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?