On 09 January 2017, the Obama Administration announced that it added five Russian nationals to the Magnitsky Sanctions list for human rights abuses. The move by the Obama Administration will further complicate how President-Elect Trump can ease tensions between Russia and the U.S. The most eye-catching designated individual is Aleksandr I. Bastrykin, an aide who directly reports to President Putin.Read More
President-Elect Donald Trump
On 05-01-2017, the departing U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew published his exit memo – Eight Years of Progress at Treasury and a Look to the Future of American Financial Prosperity. His exit memo, similar to his speech last March at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (regarding the evolution of U.S. sanctions) spells out a warning to limit unilateral sanctions and the use of U.S. secondary sanctions.
On 29 December 2016, President Obama issued a new set of sanctions against Russia. These are cyber-related sanctions as a result of U.S. determination that Russia was involved in the hacking of the most recent U.S. Presidential elections. Designations include 9 entities and individuals including the GRU and the FSB (Russian intelligence services). Other measures cover the shutting down of 2 Russian compounds in the U.S., and the expulsion of of 35 Russian diplomats – claimed by the U.S. to be intelligence operatives.
On 15 December 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control updated its FAQ’s regarding the uplifting of sanctions under the JCPOA. The revision of the FAQ’s aim to clarify the U.S. intentions in regard to the triggering of JCPOA snap-back provisions. At the same time OFAC also introduced General License (GL) J-1 to allow the re-export of civilian aircraft to Iran (Authorizing the Re-exportation of Certain Civil Aircraft to Iran on Temporary Sojourn and Related Transactions).
President Obama orders a review of malicious cyber activities timed during U.S. elections. Highly sensitive is the alleged role of Russia, which the Russian Government denies and President-Elect Trump does not believe, in the hacking of 2016 elections campaigns. In this context, Republican senators have split with their president-elect and demanded their own investigations into the hacking activities of foreign elements.
The blog refers to the theory of Yascha Mounk, a lecturer of Government at Harvard, whom seems to be pessimistic about the future of liberal democracies. Mr. Mounk has spent the past few years challenging one of the bedrock assumptions of Western politics: that once a country becomes a liberal democracy, it will stay that way. His research suggests something quite different: that liberal democracies around the world may be at serious risk of decline. The question is whether we should be worried for the stability of the EU.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met with British Prime Minister Theresa May for the first time_21-09-2016 _71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York_http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/09/21/485646/rouhani-may-new-york On 07 December 2016, in a speech to the…
President-Elect Trump unveils first 100-days policy plans. The much anticipated plans for constructing the border wall between U.S.-Mexico and Trump’s vision how to address the Iran nuclear deal is not mentioned.
The U.S. House of Representatives extended Iran and Syrian sanctions. The blog argues that the new Syrian and the extended Iran sanctions are not Trumpism, but rather a signal of the Republican dominated U.S. Congress to Donald Trump that he has no carte blanche to deal with Iran, Syria, and possibly Russia which is indirectly impacted by the new Syrian sanctions. Although these sanctions might unhinge the current JCPOA or President Obama’s diplomatic efforts in Syria, in the long run we might be grateful to the U.S. Congress for reining in President-Elect Trump ability to act unilaterally.
President Obama and European leaders discuss future of Russia Sanctions in Berlin On his last round of foreign trips, President Obama arrived in Berlin on Wednesday evening after visiting Greece. One of the topics to…