The Envoy
  • alexandria• U.S. orders partial evacuation of embassy non-essential staff, dependents out of Syria, urges Americans to leave while commercial flights. (Reuters)

    • Iran, Bahrain on agenda as President Barack Obama meets with UAE Crown Prince at the White House today. (Simon Henderson/Washington Institute)

    • U.S hikers held for 19 months in Iran get new court date. (New York Times)

    • Former President Jimmy Carter arrives in North Korea. (Jerusalem Post)

    • Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hints he may not run again in Russia's March 2012 elections, clearing way for Vladimir Putin. (Associated Press)

    • Kazakh diplomat who attempted to hijack plane to Libya said to be suffering nervous breakdown. (Russia Today)

    Read More »from News of the world: U.S. urges Americans to leave Syria; Medvedev hints he won’t run
  • deraasyriaAs the Syrian army moved tanks into the southern city of Deraa to put down protests, the White House sharpened its condemnation of the government's brutal crackdown against protesters Monday. The Obama administration is now considering targeted new sanctions against the Bashar al-Assad regime.

    "The brutal violence used by the government of Syria against its people is completely deplorable and we condemn it in the strongest possible terms," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement Monday.

    "The United States is pursuing a range of possible policy options, including targeted sanctions, to respond to the crackdown and make clear that this behavior is unacceptable," he continued. "The Syrian people's call for freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and the ability to freely choose their leaders must be heard."

    The harsher White House statement contrasted with previous U.S. and European calls for Assad to stop the violence and show his commitment to reforms. But it stopped well short of asking Assad to step down, as the Obama administration and European allies have demanded--as yet to no avail--in the case of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.

    Read More »from U.S. threatens new Syria sanctions amid intensifying crackdown
  • Mini mystery: Where’s Hillary Clinton?

    clintonkissingerIn more than two years as Barack Obama's Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has kept up a punishing schedule of near constant foreign travel, diplomatic outreach, White House meetings, and management of the large State Department bureaucracy. And in the process, she's emerged as one of the most popular figures in Obama's cabinet.

    So it was very unusual when this week's State Department public "week ahead" itinerary described Clinton as having no public appointments at all on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Indeed, her first public appointment is not scheduled until Thursday morning—and that is a highly ceremonial appearance: officiating at a symbolic swearing-in of children of State Department employees participating in take your child to work today.

    What's more, Clinton is conspicuously missing—even by videoconference—from the list of senior Obama national security advisers and cabinet chiefs due to meet with the President today on Afghanistan and Pakistan at 11:30 AM.

    Read More »from Mini mystery: Where’s Hillary Clinton?


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