News you may have missed #0132

  • Emirates to deport Syrian ex-spy and witness in Hariri assassination probe. A Syrian former spy was on Monday sentenced to six months in jail and deportation for entering the United Arab Emirates on a forged Czech passport. Interestingly, Mohammed Zuhair Siddiq, was a prosecution witness in the inquiry into the assassination of Lebanon’s ex-premier Rafiq Hariri. In 2005, Siddiq claimed that Lebanon’s former pro-Syrian president, Emile Lahoud, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, gave the order to kill anti-Syrian Hariri. It is not clear to which country Siddiq will be deported.
  • US national security advisor insists Iran cannot currently build the bomb. US National Security Advisor General James Jones has rejected claims by The New York Times that Iraq has enough information to design and build a functional nuclear bomb. Jones also stood by the conclusions of the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate, which said Iran’s nuclear arms program is inactive.
  • Book claims CIA-linked network killed anti-drugs campaigner. A new book by Australian researcher John Jiggens claims that a CIA-linked drug smuggling network was responsible for the 1977 murder of Australian anti-drugs campaigner Donald Mackay.

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Analysis: Who is giving Obama advice on national security?

On Monday, US President-Elect Barack Obama chaired the first official meeting of the national security team he assembled earlier this month. But according to an article published today in The International Herald Tribune, an extended list of national security advisers to the President-Elect includes several conservatives, such as Brent Scowcroft, George Shultz and even Richard Armitage (!), whom he has contacted seeking counsel. Why does Barack Obama continue to court such Reaganite and neoconservative figures? Is he simply contacting them as a standard procedural duty, wishing perhaps to ensure some kind of managerial continuum between the current and incoming administrations? But if this is the case, then why do his senior advisers insist on releasing these names to the press in connection with the very first official meeting of Obama’s national security team? Read Article →