Friday, May 29, 2009

Iran, Ecuador Eye Military Ties As U.S. Prepares to Withdraw from Airbase

As the United States military prepares to vacate an airbase in Ecuador in the fall, the leftist government responsible for its upcoming departure is looking to Iran as a future military partner. Read

Amid Mayhem, Pakistan Offers Rewards for Top Terrorists

As Pakistan reeled from back-to-back terrorist attacks Thursday, the provincial government -- which earlier this year negotiated a “peace” agreement with local Taliban extremists -- tried a new tack, placing “dead or alive” bounties on Taliban leaders’ heads. Read

Thursday, May 28, 2009

North Korea's Nuclear Detonation Is Driving the Push for Global Test Ban Treaty

If a global nuclear test ban pact were now in force, a test like the one North Korea says it conducted on Monday would trigger an on-site inspection, according to the U.N.-affiliated organization that is preparing for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Read

Human Rights Council Rejects ‘Interference’ in Sri Lanka – But Not in Israel

As the United States prepares to take its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, the Geneva-based body once again has come under fire – this time for siding with the Sri Lankan government despite charges that its recent offensive against Tamil terrorists caused a humanitarian crisis for tens of thousands of civilians. Read

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Islamic Bloc Cool to Obama’s Proposed ‘57-State Solution’

Days before President Barack Obama delivers a much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world, Islamic nations have set the conditions on which they would agree to any U.S. plan to offer Israel recognition as part of a Mideast peace deal. Read

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obama Emulating Jimmy Carter in Portraying U.S. As Soft, Analyst Says

President Obama is on track to accomplish in his first year of office what President Carter took three years to achieve – portray the United States as a “confused and soft power,” an Asian security expert charged after North Korea reported a nuclear weapons test Monday. Read

Hezbollah Denies Killing Hariri, Says Claim Aims to Provoke Violence

Lebanon’s election campaign has been shaken by explosive claims that a U.N. investigation into the assassination of former prime minister Rafik Hariri has linked Hezbollah to his murder. Read

Friday, May 22, 2009

OIC Role Reportedly Proposed as Battle for Jerusalem Heats Up

As Israelis marked “Jerusalem Day” Thursday, local media reported that the Palestinian Authority was considering favorably a proposal for control of the Temple Mount – the most bitterly contested piece of land in the Mideast conflict – to be handed to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) as part of a future peace deal. Read

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

US Shares Responsibility for Pakistan Crisis, Clinton Says

Declaring a “qualitatively different” U.S. approach towards Pakistan following three decades of “incoherent” policy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Tuesday announced $110 million in emergency assistance for the South Asian nation, including aid for civilians fleeing a military offensive against Taliban militants in the northwest. Read

Stakes High in Looming Lebanese Election

As Lebanon prepares for an election that could have significant implications for the broader region and U.S. policies, Washington and Tehran are sending signals of support to each of the two main camps vying for control of the Arab world’s most dynamic democracy. Read

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tensions Over Georgia Sour Mood As U.S. and Russia Begin Nuke Talks

On the eve of the first nuclear disarmament talks between the Obama administration and Moscow, renewed tensions over Georgia are souring the atmosphere and prompting warnings that Russia may be looking for a pretext for further military intervention in the strategically located south Caucasus. Read

Monday, May 18, 2009

Substance More Important Than Terminology, Netanyahu Says of ‘Two-State’ Issue

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pointedly declined at the White House on Monday to endorse the so-called “two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, suggesting that a substantive understanding between the two sides should take precedence over “terminology.” Read

Israeli Anxieties Reflected in New Poll on Eve of Netanyahu-Obama Meeting

Fewer than one-third of Israelis regard the Obama administration’s views as pro-Israel, according to a new opinion poll reflecting Israeli unease ahead of Monday’s meeting at the White House between the traditional allies’ new leaders. Read

With Fewer Communists, Victorious Indian Coalition Looks Ahead

The results in India’s massive general election look set to usher in a stable government in New Delhi, free of the influence of communists whose spoiler tactics threatened to derail a historic nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States. Read

Friday, May 15, 2009

Harassment, Islamic Radicalism Drive Flight of Palestinian Christians

Standing alongside Pope Benedict XVI in Bethlehem this week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Israel for the emigration of Palestinian Christians, but researchers say the reasons for the declining numbers of Christians in the place of Jesus’ birth are considerably more complex. Read

Thursday, May 14, 2009

As UN Deadline Passes for Seabed Claims, Russia Gives Arctic Warning

As a deadline passed for countries to file claims with the United Nations for the right to exploit seabed beyond their coastlines, Russia hinted at the possibility of future conflict over energy reserves the resource-rich Arctic. Read

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

China Gets The Same Number of Votes As the U.S. on the U.N.’s Human Rights Council

There were no surprises Tuesday when the U.N. General Assembly filled 18 seats at the Human Rights Council in a voting exercise that drew criticism for its lack of competition and the high level of support enjoyed by countries with poor human rights records. Read

Monday, May 11, 2009

Iraq Violence Up As Target Date Nears for Troop Pullout From Cities

Six weeks before the target date for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraqi cities – and amid a recent spike in violence -- it remains unclear how many troops will stay on, but Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said Sunday that a “responsible” redeployment would not affect security. Read

Arab-Muslim World Wants Obama’s Speech in Egypt to Focus on Israeli-Arab Issue

Islamic and Arab governments are hopeful that President Obama’s much-anticipated address to Muslims will focus on the Israeli-Arab issue, and judging from the administration’s choice of venue and timing, they may not be disappointed. Read

Friday, May 08, 2009

North Korea Greets Obama Envoy With New Threats

North Korea on Friday reiterated a recent pledge to bolster its nuclear deterrent in the face of “hostile” U.S. policy. The message evidently was timed to coincide with the arrival in South Korea of the Obama administration’s special envoy for the North. Read

Web Filtering Proposals: Crucial Child Safeguard or Censorship Tool?

An Australian group campaigning against government Internet filtering proposals has been ordered by the government to remove a link to a U.S.-hosted Web site showing graphic pictures of aborted babies. Read

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Don’t Jump to Conclusions on Afghanistan Civilian Deaths, U.S. General Cautions

As the United States and Afghanistan conduct a joint investigation into allegations that scores of civilians in western Afghanistan were killed in U.S. air strikes, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan suggested the U.S military may have had nothing to do with those deaths. Read

UK Minister Who Blacklisted American Talk Show Host May Lose Her Post

The senior British government minister who included U.S. radio talk show host Michael Savage on a list of people banned from the U.K. for “stirring up hatred” may lose her post in a forthcoming cabinet reshuffle. Read

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

‘Circumstances Changing Rapidly in Our Favor,’ Iran's President Says Amid Obama’s ‘Engagement’ Efforts

A United States envoy was due to hold talks with Syrian officials on Wednesday, amid a flurry of regional diplomatic activity as governments and other parties stake their positions in the face of the Obama administration’s new engagement policies. Read

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Israelis Wary About Obama As Netanyahu Calls for ‘Realistic’ Approach to Peace Talks

Israelis like President Obama but are wary of his Mideast policies and believe his desire to improve relations with the Islamic world will come at Israel’s expense, according to a new opinion poll. Read

Monday, May 04, 2009

Obama Urged to Make Pakistan Nuclear Safety A Priority

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari is due to visit Washington this week amid growing concerns about the safety of his country’s nuclear weapons, and proliferation experts and regional analysts are urging the U.S. government to prioritize the issue. Read

Flu: China’s Enforced Confinement Measures Upset Mexico

A diplomatic row has erupted between China and Mexico over Beijing’s hard-hitting response to the H1N1 flu, including the enforced quarantine of scores of Mexican nationals, among others, suspected of exposure to the virus. Read

Friday, May 01, 2009

Relations Between Russia, West Sour Again

Just weeks after the U.S. and Russian leaders met at the G20 summit, signaling a new era after a period of strained relations, the optimism generated by that encounter was looking premature Thursday amid a series of heated disputes. Read

Iraq Better, Pakistan Worse, Iran the Most Active Terror Sponsor, Report Says

Along with a drop in terror attacks worldwide – significantly so in the case of Iraq – 2008 saw a dramatic rise in attacks in Pakistan and deterioration in Afghanistan, while Iran continued to facilitate terror. India was among countries hardest hit, and the situation in Yemen and Venezuela remained worrisome, according to a new State Department report. Read