Tag: John Kerry

Israel Calls Off Vote on New Illegal Settler Homes in East Al-Quds

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34370769

Israeli officials have reportedly scrapped plans to build hundreds more illegal settler units on the occupied Palestinian territory, which would amount to a clear violation of the recent UN Security Council resolution demanding a halt to the regime’s land grab policy.

Hanan Rubin, with the Jerusalem (al-Quds) Local Planning and Building Committee, said on Wednesday that the bid to approve construction permits for nearly 500 homes in East al-Quds had been shelved upon the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Rubin said the decision came as US Secretary of State John Kerry is to offer a purported “comprehensive vision” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a speech in Washington later in the day, according to Press TV.

Maintaining Influence in Afghanistan

Despite President Obama’s promises of a drawdown in Afghanistan, the United States is settling in for the long haul.

Over the past few months, the Obama administration has renewed its efforts to strengthen its position in Afghanistan. In spite of the worsening death toll from the ongoing war, the Obama administration has made a series of new wartime commitments to ensure that the United States maintains a powerful influence over the country well into the future.

In June 2016, President Obama made one of the most significant new commitments when he authorized U.S. military forces to more directly engage the Taliban in military operations. The new authorities allow “U.S. forces to be more proactive in supporting conventional Afghan forces as they take the fight to the Taliban,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained. “And this means, in some cases, offering close air support, or it means, in some cases, accompanying Afghan forces on the ground or in the air.”

The National Security Case for a TPP Lame Duck Vote: Not!

When Congress meets for its lame-duck session after the elections, it should resist pressure to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Notwithstanding President Barack Obama’s best efforts to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement to Congress and the public on economic grounds, presidential and congressional candidates are shunning the TPP as a winning campaign issue. Even Senator Rob Portman, a former U.S. trade representative, doesn’t mention the TPP in his electoral “Jobs and Growth” agenda. The economic forecasting arguments for TPP are very weak—even according to the “heroic assumptions” of proponents, such as no change in the U.S. trade balance or net employment as a result of the TPP. So, what arguments do the TPP proponents have left?

Syria Talks in Lausanne End without Breakthrough

Syria talks convened by US Secretary of State John Kerry in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Saturday evening failed to agree on a common strategy with Russia to end the conflict in Syria, now in its sixth year.

Kerry was seeking a new path to peace after failing to secure a ceasefire in direct talks with Moscow, one of Syria’s key backers.

Kerry hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and seven foreign ministers from the region – from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt – weeks after the collapse of a painstakingly crafted US-Russian ceasefire plan that many saw as the last hope for peace this year.

Bilateral Complicity: The Next US President and Egypt

Washington sends over a billion dollars to Egypt every year. Will the next president demand a better human rights record in return?

The current US presidential campaign debate on Middle East policy has focused disproportionately on the US response to the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). This series will focus instead on five alternative Middle East policy challenges facing the next president. This third part discusses the future of bilateral relations with Egypt. See part one on Iraq and part two on Tunisia.