Weapons Used In Saudi Attacks ‘Came From Iran’ – Coalition

 

The weapons used to strike Saudi oil facilities were Iranian-made, the Riyadh-led coalition said Monday, heightening fears of regional conflict after the US hinted at a military response to the assault.

The weekend strikes on Abqaiq –- the world’s largest oil processing facility –- and the Khurais oil field in eastern Saudi Arabia have roiled global energy markets with prices spiking Monday to record highs.

Yemen’s Iran-aligned Huthi rebels claimed responsibility for the strikes but Washington has squarely blamed Iran, with President Donald Trump saying the US is “locked and loaded” to respond.

Saudi’s energy infrastructure has been hit before, but this strike was of a different order, abruptly halting 5.7 million Barrels Per Day (BPD) or about six per cent of the world’s oil supply.

The Saudi-led coalition, which is bogged down in a five-year war in neighbouring Yemen, reiterated the assessment that the Huthis were not behind it, pointing the finger at Iran for providing the weapons.

Russia urged “all countries to avoid hasty steps or conclusions that could exacerbate the situation” while the European Union stressed all sides should show “maximum restraint”.

China also called on the US and Iran to “exercise restraint… in the absence of a conclusive investigation or verdict.”

“All indications are that weapons used in both attacks came from Iran,” coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki told reporters in Riyadh, adding they were now probing “from where they were fired”.

“This strike didn’t come from Yemen territory as the Huthi militia are pretending,” Maliki said, adding an investigation had been opened.

He labelled the Huthis “a tool in the hands of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the terrorist regime of Iran”.

The rebels said they fired 10 drones at the Saudi infrastructure, but the New York Times reported that US officials had satellite images showing the attacks — possibly with drones and cruise missiles — had come from the north or northwest.

That indicated they were sourced in the northern Persian Gulf, Iran or Iraq, rather than Yemen.

‘Unprecedented Attack’

The assault on the heart of Saudi Arabia’s oil industry, which engulfed the facilities in flames, has been condemned by Washington as an “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply”.

Oil prices saw their biggest daily gain since the 1991 Gulf War on Monday after the attacks halved output in the world’s top crude exporter, fuelling fresh geopolitical and growth fears.

Europe’s benchmark Brent crude surged by 20 percent and US counterpart WTI by 15 per cent as commodities trading got underway.

Both contracts later came off their peaks, but were still up more than 10 percent on the day by the mid-afternoon in Europe.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry insisted world oil markets still had sizeable reserves saying the market has “a fairly substantial amount of oil out there available”.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman on Sunday said the kingdom would use its vast inventories to partially compensate for the lost production, and the US also authorised the release of its reserves.

“Growing tensions in the Middle East are another headwind for the global economy in already uncertain times, and a full-blown conflict could trigger another leg in the global downturn,” said Jennifer McKeown, head of Global Economics at Capital Economics.

With the Huthis threatening further attacks, analyst Oanda senior market analyst Craig Erlam noted Saturday’s events had “highlighted the vulnerability of security at these facilities to drone attacks”.

The kingdom also has a spare capacity of around two million BPD that it can draw on at times of crisis.

But a prolonged production delay could potentially see prices climb to “triple digits”, warned Saudi economic consultant Sulaiman al-Assaf.

IPO in Trouble?

The attack is a major test for Saudi Arabia as it could dampen investor confidence in Aramco’s upcoming two-stage initial public offering (IPO), a mammoth listing that the government hopes will generate up to $100 billion.

Saudi authorities are considering whether to delay an IPO for the oil giant, people with knowledge of the matter said.

“They’re in the process of assessing the damage. It’s a possibility but it’s still very early,” said one of the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The IPO, earlier scheduled for 2018, has already been mired in delays as it reportedly struggled to reach a $2 trillion valuation desired by Saudi rulers.

Saudi authorities have sought to calm jittery markets, with the Energy Intelligence specialist newsletter citing industry sources as saying Aramco was “close to restoring as much as 40 percent” of the lost production, or about 2.3 million barrels per day (BPD).

The Wall Street Journal cited people familiar with the damage estimates as saying the targeted facilities would take weeks to return to full production capacity.

The real extent of the damage at the facilities, however, remains unclear.

All eyes are on official word from the Saudis on the situation, which could offer reassurance to world markets.

Four Chinese Indicted In US For Aiding North Korea’s Weapons Programme

 

Four Chinese nationals have been indicted for financial dealings with sanctioned North Korean companies involved in producing weapons of mass destruction, the US Justice Department said Tuesday.

Ma Xiaohong, the head of Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Development Co. Ltd (DHID) and three top executives of the Chinese company were indicted by a federal grand jury in New Jersey, the department said in a statement.

The other three DHID executives indicted were identified as general manager Zhou Jianshu, deputy general manager Hong Jinhua and financial manager Luo Chuanxu.

READ ALSO: Former Chinese Premier Li Peng Dies At 90

“Through the use of more than 20 front companies, the defendants are alleged to have sought to obscure illicit financial dealings on behalf of sanctioned North Korean entities that were involved in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” assistant attorney general John Demers said.

“Ma, her company, and her employees tried to defraud the United States by evading sanctions restrictions and doing business with proliferators of weapons of mass destruction,” said US Attorney Craig Carpenito.

A Justice Department spokesman said the four DHID executives are not in US custody and are believed to reside in China.

DHID, according to the indictment, was based in the Chinese city of Dandong in Liaoning Province along the border with North Korea and its primary business was import and export trade with North Korea.

DHID allegedly set up front companies to work with North Korea-based Korea Kwangson Banking Corp. (KKBC), which has ties to two other sanctioned North Korean entities — Tanchon Commercial Bank (Tanchon) and Korea Hyoksin Trading Corporation (Hyoksin).

Tanchon and Hyoksin are subject to US sanctions because of their links with the Korea Mining Development Trading Co. (KOMID), which the United States considers North Korea’s premier arms dealer and main exporter of goods and equipment related to ballistic missiles and conventional weapons.

Ma, Zhou, Hong and Luo face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

They face a maximum of five years in prison for conspiracy to violate IEEPA and a maximum of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to a resumption of their dialogue at an impromptu meeting in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas on June 30.

AFP

US Will ‘Never Allow’ Iran To Develop Nuclear Weapons – White House

 

The United States will “never allow” Iran to develop nuclear weapons, the White House warned Monday, after Tehran said it had exceeded a limit on enriched uranium reserves set under a 2015 nuclear deal.

“Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue until its leaders alter their course of action,” said a statement from White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.

“The United States and its allies will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons,” it said, calling it “a mistake under the Iran nuclear deal to allow Iran to enrich uranium at any level. ”

AFP

Surrender Illegal Weapons In Your Possession, Acting IGP Warns Nigerians

Surrender Illegal Weapons In Your Possession, Acting IGP Warns Nigerians
Acting IGP, Mohammed Adamu.

 

The acting Inspector General of police, Mohammed Adamu, has warned Nigerians currently in unlawful possession of illegal weapons to immediately ensure a voluntary return of the weapons to police stations or public armoury nearest to them.

He gave the warning in a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, on Sunday in Abuja.

The warning followed intelligence report which indicated the presence of a huge quantity of arms in unlawful possession of some Nigerians.

It also highlighted the desperation of some citizens to acquire more arms and the continued proliferation of illicit weapons in the polity with the attendant negative and security implications.

READ ALSO: CCT Adjourns Onnoghen’s Alleged False Asset Declaration Case Indefinitely

In view of this, the police boss, with immediate effect, placed an embargo on the issuance of new licences for designated arms throughout the country.

He advised Nigerians to take advantage of the “voluntary arms return window” and do the right thing as there would be dire consequences for defaulters and those who fail to heed the call.

Meanwhile, the police have concluded plans to embark on massive joint arms mopping up operations across the country.

According to the statement, the operation which will be intelligent driven and target oriented is designed to retrieve all illicit weapons in circulation.

It would also halt the ongoing proliferation of weapons as well as restore law and order and bring perpetrators to justice.

Troops Kill Four Boko Haram Terrorists, Recover Weapons In Borno                          

Suspected Terrorists Attack Borno Town, Reportedly Cart Away Gun Trucks

 

Troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole have killed four Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State.

The Deputy Director of Public Relations, 7 Division Nigerian Army, Colonel Ado Isa, revealed this in a statement on Friday.

He explained that troops of 7 Division of the Nigerian Army conducted a clearance operation on suspected Boko Haram Terrorists hideout along Makinta Meleri in Konduga Local Government Area of the state.

According to him, the soldiers recovered 4 AK-47 Rifles with registration numbers 58012289, 565240898 and 58006027, respectively during the clearance operation.

READ ALSO: Troops Kill Two Boko Haram Terrorists, Rescue Two Women

Other items also recovered included three Rifle Magazines containing 32 rounds of 7.62mm (special) ammunition and three bicycles.

In reaction, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, according to Colonel Isa, commended the troops for their doggedness.

Speaking through the acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the division and Commander Sector 1 Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig Gen Abdulmalik Bulama Biu, the COAS encouraged them to sustain the war against terrorism until the terrorists are flushed out and total peace and security are restored.

Troops Kill Boko Haram Terrorists, Recover Weapons

19 Feared Killed, 40 Houses Razed As Boko Haram Attack Borno Village

 

Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have killed five Boko Haram members terrorising Yabiri Kote and Bula Dadobe villages in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

The troops of 21 Special Armoured Brigade on Tuesday killed the terrorists in a joint trans-border operation with the Cameroonian Defence Forces, a statement from the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu.

According to Chukwu, the joint exercise codenamed Operation Rainbow 15, was conducted from Saturday 15 – Sunday 16 September 2018.

Chukwu explained that the army discovered the terrorists’ bases in Yabiri Kote and Bula Dadode areas of the state from where they launched attacks on villages in Cameroon and Nigeria.

He, however, stated that troops were able to recover some items during the joint trans-border operations including three AK-47 rifles, two Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Shells, One primed Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Belt.

Others are two motorcycles, Eight bicycles, Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Vest and One Boko Haram flag.

The army’s spokesman also appealed to members of the public to report any suspicious movements or activities to the law enforcement agents for prompt action.

Ship Allegedly Carrying Weapons To Nigeria Intercepted In South Africa

Mob Burns Nigerian To Death In South Africa

 

South African police said Thursday that they had boarded a Russian-registered cargo ship allegedly carrying illegal weapons and explosives en route to Lagos, Nigeria.

The vessel, named Lada, had reportedly left Madagascar before stopping at Ngqura port outside the eastern city of Port Elizabeth, where it was detained after a security check on Sunday.

“We are aware that she has dangerous cargo — explosives and weapons — on board,” Olwethu Mdabula, spokeswoman for the Transnet state transport company told AFP.

She declined to give further details.

Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, spokesman for the Hawks police investigative unit, confirmed to AFP that the vessel was carrying weapons.

“This is a very, very sensitive matter. It is receiving attention,” he said.

Local reports said police had searched the vessel after an anonymous tip-off and found weapons and explosives worth about $3.5 million in 20 containers on board.

AFP

[UPDATED] Google Won’t Use Artificial Intelligence For Weapons

Google Won't Use Artificial Intelligence For Weapons
In this file photo taken on October 4, 2017, Sundar Pichai, the chief executive officer of Google Inc., speaks about Google’s improvements in Artificial Intelligence and machine learning at a product launch event at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, California. Elijah Nouvelage / AFP

 

Google announced on Thursday that it would not use artificial intelligence for weapons or to “cause or directly facilitate injury to people,” as it unveiled a set of principles for these technologies.

 

Chief executive officer Sundar Pichai, in a blog post outlining the company’s artificial intelligence policies, noted that even though Google won’t use AI for weapons, “we will continue our work with governments and the military in many other areas” including cybersecurity, training, and search and rescue.

The news comes with Google facing pressure from employees and others over a contract with the US military, which the California tech giant said last week would not be renewed.

Pichai set out seven principles for Google’s application of artificial intelligence, or advanced computing that can simulate intelligent human behaviour.

He said Google is using AI “to help people tackle urgent problems” such as prediction of wildfires, helping farmers, diagnosing disease or preventing blindness.

“We recognize that such powerful technology raises equally powerful questions about its use,” Pichai said in the blog.

“How AI is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come. As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right.”

The chief executive said Google’s AI programs would be designed for applications that are “socially beneficial” and “avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias.”

He said the principles also called for AI applications to be “built and tested for safety,” to be “accountable to people” and to “incorporate privacy design principles.”

Google will avoid the use of any technologies “that cause or are likely to cause overall harm,” Pichai wrote.

That means steering clear of “weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people” and systems “that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms.”

The move comes amid growing concerns that automated or robotic systems could be misused and spin out of control, leading to chaos.

Several technology firms have already agreed to the general principles of using artificial intelligence for good, but Google appeared to offer a more precise set of standards.

The company, which is already a member of the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence including dozens of tech firms committed to AI principles, had faced criticism for the contract with the Pentagon on Project Maven, which uses machine learning and engineering talent to distinguish people and objects in drone videos.

Faced with a petition signed by thousands of employees and criticism outside the company, Google indicated the $10 million contract would not be renewed, according to media reports.

AFP

Troops Recover Arms, Vehicles From Boko Haram Members

Troops serving under the Operation Lafiya Dole in Borno State have killed 20 suspected Boko Haram terrorists and recovered deadly weapons from them.

A statement from the Deputy Director Public Relations, Colonel Timothy Antigha, on Wednesday, said the soldiers were able to arrest 17 of the sect members while rescuing over 100 people.

See photos below:

Troops Destroy Boko Haram Training Camps, Recover Weapons

File Photo

Troops of 112 Task Force Battalion and Mobile Strike Teams of 22 Brigade of Operation Lafiya Dole have carried out clearance operations in some village in Borno State recovering weapons from the Boko Haram terrorist group.

Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, in a statement on Friday said the operation which was carried out on Friday, October 27, 2017 in collaboration with some members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) took place in Gawa, Bone, Kajeri 1, Kajeri 2, Kube, Dubula, Boboshe 1 and Boboshe 2 villages in Borno State.

 

READ ALSO: Wife Of Boko Haram Leader Killed In Airstrike – Report

During the operation, the troops recovered three Isuzu vehicles. Weapons including four Dane guns, one Dummy gun, suspected to be used for training of inducted Boko Haram terrorists and mattresses hidden under shrubs were also recovered.

Five persons who were taken captives by criminal Boko Haram terrorists at Boboshe 1 and Dubula were also rescued.

The troops of Operation Lafiya Dole are more determined and resolute to ensure that the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists are located and neutralised.

We Recovered Weapons From Nnamdi Kanu’s Residence – Abia CP

The Commissioner of Police in Abia State, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, has said that weapons, including petrol bombs and one double-barrel gun, were recovered during the raid carried out on the residence of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Speaking on Thursday during an interactive session held at the officer’s mess in Umuahia, Ogbizi said that the raid was carried out based on an intelligence report and joint effort with the military and they will not hesitate to revisit the home of IPOB leader if there is a new evidence.

“We have an intelligence report that an uncompleted building is being used for training Biafra secret service and we have confirmed it, so my question is, are we not supposed to go there to verify the evidence?

“We recovered many of Biafra’s insignia, the staff of office and some of those items are being analysed,” Ogbizi said.

He said that the petrol bombs were found in buckets and incriminating documents and letters, concerning IPOB’s activities and plans, were also recovered during the raid on Nnamdi Kanu’s house.

READ ALSO: ECOWAS Court Adjourns Nnamdi Kanu’s Case Against FG

Ogbizi also disclosed that a member of the IPOB involved in burning down vehicle and committing homicide has been arrested. He called on parents to keep watch on their children so they will not be misinformed to become hoodlums.

“As I am talking with you, one of the IPOB members who burned down a vehicle and killed somebody has been arrested.

“They should not be allowed to continue and get all the uninformed youths and put them in front to cause mayhem.”

Ogbizi charged the youths to seek other ways to channel their grievances which do not involve violence because the police would not relent in their duty to apprehend defaulters in its bid to maintain peace.

He, however, did not parade the weapons and items recovered but said, “We are analysing the documents and the items we recovered with a view to determining the next line of action.”

Army Denies Allegation Of Looting In Gbaramatu

soldiers and officersThe Nigerian Army has dismissed allegations of looting by Soldiers in Gbaramatu kingdom.

In a statement by a spokesman for the Nigerian Army, Colonel Sani Usman, the Army criticised the allegation, saying it is not true.

It also described the allegations as sheer blackmail by some mischief makers to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Army.

Colonel Usman stressed that Nigerian soldiers do not loot.

The statement further said that the Army felt pained that such unfounded allegation would be published.

According to the statement, the soldiers are thorough-bred professionals guided by rules of engagement and code of conduct.

The statement further added that all the items recovered on May 28 and June 1, which include weapons and dynamites, were properly documented and publicly displayed.