• Latin America securityVenezuelan vice-president is a major drug trafficker, with terrorism ties: U.S.

    The Trump administration on Monday announced it had imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s vice-president, Tareck El Aissami, charging that he was a major drug trafficker. El Aissami is the most senior Venezuelan official – and one of the most senior Latin American official — to have been charged of drug offenses by the United States. El Aissami has caught the eye of U.S. law enforcement years ago, when, as interior minister in the government of Hugi Chavez, he ordered his underlings to issue dozens of fraudulent Venezuelan passports to people from the Middle East, including members of Hezbollah.

  • Russia, Turkey, and Iran unveil Syria cease-fire plan

    Russia, Turkey, and Iran agreed Tuesday on the outlines of a plan to reinforce a cease-fire in Syria, making the three most important outside players in the conflict as guarantors to a peace process. The deal, reached after two days of talks in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, drew Iran into an alliance with Russia and Turkey over ways to secure a settlement. The deal called for a cease-fire enforcement mechanism jointly monitored by the three states – which also committed themselves jointly to fight the Islamic State and Syria’s al-Qaeda affiliate. Observers noted that the deal would test Russia’s new role as a lead regional power broker.