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Biden returns from Saudi Arabia empty-handed

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Joe Biden, loudly proclaiming that he wants to turn American foreign policy into an “axis of democracies” against the authoritarianism of Beijing and Moscow, sat down at the table with the absolute ruler of Saudi Arabia, who has detained dozens of his own relatives and who has been billeted by Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, concluded himself CIA.

Yet the US president appears to have returned from his visit to Jeddah empty-handed, with no public promises to increase oil production. Despite giving Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman exactly what he wanted, the meeting he needed to legitimize himself as Washington’s great ally in the region, having been photographed shaking fists with the American president, who called Saudi Arabia as a state “outcast”. ‘ during his presidential campaign.

Biden specifically stressed that he visited Saudi Arabia before going to Israel to encourage his government to respect human rights rather than ask for help amid rising fuel prices in the United States—something that contributes to the president’s historical unpopularity, hit bottom in the polls this week with an approval of just 36% of Americans, worse than his predecessor, Donald Trump, ever had during his troubled rule.

The President of the United States assured that he spoke about the killing of Khashoggi with bin Salman. It may not have had much effect, given that the crown prince limited himself to answering that Washington “made his own mistakes,” the Saudi newspaper Al-Arabiya clarified, and bin Salman recalled the torture of Iraqi prisoners in the Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 year. , or the death of US reporter Shirin Abbu Akle of Al Jazeera in May at the hands of the Israeli security forces, one of the United States’ closest allies.

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It is hard to imagine that bin Salman, spurred on by Biden’s tender entreaties, would suddenly decide to change course. After all, we are talking about the absolute leader, described by the former number 2 of his secrets, Saad Aljabri, as a monster. “I’m here to sound the alarm about a psychopathic killer in the Middle East with endless resources,” Aljabri described in an interview with CBS, momentarily leaving the hideout he wisely went to after fleeing the Saudi kingdom days before Biden’s death. visit. . Bin Salman, repeatedly compared to Saddam Hussein’s sons, known for their massacres and even transgressions with impunity, “has no empathy, he has no emotion, he never learned that from experience,” the former No. 2 pointed out to Saudi Secrets. “And we have witnessed the atrocities and crimes committed by this killer.”

Already in Washington, angry voices were heard about Biden’s visit to bin Salman, including within his own party. Recalling that the Saudi kingdom is ruled by “a $100 billion family that crushes democracy, that treats women like third-class citizens, that kills and jails its opponents,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, who was Biden’s main opponent in the election. . The Democratic presidential primaries and the face of the party’s left wing.

“I don’t think we should be friendly with such a dictatorship,” he told ABC, suggesting that the best way to deal with rising fuel prices is not to court the Saudi regime. “We need to tell the oil companies to stop extorting money from the American people,” he explained, recalling that these giants are making record profits when the price of a barrel rises, while the vast majority of Americans are in poverty. “And if they don’t, we’re going to tax them,” Sanders continued.

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Biden and his occasional brawl with bin Salman isn’t just the Democrats on the left. “If we ever needed a visual reminder that oil-rich autocrats continue to control American foreign policy in the Middle East, today we had it,” Congressman Adam Schiff, who supports the centrist Democratic wing, tweeted.

Even the families of 9/11 victims protested the visit of the US President to Saudi Arabia, emphasizing the central role of this state in the attack. Just last year, the disclosure of internal documents revealed that the FBI suspected that the Saudi princes were supporting the terrorists who carried out the attack – something silenced by the administration of George W. since then, associations of relatives of the victims have launched lawsuits to hold the Saudi state accountable.

The release of the FBI documents shows “the importance of not rewarding the kingdom and the crown prince with a presidential visit, allowing him to continue to evade responsibility for the worst attack ever,” one of those associations, quoted by The Hill, said.

Biden, on the other hand, tried to defend the controversy by calling Saudi Arabia a “rogue” less than two years ago, and now, coincidentally, when he needs oil most, he shows up at their doorstep. “There are so many issues on the table, and I want to make it clear that we can continue to lead the region and not create a vacuum,” the American president justified.

“A vacuum that could be filled by China or Russia against the interests of Israel and the US.” In fact, it is believed that among the topics Biden tried to promote with his visit were secret talks, recently revealed by the Wall Street Journal, about a security partnership between Israel and Arab countries hostile to Iran, including Saudi Arabia, to create a common front.

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During meetings with Saudi Arabian leaders, the American president tried to win them over to his side in the war in Ukraine, the Associated Press reported, using satellite imagery showing Russian officials inspecting Iranian drones with a view to buying them. This is certainly a sensitive topic in the reign of bin Salman, against whom Iranian drones have been used by the Shiite Houthi militia, which the Saudis have experienced during their military intervention in Yemen, contributing to a severe famine in that country. , considered one of the worst, if not the worst, humanitarian tragedy of the century. XXI.

However, neither Saudi Arabia nor its closest allies the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have shown a willingness to oppose the regime of Vladimir Putin, which helped evade sanctions. In fact, in recent months, the UAE has even become a haven for Russian oligarchs and their huge yachts.



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World

Vladimir Putin has delayed the invasion of Ukraine at least three times.

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Putin has repeatedly consulted with Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu about the invasion, Europa Press told Ukraine’s chief intelligence director Vadim Skibitsky.

According to Skibitsky, it was the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), which is responsible for counterintelligence and espionage work, that put pressure on Gerasimov and other military agencies to agree to launch an offensive. .

However, according to the Ukrainian intelligence services, the FSB considered that by the end of February sufficient preparations had already been made to guarantee the success of the Russian Armed Forces in a lightning invasion.

However, according to Kyiv, the Russian General Staff provided the Russian troops with supplies and ammunition for only three days, hoping that the offensive would be swift and immediately successful.

The head of Ukrainian intelligence also emphasized the cooperation of local residents, who always provided the Ukrainian authorities with up-to-date information about the Russian army, such as the number of soldiers or the exact location of troops.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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Life sentence for former Swedish official for spying for Russia

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A Stockholm court on Monday sentenced a former Swedish intelligence officer to life in prison for spying for Russia, and his brother to at least 12 years in prison. In what is considered one of the most serious cases in Swedish counterintelligence history, much of the trial took place behind closed doors in the name of national security.

According to the prosecution, it was Russian military intelligence, the GRU, who took advantage of the information provided by the two brothers between 2011 and their arrest at the end of 2021.

Peyman Kia, 42, has held many senior positions in the Swedish security apparatus, including the army and his country’s intelligence services (Säpo). His younger brother, Payam, 35, is accused of “participating in the planning” of the plot and of “managing contacts with Russia and the GRU, including passing on information and receiving financial rewards.”

Both men deny the charges, and their lawyers have demanded an acquittal on charges of “aggravated espionage,” according to the Swedish news agency TT.

The trial coincides with another case of alleged Russian espionage, with the arrest of the Russian-born couple in late November in a suburb of Stockholm by a police team arriving at dawn in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Research website Bellingcat identified them as Sergei Skvortsov and Elena Kulkova. The couple allegedly acted as sleeper agents for Moscow, having moved to Sweden in the late 1990s.

According to Swedish press reports, the couple ran companies specializing in the import and export of electronic components and industrial technology.

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The man was again detained at the end of November for “illegal intelligence activities.” His partner, suspected of being an accomplice, has been released but remains under investigation.

According to Swedish authorities, the arrests are not related to the trial of the Kia brothers.

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Ukraine admitted that Russia may announce a general mobilization

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“They can strengthen their positions. We understand that this can happen. At the same time, we do not rule out that they will announce a general mobilization,” Danilov said in an interview with the Ukrainska Pravda online publication.

Danilov believed that this mobilization would also be convened “to exterminate as many as possible” of Russian citizens, so that “they would no longer have any problems on their territory.”

In this sense, Danilov also reminded that Russia has not given up on securing control over Kyiv or the idea of ​​the complete “destruction” of Ukraine. “We have to be ready for anything,” he said.

“I want everyone to understand that [os russos] they have not given up on the idea of ​​destroying our nation. If they don’t have Kyiv in their hands, they won’t have anything in their hands, we must understand this,” continued Danilov, who also did not rule out that a new Russian offensive would come from “Belarus and other territories.” .

As such, Danilov praised the decision of many of its residents who chose to stay in the Ukrainian capital when the war broke out in order to defend the city.

“They expected that there would be panic, that people would run, that there would be nothing to protect Kyiv,” he added, referring to President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine caused at least 6.5 million internally displaced persons and more than 7.8 million refugees to European countries, which is why the UN classifies this migration crisis as the worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945). gg.). ).

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At the moment, 17.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance, and 9.3 million are in need of food aid and housing.

The Russian invasion, justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security, was condemned by the international community at large, which responded by sending weapons to Ukraine and imposing political and economic sanctions on Russia.

The UN has presented as confirmed 6,755 civilian deaths and 10,607 wounded since the beginning of the war, stressing that these figures are much lower than the real ones.

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