The List of Terror
White House spokesman Jay Carney said yesterday that Pakistan needs to cut its ties to the Haqqani network. When asked about possible retribution if Islamabad doesn’t take appropriate action, Carney commented, “We are obviously always reviewing our aid programs.” Some U.S. officials are concerned that chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen’s statement that the Haqqanis form a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s intelligence service may have been unnecessarily provocative. One senior Pentagon official, according to the Washington Post, said that Mullen’s choice of words “overstates the case.”
State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that her department is still reviewing whether to name entire Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organization. She noted that “quite a sizeable number of the Haqqani kingpins” have already been designated foreign terrorists. Other reports have indicated that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is close to putting the Haqqani network on the list.
Washington isn’t happy about Israel’s latest settlement move. Israel approved a plan yesterday to build over a thousand new homes; Carney said that “the administration and the United States government is deeply disappointed by that announcement.” Nuland also used the “deeply disappointed” phrase, calling the move “counterproductive.” Last week, the Palestinians requested full membership in the UN, and the Quartet attempted to get both sides back to the table by submitting a proposal for negotiations.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down yesterday with her Portuguese counterpart and urged Europe to address the debt crisis through reforms. She cited Portugal’s “impressive resolve” to put austerity measures in place, but stressed that Washington expects “European leaders to continue to ensure that the response to this crisis is strong, flexible, and most importantly, effective.” Washington’s main economic man meanwhile called on U.S. businesses to support development banks. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, “If the emerging markets and developing nations grow, we can export more. We can hire more workers.”
Things are getting a bit better in Iraq, at least on the Iran-backed-attacks front. A military spokesman said that there has been a “clear trend” recently of fewer Iran-supported attacks, thanks in large part to counterterrorism operations launched by U.S. and Iraqi forces. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has also cited Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki’s political pressure on Iran as a reason for the decrease.