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Iran plane downing: Five reasons why the US-Iran crisis is not over



Thankfully, the crisis provoked by the US killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani has not escalated into a full-scale war.

In that sense, there has been de-escalation.

But none of the basic factors that led these two countries to the brink of war have changed. Here’s why this crisis is far from over.

1) De-escalation is only temporary

What some analysts see as de-escalation is nothing of the kind.

Iran’s leaders – shocked to their very core by the killing of Soleimani – did what they could to strike back. Iran wanted to respond by hitting US targets and it wanted the address of the sender to be clear. Thus, it used missiles fired from within its own territory.

But there were practical and political constraints on its actions. It wanted to do something quickly. It was off-balance. And it did not want to start an all-out war.

This account, as many Iranian spokesmen have made clear, is not closed.

It has also been suggested that Iran’s willingness to admit responsibility for the downing of the Ukrainian passenger plane is another effort to de-escalate tensions. This is wrong.

Iran’s natural response was to deny any involvement. But when the Americans claimed its intelligence proved the contrary, when Ukrainian investigators found evidence of a missile strike, and when independent investigators proved the veracity of video that showed a plane being shot down, Iran had little choice but to change tack.

Indeed, as soon as the bulldozers began to clear away the wreckage from the crash site it was clear that Iran knew exactly what had happened. If there was any suggestion of an accident, then there was every reason for the authorities to leave the debris untouched.

The country’s admission was related more to its own domestic problems. Just a few months ago, there was a wave of protests against corruption and the collapsing economy.

Look how quickly protests have been revived. This is about damage limitation at home not de-escalation with the Americans.

2) US policy is not changing

Why did the US kill Soleimani and attempt to strike at a second senior Iranian official in Yemen? It has claimed – perhaps for legal reasons – that it was acting to prevent a serious imminent attack against US interests.

This argument has not convinced many analysts or the president’s critics in Washington.

It is much more likely that the attacks were an attempt to re-establish some clear line of deterrence. In the short-term this may work. Iran is going to have to calibrate its future actions very carefully.

But, at the same time as President Donald Trump is threatening devastation against Iran, he is also signalling that he still wants out of the Middle East. He sees it as somebody else’s problem. This will inevitably undermine the force of any deterrent message sent.

The US will continue to cripple the Iranian economy. But it has not brought Tehran to the negotiating table to capitulate. Rather, it has emboldened Iran to strike back by mounting a maximum pressure campaign of its own.

The US wants to double down on Tehran and significantly reduce the resources it deploys to the region. It probably cannot have both.

3) Iran’s strategic goals remain the same

Iran’s economy may be creaking and many of its citizens may be increasingly unhappy, but this is a “revolutionary regime”.

It is not suddenly going to abandon power. Groups like Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are far too strong. Their response has been to clamp down at home and to push back against US pressure. That will continue.

Iran’s strategic goal is to push the US out of the region, at least in Iraq, and this may be closer to being realized than it was before Soleimani’s killing.

From the Iranian authorities’ perspective at least, Tehran’s policy has had many notable successes. It has saved President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria and enabled it to open up a new front against Israel. It has a significant influence in Iraq.

Because of the contradictions in President Trump’s policy, US allies in the region feel increasingly on their own. The Saudis have been exploring a low-level dialogue with Tehran; Turkey is going its own way and establishing a new relationship with Russia. Only Israel’s government seems to think that the Soleimani killing portends a renewed engagement from Mr Trump in the region.

They may be disappointed.

Internal dissent and a crumbling economy may push the IRGC to up the pressure on the US over time. It has just suffered two devastating hits and it will be smarting for revenge.

4) There are contradictions in Iraq’s position

The sign pointing to the exit for US troops in Iraq is now looking bolder and brighter than ever.

Iraq’s provisional government is in crisis having suffered its own wave of popular protest. Many people are unhappy with both the US presence and Iran’s influence in the country.

A non-binding parliamentary vote has put the issue of a US troop withdrawal firmly on the agenda. This does not mean that the US forces are on their way out tomorrow, but it will require some deft diplomacy to keep them there.

Instead, President Trump has threatened to freeze Iraqi government funds in US banks if they force the Americans out.

The US involvement in Iraq matters. When their forces and their allies took on the fighters of Islamic State in Iraq it was always seen as a long-term deployment. Once the IS caliphate was destroyed, it was expected US forces would remain there for years.

If they are ejected, it makes it much harder to contain any IS resurgence. But it would also make the remaining US presence in eastern Syria untenable because this is largely supported from US bases in Iraq. The debate on the US troop presence is only just beginning – and it is one that if the US loses, Iran probably wins.

5) The nuclear deal is in real trouble

The roots of this latest crisis go back to May 2018 when the Trump Administration abandoned the Iran nuclear deal.

Since then, the US has been applying maximum pressure on Iran’s economy and Iran has been pursuing a regional pressure campaign of its own by successively renouncing various restrictions imposed by the agreement.

If the deal is not dead, then the only reason it remains alive is that nobody other than President Trump is willing to see it collapse. Unless something changes, then it is the beginning of the end.

The deal matters. Prior to the agreement, there was a very real risk of war – with Israel (or perhaps the US and Israel in tandem) likely to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Iran will try to keep the other signatories on side for as long as possible. But this is a festering crisis. There seems to be no way, despite European efforts, to relieve the economic pressure on Tehran. Eventually the agreement may collapse and, in the meantime, Iran may get closer to sprinting towards the bomb.

But whatever happens with the agreement itself, President Trump’s policy has inevitably drawn the US back into the Middle East at a time when US national security policy is trying to move it away.

Suorce: BBC

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Jackie Appiah, D’banj tell story of love, trials in ‘Symphony’



Popular singer, Oladapo Oyebanjo, aka D’banj; and actress, Jackie Appiah, will be telling a story of life, love, dreams, success, trials, societal failure and the resultant effects in a new movie titled, ‘Symphony’, which will be premiered in cinemas on 9 September, 2022.

The movie, which has youth and music as its themes, reflects the travails of a typical talented African youth, struggling to overcome all odds in order to experience a breakthrough.

Shot in Lagos, the film, jointly produced by EverRise Entertainment and Sulcata Entertainment, features D’banj in his debut acting role, with a rich complement of actors such Lanre Hassan, aka Iya Awero; Bolaji Amusan (Mr Latin), Kalu Ikeagwu, Efa Iwara, Scarlet Gomez, Daniel Abua and Doris Okorie. It also stars Victor Adeshiyan and Kenyan singer, Tanasha Donna.

A music album containing original soundtracks and performances from the project will also be launched at the premier.

The director of the movie, Oraka Nnanyelu, described movie as a beautifully crafted, priceless work of art that mirrors the everyday life of the African youth’s journey to relevance.




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Mike Tyson loses his cool and unleashes punches on passenger ‘who wouldn’t stop talking to him’ on flight



Mike Tyson was seen repeatedly a punching a fellow passenger on a flight from San Francisco to Florida on Wednesday night, leaving the man with a bloody forehead.

Cell phone footage, obtained by TMZ, shows the former heavyweight champion smacking an allegedly over-eager fan seated directly behind him.

That man initially had a cordial exchange with Tyson, according to TMZ. A witness says the man and a friend greeted the 55-year-old boxing legend as they boarded the plane and even got their picture taken with Tyson.

Tyson soon grew tired of engaging with the fan and reportedly asked him to be quiet.

When the man continued talking, Tyson then stood, turned, and threw several punches to the man’s face and forehead.

‘Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey Mike, come on, stop that,’ a witness is heard saying on the cell phone footage.

Another video from the flight shows the aftermath of the incident, with the man sporting traces of blood on his forehead.

‘My boy just got beat up by Mike Tyson,’ said the man shooting the video. ‘Yeah, he got f***ed up. Just trying to ask for an autograph. I don’t know what happened.’

The victim reportedly received medical attention and went to the police over the incident, but there has been no word yet if Tyson is being investigated. has reached out to spokespeople for Tyson and JetBlue but has yet to receive a response from either.

The incident took place after Tyson recently shared a bizarre theory while high on marijuana during a recent podcast.

During Friday’s installment of The Joe Rogan Experience, a stoned Tyson said he ‘really believes’ that the rich abduct vagrants to chase and hunt them on large private estates, unbeknownst to the uninitiated 99 percent.

After the pair smoked weed – appearing to light up two separate joints while sitting across from each other – Tyson told Rogan that ‘whatever you think a human did to another human being – it happened. Whatever it is, it happened.’

‘Somewhere in history?’ Rogan asked.

‘Yeah, and sometimes these special camps and stuff it happens,’ Tyson continued. ‘These people own these thousands of acres and nothing grows on ’em.’

‘Right, weird ranches where people do rituals and s***,’ Rogan encouraged.

‘Might want to hunt a motherf*****,’ Tyson said.

‘That’s not outside the realm of possibility!’ Rogan replied, shocked.

‘I know, that’s why I’m throwing it at you,’ Tyson said.

‘I guarantee you there’s been someone, somewhere in the world who paid someone to hunt a person,’ Rogan said. ‘I guarantee you that’s happened!’

Tyson is rumored to be working on an exhibition fight with YouTuber Jake Paul, but the two sides have yet to finalize anything. In January The Sun reported the two were nearing a deal for a bout that could be worth upwards of $50 million.

‘Mike and Jake are on board for an exhibition bout in Las Vegas,’ a business associate of Tyson’s told The Sun.

‘A verbal deal has been struck to get it on, but like all forms of sports business, now it’s all about the contracts and money split.

‘Mike is looking for a certain figure to get into the ring with a profit share guarantee.

‘Jake obviously has that on his mind but is keen to show the world that stepping into the ring with a man once called, ”the baddest man on the planet,” takes his boxing career to the next level.’

Obviously it’s the 30-year age difference that would make this potential bout unique.

‘This fight bridges the gap between old school boxing fans and the new generation of followers,’ the source told The Sun.

The 30-year age gap aside, Tyson (50-6-2) holds a considerable advantage in experience having fought in 58 professional bouts against actual boxers.

Paul, on the other hand, is 5-0 against another YouTuber, former NBA star Nate Robinson, and MMA fighters Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley, the latter of whom was knocked out in their rematch last month.

Unlike those, though, this would be an exhibition fight, in which knockdowns — let alone any knockouts — are quite rare.

The Sun’s source believes the bout can generate as much as much as £36million ($49 million) between live and pay per view broadcasts.

Tyson previously speculated about another exhibition following his split decision draw against retired boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. in 2020. At the time, he thought he’d be back in the ring in February, but it now looks to be taking place later in 2022.

‘I am going to have a return fight in February and we are pretty skeptical about the opponent but it will be a really stimulating opponent,’ Tyson told the Sun.

According to Tyson, the money for fighting one of the well-known Paul or his brother Logan would be too much to refuse.

‘That is the fight for the money,’ Tyson said in 2021. ‘Those are the money-making fights, those guys got 35 million people to watch.

‘Hell, I would fight them,’ he continued. ‘They would fight me. That would make a lot of money.

‘Hundred million dollars, they do anything, they don’t mind getting beat up for a hundred million dollars.’

While a win over Tyson would be Paul’s first against a legitimate boxer, it might not impress those within the sport.

Even aside from his age, Tyson’s reputation as the scariest man in boxing was laid to rest since 1990, when he was knocked out by James ‘Buster’ Douglas in Tokyo.

Prior to that, things were considerably different for Tyson, who was once so scared of killing his opponents in the ring that he often needed to have sex with groupies before fights to take the edge off his rage, his former bodyguard and chauffeur has claimed.

‘He had to get laid to disengage some of the strength he had,’ Rudy Gonzalez told The Sun in November. ‘So I had girls tucked away in bathrooms and changing rooms.

‘Sometimes he’d go in with them for a minute, bang the s*** out of them, snap his neck and say: ”Okay this guy is going to live tonight.”’

The strategy may have worked. Tyson, now 55, never did kill anyone in the ring, although he bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear in 1997, leading to a disqualification in their infamous rematch.

As Gonzalez explained, the ritual of pre-fight sex was born out of the heavyweight champion’s fear of killing another boxer.

‘His biggest fear was that he would kill someone in that ring,’ Gonzalez said. ‘He knew he could do it.

‘It is no exaggeration to say Mike was like a train hitting these guys. Having sex was his way of disengaging that power and loosening up a bit.’

In addition to rage and sex, Tyson’s pre-fight routine was also defined by intense anxiety and sorrow.

‘He had an anxiety problem where he would be in despair with anxiety of not feeling good enough or not wanting to screw it up,’ Gonzalez said.

‘Mike had the fear that if he screwed this up, he would end up back in his old neighborhood or be locked up.’

And Tyson had reason to fear his former life.

Abandoned by his father at birth, and orphaned at 16 when his mother passed away, Tyson grew up in Brooklyn’s rough Brownsville neighborhood in the 1970s and had the physical and emotional scars to prove it.

According to several accounts, Tyson was targeted for his short stature and his lisp at a young age, and he responded by getting arrested 38 times by age 13.

He was eventually enrolled at the Tryon School for Boys in Johnstown, New York, where a corrections officer named Bobby Stewart introduced him to boxing and legendary trainer Cus D’Amato, who would become Tyson’s legal guardian.

Tyson would soon become the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history by beating Trevor Berbick in 1986 at age 20.

But his aside from his prodigious power (44 of his 50 career wins ended by knockout), Tyson will also be remembered for disappointments inside and outside the ring.

He steamrolled over lesser opponents in the late 1980s, but his one-year marriage to actress Robin Givens ended with allegations of abuse against Tyson.

In 1990, in what was thought to be a warmup fight for his much-anticipated bout with Holyfield, Tyson was stunned by Douglas, a 40-to-1 underdog.

Douglas would promptly lose his titles to Holyfield, rendering a rematch pointless, but Tyson got back on the winning track with three straight knockouts and a unanimous decision victory over Donovan Ruddock in their rematch.

However, before Tyson could step into the ring with Holyfield, he would be accused and convicted of raping an 18-year-old beauty pageant contestant in an Indianapolis hotel room.

He would return to the ring in 1995, but Tyson was never the same.

After winning four easy bouts upon his release, Tyson would go 5-5 over the remainder of his career, including two losses to Holyfield and a knockout defeat to Lennox Lewis. His career ended in 2005 with a an embarrassing loss to unheralded Kevin McBride.

In retirement, Tyson has changed his public persona, launching a one-man show in 2013 in which he discussed his often traumatic upbringing and adult life. He’s also started charities for children from broken homes, appeared in movies, such as The Hangover series, and is now a cannabis entrepreneur.

He’s also opened up about past drug use, which he said centered on cocaine, but also included the venom from a poisonous toad that he said actually left him legally dead for a brief moment.

‘In my trips I’ve seen that death is beautiful,’ Tyson told the New York Post recently. ‘Life and death both have to be beautiful, but death has a bad rep. The toad has taught me that I’m not going to be here forever. There’s an expiration date.

‘I did it as a dare,’ Tyson sad of ingesting the psychedelic. ‘I was doing heavy drugs like cocaine, so why not? It’s another dimension. Before I did the toad, I was a wreck. The toughest opponent I ever faced was myself. I had low self-esteem. People with big egos often have low self-esteem. We use our ego to subsidize that. The toad strips the ego.’

A year ago, Tyson stepped into the ring for an exhibition against former multi-weight division title-winner Roy Jones Jr. The WBC unofficially called the bout a draw.


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Otumfour to Musah Superior- I know your competence, commitment and honesty –



The former Tamale Mayor who is currently the Deputy C.E.O of Ghana Forestry Commission, Hon. Iddrisu Musah affectionately called Musah Superior has paid a courtesy call on the Asantehene, His Royal Majesty Otumfour Osei Tutu II at his Magnificent Manhyia Palace in the Ashanti Region.

The visit was particularly intended to officially inform him of his intention to bid for the New Patriotic Party’s General Secretary position in the upcoming elections and also seek his blessings.

In attendance was his official campaign team championing the Peoples’ Campaign Agenda towards victory.

The Peoples’ Campaign Official Team

The Otumfour Osei Tutu II in his acceptance elements emphatically stated that, he has been monitoring Musah Superior from his days of occupying the office of Tamale Metropolist as a Mayor and know how competent, selfless, honest and committed he is.

His Majesty added that, he believes Musah Superior will perform very well if he is elected the Next General Secretary of the NPP.

Otumfour further advised him to continue being humble, committed and selfless as he has always exhibited and that will draw the delegates to him.

He blessed the aspirant and his team and wished them well in the upcoming elections.


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