Topics – 6 July 2018


 These are discussion topics, not subjects about which I have made up my mind:

 1.   A quick US/UK trade agreement?

“We didn’t talk about details, he just simply said we’re very pro the idea of a trade arrangement as quickly as possible and the general view was that they could get it done within two years if the British really wanted to do a real push on it,” Mr Duncan-Smith told the BBC Sunday Politics via video link from a field in Chingford.

“So my point is that I’ve passed that back to government as a general conversation, but it was a conversation between friends and, you know, we do tend to do a lot of conspiracies, don’t we, in the media at times. There’s no conspiracy here, it was just a general conversation.”

In a separate meeting to the one attended by Mr Duncan-Smith – along with Sir Bernard Jenkin and Sir Bill Cash – Mr Bolton met with Sir Mark Sedwill, his counterpart at the British National Security Council.  The Independent


IMO Trump is looking for a "signature" deal on trade that will break up resistance to his search for "fair trade."  Bolton's discussions in England with the group of backbenchers and kibitzers (like me) would seem to indicate that the UK is probably a prime candidate for a deep reciprocal cut in tariffs with the US.  May needs something like that.  The Left in England is in a heightened state of excitement over Trumpismo in the same way that the US Left is "turning and burning" in angst over his counter-revolution.  Is he visiting the UK to firm up a tentative agreement with May?  Will the public optics of this visit be good or bad?  Will the Duchess of Sussex seize the opportunity to speak up over the visit?  pl


2. What is the "de-militarized zone?"

"Operationally, the Alpha Line was drawn in the west, not to be crossed by Israeli Forces, and the Bravo Line in the east, not to be crossed by Syrian Forces. Between these lines lies the Area of Separation (AOS) which is a buffer zone. Extending 25 km to either side is the Area of Limitation (AOL) where UNDOF, and Observer Group Golan (OGG) observers under its command, supervise the number of Syrian and Israeli troops and weapons. Inside the AOS, UNDOF operates with checkpoints and patrols. In the AOS, the two line-battalions are operating, in the northern part AUSBATT from the Mount Hermon massif to the region of Quneitra, and in the south POLBATT down to the Jordanian border. "  WIKI  below


The Israeli government is making cautionary noises about the proximity to which it will tacitly agree to the presence of SAA troops down in front of their Golan forts in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.  They have several times mentioned what they call the "de-militarized zone."  There is a question as to whether they mean the Area of Separation (AOS) or the Area of Limitation (AOL).  The AOS is quite narrow while the AOL extends 25 KM both east and west of both UNDOF lines (A&B).  Which is it?  pl

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