Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kerry: Syria’s Assad Could Help With Transition, ‘Then Go Off Into the Sunset’

The violence in Syria could end “within a very short period of time,” and a “complete ceasefire” could be put in place if President Bashar al-Assad simply announced that he does not have to be part of the country’s long-term future but would “help manage Syria out of this mess and then go off into the sunset,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday. Read

Venezuela’s Maduro Slams West, Voices Support for Putin’s ‘New Alliance for Peace’

Venezuela’s leftist leaders have become known for belligerent speeches at the annual U.N. General Assembly session, and President Nicolas Maduro was true to form Tuesday, accusing the West of wreaking terrorism, death and devastation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Read

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Putin: Relations with US ‘At a Pretty Low Level,’ And That’s a Choice the US Made

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that relations between his country and the United States were “at a pretty low level,” and he blamed the U.S. for the deterioration. Read

Iran’s President: US Invasions, Support for ‘Zionist Regime’ Provide Terrorists With Excuses for Their Crimes

U.S. intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, and America’s support for Israel, provide terrorists with an excuse to carry out their crimes in the region, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani said in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Monday. Read

Raul Castro’s First UN Speech Offers Little Goodwill Towards US

Any expectation that the Obama administration’s historic outreach to Cuba would bring a different tone from President Raul Castro was quickly dispelled when, in his first-ever speech at the United Nations, the communist leader criticized U.S. and Western policies from Latin America to Eastern Europe to the Middle East. Read

Monday, September 28, 2015

Chinese State Media on Clinton’s ‘Shameless’ Xi Tweet: She’s Copying Trump

Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton fired off a scathing tweet Sunday aimed at visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, and promptly drew accusations from Chinese state media that she was behaving like Republican rival Donald Trump in a bid to win support. Read

Iraq Agreement to Share Intelligence With Russia, Iran, Assad Regime Not Coordinated With US

Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that newly-announced Russia-Iraq-Iran-Syria cooperation in the fight against ISIS had not been coordinated with the United States, while a senior U.S. official said the administration is still trying to establish what Russia’s motives are in both Syria and Iraq. Read

Friday, September 25, 2015

Human Rights Activist: China's One-Child Policy 'Greatest Human Rights Atrocity on Earth’

Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state dinner in Washington Friday is taking place on the 35th anniversary of the launch of Beijing’s controversial “one-child” policy, prompting a campaigner against the policy to urge him in an open letter to “end the greatest human rights atrocity on earth today.” Read

Syria, Putin Loom Over Crammed UN Week in New York

Friday kicks of a week of high-level meetings at the United Nations in New York with agenda items ranging from sustainable development to climate change to peacekeeping – but Russia’s growing military involvement in Syria and the crisis over Mideast refugees flooding Europe may end up overshadowing the proceedings. Read

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Russian Airstrikes in Syria Could Begin Soon

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office declined to comment Wednesday about claims on social media that Russia has begun to launch airstrikes against terrorist positions in Syria. Read

UN Watch: Support for Saudis on Human Rights Council ‘Absolute WORST Comment in the History of US Gov'

The administration is under fire over a State Department spokesman’s comment that the U.S. welcomes a leadership position for Saudi Arabia – widely viewed as one of the world’s most egregious human rights abusers – on the U.N. Human Rights Council. Read

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Obama Nominee Tells Senators She Won't Play Politics With State Department's Human Trafficking Report

The federal prosecutor nominated to head the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) office told senators Tuesday that she would “speak truth to power,” and work to ensure the process of ranking countries was not compromised by political considerations. Read

State Dep’t: ‘We Would Welcome’ Saudi Leadership Role at UN Rights Council

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Tuesday that the administration would “welcome” Saudi Arabia’s appointment to a leadership position at the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying that the U.S. and the kingdom were “close allies.” Read

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Iran: No IAEA Inspectors Were Present at Suspect Military Base When We Collected Samples

As many critics of the Iran nuclear deal worried would happen, Iranian officials last week collected environmental samples from a controversial military base to hand over to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – and according to Iran, the U.N. agency’s own experts were not physically present at the time. Read

WH Suggests Iran Allowing IAEA Courtesy Visit to Military Base Amounts to Giving Access to Inspectors

White House press secretary Josh Earnest suggested Monday that a brief visit to a controversial Iranian military facility by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief and his deputy shows that Iran has now opened military bases to international inspections. Read

Monday, September 21, 2015

CAIR Wants Ben Carson to Withdraw from Presidential Race Over Islam Remarks

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) plans to call Monday for Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson to withdraw from the 2016 campaign after the retired neurosurgeon said Islam was not consistent with the U.S. Constitution and that he would “absolutely not” advocate having a Muslim in the White House. Read

Sen. Cotton: If Obama Had Lived in China, He Would Likely ‘Be in Prison – Or Much, Much Worse’

If President Obama had lived his life in China rather that the U.S. he “most likely would be in prison – or much, much worse,” Sen. Tom Cotton said on Capitol Hill ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington this week. Read

At UN Human Rights Council, Saudi Arabia Chairs Panel Vetting Applicants for ‘Violence Against Women’ Post

The U.N.’s Human Rights Council over the summer quietly appointed Saudi Arabia as head of a panel responsible for interviewing and shortlisting experts focusing on a range of human rights-related themes. Read

Friday, September 18, 2015

Senate Democrats Block Bid to Link Iran Sanctions Relief to Releasing Americans, Recognizing Israel

A last-ditch Senate Republican attempt to apply the brakes to President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal failed Thursday, and every Democrat but one voted to block an attempt to tie sanctions relief to Iran’s recognition of Israel’s right to exist and its release of U.S. citizens in its custody. Read

US Warships Haven’t Entered Waters Near China-Claimed Islands Since 2012

The United States should make clear to China that it does not recognize its sovereignty claims in the South China Sea by sailing warships within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands Beijing has constructed, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Thursday. Read

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Trump: ‘I Would Get Along With’ Putin; Fiorina: ‘I Wouldn’t Talk to Him At All’

Donald Trump said during Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate that as president he would talk to and “get along with” Russian President Vladimir Putin, but rival Carly Fiorina she “wouldn’t talk to him at all.” Read

Fiorina on Planned Parenthood: 'I Dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to Watch These Tapes'

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina received enthusiastic applause during the GOP debate on Wednesday night when she linked two issues – the nuclear deal with Iran and federal support for Planned Parenthood – and slammed the Obama administration over both. Read

Graham at GOP Debate: ‘President Obama is Making a Mess of the World’

Accusing President Obama of “making a mess of the world,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) used his appearance in Wednesday’s second-tier CNN Republican presidential debate to double down on his call for more U.S. troops in the Middle East and his pledge to “destroy radical Islam.” Read

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

State Dept. Slaps Down Russian Reporter’s Suggestion US Regime Change Promotion, Not Assad, to Blame for ISIS

State Department spokesman John Kirby on Tuesday slapped down a Russian reporter who suggested the presence and growth of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria was attributable not to the Assad regime but to the U.S. promoting regime change in the region. Read

McConnell Plans Amendments Linking Iran Sanctions Relief to Recognizing Israel, Releasing Americans

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday failed for a second time to advance a resolution disapproving President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled plans for a vote on an amendment requiring Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to release U.S. citizens in its custody. Read

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

State Dep’t: Russia Can be ‘Constructive’ in Syria, But Not By Backing Regime

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday that Russia could be a constructive player in the fight against jihadists in Syria, but criticized its military support for the Assad regime, which the U.S. maintains cannot be part of the solution to the crisis. Read

Iran Thanks IAEA For Keeping Nuclear Side Deals Under Wraps

A top Iranian nuclear official thanked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general Yukiya Amano on Monday for keeping an Iran-IAEA understanding under wraps in the face of pressure to make it public. Read

Monday, September 14, 2015

Khamenei Video: Any War Will Leave ‘Invading and Criminal America’ Humiliated

A social media account linked to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei posted a video Sunday, warning that any war with Iran will be costly for America, and featuring images of Iranian weaponry and soldiers carrying a U.S. flag-draped coffin. Read

Amb. Bolton Predicts Obama-Rouhani Handshake at UN in New York

Former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton predicted Sunday that President Obama will meet and shake hands with Iranian President Hasan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session in New York this month. Read

Friday, September 11, 2015

Israeli Ambassador: UN ‘Would Vote to Declare That the Earth is Flat, if the Palestinians Proposed it’

Israel’s ambassador to the U.N. slammed the world body Thursday for voting to allow the Palestinian flag to fly at its headquarters, accusing member-states of submitting to the Palestinian leadership’s “every whim and caprice.” Read

Democrats Filibuster Iran Deal Vote in Senate; Obama Calls it ‘a Victory for Diplomacy’

Senate Democrats on Thursday used a procedural device to block a vote on a resolution disapproving the Iran nuclear agreement, saving President Obama the discomfiture of having to veto a measure of opposition to a signature foreign policy initiative. Read

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Cruz: McConnell and Boehner Can Stop Iran Deal ‘If They Simply Enforce Federal Law’

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have it in their power to prevent the Iran nuclear deal from going ahead, on the grounds the administration has not produced all the documentation as required by law, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued Wednesday. Read

Trump: If I Win I Guarantee Iran Will Return Four Americans Before I Ever Take Office

Donald Trump said on Capitol Hill Wednesday that if he is elected president, four American citizens imprisoned or missing in Iran will be back in the United States – “before I ever take office.” Read

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

42 Senate Democrats Now Support Iran Deal; WH Suggests it Would Favor Filibuster

The last five undecided Democratic senators delivered their verdicts on the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, and with four of them voicing support a filibuster of a Republican-led measure to disapprove the agreement is now a possibility. Read

Iran Envoy: No Inspectors in Parchin; Even U.S. Officials Agree it’s a Conventional Military Site

Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) declared this week that no international inspectors will be allowed into a military base where covert nuclear weapons work is suspected to have taken place – and in doing so turned to the Obama administration for backup. Read

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

WH ‘Actively Considering’ Approaches to Refugee Crisis

The Obama administration is mulling "resettlement" among other steps in response to a refugee crisis dubbed the worst in Europe since the end of World War II, a White House official said on Monday. Read

Russia Denies Military Intervention in Syria; U.S. Seeks to Block Russian Flights

Amid Russian denials that it is stepping up its military intervention in the Syrian civil war, the United States reportedly has asked the Greek government to deny Russia access to its airspace for flights carrying supplies to Syria. Read

Friday, September 04, 2015

Pro-Israel Christians ‘Representing Tens of Millions’ Petition WH, Congress Against Iran Deal

Like other segments of American society, Christians are divided over the administration’s Iran nuclear deal, but on Thursday a coalition of pastors and leaders who say they represent millions of pro-Israel Christians sent a petition to the White House opposing any agreement that does not “completely dismantle the regime’s ability to build a bomb.” Read

Ayatollah's Deleted Tweet: Iran's 'Not Like Some Retarded Countries'

A Twitter feed linked to Iran’s supreme leader quoted him as saying in a speech Thursday that Iran was “not like some retarded countries” which Western nations can speak about any way they choose – but the message was later deleted. Read

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Democrats Admit to Being Lobbied by Russia, China and Europe Before Backing Iran Nuclear Deal

More than a dozen of the 34 Democratic senators who have declared their support for the Iran nuclear agreement cited arguments by America’s five negotiating partners that there would be no better deal forthcoming if the U.S. rejects this one. Read

Arms Control Experts to Obama: Your Iran Deal Is ‘Not Verifiable,’ ‘A Very Bad Deal Indeed’

On the day President Obama secured enough Senate support to uphold his planned veto of a resolution rejecting the Iran nuclear agreement, dozens of security experts, including top nuclear and arms verification specialists, urged him Wednesday not to veto the measure. Read

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

White House Gets its Veto-Sustaining Support for Iran Deal as 34th Senator Approves

Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland on Wednesday became the 34th Democratic senator to declare her support for the Iran nuclear agreement, giving President Obama the support he needs to uphold his veto of a GOP-led resolution disapproving it. Read

Planned Parenthood Exec Urged 'Personal Hero' Clinton to Step Into Kenya Abortion Debate

Emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server, released by the State Department this week, include one from a Planned Parenthood executive urging her to speak out against a move in Kenya to include in its new constitution language asserting that “life begins at conception.” Read

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Labor MP Who Wants to be Next UK PM Called Killing of Bin Laden a ‘Tragedy’

Some policy positions of the anti-war socialist who aspires to be Britain’s next prime minister have long raised eyebrows, but the emergence of a video clip in which Jeremy Corbyn calls the killing of Osama bin Laden a “tragedy” is stoking fresh controversy. Read

Blumenthal Emails to Clinton State Caustic Views of Boehner, Netanyahu

The latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s email correspondence released by the State Department on Monday night provides a further glimpse of the kind of advice and opinions she was getting as secretary of state from close confidante Sidney Blumenthal – and some of it was far from diplomatic. Read