There is no good in much of their secret conferences save (in) whosoever enjoineth charity and fairness and peace-making among the people and whoso doeth that, seeking the good pleasure of God, We shall bestow on him a vast reward. (Al-Nisa, 4:114).
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National Security Advisor Susan Rice said the United States has ramped up its support for the moderate vetted opposition. (AFP)
By AFP | COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE - Friday, 6 June 2014
President Barack Obama's top foreign policy advisor Susan Rice on Friday said Washington was providing "lethal and non-lethal" support to select members of the Syrian opposition, offering more detail than usual on U.S. assistance.
Top Obama administration officials typically decline to say exactly what equipment, arms or ammunition the United States is providing to moderate Syrian opposition forces.
But President Barack Obama said in a major foreign policy speech last week that the United States would "ramp up" support for rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in an interview with CNN while she was traveling with Obama to D-Day 70th anniversary celebrations in Normandy that she was heartbroken about the carnage in Syria's civil war.
"That's why the United States has ramped up its support for the moderate vetted opposition, providing lethal and non-lethal support where we can to support both the civilian opposition and the military opposition."
Officials normally publicly refuse to comment on exactly what they are doing to train opposition groups.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden declined to say whether Rice was announcing a new US policy by apparently being more open on US assistance.
"We're not in a position to detail all of our assistance, but as we've made clear, we provide both military and non-military assistance to the opposition," Hayden said.
Signs of a deepening commitment to Syrian rebels come three weeks after Obama met the head of the opposition National Coalition, Ahmad Jarba in Washington last month.
Officially, US support for rebel fighters in Syria has been limited to non-lethal aid amounting to $287 million, though the CIA reportedly participates in a secret program to train moderate rebels in Jordan.
Opposition leaders are particularly dismayed that the United States has balked at providing anti-aircraft missiles to rebels, fearing they could fall into the wrong hands.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Obama is ready to sign off on training missions for selected rebel groups, to counter the rising power of Al-Qaeda-linked extremists.
Last Update: Friday, 6 June 2014 KSA 20:28 - GMT 17:28 Original here
A Palestinian youth prays as Israeli policemen guard during
Friday prayers in the Arab east Jerusalem neighborhood
of Ras al-Amud. (File photo: Reuters)
Friday, 6 June 2014
Australia has decided to remove the term “occupied” when referring to East Jerusalem in a move blasted by an opposition party leader Friday as “inflammatory” and “at odds with the peace process.”
The issue flared in the upper house Senate this week with Attorney-General George Brandis issuing a statement to clarify Canberra’s stance on the controversial question of the legality of settler homes.
“The description of areas which are the subject of negotiations in the course of the peace process by reference to historical events is unhelpful,” he said in the statement Thursday.
“The description of East Jerusalem as ‘occupied’ East Jerusalem is a term freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful.
“It should not and will not be the practice of the Australian government to describe areas of negotiation in such judgmental language.”
He added that Canberra supported a peaceful solution to the dispute “which recognizes the right of Israel to exist peacefully within secure borders and also recognizes the aspiration to statehood of the Palestinian people.”
Israel’s army seized the West Bank, including Arab east Jerusalem, in the Six-Day War of 1967.
It later annexed the entire eastern sector, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
Brandis sparked a heated debate on Wednesday evening in the Senate when he stated that no Australian government of either political persuasion “acknowledges or accepts” the use of the word “occupied.”
A number of senators disagreed, pointing out that Australia had voted in support of U.N. resolutions in 2011 and 2012 where such language was used to describe the East Jerusalem settlements.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon suggested that dropping the term “occupied” would represent a “massive shift” in Australia’s foreign policy, Australian Associated Press reported.
The leader of the Australian Greens Christine Milne Friday called it “an outrageous backdown” by the Tony Abbott-led government.
“It is inflammatory behavior and at odds with the peace process,” she said in a statement.
“The use of the term ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories’ is the accepted term used by the U.N.
“The Israeli settlements built after 1967 are illegal. The settlements contravene the Fourth Geneva Convention.”
Last Update: Friday, 6 June 2014 KSA 09:38 - GMT 06:38 Original here
President Obama's announcement that United States has deployed 80 troops to Chad came as a surprise to many. But as my colleague Craig Whitlock points out, the United States already has boots on the ground in a surprising number of African countries.
This map shows what sub-Saharan nations currently have a U.S. military presence engaged in actual military operations.
Adam Taylor and Laris Karklis/The Washington Post
It should be noted that in most of these countries, there is a pretty small number of troops. But it is a clear sign of the U.S. Africa Command's increasingly broad position on the continent in what could be described as agrowing shadow war against al-Qaeda affiliates and other militant groups. It also shows an increasingly blurred line between U.S. military operations and the CIA in Africa.
Published on 6 May 2014 | That's according to a report by Newsweek magazine. Senior intelligence officials have reportedly told Congress that Israeli's spying operations are going too far. The intelligence assessments were given in confidential briefings to a number of congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation that would lower visa restrictions on Israeli citizens seeking to enter the United States. The intelligence officials reportedly told Congress that Israel spies on the U-S under the cover of trade missions or as part of joint defense technology agreements. U-S officials reportedly called the extent of Israeli espionage activities shocking, far exceeding similar activities by any other close allies.
US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl Freed in Taliban Prisoner Exchange
The United States found "an opening" and acted quickly to save U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's life, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday. "We believed that the information we had, the intelligence we had, was such that Sgt. Bergdahl's safety and health were both in jeopardy and in particular his health deteriorating," Hagel said. "It was our judgment that if we could find an opening and move very quickly with that opening, that we needed to get him out of there essentially to save his life. I know President Obama feels very strongly about that, I do as well." Bergdahl, the last American soldier held captive from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, is on a long journey home after being freed Saturday in a prisoner exchange. He arrived Sunday at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, a U.S. Defense official said.