Friday, September 30, 2016

Russia Fumes Over State Dept’s Syria ‘Body Bags’ Warning

State Department spokesman John Kirby on Thursday rejected as “bogus” accusations by Russian officials that he was inciting terrorism by warning that Moscow’s failure to stop its aggression in Aleppo may lead to terror attacks in Russian cities and Russian troops being shipped home in body bags. Read

2.6 Million Americans Living Abroad Can Vote This Year; Overseas Vote Pivotal in Florida in 2000

Over the coming weeks, state authorities across the nation will be responding to requests from hundreds of thousands of Americans living abroad for absentee ballots allowing them to have their say in November’s election. Read

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Kerry Extols Pacific Trade Deal, Won’t Comment on Presidential Candidates’ Opposition

Secretary of State John Kerry made a fervent case Wednesday for the “landmark” Trans-Pacific Partnership, but left unsaid the fact both Republican and Democratic presidential nominees have voiced opposition to a trade deal that President Obama hopes to make an economic capstone of his presidency. Read

Senators Mock Kerry’s Threat to Stop Talking to Russia: ‘No More Lakeside Tête-à-Têtes’

Secretary of State John Kerry’s threat to stop cooperating with Russia over the Syrian civil war brought a derisive response Wednesday from two Republican senators, who described it as “the one threat the Russians feared most.” Read

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Clinton-Trump Debate Ignores a Major Global Crisis--Syria

Although national security policy purportedly was one of three topics in the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton on Monday night, arguably the world’s most serious crisis this fall of 2016 never got a mention. Read

Obama May Leave Next Year’s Syrian Refugee Admission Target to His Successor

President Obama may let the next president decide how many Syrian refugees to admit during the fast-approaching new fiscal year, a senior State Department official said Tuesday. Read

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

As UN Rights Council Mulls Measure on Saudi Abuses in Yemen, Where Does the US Stand?

The Obama administration is caught between allies in Europe and the Arab world as a resolution comes before the U.N. Human Rights Council this week, calling for an independent investigation into human rights abuses in Yemen. Read

Trump: ‘Hillary Has Experience, But It’s Bad Experience’

Hillary Clinton has experience, but it’s not the kind of experience Americans can afford to have for another four years. Read

Monday, September 26, 2016

‘Barbarism,’ ‘Pariah’: US, Britain Lash Russia Over Aleppo Carnage

An emergency U.N. Security Council meeting during a week described by a special envoy for Syria as one of the worst in a more than five-year conflict ended with no action Sunday, but did see harsh criticism of Russia in particular by the U.S., British and French ambassadors, who also walked out as the Syrian ambassador began to speak. Read

Friday, September 23, 2016

Biden on Obama’s Syria Policy: ‘I’m Not a Big Fan of Red Lines’

Asked about the Obama administration’s approach towards the crisis in Syria, Vice President Joe Biden said this week he was “not a big fan of red lines,” and questioned the wisdom of calls to get involved militarily. Read

Rouhani Slams Saudis and ‘Zionists,’ Accuses US of Not Complying With Nuclear Deal

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani had harsh words for “the usurping Zionist regime,” Saudi Arabia and the United States, whose policies in the region he accused of fueling terrorism. He also accused the U.S. of not complying with the nuclear deal, and said this would further erode its international credibility. Read

Thursday, September 22, 2016

As Rouhani Prepares to Address UN, Iran’s Military Threatens to Turn Israeli Cities to ‘Dust’

On the eve of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s address to the United Nations, military parades back home Wednesday featured ballistic missiles on a truck draped with a banner threatening to turn a fellow U.N. member state’s cities to “dust.” Read

Kerry Thanks ‘Warriors for the Planet’ As Paris Climate Accord Nears Implementation

As the Paris climate agreement edged closer to entering into force – which many advocates hope will occur before the possibility of a Trump presidency – Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday thanked what he called “warriors for the planet” as the second-to-last hurdle on the path to that achievement was cleared. Read

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ex-Sen. Lieberman: UN Should Treat Rouhani As Pariah, Not Honored Guest

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani should be treated as an international pariah, not an honored guest, former Sen. Joe Lieberman said at a rally outside United Nations headquarters on Tuesday, a day before Rouhani is scheduled to speak there. Read

Congress Demands Answers Regarding Obama’s $1.7B Cash Payment to Iran

Amid ongoing questions about the administration’s decision to send Iran $1.7 billion – in cash – in settlement of a legal claim early this year, lawmakers on Wednesday will continue to press for answers about a payment many still view as a “ransom” for the release of American prisoners. Read

80% Democrats, 43% Republicans Have Favorable View of U.N.

Americans overall have a slightly more positive view of the United Nations now than they did during President Obama’s first year in office, but the divide between Republicans and Democrats on the subject is the biggest measured by the Pew Research Center since it began asking the question in 1990. Read

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

After Slamming U.S. for Syria Airstrike, Russia Silent After Aid Convoy Bombed

Two days after condemning the U.S. for a coalition airstrike that mistakenly hit Syrian troops rather than ISIS terrorists, Russia was mum Monday after an airstrike – probably by its Assad regime ally – struck an aid convoy in what a top U.N. humanitarian official said could be a war crime. Read

UN Human Rights Chief at Refugee Summit in NYC Lashes ‘Race-Baiting Bigots’

The United Nations' human rights chief on Monday doubled down on his criticism of political leaders who are leery of admitting refugees due to security concerns, labeling them “racists and xenophobes” and saying they would face the judgment of humanity. Read

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bitter Words Between US and Russian Diplomats Following Mistaken Coalition Airstrike on Syrian Troops

On the eve of a week of high-level events at the United Nations, U.S. and Russian diplomats ripped into each other over the weekend after a coalition airstrike targeting ISIS terrorists hit Syrian troops instead. Read

Almost 100,000 Somali Refugees Admitted to US Since 9/11; 99.6% Muslim

Almost 100,000 Somali refugees have been resettled in the United States since 9/11, including 8,619 so far during the current fiscal year. The largest number – some 16 percent of the total over the past 15 years – have been resettled in Minnesota, home to the nation’s biggest Somali-American community. Read

Friday, September 16, 2016

U.N. Chief Also Slams Netanyahu’s ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ Comment, While Failing to Address the Substance

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday joined a chorus of criticism directed at Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s provocative assertion that the Palestinian Authority insistence that no Jews be allowed to live in a future Palestinian state is tantamount to “ethnic cleansing.” Read

Analyst: Iran Could Spend More Than $1 Billion of $1.7 Billion Windfall on Terror

The Iranian regime could direct more than $1 billion of the $1.7 billion it received from the Obama administration early this year towards sponsoring terrorism, a defense policy analyst said Thursday. Read

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Anti-Israel ‘Double Standard’ at the UN: Why No Condemnation of Other Occupations and Settlements?

The United Nations’ response to various situations of occupation and settlements around the world is extraordinarily uneven, with Israel virtually alone in the world body’s crosshairs, a comprehensive new research study shows. Read

Islamic Bloc Welcomes UN Official’s Focus on ‘Dangerous Xenophobes and Bigots Running for Office’

The Islamic bloc at the United Nations on Wednesday embraced the U.N. human rights chief’s new campaign of calling out what he calls “xenophobes and bigots” – a category in which he has lumped Donald Trump and populist right-wing politicians in Europe. Read

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Iran Tells US Navy: Go to the Bay of Pigs; The Persian Gulf Is Ours

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy has a message for the U.S. Navy: Go to the Bay of Pigs; the Persian Gulf is our home. Read

Obama Lifts Refugee Admission Target to 110,000; Wants 'Significantly Higher Number' from Syria

The Obama administration proposes to increase the number of refugees admitted into the United States over the next fiscal year to 110,000 – a 57.2 percent increase from the 69,933 resettled in FY 2015 and a 29.4 percent increase from the FY 2016 target of 85,000. Read

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

ISIS Genocide Brings Fresh Calls for a Semi-Autonomous Haven for Christians in Iraq

Anti-Christian atrocities by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) are prompting fresh calls for the long-proposed establishment of a province encompassing northern Iraq’s Nineveh Plain that could in time be a semi-autonomous haven for minorities including Christians in their ancient homeland. Read

Monday, September 12, 2016

Russian Navy Helps Chinese Train to Seize Islands in South China Sea

Chinese and Russian warships, aircraft and troops begin eight days of joint maneuvers in the South China Sea on Monday, including “joint island seizing” in an area where China and the U.S. repeatedly have sparred over freedom of navigation amid multiple territorial disputes. Read

15% Over Target: 11,491 Syrian Refugees Admitted Already; 0.46% Are Christians

With three weeks of the fiscal year to go, the Obama administration has exceeded its Syrian refugee admission target by 15 percent, with 11,491 resettled in the United States as of the beginning of this week. Read

Friday, September 09, 2016

Obama Warns of ‘Serious Consequences’ After N. Korea, Again, Tests a Nuclear Weapon

President Obama warned that North Korea would face “serious consequences” after conducting a nuclear test early Friday – the latest in a series of provocative actions this year including a previous nuclear test eight months ago and multiple ballistic missile launches since. Read

Thursday, September 08, 2016

State Department Acknowledges Lack of Transparency Over Iran Payment

State Department spokesman Mark Toner acknowledged Wednesday that the administration had not been completely forthcoming about how Iran was paid $1.7 billion earlier this year, after the Treasury Department confirmed that payment of the full amount had been made in cash. Read

Dutch MP Calls U.N. ‘Grotesque’ After U.N. Rights Official Attacks Him, Trump, Right-Wing European Leaders

“The U.N. is grotesque,” tweeted controversial Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders this week after the world body’s top human rights official lashed out at him, Donald Trump, and a handful of populist right-wing politicians in Europe. Read

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

As North Korea Launches Another Missile, U.N. Reacts With Same Old Statement

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the latest North Korean ballistic missile launch, “in flagrant disregard of the repeated statements of the Security Council.” Read

Back on the Hill, GOP Lawmakers Take Aim at Iran ‘Ransom’ Payments

Republican lawmakers are seeking to halt any future “ransom” payments to Iran, introducing legislation designed to tie administrations’ hands in future dealings with the regime and, in one case, to secure the return of $1.7 billion handed over to the Iranians earlier this year. Read

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Iranian Reportedly Charged After Releasing Material on Mass Execution of Dissidents

The son of an Iranian cleric once in line to be supreme leader has reportedly been charged with acting against national security interests by releasing material from his late father that denounces senior Iranian figures for the mass killings of dissidents almost 30 years ago. Read

Iran’s Supreme Leader Questions Saudis’ Fitness to Oversee Islam’s Holy Sites, Pilgrimage

In a stunning attack against fellow Islamic rulers, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei suggested Monday that the Saudis be deprived of their role of guardians of the religion’s holiest sites. Read

Insulting Obama--Not Rape Victims, Pope--Costs Philippines President Meeting With Obama

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has insulted everyone from rape victims to the Pope, but after he directed a vulgar expression at President Obama and warned him not to raise human rights criticism at a planned meeting, the White House called off the encounter. Read

Friday, September 02, 2016

Streets Fill With Angry Venezuelans, But Maduro Declares He’s Defeated ‘Attempted Coup’

Venezuela’s deepening political and economic crisis sent hundreds of thousands of people into the streets of the capital on Thursday, as critics demanded the removal of President Nicolas Maduro while supporters marched in support of the socialist leader, who perennially accuses opponents of trying to mount a “coup.” Read

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Pentagon Dismissive of Russian Claim for Airstrike Against Most Senior ISIS Leader Killed to Date

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said Wednesday that a precision U.S. airstrike had targeted Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) spokesman Mohammed al-Adnani in Syria a day earlier, but responded dismissively to a Russian claim to have done likewise. Read

Report: UN-Accredited NGOs Are Promoting Incitement, Violence Against Israel

United Nations-accredited civil society groups are spreading messages of incitement, antisemitism and the promotion of terrorism against Israel, according to a new report due for release on Thursday. Read