Tag Archives: escalating

In Corey Lewandowski's Hearing, Democrats Learn Escalating Impeachment Rhetoric Won't Make the White House Cooperate

In Corey Lewandowski's Hearing, Democrats Learn Escalating Impeachment Rhetoric Won't Make the White House CooperateHouse Democrats returned from recess debating whether they were in an impeachment inquiry



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'Nobody can stop it': Saudi oil attack signals an escalating crisis

'Nobody can stop it': Saudi oil attack signals an escalating crisisTrump is letting Riyadh decide about whether to retaliate against Iran – and if that happens, Iranians would likely raise the stakesThis satellite overview shows damage to oil and gas infrastructure from drone attacks at Haradh Gas Plant on 14 September 2019 in Saudi Arabia. Photograph: HO/AFP/Getty ImagesThe attack on Saudi oil facilities is the latest, most violent, example of an escalating series of gambits rival powers in the Gulf aimed at achieving their objectives by all measures short of all-out war.But the chances of avoiding such a devastating conflict diminish each time the stakes are raised.Iran has denied responsibility for the attack on an oil field and refining facility, while the US, Saudi Arabia and their allies have hesitated over the geographical origin of the air strikes. The size and sophistication of the operation however points to a state actor, and it fits a pattern in recent months of increasingly bold Iranian moves intended to raise the costs of the US campaign of maximum pressure and the Saudi war in Yemen.Until now, Iranian harassment of oil tankers traveling through the strait of Hormuz and the downing of a US surveillance drone have appeared calibrated to stop short of triggering a military response. If Iran is indeed behind Saturday’s strikes, it marks a significant step towards more reckless action by Tehran, possibly emboldened by the departure of Donald Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, and the desperation of Iran’s economic plight.“What is clear is that the strategy of bombing Yemenis and starving Iranians into submission is more likely to backfire than bring the desired results,” said Ali Vaez, an Iran expert at the International Crisis Group. “Iran has less to lose and is less risk-averse.”Trump’s tweet about being “locked and loaded” echoed his claim the US was “cocked and loaded” to response to the downing of a US drone in June. But having agreed to launch retaliatory missile strikes then, Trump changed his mind, saying the risk of casualties made it a disproportional response.Now without Bolton at his side making the case for war, Trump appears even more cautious, trapped between not wanting to appear weak and anxious to avoid going to war in the midst of a reelection campaign. His solution to the dilemma on this occasion has been to pass the buck to Riyadh.According to Kirsten Fontenrose, former director for the Persian Gulf in the the national security council, Trump is betting Riyadh will not want to be seen declaring war.“The president knows that at the end of August when [deputy Saudi defence minister] Prince Khalid bin Salman was visiting Washington he told senior leaders at State, DoD [defence department] and the CIA that while they support economic squeezing the Iranian regime they do not support going to war. So the president knows that,” said Fontenrose, who resigned from the White House last November and is now at the Atlantic Council.“So he’s probably looking at Saudi to say no no no – let’s handle this another way. Really going towards and nobody’s interests.”Ellen Wald, a Gulf energy expert and author of a book about the Aramco oil company, Saudi, Inc, said Trump’s comments have exacerbated Riyadh’s dilemma.“It really does put a lot of pressure on the Saudi monarchy to initiate a response, potentially a military response, and that’s probably really not something that Saudi Arabia is equipped to handle. The Saudi military is is not prepared to fight a protracted war with Iran in any way,” Wald said.Meanwhile, fighting a war on behalf of Saudi regime has seldom been so unattractive in the US, following the murder of Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, and Trump’s own tweeted reminder on Monday, that the US less dependent than ever on oil flows in the Gulf.However, while it may be in nobody’s interests to go to war, the political costs for not responding currently fall most heavily on the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman – and his response is unpredictable.“We’re not dealing with common sense here. We are dealing with the fact that the Saudi’s have to retaliate one way or the other one form or the other,” said Jean-Francois Seznec, a Gulf expert who teaches at Georgetown University. “Otherwise the position even of the crown prince would be seen as weak in the country and at this point doesn’t have many friends even in his own country at the higher level.”One option for Riyadh and Washington is a retaliation against a proportionate Iranian target, accompanied by much signalling that it is a limited response. However, Tehran may not see it that way.“If they retaliate, the Iranians would have to retaliate even more. And we are just in an inertia of war,” Seznec said. “We really are in that situation right now and what’s so scary is that people all agree that this is not good for anybody. But there is nobody who can stop it.”



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Israel Is Escalating Its Shadow War With Iran. Here's What to Know

Israel Is Escalating Its Shadow War With Iran. Here's What to KnowIsrael-attributed attacks on targets in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq highlight the risks of a wider confrontation



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Volatility in China's yuan due to escalating U.S. trade friction – PBOC official

Volatility in China's yuan due to escalating U.S. trade friction - PBOC officialYICHUN, China/ SHANGHAI, Aug 11 (Reuters) – Volatility in China’s yuan since August is a normal market reaction to escalating trade frictions stoked by the United States and was caused, to some extent, by Washington’s decision to raise tariffs, a senior Chinese central bank official said. Zhu Jun, director-general of the People’s Bank of China’s international department, made the comments on Saturday to a forum held in the northern Chinese province of Heilongjiang. The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday labelled China a currency manipulator, hours after China let the yuan drop through a key support level to its lowest point in more than a decade.



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Iran Seizes British Oil Tanker, Escalating Tensions With Western Powers

Iran Seizes British Oil Tanker, Escalating Tensions With Western PowersGIUSEPPE CACACEIran’s military seized a British tanker in the Persian Gulf on Friday, further ratcheting up the tensions between Tehran and Western powers in the Persian Gulf. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced via state-run news outlets that it had seized the British tanker Stena Impero “for failing to respect international maritime rules.”The seizure comes as an apparent response to Britain’s detention of an Iranian tanker off the coast of Gibraltar in early July and comes on the heels of a series of alleged Iranian attacks on Japanese, European, and Middle Eastern tankers in the Gulf of Oman. British officials told reporters that they are “urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation.” A British official told The Daily Beast that the incident is currently being discussed at the highest levels of the British government. Separately, Defense Department officials confirmed to CNN that Iran had captured a second tanker on Friday, the MV Mesdar, a Liberian-flagged vessel. As Iran-U.S. Tensions Rise, Hezbollah Readies for War With IsraelBefore Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced the seizure on Friday, vessel tracking data showed the Stena Impero diverting off course and towards the Iranian island of Qeshm, home to a number of IRGC-N facilities. A statement posted to the website of Stena Bulk and Northern Marine Management, the ship’s owner, said the Stena Impero “was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters.” The company said there are 23 crew members aboard the ship at present.Earlier this week, Iran announced that it had seized another tanker, the MT Riah, after it disappeared and was last seen heading towards Qeshm. The Riah had been owned by a United Arab Emirates company but Emirati officials denied that the Riah was owned or operated by Emirati entities. Iranian officials claimed to have seized the vessel after it allegedly engaged in oil smuggling. The British tanker incident follows a series of Iranian threats to retaliate against the U.K. for the seizure of an Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar in early July. Royal Marines boarded the Grace 1 tanker on the grounds that it was allegedly delivering oil to the Assad regime in violation of European Union sanctions. Iran denied that the tanker was headed for Syria and demanded its release. A Gibraltar court ruled on Friday that the ship must stay detained for at least another month. In the wake of the seizure, senior Iranian military and political officials vowed retaliation against the U.K. for taking the Grace 1. Iran’s top military officer, Armed Forces Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri said the British seizure “will not go unanswered” and that Iran would respond “at an appropriate time and place.” President Hassan Rouhani also threatened that the U.K. “will realize the consequences later” for its actions. On Wednesday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei renewed the threats and said Iran “will not leave such evil deeds unanswered.”Iran appeared to try and make good on those threats in early July when IRGC Navy (IRGC-N) vessels harassed a BP tanker, British Heritage, as it sailed by the Iranian island of Abu Musa. IRGC-N boats tried to stop the tanker before a British Navy frigate, HMS Montrose, trained its guns on the boats and ordered them to move away. Before the incident, the British Heritage had anchored off the coast of Saudi Arabia, wary of sailing the Gulf in light of Iranian threats to British shipping. Those anxieties are shared among British shippers who have watched the escalating tensions between the U.K. and Iran with concern. Britain’s department of transport raised its threat level for vessels in the Gulf to “critical” while maritime organizations have urged shippers not to escalate the threat by hiring armed private security contractors to guard their ships. The U.K. announced earlier this week that it would send an additional warship to the Gulf, the HMS Duncan, a guided missile destroyer, to provide security for its vessels.In May, following the announcement of an expedited deployment of U.S. warships and bombers to the Gulf, six tankers were attacked by apparent limpet mines in two separate incidents off the coast of the United Arab Emirates Fujairah port and in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. blamed Iran naval commandos for both attacks and released footage of Iranian troops removing a device from the hull of a ship that had recently been attacked. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Iran drone strike: Escalating Iran crisis looks a lot like the path US took to Iraq war

Iran drone strike: Escalating Iran crisis looks a lot like the path US took to Iraq warThe U.S. went to war in Iraq in 2003 based on flawed intelligence supported by hawkish policy makers. Is it doomed to repeat the error with Iran?



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'We don't take it lightly': What we know about oil tanker blasts and Donald Trump's escalating rhetoric on Iran

'We don't take it lightly': What we know about oil tanker blasts and Donald Trump's escalating rhetoric on IranPresident Donald Trump's comments come amid concerns attack on oil tankers could further escalate ongoing tensions between Iran and the U.S.



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REFILE-UPDATE 2-Italy, France spar over tackling escalating conflict in Libya

REFILE-UPDATE 2-Italy, France spar over tackling escalating conflict in LibyaTRIPOLI/ROME, April 11 (Reuters) – France and Italy wrangled on Thursday over how best to tackle renewed conflict in Libya as a bid by eastern forces under Khalifa Haftar to seize Tripoli stalled in the face of strong resistance on the capital’s southern outskirts. The United Nations said the fighting between Haftar’s forces and troops under the internationally-backed Tripoli government had killed at least 56 people and forced 8,000 to flee their homes in the city in the last week.



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Indian pilot captured in Pakistan becomes face of escalating conflict

Indian pilot captured in Pakistan becomes face of escalating conflictAn Indian pilot shot down over Pakistan and paraded by his captors has become a hero in his own country, a trump card for Islamabad and perhaps the key to bringing the arch-rivals back from the brink. Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was in a MiG jet that India said was shot down on Wednesday as he chased Pakistan warplanes over the rivals’ disputed Kashmir border. Footage of him being beaten and interrogated has since gone viral in India and Pakistan.



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The Crisis in Venezuela Is Rapidly Escalating. Here's Everything That Happened Over the Weekend

The Crisis in Venezuela Is Rapidly Escalating. Here's Everything That Happened Over the WeekendDeadly clashes at the border over humanitarian aid led to the end of diplomatic ties with Colombia and fresh talk of intervention



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