UN experts returned from Tehran on Friday without sealing a long-sought deal that would restart a probe of suspicions that Iran worked on atomic arms, adding to doubts that upcoming separate talks between six world powers and the Islamic Republic will succeed in reducing fears about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
Herman Nackaerts, who headed the team of International Atomic Energy Agency experts, said Friday that “Iran did not agree to allow [IAEA] inspectors into the Parchin military facility,” which is one focal point of the nuclear watchdog’s demands.
He said the two sides would meet again in the Iranian capital Feb. 12. But even if those talks make progress, they will come too late for an Iran-six nation meeting tentatively scheduled for the end of this month.
Although Tehran may hope that agreement to meet again next month with the IAEA shows it is interested in a deal, that may be too little for the six powers, who are growingly frustrated that their own talks with Tehran have barely progressed.
Agency officials say they are willing to continue negotiations but some privately have described the delays as a tactic to further stall the investigations. They are particularly concerned that such delays can hurt their efforts to investigate Parchin.
The IAEA suspects that Iran has conducted live tests of conventional explosives at the site southeast of Tehran that could be used to detonate a nuclear charge and have cited satellite photos indicating a cleanup there.
We have to face it - the U.S. will not lift a finger to aid or assist Israel regarding Iran and their push for nuclear weapons.
Let’s stipulate that Chuck Hagel may make an exemplary defense secretary. That possibility doesn’t alter the fact that his nomination by President Obama almost certainly raises doubts among allies and adversaries alike that Obama may not be nearly so committed to using all means necessary to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon as he pledged during his reelection campaign. If the White House does not take steps soon to correct that impression, the chances for a negotiated resolution of the Iran nuclear crisis will fall nearly to zero and the likelihood of Israeli military action will rise dramatically.
The Hagel nomination comes at a critical moment. Some experts believe that Iran may soon amass enough enriched uranium to give it “breakout capacity” — allowing it to quickly produce a nuclear weapon at a time of its choosing. Meanwhile, there are signs that the Obama administration’s strategy of tough international sanctions, backed by the threat of force, may compel Tehran to negotiate a deal that would forestall a confrontation.
Even supporters of Hagel’s nomination must admit that it is nearly impossible to find any support in his record for the idea of “prevention” that undergirds the strategy toward Iran.
While Hagel has not specifically repudiated prevention, he has criticized key elements of the policy. He has expressed skepticismthat the United States should threaten Iran militarily; he has suggested that U.S. muscle-flexing in the Persian Gulf sours the possibility for a negotiated settlement with Iran; and he has been critical of the military option to delay or destroy the Iranian nuclear program.
To the world, Obama has spoken loudly with his choice of a nominee who has never embraced the idea that Iran should be stopped at all costs from acquiring a nuclear weapon; it will take action, not just words, to repair this negative impression.
The British foreign secretary warned of the dire consequences of letting the current turmoil in the Middle East continue unabated Thursday, calling on the US to lead a renewed drive for peace of the type not seen in decades.
“2013 will be a crucial year in the Middle East,” William Hague said at the Menzies Research Centre in Sydney, where he delivered the John Howard lecture. “We could see a perfect storm of crises converging if the conflict in Syria continues, the Middle East peace process remains stalled, and if Iran will not enter into meaningful negotiations over its nuclear program.”
Hague said US President Barack Obama should take charge and launch an intense drive for peace matching that of the last major Israeli Palestinian breakthrough in 1993.
“Before long, a two-state solution could be made impossible by facts on the ground,” Hague said. “We recognize the immense obstacles to the peace process, not least of all the role of Hamas in Gaza. But still, we believe that it must be a priority for President Obama’s re-elected administration to launch a new effort to start the peace process, greater in intensity than anything seen since the Oslo Accords.”
The relationship between US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “the most dysfunctional” ever between an American president and an Israeli prime minister, a veteran former American diplomat said Thursday.
Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center who served under six secretaries of state in both Republican and Democratic administrations, added that while there had been strained personal relationships between the two countries top leaders’ in the past, this breakdown was unique in that it had not been corrected in four years, and would now likely be extended with Obama’s re-election and Netanyahu’s likely re-election next week.
Still, he said, the two men “mistrust one another” and “have very little confidence in one another.”
He blamed both men for the situation, saying of Obama, “He looks at Israel and emotes more along the lines that Israel is a national security problem.”
Earlier this week, Obama was quoted as saying that Netanyahu does not know what Israel’s best interests are, and is a “political coward.” Netanyahu hit back by saying that only the Israeli people would determine where their best interests lie.
'What Is Happening In Mali is A Global Threat': France Steps Up It's Fight Against Islamic Extremists In West Africa
French special forces inched closer to an al-Qaeda-held town, fighting erupted in another center and army troops raced to protect a third, as the Islamic extremists controlling northern Mali ceded no ground Thursday, digging into the areas they already occupy and sending out scouts to widen their reach.
France has stepped up its involvement every day, after launching the first air raids last Friday in an effort to stop the rebels’ advance. On Thursday, it increased its troop strength to 1,400, said French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
After a meeting in Brussels of European Union foreign ministers, Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly said it was necessary to mobilize “the entire international community” to help Mali and the region.
“What is happening in Mali is a global threat,” Coulibaly told journalists at a press conference. “Remember what happened on Sept. 11,” he said, referring to the terrorist attacks in the United States. “It is that terrorism can happen anywhere, at any moment, to anyone.”
He pointed out that the hostage-taking in Algeria revealed to the world the true nature of the extremists. At least 34 of the hostages and 15 kidnappers were killed on Thursday, after Algerian helicopters strafed the remote Sahara gas plant, located in far eastern Algeria, according to the Nouakchott Information Agency, which carries reports from al-Qaeda’s groups in Africa.
Fleeing residents say that Islamic extremists have taken over their homes in Diabaly and were preventing other people from leaving. They said the fighters were melting into the population and moving only in small groups on streets in the mud-walled neighborhoods to avoid being targeted by the French.
A former French colony, Mali once enjoyed a reputation as one of West Africa’s most stable democracies with the majority of its 15.8 million people practicing a moderate form of Islam. That changed last March, following a coup in the capital which created the disarray that allowed Islamist extremists to take over the main cities in the distant north.
Security experts warn that the extremists are carving out their own territory in northern Mali from where they can plot terror attacks in Africa and Europe.
EU foreign ministers on Thursday (17 January) are holding a crisis meeting on Mali, after one British citizen was killed and 41 internationals taken hostage at a British-Norwegian gas plant in Algeria in retaliation over the French intervention in Mali.
The In Amenas gas plant is a British-Norwegian-Algerian joint venture in the Algerian desert close to the Libyan border.
It was taken over on Wednesday by an armed group calling itself the Battalion of the Blood, under the command of one Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
The group says it acted in retaliation against the French intervention in Mali against local Al Qaeda affiliates trying to seize control of the country.
His intervention is backed by the international community, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday saying that "terrorism in Mali is not only a threat to Africa, but a threat to Europe."
Merkel urged quick EU action on its long-planned training mission for Mali forces and said her government is supporting the French with transport aircraft and mobile medical units.
EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday said the hostage crisis will feature prominently at the foreign ministers' meeting.
"[The radical groups] have taken many hostages. Many of them originated from European member states. So, under no circumstances, can we be indifferent to the situation," she said.
Back to the U.S. where the news is unavoidable:
In this story, the hypocrisy is stunning. New York's governor has just given New York some of the most draconian gun restrictions the nation has ever seen - ostensibly "for the children".
However, in a massive display of hypocrisy we see this:
Andrew Cuomo's Brave New 'Roe': New York State's Catholic Governor Pushes On Demand Abortion Legislation That, If Enforced, Could Put Catholic Hospitals And Many State Funded Ministries Out Of Business
I guess "the children" don't matter so much when it comes to abortion. How interesting.
Catholic bishops in New York’s Catholic Conference and pro-life groups are raising the alarm that Cuomo’s proposals are both “radical” and “dangerous” to unborn children, women and religious freedom.
“Gov. Cuomo’s bill elevates abortion to a fundamental right and says New York state can’t discriminate on abortion in benefits or services or anything else it provides,” said Kathleen Gallagher, the conference’s director of pro-life activities.
Cuomo’s legislation, she said, would make illegal abortion restrictions, such as parental-notification laws, informed-consent laws, restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion bans of any kind.
The law will allow licensed medical professionals other than a physician to perform first-trimester abortions.
The Democratic governor announced in his Jan. 9 State of the State address that he would expand legal abortion as part of a comprehensive women’s-equality bill, declaring three times, “It’s her body, her choice” to thunderous applause.
“Gov. Cuomo vociferously declared that women’s equality, safety and reproductive rights will be a priority for New York state in 2013,” Andrea Miller, president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, confirmed in a press release. Miller said the last election results showed New Yorkers recognized that without a right to abortion a woman “cannot participate fully in society.”
Why is this? How about some facts for a change, as part of this ongoing debate?
67% of firearm murders took place in the country’s 50 largest metro areas. The 62 cities in those metro areas have a firearm murder rate of 9.7, more than twice the national average. Among teenagers the firearm murder rate is 14.6 or almost three times the national average.
Those are the crowded cities of Obamerica. Those are the places with the most restrictive gun control laws and the highest crime rates. And many of them have been run by Democrats and their political machines for almost as long as they have been broken.
Obama won every major city in the election, except for Jacksonville and Salt Lake City. And the higher the death rate, the bigger his victory.
He won New Orleans by 80 to 17 where the murder rate is ten times higher than the national average. He won Detroit, where the murder rate of 53 per 100,000 people is the second highest in the country and twice as high as any country in the world, including the Congo and South Africa. He won it 73 to 26. And then he celebrated his victory in Chicago where the murder rate is three times the statewide average.
These places aren’t America. They’re Obamerica.
In 2006, the 54% of the population living in those 50 metro areas was responsible for 67% of armed killings nationwide. Those are disproportionate numbers especially when you consider that for the people living in most of those cities walking into a store and legally buying a gun is all but impossible.
Mayors of Obamerican cities blame guns because it’s easier than blaming people and now the President of Obamerica has turned to the same shameless tactic. The NRA counters that people kill people, but that’s exactly why Obamerican leaders would rather talk about the guns.
Chicago, the capital of Obamerica, is a city run by gangs and politicians. It has 68,000 gang members, four times the number of police officers. Chicago politicians solicit the support of gang members in their campaigns, accepting laundered contributions from them, hiring their members and tipping them off about upcoming police raids. And their biggest favor to the gang bosses is doing nothing about the epidemic of gang violence.
The majority of murders in the cities with the worst homicide rates are gang-related. And while it isn’t always possible to be certain whether a killing was gang-related, the majority of homicide victims in city after city have been found to have criminal records.
In 2010, there were 11,078 firearm homicides in the United States and over 2,000 known gang-related killings, over 90% of which are carried out with firearms. Since 1981, Los Angeles alone has had 16,000 gang related homicides. That’s more than twice the number of Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is what Obamerica looks like. It’s a place where life is cheap and illegal guns are as available as illegal drugs. It’s the war that we aren’t talking about, because it’s easier to talk about the inanimate objects being used to fight that war.
America does not have a gun violence problem. Obamerica does. And Obamerica has a gun violence problem for the same reason that it has a drug problem and a broken family problem.
Democratic leaders and machines, combined with social workers and justice crusaders have run Obamerica into the ground. Obamerican cities used to be the homes of industry and progress. Now they’re places where young Black and Hispanic men kill each other in growing numbers.
America does not need gun control. It is a mostly law-abiding place. And gun control cannot help Obamerica. Not when its murder rate is driven by gangs who have no trouble obtaining anything; whether it’s legal in the United States or not.
This country does not need to have a conversation about how many bullets should go in a clip. It does need to have a conversation about how many parents should go in a family. It needs to talk about the ghettos of Obamerica and have a serious conversation about broken families and generational dependency.
Never mind the fact that Chicago has some of the stricter set of gun laws in the nation. Mayor Rahm thinks the solution to the 500 gun murders in America’s deadliest city is more gun laws, I guess in order to make illegal weapons even more illegal, or something.
I seem to remember an old saying about the definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Know what we need? Double secret probation gun laws.
Truly chills one to the bone to watch these "birth pangs" growing so much stronger & closer together, as they must assuredly do.... If I didn't know how the story will end I would be consumed by fear. But we are to endure patiently & rest in the palm of our Lord Jesus' gentle hand... We are almost there...It won't be much longer now. Maranatha!
Oh my gosh! How can people be SO BLIND! One of the latest headlines from the Blaze. Its a picture of Nicolae Carpathia...oops I meant the ac-wana-be in the WH. Under the photo, in large print is “The Scond Coming”! These people at Newsweek are just so blasphemous! and its so sad to think that some "Christians" voted for this man...spiritual blindness is in full bloom...huge sigh...
"Here’s Newsweek’s Latest Messianic-Themed Obama Cover"
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