The United States on Monday targeted Iran with currency and auto-sector sanctions over its nuclear program. U.S. President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on foreign financial institutions that conduct or facilitate significant transactions in the rial, in an attempt to further weaken the Iranian currency that has already lost two-thirds of its dollar value since late 2011.
The appointment of US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice as national security adviser to Obama is instructive in the context of domestic partisan politics. But the true global significance of her appointment will be reflected in US policy in Syria, Africa, and around the world. Her appointment as national security adviser, just a week after the European Union chose to end the arms embargo on Syria, paints a dangerous picture for the immediate future in Syria. Not only will she be the principal individual crafting policy, but she brings with her a cadre of warmonger advisors, mentors, and confidantes – including Madeline Albright, Gayle Smith, and Tony Lake – who have advocated for genocide in Iraq and military interventions in the Balkans, Africa, and elsewhere. This is the imperialist milieu from which Rice emerges, and the world-view she brings with her to the national security adviser position. Like Libya and Syria, Africa figures prominently in Obama and Rice’s geostrategic agenda. Watch your backs, Arabs and Africa.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the attempts to influence the situation in Syria through direct military intervention will yield no fruits and are doomed to failure, warning that these attempts would result in heavy humanitarian consequences.
All external players are aware that the upcoming peace conference on Syria will serve as a turning point. If a shift occurs in favor of a compromise between the warring parties, it will be a truly historic event, given the long-standing impasse. Russia’s stance is both intransigent and consistent — two qualities by no means inherent to Russian policy, which have therefore wrong-footed its partners. Over the past two years, Moscow has been coaxed, exhorted, criticized, abused and mocked for its alleged short-sightedness. Bemused observers have constantly looked for signs of a softer approach... But to no avail. Russia's latest steps are intended, according to Moscow's logic, to improve the chances of the peace process. The Kremlin is steadfast that any alternative would only worsen the chaos, since the allies of Damascus will not allow its opponents to gain the upper hand. And they will avoid intervention at all costs. Russia is deliberately supplying Syria with defensive means, which can only be used to prevent a large-scale intervention. From the very outset, Moscow has clearly and unequivocally opposed any Libya-style involvement.
According to a Gallup poll conducted on May 28-29, majority of the US citizens are against any US military involvement in Syria even if diplomatic and economic efforts fail to resolve the 2-year old conflict.
Targeted killing by unmanned planes may violate international humanitarian law, a legal expert argues in a recent report. The report also finds that the Obama administration largely continued the policy and legal rationale of former President George W. Bush regarding drones.
The French ambassador, Eric Chevallier chastises the Syrian opposition coalition. Istanbul hosts the intensive talks of the Syrian opposition, yet it is reported that the case of the coalition is hopeless.
The dispute between Taipei and Manila over the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by a Filipino coast guard vessel is a case study in how initially skilful diplomacy can quickly be undermined by missed opportunities. Manila has been willing to respond to the Taiwanese demands, but the Filipinos wish to do it properly under its “one China” policy since the Philippines and Taiwan do not have official diplomatic relations. This meant that the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), Manila’s de-facto embassy in Taiwan, would handle the matter instead of Philippine President Benigno Aquino’s cabinet. The Philippines did not want to anger Beijing by breaking its commitment to a “one China” policy, and diplomatically, this was as far as Manila could probably go — something that Taipei knew full well. By accepting the MECO apology, however “unofficial” it may have been, the Ma administration would have shown magnanimity while making it possible for both sides to bow out gracefully. But Taiwan did not do that. President Ma, with his low popularity ratings, chose to lose the moral high ground and much of the goodwill it had accumulated from the international community..
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev has handed over a response letter on Wednesday from President Vladimir Putin to U.S. President Barack Obama's letter dealing with the current state of bilateral relations and their prospects during a conversation with Obama in Washington. The Russian president Vladimir Putin stresses in his letter that specific moves that improve the atmosphere of dialog and prevent the emergence of new 'irritants' that have a negative influence on our relations are in demand as never before.
There have been many theories and accusations about the Benghazi fiasco that not only cost Ambassador J. Christian Stevens his life, but the lives of his staff and one Navy Seal body-guard as well. This action which led to a complete conflagration of terrorist attacks against US diplomatic buildings throughout the Middle East and North Africa still remains largely uninvestigated by the government, unprosecuted by AG Eric Holder’s Depart of Justice, and refuses to bring the guilty parties to justice while many know the truth and are not coming forward. Even though President Obama is implicated in this oversees tragedy still the truth has not emerged. That has all changed. Finally, an authoritative figure with the proper credentials has stepped up to the plate to tell the true story of what did happen without the lies and cover-ups that have so far kept those guilty of murder from standing trial. The admission on the part of this man will likely blow the Benghazi scandal wide open and lead to arrests if we can get our legal system to act as it should.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal in Beijing on Friday and called on the two sides to enhance exchanges no matter how international situation changes. He also urged the Saudi Prince to strengthen mutual trust and push forward cooperation between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council, in order to build more mature, stable and sustainable strategic friendly relations.