Are Western Countries Determined To Starve The People Of Afghanistan?

On January 11, 2022, the United Nations (UN) Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths appealed to the international community to help raise $4.4 billion for Afghanistan in humanitarian aid, calling this effort, “the largest ever appeal for a single country for humanitarian assistance.” This amount is required “in the hope of shoring up collapsing basic services there,” said the UN. If this appeal is not met, Griffiths said, then “next year [2023] we’ll be asking for $10 billion.”

The figure of $10 billion is significant. A few days after the Taliban took power in Afghanistan in mid-August 2021, the US government announced the seizure of $9.5 billion in Afghan assets that were being held in the US banking system. Under pressure from the United States government, the International Monetary Fund also denied Afghanistan access to $455 million of its share of special drawing rights, the international reserve asset that the IMF provides to its member countries to supplement their original reserves.

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Nicaragua Slams US And EU Sanctions

Nicaragua has hit out at a new raft of sanctions imposed on the country just hours before President Daniel Ortega’s inauguration on Monday.

The measures targeting a number of Nicaraguan officials were announced as Mr Ortega was sworn in for a fourth consecutive term of office in a ceremony in the capital Managua attended by dignitaries and guests from across the world.

Sanctions were imposed by the European Union and the United States, which denounced the November 7 elections won convincingly by Mr Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front as “a sham.”

They have presented no concrete evidence to back their assertions, however, and hundreds of international observers described the elections as free, fair and transparent.

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UK Gold Ruling Based On ‘Illegal Interference’ In Venezuela

Mexico City, Mexico, December 20, 2021 – The United Kingdom’s highest court issued a ruling on Monday favoring opposition figure Juan Guaidó and his efforts to wrest control of US$1.7 billion worth of Venezuelan gold stored at the Bank of England (BoE).

The Monday decision is the latest episode in the legal struggle by the democratically-elected Nicolás Maduro government to regain access to the reserves. Following what the court described as the “one voice principle,” the court ruled that under the UK’s constitutional arrangements political recognition of foreign states falls to the country’s executive.

In 2019, Conservative UK Prime Minister Theresa May recognized Guaidó, then president of the National Assembly, as “interim president” as part of the US-led effort to oust the Maduro government.

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Despite Appeals, US Denies Possibility Of Unfreezing Afghan Assets

US White House press secretary Jen Psaki clarified on Tuesday, December 14 said that the government has no plan to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets. Psaki was responding to a public call by Afghanistan’s foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi made a day earlier to unfreeze the assets.

The US government had announced a freeze of nearly USD 10 billion worth of Afghanistan’s assets days after the Taliban took over power in the country on August 15, claiming the possibility of misuse of the funds. It also severed all diplomatic relations with Afghanistan after the complete withdrawal of its troops on August 30.

The Taliban government in Afghanistan, the UN, and several other governments, including China, have demanded that the US release the funds to facilitate necessary public expenditure in Afghanistan.

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Ethiopians, Eritreans Hold #NoMore March Outside US State Department

Washington, DC – Thousands of Ethiopians, Eritreans and their allies rallied outside the US State Department on Friday as part of the #NoMore campaign opposing US intervention in the Horn of Africa. Their protest comes as the US’ chief envoy to the Horn, Jeffrey Feltman, is visiting several countries connected to the conflict after failing to secure a ceasefire.

The crowd chanted “fake news CNN” and “no more TPLF,” referring to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, a rebel group with Western support that earlier this year made a blitz on the capital from the northern Tigray state. Their offensive was blunted and reversed by the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF), the military forces loyal to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

Many at the rally carried signs hailing Abiy’s democratic victory in July, the country’s first-ever contested elections, and asking why the US would support the TPLF’s attempt to overthrow him.

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Ten Problems With Biden’s Foreign Policy – And One Solution

By and large, Biden’s foreign policy already seems stuck in the militarist quagmire of the past twenty years, a far cry from his campaign promise to reinvigorate diplomacy as the primary tool of U.S. foreign policy.

In this respect, Biden is following in the footsteps of Obama and Trump, who both promised fresh approaches to foreign policy but for the most part delivered more endless war.

By the end of his second term, Obama did have two significant diplomatic achievements with the signing of the Iran nuclear deal and normalization of relations with Cuba. So progressive Americans who voted for Biden had some grounds to hope that his experience as Obama’s vice-president would lead him to quickly restore and build on Obama’s achievements with Iran and Cuba as a foundation for the broader diplomacy he promised.

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Biden Keeps Crushing Sanctions Yet Blames Iran For Nuclear Impasse

At the Vienna talks on restoring the Iran nuclear deal, the US and EU are accusing Iran of refusing to compromise. Mohammad Marandi, a University of Tehran professor advising the Iran delegation in Vienna, says that the compromise was the nuclear deal itself, and the problem is the US refusal to abide by its own commitments and lift the sanctions that target Iranian civilians.

Guest: Mohammad Marandi. Professor at the University of Tehran and adviser to the Iran delegation at talks on restoring the JCPOA in Vienna.

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Interview: Wife Of Venezuelan Diplomat ‘Kidnapped’ By The US

On Wednesday, November 24, MintPress News Editor in Chief Mnar Adley sat down to speak with Camila Saab, the wife of imprisoned Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab.

Saab was on a diplomatic mission to Iran in June 2020, where he was tasked with securing deals for food, medicine and personal protective equipment. His plane stopped off in Cabo Verde — a group of islands off the west coast of Africa — for a routine refueling.

He would never finish his journey, as, on orders from the United States government, local authorities stormed the vehicle, forcing him off the plane — an event that would begin his 18-month detention. “I never imagined that Cabo Verde was going to kidnap a diplomat,” said the Italian-born former model and mother of two.

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Jorge Arreaza On Venezuela Recovering From Sanctions

UN Special Rapporteurs estimate that 100,000 people have died in Venezuela in the last decade because of the lack of medicine brought on by U.S. sanctions. Nearly 60% of those deaths took place under the Trump administration after Washington escalated its economic warfare on the Bolivarian state. During the Trump era, Jorge Arreaza served as Venezuela’s foreign minister and spent years building diplomatic ties with other nations amid Washington’s aggressive hybrid war.

“After 22 years of revolution, we have had to deal with President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, President Trump, and President Biden. And there are no major differences between them because it is not a matter of who is in the Oval Office; it is a matter of who really controls the decisions in the United States,” Arreaza told MintPress.

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Ethiopia: Abiy Will Lead Army In Anti-TPLF Struggle ‘From The Battlefront’

In a Monday statement, the Ethiopian head of government said he would “lead the fight from tomorrow onwards,” calling on all Ethiopians to unite in defense of their country and on all Black people across the world to defend Ethiopia in the spirit of pan-Africanism.

“Starting tomorrow, I will mobilize to the front to lead the defense forces,” Abiy said in the release. “Those who want to be among the Ethiopian children who will be hailed by history, rise up for your country today. Let’s meet at the front.”

“We are now in the final stages of saving Ethiopia,” he added. “Our enemies are attacking us on the outside and on the inside … This is the struggle of all Black people. It is a conspiracy to humiliate Black people and subdue Ethiopia in a new colonial yoke.”

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US Sends Clear Message To African Nations As It Turns Its Back On Ethiopia

The corporate media in the United States is waging a misinformation campaign as part of the hybrid warfare being used to try to subjugate Ethiopia. Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace states there “is a coordinated effort to criminalize and delegitimize the Ethiopian state in order to cripple or balkanize it, maybe even to provide the political will for a direct military intervention.” For 27 years, the United States-backed Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) ruled Ethiopia until it was overthrown by a popular movement in 2018. Ethiopians then elected their Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, who refuses to bend to pressure from the US. To clarify what is happening in Ethiopia and the fight to protect its people’s right to self-determination, Clearing the FOG speaks with Deacon Yoseph Tafari, the chairman of the Ethiopian American Civic Council.

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The Hood Communist Guide To The US Blockade On Cuba

July 2021 caught many on the US left slipping. While the US exploited relatively small protests in Cuba for round the clock coverage of what was being called “the day of reckoning for the Cuban revolution”, true colors were exposed as so-called leftists in the imperial core struggled to model what anti-imperialist solidarity actually looks like. For more than 50 years, the call from revolutionary Cuban citizens and organizations has been to end the US blockade on Cuba. For more than 50 years, this has been the most important contribution that the US left could make toward the island. But in the face of protests encouraged by conditions created by the blockade, across the board there was a failure to attack the primary contradiction.

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As Nicaragua Resists Regime Change, The US Ramps Up Its Economic Warfare

The United States has tried to control the poor Central American country, Nicaragua, for more than 100 years. John Bolton designated Nicaragua as part of the “Troika of Tyranny” along with Cuba and Venezuela for daring to defend its sovereignty. Since the failed violent coup attempt in 2018, the US foreign policy establishment has focused on preventing President Daniel Ortega’s reelection using a variety of tactics. Ben Norton, associate editor of The Grayzone, who is based in Managua, describes those tactics, the complicity of corporate media and social media and how Nicaragua is working to protect its democratic institutions. Norton outlines the US playbook in Nicaragua, including what to expect after the election.

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Washington Piles On Pressure Ahead Of Nicaraguan Elections

Washington has ratcheted up the pressure just days before Nicaragua’s presidential and parliamentary elections, approving legislation calling for more sanctions and other punitive measures.

The bipartisan Renacer Act was passed by 387 votes to 35 on Wednesday evening and will be sent to President Joe Biden to pass into law.

It is expected to be introduced ahead of Sunday’s poll to pile additional pressure on President Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista government.

The Senate foreign relations committee welcomed the passing of the draconian and reactionary Bill.

Senator Bob Menendez said that he was proud to see unity between Republicans and Democrats with “the dictator’s coronation around the corner.

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Are Nicaraguan Migrants Escaping ‘Repression’—Or Economic Sanctions?

“Record numbers” of migrants are coming into the United States from Nicaragua, according to Newsweek (7/29/21), which blames the increase on “arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses” by the Nicaraguan government. Former Sandinista leader Sergio Ramírez, writing for El Salvador’s El Faro (8/20/21), claims that “repression” by President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista government is causing a “dramatic growth” in migration by Nicaraguans.

Reuters (9/2/21) agrees, describing the government “crackdown” as stirring a “fast-growing exodus” from the country. The Wall Street Journal (9/22/21) has also identified the “crackdown,” quoting a 19-year-old Nicaraguan who hopes to get asylum in the US as claiming that “in Nicaragua, our fate is prison or death.”

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