Will Trump be betrayed by Russia conspirators? | Sunday Observer

Will Trump be betrayed by Russia conspirators?

Will former and current top aides of US President Donald Trump now directly charged with serious criminal offences that could also entangle them with Russian subversion of the last presidential election opt to ‘spill the beans’ on their political masters? And, will this incriminate the American President himself?

Global hotspots – partly created by US manipulations and intervention - are seemingly bursting into flames, as in the Sinai Peninsula bombing last week that killed nearly 300 people. But the world’s sole, declining, super-power is pre-occupied internally as Americans agonise over the possibility that their very own head-of-state is wittingly or unwittingly in cahoots with their country’s long-standing rival power, Russia.

In West Asia, Yemen’s displaced millions face starvation, epidemics and more aerial bombing by Saudi Arabia’s forces while Riyadh’s attempts to dislodge Lebanon’s Prime Minister from power do not seem to have worked. And on Friday, a prominent Sunni mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula was bombed and shot at by an unidentified guerrilla squad killing nearly 300 worshippers and by-standers, probably the worst casualties in a single incident suffered by Egypt since the Arab-Israeli ‘Ramadan War’ of 1973.

Additional territory

Also, last week the United Nations marked the 50th anniversary of the passing of UN Security Council Resolution No. 242 that called on Israel to return the additional territory it forcibly seized from the Palestinians, and adjoining Arab states during its June, 1967, invasion. That invasion of parts of Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon enabled Israel to annexe new territory more than doubling the territory the European Jews migrating from Europe had forcibly seized from Palestinians in the 1940s.

In response to the 1967 June invasions by Israeli, in November 1967, the UN Security Council voted unanimously for Resolution 242. The Resolution demanded that Israel withdraw from the territories it seized in the June war and provided the framework for all ensuing diplomatic negotiations on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the concept of “land for peace”.

Israel, however, rejected the UN Resolution and continues to violate it to this day, 50 years later, by building settlements on the territories meant for a Palestinian state. If, in the pre-World War 2 era, Palestinian Jews accounted for less than 15 per cent of the entire Palestinian population, today the Jews are in the majority in the territory they declared as ‘Israel’ in 1948 (forcibly seized by driving out the local Palestinian population). And the large swathe of additional territory Israel militarily seized in 1967 June invasions is now being forcibly populated by the Israeli state. Nearly a million Israelis have been housed in these new settlements in Palestinian territory, often after driving out previously resident Palestinians from their ancestral homes.

Israel is probably the UN member state in most violation of UN laws and resolutions. Worse, it is, equally, the most favoured member given that it has avoided retribution or sanctions by the world community unlike other states like Iran and North Korea that are in much less violation of international law. Israel has so far been protected by ‘veto’ votes regularly cast by its powerful Western allies which have veto power on the UN Security Council, namely, the US, UK and France.

Fifty years on, West Asia looks very different. Most of the powerful Arab states that opposed the successive Israeli invasions and occupations, are no longer that powerful or, have been pushed into normalising relations with what they once called the ‘Zionist entity’, since, under UN law, Israel has yet to be morally qualified to become a fully fledged nation-state.

Meanwhile, one of its one-time most hostile states, Saudi Arabia, today seems to be inching (willingly) towards formally recognising Israel and dropping its current full endorsement of the right of millions of displaced Palestinians to return to their homelands.

When the Saudi monarchy persuaded Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri to visit Riyadh earlier this month, it was the precursor for another bombshell: within hours of arrival, the billionaire Lebanese Sunni politician went on Saudi television to announce that he was resigning his post as Prime Minister! This shock announcement was quickly seen as a blatant move by the Saudi monarchy to force changes in Lebanon, a war-affected country Riyadh has helped economically prop up in recent decades.

Lebanon is demographically almost equally divided into Sunni Muslim, Shia Muslim, Arab Christian and Druze communities. Complex negotiations that ended the bitter civil war between these communities in the 1970s provided for a complex republican political system that stipulates that the President has to be a Christian while the Prime Minister should be a Sunni Muslim. At the same time, the Druze and Shia minorities must also have representation in the government Cabinet.

Foreign interference

In recent decades, given their isolation within large Sunni populations, Lebanon’s Shia population has depended on Iran for financial support. The Lebanese Hezbollah movement depended on Iranian military aid to strengthen itself to resist Israeli intrusions into southern Lebanon.

Today, while the Hezbollah has evolved into a formidable military and social movement in Lebanon, the Saudis have been unhappy over Iran’s influence in that once-rich but now impoverished but quite liberal Mediterranean-Arab society. Hariri’s outburst, when announcing his ‘resignation’, had many accusations of ‘interference by foreign powers’ and ‘death threats’, all seen by observers as echoes of Riyadh’s hostility to Tehran.

In fact the Lebanese Army – no puppet of Iran – publicly stated that according to its own security operations, they saw no serious threat of foreign interference, nor of any death threat against Hariri whose father – founder of their Lebanese Sunni alliance - was assassinated some years ago by suspected Iranian agents. Hariri is seen by analysts as someone who has pragmatically dealt with the Iranians and their Lebaneses allies, which is what probably upset the Saudis.

Hariri has now returned to Beirut and announced that his resignation was “suspended”, In any case, the range of Lebanese political groups from Christian to Sunni to Shia had all united to reject his resignation and to clearly indicate their distaste for this act of crude interference by Riyadh.

Meanwhile, in Washington, all eyes are on FBI Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, whose probe into Russia’s covert subversion of the US political system during the 2016 US presidential elections has now expanded to investigate another, even more alarming, dimension: that of a suspected clandestine collaboration between the Russians and the Trump presidential election campaign. In fact that new probe then sparked a third probe : whether Donald Trump or his associates attempted to obstruct the FBI investigative process.

At the same time, several Trump election campaign aides, now face charges of hiding their links with the Russians, including undeclared payments for services rendered. One such aide has already pleaded guilty to FBI indictments and is understood to be ‘co-operating with the police’.

Last week the US media reported that the most high-profile ‘suspect’ to come under indictment poressure is US Army General (retd) Mike Flynn, who had briefly served as Trump’s National Security Adviser before being forced to resign his post within weeks due to his failure to disclosed his service links with foreign governments.

The fact that, unlike any other US president, Trump’s administration is full of people with close links with Russia and, that many of them had failed to disclose their contacts with the Russian, has led many Americans to begin suspecting that there actually could, indeed, be a conspiracy between the United States President himself and their country’s worst enemy power, Russia.

The latest speculation is that these aides now being cornered by the FBI and facing severe prison sentences if convicted, may opt to reveal all that they know about all these ‘spy thriller’ conspiracies in order to get more lenient sentences.

The fact that General Flynn has informed President Trump’s lawyers that he could no longer share information with the Trump camp is being seen as US analysts as a movement in that direction of self-preservation.