Tag Archives: Tunisia

US Legislation to counter violent extremism by involving foreign governments

Newsroom24x7 Staff

More than 35,000 foreigners from 120 countries have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS, and many of these fighters are now looking to return to their homes and to the United States to carry out attacks. -US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce

violent extremismWashington DC: Earlier this week, on Wednesday, the US House of Representatives passed the Enhancing Overseas Traveler Vetting Act (H.R. 4403) to improve the vetting of travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases, enhance border management, and improve targeting and analysis.

H.R. 4403 will authorize the US Secretaries of the Department of State and Homeland Security to develop open-source software platforms to vet travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases. It permits the open-source software to be shared with foreign governments and multilateral organizations, like INTERPOL.

The latest legislation H.R. 4403 is a significant step forward to block the movement of suspected terrorists across countries. It comes after five Syrians using fake passports had traveled freely through Argentina and Costa Rica before being apprehended by Honduran authorities. Others from Pakistan and Afghanistan also have attempted to enter the U.S. through its Southwest border as was reported last November.

Following the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, reports surfaced that one of the individuals under investigation for participating in the attacks had spent time in Latin America. We also learned that five Syrians using fake passports had traveled freely through Argentina and Costa Rica before being apprehended by Honduran authorities. Others from Pakistan and Afghanistan have attempted to enter the U.S. through our Southwest border as was reported last November. Interpol has stated that only 5,600 out of 25,000 foreign terrorist fighters thought to be operating worldwide have been identified by law enforcement agencies. Rep. Jeff Duncan

Speaking on the House floor in support of the bipartisan legislation, introduced by Texas Rep. Will Hurd, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce made the following remarks:

“The global threat of terrorism has never been as high as it is today. In just the last 12 months, we’ve seen terrorists strike in my home state of California, and in France, Belgium, Turkey, India, Tunisia, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Pakistan and Iraq – to name a few. No country is immune. The ideology of violent extremism knows no boundaries – allowing individuals to become radicalized by terrorists overseas without leaving their neighborhood.

I just returned from Iraq, Jordan and Tunisia, where I heard first-hand about the foreign fighter threat. More than 35,000 foreigners from 120 countries have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS, and many of these fighters are now looking to return to their homes and to the United States to carry out attacks.

That is why information sharing between countries is more critical than ever.

The bipartisan Task Force’s report highlighted the lack of any comprehensive, global database of foreign fighters and suspected terrorists. In its absence, the U.S. and other countries rely on a patchwork system for exchanging extremist identities, which is weak and increases the odds that foreign fighters and suspected terrorists will be able to cross borders undetected.

H.R. 4403 will authorize the Secretaries of the Department of State and Homeland Security to develop open-source software platforms to vet travelers against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases. It permits the open-source software to be shared with foreign governments and multilateral organizations, like INTERPOL.

Chairman of House subcommittee Ed RoyceIleana Ros-Lehtinen, on a March 22 hearing on Middle East and North Africa had said: “Hezbollah isn’t just a threat to our ally, the democratic Jewish State of Israel, it is a growing threat to the region and to our own national security interests. The terror group – an Iranian proxy – has been helping keep Assad in power in Syria and prolonging the conflict there, while simultaneously building up its missile stockpile that it has targeted for attacks on Israel. There’s no doubt that, in the wake of the sanctions relief for Iran as part of the JCPOA, Iran will only increase its support for the terror group, making it an even greater menace. This threat Hezbollah poses to the region has also led the GCC and Arab League to designate it as a terrorist organization.

The issue of terrorists crossing borders the chairman of the US House subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere Rep. Jeff Duncan earlier gave a broad insight regarding the magnitude of the problem and how it affects directly different countries by making the following observation:

“Following the November 2015 Paris terrorist attacks, reports surfaced that one of the individuals under investigation for participating in the attacks had spent time in Latin America. We also learned that five Syrians using fake passports had traveled freely through Argentina and Costa Rica before being apprehended by Honduran authorities. Others from Pakistan and Afghanistan have attempted to enter the U.S. through our Southwest border as was reported last November. Interpol has stated that only 5,600 out of 25,000 foreign terrorist fighters thought to be operating worldwide have been identified by law enforcement agencies. In view of this, I believe it is critical that we examine potential threats to the U.S. and the region from border security vulnerabilities and work to strengthen our security cooperation with our neighbors.”
On a recent hearing by the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on FY 2017 Budget Priorities for South Asia: Recovery, Development, and Engagement, Chairman Matt Salmon has been quoted as saying that South Asia, with over 1.5 billion people, has enormous potential, but the region also faces major development challenges and threats from violent extremism, weak governance, and corruption. This hearing will discuss ways to improve and streamline the US efforts in South Asia.
On the March 23 hearing by the House subcommittee on the US “Administration’s Plan to Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility: At What Foreign Policy and National Security Cost?” the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Ed Royce remarked: “According to the Obama administration’s own figures, more than 30 percent of detainees released from the prison at Guantanamo Bay have returned to terrorist activities. Those that remain are among the most hardened and highly trained terrorists in the world – and they are committed to killing Americans. This hearing will allow members to question officials from Departments of State and Defense on the president’s plan to close the prison by bringing some of these terrorists to U.S. soil, and releasing others to countries that are ill-equipped to stop them from returning to the battlefield.”

World leaders condemn the latest terror attacks

Newsroom24x7 Desk

terror attacksNew Delhi/Kuwait/Washington DC: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the lose of lives, in the attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the cowardly attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia”, the Indian Prime Minister said in a statement adding the progress of humanity lies in peace, brotherhood and non-violence, not in hatred, terror and mindless violence against others”.

Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Second Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Prince Mohammad bin Salman has denounced the deadly attack on Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque in the Sawaber area of Kuwait City The Saudi prince said his country stands united with Kuwait and its people.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah in a statement on Friday’s suicide attack in Kuwait said: “On behalf of the Asian Olympic and sports family, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences on this tragedy to His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti government and the Kuwaiti people.”

The White House in America described the attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia and France as ‘heinous acts of terror’. The United States has condemned in the strongest possible terms yesterday’s horrifying terrorist attacks in France, Kuwait, Somalia, and Tunisia, where dozens of innocent civilians – and in the case of Somalia, Burundian peacekeepers – were killed and injured.

Making this statement at the daily press briefing here on Friday, US Department of State Spokesperson John Kirby said: ” The United States grieves with the people and governments of Burundi, France, Kuwait, Somalia, Tunisia, and other nations affected by these vicious attacks, and stands with them in solidarity as they reject terrorism, protect their communities, restore peace and security, and persevere through these tragedies.

Kirby reiterated that the US would continue to work with all its allies and partners to address the shared threat of terrorism and violent extremism and to degrade and destroy the ability of these terrorist groups to carry out their callous attacks on innocent people.

Answering a question on these attacks , Kirby said there is a common thread of terrorism throughout them. Back in January, he told journalists, The Us did issue a worldwide caution about travel in particular and that stands and stays in effect. “In Kuwait our post there did put out an updated note to U.S. citizens there to avoid the area of the mosque that was targeted”, he said adding: “I don’t believe there are plans to issue a new warning with respect to these attacks.”

we’ve been very clear about the growing menace of ISIL in North Africa and Libya specifically. We know that this is a group that wants to metastasize beyond Iraq and Syria, though Iraq and Syria remain the principal theater in which they continue to influence and operate. And – but this has been a constant area of focus for us, not just – frankly not just in North Africa, but around the world.

On the issue of combating the ISIL menace, Kirby said “the degree to which we’re cooperating with those Kurdish fighters in northern Syria has been limited principally to airstrikes, and we continue to conduct airstrikes in Syria against ISIL positions. And I think that those strikes will continue, and that’s basically, in essence – that’s where that cooperation (between United States and Kurdish forces in northern Syria) stays.”

Terror attacks leave dozens dead across three continents

Terrorists target France, Kuwait and Tunisia

Newsroom24x7 Desk

France_Tunisia_kuwaitParis: Terrorists went ahead with a series of barbaric attacks today in France, Kuwait and Tunisia leaving a trail of deaths across three continents.

The terorists failed to blow up an American chemical plant near Lyon but one person was killed in this incident.

In Kuwait city, there was suicide bombing at the imposing Shia mosque during the Friday Namaz (prayers). The explosion left at least two dozen dead. The ISIL has claimed responsibility for this attack.

On Friday, gunmen, said to be jehadists, fired indiscriminately at a beach resort in Tunisia killing at least 27 people. The security forces retaliated and killed one of the attackers

50 countries do not meet fiscal transparency requirements: US Report

Newsroom24x7 Flash

Department of StateThe US department of State has concluded that, of the 140 governments that were potential beneficiaries of foreign assistance and were evaluated 50 did not meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. Of these, eleven governments made significant progress toward meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency.

On January 14, US Secretary of State John Kerry released the FY 2014 Fiscal Transparency Report, assessing whether governments that receive U.S. assistance meet minimum requirements of fiscal transparency. The Department’s assessments evaluate the substantial completeness, reliability, and public availability of budget documents, as well as the transparency of natural resource extraction contracting and license procedures.

The Report is prepared under Section 7031(b) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2014. The Report examines governments receiving bilateral allocations of assistance under the Act. In compiling the Report, the Department assessed the fiscal transparency of governments as of the date the Act became law.

Governments meeting fiscal transparency requirements

The Department assessed the following governments as meeting the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency for FY 2014: Albania, Angola, Armenia, Argentina, The Bahamas, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cabo Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Pakistan, Palestinian Authority, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Zambia.

The following table lists those governments that were found not to meet the minimum requirements of fiscal transparency and identifies whether the governments made significant progress toward meeting those requirements:

Governments Assessed Pursuant to the Act as not Meeting Minimum Requirements of Fiscal Transparency for FY 2014

Significant Progress

No Significant Progress

Afghanistan

X

Algeria

X

Azerbaijan

X

Bahrain

X

Bangladesh

X

Burkina Faso

X

Burma

X

Burundi

X

Cambodia

X

Cameroon

X

Central African Republic

X

Chad

X

China

X

Comoros

X

Congo, Democratic Republic of the

X

Congo, Republic of the

X

Dominican Republic

X

Egypt

X

Ethiopia

X

Fiji

X

Gabon

X

Gambia, The

X

Guinea

X

Guinea-Bissau

X

Haiti

X

Kazakhstan

X

Laos

X

Lebanon

X

Libya

X

Madagascar

X

Malawi

X

Maldives

X

Nicaragua

X

Niger

X

Nigeria

X

Oman

X

Sao Tome and Principe

X

Saudi Arabia

X

Somalia

X

South Sudan

X

Sudan

X

Suriname

X

Swaziland

X

Tajikistan

X

Tanzania

X

Turkmenistan

X

Ukraine

X

Uzbekistan

X

Yemen

X

Zimbabwe

X

US views fiscal transparency as a critical element of effective public financial management since it helps in building market confidence, and sets the stage for economic sustainability. Transparency also provides a window into government budgets for citizens of any country, helping them to hold their leadership accountable. Reviews of the fiscal transparency of governments that receive U.S. assistance help to ensure that U.S. taxpayer money is used appropriately and sustain a dialogue with governments to improve their fiscal performance, leading to greater macroeconomic stability and better development outcomes, the US department of State goes on to emphasise.

The Office of Monetary Affairs (OMA) monitors global macroeconomic developments and works to prevent and resolve financial crises in countries where U.S. interests are at risk. It seeks to increase the financial security of the United States and its key partners. OMA also works to expand global economic growth and development by advocating sound macroeconomic policies that foster economic stability and expand opportunities for U.S. trade and investment worldwide.

OMA provides the Secretary of State with expertise on global financial and macroeconomic issues, working in close cooperation with the Treasury Department’s Office of International Affairs. OMA is also the Department’s liaison with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In addition, OMA interacts with a wide range of foreign government officials and representatives of other international and non-governmental organizations. It also consults with representatives of private financial institutions to ensure that U.S. financial interests abroad are accurately and effectively reflected in U.S. foreign economic policy.

To help poorer countries overcome unsustainable debt burdens and improve their chances for economic growth and development, OMA promotes debt relief through the Paris Club, representing the Secretary of State as Head of the U.S. delegation. The Paris Club is the forum for coordinating debt relief policy among sovereign creditors and negotiating individual country debt treatments. Paris Club agreements can also affect non-member country and private sector creditors when debtor countries are required to seek comparable treatment. OMA also coordinates with the Treasury Department to formulate U.S. debt-relief policies more broadly and to promote initiatives through multilateral institutions.

OMA develops strategies to fight corruption and improve transparency from an economic and business perspective. OMA heads the U.S. delegation to the OECD Working Group on Bribery in International Business Transactions, coordinates the interagency to combat bribery of foreign public officials, and ensures compliance with the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in Internationals in International Business Transactions, also known as the Anti-Bribery Convention.

Click Here for Government by Government Assessment (Fiscal Transparency Report)