Archive for September 2008
After the terrorist attack in Syria and the massive deployment of Syrian troops in the Syrian-Lebanese border (some consider this is a consequence of clashes between the Sunni majority and the Alawites, an offespring of Shia Islam and Syrian allies), there was a car bomb in Lebanon which killed four Lebanese soldiers and a civilian and wounded another 24 soldiers and another civilian.
The bomb, placed under a parked car in the Bahsas neighbourhood at Tripoli’s southern entrance, was packed with nuts and bolts and police suspect the device was detonated by remote control.
It blew up as the bus headed towards Beirut during morning rush-hour in Tripoli, where a similar explosion in August left 14 people dead, including nine soldiers, in the deadliest attack in Lebanon in three years.
Counterterrorism Blog considers both attacks are connected:
The attacks – coinciding with the recent strengthening of Syrian Army forces on the northern Lebanese-Syrian border (and various unconfirmed reports of Syrian special operators who have perhaps been crossing into Lebanon since at least early September) – may well be a coordinated effort fitting into a broader plan for Lebanon on the part of the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis.
Dr. Walid Phares, director of the Future of Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, tells us:
“What we are now witnessing is a rapid unfolding of the Syro-Iranian terror campaign aimed at achieving several interconnected goals.
“The explosions in Lebanon are aimed at intimidating the Lebanese Army, the public, the politicians; and pressure all to accept an increasing role for Hezbollah and Syria within the country’s security apparatus. It is interesting to see the back-and-forth between the terror attacks against the Army and the statements made by Hezbollah and pro-Syrian politicians calling for a defense strategy to ‘protect Lebanon’: As if the message is: ‘You will continue to be attacked until we are in charge of security.’
“On the other hand, security related incidents and bomb attacks inside Syria appear to be sending a parallel message. The regime is eager to call itself a ‘target of terrorism.’ Hence, the accusation is now leveled at so-called factions inside Lebanon, meaning the mostly Sunni anti-Syrian politicians. Which leads to Syria’s so-called legitimate action against an enemy based in Lebanon.
Afghan Taliban warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has claimed, in a video received on Sept, 29th by an Afghan press agency, the responsibility of the ambush which killed 10 French soldiers near Kabul, last August, 18th (1, 2, 3). In that document, Hekmatyar also states that he lost 10 men in the confrontation. The attack has already been claimed by a Taliban group, different from Hezb-e-Islami (Islamic party, HIG), the one commanded by Hekmatyar.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar in a video aired on May 2007.
The attackers were waiting outside the home of Malalai Kakar, head of the city of Kandahar’s department of crimes against women, and opened fire on her car, Kandahar government spokesman Zalmay Ayoobi told AFP.
“Today between 7 am and 8 am when she was (in her car) outside her house and going to her job, some gunmen attacked,” Ayoobi said. “Malalai Kakar died in front of her house. Her son was wounded.”
A doctor in the city’s main hospital said Kakar, in her late 30s, had been shot in the head.
“She died on the spot and her son was badly injured and is in a coma,” said the doctor, who declined to let his name be used.
That’s all they know: to kill and to menace. And always the bravest are the ones who are killed. This is disgraceful.
“Freedom of expression has been diminished by the reiterated episodes in which the political power charged against the MSM“. Argentinian press protests against the Government’s censorship and considers that “the conflictive relationship between the political power and the journalists aggravated with the long-lasting conflict about agriculture. The Government stigmatised the media and the journalists when they were maintaining ideas or versions which differed from the official. Those people were even considered as “enemies of the institutions”.
They also referred themselves to the reiterated critics made by the Argentinian president, Cristina Fernández and ex-president and her husband, Néstor Kichner (2003-2007), about the role of the press in the South-American country. “Our worries only deepened when we saw para-official speakers attacking MSM with publicity campaigns whose financing is unknown“.
The US speaker Robert Wood said that the decision was taken after the oposition had not obtained one seat. 263 candidates, among others the 70 who belonged to the oposition, took part in the elections for the lower chamber.
More than 5 million voters went to the polls on Sunday, that is the 75.3% of the people able to vote. Belarus has a total population of 10 million people.
But the oposition had announced that these elections weren’t democratic and stated that they were “unequal and illegitimate”, according to the leader of the United Citizen Party, Anatoli Lebedko, to Moscow’s Echos Radio.
And then there are people who don’t understand why Lukashenko is called a dictator…
Oh, by the way, he has a good relationship with Chávez…
Taliban leader Mullah Omar on Monday urged U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan to withdraw or face a similar defeat to occupying Soviet troops a generation ago.
In a rare message, posted on militant websites and monitored by the U.S.-based SITE intelligence group, Omar offered a bargain to the U.S.-led forces that drove the Taliban from power in 2001 but are now fighting a fierce insurgency by the Islamist militia.
“Reconsider your wrong decision of wrong occupation, and seek a safe exit to withdraw your forces,” said the message, which the Taliban said came from Omar.
“If you leave our lands, we can arrange for you a reasonable opportunity for your departure,” he said, adding that the Taliban posed no harm to anyone in the world.
If the occupation persisted, “you will be defeated in all parts of the world … like the former Soviet Union,” Omar said.
The mixture of Taliban
terrorism insurgency and denial of the word “war” idiocy from Western countries is not a good one. As if only by simply changing words, the reality would change also…
- Bernard Henry-Lévy speaks about French troops in Afghanistan.
- French Minister of defense denies reports that denounced French troops’s lack of equipment.
- French troops unprepared for Taliban ambush: report.
- WHO cancels polio jabs for Afghan children after doctors killed.
- Expanding Violence: Germany Discovers a War in Afghanistan.
- Paris Match Taliban photos shock France.
- UK group assesses Islamism as a major security threat.
- S. Asian nations vow to jointly fight terrorism.
- What Pakistan’s Intelligence ties say about Ending War on Terrorism.
- The Deobandi fatwa Against Terrorism Didn’t Treat the Jihadi Root.
- Ambassador: AQ leaving Iraq for Afghanistan.
- Mehbooba Andyar: the Afghan runner trying to escape the Taliban.
- AP photographer witnessed the murder of two women in Afghanistan.
- The Karachi Kids.
- Pakistan: pro-Taliban militias stablish Sharia courts.
- Pakistani Jihad will continue.
- Taliban’s atrocities.
- Talibans are no longer at Peshawar’s gates.
As a heavily armed U.S. freighter patrolled nearby and planes flew overhead, a Somali pirate spokesman told The Associated Press his group was demanding a $20 million ransom to release a cargo ship loaded with Russian tanks.
The spokesman also warned that the pirates would fight to the death if any country tried military action to regain the ship, and a man who said he was the ship’s captain reported that one crew member had died.
Pirates seized the Ukrainian-operated ship Faina off the coast of Somalia on Thursday as it headed to Kenya carrying 33 Russian-built T-72 tanks and a substantial quantity of ammunition and spare parts. The ordinance was ordered by the Kenyan government.
(…) In a rare gesture of cooperation, the Americans appeared to be keeping an eye on the Faina until the Russian missile frigate Neustrashimy, or Intrepid, reaches the area. The Russian ship was still somewhere in the Atlantic on Sunday, the Russian navy reported.
Pirate spokesman Sugule Ali said he was speaking Sunday from the deck of the Faina via a satellite phone — and verified his location by handing the phone over to the ship’s captain, who also spoke with the AP. It was not possible to further confirm their identities.
“We want ransom, nothing else. We need $20 million for the safe release of the ship and the crew,” Ali said, adding that “if we are attacked, we will defend ourselves until the last one of us dies.”
Well, we know more things than yesterday. We know who had bought those weapons. I wonder what will happen. The pirates know very well that if they are attacked the munitions can explode, so they will be worth nothing.
Looks like the cargo was destined for Sudan and not for Kenya, as was thought at first.
The executive body of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, meeting in Bangalore on Friday, issued a statement expressing “utter disappointment” at the “apathy and inaction” of the national and state governments in the face of anti-Christian violence committed by extremist Hindus. Calling upon Indian officials to stop the violence and to help its victims, they denied allegations of forced conversions to Christianity and suggested such charges are self-serving.
The bishops lamented the murder of innocent people, the molestation of women, the desecration and destruction of churches and religious places, and the destruction of Christians’ homes in various districts of the east coast state of Orissa, the Indian Catholic reports.
“The State Government kept giving an assurance that things were normal and security arrangements were perfect,” the statement read. “Yet when representations were made, it pleaded inability to control the mobs that vandalized church property [and] assailed religious personnel and the Christian population.”
The bishops claimed that the perpetrators of the violence were “trained agents of radical Hindutva activists” acting under instructions and executing a “master plan of destruction.”
The bishops’ statement also reports that the violence has spread to Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh.
According to the bishops, the violence is undermining India’s ancient values of “Ahimsa (non-injury), Truth, Tolerance, and Respect for Religions.”
The attacks have also damaged India’s international image of secular democracy, the bishops claim.
I fear that the inaction against Islamists have helped other groups to consider why they weren’t using violence for their own goals.
President Evo Morales says a second Bolivian region has asked the United States to withdraw its aid programs as diplomatic relations between the two countries continue to sour.
Morales on Saturday congratulated local indigenous groups in the southern Bolivia province of Chuquisaca for becoming “territory free of … American imperialism” after deciding this week to expel the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID.
He did not offer futher details.
So he will receive more Venezuelan aid… it’s just changing a country that is far for other which is nearer, a neighbour in fact. If he really wants to “free” Bolivia, this is one of the most stupid moves I have seen…
- Morales has spoken for a quick dialogue, critisizing Catholic Church’s partiality.
- Pando’s prefect under arrest.
- Morales struggles to control Bolivia amid violence.
- Bolivian constitutional tribunal stops referendum for revoking mandates to regional governors.
- Bolivia: oil companies demand compensations.
The Nazareth District Court sentenced Khaled Muslemi, 24, to 14 years in prison for the attempted murder of his sister.
According to the indictment, Muslemi, a resident of the Arab Village Of Naura in the Jezreel Valley, decided to execute an “honor killing” in March, after hearing rumors that his sister was behaving promiscuously.
He convinced her to accompany him to a field near their village, where he pulled out a gun and shot her in the head, the shoulder and the leg from a distance of three feet. He then called the Gilboa Region Magen David Adom station and confessed to the murder.
The woman, gravely injured but still alive, pretended to be dead, thus averting further shots. Her resourcefulness saved her life.
The prosecution asked the court to sentence Muslemi to 15 years in prison, but the defense asked to court for a lighter, 11-year sentence, citing extreme emotional duress.
“The despicable, repetitive phenomenon of murder and the attempted murder of innocent women under the pretence of ‘honor killings’ must be condemned in the harshest manner possible,” noted the court.
- Homosexual cleansing rampant in Iraq.
- Last news on honor killings.
- A book to read: “Honor killings. Stories of men who killed”.
- Pakistan: couple falls victim of honor killing.
- Palestinian father buries daughter alive.
- Three suspects of honor killings arrested.
- Pakistan “Honor” Killings: Three Teenage Girls Buried Alive for Choosing Their Own Husbands...
- Georgia “Honor Killer”: Father Held Without Bond.
- Alleged man “honor killing”: he was a Christian going out with a Muslim woman.
- Lawyers: Daughter’s murder not “honor killing”.
- Sexy singer Suzam Tamim: killed out of honor?
- Turkey: a gay honor killing?
- Another “honor killing” in USA: brother knives sister.
- The inaction of feminists regarding “honor killings”.
- Turkey: survey reveals honor killings perpetrators are not rejected by society.
- Honor Killing in Pakistan.
- Irsad Manji speaks about Honor Killings.
- Honor Killing in Pakistan: the woman was suspected of “having bad character”.
- Georgia’s honor killer: “I have done nothing wrong”.
- “The family was very stressed”.
- Honor Killing in Georgia.
- Two brothers charged with honor killings.
Freedom of religious belief in Egypt “declined” between July 2007 and June 2008, according to the US State Department’s annual assessment of religious freedom throughout the world, the International Religious Freedom Report.
The report is compiled on the basis of information obtained “from a variety of sources, including government and religious officials, NGOs, journalists, human rights monitors, religious groups and academics” according to its preface.
The report describes legislation and governmental practices which discriminate against Egypt’s religious minorities and adherents of Islamic teachings viewed as heretical by the state.
Acts of discrimination against Egypt’s largest religious minority, Christian Copts, take up the bulk of the report.
“The government again failed to redress laws and governmental practices discriminative against Christians, effectively allowing their discriminatory effects and their modelling effect on society to become further entrenched,” the report states.
The terrified pole-dancing daughter of radical cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed is in hiding after death threats from Muslim extremists.
Yasmin Fostok, 27, who has a three-year-old son, is said to feel suicidal after it was revealed she works as a pole dancer.
Police went to her flat in South East London on Friday night after deciding to move her to a safe house.
A police source said:”She is worried about threats from people who have extreme views. She has a young toddler and can’t take any risks.”
She left the flat with a suitcase, looking down at the ground as seven officers, plus plain-clothes detectives escorted her into a police van.
She and her son are now staying at separate locations to protect him from attacks.
A friend added last night: “She’s suicidal. She can’t even see her own son or go to her own home. She’s very fearful at the moment.”
Well, I can’t say this is something that surprises me at all, given the background… I think it was somewhat irresponsible to publish so many details of her locations, her tatoos and all in a public MSM. Let’s hope she is not caught by unwanted gangsters…
A car bomb, most likely a truck, exploded today in Syria on the highway leading to the Airport killing more than 17 and wounding many others. In the hours following the blast a media blitz came out of Damascus and Tehran accusing mainly (and automatically) Israel, but also hinting at “forces inside Lebanon in collaboration with regional powers -that would be the Saudis- aiming at harming Syrian national security.” Commentators backing the Syrian version, including on al Jazeera, hinted at Sunni militants as suspects as well. Interestingly a Syrian group in exile said it was an accident and the truck was prepared for an operation in the region, most likely in Iraq. But experts in Syrian intelligence support to Terror operations said it is less likely that a truck destined to Iraq -or even Lebanon- would be prepared as far as Damascus. It would be too far and too risky.
Eight Gate has an interesting post about precedent attacks. Some of them have been widely known, others have not:
But there have been a number of lesser profile attacks as well. In December 2005, security forces attacked a “takfiri cell” – a group that unilaterally declares other Muslims apostates. Members of such groups have been known to inflict their punishment by, among other things, strapping on explosive belts and walking into western hotels in the region.
(…)In May 2005, the Syrian authorities announced that it had broken up a “terrorist cell” in the Damascus neighborhood of Daf al-Shawq. As Syrian TV showed footage of the cell’s arms depot, the state announced that the cell was but part of a larger organization, the Munazama Jund al-Sham l’wahda wa jihad (The Soldiers of Damascus Organization for Unity and Jihad).
(…) In April 2004, Syrian authorities foiled an attack on an abandoned UN building in Mezzeh, a modern district of Damascus. According to Hamidi’s report, three of the four assailants had gone to Iraq to fight US forces in the days before Saddam’s fall. Many observers (including myself) and diplomats doubted the authenticity of the attacks (…).
Read it all, it’s worth your time.
The question in the end is: who did these attacks and why, what were the reasons behind them.
The House voted overwhelmingly Saturday to approve a landmark pact that would allow the U.S. to provide nuclear materials to India.
The deal still faces obstacles in the Senate, making prospects uncertain for passage before President Bush leaves office in January. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., a supporter, promised a Senate vote on the accord in the week ahead, possibly Monday.
Hoping to raise pressure on that chamber, Bush quickly issued a statement praising House passage and prodding the Senate to do the same thing.
“I urge the Senate to quickly take up and pass this important piece of legislation before their October adjournment,” the president said. “Signing this bipartisan bill will help strengthen our partnership with India.”
(…) India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, addressing the Indian community in New Yorkwhere he was attending the U.N. General Assembly, said “the journey President Bush and I embarked upon is nearing fruition.”
“India will be liberated from the constraints of technology denial of 34 years. It will add an important strategic pillar to our bilateral partnership. We will widen our clean energy options,” he said Saturday.
An strategic pact considering that India is China’s neighbour…
Venezuela’s leftist President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday it was the capitalist system that had caused the financial crisis in the United States and the country should come up with a new constitution.
Speaking to reporters in Lisbon on the last leg of a tour that included visits to China and Russia, he said: “I think the United States should start a constituent process to create a constituent assembly, a new truly democratic model.”
A constituent assembly is a body elected to draft and sometimes adopt a new constitution.
“It was capitalism that caused the ruin” in the United States, said Chavez, who is one of Washington’s fiercest critics, calling the financial crunch “the worst financial crisis in history”.
Well, I’m sure US citizens don’t want Chávez to write a new constitution for them…
Chávez has also backed Sarkozy’s call for financial summit:
The Venezuelan president expressed his wish that the summit proposed by Sarkozy “not be confined to the Group of Eight (G8)”, which includes the seven richest countries in the world and Russia.
A tense standoff is underway in northeastern Somalia between pirates, Somali authorities, and Iran over a suspicious merchant vessel and its mysterious cargo. Hijacked late last month in the Gulf of Aden, the MV Iran Deyanat remains moored offshore in Somali waters and inaccessible for inspection. Its declared cargo consists of minerals and industrial products, however, Somali and regional officials directly involved in the negotiations over the ship and who spoke to The Long War Journal are convinced that it was heading to Eritrea to deliver small arms and chemical weapons to Somalia’s Islamist insurgents.
(…) The MV Iran Deyanat was brought to Eyl, a sleepy fishing village in northeastern Somalia, and was secured by a larger gang of pirates – 50 onboard and 50 onshore. Within days, pirates who had boarded the ship developed strange health complications, skin burns and loss of hair. Independent sources tell The Long War Journal that a number of pirates have also died. “Yes, some of them have died. I do not know exactly how many but the information that I am getting is that some of them have died,” Andrew Mwangura, Director of the East African Seafarers’ Assistance Program, said Friday when reached by phone in Mombasa.
(…) The exact nature of the cargo remains a mystery but officials in Puntland and Baidoa are convinced the ship was carrying weapons to Eritrea for Islamist insurgents. “We cannot inspect the cargo yet,” Osman said, “but we are sure that it is weapons.”
“Puntland requested the pirates two weeks ago to hand over this Iranian ship, saying that it is carrying weapons to Eritrea,” Puntland Fisheries Minister Abdulqadir Muse Yusuf told Reuters. “I have seen food and other odd items on the ship but I do not know what is hidden underneath.”
For once, it has been the Somali pirates the ones who have been struck with “severe shock”.
Anyway, I am shocked (as ever…) because this story is nowhere in the media… Looks like it hasn’t happened… at all.
- Pirates “want $35m for Ukranian tank ship”. The ship was transporting tanks for Kenya. Russia has sent a warship to fight pirates. More information about this in Danger Room: “
- Somalia: 160,000 people have left Mogadishu in 2008 as refugees.
IBA considers both Ukranian and Iranian are the same ship. I just don’t think so. The Ukranian has said what its load of cargo was since the first time. The Iranian crew didn’t tell what it actually contained (it was truly vague, “minerals and industrial products“): we only know the effects it caused on the people who went near it (“pirates who had boarded the ship developed strange health complications, skin burns and loss of hair“). And certainly those effects are not those of a simple “tank and weaponry”. Some people had died out of what they inhaled or touched there.
The Ukrainian cargo ship, whose shipment includes weaponry and tanks, kidnapped by Somali pirates last Thursday, was headed yesterday towards the town of Harardere, a zone controlled by Islamists, according to high-ranking official of the Puntland’s region.
“The pirates are headed towards the harbour of Hobyo and towards Haradhere. Apparently, they want to unload some light weapons there from the cargo ship“, Bile Mohamoud Qabowsade, the Presidency’s Councillor of Puntland’s autonomous government, told by phone from Mogadishu.
You Don’t say!!!
Yasmin Fostok, 27, has admitted rebelling against her father’s strict Muslim beliefs by performing semi-naked in London bars and nightclubs.
She lives as a single mother in South East London, bringing up her three-year-old son conceived during an arranged marriage to a Turkish man which has since collapsed.
Miss Fostok, who left the Bakri former home in North London four years ago, said: ‘I don’t get on with my dad. I don’t agree with his views – I just get on with my life and that is it.’
It has been reported that Miss Fostok regularly works in bars in the West End and has toured other countries as a podium dancer with a troupe called Ibiza Untouched.
She is also thought to work a fire-eating routine into her act and performs semi-naked inside cages.
(…) Last night her father said: ‘If this is true I am deeply shocked.’
Speaking from Lebanon, where he has lived since being exiled from the UK three years ago, he added: ‘She was brought up properly in the Muslim faith but she is free to make her own choices in life. But I am still shocked.
‘I haven’t spoken to her for a long time, because I believed she was living with her family in Turkey. But I knew nothing of this.
‘She should not seek forgiveness from me, she should seek forgiveness from God.
Let’s hope she is not killed out of “family’s honor“…
More commentary at IBA.
A Pakistanis should stop cooperating with the United States.that claimed to be behind the deadly Marriott Hotel bombing in Pakistan’s capital threatened more attacks Wednesday, warning again that
In a cell phone message to reporters, the little known group calling itself “Fedayeen al-Islam” — “Islam commandos” — referred to the owner of the Marriott by name.
“All those who will facilitate Americans and NATO crusaders like (owner Sadruddin) Haswani, they will keep on receiving the blows,” said the message, which was in English.
It was impossible to verify the identity of the group or say whether it was in a position to make good on the threat. Pakistani officials were not immediately available for comment.
Whatever the case, it is for the first time that the two sides have exchanged fire. This is, considering the fact that they are allies, significant. It is a sign that the situation at the border could very well escalate; unless the U.S. gives in. It is unlikely that Pakistan will give in, because it cannot do so; President Asif Ali Zardari has to present himself as a strong, determined leader, willing to say ‘no’ to the United States. If he does not, he may very well be ousted sooner rather than later.
- Afghan Ambassador kidnapped in north-west Pakistan.
- Pakistan gets a message against closer co-operation with US.
- Pakistan: US did not warn of any strike.
- WHO cancels polio jabs for Afghan children after doctors killed.
- Pakistan’s tribal areas: A wild frontier.
- Pakistan strikes back and accuses US of cooperating with terrorism.
- Pakistan restores three judges ousted by Musharraf.
- india accuses Pakistani intelligence of terrorist attack.
- Afghanistan accuses Pakistani intelligence of the terrorist attack against the Indian embassy.
Hundreds of children fearing for their lives have called a new national helpline set up to assist victims of forced marriages since its launch four months ago, The Independent has learnt. Many are seeking ways to escape parents and family members who are trying to force them into unwanted marriages. Others have said they fear becoming victims of so-called “honour killings”, because of social and sexual behaviour that their community disapproves of.
According to the first national breakdown of callers, an average of 62 victims are phoning for help every week. One in 10 is under the age of 16. One 14-year-old girl said she was in fear of her life because she had become pregnant and thought her parents would kill her or marry her off if they found out.
(…) According to Jasvinder Sanghera, who was disowned by her family for refusing a forced marriage and went on to set up Karma Nirvana, the youngest caller to the new helpline was 13.
“We have to move away from thinking that forced marriages and honour-based violence only affect a few people,” she said. “These numbers will be just the tip of the iceberg.”
Activists believe schools must do more to train teachers to be aware of the tell-tale signs that indicate a pupil might be at risk of a forced marriage so that they can alert the correct authorities without tipping off potentially violent family members.
And this is UK!! It’s not Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Sudan.
- Saudi Arabia: another child marriage.
- Pakistan: kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married.
- Yemen: divorced 10-year-old speaks openly about her marriage.
- Children’s marriage in Islam: some comments.
- Social movement against child brides in Yemen.
- India: the “Dissapearing Daughters” report (II).
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