Showing posts from 2014
Nigeria’s Finance Minister on How Falling Oil Prices Impact on Africa’s Biggest Economy Nigeria is surprised by a US decision to slash oil imports from Africa's top petroleum producer, but is eager to deepen its economic relationship with the US in other areas, according to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's finance and economy minister.
South Sudan Peace Talks 'Going Nowhere,' Says Atlantic Council Expert Peace talks aimed at ending South Sudan's civil war are 'going nowhere' because the process is mostly led by countries that are party to the conflict, according to Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council's Africa Center. 
Senate confirms Murthy as US Surgeon General The US Senate has confirmed Dr Vivek Hallegere Murthy as the next Surgeon General of the United States of America, despite stiff opposition from the Republican Party and gun-rights advocates.
Isolated from the West, President Putin Visits India  The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on December 11 sought to re-energize a relationship between two nations which had its peak during the Cold War.
If Ukraine’s Violence Is Not Addressed, Transformation Will Be Slow, Says Top IMF Official Violence in southeastern Ukraine could adversely impact the country's economic transformation, Aasim M. Husain, deputy director of the International Monetary Fund's European Department, told the Atlantic Council. 
Taliban School Assault Seen Likely to Build Consensus on Fighting Terrorism in Pakistan  The killing by Pakistan’s Taliban of more than 140 people, mostly children, at a school is likely to “provide some glue for a consensus [in Pakistan] that you cannot negotiate with terrorist groups,” according to Atlantic Council South Asia specialist Shuja Nawaz. The assault, in northwestern Pakistan, shocked the South Asian nation and drew international condemnation.  
In Libya, Push for War Is Stronger Than Push for Peace  Meddling by international actors in Libya has undermined a United Nations effort to broker peace in the North African nation, according to Karim Mezran, resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. 
US Cuba Shift Was Presaged by Poll Showing Americans Were Ready for Change  President Barack Obama’s sweeping changes to US-Cuba policy were at least in part influenced by an understanding that this was widely favored among the American people. The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center released a poll in February that found support on both sides of the aisle for normalization with Cuba, and this poll has served as a crucial piece of the Cuba policy dialogue.
US Cuba Shift Was Presaged by Poll Showing Americans Were Ready for Change  President Barack Obama’s sweeping changes to US-Cuba policy were at least in part influenced by an understanding that this was widely favored among the American people. The Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center released a poll in February that found support on both sides of the aisle for normalization with Cuba, and this poll has served as a crucial piece of the Cuba policy dialogue.
Coming together for the Syrians  Another year draws to a close, but Syria’s civil war — on the brink of entering its fourth year — shows no sign of ending.  Since the start of the conflict in 2011, the war has claimed more than 191,000 lives, according to a United Nations figure that covers the period from March 2011 to April 2014. While this death toll is staggering, the refugee crisis created by the war is unimaginable.
Amid Hong Kong Protests, China Escalates Mainland Crackdown, Too  The government of President Xi Jinping is conducting “one of the harshest” Chinese campaigns against civil society and peaceful dissent in the past decade, according to a prominent human rights activist. The campaign has come amid the pro-democracy protests that have roiled Hong Kong since September.
Estonia's Prime Minister: NATO Presence Key to Counter Russia's Provocations  US forces should remain in Estonia for "as long as needed," since tensions between Russia and the West show no sign of abating, Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas told the Atlantic Council.
Coalition Troops Officially End Combat Mission in Afghanistan Amid Growing Security Concerns  As US and NATO troops depart Afghanistan, they are taking with them their expertise, hardware, dollars, and jobs – and also leaving behind many questions about the fate of that country's security and economy.
Echoes of the past  Three years since the Arab Spring protests swept through Egypt ending Hosni Mubarak’s 29-year grip on power, the revolution has come full circle after a court dropped criminal charges against the former president over the killing of protesters in the 2011 uprising.  In a case dubbed by the Egyptian media as the “trial of the century,” Mubarak stood accused of ordering police to kill protesters. Human rights groups say more than 800 people died during the 18-day uprising that eventually led to Mubarak’s ouster on Feb. 11, 2011.
'The U.S. should be finding ways to engage with Boko Haram'   Boko Haram, the militant Islamist group that has a foothold in northern Nigeria, has begun to consolidate control over large swathes of territory threatening the stability of Nigeria and its neighbors. The militants have resorted to using female suicide bombers as they ramp up their fight against the Nigerian government ahead of elections in February.   Bronwyn E. Bruton , deputy director of the Atlantic Council's Africa Center, attributes Boko Haram's rise to the Nigerian government's failure to deliver good governance and the atrocities committed by Nigerian security forces.
Boko Haram Steps Up Offensive as Nigeria Halts US Military Training Program  Boko Haram, the African militant group that pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) over the summer, appears to have borrowed a page from the jihadists' playbook as it unleashes a deadly wave of attacks across northern Nigeria in its quest to carve out an Islamic state rooted in Shariah law.
Obama’s India envoy nominee Verma faces Senate Indian American Richard Rahul Verma, US President Barack Obama’s nominee to serve as the next US Ambassador to India, faced questions from senators on a range of issues, particularly the future of the civilian nuclear deal, the protection of intellectual property rights, counterterrorism cooperation and gender-based violence.
Iran Nuclear Deal Could Come Before July, Analysts Say  Iran and six Western powers could reach a deal on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program well before the new July 1 deadline, experts told the Atlantic Council on December 2.
National Intelligence Council Chairman Calls for More Long-Term Intelligence Work  Russia's aggressive posture in its neighborhood is an "interesting inflection point in global politics," much like the fall of the Soviet Union in December of 1991 and al Qaeda's attack on the US on September 11, 2001, Gregory F. Treverton, chairman of the US National Intelligence Council, told the Atlantic Council. "The first time around when the Soviet Union fell we so quickly said, 'Well, that's over,'" Treverton said, adding that as a policy person he had believed at the time that the expansion of NATO following the end of the Cold War was a good thing, but "we probably were, in retrospect, pretty dismissive."
Obama Likely to Seek a ‘Wartime’ Defense Secretary  In the days since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel resigned, two prominent candidates to replace him have said publicly they will not do so. They are former Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy and Rhode Island Democratic Senator Jack Reed. As President Barack Obama seeks a new appointee, the priorities for a defense secretary have changed since he selected Hagel, then chairman of the Atlantic Council, in February 2013, according to Barry Pavel, director of the Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security. The president probably will want a “wartime secretary,” Pavel said in an interview with Ashish Kumar Sen earlier this week.
An Iran Nuclear Deal: Better Than Nothing if We Get It, But Not a Resolution  As Iran and six other nations announced a seven-month extension of their effort to reach a deal to limit the Iranian nuclear program, the Atlantic Council’s Matthew Kroenig said Iran will pose a nonproliferation threat even if a deal is struck. Kroenig, a nonresident senior fellow with the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security, said the US and its allies must increase their pressure on Tehran to reach an agreement, but that a deal along the lines of the current negotiation will not be comprehensive. 
Obama to Visit India in January President Barack Obama will travel to India in January, becoming the first US president to visit the country twice while in office. Bharath Gopalaswamy, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, tells Ashish Kumar Sen why this visit is important—and notably how it will be seen by India’s main rivals, China and Pakistan.
Sharif gets consolation call from Obama Prime Minister Narendra Modi bagged a visit from Barack Obama, while his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif received a consolation prize of a phone call from the US President.
Ex-US Officials Urge Broadened US Strategy in Syria, Iraq Wars  Ground troops, perhaps even Special Forces, will ultimately be required to defeat the Islamist militant army of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, General James L. Jones told the Atlantic Council’s Energy & Economic Summit in Istanbul today. 
Nuclear Deal Could Open US-Iran Cooperation Against ISIS, Ex-Officials Say  As international negotiators approach next week’s self-imposed deadline for reaching a compromise to let Iran pursue a nuclear program, US and French former officials told Atlantic Council forums this week that a deal could offer new advantages in the Middle East. An agreement could create an opportunity for a US-Iranian “open relationship” on confronting militant threats in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ambassador Thomas Pickering told a November 19 forum at the Council in Washington. “For the first time, the United States and Iran have gotten down to the wire, along with our European and Russian and Chinese colleagues, to something that could in one way or another generate, if not a sea change, certainly a major shift in the situation in the region,” said Pickering, a former undersecretary of state for political affairs.  
US Prez gets Modi’s Republic Day invite, says yes US President Barack Obama has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s invitation to be the chief guest at Republic Day celebrations on January 26 in New Delhi. This will be the first time when a US President will be the guest of honour at an event that both India and the United States hold close to their hearts — the founding day of the Constitution. Also, Obama will be the first US President to visit India twice while still in office.
Obama offers shield to 5 m illegal immigrants In one of the bold decisions of his presidency that could benefit thousands of Indian techies seeking the Green Card, US President Barack Obama has unveiled sweeping immigration reforms that will shield almost five million illegal immigrants from deportation. In a pro-immigrant speech from the White House on Thursday night, Obama urged Americans to show compassion toward “undocumented Americans” who have worked hard but “see little option but to remain in the shadows or risk their families being torn apart.”
Obama’s foreign policy on the line  The recently concluded midterm elections have given the Republican Party complete control over the U.S. Congress, and that is bad news for U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda.
Mixed night for Arab-American and Indian-American candidates Arab-American and Indian-American candidates had a mixed night in the midterm elections that gave the Republican Party control of the US Senate and a larger majority in the US House of Representatives.
Republicans exude confidence on eve of polls Republicans are expected to take control of the US Senate and strengthen their majority in the US House of Representatives in midterm elections on Tuesday, deepening the long-running political gridlock in Washington.
30 years later, Sikh deserve justice  November marks the 30th anniversary of a vicious campaign of violence by Hindu mobs against the Sikh community in India that left nearly 3,000 Sikhs dead.  
Rights group wants law to tackle communal violence The failure of successive Indian governments to prosecute those responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Sikhs in the aftermath of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination has left Indians more vulnerable to communal violence and distrustful of the judicial system, according to a New York-based human rights group.
US elections: Indian-Americans and Arab-Americans in the fray Dozens of Americans of Arab and Indian descent are running for office in the midterm elections on November 4 driven by a motivation to serve the country that their forefathers embraced as their own.
Pak Taliban leader, Osama’s ex-doctor global terrorists: US The US State Department has declared senior leader of the Pakistani Taliban Khan Said and Osama bin Laden's former doctor Ramzi Mawafi specially designated global terrorists.
Sincerity needed to fight al Qaeda  Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid is an avid user of social media. So when he sent out a message on Twitter recently it was not the fact that he had taken to the cybersphere that caused people to sit up and take notice, but that his earthly location was listed as being in Pakistan’s Sindh province.  
U.S. response to Ebola crisis marked by 'fatal missteps' The US response to the Ebola virus that has ravaged parts of West Africa and sickened two US nurses has been marked by a series of potentially fatal missteps.
Obama 'most popular' among Indian-Americans A majority of Indian Americans have a favorable opinion of US President Barack Obama and a negative opinion of the Republican Party to which fellow Indian-Americans Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley belong, according to a national poll of Asian-American voters.
U.S. must keep human rights on agenda with Indian leader  In 2005, the George W. Bush administration revoked the U.S. visa of Narendra Modi over his alleged involvement in riots in India’s western state of Gujarat that left more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, dead. Modi, a Hindu nationalist leader, was chief minister of Gujarat at the time of the riots.
Modi’s visit has re-energised ties: US Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US was “extraordinarily successful” and has “re-energised” the Indo-US relationship, senior US officials have said.
Blacklisted US Sikhs in visa tangle Three decades after many Sikhs fled the violence that devastated their families in Punjab, the Indian government is continuing to make it hard for them to visit India. Their crime? Sikh Americans say it’s the price they’re being forced to pay for having sought political asylum in the West.
Analysts: No big breakthrough during summit The White House summit between PM Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama has produced ambitious and expansive commitments, but no major breakthrough, say analysts.
No bottlenecks: PM to US bizmen PM Narendra Modi wooed US businesses with the promise of less red tape and a more business-friendly environment and cautioned that any delay on their part would mean having to wait in a long line as the rest of the world flits to the “new spark of confidence that has arisen in India.”
India, US define contours of road map to boost ties Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama have produced a road map for the bilateral relationship that commits India and the US to new and diverse areas of collaboration in the years ahead.
US media not too enthused by Modi visit In stark comparison with the wall-to-wall coverage Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US has received in the Indian media, reports on his meeting with US President Barack Obama were tucked inside two prominent US dailies on Wednesday morning.
Modi markets brand India From hawking tea at a railway station as a young boy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now using his entrepreneurial skills to market India, and he could use some help from the diaspora.
Modi, Obama spell out joint vision Even before they first met face to face over dinner at the White House on Monday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama were connected online, busily coordinating a joint editorial.
India, US to fight terrorism together Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama have agreed to collaborate on dismantling the safe havens and disrupting financial networks of terrorist groups Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, the Haqqani Network, D-Company and al-Qaida.
It’s time to set new agenda: Modi, Obama Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama have set an ambitious agenda that seeks to reinvigorate the US-India relationship that some analysts say has stagnated in recent years.
Two Indian-Americans in race for top law officer job in US   Two Indian-Americans —one of whom recently caused considerable strain in the US-India relationship — are being mentioned in political circles as potential successors to US Attorney General Eric Holder who on Thursday announced his decision to resign after more than five years on the job.
US court issues summons, but PM enjoys immunity Prime Minister Narendra Modi enjoys immunity as a sitting head of government from a lawsuit filed in a New York court that seeks punitive damages and compensation from him for his alleged role in the Gujarat riots in 2002, senior US administration officials said on Friday.
At UN, Obama vows to dismantle Islamic State’s ‘network of death’ US President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged the world to join the fight against Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq and vowed that the US and its allies would work hard to “dismantle this network of death.”
US, Arab allies bomb IS terror targets in Syria The US and five Arab allies began bombing the Islamic State inside Syria for the first time early on Tuesday, significantly expanding the war being waged against the terrorists in neighbouring Iraq.
US praises Afghan unity deal The US Administration has praised the decision of Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, both political rivals, to agree to the formation of a national unity government in Afghanistan.
Indian-American picked as new US envoy to India  US President Barack Obama has nominated Indian-American Richard Rahul Verma to serve as the next US Ambassador to India.
Iraq’s neighbors have vital role in fight against ISIL  As the U.S. cobbles together an international coalition to take on the Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, it is looking to its friends and allies in the Middle East for support. The response from one ally, Turkey, has so far been less than enthusiastic. 
Obama vows to ‘destroy’ IS; mulls strikes in Syria The US will lead an international coalition to "degrade, and ultimately destroy" the Islamic State (IS) through a campaign of airstrikes, including in Syria, US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday.
World Trade Centre attacks: US still at war after 13 years Thirteen years after Al Qaida militants hijacked and crashed four commercial airliners into the World Trade Centre towers in New York, the Pentagon near Washington and a field in Pennsylvania, the United States of America remains at war with an enemy that has expanded its global footprint. 
Modi’s US visit will strengthen ties: McCain   Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington later this month is "an opportunity to renew our partnership and regain a strategic focus" in the US-India relationship, a top Republican senator said on Tuesday.
A democratic dictator? Did Turkey just get its own Vladimir Putin? That’s a question on the minds of many Turks and Western observers these days.
Islamist militants behead U.S. journalist US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the world is “appalled” by the execution of an American journalist by militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and gave no indication that the US will stop bombarding the militants in Iraq.
Taking the fight to the Islamic State  U.S. airstrikes on Islamic State positions inside Iraq have forced the Sunni militants on the back foot, providing a glimmer of hope in a country desperate for some good news. 
US jets begin air strikes in Iraq US jets conducted a second round of targeted air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters in Iraq on Friday, hours after President Barack Obama authorised the action and ordered humanitarian relief to besieged Iraqis.
Libya held hostage   The situation in Libya has for months been spiralling out of control. Earlier in August, a British navy ship evacuated around 100 British citizens from Tripoli as fighting between rival militias left dozens of Libyans dead and the airport in the capital in ruins. 
India's Iraq headache Governments in the Middle East and beyond are reacting with alarm as Sunni militants seize large swathes of territory in Iraq in their campaign to carve out an Islamic caliphate. The conflict in Iraq has hit close to home for India.
A sad day for Libya As I write these words attention in Washington is focused on the crises in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, Ukraine.
Iraq presents opportunity for U.S.-Iran partnership The swift advances by Sunni militants belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has provided an opportunity for the U.S. and Iran to unite against an enemy that hates Shias and Americans in equal measure.
Kerry in Baghdad as another key town falls US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad on Monday as Sunni radicals closed in on the Iraqi capital. Flying in from Jordan on a visit which the State Department had sought to keep secret amid security concerns, Kerry met Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and was to hold talks with Iraqi leaders across the political and communal spectrum.
Afghan presidential frontrunner Abdullah Abdullah wants warm ties with neighbours Afghan presidential frontrunner Abdullah Abdullah wants to improve ties with Afghanistan’s neighbours, including Pakistan, and will not make it his priority to ask India for military aid.
Iraq crisis worries Obama administration The Obama administration is reacting with alarm as Islamic militants overrun cities in Iraq and make a push for the capital Baghdad, laying to waste a US investment of billions of dollars and thousands of American and Iraqi lives during a nearly decade-long war.
Pak’s nuclear arsenal safe, says US The Obama Administration has publicly expressed confidence about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. But in private, Western officials say this is a top concern as the Taliban carried out major attacks in Karachi this week.
Good news from Pakistan  There was a spot of good news from Pakistan this week.The Pakistani Taliban, which has killed tens of thousands of civilians in suicide attacks, split in two after a significant faction rejected the militant group’s leader, Maulana Fazlullah, saying “the present leadership has lost its path.” 
It will take more than a hashtag to free the girls In the year 2012, Joseph Kony, a self-proclaimed spokesman of God and even more dangerously the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, became the subject of an online video campaign aimed at bringing him to justice.
Obama invites Modi to US US President Barack Obama on Friday called Narendra Modi to congratulate him on the Bharatiya Janata Party's electoral success and invite him to visit the US. Obama invited Modi to visit Washington "at a mutually agreeable time to further strengthen our bilateral relationship", the White House said in its readout of the phone call.
Obama praises India vote US President Barack Obama on Monday congratulated Indians for completing national elections and said he looks forward to working closely with a new government in New Delhi.
It's time for an 'honest' conversation on Egypt Egypt’s relationship with the United States of America has been tested by the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by the army last summer and it will require a “candid, honest” conversation to heal the rift, according to Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy.
Ukraine crisis: US imposes fresh sanctions on Russia The US on Monday imposed a fresh round of economic sanctions on Russian officials and entities, ratcheting up pressure on Moscow in an effort to halt its meddling in eastern Ukraine.
US readies fresh sanctions against Russia U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Thursday accused Russia of “distraction, deception and destabilisation” in eastern Ukraine and warned that it will face crippling sanctions if it does not stop fomenting unrest. Kerry’s warning came hours after Russia conducted military exercises near Ukraine’s border and a week after the US, Russia, European Union and Ukraine agreed in Geneva to take steps to de-escalate the crisis.
US unhappy over Hamas-Fatah pact   The Obama administration has criticised reconciliation between rival Palestinian groups, describing it as "troubling" and a blow to the currently stalled peace process with Israel.
In Afghanistan, the ballot is stronger than the bullet With all the bad news that has been dominating the headlines in recent months, the elections in Afghanistan came as a breath of fresh air.
Saber rattling on the Korean Peninsula Barack Obama came to office promising to end the U.S.’ involvement in wars halfway across the globe and to focus his attention at home — on rebuilding America.

Obama’s Russia sanctions unlikely to make impact

If history is any guide, sanctions imposed by the Obama administration on Russian officials, individuals and a bank as punishment for Russia ’s actions in Ukraine are unlikely to defuse a crisis that has been likened to the Cold War.

U.S. ‘disappointed’ by Israeli impenitence for ‘weakness’ remark

Four days after Israel ’s defense minister publicly accused the U.S. of showing weakness around the world, the Obama administration is still waiting for an apology.

U.S. criticizes Turkey Twitter ban; urges restrictions lifted

The Obama administration on Friday expressed concern over Turkey’s decision to ban Twitter and urged the government in Ankara to lift the restrictions.

U.S. infuriated by Israeli defense minister’s comments

The Obama administration is seething at criticism from Israel ’s defense minister who this week accused the U.S. of showing “weakness” around the world.
SEALs’ tanker seizure highlights Libyan power wrangling over oil, power The daring, high-seas seizure of a rogue oil tanker by U.S. Navy SEALs off the coast of Cyprus this week has focused fresh attention on the power struggle that has turned Libya into a political time bomb more than two years after the ouster of strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Ukraine casts a shadow over Syria March 15 marked three years since the start of the unrest in Syria that quickly developed into a civil war which rages ferociously to this day.
Kerry warns of ‘very serious’ response to Crimea-Russia alliance The U.S. and its European allies ratcheted up the threat of economic sanctions and visa restrictions on Russia on Thursday if Moscow continues to escalate the crisis in Ukraine — as thousands of Russian troops conducted military maneuvers near the Ukrainian border.
US court drops visa case against Khobragade   A federal judge in New York has dismissed the case against Devyani Khobragade, whose arrest and strip search on charges of visa fraud frayed the US-India relations. But prosecutors hinted that they may file a new indictment based on claims that she exploited her Indian housekeeper.
John Kerry says any resumption of aid to Egypt would depend on reforms in Cairo Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Wednesday that the Obama administration will soon decide on whether to resume military aid to Egypt , including Apache helicopters key to counterterrorism operations in the lawless Sinai Peninsula that abuts Israel .
Reset? What reset? U.S.-Russia ties at worst since Cold War   Five years ago, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton playfully presented Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov with a red “reset button,” a symbol of the Obama administration ’s intention to improve ties that had hit a low point during the George W. Bush administration .
Minister sees breakthrough ‘in months’ for long-split Cyprus The top diplomat from the Turkish north of Cyprus said core differences with the Greek south could be resolved in a “matter of months,” putting the divided Mediterranean island’s reunification within reach for the first time in four decades.
Israelis had U.S. help in intercepting Iranian missile shipment to Palestine The State Department revealed Wednesday that even as the Obama administration was engaging in direct and very high-stakes nuclear negotiations with Iran , U.S. officials for months have been secretly collaborating with Israeli intelligence to track an illicit Iranian weapons shipment bound for Palestine .
Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine Moscow’s declaration that it intervened in Ukraine to protect Russian “citizens and compatriots” and would do so again has sent shock waves across former Soviet republics that have large, and often restive, ethnic Russian minorities.
Obama shoved to sidelines as Russia ignores U.S. threats of isolation President Obama warned Russia on Monday of possible U.S. sanctions over its military land grab in Ukraine , but Moscow brushed aside international threats, tightening its stranglehold on Crimea and calling audaciously for a national unity government in Kiev.
This certainly looks like ‘Rocky IV’  High on U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy to-do list when he first came to office in 2009 was to “reset” the U.S.-Russia relationship.
Spread of brutal Nigerian terrorist group alarms U.S.   Boko Haram , the al Qaeda -inspired African terrorist group fighting to establish an Islamic state rooted in Shariah law, is expanding its operations from northeastern Nigeria into neighboring Cameroon and Niger — much to the alarm of U.S. officials.
State Department’s annual report shows human rights at risk The past year has been a particularly bad one for human rights around the world, from a deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria to a bloody crackdown by Egyptian security forces on demonstrators in Cairo to the collapse of a packed eight-story garment factory in Bangladesh , the State Department says in an annual report.
Obama talks tough on Russian muscle in Ukraine With Russia exerting its influence over parts of Ukraine , the White House on Thursday issued a stern admonition to Moscow to refrain from “provocative actions” that could plunge the region into deeper chaos.
Sen. Bob Corker is worried Russia will invade Ukraine, Obama has no plan A top Republican senator is worried that Russia will use the political upheaval in Ukraine as an excuse to invade the former Soviet republic and that the Obama administration has no plan to counter that threat.
Proxy war between Iran, Saudi Arabia playing out in Syria Iranian support for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad is producing a violent backlash against Tehran’s interests in the Middle East and fueling a proxy war with Saudi Arabia that threatens to further destabilize the region.
Georgia P.M. Garibashvili eyes NATO membership, while keeping Russia at bay Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili is determined to maintain his country’s embrace of the West by boosting economic ties with the European Union and eventually joining NATO , but he worries about pressure from Russia to bring the former Soviet republic into Moscow’s fold.  
U.S. expels 3 Venezuelan diplomats The Obama administration has ordered the expulsion of three Venezuelan diplomats from the U.S. after Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month kicked out three U.S. diplomats whom he accused of fomenting unrest in the Latin American nation.
Syria war posing ‘existential’ threat to Lebanon: ambassador The war in Syria , which has displaced more than 9 million people and turned the region into a hotbed for terrorist activity, is posing an existential threat to Lebanon , the Middle Eastern nation’s top diplomat in Washington said Friday.
Clashes in Ukraine capital are a reaction to rampant corruption, domestic divisions The political upheaval that has bloodied the streets of Kiev this week is largely viewed in the Western media through a Cold War prism that pits the West against Russia , but the unrest in Ukraine has been many years in the making — a reaction to rampant corruption, lawlessness and deep domestic divisions within the country.
Talking peace in Pakistan After years of bloodshed that has claimed more than 45,000 lives and taken a heavy toll on civilians could there finally be some good news coming out of Pakistan?
Al Qaeda affiliate targets Hezbollah in Beirut Al Qaeda ’s franchise in Lebanon claimed responsibility for twin suicide bombings in the capital, Beirut, on Wednesday, and said the attack was in response to the role of Iran -backed Hezbollah militants in the war in Syria .