Archive for the ‘ally’ Category

Iran’s Parliament Impeaches Key Ahmadinejad Ally

November 4, 2008

Iran’s parliament impeached the head of the country’s police and security agencies on Tuesday after he admitted faking a degree from Oxford University, in a vote widely seen as a defeat for hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

The dismissal of Interior Minister Ali Kordan was the first high-profile confrontation between the new parliament and Ahmadinejad. It was seen a vote of no-confidence in the president and a sign that the deeply unpopular leader may be losing favor even with his conservative allies.

Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan delivers a speech, prior ... 
Iranian Interior Minister Ali Kordan delivers a speech, prior to a vote by members of parliament to impeach him, during an open session of parliament, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Iran’s parliament impeached the country’s interior minister for deception Tuesday in a vote widely seen as a defeat for hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Parliament’s no-confidence vote for Ali Kordan comes after he admitted he had a fake degree from Oxford University.(AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

The interior minister in Iran is a powerful position, overseeing the police and security agencies, as well as organizing elections.

During Kordan’s confirmation debate, numerous lawmakers argued he was unqualified for the post, some claiming that his Oxford degree was a fake. Kordan was approved Aug. 5 by a relatively slim margin of around 160 of the 269 lawmakers present, a reflection of the concerns.

Kordan initially argued that his degree was real. The Interior Ministry put out a certificate, with an Oxford seal and dated June 2000, meant to prove its authenticity. It was riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes.

Oxford denied it had ever awarded an honorary doctorate of law to the minister, who then admitted the degree was fake.

Ahmadinejad defended Kordan, dismissing degrees in general as “torn paper” not necessary for serving the people.

The president was already under attack from both reformers and conservatives, who brought him to power but now complain he spends too much time on fiery anti-U.S. rhetoric rather than managing the country.

Middle-class Iranians, who have seen their standard of living fall, often speak scornfully of his economic naivete. In July, he predicted oil prices would never fall below $100 per barrel.

Oil prices, however, have plunged during the global financial crisis and hovered Tuesday around $63 a barrel. Tehran’s stock index last week plunged about 12 percent to its lowest close in years. And inflation is estimated at 27 percent or more.

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U.S., South Korea Work To Strengthen Military Alliance

March 12, 2008

By John Sudworth BBC News, Seoul

The commander of US forces in South Korea has told the BBC he welcomes plans to strengthen the military alliance between the two countries. In an exclusive interview, General Burwell Baxter Bell describes the proposals for a closer partnership as “positive and reassuring”.

For more than half a century, the strategic relationship between the two countries has meant that there are large numbers of US soldiers deployed in support of South Korean troops.
Today, Gen Bell commands a force of around 28,000.
But many observers believe the alliance has been tested and strained in recent years, as two successive liberal governments in Seoul pursued closer ties with Pyongyang – the so-called “sunshine policy”.
This strategy of engagement tried to coax the North to reform by offering large amounts of aid and assistance.
But the parallel approach to secure nuclear disarmament through tough-talking international negotiations often left Washington and Seoul speaking with different voices.

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US closely following Pakistan politics: White House

March 10, 2008

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House said Monday it was closely watching Pakistan‘s political wrangling but declined to comment except to say that it hoped for continued “good relations.”

“We obviously watch the situation with interest but I will tell you that this is the Pakistanis working through their democratic process,” spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters.

“Obviously we’ve had good relations with Pakistan in the past several years, we fully expect that to continue but we are not going to comment on what they should or should not do as they work through their process,” she said.

She spoke after Pakistan’s main opposition parties agreed to form a coalition and restore judges….

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Understanding Real War Heroes

February 3, 2008

By James G. Zumwalt
The Washington Times
February 3, 2008

The battle raged for 17 hours — from day, to night, into day again. Ammunition and water ran low as the platoon was pinned down. An Afghan soldier was wounded. Absent surgery, he would die.

In an act demonstrative not only of courage but also of respect for the life of an allied Muslim soldier, the American platoon commander, Lt. Sean McQuade, ordered 12 men to carry the wounded Afghan down a rocky mountain slope as the remaining 20 men provided covering fire.

During the downhill movement, the wounded man was occasionally exposed to enemy fire, prompting medic Sgt. Jose Rivas to shield him with his own body as he tended to the soldier’s wounds. Eventually, a Black Hawk helicopter swooped in, resupplying the 20 platoon members holding the high ground before then picking up the wounded Afghan. Sgt. Rivas’ mission accomplished, he returned to rejoin the fight ….

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U.S. ally Down Under ousted

November 25, 2007

By Rohan Sullivan
November 25, 2007

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Conservative Prime Minister John Howard suffered a humiliating defeat yesterday at the hands of the left-leaning opposition, whose leader has promised to immediately sign the Kyoto Protocol on global warming and withdraw Australia’s combat troops from Iraq.
Labor Party head Kevin Rudd’s pledges on global warming and Iraq move Australia sharply away from policies that had made Mr. Howard one of President Bush’s staunchest allies.

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Sarkozy: U.S. can count on France

November 7, 2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 (UPI) — America can “count on France” in its war on terror, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told a joint session of the U.S. Congress Wednesday.Speaking before the members of House of Representatives and Senate, and other dignitaries in the House chambers in Washington, the French president said through a translator France will remain in Afghanistan “for as long as it takes” to preserve liberty and freedom.“Terrorism will not prevail for democracies are not entitled to be weak,” Sarkozy said. “We are not afraid of this new barbarism and because of that, America can count on France in its battle on terror.”

 An Iran with nuclear weapons “is unacceptable to France,” he said, receiving one of 10 standing ovations. He called the Iranian people “a great people” who “deserve better” than the sanctions and isolation “to which their leaders condemn it.”

Sarkozy also urged Israel and Palestine to “do whatever it takes” to reach a peaceful accord. He said France wants security for Israel, but it also “will demand a state for the Palestinians.”

Support Wanes in House for Genocide Vote

October 17, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 — Worried about antagonizing Turkish leaders, House members from both parties have begun to withdraw their support from a resolution backed by the Democratic leadership that would condemn as genocide the mass killings of Armenians nearly a century ago.

Almost a dozen lawmakers had shifted against the measure in a 24-hour period ending Tuesday night, accelerating a sudden exodus that has cast deep doubt over the measure’s prospects. Some made clear that they were heeding warnings from the White House, which has called the measure dangerously provocative, and from the Turkish government, which has said House passage would prompt Turkey to reconsider its ties to the United States, including logistical support for the Iraq war.

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Turkey: U.S. Congress Could “Ruin Strategic Relationship”

October 14, 2007

By C. Onur Ant, Associated Press Writer 

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkey’s top general warned that ties with the U.S., already strained by attacks from rebels hiding in Iraq, will be irreversibly damaged if Congress passes a resolution that labels the World War I-era killings of Armenians a genocide.

Turkey, which is a major cargo hub for U.S. and allied military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, has recalled its ambassador to Washington for consultations and warned that there might be a cut in the logistical support to the U.S. over the issue.

Gen. Yasar Buyukanit told daily Milliyet newspaper that a congressional committee’s approval of the measure had already harmed ties between the two countries.

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Bush urges defeat of genocide bill

October 10, 2007

By DESMOND BUTLER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Just hours before a crucial vote, President Bush strongly urged Congress on Wednesday to reject legislation that would declare the World War I-era killings of hundreds of thousands of Armenians a genocide.

Bush spoke as the House Foreign Affairs Committee was preparing to vote on the measure that Turkey insists could severely damage U.S. relations with a NATO ally that has been a major portal for U.S. military operations in the region.

“Its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror,” the president said.

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