Bulgaria defends blaming Hezbollah for bombing

Updated 07 February 2013
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Bulgaria defends blaming Hezbollah for bombing

SOFIA: Bulgaria’s foreign minister defended himself yesterday against accusations that Sofia lacked the proof to blame Hezbollah for a July bomb attack that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian.
“If Bulgaria did not have enough arguments to announce that the traces in this attack lead to Hezbollah’s military wing, we would not have done it,” Nikolay Mladenov said on BNT television.
Nearly seven months after the bombing of an Israeli tourist bus at the Black Sea airport of Burgas, Sofia on Tuesday had said two Canadian and Australia passport-holders with links to Hezbollah were to blame.
This led to renewed calls from the United States, Israel and Canada on the European Union to designate Hezbollah as a “terrorist” organization. Israel had immediately after the attack pointed the finger at Iran and its “terrorist proxy” Hezbollah but until now Bulgarian investigators had stopped short of following suit.
Bulgarian analysts yesterday accused the government of not having enough proof to level what may turn out to a dangerous accusation, and of kowtowing to Washington and Israel.
“We have joined the camp of US and Israel... allowing to be drawn into the big game where Hezbollah has to be eliminated as it supports the regime in Syria,” international security expert Simeon Nikolov said.
“Do our leaders realize the responsibility they take in announcing results, which are not categorically backed by evidence?” the expert added on BNT television, slamming what he saw as “a strategic mistake” by the government.
Hezbollah is the most powerful faction in the current Lebanese cabinet, and its militia is the most powerful military force in Lebanon.
On Tuesday EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that member states would now “discuss the appropriate response,” saying that she “underlines the need for a reflection over the outcome of the investigation.”


Bolton, Mattis meet at Pentagon

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (L) talks with National Security Adviser John Bolton. (Reuters)
Updated 26 April 2018
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Bolton, Mattis meet at Pentagon

  • When Mattis first met Bolton at the Pentagon last month, the defense secretary jokingly said: “I’ve heard that you’re absolutely the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you.”
  • The two men decided to have “regular” meetings

WASHINGTON: US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis met with John Bolton, the new national security adviser to President Donald Trump, at the Pentagon on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.
The breakfast meeting came amid US media reports that Mattis risks being isolated by Trump’s more bellicose coterie of advisers, including Bolton, an Iraq War-era hawk who has advocated for military action in both Iran and North Korea.
Bolton “was here this morning,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said.
The two men decided to have “regular” meetings, she added, noting that CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Trump’s pick to run the State Department, could join them.
When Mattis first met Bolton at the Pentagon last month, the defense secretary jokingly said: “I’ve heard that you’re absolutely the devil incarnate and I wanted to meet you.”
Mattis, a retired four-star Marine general, is one of a dwindling pool of original Trump picks not to have drawn negative attention from his mercurial boss.
According to multiple reports, after a suspected chemical attack in Syria this month, he successfully pushed Trump to only taking limited action in response, while Bolton wanted a larger operation.
Mattis used to meet regularly with Rex Tillerson, who was fired last month from his position as secretary of state.
Pompeo is seen as being more hawkish than Mattis, further raising the possibility of the Pentagon chief’s influence waning.