After meeting with Syrian opposition figures in Rome today, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the United States was sending $60 million in non-lethal aid to the opposition. That assistance, according to Kerry, “will strengthen the organizational capacity of the Syrian Opposition Coalition.
On Thursday, February 21, at 10 a.m. local time, Iranian members of the Gonabadi-Nimatullahi Muslim contemplative order celebrated “the day of the Sufi” by protesting outside the infamous Evin Prison in Tehran. The demonstration marked the fourth anniversary of a memorable challenge to the dictatorship of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and “supreme leader” Ali Khamenei.
For years, Iran has marketed itself as a frontline state in the war against the drug lords. Recently the New York Times even described the regime in Tehran as the “West’s stalwart ally in the War on Drugs.” The problem is that while the Iranian regime is fighting drug lords on its eastern borders, much of the drugs it seizes are being sold by the Revolutionary Guards to the same people they are asking for additional funding to fight the drug trade—the Europeans.
With the next round of international talks on Iran’s nuclear program scheduled for February 26, the United States needs to understand Iran’s negotiating strategy. Recent Iranian tactics suggest a seemingly contradictory approach: simultaneously slowing down and speeding up their nuclear program. But by buying time now, Iran is shrewdly seeking to evade international pressure while hastening its advance to nuclear weapons capability. The United States should be clear that it sees through this ploy and remains determined to prevent a nuclear Iran.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said on the floor this morning that it's "tragic" Republicans are refusing immediately to accept Chuck Hagel as the next secretary of defense. Some Republicans contend that they need more information on Hagel before voting on his nomination.
America’s military presence in the Persian Gulf serves as deterrence to Iran, reassures our increasingly nervous Arab partners, maintains peace, offers stability to our ally Israel, and has many other benefits.
The Emergency Committee for Israel has a new ad focusing on the Senate testimony from Barack Obama's defense secretary nominee, Chuck Hagel. "Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released 'Endorsed,' a 30-second TV ad that will begin airing tomorrow in Washington DC and New York," said ECI director Noah Pollak in a statement. "'Endorsed' contrasts Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel's views on the Iranian regime, which he described last week as 'elected' and 'legitimate,' with Hillary Clinton's description of the regime as a 'military dictatorship.'"
The U.S. military announced today that instead of keeping mulitple aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, only one would be kept there. The reason offered? Uncertainty surrounding budget cuts.
"The secretary of defense has delayed the deployment of the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and the USS Gettysburg (CG-64), which were scheduled to depart Norfolk, Va., later this week for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility," says the Pentagon in a press release announcing the big move.
Yesterday the Bulgarian government announced the results of its investigation into the July 18, 2012 bus bombing that killed 5 Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver in the city of Burgas. At least two members of what appears to have been a three-man team belong to Hezbollah. More specifically, explained Bulgaria’s interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, they were part of Hezbollah’s “military wing”—a peculiar turn of phrase that hints at the political implications of the Bulgarian investigation, which may have a major impact on European Union foreign policy as well as Hezbollah’s ability to operate on the continent. And yet the most serious repercussions may be felt inside Lebanon, where Hezbollah is already feeling the pressure.
Douglas Murray, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
Anyone paying attention to the words and actions emanating from Tehran over the last few years should be easily convinced that anything and everything must be done to stop the Iranian regime from acquiring a nuclear bomb.