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China’s Diplomatic Triumph in Iran-Saudi Arabia Thaw Raises Concerns for US

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By IndraStra Global

The recent reopening of Iran’s embassy in Saudi Arabia marks a significant turning point in the region’s geopolitical landscape. After years of hostility, the deal to reestablish ties and ease the long-standing rivalry between the two nations brings hopes of stability across West Asia. However, amidst this diplomatic breakthrough, it is China’s growing influence that emerges as a key player in the equation.

China’s proactive involvement as a peace broker in the restoration of diplomatic ties between Iran and Saudi Arabia showcases its ambitions to establish itself as a guarantor of regional stability, especially in an area traditionally influenced by the United States. As a signatory to the joint trilateral statement, China projected its role in ensuring the terms of the deal, including the resumption of diplomatic relations, reopening of embassies, and respect for state sovereignty.

Observers note that China’s engagement began during President Xi’s visit to Riyadh in December 2022 when the Saudis sought Beijing’s facilitation after unsuccessful talks hosted by Baghdad and Oman. Subsequently, Iranian Prime Minister Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to China in February 2023 led to negotiations culminating in the signing of the agreement on March 9-10.

Wang Yi, China’s top diplomat, with Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani and national security adviser of Saudi Arabia Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban in Beijing on March 10, 2023. / Source: China Daily

For Saudi Arabia, the motivations behind this thaw in relations stem from its desire to mitigate frosty ties with the Biden administration, the lack of American security guarantees against Iran, and China’s increasing prominence in the region as US engagement diminishes. On the other hand, Iran, already having signed a strategic agreement with China in 2021, sought to break its isolation caused by nuclear sanctions and address its domestic challenges, including the shifting dynamics in the region brought about by the Abraham Accords.

While the deal offers prospects for Iran and Saudi Arabia, it raises concerns for the United States. The truce, coupled with China’s role, may embolden Tehran to believe it can defy isolation and leverage major-power support, complicating efforts by Washington and its Western allies to exert pressure on the Islamic Republic. The agreement also underscores Saudi Arabia’s lack of trust in the US, as it seeks alternate alliances and partners.

Moreover, the development solidifies China’s position as a major player in Middle Eastern power politics. With its rising profile in West Asia and economic stakes in the region, China has strategically seized a low-risk, high-impact opportunity to bolster its diplomatic and political credentials. This has significant implications for the United States, which now faces a scenario where China is becoming the de facto arbiter in an area traditionally under American influence.

As this truce unfolds, the US must carefully evaluate its own approach to the region. The deal’s implications highlight the need for a reevaluation of American policies and engagement in the Middle East. It serves as a reminder that trust among US allies can be fragile, and without proactive diplomacy, America’s role may be diminished.

To conclude, the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with China playing a facilitating role, represents a significant transformation in the power dynamics within the region. Although this agreement brings potential prospects for stability, it also raises apprehensions regarding the influence of the United States and the expanding presence of China in the Middle East. Given the ongoing evolution of the geopolitical landscape, it is imperative for the United States to undertake a thorough reassessment of its strategies and engagement in order to effectively navigate the shifting dynamics of power in this pivotal region.

Reprinted with permission of IndraStra Global

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Economy

West Virginia Delegation Urges Disaster Declaration from White House, FEMA

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Carol Miller (R-WV) and Alex Mooney (R-WV) as well as Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III Administrator Maryann Tierney to approve the State of West Virginia’s appeal for a disaster declaration. Residential areas in Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Harrison and Kanawha counties have experienced great damage due to heavy rains and flooding in late August.

On the damage caused by flooding in Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Harrison and Kanawha Counties:

As members of the West Virginia Congressional Delegation, we write in support of Governor Jim Justice’s appeal request for a major disaster declaration for the State of West Virginia after severe and numerous storms washed through our State causing widespread damage. Heavy rains caused damages by flooding, landslides, and mudslides in 5 counties throughout central and southern West Virginia from August 28, 2023 to August 30, 2023.

Persistent rains resulted in major flooding events in Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Harrison and Kanawha Counties. As the heavy downpour of rains fell, areas surrounding rivers, creeks and small streams were unable to absorb the excess precipitation causing flooding and residential damage. 

On a request for a major disaster declaration to access federal disaster aid:

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To access federal disaster aid, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has made an appeal request for a major disaster declaration for the State of West Virginia, submitted October 25, 2023, under the provisions of Section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 5121-5208 (Stafford Act). We respectfully ask that you carefully review the request that specifically outlines Individual Assistance for Boone, Calhoun, Clay, Harrison, and Kanawha Counties as well as Hazard Mitigation statewide.

We applaud the tireless dedication of our State and local first responders, as well as the invaluable contributions of our neighbors and volunteers. Nevertheless, the demand for aid remains substantial, and we urge you to do everything in your power to make sure that our communities have the federal support they need to rebuild and recover. Therefore, we kindly request that you thoroughly consider the State of West Virginia’s appeal for a major disaster declaration to address the enduring challenges our communities are facing.

Read the full press release here.

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Unemployment Rate Rises, Economy Tumbles Amid Fears of Recession

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WASHINGTON – The unemployment rate inched up to 3.9% this month, according to the U.S Labor Department as fears of a coming recession start to sink in.

Job losses in manufacturing, warehousing and transportation were the biggest contributors to the spike. And to make matters worse, inflation does not seem to be slowing as initially predicted.

Americans are spending more but buying less.

And bankruptcies are skyrocketing across the board.

According to the U.S. Court systems filings (ZeroHedge), total bankruptcy filings for the nation rose by 13% in 2023, with 433,658 cases.  Corporate bankruptcies increased by 30% this year with 17,051 cases.  Bankruptcies fell sharply in 2020 as the covid pandemic precipitated the $8 trillion+ stimulus package.  Helicopter money and PPP loans stalled the advance of a growing trend of economic decline in the US, but helped trigger the stagflation crisis as a consequence.  Despite the massive fiat money injection, the bankruptcy train is gaining momentum once again.   

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Many economists believe a recession is looming, if not here.

And some experts believe the latest rise in unemployment has triggered the Sahm Rule which has “proven to be reliable predictor of recessions in the past.”

The rule, hatched by former Federal Reserve economist and now Bloomberg columnist Claudia Sahm, posits the start of a recession when the three-month moving average of the unemployment rate rises by a half-percentage point or more relative to its low during the previous 12 months.

The economy appears to be in a continual freefall and many now question any data coming from the White House.

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Economy

Horror Film “Redhead” Premieres in Huntington to Packed House

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HUNTINGTON, WV – On Monday, in the heart of downtown, the horror movie dynamic directorial duo of Sam and Johnna Hodge, unveiled their latest film, “Redhead” to an audience of more than 200 attendees.

The film premiered at Marquee Cinemas and featured a pre-showing red carpet event.

Sam Hodge, a Barboursville native who has directed three feature length films in as many years, stated how thankful he was at the reception Redhead received by fans.

“I couldn’t be more thankful for the love people showed “Redhead”, from hardcore horror fans to people who avoid scary movies. I’ve never heard such a wild and rowdy audience. They were all involved and very vocal,” Hodge said.

“We did have a couple of patrons who got grossed out before the opening credits who left, but that is kind of a compliment,” he said.

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The film stars Sam’s wife, director and actor Johnna Hodge, who plays the lead role of Autumn Blacksmith, a widow who engages in a relentless revenge binge after witnessing the brutal murder of her husband.

Johnna Hodge, who also co-directed the film, stated how exciting it was to hear the audience react to various scenes throughout the movie.

“You could hear cheers of enjoyment all around and even some saying they were going to vomit from the intense gore,” Hodge said.

“It was excellent for so many showing up and being there to support our film that was done by a community as well as the various actors that traveled in to be a part of this,” she added.

Mark Roberts, creator and owner of The Dead Cards, stated the film is a “must see and wild ride” in his Facebook review of the movie.

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“When you’re talking about indie films, people kind of never know how it will be received or if it is cheesy or low quality. That definitely did not happen with “Redhead”. I feel elated that people are seeing the movie as a high-quality throwback to gritty, unapologetic and classic old-school horror,” Hodge said.

West Virginia has seen a rise in independent film productions since the state reinvented the Film Office and passed the Film Tax Credit last year.

The Hodges said they plan to start marketing the movie on the film festival and horror con circuit before the global distribution process begins.

The movie also stars Ashley Stinnett (M30 Oxy, Hope of Escape, The Good Fight), Will Holland (Hazing Hell, The Neighbors Are Watching), Sara Stinnett (Christmas at the Greenbrier, The Good Fight), Justin W. Fox (Phantom-Fun-World), Daniel Lund (The 3rd Channel, River Beauty), and Evan J. Mackey (Not Another Church Movie, The Walking Dead, Reunion from Hell 2).

For more information and updates about the film, check out the official “Redhead” movie fan page on Facebook.

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