Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has already made a final decision to seek a February 12 election rather than try to pass the 2013 state budget, politicians who spoke to Netanyahu said on Thursday.
Netanyahu has said that he will make a final decision when the Knesset returns from its extended summer recess on October 15. But the politicians who spoke to him said he left no doubt that his mind was already made up.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin told Netanyahu and coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin to initiate elections immediately in the first few hours of the Knesset’s winter session. He warned that if the Knesset was not immediately dissolved, parties would try to pass expensive populist legislation and the economy could be harmed. Rivlin said initiating immediate elections was also important in order to pass the budget as soon as possible following the vote.
Jordan's King Abdullah on Thursday dissolved the country's pro-government rubber stamp parliament, a constitutional move to pave the way for elections expected early next year.
The announcement was made on the eve of a rally organized by the main Islamist opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is hoping to stage its largest demonstration on Friday since Arab Spring-inspired protests erupted last year.
The royal decree dissolving parliament, which was carried by state media, did not mention a date for the election that will decide the makeup of the 120-member lower house of parliament.
King Abdullah has repeatedly said he wants elections to be held later this year or at the latest early next year.
A conservative government led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Tarawneh passed an electoral law last July that has angered the country's main Islamist opposition, prompting it to say it will boycott upcoming elections unless its demands for wider representation are met.
The electoral law keeps intact a system that marginalizes the representation of Jordanians of Palestinians origin, on whom Islamists rely on for their support, in favor of native Jordanians who keep a tight grip on power and are the backbone of the powerful security forces.
A boycott by the country's only effective opposition, the Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, is threatening to damage the legitimacy of any future parliament.
Syria and Turkey aimed to calm tensions Thursday, a day after the killing of a Turkish family from a Syrian shell touched off cross-border fire and threatened to spiral into all out conflict.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that his country had no intention of opening a war with Syria, despite a move by the parliament in Ankara earlier in the day to authorize force outside Turkey’s borders.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was alarmed by the spillover of Syria’s raging civil war into Turkey and advocated “maximum constraint” by all concerned.
“As the situation inside Syria deteriorates yet further — including the atrocious terrorist bombings in Aleppo this week which killed dozens of people, including civilians — the risks of regional conflict and the threat to international peace and security are also increasing,” Ban said in a statement.
The story below, if true is amazing for a number of reasons:
DEBKAfilereveals one of the CIA’s most dramatic scoops in many years, and epic disaster for Iran. Our most exclusive Iranian and intelligence sources disclose that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s personal cameraman, Hassan Golkhanban, who defected from his UN entourage in New York on Oct. 1, brought with him an intelligence treasure trove of up-to-date photographs and videos of top Iranian leaders visiting their most sensitive and secret nuclear and missile sites.
He stayed behind when Ahmadinejad, after his UN speech, departed New York with his 140-strong entourage. For some years, Golkhanban worked not just as a news cameraman but personally recorded visits by the Iranian president and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of top-secret nuclear facilities and Revolutionary Guards installations.When he left Tehran in the president’s party, his luggage was not searched and so he was able to bring out two suitcases packed with precious film and deliver it safely into waiting hands in New York.
The Iranian cameraman has given US intelligence the most complete and updated footage it has ever obtained of the interiors of Iran’s top secret military facilities and various nuclear installations, including some never revealed to nuclear watchdog inspectors. Among them are exclusive interior shots of the Natanz nuclear complex, the Fordo underground enrichment plant, the Parchin military complex and the small Amir-Abad research reactor in Tehran.
Our sources also disclose that, in late September, he took the precaution of sending his wife and two children out of Iran on the pretext of a family visit to Turkey. They are most likely on their way to the United States by now.
From his years as a member of the loyal Bassij militia, the cameraman earned the complete trust of Iran’s security services and was able to reach his professional pinnacle as personal photographer for the two most eminent figures in the country, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, with the task of recording their most confidential pursuits.
This was his second visit to New York. The first time, a year ago, US intelligence was able to make contact and persuade him to defect with his stock of priceless photos and film.
Although Golkhanban’s defection to the United States and request for asylum was disclosed to the media some days ago, Tehran has not made any comment.
One has to wonder how valuable this information would be to Israel. I assume very valuable. Perhaps valuable enough to be willing to wait until after the U.S. elections for an attack, for this exchange of information? Just some food for thought.