Category: Foreign Affairs

Media Leaks Indicate Intelligence Bureaucracy Operates in So-called ‘Deep State’

The White House has denied media reports that a so-called deep state of the United States government is withholding information from President Donald Trump in an effort to undermine his administration.

The deep state � a term apparently first used in Turkey in the 1990s � refers to a secretive, informal network of officials in a country’s military, intelligence and security services, and other parts of the government, who have influence, regardless of the administration formally in power. The term has been used to describe the situation in countries with a history of rule by the military, like Turkey, Pakistan and Egypt.

Citing current and former officials, a recent Wall Street Journal story reports that U.S. intelligence officials � considered to be part of an American deep state � have withheld sensitive intelligence from the president over concerns it could be leaked or compromised. An unnamed White House official denied this in the Journal piece, saying, “There is nothing that leads us to believe that this is an accurate account of what is actually happening.”

So, what exactly is this supposed deep state that has been referenced by news organizations from Fox News to The New Yorker magazine?

It is based on the notion that American presidents come and go, but a permanent bureaucracy that includes intelligence agencies, national security and the U.S. military remains in place.

The term also implies that what happens at the very top of the United States government may be to a greater or lesser degree just window dressing, and that beneath the surface are those with real power (for example, Cabinet-level deputies who stay in place during a change of administration), deciding what policies will be implemented.

Historic examples include the Soviet era under Mikhail Gorbachev, whereby the KGB was publicly denounced, glasnost and perestroika were encouraged and, ultimately, the entire Soviet Union fell apart.

Russian experts point out, just a decade or so later, a mid-level KGB official named Vladimir Putin becomes president.

Other analysts say the American public learned of a kind of deep state after the 9/11 terror attacks under former President George W. Bush. During his two terms, there were reports of torture, CIA secret prisons and the National Security Agency listening in on Americans’ private conversations without warrants.

Under President Trump, very public tensions have erupted with members of the bureaucracy in a manner that observers say never have happened before in modern American history.

Source: Voice of America

Iran could mend fences with Gulf via Kuwait: Experts

The Iranian president’s visit to Kuwait this week could kick-start dialogue between Tehran and the Gulf States, say analysts.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visited Oman on Wednesday before moving on to Kuwait for his first visit to the oil-rich Gulf country since he was elected president in mid-2014.

“Iran views Kuwait as a trustworthy mediator,” Ayed al-Mannaa, a political science professor at Kuwait University, told Anadolu Agency.

“Oman is also close to Tehran and has played a role in bridging the U.S.-Iranian gap,” he said.

Rouhani’s recent Gulf tour came amid efforts by Kuwait to improve relations between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Iran.

In a landmark visit last month to Tehran, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah delivered a message on the importance of Gulf-Iranian relations.

At a December GCC summit held in Bahrain, the six-nation Gulf bloc had tasked Kuwait with establishing contacts with Iran.

“The visit could lead to a breakthrough in Gulf-Iranian relations and an easing of tension between the two sides,” al-Mannaa said.

Al-Mannaa believes that Rouhani’s Gulf tour this week could also help ease U.S. pressure on Tehran.

“Iran seeks to prevent the U.S. from exploiting Iran-Gulf tension to escalate the situation against Tehran,” he said.

“Iran therefore hopes to defuse [Gulf-Iran] tension before it turns into a major crisis,” he added.

“Iran wants to show that it’s a major regional player and can’t be ignored,” he said.

GCC member states often accuse Iran of meddling in their internal affairs � claims denied by Tehran.

The Gulf States fear that Tehran’s nuclear energy program poses a threat to regional security. Tehran, for its part, says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful in nature.

Tension has mounted between the Gulf and Iran since Riyadh cut diplomatic ties with Tehran early last year. The move came after two Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran were attacked by protesters following the execution of a prominent Shia cleric by the Saudi authorities.

Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies also accuse Tehran of supporting Yemen’s Shia Houthi group, which overran Yemeni capital Sanaa and other parts of the country in 2014.

The ongoing conflict in Syria, which is about to enter its seventh year, has also contributed to the deterioration of Gulf-Iran relations.

Reporting by Mohamed Abdel-Ghaffar; Writing by Mohamed Sabry Emam Muhammed

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Source: Anadolu Agency