Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Senior Military Officer: UN Human Rights Council a ‘Tool’ of Hamas

A retired British Army officer accused the U.N. Human Rights Council Monday of allowing itself “to become a tool of Hamas’ murderous strategy,” a strategy which he said sought to maximize the number of Palestinian casualties during last year’s Gaza conflict in order to stoke international condemnation against Israel. Read

British PM to Broadcaster: Don’t Call Islamic State ‘Islamic State’

British Prime Minister David Cameron took issue Monday with Britain’s public broadcaster’s use of the term “Islamic State” in reference to the terrorist group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Read

Monday, June 29, 2015

Evangelical Leader: ‘We Didn’t Make Up Our Views on Marriage and Sexuality, And We Can't Unmake Them'

While the odds are stacked in the short-term against Christians who oppose same-sex marriage, they are “not going to simply surrender” their views because of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, since they did not make them up in the first place, an evangelical leader said Sunday. Read

Marriage Battle Picks Up Steam in Australia: ‘No Parliament or Court has the Authority to Repeal Biology’

“No parliament or court has the authority to repeal biology,” an Australian pro-family campaigner said at the weekend as the ripple effects of the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling lent additional momentum to a growing campaign to redefine marriage in Australia. Read

Friday, June 26, 2015

CAIR Puts 2016 Presidential Hopefuls Under Its ‘Islamophobia’ Microscope

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has launched a website tracking the 2016 presidential candidates’ positions on Islam, and so far it seems to have the fewest problems with Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican hopefuls New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) Read

Kerry Criticizes This Country: 'U.S. Has Room to Improve' on Human Rights

“There is nothing sanctimonious” or arrogant in the State Department’s publication of an annual report on human rights around the world, Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday, adding that the U.S. cannot help but be humble itself given the racial tensions at home over the past year. Read

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Kerry Says He Did No 'Finger-Pointing' at Chinese Over Hacking of U.S. Personnel Files

Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that high-level talks with Chinese officials in Washington had included an “honest discussion” on cybertheft, but without any accusations or “finger-pointing.” Read

As Kerry Returns to Iran Nuclear Talks, US Experts Warn That Deal ‘May Fall Short’

As Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to fly to Vienna Friday to lend a final push to the Iran nuclear talks, a bipartisan group of leading security experts, diplomats and retired senior military officers warned that absent several key provisions, an impending deal “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement.” Read

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

‘This Is Not Lecturing,’ Biden Tells Chinese--As He Raises Human Rights

Opening a series of high-level U.S.-China meetings, Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday cautiously touched on human rights, but as he did so, he assured his Chinese guests that he was not “lecturing” them. Read

Envoy: ISIS Loyalists Among 7,000+ Foreign Terrorists in Afghanistan

An estimated 7,000-plus foreign terrorist fighters are believed to be operating in Afghanistan, according to the country’s ambassador to the U.N., although it’s unclear how many of those belong to, or have pledged loyalty to, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL). Read

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

State Dept. Warns: Same Shi'ite Militias Fighting ISIS 'May Present Threat to U.S. Citizens'

A travel warning for Iraq, updated by the State Department on Monday, continues to warn that “anti-U.S.” Shi’ite militias “may present a threat to U.S. citizens,” naming two groups that are playing a leading role in supporting the Iraqi government’s military campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL). Read

State Dep't: Human Rights Will Come Up During Annual Dialogue With China

As Secretary of State John Kerry prepared to kick off annual U.S.-China bilateral dialogue with a small dinner at Mount Vernon on Monday evening, a senior State Department official said that “continuing differences on the area of human rights” would be raised during this year’s talks. Read

Monday, June 22, 2015

French FM Promotes New Israeli-Palestinian Effort, Warns of ‘Explosion’

The Middle East and North Africa region is in turmoil from Iraq to Yemen and from Syria to Libya, but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned Sunday of an “explosion” unless the deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is broken. Read

CAIR: Consign Confederate Flag ‘to the Dustbin of History Along With the Nazi Swastika’

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) waded into the debate over the flying of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of South Carolina’s state capitol, saying it “should be relegated to the dustbin of history along with the Nazi swastika, burning crosses and ‘whites only’ signs.” Read

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ros-Lehtinen: State Dep’t Skipping Mandatory Sanctions Reporting to ‘Appease’ Iran

Government Accountability Office findings that the State Department is not complying with a congressionally-mandated reporting cycle on proliferation-related sanctions are “disturbing because of what they tell us about the lengths that the administration will go to to appease the Iranian regime,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said this week. Read

State Dep’t Explains Iraqi PM’s Visit to Iran: ‘He Has to Reach Out to His Neighbors’

The Obama administration recognizes that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi “has to reach out to his neighbors,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday in response to queries about Abadi’s meetings with Iran’s top leaders. Read

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Flashback: Top US Negotiator Said Sanctions Won’t be Lifted Until Iran Accounts for Past Actions

On Feb. 2 last year, Secretary of State John Kerry’s top nuclear negotiator told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Iran would be required to “come clean on its past [military-related nuclear] actions as part of any comprehensive agreement” on its nuclear program. Read

Power: Responding to Syrian Gas Attacks by Imposing No-Fly Zone Could Help ISIS

The Obama administration does not support imposing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria where the Assad regime is allegedly using chlorine gas as a chemical weapon because that would involve military action against the regime, potentially to the benefit of terrorist groups fighting there. Read

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Power: Russia, China Won’t Be Able to Block Sanctions ‘Snap-Back’ If Iran Cheats

The Obama administration will not accept a nuclear deal with Iran that would allow Russia or China to block a quick reimposition of suspended multilateral sanctions in the event of Iranian cheating, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said Tuesday. Read

Kerry Hints at Concession on Requiring Iran to Disclose Past Nuclear Activities

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the countries negotiating a nuclear agreement with Iran are “not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for” illicit nuclear work it is suspected to have carried out in the past. Read

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

AQAP Head, Al-Zawahiri’s No. 2, Reportedly Killed in Yemen

Unconfirmed reports from Yemen say a U.S. drone strike has killed the head of al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based affiliate, a development which, if true, could be the Islamist terror network’s most severe blow since the 2011 death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALS in Pakistan. Read

State Dep’t Official Explains Lure of Terrorism Without Mentioning Islam

As part of its ongoing “countering violent extremism” campaign, an administration official has delivered another speech highlighting a range of factors that “push” young people towards terrorism – but with no reference to Islamic teachings. Read

Jeb Slaps Hillary Over Her Comment That Religious Beliefs ‘Have to Be Changed’

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush launched his 2016 presidential bid Monday with a swipe at Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s stated views on the clash between reproductive rights and religious beliefs. He also took a dig at Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate. Read

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wanted for War Crimes in Darfur, Sudan’s Leader Is Detained in S. Africa

After dodging an International Criminal Court warrant for six years, Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir appeared to run into trouble Sunday when a South African judge issued an interim order preventing him from leaving the country. Read

Israel Says Hamas’ Rejection of Gaza Ceasefire Increased Death Toll by 90%

If Hamas had accepted an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire last summer, about 90 percent of the fatalities recorded during its war with Israel would have been avoided, according to an Israeli report released on Sunday. Read

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sen. Cotton Slams Ruling on President’s Foreign Policy Authority As 'Potentially Dangerous'

A Supreme Court ruling this week affirming the president's exclusive power to recognize foreign nations and governments is “a remarkable and disturbing break with precedent,” especially with President Obama in the White House, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on Thursday. Read

‘Stunned’ Ex-Intelligence Chief Says Iraq Strategy Has ‘Got to Start From The President’

It is President Obama’s job to set strategy for the mission in Iraq, his former military intelligence chief said on Capitol Hill this week, declaring himself “stunned” by the president’s remarks Monday that he was awaiting a Pentagon plan on training Iraq forces to fight ISIS. Read

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Nonproliferation Expert: Iran Nuclear Deal ‘Will Be a Historic Blunder,’ ‘Strategic Mistake’

The emerging nuclear agreement with Iran would be a “historic blunder” that eclipses other foreign policy debacles in recent decades, a former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security told lawmakers on Wednesday. Read

Ex-Intelligence Chief:'Iran Has Every Intention to Build an ICBM and a Nuclear Weapons Program'

The former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency delivered a stinging critique of the Obama administration’s Mideast policies on Wednesday, slamming its refusal to define the enemy as Islamic extremism, arguing that its approach towards Iran amounts to “wishful thinking,” and saying the U.S. has lost the trust of its allies in the region. Read

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Netanyahu: ‘Nobody in This Region Believes This Deal Will Block Iran’s Path to the Bomb’

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that while he is characterized as a “nuclear party pooper” for criticizing the Iran talks, Arab leaders in the region agree with him that the emerging agreement will not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Read

7 Homosexual U.S. Ambassadors: Trade Deals Should Advance LGBTI Rights

International free-trade agreements like those being negotiated with countries in the Pacific and Europe should help to export American values such as human rights, including for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, according to seven openly homosexual U.S. ambassadors. Read

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Administration Underscores Its ‘Neutrality’ on Jerusalem, Including Western Areas

The administration’s “position on the neutrality of Jerusalem remains clear,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Monday. When asked whether that applied to both the western and eastern areas of the city, which Israel considers its capital, he added that he had “no change to our policy to announce.” Read

Lawmakers Take Aim at Iran’s Missiles, Omitted From Nuclear Talks

Three weeks before the deadline for a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran, lawmakers will hold a hearing Wednesday on an issue that was left off the agenda at the nuclear talks – ballistic missiles. Read

Monday, June 08, 2015

Senior Muslim Clerics Speak Out Against Terror, But Have Dubious Records

Top Muslim authorities in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan spoke out over the weekend against extremism, the latest examples of religious figures doing what Western governments encourage as part of a broad campaign to reject and delegitimize any link between terrorism and Islam. Read

Obama Predicts Outcome of Britain’s E.U. Referendum

Prime Minister David Cameron’s promised referendum on Britain’s European Union membership is likely more than a year away, but President Obama made clear Sunday his preference for Britain remaining in the E.U. – and predicted that it would do so. Read

Friday, June 05, 2015

Nuke Deal Could Result in Iran Joining Eurasian Security Bloc Led by Russia and China

Apart from other benefits Iran may accrue as a result of an international agreement on its nuclear program, Russia on Thursday held out another, long sought-after reward – membership in a growing Eurasian security bloc, which some observers view as a means to counterbalance the West and NATO. Read

Saudis Host Meeting on Combating Religious Intolerance 1/2 Mile From Blasphemy-Flogging Site

Amid criticism over Saudi Arabia’s hosting of an international conference on combating intolerance and discrimination based on religion or belief, two U.S. lawmakers have introduced a resolution calling for the global repeal of blasphemy laws, citing the kingdom as an especially egregious offender. Read

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Administration Envoy: ‘Insecurities,’ ‘Rootlessness’ Draw Young People to ISIS

In its campaign to lure recruits from around the world, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) has developed a keen grasp of “certain insecurities that come with being a young person in a modern, multi-cultural world,” the administration’s special envoy for the anti-ISIS coalition said on Wednesday. Read

House Committee Drops Funding for State Department Climate-Change Programs

Just months before the most important U.N. climate conference in years, Republican appropriators in the House of Representatives are taking aim at one of the Obama administration’s most cherished priorities – international climate change funding. Read

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

UN Committee’s Vote for Hamas-Linked Group Reflects Its Anti-Democratic Makeup

An influential United Nations committee this week granted official status to an organization allegedly linked to Hamas. The move comes a little over a year after U.N. member states ushered onto that committee – without taking a vote – a majority of countries with poor records on democracy and human rights. Read

Alleged Saudi-9/11 Links: Sen. Paul Joins Bipartisan Call for Declassification

An effort on Capitol Hill to prod the administration to declassify documents that could highlight ties between al-Qaeda and prominent Saudis in the run-up to the 9/11 terror attacks has received a boost with the introduction of a Senate bill that would require the president to release the material. Read

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Lieberman Predicts Congress Will Reject Iran Deal, in ‘A Remarkable Statement to the World’

Former Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman predicted Monday that Congress will reject the nuclear deal which the administration and its partners in the P5+1 group are negotiating with Iran. The deal is due to be completed on June 30. Read

State Dep’t: Having an Ambassador in Cuba Helps Promote Human Rights

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Monday that the U.S. can more effectively promote human rights in countries like Cuba with a “high-level” diplomatic presence, but also conceded that having such ties “doesn’t always mean the government on the other end will do everything we want them to do.” Read

Monday, June 01, 2015

Radical Hindus to India's Christians: Convert ‘Or Get Ready to Die’

Radical Hindu nationalists closely aligned to the Indian government warned Christians in Punjab state late last year to prepare to convert to Hinduism “or get ready to die,” according to a complaint before a U.S. federal court. Read