January 23, 2018

Defense chief clashes with senators over Iraq

REUTERS WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta rejected accusations at a heated Senate hearing on Tuesday that U.S. politics helped drive the decision to completely withdraw from Iraq this year without leaving any troops behind as trainers. The October 21 drawdown announcement by President Barack Obama followed failed negotiations with Baghdad to secure an immunity deal that the Pentagon made a precondition for keeping any U.S. military trainers in the country. Panetta put the blame squarely on Iraqi politics, with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki unable to push an immunity deal through parliament. But prominent Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee questioned … [Read more...]

House Committee Approves Amendment to Protect Camp Ashraf

STOP FUNDAMENTALISM Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on both sides of the isle unanimously approved an amendment to a bill that called to protect the 3400 residents of the Iranian dissident Camp Ashraf which is located northeast of Baghdad today, reported AP. The Bill is designed to impose yet harder sanctions on Iran. "If history is any guide, it will see another massacre," said Judge Ted Poe, R-Texas, refereeing to two tragic previous incidents at the camp in which almost 50 residents died when Iraqi military units opened fire on the unarmed population of the camp. Baghdad says it intends to close the camp by the end of 2011 despite international calls that the date is not … [Read more...]

Lawmakers fear Iranian dissidents face assault in Iraq

THE WASHINGTON TIMES Want U.N. to protect Camp Ashraf Nearly three dozen U.S. lawmakers are urging U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to prevent a fresh outbreak of violence at a camp for former Iranian resistance fighters in Iraq. In a letter made public Wednesday, they wrote that residents of Camp Ashraf have been subjected to “deadly incursions and repeated incidents of harassment” by Iraqi forces. Late Monday night, Iraqi troops and police entered the camp with sirens blaring in what residents said was an attempt to intimidate them. On April 8, the Iraqi army attacked the camp, killing 36 residents, including eight women. More than 300 others were wounded. The lawmakers warned of … [Read more...]

House committee OKs new penalties against Iran

ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON (AP) — A House panel on Wednesday unanimously approved harsher penalties against Iran, arguing that an economically weak Tehran will struggle in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. By voice vote, Republicans and Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee pushed forward two bills that would strengthen current sanctions while expanding the list of companies and individuals subject to penalties. Lawmakers cited recent allegations of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States and insisted that such brazen behavior demands consequences. The legislation builds on sanctions that Congress overwhelmingly passed — and President Barack … [Read more...]

US lawmakers advance new Iran sanctions

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE WASHINGTON — The US House Foreign Affairs Committee approved legislation Wednesday to toughen sanctions on Tehran over its suspect nuclear program in the wake of an alleged Iranian assassination plot. The panel endorsed the measure by voice vote, with Democrats and Republicans closing ranks in the wake of US allegations that Iranian officials schemed to hire Mexican drug cartel killers to murder Saudi Arabia's envoy to Washington. "There should be consequences to this type of behavior, and I believe the international community must stand up against this threat," said the committee's top Democrat, Representative Howard Berman. US lawmakers aim to tighten already … [Read more...]

Secretary Hillary Clinton Questioned on Camp Ashraf in House Hearing

US COMMITTEE FOR CAMP ASHRAF RESIDENTS On 27 October, the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared at a hearing  of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee where she was questioned by several members of the Committee asked about the humanitarian crisis in Camp Ashraf and the reasons behind the delay in delising of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) from the FTO list. Here is an excerpt of the exchange: Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: Many members including the ranking member and I had sought the administration's commitment to securing their protection given the Iraqi government's repeated failure to comply with its international human rights obligations to the … [Read more...]

Bi-Partisan Members of Congress Deplore 450-Day Delay by State Department in Completing Court-Mandated Review of MEK Designation

PRNewswire WASHINGTON, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- In a Congressional briefing on Wednesday, several Members of Congress deplored the State Department's unjustified 450-day delay in completing the Court-mandated review of the designation of Iran's main opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), according to California Society for Democratic Iran. The briefing, moderated by Dr. Allan Gerson, former Chief Counsel to the U.S. delegation to the United Nations and Deputy Assistant Attorney General (for Office of the Legal Counsel), featured Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Chair of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation, John … [Read more...]

Obama’s Iran Appeasement Syndrome

TOWNHALL.COM Calling President Obama’s approach toward Iran “bad policy” is like calling a rotten egg a failed omelet. The Iranian regime is an avowed enemy of the US and the West by virtue of its stated goals and its violent actions. The Iranian government’s visceral, unmitigated hatred of the United States and its hostile intentions are manifest in every speech by President Ahmadinejad and every edict from the mullahs of the ruling Islamic High Council. No American should doubt that Iran is at war with the US and the West and will escalate its hostilities as new weapons and new resources become available. None of this is new or controversial among people who have followed Iran’s … [Read more...]

Keep Tehran in check

The Hill (Congress Blog) By Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) August 10, 2011 The Middle East is experiencing its most tumultuous wave of political change in decades. From Egypt to Syria to Yemen, the people of the Arab World are rejecting the status quo dictatorships and demanding democracy. Those who have been silenced for their whole lives are standing up to their oppressive leaders. Their cries for democracy, human rights and dignity are ringing loud throughout the Middle East and we hear their voices loud and clear. The United States must stand with the freedom fighters in the Middle East and support their desire for the basic values and principles that Americans enjoy every day. However, … [Read more...]

Landmark House Hearing Probes Massacre at Camp Ashraf and U.S. Responsibility, Urges De-listing of MEK

PRNewswire Tuesday, July 12, 2011   WASHINGTON, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Thursday July 7, 2011, a landmark hearing, entitled "Massacre at Camp Ashraf: Implications for U.S. Policy," was held by the Oversight and Investigation Sub-Committee of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.   Among those who provided testimony in the hearing were: Ms. Neda Zanjanpour, a survivor of the massacre at Camp Ashraf; Michael Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States; Col. Gary Morsch, M.D., Chief medical liaison between Camp Ashraf and the U.S. military, Colonel Wes Martin (Ret.), Former Base Commander of Camp Ashraf; and Ray Takeyh, Senior … [Read more...]