Philippines’ Duterte rails at U.S. ‘monkeys’ for halting gun sale

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte chided the United States on Wednesday for halting the planned sale of 26,000 rifles to his country, calling those behind the decision “fools” and “monkeys” and indicating he might turn to Russia and China instead.

Duterte’s tirades against the former colonial power are routine during his speeches and he said on Wednesday he once believed in Washington, but had since lost respect for the Philippines’ biggest ally.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said he regarded Duterte’s latest salvo as “inexplicably at odds with the close relationship that we continue to have with not just the Filipino people, but the Filipino government.” Continue reading

U.S. lawmakers warn of ISIS attack on American soil, urge strong response to Islamic terrorists in Iraq

Islamic militants’ growing influence in Iraq and Syria is a threat to Americans, lawmakers from both political parties agreed Sunday even as they sharply disagreed on what role the United States should play in trying to crush them.

President Barack Obama last week approved limited airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham fighters, whose rapid rise in June plunged Iraq into its worst crisis since the end of 2011, when U.S. troops withdrew from the country at the end of an unpopular eight-year war. Obama said the current military campaign would be a “long-term project” to protect civilians from the deadly and brutal insurgents.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said the militants threaten not just Iraqis but also Americans. He said Obama’s airstrikes were insufficient to turn back the militants and were designed “to avoid a bad news story on his watch.”

I think of an American city in flames because of the terrorists’ ability to operate in Syria and in Iraq,” said Graham, a reliable advocate for U.S. use of military force overseas.

They are coming here,” Graham later added about the militants. “This is just not about Baghdad. This is just not about Syria. It is about our homeland.Continue reading