In April, the US fired a large number of missiles at multiple sites across Syria, supposedly in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack. The Justice Department told president Trump before the attacks that this would be perfectly legal.
A lot of this argument centers on an interpretation of what war “in a constitutional sense” actually means. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said the legal argument was largely nonsense, and had tried to “redefine war to exclude missile attacks” to further usurp Congressional authority.
Several recent administrations have argued that presidents can carry out unilateral military attacks without Congressional authorization, and this is just the continuation of the Justice Department signing off on this as legal. read on...
The UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) continues to prevent chemical inspectors from entering Douma for their investigation, citing safety concerns. They have offered no timetable for when the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) inspectors will be allowed in.
The OPCW inspectors did not visit Monday, and there were a lot of allegationsexchanged as to why. Though British officials blamed Russia for the delay, it is now clear that the UNDSS is driving the scheduling.
The UNDSS team visited two sites in Douma, but fled both times. In the first case, they claimed there was a large crowd there, and they were concerned about safety. At the second site there was a report of an explosion nearby, and claimed to have come under small arms fire by some unknown faction. No UN workers were injured, though one Syrian was said to have sustained light injuries working in a security capacity.
This has much the same effect as falsely claiming Iran to be in violation, as it would put the nuclear deal up for a vote in Congress. Though Congress has long expressed opposition to the deal, it’s likely to be controversial to cancel it years after its implementation for literally no reason.
President Trump is to give a speech surrounding the matter, expected next Thursday, and will lay out a broad strategy of confronting Iran, trying to blame them for all Middle East instability and terrorism. This would both be aimed at justifying the decertification, and setting the stage for another flurry of sanctions and threats to attack Iran.
Officials say that President Trump won’t explicitly urge Congress to abrogate the deal, but will try to use the threat of doing so as leverage to force more onerous terms on Iran. Iran and other parties to the deal have ruled out renegotiating it, noting how difficult it was to get everything agreed to by everyone in the first place. read on...
Intense debate and international diplomatic blackmail has dominated the discussion of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, a bipartisan bill which would open up civil lawsuits against any foreign nations if they are found to be involved in the funding of a terrorist attack occurring on US soil.
It’s not totally clear what the bill’s authors initially had in mind, but with the text explicitly started the liability under the act at 9/11/01, it is quite clear that the September 11 attacks in New York City are the big, obvious use of this bill, particularly since there aren’t exactly a lot of major terror attacks within the US since then, lat alone ones in which foreign nations are implicated.
The bill puts a big target on Saudi Arabia’s back, however, and the Saudis don’t like that. Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir was reported to have informed administration officials on Sunday that, if the bill was allowed to pass, Saudi Arabia would immediately move to sell $750 billion in US treasury assets, an amount which would cause US interest rates to spike, badly damaging the US dollar and the American economy.
It was all the Saudis had to do, it seems, because by Monday the White House was talking about vetoing the bill to protect "taxpayers," and there was growing opposition within Congress, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC), a co-sponsor, putting a hold on the bill, citing concern that the bill would come back to "bite us." read on...