- Laura Rozen | The Envoy – Wed, Mar 23, 2011
- Laura Rozen | The Envoy – Wed, Mar 23, 2011
The Obama White House is stepping up its outreach to policy hands on Capitol Hill, as well as to outside foreign policy experts and progressive allies, in a campaign to defend the president's decision to launch military operations in Libya.
"This is a limited humanitarian intervention, not war," White House Middle East strategist Dennis Ross, National Security Council strategic planning official Derek Chollet, and two military officials told a group of outside foreign policy experts invited to a briefing at the White House Roosevelt Room Tuesday.
"We were looking at 'Srebrenica on steroids' —the real or imminent possibility that up to a 100,000 people could be massacred, and everyone would blame us for it," Ross explained, according to one attendee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the administration is trying to keep its consultations private (though the meeting was referenced in a tweet.)
The White House national security officials also stressed that U.S.-led military operations in Libya would be transitioning soon to an international coalition, in which the United States would not be taking the lead.
"The president has made brutally clear to all of us that we are transitioning," Ross noted, according to the attendee.Read More »from Averting ‘Srebrenica on steroids’: White House defends Libya operations
jerusalemAt least 30 people have been wounded in a bombing near Jerusalem's crowded central bus station, Israeli daily Haaretz reports.
"It was not yet clear whether a suicide bomber was behind the attack. Bus No. 74 and No. 14 were reported as being hit," the paper said.
The bombing -- the first inside Jerusalem in almost four years -- occurred next to the two buses outside Jerusalem's International Convention Center Wednesday afternoon.
A British woman was reported to have died of wounds sustained in the blast.
Wounded were being taken to Hadassah Hospital, Haaretz reported.
(Scene of bus bombing in Jerusalem on March 23, 2011: Photo by Israel Channel 10, via Haaretz.)Read More »from Explosion at Jerusalem bus station
- Ukraine says Russian troops evict border guards from outpost
Ukraine's border guards said on Saturday some of their men had been evicted from an outpost in eastern Crimea by Russian soldiers, who seized their apartments and forced them out in the middle of the night with their families. It was not immediately possible independently to confirm the report, the latest confrontation between Russian troops who seized the Black Sea peninsula last week and the detachments of Ukrainians who remain there. Russian forces in uniforms with no markings have surrounded Ukrainian bases in the occupied peninsula since they seized it last week, and the region's Russian separatist leadership has ordered the Ukrainians to surrender. "Aggressive Russian troops stormed and seized a unit of the border service at Shcholkine and ousted the families of the Ukrainian borders guards," the Ukrainian border service said in a statement.
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- China: Vietnam detects signals from missing place
BEIJING (AP) — China's state media says Vietnamese authorities have detected signals from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
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- Ohio couple found guilty of enslaving woman and child
By Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio couple was convicted on Friday of holding captive a cognitively disabled woman and her young child, who were forced to eat dog food and threatened with a large snake, federal prosecutors said. A jury found Jordie Callahan, 27 and Jessica Hunt, 32, guilty of engaging in labor trafficking, conspiracy and forced labor after a three-week trial in a Youngstown federal court. Prosecutors told jurors during the trial that Callahan threatened to kill the adult victim if she did not engage in sex acts with him, clean the apartment, go to the store and care for the couple's numerous dogs and reptiles. Prosecutors also said the victims were beaten, threatened with pit bulls and a 130-lb (60-kg) Burmese python, fed dog food and made to crawl on the floor while wearing a dog collar as they were being held captive in a room in the couple's Ashland apartment, some 85 miles northeast of Columbus.
- Israel brings arms ship to dock, hopes to shame Iran
A ship seized by the Israeli navy on suspicion of smuggling arms from Iran to the Gaza Strip docked on Saturday in Israel, which planned to put the cargo on display in hope of denting Tehran's rapprochement with the West. Israel said it found dozens of advanced Syrian-made rockets hidden on board in Iran and destined for the ship's next port in Sudan, from where they would have been trucked through Egypt to Gaza. Iran and Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers, both hostile to the Jewish state, rejected the Israeli findings as fabrications. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been dismayed at world powers' nuclear diplomacy with Iran since Tehran installed the relatively pragmatic Hassan Rouhani as president last year, voiced hope they would now rethink the outreach.