Monday, September 15, 2014

Coalition Meets in Paris to Discuss Plans on ISIS; Nations Say Global Action Needed to Defeat ISIS

An international coalition of 29 countries has met in Paris to discuss a coordinated response to counter the threat of Islamic militants in Iraq and Syria, the Euro News website reports today (September 15, 2014).

Earlier, the French announced that they would join Britain in operating reconnaissance flights over Islamic State positions to assist the U.S. air force currently engaged in strikes against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

Speaking at the opening of the conference, French President Francois Hollande said the world is facing a global threat which needs a global response.

More than a dozen Arab countries have agreed to support attacks against Islamic State militants.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Israeli Troops Will No Longer Spy on Palestinians; Say Some Things They're Asked to Do Are Immoral

Forty-three Israeli soldiers of a selective intelligence unit have written an open letter to their superiors refusing to take part in any further action against Palestinians because of what they see as past abuses, the Newser website reports today (September 14, 2014).

For instance, they say Unit 8200 would gather information about an individual's sex life and use it to blackmail the person into becoming an informer for Israel.

"The notion of rights for Palestinians does not exist at all, not even as an idea to be disregarded," says one of the 43.

"There are certain things that we were asked to do that we feel do not deserve the title of self-defense," one sergeant-major said. "Some of the things that we did are immoral, and are against the things we believe in, and we're not willing to do these things any more."

Pope: Massacres, Destruction Leading to WW III; Says Greed, Intolerance, Lust for Power Cause War

During a visit to Italy's largest war memorial, Pope Francis said this weekend that the world's conflicts today -- with the kind of crimes, massacres, and destruction they involve -- could be called a "piecemeal" Third World War, the Christian Post website reports today (September 14, 2014).

"War is madness," the Pope said in the homily of a mass yesterday at the Redipuglia war memorial,  where more than 100,000 soldiers who died in World War One are buried.

"Humanity needs to weep, and this is the time to weep," Francis said. "Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction."

War is irrational, the pontiff added. "Its only plan is to bring destruction: It seeks to grow by destroying," he said. "Greed, intolerance, the lust for power. These motives underlie the decision to go to war and they are too often justified by an ideology..."

Saturday, September 13, 2014

White House, Pentagon Contradict Kerry on ISIS; Say US at War,Kerry Calls It Counterterror Opn.

The White House and the Pentagon said for the first time yesterday that the United States is indeed "at war" with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), contradicting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who maintained a day earlier that Washington's efforts cannot be seen as part of the "war on terror," the Christian Post website reports today (September 13, 2014).

"In the same way that the United States is at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates... the United States is at war with ISIS," White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby was also quoted as saying that while "this is not the Iraq War" from a decade ago, Washington is "at war with ISIS in the same way we are at war and continue to be at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates."

On September 11, Kerry described the U.S. efforts to defeat ISIS militants as a "very significant... major counterterrorism operation," but added that "war is the wrong terminology." Kerry's spokeswoman, Marie Harf, also refused to call the operation part of the "war on terrorism."

Ukraine PM:Putin Wants to Seize East Europe; Says Putin's Ultimate Goal Is to Recreate USSR

Russian President Vladimir Putin's ultimate goal is to destroy Ukraine as an independent country and restore the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said today (September 13, 2014), according to the News Daily website.

Speaking at a conference in Kiev attended by European lawmakers and business leaders, Yatseniuk also praised a new wave of economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the European Union and the United States, and said they posed a major threat to the Russian economy.

"We are still on a stage of war and the key aggressor is the Russian Federation... Putin wants another frozen conflict (in eastern Ukraine)," Yatseniuk said.

"His goal is to take the entire Ukraine... Russia is a threat to the global order and to the security of the entire Europe."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Pope to Marry 20 Atypical Cath. Couples Sunday; Includes Couples Cohabitating, Others with Kids

Among the men and women Pope Francis is set to unite in marriage this weekend are Catholics who have been living together as well as couples who already have children, the Catholic News website reports today (September 12, 2014).

The Pope will preside over his first wedding ceremony as Pontiff during a Nuptial Mass in St. Peter's Basilica on Sunday, September 14. The event -- which will see 20 couples from the Diocese of Rome celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage -- was organized by the vicariate of Rome.

The ages of the brides and grooms range from the youngest being 25 to the oldest being 56, the vicariate said. It added that some couples "have been engaged for a long period of time or for not as long; there are those who are already cohabitating; who already have children; who got to know each other in Church."

While cohabitation is not in itself a canonical impediment to marriage, it is contrary to the Catholic  Church's teaching on marriage and sexual love. The Church urges that pastoral ministers help couples prepare for marriage by showing them the witness of Christian family life in such a way as they might regularize their situation before their wedding ceremony.

Central Intel Agency Says ISIS Has 31K Fighters; Ten Arab Nations Agree to Help US Destroy ISIS

There are as many as 31,000 fighters in terror group ISIS' army, the U.S. CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has said, which is three times more than previously feared. Meanwhile, ten Arab countries have said that they will be helping the U.S. in the war against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the Christian Post website reports today (September 12, 2014).

"This new total reflects an increase in [ISIS] members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence," CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said today.

The 10 Arab countries pledged to help the U.S. in its fight against the terror group are: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Arab countries said in a joint statement that they "shared commitment to stand united against the threat posed by all terrorism" and said that they had discussed a strategy to "destroy" the terror group wherever it operates.