Wednesday, November 26, 2014

State Dep’t Official Compares Violence, Discrimination Against Women in India and US

Ahead of Tuesday’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, an Obama administration official in a recent speech in New Delhi repeatedly drew parallels to the way women fare in India – a country notorious for its treatment of women – and in the United States. Read

Kerry Misleads on Extent of Iran’s Cooperation With IAEA

When Secretary of State John Kerry outlined for reporters on Monday ways in which “the world is safer than it was just one year ago” as a result of the Iranian nuclear negotiations, he suggested the improvements included Iranian cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Read

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

After Iran Nuclear Talks Extended, Lawmakers Split Over New, Tougher Sanctions

As reaction poured in from Capitol Hill to news that talks on Iran’s nuclear program have been extended again, the gulf between lawmakers wanting to ratchet up the pressure on Tehran and those agreeing with the administration that threatening more sanctions would be a bad idea looked wider than ever. Read

Kerry Has Warm Words for Departing Hagel: I ‘Love Him as a Friend’

Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday he was “very sad” to hear that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was stepping down, praising his former Senate and current cabinet colleague as a soldier, public servant and “great friend.” Read

Monday, November 24, 2014

Kerry Presses for Another Extension of Iran Nuclear Talks: Seven More Months

One day before the deadline expires for a final Iran nuclear agreement, Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly is urging Iranian negotiators in Vienna to accept yet another extension, 11 months after he appealed to Congress to give the talks six months. Read

In Kenya Attack, Terrorists Kill 28 Who Could Not Answer Questions on Islam

Al-Shabaab terrorists who killed 28 people on a bus in northern Kenya selected their victims by quizzing passenger to determine if they were Muslims, then shot dead those who were unable to answer satisfactorily, officials and eyewitnesses said Sunday. Read

Cruz: GOP Senate Should Make Confirmations Contingent on End to ‘Lawless Amnesty’

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Sunday that incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should announce that the new Republican-led Senate will withhold confirmation of all administration nominees apart from crucial national security posts, unless President Obama “ends this lawless amnesty.” Read

Friday, November 21, 2014

Russia Objects to UN Resolutions Targeting N. Korea – But Okay to Target Israel

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday slammed a United Nations resolution seeking to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court for human rights abuses, saying such “country-specific” measures were counter-productive. Read

Former CIA Director: Iran Keeping Options Open for a Nuclear Weapon

Former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA) head Gen. Michael Hayden told lawmakers Thursday that he believes Iran is working hard to keep open its options for developing a nuclear weapon. Read

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Russian FM Says Kerry Told Him to ‘Ignore’ Obama’s Criticism

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Secretary of State John Kerry told him to “ignore” recent statements by President Obama, which placed Russia’s involvement in Ukraine on a par with global threats such as ISIS terrorism and Ebola. Read

Security Council Issues Mild Response to Jerusalem Synagogue Attack

Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power on Wednesday hailed what she characterized as a strong U.N. Security Council statement condemning Tuesday’s terror attack at a Jerusalem synagogue, but although the language was forceful, the council’s action was on the weaker end of the spectrum of possible responses. Read

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

4 Sunni Muslim Groups Responsible for 66% of All 17,958 Terror Killings in 2013

The number of people killed by terrorists worldwide in 2013 rose by 60 percent compared to the previous year – from 11,133 to 17,958 – with four Sunni Muslim extremist groups responsible for two-thirds of all fatalities, according to a comprehensive annual study. Read

Israel Sees Abbas' Condemnation of Synagogue Attack As Half-Hearted and Equivocal

President Obama said Tuesday Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas had “strongly” condemned a gruesome terror attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, but for Israel and some supporters, the denunciation was half-hearted and risked worsening tensions by linking the attack with explosive allegations of Israeli threats to the al-Aqsa mosque. Read

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

‘A Bad Deal?’ Congress Gears Up for Eleventh-Hour Iran Nuclear Hearings

As Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Europe early Tuesday to join a final push for a nuclear agreement with Iran, skeptical House Republicans are girding for hearings on Capitol Hill on the risks of a “bad deal.” Read

State Dep’t Asks UAE Why It Labelled CAIR a Terrorist Group

A State Department spokesman said Monday the administration was seeking clarity from the United Arab Emirates over its decision to list two American Muslim groups as terrorist organizations. Read

Monday, November 17, 2014

Putin Downplays Suggestions He Came Under Fire at G20 Summit Over Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin was the first to leave a G20 summit in Australia Sunday, but he dismissed suggestions he was doing so in response to flak over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Read

Two US Islamic Groups, Including CAIR, Shocked to Find Themselves Designated As Terrorists

Two Islamic groups in the U.S. that portray themselves as moderate and mainstream expressed shock to learn at the weekend that the United Arab Emirates had included them in a list of terrorist organizations. Read

Friday, November 14, 2014

Administration Relying on Purported Iranian Nuclear ‘Fatwa’ to Get Deal Done

As the clock winds down on negotiations for a final nuclear deal with Iran, Obama administration officials again are citing a purported fatwa by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prohibiting nuclear weapons. “We respect it enormously,” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday. Read

Graham: Don't Let President Obama Go It Alone on Iran Nuclear Deal

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) attempted Thursday to force a vote on legislation that would give Congress a vote on any nuclear deal negotiated with Iran. “This is not the time to let President Obama go it alone,” Graham said on the Senate floor. Read

British PM: ‘Root Cause’ of Terror Is ‘Extremist Narrative,’ Not Poverty, Foreign Policy

The “root cause” of terrorism is not poverty, marginalization or Western nations’ foreign policy, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday, but an “extremist narrative” that must be confronted. Read

Thursday, November 13, 2014

U.S. Tells U.N. on Torture: 'Obama Has Acknowledged We Crossed The Line'

A State Department official told a United Nations panel Wednesday that the United States “did not always live up to our own values” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and she announced that the U.S. now acknowledges that a ban against torture applies in areas beyond its sovereign jurisdiction, including Guantanamo Bay and on U.S.-registered ships and aircraft. Read

Iran: ‘Hypocritical’ Obama Adopts Friendly Tone in Secret Letters, Tough Tone in Public

Confirming reports that President Obama sent a letter to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei relating to the nuclear talks, senior Iranian officials accused the U.S. of hypocrisy, saying the president adopted a warm and friendly tone in the secret correspondence, but a harsh one when speaking publicly. Read

State Dept. to Congress: Don’t Judge Iran Nuclear Agreement Before It’s a Done Deal

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday that members of Congress should wait until a final Iran nuclear agreement is reached before judging it – but then refused to say whether negotiators would brief lawmakers before signing off on such a deal. Read

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

$5.6B Budget Request for Anti-ISIS Campaign Covers Missiles to Messaging

An administration request to Congress for $5.6 billion to fund the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) covers items ranging from $127 million to replace missiles and bombs already used in the operation to $14.9 million for messaging to counter the jihadist group’s propaganda. Read

In China: Obama Announces 'Ambitious Goal' to Fight Global Warming

President Obama in Beijing on Wednesday declared far-reaching new targets for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and for the first time, China agreed to cut its emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for climate change. Read

Ukraine Diplomat: ‘Russia Is Planning a Full-Scale Invasion’

As President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin met briefly on the sidelines of a summit in Beijing Tuesday, international monitors voiced grave concern about escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine, and the country’s ambassador to the U.N. warned that Russia “is planning a full-scale invasion.” Read

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Two Weeks From Nuclear Deadline, Iran Still Hasn’t Answered Key Military Questions

Three days after the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog reported that Iran has still not provided promised – and overdue – explanations about “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear activities, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki declined Monday to comment on the matter, on the grounds the report “hasn’t been publicly released by the agency yet.” Read

State Dep’t: We Don’t Encourage Iranian Involvement in Fight Against ISIS in Iraq

A day after President Obama said the U.S. had told Iranians operating against ISIS inside Iraq not to “mess with” the U.S., and that the U.S. would not “mess with” them, the State Department stressed Monday that the administration was not “encouraging” Iran’s military involvement. Read

Monday, November 10, 2014

Obama Told Iranians: ‘Don’t Mess With Us, We’re Not Here to Mess With You’

President Obama said Sunday the U.S. was not coordinating with Iran in the fight against “our common enemy” in Iraq – the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) – but added that the Iranians had been informed, “don’t mess with us, we’re not here to mess with you.” Read

Former US Ambassador: Iran’s Supreme Leader Believes in ‘Very Similar Islamic Philosophy to That of ISIS’

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei believes in “a very similar Islamic philosophy to that of ISIS,” a U.S. career ambassador and Iran specialist said in response to reports that President Obama sent Iran’s supreme leader a secret letter describing a common interest in confronting the jihadist group. Read

On Eve of Obama Visit, China Signs Major Energy Deals With Putin

Hours before President Obama arrived in Beijing Monday for a state visit and to attend a regional economic summit, China and Russia signed a raft of major energy agreements, further cementing their relationship at a time when both countries’ ties with the United States are under strain. Read

Friday, November 07, 2014

Syrian Rebels Fighting ISIS and Assad Say They Were Targeted in U.S. Airstrike

An Islamist rebel group that has been fighting both the Assad regime and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) said Thursday that its base in western Syria had been targeted in an overnight U.S. airstrike. Read

Obama Reportedly Raises ISIS Campaign With Iran’s Supreme Leader, Who Calls ISIS a US Creation

Responding to media reports claiming that President Obama has written to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei about a “shared interest” in fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL), state-funded Iranian television pointed out Thursday that the supreme leader just last month accused the U.S. of having created the jihadist group. Read

Thursday, November 06, 2014

As Americans Leave, U.S. General Reports Rising Number of Afghan Troop Deaths

As the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan enters its final weeks, the No. 2 U.S. commander there said Wednesday the Afghan National Security Forces were “winning,” although he also confirmed an increase in the number of Afghan troops killed in action, a development he said was “not sustainable.” Read

Obama: Iraq is the Priority in Anti-ISIS Campaign; Syria Won’t be Solved ‘Anytime Soon’

More than three years after he first called for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, President Obama on Wednesday sounded a pessimistic note on a conflict that has cost some 200,000 lives, saying that it was “not going to be solved anytime soon” and indicating that Iraq, not Syria, was the priority. Read

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Kerry: Even Carpooling, Biking, Tree-Planting Americans Wouldn’t Offset China’s Emissions

ven if carpooling, bicycling, tree-planting Americans managed to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions to zero, that still wouldn’t be enough to counteract emissions coming from China and the rest of the world, Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Read

Pakistani Christian Leader Calls Blasphemy Laws ‘A License to Kill’ After Couple Is Beaten, Burned

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws have become a “license to kill Christians,” a Christian leader in the country said after a Muslim mob -- enraged by claims that a Qur’an had been desecrated -- beat and burnt a pregnant mother and her husband to death Tuesday amid cries of “Allah hu Akbar” and “kill infidel Christians.” Read

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

British Intel: Terrorists Use Twitter, Facebook As 'Command-and-Control Networks’

Amid concern about terrorists’ increasingly effective use of the Internet to spread their message and attract recruits around the world, the head of a key British security agency is appealing for major Internet companies to cooperate more closely with the intelligence community to tackle the challenge. Read

NATO Chief: Russians Are Sending the West a Message That ‘They Are a Great Power’

Amid stinging Western criticism of Russia’s continued interference in Ukraine, NATO’s military chief said on Monday that recent Russian incursions into European airspace were “more provocative” than previous ones, and seemed designed to send a message that it remains “a great power.” Read

Monday, November 03, 2014

UN Climate Panel: Phase Out Fossil Fuels ‘Almost Entirely’ by 2100

For the first time, the U.N-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the use of fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – will need to be “phased out almost entirely” by the end of the century. Read

Weather Channel Founder: Man-Made Global Warming is ‘Baloney’

On the same day that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a major new global warming report, John Coleman, a founder of the Weather Channel, appeared on CNN Sunday to reiterate his stance that “climate change is not happening.” Read

Russia Again Defies Obama, As Separatists in Ukraine Hold Elections

The tensions that have dogged the U.S.-Russia relationship in recent years were starkly evident again on Sunday. On the eve of the U.S. midterm election, separatists in eastern Ukraine held their own Moscow-endorsed vote, in defiance of the Ukraine government and its Western backers. Read