What is the state of Trump’s ‘war cabinet’? - ABDULLAH MURADOĞLU

What is the state of Trump’s ‘war cabinet’?

U.S. President Donald Trump moved the U.S.’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and increased the tyranny of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel, which has the support of Trump, who is described by the Israeli lobby and Christian-Zionist circles as “the most pro-Israel U.S. president after [former U.S. President Ronald] Raegan,” has added a new massacre to the U.S.’s slaughters. Trump’s daughter and son-in-law, who attended the opening of the embassy, posed like they were at a wedding ceremony, while, at the same time, more than 60 innocent Palestinians were massacred in Gaza. The Israeli army killing Palestinians so easily shows that the cooperation of the “Doomsday War” fanatics in Israel and the U.S. is at the highest level.

Trump’s Jerusalem decision, as well as his withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal, was expected to escalate tensions in the region. A certified Neo-Con, John Bolton, being brought to the position of National Security adviser, and Mike Pompeo being brought to the position of Secretary of State was interpreted as Trump’s “war cabinet” being ready. Gina Haspel’s appointment to the position of CIA director being approved in the Senate further strengthened this chain. Dick Cheney, the vice president in George W. Bush’s term, was among the famous Neo-cons that made an effort to have Haspel approved.

Haspel, who is accused of torture during questioning in the CIA’s secret sentries during Bush’s term, being suggested for the position of CIA director was objected by the Republicans. Well-known figures of the party, such as senators John McCain, Rand Paul and Jeff Flake did not give their approval for Haspel’s appointment for CIA director. McCain, a former soldier who became a prisoner of war and encountered torture in the Vietnam Var, is known to be against torture. In the approval session of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Haspel remaining silent while being questioned of whether she found the torture applied in the CIA ethical made McCain furious. The words of an official in the White House saying, “It’s okay, he’s dying anyway,” about McCain, who asked his friends at the Senate via tweets to not approve Haspel, was leaked to the press. These words about McCain, who is undergoing cancer treatment, led to a small crisis amid party circles.

As the Republican-Democrat vote balance in the Senate is 51 against 49, three Republican senators voting “no,” had endangered Haspel’s voting. Similar to CIA Director Pompeo’s approval for secretary of state, the obstacle was overcome by finding support from Democrat senators. In the voting which Republicans lost three votes, Haspel could be appointed as CIA director with the support of six Democrats.

With Haspel, who has been working for the CIA for more than three decades, being appointed CIA director, the hawk wing in Trump’s internal cabinet became stronger. Meanwhile, it is said that White House Secretary-General John Kelly has lost his control of the steering wheel over Trump. Speculations are being made about when Kelly, a close friend of Defense Secretary James Mattis, will leave the White House. How long Gen. Mattis, who is known as a careful soldier, will last against Bolton and friends, is another matter of debate.

It seems a little difficult for Gen. Mattis, who is deprived of former allies in the National Security cabinet, such as Rex Tillerson, Gen. McMaster and Gary Cohn, to keep Trump in line with John Kelly’s support alone. One of the most appropriate options for Mattis is to cooperate with Pompeo – a former Congress member who has plans for the future – against Bolton. Meanwhile, it seems difficult for Pompeo to agree with Bolton on every matter. Pompeo’s and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s names are already being mentioned for 2020. These political expectations may impact the balances in the internal cabinet and keep Mattis floating over the water for some more time.


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