Two human rights groups have sent a letter calling on the Biden administration to cancel its plans to build a new US Embassy Compound in Jerusalem. The letter was sent on behalf of Palestinian families who would have inherited the land if it hadn’t been confiscated by Israel decades ago. The letter, which was written by Adalah-The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), was addressed to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides. “We write on behalf of several Palestinian heirs to this land to formally bring this information to the State Department’s attention, and to demand an immediate cessation of this plan,” it reads.
Evacuations of American citizens from crisis countries is always difficult and dangerous, as the past fifteen days of evacuation of over 124,000 people from Afghanistan demonstrated. I know how difficult evacuations are because twenty-five years ago, in late May 1997, I was involved in the evacuation of 2500 persons from a violent coup in the West African country of Sierra Leone. I’m writing this detailed description of the evacuation in Sierra Leone, as it provides some context and comparisons of the challenges and dangers faced in the massive evacuation conducted in Afghanistan which we saw on August 26, 2021 at the Abby gate of the Kabul airport when an ISIS-K suicide bomber detonated a huge amount of explosives on his body that killed over 170 Afghans and 13 U.S. military.
On Tuesday the U.S. government ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas. The move comes amongst a slew of factless accusations of Chinese hacking and surveillance. While Trump, like Biden, is using anti-China propaganda as part of his campaign, the closure of the Houston consulate has nothing to do with it. But U.S. media fail to mention the real and unreasonable motive behind this move: The United States ordered China to close its diplomatic consulate in Houston within 72 hours, dealing another blow to the rapidly deteriorating relations between the two countries. China promptly vowed to retaliate, calling the move illegal.
The attack on Cuba’s embassy in Washington, April 30, shocked many in the two countries and abroad who immediately condemned the event and expressed solidarity with the island. Since the individual opened fire on the building during the dawn hours, several versions of what happened and the assailant’s motives began to circulate on the social media and some U.S. press. Likewise, many who condemned the assault recalled the history of aggression against Cuba’s representatives abroad and, linking the event with the hostile rhetoric used by the current U.S. administration when referring to the island. Prensa Latina conducted an online interview with Cuban ambassador to thenUnited States, José Ramón Cabañas, to verify details of what happened at the embassy.
The scene in the Green Zone in Baghdad easily evokes memories of Tehran forty years ago. A U.S. embassy in the Persian Gulf region is under siege by an angry mob. The protestors, predominantly young, break through the outer walls of the compound as U.S. diplomats take refuge in a safe room. President Trump implicitly extends the parallel by reacting in the narrowly anti-Iran terms that have defined his policies in this part of the world. “Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq,” Trump tweeted from Mar-a-Lago. “To those many millions of people in Iraq who want freedom and who don’t want to be dominated and controlled by Iran, this is your time!” But a closer look at what has been happening in Iraq suggests that genuine anger had much more to do with events than any orchestration did. The protestors who smashed their way into the embassy compound did so in defiance of appeals from leaders armed with loudspeakers.