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Trump North Korea sanctions tweet sparks confusion - BBC News
US President Donald Trump has not ordered the withdrawal of recently imposed sanctions against North Korea, administration officials say.

Mr Trump caused confusion on Friday when he tweeted that "additional large-scale sanctions" would be withdrawn.

It was thought he was referring to the treasury's move to blacklist two China-based shipping companies suspected of illegally trading with North Korea.

But officials later said he was referring to future sanctions.

Citing unnamed administration officials, US media reported that Mr Trump was in fact cancelling measures that had yet to be announced and were scheduled for the coming days.
usa  diplomacy  government  DonaldTrump  deptoftreasury  sanctions  northkorea  nuclear 
2 days ago by jtyost2
Trump surprises his own aides by reversing North Korea sanctions
President Donald Trump on Friday declared he would reverse new sanctions on North Korea that his administration rolled out just a day before, deepening concerns that the ostensible leader of the free world is at odds with his own team as he makes American foreign policy in spontaneous 280-character bursts.

The sudden move left the White House groping for an explanation, telling reporters only that Trump “likes” North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea,” Trump tweeted. “I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”

In a follow-up statement explaining the reversal, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary."

Trump’s announcement surprised many of his senior aides, and even some Treasury Department officials were caught off guard, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It was the latest example of Trump operating on gut instinct with little care for the formal policy process. Past presidents sometimes spent weeks or even months running key policy proposals through a gauntlet of review by federal agencies and senior White House advisers. Trump has largely shunned that process, preferring to query a small group of informal advisers — or sometimes no one at all — before making rapid-fire decisions that reverberate around the world.

Even the administration's allies were baffled by the reversal. Mark Dubowitz, an influential critic of the Iran nuclear deal who is chief executive of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, tweeted, "I’ve been working on sanctions policy for 15+ years. Don’t recall ever seeing a president overrule a Treasury announcement AFTER it was announced."
usa  government  diplomacy  northkorea  sanctions  deptoftreasury  DonaldTrump  stupid  nuclear 
2 days ago by jtyost2
Can Syria rebuild with Assad still in power? | Financial Times, Feb 17, 2019
The proportion of Syrians in extreme poverty, those living on less than $1.90 per day, has more than doubled to 69 per cent since 2011, according to a UN-backed study. As many as 56 per cent of the country’s businesses surveyed by the World Bank have either closed or relocated outside of Syria since 2009. Unemployment, under 10 per cent in 2010, rocketed to over 50 per cent by 2015, the most recent data.

Gulf-based construction companies are unlikely to risk America’s wrath. With regime allies Russia and Iran showing little willingness to spend, and China wary of investing, it is unclear who will pay to rebuild Syria apart from the Syrians themselves.

Sanctions suit tycoons with the strongest regime links, says Steven Heydemann, Middle East Studies director at Smith College in the US. With greater resources and deeper official connections, “the Rami Makhlouf networks have access to a much deeper tool kit to get around sanctions,” he says. Mr Makhlouf, a cousin of Mr Assad and on both EU and US sanctions lists, has leveraged his connections to build an empire from telecoms to real estate.

At the same time Iranian and Russian companies, including Stroytransgaz, are accused of muscling in on Syria’s key natural resources, securing lucrative phosphate, oil and gas and electricity contracts. Asked what chances there were for business in Syria now, one entrepreneur replies: “The cake has been divided.”
economy  corruption  reconstruction  sanctions  Mar15  Warlords 
5 days ago by elizrael
SYRIA IN CONTEXT Weekly Briefing ISSUE #40 - WEEK 10/2019
In reality, the origins of the fuel crisis are complex and sanctions only play peripheral role. Initial collection on Iranian oil shipments to Syria suggest that the sanctions targeting shipping companies may indeed have had some success at deterring fuel running. No Iranian tankers reached Banyas between early November and early January, leading to near depletion of fuel reserves stored at the Syrian port. Multiple vessels commonly involved in shipping Iranian fuel to the Eastern Mediterranean, upon release of the sanctions list, changed course and avoided Syrian ports (even those not directly named by Treasury).
energy  mar15  sanctions  winter 
5 days ago by elizrael
North Korea Advertises Military Hardware on Twitter, YouTube, Defying Sanctions
Glocom, a front company for the government of North Korea that sells sanctioned equipment, isn’t giving up. In 2017, before YouTube quietly removed Glocom’s channel, the company was advertising missile navigation and other military products on the video platform.

But Glocom has returned. It setup a new channel, and also had a presence on Twitter, until Motherboard flagged Glocom’s accounts to social media companies.

The news not only signals the perseverance of parts of the North Korean’s money-making enterprises, but also a slice of the content moderation issues that tech platforms constantly face.

Glocom “is using them as platforms to market sanctions violating products,” Shea Cotton, research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, and who has a particular focus on North Korea, told Motherboard in an email.

Glocom has previously pitched itself as a Malaysian company, but is in fact run by a North Korean intelligence agents, according to a United Nations report previously covered by Reuters. The products currently advertised on its website include radar systems, communications software, and military radio gear.
legal  business  regulation  government  sanctions  usa  northkorea  youtube  twitter  military 
11 days ago by jtyost2
U.S. Sanctions Are Hurting Hezbollah - WINEP
As the fighting subsided in much of Syria over the past three months, Hezbollah has brought many of its personnel home, apart from the combat troops and logistics forces stationed in the Damascus area, Deir al-Zour, and south Syria. In particular, it has redeployed many of its newer fighters, whom it recruited during the war on a contractual basis and is no longer obligated to pay now that they are back home.

Fighters and their families are beginning to complain about lost wages as well—a largely unprecedented development. Married fighters are reportedly receiving only half of their salaries (which normally range from $600 to $1,200 per month), and single fighters are receiving only $200 per month.

In other sectors, Hezbollah sources quoted by local media reported that employees in its religious institutions have not been paid in three months. The group has also closed around a thousand offices and apartments throughout Lebanon, merged many of its institutions, and frozen all hiring. Its social services budget has decreased as well, following a previous reduction in 2013.
rumors  Hizbollah  sanctions  budget 
17 days ago by elizrael
Russian telecom giant to pay huge US fine to settle corruption case in Uzbekistan — RT Business News
In late 2016, VimpelCom, the second-largest telecom operator in Russia, agreed to pay $795 million to reach a settlement with the US Department of Justice and Dutch regulators over the same case. VimpelCom and its Uzbek subsidiary Unitel pleaded guilty to bribing a senior official to win business in the country.
imperialism  sanctions 
17 days ago by foliovision

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