economically developed and should no longer benefit from preferential market access to the United States market,” the statement said. In a letter to congressional leaders, U.S. President Donald Trump wrote, “I am providing notice of my intent to terminate the designation of India as a beneficiary developing country under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.”

The step is taken because “I have determined that India has not assured the United States that it will provide equitable and reasonable access to the markets of India,” Trump told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President of the Senate Charles Grassley in the letter, citing provisions in the Trade Act of 1974 that established the GSP. As of 2017, some 5.6 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of Indian imports enjoys duty-free status in accordance with the GSP, making the country the biggest beneficiary of the program, data from the USTR’s office showed. Trump, who has complained about U.S. trade deficit with India, issued a presidential proclamation last year removing 50 items from a list of Indian products subject to the GSP, effective from Nov. 1, 2018.

Washington has a 21-billion-dollar red ink in trade balance with New Delhi in 2018, according to statistics provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. As for Turkey, the USTR’s office cited “an increase in Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, declining poverty rates, and export diversification” as evidence that Ankara has achieved a “higher level of economic development.” “By statute, these changes may not take effect until at least 60 days after the notifications to Congress and the governments of India and Turkey, and will be enacted by a Presidential Proclamation,” the USTR’s office said in the statement

U.S. invests US$4 million in Ethiopia’s health sector

The United States has handed over more than USD $4 million (approximately 115 million ETB) worth of new medical equipment and medicines to the Ministry of Health for use in hospitals and health centers in the regional states of Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, and Somali.

The equipment was provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID’s) Transform Health in Developing Regions activity and includes mobile ultrasound machines, incubators, and heating stations to keep newborns warm after birth.

The project will also train Ethiopian health center staff on how to properly use and maintain the new equipment.

In addition, USAID provided medicines to treat respiratory disease syndrome in newborns, obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and other health problems.

As a result, health centers in rural areas of the country will be able to improve childbirth delivery services and basic healthcare for mothers and children.

USAID Deputy Mission Director Alicia Dinerstein remarked, “We hope this is a catalytic investment that will increase the quality of – and demand for – health services, and enable providers to better meet the needs of their communities.”

U.S. development programs like the USAID Transform Health in Developing Regions program invest in the capacity of Ethiopian institutions and the Ethiopian people to address their own needs and become stronger partners.

The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia’s health sector, with approximately USD $150 million per year in funding for HIV/AIDS; malaria; maternal, neonatal and child health; nutrition; tuberculosis; and water, sanitation and hygiene.

Overall, the United States has provided approximately $4 billion in development and humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia over the past five years.

President Buhari assures Clinton of a free, fair and credible elections

President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday night assured former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, of a free, fair and credible elections come Saturday.

The President, who took a telephone call from President Clinton, described him as a friend of the country, while commending his constant support for the peace, stability and progress of Nigeria under a democratic dispensation.

President Clinton, who regretted his inability to visit the country to witness the signing of the final peace accord before the general elections, wished Nigeria well as her citizens go to the polls.

President Buhari thanked the former POTUS for his continuous support for Nigeria and the growth of her democracy.

Anti-Slavery Campaigns in Britain and Their Impact on the Formation of the United States

African woman tortured by John Kimber who was acquitted of murder by British courts in 1792

The leaders of the 18th century separatist movement from England were not motivated by a genuine desire for freedom and equality

If the so-called American Revolution of 1776 was truly committed to breaking with monarchical and autocratic rule from the United Kingdom then why did slavery grow at a rapid rate after the achievement of independence of the former 13 colonies in North America?

This is an important political question since even in the 21st century there are repeated references by elected officials in both houses of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court to the “Founding Fathers” and “Framers of the Constitution.” What is not mentioned by these career politicians and lifetime jurists is that many of the authors of the U.S. Constitution were large-scale slave owners themselves.

These wealthy landowners and slave masters did not see any reason to liberate the more than 700,000 Africans living in the former colonies by the conclusion of the 1780s. The existence of slavery was quite profitable and with the discovery of the cotton gin in 1793, the expansion of involuntary servitude across the South and extending further west empowered the planters to the point where as a result of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 they were able to dominate the House of Representatives through a provision declaring that enslaved Africans could be counted as three-fifths of a person.

In an article published by Paul Finkelman of the Albany Law School in New York: “The three-fifths clause provided the extra proslavery representatives in the House to secure the passage of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 (bringing Missouri in as a slave state); the annexation in 1845 of Texas, which was described at the time as an ‘empire for slavery’; the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; the law allowing slavery in Utah and New Mexico; and the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 (which opened the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain territories to slavery). None of these laws could have been passed without the representatives created by counting slaves under the three-fifths clause.” (https://www.theroot.com/three-fifths-clause-why-its-taint-persists-1790895387)

Some Aspects of the Anti-Slavery Movement in Britain in the Late 18th Century

While the descendants of the British colonialists were divorcing themselves from the Crown, a burgeoning anti-slavery movement was taking hold in England. London was the largest center of the Atlantic Slave Trade where enormous profits earned from the exploitation of African labor was set to spawn the rise of industrial capitalism in the 19th century.

An important episode in the history of jurisprudence related to the legal basis for African enslavement was the case of Somerset v. Stewart which was heard and decided in London during 1772. James Somerset was an African purchased in Virginia and held by a Scottish merchant and customs officer. (http://www.ouramericanrevolution.org/index.cfm/page/view/m0149)

Somerset was brought from Virginia to England by Charles Stewart with the intent to continue his enslavement. Somerset fled from captivity and was later imprisoned. He filed suit in the British courts demanding his freedom based upon the lack of sufficient English law recognizing slavery within the unwritten constitution.

Although there were codes under British customary law which reinforced slavery, the courts found that there was no legal basis for the ownership of Somerset by Stewart. The although narrow ruling was not intended to free enslaved Africans from bondage it provided the impetus for the abolitionist movement in both Britain and what later became known as the U.S.

A summary of the ruling states that: “In a decision handed down by William Murray, Baron (later Earl) of Mansfield and Chief Justice of the Court of King’s Bench, the court narrowly held that ‘a master could not seize a slave in England and detain him preparatory to sending him out of the realm to be sold’ and that habeas corpus was a constitutional right available to slaves to forestall such seizure, deportation and sale because they were not chattel, or mere property, they were servants and thus persons invested with certain (but certainly limited) constitutional protections.” (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/blackhistory/rights/slave_free.htm)

The decision was hailed by the African population and anti-slavery proponents in Britain. Granville Sharp, a staunch advocate for the elimination of slavery had taken up the case on behalf of Somerset advising his lawyers on the arguments put forward in the case.

Sharp had written a tract in 1769 entitled “A Representation of the Injustice and Dangerous Tendency of Tolerating Slavery”, considered a foundational publication of the abolitionist movement of the 18th century. Gaining a reputation through the Somerset Case and previous attempts at freeing enslaved Africans, Sharp was approached by Olaudah Equiano in 1781 to seek his support in exposing the Zong massacre. (https://www.britannica.com/biography/Granville-Sharp)

Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa, wrote in his autobiography that he was captured in West Africa in the region now known as southeast Nigeria. He would be taken to Virginia where he worked to purchase his own freedom. Later he would be a co-founder of the Sons of Africa, an organization of emancipated people in Britain committed to the elimination of slavery. (http://abolition.e2bn.org/people_25.html)

The Zong was a British slave ship from Liverpool which captured 400 Africans setting sail later from Accra in West Africa. While traveling to the Caribbean island of Jamaica, many of the people on board were sickened including both European sailors and enslaved Africans.

After the deaths of 70 slaves and sailors on board, the captain Luke Collingwood authorized the throwing of Africans overboard resulting in the brutal deaths of another 133 people. This was done for the purpose of collecting insurance on the enslaved. The incident was widely publicized and consequently mobilized the Free African community and abolitionist movement in Britain.

Claims for the payment of the insurance were denied by the Baron of Mansfield who had ruled in the Somerset decision. Nonetheless, despite gallant attempts by abolitionists, the European crew was never convicted of murder. The ruling in the case said the killing of Africans was warranted under such circumstances as the purported lack of water, food and the prevalence of disease.

An historical website, blackpast.org, said of those in authority related to the attempt to prosecute the responsible individuals: “Great Britain’s The Solicitor General, Justice John Lee, however, refused to take up the criminal charges claiming ‘What is this claim that human people have been thrown overboard? This is a case of chattels or goods. Blacks are goods and property; it is madness to accuse these well-serving honorable men of murder… The case is the same as if wood had been thrown overboard.’” (https://www.blackpast.org/global-african-history/zong-massacre-1781/)

Just a decade later after the acquittal of the perpetrators of the Zong massacre, Captain John Kimber was placed on trial for the torture and murder of an African woman aboard the slave ship Recovery. Through the efforts of the abolitionists in Britain, Kimber was brought before the court, even though he was not convicted.

These developments illustrated the inherent racism within the British legal system. Such occurrences prompted the persistence of the anti-slavery campaigns. Africans such as Equiano and Ottobah Cugoano through the Sons of Africa grouping spread the consciousness related to the humanity of Black people. (https://face2faceafrica.com/article/sons-of-africa-the-early-political-group-formed-in-the-1700s-by-freed-slaves-in-london)

The Sons of Africa worked closely with the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. Thomas Clarkson, a co-founder of the Society, along with ten other anti-slavery advocates, persuaded parliamentarian William Wilberforce to introduce legislation demanding the end to human bondage. However, it would take decades of work to bring about the abolition of slavery in the British Empire.

Cugoano was kidnapped by the British in the West Africa region of today’s Ghana in 1770 being taken to England. He would win his emancipation and publish a book in 1787 entitled: “Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species.” (http://abolition.e2bn.org/people_26.html)

As opposition to slavery increased through political actions along with mass rebellion, the British parliament would pass the Slave Act of 1788 and Amelioration Act of 1798 related to the treatment of Africans in bondage under the control of England. Later in 1807, the British parliament would pass the Slave Trade Act, ostensibly outlawing the transatlantic trade. The trade would continue illegally and the domestic production and trade in enslaved Africans satisfied the demands for unpaid labor within the growing cotton plantations of the southern U.S. Later in 1833 the Slavery Abolition Act was passed by the British parliament. Nevertheless, Africans in the Caribbean were forced to undergo a period of apprenticeship leading to years more of virtual enslavement and consequent rebellion.

Other events such as the Haitian Revolution against France from 1791-1803 resulted in the founding of a Black Republic in the Caribbean, heightened the fears of the slave owning class which maintained its political advantage through the American legislative system. It would take a series of slave rebellions in the U.S. from 1800 through 1859 to escalate the intransigence of the planters provoking their secessionist ambitions leading to a civil war from 1861-1865, which created the conditions for the legal abolition of African slavery in the U.S. (https://www.questia.com/library/7253938/american-negro-slave-revolts)

The Legacy of Slavery Extends Into the 21st Century

African American historian Gerald Horne published a study on the impact of the anti-slavery movement in Britain and the motivations for independence by the founders of the U.S. during the late 18th century. The book entitled: “The Counter-revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America”, advances a thesis which conflicts with the conventional assumptions fostered by the educational system related to the separation of the 13 colonies from Britain.

An abstract of the Horne research project released in 2014 says: “Prior to 1776, anti-slavery sentiments were deepening throughout Britain and in the Caribbean, rebellious Africans were in revolt. For European colonists in America, the major threat to their security was a foreign invasion combined with an insurrection of the enslaved. It was a real and threatening possibility that London would impose abolition throughout the colonies—a possibility the founding fathers feared would bring slave rebellions to their shores. To forestall it, they went to war.” (https://nyupress.org/books/9781479893409/)

154 years since the legal abolition of involuntary servitude in the U.S., the descendants of
Africans formerly enslaved are still facing national oppression and economic exploitation. Today the criminal justice structures serve as the principal mechanism of social containment and institutional repression. Inevitably it will take a revolutionary struggle to complete the genuine emancipation of the African people in America.

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
African American History Month Series No. 2
Wednesday February 13, 2019

National Academy of Engineering of US Elects Sam Jonah

Sir Sam Jonah

Sir Sam Jonah has been elected to the United States (US) National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in recognition of his distinguished contribution to engineering.

He is expected to be formally inducted in October.

A citation signed by Ruth A. David, NAE Secretary said: “For leadership and technical contributions in advancing the mineral industry in Africa, you have been elected a Foreign Member of the United States National Academy of Engineering”.

The Induction ceremony for the “NAE Class of 2019” – formal inauguration of the new and foreign members, would be held at the Academy’s annual meeting in Washington, DC and that has been scheduled for Sunday, October 6.

For this year, a total of 104 members – 86 of them, new, and 18 foreign members, have been elected.

This brings the Academy’s current membership to 2,297. The number of foreign members stands at 272.

Sir Jonah told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that election to the NAE was one of the highest professional distinctions that could be accorded to an engineer.

His election is a great accomplishment not only to him, but the nation, as whole.

The Academy’s membership is an honour to those, who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature”.

Others are people, acknowledged to have pioneered new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering or developing and implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.

US Warns Kenya of Possible Terror Attack on Foreigners

terrorism

The United States on Monday issued a security alert for Kenya, citing credible information that Westerners may be targeted by extremists in three Kenyan towns.

In its security alert, the U.S. embassy in Kenya reminded the public of the continued need for enhanced vigilance throughout the country, saying terrorists may be planning to carry out attack on Westerners in the capital, Nairobi, and in Naivasha and Nanyuki, both in northwest Kenya. “The U.S. Embassy reminds the public of the continued need for heightened vigilance throughout Kenya, especially in public spaces such as shopping malls, hotels, and places of worship,” it said in its alert. The embassy asked the public to be aware of their surroundings and stay alert in locations frequented by tourists and Westerners.

The latest warning came after al-Shabab attacked a luxury hotel and office complex housing multinational companies in Nairobi on Jan. 15 that left 21 people killed and several others injured. Security forces have arrested and taken to court several suspects in connection with terror attack at the leafy Dusit2 complex on 14 Riverside Drive. Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the hotel attack, saying they killed 47 people inside Dusit Hotel, part of a Thai-owned international chain that appeared to be the chief target of the attackers. Two people were injured on Jan. 26 when a suspected improvised explosive device exploded at a busy street in Nairobi a day after the U.S. embassy issued a similar alert.

Ghanaian president leaves for working visit to S. Africa, U.S., Ethiopia

Akufo-Addo leaves

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo left here Sunday for an eight-day working visit to South Africa, the United States and Ethiopia, according to the presidency.

In South Africa, the Ghanaian president will participate in the 2019 edition of the Investing in Africa Mining Indaba, the world’s largest mining investment conference dedicated to the capitalization and development of mining in Africa.

He is expected to deliver the keynote address at the conference, the presidency said in a statement.

In the U.S., Akufo-Addo will attend and deliver a keynote speech at the 67th annual national prayer breakfast to be held on Thursday, take part in an event to raise funds for the construction of a National Cathedral in Ghana.

From the U.S., Akufo-Addo will lead Ghana’s delegation to the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, which is being held at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Enditem

Mozambique, U.S. to conduct joint military exercise against piracy, trafficking

Armored helicopters convoy cargo helicopters during the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States in Pocheon, northeast of Seoul, March 25, 2015. (Xinhua/Seongbin Kang)

Mozambique and the United States will conduct a military exercise in the northern province of Cabo Delgado in the southeastern African country on Tuesday to combat maritime piracy as well as drug, human and wildlife trafficking.

The information was released on Monday in Maputo in a joint statement from the Mozambican ministry of defense and the U.S. government through its embassy in Mozambique.

“Illicit trafficking in drugs, wildlife products and human beings is a continuing challenge for Mozambique, the United States and partner countries around the world,” read the statement.

“The exercise was designed to strengthen multilateral cooperation between naval forces operating in the Indian Ocean and will focus on the development of skills related to the identification, approach and pursuit of suspicious vessels at sea,” it said.

The “Cutlass Express” naval drill, an exercise sponsored by the U.S. Africa Command (US AFRICOM), and conducted by Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF), is held every year. This year, 15 countries will join the 11-day exercise.

Mozambique has signed the Jeddah Amendment to the Djibouti Code of Conduct in 2017 which offers the possibility of creating national and regional capacities to respond to maritime security issues.

The statement was released without a mention of the recent armed attacks causing fear and displacement in Cabo Delgado. Enditem

US Envoy indicates Progress Made in Taliban Talks

The United States and Afghan Taliban made significant progress on vital issues after six days’ consultations in Qatar, U.S. Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad said Saturday.

The meetings were “more productive than they have been in the past. We made significant progress on vital issues,” Khalilzad said on his Twitter account.However, he also pointed out “a number of issues left to work out,” saying that an agreement “must include an intra-Afghan dialogue and comprehensive ceasefire.”After the meetings with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar, the U.S. envoy was heading to Kabul for consultation with the Afghan government.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Saturday that Washington is “serious about pursuing peace,” reiterating objectives of preventing Afghanistan from being a space for international terrorism, as well as bringing U.S. military home.

There are about 14,000 U.S. troops currently deployed in Afghanistan, and the Trump administration reportedly planned to bring half of them home.The death toll of U.S. service members in Afghanistan has surpassed 2,400 since the United States invaded the country in 2001.

U.S, UK and EU response over CJN Onnoghen’s suspension is ill-informed – Presidency

Buhari

The Presidency on Sunday said that the U.S, UK and EU were ill-informed regarding their response over President Muhammadu Buhari’s suspension of CJN Onnoghen on Friday.

The United States, Britain and the European Union expressed concern on Saturday after Chief Justice Onnoghen was suspended three weeks before the presidential election, with the U.S. warning it could “cast a pall” over the vote in the country.

The presidency in a statement Sunday night said the western nation acted in a haste and that CJN Onnoghen’s situation is one of his own making and, to a large degree, his own choosing.

” Had the situation been reversed and the US, UK or any EU member government found that its chief judicial official is the recipient of large sums of money of questionable origin and Nigeria suggested that you retain the person in that position, you would question Nigeria’s bona fides. You also would swiftly move to suspend the official pending final determination of the causes against him.

The Presidency notes with interest the coordinated statements of the US, UK and EU linking the suspension of CJN Onnoghen to the conduct of the upcoming elections. We appreciate the concerns voiced by the three statements and accept that the authors of the statements believe they were acting in friendship toward Nigeria with regard to making the statements.

However, we also note that friends, when not properly informed or acting in haste, can indeed make serious mistakes even with the best of intentions. Such is the case here.

The statements by the three seem more driven by unfounded assumptions and to be honest, a certain condescension to this African democracy. This is unfortunate. But this gives us an opportunity to clarify some points in the hope that these three friends reach a deeper understanding of the situation.

The statements by the US, UK and EU speak of their respect for constitutional practice and fair elections. However, the positions they stake tend to contravene rather than strengthen these laudable objectives.

The CJN was brought before the CCT because of a serious breach of law regarding his assets declaration. This is not a mere technicality like innocently placing a document in a wrong file or mistakenly placing yesterday’s date on a document.

All credible evidence indicates the CJN owned and operated several secret bank accounts. Unexplained large sums of money, exceeding several million dollars have passed through these accounts. Several thousand dollars are currently parked in the accounts. Multiple deposits of equal sums of money were deposited in some of those accounts during the same day. Such rapid and equal deposits are indicative of a person attempting to evade banking reporting laws and regulations.

Thus far, CJN Onnoghen has given no plausible explanation for the funds or for failing to report the subject accounts in his assets declaration despite having ample time and opportunity to explain the omission. Given the amount of money involved and the CJN’s inability to explain the source of the funds, the most plausible explanation at this point is also the most unfortunate explanation. No one did this to CJN Onnoghen. He and he alone is to blame for this turn of events.

Over the years and with great frequency, the authors of the three statements have advised and even chided Nigeria about official corruption. Now we are presented with the sad and unwanted situation where the CJN is discovered to have a vast, unexplained amount of money in his pocket.

Because of this he has been thoroughly discredited. It is untenable that a person in such compromised circumstances would be allowed to preside over the entire judicial system of a great nation. That would travesty the nation and what it stands for.

Not one of your nations would allow a person enmeshed in legal uncertainty to preside over your legal systems until the cloud has been cleared from him. That would incentivize corruption and assault the rule of law.

Thus, the CJN should have and could have helped the process in this regard by recusing himself from the bench until this matter is settled.

Instead, he indefinitely postponed a NJC meeting for no plausible reason except to avoid any consideration of this matter by the NJC.

Again, this calls into question his motives while undermining the normal operations of the judiciary. The CJN cannot be allowed to use his office to shield himself from the normal operation of the law as applied to any other jurist or any other Nigerian for that matter. Such a ruse is effectively an abuse of office. His position is one of utmost public trust; it is not a shield to protect him from the fair consequence of his own actions.

Despite these errors and omissions by the CJN, let us make this very clear, he has not been removed from office. Nor has he been permanently replaced. Those who claim that he has been permanently removed, do so out of imprecision of thought or mischief.

CJN Onnoghen has been suspended pending the final determination of the substantive issues in his matter. The suspension is only temporary. This is only as it should be. He cannot sit as both defendant and umpire in his own matter. No legal system allows for such self-interested adjudication; the US, UK and EU should not now ask us to embrace such an anomaly.

While the three friends seem to give much credence to those who question the constitutionality of the suspension, they seem to give less to those who believe what we did is constitutional and protective of the integrity of the judiciary. Only the three can answer why they have assumed this bias.

Last, the three make a curious direct linkage between the CJN suspension and the elections. However, in Nigerian law there is no such linkage. The CJN does not run the election. Nor is he the first arbiter of any electoral complaints. He and the Supreme Court will only get involved as the final arbiter at the end of the appellate process.

For the authors to link the CJN to the elections in this way is illogical unless they assume that election complaints will be filed and will go all the way to the Supreme Court. Here perhaps they know something about the intentions of certain political actors to which we are not privy.

Yet, even with that, the US , UK and EU should want any such matters to be heard by a Supreme Court led by a CJN without an obvious and outstanding ethical and legal blemish on his ledger. To have such a person preside over any case, would call into question the impartiality of any decision rendered and undermine the rule of law.

This cannot be what these three friends of Nigeria intended. Thus, they should do a bit more research on this matter and refrain from being too hastily attracted by the arguments of those who have partisan agenda at odds with the government’s positions on most matters and who thus hope to use this issue as a new arrow in their quiver of partisan contestations.

Nigeria tells U.S, EU not to interfere in its politics after removing CJN

Garba-Shehu

The Presidency on Saturday told the U.S, EU not to interfere in its national affairs after suspending the country’s top judge just weeks from elections.

The United States, Britain and the European Union expressed concern on Saturday after Chief Justice Onnoghen was suspended three weeks before the presidential election, with the U.S. warning it could “cast a pall” over the vote in Africa’s most populous nation.

Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, who heads the Supreme Court, was suspended by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday over a six count charge relating to the non-disclosure of foreign currency bank accounts, in breach of rules for public officials.

Presidency spokesperson Garba Shehu, reiterated the readiness of the nation’s security forces to confront any plan or attempt to interfere with or disrupt the electoral process whether by “elements within or from outside the country”.

“Nigeria reserves the right to be insulated from suggestions and or interference with respect to wholly internal affairs and commends international laws, customs and norms that mandate and require nations and the comity to respect this prerogative to all,” he said.

“Nigeria is confident of its electoral processes and her preparation for the imminent elections and the federal government has supported the independent electoral umpire in both its independence and resources needed to accomplish our desire and insistence on free and fair elections.”

President Buhari’s action has triggered condemnation from opposition parties who accused him of “an act of dictatorship” and mounting “a judicial coup”.

The former military ruler, 76, is seeking re-election at polls on February 16, against a backdrop of mounting concern about vote-buying and violence.

Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen, who heads the Supreme Court, would rule on any legal challenge to the result.

Last week, U.S. deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen told a U.N. Security Council meeting on West Africa that the Trump administration is concerned about heightened insecurity in Nigeria, the inability of disabled and displaced people to vote, “and the risk that widespread vote buying could challenge the integrity of the electoral process.”

He expressed concern at reports of intimidation and partisanship by government security forces.

Cohen said the United States continues to support Nigeria’s goal of free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections “that reflect the will of the Nigerian people.”

US concerned at reported Nigerian election intimidation, suspension of CJN Onnoghen

Jonathan Cohen

The United States said Saturday that Nigeria’s upcoming national elections will be a critical test of democracy in the country and deeply concerned by the impact of the executive branch’s decision to suspend and replace the Chief Justice and head of the judicial branch without the support of the legislative branch on the eve of national and state elections.

In a statement by the US Embassy in Nigeria, ” We note widespread Nigerian criticism that this decision is unconstitutional and that it undermines the independence of the judicial branch. That undercuts the stated determination of government, candidates, and political party leaders to ensure that the elections proceed in a way that is free, fair, transparent, and peaceful – leading to a credible result.

We urge that the issues raised by this decision be resolved swiftly and peacefully in accordance with due process, full respect for the rule of law, and the spirit of the Constitution of Nigeria. Such action is needed urgently now to ensure that this decision does not cast a pall over the electoral process.”

Last week, U.S. deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen told a U.N. Security Council meeting on West Africa that the Trump administration is also concerned about heightened insecurity in Nigeria, the inability of disabled and displaced people to vote, “and the risk that widespread vote buying could challenge the integrity of the electoral process.”

He expressed concern at reports of intimidation and partisanship by government security forces.

Cohen said the United States continues to support Nigeria’s goal of free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections “that reflect the will of the Nigerian people.”

U.S. unhappy with Sudanese Gov’t Response to Protests

Sudan 555

The United States has frowned against the increasing number of arrests and detentions, and the escalating number of people injured and killed, following four weeks of protests across Sudan.

The United States supports the right of the Sudanese people to gather peaceably to voice their demands for political and economic reform and a more peaceful and inclusive Sudan.

We condemn the use of violence, including the use of live fire, and the excessive use of tear gas by the Sudanese security forces.

A new, more positive relationship between the United States and Sudan requires meaningful political reform and clear, sustained progress on respect for human rights.

This must include prohibiting the security services’ use of arbitrary detention and excessive force against protesters, and ending the government’s harassment and intimidation of journalists, human rights defenders, political opposition, medical personnel, students, and other civil society actors.

We urge the government to release all journalists, activists, and peaceful protesters who have been arbitrarily detained, and to allow those facing charges full access to legal representation and the opportunity to seek legal review of their detention.

We also call on the government to allow for a credible and independent investigation into the deaths and injuries of protesters.

Moreover, to address the legitimate grievances of the population, the government must create a safe and secure environment for public expression and dialogue with the opposition and civil society in a more inclusive political process.

President accepts credentials of four envoys to Ghana

Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Wednesday accepted the credentials of four new envoys accredited by their countries to Ghana at the Jubilee House in Accra.

They are Stephanie S. Sullivan, United States Ambassador, Emad Mugsy Hanna Kamel of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ambassador Özlem Gülsün Ergün Ulueren of Turkey and Ambassador Pham Anh Tuan of Vietnam.

President Akufo-Addo, at separate sessions, welcomed the envoys to the country saying Ghana is committed to working with them to deepen the ties with their various nations for the mutual benefit of all.

He wished them a successful stay and duty tour in Ghana, and assured them of government’s support to carrying out their duties.

The President briefed them on his administration’s resolve to put the country on a new path of growth, leveraging on its resources to accelerate development and creating wealth for the people.

Thus, Ghana’s relations with other countries is gradually shifting from aid dependency and handouts to trade and partnerships, to enhance the dignity and self-worth of the country.

Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said, was determined to changing the narrative of being dependent on the generosity of other nations and called for cooperation in that regard.

“Its not right that since independence, we are still dependent in many areas of our national lives on the generosity of others. We should by now, be able to stand on our own feet,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo expressed unhappiness with the low volumes of trade among countries in Africa and called on the countries to explore trade and investment opportunities through the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (CFTA) for the future prosperity and development of the Continent.

“We are the only continent in the world where trade amongst our nations is so negligible. I believe it is part of the reasons for the general poverty on the continent.”

The situation ought change for the better, he said, and that his administration would work to enhance cooperation between Ghana and Egypt, as well as all other African nations to ensure that they enrolled fully on the CFTA.

Ambassador Sullivan on her part, said she looked forward to mutual partnerships between her country and Ghana and pledged to strengthen ties and advance trade relations between both nations.

Ambassador Kamel also pledged to promote trade and investments between Egypt and Ghana, saying there was a lot more both countries could do to promote investment and trade.

Turkish Envoy Ergün Ulueren told the President that her country was determined to boosting trade ties with Africa and that no effort would be spared to strengthen the already strong relations with Ghana.

The Vietnamese Ambassador Pham Tuan also pledge to promote and seek new areas of cooperation and enhance relations between Ghana and his country.

President Welcomes Four New Ambassadors

credentials

Four new Ambassadors to Ghana on Wednesday presented their letters of credence to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra.

They are Stephanie S. Sullivan of the United States (US), Emad Mugsy Hanna Kamel, the Arab Republic of Egypt, Özlem Gülsün Ergün Ulueren of Turkey and Pham Anh Tuan, Vietnam.

President Akufo-Addo said Ghana was committed to working with them to deepen the ties with their various nations for the mutual benefit of everybody.

He underlined the resolve of his government to put the country on a new path of growth, leveraging on its resources to accelerate development and create wealth for the people.

Ghana’s relations with other countries, is gradually shifting from aid dependency and handouts to trade and partnerships, to enhance its dignity and self-worth.

They are eager to change the narrative of being dependent on the generosity of other nations, and he invited stronger cooperation of the other countries.

“It is not right that since independence, we are still dependent in many areas of our national lives on the generosity of others. We should by now, be able to stand on our own feet.”

President Akufo-Addo expressed discomfort with the low volumes of trade among African nations and called for radical change.

Countries in Africa needed to work together to explore trade and investment opportunities through the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (CFTA) for the future prosperity and development of the continent.

“We are the only continent in the world where trade amongst our nations is so negligible.

“I believe it is part of the reasons for the general poverty on the continent” he added.

He spoke of his determination to work to enhance cooperation between Ghana and Egypt, as well as all other African nations to ensure that they enrolled fully on the CFTA

He wished the Ambassadors a successful duty tour and assured them of his government’s support to carry out their duties.

Ambassador Sullivan pledged to work to strengthen US-Ghana relations – advance mutual partnerships and trade between them.

Ambassador Kamel said he was going to promote of trade and investments between Egypt and Ghana, pointing out that, there was a lot both countries could do to boost trade and investment.

Ambassador Ergün Ulueren assured the President of Turkey’s readiness to boost trade ties with Africa.

No effort would be spared to strengthen the already strong relations with Ghana.

The Vietnamese Ambassador promised to seek new areas of cooperation and enhance relations between Ghana and his country.

Cuba Refers to U.S Blockade as Unjust and Inhuman

Ghana – Cuba relations

Cuba has reiterated calls on the international community to exert more pressure on the United States for the removal of the economic blockade it placed on her since 1962.

The government of the Caribbean island says the continuous blockade had been devastating, culminating in economic stagnation and suffering.

Pedro Luiz Gonzalez, the Cuban Ambassador to Ghana said “so far we are suffering. If you arrive in Havana, you would know how bad the blockade has been”.

Ambassador Gonzalez said the 57-year old blockade has seriously undermined Cuba’s quest to grow and expand its economy, explaining that, the acquisition of medicines for healthcare and attempts to expand its industries had been rendered impossible.

He said despite decades of international pressure, the Americans had maintained the punitive policy adding that, “It is very strong, it is unjust, it is affecting the over 11.2 million people living in

Cuba”.

According to him, as recent as 2017, 191 nations of the world adopted the United Nations Resolutions against the blockade but the intransigence of the United States and its close ally, Israel had been resounding.

He said but for the blockade, the number of Africans studying in Cuba could have been more than the current 19,000 and therefore called on well-meaning nations to increase the pressure for the review of the policy.

He said the U.S currently had a military base in a territory belonging to Cuba, for which a paltry sum of $4,000 is paid annually in return; an amount Cuba has failed to acknowledge.

John F Kennedy, the then U.S President, in 1962 announced the imposition of the blockade on Cuba after Soviet missiles were found installed in the island during Cuba’s revolution.

The blockade was initially a Naval one against offensive weapons but has since been expanded to cover all types of goods and air transport.

Viewpoint: Midterm Elections Generate Further Polarization in the United States

Black Reconstruction voters scrutinized with hate by the white ruling class

Commentary

Voter suppression, ending modern day slavery, Jim Crow and the prospects for social transformation

November 6 was a day in which people across the United States and indeed the world were watching for some indications of the future political prospects for the leading capitalist state.

It had been predicted that the House of Representatives would be lost by the Republicans to the Democrats. This was the outcome of the elections where Democrats could pick up approximately 40 seats outperforming the party of President Donald Trump.

Trump played down the loss of the House and emphasized that the Senate would remain under Republican control. Nonetheless, there is a major shake-up in the cabinet of the Trump administration with the immediate departure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions with more ousters being imminent.

A large number of women, national oppressed people and younger politicians ran for public office while a significant number were elected. The results of the elections were in part due to the higher than normal turnout of voters for a midterm poll.

With these new faces in Congress and the Senate it still remains to be seen what actual impact this will have on the overall political atmosphere prevailing in the U.S. Trump, whose 2016 campaign is still under investigation by a special counsel, continues his right wing, neo-fascist posture and agenda aimed at stoking fears of African Americans, Latinx people, Middle Easterners, immigrants, LGBTQ communities and anyone who does not agree with the policies of the current administration.

A series of high profile racial and political incidents occurred leading up to the midterms. 14 packages containing what appeared to be pipe bombs were addressed to two former Democratic presidents, a previous Secretary of State, a famous actor, the Manhattan building of Cable News Network (CNN), among others, with a return address containing the name of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the former Chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

On October 24 a white racist shot to death two African American seniors at a Kroger supermarket in a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky. Just minutes before this same assailant unsuccessfully attempted to gain entry into an African American church. Some three days later, another domestic terrorist entered the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill district of Pittsburgh and killed 11 Jewish worshippers.

Both gunmen were imbued with hatred for various sectors of the population in the U.S. and internationally. Trump through his campaign rallies across the country has agitated for stricter immigration laws even sending thousands of troops to the southern border with Mexico. The president’s attitude towards African Americans, particularly women, has been expressed through his derogatory statements to journalists who were merely asking him critical questions about domestic issues.

The culmination of these violent acts and inflammatory rhetoric has created a socially tense atmosphere in the U.S. Although the official unemployment rate has declined sharply over the last two years (3.7%), a significant number of working families are continuing to suffer from poverty and economic marginalization. The ruling class is growing wealthier at the expense of the majority while a burgeoning federal budget deficit threatens the future stability of the country.

Voter Suppression, Institutional Racism and the Legacy of Slavery

Two gubernatorial and one senatorial race in the states of Georgia and Florida have become a focal point for millions throughout the country and the world. Democratic State Representative Stacey Abrams has refused to concede to former Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp in Georgia where a narrow margin separates the contenders.

The Abrams campaign has objected to documented evidence of voter suppression targeting mainly African Americans and naturalized citizens. Abrams is demanding that all votes be counted, strongly believing that the gap between her and Kemp would deny him 50% of the vote necessitating a runoff election in early December. Kemp has already resigned as Secretary of State claiming victory and setting up a transition team.

An article by Khushbu Shah published in the Guardian on November 10 states that: “In the three months leading up to election day more than 85,000 voters were purged from rolls under Kemp. During 2017 668,000 voters were purged, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Of those 2017 numbers, investigative reporter Greg Palast told Salon, 200,000 people left the state, died or moved out their district, making them legitimate cancellations. However, through litigation, he got the entire purge list. ’Of the 400,000 who supposedly moved, our experts will tell a court that 340,134 never moved – wrongly purged,’ Palast told the Guardian, saying people had been purged for not voting in an election or two.”

Such a high degree of irregularity within the Secretary of State’s office should have prompted a Justice Department investigation. However, considering that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was fired from the Trump administration the day after the midterm elections, has been accused of being a racist for many years, it is not surprising that no administration intervention on the side of the disenfranchised has been forthcoming. In fact Trump has sided with the Republican candidates in Georgia and Florida, where similar charges have been made.

This same Guardian report continues noting: “Furthermore from 2012 to 2016, 1.5 million voters were purged – more than 10% of all voters – from records, according to a 2018 report from the Brennan Center for Justice. In comparison, 750,000 were purged from 2008 to 2012…. On the first day of early voting a bus full of African American senior citizens on their way to a voting center were turned back. Organizers called it ‘live voter suppression.’… The Guardian witnessed long lines in various parts of metro Atlanta, where the majority of counties lean Democrat. MIT’s Election Performance Index for 2016 suggested Georgia ranked 49th out of 50 for wait times to vote.”

Similar developments occurred in the state of Florida where African American Mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for Governor, is in another undecided race against Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis. Voter suppression is a perennial systemic problem in Florida as well.

In 2000 the presidential race between Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican Governor George Bush, Jr. was decided in Florida after a 5-4 Supreme Court decision ordered the state election commissions to stop counting the votes, giving the election to the Republican candidate. Broward County became a focal point of the 2000 election and this center of Democratic African American voters is once again being targeted for disruption by the right wing supporters of the Republican Party.

Carol Anderson of the Guardian wrote on November 14 saying: “Florida is, once again, in an election debacle that is straining the bonds of credibility and democracy. Governor Rick Scott has actually called in the state police to investigate ‘voter fraud’ (none was found), then ordered the voting machines impounded in Broward county, all to protect his precarious lead in the US Senate race. A judge, however, emphatically blocked that last command.”

A referendum was passed in Florida on November 6 which restored the right to vote to 1.4 million people denied the franchise as a result of previous felony convictions. Nonetheless, these potential voters could not cast their ballots in the midterms. The recounts for Governor and the Senate will intensify the struggle generating more animosity from the right wing towards African Americans and other national minorities.

Impact on Domestic and Foreign Policy

Even with a majority Democratic House of Representatives the question remains as to which course the party will take as it relates to domestic and international affairs. Many Democratic politicians and their allies within the corporate media have focused attention on allegations of Russian governmental interference in the 2016 presidential elections which brought Trump to the White House.

Yet this preoccupation with Russia’s influence and the U.S. electorate completely neglects the political bankruptcy of the Democratic campaign of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. During the administration of President Barack Obama the militarist policies of U.S. imperialism continued in full force leading to an escalation of Pentagon and NATO troops in Afghanistan; the destruction of the North African state of Libya in 2011, the most prosperous nation on the continent, resulting in the brutal assassination of Pan-Africanist leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi; an initiation of a counter-revolutionary war aimed at toppling the legitimate government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad which fueled the crises of migration and displacement, the worst since the conclusion of World War II, triggering the advent of neo-fascist regimes in Eastern Europe and the threat of the breaking up of the European Union (EU).

On a domestic level after the ascendancy of Obama in 2008, the following midterm elections in 2010 saw a major swing to the right in both the Congress and the Senate. By 2014, the Democrats had loss both the House and Senate along with numerous state legislative bodies and governorships.

During the period of 2009 through 2016, African Americans were subjected to greater levels of state violence and socio-economic depravation spawning rebellions in Ferguson, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Charlotte. There was the proliferation of racist organizations while the Democratic Party seemed helpless in countering the reactionary trend.

The struggle for voting rights among African Americans extends back to the years following the Civil War (1861-1865). The defeat of Black Reconstruction after 1876 and extending through the remaining decades of the 19th century returned African Americans to conditions reminiscent of enslavement where state governments enacted segregation laws which were reinforced by a penal system which constitutionally within the framework of the 13th Amendment coupled with local laws could in fact subject detainees to involuntary servitude.

An enslavement policy in the state of Colorado was overturned by the voters in the midterms shining a light on this practice as it exists in the 21st century. Nevertheless, the prison system whose inmates are disproportionately African Americans, Latinx and poor is not being dismantled.

How will the incoming Democratic Congress address these fundamental questions? Are they even capable of such a challenge considering that the leadership of both the Democratic and Republican parties represents the ruling capitalist class.

The political rights of African Americans must be defended as a principle within the concept of universal suffrage. Nonetheless, the genuine democratic aspirations of the nationally oppressed in the U.S. and their right to self-determination cannot be realized under the racist capitalist system. The capitalist system was built on the enslavement of African people and the extermination of the Indigenous nations in North America. Consequently, a revolutionary reconstruction of the contemporary dispensation must overturn the material basis for this centuries-long national oppression and economic exploitation in order that a truly democratic system comes into existence.

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Wednesday November 14, 2018

Viewpoint: Yemen War Intensifies After Washington and London Calls for Ceasefire

Yemen children impacted by genocidal war

Brutal killing of Saudi columnist draws criticism of United States and British arming of Riyadh

Since March of 2015 the United States has engineered and guided a genocidal war against the people of Yemen.

Daily bombing operations by the Saudi Arabian-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has killed tens of thousands of people, injured and sickened hundreds of thousands more and created the worse humanitarian crisis in the world.

At present Yemen is facing famine due to the targeting of hospitals, schools and neighborhoods in an effort to break the will of the people to resist this military onslaught. The strategic port at Hodeida is a key element in the campaign waged by the Saudi-GCC coalition to starve the Yemini population into submission.

Nonetheless, the U.S. and British-backed forces are nowhere nearer to defeating the Ansurallah-led coalition which has seized huge swaths of territory in the north, central and southern regions of the country, the most underdeveloped and impoverished in the entire West Asia. A renewed battle launched by the Saudi-allied militias to take control of Hodeida has failed amid stiff resistance by the Popular Committees committed to defending this important outlet for essential goods flowing into the country.

Even after the call for a ceasefire by the administration of President Donald Trump and the British Prime Minister Theresa May, the attacks by the Saudi-GCC coalition have escalated. Such a course of action raises serious questions about the sincerity of the appeal for the resumption of United Nations brokered talks to end the horrendous war.

It should be reiterated that the warplanes, ordnances, refueling technology and diplomatic cover provided by Washington and London have been essential in the Saudi-GCC war against Yemen since 2015. Successive U.S. administrations and British governments continue to supply arms to the Saudi monarchy and its cohorts in the region.

The apparent premeditated killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey has highlighted the links between Washington and Riyadh. The response to the killing of Khashoggi by the Trump administration has been cautious and muted.

Perhaps in an effort to deflect attention away from the implicit guilt of Washington, the Trump administration called for a cessation of hostilities and the beginning of efforts to end the war which has regional implications. The political reasoning of the U.S. for their sponsoring of the genocidal onslaught in Yemen is based upon allegations that the Ansurallah movement is supported by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This imperialist rationale is aimed at containing the influence of Tehran which is a major threat to the hegemony of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), both of whom are staunch participants in the broader designs for total western hegemony in the region. The inability to dislodge the Ansurallah and the Popular Committees exposes the obvious limitations of such an approach therefore emboldening resistance forces seeking a genuine independent and sovereign existence for the people of West Asia and beyond.

An article published by Press TV on November 7 based upon a speech delivered by Ansurallah leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi says: “The US role in the military operations against our nation is pivotal. All fiendish plots against Yemen are hatched by the US, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Traitors just struggle to carry them out on the ground. Washington is speaking of peace at the same time that it is directing the Yemen war. Traitors are operating under the auspices of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and executing their orders.” (https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/11/07/579366/Attacks-on-Yemen-increased-after-US-demand-for-ceasefire-Houthi)

This same speech by al-Houthi points directly at the role of the U.S. noting that those “allies” of Saudi Arabia are viewed as mere pawns in the process. The Ansurallah leader claimed that the desire by Washington to reap profits from the sale of weapons to Riyadh is the driving force in the war.

Al-Houthi is quoted as emphasizing that: “The United States has managed to reap tremendous financial gains, including arms deals, from the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen. Washington is supporting the Riyadh regime to be able to stand [on] its feet. It is also managing the violent and criminal role of Saudi Arabia. The recent uptick in attacks on Yemen comes as a number of (Persian) Gulf littoral states, notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are warming their relations with the Zionist regime (of Israel).”

Genocidal War Brings Yemen to the Brink of Famine

The character of the Yemen war as represented by the deliberate targeting of civilians many of whom are internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees impacted by wars throughout the region is largely being hidden from the people of the U.S. and Britain. In many cases reports on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen fail to mention the daily bombings and ground operations notwithstanding the supply of arms and other forms of assistance by the imperialists.

Assessments by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock conveys that three-quarters of the people in Yemen, a nation of over 28 million, are in dire need of food, healthcare, medicines, potable water and housing. This same agency is predicting that the country could be the scene of the worst famine witnessed anywhere in the world in generations.

A cholera epidemic has sickened over one million people since 2017. Official figures published by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that approximately 2,500 have died from this disease which is contracted through the consumption of contaminated drinking water.

Bombing and ground operations around Hodeida port has hampered the ability of healthcare facilities to provide emergency services. This siege of the port on the Red Sea represents the entry point for 85% of the food supplies imported into the country.

In a statement released on November 8 by Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, the WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, the humanitarian specialist provides details on the current situation around the port city of Hodeida. The attempts of the Saudi-GCC coalition to dislodge the Popular Committees from the area have further endangered 2.4 million people living and working there.

Dr. Al-Mandhari in his statement said: “The current violence in Al Hudaydah (Hodeida) is placing tens of thousands of already vulnerable people at risk, and preventing WHO from reaching them with the help they urgently need. The violence, now in close proximity to the area hospitals, is affecting the movement and safety of health staff, patients and ambulances, as well as the functionality of health facilities, leaving hundreds without access to treatment…. The people of Yemen are victims of this tragic, man-made crisis. Many have died due to the violence, some directly but most as the result of restricted access to health care, causing deaths that are normally preventable.” (http://www.emro.who.int/media/news/yemen-statement-regional-director.html)

Post-Elections Context for U.S. Foreign Policy in Yemen

Worldwide attention has been focused on the November 6 midterm elections in the U.S. which resulted in the Republican Party losing its majority in the House of Representatives and at the same time gaining several seats within the Senate, increasing its dominance over this legislative wing of the Congress. A split government will intensify the existing struggle over the domestic policies governing the country in the realms of immigration, healthcare, race relations and environmental regulations, etc.

Nonetheless, there have been virtually no differences related to foreign policy questions among the Democrats and the Republicans. The current phase of the war against Yemen began under the administration of former Democratic President Barack Obama. There was no serious attempt to end the war in 2015-2016, therefore the Trump administration inherited the situation and has continued the attempts to defeat the Ansurallah and its allies within the Popular Committees.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders earlier in 2018 sought to pass a resolution calling for an end to direct military support for Saudi-GCC war. This effort failed and there are no clear signals as to whether the incoming 2019 Democratic majority House will even debate the current military assistance provided to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties are controlled by the U.S. ruling class. Even though the two groupings have different constituencies within the population, decisions related to war and peace has continued to favor the militarization of the society.

Resources allocated for imperialist wars abroad and state repression domestically could be utilized for the rebuilding of the cities, suburbs and rural areas of the U.S. Tens of millions remain in poverty as the gap between rich and poor widens.

These issues will only be resolved through a fundamental shift in the control of economic and political institutions in the U.S. Until the government is forced by the people to end its wasteful and genocidal war machine the world will continue to experience instability and dislocation.

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
November 8, 2018

Global Foreign Direct Investment Drops By 41% In First Half Of 2018

According to figures released by UNCTAD and copied to Newsghana.com.gh today, global foreign direct investment (FDI) fell by 41% in the first half of 2018, to an estimated $470 billion from $800 billion in the same period in 2017 which was mainly due to large repatriations by United States parent companies of accumulated foreign earnings from their affiliates abroad following tax reforms.

The figures are released ahead of UNCTAD’s World Investment Forum 2018, where more than 5,000 participants from 160 countries are due to meet to thrash out major new investment-for-development initiatives at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, from 22–26 October.

The latest global FDI figures and analysis can be found in the new edition of UNCTAD’s Investment Trends Monitor.

United States Leaves UN human rights body amid criticism

Antonio Guterres

Despite wide criticism, the United States is withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley said here on Tuesday.

U.S. IS LEAVING

In a speech at the State Department, Haley said the HRC had failed to conduct the “major, dramatic and systematic changes” required by the United States.

Saying the council is a “hypocritical and self-serving organization” and “a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias,” she said it has rendered membership to unworthy nations and harbored “disproportionate focus and unending hostility towards Israel.”

“As we said we would do a year ago, if we did not see any progress, the United States is officially withdrawing from the UN Human Rights Council,” she said. “The council ceases to be worthy of its name.”

She also complained about many nations’ blockage against the U.S. reform initiative and the unwillingness of those “like-minded” members sharing the U.S. values to “challenge the status quo.”

However, she added that Washington will continue to advocate the council’s reform, and “should it become reformed, we would be happy to rejoin.”

Haley said last year that the United States would leave the council over what she said the “bias” against Israel.

UN CRITICISMS

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres regretted the withdrawal.

“The secretary-general would have much preferred for the United States to remain in the Human Rights Council,” said Stephane Dujarric, Guterres’ spokesman, in a note to correspondents. “The UN’s Human Rights architecture plays a very important role in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide.”

Vojislav Suc, the president of the UN Human Rights Council, also said that it is essential to uphold a strong and vibrant council in times when the value and strength of multilateralism and human rights are being challenged on a daily basis.

In a statement issued right after Haley’s announcement, Suc said the council should be recognized as a central part of the United Nations for the 21st century, and it is the prerogative of any member state to make such a decision.

The matter of filling the vacancy left in the council membership after the U.S. withdrawal will need to be addressed by the United Nations General Assembly, he added.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also responded by saying that the U.S. withdrawal is “disappointing, if not really surprising.”

“Given the state of human rights in today’s world, the U.S. should be stepping up, not stepping back,” Zeid said.

U.S. UNILATERALISM

The exit represented another U.S. departure from multinational organizations and treaties, after it pulled out of the Paris climate accord, the UN Global Compact on Migration, the UN culture and education body UNESCO, as well as the Iran nuclear deal.

“But the issues go deeper. The HRC, like the UN General Assembly, has … recently publicly condemned the Trump administration’s current border enforcement policy,” said Trisko Darden, a professor at American University’s School of International Service.

The issue “is indicative of a trend of criticizing the United States,” he told Xinhua, adding the decision to leave “is likely to be widely criticized both domestically and internationally … It may have significant implications for the structure and funding of UN institutions.”

Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua that the withdrawal is “a convergence” of “a longstanding antipathy toward the UN generally on the American right” and “Trump’s view that international relations should be transactional and benefit the U.S.”

“This is one more action that will have the long-term effect of isolating the U.S. from its allies and other nations,” he said. “I don’t know that many in this administration care for international norms and rules in the first place.”

by Zhu Dongyang, Liu Chen
(Matthew Rusling from Washington also contributed to the report.)

United States Leaves UN Human Rights Council

US President describes impact of Paris Accord

Following the announcement that the United States will leave the United Nations Human Rights Council, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

“Once again President Trump is showing his complete disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms the US claims to uphold. While the Human Rights Council is by no means perfect and its membership is frequently under scrutiny, it remains an important force for accountability and justice.

“The US should urgently reverse this decision, which places it squarely on the wrong side of history. It is wilfully choosing to undermine the human rights of all people everywhere, and their struggles for justice.”

Trump’s policy: UN Boss rejects separating children from migrant parents

family separations

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes that children must not be traumatized by being separated from their parents, his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said on Monday.

His voice was just one of many raised in objection to a recently introduced U.S. immigration policy that separates children from parents illegally crossing from Mexico into the United States resulting in their arrests.

Some 2,000 children taken from parents have been put in detention centers in southwestern U.S. states, U.S. officials said.

“As a matter of principle, the secretary-general believes that refugees and migrants should always be treated with respect and dignity, and in accordance with existing international law,” said Dujarric in a statement. “Family unity must be preserved.”

The secretary-general was concerned about the situation along the Mexico-U.S. border in the statement, read out by the spokesman at a regular press briefing.

“What the secretary-general would like to see at all borders is to see people being treated with dignity and respect for their rights, that people claiming asylum be given proper hearings,” Dujarric said.
“This is not a position that he has specifically against the United States. This is a principled position that he has for the way refugees and migrants are treated the world over.”

“We’ve all been following what’s going on at the border and I think he is concerned as anyone else,” said Dujarric.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein was more direct.

“In the United States, I am deeply concerned by recently adopted policies which punish children for their parents’ actions,” he said in Geneva, home of the council.

The American Association of Pediatrics in the United States had called it a cruel practice of “government-sanctioned child abuse” which may cause “irreparable harm” with “lifelong consequences,” said Zeid. “The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable.”

He called on the United States to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children, and encouraged the government to at last ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in order to ensure that the fundamental rights of all children, whatever their administrative status, will be at the center of all domestic laws and policies.

U.S. President Donald Trump continued to blame Democrats in Congress for their inaction for the arrests of parents and separate detention of their children.

On Monday, he repeated in tweets his accusation, repeatedly called out as untrue by his critics.

Trump said in one tweet, “Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change! This is why we need more Republicans elected in November. Democrats are good at only three things, High Taxes, High Crime and Obstruction. Sad!”

However, various media outlets in the United States have “fact checked” his allegations, refuting them, with some going beyond merely calling them “untruths” to actually call them “lies,” saying it is only his administration’s policy causing the separation and detention of children.

by William M. Reilly

International consortium invests US$150 million in Angolan textile industry

Volta Star Textiles

A group of businessmen from the United States, Germany, Turkey and Mozambique will invest 150 million U.S. dollars in the installation of a textile industry in the northern Malanje province of Angola.

This was said on Sunday in Malanje city by the consortium, after a meeting with industry minister Bernarda Martins and the provincial governor of Malanje, Norberto Fernandes dos Santos “Kwata Kanawa”, aimed to present the project.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of TSG Global Holding, Rubar Sandi, on behalf of the businessmen, said that this project provides, in the first instance, the promotion of cotton production in Quela district, considered as traditional in this culture, and the study from other regions for cultivation.

With the implementation of the two components (industrial and agricultural), whose implementation is expected within a year, 40 to 50 thousand direct jobs are expected to be added, according to the official.

The Industry Minister Bernarda Martins said on the occasion that contacts are already being made with the Ministry of Construction and Public Works to improve the access roads to areas where cotton is intended to be grown in Quela district.

The minister assured that the textile factory will be installed in the Agro-industrial Development Hub of Malanje, whose conditions for installation of electric power and drinking water will be created soon. Enditem

Qatar, U.S. to Deepen Joint Military Exercises

Armored helicopters convoy cargo helicopters during the annual joint military exercise Foal Eagle between South Korea and the United States in Pocheon, northeast of Seoul, March 25, 2015. (Xinhua/Seongbin Kang)

Qatar and the United States will increase the joint military exercises between the two countries soon, state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported on Sunday.

The remarks were made by Qatar’s Major General Mohammed bin Ali Al Ghanim and the visiting Commanding General of the U.S. Central Command Michael Garrett.

Qatar, the host of the Al Udeid air base, the biggest U.S. military base in the Middle East, has concluded the Cpx Command Center Exercise which aimed at training the brigade’s leaders at all levels by imposing various military maneuver.

Qatar hosts more than 10,000 U.S. troops and around 72 F-15 aircraft at the Al Udeid air base.

Since the Gulf crisis, Qatar and United States held a number of joint military exercises as part of the “the enduring military-to-military” partnership between the two countries.

On June 5 last year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut all ties with Qatar over accusations of Doha’s support for Islamist extremist groups.
Qatar denies the allegations. Enditem

U.S. plans to assist DPRK in exchange for complete denuclearization

DPRK’s nuke test site

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday outlined the United States’ plans to help the development of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) if the country agrees to complete denuclearization.

Pompeo said on Friday that the United States and South Korea are ready to help the DPRK achieve prosperity if it takes “bold” action in denuclearization.

In an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Pompeo elaborated on the plan, which deals with economic and security issues.

“What Chairman Kim (Jong Un) will get from America is our finest — our entrepreneurs, our risk-takers, our capital providers,” he said.

The DPRK “is desperately in need of energy support, electricity for their people. They are — they’re in great need of agricultural equipment and technology, the finest from the Midwest that I come from. We can deliver that.”

Excluding the possibility of U.S. economic aid to Pyongyang, the top diplomat said “American know-how, knowledge, entrepreneurs, and risk-takers” will work alongside the DPRK people “to create a robust economy for their people.”

He admitted that the aforementioned measures that allow U.S. companies to invest directly in the DPRK are sanctions relief. “If we get denuclearization, of course, there will be sanctions relief.”

Also on Sunday, Pompeo told Fox News in a separate interview, “Now, the task is for President (Donald) Trump and he (Kim) to meet to validate the process by which this would go forward, to set up those markers so that we can negotiate this outcome.”

On Fox, Pompeo also said the topic of “security assurances” to Pyongyang would surely be put on the table.

He said that the objectives include that the U.S. president would convince the DPRK leadership to the point “where America was no longer held at risk” by the DPRK.

The specifics of the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization process have been a major cause for U.S.-DPRK conflict.

John Bolton, the U.S. national security advisor, demanded earlier that the DPRK ship out all its nuke programs and weapons to the United States to dismantle before the U.S. side grants any concessions.

However, Pyongyang insisted on “phased and synchronous measures” in its denuclearization, requiring reciprocal actions by the United States, such as sanctions relief, in exchange.

Pompeo said that there are still “a great deal of details to be worked on” in this regard.

When asked by Fox about his meetings with Kim, Pompeo said their conversations were “professional.”

Pompeo said Kim knows what he is trying to achieve for his people. “He is able to deal with complexity when the conversation requires it,” he said.

Pompeo said the U.S. and DPRK teams would work together to “put our two leaders in a position where it’s just possible we might pull off a historic undertaking.”

During the inter-Korea summit on April 27 in Panmunjom, Kim promised to dismantle the Punggye-ri underground nuclear test site in the northeastern DPRK in a transparent manner and show the dismantlement to the world.

On Saturday, the DPRK announced it would hold a ceremony for the dismantling of its nuclear test site on May 23-25, taking a step forward towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Trump is scheduled to meet the DPRK’s top leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore. Enditem

Turkey to take delivery of F-35 fighters despite objection

F-35 fighter

Turkey is set to receive its first F-35 aircraft, world’s most advanced fighter jets, despite an initiative launched by U.S. senators to block the delivery amid faltering relations between Turkey and the United States.

Defense sources close to the project told Xinhua that the first F-35 will be delivered to the Turkish Air Force on June 21 in the United States where a ceremony will take place.

“This plane will be deployed at Eglin air base in Florida, U.S. for a year where Turkish pilots will get training,” said Ozgur Eksi, a senior analyst with the Istanbul-based C4 defence magazine.

Several batches would comprise some 20 other jets which are expected to be delivered gradually until 2022.

The F-35 fighter jet is being developed and built by U.S. defence contractor Lockheed Martin for the United States, Britain, Australia, Italy, Norway, Turkey, the Netherlands, Denmark and Canada in a project worth about 400 billion U.S. dollars, making it the world’s most expensive weapons program.

A total of 3,000 F-35 jets are to go into service around the world in coming years.

Now, two Turkish Air Force pilots are getting special training in the United States, Anadolu Agency reported citing defense sources.

After the training is completed and another warplane is delivered, the F-35 jets are planned to be brought to Turkey in September 2019. The trained pilots will fly the two F-35 jets accompanied by a refuelling plane.

Meanwhile, a number of U.S. congressmen have urged the Trump administration to suspend the procurement because of Turkey’s decision to buy Russian S-400 advanced air defence systems.

“If they take such a step at a moment when we are trying to mend our bilateral ties, they will definitely get a response from Turkey,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told private broadcaster CNN Turk in an interview last week.

In 2014, Turkey placed an order for the first two F-35 jets for the projected fleet of 100 F-35A aircraft and plans to deploy the aircraft by 2019.

The F-35 jets are planned to be deployed at the 7th Main Jet Base Command in Turkey’s eastern Malatya province, located at the southern borders of Turkey with Iran, Iraq and Syria.

The F-35 jets will replace Turkey’s aging fleet of F-4 and F-16 aircraft. Last December, the Pentagon said Italy and Turkey would provide the initial heavy maintenance of the F-35 fighter jets and their engines.

Turkey is still in negotiations to purchase 16 vertical landing type aircraft.

In terms of industrial participation, the Turkish defence industry plays an important role in the program as a parts supplier for the F-35 program.

Ten Turkish firms, including Aselsan, Kale Aviation, Roketsan, and Turkish Aerospace Industries, are involved in the production of parts and electronic systems and the engine maintenance for F-35.

U.S. senators have introduced a bill calling on President Donald Trump’s administration to exclude Ankara from the program, citing the country’s human rights records and the fact that an evangelical pastor, Andrew Brunson, is still jailed there and tried for “espionage” and “terrorism” charges after the botched military coup of July 2016. He faces up to 35 years in prison.

Ties between the United States and Turkey have soured dramatically over rival stances on the war in Syria and Washington’s refusal to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen to Turkey over his alleged role of masterminding the failed coup.

Tensions have risen further over Turkey’s soon expected purchase of Russian S-400 defense system, worrying NATO partners and Washington alike. The multi-billion-dollar deal could eventually lead to the U.S. placing sanctions on Turkey to which Ankara has wowed to retaliate.

Washington imposed an arms embargo on Turkey following the Turkish invasion of northern Cyprus in 1974, a military operation which was in response to a Greek coup to annex Cyprus to Greece.

Ironically, this embargo pushed Turkey to develop its own defense industry over the years, diminishing considerably its dependence on foreign countries.

Experts believe that blocking F-35 delivery to Turkey will eventually cause the collapse of the whole massive project because important parts of the aircraft such as the central fuselage are manufactured in Turkey.

“The U.S. will shoot itself in the foot, it would definitely harm the entire project,” argued Ozgur Eksi.

Observers have argued that if the U.S. administration imposes military sanctions on Turkey, it would enhance the country’s already extensive cooperation with Russia and push Ankara towards Moscow’s influence sphere. Enditem