Friday, July 29, 2011

Top Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Line to Become Oil Minister, OPEC Head

Iranian lawmakers will decide next week whether a senior figure in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a target of U.S., European Union and U.N. sanctions, will become the country’s oil minister – a position that would elevate him to the presidency of the OPEC oil cartel at a time of global economic uncertainty. Read

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rare Legal Victory in Case of Pakistani Christian Who Refused to Convert to Islam

In a rare piece of good news for Pakistan’s beleaguered minorities, Christian lawyers from Pakistan and the U.S., working together for more than a year, have secured the conviction of three Muslims who killed a Christian businessman after he refused to convert to Islam. Read

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

U.N. Official Sees Anti-Muslim Prejudice in Early Assumptions About Norway Attack

A United Nations human rights expert Tuesday waded into the debate over the media’s early response to last week’s Norwegian terrorist attack, saying that the assumption Islamists were responsible exposed anti-Muslim prejudice. Read

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nations That Benefit Most From U.S. Foreign Aid Often Oppose U.S. Positions at U.N.

A Republican amendment to appropriations legislation would bar funding for any government that opposes the U.S. position at the United Nations more often than not. Although unlikely to make it into law, the amendment draws fresh attention to the fact that a majority of countries, including most leading recipients of U.S. foreign aid, would fall into that category. Read

Monday, July 25, 2011

U.S. Set to Resume ‘Exploratory’ Nuclear Talks With North Korea

A year and a half after an Obama administration envoy paid a trip to Pyongyang that brought no progress in the drawn-out nuclear standoff, U.S. officials are set to hold direct talks on the issue with a North Korean diplomat this week. Read

‘Islamophobic’ Bloggers, Scholars Blamed for Norway Outrage

As more details about Norwegian mass murder suspect Anders Behring Breivik emerged over the weekend, some prominent voices who warn about the dangers Islamist extremism poses to the West found themselves under fire. Read

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Comment: Stereotypes rife in Israel 'spy' coverage

It’s open to dispute whether the Israeli response to the death of Christchurch earthquake victim Ofer Mizrahi was 'extraordinary' at all. Read

Friday, July 22, 2011

Missile Collaboration: Iran Has the Technology, N. Korea Has the Uranium Enrichment

A new report assessing the security challenges posed by North Korea draws fresh attention to two-way collaboration between the Stalinist state and Iran on developing long-range missiles designed to carry a nuclear payload. Read

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Progress Reported in South China Sea Disputes As Clinton Meets With SE Asian Nations

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Indonesia Thursday for a series of meetings focused on Southeast Asia, a glimmer of progress was reported in efforts to defuse potentially dangerous territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Read

U.S. Urges U.N. Security Council to Make ‘Climate Change’ A Priority

For the first time in four years, the U.N. Security Council debated Wednesday whether climate change should be considered a priority worthy of the council’s attention, but it failed to reach agreement on the politically charged issue. Read

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No Evidence That Israeli Backpackers in New Zealand Were Spies, PM Says

Seven years after diplomatic relations between Israel and New Zealand were strained over a suspected Mossad passport-theft operation, the Pacific island nation was rocked Wednesday by claims that Israeli agents sought to take advantage of a major earthquake in Christchurch last February to hack into a national police computer network. Read

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Iranian Weapons Cache Disaster Threatens to Unseat E.U.’s Only Communist President

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated outside the presidency in the Cypriot capital Nicosia on Monday night, the latest in a series of protests triggered by the island’s worst peacetime military disaster a week earlier, the explosion of an impounded Iranian weapons cache. Read

Monday, July 18, 2011

Western, Islamic Gov’ts Find Common Ground on Religious Tolerance, But Pakistan’s ‘Blasphemy’ Abuses Continue

Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws continue to be enforced at great cost to those targeted by them, despite an international drive aimed at combating religious intolerance while upholding free expression. Read

Friday, July 15, 2011

Arab League Deals Double Blow to Obama on ‘Palestine,’ Syria

The Arab League has thrown its weight behind a Palestinian plan to seek U.N. recognition in September, while implicitly criticizing the U.S. government for questioning Syrian President Bashar Assad’s legitimacy. Read

British Muslims Urged to Reject Democracy, Embrace Shari’a-Ruled ‘Emirates’

British Islamic group known for its provocative publicity stunts says a borough in northeast London will be the first target of a campaign to establish “emirates” in the country – Muslim enclaves where shari’a law is enforced. Read

Thursday, July 14, 2011

India-Pakistan Thaw Could Face Setbacks After Terrorist Bombings

Wednesday’s series of bombings in Mumbai sparked the usual questions – who and why – with few early answers for the inhabitants of a city that has weathered numerous deadly terror attacks over the past two decades. Read

Poll: Obama’s Outreach Has Not Improved Arabs’ Views of the U.S.

Two years of outreach to the Arab-Islamic world by the Obama administration apparently has not ushered in more favorable opinions of the United States among Arabs, according to a new poll of attitudes in six key Mideast countries. Read

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Administration Urges a Reluctant Congress to Continue Funding the Palestinian Government

Facing strong bipartisan support in Congress for defunding a Palestinian government that includes the terrorist group Hamas, the Obama administration on Tuesday stressed the importance of continuing the funding, arguing that the Fatah-Hamas power-sharing deal has changed nothing on the ground. Read

Obama Administration Turning Away from Syrian Leader

Four months after Syrian President Bashar Assad initiated a violent crackdown on anti-government protestors, the Obama administration on Tuesday came as close as it ever has to questioning his legitimacy. Read

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Int’l Olympic Committee Talking to Saudis About Ban on Female Athletes, But No Ultimatum

The International Olympic Committee is not supporting calls for a ban on the three Islamic countries that have never included women in their national teams, but it is talking with them and hopes to see progress as the London 2012 games draw nearer. Read

U.S. Won’t Make a ‘Big Deal’ of N. Korea Chairing Disarmament Body

The Obama administration will not follow Canada’s lead and boycott a session of the U.N.-linked Conference on Disarmament to protest North Korea’s appointment to the body’s rotating presidency. Read

Monday, July 11, 2011

Syria Reprimands U.S. Ambassador, While Allowing 30-Hour Anti-U.S. Protest

The diplomatic dispute between the United States and Syria deepened on Sunday, when the Syrian government summoned the U.S. ambassador for a dressing-down over his visit last week to a flashpoint town in the anti-government revolt. Read

No More ‘Yes Boss,’ Says Pakistani PM, As Rift With U.S. Deepens

The days of saying “Yes, boss” to the United States are over, Pakistan Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said at the weekend, in a further sign of the deepening rift between the two countries. Read

Friday, July 08, 2011

Obama Administration Takes Credit for Birth of South Sudan

The important role played by President George W. Bush in setting South Sudan on the road to independence went unacknowledged by Obama administration officials at a briefing Thursday ahead of Saturday’s birth of the world’s newest sovereign nation. Read

Thursday, July 07, 2011

U.S. Voices Dismay Over Report That Iranian Christian Faces ‘Convert or Die’ Choice

The United States government voiced concern Wednesday about the plight of an Iranian Christian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy. Reports say his appeal to a higher court resulted in a stark choice – disavow the Christian faith or die. Read

Iran Steps Up Anti-U.S. Rhetoric, Tightens Bonds With Iraq, Afghanistan

Ahead of planned drawdowns of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran continues to deepen its ties with its two neighbors, while escalating its anti-American rhetoric amid a fresh show of military bravado. Read

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Obama’s State Dept. Nominee: North Korea's Kim Jong-il ‘Smart, Capable,’ ‘Not a Lunatic’

President Obama’s nominee to a top State Department post is one of the few American diplomats to have met North Korea’s Kim Jong-il, whom she later described as “smart, capable and supremely confident.” Read

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Pakistani Islamists Protest U.S. Embassy’s ‘Gay Pride’ Event

Public protests by Pakistani Islamists happen frequently, but on Monday the target was a new one – the recent hosting by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad of its first-ever lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) “pride celebration.” Read

U.S. Envoy Blames Iran Following Deadly Month for U.S. Forces in Iraq

Six months ahead of the scheduled withdrawal of the last U.S. forces from Iraq, June brought a somber reminder of an earlier time as well as concerns that the months leading up to the exit could produce a fresh increase in violence as insurgents and their supporters maneuver for influence. Read

Friday, July 01, 2011

Lebanon’s Hezbollah-Backed PM Gives No Sign He Plans to Arrest Hariri Murder Suspects

At long last, an independent tribunal investigating the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri issued the first indictments Thursday without triggering a violent reaction from Hezbollah, four of whose members are now wanted for arrest. Read