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Westlake Legal Group > United States

Iran Rules Out Meeting Between Trump and Rouhani

Iran has dismissed the possibility of a meeting between the country’s president, Hassan Rouhani, and President Trump on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week, Iran’s state-run news media reported.

“Neither is such a plan on our agenda nor will such a thing happen,” Seyed Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said at a news conference on Monday, according to Fars, a state-run outlet. “This meeting will not be held.”

Mr. Mousavi added that if the United States “stops economic terrorism and returns to the nuclear deal, then they may sit at a corner and be present within the framework of the nuclear deal member states.”

His comments come after an attack on two major oil installations in Saudi Arabia on Saturday further escalated tensions between Iran and the United States. The Houthi rebels in Yemen, who receive support from Iran, claimed responsibility for the strikes, but the Trump administration has accused Tehran of being behind the attack.

On Sunday, American officials cited intelligence assessments to support the accusation, and Mr. Trump warned that he was prepared to take military action.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160685772_b7fa2feb-52d6-4166-87a9-409b28c60fd0-articleLarge Iran Rules Out Meeting Between Trump and Rouhani United States United Nations Trump, Donald J Saudi Arabia Rouhani, Hassan Iran General Assembly (UN)

President Trump has refrained so far from directly accusing Iran of the Saturday attacks on Saudi oil facilities, but other administration officials have not.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Earlier, the White House had said that it was not ruling out the possibility of a meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations summit. But the events of the weekend have jeopardized any potential for discussion.

The relationship between the two nations has devolved since last year, when Mr. Trump abruptly withdrew the United States from the 2015 deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed punishing economic sanctions.

Last week, Mr. Trump said that he was open to the idea of meeting with Mr. Rouhani on the sidelines of the United Nations summit.

But on Sunday, he walked back those statements, saying on Twitter that reports that he was willing to meet with Iran with no conditions were “incorrect.”

Mr. Trump has refrained so far from directly accusing Iran of the attacks on the Saudi oil facilities, but other administration officials have not.

Shortly after the attacks on Saturday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran of being 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, specify an alternative launch site.

Iran has forcefully rejected Mr. Pompeo’s accusation, with the foreign minister dismissing it as “max deceit.”

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

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.

Westlake Legal Group 04mag-yemen-newpromo2-articleLarge-v3 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)

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.

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

Is Trump’s America Tougher on Asylum Than Other Western Countries?

BERLIN — The Supreme Court this week allowed the Trump administration to move forward with a plan to bar most migrants, particularly Central Americans, from seeking asylum in the United States.

Under President Trump’s plan, migrants cannot apply for asylum unless they have already tried — and failed — to receive it in one of the countries they passed through on their way to the United States. Guatemalans would be sent back to Mexico, for example, while people from El Salvador and Honduras would be returned to Guatemala.

Given how unsafe those countries can be for their own citizens — much less for migrants — the move has been portrayed by critics as another deviation from global rights standards under Mr. Trump. It follows his frequent attempts to expand barriers along the United States-Mexico border, as well as a deterioration in the treatment of migrants after they reach America.

But Mr. Trump’s plan is also in keeping with a wider international trend of curtailing the right to asylum, as Western nations try to curb migration from the global south, where the overwhelming majority of displaced people live.

To stifle record levels of migration to Europe in 2015 and 2016, the continent’s big powers reached deals with neighboring countries like Turkey to keep migrants from European shores. Australia, determined to stop maritime migration from Indonesia, now deports asylum seekers to its neighbors in the Pacific Ocean. Israel tried to send African migrants to Rwanda.

“It is currently the objective of most countries of the global north to prevent migrants” from entering their territory, said François Crépeau, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on migrant rights and an expert on international refugee law at McGill University.

“Probably the U.S. are taking actions a bit further from what the Europeans are doing,” said Mr. Crépeau. “But the Europeans have also been very good at getting neighboring countries to do their dirty work.”

The United Nations refugee convention of 1951 provides the basis for American asylum laws. Unlike the Trump plan, it does not prevent refugees from traveling through several countries before landing in the United States and seeking asylum.

But it does ban signatories to the convention, like the United States, from deporting asylum seekers to countries where their safety is at risk, a process formally known as “refoulement.”

Most Western countries have usually interpreted this in a broad sense — refusing to deport people to countries that may not be at war, but still do not provide refugees with most of the protections required by the 1951 convention. Countries like Guatemala and Mexico, where homicide rates are high and migrants are often especially vulnerable to extortion, kidnapping and violence, could fall into that category, some experts say.

“There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the countries of the Northern Triangle and Mexico itself are not safe, and that the people passing through those countries are at risk of human rights violations,” said Jeff Crisp, an expert on migration at Chatham House, a London-based research group, referring to the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

“Returning people to those countries could be considered in violation of the non-refoulement principle,” Dr. Crisp added.

Even so, there is no international court or authority that can overrule Mr. Trump’s plan. The Supreme Court’s ruling is provisional, and it is expected to take up the case again. But that will take many months.

The Trump administration is also pushing Mexico and Central American countries to agree to accept migrants. Guatemala has, but the plan must still be ratified by the Guatemalan Congress.

Mexico, by contrast, has said it won’t sign a so-called safe third country agreement with the United States to accept asylum claims from migrants who arrive on its soil, even if they are hoping to reach the United States.

“The court’s decision is astonishing,” Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said Thursday about the Supreme Court ruling.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_114968270_fdd7b984-a0f2-4b3b-8fb2-5882dd053269-articleLarge Is Trump’s America Tougher on Asylum Than Other Western Countries? United States United Nations Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Spain Refugees and Displaced Persons Politics and Government Morocco Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration European Union Europe Australia Asylum, Right of Africa

One of the compounds of the Offshore Processing Center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Since 2012, most asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat have been deported to processing centers in the nearby countries of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, where they are held while their asylum applications are assessed.

Rights groups like Amnesty International say that asylum seekers at these centers face severe abuse. And even if granted asylum, the migrants are still barred from resettlement in Australia. Instead, they must live in Nauru, Papua New Guinea or, in a few cases, Cambodia.

Last year, Israel was forced to cancel a comparable deal with Rwanda, in which African asylum seekers would be deported from Tel Aviv to Kigali, after a public backlash.

The concept was pioneered in 1990s by Presidents George Bush and his successor, President Clinton, who authorized American Coast Guard vessels to intercept boats loaded with Haitian refugees and take them to Guantánamo Bay for processing.

Afghan migrants among the makeshift tents just outside Moria in the Greek Island of Lesbos.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

European politicians have often spoken of sending migrants for processing in non-European countries, but the plan has never been successfully enacted.

In 2015 and 2016, more than one million migrants reached Greece from Turkey, most of them making their way to wealthier countries like Germany.

To stop this, the European Union pledged more than $6 billion to Turkey. In return, Turkey tightened up its border restrictions — and agreed to take back every migrant who subsequently landed in Greece.

Turkey did cut migration flows to Europe drastically, but only a small proportion of migrants who continued to land in Greece have been sent back. Migrants still have the opportunity to apply for asylum in Greece, or for relocation to other European countries, and many do so successfully. The Greek asylum system operates independently and is not beholden to the political agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

Meanwhile, migrants reaching Italy from Libya, another major gateway to Europe, are not returned because the country is still at war and does not recognize the 1951 convention.

People trying to reach Spain through its enclaves in North Africa are often forced back to Morocco without being given the chance to apply for asylum. But those who manage to cross the border into the enclaves undetected are usually allowed to lodge an asylum claim in Spain, though they are often sent back once their applications are rejected months later.

In theory, migrants are supposed to lodge an asylum claim as soon as they reach one of the 28 member states of the European Union. Those who don’t are liable to be returned to the country where they first entered the bloc — usually Greece, Italy or Spain — because European Union members theoretically trust one another to uphold the 1951 convention and treat refugees fairly.

But again, the system doesn’t quite work like that in reality. Sometimes it’s hard to prove that applicants passed through Greece on their way to, say, Germany. And in recent years, countries like Germany and Sweden have suspended returns to some members of the European Union, like Hungary and Greece, because of concerns about the fairness of their asylum systems.

Asylum seekers at the United Nations compound in Niamey, Niger.CreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

If migrants reach Europe from Libya, they are allowed to lodge an asylum claim on European soil. But some people who haven’t left Libya yet have been encouraged to fly instead to Niger, where they can apply for asylum in Europe from a country of relative safety. A similar arrangement was recently brokered with Rwanda, but has yet to formally begin.

The process is ostensibly a humanitarian one: It aims to help migrants escape war-torn Libya, where they are often prey to kidnapping, conscription, air raids, abuse and forced labor, without needing to brave the dangerous sea crossing to Italy.

But critics argue that few of them will in practice be ever resettled in Europe.

Like Mr. Trump, European governments have also sought to curb migration by building physical barriers along their borders. Greece has a fence lining its border with Turkey. Spain has several on its enclaves’ borders with Morocco. And Hungary built one on its border with Serbia.

In addition to its deal with Turkey, the European Union and its members have often paid third parties with checkered rights records to stop migrants from reaching Europe. The bloc pays Niger to throttle migration. Spain has a deal with Morocco. And Italy enlisted Libyan militias to stifle migration across the Mediterranean.

Asylum seekers in Greece and Hungary are also mostly confined in squalid facilities. On the Greek island of Lesbos, over 10,000 people are housed in a camp built for 3,100. In Hungary, officials have repeatedly denied food for several days to dozens of asylum seekers, including children.

One notable difference between Mr. Trump and his European counterparts is the way they speak publicly about migrants. With the exception of Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and Matteo Salvini, Italy’s former interior minister, European government officials have largely avoided using provocative language to stir xenophobia — while still trying to block migrants from European territory.

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

Is Trump’s America Tougher on Asylum Than Other Western Countries?

BERLIN — The Supreme Court this week allowed the Trump administration to move forward with a plan to bar most migrants, particularly Central Americans, from seeking asylum in the United States.

Under President Trump’s plan, migrants cannot apply for asylum unless they have already tried — and failed — to receive it in one of the countries they passed through on their way to the United States. Guatemalans would be sent back to Mexico, for example, while people from El Salvador and Honduras would be returned to Guatemala.

Given how unsafe those countries can be for their own citizens — much less for migrants — the move has been portrayed by critics as another deviation from global rights standards under Mr. Trump. It follows his frequent attempts to expand barriers along the United States-Mexico border, as well as a deterioration in the treatment of migrants after they reach America.

But Mr. Trump’s plan is also in keeping with a wider international trend of curtailing the right to asylum, as Western nations try to curb migration from the global south, where the overwhelming majority of displaced people live.

To stifle record levels of migration to Europe in 2015 and 2016, the continent’s big powers reached deals with neighboring countries like Turkey to keep migrants from European shores. Australia, determined to stop maritime migration from Indonesia, now deports asylum seekers to its neighbors in the Pacific Ocean. Israel tried to send African migrants to Rwanda.

“It is currently the objective of most countries of the global north to prevent migrants” from entering their territory, said François Crépeau, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on migrant rights and an expert on international refugee law at McGill University.

“Probably the U.S. are taking actions a bit further from what the Europeans are doing,” said Mr. Crépeau. “But the Europeans have also been very good at getting neighboring countries to do their dirty work.”

The United Nations refugee convention of 1951 provides the basis for American asylum laws. Unlike the Trump plan, it does not prevent refugees from traveling through several countries before landing in the United States and seeking asylum.

But it does ban signatories to the convention, like the United States, from deporting asylum seekers to countries where their safety is at risk, a process formally known as “refoulement.”

Most Western countries have usually interpreted this in a broad sense — refusing to deport people to countries that may not be at war, but still do not provide refugees with most of the protections required by the 1951 convention. Countries like Guatemala and Mexico, where homicide rates are high and migrants are often especially vulnerable to extortion, kidnapping and violence, could fall into that category, some experts say.

“There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the countries of the Northern Triangle and Mexico itself are not safe, and that the people passing through those countries are at risk of human rights violations,” said Jeff Crisp, an expert on migration at Chatham House, a London-based research group, referring to the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

“Returning people to those countries could be considered in violation of the non-refoulement principle,” Dr. Crisp added.

Even so, there is no international court or authority that can overrule Mr. Trump’s plan. The Supreme Court’s ruling is provisional, and it is expected to take up the case again. But that will take many months.

The Trump administration is also pushing Mexico and Central American countries to agree to accept migrants. Guatemala has, but the plan must still be ratified by the Guatemalan Congress.

Mexico, by contrast, has said it won’t sign a so-called safe third country agreement with the United States to accept asylum claims from migrants who arrive on its soil, even if they are hoping to reach the United States.

“The court’s decision is astonishing,” Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said Thursday about the Supreme Court ruling.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_114968270_fdd7b984-a0f2-4b3b-8fb2-5882dd053269-articleLarge Is Trump’s America Tougher on Asylum Than Other Western Countries? United States United Nations Trump, Donald J Supreme Court (US) Spain Refugees and Displaced Persons Politics and Government Morocco Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration European Union Europe Australia Asylum, Right of Africa

One of the compounds of the Offshore Processing Center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.CreditAshley Gilbertson for The New York Times

Since 2012, most asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat have been deported to processing centers in the nearby countries of Nauru and Papua New Guinea, where they are held while their asylum applications are assessed.

Rights groups like Amnesty International say that asylum seekers at these centers face severe abuse. And even if granted asylum, the migrants are still barred from resettlement in Australia. Instead, they must live in Nauru, Papua New Guinea or, in a few cases, Cambodia.

Last year, Israel was forced to cancel a comparable deal with Rwanda, in which African asylum seekers would be deported from Tel Aviv to Kigali, after a public backlash.

The concept was pioneered in 1990s by Presidents George Bush and his successor, President Clinton, who authorized American Coast Guard vessels to intercept boats loaded with Haitian refugees and take them to Guantánamo Bay for processing.

Afghan migrants among the makeshift tents just outside Moria in the Greek Island of Lesbos.CreditMauricio Lima for The New York Times

European politicians have often spoken of sending migrants for processing in non-European countries, but the plan has never been successfully enacted.

In 2015 and 2016, more than one million migrants reached Greece from Turkey, most of them making their way to wealthier countries like Germany.

To stop this, the European Union pledged more than $6 billion to Turkey. In return, Turkey tightened up its border restrictions — and agreed to take back every migrant who subsequently landed in Greece.

Turkey did cut migration flows to Europe drastically, but only a small proportion of migrants who continued to land in Greece have been sent back. Migrants still have the opportunity to apply for asylum in Greece, or for relocation to other European countries, and many do so successfully. The Greek asylum system operates independently and is not beholden to the political agreement between the European Union and Turkey.

Meanwhile, migrants reaching Italy from Libya, another major gateway to Europe, are not returned because the country is still at war and does not recognize the 1951 convention.

People trying to reach Spain through its enclaves in North Africa are often forced back to Morocco without being given the chance to apply for asylum. But those who manage to cross the border into the enclaves undetected are usually allowed to lodge an asylum claim in Spain, though they are often sent back once their applications are rejected months later.

In theory, migrants are supposed to lodge an asylum claim as soon as they reach one of the 28 member states of the European Union. Those who don’t are liable to be returned to the country where they first entered the bloc — usually Greece, Italy or Spain — because European Union members theoretically trust one another to uphold the 1951 convention and treat refugees fairly.

But again, the system doesn’t quite work like that in reality. Sometimes it’s hard to prove that applicants passed through Greece on their way to, say, Germany. And in recent years, countries like Germany and Sweden have suspended returns to some members of the European Union, like Hungary and Greece, because of concerns about the fairness of their asylum systems.

Asylum seekers at the United Nations compound in Niamey, Niger.CreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

If migrants reach Europe from Libya, they are allowed to lodge an asylum claim on European soil. But some people who haven’t left Libya yet have been encouraged to fly instead to Niger, where they can apply for asylum in Europe from a country of relative safety. A similar arrangement was recently brokered with Rwanda, but has yet to formally begin.

The process is ostensibly a humanitarian one: It aims to help migrants escape war-torn Libya, where they are often prey to kidnapping, conscription, air raids, abuse and forced labor, without needing to brave the dangerous sea crossing to Italy.

But critics argue that few of them will in practice be ever resettled in Europe.

Like Mr. Trump, European governments have also sought to curb migration by building physical barriers along their borders. Greece has a fence lining its border with Turkey. Spain has several on its enclaves’ borders with Morocco. And Hungary built one on its border with Serbia.

In addition to its deal with Turkey, the European Union and its members have often paid third parties with checkered rights records to stop migrants from reaching Europe. The bloc pays Niger to throttle migration. Spain has a deal with Morocco. And Italy enlisted Libyan militias to stifle migration across the Mediterranean.

Asylum seekers in Greece and Hungary are also mostly confined in squalid facilities. On the Greek island of Lesbos, over 10,000 people are housed in a camp built for 3,100. In Hungary, officials have repeatedly denied food for several days to dozens of asylum seekers, including children.

One notable difference between Mr. Trump and his European counterparts is the way they speak publicly about migrants. With the exception of Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary and Matteo Salvini, Italy’s former interior minister, European government officials have largely avoided using provocative language to stir xenophobia — while still trying to block migrants from European territory.

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

Is It Time to Quit Vaping?

Public health officials have long been wary of e-cigarettes, also known as vape pens. But after an outbreak of serious lung illnesses this summer, those concerns became much more urgent.

Last week, federal health officials announced that e-cigarettes — which people can use to vaporize and inhale liquids containing nicotine or T.H.C., the high-inducing chemical in marijuana — could be behind at least 450 cases of severe lung disease in 33 states. The number of reported deaths reached six on Tuesday.

Most scientists and doctors think e-cigarettes are probably safer than regular cigarettes, though some states and cities have started to limit their use. It remains unclear just how much safer they are, especially given the recent spate of illnesses. And on Wednesday, Trump administration officials said they would move toward a ban on the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes.

Public health officials are still trying to figure out why so many people have gotten sick, and have recommended that people cut back on vaping in the meantime.

Here’s what we know so far.

The lung illness associated with vaping starts with symptoms that can include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, coughing and fever, escalating to shortness of breath that can become so extreme as to require hospitalization. Some patients have needed supplementary oxygen.

On lung scans, the illness looks like bacterial or viral pneumonia, but no infection has been found in testing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an official health advisory regarding the illness last month. It said people concerned about the disease should “consider refraining from using e-cigarette products.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group 30VAPING1-articleLarge Is It Time to Quit Vaping? United States Smoking and Tobacco Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Marijuana Lungs Juul Labs Inc Hazardous and Toxic Substances Food and Drug Administration E-Cigarettes Deaths (Fatalities) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

An X-ray of a patient with a vaping habit shows whitish, cloud-like areas typically associated with some pneumonias, fluid in the lungs or inflammation.CreditIntermountain Healthcare

Read more about the sickness and its symptoms.
What You Need to Know About Vaping-Related Lung Illness

Sept. 7, 2019

There are also broader concerns about the safety of e-cigarettes.

Although e-cigarettes do not contain the tar and other carcinogens of traditional tobacco products, questions remain about the effects nicotine may have — especially on young people. Some experts say that nicotine may have harmful effects on a developing teenager’s brain, and some research has suggested that ingesting nicotine can affect the heart and arteries.

There are also reports of e-cigarettes causing fires and explosions, often because of malfunctioning lithium batteries. Explosions have killed at least two vape pen users in recent years.

Vaping gained popularity in recent years as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes. According to a history compiled by the Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternatives Association, modern e-cigarettes did not make their way to the United States until 2006.

By 2014, “vape” was the Oxford Word of the Year.

Read more about the long-running debates around vaping
Safer to Puff, E-Cigarettes Can’t Shake Their Reputation as a Menace

Nov. 1, 2016

As vaping became popular, mounting evidence suggested that it was far less dangerous than smoking. E-cigarette users can inhale nicotine without the deadly tar found in tobacco products, and many smokers use vape pens as a quitting aid.

But some American public health experts, led by the C.D.C., have been suspicious of e-cigarettes. And regulations have largely banned vaping product companies from making broad claims about health and harm as compared with tobacco products — at least not without extensive data.

Skeptics of the devices have warned about the potential for unknown risks, as well as the dangers of opening a new door to addiction for children and teenagers. Flavored products were considered especially worrisome, especially when it became clear that vaping products were popular with minors.

Read more about allegations that the vaping products company Juul Labs was purposely targeting teenagers.
Juul Targeted Schools and Youth Camps, House Panel on Vaping Claims

July 25, 2019

The Food and Drug Administration gained jurisdiction over e-cigarettes in 2016. Two years later, the agency mounted an aggressive campaign against the major manufacturers of vaping products that appeal to young people, focusing on Juul, a popular brand of e-cigarette vape pods. Juul stopped selling most of its popular flavored nicotine pods in stores last fall, but some look-alikes have since popped up.

On Monday, amid heightened concerns about the proliferation of lung illnesses, the F.D.A. said Juul had violated regulations by touting its vaping products as safer than traditional tobacco cigarettes.

San Francisco became the first city to ban e-cigarettes in June, and other communities have similar measures in the works. Last week, Michigan said it would ban all flavored e-cigarettes, becoming the first state to do so. Several state attorneys general have called for the federal government to ban flavored e-cigarettes, and bills to stop sales of flavored vaping products have been introduced in California and Massachusetts.

It’s still unclear what caused the illnesses this summer.

Some people who were sickened said they had vaped with oil containing T.H.C., and some doctors reported that cannabinoid oils vaporized in cartridges may have caused some of the lung inflammation.

The F.D.A. said that a significant subset of samples of vaping fluid used by sick patients included T.H.C., and also contained a compound called vitamin E acetate, which has been a subject of further investigation.

Read more about the people who have suffered from lung illnesses in recent months.
The Mysterious Vaping Illness That’s ‘Becoming an Epidemic’

Aug. 31, 2019

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Amazon Has 30,000 Open Jobs. Yes, You Read That Right.

Westlake Legal Group 09amazon-facebookJumbo Amazon Has 30,000 Open Jobs. Yes, You Read That Right. United States Labor and Jobs Hiring and Promotion Amazon.com Inc

SEATTLE — Engineers in the Bay Area. Advertising managers in Chicago. Freight specialists in Arizona. At Amazon, the job listings keep piling up, reflecting a company growing in many directions amid one of the tightest labor markets in memory.

On Monday, Amazon said it had 30,000 open positions in the United States, including full- and part-time jobs, in corporate and tech roles, in locations ranging from headquarters offices to tech hubs to fulfillment centers.

The posts, which Amazon said it hoped to fill by early next year, are permanent jobs and do not include hourly, seasonal positions like warehouse workers. More than half the jobs are tech-oriented, the company said.

It’s the most open positions the company has ever had, Amazon said.

The sheer number of openings is the latest sign of the company’s ambitions colliding with the reality of strong labor markets for both white- and blue-collar workers. Last fall, Amazon raised the minimum wage at its warehouses to $15 an hour, and this summer, the company said it planned to spend $700 million to retrain about a third of its American workers to perform higher-skilled tasks. The effort included a major focus on bulking up the technical chops of its corporate and tech work force, such as turning entry-level coders into data scientists.

In August, the national unemployment rate remained near a 50-year low at 3.7 percent, even as hiring has slowed in the face of a trade war and lagging global economy.

Amazon had 653,300 employees globally as of the end of June, not including temp workers and contractors. A little less than half of those are in the United States.

The company has another shadow work force of contractors, ranging from drivers delivering packages to customer service representatives who help sellers on its marketplace.

Amazon has signaled to investors that it is entering a reinvestment cycle, where its costs will increase as it seeks to grow in strategic areas. In its latest earnings call with Wall Street analysts, Amazon called out recent growth in sales and marketing staff for its cloud computing services as well as the logistics and transportation networks it is building to bring packages to customers.

[Get the Bits newsletter for the latest from Silicon Valley and the technology industry.]

The 30,000 open positions do not herald a single major new investment, such as two years ago when Amazon announced that it would search for a second headquarters to complement its home in Seattle, which has all but turned into a company town. It said the new headquarters would create 50,000 jobs.

Amazon is now having to rejigger its hiring after the plan to split that second headquarters between two locations — New York City and Arlington, Va., just outside Washington — stumbled. Amazon backed out of New York, saying it would take the 25,000 positions that would have gone to the city and spread them among various smaller hubs, including New York.

The company is holding hiring fairs in six cities on Sept. 17, including Nashville, where Amazon is building a major outpost for its vast logistics operations network, as well as Arlington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle.

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

Amazon Has 30,000 Open Jobs. Filling Them in a Tight Labor Market Won’t Be Easy.

Westlake Legal Group 09amazon-facebookJumbo Amazon Has 30,000 Open Jobs. Filling Them in a Tight Labor Market Won’t Be Easy. United States Labor and Jobs Hiring and Promotion Amazon.com Inc

SEATTLE — Engineers in the Bay Area. Advertising managers in Chicago. Freight specialists in Arizona. At Amazon, the job listings keep piling up, reflecting a company growing in many directions amid one of the tightest labor markets in memory.

On Monday, Amazon said it had 30,000 open positions in the United States, including full- and part-time jobs, in corporate and tech roles, in locations ranging from headquarters offices to tech hubs to fulfillment centers.

The posts, which Amazon said it hoped to fill by early next year, are permanent jobs and do not include hourly, seasonal positions like warehouse workers. More than half the jobs are tech-oriented, the company said.

It’s the most open positions the company has ever had, Amazon said.

The sheer number of openings is the latest sign of the company’s ambitions colliding with the reality of strong labor markets for both white- and blue-collar workers. Last fall, Amazon raised the minimum wage at its warehouses to $15 an hour, and this summer, the company said it planned to spend $700 million to retrain about a third of its American workers to perform higher-skilled tasks. The effort included a major focus on bulking up the technical chops of its corporate and tech work force, such as turning entry-level coders into data scientists.

In August, the national unemployment rate remained near a 50-year low at 3.7 percent, even as hiring has slowed in the face of a trade war and lagging global economy.

Amazon had 653,300 employees globally as of the end of June, not including temp workers and contractors. A little less than half of those are in the United States.

The company has another shadow work force of contractors, ranging from drivers delivering packages to customer service representatives who help sellers on its marketplace.

Amazon has signaled to investors that it is entering a reinvestment cycle, where its costs will increase as it seeks to grow in strategic areas. In its latest earnings call with Wall Street analysts, Amazon called out recent growth in sales and marketing staff for its cloud computing services as well as the logistics and transportation networks it is building to bring packages to customers.

[Get the Bits newsletter for the latest from Silicon Valley and the technology industry.]

The 30,000 open positions do not herald a single major new investment, such as two years ago when Amazon announced that it would search for a second headquarters to complement its home in Seattle, which has all but turned into a company town. It said the new headquarters would create 50,000 jobs.

Amazon is now having to rejigger its hiring after the plan to split that second headquarters between two locations — New York City and Arlington, Va., just outside Washington — stumbled. Amazon backed out of New York, saying it would take the 25,000 positions that would have gone to the city and spread them among various smaller hubs, including New York.

The company is holding hiring fairs in six cities on Sept. 17, including Nashville, where Amazon is building a major outpost for its vast logistics operations network, as well as Arlington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle.

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

Amazon’s Effort to Recruit 30,000 Workers Collides With Saturated Job Market

Westlake Legal Group 09amazon-facebookJumbo Amazon’s Effort to Recruit 30,000 Workers Collides With Saturated Job Market United States Labor and Jobs Hiring and Promotion Amazon.com Inc

SEATTLE — Engineers in the Bay Area. Advertising managers in Chicago. Freight specialists in Arizona. At Amazon, the job listings keep piling up, reflecting a company growing in many directions amid one of the tightest labor markets in memory.

On Monday, Amazon said it had 30,000 open positions in the United States, including full- and part-time jobs, in corporate and tech roles, in locations ranging from headquarters offices to tech hubs to fulfillment centers.

The posts, which Amazon said it hoped to fill by early next year, are permanent jobs and do not include hourly, seasonal positions like warehouse workers. More than half the jobs are tech-oriented, the company said.

It’s the most open positions the company has ever had, Amazon said.

The sheer number of openings is the latest sign of the company’s ambitions colliding with the reality of strong labor markets for both white- and blue-collar workers. Last fall, Amazon raised the minimum wage at its warehouses to $15 an hour, and this summer, the company said it planned to spend $700 million to retrain about a third of its American workers to perform higher-skilled tasks. The effort included a major focus on bulking up the technical chops of its corporate and tech work force, such as turning entry-level coders into data scientists.

In August, the national unemployment rate remained near a 50-year low at 3.7 percent, even as hiring has slowed in the face of a trade war and lagging global economy.

Amazon had 653,300 employees globally as of the end of June, not including temp workers and contractors. A little less than half of those are in the United States.

The company has another shadow work force of contractors, ranging from drivers delivering packages to customer service representatives who help sellers on its marketplace.

Amazon has signaled to investors that it is entering a reinvestment cycle, where its costs will increase as it seeks to grow in strategic areas. In its latest earnings call with Wall Street analysts, Amazon called out recent growth in sales and marketing staff for its cloud computing services as well as the logistics and transportation networks it is building to bring packages to customers.

[Get the Bits newsletter for the latest from Silicon Valley and the technology industry.]

The 30,000 open positions do not herald a single major new investment, such as two years ago when Amazon announced that it would search for a second headquarters to complement its home in Seattle, which has all but turned into a company town. It said the new headquarters would create 50,000 jobs.

Amazon is now having to rejigger its hiring after the plan to split that second headquarters between two locations — New York City and Arlington, Va., just outside Washington — stumbled. Amazon backed out of New York, saying it would take the 25,000 positions that would have gone to the city and spread them among various smaller hubs, including New York.

The company is holding hiring fairs in six cities on Sept. 17, including Nashville, where Amazon is building a major outpost for its vast logistics operations network, as well as Arlington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle.

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

Caution needed before the U.S. gets involved in Hong Kong

Westlake Legal Group liberateHK Caution needed before the U.S. gets involved in Hong Kong United States The Blog Hong Kong protests Hong Kong China #liberateHK

A glimmer of hope emerged in Hong Kong last week after the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill by Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Demonstrations have been ongoing since June when protestors took to the streets in opposition to the bill, which they claim erodes the legal system. As of now, it appears the withdrawal of the bill has done nothing to placate demonstrators.

Another round of violence between protesters and police broke out on Sunday night which ended with a volunteer aid worker shot by police with a bean bag round or rubber bullet. Riot officers lobbed multiple tear gas canisters at demonstrators gathered near a department store. One reporter was injured when a Hong Kong police officer almost casually tossed a tear gas bomb. Video does not show any protesters standing near officers.

It all started with a march urging the United States to get more involved in the Hong Kong-Beijing dispute. Demonstrators gathered near the US Consulate-General for a rally on the Hong Kong Human Rights Act currently in the U.S. Congress. The bill would allow sanctions on some political leaders in Hong Kong and China. The peaceful event featured American flags and calls for democracy in Hong Kong. Police decided to break up the rally early with RTHK blaming three protesters who pointed lasers at officers.

There are mixed feelings about the potential U.S. law in Hong Kong. Those who support U.S. involvement may be in the minority in the struggle for Hong Kong independence.

“As the United States becomes more vocal over the Hong Kong protests, we ought to remember that any change must come from within the city itself,” a student under the pseudonym ‘Malcolm Wong’ wrote in Hong Kong Free Press on Sunday. “In many ways, this does not need to be stated. The US flag-wavers do not represent the majority of Hongkongers who participate in the protests. Indeed, any substantive interview with any of the flag-bearers discloses the animosity they receive from fellow protesters. After all, how can they support self-determination if they are calling on a foreign power to help them determine their future?”

It should be pointed out ‘Wong’ is worried about what might happen if Hong Kong approves policies which go against U.S. interests.

“All these undeniably positive aspects of the bill, the very things that millions of Hong Kong protesters are fighting for, must be achieved by Hongkongers themselves,” ‘Wong’ explained while noting he supports almost everything within the Hong Kong Human Rights Act. “Currently, the views of US politicians and Hong Kong protesters may broadly align, but we cannot assume that will always be the case. The fact is a negative report to Congress could trigger a wide range of foreign policy options responding to the implementation of local Hong Kong laws that the US government does not agree with.”

South China Morning Post columnist Alex Lo was more explicit his condemnation of the legislation.

“Every year, Hong Kong will be put on the examination table by the Americans, who will effectively be the judge, jury and executioner – to decide on whether “one country two systems” stands or fails for the rest of the world,” Lo opined Sunday while also calling Civic Party leadership “useful idiots” for the United States. “Our Civic Party lawmakers respect the sovereignty of America whereas they denigrate their own country. In a letter to US politicians, they wrote: “The contents of the bill are of course entirely within the prerogative of [US] Congress.” To mess up Hong Kong?”

Lo’s position on the Hong Kong protests tends to fluctuate between peaceful protesters and the government. He has pushed for reform but wants it to come from Hongkongers, not the West.

Some believe the U.S. and the West should show a little more spine in the dispute between the Hong Kong government, China, and the protesters.

“Many Hong Kong people think that it is kind of international help that is very important because it help Hong Kong government be held accountable to the international community and the Chinese government too,” Johns Hopkins professor Ho-Fung Hung said in an interview on Matt Lewis and the News on FTR Radio this past week. “[T]he Chinese government cannot afford [to destroy] Hong Kong’s financial center status yet. So there’s some room that the international community can do to stand with Hong Kong people who want to seek freedom and democracy.”

The legislation could work but concerns about the current climate between the United States and China cannot be ignored. The United Kingdom is too busy with Brexit even though their treaty set up the “one nation, two systems” government in Hong Kong. Sanctions are not necessarily a wise measure. It might be best to support protesters in other ways including donations or diplomacy.

Hong Kong cannot be ignored. These are people standing up for freedom against totalitarianism. The solutions may not come from government but individuals doing what they can to help.

The post Caution needed before the U.S. gets involved in Hong Kong appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group liberateHK-300x172 Caution needed before the U.S. gets involved in Hong Kong United States The Blog Hong Kong protests Hong Kong China #liberateHK   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Taliban Talks Hit a Wall Over Deeper Disagreements, Officials Say

KABUL, Afghanistan — Even as President Trump blamed a recent Taliban attack for his decision to call off nearly year-long negotiations with the insurgents, officials suggested on Sunday it had more to do with the Taliban’s resistance to the American terms for a peace deal.

Talks that once seemed on the verge of a breakthrough had hit a wall over how the deal should be finalized and announced, they said.

With the president himself showing more engagement in the talks in recent weeks, the Trump administration had set in motion a daring gambit: Fly the insurgents’ leaders and the Afghan leader, Ashraf Ghani, to American soil.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160407435_15b4b0ed-468d-464d-b9ce-c5342720e289-articleLarge Taliban Talks Hit a Wall Over Deeper Disagreements, Officials Say United States International Relations United States Trump, Donald J Terrorism Taliban Khalilzad, Zalmay Ghani, Ashraf Afghanistan War (2001- ) Afghanistan

Afghan security forces in Herat, Afghanistan, on Sunday.CreditJalil Rezayee/EPA, via Shutterstock

At Camp David, the traditional retreat of many presidents, separate meetings with each side would then lead to a grand announcement by Mr. Trump, according to Afghan, Western and Taliban officials with knowledge of the peace talks.

The Taliban leaders, however, having refused to negotiate directly with the Afghan government until after the group had an agreement with the United States, had compared the proposal to the Americans’ tricking them into political suicide. The Americans were also rushing to finalize outstanding issues, including disagreements over prisoner release, before the meeting at Camp David.

“We promised there would be intra-Afghan talks once we finalized our agreement with the Americans,” a senior Taliban leader said. “If Trump and his administration think they would solve the confrontation between the government and the Taliban somewhere in Washington in a meeting, that’s not possible because we do not recognize the stooge government.”

For his part, Mr. Ghani, a skeptic of the American negotiations that left out his government, had agreed to the risky Camp David visit in the hopes of finding a way to end a period of great uncertainty for his country.

President Ashraf Ghani, center, had agreed to the risky Camp David visit in the hopes of finding a way out of a period of great uncertainty.CreditOmar Sobhani/Reuters

The Afghan president was signing up for nothing less than a gamble, with the details of what might transpire at Camp David vague even to his closest circle of advisers. But stuck in a difficult position, he didn’t have much to lose, a senior official said.

After the talks were called off, the Afghan government blamed the Taliban, saying that the violence was making the peace process difficult. Sediq Sediqqi, a spokesman for Mr. Ghani, lashed out at the Taliban’s political office in Qatar, saying that the group had shown no commitment to peace despite having protection in the Gulf country and freedom of movement.

“The Taliban’s honeymoon in Qatar needs to be ended,” Mr. Sediqqi said.

It recent weeks, it had been increasingly clear that the United States and the Taliban, after nine rounds of painstaking negotiations over nearly a year, had ironed out most of the issues between them. The chief American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, declared that the agreement document had been finalized “in principle.”

That deal, criticized by Afghan officials for lacking measures that would ensure stability, would include a timeline of about 16 months for a gradual withdrawal of the remaining 14,000 American troops, with about 5,000 of them leaving in 135 days after its signing. In return, the Taliban would provide counterterrorism assurances to ease American fears of repeat of attacks on home soil — such as the attacks by Al Qaedaon Sept. 11, 2001, that precipitated the war in Afghanistan.

Members of the Afghan delegations in Doha, Qatar, in July during the peace talks.CreditKarim Jaafar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The final rounds of negotiations — and even Mr. Trump’s invitation for a summit meeting at Camp David — had occurred during a period of intensifying violence, including the killing of American soldiers. In response to the Taliban attacks, the American negotiators had made clear that they were prioritizing the finalization of the agreement, not a boycott of the talks. Their negotiations were also undergirded by increasing battlefield pressure by the American military on the Taliban.

But just how the deal would be announced remained unclear, and competing demands made it even more complicated. Those demands included Mr. Trump’s election promise of ending the Afghan war, the Taliban’s sensitivity about not fracturing their forces, the Afghan government’s need to be seen as having the support of its main ally and sponsor, and Qatar’s wish to get credit for hosting the long-running talks at a time when neighboring countries have ganged up on it in by a blockade.

At the end of August, just as the ninth round of talks was winding down in Doha, the American ambassador arrived at the Afghan presidential palace with the proposal of a Camp David meeting, Afghan officials said. The visit would take place soon after a national security meeting led by Mr. Trump.

Details of the trip to the United States were sorted out between the Afghan president and the American side, when Mr. Khalilzad arrived from Doha and held four rounds of talks with Mr. Ghani. A plane would arrive to take Mr. Ghani and his delegation of about a half-dozen senior officials to the United States.

Zalmay Khalilzad, left, the special representative for Afghan peace and reconciliation, had declared the agreement document was finalized “in principle.”CreditWakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Ghani’s ministers knew they would be meeting with their American counterparts and that a Taliban delegation would most likely be arriving, too. But they were unclear on the details of how it would all come together. They had to be prepared on all three issues that were their government’s priority: the presidential elections scheduled for Sept. 28, how the peace talks would move forward to include them and how they would continue to bolster their security forces in a way that would reduce the cost for the United States.

As a sign of how important the event was for the United States, Mr. Ghani got the Americans to agree to include on the trip his national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, who had essentially been kept out of the American meetings for months after lashing out at the peace process.

For months, the Americans had essentially held Mr. Ghani’s re-election campaign hostage to a deal that they projected was imminent. Mr. Ghani was reduced to pretending that the September elections were still on by holding a couple of daily “virtual rallies” at which he addressed small gatherings around the country via video chat. If the American-Taliban deal were finalized, it would most likely push the elections back.

If Mr. Ghani had refused the Camp David meeting, he would have been called a spoiler of peace. So he took his chances; it was to be hosted by an ally on friendly turf, and it could help clarify whether there would be a peace deal, and whether the elections would proceed.

One senior Afghan official said the government had been in a difficult place for months: fighting a war while trying to find a way into peace talks and preparing for an election both as a government that holds it and as a candidate that contests it.

Now, the official said, two things were clear: The violence would intensify, and the elections would go ahead.

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