04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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LAMU, Kenya (AP) -- During high season in this Kenyan luxury resort area, foreign tourists snorkel by day and sleep in rustic dwellings with woven coconut leaves for doors. Now they're leaving town early and canceling reservations after gunmen kidnapped two Europeans and killed another in only a month.

Already, droves of workers who depend on tourism in this gorgeous but poor corner of East Africa are losing their jobs.

Hours after a French woman was abducted in late September, eight guests checked out of Stefano Moccia's nearby hotel and hurriedly boarded a plane. Usually busy taxi boats now lay idle along the coasts. Some tourists have come despite the violence and travel warnings, but the outlook is grim.

"This season is over. That is for sure," said Stefano Moccia, who already has fired nearly half his 100 staff members in just two days. Unless business at The Majlis rebounds quickly, he says he'll have to let go most of the rest.

Nervous hotel owners like Moccia are urging Kenya's government to step up security in this area long popular with tourists and rich Kenyans. High tourist season traditionally begins here in November, but the $1,800-a-night rooms could sit empty, the white sand beaches bare of sunbathers.

"Tens of thousands of people depend on the tourism - their livelihoods are at stake," said Dario Urbani, the marketing director of the Romantic Hotels Ltd, which owns Lamu Palace Hotel, where an American tourist also checked out right after the Saturday attack.

"Without thinking too much, tourists will say 'I don't want to risk my life by going there. The Kenyan government has to flex its muscle and chase away criminals," he added.

Tourism is a $1 billion industry and employs tens of thousands of Kenyans in a country where many people live on less than a $1 a day.

The sector has just picked up after Kenya's deadly 2007-2008 postelection violence, when photos of angry men roaming the streets with machetes forced waves of vacation cancellations.

Now, the U.S., British and French governments have issued travel warnings to their citizens after the recent abductions.

Kenyan Tourism Minister Najib Balala urged the businesses to stay open. "When you close hotels, you create unnecessary panic," he told them at a crisis meeting held Monday in Lamu, a world heritage town with centuries-old cultures and ruins. The people here wear sarongs, Islamic hats and robes; the modes of transport on the archipelago, which is on the Indian Ocean, are donkeys and taxi boats.

Balala said ambassadors of the three governments told him that they will review the travel warnings after a month.

"It will be very hard to convince tourists that nothing will happen to them, and that Lamu is safe when they know what happened two days ago," said Joseph Koi, a tour coordinator from Lamu Holiday Solutions.

Somali gunmen have been penetrating Kenya's borders since Somalia's central government collapsed in 1991. Two decades later, al-Qaida-linked militants wage war in the capital, and pirates hijack ships off the coast for millions of dollars in ransom.

Somali attackers have abducted Kenyans and foreigners several times in the past, but never before have they traveled around 130 kilometers (80 miles) from their country on speedboats to grab foreigners in their guesthouses in Lamu.

Situated on Kenya's northern coast line, the Lamu archipelago consists of several islands.

On Tuesday, the normally bustling hotels were sparely populated, as were the beautiful beaches. No navy vessels were visible this weekend to protect the luxury hotels and guesthouse along the beach.

Abdalla Fadhil, the owner of the house where the French woman was kidnapped, said tourists like houses made of mangrove poles with thatched roofs and coconut leaves.

"Tourists ran away from concrete houses, ceramic tiles and steel beams to experience this natural life," he said.

Police Commissioner Mathew Iteere said hotels and villas on the coast will be patrolled by security officers whose cell phone numbers will be made public. He said police and soldiers also will intensify border patrols to stop any infiltration. He also said surveillance planes will be also deployed.

"We require a lot of cooperation from the locals," he said, blaming some locals for sympathizing with the criminals.

Fadhil said locals may have helped Somali gunmen for money, "because many people live in poverty here." He said while residents on Manda island may earn about $3 a day from tourism, others in Lamu town scrape by on $1 a day.

On Monday, about a dozen men marched along Lamu's beachfront and called for government action against Somali pirates and al-Qaida-linked militants known as al-Shabab. They carried banners reading "Attack al-Shabab in Somalia," "Down with al-Shabab and Pirates."

"We want peace and to get peace we need a strong security force that can stop abductions in our islands," said 60-year-old Ziwa Abdalla, who said he worked as a guide for 35 years. "If tourists don't come here we will suffer, and worse our jobless people can turn to piracy."

Some are going ahead with their vacation plans, venturing out on boat excursions and safaris on the mainland.

"We're shocked by the incident, but it didn't make us leave earlier," said Peter Kelly, a 62-year-old Canadian traveling with more than 10 other tourists.

One prominent hotel was bustling with tourists Sunday night. Its owner asked an Associated Press reporter not to interview his customers. He did not want to be named, fearing it would attract negative attention to his business at a delicate time.

"We're lucky to be open," he curtly said.

---

Online:

Majlis Resorts: http://www.themajlisresorts.com

Lamu Holiday Solutions: http://lamuholidaysolutions.com

Lamu Paradise Holidays: http://www.lamuparadiseholidays.com

© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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