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Hope, And Fear, as US Gulf Allies Look to Trump

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  • Hope, And Fear, as US Gulf Allies Look to Trump

US Gulf allies are looking at Donald Trump to tilt Washington in their favour, analysts say, but fear a dangerous void if the incoming president goes so far as to tear up the Iran nuclear deal.

Still fuming after the nuclear agreement was brokered over their objections, Saudi Arabia and its fellow Sunni Arab states in the Gulf hope Trump will rebalance ties at the expense of their regional rival Tehran.

Washington’s traditional allies in the Middle East are concerned, however, over the potential uncertainty of a radical move to go back on the deal with Iran.

“Eight years of (President Barack) Obama’s administration destroyed the balance of power in the region completely,” says Mustafa Alani, a senior adviser to the Gulf Research Centre.

Gulf states “hope now that under Trump the regional balance of power is going to be restored” after Obama “just ignored Iran’s expansionist policy” in the Middle East, Alani says.

The oil-rich Gulf states have been highly critical of the nuclear deal, fearing it would lead to more regional “interference” by Tehran.

The Sunni Gulf monarchies oppose predominantly Shiite Iran in a range of conflict-ridden countries across the Middle East, from Syria and Iraq to Yemen and Lebanon.

Trump has also opposed the agreement, which lifted sanctions in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

He called it the “worst deal ever negotiated”.

‘Huge new uncertainty’ –

The deal is a centrepiece of President Hassan Rouhani’s expected re-election bid in May, and experts say Tehran is unlikely to be willing to make any concessions to Trump.

“If the Trump administration takes a strong stand and the Iranians refuse, the agreement collapses and there is no replacement,” Alani says.

Given the potential for uncertainty, many experts expect the deal to survive, despite Trump’s rhetoric.

“I believe all the Gulf states will counsel Trump to maintain the agreement rather than introduce a huge new uncertainty into the region,” says Richard LeBaron, an analyst associated with the Atlantic Council in Washington.

Trump may “choose to live with” the Iran accord and focus “on other aspects of the Iranian threat like its missile build-up”, says Anthony Cordesman, of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Analysts say Trump is likely to rebalance relations in other ways, however.

Cordesman noted that three figures known for their distrust of Tehran figure prominently in Trump’s team.

They are retired lieutenant general Michael Flynn, national security adviser; retired Marine general James Mattis, nominated as defence secretary; and former ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, Trump’s choice for secretary of state.

“All three see Iran as a serious potential threat, recognise the strategic importance of Iraq, and the role Arab states play in deterring Iran,” Cordesman says.

Strained Obama ties –

Ties with Obama became especially strained when he suggested in a magazine interview last year that the Saudis needed to “share” the Middle East with Iran.

His criticism of the kingdom for exporting its fundamentalist “Wahhabist” version of Islam also struck at the heart of the ruling family’s legitimacy.

Saudi Arabia is regularly accused in the West of financing radical mosques and of fuelling extremism, even though the kingdom is part of a US-led coalition against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.

Such concerns could impede Gulf ties with the new administration, which has faced accusations of Islamophobia over comments made by incoming officials including Trump.

During the campaign he proposed a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States.

“There is a lack of understanding” in the Trump team “of the Gulf’s effort” against radical Islam, Alani says, noting that Gulf states have themselves suffered attacks.

For LeBaron, “the targeting of Muslims as the source of the security problem will inevitably darken Saudi-American relations”.

Another stumbling block may come in the form of energy policy, a crucial question for the Gulf and Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter.

Trump will certainly be “very favourable to the development” of shale oil and gas in the United States, says Jean-Francois Seznec of the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center, putting Washington in potential conflict with Gulf producers.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session

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University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session

University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.

In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.

The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.

The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.

The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.

“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.

“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.

“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.

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House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion

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House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion

The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.

Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.

The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.

Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”

“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.

Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.

A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”

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US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left

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Joe Biden Economic Impliccations on Nigeria

US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left

The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.

After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.

Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.

“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.

While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.

Also read Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Lock President Trump Out of Their Platforms Following Insurrection

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