Articles from Juan Cole

With Kennedy’s Vacancy, Only Voting Can Check One-Party Rule

Seattle (Yes! Magazine) – Trump will replace the last centrist on the Supreme Court. Now only voter pushback can restore balance to Congress.

The news that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring come July 31 is a reminder—and a warning—that no matter what happens in the upcoming midterm elections, or 2020, we’re not going back to any sort of pre-Trump politics.

Israel bans Swedish Activist Entry after 11-month Walk to Palestine

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli authorities banned a Swedish activist from entering Palestine late Thursday when he arrived at the Allenby Bridge, the Jordanian-Palestinian borders, coming on foot from Sweden.

Swedish activist Benjamin Ladraa walked from Sweden to Palestine for about 11 months “to raise awareness about the plight of the Palestinians under (Israeli) military occupation,” according to his Facebook page Benjamin Ladraa.

High Iranian Official insists it Will stay in Syria, to Block Israel

The Syrian Civil War is all over but the shouting. The regime probably has 80% of the population under its control again, all save Idlib Province where Sunni Arab fundamentalists hold sway, and the northeast, where leftist Kurds have attempted to construct a post-Communist cooperative society, along with a few other pockets. Those pockets are likely to fall by the end of the year, and, indeed, you wonder whether there won’t be a fall Idlib campaign.

World to 22 mn Refugees: Only 200K of You can be Helped

New York (Foreign Policy in Focus ) – Over 22.5 million people have been forced to flee their countries. Last year, less than 200,000 were resettled.

It’s a famous story, though perhaps not famous enough.

The 1939 voyage of the MS St. Louis, a German ocean liner, was recounted in a 1974 book and a 1976 film (both titled Voyage of the Damned) as well as a 1994 opera. This history is not forgotten. Yet so many unfortunate people around the world are still doomed to repeat it.

Will the Price of Oil Collapse within a Decade, Driven off Cliff by Electric Vehicles?

One of the reasons that Saudi Arabia’s plans for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on its ARAMCO oil have not actually materialized is that investors are not dummies. Saudi Arabia’s oil is an asset with no future value, and the future in which its price collapses is nearer than the oil companies think. (I would argue that if you figure in the cost of coming climate lawsuits, oil already has a negative value, but is certainly already worthless).

Syrian Government Recovers Economic Hub linking to Jordan, Gulf Oil States

By Rim Haddad | –

Nassib (Syrie) (AFP) – Syrian army soldiers burned a rebel flag Saturday after they and Russian military police took over the crucial Nassib post on the border with Jordan.

“The government has got its hands on a major economic hub that links Syria with other countries, above all Jordan and the Gulf states,” a jubilant Syrian military source said at the scene.

Nearby other troops flicked victory signs as they relaxed next to a tank decorated with a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad.

World powers back Iran oil exports despite US sanctions threat


Vienna (AFP) – Iran’s remaining partners in the 2015 nuclear deal vowed Friday to keep the energy exporter plugged into the global economy despite the US withdrawal and sanctions threat.

Tehran’s top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif praised them for their “will to resist” US pressure, two months after President Donald Trump walked away from the landmark accord.

Britain, France and Germany along with Russia and China met with Iran in Vienna to offer economic benefits and assurances that would lessen the blow of sweeping US sanctions announced by Trump.

Pakistan ex-PM Sharif sentenced to 10 years for corruption

Islamabad (AFP) – Pakistan’s former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in prison by a corruption court in Islamabad Friday, lawyers said, dealing a serious blow to his party’s troubled campaign ahead of July 25 elections.

Sharif was ousted from his third term as prime minister by the Supreme Court last year following a corruption investigation.

“(Sharif) has been awarded 10 years imprisonment and an eight million pound ($10 million) fine” over the purchase of high-end properties in London, defence lawyer Mohammad Aurangzeb told AFP.

Scandal-Ridden EPA Chief who favored Polluters Resigns in Favor of Coal Baron

Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Thursday announced the departure of his environment chief, Scott Pruitt, who faced ever-growing ethics scandals over his spending and conduct in office.

“I have accepted the resignation of Scott Pruitt as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency,” tweeted the president, ending months of speculation about the future of the man he had tasked with dismantling former president Barack Obama’s green legacy.