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Posts Tagged ‘Obama administration’

Obama cautions Mubarak not to use force against protesters

Posted by Admin on January 29, 2011

Official photograph of Egyptian President Hosn...

Egypt President - Hosni Mubarak

http://in.news.yahoo.com/obama-cautions-mubarak-not-force-against-protesters-20110128-222340-713.html

By ANI | ANI – Sat, Jan 29 11:53 AM IST

Washington, Jan.29 (ANI): US President Barack Obama has put his embattled Egyptian counterpart leader, Hosni Mubarak, on notice that he should not use his soldiers and police in a bloody crackdown on opposition protesters.

Addressing the nation from the White House, Obama said that he had spoken with Mubarak and had told him “to refrain from any violence against peaceful protesters” and to turn a “moment of volatility” into a “moment of promise.”

Declaring that the protesters have universal rights, the New York Times quoted Obama, as saying that the “The United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people.”

Obama’s brief remarks came as a blunt reply to Mubarak, who spoke to his own people just one hour before and mixed conciliation with defiance as he dismissed his government, but vowed to stay in office to stabilize Egypt.

The Obama administration has moved from tentative support to distancing itself from Mubarak, its staunchest Arab ally, saying it would review the 1.5 billion dollar in American aid and warning him that he must confront the grievances of his people.

Obama said that Mubarak’s promise of expanding democracy and economic opportunity needed to be enforced with meaning and responsibility.

He called on Mubarak to open a dialogue with the demonstrators, though he did not go as far as to urge free and fair elections.

Illustrating the delicate balance that the administration faces with Egypt, Obama referred to the joint projects of the two countries. He also urged the demonstrators to “express themselves peacefully.”

Egypt is the fourth-largest recipient of American foreign aid, after Afghanistan, Pakistan and Israel, and just ahead of Iraq.

It is also a critical partner on issues like the Israel-Palestinian peace process and a bulwark against Islamic extremism in the Arab world. (ANI)

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Pakistani officials: US missiles kill 54 in NW

Posted by Admin on December 17, 2010

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101217/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Three American missile attacks killed 54 alleged militants Friday close to the Afghan border, an unusually high number of victims that included commanders of a Taliban-allied group that were holding a meeting, Pakistani officials said.

The attacks took place in the Khyber tribal region, which has been rarely struck by American missiles before over the last three years. That could indicate a possible expansion of the CIA-led covert campaign of drone strikes inside Pakistani territory.

The Obama administration has intensified missile attacks in northwest Pakistan since taking office, desperate to weaken insurgent networks there that U.S. officials say are behind much of the violence againstU.S. troops just across the frontier in Afghanistan.

The first strike targeted two vehicles in the Sandana area of the Tirah Valley, killing seven militants and wounding another nine. The men were believed to belong to the Pakistani Taliban, one of the country’s largest and deadliest insurgent groups.

Later, missiles hit a compound in Speen Darang village where the Lashkar-e-Islam, a Taliban affiliate known to be strong in Khyber, were meeting, killing 32 people, among them commanders. The third strike took place in Narai Baba village and killed 15 militants, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

U.S. officials do not acknowledge firing the missiles, much less comment on who they are targeting. It is impossible to independently report on the aftermath of the attacks because outsiders are not allowed to visit the tribal regions. Human rights groups say there are significant numbers of civilian casualties in the attacks.

Most of the more than 100 missile attacks this year inside Pakistan have taken place in North Waziristan, which is effectively under the control of a mix of Taliban, al-Qaida and related groups. The region, seen as the major militant sanctuary in Pakistan, has yet to see an offensive by the Pakistani military.

On Thursday, President Obama urged Pakistan to do more in tackling extremists in the border lands. Pakistan’s army has moved into several tribal regions over the last two years, but says it lacks the troops to launch a North Waziristan operation anytime soon and hold gains it has made elsewhere.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter said the United States would like the Pakistani army to move into North Waziristan “tomorrow” but that he believed Islamabad’s stated reasons for not attacking the region immediately.

“I think there is a capacity issue,” Munter told reporters Friday. “There is a great amount of capacity being used in holding the ground the Pakistani army has won at great cost.”

Pakistani officials protest the missile strikes, but are believed to secretly authorize and provide intelligence on at least some of them. Analysts also say targeting information for many of the attacks is likely to be provided by Pakistani intelligence officials.

Also Friday, police said nine people were killed by mortar rounds fired by suspected Sunni extremists in two attacks in the northwest. The presumed targets in Hangu district and the nearby tribal area of Kurram were Shiite Muslims, said Hangu police chief Abdur Rasheed.

In Hangu, three mortars missed a Shiite mosque, hitting a house, killing six and wounding eight. In Kurram, a mortar hit a house, killing three, he said.

Anti-Shiite militants in Pakistan predate al-Qaida and the Taliban, which are also Sunni. These days, the groups are firmly allied and have overlapping memberships. They generally believe it is acceptable, even meritorious, to kill Pakistan’s minority Shiites because they consider them heretics.

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Associated Press writers Nahal Toosi in Islamabad, Ishtiaq Mehsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Hussain Afzal reporting from Parachinar.

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US briefs allies about next WikiLeaks release

Posted by Admin on November 27, 2010

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, at New Media Days 09

Julian Assange Founder - WikiLeaks

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press – 2 hrs 46 mins ago

LONDON – U.S. allies around the world have been briefed by American diplomats about an expected release of classified U.S. files by the WikiLeaks website that is likely to cause international embarrassment and could damage some nations’ relations with the United States.

The release of hundreds of thousands of State Department cables is expected this weekend, although WikiLeaks has not been specific about the timing. The cables are thought to include private, candid assessments of foreign leaders and governments and could erode trust in the U.S. as a diplomatic partner.

In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron‘s spokesman, Steve Field, said Friday that the government had been told of “the likely content of these leaks” by U.S. Ambassador Louis Susman. Field declined to say what Britain had been warned to expect.

“I don’t want to speculate about precisely what is going to be leaked before it is leaked,” Field said.

In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said U.S. diplomats were continuing the process of warning governments around the world about what might be in the documents. Many fear the cables will embarrass the United States and its allies, and reveal sensitive details of how the U.S. conducts relations with other countries.

“We are all bracing for what may be coming and condemn WikiLeaks for the release of classified material,” he said. “It will place lives and interests at risk. It is irresponsible.”

The Obama administration on Friday warned that the WikiLeaksrelease would endanger “lives and interests.”

Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said he spoke Friday with the U.S. State Department, which told him that there would be documents regarding Italy in the leak, “but the content can’t be anticipated.”

“We’re talking about thousands and thousands of classified documents that the U.S. will not comment on, as is their custom,” Frattini said.

The governments of Canada and Norway also said they had been briefed by U.S. officials. Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment on a report that it, too, had been informed.

In Iraq, U.S. Ambassador James F. Jeffrey told reporters that the leaks represent a serious obstacle to international diplomacy.

“We are worried about additional documents coming out,” he said. “WikiLeaks are an absolutely awful impediment to my business, which is to be able to have discussions in confidence with people. I do not understand the motivation for releasing these documents. They will not help, they will simply hurt our ability to do our work here.”

In Norway, U.S. officials released a statement from the ambassador to the newspaper Dagbladet with the understanding that it would not be published until after the WikiLeaks material came out, but the newspaper published the material ahead of time.

It quoted U.S. Ambassador to Norway Barry White saying that, while he could not vouch for the authenticity of the documents, he expected them to contain U.S. officials’ candid assessments of political leaders and political movements in other countries. He said diplomats had to be able to have private, honest discussions to do their jobs.

The Obama administration said earlier this week that it had alerted Congress and begun notifying foreign governments that the whistle-blowing website is preparing to release a huge cache of diplomatic cables whose publication could give a behind-the-scenes look at American diplomacy around the world.

“These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests,” U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.”

Diplomatic cables are internal documents that would include a range of secret communications between U.S. diplomatic outposts and State Department headquarters in Washington.

WikiLeaks has said the release will be seven times the size of its October leak of 400,000 Iraq war documents, already the biggest leak in U.S. intelligence history.

The U.S. says it has known for some time that WikiLeaks held the diplomatic cables. No one has been charged with passing them to the website, but suspicion focuses on U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst arrested in Iraq in June and charged over an earlier leak.

Frattini, the Italian foreign minister, said Friday that he had been “told that the person responsible for this leak has been arrested.” The Italian Foreign Ministry later said Frattini was talking about Manning.

WikiLeaks, which also has released secret U.S. documents about the war in Afghanistan, was founded byJulian Assange.

The Australian former computer hacker is currently wanted by Sweden for questioning in a drawn-out rape probe. Assange, 39, is suspected of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion. He has denied the allegations, which stem from his encounters with two women during a visit to Sweden.

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AP writers Rebecca Santana in Baghdad, Matthew Lee in Washington, and Bjoern H. Amland in Oslo contributed to this report.

 

 

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