Thursday, October 31, 2019

Haley Recalls Serving With Some Who Tried to Undermine Trump; ‘What’s At Stake is the Constitution

Officials serving in the administration are not free to push their “personal agenda” if they do not like President Trump, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said this week, arguing that “we have one president at a time, and that president attained his office by the choice of the American people.” Read

Pompeo: ‘We’re Finally Realizing’ How ‘Truly Hostile’ China’s Communist Party is to the US

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday the United States needs to confront rather than accommodate China’s communist government, saying administrations going back decades had encouraged China’s rise, “even when that rise was at the expense of American values, Western democracy and security, and good common sense.” Read

Ayatollah Blames US and Other ‘Enemies’ For Protests in Iraq and Lebanon

Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday accused the United States, Israel and others of fomenting the protests that have rocked Lebanon and Iraq – two of the countries in the region where proxies of the Iranian regime hold powerful positions. Read

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

House Passes Armenian Genocide Measure; Turkey Sees Move as Attempted Payback for Syria Offensive

At a time of deep tensions in the U.S.-Turkey relationship, the House of Representatives on Tuesday passed by a large majority a non-binding resolution recognizing that Ottoman Turkey’s mass atrocities against Armenians a century ago constituted “genocide.” Read

Lawmakers Deal Turkey’s Erdogan Double Blow Ahead of His White House Visit

Two weeks before his scheduled visit to the White House, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faced two setbacks Tuesday as the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan bill imposing sanctions on Ankara over its armed incursion into northeastern Syria, minutes after passing a contentious “Armenian genocide” resolution. Read

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Democrats Jayapal, Van Hollen Want Israeli ‘Occupation’ Language in 2020 Platform

Two Democratic lawmakers told a liberal Jewish conference on Monday they support the inclusion in the 2020 party platform of language on Israeli “occupation” of territories claimed by the Palestinians. Read

Iraqi Protestors Target Tehran-Backed Militias: ‘Iran Out, Out! Baghdad Will be Free!’

Iraq’s military declared a curfew overnight in Baghdad, scrambling to deal with demonstrations in several cities that have turned violent and cost dozens of lives, as protestors demand both economic reforms and an end to Iran’s influence in Iraq. Read

Monday, October 28, 2019

Retired National Security Figures Worry Trump’s Tone on Baghdadi Might Provoke Violent Reactions

President Trump’s scornful description of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the final moments of his life was an inappropriate “piling on” that could prompt his followers around the world to “lash out possibly more harshly,” former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James Winnefeld said on Sunday. Read

Trump on ISIS Leader’s Death: ‘These Savage Monsters...Will Not Escape The Final Judgment of God’

Announcing the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a Special Forces raid in northwestern Syria, President Trump used deliberately denigrating language to describe a man who claimed to have been on a divine mission to usher in Allah’s kingdom on earth. Read

Iranian Regime, Which Has Accused US of Creating ISIS, Reacts Suspiciously to News of Baghdadi’s Death

Iranian officials and state-friendly media responded cautiously Sunday to President Trump’s announcement of the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but reactions did include the airing of the regime’s conspiracy theory that the United States created the Sunni terrorist group in the first place. Read

Friday, October 25, 2019

President Pelosi? Michael Moore Envisages Both Trump and Pence Removed From Office

Liberal political activist and documentary filmmaker Michael Moore thinks Vice President Mike Pence may be impeached and removed from office along with President Trump – an outcome that he noted would see House Speaker Nancy Pelosi elevated to the presidency. Read

Pompeo: Obama ‘Invited’ the Russians – Pretending to be Chemical Weapons Inspectors – Into Syria

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday accused the Obama administration of having “invited” the Russians to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war, by having “them come in and pretend to be chemical weapons inspectors.” Read

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Pompeo: The Term ‘Human Right’ is Being Used ‘For Something That is a Mere Preference’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says his department’s new “Commission on Unalienable Rights,” which held its first public meeting Wednesday, aims to develop a document by mid-2020 that will make clear what precisely are “fundamental human rights and why they matter so much to America.” Read

Russian Troops Enter Syria-Turkey Border Zone; Moscow Accuses US of Fueling Kurdish Separatism

Russian troops rolled into Kobane in northeastern Syria on Wednesday, on a mission to oversee the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish fighters and their weapons from the area in line with an agreement reached by the Russian and Turkish presidents a day earlier. Read

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

1998 Flashback: Democratic Lawmakers, Including Biden, Called Clinton Impeachment a ‘Lynching’

President Trump’s use of the word “lynching” in a tweet complaining about the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry set off a firestorm of racism allegations on Tuesday, even though the term is frequently used figuratively – including by Democrats – to describe a political process thought to be egregiously unfair. Read

US Envoy Disputes That Turkey Would Not Have Entered Syria Had Trump Not Pulled Back Troops

The U.S. special envoy for the Syrian conflict pushed back Tuesday on the charge that, had President Trump not pulled back a small number of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria this month, Turkish forces would not have crossed the border to attack Syrian Kurdish fighters. Read

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Senate Bill Seeks Alternatives to US Base in Turkey, Where Nuclear Bombs Are Housed

A bipartisan Senate bill aimed at pressurizing Turkey over its military offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces contains a provision requiring the administration to explore “viable alternative” locations for U.S. military troops and assets now based in Turkey. Read

Warren on Pressuring Israel to Accept ‘Two-State Solution’: ‘Everything is On the Table’

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) indicated at the weekend that as president she would not hold back from pressuring Israel into accepting a “two-state solution” to its conflict with the Palestinians, asserting that “everything is on the table.” Read

Monday, October 21, 2019

Pompeo on Trump Critic: Bill Burns ‘Must be Auditioning to be Elizabeth Warren’s Secretary of State’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave short shrift Sunday to a former deputy secretary of state’s criticism of his handling of the controversy over President Trump’s Ukraine dealings, saying Bill Burns was evidently eyeing a position in a future Democratic administration. Read

Trump May Keep Small Force in Eastern Syria, to Check ISIS and Protect Oilfields

As U.S. troops are being redeployed from Syria to western Iraq, there were indications at the weekend that President Trump may be prepared to leave a residual force across the border in eastern Syria, in a bid to keep a lid on ISIS and help to ensure that oilfields in the area to not fall into hands of the Iranians, whose forces are in Syria to bolster Bashar Assad’s regime. Read

Friday, October 18, 2019

Syria ‘Pause’ Deal Applies to Only Part of the Territory Turkey Wants For a Buffer Zone

A U.S.-Turkey agreement for the Turks to “pause” a military offensive in northern Syria for five days to allow Syrian Kurdish fighters to withdraw applies only to one relatively small section of the strip of Syrian territory that Ankara wants as a buffer zone. Read

‘Absurd, Immoral and Offensive’: UN Member-States Hand Maduro Regime Seat on Human Rights Council

Despite the public appeals of human rights advocates and behind-the-scenes lobbying, U.N. member-states on Thursday elected Venezuela onto the world’s body’s Human Rights Council, handing the socialist Maduro regime more votes than Costa Rica, a stable liberal democracy. Read

Saudi Diplomat Calls Trump a ‘Tweet Monster,’ Worries About Reliability as an Ally

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Great Britain this week called President Trump a “tweet monster” whose recent decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syrian ahead of a Turkish military offensive “doesn’t give one incredible confidence” about the administration’s reliability as an ally. Read

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Trump Urged Erdogan Not to be ‘a Tough Guy’ and ‘a Fool.’ Erdogan Ignored Him and Went Ahead

In a letter earlier this month, President Trump urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to be “a tough guy” or “a fool” by launching a unilateral military offensive in northeastern Syria against Kurdish fighters who as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were U.S. allies in the campaign to defeat ISIS. Read

Pompeo Suggests Trump Could Amend Syria Troop Decision; ‘He Makes Decisions and Then Absorbs Data and Facts’

Hours before he flew to Turkey late Wednesday in response to that country’s invasion of northeastern Syrian, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that President Trump may yet adjust his recent decision to withdraw most of the U.S. troops in Syria. Read

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

On Abortion, One Democratic Candidate Stands Out by Proposing Third-Trimester Limits

In a Democratic primary contest marked by positions on abortion viewed by many Americans as extreme, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) on Tuesday night laid out a position that raised the flagging hopes of some pro-life Democrats. Read

UN ‘Credibility’ at Stake Again, As Venezuela Vies for Human Rights Council Seat

As the U.N. General Assembly prepares to fill 14 seats on the 47-member Human Rights Council on Thursday, human rights activists are hopeful that Venezuela’s Maduro regime will fail to secure one, thanks to an eleventh-hour candidacy by Costa Rica. Read

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

US Sanctions NATO Ally Turkey for the Second Time in 14 Months

For the second time in 14 months, the Trump administration on Monday imposed sanctions on Turkey, a NATO ally, in a bid to pressure its Islamist government to change direction on policies seen as inimical to U.S. interests. Read

Trump: It’s Easier For Syrian Christians to Enter the US Now Than Under Obama

President Trump said at the weekend that his administration has, in contrast to its predecessor, made it easier for Syrian Christians to come to the United States. Read

Monday, October 14, 2019

Trump: Our Soldiers Should Not Be Guarding the Turkish-Syrian Border When We Can’t Guard Our Own

President Trump sounded a somber note on Saturday as he defended a widely-criticized decision to pull U.S. troops away from a part of Syria where Turkish forces are now attacking Kurdish fighters allied to the U.S., saying it was time to bring American soldiers home. Read

Embattled Kurds Cut Deal With Assad; US Pulling Another 1,000 Troops From Syria

Reports coming in overnight Sunday indicate that Syrian Kurdish leaders are ceding their territory to Bashar al-Assad’s regime, effectively surrendering their dream of autonomy in the face of Turkey’s military onslaught. Read

‘Wacko’: Trump Blasts O’Rourke’s Comments on Tax-Exempt Status for Churches Opposing Same-Sex Marriage

President Trump took a swipe at the weekend at 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke for saying that as president he would revoke the tax-exempt status of Christian institutions opposed to same-sex marriage. Read

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Senators Launch Bipartisan Push to Sanction Turkey Over Syria Offensive

Breaking with President Trump over the issue, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Wednesday joined Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in announcing a bipartisan push for sanctions against the leaders and military of Turkey – a NATO ally – until it halts a unilateral military operation in northeastern Syria and withdraws its forces. Read

Cruz, Cotton and Ocasio-Cortez? China and the NBA Bring Rivals Together

The deepening row over Chinese attempts to intimidate the NBA continues to give rise to unlikely alliances on Capitol Hill, bringing together conservative Republicans with lawmakers as liberal as self-described Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) Read

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Hillary Clinton Says ‘Maybe There Does Need to Be a Rematch’ Against Trump

“Maybe there does need to be a rematch,” 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said in an interview on Tuesday night, after President Trump suggested on Twitter that she should run for the White House again in 2020. Read

As Turkey Signals Imminent Operation in Syria, Some Complain About Trump’s Threats

Turkey’s defense ministry signaled Tuesday that a military operation in northeastern Syria was imminent, even as some Turkish politicians complained about President Trump’s threats to destroy the country’s economy if it acts in a way that he views as “off limits” in Syria. Read

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Trump: Europe Won't Help, and We’re Not Going to Hold Thousands of ISIS Fighters at Guantanamo Bay

The United States for months has been urging European countries to repatriate captured ISIS fighters and their families from northeastern Syria, to no avail, and the U.S. is not about to incarcerate them in Guantanamo Bay, President Trump said on Monday. Read

State Dep’t Welcomes Chinese Energy Giant’s Exit From Iran Gas Project

The State Department has welcomed reports that China’s state-owned energy giant has pulled out of a $4.9 billion project to develop an Iranian portion of the world’s biggest natural gas field. Read

Monday, October 07, 2019

Russians Accuse FBI of ‘Cynical Provocation’ After Lawmaker Held for Questioning

Russia’s foreign ministry and senior politicians slammed the FBI for reportedly holding a Russian lawmaker for questioning at a New York airport over the weekend, alleging bad-faith actions by the intelligence community aimed at damaging attempts to improve bilateral relations. Read

Texas’ GOP Senators, Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Find Common Ground on NBA-China Spat

The two Republican senators from Texas and two Texas Democrats running for the White House in 2020 found common ground on Sunday after the Houston Rockets basketball team found itself embroiled in controversy over a tweet supporting protestors in Hong Kong. Read

Ukraine’s President: ‘I Was Never Pressured’ by Trump, ‘No Conditions’ Were Imposed

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday again denied having been put under any pressure by President Trump, during a July phone conversation, to investigate Joe Biden or his son’s business dealings in Ukraine – an allegation at the center of the Democratic impeachment inquiry. Read

Friday, October 04, 2019

With North Korea-US Talks Set to Begin, Regime Releases Images of Missile Launch

As North Korean officials headed to Sweden to resume stalled talks with their U.S. counterparts, the regime’s state media released imagery purportedly showing the test-firing Wednesday of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) which landed in the Sea of Japan. Read

Twitter Erupts After Woman Tells AOC We Must ‘Start Eating Babies’ to Save the Planet

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) faced awkward moments during a town hall meeting on Thursday evening, when a woman stood up and said it was time to “start eating babies” to save the planet from imminent climate-induced doom. Read

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Rep. McCaul: Schiff is Usurping Foreign Affairs Committee’s Jurisdiction in Impeachment Probe

The ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee accused its Democrat leaders Wednesday night of abdicating their responsibility by allowing Rep. Adam Schiff’s House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to take the lead in the party’s presidential impeachment probe. Read

Trump Says He Held Up Ukraine Aid Over Concerns About Corruption, European Contributions

President Trump on Wednesday linked his decision to delay U.S. military aid to Ukraine to concerns about high levels of corruption in that country, and especially to frustration that the Europeans weren’t doing more to assist their neighbor, which serves as a bulwark between Europe and Russia. Read

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Opinions of China in US and Canada the Most Negative in the History of Pew Polling

As Beijing marks 70 years of communist rule with displays of military might and President Xi Jinping’s declarations of China’s unstoppable march forward, a new survey finds deeply divided views around the world over the Asian giant. Read

A Day After Signaling Fresh Talks With US, N. Korea Fires Sub-Launched Ballistic Missile

Japanese and South Korean security officials held emergency briefings Wednesday after North Korea fired what Seoul said appeared to be a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). The projectile reportedly landed inside Japan’s exclusive economic zone. Read

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Confirmed: PM Told Trump Australia Would Assist Probe Into Origins of Russia Probe

The Australian government confirmed on Tuesday that Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a phone conversation with President Trump reaffirmed Australia’s willingness to “help shed further light on” investigations into the origins of the Mueller investigation into Russian election meddling. Read

Iranian Opposition: Khamenei Ordered Saudi Oil Attack

The September 14 cruise missile and drone attack on Saudi oil infrastructure was ordered by Iran’s supreme leader and approved at a meeting in July attended by Iran’s president, foreign minister, and commanders of IRGC divisions including the notorious Qods Force, an exiled Iranian opposition group alleged Monday, citing sources inside the regime. Read