Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pakistan’s Web Censorship Guidelines to Go Beyond ‘Blasphemy’

Stepping up efforts to prevent citizens from accessing “blasphemous” material on the Internet, Pakistani authorities have banned more than a dozen Web sites, are closely monitoring others, and reportedly are laying the groundwork to block any site viewed as meeting such vague criteria as harming “national sentiments.” Read

Islamic and Arab States Should Have Security Council Seats, Says Pakistan

As governments consider the divisive issue of remodeling the United Nations Security Council to reflect 21st century realities, Pakistan has reiterated its view that the council should include seats earmarked for the world’s Islamic and Arab states. Read

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Arming of Terrorists, Attempt to Kill Defector Cited as Reasons to Return North Korea to Terror List

The Obama administration says the sinking of a South Korean warship does not justify returning North Korea to the U.S. list of terror-sponsoring states, but experts believe there are other good reasons for the administration to do so, including shipments of weapons allegedly destined for terrorists in the Middle East. Read

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pakistan Reportedly Engineering Deal Between Karzai, Insurgents

Pakistan reportedly is moving to broker a peace deal between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and an al-Qaeda-allied terrorist group with longstanding ties to Pakistan’s ISI intelligence agency. Read

North Korea, Citing U.S. ‘Hostility,’ Plans to Bolster Its Nuclear Deterrent

After announcing a rare congress of its ruling Stalinist party that could signal leadership changes, North Korea on Monday threatened to strengthen its nuclear weapons capability in the face of “continuing hostile U.S. policy and its military threat.” Read

Friday, June 25, 2010

North Korea Threatens Harsher Punishment Against Jailed American Unless U.S. Drops Ship-Sinking Issue

A threat by North Korea to apply “wartime law” in the case of an imprisoned American citizen is the latest attempt by the reclusive communist regime to use a captured foreigner as a political pawn in its recurrent disputes with the outside world. Read

As Lawmakers Pass ‘Powerful’ Iran Sanctions Bill, Some Worry Presidential Waivers Will Weaken It

The U.S. House and Senate gave final, overwhelming approval Thursday to what some lawmakers described as the toughest Iran sanctions legislation ever, although others regretted the inclusion of waivers that could allow the president to water down the punitive measures. Read

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Australian Prime Minister Rudd Ditched in Favor of Left-Wing Deputy

In a stunning collapse for a once-popular leader, an emotional Kevin Rudd resigned as prime minister of Australia on Thursday, after losing the support of party leaders who are anxious to avoid defeat in upcoming elections. Read

China’s Plans to Provide Pakistan With More Nuclear Reactors Raises Proliferation Concerns

China on Thursday was set to announce that it will provide Pakistan with more nuclear reactors – plans that could prove difficult to thwart because of what some countries regard as a precedent set by the United States two years ago. Read

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Obama’s Troop Withdrawal Timeline and Taliban Reconciliation Moves Cause Unease

Amid the uproar over Gen. Stanley’s McChrystal’s published remarks about President Obama and other top officials, there is continuing concern about the administration’s timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Read

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New U.S. Iran Sanctions Bill Likely to Irk Russians

On the eve of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Washington, U.S. lawmakers unveiled tough new Iran sanctions legislation certain to anger Moscow. Read

Jimmy Carter Worries Court Ruling May Affect His Interaction With Terror Groups

Former President Jimmy Carter has voiced concern that Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on “material support” to terrorist groups may criminalize his “work to promote peace and freedom. Read

Monday, June 21, 2010

Iran Executes Insurgent Leader, Accused of Ties With American Intelligence

Iran hanged a captured Sunni militant Sunday, and officials used the opportunity to repeat allegations that Iran’s enemies, led by the United States, are supporting terrorism against the Islamic republic. Read

Friday, June 18, 2010

U.N. Report on Maternal Deaths Disregards Optimistic New Statistics

A potentially influential new U.N. report on maternal mortality cites U.N. figures for childbirth-related deaths that have been called into question by recent independent research. Read

Former U.N. General Assembly President – a Critic of the U.S. and Israel – Will Provide ‘Expertise’ to U.N. Human Rights Council

Less than a year after he ended an often turbulent presidency of the U.N. General Assembly, a Nicaraguan leftist and arch-critic of the U.S. and Israel was set Friday to be appointed to the advisory committee of the U.N.’s top human rights agency. Read

Thursday, June 17, 2010

As Pro-Palestinian Flotilla Activists Gather in NYC, Jewish Group Urges State Dept. to Probe Links to Terrorism

Tensions in the Middle East over the recent Gaza flotilla incident could surface in New York City on Thursday evening, when a pro-Palestinian group hosts flotilla activists at a public meeting Jewish activists have tried to thwart. Read

Turkey May Not Send Its Ambassador Back to Israel

Turkey reportedly is considering downgrading its diplomatic relations with Israel amid a continuing rift between the one-time allies over Israel’s deadly interception of a flotilla of ships headed for Gaza. Read

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hamas TV Losing Viewers Across Europe

After a series of successes in its quest for diplomatic and popular support, the Islamist group Hamas faced a setback this week after French authorities ordered a halt to broadcasts in Europe by its Gaza-based television station. Read

U.S. Hails ‘Success’ at Human Rights Council After 29 Percent of U.N. Members Criticize Iran

The Obama administration claimed a victory for American leadership at the U.N. Human Rights Council after 56 countries – less than one-third of the total U.N. membership – supported a statement critical of Iran’s human rights record. Read

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Claims of Collusion With Taliban Cause a Stir in Pakistan

Pakistan’s government and military have angrily rejected new claims about close collaboration between Islamabad’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Afghan Taliban. Behind the allegations, some Pakistani commentators detect an agenda aimed at forcing their country to act against militants it has been reluctant to target up to now. Read

Monday, June 14, 2010

Iran, Pakistan Push Ahead With Gas Pipeline Deal

Four days after the U.N. Security Council approved fresh sanctions against Iran, the Iranian and Pakistani governments on Sunday finalized a multi-billion dollar deal under which Iran will supply natural gas by pipeline to its eastern neighbor for 25 years. Read

Arab States Grant Legitimacy to Hamas

The head of the Arab League visited Gaza on Sunday, effectively ending the Arab world’s isolation of Hamas and placing the league at odds with the U.S view that Hamas should be shunned until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel. Read

Friday, June 11, 2010

Turkey’s Opposition Troubled by Erdogan’s Stance on Iran and Israel

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is enjoying a surge of popularity in the Middle East for his positions on Iran and Israel, but a resurgent secularist opposition at home is warning that the government may be harming Turkey internationally. Read

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Obama Less Successful Than ‘Unilateralist’ Bush Was in Pushing U.N. Security Council to Sanction Iran

The Obama administration is playing down the absence of U.N. Security Council unanimity in adopting new sanctions against Iran on Wednesday, attributing three members’ refusal to back the resolution to differences over “timing and tactics.” Read

Anti-Islamist Politician Soars in Dutch Election

Six years after launching a one-person campaign, the Dutch lawmaker whose warnings about radical Islam have stoked controversy worldwide on Thursday was set to be a possible kingmaker in the next coalition government. Read

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Flexing Regional Muscles, Turkey Drifts Away From the West

Turkey’s ever more activist foreign policy, which has opened a gulf with its former ally Israel, also is putting Turkey increasingly at odds with the traditional positions held by its partner in NATO, the United States. Read

At Human Rights Council, ‘Regime’ Not Allowed, But ‘A State Built on Hatred’ Is Okay

The diplomat chairing a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting Tuesday allowed a Syrian delegate to call Israel “a state built on hatred, discrimination, oppression and a paranoid feeling of superiority,” but a few minutes earlier scolded another speaker for referring to the Burmese “regime.” Read

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Syria Strengthens Its Ties With North Korea

Senior Syrian and North Korean officials held talks in Damascus this week on further strengthening a relationship which has long been viewed with unease by the United States and Israel. Read

Obama, Who Planned to Engage Southeast Asia, Once Again Cancels Trip to Indonesia, and Australia

President Obama’s decision to cancel, once again, a visit to Australia and Indonesia may have won public understanding from the would-be host governments, but it does no favors for Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, whose dismal poll ratings could use a boost as elections draw nearer. Read

Monday, June 07, 2010

Removal of Two Key Afghan Officials Seen As A Blow to the West

As Afghan President Hamid Karzai takes first steps towards implementing recommendations of last week’s national “peace jirga,” the departure of two top government officials respected by Western governments raises new concerns about the direction in which the country is moving. Read

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Ready to Escort Gaza-Bound Ships

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is ready to provide military escorts to ships attempting to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, a senior official said Sunday. Leading Islamic countries, meanwhile, are suggesting a range of responses to last week’s deadly maritime clash between Israeli troops and pro-Palestinian activists. Read

Friday, June 04, 2010

Turkish Group Behind Gaza Flotilla Has Suspect Links, History

The Turkish organization responsible for the ill-fated attempt to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip is part of an Islamic “charitable” network that was designated by the U.S. government in 2008 for funding Hamas, the terrorist group that controls Gaza. Read

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Targeted Killings, Including U.S. Drone Strikes, Come Under U.N. Human Rights Council Scrutiny

The targeted assassination of terror suspects by remote control, a program expanded significantly under the Obama administration, comes under the spotlight Thursday, when the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council considers a report warning of the “risk of developing a ‘PlayStation’ mentality to killing.” Read

U.N. Human Rights Council Condemns Israel, Then Calls for Investigation Into Flotilla Raid

The U.N. Human Rights Council will dispatch an international “fact-finding” mission into Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, although language used by diplomats during an urgent council debate Wednesday signaled that most had already made up their minds about what happened. Read

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Isolated Israel Begins to Deport Activists, But Stands Firm on Need for Blockade

As its isolation at the United Nations deepened, Israel’s government on Tuesday ordered the speedy deportation of all foreign activists who were on ships trying to break the Gaza Strip blockade, and trucked the ships’ cargoes to the Hamas-ruled territory. Read

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Armed Activists Attacked Our Troops, Says Israel Amid World Outrage

Facing the world’s wrath over the deadly clash at sea between its troops and pro-Palestinian activists, the Israeli Defense Forces released video footage Monday showing groups of activists using what appear to be clubs or bars to attack Israeli soldiers the moment they landed on deck. Read