Thursday, August 30, 2012

Romney: US Leadership in the World Has Diminished Under Obama

America’s leadership in the world has diminished under President Obama, who in his dealings with other countries “has given trust where it is not earned, insult where it is not deserved, and apology where it is not due,” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney charged Wednesday. Read

Romney’s Stance on Russia Raises Hackles in Moscow

Russian media lashed out Wednesday at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his pledge to end the Obama administration’s so-called “reset” of ties with Moscow and his campaign’s reiteration of Romney’s view that Russia remains a top “geopolitical foe.” Read

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

‘Democratic, Responsible Nations’ Should Pull Out of Iran-Led Bloc, Says GOP Lawmaker

Responsible democracies should withdraw from an organization that deems Iran to be an appropriate chairman, a senior Republican lawmaker said Tuesday as the Non-Aligned Movement kicked off its triennial summit in Tehran. Read

GOP Platform Assails China Over Currency, Persecution, ‘Barbaric’ One-Child Policy

The 2012 Republican party platform unveiled in Tampa Tuesday uses strong language on dealing with China, criticizing Beijing over currency manipulation, “religious persecution” and forced abortion linked to the “barbaric” one-child policy. Read

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Obama Administration’s Claim to Have Improved U.N. Human Rights Council Faces Test

The Obama administration’s repeated claims that its support for the U.N. Human Rights Council has proven worthwhile faces a test in the fall as it decides whether to exert diplomatic pressure in an effort to prevent governments with poor human rights records from joining the body. Or it could stand back and allows them to take their seats. Read

75% of Books in Library for Afghan Detainees Thought to Contain 'Extremist' Material

A civilian interpreter at a U.S. military detention center in Afghanistan estimated that up to 75 percent of books in a library used by detainees contained unsuitable “extremist” material, according to a U.S. military report into the burning of Qur’ans and other religious literature there last February. Read

Monday, August 27, 2012

Russians, Americans Take Part in Joint Air Force Counter-Terror Drill

The U.S. may be troubled by Russian support for Syria’s Assad regime, freedom of expression violations and politically motivated prosecutions, but military-to-military cooperation continues, in line with the administration’s so-called “reset” of relations with the Kremlin. Read

Draft GOP Platform Demands U.N. Reform, Declares Obama Weak on Iran and Russia

With all eyes on the (abbreviated) Republican National Convention this week, Americans and others concerned about foreign policy will be looking to the GOP platform and senior party figures’ speeches to expand on an area overshadowed during the campaign by pressing domestic concerns. Read

Friday, August 24, 2012

Iran Says Its ‘Imam Khomeini Spaceport’ Will be Operational by Next Spring

Iran’s Defense Minister says the country’s new space center will be operational by next spring, the latest development in a program signaling Tehran’s fast-developing ballistic missile capability. Read

U.S. General Links Spike in ‘Insider Attacks’ to Stress of Ramadan Fasting

The commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan on Thursday cited the stress of fasting during Ramadan – which fell at the height of summer this year – as one possible reason for a spike in “insider attacks” on U.S. troops. However, the Muslim fast month historically has been associated with jihad. Read

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws to be Spotlighted As It Seeks New Seat on U.N. Human Rights Council

Pakistan’s notorious blasphemy laws and the plight of its non-Muslim minorities will be in the spotlight next month when an international church body convenes a high-profile hearing in Geneva on the subject. Read

State Dep’t Declines to Reproach U.N. Chief for Decision to Visit Iran

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision to take part in an international summit in Tehran despite strong U.S. misgivings again calls into question the Obama administration’s assertions that its deeper engagement with the United Nations is benefiting the United States. Read

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

China Bristles Over U.S.-Japan Military Drills

Chinese state media criticized the United States for holding military exercises with Japan in the western Pacific, ramping up rhetoric over a territorial spat with Japan. Read

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Gov’t Embarks on ‘Independent’ Foreign Policy

Despite the Obama administration’s efforts to put a brave face on the situation, the U.S. relationship with Egypt looks increasingly troubled, as the Muslim Brotherhood government begins to flex its muscles at home and abroad. Read

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Iran Backtracks on Claim That U.N. Chief Won’t Attend Its Summit

A day after Iran’s parliamentary speaker was quoted by the regime’s official press agency commenting on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s “withdrawal” from a major summit Tehran is hosting next week, a government spokesman insisted Monday that Ban will attend. Read

Shi’ites, Salafists Slam Bahrain’s King for Donating Land for Catholic Church

Fanning sectarian tensions in the Gulf, Shi’ite clerics in Iran are criticizing Bahrain’s Sunni monarch for granting the Roman Catholic Church land to build a new church, complaining that he has done so after destroying dozens of Shi’ite mosques during the unrest that erupted there early last year. Read

Monday, August 20, 2012

Iran Says U.N. Chief Has Withdrawn From Its ‘Non-Aligned’ Summit

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has pulled out of the Non-Aligned Movement summit being hosted by Iran next week, a senior Iranian politician said Sunday, two days after Ban condemned as “offensive and inflammatory” Iranian leaders’ statements threatening Israel. Read

Nationalist Sentiments Prompt New Territorial Wrangles in Asia

Sixty-seven years after World War II ended in the Pacific, nationalist sentiment is simmering in Northeast Asia, as longstanding disputes over resource-rich maritime territories stoke new frictions between former foes. Read

Friday, August 17, 2012

U.N. Chief’s Presence at Tehran Summit Sends Wrong Message, Says State Dep't

The Obama administration said Thursday that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s presence at a summit of developing nations hosted by Iran later this month would “not send a good signal,” but stopped short of publicly urging him not to go. Read

Muslim Brotherhood Denies Trying to ‘Islamize’ Egypt’s Media

The Muslim Brotherhood hit back Thursday at critics who warn of an “Islamization” of state-owned media outlets, as the U.S. government joined a chorus of concern about an apparent erosion of media freedom in post-Mubarak Egypt. Read

Thursday, August 16, 2012

U.N. Health Agency Welcomes Australian Court Ruling on Plain Tobacco Packaging

The United Nations’ health agency has welcomed a court decision upholding a new Australian law mandating plain packaging for tobacco products – the world’s first – a move critics regard as government theft of intellectual property rights. Read

As Islamic Bloc Suspends Syria, Iran Tries to Shift the Focus Back to ‘Palestine’

Angered by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s decision to suspend Syria, Iran warned that the bloc of Muslim nations has fallen into a trap devised by “enemies” who want to promote sectarianism and divert attention from the Palestinian issue. Read

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Critics Call for Iran’s Suspension from U.N. As It Prepares to Host ‘Non-Aligned’ Summit

As Tehran prepares to host its largest international gathering ever – a summit it says United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will attend – critics launched a campaign Tuesday calling for Iran to be suspended from the U.N. for violating the world body’s charter. Read

Clinton Omits Religious Tolerance in Her Message to Pakistan on Its Independence Day

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent greetings to the Pakistani government and people on their Independence Day Tuesday, but in her comments on the country’s founder, she said nothing about his vision of a Pakistan where citizens enjoy equality irrespective of religion. Read

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Islamic Bloc Moves to Expel Syria, Leaving Iran Isolated

A decision by the world’s Islamic nations to expel the Assad regime from its ranks comes as a particular blow to Syria’s closest ally, Iran, and underscores the widening Sunni-Shi’ite rift. Read

Energy-Hungry Asian Customers Look for Ways to Skirt Iran Oil Restrictions

Some of Iran’s biggest oil customers are finding ways around U.S. and European restrictions on buying oil from Iran, just months after the Obama administration granted them an exemption from financial sanctions for reducing the amount of Iranian crude oil they buy. Read

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hezbollah’s Role in Lebanese Gov’t Complicates Efforts to Pressure it Over Syria Crackdown

The U.S. Treasury Department’s says its decision to designate Hezbollah for supporting the Assad regime’s violent crackdown in Syria aims to encourage other countries to take steps to add to the pressure on the group, but Hezbollah’s key role in the Lebanese government – a recipient of U.S. foreign assistance – continues to complicate the situation. Read

‘More Visible’ U.S. Role Expected in Syria in Coming Weeks, Turkey Says

The United States will take on a “more visible” role in the Syria crisis in the coming weeks, a Turkish newspaper quoted unnamed Turkish officials as saying, after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a weekend visit discussed options that could include “no-fly zones” along Syria’s borders. Read

Friday, August 10, 2012

U.N. Refuses Comment on Iran’s Claim That Ban Ki-moon Will Attend 120-Nation Summit in Tehran

Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman has declined to comment on reports from Iran saying that the U.N. secretary-general plans to attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran later this month. Read

Iraq Prepares to Release Terrorist Accused of Killing U.S. Soldiers

Iraqi authorities are on the verge of releasing a leading Shi’ite terrorist wanted by the United States for the killing of American soldiers there, but the Obama administration maintains that the U.S. has “a good and robust and strategic partnership” with Baghdad. Read

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Kingdom's Official Press Agency Ignores Saudi Women’s Olympic Advance

The participation of two young Saudi women in the London Olympic Games created a buzz in world media outlets and on social media sites, but back home, the kingdom’s national news agency has ignored their groundbreaking achievement altogether. Read

Clinton Nudges South Africa to Play a Responsible International Role

Although photos of a dancing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made headlines in the United States, she came to South Africa with a serious message, prodding the nation to play a responsible role in the international community. Read

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Egypt’s Ruling Muslim Brotherhood Blames Israel for Attack in Sinai Peninsula

The Muslim Brotherhood’s suggestion that Israel’s Mossad was behind a deadly attack in the Sinai peninsula that left 16 Egyptian border policemen dead is far more significant than past anti-Israel conspiracy theories, since the Islamist group now dominates Egypt’s government. Read

Iran to Assume Leadership of Bloc That Includes Key U.S. Allies and U.S. Aid Recipients

At a time when the U.S. is leading efforts to isolate Iran, almost two-thirds of the worlds independent nations including key recipients of U.S. aid and nine of Americas major non-NATO allies belong to a intergovernmental organization that is about to let Tehran set its agenda for the next three years. Read

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Muslim Terrorists Tell Nigeria's Christian President: ‘Convert or Resign’

Boko Haram is demanding that Nigeria’s Christian president convert to Islam or resign, a stance that again calls into question the Obama administration’s playing down of religion as the primary motivation for the radical group. Read

As U.N. Annual Session Looms, So Does New PLO Bid for Status Upgrade

With the fall opening of the annual United Nations General Assembly approaching, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has signaled its intention to renew its bid to upgrade the status of “Palestine” in a body that is eager to embrace its cause. Read

Monday, August 06, 2012

Despite Thousands More Deaths in Syria, Support for U.N. Resolution Weakens

The death toll in the Syrian conflict has tripled over the past six months, but the number of countries supporting a United Nations resolution Friday calling for an end to the violence was slightly lower than the number voting in favor of an earlier measure last February. Read

Watchdog Assesses Degree of Religious Freedom in Muslim States’ Constitutions

About 44 percent of the world’s Muslims live in 23 countries that have declared Islam to be the state religion, according to a new survey by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The rest live in countries whose constitutions either say nothing about an official religion or declare the state to be secular. Read

Friday, August 03, 2012

Formal Complaint Submitted to U.N. Women’s Rights Agency Regarding Forced Abortion in China

A women’s rights group has submitted a formal complaint to a United Nations policy-making body dedicated to “gender equality and the advancement of women” about coercion in China’s population-limitation policies, citing several recent cases of late-term forced abortion. Read

Turkey, Wary About Kurdish Gains in Syria, Deploys Tanks

Increasingly concerned that the emergence of Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern war-torn Syria will embolden its own large Kurdish minority, Turkey has deployed tanks along its nearby border and is looking to Iraqi Kurdish leaders for support. Read

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Kerry: Climate Change ‘As Dangerous’ as Iran’s Nukes and Possibility of War

The situation facing the planet because of climate change is “as dangerous” as the possibility of war over Iran’s nuclear activities, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) told the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. Read

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Activists Say ‘Gender Apartheid’ Saudi Arabia Should Have Been Excluded From Olympics

Dismissing Saudi Arabia’s agreement to include women in its Olympic team for the first time as window dressing, human rights activists will meet at the House of Lords in London on Wednesday to highlight what they call “gender apartheid” in the kingdom. Read

Pakistan’s Spymaster Visits Washington Amid U.S. Concerns About Counterterror Cooperation

As the new head of Pakistan’s military intelligence agency visits Washington for the first time, the State Department’s annual report on global terrorism once again points to Pakistan’s reluctance to rein in terrorist groups with strong historical links to the agency. Read