Thursday, October 19, 2017

Israeli Minister: In Another War With Hezbollah, Lebanon and its Infrastructure Will be Fair Game

If another war breaks out in Lebanon, Israel will be obliged to target not just Hezbollah but also Lebanese government infrastructure, a senior Israeli government minister warned on Wednesday. Read

Monday, October 16, 2017

Netanyahu: ‘Trump Correctly Identifies That Iran is Not The Solution, But Perhaps the Problem in The Middle East’

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised President Trump on Sunday for choosing to confront the risks posed by Iran rather than kick the can down the road for a future administration to deal with. Read

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Kerry Questions Trump’s Maturity; His Nuclear Deal Negotiating Partner Zarif Says Iranians Are ‘All IRGC’

As reaction – much of it negative – to President Trump’s Iran policy announcement continues to pour in, the stance taken by the two men most intimately associated with the nuclear deal is raising eyebrows. Read

Friday, October 13, 2017

Withdrawing From UNESCO, Trump Retreads Path Taken by Reagan

The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization comes 33 years after President Reagan left amid concerns about mismanagement and an agenda viewed as corrosively anti-Western. Read

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

North Korea Closely Watched as Key Anniversary Marked; Mattis Says Duty of US Army to ‘Stand Ready’

The U.S. and its allies in north-east Asia are keeping a close eye on North Korea on Tuesday, in case the Stalinist regime marks an important anniversary with a new nuclear, missile or military provocation. Read

Russia Signals Move to Require US Broadcasters to Register as ‘Foreign Agents’

Angered by reported pressures brought to bear on its media mouthpieces in the U.S., the Kremlin is taking aim at American media organizations in what it’s calling a “mirror” response to what it sees as unfair targeting of Russian outlets. Read

Monday, October 09, 2017

Iran’s IRGC: If Trump Imposes Sanctions, U.S. Military Bases Should Move Outside Our Missile Range

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Sunday delivered a thinly-veiled threat to launch missile strikes on U.S. military bases in the region if the United States imposes new sanctions against the regime. Read

US-Turkey Spat Deepens, After US Consulate Employee Arrested in Erdogan’s Crackdown

Turkey said Sunday it was suspending all visa services for U.S. citizens at its missions in the U.S., after the American Embassy in Ankara suspended non-immigrant visa services following the arrest of a consulate employee in the Islamist government’s ongoing crackdown on dissent. Read

American Pastor Begins Second Year in Turkish Prison Despite Pressure From Trump, Pence

American Pastor Andrew Brunson has begun a second year behind bars in Turkey, with no sign that the Islamist government is inclined to heed U.S. calls for his release. Read

Friday, October 06, 2017

Trump to Declare Iran Noncompliant With Nuclear Deal Obligations

President Trump looks set next week to “decertify” Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the nuclear deal negotiated by his successor, after reiterating Thursday his view that the regime in Tehran has “not lived up to the spirit of the agreement.” Read

Anti-Nuke Group Wins Nobel Peace Prize

With the controversial Iran nuclear deal under the Trump administration’s microscope, there had been growing speculation that Norway’s Nobel peace prize committee might award this year’s prize to two or three of the agreement’s chief negotiators. Read

Thursday, October 05, 2017

State Dep’t: Tillerson Doesn’t ‘Show Up in Front of Every Television Camera,’ As Others Have Done

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson cares more about promoting America’s foreign policy goals than about the television cameras, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Wednesday. Read

Putin: Kim Jong-il Told Me in Early 2000s North Korea Had an Atomic Bomb

Russian President Vladimir Putin in a surprise admission Wednesday said that in the early 2000s, then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il told him personally that his regime had an atomic bomb. Read

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Sen. Cotton on Iran: ‘When Your Opponent is on His Knees, You Drive Him to The Ground’

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sparred with an audience member at the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday evening, after he took issue with the senator’s comment that an enemy on its knees should be choked out, not given a hand up – in reference to the Obama administration’s approach towards Iran in 2013. Read

State Dep’t: Of Course We Oppose Death Penalty for Same-Sex Activity

The U.S. voted against a U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on the death penalty, not because it condemned capital punishment for homosexuality, but because the text included calls for the abolition of the death penalty altogether, the State Department said Tuesday. Read

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

State Department Expels 15 Cuban Diplomats

The State Department asked Cuba Tuesday to reduce its diplomatic representation in Washington in line with the scaled-back U.S. presence on the island following bizarre “health attacks” targeting U.S. personnel stationed in Havana. Read

Iran, Speaking on Behalf of 120 Countries: Don’t Equate Fight Against Occupation With Terrorism

The struggle against foreign “domination” or “occupation” should not be equated with terrorism, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said during a U.N. General Assembly committee meeting Monday on “measures to counter international terrorism.” Read

Monday, October 02, 2017

U.S. Admitted Fewest Refugees in 10 Years in FY17--But Still Admitted 53,716

The last week of fiscal year 2017 brought an uptick in the number of refugees admitted to the United States, lifting September’s arrivals to 2,324 and the year’s total to 53,716. Read

Trump Slaps Down Dialogue With North Korea As Another Tense Month Begins

October looks set to bring even greater tensions with North Korea, with key anniversaries offering opportunities for new regime nuclear or missile provocations at a time when President Trump seems disinclined to pursue a diplomatic response. Read

Friday, September 29, 2017

Feted at European Parliament, Palestinian Hijacker Rejects ‘Terrorist’ Label, Equates Israelis With Nazis

The presence at the European Parliament this week of a Palestinian who hijacked planes in Europe last century – and whose organization is on the E.U.’s terrorist list – continues to make waves, with some lawmakers and others calling for an investigation. Read

‘Hostage-Style Prisoner Swap’: Critics Slam Erdogan’s Comments on Jailed US Pastor

Turkey’s Islamist president came under fire Thursday for comments linking the fate of an incarcerated American pastor accused of espionage with the extradition of a U.S.-based Turk accused of masterminding a failed coup attempt last year. Read

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Trump Proposes Lowest Refugee Admission Ceiling in Decades

The Trump administration’s proposed ceiling of 45,000 refugees to be resettled in the United States in the new fiscal year is the lowest cap set since the Refugee Act was passed in 1980. Read

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Half a Century Ago Leila Khaled Hijacked Two Aircraft in Europe; This Week She Was Guest at European Parliament

A woman who hijacked two aircraft in Europe of behalf of a Palestinian terrorist group almost half a century ago was feted as an invited guest at a European Parliament event on Tuesday evening, despite the fact her group is on the European Union’s terrorist list. Read

Dunford: North Korea’s Ability to Target US With Nuclear-Tipped ICBM ‘A Very Short Time’ Away

Whether it’s three, six or eighteen months, North Korea’s capability to reach the United States with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile is only “a matter of a very short time” away, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said Tuesday. Read

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

September Could See Fewest Refugee Arrivals Yet; Smallest Proportion of Muslims

With the Trump administration just days away from reporting to Congress on its planned refugee admission plans for FY 2018, the last month of the closing fiscal year could see the smallest monthly refugee intake yet – and the smallest proportion of Muslims among them. Read

Critics Mock Trump Over Iran Missile Tweet, But Some Media Were ‘Duped’ Too

President Trump was derided on social and mainstream media Monday for tweeting about a purported Iranian missile launch which U.S. officials now say did not take place – but plenty of media outlets also presented the claimed launch as fact. Read

Son of Hamas Founder Shakes Up UN Human Rights Council: ‘If Israel Did Not Exist, You Would Have No One to Blame’

The U.N. Human Rights Council’s perennial debate focusing on condemning Israel witnessed an unusual intervention Monday – a strong-worded statement in Arabic-accented English slamming not Israel but the Palestinian Authority. Read

Monday, September 25, 2017

Kim Jong-un's Foreign Minister Calls Trump ‘President Evil’

President Trump’s characterization of Kim Jong-un as “rocket man” only makes it all the more inevitable that North Korea’s rockets will “visit” the U.S. mainland, the regime’s foreign minister warned on Saturday. Read

N. Korea, Venezuela, Chad Added to Travel Restriction Countries; CAIR Still Calls It ‘Muslim Ban’

North Korea, Venezuela and Chad have been added to a handful of countries whose citizens face varying restrictions on visiting the United States under a proclamation issued by President Trump on Sunday, as the main provisions of a previous temporary ban were set to expire. Read

Friday, September 22, 2017

Kim Jong-un Calls Trump ‘Mentally-Deranged’; Warns U.S. Will ‘Pay Dearly’

North Korea’s foreign minister warned Friday the regime could test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific, after Kim Jong-un threatened to carry out the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” in response to President Trump’s speech at the U.N. this week. Read

Ex-Dem Senator: On Iran, Change From Previous Administration Is ‘Night to Day’

Former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman told a “Free Iran” rally in New York this week that while he doesn’t always see eye to eye with President Trump, “when it comes to Iran, the change from the last administration to this one is a change from night to day, from darkness to sunlight, from illusion to reality and realism.” Read

Ambassador Haley: ‘No, I Do Not’ Want to Be Secretary of State

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Thursday she does not want to be secretary of state, slapping down swirling rumors she is maneuvering to replace Rex Tillerson as the nation’s top diplomat. Read

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rouhani Hits Back at Trump: ‘Ignorant, Absurd and Hateful Rhetoric’

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani on Wednesday hit back at President Trump’s strong criticism of Iran’s policies and conduct, using the same term – “rogue” – to describe the U.S. administration as Trump had used a day earlier when referring to the regime in Tehran. Read

Pence to UN: ‘The Truth Is, The Human Rights Council Doesn’t Deserve Its Name’

A day after the Trump administration co-hosted a meeting to discuss ways of keeping rights abusers off the U.N.’s top human rights body, Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday underlined its scathing assessment of the Human Rights Council, saying that it “doesn’t deserve its name.” Read

In Message Directed at Iran, Argentina Demands Justice for Perpetrators of Deadly 1990s Bombings

Hours after Iranian President Hasan Rouhani told the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday his country was “on the frontlines of fighting terror,” Argentina’s vice president reminded the world that her country still has a 23-year-old score to settle with Tehran – over the deadliest terror attack in its history. Read

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Netanyahu Responds to UN ‘Absurdities’ on Israel: ‘It’s Called the Bible. I Highly Recommend It’

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday attacked “absurdities” in U.N. agencies’ treatment of Israel, invoking tennis legend John McEnroe, the Bible – and penguins – in a speech that was in turn deadly serious about Iran, upbeat about Israeli diplomatic breakthroughs, and thankful to the Trump administration for its outspoken support. Read

Iran, Venezuela Fire Back After Trump’s Strong Criticism at UN

President Trump’s debut U.N. General Assembly speech Tuesday drew strong reactions from two of the three regimes he criticized most sharply, although the response from Kim Jong-un – whom Trump derisively labeled “rocket man” and said he was on a “suicide mission” – is yet to be seen. Read

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rouhani: Iran Will React ‘Swiftly’ to US Withdrawal From Nuclear Deal

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, on U.S. soil, on Monday repeated an earlier warning that Iran’s nuclear program could return within a short time to the condition it was in before the nuclear deal was implemented, should President Trump withdraw from the agreement. Read

Sen. Gardner: 21 Countries Should Close Embassies in North Korea, Expel It From U.N.

A Republican senator is calling on 21 countries that have embassies in North Korea to shutter their missions, cut diplomatic and economic relations, and support calls to have the Kim Jong-un regime expelled from the United Nations. Read

Monday, September 18, 2017

Putin Staying Away From Trump’s UN Reform Summit

On the day President Trump hosts a high-level summit in New York City on reforming the United Nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin will be more than 4,000 miles away, having chosen to spend Monday observing Russia-Belarus wargames south of St. Petersburg. Read

Kurdish Independence Vote to Go Ahead, Despite Opposition From US, Iran

Kurdish leaders are going ahead with a controversial independence referendum despite strong opposition from the Trump administration and the regime in Iran – albeit for different reasons. Read

Friday, September 15, 2017

Trump Says, ‘You’ll See’ What He Plans to Do About Iran Nuke Deal

President Trump on Thursday reissued waivers of certain sanctions on Iran, but hinted that certification of the regime meeting its nuclear deal commitments – due in one month’s time – is far from assured, and said the agreement “should have never, ever been made.” Read

North Korea’s Longest Missile Flight Ever Shows Guam Is in Range

The ballistic missile fired over Japan on Friday traveled further than any previously launched by the North Korean regime – about 2,300 miles (3,700 kilometers) – before splashing down in the northern Pacific. Read

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Democrats to Trump: Time Running Out to Consult Congress on FY2018 Refugee Admissions

Two senior Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a letter reminding the Trump administration Wednesday that it is obliged to consult with Congress on its planned refugee admission numbers for the coming fiscal year – and has less than three weeks to do so. Read

Iran Calls Buenos Aires Bombing Allegations a ‘Zionist Plot’

Iran’s foreign ministry on Wednesday dismissed as “phony” and a “Zionist conspiracy” allegations by Israel and Argentina that the regime was responsible for two deadly bombings in Buenos Aires in the 1990s. Read

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Egypt and Peru Heed U.S. Calls to Isolate North Korea

Egypt says it has severed all military ties with North Korea, the latest international response to the regime’s nuclear test and missile launches. Read

Iran to IAEA: No, You May Not Visit Our Military Sites

Iran on Tuesday rejected the notion that the U.N. nuclear watchdog has the right to request access to its military sites, calling into question again the Obama administration’s contention that it had negotiated with Tehran the “most robust and intrusive” regime of inspections ever. Read

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Israel’s Outreach to Africa Faces Setback as First-Ever Summit Postponed

Israel’s drive to build international partnerships in the face of isolation and boycott campaigns has suffered a setback, with the abrupt postponement of an unprecedented summit with African governments next month. Read

Russia Hints That Its Diplomatic Spat With U.S. May Worsen

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov alluded Monday to a further reduction in the number of U.S. diplomatic staff on Russian territory, signaling that the tit-for-tat spat with the United States is far from over. Read

New North Korea Sanctions ‘Strongest Measures Ever’ – But Watered Down to Placate China, Russia

The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously adopted its second sanctions resolution against North Korea in five weeks, but Russian and Chinese objections diluted a measure which the Trump administration had wanted to include a total oil embargo. Read

Monday, September 11, 2017

Ahead of UN Sanctions Vote, N. Korea Says US Risks ‘Greatest Pain and Suffering’ Ever

Ahead of a possible showdown in the U.N. Security Council over a U.S.-led bid to enact the toughest sanctions yet on North Korea, Kim Jong-un’s regime warned Monday that the U.S. would pay “due price.” Read

16 Years After 9/11, Doctor Who Helped Find Bin Laden Remains in Pakistan Prison

As the United States marks the 16th anniversary of al-Qaeda’s devastating attack, the Pakistani doctor who helped in the effort to track down Osama bin Laden six years ago remains imprisoned, despite efforts by U.S. lawmakers to condition U.S. aid on his freedom. Read

Friday, September 08, 2017

Assad Complains to UN After Reported Israeli Airstrike Targeting Chemical Weapons Facility

The Assad regime on Thursday complained to the United Nations after an Israeli airstrike reportedly targeted a facility linked to its chemical weapons program. Read

Putin: Tillerson Has ‘Fallen in With Bad Company’ Since Russia Gave Him Friendship Medal

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s jibe that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had “fallen in with bad company” since the then-ExxonMobil CEO received a top Russian award four years ago elicited a wry response Thursday from State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert. Read

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Reports: Israel Bombs Assad Regime Chemical Weapons Facility

Ten years to the day after Israeli warplanes bombed a nuclear reactor in the desert of eastern Syria, the Jewish state on Wednesday night reportedly targeted another Syrian site, this time a facility in Hama province believed to be linked to the Assad regime’s chemical and biological weapons programs. Read

UN Inquiry Charges That Assad Regime, Not Rebels, Gassed Civilians Last April

For the first time, a United Nations report has assigned blame for a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Idlib province last April, pointing a finger at the Assad regime and discounting Syrian and Russian claims that the attack was fabricated or the work of anti-Assad rebels. Read

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Maduro Cancels Plan to Address UN Human Rights Council; Activists Want Venezuela Expelled

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has canceled plans to address the Human Rights Council in Geneva next week, but campaigners are pushing ahead with a drive to have his country suspended from the U.N.’s most prominent human rights body. Read

Ambassador Nikki Haley: Trump ‘Has Grounds’ to Find Iran Noncompliant on Nuclear Deal

If President Trump decides next month not to certify Iran’s compliance with its obligations under the nuclear deal, “he has grounds to stand on,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Tuesday. Read

Monthly Refugee Admissions Lowest in 15 Years; Percentage of Muslims Declining

Nine hundred and thirteen refugees were admitted to the United States during August, the first time the monthly intake has dropped below one thousand in 15 years, and the smallest number of monthly admissions since October 2002. Read

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

U.S. Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley Says Kim Jong-un is ‘Begging for War’

Kim Jong-un is “begging for war,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council on Monday, urging it to adopt the “strongest possible” measures against North Korea, because “only the strongest sanctions will enable us to resolve this problem through diplomacy.” Read

Obama’s UN Engagement Brought Modest Returns, Voting Patterns Show

Despite eight years of enthusiastic engagement with the United Nations, the last year of the Obama administration saw Washington’s positions supported less than 55 percent of the time by other member-states, according to a congressionally-mandated State Department report. Read