Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Congress. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Congress. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τετάρτη, Φεβρουαρίου 11, 2015

Obama seeks war authorization from Congress to fight IS

US President Barack Obama sent Congress his text today for an authorization to use military force in the campaign against Islamic State, limiting operations against the militants to three years and barring use of US troops in "enduring offensive ground combat."

According to the text, Obama also wants to repeal the 2002 measure that authorized the Iraq war. But his proposal leaves in place a 2001 authorization, passed shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, for a campaign against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
Obama said he remained committed to working with Congress to "refine, and ultimately repeal" the 2001 AUMF. He said enacting a measure specific to the campaign against Islamic State fighters could serve as a model for revamping the 2001 measure.
"I have directed a comprehensive and sustained strategy to degrade and defeat ISIL," Obama wrote in a letter accompanying the draft, using an acronym for the Islamist militant group.
"Local forces, rather than US military forces, should be deployed to conduct such operations," he said.
The White House said Obama would make a statement on his request at 3:30 PM.
Obama's proposal must be approved by both the US Senate and House of Representatives, where it is expected to provoke strong debate between Democrats, who are generally wary of another Middle East war, and Republicans, many of whom have been pushing for stronger measures against the militant fighters.
Obama has defended his authority to lead an international coalition against Islamic State since August 8 when US fighter jets began attacking the jihadists in Iraq. But he has faced criticism for failing to seek the backing of Congress, where some accuse him of breaching his constitutional authority.
Facing pressure to let lawmakers weigh in on an issue as important as the deployment of troops and chastened by elections that handed power in Congress to Republicans, he said in November he would request formal authorization for the use of military force (AUMF).
Secretary of State John Kerry, who spent nearly three decades in the US Senate, said in a statement it was important that the administration work with Congress to secure its passage. The coalition fighting Islamic State will be stronger if it is passed, he said.
"The world needs to hear that the United States speaks with one voice in the fight against ISIL," he said.

Τετάρτη, Δεκεμβρίου 17, 2014

Obama says US restoring ties with Cuba (five decades after diplomatic relations were severed)

The United States will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba more than 50 years after they were severed, US President Barack Obama has said, just hours after Havana announced it had released a US aid worker who had been jailed for five years in Cuba.

"Today the US is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba. We'll begin to normalise relations between our two nations. Through these changes, we intend to create more opportunities for the American and Cuban people and begin a new chapter," said Obama.

The US president said he had spoken to his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro on Tuesday about arrangements to release US aid worker Alan Gross, who was arrested in 2009 in Cuba and jailed for five years, on humanitarian grounds.

US media reported a prisoner exchange that also included Cuba releasing a US intelligence source and the US releasing three Cuban intelligence agents.

Obama said he had instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to immediately initiate discussions with Cuba on the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, which were severed in 1961.

"In the coming months, we will re-establish an embassy in Havana and carry out high-level exchanges and visits between our two governments as part of the normalisation process," Obama said.

"As an initial step, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs will lead the US Delegation to the next round of US-Cuba Migration Talks in January 2015, in Havana."

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, said the trade embargo imposed on Cuba after ties were severed can only be lifted by Congress. 

"Senior administration officials tell me they don't think Congress is going to lift the embargo. We have seen several members of Congress come out and call the president's moves 'outrageous'," she said.
Cuban President Raul Castro said he welcomed the restoration of relations with the US.
In a nationally broadcast speech, the Cuban leader said profound differences remained between Cuba and the US in areas such as human rights, foreign policy and questions of sovereignty, but he said the two nations have to learn to live with their differences "in a civilised manner".................http://www.aljazeera.com/news/americas/2014/12/cuba-releases-us-aid-worker-alan-gross-20141217142522855301.html

Τρίτη, Νοεμβρίου 25, 2014

Iran split on nuke talks extension

Iran's media were deeply split Tuesday on the merits of ­extending nuclear talks with the West, with conservative newspapers criticizing the move as reformist outlets said progress had been made.

Vatan-e-Emrooz, a hard-line broadsheet newspaper, headlined its front page "Nothing" - and beneath the fold had only empty white space.

"A year has passed since the Geneva accord. Nuclear negotiations for the removal of sanctions did not reach a result," the newspaper said, announcing the seven-month extension in talks to its readers.

Siasate-e Rooz, another hard-line paper, was similarly pessimistic.

"Americans, despite announcing in their media that they want a deal, in fact do not believe in reaching a nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran and have never taken any steps to achieve this result."

However, President Hassan Rouhani, who on Monday said a nuclear deal with the West would be done despite missing the deadline in Vienna, received support from more moderate newspapers.

"A major change took place in the past 15 months ... the victory of realism, rationality and pragmatism," the reformist Shargh newspaper said.

"These negotiations showed that neither is Iran 'the axis of evil' that the Americans imagined and tried to make the world believe, nor does America have unresolvable conflicts with Iran as many said," it added.

The overall tone was pessimistic, however, with most newspapers taking a skeptical view of the talks extension.

Javan, a newspaper with close links to Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards, headlined its front-page report, "Seven months of artificial respiration to nuclear diplomacy."


US House and Senate members reacted coolly Monday to an extension of international negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, with skeptical lawmakers demanding Congress "tighten the economic vice on Tehran" through new sanctions.

No sooner had the extension been announced in Vienna and US Secretary of State John Kerry implored US lawmakers not to "walk away" from the negotiations by slapping punitive sanctions on Iran, that several lawmakers advocated just that, setting up a potential White House clash with Congress.

"Now more than ever, it's critical that Congress enacts sanctions that give Iran's mullahs no choice but to dismantle their illicit nuclear program," Republican Senator Mark Kirk, who supports new sanctions, said in a statement. Kirk has drawn up tough legislation with Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat, that would see sanctions kick in should Iran violate terms of the temporary agreement or future deal.

AFP -  globaltimes.cn

Παρασκευή, Απριλίου 04, 2014

Obama administration: ‘Cuban Twitter’ discreet, not covert

WASHINGTON D.C.: -The Obama administration denied on Thursday that a secretive program allegedly used to foment unrest and unseat the communist government in Cuba was covert.

The Associated Press revealed the existence of the U.S.-backed social media network, known as ZunZuneo – Cuban slang for a hummingbird’s chirp – in a report on Thursday. The program was run through shell companies and financed using a Cayman Islands bank account, according to the Associated Press’ (AP) investigation.

The program had as many as 40,000 subscribers at its height, none of which knew the U.S. created and funded it, said the AP.
“In implementing programs in non-permissive environments, of course the government has taken steps to be discreet. That's how you protect the practitioners and the public,” said Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary while speaking to reporters on Thursday. “It was a development-assistance program.”

Zunzuneo was operated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which is largely responsible for Washington’s humanitarian programs.
Parts of the program “were done discreetly” to protect those involved, said Rajiv Shah, USAID’s top official while speaking on American news network MSNBC.
The program was completed in 2012, according to Carney, who maintained that the U.S. Congress was notified of the program’s existence. It is currently unclear to what extent the U.S. Congress was kept in the loop, however.
"We were notified in the most oblique way, that nobody could understand it," said Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, told the AP. He minced no words in sharing his thoughts on the program.

“Dumb, dumb, dumb” was how he described the program while speaking on MSNBC. Shah, the USAID chief, will testify before Leahy’s committee on Tuesday.
Still, Robert Menendez, a well-known critic of Cuba's government, lauded the program, saying to the AP,  "The whole purpose of our democracy programs, whether it be in Cuba or other parts of the world, is in part to create a free flow of information in closed societies."

Πέμπτη, Μαρτίου 27, 2014

US Congress Votes to Aid Ukraine, Penalize Russia. - The same day that the IMF pledged to provide Ukraine with up to $18 billion in loans

The U.S. Congress has sent a strong message to Russia for its annexation of Crimea by passing measures that give aid to Ukraine and penalize Moscow.

Lawmakers in the House and the Senate overwhelmingly approved separate measures on Thursday.

Both bills include $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine and penalize Russia for its actions in Crimea.

Lawmakers in both chambers will have to resolve differences on other provisions before sending a final bill to President Barack Obama.

Democratic Congressman Elliot Engel said if the United States continues to work with Ukraine and help turn the country "Westward," then Russian President Vladimir Putin "will have lost."

He said Putin may have a "land grab" in Crimea, but would lose the rest of Ukraine.

  • The House and Senate votes took place on the same day that the International Monetary Fund pledged to provide Ukraine with up to $18 billion in loans.

But, the IMF says Ukraine, in exchange, must agree to enact tough economic reforms.


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