President Obama will announce Monday that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is resigning, in a development that seemed abrupt yet came amid growing pressure from the White House over his handling of several international issues, Fox News has confirmed.
The Vietnam veteran and former Republican senator took office less than two years ago, and was charged with overseeing the winding down of decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Hagel, 68, also steered the military during sweeping changes involving gays and women in the military. But in recent months, the Pentagon has taken on new challenges, including fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and deploying military personnel to Africa to fight Ebola.
Sources told FoxNews.com that Obama's dissatisfaction with Hagel, as well as a desire to shake up the cabinet following the devastating midterm elections, played a role in the president seeking Hagel's ouster.
“Make no mistake, Secretary Hagel was fired,” a senior U.S. official with close knowledge of the situation told Fox News.
The European Parliament plans to hold a vote on Thursday on a resolution to recognize a Palestinian state, following Sweden’s official decision to do so and symbolic votes in Spain, the UK and Ireland.
The moves reflect mounting frustration in the EU at Israel's expanding settlement program on land the Palestinians want for a state following the collapse of US-sponsored peace talks.
Israel is working to foil the decision, with officials warning that if the motion passes, the country will view Europe’s decision as anti-Israeli.
The parties behind the initiative are the Socialists and Democrats Group (S&D) and the Unified European Left Party (GUE).
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday rejected the idea of Germany recognizing a Palestinian state unilaterally, saying the Palestinians and Israel could solve their long-running conflict only through negotiations. Since the 28 EU member states would need to decide unanimously on recognizing a Palestinian state, Merkel's objection mounts to a veto on the subject.
The aim should be that both sides agree on a two-state solution - Israel and a future 'Palestine' - co-existing side by side, Merkel told a news conference in Berlin after meeting Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.
"Therefore from our point of view, any unilateral recognition of the Palestinian state would not move us forward on the way to a two-state solution," the conservative chancellor said.
Analysis: Real reason for deadlock in nuclear talks that Iranians don't trust Americans in general and President Obama in particular.
There is an almost zero chance that Iran and the world powers will sign a historic agreement on Monday, but the reason for that has nothing to do with the details of the negotiations: Not with the number of centrifuges, not with the number of inspection years and not even with the West's insistence to get its hands on the Iranian military nuclear project.
The real reason for the deadlock is that the Iranians don't trust the Americans in general and US President Barack Obama in particular.
So on the eve of concluding the negotiations – after 18 months of talks, during which the Iranians realized that the Americans have a vital interest in reaching an agreement and are willing to pay a lot for it – they raised the ultimate demand, which even the eager Obama administration could not accept: Lifting the sanctions immediately upon signing the agreement.
Kerry, Ashton and Zarif on November 22, 2014
Iran, the United States and other world powers are all but certain to miss Monday's deadline for negotiations to resolve a 12-year stand-off over Tehran's atomic ambitions, forcing them to seek an extension, sources say.
The talks in Vienna aim for a deal that could transform the Middle East, open the door to ending economic sanctions on Iran and start to bring a nation of 76 million people in from the cold after decades of hostility with the West.
But sources confirmed on Sunday what officials close to the talks have been predicting privately for weeks: that a final deal is still too far off to hammer out by the deadline.
Israeli official cites "sunset clause" in proposed comprehensive deal, which guarantees Iran a path into the nuclear club and may corner Israel into war.
Historic negotiations with Iran will reach an inflection point on Monday, as world powers seek to clinch a comprehensive deal that will, to their satisfaction, end concerns over the nature of its vast, decade-old nuclear program. But sharing details of the deal under discussion with The Jerusalem Post on the eve of deadline, Israel has issued a stark, public warning to its allies with a clear argument: Current proposals guarantee the perpetuation of crisis, backing Israel into a corner from which military force against Iran provides the only logical exit.
On Saturday afternoon, reports from Vienna suggested the P5+1— the US, United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany— are willing to stop short of demanding full disclosure of any secret weapon work by Tehran.
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