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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mali-600 kilos Cocaine

From IRIN, first published 5 July 2007

Mali-Niger

Two big drug busts of more than 600 kilos of cocaine in Mauritanian and Niger in recent weeks show authorities can stem some of the flow, but U.N. officials say a far greater volume of narcotics is getting through. -May 26, 2007 alertnet

Guinnea Bissau
  • The biggest happened in September [2006], when police found 674 kg of cocaine.
  • A second bust of another 600 kg came in the spring [2007].
  • In April, authorities in Burkina Faso intercepted 49 kg of cocaine on the border with Mali. In May, Mauritanian authorities discovered 630 kg of cocaine in an abandoned aeroplane near the airport in Nouadhibou, 500 km north of the capital Nouakchott.

Mauritania

  • The smuggling into Mauritania of a previous batch of more than 600 kilograms of cocaine seized after a small plane made an emergency landing at the northern port of Noudhibou in May, 2007], led to a discover of 1,896 lbs (860 kilograms) of cocaine on 14 August in NOUAKCHOTT (Mauritania), were found hidden beneath sacks of rice in a parked minibus.

Dominique Lebleux published this report (Article is in French) in September, 2007, which gives a detailed analysis of European Drub Busts of traveling Africans, in 2007, including this:

January 2007: - Flight Bamako (Mali)-Amsterdam (Belgium).

  • Three [aleged] Nigerians were stopped at the airport of Casablanca (Morocco).
  • Alltogether they transported altogether 4.5 kg of drugs in the form of a 209 capsules ingested.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG Joins Al qaeda

There is apparaently a new al Qaeda Franchise in Libya.

Ayman al-Zawahiri
  • On November 3, 2007, a new video from al-Qaeda media production house as-Sahab was circulated on jihadi forums.
  • Entitled “Unity of the Ranks,” the video featured senior al-Qaeda leaders Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Laith al-Libi.
  • This video marked the announcement of the long anticipated merger between al-Qaeda and al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya al-Muqatila (The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG).

Source: Jamestown Foundation

Al Qaeda Giving up on AQIM for LIFG?

Al Qaeda, which must surly be frustrated with the failure of AQIM to acheive any real objectives. It seems to be courting al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya al-Muqatila (The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG) to take over its North-West Africa Campaign. Are Both of these Groups going to fight like brothers to see which is their Father's favorite? This may be exactly what al-Zawahiri, Abu Laith al-Libi have in mind....

-Shimron

Bank Mellat Statement about Being on OFAC Sanctions List - and Comments

Bank Mellat in Iran has issued a statement about it being on the US Treasury Department's Office of Foregin Asset Control list, prohibiting any US Company from doing business with the Bank directly or indirectly. Bellow is the statement, as quoted by World - Check. My comments are in Red.

-Shimron
  • The statement of Bank Mellat on the illegal and baseless economic sanctions imposed by US is as below:
  • There is no justification in international law for economic sanctions on financial institutions and banks for political reasons, and sanctions should not be used for the purpose of superimposing political aims or exert illegal pressure on other financial entities. It is US Pressure impacting US Business, but other countries may be impacted
  • Bank Mellat strongly insists that its operation is and always has been limited to mere economic activities and there has never been a single example of the involvement of the Bank in any illegal activity. Except the Iranian Nuclear Program and support of Revolutionary Guard and Kuds financial transiactions supporting Iraqi and Hezbollah terrorist activities.
  • Since international financial and banking markets are quite sensitive to any signal and accusation, imposition of false allegations will endanger worldwide economy and international business. We hope so.
  • Bank Mellat has been engaged in a wide range of banking activities, such as banking operations in the name and on behalf of people of Iran, for various activities like opening and holding current and deposit accounts, providing banking and financing services for people's daily banking services, offering mortgages and housing facilities, as well as other commercial banking services inside and outside the country. We are glad they do some good things, too.
  • one of the leading banks of Iran, Bank Mellat, through the years, has successfully and fully satisfied its customers and domestic and foreign regulators in all its overseas branches and subsidiaries. Probably true, but how deep do regulators check into Iranian government accounts?
  • The recent allegations made by the USA against Bank Mellat has absolutely no justification and legal ground, and is simply based on illegal and baseless accusations. It is certainly contrary to international law, thus should have no value and effect. It Interesting that they do not site any real laws the sactions violate.
  • Therefore, bank Mellat expects all international banks, and financial institutions and organisations particularly WTO, IMF, World Bank group, IFC as well as all other monetary, financial and commercial institution(s) not to permit any government to undermine internationally recognised principles for the purpose of gaining political advantages. Sounds like a threat to us...
  • Ultimately, Bank Mellat reserves its rights, without prejudice to any of its other rights and privileges, to take any legal action against the current US administration and other concerned USA authorities in and and all domestic and international jurisdictions or organisations, particularly those of financial and monetary institutions, for any losses or damages as may be inflicted on the Bank, on the grounds of libel and defamation, on its personnel, branches, subsidiaries, affiliates and customers, directly or indirectly, by this irresponsible conduct. Yes, definately a threat...

Bank Mellat 20 October, 2007

Sunday, November 25, 2007

62 Adults, 3 children drown trying to immigrate from Somalia to Yemen

About 65 would-be migrants die off Yemen coast


ADEN, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Sixty-five people including three children drowned in the Gulf of Aden while trying to cross from Somalia to Yemen, official Yemeni media said on Thursday.
About 15 others swam to safety after a vessel carrying the migrants sank close to the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula country, said the Saba news agency, adding that the survivors were Somali nationals.

The Yemeni navy and fishermen pulled 50 bodies from the sea while 15 bodies were found on the beach.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Gunnmen Enter Eastern Chad, Beat Aid Workers

N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - Armed rebels and unidentified gunmen entered two towns in eastern Chad at the weekend and beat two foreign aid workers after rebel factions abandoned a month-old ceasefire, humanitarian staff said on Sunday.

The unrest underlined deteriorating security in the area where European Union peacekeepers hope to start deploying in the next few weeks to complement a hybrid U.N./African force planned for Sudan's violent Darfur region, over Chad's eastern frontier.

Leaders of Chad's two biggest rebel movements, the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD) and the Assembly of Forces for Change (RFC), said late on Friday they would break a ceasefire as of Sunday -- a month to the day since they groups signed a Libyan-brokered peace deal with President Idriss Deby.

Just a few hours later, on Saturday, several UFDD vehicles entered the town of Hadjer Hadid, 70 km east of the eastern city of Abeche, triggering a security alert and prompting French and Chadian helicopters to take off in a vain pursuit.

Aid workers in the area said the rebels exchanged fire with government security forces in Hadjer Hadid, though UFDD leaders said their fighters entered the town only to get water and left shortly afterwards without launching any attack.

"We will attack Deby's forces if they continue to provoke us," UFDD Secretary General Abakar Tollimi told Reuters by satellite phone on Sunday.

French forces based in Abeche stepped up security at the town's airport late on Saturday following the attack, aid workers in the city said.

Humanitarian work was suspended until further notice at two refugee camps near Hadjer Hadid, a U.N. official in Abeche said.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

JEM Refuses to Allow Chinese Peace Keepers in their Areas

KHARTOUM, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Rebels on Saturday demanded Beijing pull its peacekeepers out of Darfur, just hours after a unit of Chinese army engineers flew into the Sudanese region.

More than 130 Chinese engineers arrived in south Darfur's capital Nyala on Saturday to pave the way for a 26,000-strong United Nations/African Union force in the region, where four years of conflict have killed some 200,000 people.

But the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said it would not allow the engineers onto land held by its forces. It accused Beijing of stoking the crisis by supporting Khartoum.
"They are not welcome... They can never come into our area," JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim told Reuters.

"We oppose them coming because China is not interested in human rights. It is just interested in Sudan's resources. We are calling on them to quit Sudan, especially the petroleum areas."

China has advised Sudan to cooperate with U.N. efforts to resolve the crisis but remains its largest arms supplier, with sales increasing 25-fold between 2002 and 2005. Total trade rose 124 percent in the first half of this year compared to 2006.

JEM attacked a Chinese-controlled oil installation last month in the central Sudanese region of Kordofan, but Ibrahim declined to comment on whether it would target the engineers.

"I am not saying I will attack them. I will not say I will not attack them. What I am saying is that they are taking our oil for blood," he said.

"China has so far only offered $1 million for displaced Darfur people. Meanwhile they are sucking a million barrels of oil out of Sudan every day. We do not welcome them."

The rebels have said they would welcome peacekeepers from any country but China. But Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on Friday insisted China and Pakistan were the only non-African countries he would accept.

The widely read Sudan Tribune Web site on Saturday said the Chinese units were also opposed by Darfur's displaced people.

The Rest @ All Africa.com

Friday, November 23, 2007

AQIM acknowledges death of Yahya Abu al-Haitham

ALGIERS, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's north African wing heaped praise on one of its senior members killed last week by Algerian security forces and said on Friday his death would not weaken the organisation.

Yahya Abu al-Haitham died in a clash with Algerian gendarmes between the towns of Zazqa and Tizi Ouzou, 120 km (75 miles) east of Algiers, according to a statement from the group posted on an Islamist Web site.

Newspapers said Yahya was killed on Nov. 16 while trying to penetrate a military roadblock. The group's confirmation of his death was a departure from its usual practice.

"We are happy to announce a great event: the glorious death of our commander Yahya Abu Haitham, known in Mujahideen cicles as Abu Yahya," said the statement, signed by leaders of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

It said Abu Yahya had spent 14 years in the organisation and held several responsibilities, most recently as head of its liaison committee.

Maghreb al Qaeda, formerly known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, said it was behind two suicide bombings that killed 57 people in September. One was a failed attempt to assassinate President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

Since then the government has stepped up efforts to root out its fighters, many of whom are hiding in dense forests in the mountainous region of Kabylie east of Algiers.

Algerian newspapers reported in recent weeks that security forces had weakened the organisation by killing or capturing several senior members.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

US Sanctions Against Iran - OFAC

This is from the OFAC Web site. This is important to Africa, because products shipped from African countries which origninated in Iran may be affected by these sanctions...

This is a significant abreviation of the information from the US Treasury Deprtament Office of Foregn Asset Control, and is therefore incomplete. Before any business action should be taken or stopped, we recommend that you coduct more complete research, begining with This site and then the OFAC site.

-Shimron

As a result of Iran's continued support for international terrorism and its aggressive actions against non-belligerent shipping in the Persian Gulf, President Reagan, on October 29, 1987, issued Executive Order 12613 imposing a new import embargo on Iranian- origin goods and services. Section 505 of the International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1985 (ISDCA) was utilized as the statutory authority for the embargo which gave rise to the Iranian Transactions Regulations (Title 31 Part 560 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations).

Effective March 16, 1995, as a result of Iranian sponsorship of international terrorism and its active pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12957 prohibiting U.S. involvement with petroleum development in Iran. On May 6, 1995, he signed Executive Order 12959, pursuant to IEEPA as well as the ISDCA, substantially tightening sanctions against Iran.

Corporate criminal penalties for violations of the Iranian Transactions Regulations can range up to $500,000, with individual penalties of up to $250,000 and 10 years in jail. Civil penalties of up to $10,000 may also be imposed administratively.

This fact sheet provides general information about the Iranian sanctions program under the Iranian Transaction Regulations, which incorporate the new sanctions imposed by Executive Order 12957 and 12959. The sanctions are administered by the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC").


.......U.S. banks may handle "U-turn" transactions--cover payments involving Iran that are by order of a third country bank for payment to another third country bank provided they do not directly credit or debit an Iranian account. They are also permitted to handle non-commercial family remittances involving Iran, provided the transfers are routed to or from non-U.S. non-Iranian offshore banks.

U.S. banks initiating or receiving payment orders involving Iran on behalf of customers must determine prior to processing such payments that they do not involve transactions prohibited by the Iranian Transactions Regulations.......


APPENDIX A - BANKS OWNED OR CONTROLLED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAN

AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVE BANK OF IRAN (a.k.a. BANK TAAVON KESHAVARZI IRAN), No. 129 Patrice Lumumba Street, Jalal-Al-Ahmad Expressway, P.O. Box 14155/6395, Tehran, Iran

AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT BANK OF IRAN (a.k.a. BANK JOSIAIYI KESHAHVARZI), Farahzad Expressway, Tehran, Iran.

BANK JOSIAIYI KESHAHVARZI (a.k.a. AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT BANK OF IRAN), Farahzad Expressway, Tehran, Iran.

BANK MARKAZI JOMHOURI ISLAMI IRAN (a.k.a. THE CENTRAL BANK OF IRAN), Ferdowsi Avenue, P.O. Box 11365-8551, Tehran, Iran.

BANK MASKAN (a.k.a. HOUSING BANK (of Iran)), Ferdowsi St., Tehran, Iran

BANK MELLAT, Park Shahr, Varzesh Avenue, P.O. Box 11365/5964, Tehran, Iran, and all offices worldwide, including, but not limited to:

BANK MELLAT (Branch), Ziya Gokalp Bulvari No. 12, Kizilay, Ankara, Turkey

BANK MELLAT (Branch), Binbir Cicek Sokak, Buyukdere Caddesi, P.O. Box 67, Levant, Istanbul, Turkey

BANK MELLAT (Branch), 48 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7AX, England

BANK MELLI, P.O. Box 11365-171, Ferdowsi Avenue, Tehran, Iran, and all offices worldwide, including, but not limited to:

BANK MELLI (Branch), 4 Moorgate, London EC2R 6AL, England

BANK MELLI (Branch), Schadowplatz 12, 4000 Dusseldorf 1, Germany

BANK MELLI (Branch), Friedenstrasse 4, P.O. Box 160 154, 6000 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

BANK MELLI (Branch), P.O. Box 112129, Holzbruecke 2, 2000 Hamburg 11, Germany

BANK MELLI (Branch), Odeonsplatz 18, 8000 Munich 22, Germany

BANK MELLI (Branch), 43 Avenue Montaigne, 75008 Paris, France

BANK MELLI (Branch), 601 Gloucester Tower, The Landmark, 11 Pedder Street, P.O. Box 720, Hong Kong

BANK MELLI (Representative Office), 333 New Tokyo Building, 3-1 Marunouchi, 3-chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan

BANK MELLI (Agency), 818 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90017, U.S.A

BANK MELLI (Agency), 767 Fifth Avenue, 44th Floor, New York, New York 10153, U.S.A

BANK MELLI (Representative Office), Smolensky Boulevard 22/14, Kv. S., Moscow, Russia

BANK MELLI (Branch), Flat No. 1, First Floor, 8 Al Sad El-Aaly, Dokki, P.O. Box 2654, Cairo, Egypt

BANK MELLI (Branch), Ben Yas Street, P.O. Box No. 1894, Riga Deira, Dubai, U.A.E.

BANK MELLI (Branch), P.O. Box 2656, Shaikha Maryam Building, Liwa Street, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E

BANK MELLI (Branch), B.P.O. Box 1888, Clock Tower, Industrial Road, Al-Ain Club Building in from Emertel Al Ain, Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

BANK MELLI (Branch), P.O. Box 1894, Riqa, Ban Yas Street, Deira, Dubai, U.A.E.

BANK MELLI (Branch), Mohd-Habib Building, Al-Fahidi Street, P.O. Box 3093, Bur Dubai, Dubai, U.A.E.

BANK MELLI (Branch), P.O. Box 248, Fujairah, U.A.E.

BANK MELLI (Branch), Sami Sagar Building Oman Street Al-Nakheel, P.O. Box 5270, Ras-Al Khaimah, U.A.E.

BANK MELLI (Branch), P.O. Box 459, Al Bory Street, Sharjah, U.A.E.

BANK MELLI (Branch), P.O. Box 785, Government Road, Shaikh Mubarak Building, Manama, Bahrain.

BANK MELLI (Branch), P.O. Box 23309, Shaikh Salman Street, Road No. 1129, Muharraq 211, Bahrain.

BANK MELLI (Branch), P.O. Box 5643, Mossa Abdul Rehman Hassan Building, 238 Al Burj St., Ruwi, Muscat, Oman.

BANK OF INDUSTRY AND MINE (of Iran) (a.k.a. BANK SANAT VA MADAN), Hafez Avenue, P.O. Box 11365/4978, Tehran, Iran.

BANK REFAH KARGARAN (a.k.a. WORKERS WELFARE BANK (of Iran)), Moffettah No. 125, P.O. Box 15815 1866, Tehran, Iran.

BANK SADERAT IRAN, Bank Saderat Tower, P.O. Box 15745-631, Somayeh Street, Tehran, Iran, and all offices worldwide, including, but not limited to:

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Hamdam Street, Airport Road Intersection, P.O. Box 700, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Al-Am Road, P.O. Box 1140, Al Ein, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Liwara Street, P.O. Box 16, Ajman, U.A.E.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), 3rd Floor Dom Dasaf Building, Mejloka Street 7A, Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), 25-29 Panepistimiou Street, P.O. Box 4308, GR-10210, Athens 10672, Greece.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Imam Ali Street, Sahat Yaghi, Ras Elain-Alektisad Building 2nd Floor, Baalbeck, Lebanon.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch and Offshore Banking Unit), 106 Government Road, P.O. Box 825, Manama Town 316, Bahrain.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Hamra Pavillion Street, Savvagh and
Daaboul Building 1st Floor, P.O. Box 113-6717, Beirut, Lebanon .

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Alghobairi Boulevard, Beirut, Lebanon.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), 28 Sherif Street, P.O. Box 462, Cairo, Egypt.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Old Ben-Ghanem Street (next to God Market), P.O. Box 2256, Doha, Qatar.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Almaktoum Road, P.O. Box 4182, Deira, Dubai, U.A.E.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Bazar Murshid, P.O. Box 4182, Deira, Dubai, U.A.E.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Alfahid Road, P.O. Box 4182, Bur Dubai, Dubai, U.A.E.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Sherea Shekikh Zayad Street, P.O. Box 55, Fujairah, U.A.E.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Wilhelm Leuschner Strasse 41, P.O. Box 160151, W-6000 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), P.O. Box 112227, Hopfenhof Passage, Kleiner Bustah 6-10, W-2000 Hamburg 11, Germany.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Lothbury, London EC2R 7HD, England .

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Representative Office), 707 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 4880, Los Angeles, California 90017, U.S.A.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Agency), 375 Park Avenue, New York, New York 10152, U.S.A.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), P.O. Box 4269, Mutrah, Muscat, Oman.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), 16 rue de la Paix, Paris 2eme, 75002 Paris, France.

BANK SADERAT IRAN (Branch), Alaroba Road, P.O. Box 316, Sharjah, U.A.E.

BANK SANAT VA MADAN (a.k.a. BANK OF INDUSTRY AND MINE (of Iran)), Hafez Avenue, P.O. Box 11365/4978, Tehran, Iran.

BANK SEPAH, Emam Khomeini Square, P.O. Box 11364, Tehran, Iran, and all office worldwide, including, but not limited to:

BANK SEPAH (Branch), Muenchener Strasse 49, P.O. Box 10 03 47, W- 6000 Frankfurt am Main 1, Germany.

BANK SEPAH (Branch), 5/7 Eastcheap, EC3M 1JT London, England.

BANK SEPAH (Branch), 650 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10019, U.S.A.

BANK SEPAH (Branch), 17 Place Vendome, 75001 Paris, France.

BANK SEPAH (Branch), Via Barberini 50, 00187 Rome, Italy.

BANK SEPAH (Representative Office), Ufficio di Rappresentan Za, Via Ugo Foscolo 1, 20121 Milan, Italy.

BANK TAAVON KESHAVARZI IRAN (a.k.a. AGRICULTURAL COOPERATIVE BANK OF IRAN) No. 129 Patrice Lumumba Street, Jalal-Al-Ahmad Expressway, P.O. Box 14155/6395,
Tehran, Iran.

BANK TEJARAT, 130 Taleghani Avenue, Nejatoullahie, P.O. Box 11365- 5416, Tehran, Iran, and all offices worldwide, including, but not limited to:

BANK TEJARAT (Branch), 6/8 Clements Lane, London EC4N 7AP, England.

BANK TEJARAT (Branch), 44 Avenue des Champs Elysees, 75008 Paris, France.

DEUTSCH-IRANISCHE HANDELSBANK AG (n.k.a. EUROPAEISCH-IRANISCHE HANDELSBANK AG) Depenau 2, W-2000 Hamburg 1, Germany, and all offices worldwide, including, but not limited to:

DEUTSCH-IRANISCHE HANDELSBANK AG (n.k.a. EUROPAEISCH-IRANISCHE HANDELSBANK AG) (Representative Office), 23 Argentine Square, Beihaghi Bulvard, P.O. Box 15815/1787, Tehran 15148, Iran.

EUROPAEISCH-IRANISCHE HANDELSBANK AG (f.k.a. DEUTSCH-IRANISCHE HANDELSBANK AG) Depenau 2, W-2000 Hamburg 1, Germany, and all offices worldwide, including, but not limited to:

EUROPAEISCH-IRANISCHE HANDELSBANK AG (f.k.a. DEUTSCH-IRANISCHE
HANDELSBANK AG) (Representative Office), 23 Argentine Square,
Beihaghi Bulvard, P.O. Box 15815/1787, Tehran 15148, Iran .

HOUSING BANK (of Iran) (a.k.a. BANK MASKAN), Ferdowsi St., Tehran,
Iran.

IRAN OVERSEAS INVESTMENT BANK LIMITED (f.k.a. IRAN OVERSEAS INVESTMENT CORPORATION LIMITED), 120 Moorgate, London EC2M 6TS, England, and all offices worldwide, including, but not limited to:

IRAN OVERSEAS INVESTMENT BANK LIMITED (Representative Office), 1137
Avenue Vali Asr off Park-e-SAll, P.O. Box 15115/531, Tehran, Iran.

IRAN OVERSEAS INVESTMENT BANK LIMITED (Agency), Suite 3c Olympia
House, 61/63 Dame Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.

IRAN OVERSEAS INVESTMENT BANK LIMITED (Agency), Improgetti, Via
Germanico 24, 00192 Rome, Italy.

IRAN OVERSEAS TRADING COMPANY LIMITED (Subsidiary), 120 Moorgate,
London EC2M 6TS, England.

IRAN OVERSEAS INVESTMENT CORPORATION LIMITED (n.k.a. IRAN OVERSEAS
INVESTMENT BANK LIMITED), 120 Moorgate, London EC2M 6TS, England.
THE CENTRAL BANK OF IRAN (a.k.a. BANK MARKAZI JOMHOURI ISLAMI IRAN), Ferdowsi Avenue, P.O. Box 11365-8551, Tehran, Iran.

WORKERS WELFARE BANK (of Iran) (a.k.a. BANK REFAH KARGARAN), Moffettah No. 125, P.O. Box 15815 1866, Tehran, Iran.

The Rest @ OFAC

Thursday, November 22, 2007

al Baraka businesses and NGOS

Zawya Keeps a company profile on al Baraka, the Development Family of Businesses and non Profits. This group has been identified in repeated suits and endigthments as supporters of terrorist activities. In some cases the organizational assets were frozen After THe attacsk on the world trade center and September 11, 2001.

you would expect, Saleh Abdullah Kamel the Chairman of this group, to be in prison or i n disgrace among Muslims everywhere.

The answer is the opposite. He is renowned in the Muslim world. His name is synonymous with the creation of a world wide islamic finance system that oiperates in veritually every country of the world. He is associated with
  • Sharia Compliant Sukuk or Bonds
  • A new World Wide Centralized Zakat (religious alms due upon money earned by money sitting ina an account) Collection and review Center in Malasia
  • He is the Father and director of a hughe family of non-profit organizations which continue to radicalize Islamic youth in Africa.
As you can see byt he profile that follows, al Baraka is primarily an investment and financial services company on the surface

-Shimron

Ownership Type Private
Company Type Partnership

Financial Services Investment Companies - Islamic

Principal Activities

Commercial and investment banking; insurance and leasing according to Islamic Sharia principles.

Date of Establishment
1982

Key Officers
Saleh Abdullah Kamel Chairman

Hassan Salem Al Ammari Chief Executive Officer

More Officers

Contact Details
Address:P.O. Box 6854Jeddah 21452
Country:Saudi Arabia
Tel:+966 2-669-4100
Fax:+966 2-669-4264

Latest Headline
'Terrorist financing': New targets, new tactics - Gulf States Newsletter
More News

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Major Shareholders

Saleh Abdullah Kamel
Private
Saudi Arabia
100.00%

Organization Structure and Related Entities
Parent Company/Organization

Dallah Albaraka Group assets were frozen in 2002

Saudi Arabia
100.00%
Subsidiaries/Associates/Affiliates

Investments

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shari'ah-compliant short selling, HubDoha Bank, News from the Central Bank of Bahrain

The Central Bank of Bahrain executive director Abdul Rahman Al
from ihiBlog by Blake Goud, IHI Executive Director

  • The Central Bank of Bahrain executive director Abdul Rahman Al Baker discussed the possibility that the Arboon contract could be used to mimic a short sale for use by hedge fund managers.
  • He also suggested the possibility of using a Salam sale in a similar way. The Arboon contract is used by Shari'ah Capital's hedge fund platform.
  • The use of Shari'ah-compliant short selling is still controversial as many people have not been provided with more of a description of the Shari'ah principles which allow short-selling through the arboon contract.
  • Shari'ah Capital will release a Q&A on their technique shortly, according to Chief Shari'ah Officer Sheikh Yusuf DeLorenzo in response to a question at the recent Islamic Finance in North America conference in New York.
  • The Times newspaper discusses the slowdown of sukuk issuance during the subprime crisis.
  • The article contains two glaring errors. First, it describes Islamic finance as being based on the idea that there is no time value of money. There is still the recognition of a time value of money in Islamic economics, it is just that a fixed compensation for the time value of money loaned (typically included in an interest rate along with compensation for the opportunity cost of the money) is not present.

For example,

  • a sale on the spot market of a widget could occur at price $x (the cost of the good).
  • If the buyer wanted to defer payment for 1 month, the seller could require that the buyer pay in 1 month at price x*(1+m), where m is a markup (the profit rate).
  • This profit rate would reflect the time value of money, but would be profit on a sale, not interest on a monetary loan.
  • Second, the article disputes that sukuk are no different from conventional bonds, and instead draw Western interest only because "there is an element of fashion that is flirting with novelty".
  • As the working paper released by the IMF describes, sukuk do behave differently than sukuk.
  • A Swedish bank is operating an 'interest-free' loan program.....
  • .... Islamic finance research fuelling growth, sukuk & a seminar on Islamic banking in Malta- Dr. Nazim Ali, director of the Islamic Finance Project at Harvard University, discusses the growth of the Islamic finance industry, in particular the role that researchers play in its development. Ex
  • ING in Malaysia, IIFF on regulatory issues in conventional systems, Shari'ah constraints in the U.S.- ING Investment Management, an investment manager affiliated with ING Group, plans on making Malaysia the center of its Shari'ah-compliant fund business.
  • The International Islamic Finance Forum (IIFF)
  • Takaful, Saudi development funding, Dubai's growth- Takaful is growing rapidly in Malaysia and the chief executive officer of Takaful Nasional Sdn Bhd expects to have a 20 percent share of the insurance sector by 2010 (currently takaful has a 6.1 perce
    Sep 27, 2007
  • GCC surpasses Malaysia in sukuk, Islamic finance brain drain- The Wall Street Journal will team up with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to have one day of DIFCweek devoted to Islamic finance called "Islamic and Ethical Finance".The Gulf region ha Sep 26, 2007
  • Islamic banking in the West- The Islamic Bank of Britain today announced a halal business loan program in Bolton. While the loans will all be halal, they will be available to entrepreneurs of all faiths.
  • External Shari'ah auditors licenced in Bahrain, Dutch Islamic banking- The Shariyah Review Bureau was granted a licence by the Central Bank of Bahrain. The organization is an external Shari'ah auditor.
  • Canadian Islamic banking applications- Two unidentified companies have applied to the Canadian banking regulators asking to be allowed to open Islamic banks in the country and four more groups may be contemplating applications.
  • The IMF Survey Magazine devotes the 'IMF Research' section to Islamic banking and finance. • Islamic Banking Makes Headway• Malaysia: An Islamic Capital Market HubDoha Bank, a Qatari bank

    Sukuk and Kenyan Islamic banking- Standard & Poor's estimates that there is $80 billion in sukuk outstanding worldwide as of June 30, 2007.
  • As the banking and finance industry grows in Kenya, so does the Islamic banking industr
  • New products, new IFSB members, new Islamic finance in Europe- CIMB Islamic will begin offering a new Shari'ah-compliant deposit account that provides the profit in advance using a commodity murabaha tawarruq.Bank Islamic Malaysia Bhd (BIMB) signed an agreement
  • Thailand sovereign sukuk, GCC financial centers and Islamic hedge funds- Thailand could issue its first sovereign sukuk in 2008.The Economist has a description of the growth of the GCC region financial centers in Bahrain, UAE and Qatar.Shari'ah Capital, a New Canaan, Conne

    African Development Center, Prospect editor on Islamic finance- The African Development Center receives positive press in African-focused paper Mshale: "One of ADC’s most notable achievements is the tailoring of loans to be Sharia-compliant to make them attractive
  • Offshoring beneficial or detrimental to Islamic finance image in the West?- Barclay's, with the assistance of Shariah Capital, is launching Islamic hedge funds, which provide investors with exposure to "six or seven long-short hedge funds". Given the Shari'ah problems likely
  • Islamic finance growing rapidly, other news- Islamic finance continues to grow rapidly. Thailand hosts conference to attract firms in the halal market to the country. This, and other conferences, are listed on the IHI conference listing page.
  • Christian business practices similar to Islamic business practices, Islamic finance can help with social development- Islamic microfinance could be very profitable, as well as successful in reducing poverty according to a speaker at a conference in Bahrain. The Islamic Development Bank wants to "standardise and regu
  • Thailand and Islamic microfinance in Sri Lanka- Islamic finance receiving attention in Thailand and the Islamic Bank of Thailand wants to lead the way in financing the halal food industry.Muslim Aid and Amana Investments launched their Islamic micr
  • Islamic banks in Indonesia- Although Indonesia has the largest number of Muslims of any country in the world, the Islamic finance industry is very underdeveloped, representing less than 5 percent of total deposits.

Ambitious growth projections, regulatory challenges and the domestic vs. global divide in Malaysia- As sukuk issuance breaks previous records, the Financial Times reporter Farhan Bokhari discusses the future prospects for growth of the Islamic finance industry as a whole. Islamic hedge funds, Malaysia & newspaper supplements in China- An interesting take on the possibility of Islamic hedge funds. One issue though is to determine whether hedge funds attaching the 'Islamic' label are "using markets wisely" and not "speculate, play p

Body's projects growth of Asian-originated sukuk, INCEIF conference- The issuance of sukuk originating in Asia should grow significantly over the next few years as sukuk begin to flow from India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Singapore, Moody's describes in a recent report.

Islamic banking in India- Standard Chartered Bank approached the Reserve Bank of India, India's central bank, to get approval to open an Islamic bank.Total sukuk issuance year to date is now $82.2 billion as of the end of July

Islamic banking enters Syria- The first Islamic bank recently opened in Syria. The Cham Islamic Bank opened in Damascus with $100 million in starting capital.

Shari'ah-compliant index in Doha, Islamic banking in Pakistan, Malaysia- The Doha (Qatar) Securities Market has a new index tracking the Shari'ah-compliant securities listed on the exchange. The index is created by the Doha Investment House and is called the 'Investment H

Indian Islamic finance, African retakaful & British Islamic home financing- India may see Islamic banks allowed soon.A the Cote D'Ivoire offices of Nigeria-based reinsurance company, Africa Reinsurance Corporation, is increasing its authorized share capital to fund a re-takaf

Islamic banking, sukuk tax changes hailed, IF education scholarship fund- A good article by the Assistant Editor of CFR.org, the website of the Council of Foreign Relations about the growth of Islamic banking.The British organization the Tax Incentivised Saving Association

Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah

ITR: TSRA Notice for TSRA License Holders and Applicants On January 9, 2007,
  • Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International PLC were designated pursuant to Executive Order 13382 of June 28, 2005, "Blocking Property of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferators and Their ... Global Terrorism (SDGT) Designation and Removals The following entities have been added to OFAC's SDN list: TAMILS REHABILITATION ORGANISATION (a.k.a. ORGANISATION DE REHABILITATION TAMOULE; a.k.a. ORGANISATION PRE LA REHABILITATION TAMIL; a.k.a. ORGANIZZAZIONE PER LA RIABILITAZIONE DEI TAMIL; a.k.a. ...
  • Release of Civil Penalties Information New OFAC enforcement information was released on: 11/08/2007
    See more from terrorists-list-checks (9)

The Rest @ the OFAC

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bank Sanctions Impact Iran (Kuwait News)

Published Date: November 05, 2007 TEHRAN:

The Iranian economy is starting to feel the sting from a raft of banking sanctions
applied by the United States to pressure Tehran over its controversial nuclear drive.

Washington has blacklisted Iran's three main banks and has also successfully encouraged
virtually all major European banks into cutting business with the Islamic republic.

  • "Practically all the major European banks have ceased their cooperation with Iran," said an official from Iran's Export Development Bank, who asked
    not to be named.
  • It is no longer possible to wire money by dollar into Iran and for the payments in euros there are just three European banks. They could stop cooperating with us at any moment," said the official.
  • British-Asian bank HSBC and the Swiss giants UBS and Credit Suisse were the first to
    cut business with Iran back in 2006 while Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and BNP Paribas
    have followed suit this year.

Meanwhile, Washington has blacklisted Iranian banks Melli, Mellat and Saderat, accusing
them of acting as a conduit for "terrorist financing" - something the banks vehemently deny.

The decision has effectively cut the Iranian banks off from the dollar-based financial system
and turned them into pariah institutions with whom their foreign counterparts are unwilling to
deal.....

But it acknowledged the measures would be felt by ordinary Iranians: "It may inflict harm on
the lives of ordinary people using services." The moves against Iran's financial system have
been in parallel to two sets of UN sanctions against its ballistic missile and nuclear
programmes.

  • But it is the unilateral US actions that are being felt most keenly in Iran. In
    essence, the sanctions aim at cutting off Iran's financial lifeblood. Foreign banks, who were already refusing to accept letters of credit issued by their Iranian counterparts, are now refusing to carry out even simple operations of money transfers to Iran.

"We wanted to import equipment to construct prefabricated houses but the Australian banks
refused to accept letters of credit," said Touraj, an Iranian businessman who preferred not to
give his surname.


Even Asian banks from countries that still have close economic links with Iran - such as South
Bank
sanctions stinging in Iran »

Korea and China - have been imposing restrictions on business with the Islamic republic. "The
big banks from China, one of Iran's most important partners, are now refusing to deal with
Iran as they have important interests in the United States and fear reprisals," said Mehrdad
Mahmoudi,
a leading currency dealer.

Even banks on the Arabian peninsula - notably US ally the United Arab Emirates, Iran's
number one trading partner - may not be prepared to deal with the Islamic republic forever.

"Iranian banks can still use the services of small Asian banks or the Persian Gulf but that will
not last forever," said Bijan Khajepour, director of Atieh Consulting in Tehran.

"Firms are increasingly having to pay in cash or go through a third country to import their goods which will make the finished product even more expensive," he added.

The Rest @ Kuwait Times

Monday, November 12, 2007

AQIM Order of Battle for Akroun Attack in Tizi Ouzo

On September 21, al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) posted a new video titled "The Battle of Akroun" on the official AQIM website (www.qmagreb.org) and distributed it to various jihadist websites, such as al-Boraq (www.alboraq.info/forumdisplay.php), that post AQIM videos.

The video features Abu Mousab Abdel Wadoud (a.k.a. Droukdal), leader of AQIM, addressing and inspecting his fighters alongside the former emir of Katibat al-Ansar, Sofiane Fassila, who was killed in October by Algerian security forces in the province of Tizi Ouzou.

The narrator says that Droukdal participated in the alleged July 2007 Akroun attack as he happened to be in AQIM's central zone at the time.

Coordinated, Complex Attack

  • In the video, four groups of fighters walk to the assembly point from allegedly different locations in an unidentified forest.
  • Each group consists of seven to 25 men.
  • Preparation for the attack is divided among groups each with a different assignment.
  • One group is responsible for making bombs, for example, another with loading rifle magazines, and a third with inspecting RPGs.
  • Approximately seven long plastic sheets (3x8 feet) covered with white powder are left in the open to dry, after which the powder is deposited into empty gas tanks cut in half to make the bombs.
  • According to the narrator, 100 mujahideen participated in the Akroun attack in the province of Tizi Ouzou, including Droukdal who was present in the region at that time.

That estimate of the number of the fighters involved is supported by a careful visual count of the men in the video.

  • Their ages range from approximately 25 to 40, though five of the fighters appear to be under the age of sixteen.
  • According to the AQIM video statement, three fighters were killed in the attack; two of them had more than ten years of combat experience with other Algerian terrorist groups.
The Rest @ OSAC
Possible Sanctions:
-Shimron

Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank is a
Hamburg-based bank that specialises in
processing foreign trade between Europe and
Iran.

Head Office Hamburg:Fon: +49 40 3210

Portfolio


S.W.I.F.T.: EIHBDEHH Bank Code 203 103 00 VAT-ID No. DE 118513728
Kish Branch
Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank AGKish BranchSanaee AvenueP.O. Box 79415-1836Kish Island 79415I. R. of IRAN
Contact
Mr. Ali Hashemi - Branch ManagerMr. Masoud Gharaati - Assistant ManagerFon: +98 764 4424590Fax: +98 764 4423790E-Mail: infokish(at)eihbank.ir

Tehran Representative Office
Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank AGTehran Representative OfficeNo. 25, Tandis Street, Africa AvenueP.O. Box 15815-1787Tehran 19156I. R. of IRAN
Contact

Mr. Mahmoud Hassanzadeh Gharaie - Chief Representative
Mr. Ebrahim Dadmehr - Dep. Chief RepresentativeFon: +98 21 22057271-3Fax: +98 21 22057737E-Mail: eihtehran(at)gmail.com

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Update on the Spread of Sukuk in Islamic Financing

DOHA, Nov 4 - More borrowers are considering offering Islamic bond sales in the United States, traditionally overlooked in roadshows, to gain better pricing for longer- term maturities, Barclays' head of Islamic finance said on Sunday.

To date, most Gulf sales of Islamic bonds, called sukuk, have been convertible into shares, which tend to be more expensive for the borrower, to attract investment in what were relatively young, unrated companies.

But as more companies gain ratings and a longer financial track record, they may be more attractive to U.S. investors, enabling them to sell cheaper non-convertible sukuk by diversifying their investor base.

"Given the size of the financing requirements and issuers wanting longer terms you need to expand your investor base," Barclays Capital's Arul Kandasamy told Reuters on the sidelines of an Islamic finance conference in Qatar.

"You now have issuers from the Middle East that are attractive to U.S. investors ... If you want big-sized, straight long tenure sukuk, then you want to target the United States, which has the deepest pool of funds," he added.

Kandasamy declined to outline what proportion of Barclays' sukuk pipeline would be sold in the United States, saying only that there was strong interest in doing so.

Dubai developer Nakheel's $3.52 billion sukuk sale in 2006 was the largest to date, and the bonds were later convertible into shares.

"Equity-linked sukuk were used for relatively new companies which may have found it difficult to target the straight debt market for large sized, unrated financing," Kandasamy said.

"A convertible has both equity and debt risk, and convertible investors are willing to take more risk, but equally want more returns in the equity option," he added.

Sukuk comply with Islam's ban on the receipt of interest, and returns derived from underlying physical assets are paid to bondholders instead.

The sukuk industry has surged on growing demand from the world's 1.2 billion Muslims, and by European and Asian institutions seeking more exposure to booming Gulf economies.

Kandasamy said there was now a growing awareness of Islamic finance in the United States.
Barclays arranged the sale of Dubai Ports World's $1.5 billion sukuk sale in June, which were also sold to U.S. investors. The bonds had a tenure of 10 years, relatively rare among sukuk of Gulf origin, which mostly have a tenure of five years.

Last month, Abu Dhabi National Energy Co sold $2 billion of conventional five- and 10-year bonds in the United States.

Both DP World's and Taqa's bonds were sold under the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's 144a rule, which governs private placements.

Selling under 144a is quicker and easier to arrange than public sales in the United States, which has relatively strict financial regulations compared to the Gulf, bankers say.


The Rest @ Yahoo Singapore

Niger Movement for Justice (MNJ) Ambushes Niger Amry Convoy

NIAMEY, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Niger's government said on Saturday four soldiers were missing and three injured after Tuareg-led rebels attacked a civilian convoy with a military escort in the north.

The rebel Niger Justice Movement (MNJ) said it had killed 15 soldiers and taken four prisoners, including an army lieutenant, in the attack on Friday on the road from the regional capital Agadez to the town of Arlit, towards the border with Algeria.

The MNJ frequently exaggerates the death tolls from its attacks.

The rebels demand greater autonomy and government revenues for the uranium-producing north of Niger. They said in a statement on their Web site (m-n-j.blogspot.com) that anyone travelling by road to or from Agadez did so at their own risk.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa

Bomb East of Algiers in Maatkas Algeria Wounds Several

ALGIERS, Nov 10 (Reuters) - A bomb exploded near a police station in a village 80 km (50 miles) east of Algiers on Saturday, wounding several people, residents said.

Further details were not immediately available about the blast in the village of Maatkas in the Kabylie region east of the capital. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The Rest @ Reuters Africa