Top of the Morning: Boko Haram Attacks; Baghdad Blasts; IAEA Iran Report; Liberian Election

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A Spate of Boko Haram Attacks Kills Over 100 in Nigeria

It was a bloody weekend in Nigeria. Boko Haram–the militant Islamist group behind the bombing of UN headquarters in Abuja in August — carried out a series of attacks in northern Nigeria. In a rare weekend session, the UN Security Council sharply condemned the violence. The U.S. Embassy is warning of more attacks to come. “At least 53 people were killed in suicide bombings and attacks in the northeastern Nigerian city of Damaturu, police said, while a human-rights group said the death toll was about three times higher. The Taliban-inspired Boko Haram group said it carried out attacks in Yobe and Borno states that started on Nov. 4. Eleven police officers and seven attackers were killed and an overnight curfew was imposed in Damaturu…About 152 people died in the violence…Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri was also rocked by multiple explosions on Nov. 4, including a possible suicide bombing close to the offices of the military’s Joint Task Force. The attacks took place as security forces carried out house-to- house searches for weapons in the city. Three people were killed in attacks in Potiskum about 120 kilometers west of Damaturu, Aminu Lawal, a police spokesman in Kaduna, said Nov. 5. Nigerians in the country’s north, especially Christians, are concerned about possible new attacks, after gunmen targeted a church in the latest round of violence, Sani said. Gunmen killed two people and injured 11 others in a raid on a church in Tabak in northern Kaduna.” (Bloomberg

Trio of blasts in Baghdad Market on Major Holiday

It seems that Boko Haram were not the only militants using the occasion of Eid al-Adha to carry out deadly attacks. “At least eight people were killed when three bomb blasts rocked a busy market in Iraq’s capital where people were shopping for the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha. The Iraqi police said the blasts occurred in Shurja, an important commercial district in central Baghdad where shop owners and vendors sell clothes, electronics, textiles, food and other goods. ‘I can see fire and black smoke rising and a large number of fire engines, ambulances and police patrols rushing to the market,’ a Reuters news agency witness close to Shurja market said. ‘The reason behind the fire was sabotage. The perpetrators used gasoline to set ablaze the market,’ Major General Qassim al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Baghdad security operations, said.” (Al Jazeera

IAEA Report Purports to Show Iran’s “Intent” to Create Nuclear Weapons

Yet another IAEA report showing that Iran is creeping ever closer to something nuclear. After the report goes public, the real drama will shift to the IAEA executive board which will debate whether or not to forward these findings to the Security Council. “The United Nations nuclear watchdog will reveal significant new evidence this week that Iran has sought to build a nuclear bomb, revealing Tehran has built a large steel container that can be used to carry out tests with high explosives found in atomic weapon…Western diplomats acknowledge the document has no “killer fact” which proves Iran is close to testing a bomb. It is unclear, for example…Instead, diplomats suggest the document shows Iran was adopting a structured approach towards building a bomb until 2004 but then shifted to a policy of ‘gradual capacity creep’.’There is no smoking gun in the report but a gradual and telling accumulation of evidence of Iran’s intent,’ said one western diplomat.” (FT

Liberia Election Run-Off Today…If The Other Guy Boycotts, Does that Mean Sirleaf Wins?

The run-off between incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Winston Tubman is scheduled for today. Despite the fact that the international community certified the first election as free and fair, Tubman has been complaining bitterly about a rigged electoral process. These complaints are coming to a head as he has called on his supporters to boycott today’s run-off. “Liberian opposition protesters on Monday gathered for a mass rally on the eve of a run-off vote their candidate wants boycotted over fears of fraud favouring incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Winston Tubman, who came second in a first round Sirleaf won days after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month, has charged Liberia’s second post-war polls were riddled with irregularities and called for a mass ‘peaceful protest.’ A small but spirited crowd of about 200 gathered at Tubman’s Congress for Democratic Change headquarters on Monday morning for the protest which is expected to build up throughout the day. United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) tanks and police kept a strong presence, with a convoy seen driving up and down the main road in the capital Monrovia, sirens blaring.” (Yahoo