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Iran Attack Decision Nears, Israeli Elite Locks Down

170512N.Benjamin-Netanyahu.jpg - 170512N.Benjamin-Netanyahu.jpg

 Israel‘s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reviews the guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at Czech government headquarters in Prague


A private door opens from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in central Jerusalem directly into a long, modestly furnished, half-panelled room decorated with modern paintings by Israeli artists and a copy of Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence. It contains little more than a long wooden table, brown leather chairs and a single old-fashioned white projector screen.

This inner sanctum at the end of a corridor between Netanyahu’s private room and the office of his top military adviser, is where one of the decade’s most momentous military decisions could soon be taken: to launch an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear programme, reports Reuters.

Time for that decision is fast running out and the mood in Jerusalem is hardening.

Iran continues to enrich uranium in defiance of international pressure, saying it needs the fuel for its civilian nuclear programme. The West is convinced that Tehran’s real objective is to build an atomic bomb – something which the Jewish state will never accept because its leaders consider a nuclear armed-Iran a threat to its very existence.

Adding to the international pressure, U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro said this week American military plans to strike Iran were “ready” and the option was “fully available”.

The central role Iran plays in Netanyahu’s deliberations is reflected in the huge map of the Middle East hanging by the door of his office. Israel lies on one edge, with Iran taking pride of place in the centre.

Experts say that within a few months, much of Iran’s nuclear programme will have been moved deep underground beneath the Fordow mountain, making a successful military strike much more difficult.

As the deadline for a decision draws nearer, the public pronouncements of Israel’s top officials and military have changed. After hawkish warnings about a possible strike earlier this year, their language of late has been more guarded and clues to their intentions more difficult to discern.

“The top of the government has gone into lockdown,” one official said. “Nobody is saying anything publicly. That in itself tells you a lot about where things stand.”

Last week Netanyahu pulled off a spectacular political surprise, creating a coalition of national unity and delaying elections which everyone believed were inevitable. The manoeuvre also led to speculation that the Israeli leader wanted a broad, strong government to lead a military campaign.

The inclusion of the Iranian-born former Israeli chief of staff and veteran soldier, Gen. Shaul Mofaz, in the coalition, fuelled that speculation – even though both Mofaz and Netanyahu deny that Iran was mentioned in the coalition negotiations.

“I think they have made a decision to attack,” said one senior Israeli figure with close ties to the leadership. “It is going to happen. The window of opportunity is before the U.S. presidential election in November. This way they will bounce the Americans into supporting them.”

Those close to Netanyahu are more cautious, saying no assumptions should be made about an attack on Iran – an attack with such potentially devastating consequences across the volatile Middle East that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas even went so far as to predict in an interview with Reuters last week that it would be “the end of the world”.

Source: Thisday Newspaper

Why terrorism is on the rise – Azazi

Gen. Azazi
Gen. Azazi

By Tony Akowe

The National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi , said in Kaduna on Thursday that governments’ failure to address the root causes of unrest in the country has created a fertile ground for the recruitment, indoctrination, brainwashing and training of terrorists and other insurgents in the country.

Speaking on the theme: “Northern Nigeria, The Prosperity Agenda and National Security” at the Northern Impact Summit organized by the Arewa Transformation and Empowerment Initiative, Gen. Azazi also said that lopsided economic development of any nation has never worked anywhere and is capable of leading to the collapse of such a nation.

Represented by one of his Advisers, Prof. Soji Adelaja, the NSA noted that recent events in the Middle East and North African region have showed that long term failure to address long standing economic problems helped to erode national cohesion and the ability to advance as a nation.

He noted that even though the incidences of bombing and terrorist attacks have been concentrated in the north, the development has adversely affected the nation’s economy, pointing out that the economic prosperity of a region depends on national security which all Nigerians must be on board to address.

Azazi noted that Nigeria as a nation cannot afford to leave any of its states or region behind in the march towards a long overdue achievement of prosperity, stressing that comprehensive regional economic transformation has and will remain at the forefront of the nation’s policies.

He said, “From a practical perspective, evidence is mounting that some of the root causes of unrest and the feeling of dissatisfaction and disaffection amongst citizens are economic hardship and the lack of economic opportunity.

“This is the case, not only in the north, but all over Nigeria. The failure to address these root causes of unrest tend to create fertile ground for the recruitment, indoctrination, brainwashing and training of terrorists and other insurgents.

“As we have learnt from the recent events in the Middle East and North Africa regions, long term failure to address long standing economic problems helped erode national cohesion and the ability to advance as a nation,” the NSA added.

Source:The Nation Newspaper

British secret agent was al-Qaeda mole who cracked new ‘underpants’ bomb plot

“A British undercover agent infiltrated al-Qaeda, volunteered to be a suicide bomber and smuggled out the latest version of the deadly underpants bomb, it can be disclosed.”

Saudi-Arabian Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is suspected of being the top bomb maker of al-Qaeda

Saudi-Arabian Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, who is suspected of being the top bomb maker of al-Qaeda Photo: EPA

“The man, who risked his life to get close to al-Qaeda’s master bomb-maker in the Yemen, is of Saudi origin but holds a British passport, sources told the Daily Telegraph.

MI5 recruited the agent for an operation in which the CIA planned to target the bomb-maker with a missile from an unmanned drone.

MI6 then worked with the Saudis who have previously infiltrated al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsular (AQAP), based in Yemen.

The individual was sent to target Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the ruthless Saudi-born bomb-maker for AQAP.

He infiltrated the terrorist group, risking execution if he was discovered, and volunteered to be a suicide bomber.

Two weeks ago, the agent walked away from al-Qaeda with the device he was supposed to use in an attack on US-bound aircraft.

He traveled to the United Arab Emirates and then to Saudi Arabia, with the device before handing it over to his British handlers.

He was also able to give information which led to a CIA drone strike on Sunday which killed Fahd al-Quso, AQAP’s director of external operations.

However al-Asiri was not there and remains at large, frustrating efforts to kill him. The mission is particularly sensitive because British agents are not supposed to give “targeting information” for lethal operations.

The underpants device was handed to the FBI laboratories in Quantico, Virginia, which examined a similar device used by Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab on a trans-Atlantic airliner to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

The FBI has discovered that Asiri had refined the prototype he first developed for use by his own brother in a suicide operation three years ago so that it could be detonated in two separate ways.

The British security services are thought to be unhappy that their role has become known, fearing it may jeopardise the recruitment of future agents who are given anonymity even after they die by the service. Whitehall sources refused to comment.

Sir John Sawers, the chief of MI6, said, in a rare public speech two years ago: “Our agents are the true heroes of our work. They have their own motivations and hopes. Many of them show extraordinary courage and idealism, striving in their own countries for the freedoms that we in Britain take for granted

“They receive recognition for their achievements only within the confines of the service. You don’t know them, but I do. It is an honour to lead them.”

The operation was originally made public in a leak to the US news agency the Associated Press.

The Daily Telegraph reported MI6’s involvement on Tuesday but the key role they played was confirmed only on Thursday from a source briefed by Saudi Arabia counter-terrorism officials, who spoke to CNN.

The last two days have seen a number of strikes against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Yemen.

Eight al-Qaeda militants were killed on Wednesday night in a drone strike on a house in the town of Jaar, an al-Qaeda stronghold in Abyan province.

Among them was one going by the name of “Jallad,” who had been in charge of armaments for Al-Qaeda’s fighters in Yemen, local sources told AFP.

Another ten al-Qaeda militants were killed on Thursday in a heavy bombardment of their strongholds in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province.

West of Zinjibar, two other al-Qaeda suspects, including a local chief named as Khaldun al-Sayyed, were killed in an air strike, a pro-government militia official said.”

Source : The Telegraph UK

Airline mistakes toddler for terrorist

  • Toddler pulled off flight by JetBlue employees
  • Family believes it is because they are Muslim
  • Airline blamed glitch over no-fly list confusion

“An 18-month-old New Jersey toddler was booted from her flight in Florida after officials told her family her name was flagged on the US no-fly list.

The girl, identified only as Riyanna, and her parents were set to fly home from Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday when a JetBlue official boarded their plane and removed the family, they told WPBF-TV.

“And I said, ‘For what?'” Riyanna’s mother – who declined to be identified – told the TV station. “And he said, ‘Well, it’s not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no-fly.'”

The airline employee dragged the tot’s parents off the plane as JetBlue and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) hashed out the family’s situation, the New York Post reported.

“It’s absurd,” the girl’s dad said. “It made no sense. Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?”

The dad said he believes his family was targeted because they are of Middle Eastern descent – though they were born and raised in New Jersey and speak English without any hint of an accent. Riyanna’s mom does wear a traditional head scarf.

The TSA said in a statement obtained by WNYW-TV that it “did not flag this child as being on the no-fly list” and that “the airline had mistakenly indicated the child was on a government watch list.”

But JetBlue maintained that the girl’s boarding pass “was flagged in our system as being on the TSA’s no-fly list.”

It added, “We believe this was a computer glitch. Our crew members followed the appropriate protocols, and we apologize to the family involved in this unfortunate circumstance.”

Source: The

Afe Babalola heads panel on Ekiti airport

Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi has inaugurated a nine-man committee, chaired by the legal luminary, Aare Afe Babalola (SAN), to examine the possibility of establishing an airport in the state.

He said his administration is committed to the transport sector as a key area in the state’s development.

The governor said his administration has invested heavily in road construction and rehabilitation in the 16 local government areas to drive home its commitment to the development of the transport sector.

Dr. Fayemi said the proposed airport would bring Ekiti State into the limelight with its emerging economy and attract investors as well as tourists, who have flair for comfort.

He noted that though the establishment of an airport would require a lot of money, the state government, through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement, would accomplish the task.

The governor said the airport has become necessary as the Federal Government is establishing an Export Conditioning Centre and a silo in the state while the Ikogosi Resort would also attract many visitors and tourists.

A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Olayinka Oyebode, listed the terms of reference of the committee as: examining the viability and feasibility of an airport in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, and proposing a practical implementation roadmap for same.

Fayemi was optimistic that when the Ikogosi Resort becomes functional, the proposed airport would market it. A South African hotel management group has agreed to manage the resort for the government.

Babalola described the inauguration as “historic in the history of Ekiti State”.

He noted that the project is dear to members of the committee.

The eminent lawyer tied the lack of industries in the state and the failure of the take-off of the Ikogosi Resort to the absence of an airport.

“There is an urgent need for meaningful industrial development in Ekiti by involving foreign developers from China, Europe, Japan, the Middle East and America. Any foreigner who comes to Ekiti with the intention of establishing an industry and who comes through Lagos by road to Ado-Ekiti or from Abuja by road, otherwise called the death traps, would never come back to Ekiti,” he said.

Other members of the committee are: Sir Remi Omotoso, Afolabi Esan, Segun Ologunleko, Femi Tolani, Kayode Jegede, Babajide Arowosafe, Jide Adeniji and Capt. Bolaji Agbelusi.

-The Nation

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