Officials told The Associated Press a day earlier that discovery of the unexploded bomb represented an intelligence prize resulting from a covert CIA operation in Yemen, saying that the intercept thwarted a suicide mission around the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.
A member of a Danish motorcycle gang converts to Islam, travels to Yemen to learn more about his new faith, meets radical imams preaching death to the infidels, and just as the preaching is sinking in and he’s about to embrace a life as a militant Muslim, the gang member jilts the jihadists and decides to switch sides and go undercover for the CIA and help the intelligence agency track, target, and kill his erstwhile militant brethren.
This is the incredible story being told to the press and sold in a new book by Morten Storm, a 37-year-old Dane who claims to have worked on several secret missions with intelligence groups from several Western nations. Storm tells the Associated Press that “he worked for six years as an informant for the CIA, Britain’s MI5 and MI6 and Denmark’s security service, PET.” “Could they just say ‘he never worked for us’? Sometimes silence is also information,” Storm told the AP in Copenhagen. “I know this is true, I know what I have done.”
Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will
WASHINGTON — This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high schoolyearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.
A Measure of Change
The Shadow War
This is the third article in a series assessing President Obama’s record.
President Obama, overseeing the regular Tuesday counterterrorism meeting of two dozen security officials in the White House Situation Room, took a moment to study the faces. It was Jan. 19, 2010, the end of a first year in office punctuated by terrorist plots and culminating in a brush with catastrophe over Detroit on Christmas Day, a reminder that a successful attack could derail his presidency. Yet he faced adversaries without uniforms, often indistinguishable from the civilians around them.
“How old are these people?” he asked, according to two officials present. “If they are starting to use children,” he said of Al Qaeda, “we are moving into a whole different phase.”
It was not a theoretical question: Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical. He had vowed to align the fight against Al Qaeda with American values; the chart, introducing people whose deaths he might soon be asked to order, underscored just what a moral and legal conundrum this could be.
Mr. Obama is the liberal law professor who campaigned against the Iraq war and torture, and then insisted on approving every new name on an expanding “kill list,” poring over terrorist suspects’ biographies on what one official calls the macabre “baseball cards” of an unconventional war. When a rare opportunity for a drone strike at a top terrorist arises — but his family is with him — it is the president who has reserved to himself the final moral calculation.
“He is determined that he will make these decisions about how far and wide these operations will go,” said Thomas E. Donilon, his national security adviser. “His view is that he’s responsible for the position of the United States in the world.” He added, “He’s determined to keep the tether pretty short.”
Nothing else in Mr. Obama’s first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record. His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president’s own deep reserve.
In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.
They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing. While he was adamant about narrowing the fight and improving relations with the Muslim world, he has followed the metastasizing enemy into new and dangerous lands. When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaign against Al Qaeda — even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that Mr. Obama told colleagues was “an easy one.”
His first term has seen private warnings from top officials about a “Whac-A-Mole” approach to counterterrorism; the invention of a new category of aerial attack following complaints of careless targeting; and presidential acquiescence in a formula for counting civilian deaths that some officials think is skewed to produce low numbers.
The administration’s failure to forge a clear detention policy has created the impression among some members of Congress of a take-no-prisoners policy. And Mr. Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, has complained to colleagues that the C.I.A.’s strikes drive American policy there, saying “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people,” a colleague said.
Beside the president at every step is his counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, who is variously compared by colleagues to a dogged police detective, tracking terrorists from his cavelike office in the White House basement, or a priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Mr. Obama, echoing the president’s attempt to apply the “just war” theories of Christian philosophers to a brutal modern conflict.
Assessing Obama’s Counterterrorism Record (May 29, 2012)
U.S. Relaxes Limits on Use of Data in Terror Analysis (March 23, 2012)
U.S. Law May Allow Killings, Holder Says (March 6, 2012)
Secret U.S. Memo Made Legal Case to Kill a Citizen (October 9, 2011)
C.I.A. Steps Up Drone Attacks on Taliban in Pakistan (September 28, 2010)
Drones Batter Al Qaeda and Its Allies Within Pakistan (April 5, 2010)
Just days before the news broke about the CIA’s takedown of a plot involving a sophisticated new underwear bomb, al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen publicly boasted that it had vastly expanded and improved its capabilities for making such devices.
That boast — contained in a largely overlooked passage of Inspire, the online propaganda organ of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — has fueled concerns that there may be other versions of the seized device and more bomb makers assembling them, according to U.S. security officials and members of Congress who have been briefed on the case.
“They have a team of engineers, scientists and doctors. It’s a little spooky,” said Rep. Mike McCaul, R-Texas, a member of the Homeland Security Committee who was briefed this week on the intelligence operation that U.S. officials say thwarted an AQAP plot to bomb a U.S.-bound airliner. “In my view, it’s very likely they have produced more of these.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. and Yemeni officials say the supposed would-be bomber at the heart of an al-Qaida airliner plot was actually an informant working for the CIA.
The revelation, first reported by The Los Angeles Times, shows how the CIA was able to get its hands on a sophisticated underwear bomb well before an attack was set in motion.
Officials say the informant was working for the CIA and Saudi Arabian intelligence when he was given the bomb. He then turned the device over to authorities. Officials say the informant is safely out of Yemen.
Don’t Cry Wolf! FBI studies ‘undetectable’ device after CIA thwarts new al-Qaida underwear bomb plot
Yeah the last “Underpants Plot” was a set up. Intel gave the would be bomber the devise, then drugged him and put him on the plane. No passport, no clue. So are we now to believe this fable? We guess some O’bomba supporters will. Election Terror? You can bet that this is all the O’bomba admin needs to turn up the heat on Yemen.
(Susan Walsh, File/ Associated Press ) – FILE – In this Sept. 7, 2011 file photo, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, speaks in Washington. U.S. bomb experts are picking apart a sophisticated new al-Qaida improvised explosive device, Brennan said Tuesday.
By Associated Press, | Updated: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The Associated Press has learned the CIA thwarted a plot by al-Qaida’s affiliate in Yemen to destroy a U.S.-bound airliner using a bomb with a new design around the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden.
John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, said Tuesday the discovery shows al-Qaida remains a threat to U.S. security a year after bin Laden’s assassination. And he attributed the breakthrough to “very close cooperation with our international partners.”
“We’re continuing to investigate who might have been associated with the construction of it as well as plans to carry out an attack,” Brennan said. “And so we’re confident that this device and any individual that might have been designed to use it are no longer a threat to the American people.”
On the question of whether the device could have been gone undetected through airport security, Brennan said, “It was a threat from a standpoint of the design.” He also said there was no intelligence indicating it was going to be used in an attack to coincide with the May 2 anniversary of bin Laden’s death. (hasn’t stopped the media from inferring it though)
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Tuesday that “a number of countries” provided information and cooperation that helped foil the plot. He said he had no information on the would-be bomber, but that White House officials had told him “He is no longer of concern,” meaning no longer any threat to the U.S.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters Monday night that she had been briefed Monday about an “undetectable” device that was “going to be on a U.S.-bound airliner.”
There were no “immediate” plans to change security procedures at U.S. airports.
U.S. officials declined to say where the CIA seized the bomb. The would-be suicide bomber, based in Yemen, had not yet picked a target or purchased plane tickets when the CIA seized the bomb, officials said. It was not immediately clear what happened to the would-be bomber. (OR if this event even occurred at all?)
President Barack Obama had been monitoring the operation since last month, the White House said Monday evening. White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the president was assured the device posed no threat to the public.
“The president thanks all intelligence and counterterrorism professionals involved for their outstanding work and for serving with the extraordinary skill and commitment that their enormous responsibilities demand,” Hayden said.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said: “The device did not appear to pose a threat to the public air service, but the plot itself indicates that these terrorist keep trying to devise more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people. (and you don’t?) And it a reminder of how we have to keep vigilant.” Clinton spoke during a news conference Tuesday in New Delhi with Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna.
On May 1, the Homeland Security Department said, “We have no indication of any specific, credible threats or plots against the U.S. tied to the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s death.”
The AP learned about the thwarted plot last week but agreed to White House and CIA requests not to publish a story immediately because the sensitive intelligence operation was still under way. Once officials said those concerns were allayed, the AP decided to disclose the plot Monday despite requests from the Obama administration to wait for an official announcement Tuesday.
The FBI and Homeland Security acknowledged the existence of the bomb late Monday. Other officials, who were briefed on the operation, insisted on anonymity to discuss details of the plot, many of which the U.S. has not officially acknowledged.
It’s not clear who built the bomb, but because of its sophistication and its similarity to the Christmas Day bomb, authorities suspected it was the work of master bomb maker Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. Al-Asiri constructed the first underwear bomb and two others that al-Qaida built into printer cartridges and shipped to the U.S. on cargo planes in 2010.
Both of those bombs used a powerful industrial explosive. Both were nearly successful.
The new underwear bomb operation is a reminder of al-Qaida’s ambitions, despite the death of bin Laden and other senior leaders. Because of instability in the Yemeni government, the terrorist group’s branch there has gained territory and strength. It has set up terrorist camps and, in some areas, even operates as a de facto government.
On Monday, al-Qaida militants staged a surprise attack on a Yemeni army base in the south, killing 22 soldiers and capturing at least 25. The militants managed to reach the base both from the sea and by land, gunning down troops and making away with weapons and other military hardware after the blitz, Yemeni military officials said.
But the group has also suffered significant setbacks as the CIA and the U.S. military focus more on Yemen. On Sunday, Fahd al-Quso, a senior al-Qaida leader, was hit by a missile as he stepped out of his vehicle along with another operative in the southern Shabwa province of Yemen.
Al-Quso, 37, was on the FBI’s most wanted list, with a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture. He was indicted in the U.S. for his role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, in which 17 American sailors were killed and 39 injured.
Al-Quso was believed to have replaced Anwar al-Awlaki as the group’s head of external operations. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. airstrike last year.
The new Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has promised improved cooperation with the U.S. to combat the militants. On Saturday, he said the fight against al-Qaida was in its early stages. Hadi took over in February from longtime authoritarian leader Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Brennan appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the “CBS This Morning” show and NBC’s “Today” show. King was interviewed on CNN.
That Osama thing already wearing off? Remember when some of the Cole “Bombers” were allowed to “escape” from a Yemeni Prison? We do.
ADEN — Yemeni Al-Qaeda leader Fahd al-Quso, who was wanted in connection with the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, has been killed in an air raid in eastern Yemen on Sunday, a tribal chief said.
Al-Qaeda, which has strongholds in southern and eastern Yemen, confirmed Quso’s slaying in an SMS text message sent to reporters that could not be immediately verified.
“Fahd al-Quso, who was wanted by the United States for the attack against the USS Cole, was killed tonight (Sunday) in an American raid on the Rafadh region” in the Shabwa province, tribal chief Abdel Magid bin Farid al-Awlaki told AFP.
The October 2000 attack on the US Navy destroyer, the USS Cole, in Yemen’s port of Aden killed 17 sailors and wounded 40 more.
Quso was killed when two missiles slammed near his home in Rafadh, east of Ataq, the provincial capital of Shabwa province, the tribal chief said, adding that two of the suspect’s body guards were also killed in the raid.
A US government official welcome the death of the “senior terrorist operative,” saying he had been actively planning attacks against the United States and Yemen.
“Fahd al-Quso was a senior terrorist operative of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was deeply involved in ongoing terrorist plotting against Yemeni and US interests at the time of his death,” the official said, requesting anonymity to speak about the matter.
“He was also involved in numerous attacks over many years that murdered Americans as well as Yemeni men, women and children.”
Quso’s name figured on an FBI list of most wanted terrorists, along with a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest.
In its text message, Al-Qaeda said: “The martyr Sheikh Fahd al-Quso was martyred, killed in an American raid this afternoon in Rafadh.”
The Yemeni embassy in Washington also confirmed the death of “one of the most wanted terrorists in Yemen.”
Al-Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the attack on the USS Cole, which was carried out when militants riding an explosives-laden skiff blew a 30-by-30-foot (10-by-10-meter) hole in the USS Cole.
The USS Cole was in the port of Aden for a routine fuel stop when it was attacked.
Quso belonged to the powerful Al-Awlak tribe of US-Yemeni cleric and terror suspect Anwar al-Awlaki, who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in September.
US intelligence officials believed Awlaki was linked to a US army major charged with shooting dead 13 people in Fort Hood, Texas, and to a Nigerian student accused of trying to blow up a US airliner on December 25, 2009.
He was also believed to be the leader of external operations of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — the local Al-Qaeda branch in Yemen.
In April, The Washington Post said that the CIA is seeking permission to launch more drone strikes in Yemen, adding that there have been at least eight US raids in Yemen in first four months of this year.
The United States has never formally acknowledged the use of drones against Al-Qaeda in Yemen, and the Yemeni government continues to deny that such air strikes take place.
According to the Washington Post, US drones are launched from a secret base in the Arabian Peninsula.
- Al Qaeda kills 20 in surprise Yemen attack
New York Daily News – 45 minutes ago
- At least 32 Yemeni troops killed in militant attack
Reuters Canada – 3 hours ago
- airstrike kills senior al-Qaida leader in Yemen
Kansas City Star – 18 hours ago
Wayne Madsen (a former Navy officer and NSA employee during the Iran Contra years) relays an uncorroborated charge — I repeat this is uncorroborated — about the bombing of the USS Cole:
“The former CIA agent who worked with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York and New Jersey stated that the USS Cole was hit by a specially-configured Popeye cruise missile launched from an Israeli Dolphin-class submarine. Israeli tests of the missile in May 2000 in the waters off Sri Lanka demonstrated it could hit a target 930 miles away. The ex-CIA agent also stated that Ambassador Bodine threw (FBI investigator) John O’Neill and his team out of Yemen lest their investigation began uncovering evidence that the Cole was not blown up by an explosive-laden boat but by an Israeli cruise missile.
The former CIA agent said the reason for the Israeli attack was to further galvanize U.S. public opinion against both Al Qaeda and the Democrats in the weeks prior to the 2000 presidential elections. The Bush-Cheney team could blame the Democrats for not taking the Al Qaeda threat seriously. However, this is exactly the tact the Bush administration took after taking office: failure to support the CIA-FBI’s Alex Station, pressuring John O’Neill and other agents like Minneapolis agent Coleen Rowley and others across the nation who detected activity involving Arab flight students, and pulling the plug on a major data mining operation directed against Al Qaeda code named Able Danger, which was being jointly run by the DIA and the Special Operations Command. ”
O’Neill was not permitted to interview Yemenis who witnessed the Cole explosion. O’Neill was not permitted to examine the hat worn by one of the bombers in the boat nor was he allowed to examine the harbor sludge for evidence.
O’Neill was soon pulled out of Yemen and Bodine refused him and his team permission to re-enter the country. O’Neill was getting too close to something. In February, 2001, after Yemen’s Interior Minister Hussein Mohammed Arab made a statement that there was no evidence linking the Cole bombing to Al Qaeda (“Investigations have not so far proved, either to us or to the Americans, any link between Osama bin Laden and the Cole bombing.”), the Bush administration showed no desire to find out who actually bombed the ship. They were too busy clearing the baffles for the Iraq invasion and their other agendas. ”
– Clearing the Baffles for 911, By Wayne Madsen
Zionist Jewesses Barbara Bodine and Madeline Albright Sabotage John O’Neil investigation into the USS Cole attack
Bodine, who is Jewish, was the Ambassador to Yemen. When the USS Cole was attacked, the FBI sent a team led by John O’Neill who immediately suspected Israeli involvement. Bodine started an intense political battle to oust O’Neill.
Bodine wanted to control the investigation, and resented the fact that suddenly there were hundreds of FBI personnel in the country.
Albright provided a handful of State Department personnel to watch the investigation.
Albright and Bodine Panic as O’Neill Investigation Points to Israel
Albright complains to upper echelons of the FBI about O’Neill. 8
Bodine wanted O’Neill to drop his bodyguards and he became suspicious of Mossad assassination. Bodine and Madeleine Albright finally went to the Zionist Jewish FBI Director, Louis Freeh, to remove John O’Neill from Yemen.
Then January 2001 came, and O’Neill wanted to go back to Yemen. But, Ambassador Bodine wouldn’t give him clearance. In July 2001, O’Neill resigned from the FBI.
After leaving the FBI for obstructing his investigations into fake Al Qaeda O’neil was hired as head of security at the WTC by Jew Jerome Hauer and Jew Silverstein, where he is killed on his first day of work, 9/11. What a coincidence.
More on O’neil and the Cole investigation
[link to servv89pn0aj.sn.sourcedns.com] … Oneill.htm
US Defense Secratary during the Cole bombing was the Jew William Cohen, who used the Cole attack as a pretext to establish “Bin Laden” in the public consciousness as chief terror architect in preparation for the Israeli attack on 9/11, which the Jews blamed on Bin Laden again.
Here’s a great run down of the evidence that the Cole bombing was a staged Israeli black op like all the rest
[link to southeastasianews.org] … ation.html
Imagine this, ten of the “Al Qaeda” suspects arrested for the USS Cole bombing ESCAPED the highly guarded prison compound they were held in through a window. If you believe that, then I don’t know what to tell you.
SAN`A, Yemen — Yemeni authorities were hunting for 10 of the main suspects in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole after they escaped from prison Friday, officials said.
The fugitives, including chief suspect Jamal al-Badawi, were jailed in the tightly guarded intelligence building in the port city of Aden since shortly after the destroyer was bombed, killing 17 American sailors.
Officials close to the investigation said the men fled through a window they smashed inside the building.
The officials said on condition of anonymity that prison officers gave the men permission to go to the prison courtyard for their daily morning break before they escaped.
It was unclear whether the escapees received any assistance from people inside or outside the prison.
Who benefits? Israel.
Who doesn’t benefit? Muslims.
Who has the capability to pull it off? Israel.
Who has a pattern of doing the exact same thing? Israel.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Eleven people were killed in Cairo on Wednesday, medics said, when armed men attacked protesters demanding an end to army rule, prompting several candidates to suspend presidential campaigns and heightening doubts on the transition to democracy.
Leaders from Islamist and secular camps blamed the trouble on hired “thugs” doing the bidding of entrenched interests behind military rule and warned the generals not to use it as a pretext to delay their departure; the army reaffirmed its stated commitment to handing power to civilians by July.
Unidentified men armed with guns and batons attacked demonstrators who included hundreds of ultraconservative Salafi Islamists protesting at their candidate’s exclusion from the ballot for a first-round presidential vote on May 23 and 24.
For hours after the dawn raid, the security forces seemed unable or unwilling to put an end to the violence. As fighting raged near the Defence Ministry in the Abbasiya district of central Cairo, Reuters reporters saw men carrying guns, even a sword, while protesters threw rocks, bottles and petrol bombs.
Only in the afternoon did riot police arrive in large numbers to break up the bloody melee and the clashes abated.
Democracy campaigners blasted the military rulers of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which took over 15 months ago as veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak was brought down by mass street protests during the Arab Spring of uprisings.
“SCAF and the government unable to protect civilians or in cahoots with thugs. Egypt going down the drain,” tweeted Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel Prize-winning former U.N. official.
Members of the SCAF met representatives of political parties and repeated a pledge to hold elections on time. Politicians who were present said they even offered to return to barracks over a month before the July deadline – in the albeit unlikely event that one of the 13 first-round candidates wins outright in May.
A runoff between the top two contenders would be in June.
However, the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s biggest Islamist group which dominates a parliament elected in December, refused to join talks with the generals, saying Wednesday’s violence showed the army was trying to “obstruct the handover of power”.
The Brotherhood’s presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi suspended campaigning for two days, saying they would be mourning the dead. Several political groups said they would call on followers to mass in central Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday.
“I think it will be the practical response to all of what is happening now, be it the blood being spilt or the foot-dragging in the defined date for handing over power,” said senior Brotherhood official Essam el-Erian.
The other leading Islamist candidate, Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, suspended campaigning indefinitely in protest at the way the authorities had handled the clashes, a spokesman said.
Abol Fotouh and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, the frontrunner among those with past ties to Mubarak, are seen as the most likely candidates to contest a head-to-head runoff.
On Twitter, Abol Fotouh said he could not now take part in an unprecedented televised debate with Moussa planned for Thursday “when today our youths are drowning in their blood”.
The hosting TV channel also said the event was delayed.
Moussa said: “The number of dead and injured foreshadows a disaster and it is unacceptable for security agencies to stand and watch as clashes continue and blood is shed.”
Medical and judicial sources gave a toll of 11 dead and over 160 wounded. The Interior Ministry said seven had died.
Ahmed Shahir, 24, a pharmacology student working at a makeshift clinic set up the scene, said men he described as thugs fired shots at an encampment of protesters including supporters of Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, the Salafi cleric barred from the election, and members of pro-democracy youth movements.
Local residents joined in the attack on the protesters.
Among the protesters were hardcore soccer fans and diehard secular revolutionaries skilled in street combat who dashed back and forth across debris-scattered streets, hurling rocks.
Wounded men were hauled away and others filled bottles with gasoline to throw at their opponents. Shots rang out and a Reuters journalist saw at least one attacker wielding a sword.
“Where is the army? Why are they not stopping these people?” cried a bystander.
The army, hailed as national saviour when it rallied behind protesters last year to oust fellow military man Mubarak, sent troops to the scene. But some armoured vehicles then beat a retreat when protesters attacked an officer who was taking video footage. Riot police later arrived in larger numbers and separated the two sides. The violence subsided by the afternoon.
Days of street violence also preceded the start of a staggered parliamentary election in November. That vote, Egypt’s first democratic election after six decades of rule by a succession of military autocrats, was mostly smooth.
Official campaigning for the presidential election began this week under a cloud, with the Brotherhood demanding that the army sack the cabinet of Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri.
Parliament suspended its work for several days, saying the government was failing to respect its decisions.
Many Egyptians suspect the generals, who have built up vast economic and business interests over the years, will seek a strong influence even after the new president assumes power.
The latest unrest, limited to Cairo, was on too small a scale so far to influence the election, said Mustapha Kamel Al-Sayyid, a political science professor at Cairo University.
“These are small groups,” he said, adding that the violence could harden public attitudes against continued military rule.
IMF and other MF’s – Vultures picking the Bones of Freedom and national sovereignty
DUBAI (Reuters) – Egypt needs to do more to secure a $3.2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, including gathering broad political support and identifying other sources to finance its funding gap of up to $12 billion, an IMF official said on Wednesday.
Masood Ahmed, IMF director for the Middle East, told Reuters that Egypt still needed to do “some technical work” to finalize its economic programme.
Asked whether he thought there was enough domestic political support for the programme, Ahmed said: “I think that process (of getting political support) is advancing but I do not think we are at the point yet where we could move forward.”
“There’s still more work to be done to close down those three areas,” he said, referring to the economic programme, political support and alternative financial sources.
“We are ready as soon as pillars are there for that programme to move forward relatively quickly,” Ahmed said after presenting the regional economic outlook in Dubai.
Egypt and the IMF are in discussions on a $3.2 billion loan programme, which Egypt had requested earlier this year but which had been opposed by the powerful Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.
Egypt’s $236 billion economy has been laid low by 18 months of political turmoil.
Last week, parliament overwhelmingly rejected the army-appointed cabinet’s plan to cut state spending, hampering the government’s efforts to secure IMF help needed to avoid a fiscal crisis and potential currency devaluation.
“Egypt has pressing economic and financial challenges and that’s why we believe it is important to move forward now to finalize the content of the programme, to get support for it and to mobilize the financing for it,” Ahmed said.
The country’s finance minister said last week the government expected the Fund’s aid to start flowing from May.
The IMF is insisting that any agreement on financing is backed by Egypt’s government and political partners ahead of presidential elections later this month. This would ensure the deal would outlast the political transition following the polls.
The IMF expects Egypt’s inflation-adjusted economic growth to ease to 1.5 percent this year, which would be the slowest pace since a 0.3 percent expansion in 1992 and down from 1.8 percent in 2011. Its fiscal gap should widen to 10 percent of gross domestic product in 2012, from 9.9 percent last year.
Egypt has said it expects Saudi Arabia to deposit $1 billion at the Egyptian central bank by the end of April as part of a $2.7 billion package to support Egypt’s battered finances.
Egypt’s foreign reserves have tumbled by more than $20 billion to $15 billion during a year of political turmoil following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
Ahmed also said the IMF would consider further aid for Yemen after approving a $93.7 million loan for the poorest country in the Arab world in April, which was aimed at addressing an urgent balance of payments deficit.
“It’s hard to say yet (what the financing needs will be). But clearly the financing requirements for Yemen to embark on the programme of expanding employment and the economy will be significantly larger than the current phase of how to stabilize the economy after the crisis,” he said.
Yemeni officials have previously said the public sector would play a key role in job creation as the country attempts to stave off economic collapse after 15 months of political turmoil that saw President Ali Abdullah Saleh forced from office.
“In that context, that they move to the medium-term strategy the IMF would also consider how to support and accompany them during that process, including by providing financial support over a longer-term period and with amounts that are likely to be larger than the amount, we had so far provided for the immediate stabilization,” he said.
“The fiscal situation deteriorated significantly, this year, we believe it will stabilize,” Ahmed said.
Yemen’s $34 billion economy is seen shrinking 0.9 percent in real terms this year after a 10.5 percent plunge in 2011, the worst contraction since North and South Yemen unified in 1990, the IMF’s updated regional outlook showed on Thursday.
The IMF did not provide economic growth forecasts and 2011 estimates for Syria, rocked by a 14-month old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, but Ahmed said that its economy was likely to contract this year as it did in 2011.
“It (the impact of sanctions) is hard to judge because it depends a bit on how rigorously the sanctions can be forced and depends on the shape and course of the conflict, which is hard to tell, and how it is going to affect production and what help if any Syria will be able to get,” he said.
“But nevertheless the best estimate is that there is going to be a continuous contraction of the Syrian economy this year.”
Potential Libertarian Presidential Nominee Gary Johnson’s strange foreign policy (He is an Interventionist)
He wants to go get Kony, he wouldn’t rule out leaving behind American bases in Afghanistan, doesn’t mind drone attacks against “terrorists” in Pakistan or Yemen… He says America should be “vigilant” against terrorist attacks on the “homeland”. Last year, The (Neo Con) Weekly Standard reported that Johnson told the publication that he supported the concept of waging wars for humanitarian reasons despite wanting to cut the military budget by nearly half. Asked whether he stood by that, Johnson said he did.
On Iran, Johnson said that if “Iran launches a nuclear warhead they can be assured that they will no longer exist.”
Libertarian Party presidential contender Gary Johnson has been portrayed as an anti-war candidate, but that isn’t quite so clear.
Johnson sat down with reporters and editors from The Daily Caller last week, generously providing his time to answer any and all questions, no matter how difficult or ludicrous.
But when pressed on foreign policy topics throughout the interview, Johnson gave answers that didn’t always seem to add up and were often, at best, unorthodox positions for a man who has been painted as a non-interventionist.
While Johnson positions himself as a strong anti-war candidate who wants to cut the defense budget by 43 percent, he told TheDC that he supports America’s efforts to aid African troops in tracking down Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and that he wouldn’t rule out leaving behind American bases in Afghanistan.
Johnson said that while he wants to end the war in Afghanistan, that doesn’t mean he would necessarily stop drone attacks against terrorists in Pakistan or Yemen, even though he believes they create more enemies than they kill.
“I would want leave all options on the table,” Johnson said.
“But there’s an unintended consequence when it comes to drone attacks in Yemen,” he continued. “Yeah, you take out the al-Qaida stronghold, but you also wipe out the other half of the block. That makes Yemenis against the United States for the rest of their lives and all their descendants.”
But if Johnson plans on leaving Afghanistan, how does he plan to leave the option of a drone campaign against al-Qaida elements in Pakistan on the table?
“So now you have the U.S. bases that exist in those areas, do we shut down those military bases? Perhaps not,” he suggested, taking an odd position for a supposed anti-war candidate.
“I would completely withdraw our military presence,” he further expounded. “Does withdrawing our military presence from Afghanistan mean that we would still have a base open in Afghanistan if they allowed us to keep a base open? Perhaps.”
Johnson said that while he favors withdrawing or reducing American forces based in Europe and the Far East, the Middle East is a region of the world the U.S. should remain in.
“Where strategically should we be?” he asked.
“You would think that strategically we should be in the Middle East. Should we be in the Philippines? I’m just saying that this isn’t going to be a wholesale — a 43 percent reduction, in my opinion, gets us back to 2003 funding levels and just wrings out the excess.”
But despite Johnson saying he thinks that the Middle East is a region of the world the United States should maintain a military presence in, he contended that there are “no military threats” to the U.S. anywhere in the world.
“As I’m sitting here right now, there are no military threats against the United States,” he said, stipulating that America should be “vigilant” against terrorist attacks on the homeland.
Last year, The Weekly Standard reported that Johnson told the publication that he supported the concept of waging wars for humanitarian reasons despite wanting to cut the military budget by nearly half. Asked whether he stood by that, Johnson said he did.
“I don’t want to close the door that if any of us were president of the United States that we would sit idly by and watch something like the Holocaust go down,” he said.
“I don’t want to close the door on the United States involving themselves and putting a stop to that. Can we spend money on that? Yeah, I think so.”
But how would the United States be able to participate in major interventions to stop genocide if the defense budget is radically cut by 43 percent?
“When you talk about a 43 percent reduction in military spending, that’s going back to 2003 funding levels, not the end of the world,” he contended, though military planners would likely strongly disagree.
One intervention Johnson said he supports is the U.S. mission to help capture Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which Johnson believes is arguably the “worst terrorist” group in the world.
“Based on what I know, yes,” Johnson said, indicating his support for the mission to capture Kony.
“Based on what I understand about it, that arguably this is the worst terrorist group that’s been on the planet for the last 20 years.”
He also noted that his mission would have differed from the current one in that he would have asked for volunteers from the military to undertake it with a more belligerent plan to “wipe ‘em out.”
“Well Congress passed the legislation to authorize us intervening, Obama signed the legislation and then eight months later we have an advisory force that goes in,” he said. “I think if I would have signed the legislation that I would have had plans to immediately ask for a volunteer force and gone in and wipe ‘em out.
A radical Muslim preacher can be lawfully extradited from Britain to the United States to face charges that he helped set up an al-Qaida terrorist training camp in Oregon, a court in Europe ruled Tuesday.
Abu Hamza, whose amputated forearms are replaced by hooks, is accused of conspiring to establish a training camp in Bly, Ore., where followers received combat and weapons training for violent jihad, or holy war, in Afghanistan.
The U.S. also believes he helped the extremists who kidnapped 16 foreign tourists in Yemen in 1998. Three British tourists and one Australian visitor were killed in a shootout between Yemeni security forces and the captors.