Corker Completes Middle East Trip With Visits To Oman And Bahrain

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Senator Bob Corker completed a three-nation trip to the Middle East today in Bahrain where he continued to assess U.S. diplomatic and security relations in the Gulf region.  After a visit with U.S. Ambassador Thomas C. Krajeski, he met with Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa to discuss the state of U.S.-Bahrain relations and the Crown Prince’s ongoing efforts for political reform and stability amidst continued unrest.

“Bahrain is an important and longstanding U.S. ally, hosting the U.S. 5th Fleet, which plays a significant role in regional stability and protecting the global flow of energy.  It is in our national interest to continue our strong military partnership, ensure the country remains stable and encourage nonviolent reformers on both sides to continue to work together to achieve a political solution to Bahrain’s own internal problems,” said Senator Corker.  

During his visit to Bahrain, Senator Corker also met American service members deployed to Bahrain with the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, including Commander Vice Admiral John W. Miller and sailors and marines from Tennessee.  He then met with Bahrain’s minister of justice, their chief of police and leaders of the nonviolent opposition group al-Wifaq.  Finally, Senator Corker met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, who is in Bahrain for the Manama Dialogue, to discuss security challenges and the continued need for U.S. engagement in the region.

On Wednesday in Oman’s capital of Muskat, Senator Corker met with Foreign Affairs Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah about negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Senator Corker was the first member of Congress to meet Sheikh Khalid bin Hilal bin Nasser al Ma’wali, the first elected chairman of the Omani Consultative Council, which was granted expanded legislative and regulatory powers following popular uprisings associated with the Arab Spring in 2011.

“While I have expressed my concerns about the interim agreement with Iran and how they remain a constant, destabilizing force in other ways in the region, I appreciate Oman’s firm commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue and the role they have played in facilitating negotiations,” said Senator Corker.  “Chairman Khalid al Ma’wali brings intelligence and enthusiasm to his historic role on the Consultative Council.  I support the council’s efforts to give a voice to the people of Oman and hope their members will visit the U.S. soon as they continue to navigate the challenges of representative government.”

Senator Corker also visited with private sector executives from Oman’s oil and gas industry and midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy studying Arabic in Oman.

On Monday and Tuesday, Senator Corker was in Saudi Arabia where he heard concerns about the worsening conflict in Syria as well as Iran’s role in the region.

2 Arrested In Bradley County On Burglary Charges

Bradley County property crimes detectives filed new charges for Scotty Lee Goodner, who was jailed on charges brought by patrol deputies related to the burglary of two structures on Ridgeview Drive. An alert citizen spotted suspicious activity on Sunday around the location and contacted the 911 dispatch center. Patrol deputies responded to the burglary-in-progress and upon arrival ... (click for more)

Alexander Urges Action On Bill That Includes Funds To Restart Work On Chickamauga Lock

The U.S. Senate will take a first step this week toward considering a bipartisan energy and water appropriations bill, and Senator Lamar Alexander is urging Senate Democrats to allow the bill to be considered by the full Senate. “This legislation appropriates record-level funding for basic research, and increases funding for deepening our ports and improving our inland waterways. ... (click for more)

VW PILOT Crash Landing

The Volkswagen emission scandal proves the point citizen activist, Ms. Helen Burns Sharp, has repeatedly brought to the attention of local government officials. She urged them to "beef up" the PILOT contracts before approving PILOT tax abatements. Any logical person would agree, because it is the only way to recoup a tax loss when unthinkable situations arise. Volkswagen's willful ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Readers Are Right

Jeffrey Cross is a community activist in the very finest way. He has no idea that I and many others have followed what he has done, and tirelessly I might add, to enhance the St. Elmo neighborhood at the foot of Lookout Mountain. I wish this world had a million Jeffrey Crosses. So when he wrote in protest of my Monday story, “We Want Our City Back,” I was more than eager to read ... (click for more)

Baylor Boys Win 17th D-II AA Golf Title; Baylor Girls Take Second

  MANCHESTER – On a sun-drenched afternoon, it was a special day for Baylor golf and for the King Oehmig family. Highlighted by a 5-under, 31 on the final nine holes, Baylor senior Oliver Simonsen shot a two-day, 3-under 141 to lead Baylor to the 2015 TSSAA D-II AA boys state championship at WillowBrook Golf Course here Tuesday. Carrying one-of-a-kind black golf ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Whips Lady 'Canes For Shot At District 5-3A Volleyball Title

(Story will be updated) CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Old rivals will play for the District 5-3A volleyball tournament championship on Wednesday. Ooltewah (41-11) and Walker Valley (28-11), the tourney’s Nos. 1 and 2 seeds, respectively, posted semifinal wins Tuesday night at Cleveland Middle School and earned their shots at the title, along with berths in the Region 3-3A tournament ... (click for more)