Short Notes From A Reporter’s Notebook

A King's Bicoastal Meetings

King Abdullah II of Jordan was in Washington Wednesday and had breakfast with Vice President Joe Biden at the Naval Observatory, but he'll have to wait until Friday and fly to California to meet with President Obama.  They'll be getting together at Rancho Mirage, far from the snow that has shut down the Washington area. The Veep and the king discussed "the growing threat of violent extremism fueled by the Syrian conflict," the humanitarian disaster and the refugee crisis, according to the White House.  Jordan has been overwhelmed by the influx of Syrian refugees as well as those from Iraq, which is becoming increasingly unstable.

Obama Warns Sanctions Violators:  Stop Or Else.  

That's Barack Obama's warning for companies rushing to do business with Iran in violation of sanctions.  Try it and the United States will come down on you "like a ton of bricks," the President said during a press conference with French President Francois Hollande.

The Obama Administration is upset with French businesses exploring business opportunities with Iran since the nuclear talks began and some sanctions were eased. More than 100 French executives visited Tehran last week, reported the Associated Press. Secretary of State John Kerry called the trip "not helpful."

Germany & Syrian Poison Gas

How times have changed. Some of Syria's stockpile of poison gas, which Bashar Assad admitted was intended to use against Israel to kill massive numbers of Jews, may be shipped  — including sarin and mustard gas — to Germany for destruction.

The German Foreign Office has offered to destroy Assad's chemical weapons on German soil at the state-owned company in Munster, Lower Saxony.  In addition, the Bundeswehr is considering participating in the planned destruction of Syrian poison gas aboard a U.S. ship in the Mediterranean by providing security to the operation.

A U.N. mandate requires Assad to destroy all chemical warfare agents by June 2014, but it is behind schedule.  The government has missed two deadlines, which it blames on security problems related to the ongoing war.  

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.