Friday, August 18, 2017

Mattis, Tillerson Reaffirm That Military Option Underlies Diplomatic Efforts on North Korea

Military action against North Korea remains an option should Pyongyang “initiate hostilities,” Defense Secretary James Mattis reiterated on Thursday, when asked about White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s quoted view that “there’s no military solution” to the standoff with Kim Jong-un. Read

Pence Says US and Allies Will ‘Drive Evil of Radical Islamic Terror From Face of the Earth’

The United States and its allies will work together to “drive the evil of radical Islamic terror from the face of the Earth,” Vice-President Mike Pence pledged Thursday, responding to an ISIS-claimed terror attack in Barcelona. Read

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Russia Accuses Obama of ‘Hypocrisy’ For Quoting Mandela on Race – But Ignoring Mandela's Support for Gaddafi

President Obama’s Twitter response to the weekend violence in Charlottesville has become the most “liked” tweet in history – it passed the four million mark early Thursday – but Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman implied Wednesday that the former president invokes Nelson Mandela only when convenient. Read

Russian Gov’t Slams US for ‘Supplying Chemical Agents to Terrorists and Using Photos of Killed Children'

Russia and Syria's Assad regime have long accused blamed rebel groups for chemical weapons attacks. On Wednesday they seized on the reported discovery of riot-control gas to claim that the West was providing “internationally-banned poisonous materials” to militants. Read

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Israel, Jordan Concerned About Iran-Backed Shi’ite Militias Moving Into Vacuum Left by ISIS

The governments of Israel and Jordan have – separately – both voiced concern about the growing influence of Iran on their doorsteps, at a time when security experts warn that the defeat of ISIS could usher a dangerous new regional threat as Iran and its allies move into the vacuum left by the retreating Sunni terrorists. Read

Taliban to Trump: ‘American Youth Are Not Born to Be Killed in Deserts and Mountains of Afghanistan’

The State Department on Tuesday declined to comment on a call by the Taliban for President Trump to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but stressed that it was the militant group that was responsible for the country’s troubles, including a recently-recorded increase in attacks on civilians. Read

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Guam’s Homeland Security Adviser: 0.000001% Chance of Missile ‘Getting Through’ Defenses

Reassuring the people of Guam that there has been no change in threat level, the territory’s homeland security adviser said Monday the chances of a North Korean missile hitting the island were minuscule. Read

Mattis Warns Any Firing at U.S. Could 'Escalate Into War Very Quickly'

Defense Secretary James Mattis cautioned North Korea Monday that any missile attack on American soil could lead to war. Read

Monday, August 14, 2017

McMaster: Susan Rice ‘Not Right’ About Tolerating Kim’s Nuclear Weapons

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Sunday pushed back against a suggestion by his predecessor that the United States could “tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea,” challenging the notion that Cold War-style deterrence could work with a regime like the one in Pyongyang. Read

Iranian Lawmakers Pass Retaliatory Sanctions Against ‘Terrorist’ U.S., Boost Spending on Missiles

Iranian lawmakers on Sunday overwhelmingly backed legislation aimed at countering “hegemonic, terrorist and divisive” U.S. policies in the region, incorporating a raft of sanctions and increased spending for the regime’s ballistic missile program and the terror-sponsoring Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Qods Force. Read

Friday, August 11, 2017

Gov. of US Territory Near Guam: ‘I Place My Full Faith and Trust in Our President’

The governor of the U.S. commonwealth of Pacific islands neighboring Guam has voiced his full support for President Trump and his handling of the standoff with North Korea. Read

Trump Warns Kim Jong-un: ‘Things Will Happen to Them Like They Never Thought Possible’

President Trump on Thursday reiterated his warning to the Kim Jong-un regime not to attack the U.S. or its territories or allies, saying the North Koreans “better get their act together, or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.” Read

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Flashback: Powell Said NK Began Cheating on Clinton-Era Nuclear Deal ‘Before The Ink Was Dry’

Amid the latest surge in tensions on the Korean peninsula, some critics are blaming President George W. Bush for the threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons – despite assertions that the regime was cheating on its nuclear freeze commitments well before the end of the Clinton administration. Read

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

North Korea Threatens to Target ‘Areas Around Guam’ With Ballistic Missiles – ‘To Neutralize It’

North Korea on Tuesday threatened to target “areas around Guam” with ballistic missiles, in response to the deployment of Guam-based supersonic U.S. Air Force bombers for combined exercises with South Korean warplanes. Read

North Korea Strengthening Ties With Iran: ‘Tehran and Pyongyang Have a Common Enemy’

North Korea’s provocative actions and belligerent rhetoric directed at the United States come at a time when the Stalinist regime is strengthening ties with another government hostile towards the U.S., building on decades of missile and nuclear program collaboration. Read

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Haley Targets UN Peacekeeping Mission Which Israel Views as Soft on Hezbollah

For 13 years, U.N. Security Council resolutions have been violated daily by the existence and activities – often under the noses of U.N. peacekeepers – of the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon. But now President Trump’s ambassador to the world body wants that to change. Read

US: North Korea Must Stop Missile Launches if it Wants Talks. But Joint Drills With South Korea ‘Will Continue’

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday laid out what the U.S. expects from North Korea ahead of any talks between the two sides: A halt to the increasingly frequent ballistic missile launches that have ratcheted up tensions over recent months. Read

Monday, August 07, 2017

EU Foreign Policy Chief Triggers ‘Selfie’ Scrum in Iranian Parliament

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was a high-profile guest at Saturday’s swearing-in of re-elected Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, but while regime officials pressed her to distance the E.U. from U.S. policies towards Iran, many lawmakers seemed more interested in taking photographs of, and with, the striking Italian. Read

McMaster Rules Out Panama-Style Intervention in Venezuela; Maduro Accuses US Elements After ‘Terrorist Attack’

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro on Sunday accused elements in the United States and Colombia of being behind what his government called a “terrorist attack” at a military base that left two people dead. Read

EU Foreign Policy Chief Triggers ‘Selfie’ Scrum in Iranian Parliament

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was a high-profile guest at Saturday’s swearing-in of re-elected Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, but while regime officials pressed her to distance the E.U. from U.S. policies towards Iran, many lawmakers seemed more interested in taking photographs of, and with, the blonde Italian politician. Read

McMaster Rules Out Panama-Style Intervention in Venezuela; Maduro Accuses US Elements After ‘Terrorist Attack’

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro on Sunday accused elements in the United States and Colombia of being behind what his government called a “terrorist attack” at a military base that left two people dead. Read

Friday, August 04, 2017

US, North Korea to Attend Security Forum, But US to Push For Regime’s Suspension in Future

Ahead of the one annual multilateral forum that has U.S. and North Korean diplomats seated around the same table, the State Department has confirmed it plans to discuss ways of having Pyongyang suspended from future such gatherings. Read

Australian Police: Terror Suspect Wanted His Brother, Unwittingly, to Carry Bomb Onto Int’l Flight

An “Islamic-inspired” terror plot foiled in Australia in recent days involved an effort to detonate a bomb – built with “military-grade explosive” supplied by an ISIS commander in Syria – on a commercial airliner, and a second plan, aimed at creating an “improvised chemical dispersion device” to use in an attack, police revealed on Friday. Read

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Russia Says US Has Declared ‘Fully-Fledged Economic War’

President Trump on Wednesday signed the most consequential foreign policy legislation of his administration to date – a bill imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea – but made clear he was doing so reluctantly. Read

Bill Signed by Trump Targets Iran’s IRGC For Terrorism – For The First Time

While most attention has been focused on the Russia elements of the bipartisan sanctions bill signed by President Trump on Wednesday, the legislation also – for the first time – targets Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for its support for terrorism. Read

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Tillerson Applies Brakes on North Korea War Talk: ‘We’re Not Your Enemy’

The United States “does not seek a regime change” in Pyongyang, and is not looking for a speedy reunification of the Korean peninsula or for “an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. Read

Crisis-Torn Venezuela Remains a Member of the UN’s Top Human Rights Body

The United Nations’ secretary-general and top human rights official on Tuesday both expressed concern about the political crisis in Venezuela, but neither statement addressed the fact that the Nicolas Maduro regime is a member of the U.N.’s top human rights body. Read

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Refugee Admissions Under Trump: More Christians, Fewer Muslims

The first six months-plus of the Trump administration have brought a discernible shift in the religious affiliation breakdown of refugees admitted into the United States, with a larger proportion of Christians to Muslims among those resettled. Read

Xi to Army: China Won’t ‘Swallow Bitter Fruit That is Harmful to our Sovereignty, Security or Development Interests’

Marking the 90th birthday of the world’s largest military Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing does not seek aggression but would never allow any part of the country to split, and is confident the People’s Liberation Army will “defeat all invasions.” Read

Monday, July 31, 2017

Security Beefed Up at Australian Airports After Police Uncover ‘Islamic-Inspired’ Bomb Plot

As Australian police and intelligence agencies try to piece together pieces of an alleged plot to bomb a commercial aircraft, the country’s two busiest airports witnessed lengthy lines and delays Monday, with passengers urged to minimize baggage and arrive earlier than usual for enhanced security checks. Read

Haley: ‘No Point’ in Another Consequence-Free UNSC Meeting on NK Missiles; US is ‘Done Talking’

The United States sees no point in holding an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting Monday on North Korea’s second long-range missile test in 24 days “if it produces nothing of consequence,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Sunday, after tweeting that the U.S. is “done talking” about the issue. Read

Putin on Expulsion of 755 US Diplomats and Staff: ‘We Are Not Going to Leave Anything Unanswered’

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday 755 U.S. diplomats and staff in Russia will have to “terminate their activity” and warned that further restrictions could be taken in response to U.S. sanctions – although he added he hoped they would not be necessary. Read

Friday, July 28, 2017

Brownback’s Nomination to Int’l Religious Freedom Post Wins Praise – But Not From CAIR

President Trump’s decision to nominate Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to the post of ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom was applauded by religious freedom advocates and colleagues Thursday, while an Islamic lobby group expressed alarm, accusing the conservative Republican of anti-Muslim actions. Read

WH: Trump ‘May Veto’ Russia-Iran-North-Korea Sanctions Bill

The U.S. Senate Thursday passed legislation targeting Russia, Iran and North Korea by an overwhelming margin, sending to President Trump’s desk a measure which the White House has not wholeheartedly endorsed. Read

Thursday, July 27, 2017

EU Taking Legal Action Against 3 Nations Resisting Mandatory Refugee Resettlement

The European Union on Wednesday moved ahead with legal action against Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic for refusing to comply with a controversial E.U. scheme to redistribute refugees and migrants for resettlement across the bloc. Read

Trump: Iran May be Declared Non-Compliant With Nuclear Deal Next Time

President Trump is obliged by law to certify every 90 days whether Iran is complying with the nuclear deal negotiated and championed by his predecessor, but in an interview this week he said that he “personally” expects to find Iran in violation of its commitments the next time. Read

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Israel Removes Metal Detectors From Mosque Compound; Islamic Leaders Not Satisfied

Israel’s government bowed Tuesday to Islamic demands to remove anti-terror metal detectors from the al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, but protestors turned their attention to a new grievance – plans to install “smart technology” cameras at the site. Read

Trump: Hezbollah ‘a Menace’ That Is Pursuing Its Own Interests and Those of Iran

Lebanon’s prime minister said at the White House Tuesday he was committed to a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for Hezbollah’s disarmament – but back home his government’s failure to rein in the Iranian-backed group is being starkly illustrated by a fierce terrorist-versus-terrorist battle underway along the Lebanon-Syria border. Read

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Charlie Gard’s Parents: ‘We Are So Sorry That We Couldn’t Save You’

The parents of British baby Charlie Gard said Monday the time wasted in their long legal battle to secure treatment for him in the U.S. has made it too late for their son, leading to their agonizing decision to stop fighting and allow him to “go and be with the angels.” Read

House to Vote on Russia-Iran-North Korea Sanctions Bill; Will Trump Sign It?

Ahead of a vote in the House Tuesday on new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, two of the targeted countries warned against the move and some leading Russian trading partners in Europe are also unhappy. Read

Monday, July 24, 2017

Charlie Gard’s Parents: ‘Disgraceful That Doctors Have Received Death Threats’

Charlie Gard’s parents on Sunday disavowed any abuse and death threats directed at staff at the hospital where he is being treated, and said that they, too, had faced vicious criticism from people who disagree with their fight to secure experimental treatment in the U.S. for their severely ill baby. Read

Hungary’s PM: E.U. is ‘in Alliance’ With Soros to Flood Europe With Refugees

European Union bureaucrats are “in alliance” with billionaire financier George Soros in an attempt to flood Europe with refugees and migrants, Hungary’s outspoken prime minister charged at the weekend, saying each E.U. member-state should be empowered to control its own borders. Read

Friday, July 21, 2017

Metal Detectors, Cameras at Mosques Aren’t Controversial – Except in Jerusalem

Islamic critics of Israel have for years alleged that “al-Aqsa is in danger,” but Israel’s installation of metal detectors that could prevent weapons or bombs entering what Muslims call the “Noble Sanctuary” – the third holiest site in Islam – has sparked an uproar that prompted threats of violence. Read

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Major US Aid Recipients Pakistan, Lebanon Among ‘Terrorist Safe Havens’ in State Dep’t Report

Countries identified as “terrorist safe havens” in the annual State Department terrorism report released Wednesday include major recipients of U.S. foreign assistance, including military aid. Read

Lawmaker Whose Child Miraculously Survived Proposes Amendment Offering Charlie Gard US Residency

A push in Congress to grant residency in the U.S. to the terminally-ill British baby Charlie Gard and his parents is moving ahead, driven by a lawmaker whose own fight to save her severely-ill baby had a happy outcome. Read

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

PLO Official Calls Jerusalem Metal Detectors ‘Intrusive and Dehumanizing’

In what has become a familiar ritual, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah organization called for a “day of rage” Wednesday over the perceived desecration of Islam’s third-holiest site. The anger is not in reaction to a deadly terror attack at the revered site in Jerusalem, however, but to but Israel’s response – the installation of metal detectors designed to prevent a recurrence. Read

Tehran Hits Back at Trump’s New Sanctions, Vows to Retaliate

Iran pledged Tuesday to retaliate after the Trump administration coupled its certification of the regime’s conduct with regard to the nuclear deal with new sanctions targeting the ballistic missile program and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Read

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

CAIR Celebrates Rejection of Amendment Requiring Gov't to Evaluate ‘Violent or Unorthodox Islamic Religious Doctrine’

The Council on American-Islamic Relations urged its supporters Monday to thank their members of Congress after the narrow defeat of a legislative amendment that would have required the Pentagon to assess “the use of violent or unorthodox Islamic religious doctrine to support extremist or terrorist messaging and justification.” Read

Monday, July 17, 2017

Iran Accuses Trump of Violating Nuclear Deal, Jails Another US Citizen

On the eve of the deadline for President Trump to grade Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal, Iran’s foreign minister accused him of violating the accord, while the administration called on the regime to release U.S. citizens held on “fabricated” security charges. Read

Friday, July 14, 2017

Chinese Party Newspaper: The West Bestowed on Dead Dissident ‘A Halo Which Will Not Linger’

As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and others in Washington mourned the death of the long-imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a Communist Party-affiliated newspaper in Beijing said the Nobel peace prize laureate had been “kidnapped” by the West and bestowed with “a halo which will not linger.” Read

China Insists Its 1st Overseas Military Base Has Nothing to Do With Military Expansion

The establishment of China’s first military base beyond its shores is making headlines, but Beijing seems bemused by the attention, insisting the outpost in Djibouti – just miles from a key U.S. Special Forces base – is for logistics and supply, not a step towards extending Chinese “hegemony” abroad. Read

Trump on the Paris Climate Accord: ‘Something Could Happen … We’ll See’

“Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord,” President Trump told reporters in the French capital on Thursday, in reference to the international climate agreement that he withdrew from six weeks ago, to the dismay of governments around the world. Read

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sudan Bristles Over Trump’s 3-Month Delay in Sanctions Decision

The Trump administration’s deferral by three months of a decision on lifting sanctions against Sudan has drawn a chilly response from Khartoum, where the ICC-indicted Islamist president has suspended talks with Washington and his foreign minister is blaming U.S.-based advocacy groups for the setback. Read

GOP Senators Urge Trump Administration to Say Iran Is Not Complying With Nuclear Deal

A lobbying battle between critics and supporters of the Iran nuclear deal is becoming more heated, days before the Trump administration is due to give Congress a periodic verdict on Iran’s compliance and whether U.S. national security interests are being served. Read

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Russia Warns It Could Take Reciprocal Steps If Its Real Estate in US Isn’t Returned

The State Department on Tuesday played down Russian warnings of retaliation if the U.S. does not return two recreational compounds seized by the Obama administration late last year in response to alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election. Read

EU Says Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Does Not Belong to One Country’ But to the World

In response to President Trump’s calls for countries to stop doing business with Tehran, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Tuesday that the Iran nuclear deal – under which many sanctions have been lifted – does not belong to one country but to the world. Read

Israeli Envoy Says His Toilet More Important Than UNESCO World Heritage Decision

An Israeli diplomat demonstrated his contempt for a U.N. Education Science and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decision to designate the traditional burial place of the biblical patriarchs as part of Palestinian territory by saying a call from his plumber about a leaking toilet was more important, and excusing himself from the proceedings. Read

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ex-Ambassador: Don’t Do Prisoner Swap Deal With Turkey’s Erdogan

A former U.S. ambassador to Turkey is urging the Trump administration not to consider swapping a Turkish businessman facing Iran sanctions-busting charges in the U.S. with an American pastor incarcerated in Turkey for nine months. The pastor is accused of having links to “terrorists.” Read

Monday, July 10, 2017

Calls for ‘Justice’ in Mass Gathering of Erdogan’s Opponents in Istanbul

Opponents of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a huge rally in Istanbul Sunday evening, the culmination of a 280-mile “justice march” by the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), aimed at highlighting the Islamist government’s crackdown on its critics since the failed coup attempt almost a year ago. Read

As N. Korea Warns of Nuclear War; Haley Seeks Strong Response From U.N.

As the U.S. looks towards securing a strong U.N. Security Council resolution responding to North Korea’s missile launch, Pyongyang on Sunday ratcheted up the rhetoric, warning of a nuclear conflict and “another world war.” Read

Charlie Gard Case Returns to Court as 2 US Lawmakers Aim to Make Baby Permanent US Resident

Monday may bring new hope for the parents of terminally-ill British baby Charlie Gard, after the London hospital at the center of the drama decided to seek a new court decision following fresh claims relating to experimental treatment available in the United States. Read