Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Predictions for 2012 and Terrorism!

Interesting Op-Ed piece: "No peace, No prosperity, No progress" by SIMON TISDALL / London published Thursday, December 29, 2011


An interesting op-ed piece talked about the upcoming year of 2012. In it the writer mentions that in conflict zones from the Middle East to Africa and Asia, there is scant prospect of relief in 2012 and good grounds for believing that worse is to come. Economically speaking, the monetary and sovereign debt crises affecting Europe and the US threaten to taint global markets further and trigger a general depression. In plain political terms, resurgent nationalism, self-serving or downright corrupt electoral processes, and a growing emphasis on the politics of fear and envy. So, let us look ahead to what 2012 holds!

Is Iran and al Qaeda working together?

Interesting Article: "Iran rejects U.S. allegation on al Qaeda operative" by REUTERS / Tehran published Sunday, December 25, 2011

An interesting article mentioned that Iran rejected as "completely baseless" U.S. allegations that it was harboring an al Qaeda member who is accused of operating as a facilitator and financier for the group from the Islamic Republic, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Sunday. The United States announced Thursday that it was establishing a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to Syrian-born Yasin al-Suri, who is also known as Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil. Al-Suri has been accused of helping move money and recruits through Iran to al Qaeda leaders in neighboring countries under an agreement between the group and the Iranian government, Senior State Department official Robert Hartung has said. Is al Qaeda and Iran working together?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Al Qaeda in Lebanon??

Interesting Article: "No solid evidence of Al-Qaeda presence in Lebanon: Mikati" by THE DAILY STAR / Beirut published Wednesday, December 28, 2011


An interesting article mentioned that last week, Lebanese Defense Minister Fayez Ghosn said arms were being smuggled and “some terrorist members of Al-Qaeda” entered Lebanon through illegal crossings on the Lebanese-Syrian border, particularly Arsal, under the guise of Syrian opposition members (they are said to be in a small Lebanese town near the Syrian border). Prime Minister Najib Mikati said Wednesday he had no solid evidence that Al-Qaeda was present in Lebanon, in an apparent attempt to contain the controversy sparked by Ghosn. Ghosn’s remarks, which came just two days before Syrian officials blamed a rare twin suicide bombing in Damascus that killed 44 people on Al-Qaeda, have stirred controversy at the local level. Interior Minister Marwan Charbel also denied Tuesday that Al-Qaeda had a base in Lebanon. The conflicting statements by the two ministers reflected the apparent the state of disarray within Mikati’s six-month-old Cabinet as Lebanon is reeling under the reverberations of the turmoil in Syria, now in its ninth month. Would you like to know more?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Latest from Syria!

Interesting Article: "Arab League monitors visit Homs" by JULIAN BORGER / London published Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An interesting article in Guardian Newspaper mentioned that tens of thousands of Syrian demonstrators took to the streets of Homs during a visit by Arab League monitors; to protest against alleged mass killings of civilians and prevent what some warned would be a whitewash inspection. The army appeared to withdraw some tanks from Homs hours before the Arab League visit, after pounding rebel districts the previous day. But opposition activists alleged that many tanks had been hidden in government facilities for the visit and that snipers were opening fire on people trying to recover bodies from ruined buildings. What is the latest in Syria?

Iraq's political situation!

Interesting Article:"Al Qaeda in Iraq says it was behind Baghdad blasts" by ASSOCIATED PRESS / Baghdad published Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An al Qaeda front group in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the wave of terrifying attacks that rocked Baghdad last week and killed 69 people. The coordinated attacks on Thursday targeted markets, grocery stores, cafes and government buildings in a dozen mostly Shiite neighborhoods. They coincided with a government crisis that has already strained ties between Sunnis and Shiites to the breaking point. They were the first major attacks since U.S. troops completed a full withdrawal from Iraq this month, increasing doubts about the ability of Iraqi security forces to protect the country. Nearly 200 people were wounded in the bombings. So what is going in Iraq recently, after the U.S withdrawal?

Embattled president of Yemen will come to the U.S!

Interesting Article: "Path Is Cleared for Yemeni Leader to Get Care in U.S."by MARK LANDLER / Honolulu published Monday, December 26, 2011

An interesting article in The New York Times mentioned that the Obama administration has decided in principle to allow the embattled president of Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to enter the United States for medical treatment, subject to certain assurances, two administration officials said Monday. But those conditions — including a proposed itinerary — have not yet been submitted to the American Embassy in Yemen, these officials said, and no visa has yet been issued to Mr. Saleh. But those conditions — including a proposed itinerary — have not yet been submitted to the American Embassy in Yemen, these officials said, and no visa has yet been issued to Mr. Saleh. The complex negotiations over Mr. Saleh’s visa request attest to the high stakes for the administration, which urgently wants to secure room for political progress in Yemen but does not want to allow Mr. Saleh to use a medical visit as a way to shore up his political position. Nor do they want to play into Mr. Saleh’s penchant for keeping people off kilter. Though the administration had been concerned that approval would anger the many Yemenis eager to see Mr. Saleh prosecuted for the killing of protesters by his security forces, some believe that giving him a way out of Yemen, even temporarily, could help smooth the way to elections next year and perhaps end a political crisis that has brought the government of the impoverished nation to the brink of collapse. So what is the current situation in Yemen?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Iraq, a Sunni Vice President on the Run and Al Qaeda's recent bombing!

Interesting Article: "Baghdad bomb attacks kill at least 60" by ASSOCIATED PRESS / Baghdad published Thursday, December 22, 2011

CBS news reported that a wave of at least 14 bombings ripped across Baghdad Thursday morning, killing at least 60 people in the worst violence in Iraq for months. The apparently coordinated attacks struck days after the last American forces left the country and in the midst of a major government crisis between Shiite and Sunni politicians that has sent sectarian tensions soaring. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. But the bombings bore all the hallmarks of al Qaeda's Sunni insurgents. Most appeared to hit Shiite neighborhoods, although some Sunni areas were also targeted. In all, 11 neighborhoods were hit by either car bombs, roadside blasts or sticky bombs attached to cars. There was at least one suicide bombing and the blasts went off over several hours. So who are the al Qaeda Sunni insurgents?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yemen & al Qaeda!

Interesting Article: "U.S. Citizen Is Convicted in Plot to Support Al Qaeda" by ABBY GOODNOUGH / Boston published Tuesday, December 20, 2011

An American citizen from an upscale suburb here was convicted on Tuesday of conspiring to support Al Qaeda and of other terrorism charges. Federal prosecutors told the jury that Tarek Mehanna, 29, of Sudbury, traveled to Yemen in 2004 to train as a terrorist with the goal of attacking American soldiers in Iraq. Mehanna, a graduate of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, failed to get the training, but then returned home and conspired to help Al Qaeda by promoting violent jihad on the Internet, prosecutors said. The jury deliberated for about 10 hours, after hearing 31 days of testimony. It found Mehanna guilty on all charges, including conspiring to kill in a foreign country and lying to investigators, as well as conspiring to support terrorists. Why do we keep hearing about Yemen?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

AQIM and Europe!

Interesting Op-Ed: "The Terrorists in Europe's Backyard" by AVI JORISCH / Europe published Tuesday, December, 20, 2011


An interesting op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal mentioned that Europe's security is being threatened by the terrorist organization known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which is based in North Africa and active since 2002. AQIM is an al Qaeda affiliate whose principal aim is to overthrow the Algerian government and establish an Islamic state governed by Shariah law in North Africa, Spain and Portugal. AQIM regularly funds its operations through criminal activity in Europe and the kidnapping of Western tourists and aid workers in North Africa, and is now in possession of weapons galore from the fallen Gadhafi regime. It is also actively involved in courting North African immigrant communities in the west. So how does AQIM affect Europe?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Who will be the leader of North Korea now?

Interesting Article: "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il Is Dead" by EVAN RAMSTAD / Seoul published Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong Il died on Saturday of a heart attack while on a train, North Korea's state media said. A television news announcer, dressed in black and her voice quivering with emotion, said Monday the nation would unite behind Kim Jong Il's third son, Kim Jong Eun, as North Korea's new leader. Although the succession plan has been laid out for many months, the elder Kim's sudden death comes as Kim Jong Eun, believed to be 27 or 28 years old, has had little time to develop a power base. To preserve its power, the Kim family will have to work closely with the North Korean military. Kim Jong Il maintained a low profile after taking power following the death of his father in 1994 while he courted military leaders and tried to consolidate his power. The death of the elder Kim will also put on hold talks between North Korea, the U.S. and South Korea that appeared to be making some headway. So who is Kim Jong Eun?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Iran's Nuclear Plans heading underground!

Interesting Article: "Iran may move its nuclear enrichment plants" by ASSOCIATED PRESS / Tehran published Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

A USA Today article mentioned that Iran may move its nuclear enrichment plants to safer locations if necessary. Gholam Reza Jalali, who commands an anti-sabotage unit in the powerful Revolutionary Guard, said the vulnerability of Iran's nuclear facilities from a possible strike is "already minimal" but that the move still may go through for their better protection. Iran's main uranium enrichment site in Natanz in central Iran is built partly underground while the long-secret Fordo facility was built deep inside a mountain as a precaution from aerial attacks. Jalili said the existing infrastructure has already been "a kind of deterrent" against attacks. So what is the latest on Iran's Nuclear ambitions?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Iraq's Future!

Interesting Article: "America closes its Iraq war chapter" by EURONEWS / Baghdad published Thursday, September 15th, 2011
An interesting article mentioned that the U.S. military has officially ended its war in Iraq. During the closing remarks, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said; “we undertake this transition today reminding Iraq that it has in the United States a committed friend and a committed partner. We owe it to all of the lives that have been sacrificed in this war not to fail". In Fallujah, the centre of an al-Qaeda insurgency and some of the war’s bloodiest fighting, some among a crowd of thousands burned US flags. In Baghdad there was also despair about the outcome. The last 4,000 US troops will leave by the end of the year. The US military is saying it leaves behind a reformed, well-trained Iraqi army that can meet the challenges ahead. Just what those challenges may be are unclear. So what is next for Iraq?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The rebranding of Al Qaeda!

Interesting article: "Al Qaeda Rebranding Itself to Improve Image, Arab Diplomat Says" by FOX NEWS / DC published Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

An interesting article discussed Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is rebranding itself to try to lose the negative "baggage" associated with the larger terror organization's identity. AQAP is increasingly going by the name "Ansar al Sharia," which means Army of Islamic Law. So why are they suddenly moving away from the al Qaeda name?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kazakhstan, Terrorism & Yellowcake!

Interesting Article: "Kazakhstan, U.S. Deepen Nuclear Security Ties" by NTI / Kazakhstan published Friday, December 2, 2011


An interesting article mentioned that the governments of Kazakhstan and the United States formalized an agreement to deepen their atomic security and safeguards collaboration. "The implementing arrangement is an important next step in our cooperation with Kazakhstan that advances our joint interest in ensuring the highest possible standards for nuclear material safeguards and security," Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said in provided comments. "It reflects our nations' shared commitment to supporting the safe and secure use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." The NNSA Next Generation Safeguards Initiative will oversee the new areas of activity with Kazakhstan. The initiative is focused on fostering ideas, technical know-how and equipment that can be used to improve and maintain global efforts to protect nuclear material. So, let us discuss a little bit about Kazakhstan.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Al Qaeda operatives still escaping Yemeni Prisons!

Interesting Article: "Al Qaeda militants escape Yemen prison" by ASSOCIATE PRESS/ Sanaa published Monday, December 12, 2011


A recent article by CBS News World, mentioned that Several al Qaeda militants escaped early Monday from a prison in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, officials said, tunneling their way out in the second such spectacular jailbreak this year. A prison officer said at least 10 convicts escaped through an up to 130 feet long tunnel, which took the inmates from under the western side of the Aden prison to near a petrol station outside the prison walls. A security official said 15 militants fled in the prison break, including 12 convicted for the killing of security officials and a bank heist. Yemen has seen spectacular jailbreaks before. Is Yemen even up to house these militants anymore?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Saudi Arabia going Nuclear!


Interesting Article: "Saudi Arabia's Al-Faisal Hints at Nuclear Arms Ambition . . . Again" by MICHAEL CECIRE / Riyadh published Thursday, December 9, 2011

An interesting article spoke about recent remarks by a prominent Saudi Arabian royal have fanned new fears that Iran's advancing nuclear program could kick-start a nuclear arms race in the region. Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. and the kingdom's ex-intelligence chief, suggested that given the failure to denuclearize the Middle East, Saudi Arabia should also consider an arsenal of its own. Predictably, al-Faisal's comments fed ongoing speculation that other Arab states might pursue nuclear weapons programs in response to an Iranian bomb. Rather than broadcast the Saudi kingdom's nuclear ambitions, al-Faisal, who is not currently serving in any official capacity for the Saudi government, is more likely seeking to put pressure on the West to take firmer steps to block Iranian ambitions. Though al-Faisal's remarks were widely seen as being directed toward Iran, he also referred to Israel's widely assumed, if unconfirmed, nuclear weapons program as a partial rationale for any Saudi buildup. However, Henderson does not believe this is a major issue for Saudi policymakers, considering that Israel's nuclear arsenal has been well-known to the Saudis for decades. Simon Henderson, the Baker fellow and director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy believes that al-Maktoum's public acknowledgement that Iran is a problem, but that an Iranian weapon is not yet a foregone conclusion, reflects the region's dirty little secret: that the Gulf states continue to look to Israel to counter this threat. So what of Saudi Arabia's nuclear ambitions?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

German Al Qaeda!

Interesting Article: "German Man Arrested over Alleged Al Qaeda Plot" by ASSOCIATED PRESS / Berlin published Thursday, December 8, 2011

An interesting article mentioned that federal prosecutors have arrested a 27-year-old German man on charges he was part of an Al Qaeda bomb plot in Europe. Suspect Halil S. was arrested in Bochum on charges of membership in a terrorist organization. The suspect is accused of providing financial and logistical support for three other suspects arrested in April on suspicion they were making a bomb. So, what group is active in Germany that supports al Qaeda?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hamas decides to abandon Syrian President, heads to higher ground!

Interesting article: "Iran threatening to cut Hamas funds, arms supply if it flees Syria" by AVI ISSACHAROFF and AMOS HAREL / Damascus published Monday, December 5th, 2011

A recent article in Haaretz mentions that according to some sources, Hamas is abandoning its headquarters in Syria and looking at other Arab states as an alternative location for its political command center. Hamas' move comes despite intense Iranian pressure on the organization to refrain from relocating. The Hamas activists on the move, the sources say, are those responsible for the activities and funding of the organization's military wing, as well as some members of the political leadership. Most have left together with their families to a number of destinations, including Gaza, Sudan, Qatar and Lebanon. The Palestinian sources have defined the relocation activities as a hasty abandonment of Syrian President Bashar Assad, who until recently was Hamas' strongest ally in the Arab world. Is this one of the final blows to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Al Qaeda passes out money in Mali!

Interesting Article: "Al Qaeda Africa Refuge Flourishes By Meshing With Locals" by RUKMINI CALLIMACHI AND MARTIN VOGL / Sokolo published Sunday, December 4th, 2011

An interesting article talked about al Qaeda's influence in Mali. With almost no resistance, al-Qaida has implanted itself in Africa's soft tissue, choosing as its host one of the poorest nations on earth. The terrorist group has create a refuge in this remote land through a strategy of winning hearts and minds, described in rare detail by seven locals in regular contact with the cell. While al-Qaida's central command is in disarray and its leaders on the run following bin Laden's death six months ago, security experts say, the group's 5-year-old branch in Africa is flourishing. From bases like the one in the forest just north of here, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, is infiltrating local communities, recruiting fighters, running training camps and planning suicide attacks, according to diplomats and government officials. Let us look at how al Qaeda is following Hezbollah's game plan in Mali.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Iraq and it's future!

Interesting Article: "Iraq PM: Green Zone bomb was assassination attempt" By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA / Baghdad published Saturday, December 3, 2011
An interesting article by the associated press mentioned that a bombing took place inside Baghdad's green zone and that it was an assassination attempt against Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Monday's blast inside the central Baghdad zone, which is supposed to be one of Iraq's most secure areas, has raised new concerns about whether Iraqi forces are able to protect the country when the U.S. military leaves by the end of the year. Al-Maliki played down any suggestion that the attack, in an area that is also home to the U.S. Embassy as well as many Iraqi government institutions, demonstrated any weakness in security ahead of the U.S. military withdrawal. All American forces are to be out of the country by the end of this month. Al-Maliki said the bomb had likely been assembled inside the Green Zone and was not very powerful. Al-Maliki said Iraqi security forces were still looking for at least four people believed to have played a role in the plot. Was this the beginning of more attacks inside supposedly secured areas in Baghdad?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Iran and its pre-Nuclear woes!

Interesting Article: "Iran's nuclear aspirations help drive oil futures" by DANIELS TRADING / DC published Friday, December 2, 2011

An interesting article mentioned that anticipation about an intensifying nuclear conflict between Iran and western powers helped drive crude oil futures to their highest value in two weeks. The market is being bid up because of issues in the Middle East," chief market strategist Bill O'Grady with Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis told Bloomberg. "I wouldn't go home short over the weekend when tensions between Iran and the rest are increasing." In November, Iran pumped 3.56 million barrel of oil, according to a Bloomberg survey. So what is Iran’s nuclear path?

Libya Weapons and where they are heading!

Interesting Article: "U.K. warns of growing al-Qaeda risk in North Africa" by ASSOCIATED PRESS / London published Wednesday, November 30, 2011.

A recent article mentioned that Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said that there is a risk mercenary fighters driven out of Libya could switch allegiance to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Hague told the House of Commons on Monday that Britain is also concerned that weapons from unguarded stockpiles in Libya may have fallen into AQIM hands following dictator Moammar Gadhafi's fall. Hague said there was an escalating threat across the entire Sahel region, which stretches from Mauritania to Chad. So what types of weapons are getting out of Libya, and to whom is it going to?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Muslim Brotherhood projected to win Egypt Elections!

Interesting Article: Muslim Brotherhood says leads Egypt's vote count by EDMUND BLAIR / Cairo published Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An interesting article by Reuters mentioned that the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) (a Muslim Brotherhood party) said early indications showed it was ahead in the races for seats allocated both by party list and to individuals. In the party list race it was followed by the Islamist Salafi al-Nour Party and the liberal Egyptian Bloc. Two thirds of seats will be allocated by party list and one third to individuals. That result, if confirmed and repeated in the rest of the country during the staggered six-week poll, would give Egypt's oldest and best-organized Islamist group a powerful bloc in the next assembly, perhaps setting the stage for a power struggle with the ruling military. So what does this mean?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wahhabis in Bosnia!

Interesting Article: Fearing the ‘White al-Qaeda’ by VESNA PERIC ZIMONJIC / Belgrade published Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A recent article mentioned that Bosnian security services put the number of Wahhabis in Bosnia around 3,000, most of them living in remote central areas near the towns Tuzla and Zenica. They live according to Sharia law, and send their children to separate schools. The women are covered from head to toe. They are supposedly remnants of thousands of mujahedeen who came during the 1992-95 war to help Bosniak Muslims against Serbs. They were veterans from different war zones such as Algeria, Afghanistan, or the Caucasus. Most left when the war ended, but many stayed, married local women and took Bosnian citizenship. So what is Wahhabism?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Mahdi Militia in Iraq moves towards Legitimacy!

Interesting Article: Iraq gives Mahdi militants preferential treatment by THE NATIONAL STAFF / Baghdad published Sunday, November 27, 2011

According to a recent article, Mahdi Army militants, who fought against US troops, are joining the government's security services under a secret deal between the government and the Sadrist movement. Since the US-led invasion of 2003, the Mahdi Army, loyal to cleric Muqtada Al Sadr, battled with US soldiers and Iraqi troops or, more commonly, planted bombs in roadside ambushes or fired mortars at military bases. It claimed to be able to call on tens of thousands of fighters. Even after the Sadrist movement called a ceasefire in 2008 and won an influential place in Iraq's mainstream politics, militants associated with its armed wing continued to stage sporadic attacks against US troops, particularly in Shiite-dominated southern Iraq. An arrangement with the government designed to entice the Sadrists to abandon militancy may already be unfolding, according to Iraqi media reports. Hundreds of Mahdi Army fighters have joined security services, some at high ranks, even though they are less qualified than other applicants, the reports say. The militants "are being taken into the interior ministry, the defense ministry, the air force, the border guards, Baghdad operations command, everywhere," said one of the officials. So what is the Mahdi Army?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Al Qaeda in Mali!

Interesting Article: Mali gunmen abduct two French citizens from hotel by BBC NEWS /  Bamako published Thursday, November 24, 2011

A recent article in BBC News spoke about gunmen in Mali having abducted two French citizens from their hotel in the central town of Hombori. It is the first kidnapping of Westerners in Mali that has occurred. The BBC's Martin Vogl, in the Malian capital Bamako, says military vehicles and security personnel have been sent to Hombori to try to stop the hostage takers crossing the Niger River in case they plan to go to the bases of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the far north of the country. Al-Qaeda linked fighters have in the past brought hostages into northern Mali from neighboring countries. So what is AQIM doing in Mali?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Who is Ayman al-Zawahiri?

Interesting Article: Al-Qaeda targets dwindle as group shrinks by GREG MILLER / Washington published Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An interesting article talked about the leadership ranks of the main al-Qaeda terrorist network and spoke about the organization being reduced to just two figures whose demise would mean the group’s defeat. The two mentioned was Ayman al-Zawahiri and his second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi. U.S. officials stressed that al-Qaeda’s influence extends far beyond its operational reach, meaning that the terrorist group will remain a major security threat for years. Still, U.S. officials who described al-Qaeda as being on the verge of defeat after Osama bin Laden was killed said they have been surprised by the pace and extent of the group’s contraction in the six months since then. So who is Ayman al-Zawahiri?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A little story about China's Aircraft Carrier!

Interesting Article: Chinese open embassy in Maldives as South Asia presence grows by ALEX SPILLUS / Mali published Friday, November 11, 2011

An interesting article recently discussed China opening an embassy in the Maldives. According to the article this is another step by China to increase its influence across a South Asian region that India has traditionally dominated. China has been working to expand its influence in the region in a strategy that has been dubbed the "string of pearls", prompting concern from India and raised eyebrows in Western capitals. The region lies midway between the oil-rich Middle East and the Southeast Asia, and with 75 percent of the world’s shipping crossing the Indian Ocean, China has been keen to expand its foothold. So what’s China's aircraft carrier and where did they get it?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Al Qaeda in Iraq!

Interesting Article: As US exits Iraq, a top general's warning by SCOTT PETERSON / Baghdad published Monday, November 21, 2011


Interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor spoke about Gen. Lloyd Austin's warning to the Iraqi government about dangers from Al Qaeda in Iraq, as well as Iran-backed Shiite insurgent groups. Gen. Lloyd Austin told journalists on Monday that troops "worked as hard as we could for as long as we could" to train Iraqi military and security forces for a "historic transition" that will see all remaining US units gone by the end of the year. He added, "as we leave, you can expect to see some turbulence in security initially, and that's because you'll see various elements try to increase their freedom of movement and freedom of action". "Al Qaeda will be one of those elements". "We expect that Al Qaeda will continue to do what it's done in the past, we expect it's possible they could even increase in inner capability," depending on "how effectively the Iraqi security forces and the government of Iraq are able to focus on that network," said Austin. He also warned that the Iraqi government – with defense, interior, and intelligence ministries heavily dominated by Shiites – also had to take on Shiite militants of Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and the Promised Day Brigades. Austin also listed three "Iran-backed" Shiite militias that primarily target US troops, as well as Sunni extremists of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), which once routinely used spectacular suicide bombings to target civilians, the Shiite-led government, and Shiite shrines. So who is heading up al Qaeda in Iraq?

Monday, November 21, 2011

British Muslims Killed in Waziristan!

Interesting Article: Two suspected British al Qaeda operatives killed in Pakistan drone strike by PAUL CRUICKSHANK / London published Friday, November 18, 2011

A CNN report spoke about two British militants killed in a drone strike in Waziristan who are suspected of having links to several al Qaeda plots against the West. Ibrahim Adam (24) and Mohammed Azmir Khan (37) were part of a network of radicals from East London, according to the British source, and had brothers already implicated in al Qaeda terrorism. Ibrahim Adam has long been on the radar screen of British security services. His brother, Antony Garcia, was arrested in 2004 in a British police investigation named Operation Crevice and charged with being part of a five-man al Qaeda cell plotting to blow up targets in London, including a nightclub, with huge fertilizer bombs. According to Babar's testimony, the brothers were militants from East London who worked in the London offices of al-Muhajiroun, a pro-al Qaeda British group, before traveling to Afghanistan around the time of 9/11 to fight with the Taliban. So who is the al-Muhajiroun?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Islamists, Europe and assimilation for the good of all!

Interesting Article: Muslims need to assimilate into Europe by QASIM MOINI / Karachi published Thursday, November 18, 2011

An interesting op-ed piece spoke about a topic of conversation at the 2 day international conference on ‘Islam in Europe’. The seminar was organized by KU’s Area Study Centre for Europe in association with the Hanns Seidel Foundation. During the conference the topic of Hijab removal in France had come up. According to Anwar Shaheen of the University of Karachi’s Pakistan Study Centre, European culture and Islamic culture have different ethos and both are bound to collide unless there is assimilation and compromise. Ms. Shaheen, who had conducted a survey of Muslim women living in Europe as well as Pakistani scholars to back up her research, said European society was justified in its reaction to Muslim women wearing hijab. According to her study, she found that proponents of the veil considered it a divine commandment while other women faced patriarchal pressure to observe the veil. However, she said many women also wore hijab out of free will. Those who objected to the veil viewed it as a form of discrimination while others felt it did not conform to “contemporary corporate culture”. “If Muslims don’t feel comfortable with European laws they should come back” to their countries of origin, she said, while adding that “European governments should not frame discriminatory laws”. So, what is Europe trying to get away from and what is the Muslim population running to?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Afghans want peace!

Interesting Article: Poll: Afghanistan turns from Taliban by TIM MAK / Kabul published Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An interesting article mentioned a recent poll taken in Afghanistan. According to a survey conducted by Asia Foundation, support for the Taliban among Afghans has steadily decreased in recent years and people strongly back a government peace initiative. The survey was released by the nonprofit San Francisco-based Asia Foundation on Tuesday and it indicates that the majority of Afghans are weary of insecurity and corruption, and distressed by poverty and corruption. The survey has found that majority of Afghan adults, 82 percent, are in favor of reconciliation and reintegration efforts of the Afghan government. The number of those who have said they sympathized with the aims of the Taliban has dropped to 29 percent compared to 40 percent last year and 56 percent in 2009, it said. The survey has also found that there is some confidence in Afghanistan's economic development, but it showed dissatisfaction with the state's ability to deliver both security and clean government. So what does this mean?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sleeper Cells and Airport Security!

Interesting Article: Man Sought After Bullet Hit Window at the White House By BRIAN KNOWLTON and MARK LANDLER / Washington published Wednesday, November 16, 2011

According to the New York Times, Federal and local authorities are investigating a shooting that struck the White House on Friday. The Secret Service said that one bullet had been stopped by the reinforced windows installed inside the historic exterior glass used at the White House. One additional round was found outside. Secret Service agents heard multiple shots fired on Friday and witnessed a car speeding away, westbound, on Constitution Avenue, according to a law enforcement official. The car and a weapon were found, abandoned, at a corner of Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street within a couple of minutes, this official said. The authorities had said earlier that an AK-47 assault rifle was found in the abandoned car, and that the evidence at the scene led the authorities to seek Oscar Ramiro Ortega. Late on Friday, the police searched the Occupy DC protest camp, on McPherson Square just blocks from the White House, after reports that Ortega might have spent time there. A tip from someone who identified Mr Ortega led to his arrest in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie told the Associated Press. Details about this individual will come out sooner or later, but this led me to ask a question, are there terrorist camps in the U.S that can train potential jihadists? If so, what else is going on that could make it easier for a terrorist to operate in the U.S?

Al Qaeda rebranding in Yemen's South!

Interesting Article: Yemen: Militants capture another city in south by ADNKRONOS INTERNATIONAL / Sanaa published Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An interesting blurb mentioned that Al-Qaeda militants in southern Yemen have captured the town of Al-Khoud in the southern Abyan province, according to news reports. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the local branch of the terrorist group, resisted bombing since Monday afternoon by the Yemeni air force, Xinhua news agency reported, citing unnamed sources. Al-Khoud is the latest town to fall into militant hands following the capture of numerous other cities and town in Yemen's south. About 12,000 insurgents fight for AQAP in Yemen. The force has benefited from the government's entanglements with a popular uprising and an armed separatist movement. So what is going on in the south of Yemen?

A far more radical group of Jihadists emerge!

Interesting Article: Egypt announces capture of Islamists suspected of deadly August attack on Israel's border By AVI ISSACHAROFF / Egypt published Monday, November 16, 2011

An interesting article mentioned that Egyptian security forces announced that they arrested another two members of a radical Islamic group associated with al-Qaida that has been active recently throughout the Sinai Peninsula. They are thought to be behind attacks on a pipeline supplying gas to Israel and Jordan, the official MENA news agency reported Monday. Abdel Karim Mohammed Ahmed and Ahmed Salem Awad, of the group known as Al-Takfeer wal Hijra, were detained during a sweep in the north Sinai town of el-Arish, a day after one of the group's leading members was held, MENA said. Another member of the group, Mohammed al-Teehi, was earlier arrested and named as the mastermind of attacks on the gas pipeline and on police stations and installations in North Sinai, a security official said on Sunday. So who is  Al-Takfeer wal Hijra?

Friday, November 11, 2011

British Jihadists in plain sight Operating in London!

Interesting Article: Anti-poppy protesters banned by Theresa May ahead of Remembrance Sunday by TOM McTAGUE / London published Friday, November 11, 2011

An interesting article in the Mirror, mentioned that home Secretary Theresa May ruled the organization 'Muslims Against Crusades' (MAC) should be illegal in the UK, ahead of its planned ­ anti-poppy campaign (Remembrance Day) protest. She said the group was “simply another name for an organization already proscribed under a number of names” including Al Ghurabaa, The Saved Sect, Al Muhajiroun and Islam4UK. The group was banned in 2006 for “glorifying terrorism”, Ms May said: “This means being a member of, or supporting the organization, will be a criminal offence.” Their protest was due to take place outside the Royal Albert Hall, where the annual Festival of Remembrance will take place on Saturday and where poppies were burned last year (MAC was responsible for a number of incidents including protests outside the Royal Albert Hall and in Kensington on 11 November 2010, when two large plastic poppies were burned during the Remembrance Day silence). Who is this group, and who are the players in it?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Al Qaeda admits to receiving Libyan Arms after Revolution!

Interesting Article: Desert chief says al-Qaida branch got Libyan arms by ASSOCIATED PRESS / Nouakchott published Thursday, November 10, 2011

A desert chief with al Qaeda's North Africa branch is confirming fears that his group has procured weapons left unguarded after the fall of Gaddafi. The interview published Wednesday did not specify the type or quantity of arms involved. Al-Qaeda's North Africa branch is best known for kidnapping Westerners for ransom and holding them for months in the vast desert region. So who is this desert chief and what arms did they procure?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A quick conversation about the Arab Spring, Oil Production and the World Economy!

Interesting Article: OPEC October Oil Output Rose as Libya Offsets Saudi Arabia Cuts by RACHEL GRAHAM / Riyadh published Wednesday, October 9, 2011
According to a recent article in Business Week, OPEC’s crude production rose in October as higher Libyan output offset cuts in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela, the group’s secretariat said. The 11 members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries bound by quotas produced 27.27 million barrels a day in October, Vienna-based OPEC said today in its monthly oil market report. Production climbed from 27.18 million barrels in September, OPEC said, citing secondary sources for the data. OPEC Secretary-General Abdalla el-Badri said yesterday that the global oil market is “balanced” as reductions were being made to accommodate increasing supplies from Libya. Saudi Arabia cut output by 0.7 percent to 9.47 million barrels a day last month, while Venezuelan trimmed supply by 1.5 percent to 2.38 million barrels, according to the report. Libya produced 350,000 barrels a day in October, up from 86,000 barrels the previous month. The North African country was producing 1.6 million barrels a day before the start of this year’s rebellion that ousted Gaddafi. So what has the Arab Spring done for Oil production in general and the world economy?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Is Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal Safe?

Interesting Article: The Ally From Hell By Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder / DC published in The Atlantic December 2011 edition

A recent article in The Atlantic magazine quoted unnamed American military and intelligence officials as saying the U.S. has trained extensively for potential missions in Pakistan to secure nuclear weapons or material that fall into the wrong hands. A statement from Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs termed the cover story of The Atlantic's December 2011 issue "pure fiction, baseless and motivated." Writers Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder wrote that Pakistan is "an obvious place" for militants to seek nuclear weapons or materials because of a weak government and infiltration of its security forces by jihadist sympathizers. The article said U.S. officials have grown increasingly disenchanted with Pakistan efforts to root out sympathizers on its territory, particularly after the May 2 raid by American special forces that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a town about two hours outside of Islamabad home to the country's premier military academy. Since then, Pakistan fears that the Pentagon plans similar raids to forcibly "de-nuclearize" it. The authors, citing unnamed sources, said those fears are valid. The article details contingency plans involving hundreds of U.S. commandos specially trained in securing weapons of mass destruction who would swoop in and disable or seize Pakistan's nuclear arsenal in the event of the collapse of the state or a jihadist coup. That fear explains perhaps the most startling allegation: that Pakistani authorities transport assembled nuclear weapons in civilian vans without heavy security, moving in regular traffic to avoid being noticed. This, the authors said, makes Pakistan's nuclear weapons "vulnerable to theft by jihadists," compromising security in a country where numerous militant organizations of various stripes are believed to be headquartered. So is the Pakistan's nuclear arsenal safe, and if it is not, what organization might have the ability to cause a security issue at a nuclear site?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Al Qaeda larger influence in Libya than originally reported!

Interesting Article: Benghazi: A Sea of Al-Qaeda Flags by JOHN ROSENTHAL / DC published Saturday, November 5, 2011

According to a recent entry in the National Review, the emergence of images of a black al-Qaeda flag flying atop the Benghazi courthouse, the symbolic cradle of Libya’s anti-Qaddafi rebellion, has provoked hasty efforts at damage control by defenders of the rebellion and the new Libyan order. Pictorial evidence posted on an Arabic-language Islamic Internet forum reveals that the Benghazi waterfront was in fact covered by a veritable sea of al-Qaeda flags last week: both the “classic” black version and a more novel white one. What is commonly known as the al-Qaeda flag was reportedly first used by the late Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda affiliate in Iraq. The Arabic script represents the Islamic shahada or declaration of faith: “There is no god but God [Allah], and Muhammad is the messenger of God.” The script that appears on the Libyan flags is slightly different in style from that on the “original” Iraqi ones. The design is identical. The Middle East Media Research Institute has posted a two-minute-long video clip, dated October 25, that shows a parade of vehicles in Libya flying the al-Qaeda flag. The exact location is not given, but it appears also to be Benghazi. The images of the “vehicle parade” are followed by images of a traditional march in which demonstrators chanting “Allahu Akbar!” can likewise be seen flying the flag. So is this al Qaeda's first time in Libya?

Nigeria's Terrorist Problem.

Interesting Article: Bloody weekend; 66 killed as Boko Haram wreaks havoc by EMEKA MAMAH / Nigeria published Sunday, November 6, 2011

This weekend, Nigeria was dealing with deadly bomb and gun attacks, including two suicide blasts targeted at police stations, an army base and churches in three northern states that led to the death of 66 people. The Islamic group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the attacks. The attackers reportedly bombed their targets, and then took on the security forces in gun battles. Residents said gunfire rang for several hours across the city after the explosions. An AFP reporter who visited the morgue said most of the dead appeared to be policemen. So who is the Boko Haram?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Is Libya on the way to a failed state?

Interesting Article: Libyan war over, but fighting continues among regional militias By JOMANA KARADSHEH / Tripoli published Tuesday, November 2, 2011

According to a recent article by CNN staff, rivalries rage on among some regional militias, leading to a mutual distrust that poses a challenge to the new leadership. Earlier this week, the rivalry was evident when dozens of fighters clashed at a Tripoli hospital in what residents said was the biggest armed confrontation in the capital in weeks. Walls near a hospital entrance were riddled with bullets holes, and nearby glass doors and windows were shattered. Across the street, bullets pierced through the walls of two buildings (some of the former rebels were even drunk). Accounts differed over how the three-hour battle concluded, but at least three witnesses said it ended after calls from a local imam and senior commanders from both groups talked by phone with their men. The scene on Tripoli's streets these days -- heavily armed men brandishing guns and racing across the city with no central command and little or no accountability -- has raised concerns among residents. Disarming tens of thousands of fighters who brought down ruler Moammar Gaddafi and bringing them under control is a top challenge for the fledgling interim government. With this type of infighting among the groups, what else is going in Libya that we should worry about?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Al Shabaab receiving weapons shipments!

Interesting Article: Arms Flying Into Somalia for Militants, Kenya Says By JOSH KRON / Mogadishu published Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An interesting article in The New York Times mentioned that two planes landed Tuesday in the Somali town of Baidoa, which is under the control of al Shabaab, a militant Islamist group that has claimed allegiance to Al Qaeda. The planes carried weapons destined for the group, the statement said, without specifying who had sent them. Kenya’s military launched a pre-meditated assault into Somalia last month with hundreds of troops backed by tanks and gunships to eradicate al Shabaab. Its military joined those of Uganda and Burundi, which are contributing to an African Union peacekeeping force that is fighting the insurgents. So who is delivering these weapons?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Al Qaeda flies flag in Libya!

Interesting Article: Libya: Al Qaeda flag flown above Benghazi courthouse by VICE.COM / Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An interesting article in the Daily Telegraph mentioned that the black flag of al Qaeda has been put on top of a courthouse in the Libyan city of Benghazi, further raising concerns that the country could turn into a Muslim extremist entity. With this latest act, is al Qaeda placing itself in front of the masses for a comeback, Libyan style?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Saudi Price offers money to Terrorists to kidnap Israeli Soldiers!

Interesting Article: Saudi royal offers bounty on Israeli soldiers by ASSOCIATED PRESS / Riyadh published Sunday, October 30, 2011

According to the CBS news, a member of Saudi Arabia's royal family increased to $1 million a reward offered by a Saudi cleric to anyone who captures an Israeli soldier to swap him for Palestinian prisoners. Prince Khaled bin Talal told the kingdom's al-Daleel TV station by telephone Saturday that he was raising a previous offer made by Sheik Awadh al-Qarani, a prominent Saudi cleric who promised $100,000 for capturing an Israeli soldier. The Saudi offers follow in the wake of the release of Israeli soldier Sgt. Gilad Schalit, who was held by Hamas in Gaza for more than five years. Israel has agreed to free over 1,000 prisoners in exchange. With thousands of members of the Saudi family around, is this specific member, anyone of importance?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Who in Yemen can stop Al Qaeda from gaining ground?

Interesting Article: Car bomb kills anti-terror chief in south Yemen by Associated Press / Sanaa published Friday, October 28, 2011
The head of the anti-terror force in Yemen's restive southern Abyan province was killed Friday when a bomb planted in his car exploded, a Yemeni security official said. Al-Qaida linked militants have taken over a number of towns in Abyan, along the country's south coast, where they regularly engage in deadly clashes with security forces. Yemeni authorities also accuse them of targeting security officials. Tens of thousands marched in anti-government demonstrations across Yemen Friday. Protesters have been on the streets practically every day since January, despite bloody government crackdowns. With the protests taking place, and al Qaeda looking to get rid of any anti-terror leaders in Yemen, who in Yemen will stand against them in the future?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Case against al Qaeda's Middle Management!

Interesting Article: Killing al-Qaeda’s Middle Managers May Be Key to its Destruction by JOHN WALCOTT / Bloomberg published Thursday, October 26, 2011

A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek spoke about a report from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization & Political Violence at Kings College London which discussed identifying and neutralizing al Qaeda's middle managers as a way to disable the organization, than merely going after its top leaders.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pakistan actually doing something! Surprise, Surprise

Interesting Article: Pakistan Army Widens Assault on Islamic Guerrillas near Peshawar by ANWAR SHAKIR / Peshawar published Wednesday, October 26, 2011
According to the recent article by Anwar Shakir, based in Peshawar, an offensive which initially targeted two villages southwest of Peshawar has expanded to five localities in the Khyber Agency (tribal district). The Pakistan army sent units of its main force in FATA, the paramilitary Frontier Corps, to root out militants in the villages about 5 miles southwest of Peshawar. According to the reporter's sources, this was in response to Taliban-allied guerrillas that had ambushed an army convoy on Oct. 20, triggering a battle in which 34 militants and three Pakistani soldiers died. So who are these guerrillas?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kenya pushing forward against al Shabaab!

Interesting Article: France helps Kenya in Somali attack / Nairobi published Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kenyan military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir said the French navy bombed the town of Kuday near the southern al-Shabaab stronghold of Kismayo on Sunday. In Somalia's south, others braced for fierce battles as Kenyan soldiers closed in on a militant-held town in their week-long effort to defeat the al-Shabab group blamed for suicide bombings, kidnapping foreigners and killing famine victims. US officials said last week the US had been pressuring Kenya to "do something" in response to a string of security incidents along the Kenya-Somalia border, but Kenya's invasion of Somalia had taken the US by surprise. Somalia has been a failed state for more than 20 years, and the lawless country is a haven for pirates and international terrorists. Al-Shabab fighters have been waging a war against the weak Somali government for more than five years, but now face attacks on two fronts.

Southern Thailand and Muslim insurgents!

Interesting Article: Seven killed in S Thailand attacks by Xinhuanet / Bangkok published Monday, October 24, 2011

A recent article mentioned that at least At least seven people were killed in a series of attacks by suspected Muslim insurgents in south Thailand on Sunday. A group of gunmen, dressed as women, shot dead two rangers on a checkpoint in the main town of Narathiwat province, Thailand. Two nearby supermarkets were bombed shortly after the shooting, causing fires that took three hours to extinguish. Five bodies were retrieved from burnt buildings. Seven people were injured, the English newspaper reported. So who are these Muslim insurgents?

Friday, October 21, 2011

LTTE on the rise again!

Interesting Article: Court Convicts 5 Tamils of Fundraising for Tigers by MIKE CORDER / The Hague published Friday, October 21, 2011

A recent article by the associated press mentioned the conviction of five Tamils in Netherlands for raising funds for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (commonly known as the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers). The LTTE are a designated terrorist organization, 32 countries have listed the LTTE as a terrorist organization including U.S, U.K, E.U and India. The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa declared military victory over the Tamil Tigers on 16 May 2009, after 26 years of conflict. The leader of the group was killed and the arms dealer for the organization was part of Sri Lanka's extraordinary rendition operations in Thailand. With the defeat, the Tamils in the north of Sri Lanka have gone on to peaceful lives and the former terrorist cadres have been rehabilitated. The message has not clearly been heard in the Netherlands and Canada, where large Tamil Diaspora communities continue to raise funds for a defunct terrorist organization. Will the Diaspora bring the LTTE movement back?

Gaddafi dead, Bashar al-Assad next?

Interesting Article: Col Gaddafi killed: Bashar al-Assad will be next to fall, declare Syrians by RICHARD SPENCER / Dubai published Thursday, October 20, 2011

An interesting article discussed the fall Gaddafi and the impact it will have in Syria. The article mentioned that the moment a vegetable seller set himself on fire in protest in Tunisia, the Arab Spring was on its' way. Hosni Mubarak (Egypt) struggled on until removed by the army, peacefully in the end, and is in prison and on trial. After that, the uprising against Gaddafi began, as an immediate response to the fall of Mr Mubarak. Now Syria stands alone, so is Bashar al-Assad next?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Al Qaeda's ties with Al Shabaab grow.

Interesting Article: Mysterious al Qaeda 'envoy' dispenses aid in Somalia by PAUL CRUICKSHANK / Somalia published Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A recent article by a CNN terrorism analyst spoke about a mysterious figure that was in Somalia, with fair skin speaking in near perfect North American English delivering aid that al Qaeda had purportedly collected, including food, clothing and $12,000 converted into Somali currency. So who is he?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Syria could be slowly slipping into civil war!

Interesting Article: Syrian security forces fight army defectors by BASSEM MROUE / Damascus published Monday, October 17, 2011

An interesting article in the Independent mentioned that Syrian security forces had clashed with gunmen believed to be army defectors in the northwest of the country. According to the author, the seven month old uprising is becoming increasingly militarized.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kenya is coming for al Shabaab!

Interesting Article: Kenya: Army in for 'Mother of All Battles' by ABDULKADIR KHALIF / Mogadishu published Monday, October 17, 2011
A recent article highlighted that Kenyan forces are likely to see action in a major battle in the Somali town of Afmadow, 620 kilometers south of Mogadishu, in the coming days. Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) soldiers, together with allied combatants from Ras Kamboni Brigade and units of the Kenyan military were headed there to fight the Al Shabaab (see my blog post that speaks more about this organization-blog post: What Terrorists can gain from Piracy!).

Yemen's Battles!

Interesting Article: Yemen's capital Sanaa sees worst fighting in weeks By HAMZA HENDAWI / Sanaa published Monday, October 17, 2011

A recent article about the situation in Yemen provided some insight into what tribes are currently fighting against the government. Out of this article came the name of one family, al-Ahmar family, which purportedly leads Yemen's most powerful federation of tribes. So who are they?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A French nuclear physicist and his connection to al Qaeda!


Interesting Article: Brother: French physicist denies terror plans By FRANK JORDANS / Geneva published Tuesday, October 11, 2011
French authorities say that a 34-year-old French physicist-Adlène Hicheur has acknowledged to investigators that he corresponded over the Internet with a member of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. He has been detained since 2009, and an investigating magistrate will decide on October 13, 2011 whether the case against Hicheur should be closed or handed to a prosecutor, who would have up to one more year to prepare a trial.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Iran's Quds Force!

Interesting Article: US alleges Iranian plot to kill Saudi ambassador: How it unfolded by WARREN RICHEY / Washington, DC published Tuesday, October 12, 2011
The recent plot that was uncovered by the FBI and DEA, comes straight out of a movie; meetings in Mexico with drug cartel members, surveillance, bomb plots, a popular restaurant in DC, money transfers, code names and DEA confidential sources. The plot revolved around a branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard known as the Quds force. So what is this group within Iran's Revolutionary Guard?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What Terrorists can gain from Piracy!

Interesting Article: Pirate link to terrorists probed by WASSANA NANUAM / Thailand Published Sunday, October 9, 2011
A recent article in the Bangkok Post mentioned that the Combined Maritime Forces suspect Somali pirates may be linked to international terrorist groups. "The US-led CMF is investigating whether the ransoms which Somali pirates gained from hijacked cargo ship owners are being used to fund international terrorist groups," the RTN's Counter Piracy Task Group Commander Thanin Likhitwong said yesterday. Other than funding, could the terrorists get a hold of more dangerous items?

Monday, October 10, 2011

More about al Qaeda's influence in Libya!

Interesting op-ed Article: Libya's Coming Islamist Government by DANIEL WAGNER / Connecticut published Sunday, October 9, 2011

According to a recent op-ed piece in the Huffington Post, Libya may have some major islamists infiltrating the higher echelon of the new government and imposing a strict form of Sharia law in the country in the years to come. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who is al Qaeda's contact in the North Caucasus?

Interesting Article: Report Links Al-Qaida to Caucasus Insurgency by Reuters / Moscow published Monday, October 3, 2011

A recent article in The Moscow Times spoke about al Qaeda providing Russia's Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus with increasing amounts of money and vocal support. Center for Strategic and International Studies (a leading think tank based in Washington DC) spoke in great length about the relationship. So who would al Qaeda turn to for a potential contact?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

An interesting look at an al Qaeda-esque organization and its ties to a regional player.

Interesting Article: Iraq Militants Brag: We’ve Got Robotic Weapons, Too by NOAH SHACHTMAN / WIRED Magazine published October 4, 2011
A recent op-ed piece by Noah Shachtman spoke about a video released by an extremist group that highlighted that they have the ability to build crude versions of self driven cars that can fire from remote positions...essentially a robotic car. The group that produced the video is Ansar al-Islam, and they have a very interesting connection.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Five future leaders of al Qaeda!

Interesting Op-Ed Article: Beyond Yemen, Awlaki: Look for core Al Qaeda members outside the hot spots By ROLF MOWATT-LARSSEN / Cambridge published Monday October 3, 2011
An outstanding op-ed piece by Rolf Mowatt-Larssen (senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government), mentioned five members of al Qaeda that could be the future leaders of al Qaeda. So who are they?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What is with these kidnappings in Kenya?

Interesting Article: Kenya says kidnapping provocation by al Shabaab by HUMPHREY MALALO / Nairobi published Monday October 3, 2011
A recent article spoke about the abduction of a wheelchair-bound French woman on the northern coast island of Manda off the Kenyan coast. This is the second such kidnapping recently. Early last month, gunmen attacked British tourists at a camp resort a short speedboat ride away from northern Kenya's Lamu archipelago (island right next to Manda), killing a man and kidnapping his wife. Al Shabaab is suspected of both incidents. So who is the al Shabaab?

Monday, October 3, 2011

A little bit about The Haqqani Network's Special Forces!

Interesting Article: Dreaded militant hit squad goes rogue in Pakistan by MICHAEL GEORGY / Islamabad published Monday October 3, 2011
A recent article by Reuter’s journalist mentioned that an elite militant hit squad known as the Khorasan unit was hunting down and killing anyone suspected of helping the U.S, Pakistan and other military allies. Who are they?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Who might be hiding Gaddafi?

Interesting Article: Gaddafi may be hiding on border with Algeria, say rebels by IAN BLACK / Tripoli published Wednesday 28 September 2011
A recent article by Ian Black, mentioned that Muammar Gaddafi may be hiding in a town on the border of Algeria and Tunisia. What was interesting was he mentioned that Gaddafi might be sheltered by Tuareg tribesmen. So who are they?

Anwar al-Awlaki is dead! Great news, but who will be his replacement?

Interesting Article: Anwar al-Aulaqi, U.S.-born cleric linked to al-Qaeda, reported killed in Yemen by SUDARSAN RAGHAVAN / Sana'a published Friday, September 30, 2011
The Yemen Defense Ministry has reported that the terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki (spelt Anwar al-Aulaqi in the article) is dead. The Obama administration in turn, confirmed that he was killed Friday in an Air Strike in northern Yemen. With this substantial hit to the terrorist network, the question comes who will likely replace him?


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why is Waziristan the new front in fighting terrorism?

Interesting Article: Pakistan Assures China Over Waziristan Insurgents by 2point6billion.com / Xinjiang published Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Giliani, recently assured the Chinese government that Pakistan was doing everything in its' power to eliminate any terrorist group based out of Waziristan. This comes after China blamed Islamic terrorists based in Pakistan for carrying out attacks in Urumqi, Kashgar and Khotan recently. China stated that Pakistan-based camps had been training Uighur insurgents, suspected of being part of the banned East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). The ETIM is a Waziri-based mujahedeen organization, with its stated goals being the independence of East Turkestan and the conversion of all Chinese people to Islam. The media, for the last couple of years, have covered many stories coming out of Waziristan and lately the numbers of drone attacks in the area have significantly risen. Now the question is why is Waziristan suddenly everyone's problem?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Al Qaeda in the Philippines!

Interesting article: Al-Qaida-linked militants kill 6, wound 5 on southern Philippine island by Associated Press / Manila published Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A recent article in the Washington Post mentioned an attack in the Philippines that came on the heels of another assault which had taken place two days earlier where armed gunmen had attacked a U.S funded school construction project. The assault was linked to Abu Sayyaf. So who are the Abu Sayyaf?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where is Al Qaeda emerging lately?

Interesting article: The Long Arms of al Qaeda: The terror group is increasingly looking to its affiliates in the Arabian Peninsula and east Africa by ROBIN SIMCOX / Lodon published Monday, September 26, 2011
A recent article by Robin Simcox mentioned al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula as an emerging threat. Why are they emerging and will they be a security threat to the region?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Who could possibly replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

On September 22nd, 2011, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the third straight year addressed the United Nations gathering in New York. His typical inflammatory speech ensured that the U.S and Israeli delegations walked out of the speech. Every speech he has given at the United Nations has been hateful, anti-Semitic and just plain disgusting (he suggested that 9-11 was the work of the U.S government). Ahmadinejad has been the President of Iran since August 3rd, 2005, and has consistently been a thorn in the world's side. Why has he not been replaced? Who is even there to replace him?


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Will Algeria be the next to fall? If so, by whose hand?

Interesting Article: Al-Qaeda Flourishes in the Sub-Sahara by FRANK CRIMI / San Diego published Thursday, September 22, 2011

A recent article by Frank Crimi mentioned a little known division of al Qaeda known as Al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). The article spoke about the possibility that the organization might look to disrupt the status quo in Algeria. Who are they and what can they do?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What is Lashkar-e-Taiba?

Interesting Article: Diversified, Not Diminished: Al Qaeda in Pakistan since 9/11 By REZA JAN / Washington, DC published Wednesday, September 21, 2011
A recent article by Reza Jan speaks about the mutation of al Qaeda-esque organizations to adapt to its new environment in Pakistan. One of the organizations-Lashkar-e-Taiba-has seen a rise in prominence after their 2008 Mumbai attacks. So what is this terror group about?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A quick look at Britain's Muslim youth!

Interesting Article: Seven arrested over al-Qaeda bomb plot by By ANDREW PARKER and SIMON HUGHES / Birmingham published Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Six men were seized in Birmingham recently who had been planning a major terror atrocity in the UK. According to the neighbor, all men were known as devout Muslims, who kept to themselves.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What is Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen?

Interesting Article: Experts: Pirates abducted English tourist, hold her in Somalia By DAVID MCKENZIE / Nairobi published Monday, September 19, 2011
An English tourist was recently kidnapped from a remote Kenyan resort. Her husband was killed trying to resist the kidnappers, and she is believed to be in Somalia. Early reports indicated that it might have been the work of Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, an al Qaeda-linked militant group, but now the belief is that it might be the work of armed gangs or pirates. In any case, why was Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen mentioned? Who are they?

Friday, September 16, 2011

West Africa: Is this the new front in piracy?

Interesting Article: Armed Pirates Hijack a Fuel Tanker off Benin and Take 23 Crew Members Hostage by RICK GLADSTONE / New York published Wednesday, September 14, 2011

23 crew members were taken hostage off the West African nation of Benin from a Cyprus-flagged vessel laden with oil as it was trying to transfer some of its cargo to a Norwegian-flagged vessel. The confrontations took place in the Gulf of Guinea, about 70 miles from Cotonou, the commercial capital of Benin. Will West Africa see an uptick in copycat piracy in the coming months?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What is Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and why has it emerged as "the most dangerous regional node in the global jihad," according to retired Gen. David Petraeus?

Interesting Article: Yemen sees resurgence of violence from militants, tribal fighters By Ariel Zirulnick / Boston  published Thursday, September 15, 2011

In his first prepared testimony for a joint House-Senate committee hearing, retired Gen. David Petraeus spoke about the future of global terrorism and Al Qaeda linked jihadists in Yemen that are of major concern for the United States. So what is AQAP?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What is the Haqqani network? Who are they? What will this new organization bring to the terrorist network?

Interesting Article: US ambassador: Haqqani group behind Kabul attack By HEIDI VOGT and AMIR SHAH / Kabul published Wednesday, September 14, 2011

According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, US ambassador to Afghanistan alleged that a Pakistani-based organization by the name of "Haqqani network" was behind a well coordinated attack against the American embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul. The 20-hour insurgent attack was the first time insurgents had organized a complex assault against multiple parts in the Afghan capital. So what is the Haqqani network?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How influential is Muqtada al-Sadr and his Iranian ties?

Interesting Article: Moqtada al-Sadr orders halt to attacks on US troops stationed in Iraq: Cleric tells militias to stop operations until end of US withdrawal by Associated Press / Baghdad published Sunday, September 11, 2011
With US troops withdrawing from Iraq, what power vacuum will be left in Iraq? Who has the influence and power within the country to take over politically? What other regional players will come into the arena and change the  pro-US stance that we enjoy in Iraq today?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Could Libya's revolution be hijacked by potential Al Qaeda linked jihadists?

Interesting Article: Jihadists plot to take over Libya: U.S. steps up surveillance of suspects among rebels By Bill Gertz /  Washington, DC published Sunday, September 4, 2011

With the Arab spring comes a chance for the Middle East to see a new era in democracy and freedom. The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria have the potential to eliminate dictatorships that were neither pro-west nor pro-freedom. Yet, what if  certain factions of the movement are looking to create islamist states within the country?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Is there a link between Pakistan and the latest New Delhi Bombing?

Interesting Article: The New Delhi Bombing: Is There a Pakistani Link? By Omar Waraich / Islamabad published Wednesday, Sept. 07, 2011


Is there a pakistani link to the latest act of terror that took place in Delhi, India on Wednesday, 7 September 2011 at 10:14 outside Gate No. 5 of the Delhi High Court? Interestingly enough, Omar Waraich for Time World, recently wrote a great news piece in which he highlighted a little known organization by the name of Harakat ul-Jihad al Islami (HuJI), which had claimed responsibility for the bomb attack. HuJI started their operations in 1984 led by Fazalur Rehman Khalil and Qari Saifullah Akhtar, as the first Pakistan-based jihadist group to fight the soviet occupation of Afghanistan. After the fall of the soviet occupation, HuJI exported their know-how in combat to Jammu and Kashmir and continued jihadist operations in Pakistan. In fact, in 1995 the group was connected with jihadist elements in Pakistan's Army, so much so that HuJI's leader at the time-Saifullah Akhtar- was named and implicated in a plot that was directed by islamist Army officers, Major General Zahirul Islam Abbasi and Bigadier Mustansar Billah, who at the time, wanted to remove Benazir Bhutto, eliminate the top military and civilian leadership and establish an Islamic dictatorship in the country. The most recent operational leader of HuJI was Ilyas Kashmiri, Kashmiri hailed from the Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir in Pakistan-administered Kashmir and he became a member of the elite Pakistani Special Service Group where he was an active participant in the 1980s Soviet-Afghan War, training the Afghan mujahideen in mine warfare in Miranshah on behalf of Pakistan. He continued his militant activities in Kashmir and after the war, joined HuJI, but because of disagreements with the leader (Qari Saifullah Akhtar) in 1991 he established his own new unit within HuJI known as the 313 Brigade. Kashmiri was reportedly killed in a U.S. Predator drone strike in South Waziristan on June 4, 2011. It was a significant loss for HuJI at the time. According to the writer it is suspected that the bombings were revenge for his death and also the announcement on September 5, 2011 that Sheikh Younis al Mauritani and two other senior Al Qaeda operatives, Abdul Ghaffar Al Shami (Bachar Chama) and Messara Al Shami (Mujahid Amino), were captured in the southwestern city of Quetta in a joint raid carried out by the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), the military's intelligence service, and the Frontier Corps Balochistan. The arrests were conducted with the technical assistance of the United States Intelligence Agencies. Last year al Mauritani, who was previously an unknown figure, jumped into the spotlight after he was identified as directing a plot by al Qaeda to attack multiple targets in Europe in a Mumbai-like terror assault. Mauritani is a senior member of al Qaeda's external operations council. Al Mauritania, Adnan el Shukrijuma, and Ilyas Kashmiri were believed to be the senior-most members of the external operations council.  Members of various terror groups allied with al Qaeda in the past couple of years, including HuJI and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM),  who work with al Qaeda's external operations committee and shares a safe haven in northern Pakistan. This alliance allows al Qaeda to regenerate its external operations network despite being heavily targeted by the covert US air campaign in the tribal areas. What was once Taliban sympathy in Afghanistan has now become 'Pakistan-Tribal' area's sympathy to foster these groups. Pakistan ISI for many years have had a casual relationship with extremist groups, certain elements within ISI are extremely paranoid that a stable Afghanistan is a 'pro-Indian Afghanistan', and a stable India is much greater threat to Pakistani national security than one that is unstable. Based on the historical and current connections of ISI and certain radical elements in Pakistan, I think it is safe to say that there is a pakistani link between the New Delhi bombing and the terror organizations operating out of Pakistan.

References:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-13653324
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LB13Df03.html
Pakistani forces capture senior al Qaeda leader Younis al Mauritani in Quetta By Bill Roggio:
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/09/pakistani_forces_cap.php#ixzz1XNAv96un
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2092252,00.html?iid=pf-main-mostpop1
Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam by Zahid Hussain, Columbia University Press, 2007, page 52.
Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam by Zahid Hussain, Columbia University Press, 2007, page 72.
Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam by Zahid Hussain, Columbia University Press, 2007, page 71.
Sudha Ramachandran. 'PART 2: Behind the Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami' Asia Times Online, December 10, 2004
Shahzad, Syed Saleem (October 2008). "Afghanistan: the neo-Taliban campaign". Le Monde Diplomatique. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
"Pak frees terrorist leaders". Press Trust of India. The Telegraph. 2004-02-22. Retrieved 2009-09-21.
Shahzad, Syed Saleem (2009-10-15). "Al-Qaeda's guerrilla chief lays out strategy". Asia Times Online. Retrieved 2010-01-07.
"Drone strike kills Ilyas Kashmiri". Dawn. 5 June 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011.