Friday, October 30, 2015

GOP Lawmakers Demand Action After Deadly Attack on Anti-Iran Regime Group in Baghdad

Republican lawmakers on Thursday urged the administration to act to protect members of an exiled Iranian opposition group, after a deadly missile attack on an former military base in Baghdad where they are accommodated, supposedly under protection of international law. Read

Did Russian Airstrikes Force U.S. to Include Iran in Syria Talks?

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Thursday Russia’s military intervention in Syria had not compelled the administration’s shift in policy on letting Iran participate in multilateral talks on ending the conflict. Read

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Graham on Obama's Foreign Policy: ‘Make Me Commander-in-Chief and This Crap Stops’

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday portrayed President Obama’s foreign policy as weak, urging voters, “Make me commander-in-chief and this crap stops.” Read

Next Year’s UN Human Rights Council Will Have the Smallest Proportion of ‘Free’ Members, Ever

The U.N. Human Rights Council in 2016 will have just 18 countries rated as “free” out of a total of 47 – the lowest number in the body’s decade-old history. Read

Rubio: ‘Democrats Have The Ultimate Super PAC; It’s Called the Mainstream Media’

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio attacked the mainstream media during Wednesday night’s GOP debate in Colorado, accusing it of acting as a “super PAC” for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Read

Cruz: No One Believes the Moderators Have Any Intention of Voting in a GOP Primary

The mainstream media came in for scathing criticism during Wednesday night’s GOP presidential debate, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) accusing moderators of trying to get Republican hopefuls to “tear into each other” in contrast to “fawning” over candidates in an earlier Democratic debate. Read

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

U.S. More Isolated Than Ever at UN, As Only Israel Supports U.S. on Cuba Embargo

In what Cuban state media called “a landslide victory” over the United States, the United Nations General Assembly voted Tuesday by the largest margin yet – 191 to 2 – to condemn Washington’s 55-year-old embargo on the communist-ruled island, with Israel alone siding with its ally. Read

After 6 Years of U.S. Membership, ‘Free’ Countries Still in Minority at UN Human Rights Council

Six years of U.S. membership of the U.N. Human Rights Council has had little impact on the quality of the governments occupying its seats, and an annual election Wednesday to fill 18 of those seats looks unlikely to change the pattern. Read

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

McCain: Afghans Looking to Russia For Help Because of Obama’s ‘Failed Leadership’

Afghan leaders are looking to Russia for military assistance against Islamist terrorists “as a direct result of President Obama’s focus on limiting America’s involvement in Afghanistan,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Monday. Read

US Navy Ship Patrols Waters Claimed by China; Foreign Minister Warns US Not to ‘Stir Up Troubles’

China’s foreign minister warned the U.S. Tuesday not to “stir up troubles,” in response to reports that a U.S. Navy destroyer was to sail within 12 nautical miles of artificial islands Beijing has constructed in the South China Sea. Read

Monday, October 26, 2015

Defense Secretary on Iraqi Fight Where U.S. Soldier Died Last Week: 'This Is Combat'

The first death in action of an American soldier in Iraq since 2011 has refocused attention on the role of U.S. troops in a mission which the administration has emphasized from the outset is not a “combat” one. Read

Kerry: 'There Will Come a Time Perhaps Where We Will Talk to Iran' About Ending Syrian Conflict

A new multinational push is underway to bring about a political solution to the Syrian civil war, and Secretary of State John Kerry suggested the U.S. may be moving away from opposing Iranian involvement. Read

Friday, October 23, 2015

U.S. Serviceman Killed in Action in Iraq

U.S. and Kurdish peshmerga special forces in northeastern Iraq have rescued some 70 hostages held by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) and feared to be at risk of imminent execution, according to the Pentagon and Kurdish officials. Read

No Computer in Clinton’s Office? ‘Email’s a Relatively New Beast,’ State Dep’t. Says

Hillary Clinton said Thursday she did not have a computer in her office while secretary of state, and when a State Department spokesman was asked whether that was unusual, replied that “email’s a relatively new beast.” Read

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Khamenei: Any Sanctions Will Violate Nuclear Deal and End Iran’s Compliance

Iran will consider any sanctions imposed upon it during the next eight years, including those relating to human rights and terrorism concerns, to be a violation of the nuclear agreement and will as a result stop complying with the deal, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared Wednesday. Read

UNESCO Board Criticizes Israel, and Only Israel, Over Jerusalem Tensions

Amid a wave of Palestinian terror attacks, the executive board of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution Wednesday blaming Israel, alone, for tensions surrounding religious sites in Jerusalem. Read

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Netanyahu: Contrary to ‘Settlement Surge’ Accusations, Construction Has Dropped

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called the charge that settlement construction is fueling the current wave of Palestinian violence one of the “big lies” confronting Israel, and provided figures indicating that settlement activity in disputed territories has in fact dropped on his watch. Read

With Harper’s Defeat in Canada, Israel Loses a Friend, UN Loses a Critic

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s defeat in this week’s general election deprives Israel of arguably its strongest ally in the international arena – and the United Nations of one of its most outspoken critics. Read

Khamenei: 'Negotiation With America is Forbidden'

As the Iran nuclear agreement formally began earlier this week, the Islamic regime posted a Twitter message highlighting a recent declaration by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei prohibiting negotiations with the United States. Read

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

UN Drugs Office Denies It Will Recommend Decriminalization of Narcotics

The leak of a document purporting to mark an historic shift in U.N. policy on the decriminalization of narcotics caused a stir Monday, but the U.N. drugs organization said the paper had been mischaracterized and was merely a discussion document. Read

Israel: UNESCO Designation of Western Wall As an Islamic Holy Site Would 'Distort History'

The U.N.’s cultural agency’s executive board is reportedly due to vote Tuesday on a measure declaring the Western or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to be part of an Islamic holy site, a move which Israel called an attempt to “distort history.” Read

Monday, October 19, 2015

Iran Nuclear Deal Formally Begins; IAEA Probe Into Iran’s Weaponization Activities Doesn't Matter

As the U.S., Iran and others mark the formal start of the Iran nuclear agreement, Obama administration officials have confirmed that the findings of a separate but related investigation by the U.N. nuclear watchdog into Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons activity will have no bearing on the deal moving ahead. Read

Kerry: Climate Change a Contributing Factor in Syrian Conflict

Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that climate change was a contributing factor in the Syrian civil war, alluding to a study last spring that linked drought-driven urbanization to the conflict that began in 2011. Read

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cruz: Kerry Should Disavow Spokesman’s Comments on Israeli Terrorism – or Resign

Secretary of State John Kerry should disavow his spokesman’s remarks about the wave of violence in Israel or resign, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said Thursday. Read

Netanyahu Responds to Kerry’s Comments on Terror Attacks: It’s Not About Settlements

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took issue Thursday with comments by Secretary of State John Kerry appearing to link the wave of terrorist attacks in Israel to Israeli construction in the disputed territories, and noted that the killers themselves were citing an unrelated issue – the Temple Mount – as their motivation. Read

Kerry: Before I Took the Job, All Climate Talks With China Were ‘Nonstarters’

Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that when he took up his post, all previous attempts to cooperate with China on climate change had been “nonstarters.” He was speaking two days after his predecessor in the post, Hillary Clinton, said her tenure had seen an important climate breakthrough with the Chinese. Read

Thursday, October 15, 2015

State Dep’t on Israelis Visiting Temple Mount: 'Incitement Can Take Many Forms'

State Department spokesman John Kirby declined to say Wednesday whether the administration considers visits by Israelis to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to constitute incitement to violence, but he did say that “the status quo has not been observed, which has led to a lot of the violence.” Read

Pakistani Courts Continue to Issue ‘Blasphemy’ Death Sentences, But No US Blacklisting

For the 13th consecutive year, the executive branch continues to override expert recommendations to designate Pakistan an egregious violator of religious freedom, despite an annual State Department report highlighting numerous abuses, particularly those associated with the Islamic country’s blasphemy laws. Read

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Administration Responds to Attacks on Israelis by Calling on ‘Both Sides’ to Decrease Tensions

A State Department spokesman on Tuesday declined to “assign blame” for what he called “the cycle of violence that’s currently taking place” in Israel and the disputed territories. Seven Israelis have been killed and dozens more injured by Palestinians in more than two dozen knife and gun attacks since October 1. Read

Clinton: US Intervention in Libya Was ‘Smart Power at its Best’

The U.S. military intervention in Libya in 2011 was an example of “smart power at its best,” Hillary Clinton said during Tuesday night’s CNN Democratic presidential debate, adding that she thought “President Obama made the right decision at the time.” Read

Jim Webb: Deal Will Allow Iran to ‘Eventually Acquire' a Nuke

The nuclear deal reached with Iran threatened to upset a delicate balance of power among Shi’ites, Sunnis and Israel in the Middle East, and encouraged Russia’s military involvement in the region, former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb said during Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas. Read

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Russia Proposes ‘Division of Labor’ With US: You Deal With Iraq, We'll Deal With Syria

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested Monday that Russia and the U.S.-led coalition split the task of bombing ISIS terrorists, with Russia focusing on Syria and the U.S. and its allies on Iraq. Read

Iran’s Zarif is ‘a Boldfaced Liar,’ House Committee Chairman Says After Washington Post Reporter’s Conviction

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is “a boldfaced liar,” House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said Monday in responding to an Iranian state media report saying that Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, accused of espionage and jailed in Iran for more than 14 months, has been convicted. Read

Mystery of Missing Malaysia Plane Persists After Reports of Wreckage, Skeletons on Remote Island

Fleeting hopes that the mystery of a missing Malaysia Airlines plane may have been closer to being solved were dashed again Tuesday, when police in the Philippines said reports of wreckage sighted on an island in the far south of the archipelago appear to be untrue. Read

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bolton: Excluding Ballistic Missiles from Iran Nuke Deal Was ‘Fundamental Flaw’

Iran on Sunday test-fired a long-range ballistic missile with a claimed new precision guidance system, less than three months after the Obama administration pushed through a U.N. Security Council resolution that unshackled Iran from some previous restrictions on missile activity. Read

Russia Demands Explanation After Newspaper Reports British Planes Have Permission to Shoot Down Russian Jets

Russia’s ambassador to Britain said he has requested an urgent explanation from the British government after a media report Sunday said that British pilots flying anti-ISIS missions have been given permission to shoot down Russian aircraft if threatened. Read

In ‘60 Minutes’ Interview, Obama Muddles Facts on Ukraine

Defending himself against accusations that Russian President Vladimir Putin is challenging American leadership, President Obama erroneously told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that when he took office Ukraine was ruled by a Putin “stooge.” Read

Friday, October 09, 2015

Iran Promoting Ayatollah’s Book: ‘Israel and America: Doomed to Annihilation’

After Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a recent U.N. speech cited a book of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s sayings, the regime responded this week – not by defending what Netanyahu called “a 400-page screed detailing his plan to destroy the State of Israel,” but by promoting a free online version of it. Read

Ret. Army General: Putin Launched a Proxy War; ‘How Can The United States Stand By And Do Nothing?

Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a “proxy war” against the United State when Russian jets bombed CIA-trained rebels in Syria, and the U.S. military should have been ordered to retaliate, former U.S. Army vice chief of staff General Jack Keane said Thursday. Read

Thursday, October 08, 2015

From 1,000 Miles Away, Russian Navy Launches Cruise Missiles Against ‘ISIS Targets’

Russia’s military campaign in Syria took a new turn Wednesday when four warships fired 26 cruise missiles at what the defense ministry said were Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) targets including three training camps in northern Syria. Read

Putin: Assad and Free Syrian Army Joining Forces ‘An Interesting Idea’

Russia’s foreign ministry said Wednesday it was exploring the possibility of the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) teaming up with the Assad regime’s armed forces against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) and other terrorist groups. Read

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

State Dep’t Doesn’t Call Afghanistan Hospital Strike ‘Disgraceful,' the Term It Applied to Israeli Mishap

A State Department spokesman demurred when asked Monday whether the administration would describe a deadly U.S. airstrike on a hospital in Afghanistan as “disgraceful” – the term it used when an Israeli missile landed near a U.N.-run school in Gaza during last year’s offensive against Hamas. Read

NATO: Russia Building Up Naval Presence, Ground Troop Numbers in Syria

NATO has observed a “substantial buildup” of Russian ground troops and a stepped-up Russian naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, the alliance’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Tuesday. Read

Russian Defense Ministry: Terrorists in Syria Might Bomb Mosques to Implicate Russians

Russia’s Defense Ministry warned Tuesday that militants in Syria may bomb mosques and then try to implicate the Russians, who are carrying out airstrikes in support of the Assad regime. Read

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Sunnis Rage Over Russian Backing for Shi’ite Foes

Russia’s military intervention in Syria appears to be fueling sectarian animosity in the region, as Sunni clerics and organizations react with anger to the perception that Moscow is siding with a reviled Shi’ite front rather than targeting terrorists as it claims. Read

NATO Warns Russia to Respect Alliance Airspace; Turkey Threatens Retaliation

NATO allies condemned Russia Monday for breaching Turkish airspace during combat operations in Syria and Turkey’s prime minister warned that a repeat would bring retaliation, underlining the growing risks in an increasingly tangled conflict. Read

Monday, October 05, 2015

Assad: US-Led Coalition a Failure, But Russian-Led Coalition Has ‘Great Chances of Success’

An emerging coalition currently comprising Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria is needed to save the Middle East, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Iranian television Sunday, charging that the U.S. and its allies are using terrorism as an instrument to subjugate the region. Read

Bolton: The Administration is Legitimizing Russia’s Military Presence in Mideast

The Obama administration’s response to the Russians’ launching of airstrikes in Syria amounts to “legitimizing their military presence in a region where for 50 years we’ve tried to keep them out,” former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said on Saturday. Read

Friday, October 02, 2015

House Passes Bill Banning Sanctions Relief Until Iran Pays Damages to U.S. Terror Victims

In the face of a White House veto threat, the House of Representatives passed legislation Thursday preventing President Obama from lifting any sanctions on Iran until Tehran pays damages, already ordered by U.S. courts, to American victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. Read

Kerry Repeats: Russia Has Been Told it Must ‘Not Be Engaged in Any Activities Against Anybody But ISIL’

Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday night the Pentagon has made it very clear in talks with the Russian military that “Russia has to not be engaged in any activities [inside Syria] against anybody but ISIL,” an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Read

Thursday, October 01, 2015

EU Foreign Policy Chief Sees Palestinian Issue As a Global Priority

On a day when the bloody Syrian conflict took a dangerous new turn with the launch of Russian airstrikes and Iran’s supreme leader issued military threats against Saudi Arabia, the European Union’s top diplomat suggested Wednesday that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian dispute was a global priority. Read

Blumenthal Email to Clinton: ‘Paul Ryan (R-Weird),’ ‘Michelle Bachmann (R-Fringe)’

Some of the advice Hillary Clinton was receiving via private email during her tenure as secretary of state was deeply political – and sometimes verged on juvenile as her close confidante Sidney Blumenthal mocked Republican lawmakers. Read

Kerry: U.S. is ‘Obviously’ Concerned if Russian Airstrikes Are Not Targeting ISIS

Amid reports that Russia’s first airstrikes in Syria had not struck Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) positions but those of other anti-Assad elements, Secretary of State John Kerry met again with his Russian counterpart Wednesday and repeated U.S. concerns about exactly what was being targeted. Read