Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Kim Jong-un Crosses Another Line, Firing a Missile Over Japan for the Third Time in 2 Decades

The North Korean regime ratcheted up tensions with the U.S. and its neighbors with Tuesday’s firing of a ballistic missile that flew over Japan – just the third time in nearly two decades that Pyongyang has taken such a provocative step and a first for Kim Jong-un. Read

Iran President's 2nd Term Begins With Abuses, Hunger Strike by Political Prisoners

Concerns are deepening for the well-being of more than 20 Iranian political prisoners on hunger strike, who reportedly are being denied medical care by authorities who triggered their protest in the first place by forcibly transferring them to accommodation where conditions are described as “unbearable.” Read

Monday, August 28, 2017

Bodies of All Ten Missing US Sailors Recovered After Destroyer-Tanker Collision

The bodies of all ten U.S. sailors missing since their destroyer was damaged in a collision with a merchant ship east of Singapore on August 21 have been recovered by U.S. Navy and Marine Corps divers, the Seventh Fleet announced Sunday. Read

Iran Slaps Down Haley: No One Sees Military Sites Without Ayatollah’s Permission

Two years after the Obama administration contended that the nuclear deal it reached with Iran had opened the door to international inspection of military sites, a senior military adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared Sunday that it does not. Read

Friday, August 25, 2017

State Dep’t Says UN's Anti-Israel ‘Settlement’ Blacklist Does Not Facilitate Peace

The Trump administration considers a U.N. blacklist of private companies doing business in territories disputed between Israel and the Palestinians “counterproductive” and unhelpful in advancing peace efforts between the two, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday. Read

State Dep't Expresses 'Grave Concern' About Reported North Korea-Syria Weapons Trade

Allegations of illicit weapons collaboration between North Korea and the Assad regime, if true, “would be a very grave, grave concern” to the United States, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday. Read

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Trump Administration Again Declines to Endorse ‘Two-State’ Solution

Seven months into the Trump administration, Palestinian leaders say they still don’t know what President Trump’s position is on their conflict with Israel, frustrated that he refuses to commit publicly to the so-called “two-state solution” as the key to resolving it. Read

UN Experts ‘Disturbed’ by U.S. ‘Failure’ to Reject and Condemn Racist Demonstrations

A United Nations committee has taken aim at the United States and, indirectly, at President Trump, issuing an “early warning” notice deploring the recent violent clashes in Charlottesville, Va. and expressing concern about what it called “the failure at the highest political level of the United States of America to unequivocally reject and condemn the racist violent events and demonstrations.” Read

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mattis on Civilian Casualties in Raqqa: ‘We’re Not The Perfect Guys…But We Are The Good Guys’

Asked about an increase in civilian casualties resulting from U.S. airstrikes around the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Defense Secretary James Mattis said Tuesday no military in world history has been more careful that the U.S.-led coalition in limiting civilian casualties, but it is fighting an enemy that hides behind innocent people including women and children. Read

Mattis on Afghanistan Troop Deployment: ‘There Is a Number That I’m Authorized To Go Up To’

Defense Secretary James Mattis indicated Tuesday that President Trump has authorized a ceiling for the anticipated increase in the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan, but he said he would await a plan from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before determining “how many more we need to send in.” Read

Tillerson Sees ‘Some Level of Restraint’ From N. Korea, As Its Military Threatens ‘Ruthless’ Retaliation

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday North Korea has “demonstrated some level of restraint” of late by not carrying out any further missile launches or other “provocative acts.” He told reporters at the State Department he hoped this was an indication that North Koreans were “ready to restrain their level of tensions.” Read

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

After Trump’s Speech, Mattis Hints at Increased Troop Numbers For Afghanistan

Although President Trump in his Monday night speech did not say directly that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will grow, Defense Secretary James Mattis came close to doing so, saying some allies have “also” pledged to send more troops. Read

Taliban Warns Trump That Afghanistan Will Become ‘Graveyard’

The Taliban early Tuesday decried President Trump’s decision not to withdraw U.S. troops, and warned that the country would become a “graveyard for the American empire.” Read

Trump to Pakistan: ‘No Partnership Can Survive a Country’s Harboring of Militants and Terrorists Who Target US’

President Trump put Pakistan on notice Monday, accusing America’s often most troubling ally of giving “safe haven to agents of chaos, violence, and terror “ and warning that it was time for it “to demonstrate its commitment to to civilization, order and peace.” Read

Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S.-Iran War of Words Escalates Over Missiles, Nuclear Deal

Ahead of an Iran-focused visit to Vienna by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, the regime’s new defense minister on Sunday pushed back against U.S. criticism of its ballistic missile program, declaring that it would continue undeterred by outside pressure. Read

Syria’s Assad Declares the West’s ‘Project’ to Topple Him Has Failed

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared Sunday that Western-instigated attempts to topple him have been foiled, and he painted the conflict in Syria as part of a broader campaign by the West to punish countries – including Syria, Iran and North Korea – that refuse to bow to its “hegemony.” Read

Friday, August 18, 2017

Mattis, Tillerson Reaffirm That Military Option Underlies Diplomatic Efforts on North Korea

Military action against North Korea remains an option should Pyongyang “initiate hostilities,” Defense Secretary James Mattis reiterated on Thursday, when asked about White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s quoted view that “there’s no military solution” to the standoff with Kim Jong-un. Read

Pence Says US and Allies Will ‘Drive Evil of Radical Islamic Terror From Face of the Earth’

The United States and its allies will work together to “drive the evil of radical Islamic terror from the face of the Earth,” Vice-President Mike Pence pledged Thursday, responding to an ISIS-claimed terror attack in Barcelona. Read

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Russia Accuses Obama of ‘Hypocrisy’ For Quoting Mandela on Race – But Ignoring Mandela's Support for Gaddafi

President Obama’s Twitter response to the weekend violence in Charlottesville has become the most “liked” tweet in history – it passed the four million mark early Thursday – but Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman implied Wednesday that the former president invokes Nelson Mandela only when convenient. Read

Russian Gov’t Slams US for ‘Supplying Chemical Agents to Terrorists and Using Photos of Killed Children'

Russia and Syria's Assad regime have long accused blamed rebel groups for chemical weapons attacks. On Wednesday they seized on the reported discovery of riot-control gas to claim that the West was providing “internationally-banned poisonous materials” to militants. Read

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Israel, Jordan Concerned About Iran-Backed Shi’ite Militias Moving Into Vacuum Left by ISIS

The governments of Israel and Jordan have – separately – both voiced concern about the growing influence of Iran on their doorsteps, at a time when security experts warn that the defeat of ISIS could usher a dangerous new regional threat as Iran and its allies move into the vacuum left by the retreating Sunni terrorists. Read

Taliban to Trump: ‘American Youth Are Not Born to Be Killed in Deserts and Mountains of Afghanistan’

The State Department on Tuesday declined to comment on a call by the Taliban for President Trump to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but stressed that it was the militant group that was responsible for the country’s troubles, including a recently-recorded increase in attacks on civilians. Read

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Guam’s Homeland Security Adviser: 0.000001% Chance of Missile ‘Getting Through’ Defenses

Reassuring the people of Guam that there has been no change in threat level, the territory’s homeland security adviser said Monday the chances of a North Korean missile hitting the island were minuscule. Read

Mattis Warns Any Firing at U.S. Could 'Escalate Into War Very Quickly'

Defense Secretary James Mattis cautioned North Korea Monday that any missile attack on American soil could lead to war. Read

Monday, August 14, 2017

McMaster: Susan Rice ‘Not Right’ About Tolerating Kim’s Nuclear Weapons

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Sunday pushed back against a suggestion by his predecessor that the United States could “tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea,” challenging the notion that Cold War-style deterrence could work with a regime like the one in Pyongyang. Read

Iranian Lawmakers Pass Retaliatory Sanctions Against ‘Terrorist’ U.S., Boost Spending on Missiles

Iranian lawmakers on Sunday overwhelmingly backed legislation aimed at countering “hegemonic, terrorist and divisive” U.S. policies in the region, incorporating a raft of sanctions and increased spending for the regime’s ballistic missile program and the terror-sponsoring Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Qods Force. Read

Friday, August 11, 2017

Gov. of US Territory Near Guam: ‘I Place My Full Faith and Trust in Our President’

The governor of the U.S. commonwealth of Pacific islands neighboring Guam has voiced his full support for President Trump and his handling of the standoff with North Korea. Read

Trump Warns Kim Jong-un: ‘Things Will Happen to Them Like They Never Thought Possible’

President Trump on Thursday reiterated his warning to the Kim Jong-un regime not to attack the U.S. or its territories or allies, saying the North Koreans “better get their act together, or they’re going to be in trouble like few nations ever have been in trouble in this world.” Read

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Flashback: Powell Said NK Began Cheating on Clinton-Era Nuclear Deal ‘Before The Ink Was Dry’

Amid the latest surge in tensions on the Korean peninsula, some critics are blaming President George W. Bush for the threat posed by Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons – despite assertions that the regime was cheating on its nuclear freeze commitments well before the end of the Clinton administration. Read

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

North Korea Threatens to Target ‘Areas Around Guam’ With Ballistic Missiles – ‘To Neutralize It’

North Korea on Tuesday threatened to target “areas around Guam” with ballistic missiles, in response to the deployment of Guam-based supersonic U.S. Air Force bombers for combined exercises with South Korean warplanes. Read

North Korea Strengthening Ties With Iran: ‘Tehran and Pyongyang Have a Common Enemy’

North Korea’s provocative actions and belligerent rhetoric directed at the United States come at a time when the Stalinist regime is strengthening ties with another government hostile towards the U.S., building on decades of missile and nuclear program collaboration. Read

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Haley Targets UN Peacekeeping Mission Which Israel Views as Soft on Hezbollah

For 13 years, U.N. Security Council resolutions have been violated daily by the existence and activities – often under the noses of U.N. peacekeepers – of the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon. But now President Trump’s ambassador to the world body wants that to change. Read

US: North Korea Must Stop Missile Launches if it Wants Talks. But Joint Drills With South Korea ‘Will Continue’

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday laid out what the U.S. expects from North Korea ahead of any talks between the two sides: A halt to the increasingly frequent ballistic missile launches that have ratcheted up tensions over recent months. Read

Monday, August 07, 2017

EU Foreign Policy Chief Triggers ‘Selfie’ Scrum in Iranian Parliament

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was a high-profile guest at Saturday’s swearing-in of re-elected Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, but while regime officials pressed her to distance the E.U. from U.S. policies towards Iran, many lawmakers seemed more interested in taking photographs of, and with, the striking Italian. Read

McMaster Rules Out Panama-Style Intervention in Venezuela; Maduro Accuses US Elements After ‘Terrorist Attack’

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro on Sunday accused elements in the United States and Colombia of being behind what his government called a “terrorist attack” at a military base that left two people dead. Read

EU Foreign Policy Chief Triggers ‘Selfie’ Scrum in Iranian Parliament

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was a high-profile guest at Saturday’s swearing-in of re-elected Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, but while regime officials pressed her to distance the E.U. from U.S. policies towards Iran, many lawmakers seemed more interested in taking photographs of, and with, the blonde Italian politician. Read

McMaster Rules Out Panama-Style Intervention in Venezuela; Maduro Accuses US Elements After ‘Terrorist Attack’

Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro on Sunday accused elements in the United States and Colombia of being behind what his government called a “terrorist attack” at a military base that left two people dead. Read

Friday, August 04, 2017

US, North Korea to Attend Security Forum, But US to Push For Regime’s Suspension in Future

Ahead of the one annual multilateral forum that has U.S. and North Korean diplomats seated around the same table, the State Department has confirmed it plans to discuss ways of having Pyongyang suspended from future such gatherings. Read

Australian Police: Terror Suspect Wanted His Brother, Unwittingly, to Carry Bomb Onto Int’l Flight

An “Islamic-inspired” terror plot foiled in Australia in recent days involved an effort to detonate a bomb – built with “military-grade explosive” supplied by an ISIS commander in Syria – on a commercial airliner, and a second plan, aimed at creating an “improvised chemical dispersion device” to use in an attack, police revealed on Friday. Read

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Russia Says US Has Declared ‘Fully-Fledged Economic War’

President Trump on Wednesday signed the most consequential foreign policy legislation of his administration to date – a bill imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea – but made clear he was doing so reluctantly. Read

Bill Signed by Trump Targets Iran’s IRGC For Terrorism – For The First Time

While most attention has been focused on the Russia elements of the bipartisan sanctions bill signed by President Trump on Wednesday, the legislation also – for the first time – targets Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for its support for terrorism. Read

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Tillerson Applies Brakes on North Korea War Talk: ‘We’re Not Your Enemy’

The United States “does not seek a regime change” in Pyongyang, and is not looking for a speedy reunification of the Korean peninsula or for “an excuse to send our military north of the 38th parallel,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday. Read

Crisis-Torn Venezuela Remains a Member of the UN’s Top Human Rights Body

The United Nations’ secretary-general and top human rights official on Tuesday both expressed concern about the political crisis in Venezuela, but neither statement addressed the fact that the Nicolas Maduro regime is a member of the U.N.’s top human rights body. Read

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Refugee Admissions Under Trump: More Christians, Fewer Muslims

The first six months-plus of the Trump administration have brought a discernible shift in the religious affiliation breakdown of refugees admitted into the United States, with a larger proportion of Christians to Muslims among those resettled. Read

Xi to Army: China Won’t ‘Swallow Bitter Fruit That is Harmful to our Sovereignty, Security or Development Interests’

Marking the 90th birthday of the world’s largest military Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Beijing does not seek aggression but would never allow any part of the country to split, and is confident the People’s Liberation Army will “defeat all invasions.” Read