Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Chief of Lebanon’s US-Backed Army Urges Troops to Prepare to Face ‘Israeli Enemy’

A day after Lebanon’s president defended the legitimacy of the Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah, the chief of Lebanon’s U.S.-backed army on Tuesday urged his forces to stand by to face threats from “the Israeli enemy.” Read

Feted at the UN For Decades, Africa’s Third Longest-Ruling Autocrat Bows Out

As Zimbabweans celebrated the resignation Tuesday of 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe, a United Nations spokesman declined to get into an “abstract philosophical” discussion on the longevity of autocrats who over decades are fixtures at the U.N. Read

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Supporters of Bid to Have Muslim Brotherhood Labeled a Terrorist Group Try a New Approach

Sponsors of a long running but unsuccessful congressional push to have the Muslim Brotherhood designated a foreign terrorist organization are trying a different approach, urging the administration to focus initially on specific country branches of the global Islamist organization. Read

US General in Afghanistan: From 2011 to 2016, ‘The Enemy Believed … We Had Lost Our Will’

Five years of “telegraphing” to the Taliban that U.S. and coalition forces were leaving Afghanistan prompted the enemy to believe “we had lost our will,” the top U.S. military officer leading the campaign there said Monday. Read

Monday, November 20, 2017

Zimbabwe’s Strongman Clings to Power

Zimbabwe’s 93-year-old ruler defied his opponents again Sunday when his presumed resignation speech ended without him signaling his departure. Read

Palestinians Threaten to ‘Put on Hold’ All Communications With Trump Administration

Two months after Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas called publicly for Israeli officials to be tried by the International Criminal Court, the Trump administration, in line with U.S. law, is threatening to close the Palestinian mission in Washington – and the P.A. is furious. Read

Friday, November 17, 2017

Expert: ICC Has No Jurisdiction to Investigate Alleged Crimes by US Troops in Afghanistan

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to investigate alleged wrongdoing by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the Trump administration should not cooperate with the tribunal, a Heritage Foundation scholar argued this week. Read

China Disputes That Xi Agreed With Trump to Reject North Korea ‘Freeze-for-Freeze’ Proposal

Beijing is disputing that Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed during his recent meetings with President Trump to reject a proposal which China and Russia have been pushing as the solution to the North Korean standoff. Read

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Iran Turns Down Offers of Earthquake Aid, Including From Its Arch-Foe Israel

Survivors of an earthquake near Iran’s border with Iraq – the deadliest in the world so far this year – have been calling for more help than they’re getting, but their government says it doesn’t need help from abroad. Read

Zimbabwe ‘Coup’ Unlikely to Bring the Real Change the Misruled Country Needs

However Zimbabwe’s current crisis resolves itself, the short-term outcome is unlikely to be good for the people of the southern African country, impoverished under the almost four-decade-long misrule of President Robert Mugabe. Read

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Iran: U.S. and Canada, ‘Self-Proclaimed Champions of Human Rights,’ Have Killed ‘Millions’

An Iranian representative at the United Nations on Tuesday accused Canada, the U.S. and other “self-proclaimed champions of human rights” of hypocrisy and said their policies have killed “millions of people.” Read

Russian FM: We Never Agreed With US That The Iranians Would Leave Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has poured cold water on U.S. expectations that recent U.S.-Russian understandings on Syria would pave the way for the ejection of Iranian forces. He reiterated Moscow’s stance that Iran and Russia are in Syria legitimately, while it is the U.S. and its allies that are the unwanted outside parties. Read

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Australia May Become Last Major English-Speaking Country to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Australia looks set to become the latest country to legalize same-sex marriage, after the results of a three-month-long postal survey on changing the country’s one man-one woman marriage law are announced on Wednesday. Read

At UN Climate Conference, Administration Defends ‘Cleaner’ Fossil Fuels, Draws Protests

Venturing deep into hostile territory, Trump administration delegates at U.N. climate talks in Bonn on Monday made the argument for fossil fuels to be part of the solution to climate change – and ran into some vocal opposition. Read

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bush-Era ‘Quad’ Initiative Revived As Trump Turns Focus to ‘Indo-Pacific’

mid a flurry of meetings and summits on President Trump’s Asia itinerary, one event receiving relatively little media attention is the revival of a decade-old but short-lived partnership of four maritime democracies leery of China’s expanding influence across the region. Read

As Reporters Focus on Putin and Xi, Trump Counters That He Has Good Relations With All 20 Leaders He’s Met With in Asia

President Trump expressed irritation Saturday that media outlets focus on his good relations with autocratic leaders, declaring that he relates well to all of the leaders he’s been meeting with on his Asia trip. Read

Friday, November 10, 2017

Outrage As Greece Gives 2-Day Furlough to Terrorist Who Killed American and British Diplomats

The U.S. and British governments expressed outrage Thursday at a decision by a Greek judicial council to allow a convicted left-wing terrorist serving 11 life sentences to take a two-day furlough – particularly as one of his comrades earlier absconded during a similar parole. Read

Trump to Critics: ‘How Can You Blame China For Taking Advantage of People That Had No Clue?’

President Trump hit back early Friday at critics at home for challenging his comments in Beijing on the massive trade deficit with China, doubling down on blaming not China but past U.S. administrations for the situation. Read

Thursday, November 09, 2017

As Trump Visits, Christian Group Urges China Not to Send North Korean Defectors Home

As President Trump continues his state visit to China, a Christian religious freedom advocacy group called Wednesday for his hosts to halt plans to forcibly repatriate ten North Korean defectors, drawing attention to a longstanding Chinese policy which campaigners say can have fatal consequences. Read

Communist-Linked Paper Concerned That Trump ‘May at Some Time Tweet Something Embarrassing About China’

President Trump is popular in China because he is pragmatic, not ideological, and has not so far used the human rights issue to “make trouble for China,” the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times said in an editorial Thursday. Read

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Kerry: ‘No Science, No Fact’ Supports Trump’s Decision on Iran Nuclear Deal

Former Secretary of State John Kerry says President Trump relied on “no science, no fact” to justify his decision not to certify Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal. Read

Trump to Kim Jong-un: ‘Every Step You Take Down This Dark Path Increases The Peril You Face’

President Trump had a message for North Korea’s Kim Jong-un on Wednesday: “Do not underestimate us and do not try us”; abandon your aggression and nuclear weapons ambitions and “we will offer a path to a much better future.” Read

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Iran Blames U.S. As Tensions With Saudi Arabia Deepen

Iran’s foreign minister blamed the United States Tuesday for deepening tensions between his country and Saudi Arabia, following a weekend that saw the abrupt resignation of Lebanon’s Saudi-backed prime minister and a foiled attempt by Iranian-supported militia in Yemen to strike Riyadh’s international airport with a ballistic missile. Read

North Korea’s Nuke Testing Dates Back 10 Years, But Kerry Blames Trump’s ‘Rhetoric’

As President Trump continued an Asia trip dominated by concerns over North Korea, former secretary of state John Kerry told CNN Monday that Trump’s rhetoric has given the Kim Jong-un regime reason to say that it needs a nuclear bomb. Read

Monday, November 06, 2017

Saudis Blame Iran for Missile Attack on Airport; Could Be ‘Act of War’

The costly civil war in Yemen took a dangerous new turn at the weekend when the Saudis said they intercepted a ballistic missile heading for the kingdom’s second-busiest airport, and accused Iran of responsibility. Read

Saudi Prince Among Dozens Arrested for Corruption; Donor to Carter, Clinton, Georgetown, Harvard

The most prominent of dozens of princes and others arrested in a weekend “anti-corruption” sweep overseen by the heir to the Saudi throne is a billionaire whose largesse has benefited recipients ranging from the Carter Center and Clinton Foundation to Georgetown and Harvard universities and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Read

In Asia, Trump Extolls US Military Might – And The American Flag

President Trump made headlines Sunday with remarks in Japan warning dictators not to underestimate “the most fearsome fighting force in the history of our world,” but he also had a message for Americans back home, extolling the U.S. flag and what it stands for. Read

Friday, November 03, 2017

North Korea Steps Up Insults Ahead of Trump’s Asian ‘Junket’

On the eve of President Trump’s visit to Asia, expected to be dominated by the North Korean threat, Pyongyang’s state media have stepped up their insults against a president described as a maniac in need of “medicine for curing his psychical disorder.” Read

Ayatollah Khamenei to Iranian Students: Don’t Forget U.S. Is the Main Enemy

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a gathering of students Thursday that a path to a bright future requires them not to forget that the United States is their principal enemy. Read

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Haley on Cuba Embargo Measure at UN: ‘Our Principles Are Not Up For a Vote’

As long as the Castro regime continues to deny the Cuban people freedom, the United States does not fear isolation at the United Nations or anywhere else, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told the world body Wednesday, as the U.S. voted against an annual resolution calling for an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Read

Khamenei to Putin: Let’s Ditch the Dollar and ‘Isolate the Americans’

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday that their countries, both targeted by U.S. sanctions, should respond by ditching the U.S. dollar in trade transactions and use their national currencies instead. Read

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

IRGC Vows to Respond to New US Sanctions With More Powerful, Precise Missiles

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed new sanctions on entities and individuals linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, prompting the IRGC’s commander to vow to double down on its ballistic missile program. Read

Uzbekistan Has Become an Increasingly Important Source of Recruits for ISIS

Uzbekistan, the country of origin of the man accused of carrying out Tuesday’s deadly vehicle-ramming attack in New York City, has become an increasingly important source of recruits to ISIS and other violent groups operating in Syria and Iraq in recent years. Read

100 Years On, Remembering the Battle That Made Rebirth of Israel Possible

One hundred years ago on Tuesday, horse-mounted soldiers from the furthest reaches of the British Empire seized a key objective from Turkish forces near Gaza, paving the way for the end of Muslim Ottoman rule and the rebirth three decades later of the state of Israel. Read

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Israel Denies Hamas’ ‘Poisonous Gas’ Allegation After Destroying Cross-Border ‘Terror Tunnel’

The terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip accused Israel Monday of using “poisonous gas” in an attack on a tunnel discovered under the Gaza-Israel border, but Israel’s military said the “terror tunnel” was destroyed using conventional weapons only. Read

Trump on Second Benghazi Suspect in Custody: ‘Our Memory Is Deep and Our Reach Is Long’

Weeks after the first trial in connection with the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi began in Washington, U.S. Special Forces have captured a second suspect in Libya, and Justice Department officials say he is on his way to the U.S. to face trial. Read

Monday, October 30, 2017

Russia Dismisses U.S. Sanctions on Russian Defense Firms: U.S. 'Is Not The Center of The World’

Moscow has responded dismissively to the State Department’s publication of a list of Russian defense and intelligence entities blacklisted for business by foreign companies, although the move could have tangible consequences for the world’s second-largest arms exporter. Read

Senators Urge Trump to Blacklist Pakistan For Religious Freedom Abuses

With a deadline approaching for the administration to notify Congress which countries will be blacklisted for religious freedom violations, a small bipartisan group of senators is urging it to break a 15-year-old pattern and designate Pakistan. Read

Friday, October 27, 2017

423-2: House Passes Bill Targeting Iran’s Ballistic Missile Program

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed with overwhelming support bipartisan sanctions legislation targeting Iran’s ballistic missiles, which has provided Tehran with sophisticated S-300 surface-to-air missiles. The bill includes provisions that could ensnare Russia. Read

Israeli Athletes Barred From Competing Under Their Own Flag at UAE Judo Event

Shared concerns about Iran may be easing decades-old tensions between Arab states and Israel, but the organizers of an international judo competition in the United Arab Emirates this week showed there is still a long way to go before the Jewish State is accepted. Read

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Mattis: US ‘Not Rushing to War’ With N. Korea; Dems Launch Effort to Restrain Trump

The United States and its allies are “not rushing to war” against North Korea, Defense Secretary James Mattis said in Southeast Asia on Wednesday, ahead of a visit to South Korea and the DMZ separating the U.S. treaty ally from its Stalinist neighbor. Read

US Should Designate Iran’s IRGC, Qods Force as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, Lawmakers Told

The Trump administration should designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – Qods Force as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), and if the regime’s behavior worsens, should consider applying that punitive designation to the IRGC in its entirety, U.S. lawmakers were told Wednesday. Read

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

11 Countries of Concern Accounted For 23,357 Refugee Admissions Last Year; 36,952 in FY 2016

The Trump administration said Tuesday it will resume admitting refugees after a now-expired 120-day ban, but with tighter vetting procedures – and that applications of nationals from 11 countries of concern will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Read

Deadline Looms for Tillerson Decision on North Korea Terror Listing

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has until next Tuesday to inform Congress whether North Korea meets the criteria to be relisted as a state-sponsor of terrorism – a step which the regime has already indicated it will view as tantamount to a declaration of war. Read

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Joint Chiefs Chair Says U.S. Troops Have ‘Relatively Small Footprint’ in Niger

Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pushed backed gently on Monday against members of Congress who have voiced surprise at the size of the U.S. troop presence in Niger, calling the 800 military personnel there “a relatively small footprint.” Read

70% of U.S. Voters Think Iran Deal Should Be Reworked, Require Senate Ratification

Seven in ten American voters believe the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration should be renegotiated, and an even larger majority, 81 percent, think any new deal should require Senate ratification, a new poll has found. Read

Iraq Rejects Tillerson’s Appeal to Restrain Iran-Backed Militias

U.S. attempts to contain and counter Iranian influence in Iraq ran into resistance late Monday from Iraq’s prime minister, who informed Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that Iran-backed Shi’ite militias – which the U.S. wants disbanded – should on the contrary be “encouraged.” Read

Monday, October 23, 2017

Japanese PM Wins Snap Election, Called Amid Growing Concerns Over North Korea

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s gamble in calling a snap election paid off Sunday, as his ruling coalition secured the two-thirds majority in parliament needed to move Japan away from the pacifism enshrined in its post-World War II constitution. Read

UN Health Agency Backs Down on Startling Decision to Honor African Autocrat

Backing down under angry criticism, the head of the U.N.’s World Health Organization has reversed a decision to appoint Zimbabwe’s autocratic president as a “goodwill ambassador” in the fight against non-communicable diseases. Read

Friday, October 20, 2017

‘Herd Mentality’ Evident in Media Coverage of Israel – Ex-Wire Reporter

News coverage of Israel is distorted both by the lopsided amount of attention it gets from world media and from a “herd mentality” that embraces and promotes a narrow, simplistic view of “what the story is,” according to author and former Associated Press reporter in Israel, Matti Friedman. Read

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