Friday, January 29, 2016

Rubio, Cruz at GOP Debate: Rebuild Military, Crush ISIS

There was little new or unexpected on foreign policy in Thursday night’s Trump-less GOP presidential debate, but the two candidates who vied for the most talk time, Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both argued strongly for the need to rebuild a shrinking U.S. military in order to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Read

As Europe Signs Deals With Iran, Protesters Blast Warm Reception for Iran's President

Thousands of Iranians and others demonstrated in Paris Thursday to protest a visit by Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, angered by the warm reception given to the leader of a regime that suppresses dissent and carries out more executions than any country other than China. Read

Iran Claims to Have ‘Shooed Away’ a U.S. Warship That Was 7,000 Miles Away in Norfolk at the Time

A U.S. Navy warship which Iran claims to have chased away from a naval exercise in the Persian Gulf this week was at the time more than 7,000 miles away – in its home port of Norfolk, Virginia. Read

Thursday, January 28, 2016

U.S. Says ‘No Preconditions’ Ahead of Syrian Peace Talks, But Turkey Gets Its Way on Excluding Kurds

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday Syrian rebel groups should not set “preconditions” to attending peace talks due to begin in Geneva on Friday – but he did not criticize Turkey’s demand that a significant Syrian Kurdish group not be invited. Read

Khamenei's Website Posts Video Questioning Holocaust on Holocaust Memorial Day

As the world on Wednesday marked the Nazis’ systematic killing of six million Jews during World War II , the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's official website posted a video quoting the supreme leader’s questioning of the Holocaust. Read

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

UNESCO Chief to Confront Rouhani Over Iran's Holocaust Cartoon Contests

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani is receiving red carpet treatment on a trip to Europe, but when he visits the U.N. cultural agency’s headquarters in Paris on Wednesday – Holocaust Memorial Day – its director plans to confront him on Iran’s hosting of Holocaust cartoon contests. Read

‘Submission’ to Islam: Critics Slam Cover-Up of Rome's Nude Statues for Iran's President

Italian opposition politicians have lashed out at a decision to cover up classical statues ahead of a visit by Iranian President Hasan Rouhani to a world-famous Roman museum, for fear of offending his Muslim sensibilities. Read

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Putin: I Still Like Communist Ideas ‘Very Much’

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday he still likes the ideas of theoretical communism “very much,” and recalled that unlike many others he had not publicly destroyed his Communist Party membership card, but still keeps it at home. Read

Clinton Touts Role in Confronting Iran’s Nuclear Program After Bush/Cheney ‘Bluster’

Hillary Clinton said Monday night she was “very proud” of her record as secretary of state, citing as an example her leadership in bringing world pressure to bear on Iran to negotiate over its nuclear program. Read

Monday, January 25, 2016

US-Backed Syria Peace Talks, Due This Week, Look Precarious

With a rapidly approaching deadline for the start of eagerly awaited Syria peace talks, key players appear as divided as ever over who should be allowed to participate, while Secretary of State John Kerry stands accused of embracing positions long held by Iran and Russia. Read

Syrian Refugees Admitted Since Paris Attacks: 525 Muslims, 1 Christian

The United States has admitted 526 Syrian refugees since Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists attacked Paris last November, and just one (less than 0.2 percent) is a Christian. Read

‘Act of God’: Ayatollah Claims Divine Intervention Led to US Sailors' Detention at Gunpoint

“An act of God” was responsible for U.S. Navy sailors entering Iranian waters, leading to their arrest at gunpoint, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday told Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members who detained the Americans. Read

Friday, January 22, 2016

GOP Senators: Iranians Humiliated Our Sailors; We Thanked Them

Two Republican senators stepped up their criticism Thursday of Iran’s “humiliating” treatment of U.S. sailors who allegedly strayed into Iranian waters last week, slamming the administration’s response to the sensitive incident. Read

Kerry: Terrorists Will Likely Benefit From Some of Iran’s Sanction Relief Billions; GOP Senator: 'D’uh'

Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged on Thursday that Iran will likely use some of the tens of billions of dollars its receives as a result of sanctions relief under the nuclear deal to sponsor terrorists. Read

Kerry: I’ve Asked Iran’s FM For ‘Whatever Help’ He Can Give on Americans Missing in Iraq

Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday he has asked his Iranian counterpart, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, for “whatever help” he could give in tracking down three American contractors who disappeared in the Iraqi capital last week. Read

Thursday, January 21, 2016

UN Chief Ban Ki-moon ‘Congratulates’ Venezuela on Re-Election to Human Rights Council

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has “congratulated” Venezuela on winning a new three-year term on the U.N. Human Rights Council, the socialist government reported Wednesday. Read

Head of Iranian Militia: $1.7B US Payout Was Ransom for Jailed Americans

The head of the Iranian regime’s notorious Basij militia claimed Wednesday that Iran had received $1.7 billion from the U.S. in exchange for the release of imprisoned Americans, contradicting the Obama administration’s denial that the settling of a decades-old legal claim amounted to a ransom. Read

CAIR to Americans – and Trump: ‘Spread Love, Not Islamophobia’

The Council on American-Islamic Relations released an online video Wednesday urging Americans to “spread love, not Islamophobia,” and featuring a dig at Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Read

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

China, Russia to Help Iran Build New Nuclear Facilities

The Iran nuclear deal calls on Tehran’s negotiating partners to help develop its civil nuclear program, and longstanding allies Russia and China have wasted little time in offering to do so. Read

State Dep’t ‘Working Very Closely’ With Iraq to Find 3 Abducted Americans

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday the U.S. government was working closely with the Iraqi authorities to establish what happened to three American contractors who went missing in Baghdad over the weekend. Read

State Dep’t Defends European Move Targeting Israeli Settlements

The Obama administration on Tuesday came close to backing a new and harder line adopted by the European Union towards Israeli settlements in disputed areas, siding with the E.U.’s contention that labeling products originating from those areas do not amount to a boycott. Read

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sen. Cotton: $1.7B Iran Payout May Be ‘Ransom’ for Americans’ Release

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) suggested Monday that the U.S. settlement of a 37-year-old legal claim that will leave the Iranian regime $1.7 billion richer may have amounted to part of a “ransom” for the release of five Americans held in Iran. Read

Kerry on the Still-Missing Bob Levinson: ‘I Feel Horrible For The Family’

Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday the Iranians were “cooperating” in efforts to trace the missing retired FBI agent Bob Levinson, acknowledging how hard it must be for his family since five other Americans held by Iran have now been released. Read

Syrian Refugees Admitted Since Paris Attack:1 Christian, 482 Muslims; 0.2% Christian

The United States has approved the settlement of 483 Syrian refugees since the Paris terror attacks last November heightened concerns about potential security risks in the refugee admission program – and only one of them (0.2 percent) is a Christian. Read

Friday, January 08, 2016

Kerry: ‘North Korea Has Never Been Left Unattended To, Not For One Day’

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday disputed the suggestion that the administration has not given the North Korean nuclear threat enough attention as a result of its focus on the Iran nuclear talks and other issues, declaring that “North Korea has never been left unattended to, not for one day.” Read

Pentagon on Deadly Helmand Firefight: ‘This Was Clearly a Combat Situation’

A Pentagon spokesman conceded Thursday that an incident in which a Green Beret was killed and two others wounded in Afghanistan this week constituted “a combat situation,” but reiterated that the role of the Special Forces operators was one of training, advising and assisting their Afghan counterparts. Read

House Committee Approves New Iran Sanctions Bill; Democrats Predict Veto

Less than a week into the new year, Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee signaled to the Obama administration that its Iran nuclear deal remains a target, marking up a bill that would restrict the administration’s ability to ease sanctions on Iranian banks. Read

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Pentagon Names Green Beret Killed in Action in Afghanistan During ‘Train, Advise, Assist’ Mission

The Department of Defense on Wednesday identified the Green Beret killed in action in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on Tuesday, naming him as Staff Sgt. Matthew McClintock, 30, of Albuquerque, N.M. Read

UNSC to N. Korea After Nuke Test: We'll 'Take Further Significant Measures'

Meeting urgently Wednesday to discuss Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test, the U.N. Security Council agreed that it will now “take further significant measures” against North Korea, in line with a 2013 commitment to do so in the event of another test. Read

Trump Warns Britain: Ban Me and You’ll Lose $1B in Investments

Britain will lose out on more than $1 billion in planned investment in Scottish golf resorts if it bans Donald Trump from entering the country, the Republican presidential candidate’s company said on Wednesday. Read

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Pentagon Avoids the Word ‘Combat’ After Another U.S. Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

A U.S. Special Operations service member was killed and two others were injured after coming under enemy fire in Afghanistan’s Helmand province Tuesday, but asked whether this meant U.S. troops were engaged in combat, a Pentagon spokesman said repeatedly that they were there in their mandated mission to “train, advise, assist” Afghan forces. Read

Rubio: ‘North Korea is Run by a Lunatic’; ‘Latest Example of the Failed Obama-Clinton Foreign Policy’

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio was quick to respond Tuesday night to North Korea’s claimed hydrogen bomb test, labeling Kim Jong-un a “lunatic” and saying that the test, if confirmed, “will be just the latest example of the failed Obama-Clinton foreign policy.” Read

North Korea Claims to Have Detonated First Hydrogen Bomb

North Korea announced Wednesday that it has successfully conducted a test of a miniaturized hydrogen device, after the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 5.1 magnitude “quake” within miles of the site where the Stalinist regime has carried out three previous nuclear weapons tests. Read

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

State Dept. Condemns Ransacking of Saudi Embassy in Iran; Won’t Condemn Saudi Executions

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday the U.S. condemned an attack on Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran, but demurred when asked if it also condemned the Saudis’ execution of a Shia cleric which prompted the angry Iranian response. Read

‘White ISIS/Black ISIS’: Iran Compares ISIS Terrorist to Saudi Executioner

A website associated with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has published a image likening the Saudi regime to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL), drawing attention to the fact both carry out beheadings. Read

Saudi-Iran Rift: Islamic Bloc Sides With the Sunni Kingdom

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned attacks on the Saudi embassy and consulate in Iran, but remains silent on the Sunni kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shia cleric which triggered the ransacking of the diplomatic missions and a deepening rift between the regional rivals. Read

Monday, January 04, 2016

Putin’s New National Security Strategy Names US as a Threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an executive order approving a new national security strategy which unlike previous ones identifies the United States by name as a potential threat. Read

Saudis Act Like ISIS, Says Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Amid Seething Sectarian Tensions

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran Sunday in response to damage caused to its embassy in Tehran, as Shi’ites in Iran and across the Islamic world protested the execution by the Saudis of a prominent minority Shi’ite cleric. Read