Friday, September 28, 2012

Poll: Most Americans Reject Isolationism, See U.S. As ‘Force for Good in the World’

Most Americans reject isolationism, do not believe the U.S. spends an excessive amount on defense, and say it’s important for the U.S. to continue playing a significant role in global affairs, according to a new opinion poll. Read

Senators Demand Answers: Why Did Susan Rice Insist Video Caused Benghazi Attack?

As more senior administration officials use the word “terrorism” in describing the deadly September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice’s repeated insistence five days later that the incident was a “spontaneous reaction” to an obscure anti-Islam video continues to draw scrutiny and criticism. Read

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ahmadinejad Includes Shi’ite End-Times Beliefs in Speech to U.N.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address to the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday received widespread media coverage, but outside the Muslim world little attention was given to the final paragraphs, in which he gave more detail than he has in past years of the end-times eschatology believed to drive the decision-making of Iran’s top leaders. Read

NAACP Urges U.N. to Investigate U.S. for ‘Racially Discriminatory Election Laws’

Charging that millions of citizens, two-fifths of them black, have been denied the right to vote because of felony convictions, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called on the United Nations this week to investigate America’s “racially discriminatory election laws.” Read

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Muslim Leaders Make Case for Global Blasphemy Ban at U.N.

True to their word, the leaders of the world’s two most populous Muslim countries used their speeches at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday to call for a legally-binding, global anti-blasphemy protocol. Read

Ignoring U.S. Appeals, Vietnam’s Communist Regime Jails Bloggers

The imprisonment of three Vietnamese bloggers has focused fresh attention onto the gulf between practices of Hanoi’s communist regime and democratic norms the Obama administration says it is promoting as part of a deepening bilateral relationship. Read

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ahmadinejad Begins Farewell Appearance on World Stage With Incendiary Rhetoric

Ahead of his eighth and final annual address to the United Nations this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday touched on themes likely to feature in the speech – a challenge to Israel’s legitimacy, criticism of the West for not cracking down on anti-Islam speech, and an implied reference to Holocaust revisionism. Read

Australian Commander: Reducing Insider Attacks in Afghanistan ‘At the Forefront of Our Training’

Reducing the risk of so-called “insider attacks” in Afghanistan is “at the forefront” of training ahead of deployment to the country, an Australian military commander said Tuesday. Read

Monday, September 24, 2012

White House is Wrong: Campaigning Presidents Have Held Bilateral Meetings at UNGA

White House press secretary Jay Carney’s assertion that President Obama’s decision not to meet visiting leaders alongside this week’s U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) gathering in New York is in line with past re-election campaigns is not accurate. Read

Airline Industry Hails Senate Move Against European ‘Cash Grab’ Cap-And-Trade Scheme

U.S. airline industry representatives have praised the U.S. Senate’s approval of legislation preventing American carriers from participating in the European Union’s emission-trading scheme – an initiative described as a “cash grab” and a breach of U.S. sovereignty. Read

Friday, September 21, 2012

Watchdog Calls US Response to Putin’s USAID Move ‘Caving in to a Repressive Government’

A leading democracy watchdog criticized the Obama administration this week for its response to Russia’s request that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) shut down its operations, suggesting it had complied too readily. Read

State Dep’t Spends $70,000 Placating Pakistani Muslims Ahead of Friday Protests

Seven Pakistani television stations broadcast U.S. government public service messages Thursday featuring President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denouncing a film clip insulting Mohammed. Read

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Islamic Bloc Revives Drive to Outlaw ‘Religious Defamation’ Worldwide

A decade-old but temporarily-shelved push by Islamic governments to universally outlaw “blasphemy” looks poised to return to the international agenda, amid the ongoing furor over insulting depictions of Mohammed. Read

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

‘U.S. Global Leadership Is Back’ Under Obama, Administration Official Tells U.N.

As a new session of the United Nations General Assembly got underway Tuesday, a State Department official reiterated the view that four years of the Obama administration have restored U.S. leadership in the world. Read

Obama’s Foreign Policy Approval Rating Drops After Mideast Turmoil

The first opinion poll to be conducted after last week’s deadly attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya and a spate of anti-American protests across the Muslim world has recorded a five-point drop in approval for President Obama’s handling of foreign policy. Read

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Polls Show Erosion of U.S. Image Abroad Over the Past Four Years

The last four years have witnessed a decline in the image of the United States around the world, and President Obama’s approval rating has also taken a hit in some regions abroad, according to a series of polls this year. Read

Female Suicide Attacker Kills 12 in Afghanistan As NATO Scales Back Cooperation

In the latest case of terrorists seizing on an anti-Islam film clip to justify fresh acts of violence, an Afghan faction allied with al-Qaeda and the Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on Tuesday that killed up to a dozen people, mostly foreign civilians, in Kabul. Read

Monday, September 17, 2012

Panetta Warns of War Between China and Japan Over Disputed Islands

Exchanging warnings but avoiding confrontations thus far, Chinese and Japanese ships have come within less than half a nautical mile of each other in an ongoing dispute over the sovereignty of contested islands. Read

Leading Sunni Clerics Demand Global Ban on Insults to Islam

Six months after declaring that all churches in the Arabian peninsula should be destroyed, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric called at the weekend for a global ban on insults targeting all religious “prophets and messengers,” a category that, from a Muslim perspective, includes Jesus Christ. Read

Friday, September 14, 2012

Libyan Envoy Pleads for Ongoing U.S. Support As Lawmakers Target Aid

On the same day that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced a new legislative amendment to cut off U.S. aid to Libya and Egypt over this week’s violent events, Libya’s ambassador to Washington appealed on Thursday night for continuing U.S. support. Read

Egyptian President Calls Blasphemy a ‘Red Line,’ As Clinton Invokes ‘Free Expression’

Separate statements made Thursday by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed the nub of the issue that has sparked anti-U.S. protests in many Muslim countries – the incompatibility between shari’a and the First Amendment. Read

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hurting Muslims’ Feelings ‘Cannot Be Tolerated,’ Egypt’s Ruling Party Says

As U.S. diplomatic missions tightened security in the aftermath following Tuesday’s deadly attack in Libya and continuing protests in Egypt – and new eruptions in Yemen -- Islamic governments and organizations, including terrorist groups, condemned an obscure film about Mohammed blamed by some for the incidents. Read

Islamic Bloc: We Told You This Would Happen If You 'Hurt the Religious Sentiments of Muslims'

The organization representing the world’s Islamic nations on Wednesday condemned the attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt, saying it had consistently warned that “the abuse of freedom of expression” in a way that “hurt[s] the religious sentiments of Muslims” could have grave consequences. Read

Obama Administration Still Not Ready to Call Benghazi a Terror Attack

Asked directly on Wednesday evening if Tuesday's deadly violence in Libya was "linked to a terror attack" – possibly al-Qaeda – a State Department official demurred. Read

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Clinton: U.S. 'Deplores' Religious Intolerance, But No Justification for Violence

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late Tuesday confirmed that a State Department officer had been killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, condemning the assault “in the strongest terms.” Read

U.S. Diplomat Killed in Libya, U.S. Embassy Stormed in Cairo

Reports about a movie deemed to blaspheme Mohammed were blamed for triggering angry protests Tuesday in Egypt, where thousands rallied outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, while in Libya, gunmen killed at least one employee at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Read

Despite Haqqani Network, Administration Insists That Pakistan Is a Crucial Ally

The Obama administration is emphasizing that the decision to designate the Haqqani network in Pakistan as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) is not intended to send a message to Pakistan, but some experts argue that the group will only be weakened if pressure is applied on Islamabad. Read

Monday, September 10, 2012

Iran Slams Canada's Surprise Decision to Sever Diplomatic Ties

Canada’s surprise decision to sever diplomatic ties with Iran and expel its diplomats from Ottawa is drawing strong reaction in Iran, with officials and lawmakers accusing the conservative government of doing Israel’s bidding and trying to punish Iran for a recent diplomatic accomplishment. Read

Iranian Pastor Freed From Death Row, But Worries Persist About His Safety

Supporters of Youcef Nadarkhani are celebrating the news that the Iranian pastor who was sentenced to hang for embracing Christianity has been acquitted and freed. Read

Friday, September 07, 2012

Obama Stays Away from Putin’s Summit After Putin Skipped Obama’s

Evidently piqued about President Obama’s decision not to attend an Asia-Pacific summit he is hosting this weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not planning to hold a substantive meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is representing the United States in Obama’s absence. Read

Putin: Obama Is ‘Very Honest’ And ‘Sincerely Wants to Make Many Good Changes’

Six months after President Obama was overheard offering Moscow “more flexibility” on the missile defense issue after November’s election, Russian President Vladimir Putin has characterized Obama as sincere about wanting to resolve the long running bilateral dispute. Read

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Boos and Jeers as Democrats Revise Platform to Include 'God,' 'Jerusalem'

The Democratic Party’s scramble to amend its 2012 platform to reinsert a reference to Jerusalem may reflect nervousness in a party that has seen Jewish voters’ support for President Obama drop since 2008. Read

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Despite Photo, State Dept. Says U.S. Envoy Didn't Bow to Statue of Dictator

The Obama administration’s new ambassador to Azerbaijan raised eyebrows this week with a gesture interpreted by some as paying homage to the country’s late dictator – a one-time KGB general installed by military coup who oversaw an autocratic regime before handing power to his son. Read

2012 Dem Platform Is Only the Second in 40 Years to Be Silent on Jerusalem

The decision to omit any reference to Jerusalem in the 2012 Democratic Party platform not only marks a shift from four years ago – as noted by Republicans Tuesday – but a departure from a position that has appeared in every Democratic platform but one since shortly after Israel reunited the city 45 years ago. Read

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Muslim Cleric May Have Damaged a Qur’an to Frame A Christian Girl

So much for Muslim reverence for the Qur’an. Police in Pakistan are investigating allegations that a Muslim cleric himself tore out pages of Islam’s venerated book and added them to burned garbage in a bid to frame a young Christian girl for supposed “blasphemy.” Read

Hezbollah: Iran Will Attack U.S. Bases If Israel Bombs Iranian Nuclear Facilities

Iran will attack American targets in the Middle East if Israel launches a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared on Monday night, fueling an already tense situation in the region. Read