Friday, September 30, 2011

Attempt to Link Ronald Reagan With Pakistan’s Haqqani Network Falls Flat

An apparent attempt to discredit Washington’s stance on the Pakistan-based Haqqani terrorist network by pointing to historical U.S.-Haqqani cooperation stumbled this week when a widely circulating photo wrongly identified the group’s founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, as the person in a photo with President Ronald Reagan. Read

Al Gore: U.S. Democracy ‘Hacked’ by Anti-Warming Special Interests

Democracy in the U.S. is being undermined by Congress appeasing special interest groups in return for campaign funding rather than tackling climate change, former vice president and global warming campaigner Al Gore has told a conference in Scotland. Read

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Latin American States Prepare to Launch Bloc Excluding US, Canada

Governments in Latin America plan to gather in the Venezuelan capital later this year to formally launch an organization designed to counter U.S. influence in the hemisphere. Read

Cyprus Demands Int’l Condemnation of Turkey for Threats Over Offshore Drilling

As a dispute between Cyprus and Turkey over natural gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean threatens to turn ugly, the Obama administration is backing a United Nations offer to mediate. Read

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ed Koch Backs Obama Re-Election As Polls Show Jewish Support Declining

Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch says President Obama’s recent actions, including his speech at the U.N. General Assembly last week, have satisfied him that the president is a firm supporter of Israel. As a result, the Jewish Democrat says he will now back Obama’s re-election bid. Read

Iranian Pastor on Death Row May Be ‘Test’ Case for Iran's New Apostasy Provisions

An Iranian pastor convicted of “apostasy” could be an early victim of controversial revisions to Iran’s penal code, which for the first time explicitly codify the death penalty for those deemed to have abandoned Islam. Read

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

African Countries Press U.N. Agency to Establish Award Honoring One of the ‘World’s Worst’ Despots

A year after the U.S. successfully blocked an attempt to have a U.N. agency create an international life sciences award named for an African dictator, the issue is back on the agenda. The autocrat – who now chairs the African Union and has the continent’s support – wants the initiative to move ahead. Read

Execution Looms for Iranian Pastor Who Refuses to Renounce His Christian Faith

An Iranian pastor who refuses to renounce his Christian faith could be hanged as soon as Wednesday, after a trial court ruling this week upheld his death sentence for “apostasy.” Read

Monday, September 26, 2011

As U.S.-Pakistan Rift Widens, China Tells U.S. to Respect Pakistan’s ‘Sovereignty’

Amid one of the most serious diplomatic rifts with the United States in years, Pakistan has turned once again to its “all-weather friend” China, finding support from an ally ready to benefit from the divisions. Read

U.S. Welcomes Saudi Announcement on Limited Political Rights for Women

The Obama administration on Sunday welcomed Saudi King Abdullah’s announcement that women in kingdom will be able to run for office and vote in municipal elections, and be able to serve on an unelected body with limited powers to draft laws and advise the king. Read

Friday, September 23, 2011

Israel Once Again Accused of ‘Apartheid’ at U.N. Racism Meeting

The U.N. on Thursday commemorated the tenth anniversary of the Durban anti-racism process, an enterprise that has been marked by years of acrimony over efforts to single out Israel as racist. More than a dozen Western democracies boycotted the event. Read

Stellar Cast of Critics Slam U.N. As Anti-American, Anti-Israel

On a day when U.N. member states met to endorse the controversial “Durban” declaration against racism and a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad triggered yet another Western walkout, a conference near the U.N. headquarters in New York sent the world body a message – “not in our name.” Read

Thursday, September 22, 2011

U.S. Lawmakers See Gruesome Reality of China’s One-Child Policy

A congressional hearing Thursday on China’s “one-child” policy will include documented cases of coercion and abuses by Chinese population control officials, accompanied by graphic images of abused victims and damaged or demolished homes of policy “violators.” Read

Obama Administration Defends, Republicans Slam Taiwan Fighter-Jet Decision

Republican critics accuse the Obama administration of bowing to Chinese pressure with its decision to upgrade aging Taiwanese warplanes rather than sell the island the later generation fighters it has requested. Read

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Two Countries With Questionable Views on Terrorism Take Leading Roles in New Counterterror Initiatives

The United States and the United Nations this week will launch two separate counter-terrorism initiatives, each partnering with a country that does not accept that Palestinian violence against Israelis, or jihadist attacks against Indians in Kashmir, constitute terrorism. Read

Internal UN Memo Silent on Whether Palestinian Statehood Bid Goes Against Signed Int’l Agreements

An internal U.N. memo guiding staff on the Palestinian bid for U.N. recognition and membership expresses Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s support for the division of Jerusalem – even though numerous signed agreements emphasizes the issue is one for the parties themselves to negotiate in a final peace settlement. Read

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Turkey, Trying to Isolate Israel, Gets Cordial Treatment From Obama Administration

As Turkey’s leaders intensify efforts to isolate Israel internationally, the cordial treatment they are receiving from the Obama administration this week will add to concerns some Americans have about the strength of its support for Israel. Read

Murdered Ex-President of Afghanistan Blamed 'Foreign Intelligence Agencies' for Earlier Assassinations

Afghanistan’s “high peace council” head Burhanuddin Rabbani on Tuesday became the latest victim in a string of assassinations of high-profile Afghans, killed by a Taliban suicide bomber. Read

Monday, September 19, 2011

Christian Group Urges Nigeria to Crack Down on Religious Killings

A Christian legal group in the United States is urging the Nigerian government to take action in response to the deaths of almost 200 Christians and attacks on more than 500 churches after elections in Africa’s most populous state last April. Read

Ahmadinejad, Mugabe Keep Flag Flying for Despots at U.N.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is ill and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi is in hiding, but this week’s high level meetings at the United Nations will still include some of the world’s leading despots, with both Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe heading for New York. Read

Friday, September 16, 2011

Administration’s List of Religious Freedom Violators Excludes Pakistan, Despite Blasphemy Laws

Almost 32 months after taking office, the Obama administration has for the first time designated “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) for religious persecution. Read

Pro-Hamas Turkey and U.S. Will Co-Chair Obama-Backed Counter-Terror Forum--Israel Not Included

The United States and Turkey will co-chair a new global counterterrorism body to be launched on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly next week, despite Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s declared support for Hamas. Read

Thursday, September 15, 2011

U.N. Watchdog Group Barred From Next Week’s ‘Racism’ Meeting in N.Y.

A watchdog group that has frequently angered human rights-violating regimes at the United Nations has been blocked from attending next week’s controversial “Durban III” racism meeting in New York. Read

Jewish Activists Differ: Was Israel a Factor in Republican Bob Turner’s Win?

Jewish partisans on Wednesday were debating the extent to which President Obama’s positions on Israel played a role in the loss of a historically reliable Democratic congressional seat. Read

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

U.N. Reform Advocate Questions What U.S. Is Getting for Its $7B Contribution

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen acknowledged Tuesday that legislation aimed at making U.S. funding to the United Nations contingent on reforms lacks bipartisan support but said it was important to make a stand for “the principles that we believe in.” Read

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ron Paul’s Critique of U.S. Foreign Policy Draws Debate Jeers

Judging from the jeers from a conservative audience, Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul may have crossed a line for many during Monday night’s CNN/Tea Party debate with his comments about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Read

Syrian Bloodshed Weakening Regional Support for Iran?

Iran’s steadfast support for its Syrian ally may be costing it some of the support it enjoyed in the Arab world in recent years, but whether the political turmoil in the region will leave the Islamic republic weaker – or the Middle East safer – remains far from clear. Read

Monday, September 12, 2011

Marking 9/11, Israeli Leader Warns of ‘Ultimate Terrorist Nightmare’

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11 by warning that the struggle against terrorism is "at its peak," with Islamic radicals set on achieving the "ultimate terrorist nightmare." Read

Islamic Bloc Declines to Condemn All Terrorism

In a statement marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the bloc of Islamic states on Sunday reiterated a stance that has stymied efforts at the United Nations for well over a decade to develop a global convention against terrorism – the insistence that any definition of terrorism should make an exception for “resistance” against foreign occupation. Read

Friday, September 09, 2011

Need Action, Not More Words, on Trade Agreements, Republican Leader Tells Obama

Delays in passing three free-trade agreements negotiated by the Bush administration are putting 380,000 American jobs at risk, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says in a new ad campaign launched Thursday, hours before President Obama called – yet again – for movement on the trade deals. Read

U.S. Worried Terrorists May Get Libya’s Missing Surface-to-Air Missiles

The U.S. government is concerned that al-Qaeda and other terrorists may take advantage of the disarray in Libya to acquire unsecured Gaddafi regime weaponry including surface-to-air missiles, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser said Thursday. Read

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Obama Administration Cites Progress at the U.N., Slams Republican Critics

As President Obama prepares to attend the annual opening of the U.N. General Assembly opening in two weeks, a senior administration official has defended its engagement with the world body, criticizing a Republican initiative that would curtail U.S. funding of the U.N. Read

State Dep’t Nominee Pledges to Veto Palestinians’ Statehood Bid at U.N.

President Obama’s nominee for the third most senior position in the State Department said Wednesday that the administration would veto any resolution put before the U.N. Security Council this month recognizing a Palestinian state. No administration official has stated that publicly until now. Read

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Turkey’s Erdogan Escalates Tensions with Israel

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel Tuesday of acting like a spoiled child, but it is the Turkish government whose show of pique was sparked by the fact that a U.N. inquiry did not back its version of the infamous Mediterranean flotilla incident. Read

Suicide Bombings in Afghanistan, Pakistan Have Soared in Decade Since 9/11

Despite their histories of conflict, Pakistan and Afghanistan recorded just one suicide bombing each before 9/11. That changed dramatically over the decade since al-Qaeda used the grisly tactic to such devastating effect against the United States. Read

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Nigerian Jihadists Reportedly Plan More Suicide Bombings, Targeting Christians

New interreligious violence around Nigeria’s flashpoint city of Jos has prompted fears that worse could be on its way. One Nigerian newspaper cited an alleged government security alert warning that the Islamist group behind the recent U.N. headquarters suicide bombing is planning to carry out more attacks in Jos. Read

Yasser Arafat Gave Orders to ‘Finish Off’ US Diplomats, Gov’t Documents Show

As the Palestinians prepare for their U.N. recognition bid, the recent release of historical U.S. government documents confirms the personal involvement of Yasser Arafat in the murder of two American diplomats 38 years ago. Read

Friday, September 02, 2011

As UN’s ‘Durban III’ Looms, Countries Mull Boycotts and Critics Plan Counter-Conference

As the small number of Western democracies intending to boycott the third United Nations’ “Durban” racism event this month slowly grows, plans are coming together for a simultaneous “counter” conference expected to slam the U.N. gathering. Read

Momentous Month for US Troops in Iraq: Not One Death

August marked the first month since March 2003 that not one member of the U.S. military was reported to have died in Iraq or while deployed in neighboring areas in support of operations in Iraq, either in combat or non-hostile circumstances. Read

Thursday, September 01, 2011

White House Backs Down on Joint Session-GOP Debate Schedule Clash

The White House said Wednesday evening that President Obama will now address Congress on his job proposals next Thursday, following a day-long kerfuffle with Republicans over plans to do so one day earlier – the same day and time as a scheduled GOP presidential candidates’ debate. Read

US Turns Up the Heat on Syrian Foreign Minister

Drawing a distinction between senior Libyan regime officials who defected during the crisis there and senior Syrian ones who have not, the U.S. government launched a stinging attack on President Bashar Assad’s foreign minister Wednesday, a day after imposing sanctions on him. Read