Iran drama obscures concerns over Obama approach to Mideast
September 25th, 2013
05:30 PM ET

Iran drama obscures concerns over Obama approach to Mideast

By Elise Labott, reporting from the United Nations

The drama over whether President Barack Obama would shake hands with his Iranian counterpart detracted from what diplomats at the U.N. General Assembly described as an acute disappointment with his handling of Mideast turmoil.

A perceived lack of leadership in Syria during its civil war coupled with U.S. handling of the political crisis in Egypt has forced the Obama administration to confront a growing lack of confidence among Middle East allies.

But what's most bewildered American allies in the region was Obama's abrupt decision to back away from threats to use military force over alleged Syrian chemical weapons use in favor of a diplomatic approach to divest it of those stockpiles.

They fear Obama's ambivalence foreshadows a lack of mettle in dealing with Iran.
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Filed under: Egypt • Iran • Obama • Syria • United Nations
U.S. seeks access to site of terror attack in Kenya
An image grab taken from AFP TV shows a member of the Kenyan security forces taking position inside a shopping mall following an attack by masked gunmen in Nairobi
September 25th, 2013
04:14 PM ET

U.S. seeks access to site of terror attack in Kenya

By Barbara Starr

U.S. security and law enforcement personnel are pressing for access to a Kenyan shopping mall where a terror attack and subsequent armed standoff killed at least 67 people.

A U.S. official with direct knowledge of the situation and the latest security assessment said authorities want to know whether any Americans were among the attackers in Nairobi as claimed by the Somali-based al-Shabaab terror group said to be behind the Westgate Mall attack.

“That is the million dollar question,” the official said. “We do not have much fidelity on this. We haven’t had access to the scene.”

Kenyan authorities have said the attackers were from a number of countries, but have not confirmed that any Americans were involved.
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Filed under: Al-Shabaab • Terrorism
Arms treaty draws NRA, conservative ire
Secretary of State John Kerry signs the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
September 25th, 2013
02:56 PM ET

Arms treaty draws NRA, conservative ire

By Jamie Crawford

The United States signed on to an international arms control treaty Wednesday that seeks to reduce global atrocities, but the road to ratification in the Senate may prove to be extremely bumpy and, possibly, insurmountable.

Secretary of State John Kerry signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) on the sidelines of this week's gathering of the U.N. General Assembly.

The treaty, which nearly 90 countries have signed, requires signatory countries to ensure arms are not sent to countries where they could be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity or other serious human rights abuses.

"This is about keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists and rogue actors," Kerry said as he signed. "This is about reducing the risk of international transfers of conventional arms that will be used to carry out the world's worst crimes."
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