Thursday, June 22, 2017

Saudi’s New King-in-Waiting Accused by Tehran of Promoting Anti-Iran Terror

Weeks after the Iranian regime was infuriated by provocative comments made by the second-in-line to the Saudi throne, the target of that anger was promoted Wednesday to the position of king-in-waiting. The move could worsen the already seething rivalry between the Sunni and Shi’ite near-neighbors. Read

Trump Takes a Dig at Wind Farms: ‘As the Birds Fall to the Ground’

President Trump said Wednesday he was supportive of a range of energy sources, from coal to solar to nuclear, but took a dig at wind power. Read

S. Korea Irked by Suggestion Trump May Not ‘Allow’ Its New President to Talk to Pyongyang

A week before South Korea’s liberal new leader is due to meet with President Trump at the White House, his office expressed irritation Wednesday at the notion he would need the American president’s consent to initiate dialogue with Kim Jong-un’s regime. Read

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Venezuelan Minister Sneers at U.S. Diplomat: ‘Send In Your Marines’

Venezuela’s fiery foreign minister clashed with a senior U.S. diplomat at an Organization of American States meeting Tuesday, saying mockingly that the only way a regional mediation initiative responding to the crisis in her country could be imposed on Venezuela would be to “send in your Marines.” Read

Report: Iran Collaborating With N. Korea on Extensive Ballistic Missile Development

Iran has intensified its development of ballistic missiles in recent years, particularly since the conclusion of the nuclear deal, and is doing so with significant collaboration with fellow pariah state North Korea, according to the exiled opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Read

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Iran Says Its First Known Ballistic Missile Strike in Syria Sends Message to USA

Iranian lawmakers say the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ unprecedented firing of missiles at terrorist targets inside Syria sends a message not just to terrorists but also signals Iran’s dismissal of recent initiatives in the U.S. Congress targeting their country. Read

New Calls to Ban Tourist Travel to North Korea After Otto Warmbier’s Death

The U.S. government should ban tourist travel to North Korea, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said Monday following news that Otto Warmbier, the American student released from a North Korean prison last week and returned home in a coma, has died. Read

Monday, June 19, 2017

U.S. Shoots Down Syrian Fighter Plane: ‘Will Not Hesitate to Defend Coalition or Partner Forces From Any Threat’

For the first time, a U.S. fighter plane on Sunday shot down a Syrian aircraft, after the Assad regime’s Su-22 dropped bombs near U.S.-backed rebels near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. The Syrian army said the pilot was missing. Read

Moscow Accuses Trump of Returning to Cold War-Style Rhetoric on Cuba

Russia has accused the Trump administration of a return to “Cold War-style” rhetoric in rolling back some of its predecessor’s policies designed to normalize relations with communist-ruled Cuba. Read

Terror Flags Waved Openly in Streets of London

Fifteen days after London was targeted in a deadly terrorist attack – its second in less than three months – police in the British capital stood by Sunday as flags of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah were carried openly during a small pro-Palestine march through the city center. Read

Friday, June 16, 2017

Erdogan Rejects Arrest Warrants Over DC Assaults: ‘What Kind of Law is This?’

A diplomatic row between the Trump administration and Turkey’s Islamist leader deepened Thursday, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan angrily rejected U.S. arrest warrants for members of his bodyguard accused of assaulting protesters in Washington last month. Read

In Near-Unanimous Vote, Senate Passes Iran Sanctions Bill That Kerry Opposed

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed new Iran sanctions legislation by an overwhelming margin, despite earlier fretting by former Secretary of State John Kerry that it could jeopardize the nuclear deal he worked so hard to negotiate. Read

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Iran’s Zarif Responds to Trump’s Gulf Stance: Suicide Bombers are Saudis, Not Iranians

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif suggested this week that President Trump is trying to whitewash Saudi Arabia despite its links to terrorism, while tarnishing Iran’s name. Read

Kerry: Mideast Leaders Urged US to ‘Bomb’ Iran; ‘We Chose a Different Path’

Former Secretary of State John Kerry used an appearance in Oslo this week to tout the nuclear deal he helped to negotiate with Iran, arguing that it helped avoid conflict at a time when some leaders in the region had been urging the U.S. to “bomb” Iran. Read

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Haley: New UN Rights Report ‘Reeks of Anti-Israel Bias’

In some of her bluntest criticisms of the U.N. yet, President Trump’s unapologetically pro-Israel ambassador to the world body, Nikki Haley, on Tuesday slammed a new report which she said “reeks of anti-Israel bias.” Read

Ex-Gov. Richardson: N. Korea Must Explain Why Released American Is Comatose

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Tuesday the North Koreans must “in no uncertain terms” explain the reason why an American student released from their custody is in a coma. Read

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Israel: Shut Down UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees

The discovery of another instance of Palestinian terrorists using U.N. facilities to mask their activities has triggered a call by Israel for the U.N.’s bespoke agency for Palestinian refugees to be shut down. Read

When Palestinian Men Beat Their Wives, It’s Israel’s Fault? NGO Challenges Report by UN Diplomat

An NGO representative at the U.N. Human Rights Council suggested Monday that incitement by Islamic preachers may bear a greater responsibility for Palestinian violence against women than Israeli occupation, to the evident displeasure of the session’s Egyptian chairman. Read

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pakistan Death Sentence Comes Amid Gov’t Crackdown on Social Media ‘Blasphemy’

The sentencing to death of a Pakistani man accused of committing “blasphemy” on Facebook comes three months after the government vowed to crack down on the use of social media to spread blasphemous or other objectionable material. Read

Iran and Turkey Support Embattled Gulf State Accused of Sponsoring Terror

As the pressure from its neighbors starts to bite, Qatar is receiving support from two non-Arab partners, but the help from Iran and Turkey is likely to further antagonize its critics. Read

Friday, June 09, 2017

Alleged Hezbollah Agent Obtained US Citizenship After Denying Terrorist Associations

A Lebanese-born man charged in New York on suspicion of scouting potential U.S. and Israeli targets for the Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah became a naturalized American citizen after declaring to authorities that he had no associations with terrorists, according to a criminal complaint. Read

Surprise Setback for Britain’s Conservatives As May Wins, But Lacks Majority in Parliament

Official exit polls in Britain indicate that the Conservative Party may have lost its parliamentary majority, following Prime Minister Theresa May’s risky bid to call a snap election in the hope of winning a stronger mandate for negotiations on the country’s exit from the European Union. Read

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Qatar’s Al-Jazeera Publishes Fatwa Against ‘Siege’ – By a US-Designated ‘Terrorist Facilitator’

As Qatar continues to reject allegations of terror financing at the center of a serious rift with some of its neighbors, its state-funded Al-Jazeera network on Wednesday published a fatwa slamming the “unjust siege imposed on Qatar” – written by a Salafist cleric blacklisted by the U.S. and U.N. for facilitating and funding terrorism. Read

Trump After Tehran Attack: ‘States That Sponsor Terrorism Risk Falling Victim to The Evil They Promote’

President Trump said Wednesday he prayed for the victims of a deadly terrorist attack in Tehran, but added that “states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.” Read

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

US-Led Coalition Again Bombs Pro-Assad Forces in Southeastern Syria

For the second time in less than three weeks, the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition on Tuesday bombed forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after they entered an area near the Syria-Jordan-Iraq border where the U.S. is training local forces to take on ISIS. Read

Qatar Dispute: Trump Congratulates Saudi King for Steps to ‘Dry Up … Sources’ of Terrorism

President Trump phoned Saudi King Salman Tuesday to congratulate the kingdom for its leading role in drying up the “sources” of terrorism, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Read

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

FBI Nabs Suspected Leaker of Top-Secret Info to Media Outlet: 25-Year-Old Reality Leigh Winner

A federal contractor charged with leaking a top-secret NSA document to a media outlet was tracked down after the media outlet sent photos of the document to a government agency source – and in doing so providing investigators with vital clues that eventually led to the suspect. Read

Australia Supports Trump’s New ‘Annihilation’ Approach to ISIS

Australia has voiced support for the U.S. military’s shift to “annihilation tactics” in the fight against ISIS, with its defense minister saying that it, too, would prefer that those who went to fight for the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq would not be able to return to their home countries to carry out attacks there. Read

Monday, June 05, 2017

Arab States Accuse Qatar, a US Ally, of Supporting Terrorism

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in a concerted move on Monday, accusing of it supporting Shi’ite and Sunni extremists causing chaos and sectarianism across the region. Read

UN Agency Uses Misleading Photo in Solicitation for Palestinian Refugees

The U.N.’s agency for Palestinian refugees has amended a Ramadan donation appeal after critics pointed out that it featured a child in a bombed-out area near Damascus and not – as the agency claimed – a Palestinian girl in Gaza supposedly victimized by the Israelis. Read

British Labor Leader Accuses PM of Trying to Protect UK ‘On the Cheap’

Less than a day after terrorists killed seven people in London, Britain’s left-wing opposition leader waded into Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday night, accusing her – four days before a general election – of trying to protect the country “on the cheap.” Read

Friday, June 02, 2017

Putin: US Is Using Iran and North Korean Missile Threats As ‘Pretext’ For Targeting Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday slammed the U.S. for deploying ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems in Europe and Asia, saying the Iran nuclear deal made such defenses unnecessary in Europe, and predicting that the U.S. will keep the system in place in Asia, even if North Korea denuclearizes. Read

At Least 36 Dead in Manila Atrocity; Police Say It Was Robbery, Not Terror

Philippines police on Friday reiterated that the actions of a lone gunman in a Manila casino resort constituted a robbery rather than a terrorist attack, as they also confirmed that three dozen people were found dead in the complex, apparently having suffocated due to smoke inhalation. Read

Thursday, June 01, 2017

U.S. Has Admitted 46,371 Refugees So Far in FY 2017; Up 19% in May

A total of 3,957 refugees were admitted into the United States in May, a 19.3 percent increase over April’s figures and a 91.1 percent jump from March’s low point of 2,070 admissions. Read

Decision Due Thursday on Trump Pledge to Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

All eyes will be on the White House Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon as President Trump announces whether he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, but the day is also a deadline for another decision that, for many, is a test of his willingness to keep a key campaign pledge. Read

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

‘Direct Collision’: U.S. Successfully Destroys a Missile in Flight

In a “critical milestone” for the program to provide a missile defense umbrella over the U.S. homeland, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency on Tuesday reported the first successful interception and destruction in flight of a target with ICBM characteristics. Read

Iran Rejects ‘Baseless’ Claims About ‘Highest-Level’ Approval for Foiled DC Assassination Plot

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ charge that Iran’s top leadership approved a foiled 2011 plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington drew a sharp response from Tehran on Tuesday. Read

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Pope Says Copts Were Killed After Refusing to Renounce Their Christian Faith

The death toll in the latest terrorist atrocity targeting Egyptian Christians rose to 30 on Monday, after a victim succumbed to his wounds three days after Islamist gunmen opened fire on a group of travelers whom they had identified as Christians. Read

North Korea Again Threatens to Nuke US Mainland

As the Pentagon prepares for the first time to test the U.S. ability to intercept and destroy an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in flight, North Korea has again threatened to target the U.S. homeland with nuclear weapons. Read

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rejecting Kerry’s Appeals, Senate Committee Passes New Iran Sanctions Bill With Strong Dem Support

Despite a last-minute appeal by former Secretary of State John Kerry, the architect of the Iran deal, the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday passed a new bill targeting Iran for missile activity, terror-sponsorship and human rights abuses – with strong support from Democrats. Read

Iranian State Media Angered by Contact Between Saudi King and Melania Trump

Amid an ongoing war of words between the Middle East’s leading Sunni and Shi’ite powers, Iran’s state media latched onto a new irritant this week – the interaction between a U.S. first lady with an uncovered head, and the king of Saudi Arabia. Read

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kerry Takes to Twitter to Urge Against New Iran Sanctions Bill

Former Secretary of State John Kerry took to Twitter Wednesday to urge U.S. senators not to move ahead with legislation that he says could put the Iran nuclear deal – negotiated by Kerry, among others -- in jeopardy. Read

Trump Is Pushed and Pulled on Climate Change, A Year After Pledging to Cancel Paris Deal

Exactly one year after pledging in a speech to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement, President Trump will attend a Group of Seven summit Friday in Sicily where he’s expected to come under sustained pressure from his counterparts to reverse course. Read

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Robert Gates Warns of More Attacks Like Manchester, As ISIS Fighters Pose As Refugees

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday that the downfall of ISIS’ “caliphate” in the Middle East would not necessarily mean the defeat of committed individuals who, pretending to be refugees, may travel to Western countries and then carry out terror attacks. Read

Administration Proposes Steep Cuts to Account That Funds U.N. Regular Budget

The U.S. is the largest contributor by far to the United Nations and many other international organizations, and cuts in the administration’s proposed FY 2018 budget are designed to prod other nations to pay a bigger share, a senior State Department official said Tuesday. Read

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ISIS Claims Responsibility for Manchester Terror Attack--Supporters Celebrate Murder of 22

Police in Manchester, England confirmed Tuesday that they believe a deadly blast at a music concert venue on Monday night was a terrorist attack carried out by a suicide bomber who died at the scene, killing at least 22 people. Read

Trump on Visiting Israel’s Western Wall: ‘It Will Leave An Impression On Me Forever’

Images of President Trump touching the ancient stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem will send a strong signal to the Palestinians and their Muslim allies who have used U.N. forums to contest Jewish claims and heritage at the location of the biblical Temples. Read

Monday, May 22, 2017

Iran’s Foreign Minister Rebukes Trump for Criticizing His Country From ‘Bastion of Democracy’ Saudi Arabia

Iran and its destabilizing regional role was a major point of agreement at the weekend’s U.S.-Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh, and its foreign minister did not like the focus of attention. Read

In Saudi Arabia: Trump Tells Muslim Leaders to Confront 'the Crisis of Islamic Extremism'

President Trump presented the world’s top Muslim leaders Sunday with a message that was both reassuring and direct, offering “closer bonds of friendship, security, culture and commerce” but also challenging them to “drive out” of their societies those who claim inspiration from Islam as they commit terror around the world. Read

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tillerson: Foreign Leaders Ready for Re-Engagement After Period of ‘Neglect,' 'Dismissal of Their Concerns’

People around the world “do not have the time to pay attention to what’s happening domestically” in the United States, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday, disputing a suggestion that difficulties facing President Trump at home may be affecting his credibility or hampering foreign policy. Read

US-Led Coalition Attacks Pro-Assad Regime Forces in Syria

In a rare move, the U.S.-led coalition on Thursday attacked forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in southern Syria, although Defense Secretary James Mattis said the incident did not mean an increased U.S. role in the Syrian civil war. Read

Thursday, May 18, 2017

U.S. Opposes Sudan President’s Travel to Saudi Summit That Trump Is Attending

Neither Saudi Arabia nor Sudan have officially announced that Sudan’s president, accused of war crimes, will take part in a summit with President Trump in Riyadh at the weekend, although it seems unlikely King Salman would jeopardize what is being touted as a hugely important event for the kingdom. Read

Royce to Attorney-General: Charge Perpetrators of Turkish Violence Before They Leave the US

Those responsible for violently attacking anti-Erdogan protestors in Washington, D.C., should be charged before they leave the country, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Wednesday. Read

CAIR to Trump: Avoid ‘Pejorative Terminology’ and ‘Anti-Muslim Stereotypes’ in Your Saudi Speech

If President Trump wants to engage the world’s Muslims when he delivers a speech in Riyadh he should avoid “pejorative terminology” and “anti-Muslim stereotypes” promoted by some of his “Islamophobic” advisers. Read

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Political Repression on Embassy Row: Erdogan’s Men Attack Protesters in D.C.

Protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington on Tuesday afternoon were assaulted by men – many wearing dark suits and presumed to be Turkish officials – in scenes that stoked outrage on social media. Read

Behind Warm Words, Deep Divisions Between US, Turkey Over US Support for Syrian Kurds Fighting ISIS

President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan both touted the strong ties between the two NATO allies during their White House meeting Tuesday, but behind the warm words lay deep and unresolved differences over the nature and role of U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in Syria. Read

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Trump Expected to Meet With Pakistan’s PM After Sharp Words From Both Sides

President Trump looks set to meet next week with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, his first encounter with the leader of a country whose relationship with the U.S. has been characterized by resentment, distrust – and tens of billions of dollars in U.S. assistance. Read

Expanded ‘Mexico City’ Policy Won’t Affect Amount of Funding for, or Continuation of, Global Health Programs

The Trump administration’s significant expansion of a Reagan-era policy that prohibits federal funding for organizations that promote or perform abortions abroad will not affect the amount of funding the U.S. provides for life-saving health programs or the continuation of those programs, administration officials said Monday. Read

Monday, May 15, 2017

Saudis Mum on Whether Sudan’s President, Accused of War Crimes, Has Been Invited to Summit With Trump

Saudi Arabia has not confirmed reports that it has invited Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir to a major Arab-Islamic-U.S. summit to be attended by President Trump in Riyadh next week, although Sudanese opposition figures claim that to be the case. Read

Netanyahu: Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem Would Not Harm Peace Process

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hinted Sunday that Israel may not want the U.S. Embassy to move to Jerusalem if that could harm peace process prospects, but Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly rejected any such suggestion. Read

Friday, May 12, 2017

Tillerson On Climate Change: 'We’re Not Going to Rush to Make a Decision'

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday the Trump administration was in no rush to determine how to approach the issue of climate change, but would “make the right decision for the United States.” Read

Russia’s Foreign Ministry Slams US Media: ‘Colossal Bias …Lack of Independent Thinking’

Russia’s foreign ministry on Thursday lashed out at the U.S. media for their coverage of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's visit to Washington this week. Instead of focusing on bilateral relations, American media outlets wanted to talk about alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election and the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Read

Thursday, May 11, 2017

US Ambassador to Qatar Raises Eyebrows With Tweet Seemingly Critical of Trump

The U.S. ambassador to Qatar drew strong reactions on Twitter after appearing to criticize President Trump on the social media network hours after the president fired FBI Director James Comey. Read

Amid Dispute Over U.S. Arming Syrian Kurds, Mattis Says Relationship With Turkey ‘Not Always Tidy’

Defense Secretary James Mattis expressed confidence Wednesday that a dispute with Turkey over a U.S. decision to arm Syrian Kurdish fighters in the campaign to dislodge ISIS terrorists from their Raqqa stronghold will not affect a relationship between the NATO allies which he described as “not always tidy.” Read