Monday, September 30, 2013

Kerry: Potential Terror Recruits Need ‘More Economic Opportunities’

Launching a new global counter-terror fund, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke of the importance of “providing more economic opportunities for marginalized youth at risk of recruitment” – although much research has debunked the notion of a link between poverty and Islamist terrorism. Read

U.N. Resolution on Syria, Hailed As Triumph by Kerry, Doesn’t Blame Assad for Chemical Attack

The Obama administration is characterizing as a diplomatic triumph the passage of a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons that is so watered down at Russia’s insistence it does not even blame the Assad regime for their use in a deadly attack last month. Read

Friday, September 27, 2013

Don’t Disregard Religious Factor in Kenyan Mall Attack, Say Experts on Radical Islam

As forensic experts continue to examine the site of al-Shabaab’s Kenyan mall attack, some experts on radical Islam are warning that as long as Western leaders deny the true Islamic agenda driving the group, they will be unable to protect their citizens from its deadly terror campaign. Read

Kerry at the UN: ‘I Took Personal Satisfaction’ at Defense of Marriage Ruling

Secretary of State John Kerry told a group of foreign government ministers in New York Thursday that he “took personal satisfaction” when the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal law recognizing marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Read

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kerry Blasted for Signing U.N. Arms Trade Treaty That Critics Say Creates De Facto Gun Registry

The Obama administration’s decision to sign a global conventional arms trade treaty despite deep misgivings on Capitol Hill and among Second Amendment advocates drew strong reactions from lawmakers on Wednesday, underlining the ratification battle ahead. Read

U.S.-Backed Syrian Coalition Plays Down Rebels’ Call for an Islamist Syria

The U.S.-backed Syrian National Coalition put a brave face Wednesday on a declaration signed by some of the most powerful rebel groups inside the country, rejecting the faction as out-of-touch exiles who do not represent the rebellion. Read

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

As Syria Burns, Arab Leaders at U.N. Still Point to Israel As Region’s Core Problem

Lebanon’s stability is being seriously compromised by the conflict in Syria and the ongoing actions of Hezbollah, but in a 16-minute speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, the country’s president managed to avoid criticizing either the Assad regime or the Shi’ite terrorist group that is supporting it. Read

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Familiar Criticisms and Grievances from Iran’s New President

Hours after snubbing President Obama by declining an informal “encounter” on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Iran’s “moderate” new president in his first speech to the world body said Tuesday that those who claim Iran poses a threat are themselves a threat to international peace and security. Read

‘Two or Three’ Americans Among Terrorists in Mall Siege, Says Kenyan FM

The terrorists who attacked a shopping mall in Nairobi include “two or three” Americans and at least one British national, Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed told PBS’ NewsHour on Monday evening. Read

Monday, September 23, 2013

Kenyan Security Officials Signal That Mall Siege is Nearing End

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Kenyan authorities signaled via Twitter that the deadly standoff with Islamist terrorists inside a Nairobi shopping mall was near or at an end, although previous such assertions did prove to be premature. Read

Massacre of Pakistani Christians Comes Amid Another Attempt to Negotiate With Terrorists

Sunday’s suicide bombing at a church in Pakistan comes less than a two weeks after the government confirmed it will move ahead with peace talks with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) – the terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for the deadliest attack ever targeting the country’s Christian minority. Read

Lawmakers Target Head of UN Agency for Sending U.S. Computer Technology to Iran, N. Korea

Five U.S. lawmakers are calling on the Obama administration to oppose a second term for the head of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for “erratic and secretive behavior,” including providing U.S.-origin computer technology to North Korea and Iran. Read

Friday, September 20, 2013

What About Jailed American Pastor, Supporters Ask, As Iran Frees Political Prisoners

As Iran’s new president continues a charm offensive ahead of next week’s visit to the United Nations General Assembly, religious freedom advocates urged him, again, to release an Iranian-American pastor sent to prison for eight years for purported national security offenses. Read

Iranian President’s TV Interview Came 2 Days After He Accused West of Regional Conspiracies

A U.S. television interview in which Iran’s new president said Iranians “seek peace and friendship among the nations of the region” and called a letter from President Obama “positive and constructive” was recorded just two days after he struck a different tone, accusing the West of hatching plots and suggesting that foreign troops should leave the region. Read

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Poll: Republicans’ Regard for the UN Falls Sharply

Republicans’ views of the United Nations have grown significantly more critical over the past year, with a new poll finding the proportion of those with a favorable impression of the world body has dropped seven percentage points since 2012, and is now at its lowest level since President Obama’s election. Read

News With Mideast Christians in Peril, Administration's Opposition to Special Envoy Post Called 'Indefensible'

For a second time, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation – by an overwhelming margin – to establish a special envoy focusing on the rights of religious minorities in parts of the Islamic world, with priority given to Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Read

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sudan Strikes Back at U.S. Criticism, Accusing U.S. of War Crimes

Sudan’s Islamist government hit back Tuesday at U.S. criticism of plans by its war crimes-indicted president to attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York next week, saying the U.S. has a “known record in committing war crimes and genocide” and is not qualified to “offer sermons and advice” on human rights. Read

State Dep’t Still Saying Most Syrian Rebels are ‘Moderates’

Amid new claims that nearly half of the rebels fighting the Assad regime in Syria are aligned with jihadist or hardline Islamist ideologies, the State Department on Tuesday implied again that most of the opposition are “moderates.” Read

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

US-Russia Deal Silent on Syria’s Germ Warfare Capabilities

The Obama administration says it is concerned about the Assad regime’s biological weapon capabilities, but they are not covered by the chemical weapons framework agreement negotiated by the U.S. and Russia in Geneva. Read

Head of Islamic Bloc Wants His Group to Have Permanent Seat on U.N. Security Council

With key Muslim countries on the rise and the Muslim population on track to exceed a quarter of the planet’s projected total population by 2030, the Islamic world deserves a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, says Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Read

Monday, September 16, 2013

Whose ‘Boots On the Ground’ Will Protect Weapons Inspectors in Syria?

When international scientific and technical personnel enter Syria to inspect, remove and destroy the regime’s chemical weapons stockpiles, they will need significant security support, raising questions about whether the Obama administration will keep its pledge to have no U.S. military deployed inside Syria. Read

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Russia Will Agree to Consequences for Syria, Only If It Believes ‘100 Percent’ That a Violation Has Occurred

The Obama administration says its painstakingly negotiated agreement with Russia over removing Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal includes consequences for non-compliance, but Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear that for that to happen, Moscow would need to be “100 percent “ sure a violation has taken place. Read

Friday, September 13, 2013

U. N. Human Rights Panel Prepares to Challenge U.S. Domestic Policies

From “stand your ground” laws to voter-ID, from drone strikes to NSA surveillance, from profiling of Muslims to continued detentions at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. government’s positions on a wide range of issues will be placed under a United Nations’ spotlight next month. Read

With All Eyes on Syria, Nuclear Reactor Switches On in North Korea

While the international community has been focused on the crises in Syria and Egypt, North Korea evidently has been quietly preparing to resume operations at a nuclear reactor which it agreed under an international deal eight years ago to shut down, before warning amid heightened tensions last April that it would restart. Read

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Christians in Egypt Targeted With Charges of 'Religious Defamation'

The wielding of “religious defamation” lawsuits has escalated in Egypt in the two-and-a-half years since the Mubarak regime was ousted, an Egyptian human rights group has found. Christians have been disproportionately targeted. Read

U.S. Focus Shifts Focus to Deterrence, As France Stands Firm on Punishing Syria

As the U.N. Security Council met again late Wednesday to discuss a Russian proposal to avert military strikes against Syria, it was left to France to insist that “punishment” for the regime’s use of chemical weapons remains on the table. Read

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Benghazi One Year Later: WH Still Pledging to Bring Attackers to Justice

Amid fresh calls for House Speaker John Boehner to set up a select committee to fully investigate the events surrounding the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi one year ago, the White House on Tuesday night pledged – again – to bring those responsible to justice. Read

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Russia’s Proposal: US Must Pledge Not to Use Force, and Assad Regime Can’t Be Blamed for Chemical Attack

Pushing his proposal to avert military strikes against his ally in Damascus by having it surrender its chemical weapons stocks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday the initiative would only be feasible if the U.S. pledges not to use force. Read

Obama Administration Loses Its Earlier Enthusiasm for the United Nations

As it does every September, the State Department later this will week send a senior official to present U.S. “goals and priorities for the upcoming session of the United Nations General Assembly,” but this year’s speech comes at a time when the administration is sounding a lot less enthusiastic about the institution it once eagerly sought to engage and extol. Read

Assad’s Suspected Biological Weapons More Lethal Than His Chemical Arsenal

The debate surrounding a chemical attack in Syria last month shifted Monday to a proposal for the Assad regime to surrender its chemical weapons arsenal to avoid a U.S. military strike – but little has been said about its alleged possession of even-deadlier biological weapons. Read

Monday, September 09, 2013

Afghan Christian Converts Should Be Executed, Afghan Lawmakers Say

Fifteen months ahead of the planned withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan, an anti-Christian hate campaign involving several leading Afghan lawmakers and some media outlets is raising additional concerns about the future of religious freedom in the conservative Islamic country. Read

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Kerry Says Countries ‘in the Double Digits’ are Willing to Join Military Action Against Syria, But Doesn’t Name Them

Secretary of State John Kerry says that at least ten countries have indicated a willingness to take part in military action which the U.S. plans to take against the Syrian regime, although he has not identified them. Read

Friday, September 06, 2013

Church Leaders: Syrian Christians Need Help, Not Military Intervention

Ahead of a day of prayer and fasting for Syria on Saturday, called for by Pope Francis, a Christian charity working in the country said church leaders there are appealing for help, not military intervention. Read

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Kerry Cites ‘Very Broad Coalition’ of Countries in Support of Syria Action; His Dep’t Lists Nine

As expected, G20 leaders meeting in St. Petersburg found “no consensus” over Syria during a working dinner Thursday, but even setting aside the longstanding opposition from Russia and China the Obama administration’s assertions of a growing “broad coalition” continue to look shaky. Read

Chill: Putin Says Kerry’s Lying; Hagel Says Russia Supplied Syria’s Chemical Weapons

President Obama prepared to take part Thursday in a Russia-hosted G20 summit overshadowed by the Syria crisis hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Obama’s secretary of state of “lying” about the extent of al-Qaeda’s presence among the anti-Assad rebels. Read

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Senate Panel’s Syria Vote Cuts Across Party Lines

Wednesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s vote authorizing a limited military operation against the Assad regime found Republicans and Democrats on both sides of the issue, a reflection of deep divisions over intervention in the Middle East that have crossed party affiliation. Read

Kerry: Obama Has Not Told Me What He Will Do If Congress Does Not Authorize Syria Strike

Secretary of State John Kerry says President Obama has not told him what he will do if Congress does not vote in favor of a military strike in Syria, but reiterated the president’s assertion that he does not need congressional authorization before initiating action. Read

Kerry Claims ‘Very Broad Coalition’ on Syria, But Evidence Is Scant

As the Obama administration continues to make its case for congressional support for a strike against Syria, its attempts to build anything approaching a broad coalition of supportive nations appear to be struggling, despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertions to the contrary. Read

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Syria Not on the Agenda But Likely to Dominate G20 Summit in Russia

Russian officials expect U.S. plans to launch military strikes against Syria to overshadow their country’s first hosting of a G20 economic summit later this week, as Moscow and Washington continue to tussle over charges of chemical weapons use by the Assad regime. Read

Kerry in 2011: Military Intervention in Libya Not ‘Vital’ to U.S. Security Interests

One day before the U.N. Security Council in 2011 authorized military action against Libya, then-Sen. John Kerry conceded that acting against the Gaddafi regime was not a “vital national security interest,” but he argued strongly in favor of doing so, saying it would make a big difference to how Arabs view the United States. Read