Articles from Juan Cole

Trump Aid Cuts to Palestinians Boost Tension, Embolden Israeli Hard Right

Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) – US President Donald Trump’s swingeing cuts to aid for Palestinians will advance Israel’s interests but risk compromising a US-led peace push and raise tensions in the Middle East, analysts and diplomats said Saturday.

The US administration announced Friday it would no longer provide any funding to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), a week after cutting over $200 million (170 million euros) in separate aid to Palestinians.

Saudi Arabia again threatens Canal to make Neighbor Qatar an Island

Riyadh (AFP) – A Saudi official hinted Friday the kingdom was moving forward with a plan to dig a canal that would turn the neighbouring Qatari peninsula into an island, amid a diplomatic feud between the Gulf nations.

“I am impatiently waiting for details on the implementation of the Salwa island project, a great, historic project that will change the geography of the region,” Saud al-Qahtani, a senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said on Twitter.

Killing for Coal (Literally)

( – Shocking as this sounds, the U.S. government is — by its own admission — willing to murder up to 1,600 Americans a year to enrich a few coal billionaires. By Basav Sen | August 28, 2018

China defies Trump on Iran, Creating new Benchmark Crude Market in Yuan

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – China’s new futures market in Shanghai is trading in the Chinese currency, the Yuan, rather than dollars. One reason for dumping the dollar in this regard is that the Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control is trying to stop countries from buying Iranian petroleum. The Dept of Treasury, however, only has control of dollar transactions or those that go through U.S.

Public on Trump: 60%: Disapprove; 49%: Impeach! 53%; Guilty of Obstruction!

Washington (AFP) – Sixty percent of Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s job performance and nearly half support impeachment, according to an opinion poll published on Friday.

Thirty-six percent of Americans approve of Trump’s White House performance, the Washington Post-ABC News poll found.

In the last Post-ABC survey, in April, Trump received an approval rating of 40 percent and a disapproval rating of 56 percent.

US Ends Funding for UN Palestinian Refugee Agency

by Francesco FONTEMAGGI | –

Washington (AFP) – The United States announced it was halting funding for the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees Friday after declaring the organization was “irredeemably flawed.

Washington has long been the UN Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) largest donor but is “no longer willing to shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

Singer Lana Del Rey cancels Israel Show after Boycott Pressure

Jerusalem (AFP) – American singer Lana Del Rey said Friday she was postponing a performance in Israel after failing to set up a show “in Palestine.”

The surprise cancellation came after a campaign by pro-Palestinian groups calling for a cultural boycott of Israel over its occupation of the West Bank.

“It’s important to me to perform in both Palestine and Israel and treat all my fans equally,” said the artist, who had been scheduled to perform at a September festival in northern Israel.

Despite Trump’s Violation of it, Iran is Still Abiding by Nuclear Deal, UN Says

Vienna (AFP) – Iran is sticking to the terms of its nuclear deal with world powers, a UN atomic watchdog report showed Thursday, despite ongoing uncertainty over its future.

The report from the International Atomic Energy Agency showed that Iran was still complying with the key parameters of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed in 2015 by Iran and the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.