A Phony Peace in Colombia by Mary Anastasia O’Grady – Wall Street Journal
An announcement by Néstor Humberto Martínez, Colombia’s attorney general, earlier this month reveals the sad state of that country’s November 2016 “peace agreement” with the narco-terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Mr. Martínez said that he has evidence that there are officials inside the agreement’s “special peace court” who are “cooking up falsehoods and fraudulent processes” in violation of the Colombian Constitution.
Mr. Martínez pledged to prosecute these “unscrupulous” individuals for hiding information about members of the guerrilla group, known by the Spanish acronym FARC, who have violated the terms of the agreement requiring them to report to special enclaves and confess their crimes. This fits with reporting from the region that thousands of renegade FARC members have rearmed and returned to the battlefield. Their goal is to reclaim their turf from other drug-trafficking armies.
Welcome to Colombia, where the much-ballyhooed deal, crafted in Havana by the government of then-President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leadership, is unraveling faster than you can say “crime pays.”
The scandal at the peace court is only a slice of the trouble left behind by Mr. Santos, who handed power to President Iván Duque in August. As Bloomberg reported Sept. 11, Colombia is now experiencing a spike in rural violence, which had been greatly diminished under President Álvaro Uribe (2002-10).
Credit for this burgeoning regional security disaster also goes to former Secretary of State John Kerry, who backed the plan, and President Obama’s envoy to the Havana talks, Bernard Aronson…
Mattis: U.S. Troops Will Remain in Syria to Ensure ISIS’ Defeat, Support Peace Process by Corey Dickstein - Stars & Stripes
U.S. troops have been fighting Islamic State militants in Syria for four years and will remain in eastern portions of the war-torn country until American leaders are convinced the terrorist group cannot mount a return, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday.
For now, ISIS remains the sole focus for the roughly 2,000 American troops in Syria, whose objectives include aiding Syrian Democratic Forces in defeating the terrorist group and training local security forces to protect areas already purged of the group, Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.
It was a similar refrain from the defense chief who has long insisted U.S. troops were only in Syria to face down ISIS.
“Our troops are there for that one purpose right now,” Mattis said of the fight against ISIS. “We obviously have got to train up local security forces, so that ISIS and others … cannot get in. That’s part of the defeat of ISIS.”…
Bolton: U.S. Troops Staying in Syria Until Iran Leaves by Joe Gould and Tara Copp - Defense News
The U.S. will keep a military presence in Syria until Iran withdraws its forces, a top Trump administration official said Monday.
“We’re not going to leave as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders, and that includes Iranian proxies and militias,” White House national security adviser John Bolton said while in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.
The pledge comes as 2,200 U.S. troops serve in Syria, nearly all of them devoted to the war against the Islamic State in the eastern third of the country. While Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said Iran poses the bigger strategic threat, U.S. military leaders have emphasized that Iran is not their focus…
The CIA is Returning its Central Focus to Nation-State Rivals, Director Says by Shane Harris – Washington Post
The Central Intelligence Agency is rededicating itself to the kinds of missions that defined the agency for most of its seven-decade existence, focusing on foreign nations that challenge or threaten the United States, its director said here Monday.
In her first public remarks since being confirmed in May, Gina Haspel laid out her plan to return the agency to the work that was at the heart of its espionage mission before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which transformed the CIA into a paramilitary organization that conducted lethal operations against terrorists around the word.
Haspel’s remarks amounted to public affirmation of a transformation that has been underway for the past few years as the CIA attempts to shift from a consuming focus on terrorism.
Counterterrorism has not only absorbed much of the agency’s attention over the past 17 years but mired it in controversies over detention and interrogation. That history dogged Haspel during her confirmation process as senators and others focused on her role in the torture and brutal treatment of detainees…
U.N. Gathering Brings to Fore Clash Between Sovereignty and Multilateralism by Farnaz Fassihi and Valentina Pop – Wall Street Journal
World leaders streamed into New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly gathering this week, planning to confront persistent global problems as well as a burgeoning debate over two competing world views: national sovereignty and multilateralism.
More than 130 heads of state and government are attending the General Assembly, with some countries such as China and Russia represented by their foreign ministers. The gathering poses an annual challenge to thousands of New York law enforcement officers deployed for the event and to commuters and residents trying to travel across the city.
World leaders will hear from President Trump when he addresses the General Assembly on Tuesday morning; he will lead a Security Council meeting Wednesday on nonproliferation, discussing North Korea, Iran and Syria.
On one top U.S. foreign-policy issue, Mr. Trump met Monday at the U.N. with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and said he would be holding a second round of denuclearization talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “very soon,” once it is arranged by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo…