Friday, June 30, 2017

State Dept. to RT Reporter: ‘Make Excuses For the Assad Regime…You’ve Got a Lot of Cameras on You Right Now’

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Thursday sparred with an American reporter with the pro-Kremlin RT television network, slapping him down as he pushed her on the issue of terrorists’ use of chemical weapons in Syria. Read

Recapture of Mosul Mosque Is Symbolic Victory on 3rd Anniversary of ISIS’ ‘Caliphate’ Announcement

Iraqi forces on Thursday recaptured the ruins of an ancient mosque in Mosul where Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his first public appearance nearly three years ago. Read

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Russia Says Its Reaction to Any U.S. Action Against Syria Will Be ‘Proportionate’

Russia’s reaction to any U.S. provocation against the Syrian government would be “proportionate,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday, responding to a White House warning about “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.” Read

'Free Iran' Activists Report Hundreds of Acts of Defiance Inside the Country

Ahead of a large annual “Free Iran” gathering in Paris on Saturday, the exiled Iranian opposition movement says hundreds of incidents of risky expressions of support have been taking place inside Iran – from distribution of pamphlets to the appearance of posters and graffiti. Read

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

China’s ‘Modern Slavery’ Demotion Comes After Years of Waivers

China was downgraded Tuesday to the lowest ranking in an annual U.S. report on human trafficking, marking only the second time it has been relegated to “tier-three” status. The last time it happened, the Obama administration was required by law to do so. Read

Haley: Not 'Necessarily a Bad Thing' That U.S. Budget Request Sent ‘Shockwaves’ Through UN

The Trump administration’s FY 2018 budget request, which includes a significant drop in funding for the United Nations, sent “shockwaves” through the world body, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley agreed Tuesday. Read

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

WH Chemical Attack Warning Comes After Russia Laid Down Its Own Red Lines on Syria

A White House warning late on Monday night about “potential preparations” by the Assad regime for a chemical weapons attack comes at a particularly tense time in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s Russia ally a week ago effectively warned that it could shoot down U.S. aircraft there. Read

FY17 Refugee Admissions at 48,856 – 1,144 Below Trump's Ceiling

Monday’s Supreme Court decision allowing President Trump’s travel ban to take partial effect pending a hearing in the fall, also impacts the president’s 50,000 ceiling on refugee admissions this fiscal year – a limit that is fast approaching. Read

Monday, June 26, 2017

Turkey’s Erdogan: Demands for Qatar to Shut Airbase ‘Disrespectful’

Turkey on Sunday rejected demands by a Saudi-led quartet of Arab states for the shutdown of a Turkish airbase in Qatar, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the countries involved in the dispute of attacking Qatar’s sovereign rights. Read

Missiles and Threats Fly Over Syria, As Israel Responds to Syrian Mortar Fire

It’s been even more strained than usual these past few days in Syria, where the Assad regime on Sunday warned Israel of retaliation after Israeli jets targeted Syrian tanks in response to mortar shells from Syria landing on Israeli soil. Read

Friday, June 23, 2017

Trump Administration Rejects UN Human Rights Council’s ‘Safe Abortion’ Text

What a difference a year makes. Last summer, the Obama administration not only supported a text at the U.N. Human Rights Council that included a call for access to “safe abortion where such services are permitted by national law” but also co-sponsored it, despite not then being a member of the Geneva-based body. Read

Qatar Told to Sever Ties With Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Shut Down Al-Jazeera

Saudi Arabia and three allies that have cut ties to Qatar want the small Gulf state to cut ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and all U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations and shut down the Al-Jazeera TV network, according to a list of demands seen by the Associated Press. Read

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Saudi’s New King-in-Waiting Accused by Tehran of Promoting Anti-Iran Terror

Weeks after the Iranian regime was infuriated by provocative comments made by the second-in-line to the Saudi throne, the target of that anger was promoted Wednesday to the position of king-in-waiting. The move could worsen the already seething rivalry between the Sunni and Shi’ite near-neighbors. Read

Trump Takes a Dig at Wind Farms: ‘As the Birds Fall to the Ground’

President Trump said Wednesday he was supportive of a range of energy sources, from coal to solar to nuclear, but took a dig at wind power. Read

S. Korea Irked by Suggestion Trump May Not ‘Allow’ Its New President to Talk to Pyongyang

A week before South Korea’s liberal new leader is due to meet with President Trump at the White House, his office expressed irritation Wednesday at the notion he would need the American president’s consent to initiate dialogue with Kim Jong-un’s regime. Read

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Venezuelan Minister Sneers at U.S. Diplomat: ‘Send In Your Marines’

Venezuela’s fiery foreign minister clashed with a senior U.S. diplomat at an Organization of American States meeting Tuesday, saying mockingly that the only way a regional mediation initiative responding to the crisis in her country could be imposed on Venezuela would be to “send in your Marines.” Read

Report: Iran Collaborating With N. Korea on Extensive Ballistic Missile Development

Iran has intensified its development of ballistic missiles in recent years, particularly since the conclusion of the nuclear deal, and is doing so with significant collaboration with fellow pariah state North Korea, according to the exiled opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). Read

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Iran Says Its First Known Ballistic Missile Strike in Syria Sends Message to USA

Iranian lawmakers say the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ unprecedented firing of missiles at terrorist targets inside Syria sends a message not just to terrorists but also signals Iran’s dismissal of recent initiatives in the U.S. Congress targeting their country. Read

New Calls to Ban Tourist Travel to North Korea After Otto Warmbier’s Death

The U.S. government should ban tourist travel to North Korea, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) said Monday following news that Otto Warmbier, the American student released from a North Korean prison last week and returned home in a coma, has died. Read

Monday, June 19, 2017

U.S. Shoots Down Syrian Fighter Plane: ‘Will Not Hesitate to Defend Coalition or Partner Forces From Any Threat’

For the first time, a U.S. fighter plane on Sunday shot down a Syrian aircraft, after the Assad regime’s Su-22 dropped bombs near U.S.-backed rebels near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. The Syrian army said the pilot was missing. Read

Moscow Accuses Trump of Returning to Cold War-Style Rhetoric on Cuba

Russia has accused the Trump administration of a return to “Cold War-style” rhetoric in rolling back some of its predecessor’s policies designed to normalize relations with communist-ruled Cuba. Read

Terror Flags Waved Openly in Streets of London

Fifteen days after London was targeted in a deadly terrorist attack – its second in less than three months – police in the British capital stood by Sunday as flags of the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah were carried openly during a small pro-Palestine march through the city center. Read

Friday, June 16, 2017

Erdogan Rejects Arrest Warrants Over DC Assaults: ‘What Kind of Law is This?’

A diplomatic row between the Trump administration and Turkey’s Islamist leader deepened Thursday, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan angrily rejected U.S. arrest warrants for members of his bodyguard accused of assaulting protesters in Washington last month. Read

In Near-Unanimous Vote, Senate Passes Iran Sanctions Bill That Kerry Opposed

The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed new Iran sanctions legislation by an overwhelming margin, despite earlier fretting by former Secretary of State John Kerry that it could jeopardize the nuclear deal he worked so hard to negotiate. Read

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Iran’s Zarif Responds to Trump’s Gulf Stance: Suicide Bombers are Saudis, Not Iranians

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif suggested this week that President Trump is trying to whitewash Saudi Arabia despite its links to terrorism, while tarnishing Iran’s name. Read

Kerry: Mideast Leaders Urged US to ‘Bomb’ Iran; ‘We Chose a Different Path’

Former Secretary of State John Kerry used an appearance in Oslo this week to tout the nuclear deal he helped to negotiate with Iran, arguing that it helped avoid conflict at a time when some leaders in the region had been urging the U.S. to “bomb” Iran. Read

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Haley: New UN Rights Report ‘Reeks of Anti-Israel Bias’

In some of her bluntest criticisms of the U.N. yet, President Trump’s unapologetically pro-Israel ambassador to the world body, Nikki Haley, on Tuesday slammed a new report which she said “reeks of anti-Israel bias.” Read

Ex-Gov. Richardson: N. Korea Must Explain Why Released American Is Comatose

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Tuesday the North Koreans must “in no uncertain terms” explain the reason why an American student released from their custody is in a coma. Read

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Israel: Shut Down UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees

The discovery of another instance of Palestinian terrorists using U.N. facilities to mask their activities has triggered a call by Israel for the U.N.’s bespoke agency for Palestinian refugees to be shut down. Read

When Palestinian Men Beat Their Wives, It’s Israel’s Fault? NGO Challenges Report by UN Diplomat

An NGO representative at the U.N. Human Rights Council suggested Monday that incitement by Islamic preachers may bear a greater responsibility for Palestinian violence against women than Israeli occupation, to the evident displeasure of the session’s Egyptian chairman. Read

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pakistan Death Sentence Comes Amid Gov’t Crackdown on Social Media ‘Blasphemy’

The sentencing to death of a Pakistani man accused of committing “blasphemy” on Facebook comes three months after the government vowed to crack down on the use of social media to spread blasphemous or other objectionable material. Read

Iran and Turkey Support Embattled Gulf State Accused of Sponsoring Terror

As the pressure from its neighbors starts to bite, Qatar is receiving support from two non-Arab partners, but the help from Iran and Turkey is likely to further antagonize its critics. Read

Friday, June 09, 2017

Alleged Hezbollah Agent Obtained US Citizenship After Denying Terrorist Associations

A Lebanese-born man charged in New York on suspicion of scouting potential U.S. and Israeli targets for the Iranian-backed Shi’ite terrorist group Hezbollah became a naturalized American citizen after declaring to authorities that he had no associations with terrorists, according to a criminal complaint. Read

Surprise Setback for Britain’s Conservatives As May Wins, But Lacks Majority in Parliament

Official exit polls in Britain indicate that the Conservative Party may have lost its parliamentary majority, following Prime Minister Theresa May’s risky bid to call a snap election in the hope of winning a stronger mandate for negotiations on the country’s exit from the European Union. Read

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Qatar’s Al-Jazeera Publishes Fatwa Against ‘Siege’ – By a US-Designated ‘Terrorist Facilitator’

As Qatar continues to reject allegations of terror financing at the center of a serious rift with some of its neighbors, its state-funded Al-Jazeera network on Wednesday published a fatwa slamming the “unjust siege imposed on Qatar” – written by a Salafist cleric blacklisted by the U.S. and U.N. for facilitating and funding terrorism. Read

Trump After Tehran Attack: ‘States That Sponsor Terrorism Risk Falling Victim to The Evil They Promote’

President Trump said Wednesday he prayed for the victims of a deadly terrorist attack in Tehran, but added that “states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.” Read

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

US-Led Coalition Again Bombs Pro-Assad Forces in Southeastern Syria

For the second time in less than three weeks, the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition on Tuesday bombed forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after they entered an area near the Syria-Jordan-Iraq border where the U.S. is training local forces to take on ISIS. Read

Qatar Dispute: Trump Congratulates Saudi King for Steps to ‘Dry Up … Sources’ of Terrorism

President Trump phoned Saudi King Salman Tuesday to congratulate the kingdom for its leading role in drying up the “sources” of terrorism, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Read

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

FBI Nabs Suspected Leaker of Top-Secret Info to Media Outlet: 25-Year-Old Reality Leigh Winner

A federal contractor charged with leaking a top-secret NSA document to a media outlet was tracked down after the media outlet sent photos of the document to a government agency source – and in doing so providing investigators with vital clues that eventually led to the suspect. Read

Australia Supports Trump’s New ‘Annihilation’ Approach to ISIS

Australia has voiced support for the U.S. military’s shift to “annihilation tactics” in the fight against ISIS, with its defense minister saying that it, too, would prefer that those who went to fight for the terrorist group in Syria and Iraq would not be able to return to their home countries to carry out attacks there. Read

Monday, June 05, 2017

Arab States Accuse Qatar, a US Ally, of Supporting Terrorism

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates all severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in a concerted move on Monday, accusing of it supporting Shi’ite and Sunni extremists causing chaos and sectarianism across the region. Read

UN Agency Uses Misleading Photo in Solicitation for Palestinian Refugees

The U.N.’s agency for Palestinian refugees has amended a Ramadan donation appeal after critics pointed out that it featured a child in a bombed-out area near Damascus and not – as the agency claimed – a Palestinian girl in Gaza supposedly victimized by the Israelis. Read

British Labor Leader Accuses PM of Trying to Protect UK ‘On the Cheap’

Less than a day after terrorists killed seven people in London, Britain’s left-wing opposition leader waded into Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday night, accusing her – four days before a general election – of trying to protect the country “on the cheap.” Read

Friday, June 02, 2017

Putin: US Is Using Iran and North Korean Missile Threats As ‘Pretext’ For Targeting Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday slammed the U.S. for deploying ballistic missile defense (BMD) systems in Europe and Asia, saying the Iran nuclear deal made such defenses unnecessary in Europe, and predicting that the U.S. will keep the system in place in Asia, even if North Korea denuclearizes. Read

At Least 36 Dead in Manila Atrocity; Police Say It Was Robbery, Not Terror

Philippines police on Friday reiterated that the actions of a lone gunman in a Manila casino resort constituted a robbery rather than a terrorist attack, as they also confirmed that three dozen people were found dead in the complex, apparently having suffocated due to smoke inhalation. Read

Thursday, June 01, 2017

U.S. Has Admitted 46,371 Refugees So Far in FY 2017; Up 19% in May

A total of 3,957 refugees were admitted into the United States in May, a 19.3 percent increase over April’s figures and a 91.1 percent jump from March’s low point of 2,070 admissions. Read

Decision Due Thursday on Trump Pledge to Move U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem

All eyes will be on the White House Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon as President Trump announces whether he will withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, but the day is also a deadline for another decision that, for many, is a test of his willingness to keep a key campaign pledge. Read