Sunday, December 8, 2013

12.8.13: U.S. President Obama Speaks at the Saban Forum | Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday for talks with U.S. military commanders | Kiev Teems With Pro-Europe Protesters as Thousands More Gather - 12/8/2013 - NYT | Opinion: Shameful Profiling of the Mentally Ill - NYT | Think Again: Mexican Drug Cartels - By Evelyn Krache Morris | Russia obstructs OSCE decision on safety of journalists at Ministerial Council meeting in Kyiv

President Obama Speaks at the Saban Forum 

Jerusalem Post
Following a month of often shrill megaphone diplomacy between Israel and the US overIran, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry presented a more harmonious front when publicly discussing the issue Thursday in ...
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Tehran Times
Even as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues his diplomatic offensive against what he claims a "dangerous" compromise on Iran's nuclear program,Israel's military intelligence seems open to a deal, even one that relaxes the Western ...
In it, INSS Director Amos Yadlin, a former director of Israeli military intelligence, and Avner Golov dispute assessments that preventive military action against Iran would ignite a regional war. Overestimation of the consequences of military action ...

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel opened the door for the U.S. to sell missile defenseand other weapons systems to U.S.-friendlyGulf nations, with an eye toward boosting their abilities to counter Iran's ballistic missiles, even as global powers ink ... 

Fars News Agency
“The administration of US President Barack Obama is angry at the positions adopted byPrince Bandar on the Syrian case since it thinks that he manages the case through collaboration and collusion with the neoconservative groups in Washington which seek ... 

The Times of Israel
The first official to speak up was Prince Bandar bin Sultan. The head of Saudi intelligence and former ambassador to theUS told a group of European diplomats on October 22 that his kingdom plans to make “a major shift” in its relations with the US ...

» Hagel Won't Meet With Karzai
08/12/13 05:39 from World News
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday for talks with U.S. military commanders but said he wasn't going to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a sign of American frustration over Kabul's failure to sig...

» Hagel Given Assurances on Afghan Security Deal
08/12/13 03:44 from Voice of America
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Afghanistan's defense minister has assured him a security pact with the United States that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has not yet signed will be signed in a "timely manner."Hagel met with Defens...

» U.S.-Afghan security pact needs clarity by February: Hagel
07/12/13 13:57 from Reuters: International
KABUL (Reuters) - A NATO meeting in February could become a new deadline for a security pact between the United States and Afghanistan, whose president has been reluctant to sign the deal, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on visit...

Despite Hagel's assertion he had never meant to meet Karzai, the president's spokesman Aimal Faizi said the United States had last week requested such a meeting on Sunday. Karzai had declined because he flies to Iran that day for a state visit.
"This morning we were again told that there might be a meeting around 6 (p.m.)," Faizi said. "Out of hospitality, we did prepare for a late evening meeting which finally did not take place. It is as simple as that, and not an issue."

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (R) shakes hands with Afghan General Sher Mohammad Karimi during a meeting at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul December 7, 2013. REUTERS/Mark Wilson/Pool
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (R) shakes hands with Afghan General Sher Mohammad Karimi during a meeting at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul December 7, 2013.

CBS News
KABUL - Afghan President Hamid Karzai will not allow any of his ministers to sign a security pact with the United States unless key demands are met, the president's spokesman said on Wednesday. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday said the ...

Business Insider
IT IS hard to say what is most infuriating about Hamid Karzai: his kleptocratic entourage or his profound ingratitude to the Western soldiers whose blood has kept him in power. But his talent for producing the wrong sort of surprises must also be a ...

Hagel plans to see Sharif and other officials. Expected topics include Afghanistan and security threats. On Sunday, a report by Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted President Hassan Rouhani as telling the visiting Afghan president, Hamid Karzai: "We believe that all foreign forces should leave the region and that the security of Afghanistan should be handed over to people of the country."
Iran has long opposed a planned agreement to allow US forces to remain stationed on its doorstep in Afghanistan. The two countries have about 580 miles of common borders.

» Afghanistan, Iran plan cooperation pact amid tensions with U.S.
08/12/13 13:53 from Reuters: International
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed on a cooperation pact with Iran on Sunday, an Afghan official said, while continuing to resist signing a long-term security agreement with the United States.

» Why Canada and the U.S. Should Merge, Eh?
08/12/13 05:31 from World News
Essay: It's past time for the two countries to eliminate their border.

» Obama Sets Timeline for Mideast Framework
08/12/13 05:27 from World News
President Barack Obama said he expects a framework for a Middle East peace agreement within months, setting an ambitious timetable for one of his most challenging foreign-policy issues.

» Russia Investigates Fake Pilot Licenses
08/12/13 02:20 from World News
Pilots working for small regional airlines in Russia may be flying with licenses fraudulently obtained from flight schools they never attended, according to investigators.

» Obama: 50/50 Odds for Final Iran Deal
08/12/13 01:07 from Voice of America
U.S. President Barack Obama says he believes the chances for a successful final nuclear agreement with Iran are 50/50 or worse. However, the U.S. leader on Saturday continued to defend diplomacy as the best way to prevent Tehran from acq...

» Iraq Deaths: UK Troops To Face 11 Inquiries
08/12/13 01:06 from Sky News | World News | First For Breaking News
The hearings will be held into cases of 11 Iraqi civilians who died in UK custody after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

» Winter Storm Grips US
07/12/13 22:24 from Voice of America
Freezing weather has gripped the United States, causing power outages, flight delays and even deaths.Heavy snow and unseasonably cold air hit parts of the West and northern Plains. In Montana and North Dakota, temperatures dipped to near...

» W.T.O. Reaches First Global Trade Deal
07/12/13 14:44 from NYT > International
The World Trade Organization reached its first trade reform deal on Saturday, a make-or-break agreement which could add $1 trillion to the global economy.

» Russian Official: No Deal Reached Between Ukraine, Russia
07/12/13 10:40 from Voice of America
A Russian official says no deal has been struck on Ukraine joining the Russian-led Customs Union, an issue that has fueled mass anti-government protests in Kyiv. Dmitry Peskov says Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian Presid...

» Russia-Ukraine talks fuel suspicion, anger in Kiev
07/12/13 10:36 from Reuters: International
KIEV (Reuters) - Pro-Europe protesters accused Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Saturday of planning to seal a customs union with former Soviet master Moscow this month, a move that would stoke further turmoil in Kiev.

» Syrians targeted Israeli patrol on Golan with bomb: Israel
07/12/13 09:59 from Reuters: International
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The Israeli army said on Saturday that an Israeli military vehicle had been damaged by a bomb set off by Syrians on frontier of the occupied Golan Heights.

» Royal Marine ‘devastated’ after receiving life sentence - video
07/12/13 09:22 from World news: World news + Video |
A solicitor for Sgt Alexander Blackman makes a statement on Friday after the Royal Marine was convicted of murdering an injured Afghan insurgent

» Obama Urges Congress to Extend Unemployment Benefits
07/12/13 08:43 from Voice of America
U.S. President Barack Obama has urged Congress to extend unemployment benefits. Mr. Obama said in his weekly address Saturday 1.3 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits if Congress does not act before it leaves for the C...

» Thailand will help with any Rohingya investigation: PM
07/12/13 08:23 from Reuters: International
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand will help the United Nations and the United States with any investigation into the findings of a Reuters report that Thai immigration officials moved Myanmar refugees into human-trafficking rings, the prime m...

» U.S. Observes Pearl Harbor Day
07/12/13 06:35 from Voice of America
December 7 marks the anniversary of the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base of Pearl Harbor in the Hawaiian islands 72 years ago. Thousands of people gather at Pearl Harbor every year to commemorate the anniversary of the 1941 attack ...

Jewish Daily Forward

Between January and June of 2011 Netanyahu pushed out the three service chiefs, Dagan, Diskin and Ashkenazi, and replaced them with a supposedly more compliant team: Tamir Pardo at Mossad, Yoram Cohen at Shin Bet and Benny Gantz as IDF chief of ...

RIA Novosti
WASHINGTON, November 15 (RIA Novosti) – An already besieged set of events intended to promote investment in the Russian economy has come under further pressure, as a USgay rights activist has launched a petition asking the New York Stock ...

the Diplomat
U.S.-Russian relations have also badly deteriorated over the last couple of years, particularly in the last six months. To be fair, Russia has done more than its fair share to contribute to these worsening ties. Furthermore, many of the spoilers in the ...

Defectors and a recent bust allege that the drug moves globally, including to the US.


"Drugs Aren't a Foreign Policy Problem."
You might think so for all the attention they get. As U.S. officials and commentators focus on events in Syria, Egypt, and Iran, another violent struggle is taking place much closer to home. The rise of drug-trafficking organizations (DTOs) in Mexico has fueled crime on both sides of the border and has undermined the economy of an important trading partner of the United States.
Since 2006, more than 60,000 people have been killed in DTO-related violence, and more than 26,000 have gone missing. The violence has spread from rural Mexico to major cities like Guadalajara and Mexico City, where, this May, armed men kidnapped 12 young people from a nightclub. The bodies of 10 of the abductees were later found in a mass grave outside the city; officials think they were killed as part of an ongoing war between rival drug gangs in the capital.
- See more at:

Violence connected with DTOs is no longer limited to northern Mexico but now reaches throughout the country. This expansion not only poses a foreign policy problem for Washington, but it also exacerbates several of the most intractable domestic issues facing the United States, including immigration reform and gun control. - See more at:

Logistics, then, are the DTOs' main source of revenue, and illegal drugs are but one of the products they offer. As the cartels' revenue streams become increasingly diversified, the drug trade will become less and less important. In fact, the prospect of the DTOs' selling their services to terrorists, say by transporting weapons of mass destruction across the U.S.-Mexico border, has begun to frighten analysts both inside and outside government. - See more at:


See in FP also: 

Unmasked: Area 51's Biggest, Stealthiest Spy Drone Yet
- See more at:

Russia obstructs OSCE decision on safety of journalists at Ministerial Council meeting in Kyiv

Dec. 6, 2013, 7:10 p.m. | Ukraine — by Mark Rachkevych
The 20th OSCE Ministerial Council meeting took place in Kyiv on Dec. 5-6, during which Russia cast the only dissenting vote to block a decision on the protection of journalists, one of Ukraine's stated goals as OSCE chair this year.
Russia was the only participating country out of 57 to oppose a decision on the protection of journalists
at an Organization for Security and Cooperation meeting taking place in Kyiv on Dec. 5-6
As the OSCE chair this year, Ukraine declared support of freedom of speech among its stated goals.
According to high-level diplomats at the OSCE Ministerial Council who wished to remain anonymous,
Russia refused to accept any language referring to all forms of media – namely, the internet.
Obtained by the Kyiv Post, the document, titled, “Draft Decision on Protection of Journalists in the
OSCE Area,” Russia also wanted to include the clause in reference to media, “registered in accordance
with domestic law.”
Participating foreign ministers expressed disappointment after Russia single-handedly blocked the decision.
“Disappointed one side could not agree on a decision on the safety of journalists,” tweeted the Swedish
OSCE delegation. “Needless to say, a very topical issue.”
Dunja Mijatovic, OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, tweeted: “Disappointed OSCE did not
reach consensus on safety of journalists still and will remain my top priority, online and offline.”
Russia ranked 148 out of 179 countries in the latest Reporters without Borders press freedom index.
“In Eastern Europe, Russia has fallen again (by six points over 2012) because, since Vladimir Putin’s
return to the presidency, repression has been stepped up in response to an unprecedented wave
of opposition protests. The country also continues to be marked by the unacceptable failure to
punish all those who have murdered or attacked journalists,” stated the France-based media watchdog.
In the same index, Ukraine ranked 126th, 10 points worse than in 2011-2012. President
Viktor Yanukovych was inaugurated in early 2010.
Ukraine has also come under fire recently for the way it treats journalists after some 40 people
of the trade were shown on video being indiscriminately and excessively beaten by riot police
during a Dec. 1 demonstration in Kyiv.
Kyiv Post editor Mark Rachkevych can be reached at