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Sunday, November 04, 2012

All Al Shabaab are not the Same

There are several groups with shabaab in their name claiming to support the revolution in Libya. Keep in mind that "Al shabaab" means "the youths" in Arabic. The Terrorist Group al Shabaab recently in hiding in Somalia, affiliated with al Qaida happened to include that word in their group name.

Those from the Somalia al Shabbab who recently appeared in Libya, for example are  not affiliated with a recent Egyptian "al shabaab" group who support "their brothers in Libya and Syria"

-Shimron Issachar

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Al Shabaab Moves Underground

By Domenico Quirico LA STAMPA/Worldcrunch MOGADISHU - General Barisse’s men are in the pick-up trucks, one next to the other, holding their weapons, looking around. They do not fidget, a military patience having descended upon them: they simply wait. They have been waiting for food, pay, the enemy's attack -- in this, they also wait for the end of a war that does not seem to want to end. Abdullahi Barisse’s men are hunting the al-Shabaab, the Somali Taliban, the nightmare that al-Qaeda bore, even here in the sands of the Horn of Africa, cultivated in the microbes of an infinite tribal war that the West did not know how to, or did not want to solve.

Yes, the war that Barisse’s men fight is complicated. It isn’t a drone war - mechanic, sterile, rather cowardly - that the Americans are also fighting here, and that has silently eliminated at least 200 al-Shabaab, including several key leaders. They fight in the savannahs of the Shebeli valley: looking east, above there is an infinite blue, below an infinite white. They also fight a war of which no one speaks: in Mogadishu, in Merca, in Brava – cities which have just been liberated.

Here, Barisse’s men, about 1,000 in all, are not recognizable: they wear rags, they blend in among the market people, as the al-Shabaab do, they follow the rumors and tips of informers.

The al-Shabaab have changed tactics, after having been beaten in the field by tanks, helicopters and cannons, hunted from the city where they recruited young men and children.

  • Now with their sources of money dried up, they have spread out in small units in the countryside and move continually to avoid capture, with others camouflaged in the city, lone wolves ready to attack, 
  • with explosives or pistols. ‘Hamza al Italì’ There are also the “foreign” al-Shabaab: even here, like in Syria or in Libya, al-Qaeda has sparked the formation of an Islamic legion, some 2,000 men according to Somali estimates, above all Yemenis, who blend in easily among the locals. There are also Chechens, Pakistanis and Europeans. General Barisse tells me a the story of an instructor of the Italian al-Shabaab, an expert in explosives, whose battle names are “Hamza al Italì” and “Hamza Abu Yaya.” His real name is reportedly Angelo Paganin. “The Italian” appears in the report that the general gave to Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism unit in June. The British have met Barisse here in Mogadishu, looking for traces of an al-Shahaab with British citizenship, named Steve. “Two weeks ago, Abu Yaya was identified in the Shebeli zone with al-Qaeda’s command group that withdrew from Kismayo; they are continually moving along the river from village to village, hiding out in the savannah.” According to Somali police information, Hamza the Italian arrived here from Afghanistan and moves around Mogadishu dressed as a woman -- these days, he's at the side of the Somali head of al-Qaeda, Godane. 
  • The foreigners are thought to have separated from the Somali al-Shabaab, moving up north, maybe towards the heights of Puntland, where the pirates control much of the territory. With them is a French hostage, Denis Allex. Barisse crosses the capital with his men, but he doesn’t do it for thrills: the city is his responsibility. Several days ago, Ugandan soldiers withdrew their tanks from the airport base. Yesterday, he captured two al-Shabaab, who were possibly preparing a suicide attack. The Islamic Court will judge them. The general is tall and solid, his face sanded down by its continuous exposure to the elements. His gestures are lively but gruff. He is a man with a thankless mission: he is neither warlord nor national hero, his population massacring each other for years; and with his unpaid, non-uniformed and widely despised men that make up “the investigative division,” he hunts down criminals in a place where the old state police units have given up. Barisse has a good cop's dream: an academy in which his men can specialize in criminology, as well as fighting terrorism and trafficking. And above all, he dreams of modern equipment for the classification of digital fingerprints: “Then there would be no escape for the al-Shabaab, not even for your Italian.” Read the article in the original language. Photo by - rjones0856 All rights reserved ©Worldcrunch - in partnership with LA STAMPA

Friday, June 01, 2012

Vladimir Peftiev

These collection of Firms have been at the heart of  Arms sales to all kinds of groups in Africa. The EU has imposed sanctions to prevent them from doing many things including arms trafficking. Therefore, it is important to Africa to follow the movement of these men and businesses

Shimron Issachar

BRUSSELS - Selling arms firms from yourself to yourself, labelling petrol as solvents then petrol again - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is trying to make a living while being squeezed by the EU and Russia.

 Lawyers in the European External Action Service are scratching their heads at what to do about Belarusian oligarch Vladimir Peftiev's latest bid to avoid EU sanctions. 

Peftiev - Lukashenko's friend and alleged bag-man - is on an EU blacklist along with one of his firms, Beltekh Holding, which owns arms trader Beltechexport. But this week he sold his controlling stake in the holding firm to one Dmitry Gurinovich.

  •  Beltekh Holding says Gurinovich is an alumnus of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration and part of the Russian presidential personnel reserve - a pool of people qualified for work in the Russian leader's chancellery.  He does not show up in the published lists of either body, however. 
  •  An EU diplomat told this website he is in fact a former "advisor or aide of Peftiev or maybe he still is."  He added that the sale is an attempt to evade EU sanctions: "Formally, if the company does not belong to the sanctioned person any more, it should be delisted." 
  •  A contact in the Berlin-based institute, the German Marshall Fund, said the transaction means "Peftiev actually sold the company from itself to itself." 
 The sale is his latest attempt to beat the EU ban:

  • Peftiev and three of his firms, including Beltechexport, have four ongoing lawsuits at the European Court of Justice disputing EU claims that they feed Lukashenko. 
  • Another Lukashenko-linked oligarch, Yuriy Chizh, in March got one of his companies, Belneftegaz, off the EU blacklist after Latvia intervened on his side. 
 According to Belarusian Tribunal, an NGO based in The Hague, Belneftegaz is part of a family of firms involved in a Russian oil scam worth $880 million a year.

  •  Belarus imports Russian oil at domestic Russian prices.
  •  But if it refines it and sells it to Europe it has to pay Russia a duty of between $300 and $500 a ton. 
  • The arrangement does not cover solvents and thinners made using the oil, however. 
  •  The NGO says Belneftegaz exports petrol labelled as solvent to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Netherlands, where it is bought by offshore companies linked to the Belarusian regime, re-labelled as petrol, then sold again to EU companies. 
  •  When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Lukashenko on Thursday (31 May) in his first post-inauguration trip, he told media: "The very fact of my first foreign visit to brotherly Belarus reflects the special nature of our relations." A joint statement by the two men said: "Russia and Belarus will co-ordinate efforts to counter attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of [Belarus] and to apply pressure through the introduction of restrictive measures or sanctions."
 But in reality, Putin's embrace is more dangerous for Lukashenko than the EU's cold shoulder. The Kremlin is trying to strongarm Belarus to fully implement a state union with Russia which would reduce it to a de facto Russian province and make Lukashenko one of Putin's regional governors.

 Meanwhile, Kremlin loans to Minsk have seen it take control of Belarus' main strategic asset - the pipelines of Belarusian firm Beltransgaz, which pump Russian gas to Poland and Germany - in return.

 Belarusian Tribunal noted that "Russian authorities [are] perfectly aware" of the solvent scam "but for some unknown reason have ignored it. It is possible the fact of oil smuggling could be used by the Kremlin against Lukashenko in future."

The Rest @ The JPost

Monday, May 28, 2012

Russian Ship Bringing Arms to