Iran Election Guide

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Entries in US Agency for International Development (3)


Iran Analysis: Taking Apart the "Iranian Terror Cell in Nigeria" Story

The State Security Service announced the arrests in a press conference, featuring the three suspects "on parade" before the media. The main suspect, Abdullahi Berende, gave a confession:

[He] told journalists that he was employed by “people who were ready to capitalise on my weakness", though he denied being part of a terrorist network....He regretted “betraying my country”, adding that his [Iranian] handler whom he referred to as Amir, preyed on his weakness.

He denied working for any international or local terror network, adding that his handler only requested him to get information on American and Israeli targets in Lagos.

So who are the Iranians? The report of the press conference gives no further clues: "Attempts to reach the Iranian Embassy for comments on Wednesday were unsuccessful."

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Afghanistan and Iraq Snapshot: $34 Billion "Wasted" by US Government on Contracting (Hodge)

The U.S. has wasted or misspent $34 billion contracting for services in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a draft report by a bipartisan congressional panel, the most comprehensive effort so far to tally the overall cost of a decade of battlefield contracting in America's two big wars.

The three-year investigation comes from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which was established by Congress in 2008.

Its final report, expected to be sent to Capitol Hill in the next few weeks, lays out in detail the failure of federal agencies to properly manage and oversee grants and contracts set to exceed a total of $206 billion by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

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Afghanistan Witness: The Hard Realities in Helmand Province (Steele)

Claims that UK and US forces --- and through them the Afghan government --- now control most of Helmand are exaggerated. Until you visit the area, it is hard to envisage that their presence is actually confined to a few towns in this rural province. They sit in a series of security bubbles labelled "main bases", "forward operating bases" and "patrol bases", each of diminishing size, with the patrol bases home to anything from a dozen to 100 troops. The latest tactic is to set up "line of sight" checkpoints, mainly manned by Afghan police, on the roads between towns so that travellers are always watched. Local government offices are also located in guarded compounds where, for safety reasons, officials often live as well as work.

PRT officials and military spokesmen use various phrases to define success. The government has "extended its reach", or "can now exert influence" or "has a presence" in this or that new district. Every press release makes the same point.

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