Stories written by Eli Clifton
Eli Clifton is a national security reporter for Eli holds a bachelor's degree from Bates College and a master's degree in international political economy from the London School of Economics. He previously reported on U.S. foreign policy for IPS, where he served as deputy Washington, D.C. bureau chief. His work has appeared on PBS/Frontline's Tehran Bureau, the South China Morning Post, Right Web, Asia Times,, and Website: Blog: | Web

Iran Deal Is Key Test of Trump’s Commitment to NATO Allies

Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton threatens to mainstream the Islamophobia, misogyny, racism, and anti-Semitism that swirled around his candidacy and supporters. On the foreign policy front his comments were no less shocking. But the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump hasn’t discussed in any depth beyond his promise at AIPAC’s March conference that his “number-one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran,” may stand as an early litmus test for his relationship with NATO allies.

Pro-Peace Jewish Lobby Group Urges Obama to Seize Moment

J Street, the Washington-based "Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace" advocacy group, drew a large crowd to its annual conference this year despite criticism over its controversial calls for the Barack Obama administration not to veto a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.

Mideast Peace Key to Countering Iran, Arabs Told U.S. Diplomats

Gleeful Israeli leaders and their neo-conservative supporters here have spent much of the past week insisting that the State Department cables published by Wikileaks prove that Sunni Arab leaders in the Middle East are far more preoccupied with the threat posed by an ascendant and possibly nuclear Iran than with a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

White House Questions Suspension of Military Aid to Lebanon

Several powerful members of Congress have worked to suspend U.S. military aid to Lebanon's military after a deadly skirmish on the Lebanese-Israeli border last week which left two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist and one Israeli officer dead.

Pakistan Poll Finds Widespread Disillusionment

The recent Wikileaks dump of war-related documents has brought little new to the debate over Washington's ongoing military involvement in Afghanistan, but allegations that Pakistan's intelligence services are aiding the Taliban has brought renewed attention to U.S. concerns over its reliance on Islamabad in battling Taliban and al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan.

Hopes Fade for Languishing U.S. Climate Bill

The Barack Obama administration has found success in passing healthcare reform and legislation touted as an "overhaul" of the U.S. financial system, but last week it became clear that the Democrats wouldn't advance a climate change bill until after the August recess and, more likely, until next year.

US and South Korea Impose New Sanctions on North

The United States and South Korea will impose new sanctions on North Korea in an effort to crackdown on the North’s participation in arms proliferation and increase pressure on Pyongyang after the sinking of a South Korean warship.

Obama-Cameron Meet Overshadowed By BP and Libya

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Washington, DC on Tuesday was supposed to be an opportunity for the Conservative Party leader to build a rapport with U.S. President Barack Obama.

SUDAN: Fear Campaign Reported Ahead of Referendum

With less than six months before the residents of southern Sudan vote on a reform which is expected to result in the cessation of South Sudan from the north, a new report implicates Sudan’s security services in "carrying out a brutal campaign of arbitrary detentions, torture, and mental and physical intimidation" against opponents of the government.

N. Korea Agrees to Talks on Torpedoed Warship

Depending on whom you asked, Friday's statement from the U.N. condemning the "attack" on a South Korean warship was either a victory for those countries seeking to publicly shame North Korea or a failure of the international community to sufficiently assign blame to Pyongyang for the incident.

CNN’s Objectivity Questioned in Sacking of Mideast Reporter

CNN's firing of Octavia Nasr, the editor responsible for the network's Middle East coverage, over a Twitter post in which she expressed her sadness over the death of a Lebanese cleric has set off a firestorm of debate about what the decision says about CNN's fairness in reporting on the region.

Anti-Immigrant State Laws Could Multiply, Obama Warns

U.S. President Barack Obama criticised "ill conceived" immigration laws in Arizona and called on Republicans to end their opposition to immigration reform and pass bipartisan immigration reform in speech delivered Thursday morning.

White House Low-Key on China-Pakistan Nuke Deal

Last week's meeting of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in New Zealand brought statements of concern over China's planned nuclear deal with Pakistan, but U.S. State Department officials avoided taking a strong position on the deal when pressed by reporters this week.

US: Gun Control Groups Divided on High Court Ruling

Monday's Supreme Court decision on the extent to which the Second Amendment of the U.S. constitution guarantees the universal right to own a gun is being welcomed by organisations on both sides of the debate, even as some warn that the ruling could open a floodgate of legislation challenging gun laws in different states.

Chinese Currency Concession Eases Pressure Ahead of Summit

China's central bank announced Saturday that it would give the Chinese Yuan (RMB) flexibility to gradually rise in value against the U.S. dollar in a move that was welcomed by Washington and designed to appease global leaders at this weekend's G20 meeting in Toronto.

Israeli Concessions on Gaza Fall Short of a New Policy

Israel's announcement Thursday that it would ease the restrictions on goods entering Gaza has been received by NGOs and the international community as a move in the right direction, but as not going far enough in lifting the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip.

/CORRECTED REPEAT*/: U.S. Urged to Engage China on N. Korea Nukes

On a day when North Korea's World Cup team played its first match in South Africa - ending in a respectable two-one loss against powerhouse Brazil - a new report is suggesting that the White House engage in more active diplomacy to address the deterioration of regional attempts to persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons programme.

US-CHINA: Spring Thaw to Summer Squall

Earlier this spring, many here in Washington were hopeful that Chinese president Hu Jintao's attendance at the Nuclear Security Summit, the U.S. Treasury Department's decision to hold off on naming China as a "currency manipulator", and China's support of U.N. sanctions against Iran all pointed to a thaw in the cool relationship between the Barack Obama White House and Beijing.

Reform Groups Slam “Militarisation” of U.S.-Mexico Border

President Barack Obama will be sending 1,200 National Guard troops to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border after pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to tighten border security and increase funding to combat the flow of illegal drugs into the U.S.

U.S. Base Reversal Draws Public Ire on Okinawa

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama announced on Monday that he would renege on his campaign promise to renegotiate the move of a controversial U.S. airbase off the island of Okinawa.

Pressure Mounts on N. Korea over Warship Attack

Thursday's formal accusation by South Korea that a North Korean torpedo sunk the warship Cheonan, killing 46 South Korean sailors, has set off a flurry of activity in Washington as politicians and foreign policy experts try to identify an appropriate U.S. response while balancing the need to maintain a stable relationship with China - the North's biggest sponsor.

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