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Westlake Legal Group > United States International Relations (Page 16)

Trump Says Iran Appears Responsible for Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities

President Trump said Monday that Iran appeared to be responsible for the weekend attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. But Mr. Trump also said he would “like to avoid” a military conflict with Tehran and reiterated his interest in diplomacy.

Asked at the White House whether Iran was behind the attack, Mr. Trump said, “It’s looking that way.” But he stopped short of a definitive confirmation. “That’s being checked out right now,” he added.

Mr. Trump warned that the United States has fearsome military capabilities and is prepared for war if necessary. “With all that being said, we’d certainly like to avoid it,” he added. “I know they want to make a deal,” he said of Iranian officials, who he has been trying to draw into talks over their nuclear program. “At some point it will work out.”

Mr. Trump’s comments came shortly after a Saudi government statement said that, “Initial investigations have indicated that the weapons used in the attack were Iranian weapons.” But the Saudis stopped short of directly blaming Iran for the attack.

The Saudis called for international experts to visit and assess the evidence. Their statement said the Saudis would “forcefully respond to these aggressions.”

Mr. Trump also told reporters on Monday that he had not “promised” to protect the Saudis and that he would “sit down with the Saudis and work something out.”

Responsibility for the weekend attack was claimed by Yemen’s rebel Houthi faction. Iran is a chief ally of the Houthis.

The attack on Saturday was the most audacious and damaging blow to Saudi Arabia in the four and a half years of civil war in Yemen, and helped drive world oil prices up by about 10 percent.

But the Saudis did not directly accuse Iran of launching the strikes and refrained from calling for retaliation amid escalating tensions between Iran and the United States, which have raised fears of a wider armed conflict.

The Houthis have claimed that they carried out the attacks, and Iran has denied any involvement. But Trump administration officials have previously said that the Iranians should be held responsible for the actions of forces in the region that they support, including the Yemeni rebels.

An investigation into the strikes is still underway, but “the initial results show that they are Iranian weapons,” Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, said at a news conference in Riyadh.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 14saudi-1-videoSixteenByNine3000 Trump Says Iran Appears Responsible for Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Yemen United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Iran Houthis Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

Drone strikes set fire to a Saudi Aramco plant in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday. It was one of two sites hit.CreditCreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

“The terrorist attack was not from Yemeni territory, as the Houthi militias claimed,” he said, adding that the Saudis were still “working to determine the launch point.”

United States officials have said that Tehran was responsible and have suggested that a military response may come. But they have not said whether that meant Iran actually had a hand in directing or mounting the offensive, and offered no evidence for an Iranian role beyond satellite photos of the damage whose meaning was unclear.

The Americans, too, have cast doubt on whether the attacks were launched from Houthi territory in Yemen, far south of the targets, suggesting that they originated from the north — the direction of Iran — or northwest.

United Nations experts say that Iran has supplied the Houthis with drones and missiles that have greatly expanded their offensive capacity.

President Trump on Monday took to Twitter to suggest that Tehran could not be believed, reminding his followers of Iran’s downing of a United States surveillance drone in June. Iran’s version of events “was a very big lie,” he wrote. “Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?”

Mr. Trump, who has made American policy toward Iran markedly more hostile, tweeted on Sunday night that Washington was seeking Saudi input before a potential military response. “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit,” he wrote, saying that the military was “locked and loaded depending on verification.”

But no clear public message has emerged yet about what response the Saudis prefer.

Prominent supporters of the monarchy have portrayed the strikes as an assault on the world and its energy markets, not just Saudi Arabia, and some have talked of retaliation.

“What is required is nothing more than the destruction of Iran’s oil installations, and if there is a capacity, nuclear facilities and military bases as well,” argued Turki al-Hamad, a prominent Saudi political analyst and novelist.

But other social media accounts known for pro-government propaganda argued for patience, saying that wisdom favors choosing the right time and means to respond.

Mohammed Alyahya, editor in chief of the English website of the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel, emphasized that the rulers of the kingdom were deliberating carefully. The attacks show that Iranians are feeling the pain of the Trump administration’s sweeping sanctions, he said, and “they are more likely to take risks like the one they took recently.”

“A conventional military response must only be embarked upon with the utmost care in terms of the legality and consequences, after looking at all the other alternatives,” Mr. Alyahya said. “If there is a military conflict, Iran will inevitably be the biggest loser, but the reality is that everybody will lose. A conventional war will take its toll on everyone.”

The Houthis insisted on Monday that they had carried out the strikes using drones, and threatened more. They made no reference to whether Iranian equipment or training had played a role.

A spokesman for the Houthi military, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e, “warned companies and foreigners not to be present in the factories that were hit by our strikes because we may target them again at any moment,” Almasirah, the Houthi news organization, reported on Monday.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160847475_b46b1514-31d5-4185-8e52-54a74ab571a7-articleLarge Trump Says Iran Appears Responsible for Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Yemen United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Iran Houthis Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

A satellite image provided by the United States government of damage at the Abqaiq oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.CreditU.S. Government/DigitalGlobe, via Associated Press

The Houthis can strike at will anywhere in Saudi Arabia, he said, and their actions against the kingdom “will expand and be more painful.”

While doubts persist that the Houthis could have executed such a strike on their own, it is possible they did so with Iran’s help. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has worked extensively with other allied groups in the region, including Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria, Hamas in Gaza, and Shiite militias in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia is leading the coalition that is fighting the Houthis in Yemen, waging a bombing campaign that has killed thousands, many of them civilians. The war there is considered the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis of recent years, displacing millions of people and leaving millions more at risk of starvation.

The Houthis claimed to have used 10 drones in the Saturday attack; American officials said that there were 17 points of impact. The rebel group has launched missile and drone attacks into Saudi territory before, but never anything on that scale, or against such vital targets, or so deep into the kingdom, some 500 miles from Yemeni territory.

The attacks on Saturday forced the shutdown of facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, which ordinarily process most of the crude oil produced by Saudi Arabia; the kingdom supplies about a tenth of the worldwide total. A Saudi official said Monday that the kingdom had shut down about half of its production because of the attacks, but expected its output to return to normal soon.

Saudi Arabia and other exporters keep large oil stockpiles. Experts say it is unclear whether the Saudi equipment will be out of commission long enough to affect global oil supplies, but prices rose sharply in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

The Iraqi government said Monday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Sunday night that the information reviewed by the United States showed that the attacks had not come from Iraqi territory.

That would mean the United States does not suspect that Shiite militias in Iraq with ties to Iran are responsible for the attacks. Some of those militias are under the umbrella of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, which fought against the Islamic State and whose salaries are paid by Baghdad.

“The prime minister stressed that Iraq’s task is to maintain its own security and stability and avoid any step of escalation and to prevent the use of its territory against any neighboring or brotherly or friendly country,” the Iraqi statement said.

The State Department declined to comment on Mr. Pompeo’s call or the official Iraqi statement. The department did not provide its own summary of the call.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have increased sharply since last year, when Mr. Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed economic sanctions against Iran. This spring, he imposed new sanctions, and Iran, which had continued to abide by the 2015 accord after the United States withdrawal, began stepping back from some of their obligations.

In May and June, several tankers were damaged in or near the Strait of Hormuz, in what American officials said were Iranian attacks. Iran has also seized several foreign ships.

On Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that a British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, which Iran impounded while it sailed near its coast in July, would be released within days. Iran took the ship after British and Gibraltar forces seized an Iranian tanker, which was released last month after more than six weeks’ detention.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Saudis Say Oil Facilities Were Hit With Iranian Weapons

Saudi Arabia said Monday that Iranian weapons had been used in the aerial strikes over the weekend that interrupted much of the kingdom’s oil production. It also said the attacks had not been launched from Yemen, home of the Houthi rebel faction that has claimed responsibility.

The Saudi assertions, made without offering supporting evidence, appeared to move the kingdom closer to blaming Iran, a chief ally of the Houthis. The attacks on Saturday were the most audacious and damaging blow to Saudi Arabia in the four and a half years of civil war in Yemen.

But the Saudis did not directly accuse Iran of launching the strikes and refrained from calling for retaliation amid escalating tensions between Iran and the United States that have raised fears of a wider armed conflict.

The Houthis have claimed that they carried out the attacks, and Iran has denied any involvement. But Trump administration officials have previously said that the Iranians should be held responsible for the actions of forces in the region that they support, including the Yemeni rebels.

An investigation into the strikes is still underway, but “the initial results show that they are Iranian weapons,” Col. Turki al-Maliki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, said at a news conference in Riyadh.

“The terrorist attack was not from Yemeni territory, as the Houthi militias claimed,” he said, adding that the Saudis were still “working to determine the launch point.”

United States officials have said that Tehran was responsible and have suggested that a military response may come. But they have not said whether that meant Iran actually had a hand in directing or mounting the offensive, and offered no evidence for an Iranian role beyond satellite photos of the damage whose meaning was unclear.

The Americans, too, have cast doubt on whether the attacks were launched from Houthi territory in Yemen, far south of the targets, suggesting that they originated from the north — the direction of Iran — or northwest.

United Nations experts say that Iran has supplied the Houthis with drones and missiles that have greatly expanded their offensive capacity.

President Trump on Monday took to Twitter to suggest that Tehran could not be believed, reminding his followers of Iran’s downing of a United States surveillance drone in June. Iran’s version of events “was a very big lie,” he wrote. “Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?”

Video

Westlake Legal Group 14saudi-1-videoSixteenByNine3000 Saudis Say Oil Facilities Were Hit With Iranian Weapons Yemen United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Iran Houthis Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

Drone strikes set fire to a Saudi Aramco plant in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday. It was one of two sites hit.CreditCreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

Mr. Trump, who has made American policy toward Iran markedly more hostile, tweeted on Sunday night that Washington was seeking Saudi input before a potential military response. “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit,” he wrote, saying that the military was “locked and loaded depending on verification.”

But no clear public message has emerged yet about what response the Saudis prefer.

Prominent supporters of the monarchy have portrayed the strikes as an assault on the world and its energy markets, not just Saudi Arabia, and some have talked of retaliation.

“What is required is nothing more than the destruction of Iran’s oil installations, and if there is a capacity, nuclear facilities and military bases as well,” argued Turki al-Hamad, a prominent Saudi political analyst and novelist.

But other social media accounts known for pro-government propaganda argued for patience, saying that wisdom favors choosing the right time and means to respond.

Mohammed Alyahya, editor in chief of the English website of the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel, emphasized that the rulers of the kingdom were deliberating carefully. The attacks show that Iranians are feeling the pain of the Trump administration’s sweeping sanctions, he said, and “they are more likely to take risks like the one they took recently.”

“A conventional military response must only be embarked upon with the utmost care in terms of the legality and consequences, after looking at all the other alternatives,” Mr. Alyahya said. “If there is a military conflict, Iran will inevitably be the biggest loser, but the reality is that everybody will lose. A conventional war will take its toll on everyone.”

The Houthis insisted on Monday that they had carried out the strikes using drones, and threatened more. They made no reference to whether Iranian equipment or training had played a role.

A spokesman for the Houthi military, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e, “warned companies and foreigners not to be present in the factories that were hit by our strikes because we may target them again at any moment,” Almasirah, the Houthi news organization, reported on Monday.

The Houthis can strike at will anywhere in Saudi Arabia, he said, and their actions against the kingdom “will expand and be more painful.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160847475_b46b1514-31d5-4185-8e52-54a74ab571a7-articleLarge Saudis Say Oil Facilities Were Hit With Iranian Weapons Yemen United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Iran Houthis Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

A satellite image provided by the United States government of damage at the Abqaiq oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.CreditU.S. Government/DigitalGlobe, via Associated Press

Saudi Arabia is leading the coalition that is fighting the Houthis in Yemen, waging a bombing campaign that has killed thousands, many of them civilians. The war there is considered the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis of recent years, displacing millions of people and leaving millions more at risk of starvation.

The Houthis claimed to have used 10 drones in the Saturday attack; American officials said that there were 17 points of impact. The rebel group has launched missile and drone attacks into Saudi territory before, but never anything on that scale, or against such vital targets, or so deep into the kingdom, some 500 miles from Yemeni territory.

The attacks on Saturday forced the shutdown of facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, which ordinarily process most of the crude oil produced by Saudi Arabia; the kingdom supplies about a tenth of the worldwide total. A Saudi official said Monday that the kingdom had shut down about half of its production because of the attacks, but expected its output to return to normal soon.

Saudi Arabia and other exporters keep large oil stockpiles. Experts say it is unclear whether the Saudi equipment will be out of commission long enough to affect global oil supplies, but prices rose sharply in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

The Iraqi government said Monday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Sunday night that the information reviewed by the United States showed that the attacks had not come from Iraqi territory.

That would mean the United States does not suspect that Shiite militias in Iraq with ties to Iran are responsible for the attacks. Some of those militias are under the umbrella of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, which fought against the Islamic State and whose salaries are paid by Baghdad.

“The prime minister stressed that Iraq’s task is to maintain its own security and stability and avoid any step of escalation and to prevent the use of its territory against any neighboring or brotherly or friendly country,” the Iraqi statement said.

The State Department declined to comment on Mr. Pompeo’s call or the official Iraqi statement. The department did not provide its own summary of the call.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have increased sharply since last year, when Mr. Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed economic sanctions against Iran. This spring, he imposed new sanctions, and Iran, which had continued to abide by the 2015 accord after the United States withdrawal, began stepping back from some of their obligations.

In May and June, several tankers were damaged in or near the Strait of Hormuz, in what American officials said were Iranian attacks. Iran has also seized several foreign ships.

On Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that a British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, which Iran impounded while it sailed near its coast in July, would be released within days. Iran took the ship after British and Gibraltar forces seized an Iranian tanker, which was released last month after more than six weeks’ detention.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Democrats’ Afghan Strategy Sounds Familiar. It’s a Lot Like Trump’s.

For 18 years and four presidential elections, Democrats running for president have felt compelled to lay out comprehensive plans for the future of Afghanistan, vowing to never again let the country become a breeding ground for terrorists who could strike the United States as they did on Sept. 11, 2001.

Now, the candidates are racing one another — and President Trump — to demonstrate how quickly they would end the long-running conflict. In the debate on Thursday night, there was almost no discussion of American goals for the country, like building a democracy or protecting the rights of women — objectives that were staples of past Democratic campaigns.

It is a striking change. Even while deeply opposing President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, Democrats saw Afghanistan as the good war, prompted by a direct attack on the United States. President Barack Obama ordered a surge in American forces by the end of his first year in office. But as the years went by, he had growing doubts, and now Democrats have fully embraced those misgivings and want out.

Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. are so eager for the United States to depart that they say they would pull out combat troops even in the absence of an agreement with the Taliban.

“What we’re doing right now in Afghanistan is not helping the safety and security of the United States,” Ms. Warren said during the debate. “It is not helping the safety and security of the world. It is not helping the safety and security of Afghanistan.”

“We cannot ask our military to keep solving problems that cannot be solved militarily,” she added.

A foreign policy adviser to Mr. Sanders, who has said he would withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan in his first term as president, echoed that argument in an interview on Friday, saying that while Mr. Sanders supported negotiations with the Taliban, the next president should be “modest about what we, the United States, can actually achieve given that we’ve been there for almost two decades.”

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and the only candidate to have served in Afghanistan, acknowledged during an interview over the weekend that what the Democrats missed last week was any discussion of what the United States still wanted or needed to achieve in Afghanistan — the first step toward determining what kind of presence to have on the ground.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 12debate-a1-swap-articleLarge Democrats’ Afghan Strategy Sounds Familiar. It’s a Lot Like Trump’s. Warren, Elizabeth United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Terrorism Taliban September 11 (2001) Sanders, Bernard Presidential Election of 2020 Harris, Kamala D Democratic Party Buttigieg, Pete (1982- ) Burns, R Nicholas Biden, Joseph R Jr Afghanistan War (2001- ) Afghanistan

Senator Bernie Sanders, left, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Senator Elizabeth Warren say they would pull American combat troops out of Afghanistan even in the absence of an agreement with the Taliban.CreditTamir Kalifa for The New York Times

“I will say I agree that didn’t come through in the debate,” said Mr. Buttigieg, who has pledged to withdraw the troops within a year of taking office, but only with a substantive peace deal with the Taliban. “It almost came across as if the candidates think there is no point to being there, which is not how I view it.”

Mr. Buttigieg said that could be a reflection of wariness over “endless war,” and the confusion generated by a conflict in which the American goals have often seemed to shift. He recalled that when he exercised at the gym at the headquarters of the international security force in Kabul, he would stare at a large graphic that had “eight lines of effort on it, and it was very hard to understand what the scope of the mission was.”

Yet even the central goal of protecting the American homeland from another attack, a staple of John Kerry’s run for the presidency in 2004 and Mr. Obama’s in 2008, barely gets a mention now. Mr. Kerry told The New York Times in 2004 that any effective Afghanistan plan “requires destroying terrorists. And I’m committed to doing that. But I think I have a better way of doing it.”

Five years later, Mr. Obama overruled warnings from his ambassador in Kabul that his administration’s plan to surge troops into the country, then depend on the Afghan government to defend itself, would probably not work. Speaking at West Point, Mr. Obama said he had “determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.” Quietly, his White House set up an “Afghan Good Enough” committee to find an exit.

The current presidential candidates seem uninterested in revisiting those decisions. Instead, they race to reassure voters about how quickly they would bring the remaining 14,000 troops home.

To some Democrats who devoted years to stabilizing Afghanistan, the candidates are losing an opportunity to take on Mr. Trump for what they view as a feckless foreign policy, one in which the president is trying to rush through a bare-bones peace agreement with the Taliban so that he can announce major troop withdrawals before the 2020 election.

“It would be unworthy of the U.S. to leave the Afghan people and government to the mercies of the Taliban in an unequal agreement,” R. Nicholas Burns, a former under secretary of state for policy and now an adviser to Mr. Biden, said over the weekend.

Pete Buttigieg, the only candidate to have served in Afghanistan, said his competitors overlooked any discussion of what the United States still wanted or needed to achieve in Afghanistan. CreditElizabeth Frantz for The New York Times

As ambassador to NATO in the early years of the war, Mr. Burns took allies to Afghanistan to persuade them to join the coalition, declaring that it was in their own interest to stabilize the country, where 2,400 Americans have died in combat, along with 1,000 troops from NATO and other nations. “Trump has displayed astonishingly weak negotiating skills by signaling to the Taliban his desperation to withdraw American forces ahead of the 2020 election,” he said.

But if the Taliban were tuned into the recent debates, or were reviewing the positions the candidates have posted on their websites, they would most likely conclude that no matter who gets elected, they are on the verge of achieving their central goal: getting American forces out of the country.

Mr. Biden himself, a voice for more rapid withdrawal during the Obama administration, now advocates keeping an intelligence presence — though in the debate he said it would be across the border in Pakistan.

“We can prevent the United States from being the victim of terror coming out of Afghanistan by providing for bases — insist the Pakistanis provide bases for us to airlift from and to move against what we know,” Mr. Biden said after one of the moderators quoted Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying that Afghanistan still needed military support to prevent violence. “We don’t need those troops there. I would bring them home.”

Mr. Biden’s longtime national security adviser, Antony Blinken, refined that on Sunday, saying the candidate would “draw down our combat forces and narrowly focus the mission on counterterrorism, with small numbers of special operators and intelligence assets in and around Afghanistan. He would rally the world to support Afghans’ human rights and continued development efforts.”

Senator Kamala Harris of California said in an interview with The Times this year that while she supported withdrawing troops, she believed the United States needed some sort of continued presence in Afghanistan to support the government and stop terrorists from regrouping.

“The question is the type of presence,” she said. “I think that it is completely appropriate that we would give support to the Afghan government in terms of helping them train their troops and thinking about how we can provide assistance so that they can have their own people up and running in a way that they keep their country secure, and in particular prevent it from becoming a haven” for terrorists.

One of the curious elements of the presidential campaign is that Afghanistan has been the only foreign policy issue actively debated among Democrats. There has been little to no debate about the far bigger strategic questions raised by the revival of superpower tensions with Russia and China. The growing confrontation with Iran and the president’s dealings with Kim Jong-un of North Korea have barely been mentioned.

Senator Kamala Harris said that the United States needed some sort of continued presence in Afghanistan to support the government and stop terrorists from regrouping.CreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

Perhaps that is because the Afghan conundrum is so familiar to voters, and goes to a central question: When would these aspirants for the Oval Office use traditional military force?

Mr. Buttigieg — noting that Congress’s 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force has allowed the war in Afghanistan to continue for so long that, very soon, the soldiers fighting it will include people who were not born when the law was passed — said that as president, he would put a three-year limit on such authorizations and require a congressional vote to renew them for longer.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Afghanistan,” he said, “it’s that the best way not to be caught up in endless war is to avoid starting one in the first place.”

None of the candidates seem particularly impressed by the argument that withdrawing troops would create a vacuum in Afghanistan for the Taliban and other terrorist groups to fill.

“It’s a false choice to say we need an enduring combat presence in Afghanistan or we open ourselves to an unmanageable terrorist threat,” a spokeswoman for Ms. Warren said. “International terrorism is a worldwide challenge, and it is best confronted not with boots on the ground in Afghanistan, but instead with diplomacy and intelligence and through coordination with partners and allies.”

Mr. Sanders would continue the United States’ intelligence presence in Afghanistan, according to his campaign, but focus on humanitarian and developmental incentives, not military pressure, to bring the Taliban to the table and reach a peace deal. He and Ms. Warren made very similar arguments.

“I was in Afghanistan with John McCain two years ago this past summer,” Ms. Warren said at the debate. “We talked to people on the ground and asked the question, the same one I ask on the Senate Armed Services Committee every time one of the generals comes through: ‘Show me what winning looks like. Tell me what it looks like.’ And what you hear is a lot of ‘Uh,’ because no one can describe it. And the reason no one can describe it is because the problems in Afghanistan are not problems that can be solved by a military.”

More coverage of the war in Afghanistan
How Trump’s Plan to Secretly Meet With the Taliban Came Together, and Fell Apart

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Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Saudi Arabia Says Iranian Weapons Were Used in Strikes on Oil Facilities

Saudi Arabia said Monday that Iranian weapons were used in aerial strikes over the weekend that interrupted much of the kingdom’s oil production, and that the attacks were not launched from Yemen, home of the Houthi rebel faction that has claimed responsibility for the them.

The claims, made without supporting evidence, appeared to move the Saudis closer to directly blaming Iran, a chief ally of the Houthis, for the attacks on Saturday, which have heightened tensions between Iran and the United States, raising fears of a wider armed conflict.

United States officials have said that Iran was responsible for the attacks on Saturday, the most audacious and damaging blow to Saudi Arabia in the four and a half years of Yemen’s civil war, and have also cast doubt on whether they were launched from Houthi territory in Yemen. Iran has denied any involvement.

The Americans offered no evidence of Iranian involvement beyond satellite photos of the damage, whose meaning was unclear, and they did not say who was directly involved in carrying out the strikes or from where they were launched.

The Trump administration has previously blamed Iran for the actions of the Houthis, and United Nations experts say that Iran has supplied the group with drones and missiles that have greatly expanded its offensive capacity.

President Trump on Monday took to Twitter to suggest that Tehran could not be believed, reminding his followers of Iran’s downing of a United States surveillance drone in June. Iran’s version of events “was a very big lie,” he wrote. “Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?”

The Saudi claims came from Colonel Turki al-Malki, spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houghis in Yemen, at a news conference in Riyadh. He did not provide any specifics, according to Saudi media and news service reports.

“The investigation is continuing, and all indications are that weapons used in both attacks came from Iran,” he said. The Saudis, he added, were seeking to determine “where they were fired from.”

Mr. Trump, who has made American policy toward Iran markedly more hostile, tweeted on Sunday night that Washington was seeking Saudi input before a potential military response.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 14saudi-1-videoSixteenByNine3000 Saudi Arabia Says Iranian Weapons Were Used in Strikes on Oil Facilities Yemen United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Iran Houthis Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

Drone strikes set fire to a Saudi Aramco plant in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia, early Saturday. The location was one of two Saudi Aramco facilities targeted, and Yemen’s Houthi rebel faction has claimed responsibility for the strikes.CreditCreditHamad I Mohammed/Reuters

“There is reason to believe that we know the culprit,” he wrote, adding that the military was “locked and loaded depending on verification.”

But no clear public message had yet emerged about the preferred Saudi response. Prominent supporters of the monarchy have portrayed the strikes as an assault on the world and its energy markets, not just Saudi Arabia, or have even talked of revenge.

“What is required is nothing more than the destruction of Iran’s oil installations, and if there is a capacity, nuclear facilities and military bases as well,” argued Turki al-Hamad, a prominent Saudi political analyst and novelist.

But other social media accounts known for pro-government propaganda argued for patience, saying that wisdom favors choosing the right time and means to respond.

Mohammed Alyahya, editor in chief of the English website of the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel, emphasized that the rulers of the kingdom were deliberating carefully. The attacks show that Iranians are feeling the pain of the Trump administration’s sweeping sanctions, and “they are more likely to take risks like the one they took recently,” he said.

“A conventional military response must only be embarked upon with the utmost care in terms of the legality and consequences, after looking at all the other alternatives,” he added. “If there is a military conflict, Iran will inevitably be the biggest loser but the reality is that everybody will lose. A conventional war will take its toll on everyone.”

The Houthis insisted on Monday that they had carried out the strikes using drones, while threatening more, although they made no reference to whether Iranian equipment or training played a role.

A spokesman for the Houthi military, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e, “warned companies and foreigners not to be present in the factories that were hit by our strikes because we may target them again at any moment,” Almasirah, the Houthi news organization, reported on Monday.

The Houthis can strike at will anywhere in Saudi Arabia, he said, and their actions against the kingdom “will expand and be more painful.”

Saudi Arabia is leading the coalition that is fighting the Houthis in Yemen, waging a bombing campaign that has killed thousands, many of them civilians. The war there is considered the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis of recent years, displacing millions of people and leaving millions more at risk of starvation.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160847475_b46b1514-31d5-4185-8e52-54a74ab571a7-articleLarge Saudi Arabia Says Iranian Weapons Were Used in Strikes on Oil Facilities Yemen United States International Relations Saudi Arabia Iran Houthis Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes)

A satellite image provided by the United States government of damage at the Abqaiq oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.CreditU.S. Government/DigitalGlobe, via Associated Press

The Houthis claimed to have used 10 drones in the Saturday attack; American officials said that there were 17 points of impact. The rebel group has launched missile and drone attacks into Saudi territory before, but never anything on that scale, or against such vital targets, or so deep into the kingdom, some 500 miles from Yemeni territory.

The attacks on Saturday forced the shutdown of facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, which ordinarily process most of the crude oil produced by Saudi Arabia, which supplies about a tenth of the worldwide total. A Saudi official said Monday that the kingdom had shut down about half of its production because of the attacks, but expected its output to return to normal soon.

Saudi Arabia and other exporters keep large oil stockpiles. Experts say it is unclear whether the Saudi equipment will be out of commission long enough to affect global oil supplies, but prices rose sharply in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

The Iraqi government said Monday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had told Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi on Sunday night that the information reviewed by the United States showed that the attacks had not come from Iraqi territory.

That would mean the United States does not suspect that Shiite militias in Iraq with ties to Iran are responsible for the attacks. Some of those militias are under the umbrella of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, which fought against the Islamic State and whose salaries are paid by Baghdad.

“The prime minister stressed that Iraq’s task is to maintain its own security and stability and avoid any step of escalation and to prevent the use of its territory against any neighboring or brotherly or friendly country,” the Iraqi statement said.

The State Department declined to comment on Mr. Pompeo’s call or the official Iraqi statement. The department did not provide its own summary of the call.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have increased sharply since last year, when Mr. Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed economic sanctions against Iran. This spring, he imposed new sanctions, and Iran, which had continued to abide by the 2015 accord after the United States withdrawal, began stepping back from some of their obligations.

In May and June, several tankers were damaged in or near the Strait of Hormuz, in what American officials said were Iranian attacks. Iran has also seized several foreign ships.

On Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that a British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, which Iran impounded while it sailed near its coast in July, will be released within days. Iran took the ship after British and Gibraltar forces seized an Iranian tanker, which was released last month after more than six weeks’ detention.

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Houthi Forces in Yemen Warn of More Attacks on Saudi Oil Systems

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The Houthi rebel faction in Yemen warned on Monday of more attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, two days after strikes that interrupted much of the kingdom’s production heightened tensions between Iran and the United States and raised fears of a wider armed conflict.

United States officials have said that Iran was responsible for the attacks on Saturday, the most audacious and damaging blow to Saudi Arabia in the four and a half years of Yemen’s civil war, and have cast doubt on whether they were launched from Houthi territory in Yemen. But the American officials offered little evidence for their claims and did not address who had carried out the strikes or from where.

The Trump administration has previously blamed Iran for the actions of the Houthis, and United Nations experts say that Iran has supplied the group with drones and missiles that have greatly expanded its offensive capacity.

Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks on Saturday, and the Houthis insisted on Monday that they had carried out the strikes using drones, while threatening more, although they made no reference to whether Iranian equipment or training played a role.

A spokesman for the Houthi military, Brig. Gen. Yahya Sare’e, “warned companies and foreigners not to be present in the factories that were hit by our strikes because we may target them again at any moment,” Almasirah, the Houthi news organization, reported on Monday.

The Houthis can strike at will anywhere in Saudi Arabia, he said, and their actions against the kingdom “will expand and be more painful.”

President Trump, who has made American policy toward Iran markedly more hostile, issued a warning of his own Sunday night, saying that the United States has “reason to believe that we know the culprit” and adding that the military was “locked and loaded depending on verification.”

He did not explicitly cite Iran, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Saturday for global condemnation of Iran’s attacks, and the energy secretary, Rick Perry, used similar language on Monday at a conference in Vienna, referring to “Iran’s attack on the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia is leading the coalition that is fighting the Houthis in Yemen, waging a bombing campaign that has killed thousands, many of them civilians. The war there is considered the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis of recent years, displacing millions of people and leaving millions more at risk of starvation.

The Houthis claimed to have used 10 drones in the Saturday attack; American officials said that there were 17 points of impact. The rebel group has launched missile and drone attacks into Saudi territory before, but never anything on that scale, or against such vital targets, or so deep into the kingdom, some 500 miles from Yemeni territory.

The attacks on Saturday forced the shutdown of facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais, which process most of the crude oil produced by Saudi Arabia, which supplies about a tenth of the worldwide total.

Saudi Arabia and other exporters keep large oil stockpiles. Experts say it is unclear whether the Saudi equipment will be out of commission long enough to affect global oil supplies, but prices rose sharply in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have increased sharply since last year, when Mr. Trump withdrew from the 2015 deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed economic sanctions against Iran. This spring, he imposed new sanctions, and Iran, which had continued to abide by the 2015 accord after the United States withdrawal, began stepping back from some of their obligations.

In May and June, several tankers were damaged in or near the Strait of Hormuz, in what American officials said were Iranian attacks. Iran has also seized several foreign ships.

On Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said that a British-flagged tanker, Stena Impero, which Iran impounded while it sailed near its coast in July, will be released within days. Iran took the ship after British and Gibraltar forces seized an Iranian tanker, which was released last month after more than six weeks’ detention.

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Saudi Oil Attack Photos Implicate Iran, U.S. Says; Trump Hints at Military Action

The Trump administration intensified its focus on Iran Sunday as the likely culprit behind attacks on important Saudi Arabian oil facilities over the weekend, with officials citing intelligence assessments to support the accusation and President Trump warning that he was prepared to take military action.

The government released satellite photographs showing what officials said were at least 17 points of impact at several Saudi energy facilities from strikes they said came from the north or northwest. That would be consistent with an attack coming from the direction of the Persian Gulf, Iran or Iraq, rather than from Yemen, where the Iranian-backed Houthi militia that claimed responsibility for the strikes operates.

Administration officials, in a background briefing for reporters as well as in separate interviews on Sunday, also said a combination of drones and cruise missiles — “both and a lot of them,” as one senior United States official put it — might have been used. That would indicate a degree of scope, precision and sophistication beyond the ability of the Houthi rebels alone.

Mr. Trump, however, did not name Iran, saying he needed to consult with Saudi Arabia first.

“Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked,” he said in a tweet on Sunday evening. “There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Saturday that Iran was behind what he called “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” and asserted that there was “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen.” He did not, however, say where they came from, and the Saudis refrained from directly blaming Iran.

Saudi Oil Facilities Attacked

By The New York Times

The administration’s determination that Iran played a direct role in the attack marked a significant escalation in months of back-and-forth tensions between the United States and Iran. It raised questions about how Washington might retaliate — and why Iran would have risked such a confrontation.

Mr. Trump’s threat echoed one he made in June after Iran shot down an American surveillance drone. He said then that the military had been “cocked and loaded” for a strike against Iran.

He said he called off the strike with 10 minutes to spare when a general told him that 150 people would probably die in the attack, which he said would have been disproportionate.

Administration officials said on Sunday they would seek to declassify more intelligence to buttress their case against Iran in the coming days. The satellite photographs released on Sunday did not appear as clear cut as officials suggested, with some appearing to show damage on the western side of the facilities, not from the direction of Iran or Iraq.

American officials said that more than 17 weapons were directed at the Saudi facilities, but not all reached their targets. Forensic analyses of the recovered weapons could answer questions about what they were, who manufactured them and who launched them.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160299636_49e4ca0e-6e40-40f5-962d-cb82ffa0e332-articleLarge Saudi Oil Attack Photos Implicate Iran, U.S. Says; Trump Hints at Military Action Zarif, Mohammad Javad Yemen United States International Relations United States Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Pompeo, Mike Iran Houthis Drones (Pilotless Planes)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday accused Iran of being behind “an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply”CreditChristopher Smith for The New York Times

Iran forcefully rejected Mr. Pompeo’s accusation on Sunday, with the foreign minister dismissing it as “max deceit.” The office of the Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, also rejected any suggestion that Iranian operatives carried out the attack from Iraqi territory, saying Iraq would act firmly if its territory were used to attack other countries.

If Iran, or one of its proxies in Iraq or Yemen, carried out the attacks, it would fit into a strategy Iran has followed for months in its escalating confrontation with the Trump administration.

Squeezed by sweeping American sanctions on its oil sales, Iran has sought to inflict a similar pain on its adversaries — threatening the ability of Saudi Arabia and other American allies in the Persian Gulf to sell oil and holding out the possibility of driving up international oil prices in the months before President Trump seeks re-election.

“Iran wants to show that instead of a win-lose contest, Iran can turn this into a lose-lose dynamic for everyone,” said Ali Vaez, head of the Iran Project at the International Crisis Group.

Yet Iran has stopped short of carrying out the kind of direct, open attack on United States allies that might trigger a military response, preferring to let regional allies do the work or at least share the blame.

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How the War in Yemen Became a Bloody Stalemate — and the Worst Humanitarian Crisis in the World

Saudi Arabia thought a bombing campaign would quickly crush its enemies in Yemen. But three years later, the Houthis refuse to give up, even as 14 million people face starvation.

“Plausible deniability is a trademark of Iran’s pushback strategy,” Mr. Vaez said.

The combination of military pressure and deniability also fits with a strategy of increasing Iran’s bargaining power before possible talks at the United Nations this month.

President Emanuel Macron of France has said he hopes the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, which opens Tuesday, will be an opportunity for de-escalation between the United States and Iran. The recent hostilities began when the Trump administration withdrew last year from an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program and then this year imposed sweeping sanctions to try to force Iran into a more restrictive covenant.

Several other world powers, including France, also signed the original agreement and still support it, and Mr. Macron has said he hopes to hold talks at the General Assembly about saving the agreement. Mr. Trump said this month that he was open to a possible meeting there with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran.

Even as Iranian diplomats denied any role in the attack, others close to Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp. were reveling in the damage at the Saudi oil facilities, which process the vast majority of the country’s crude output.

The Trump administration, said Naser Imani, a former member of the guard’s political bureau, should take it as a warning to the United States and its Persian Gulf partners.

A satellite image released by the American government of an oil-processing facility in Abqaiq. Officials said it shows that the attack came from the north or northwest, consistent with an attack from Iran or Iraq, however this photo appears to show damage on the western side of the tanks.CreditU.S. Government/DigitalGlobe, via Associated Press

“If a few Houthis can cause this extensive damage, imagine what Iran could do if it was forced into a military conflict,” he said in a telephone interview on Sunday. “Iran has proved in the past few months that it has the will to pull the trigger as well as the military power to do so.”

A military strategist with the Revolutionary Guards, speaking on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation, also questioned whether the Houthis alone could have carried out such a complex and effective attack without Iranian help.

But whoever carried out the attack, the Iranian strategist said, the message to the West and its regional allies was the same. If the United States strikes Iran, “the flames of war in the Persian Gulf will burn you all,” he said.

A senior commander for the Revolutionary Guards insisted that the country was ready for “full-fledged” war, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported, according to Reuters.

“Everybody should know that all American bases and their aircraft carriers in a distance of up to 2,000 kilometers around Iran are within the range of our missiles,” said Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guards’ air force.

How the Trump administration responds remains to be seen. Breaking with a pattern under both Democratic and Republican presidents, the Trump administration has said that it intends to hold Iran fully responsible for any attacks carried out by the Houthis or other regional allies that the administration deems Iranian proxies.

Previous administrations have said that Iran was arming and training allied groups such as the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and Shiite militias in Syria or Iraq to extend its regional influence. Yet in the past, the United States has generally declined to retaliate against Iran militarily even when those groups have attacked the American military, as Iranian-backed Shiite militias did during American occupation of Iraq.

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Fearing ‘Spy Trains,’ Congress May Ban a Chinese Maker of Subway Cars

CHICAGO — America’s next fight with China is unfolding at a glistening new factory in Chicago, which stands empty except for the shells of two subway cars and space for future business that is unlikely to come.

A Chinese state-owned company called CRRC Corporation, the world’s largest train maker, completed the $100 million facility this year in the hopes of winning contracts to build subway cars and other passenger trains for American cities like Chicago and Washington.

But growing fears about China’s economic ambitions and its potential to track and spy on Americans are about to quash those plans. Congress is soon expected to approve legislation that would effectively bar the company from competing for new contracts in the United States, citing national security and economic concerns. The White House has expressed its support for the effort.

Washington’s attempt to block a Chinese company from selling train cars inside America is the latest escalation in a trade war that has quickly expanded from a spat over tariffs and intellectual property to a broader fight over economic and national security.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158746944_447540eb-f00b-4b0f-a9aa-15dffae10f20-articleLarge Fearing ‘Spy Trains,’ Congress May Ban a Chinese Maker of Subway Cars United States International Relations United States Economy Transit Systems Subways International Trade and World Market Industrial Espionage Espionage and Intelligence Services Economic Conditions and Trends Defense and Military Forces crrc

Taylor Drzich, right, who helps assemble vehicles, during a training session at the Chicago plant. The company hopes to win contracts to build subway cars and other passenger trains for American cities.CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

President Trump and lawmakers from both parties are increasingly anxious about the economic and technological ambitions of China, which has built cutting-edge global industries, including those that produce advanced surveillance technology. Those fears have prompted Washington to take an expansive view of potential risks, moving beyond simply trying to curtail Chinese imports.

In addition to slapping tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese products, the administration has banned Chinese companies like Huawei, the telecom giant, from buying sensitive American technology. It is moving to curb the ability of firms to export technology like artificial intelligence and quantum computing from the United States to China. And Congress has given the administration expansive power to block Chinese investment on national security grounds.

Now lawmakers have added a provision to a military spending bill that would prevent the use of federal grants to buy subway trains from state-owned or state-controlled companies, a measure that would effectively block CRRC’s business.

The bill has gained bipartisan support from lawmakers who say companies like CRRC pose a threat to the United States. Part of the concern is economic: Flush with cash from its rapid growth, China has pumped money into building globally competitive businesses, often creating overcapacity in markets like steel, solar panels and trains.

Hanming Qin, center, overseeing an installation with Javinn Brown, left, and Hector Nava Jr. Congress is soon expected to approve legislation that would effectively bar the company from competing for new contracts in the United States, citing national security and economic concerns.CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

That has lowered prices for consumers — including American taxpayers who pay for subway cars. While a subway car has not been manufactured solely by an American company in decades, CRRC’s low prices have raised concerns among American freight train companies that the company could ultimately move into — and demolish — their business.

CRRC has consistently underbid its competitors, winning over urban transit agencies that are saddled with aging infrastructure and tight budgets. For the Chicago L, CRRC’s Chicago subsidiary bid $1.55 million per car, compared with a bid of $1.82 million per car by Bombardier, the Canadian manufacturer. And CRRC also proposed to build the Chicago facility and create 170 new jobs.

Legislators argue that Chinese state-owned companies are not pursuing profit, but the policy aims of the Chinese government to dominate key global industries like electric cars, robotics and rail.

“When you can subsidize, when you can wholly own an enterprise like China does, you can create a wholly unlevel playing field,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat who is a co-sponsor of the legislation. “We’re used to that unlevel playing field existing between the U.S. and China, but now it’s happening in our own backyard.”

Perry Nobles, an electrician at CRRC’s Chicago factory since March, said he had seen nothing to indicate the company was creating “spy trains.”CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Another more nefarious worry is also at play. Lawmakers — along with CRRC’s competitors — say they are concerned that subway cars made by a Chinese company might make it easier for Beijing to spy on Americans and could pose a sabotage threat to American infrastructure, though CRRC says it surrenders control of all technology in the cars to its buyers. Nonetheless, critics speculate that the Chinese firm could incorporate technology into the cars that would allow CRRC — and the Chinese government — to track the faces, movement, conversations or phone calls of passengers through the train’s cameras or Wi-Fi.

Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which represents manufacturers and the United Steelworkers, said the risks of giving a Chinese company the ability to monitor or control American infrastructure could not be understated given recent laws requiring Chinese companies to turn over data to Beijing upon request.

“I just think it would be irresponsible to assume the Chinese government to which this firm must answer would be a reliable security partner, given its well documented track record,” Mr. Paul said.

Whether those fears are justified remains uncertain. Proponents of the bill have not made clear how subway cars manufactured by a Chinese company would pose a greater espionage threat than everything else that China makes and sells in the United States, including laptops, phones and home appliances.

Moving an auxiliary power supply at the Chicago plant. Washington’s attempt to block the company from selling train cars inside America is the latest escalation in the trade war.CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Dave Smolensky, a spokesman for CRRC, said the company was being unfairly targeted by companies that wanted to legislate a competitor out of business under the guise of national security. He said the firm was a victim to “an aggressive multimillion-dollar media disinformation campaign,” funded mostly by domestic freight train companies, intended to play on popular fears about China’s rise.

Employees at the Chicago factory also dismissed the concerns, saying they had not seen any evidence that they were working to construct “spy trains.”

“I haven’t seen any secret wires yet,” said Perry Nobles, an electrician for CRRC who was rigging wires in the interior of the trains. “With the world full of cellphones and computers, I’d think there’s an easier way to get information.”

Rising fears of China’s ambitions in Washington have prompted officials to adopt an unsparing view, with policymakers and national security officials warning domestic and foreign governments not to trust Chinese equipment.

Train chairs awaiting an assembled car. The trade war has quickly expanded from a spat over tariffs and intellectual property to a broader fight over economic and national security.CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

American officials have waged a global offensive against Huawei, telling other countries that allowing a Chinese company to build the world’s next generation of wireless networks would be akin to handing national secrets to a foreign agent.

Like CRRC, the fear surrounding Huawei is largely based on concerns about technological dominance by China’s authoritarian government. No one has yet disclosed finding a backdoor in Huawei’s products that would allow it to snoop — but officials say by the time one is discovered, it may be too late.

“The Chinese are working to put their systems in networks all across the world so they can steal your information and my information,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview in May. “This administration is prepared to take this on.”

As Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, introduced the provision in March, he said, “China poses a clear and present danger to our national security and has already infiltrated our rail and bus manufacturing industries.”

Erik Weathersby, right, an electrical foreman, installing cables. Fears of the economic and technological ambitions of China have prompted Washington to take an expansive view of potential risks.CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

Representative Kevin McCarthy, a Republican whose California district is home to a Chinese bus maker, BYD, had opposed a version of the provision that would apply to buses as well as trains. House lawmakers dropped the bus provision, but the Senate bill would apply to both. Congress will take the issue up again in the coming weeks as part of the annual defense bill.

The legislation would not affect the thousands of American subway cars that CRRC previously won contracts to build, including an 846-car order for the Chicago L. But it would block the company from future contracts, such as those under consideration by the Chicago Metra and the Washington Metro.

The Chicago facility is the company’s second in the United States. A factory in Massachusetts that employs more than 150 people is already building trains for Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, prompting concerns that the company plans to expand rapidly in the United States as it has in other foreign markets.

Like many Chinese state enterprises, CRRC is guided by Beijing’s Made in China 2025 plan, which lays out an agenda to dominate key industries.

A training session at the Chicago plant. A provision to a military spending bill would prevent the use of federal grants to buy subways trains from state-owned or state-controlled companies.CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

In its 2018 annual report, Liu Hualong, the company’s chairman and party secretary, pledged to pursue the dual goals of “Party construction as well as developing into a world-leading company with global competitiveness.”

“We conscientiously followed the important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping,” the report said, referring to the Chinese president and Communist Party leader.

The last American firm to make passenger rail cars, the Pullman Company, produced its final car in 1981. Since then, major American cities have bought subway cars from Bombardier and Japanese manufacturers like Kawasaki, Hyundai and Hitachi.

But American manufacturers of freight rail cars, including the Greenbrier Companies and TrinityRail, which is based in Mr. Cornyn’s home state of Texas, say CRRC could use its footing in the United States to steal its business. Together with unions and others, they have mounted a lobbying campaign against CRRC under an umbrella group known as the Rail Security Alliance.

Roberto Rios inspecting trains during an installation training session.CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

The group says American taxpayer dollars should not be spent in China, where the empty rail cars are made before being shipped to the United States for further work at the company’s facilities in Illinois or Massachusetts.

“We think those dollars should stay here,” said Erik Olson, the vice president of the Rail Security Alliance.

CRRC sends over experts from its giant headquarters in Qingdao, China, to plants in other countries. In Chicago, the American employees call these Chinese citizens “shifu,” a polite term for a skilled worker meaning “master” or “teacher.”

On a sunny day in July, the company break room was split between shifus, wearing white jumpsuits and eating stuffed buns, and American workers, many of whom had joined the company in the last few months. The gleaming concrete factory floor was bare, save for a few dozen people installing wiring, air ducts and other components into the empty shells of two rail cars.

“We are a little concerned because it’s our livelihood,” said Mr. Nobles, who was hired in March from a previous factory job making frames for the Ford Explorer.

This summer, CRRC replaced the Chinese flag outside the factory with a Chicago flag. It has also retained two Washington lobbying firms, Squire Patton Boggs and Crossroads Strategies, to plead its case in Congress.

It may be too late. Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said he helped sponsor the bill to prevent the American transit system from being “controlled by a foreign country that is not particularly friendly to us.”

“They spell out in black and white they’re going to use foreign investment as a weapon, and we’re taking action to defend ourselves,” Mr. Brown said.

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China Drops Some U.S. Pork and Soybean Tariffs as Trade Tensions Ease

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BEIJING — China will exempt some American soybeans, pork and other agricultural products from additional tariffs, state media reported on Friday, in the latest move by Beijing to ease trade tensions with the United States.

China Central Television, the nation’s official broadcaster, and other official outlets reported the move without disclosing details about the tariff exemptions. But in a brief report issued late Friday afternoon, CCTV cited President Trump’s move on Thursday to delay Washington’s new tariffs by two weeks so that they would take effect after trade talks scheduled for early October.

Depending on the amount of agricultural products exempted, China’s move could be warmly welcomed by Mr. Trump. Some farmers in the United States have been hit hard by tariffs imposed by Beijing on American goods, a retaliation against the White House’s mounting tariffs on Chinese goods. The 2020 presidential election is approaching, and the farming vote is critical in some of the states that supported Mr. Trump in 2016.

The move could also help China with its own problems. Food inflation has been rising as Chinese authorities battle an epidemic of swine fever, which has forced China to cull more than a million pigs. Pork is a staple of the Chinese diet.

The announcement followed signals that China was moving toward resuming purchases of American agricultural products. On Thursday an American soybean industry association said that China had purchased between 600,000 to 1 million metric tons of soybeans for shipment in October.

On Wednesday, in another move toward easing tensions, China published a short list of products to be spared from retaliatory tariffs on American-made goods, including cancer drugs, lubricants and pesticides. But those items are less central to the trade fight. Chinese purchases of American agricultural products make up a significant chunk of its imports from the United States.

Trade tensions between China and the United States had worsened in recent months, following the collapse of talks in May. But senior officials of both governments are set to meet in Washington early next month amid rising economic worries in both countries

At a news conference on Thursday, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce indicated that the government was considering making concessions in order to pave the way for more trade talks.

Chinese companies were beginning to make inquiries about purchases of American soybeans and pork, said the spokesman, Gao Feng.

“We hope the two sides would move in the same direction, take practical actions and provide a sound environment for the trade talks, and it would be good for the two countries, and for the world,” Mr. Gao said.

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With Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Move to Relax Tensions

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WASHINGTON — The trade war between the United States and China showed signs of easing on Thursday, as China reportedly made its first large purchase in months of American soybeans after President Trump agreed to briefly delay his next round of tariffs.

A trade deal between the two sides is not imminent, and deep divisions remain. But after weeks of escalating tariffs that have pushed the bilateral relationship to its rockiest point in decades, both countries appeared eager this week to try to calm tensions before a new round of talks next month.

Mr. Trump said on Thursday that China would resume purchases of American farm goods, and Beijing confirmed that Chinese companies were making inquiries about buying products including pork and soybeans.

The president’s announcement, made on Twitter on Thursday morning, followed a day of cooling tensions, in which China announced that it would grant some limited exemptions to its tariffs for American products, and Mr. Trump responded by promising to delay his next tariff increase by two weeks to Oct. 15.

“It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!” the president said in his announcement.

Jim Sutter, the chief executive of the U.S. Soybean Export Council, said he learned on Thursday that China had made a large soybean purchase. Mr. Sutter said that between 12 and 20 cargo ships containing 600,000 to 1 million metric tons of soybeans were being purchased from export terminals in the Pacific Northwest for October shipments to China.

“We’re quite happy to see this apparent thaw in the relationship,” Mr. Sutter said. “We wish we could get trade back to normal.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce said some Chinese companies were beginning to make inquiries about resuming purchases of American agricultural products. “Soybeans and pork are all within the scope of inquiry,” said Gao Feng, a spokesman for the ministry. “I hope that China and the United States will move in the same direction and create favorable conditions for consultations.”

American and Chinese negotiators plan to meet in person in early October, before Mr. Trump increases tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods to 30 percent from 25 percent. Expectations for quickly resolving the significant differences between the two sides remain modest. But the recent de-escalation increases the likelihood that the next round of tariffs might be averted, perhaps eventually opening a path to an agreement that would smooth relations between the countries.

Markets, which have gyrated with every twist and turn in the trade war, rose on the potential that the two sides could ultimately reach a deal. U.S. stock indexes climbed before paring back some of their gains. The S&P 500 index was up 0.29 percent at the close of the day, while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.17 percent.

Relations between the countries have worsened since May, when China backed away from a nearly complete deal that would have required it to codify the agreement into Chinese law, which Beijing said would infringe on its sovereignty. Since then, Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on an additional $112 billion of Chinese products and threatened further tariff increases in October and December.

China has responded to the escalation by increasing tariffs on $75 billion of American goods. Chinese state-owned companies have also suspended their purchases of American soybeans, pork and other products, a severe hit to American farmers who have already lost markets because of the trade clash.

Although Mr. Trump’s advisers publicly insist that the trade war is having no effect on the American economy, many of them are eager to calm tensions. They have been reviewing ways to avoid planned tariff increases that would result in the United States taxing nearly every Chinese toy, sneaker and computer by the end of this year.

The president pushed back on reports Thursday that he was vying for an interim deal with China that would resolve only some issues. “I’d rather get the whole deal done,” he said, before adding, “It’s something we would consider, I guess.”

The administration has been weighing whether a deal with China would be a boon or liability to the president’s re-election. His advisers have been working for months to secure an agreement strong enough to dodge criticism from both Democrats and Republicans that Mr. Trump is folding to America’s biggest economic competitor.

Some White House officials, including the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have argued that the president does not need to seal a deal with China to win over voters. Mr. Kushner and others argue that if the administration can deliver other trade successes, like passing the revised North American trade agreement and announcing a trade deal with Japan, that will be enough to help rally the base, according to people familiar with their thinking.

But economic advisers like Steven Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow have been more attuned to the whipsawing financial markets and some flagging economic indicators and have advocated trying to reach a deal with China.

Discussions between the two countries have revolved around China strengthening its protections for American intellectual property, opening up its markets to competition from American firms and making large purchases of American products, like natural gas and soybeans.

The Trump administration has also pressed China to make more structural changes, for example rolling back the influence of state-owned enterprises in its economy. China has balked at making any concessions it sees as compromising its ability to manage its economy, or signing a deal it perceives as uneven. China has demanded that Mr. Trump remove the tariffs placed on $360 billion of Chinese products, as well as grant leniency for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant the United States has cut off from purchasing American supplies.

Michael Pillsbury, a China scholar at the Hudson Institute who is advising the Trump administration in its negotiations, said the Chinese had been paving the way to better relations by toning down their formerly strident criticism of Mr. Trump and announcing several changes, including proposing more free trade zones around China that would feature open financial markets and better access for American companies.

“One swallow does not make a summer,” Mr. Pillsbury said, quoting a proverb. “But these gestures are now more and more numerous.”

Mr. Trump’s economic officials have also said the delay in tariffs could smooth relations.

Mr. Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, said on Thursday that Mr. Trump was making a “good gesture” by agreeing to move the deadline by two weeks so that it did not conflict with China’s celebration on Oct. 1 of its founding 70 years ago.

“The president delayed it because of a request from the vice premier,” Mr. Mnuchin said on CNBC. “The optics of us raising the tariffs on Oct. 1, which is their 70th anniversary, caused them grave concern on the symbolism.”

Mr. Mnuchin would not comment on the whether the United States and China were discussing an agreement smaller in scope than they originally hoped. But asked about thorny issues, he made clear that the unrest in Hong Kong would not be part of the trade talks.

“Hong Kong is definitely not on the table,” he said. “That’s an issue for the secretary of state to deal with. That’s not a trade issue.”

Mr. Mnuchin did not address whether Huawei would be discussed. He said the critical issues in the negotiations remained the protection of American intellectual property, an end to China forcing American companies into joint ventures, currency manipulation and increased purchases of American agricultural products.

“We expect and we want them to buy agriculture,” he said. “We view that as a personal attack on our farmers.”

Some White House officials played down the significance of Mr. Trump’s reprieve on Thursday.

“It’s a small thing in the scheme of things,” Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, said on CNN, noting that the delay was for only two weeks. “The Chinese are paying the tariffs anyway.”

Mr. Navarro accused the Chinese of economic aggression and stealing American intellectual property. He also pushed back against Republican lawmakers, such as Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, who have been voicing their frustration about the tariffs.

“He’s waving the white flag, not the American flag,” Mr. Navarro said of Mr. Toomey.

Mr. Navarro also seemed skeptical that China would actually step up its purchases of American agricultural products.

“Let’s see if the Chinese fulfill their commitments,” he said. “The problem we’ve always had with the Chinese is that they don’t necessarily honor their commitments.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Lower Their Guard, a Little

Westlake Legal Group 12DC-CHINATRADE-promo-facebookJumbo Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Lower Their Guard, a Little United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Soybeans International Trade and World Market Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Customs (Tariff) China Agriculture and Farming

WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Thursday that China would resume purchases of American farm goods and Beijing confirmed that Chinese companies were making inquiries about buying agricultural products, the latest sign that both sides are trying to ease tensions that have pushed the bilateral relationship to its rockiest point in decades.

The president’s announcement, made on Twitter on Thursday morning, followed a day of cooling trade tensions, in which China announced that it would grant some limited exemptions to its tariffs for American products, and Mr. Trump responded by promising to delay his next tariff increase by two weeks to Oct. 15.

“It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!” the president said on Twitter on Thursday.

China’s Ministry of Commerce said some Chinese companies were beginning to make inquiries about resuming purchases of American agricultural products. “Soybeans and pork are all within the scope of inquiry,” said Gao Feng, a spokesman for the ministry. “I hope that China and the United States will move in the same direction and create favorable conditions for consultations.”

American and Chinese negotiators now plan to meet in person in early October, before Mr. Trump’s deadline to increase tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods to 30 percent from 25 percent. Expectations for quickly resolving the significant differences between the two sides remain modest. But the recent de-escalation increases the likelihood that the next round of tariffs might be averted, perhaps eventually opening a path to an agreement that would smooth relations between the countries.

Markets, which have gyrated with every twist and turn in the trade war, rose on the potential that the two sides could de-escalate a trade war that has gone on far longer than most investors had expected. The S&P 500 index rose 0.45 percent by noon, while the Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.42 percent.

Mr. Trump’s tariff threats against China have weighed heavily on markets, as the trade war’s effect on the economy has become more obvious in recent months. A manufacturing index published this month showed American factory activity contracting for the first time in three years, while an index of consumer sentiment reflected the biggest decline since 2012, where one in three consumers spontaneously mentioned tariffs.

The signs of easing follow a familiar pattern for Mr. Trump, who has routinely vacillated between punishing China and trying to cool tensions when markets and economic data start to wobble.

Relations between the countries have worsened since May, when China backed away from a nearly complete deal that would have required it to codify the agreement into Chinese law, which Beijing said would infringe on its sovereignty. Since then, Mr. Trump has placed tariffs on an additional $112 billion of Chinese products and threatened further tariff increases in October and December.

China has responded to the escalation by increasing tariffs on $75 billion of American goods. Chinese state-owned companies have also suspended their purchases of American soybeans, pork and other products, a severe hit to American farmers who have already lost markets because of the trade clash.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have weighed whether striking a deal with China would be a boon or liability to the president heading into his re-election. They have been working for months to secure a trade deal that is strong enough to dodge criticism from both Democrats and Republicans that Mr. Trump is folding to America’s biggest economic competitor.

The details of the trade agreement the United States is discussing with China are tightly held. But they have revolved around China strengthening its protections for American intellectual property, opening up its markets to competition from American firms and making large purchases of American products, like natural gas and soybeans.

The Trump administration has also pressed China to make more structural changes, for example rolling back the influence of state-owned enterprises in its economy. But China has balked at making any concessions it sees as compromising its ability to manage its economy, or signing a deal it perceives as uneven. For their part, the Chinese have demanded the rollback of the tariffs Mr. Trump has placed on $360 billion of Chinese products, as well as leniency for Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant the United States has cut off from purchasing American supplies.

Mr. Trump’s closest advisers said the delay in tariffs would pave the way for smoother relations.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday that Mr. Trump was making a “good gesture” by agreeing to move the deadline by two weeks so that it did not conflict with China’s celebration on Oct. 1 of its founding 70 years ago.

“The president delayed it because of a request from the vice premier,” Mr. Mnuchin said on CNBC. “The optics of us raising the tariffs on Oct. 1, which is their 70th anniversary, caused them grave concern on the symbolism.”

Mr. Mnuchin would not comment on the whether the United States and China are discussing an agreement that is smaller in scope than they originally hoped. But asked about thorny issues, he made clear that the unrest in Hong Kong would not be part of the trade talks.

“Hong Kong is definitely not on the table,” he said. “That’s an issue for the secretary of state to deal with. That’s not a trade issue.”

Mr. Mnuchin did not address whether Huawei would be discussed. He said the critical issues in the negotiations remained the protection of American intellectual property, an end to China forcing American companies into joint ventures, currency manipulation and increased purchases of American agricultural products.

“We expect and we want them to buy agriculture,” he said. “We view that as a personal attack on our farmers.”

Some White House officials played down the significance of Mr. Trump’s reprieve on Thursday.

“It’s a small thing in the scheme of things,” Peter Navarro, Mr. Trump’s trade adviser, said on CNN, noting that the delay was for only two weeks. “The Chinese are paying the tariffs anyway.”

Mr. Navarro accused the Chinese of economic aggression and stealing American intellectual property. He also pushed back against Republican lawmakers, such as Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, who have been voicing their frustration about the tariffs.

“He’s waving the white flag, not the American flag,” Mr. Navarro said of Mr. Toomey.

Mr. Navarro also seemed skeptical that China would actually step up its purchases of American agricultural products.

“Let’s see if the Chinese fulfill their commitments,” he said. “The problem we’ve always had with the Chinese is that they don’t necessarily honor their commitments.”

Business leaders are hoping for a quick resolution to the trade fight.

Jennifer Safavian, the executive vice president of government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents companies including Walmart, Best Buy and Target, said they were hopeful that the delay in American tariffs would lead to productive talks.

“A resolution is sorely needed that puts an end to the tariff increases,” Ms. Safavian said. “Negotiating a path forward that puts an end to the erratic tariff increases and provides some dose of certainty to businesses should be the goal for the October trade discussions.”

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