Hillary Clinton takes blame for US handling of Benghazi attack; China criticises EU sanctions on Iran over nuclear programme; South Korea and US meet to discuss regional security; UN-Arab League envoy urges ceasefire in Syria; Radovan Karadzic denies Bosnia war crimes; and more

Top of the Agenda: Hillary Clinton Takes Responsibility for Benghazi Attack

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a visit to Peru that she will take the blame (CNN) for any shortcomings in the handling of an attack last month on the U.S. mission in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens. The White House has come under severe partisan fire for its handling of the incident (AFP), as Vice President Joe Biden affirmed during last week's vice presidential debate that Washington was oblivious to requests for security enhancement at Benghazi, contradicting testimony by State Department employees that such requests had been rejected. Reports surfaced that Washington, under political pressure to respond forcefully to the attack, is currently weighing options (AP) to strike back using drones in Libya, although it has yet to find a target.

Analysis

"Regardless of whether she wants it or not, Hillary Clinton's job is on the line in the upcoming election, and everybody knows that this Benghazi attack is really turning into a headache for the Obama campaign. The administration did a good enough job brushing off accusations that it had screwed up when it pointed to the intelligence agencies for sending mixed reports in the days after the attack. Indeed, The Atlantic Wire's John Hudson said late last week that the blame was shifting from the State Department to the CIA and called it "quite the unexpected development." Push come to shove, though, it seems a lot simpler for Secretary Clinton to call mea culpa then it does to drill down into the guts of America's intelligence operation for the Middle East," writes Adam Clark Estes for the Atlantic.

"CNN reported Monday night from Lima that Mrs. Clinton finally addressed the White House comments by saying 'I take responsibility' for what happened in Benghazi. She added that 'I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha' so close to an election. That's nice, but it still leaves many questions, such as why her own comments to the UN differed so much from the substance and tone of Mr. Obama's. Saying you take 'responsibility' in brief interviews from faraway Peru is a long way from acting as if you're responsible," writes the Wall Street Journal.

"If the killing of the ambassador were premeditated and unrelated to the film, then it vests credibility in the criticism that the consulate should have been much better-protected, particularly on 9/11. And in general, the last thing a president running for re-election wants is an appearance that he is unable to protect America's diplomats from a terrorist group his supporters love to claim that he has heroically vanquished. The falsehood told by the White House – this was just a spontaneous attack prompted by this video that we could not have anticipated and had nothing to do with – fixed all of those problems. Critical attention was thus directed to Muslims"

 

PACIFIC RIM

China Criticizes EU Sanctions on Iran

China, Iran's largest crude oil customer, criticized the European Union on Tuesday for imposing new sanctions on Iran (Reuters) over its controversial nuclear program, calling for talks to resolve the stand-off.

SOUTH KOREA: South Korean and U.S. diplomats held talks on Tuesday in Seoul to discuss regional security concerns including the ongoing territorial rows in Northeast Asia (Yonhap), as well as the issue of North Korea.

 

ELSEWHERE:

UN-Arab League envoy urges ceasefire in Syria

Radovan Karadzic denies Bosnia war crimes

 

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org. 

 

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