PamelaFalk CBS News, United Nations
  • Yemen at “the edge of civil war,” U.N. envoy says

    ADEN, Yemen- The U.N.’s special envoy for Yemen, Jamal Benomar, warned an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Sunday that events were pushing the country “to the edge of civil war.” Benomar, appearing in a video briefing from Qatar, said “it would be an illusion” to think the rebel Houthis in control of the capital could take control of the entire country, and he urged all parties to resolve the conflict peacefully. After hearing from Benomar, the Security Council approved a strong, but unenforceable presidential statement which supports Yemen’s embattled president, pleads with all factions to negotiate, and warns terrorists involved in recent bombings that they will be brought to justice, reports CBS News’ Pamela Falk. The warning of civil war came as Yemen’s Shiite rebel leader escalated his attack Sunday against the country’s embattled president, vowing to send fighters to the south where Abed-Rabbo Mansour Hadi has taken refuge. The fiery speech came hours after his militia seized the third- largest city of Taiz, an important station in its advance. Play VIDEO CIA insider on Yemen: Current crisis will give space for AQAP to grow Abdel-Malik al-Houthi, who is backed by supporters of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, said the mobilization is aimed at fighting al Qaeda and other militant groups, as well as forces loyal to Hadi who are in the south intending to further destabilize Yemen. In his one-hour speech on al-Masirah TV, al-Houthi called Hadi a “puppet” to international and regional powers who want to “import the Libyan model” to Yemen. He named the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as conspirators against Yemen and other countries in the region. Libya is torn by warring militias with rival parliaments on either end of the country claiming legitimacy and radicals from the Islamic State group taking root. Yemen’s turmoil has deepened since the Shiite rebel group, known as the Houthis, seized Sanaa in September, putting Hadi under house arrest and eventually dissolving the country’s parliament. They now control at least nine of the country’s 21 provinces. Hadi, who is backed by the international community, fled to Aden - the country’s second most important city and economic hub - declaring it a de-facto capital earlier this month. The escalation Sunday began when forces loyal to Saleh took over Taiz and its international airport. Security officials allied with Hadi said the rebel forces were already mobilizing tanks and fighters on the road from Taiz to neighboring Lahj province, apparently on their way to Aden. “The decision (to mobilize) aims to confront the criminal forces, al Qaeda, and its partners and sisters, and all those who want to take cover in regions or using political pretexts,” al-Houthi said. He accused Hadi of partnering with militant groups to destabilize Yemen. Security officials said one person was killed and four wounded when rebel fighters opened fire on protesting crowds in Taiz against their advance in the city, which was known as a hotbed for protests against Saleh in the beginning of 2011 that forced him to step down. The security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the press. If the rebels hold onto Taiz, the capital of Yemen’s most populous province, it would pose a major threat to Hadi in Aden, just 85 miles away. The turmoil has undermined Yemen’s ability to combat al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the target of a U.S. drone program, and the country now also faces a purported affiliate of the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria group, which claimed responsibility for a series of suicide bombings killing at least 137 people Friday. A day earlier, U.S. troops evacuated a southern air base crucial to the drone program after al-Qaida militants seized a nearby city. All these factors could push the Arab world’s most impoverished country, united only in the 1990s, back toward civil war.

  • Can Kerry clear the hurdles for a real deal with Iran?

    Top U.S., Iranian diplomats meet face-to-face amid mounting backlash in both countries and lingering obstacles to a nuclear pact. Iran’s Parliament today voted to lift all sanctions and said that if the deal is not sealed, Iran will restart uranium enrichment to the level required by Iran’s needs. The United States and Iran are plunging back into negotiations in a bid to end a decades-long standoff that has raised the specter of an Iranian nucleararsenal, a new atomic arms race in the Middle East and even a U.S. or Israeli military intervention.

  • Boko Haram + ISIS = Dangerous Brew

    Chad and Niger have launched a joint-offensive across the border in Northeast Nigeria, the headquarters of Boko Haram. Pamela Falk, CBS News, discusses the leader of the terrorist group swearing allegiance to ISIS.

  • Obama & Ban Ki-Moon On How To Fight Terror/ISIS

    President Obama told a summit with representatives from 65 countries that the entire world has a role to play in countering the ideology peddled by terrorist groups. “We have to confront the warped ideologies espoused by terrorists like ISIL,” Mr. Obama said, using an alternate acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). “These terrorists are desperate for legitimacy, and all of us have a responsibility to refute the notion that groups like ISIL somehow represent Islam because that is a falsehood that embraces the terrorist narrative.” In his remarks, which were delivered on the closing day of a summit on violent extremism, Mr. Obama said that while there is a “complicated history” between the Middle East and the West, this is not a clash of civilizations. “The notion that the west is at war with Islam is an ugly lie,” he said.

  • Jordan Responds To ISIS Killing Of Pilot; Fate Of American Hostage Unclear

    Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants burned a captured Jordanian pilot to death in a cage, according to a purported video of the violence released Tuesday. The kingdom, which had vowed a swift and lethal response, executed two al Qaeda prisoners by hanging early Wednesday. The pilot’s gruesome death sparked outrage and anti-ISIS demonstrations in Jordan and outrage elsewhere in the Middle East. The video emerged after a week-long drama over a possible prisoner exchange for a female al Qaeda operative imprisoned in Jordan. She was one of the two prisoners executed. The Jordanian military confirmed the death of 26-year-old Lt. Muath Al-Kaseasbeh, who was captured by the extremists in December when his F-16 crashed while he was flying a mission as part of the U.S.-led air campaign against ISIS. He was the first airman participating in the U.S.-led bombing raids against militant positions in Syria and Iraq to be captured. In Washington, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and President Obama vowed in a hastily arranged White House meeting not to let up in the fight against ISIS. Jordan, a staunch Western ally, is a member of the coalition. In a first response to the killing of the pilot, Jordan executed Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouly, two Iraqis linked to al Qaeda, government spokesman Mohammed al-Momani said. Another official said they were executed by hanging.Jordan’s U.N. Ambassador, Dina Kawar, who has been vocal at the U.N. about the fight against ISIS, tweeted the message that the government was conveying to its own people: “Today as ever Jordan stands united, strong & determined. Those who are still wondering who the enemy is, got to see them first hand,” reports CBS News’ Pamela Falk.

  • ISIS Video Purports To Show Jordanian Pilot Burned Alive; Fate Of American AId Worker Unknown

    A video released online Tuesday purportedly showed a Jordanian pilot captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria being burned to death by his captors following a weeklong drama over a possible prisoner exchange. CBS News was not immediately able to confirm the authenticity of the video but the Jordanian government confirmed on Tuesday that the pilot had been killed.

  • Al Jazeera journalist freed from prison in Egypt

    “The combined efforts of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his meetings with Egyptian officials, journalist organizations, and social media campaigns on Twitter of #FreeAJStaff and #JournalismisNotaCrime put enormous pressure on the government of Egypt to release Peter Greste,” reported CBS News’ Pamela Falk from the U.N.

  • US And China Make Joint Announcement On Climate Change

    BEIJING — Following an intense two days of talks, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled an array of agreements on climate change, military cooperation and trade as they sought to overcome persistent tensions between the nations with the world’s two largest economies. Areas of discord still bubbled to the surface during their rare joint news conference in the heart of the Chinese capital. Mr. Obama gently pressed Xi on human rights and rejected rumors that the U.S. is fueling pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, while the Chinese president repeatedly reminded his American guest that his nation wants to be seen as an equal to the United States.


    China appears to be running the show, including dressing up President Obama; China’s conflict with regional neighbors in the South China Sea peaked this spring, when Beijing rammed and sunk a Vietnamese fishing vessel near a Chinese oil rig in waters claimed by Vietnam and Indonesia.

  • Amid new Israeli strikes, Kerry begins push for truce

    The unusually intense Israeli strikes came as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met in Cairo to launch the highest-level push yet to end two weeks of Israel-Hamas hostilities that have claimed at least 570 Palestinian and 29 Israeli lives.

  • FIghting Escalate In Middle East

    The conflict in the Middle East is escalating rapidly. Israel intensified its aerial offensive in Gaza early Tuesday, bombing about 50 targets, including four homes the military said belonged to militants, after about 80 rockets were fired out of Gaza on Monday, some of them reaching deep into Israel. AP photo, CBSNews

  • Hillary On Putin: I’m Talking About You, Vladimir

    Hillary Clinton at the Council on Foreign Relations: I could not have predicted, however, the extent to which ISIS could be effective in seizing cities in Iraq and trying to erase boundaries to create an Islamic state. With respect to Syria, yeah, I did feel quite strongly that we needed to see if it were possible to vet and train and equip moderate opposition figures, because when this started, there was truly a citizens’ uprising.

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