Monday, October 31, 2011

Deny, Deceive, Discredit: Iranians Try Range of Tactics to Resolve Apostasy Case

Facing continuing international condemnation over the case of a Christian pastor sentenced to death for apostasy, Iranian authorities are using a variety of tactics in an effort to neutralize a situation that has called into question its flaunted commitment to religious freedom. Read

Int’l ‘Sunglasses’ Campaign Launched on Behalf of Chinese Activist Who Exposed Forced Abortion

Critics of human rights violations in China, particularly abuses associated with its coercive population control program, are being invited to join an international campaign that requires little more than taking a snapshot of themselves wearing sunglasses. Read

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ailing Saudi King Names Security Hardliner As Heir

Saudi Arabia’s ailing 90-year-old ruler has named his half-brother, Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz al-Saud, as heir to the throne of the oil-rich kingdom and longstanding U.S. Mideast ally. Read

Scaremongering? Engagement Advocates Falsely Claim US Will be Forced to Withdraw from UN Agencies

As the United Nations’ cultural agency prepares to vote on membership for “Palestine,” advocates of strong U.S. engagement with the U.N. are asserting – wrongly – that a successful vote will force the U.S. to withdraw from the agency. Read

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Iran Hails Tunisian Election Result, Predicts Islamist Victories in Egypt, Libya

Welcoming the apparent victory of an Islamist party in Tunisia, Iran’s leadership is predicting similar results when Egyptians and Libyans get to vote in their first elections after overthrowing dictators in what Tehran has branded the 2011 “Islamic awakening.” Read

Iran Rallies in Support of U.S. Protesters, Urges U.N. to Probe Police Response

Iranians demonstrated in Tehran on Wednesday in support of the Occupy Wall Street rallies in the United States, which some Iranian leaders are hoping will lead to the downfall of Western capitalism. Read

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

U.S. Funding on the Line As UNESCO Mulls Membership for ‘Palestine’

The United Nations’ cultural agency has begun a high-level conference that will decide on an application for membership for “Palestine” – a move that could lead to a legally-mandated severing of U.S. funding. Read

Saudi Succession Questions Linger After Burial of 80-Year-Old Crown Prince

Who will become the next ruler of the oil-rich kingdom that is the religious focal point for the world’s Muslims? That question remains unanswered as Vice President Joe Biden heads to Riyadh to pay U.S. condolences following the death of Crown Prince Sultan – the man in line to succeed the ailing King Abdullah. Read

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shari’a in Libya? As Long As ‘Universal Human Rights’ Are Respected, State Dept. Says

The State Department on Monday tiptoed around the issue of Islamic law (shari’a) forming the basis of countries’ legal systems, after comments by Libya’s interim leader raised new questions about just how progressive the so-called “Arab spring” will turn out to be. Read

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hillary Clinton Extols Obama’s ‘Smart’ Leadership in ‘Complex, Dangerous World’

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday praised President Obama’s “smart” foreign policy leadership, pointing to the death of Osama bin Laden, the toppling of Muammar Gadaffi and the announcement that remaining U.S. forces will leave Iraq by year’s end. Read

Iran Should Not ‘Miscalculate’ U.S. Commitment to Iraq, Clinton Warns

Amid ongoing Republican criticism over President Obama’s decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of the year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken the lead in defending the move, while warning Iran not to underestimate the U.S. commitment to Iraq’s ongoing stability. Read

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pakistan-U.S. Rift May Be Reflected in U.N. Security Council Election

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds talks in Islamabad to prod a vexing ally to step up counterterror cooperation, strains in the bilateral relationship may have an impact on an election in New York, where U.N. member states will vote Friday to fill five seats on the Security Council for the 2012-13 period. Read

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Obama Administration Justifies Its ‘Engagement’ With North Korea

As it prepares to hold “exploratory” talks with North Korea, the Obama administration Wednesday repeated the standard assurance that it would not “reward bad behavior” – but also voiced concern that a failure to talk could prompt the Stalinist regime to do something provocative. Read

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

U.N. Chief Appears to Equate Hostage-Taking of Israeli Soldier with Jailing of Arab Terrorists

A United Nations watchdog called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to clarify comments which it said appeared to equate an Israeli soldier abducted and held by terrorists for more than five years with Palestinians serving prison terms for deadly terror attacks. Read

Nov. Debate Will Show Striking Contrasts Among GOP Candidates on Foreign Policy

The packed debate schedule for Republican 2012 presidential candidates is being adjusted again to make way for an encounter focusing purely on foreign policy and national security, an area that has not featured prominently in the 10 national debates held since May. Read

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sending U.S. Troops to Africa May Help South Sudan

President Obama’s decision to send 100 combat-ready troops to central Africa aims to help rid Uganda of a 20 year-old rebel scourge but could also benefit South Sudan by eliminating at least one of the most troubling security challenges facing the fledgling republic. Read

Monday, October 17, 2011

After 3,000 Deaths, Arab League Still Divided Over Syria

Divided over whether to suspend Syria’s membership over its deadly suppression of anti-government protests, the Arab League has settled instead on an appeal for the government and opposition to talk. Read

Hamas Prepares Heroes’ Welcome for Terrorists and Killers Being Freed by Israel

The Israeli government on Sunday moved hundreds of Palestinian convicts to a temporary holding facility ahead of a prisoner exchange that is breathtakingly lopsided, even for a country that has made securing the release of captured soldiers a top national priority. Read

Friday, October 14, 2011

Arab Nations Condemn Iran’s ‘Flagrant and Unacceptable’ Terror Plot

Arab neighbors rallied around Saudi Arabia following allegations of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, while Iran sought to undo any diplomatic damage, urging the kingdom not to fall into a “trap” that would benefit the U.S. and Israel. Read

Republicans Advance Bill Targeting US Funding for UN: ‘What Are We Paying For?’

A U.S. House committee Thursday approved a bill linking U.S. contributions to the United Nations to significant financial and other reforms, one day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned she would recommend that President Obama veto the measure if it reaches his desk. Read

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rare Bipartisanship as Congress Passes Free Trade Pacts With Korea, Colombia, Panama

The U.S. House and Senate approved a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea on Wednesday, more than four years after it was first signed by President Bush – and just six working days after President Obama submitted it to Congress. Read

U.S. Trying to ‘Unite World Opinion’ Against Iran, Biden Says

Amid heated rhetoric over allegations of an Iranian plot to carry out terror attacks in Washington, D.C., the U.S. and Iran are both looking to the United Nations for support. Read

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Terror Plot Prompts Calls for ‘Crippling Pressure’ on Iran

It’s time to bring “crippling pressure” to bear on Iran in response to its threatening conduct around the world, U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Tuesday. Read

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pakistan Offers to Negotiate With al-Qaeda-Linked Terrorists

At a time of frigid relations with the U.S., Pakistan’s government is once again seeking to negotiate with al-Qaeda-linked terrorists based near its border with Afghanistan. Previous “peace” deals have led to escalated violence in both countries – including violence targeting U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. Read

Monday, October 10, 2011

Case of Pastor Sentenced to Death for Apostasy Referred to Iran’s Supreme Leader

Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani’s lawyer said Monday his client’s case has been referred to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for a final decision. Read

Iran Says U.S. Protests Will End in Downfall of Western Capitalism

“Occupy Wall Street” and associated protests in U.S. cities will usher in the American equivalent of the “Islamic awakening” in the Middle East and lead to the downfall of capitalism, a senior Iranian military officer said at the weekend. Read

Friday, October 07, 2011

Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy Team Includes Former Nat'l Security Figures, Conservative Scholars

Ahead of a major foreign policy speech on Friday, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney on Thursday released a comprehensive list of foreign policy and national security advisers, including senior members of previous GOP administrations and some leading conservative experts. Read

South Asian Rivals Jostle for Influence in Afghanistan Ahead of U.S. Pullout

The signing of a strategic pact between India and Afghanistan has shaken Pakistan, whose collaboration with militants in its western neighbor was intended to prevent the very scenario that now looks likely to emerge – a larger Indian role in Afghanistan. Read

Thursday, October 06, 2011

U.S. Lobbying Yielded Only 3 Votes to Block UNESCO’s ‘Palestine’ Bid

A Palestinian bid for United Nations recognition achieved its first victory Wednesday when only four countries out of 58 voted against a recommendation to admit “Palestine” to the U.N.’s cultural agency. Read

Republicans Advance a Bill Defunding U.N. Population Control Agency

U.S. House Republicans fired another shot across the bow of the United Nations Wednesday, advancing a bill to defund a U.N. agency accused of complicity in China’s coercive population control policies. Read

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

U.S. Ambassador Slams Russia, China for ‘Defending Dictators on the Warpath’

A frustrated U.S. ambassador to the United Nations accused some Security Council members Tuesday evening of going “to whatever lengths are necessary to defend dictators who are on the warpath,” after Russia and China cast a rare double veto to shoot down a resolution condemning Syrian President Bashar Assad’s violent crackdown on opponents. Read

Republicans Want U.N. Agency to Lose U.S. Funding If ‘Palestine’ Is Admitted

Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ attempt to have the United Nations enhance the status of “Palestine” could move forward as early as Wednesday, when one of the U.N.’s 15 specialized agencies considers an application for full membership. Read

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Fabricating Charges as Cover for Religious Persecution a Common Ploy for Repressive Regimes

Iran’s claim that a Christian pastor on death row for apostasy is actually facing charges of rape, extortion and “security crimes” draws attention to a common tactic of autocratic regimes sensitive to international criticism of religious persecution. Read

Monday, October 03, 2011

Iran Leads the Charge Against a ‘Two-State Solution’

A “two-state solution” has become the focal point of international efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, but Iran is leading a counter campaign, galvanizing support from lawmakers around the world for the view that “all of Palestine” belongs to the “Palestinians.” Read

Pakistanis Protest Death Sentence for Bodyguard Who Killed Politician Over ‘Blasphemy’ Issue

Major Pakistani cities witnessed angry protests over the weekend in response to the death sentence handed down to a bodyguard who invoked the Qur’an in explaining his decision to murder the senior politician he was paid to protect. Read