Top of the Morning: Iran’s Nuclear Program Goes Underground; Nigeria’s in Crisis

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Iran is Poised to Start Uranium Enrichment at a Second Site…

…And this one is deep underground rendering it potentially immune from air strikes by you-know-who. “The imminent opening of the enrichment site — the Fordo plant, near the city of Qum — confronts the United States and its allies with difficult choices about how far to go to limit Iran’s nuclear abilities. The new facility is buried deep underground on a well-defended military site and is considered far more resistant to airstrikes than the existing enrichment site at Natanz, limiting what Israeli officials, in particular, consider an important deterrent to Iran’s nuclear aims. When the existence of the Qum facility was first disclosed by President Obama and his counterparts in France and Britain in the fall of 2009, American officials expressed doubts that Iran would ever go forward with the facility. But once it goes into operation, the chances of disabling it, in the words of one former top Israeli official, ‘diminish very dramatically.’” (NYT

Nigeria’s in Crisis

Yet again, we must devote a special section of the Digest to keep track of Nigeria’s twin crises.

Crisis 1: Sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians, egged on by the Islamist Boko Haram militant group.

Latest updates: 15 people were killed when members of Boko Haram attacked a church worship service on Saturday. (NYT President Goodluck Jonathan says he believes that Boko Haram has sympathizers in his government and his security apparatus. He also said the unrest and violence in Nigeria, “is even worse than the civil war that we fought.” (BBC

Crisis 2: Mass demonstrations across the country to protest a decision by the government to end substantial petrol subsidies.

Latest Updates: Police and protesters reportedly clashed in multiple locations, with conflicting reports about the level of violence. One report says three union protesters were shot by police in Lagos. (CNN Nigeria’s House of Representatives held an emergency session on Sunday to debate the end of the fuel subsidy. (News24 President Jonathan took to the airwaves to reassure citizens about the end of the fuel subsidy and announce that the government will be making cuts in expenses like travel and even his own salary. (VOA