Archive for the ‘Impotence’ category

Congress Wants New Sanctions on Venezuela for Ties to Iran-Backed Terrorists

February 9, 2017

Congress Wants New Sanctions on Venezuela for Ties to Iran-Backed Terrorists, Washington Free Beacon, February 9, 2017

(Based on what I read daily in the Latin American Herald Tribune and local Panamanian papers, the proposal would likely do substantially more harm than good. Maduro’s supporters would jump on anything useful to damn American imperialism: “Imperialistic America is interfering in Latin American affairs again!

Panama is still mad at Theodore Roosevelt for creating Panama out of part of Colombia — even though an annual holiday rejoicing over Panamanian independence from Colombia is widely celebrated — and for our “imperialism” in building the Panama Canal– an economic resource we turned over to Panama years ago and which provides mucho dinero for Panama.

Clearly, Maduro is an uneducated, corrupt jerk and has worsened the mess left by el Thugo Chavez. Food? Medicine? Toilet paper? Human rights? Human dignity? freeing imprisoned opposition leaders? Democracy? No way, Jose.  There is little or nothing we can do to improve the lives or to change the regime under which Venezuelans now exist. –DM)

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, speaks during a press conference with international and national press at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. Maduro speaks about the economic war his government have faced and measures to stabilize economy. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, speaks during a press conference with international and national press at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)

A bipartisan team of lawmakers is calling on President Donald Trump to immediately sanction Venezuela for its ongoing human rights violations and ties to terrorist organizations that reach the highest levels of government, according to a new congressional communication sent to the White House.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) petitioned the White House this week to take action against Venezuela and sanction leading government officials, including the country’s second-in-command, Tareck El Aissami, who is believed to have ties to radical terror organizations.

Venezuela has been devolving into further chaos in recent months as the oppressive socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro continues its crackdown on dissident voices and other reformists.

Maduro caused an outrage in the United States earlier this year when he appointed former regional governor El Aissami to a high-level post that puts him next in line to assume control from Maduro. Aissami has long been accused of having ties to drug kingpins and radical terrorist organizations.

Rogue nations such as Iran have made overtures to anti-Western nations such as Venezuela in an effort to boost the number of rogue nations thriving in America’s backyard. Numerous experts have claimed Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy group, and other terrorist forces have been spotted moving across Latin America.

The call for sanctions by these lawmakers comes as the Trump administration considers ratcheting up international pressure on a range of bad actors, including Iran, North Korea, and others. Many GOP leaders in Congress have been urging the White House to be more aggressive when it comes to dealing with rogue nations across the globe.

“We are writing to request that your administration take immediate action to sanction regime officials responsible for the ongoing dire humanitarian situation, oppressive human rights conditions, and unconscionable corruption taking place in Venezuela,” write Menendez and Ros-Lehtinen, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

“Moreover, Maduro’s recent appointment of Tareck El Aissami puts him next in line to possibly become the next leader of Venezuela, which is extremely troubling given his alleged ties to drug trafficking and terrorist organizations,” the lawmakers write.

“It is extremely concerning that the Maduro regime continues to undertake increasingly authoritative measures against innocent people in Venezuela,” according to the letter, which accuses the Venezuelan leader of committing mass human rights atrocities in an effort to retain power.

“The opposition has been subjected to intense persecution, being vilified on state media by Maduro regime officials, routinely accused of false crimes, and arbitrarily imprisoned,” the lawmakers write, adding that there are more than 100 political prisoners, including U.S. citizens, being held captive in the country.

“We believe that all of them must be freed,” the lawmakers write. “Maduro has also relied on corrupted branches of his regime, such as the Supreme Court and the National Electoral Council, to invalidate actions undertaken by the National Assembly, including an amnesty bill for the country’s political prisoners and a motion for a constitutionally enshrined recall referendum on the presidency.”

The United States must take aggressive action against Venezuela in order to further isolate Maduro’s government and spark regime change, according to Menendez and Ros-Lehtinen.

U.S. business interests also are at stake, according to the lawmakers, who make the case that corruption in Venezuela is harming American interests. Many companies, they say, have been forced to pay millions in bribes to Venezuelan officials in order to complete business transactions in the country.

“We are concerned that over payments of food contracts could likewise represent a potential liability for U.S. companies,” according to the letter. “Thus, we believe that the Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC] should issue clarifying regulations to ensure that U.S. companies do not inadvertently engage in business directly with any corrupt regime entity in Venezuela that would violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977.”

The appointment of El Aissami is particularly concerning to Menendez, Ros-Lehtinen, and others in Congress.

El Aissami has been suspected of issuing passports to members of the Hamas and Hezbollah terror groups during his tenure overseeing the country’s immigration bureau.

El Aissami also has been alleged to have played a role in the recruitment of radicalized individuals to Hezbollah.

“The nexus between corruption, drug trafficking, and the influence of extremist terrorist organizations in Venezuela is well documented, many of these nefarious and illicit activities are associated with El Aissami,” the lawmakers write.

What the Arab League Meeting Reveals

August 1, 2016

What the Arab League Meeting Reveals, Gatestone InstituteLawrence A. Franklin, August 1, 2016

♦ The most significant aspect of this year’s Arab League conference was the downgrading in significance of Palestinian issues on the agenda.

♦ The community of Arab states is bereft of the confidence to act collectively in its own interests, and has a fearful inability to meet the challenge of either Iran or radical Islamic terrorism, which threaten the very existence of their regimes.

The Arab League concluded its 27th annual summit on July 28 in Nouakchott, Mauritania. The sessions exposed the deep divisions in the Arab world, the bloc’s decreased influence in regional affairs, and the declining importance of Palestinian issues in the Middle East.

The annual affair apparently failed to make progress on last year’s Saudi proposal to establish an all-Arab, multinational force in response to Iran’s aggressive policies in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria. The Nouakchott-hosted sessions also seem to have made no progress toward developing a unified anti-terrorist agenda. The growth of the Islamic State presence in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa was evidently a prime motivator for the perceived need for an anti-terrorism policy.

1739The Arab League concluded its annual summit on July 28, which was held this year in a tent in Nouakchott, Mauritania. (Image source: CCTV News video screenshot)

The Arab League’s precipitous decline in political clout was symbolically exposed by the failure of many key national leaders to attend the conference. The leaders of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Tunisia did not attend. Only eight national leaders from the 22-member organization attended the conference.

However, the most significant aspect of this year’s conference was the downgrading in significance of Palestinian issues on the agenda. Perhaps aware of this development, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas also decided not to attend. However, PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki explained that Abbas could not attend due to the recent death of his brother. Later, Maliki, somewhat quixotically, called upon the Arab League to help sponsor a UN Resolution to initiate a lawsuit against the United Kingdom for having embraced the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which made it official London policy to support the creation of a national home for the Jewish People.

Nevertheless, when the representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hectored delegates that they no longer seem to treat the depressed state of the Palestinian people as the overriding issue that should unite all Arabs, his pleas seemed to fall on deaf ears. The PFLP gave public evidence of the Palestinian issue’s fall from priority, stating on their website that “this year’s resolutions are no more than a carbon copy of the resolutions of the Arab Summits made in previous years. It reflects the situation too of the Arab League which long ago lost the Arab peoples’ confidence.”

Hamas also ruefully expressed similar frustration with the Arab League delegates, saying the summit “reflects the status of decline which the Arabs are suffering, even at the official level.”

Ironically, the only commentator who assessed that the Palestinian issue remains paramount in Arab minds was the French Consul General in Jerusalem, Herv Magro, who commented that “the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict is the central issue in the Middle East.”

Arab and Islamic states traditionally give lip service to the Palestine issue and Israel’s “occupation” of Arab lands. However, from the substance discussed at the Arab Summit, it seems apparent that Palestinian affairs and the so-called Arab-Israeli peace process are not currently the primary concerns of Arab states. Certainly, there was little evidence at this year’s annual meeting that Palestine was any representative’s principal concern, except that of the PFLP delegate.

The tenor of this year’s conference demonstrates the politically reality of a divided Arab world, a community of Arab states that is bereft of the confidence to act collectively in its own interests, and its fearful inability to meet the challenge of either Iran or radical Islamic terrorism, which threaten the very existence of their regimes.