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Overnight Defense: US withholding $255M in aid to Pakistan | Haley wants emergency UN meeting over Iran protests | US service member killed in Afghanistan

Overnight Defense: US withholding $255M in aid to Pakistan | Haley wants emergency UN meeting over Iran protests | US service member killed in Afghanistan
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THE TOPLINE: President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump's desire for military parade: 'We have a Napoleon in the making' MORE on Tuesday said the Iranian people are "finally" taking action against the country's "brutal and corrupt" rulers, and reiterated his warning to Tehran that "the U.S. is watching" its response to protests.

"The people of Iran are finally acting against the brutal and corrupt Iranian regime," Trump said on Twitter.

"All of the money that President Obama so foolishly gave them went into terrorism and into their 'pockets.' The people have little food, big inflation and no human rights. The U.S. is watching!" 

The Trump administration has publicly said it supports peaceful protesters demonstrating against the Iranian government. 

More on that here.

 

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, meanwhile, is placing the blame for the recent protests across the country on Tehran's "enemies."

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"In recent days, enemies of Iran used different tools including cash, weapons, politics and intelligence apparatus to create troubles for the Islamic Republic," Khamenei said, according to Reuters.

Read about that here.

 

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Tuesday called for the international organization to hold multiple emergency sessions as protests continued in Iran for the sixth day.

"The U.N. must speak out," Haley said at a press conference. "In the days ahead, we will be calling for an emergency session both here in New York and at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. We must not be silent. The people of Iran are crying out for freedom."

Haley also hailed Trump's response as a contrast to the international community's handling of 2009 protests and said the world must respond better this time.

Read more on that here.

 

MORE ON IRAN:

- Iranian state TV: 9 more protesters killed overnight

- State Department calls on Iran to stop blocking social media

- Former CIA Director Brennan hits Trump strategy on Iran

 

HALEY: US WITHHOLDING $255M IN AID FROM PAKISTAN: The United States is withholding $255 million in aid from Pakistan over what the Trump administration describes as a failure to sufficiently fight terrorism, U.S. Ambassador the United Nations Nikki Haley confirmed Tuesday.

"The administration is withholding $255 million in assistance to Pakistan," Haley said at a press conference. "There are clear reasons for this. Pakistan has played a double game for years. They work with us at times, and they also harbor the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan. That game is not acceptable to this administration."

The withholding of the aid has been expected, particularly after Trump blasted Pakistan in a Monday tweet.

"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump tweeted.

The Hill's Rebecca Kheel has more here.

 

Trump's New Year's Day tweet prompted Pakistan's National Security Council to hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday, according to CNN.

The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and attended by Pakistan's Foreign, Interior, and Defense ministers, as well as the chiefs of staff of the Pakistan air force, army, and navy. 

The sit-down comes as demonstrators took to the streets of Karachi to protest Trump and the U.S. 

Read more on that here.

 

US TROOP KILLED, FOUR INJURED IN AFGHANISTAN: One U.S. service member was killed and four others were injured in a "combat engagement" in eastern Afghanistan on New Year's Day, U.S. Forces Afghanistan said Tuesday.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own," Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said in a statement. "At this very difficult time our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen and wounded brothers."

The incident happened Monday in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, according to Tuesday's release.

Two of those injured are being treated at a nearby medical facility and are in stable condition, according to the release. The other two service members who were injured are back on duty.

Read more on that here

 

The tragedy comes as the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East wants the Afghan military to follow a new strategy in 2018 he hopes will lead to new gains in the war against the Taliban.

U.S. Central Command head Gen. Joseph Votel said an increase of Americans to train and advise the Afghan military can help escalate the fight.

The plan involves exerting pressure on the Taliban during the normally quieter Afghan winter, before launching an offensive against the group in the spring.

Read the rest here.

 

ICYMI:

-- The Hill: Trump shifts gears on Afghanistan

-- The Hill: North Korea preparing for another missile launch: reports

-- The Hill: South Korea offers high-level talks with North Korea

-- The Hill: Trump: Sanctions beginning to have 'big impact' on North Korea

-- The Hill: US general: ISIS's 'repressive ideology' endures despite lost territory

-- The Hill: In surprise, Trump maintains many Obama-era Russia policies

-- The Hill: Opinion: Trump's national security strategy misses the mark on globalization

-- The Hill: Opinion: Missile defense must prioritize homeland defense

 

Please send tips and comments to Rebecca Kheel, rkheel@thehill.com, and Ellen Mitchell, emitchell@thehill.com.

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