Posts by Olivier Knox, Yahoo News

  • Obama hits reset button on wobbly public response to Malaysia Airlines shootdown

    Olivier Knox, Yahoo News at Yahoo News3 days ago

    President Obama on Friday called the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 an “outrage of unspeakable proportions,” declared it a “wake-up call” for timid European leaders, and all but laid blame for the tragedy directly at the doorstep of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    Obama’s blunt language, delivered in the White House briefing room from behind a lectern with the presidential seal, offered a stark contrast to his muddled public handling of the disaster a day earlier.

    As the news broke on Thursday, the White House signaled that the president had first learned about the world-shaking events from Putin at the tail end of a telephone call arranged at Moscow’s request. With grisly details coming in, Obama went ahead with a heavily partisan public schedule: A speech in Wilmington, Delaware, where he hit Republicans over infrastructure funding, followed by a brace of Democratic fundraisers in New York City.

    Obama had begun his speech in Delaware with just seven sentences on the attack, declaring that “it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy” — a jarring response to media reports that were already citing a death toll of nearly 300 people. He did not tie the catastrophe to Russia.

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  • Obama to decide on Iraq strikes ‘in the days ahead’

    Olivier Knox, Yahoo News at Yahoo News1 mth ago

    Acknowledging that hard-won American gains in Iraq are at risk, President Barack Obama said on Friday that he won’t be sending U.S. ground troops back there to battle al-Qaida-inspired extremists but warned he could soon unleash military strikes there.

    “We have enormous interests there, and obviously our troops and the American people and the American taxpayers made huge investments and sacrifices in order to give Iraqis the opportunity to chart a better course, a better destiny,” Obama said.

    “We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq,” he promised on the South Lawn of the White House, with his Marine One helicopter as the carefully chosen backdrop. “But I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraq's security forces. And I'll be reviewing those options in the days ahead.”

    Obama sternly warned the government in Baghdad that America needs Iraq's leaders — notably Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — to embrace sweeping reforms to win back minority Sunnis and starve the insurgency of any popular support.

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