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Monday, January 25, 2010

EU to Send Troops to Train Somalia TFG

January 25, 2010 8:10 p.m. ESTTopics: Conflict, War and Unrest
Ayinde O. Chase - AHN Editor
Brussels, Belgium (AHN) - The European Union has approved a plan sending soldiers to Uganda to train Somalia's security forces. The decision was made by EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels on Monday.
European officials are getting increasingly worried about he stability of the region due to Somalia's government inability to maintain authority. The region is rife with militant and pirate attacks.
The council of EU member has stated it remained concerned about the situation in Somalia and its regional implications. Therefore it agreed to set up a military mission to contribute to the training of the Somali security forces.

Spain will head the mission of 200 troops.The mission set to be launched in the spring would run in conjunction with the efforts of current forces already in the region. Currently the African Union, United Nations and th United States are bolstering the shaky interim government.
The waters off the coast of Somalia has been plagued with piracy and numerous vessels from various countries have fallen prey to their attacks and ransom demands. Islamic militants control most of Somalia. Officials say Somalia's government only firmly holds small parts of the nation's capital, Mogadishu.

Maritime officials say nearly 25,000 ships a year use the shipping lines in Gulf of Aden off Somalia's northern coast. Furthermore anti-piracy task forces say the waterway also boasts being the highest risk of piracy in the world.

The Rest @ All Headline News

Sahara States to Cooperate against al Qaeda

By Salah Sarrar

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Sahara-region states must work together to fight an emerging alliance of Islamist militants and drug traffickers with South American links, the head of a regional body said on Monday.

Western governments believe that al Qaeda-linked insurgents and drug smugglers -- using the politically volatile and sparsely populated Sahara as a safe haven -- are forging ties which could make both groups a more potent threat.

Disputes among regional governments have hampered efforts to mount a coordinated response, frustrating the United States and the European Union, which fear the region could become a launching pad for al Qaeda attacks elsewhere.

"The most important issue is the lack of security and smuggling, especially drug smuggling which has now crossed into our region from South America," Mohamed Al-Madani Al-Azhari, Secretary-General of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, told Reuters in an interview.

"It seems that there is coordination and cooperation between smugglers and those extremists who practice terrorism and kidnap foreigners," he said after a meeting of the organisation's executive council in the Libyan capital.

"We have to face all of this frankly," said Al-Azhari, who is Libyan.

"Stability is a central issue because in the absence of stability we cannot have development."

The United States has responded to the al Qaeda threat by sending troops to take part in what it calls training and assistance programmes in some of the region's states.

But some of the bigger powers in the Sahara, led by Libya and Algeria, are resisting Western military involvement.

Al-Azhari said his organisation would coordinate efforts to "lay down a complete and comprehensive strategic plan to fight the lack of security and to not allow the foreign intervention which has begun to appear in our region".


WESTERN HOSTAGES

U.S. officials have said traffickers use the Sahara region as a staging post for flying illegal drugs from South America into Europe and that Al Qaeda militants could tap into the smugglers' network of aircraft and secret landing strips.

A group called al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) kidnapped a Frenchman and three Spaniards in the Sahara late last year. It has said it will kill the French hostage by the end of this month unless Mali frees four al Qaeda prisoners.

AQIM has waged a campaign of suicide bombings and ambushes in Algeria but in the past few years has shifted a large part of its activities south to the Sahara desert.

Last year it killed a British tourist, Edwin Dyer, after kidnapping him on the border between Niger and Mali while he was attending a festival of Tuareg culture.

The group also said it shot dead a U.S. aid worker in Mauritania's capital in June last year, and carried out a suicide bombing on the French embassy there in August that injured three people.

Senior foreign ministry officials from the Community of Sahel-Saharan States' 28-member countries met in Tripoli to coordinate their positions before a summit of the African Union to take place in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa that began on Monday.

Saharan states for more than a year have been planning a regional conference to map out a joint response to the al Qaeda threat, but the gathering has been postponed repeatedly.

Disputes among neighbouring countries -- including long-running rows between Chad and Sudan and Algeria and Morocco -- have blocked efforts to hammer out a joint approach.

(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Michael Roddy)

The Rest @ Reuters

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Venezuela - West Africa Trafficking Network

TIMBUKTU, Mali - In early 2008, an official at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent a report to his superiors detailing what he called "the most significant development in the criminal exploitation of aircraft since 9/11."

The document warned that a growing fleet of rogue jet aircraft was regularly crisscrossing the Atlantic Ocean. On one end of the air route, it said, are cocaine-producing areas in the Andes controlled by the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. On the other are some of West Africa's most unstable countries.

The report, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, was ignored, and the problem has since escalated into what security officials in several countries describe as a global security threat.

The clandestine fleet has grown to include twin-engine turboprops, executive jets and retired Boeing 727s that are flying multi-ton loads of cocaine and possibly weapons to an area in Africa where factions of al-Qaida are believed to be facilitating the smuggling of drugs to Europe, the officials say.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has been held responsible for car and suicide bombings in Algeria and Mauritania.

Gunmen and bandits with links to AQIM have also stepped up kidnappings of Europeans for ransom, who are then passed on to AQIM factions seeking ransom payments.
The aircraft hopscotch across South American countries, picking up tons of cocaine and jet fuel, officials say.
They then soar across the Atlantic to West Africa and the Sahel, where the drugs are funneled across the Sahara Desert and into Europe.

Transporting 'other goods'?An examination of documents and interviews with officials in the United States and three West African nations suggest that at least 10 aircraft have been discovered using this air route since 2006.

Officials warn that many of these aircraft were detected purely by chance. They caution that the real number involved in the networks is likely considerably higher.

Alexandre Schmidt, regional representative for West and Central Africa for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, cautioned in Dakar this week that the aviation network has expanded in the past 12 months and now likely includes several Boeing 727 aircraft.

"When you have this high capacity for transporting drugs into West Africa, this means that you have the capacity to transport as well other goods, so it is definitely a threat to security anywhere in the world," said Schmidt.

The "other goods" officials are most worried about are weapons that militant organizations can smuggle on the jet aircraft.A Boeing 727 can handle up to 10 tons of cargo.

The U.S. official who wrote the report for the Department of Homeland Security said the al-Qaida connection was unclear at the time.The official is a counter-narcotics aviation expert who asked to remain anonymous as he is not authorized to speak on the record. He said he was dismayed by the lack of attention to the matter since he wrote the report.

"You've got an established terrorist connection on this side of the Atlantic. Now on the Africa side you have the al-Qaida connection and it's extremely disturbing and a little bit mystifying that it's not one of the top priorities of the government," he said.

Since the September 11 attacks, the security system for passenger air traffic has been ratcheted up in the United States and throughout much of the rest of the world, with the latest measures imposed just weeks ago after a failed bomb attempt on a Detroit-bound plane on December 25.

"The bad guys have responded with their own aviation network that is out there everyday flying loads and moving contraband," said the official, "and the government seems to be oblivious to it."
The upshot, he said, is that militant organizations -- including groups like the FARC and al-Qaida -- have the "power to move people and material and contraband anywhere around the world with a couple of fuel stops."

The lucrative drug trade is already having a deleterious impact on West African nations. Local authorities told Reuters they are increasingly outgunned and unable to stop the smugglers.
And significantly, many experts say, the drug trafficking is bringing in huge revenues to groups that say they are part of al-Qaida.

It's swelling not just their coffers but also their ranks, they say, as drug money is becoming an effective recruiting tool in some of the world's most desperately poor regions. U.S. President Barack Obama has chided his intelligence officials for not pooling information "to connect those dots" to prevent threats from being realized.

But these dots, scattered across two continents like flaring traces on a radar screen, remain largely unconnected and the fleets themselves are still flying.

The deadly cocaine trade always follows the money, and its cash-flush traffickers seek out the routes that are the mostly lightly policed.

Beset by corruption and poverty, weak countries across West Africa have become staging platforms for transporting between 30 tons and 100 tons of cocaine each year that ends up in Europe, according to U.N. estimates.

Drug trafficking, though on a much smaller scale, has existed here and elsewhere on the continent since at least the late 1990s, according to local authorities and U.S. enforcement officials.

Earlier this decade, sea interdictions were stepped up. So smugglers developed an air fleet that is able to transport tons of cocaine from the Andes to African nations that include Mauritania, Mali, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau.

What these countries have in common are numerous disused landing strips and makeshift runways -- most without radar or police presence. Guinea Bissau has no aviation radar at all. As fleets grew, so, too, did the drug trade.

The DEA says all aircraft seized in West Africa had departed Venezuela.

That nation's location on the Caribbean and Atlantic seaboard of South America makes it an ideal takeoff place for drug flights bound for Africa, they say.

In-flight refueling

A number of aircraft have been retrofitted with additional fuel tanks to allow in-flight refueling -- a technique innovated by Mexico's drug smugglers. (Cartel pilots there have been known to stretch an aircraft's flight range by putting a water mattress filled with aviation fuel in the cabin, then stacking cargoes of marijuana bundles on top to act as an improvised fuel pump.)

Ploys used by the cartel aviators to mask the flights include fraudulent pilot certificates, false registration documents and altered tail numbers to steer clear of law enforcement lookout lists,
investigators say.

Some aircraft have also been found without air-worthiness certificates or log books.
When smugglers are forced to abandon them, they torch them to destroy forensic and other evidence like serial numbers.

The evidence suggests that some Africa-bound cocaine jets also file a regional flight plan to avoid arousing suspicion from investigators.

They then subsequently change them at the last minute, confident that their switch will go undetected.

One Gulfstream II jet, waiting with its engines running to take on 2.3 tons of cocaine at Margarita Island in Venezuela, requested a last-minute flight plan change to war-ravaged Sierra Leone in West Africa.

It was nabbed moments later by Venezuelan troops, the report seen by Reuters showed. Once airborne, the planes soar to altitudes used by commercial jets.

They have little fear of interdiction as there is no long-range radar coverage over the Atlantic. Current detection efforts by U.S. authorities, using fixed radar and P3 aircraft, are limited to traditional Caribbean and north Atlantic air and marine transit corridors.

The aircraft land at airports, disused runways or improvised air strips in Africa. One bearing a false Red Cross emblem touched down without authorization onto an unlit strip at Lungi International Airport in Sierra Leone in 2008, according to a U.N. report.

Bribes

Late last year a Boeing 727 landed on an improvised runway using the hard-packed sand of a Tuareg camel caravan route in Mali, where local officials said smugglers offloaded between 2 and 10 tons of cocaine before dousing the jet with fuel and burning it after it failed to take off again.

For years, traffickers in Mexico have bribed officials to allow them to land and offload cocaine flights at commercial airports. That's now happening in Africa as well.

In July 2008, troops in coup-prone Guinea Bissau secured Bissau international airport to allow an unscheduled cocaine flight to land, according to Edmundo Mendes, a director with the Judicial Police.

When we got there, the soldiers were protecting the aircraft," said Mendes, who tried to nab the Gulfstream II jet packed with an estimated $50 million in cocaine but was blocked by the military."The soldiers verbally threatened us," he said. The cocaine was never recovered.

Just last week, Reuters photographed two aircraft at Osvaldo Vieira International Airport in Guinea Bissau -- one had been dispatched by traffickers from Senegal to try to repair the other, a Gulfstream II jet, after it developed mechanical problems. Police seized the second aircraft.

One of the clearest indications of how much this aviation network has advanced was the discovery, on November 2, of the burned out fuselage of an aging Boeing 727.

Local authorities found it resting on its side in rolling sands in Mali. In several ways, the use of such an aircraft marks a significant advance for smugglers.

Boeing jetliners, like the one discovered in Mali, can fly a cargo of several tons into remote areas.
They also require a three-man crew -- a pilot, co pilot and flight engineer, primarily to manage the complex fuel system dating from an era before automation.

Hundreds of miles to the west, in the sultry, former Portuguese colony of Guinea Bissau, national Interpol director Calvario Ahukharie said several abandoned airfields, including strips used at one time by the Portuguese military, had recently been restored by "drug mafias" for illicit flights.

"In the past, the planes coming from Latin America usually landed at Bissau airport," Ahukharie said as a generator churned the feeble air-conditioning in his office during one of the city's frequent blackouts.

"But now they land at airports in southern and eastern Bissau where the judicial police have no presence."

Ahukharie said drug flights are landing at Cacine, in eastern Bissau, and Bubaque in the Bijagos Archipelago, a chain of more than 80 islands off the Atlantic coast.

Devastating impact on Guinea Bissau

Interpol said it hears about the flights from locals, although they have been unable to seize aircraft, citing a lack of resources. The drug trade, by both air and sea, has already had a devastating impact on Guinea Bissau.

A dispute over trafficking has been linked to the assassination of the military chief of staff, General Batista Tagme Na Wai in 2009. Hours later, the country's president, Joao Bernardo Vieira, was hacked to death by machete in his home.

Asked how serious the issue of air trafficking remained for Guinea Bissau, Ahukharie was unambiguous: "The problem is grave." The situation is potentially worse in the Sahel-Sahara, where cocaine is arriving by the ton.

There it is fed into well-established overland trafficking routes across the Sahara where government influence is limited and where factions of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb have become increasingly active.

The group, previously known as the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, is raising millions of dollars from the kidnap of Europeans.

Analysts say militants strike deals of convenience with Tuareg rebels and smugglers of arms, cigarettes and drugs.

According to a growing pattern of evidence, the group may now be deriving hefty revenues from facilitating the smuggling of FARC-made cocaine to the shores of Europe.

Unholy allianceIn December, Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, told a special session of the UN Security Council that drugs were being traded by "terrorists and anti-government forces" to fund their operations from the Andes, to Asia and the African Sahel.

"In the past, trade across the Sahara was by caravans," he said. "Today it is larger in size, faster at delivery and more high-tech, as evidenced by the debris of a Boeing 727 found on November 2nd in the Gao region of Mali -- an area affected by insurgency and terrorism."

Just days later, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials arrested three West African men following a sting operation in Ghana. The men, all from Mali, were extradited to New York on December 16 on drug trafficking and terrorism charges.

Oumar Issa, Harouna Toure, and Idriss Abelrahman are accused of plotting to transport cocaine across Africa with the intent to support al-Qaida, its local affiliate AQIM and the FARC.

The charges provided evidence of what the DEA's top official in Colombia described to a Reuters reporter as "an unholy alliance between South American narco-terrorists and Islamic extremists."

Some experts are skeptical, however, that the men are any more than criminals. They questioned whether the drug dealers oversold their al-Qaida connections to get their hands on the cocaine.

In its criminal complaint, the DEA said Toure had led an armed group affiliated to al-Qaida that could move the cocaine from Ghana through North Africa to Spain for a fee of $2,000 per kilo for transportation and protection. Toure discussed two different overland routes with an undercover informant.

  • One was through Algeria and Morocco;
  • the other via Algeria to Libya.

He told the informer that the group had worked with al-Qaida to transport between one and two tons of hashish to Tunisia, as well as smuggle Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi migrants into Spain. In any event, AQIM has been gaining in notoriety.

Security analysts warn that cash stemming from the trans-Saharan coke trade could transform the organization -- a small, agile group whose southern-Sahel wing is estimated to number between 100 and 200 men -- into a more potent threat in the region that stretches from Mauritania to Niger.

It is an area with huge foreign investments in oil, mining and a possible trans-Sahara gas pipeline.

"These groups are going to have a lot more money than they've had before, and I think you are going to see them with much more sophisticated weapons," said Douglas Farah, a senior fellow at the International Assessment Strategy Center, a Washington based security think-tank.


The Timbuktu region covers more than a third of northern Mali, where the parched, scrubby Sahel shades into the endless, rolling dunes of the Sahara Desert. It is an area several times the size of Switzerland, much of it beyond state control. Moulaye Haidara, the customs official, said the sharp influx of cocaine by air has transformed the area into an "industrial depot" for cocaine.

Sitting in a cool, dark, mud-brick office building in the city where nomadic Tuareg mingle with Arabs and African Songhay, Fulani and Mande peoples, Haidara expresses alarm at the challenge local law enforcement faces. Using profits from the trade, the smugglers have already bought "automatic weapons, and they are very determined," Haidara said. He added that they "call themselves al-Qaida," though he believes the group had nothing to do with religion, but used it as "an ideological base." Local authorities say four-wheel-drive Toyota SUVs outfitted with GPS navigation equipment and satellite telephones are standard issue for smugglers.

Residents say traffickers deflate the tires to gain better traction on the loose Saharan sands, and can travel at speeds of up to 70 miles-per-hour in convoys along routes to North Africa.

Timbuktu governor, Colonel Mamadou Mangara, said he believes traffickers have air-conditioned tents that enable them to operate in areas of the Sahara where summer temperatures are so fierce that they "scorch your shoes."

He added that the army lacked such equipment. A growing number of people in the impoverished region, where transport by donkey cart and camel are still common, are being drawn to the trade.

They can earn 4 to 5 million CFA Francs (roughly $9-11,000) on just one coke run.
"Smuggling can be attractive to people here who can make only $100 or $200 a month," said Mohamed Ag Hamalek, a Tuareg tourist guide in Timbuktu, whose family until recently earned their keep hauling rock salt by camel train, using the stars to navigate the Sahara. Haidara described northern Mali as a no-go area for the customs service.

"There is now a red line across northern Mali, nobody can go there," he said, sketching a map of the country on a scrap of paper with a ballpoint pen. "If you go there with feeble means ... you don't come back."

Venezuela uncooperative

Speaking in Dakar this week, Schmidt, the U.N. official, said that growing clandestine air traffic required urgent action on the part of the international community. "This should be the highest concern for governments ... For West African countries, for West European countries, for Russia and the U.S., this should be very high on the agenda," he said.

Stopping the trade, as the traffickers are undoubtedly aware, is a huge challenge -- diplomatically, structurally and economically.

Venezuela, the takeoff or refueling point for aircraft making the trip, has a confrontational relationship with Colombia, where President Alvaro Uribe has focused on crushing the FARC's 45-year-old insurgency. The nation's leftist leader, Hugo Chavez, won't allow in the DEA to work in the country. In a measure of his hostility to Washington, he scrambled two F16 fighter jets last week to intercept an American P3 aircraft -- a plane used to seek out and track drug traffickers -- which he said had twice violated Venezuelan airspace.

He says the United States and Colombia are using anti-drug operations as a cover for a planned invasion of his oil-rich country. Washington and Bogota dismiss the allegation.

In terms of curbing trafficking, the DEA has by far the largest overseas presence of any U.S. federal law enforcement, with 83 offices in 62 countries. But it is spread thin in Africa where it has just four offices -- in Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and South Africa -- though there are plans to open a fifth office in Kenya.

Law enforcement agencies from Europe as well as Interpol are also at work to curb the trade. But locally, officials are quick to point out that Africa is losing the war on drugs.
The most glaring problem, as Mali's example shows, is a lack of resources.

The only arrests made in connection with the Boeing came days after it was found in the desert -- and those incarcerated turned out to be desert nomads cannibalizing the plane's aluminum skin, probably to make cooking pots.

They were soon released. Police in Guinea Bissau, meanwhile, told Reuters they have few guns, no money for gas for vehicles given by donor governments and no high security prison to hold criminals.

Corruption is also a problem. The army has freed several traffickers charged or detained by authorities seeking to tackle the problem, police and rights groups said.

Passengers, cargo 'come back on those planes'

Serious questions remain about why Malian authorities took so long to report the Boeing's discovery to the international law enforcement community. What is particularly worrying to U.S. interests is that the networks of aircraft are not just flying one way -- hauling coke to Africa from Latin America -- but are also flying back to the Americas.

The internal Department of Homeland Security memorandum reviewed by Reuters cited one instance in which an aircraft from Africa landed in Mexico with passengers and unexamined cargo.

The Gulfstream II jet arrived in Cancun, by way of Margarita Island, Venezuela, en route from Africa. The aircraft, which was on an aviation watch list, carried just two passengers.

  • One was a U.S. national with no luggage, the other a citizen of the Republic of Congo with a diplomatic passport and a briefcase, which was not searched.

"The obvious huge concern is that you have a transportation system that is capable of transporting tons of cocaine from west to east," said the aviation specialist who wrote the Homeland Security report.

"But it's reckless to assume that nothing is coming back, and when there's terrorist organizations on either side of this pipeline, it should be a high priority to find out what is coming back on those airplanes."

The Rest @ MSNBC News

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Yemen Searching Somalia TBDA

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10/15/2009 17:36 and 1/14/2010 17:18

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Somalia Islamist Update

Well-informed analysts estimate that al-Shabaab has somewhere between 4,000 and 7,000 fighters in and around Mogadishu, at least one-third of whom have had advanced training from its foreign jihadist allies, who apparently exercise a great deal of control over them. In addition, al-Shabaab has up to 6,000 fighters scattered around the country.

The group also has anywhere between 500 and 1,500 foreign jihadists who have flocked to its banner from as far away as Nigeria and Pakistan as well as several hundred Somalis from the diaspora.

Hisbul Islam’s organization is more clan-based, with perhaps as up to 5,000 fighters around the capital, the majority of whom hail from the Hawiye clan of Habar Gidir, and perhaps as many as 3,000 elsewhere in the southern and central Somalia. Although only about 10 percent of Hisbul Islam’s forces have had advanced training, most of those more skilled fighters are deployed in or close to Mogadishu, thus increasing their impact.

The Ahlu Sunna wal-Jama’a (roughly, “[Followers of] the Traditions and Consensus [of the Prophet Muhammad]”) militias opposing al-Shabaab in the central regions have maybe several thousand members, but most of these are clansmen mustered on an ad hoc basis, rather than a standing force, notwithstanding Ethiopian efforts to train and assist them. In contrast, the TFG claims to have 5,000 troops, although that figure is inflated with clan militiamen it manages to hire from time to time and over whom it has no effective control.

The Rest from Dr. Peter Pham @ FamilySecurity Matters



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Shimron Issachar

Al Sunna Vs. Salafi Movement - the Fitna

This is for those who came to Pakistan, Yemen, Algeria, Somalia, Sudan and Kenya for Jihad, but find themselves led by those who read the Qur'an but kill the umma with joy.

-Shimron

Hadith On The Present Fitna from THE DOCTRINE OF AHL AL-SUNNA VERSUS THE "SALAFI" MOVEMENT

"And say: Truth has come and falsehood has vanished away. Lo! falsehood is ever bound to vanish." (Sura 17:81)These ahadith are cited in the Six Books of authentic traditions for the most part. They have been collated for the most part from the following two books written in refutation of the Wahhabi heresy:a) al-Sayyid al-`Alawi ibn Ahmad ibn Hasan ibn `Abd Allah ibn `Alawi al-Haddad: Misbah al-anam wa jala' al-zalam fi radd shubah al-bid`i al-Najdi al-lati adalla biha al- `awamm ["The Lamp of Creatures and the Illumination of Darkness Concerning the Refutation of the Errors of the Innovator From Najd by Which He Had Misled the Common People"] published 1325H.b) al-Sayyid Ahmad ibn Zayni al-Dahlan (d. 1304/1886). Mufti of Mecca and Shaykh al-Islam in the Hijaz region of the Ottoman state: Khulasat al-kalam fi bayan umara' al-balad al-haram ["The Summation Concerning the Leaders of the Holy Sanctuary"] (A History of the Wahhabi Fitna in Najd and the Hijaz) p. 234-236.The Prophet said peace be upon him:
1. "They [Khawarij = those outside] transferred the Qur'anic verses meant to refer to unbelievers and made them refer to believers."
2. "What I most fear in my community is a man who interprets verses of the Qur'an out of context."
3. "The confusion [fitna] comes from there (and he pointed to the East = Najd in present-day Eastern Saudi Arabia)."
4. "A people that recite Qur'an will come out of the East, but it will not go past their throats. They will pass through the religion (of Islam) like the arrow passes through its quarry. They will no more come back to the religion than the arrow will come back to its course. Their sign is that they shave (their heads)."
5. "There will be in my Community a dissent and a faction, a people with excellent words and vile deeds. They will read Qur'an, but their faith does not go past their throats. They will pass through religion the way an arrow passes through its quarry. They will no more come back to the religion than the arrow will come back to its original course. They are the worst of human beings and the worst of all creation. The one who kills them or is killed by them is blessed. They summon to the book of Allah but they have nothing to do with it. Whoever kills them is closer to Allah than they. Their sign is that they shave (their heads)."

6. "A people will come out at the end of times, immature, foolish and corrupt. They will hold the discourse of the best of creation and recite Qur'an, but it will not go past their throats. They will pass through religion the way an arrow passes through its quarry. If you find them, kill them, for verily whoever kills them will have his reward from Allah the Day of Judgment."

7. "There will be people in my Community whose mark is that they shave (their heads). They will recite Qur'an, but it will not go past their throats. They will pass through religion the way an arrow passes through its target. They are the worst of human beings and the worst of all creation."

8. "The apex of disbelief is towards the East [Najd]. Pride and arrogance is found among the people of the horse and the camel [Bedouin Arabs]."

9. "Harshness and dryness of heart are in the East [Najd], and true belief is among the people of Hijaz."

10. "O Allah, bless our Syria and our Yemen!" They said: "Ya Rasulallah, and our Najd!" He didn't reply. He blessed Syria and Yemen twice more. They asked him to bless Najd twice more but he didn't reply. The third time he said: "There [in Najd] are the earthquakes and the dissensions, and through it will dawn the epoch [or horn] of shaytan."

11. A version has, "The two epochs [or horns] of shaytan." Some scholars have said that the dual referred to Musaylima the Arch-liar and to Muhammad ibn `Abd al-Wahhab.

12. Some versions continue with the words: "And in it [Najd] is the consuming disease," i.e. death.

13. Some books of history mention the following version in the chapters devoted to the battles against the Banu Hanifa: "At the end of times a man will come out of Musaylima's country and he will change the religion of Islam." Note: Most of the Khawarij were from the Najd area, from the tribes of Banu Hanifa, Banu Tamim, and Wa'il. Musaylima was from the Banu Hanifa, and Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab is from Tamim.

13a. Abu Bakr said concerning the Banu Hanifa (the tribe of Musaylima the Liar): "Their valley [Najd] will not cease to be a valley of dissensions until the end of time, and the religion will never recover from their liars until Judgment Day," and in another version: "Woe to al-Yamama without end."

13b. When `Ali killed the Khawarij, someone said: "Praise be to Allah Who has brought them down and relieved us from them." Ali replied: "Verily, by the One in Whose hand is my soul, some of them are still in the loins of men and they have not been born yet, and the last of them will fight on the side of the Antichrist."

14. "A people that recite the Qur'an will come out of the East, but it will not go past their throats. Every time a generation of them is cut down another one will come until the last one finds itself on the side of the Antichrist."

15. "There will be a huge confusion within my Community. There will not remain one house of the Arabs except that confusion will enter it. Those who die because of it are in the fire. The harm of the tongue in it will be greater than that of the sword."

16. "There will be a dissension (in which people will be) deaf, dumb and blind (this means they will be blind and not see the true issue nor listen to the voice of truth): whoever tries to control it, the dissension will control him."

17. "A shaytan will appear in Najd by whose dissension the Arabian island will quake."

18. On the authority of al-`Abbas: "A man will come out of the Wadi Abu Hanifah [in Najd] (whose appearance is) like a bull that lunges against its yoke. There will be much slaughter and killing in his time. They will make the possessions of Muslims lawful for themselves and for trade among themselves. They will make the lives of Muslims lawful for themselves and for boasting among themselves. In that confusion the despised and the lowly will attain positions of power. Their idle desires will keep company with them the way a dog keeps company with its master."

19. On the authority of Abu Sa`id al-Khudri: "Verily in the wake of this time of mine comes a people who will recite Qur'an but it will not go past their throats. They will pass through religion the way an arrow passes through its quarry. They will kill the Muslims and leave the idolaters alone. If I saw them, verily I would kill them the way the tribe of `Aad was killed [i.e. all of them]."

20. "There will be towards the end of time a people who will say to you what neither you nor your forebears ever heard before. Beware of them lest they misguide you and bring you confusion."

21. "They will pass through Islam like an arrow passes through its quarry. Wherever you meet them, kill them!"

22. "They are the dogs of the people of Hell."

23. "They recite Qur'an and consider it in their favor but it is against them."

24. "There will be thirty dajjals (antichrists) after me, all claiming prophethood."

25. "Some people will be standing and calling at the gates of hell; whoever responds to their call, their will throw him into the Fire. They will be from our own people [i.e. Arabs] and will speak our language [Arabic]. Should you live to see them, stick to the main body (jama`a) of the Muslims and their leader. (If there is no main body and no leader,) isolate yourself from all these sects, even if you have to eat from the roots of trees until death overcomes you while you are in that state."

26. "Just before the Hour there will be many liars." Jabir ibn Samurah said: "Be on your guard against them."

27. "The Hour will not come until thirty dajjals appear, all of them lying about Allah and His Messenger."

28. "There will be Dajjals and liars among my Community. They will tell you something new, which neither you nor your forefathers have heard. Be on your guard against them and do not let them lead you astray."

29. "The time of the Dajjal will be years of confusion. People will believe a liar, and disbelieve one who tells the truth. People will distrust one who is trustworthy, and trust one who is treacherous; and the ruwaybidha will have a say." Someone asked: "Who are they?" He said: "Those who rebel against Allah and will have a say in general affairs."

30. "If the leadership is entrusted to those unfit for it, expect the Hour."

31. "You will see the barefoot ones, the naked, the destitute, the shepherds and camelherds take pride in building tall structures in abundance."

32. "One of the signs of the change of religion is the affectation of eloquence by the rabble and their betaking to palaces in big cities."

For complete text of:THE DOCTRINE OF AHL AL-SUNNA VERSUS THE "SALAFI" MOVEMENT

with an introduction by Shaykh Hisham Muhammad Kabbani
by Jamil Effendi al-Zahawi"al-Fajr al-sadiq fi al-radd `ala munkiri al-tawassul wa al-khawariq""The True Dawn: A Refutation of Those Who Deny The Validity of Using Means to God and the Miracles of Saints"see:ummah.net

The Rest @ Living Islam

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Saleh al Somali Killed in Pakistan

US killed al Qaeda’s Lashkar al Zil commander in airstrike
By Bill RoggioJanuary 7, 2010 8:45 AM

Al Qaeda has confirmed that the US killed the leader of the Lashkar al Zil, or the Shadow Army, the terror group's military organization along the Afghan and Pakistani border.

Mustafa Abu Yazid, al Qaeda's leader in Afghanistan, said that Abdullah Said al Libi was killed in a US airstrike in Pakistan. Yazid confirmed that Al Libi was killed in a tape praising the suicide attack on the CIA base in Khost. Yazid also confirmed that Saleh al Somali, al Qaeda's former external operations chief, was also killed in a US attack.

Yazid said the suicide attack against the CIA at Combat Outpost Chapman in Khost province on Dec. 30, 2009, was carried out by an al Qaeda operative named Dr. Abu Dujanah al Khurasani, enticed the CIA with promises of being able to produce Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command.

The suicide attack, which killed seven CIA operatives and a Jordanian intelligence official, was designed to "avenge" the death of al Libi, Somali, and former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, Yazid said, according to a translation of his statement received by The Long War Journal.

"[This attack was carried out] to avenge our righteous martyrs, as he [Khurasani/Balawi] (may God have mercy on him) wrote in his will: 'To avenge the leader, Amir Baitullah Mehsud, the leaders Abu Saleh al Somali and Abdullah Said al Libi, and their brothers (may God have mercy on them)."

Saleh al Somali, the former external operations chief who was tasked with conducting attack on the West, was reported killed in a US strike in North Waziristan on Dec. 8, 2009. Baitullah was killed in a strike in South Waziristan on Aug. 5, 2009.

But Abdullah Said al Libi was not listed by US intelligence as being killed during recent strikes. “[Mustafa Abu Yazid’s statement] is our first true indication that Abdullah Said al-Libi is dead, which is the subtext for why Ilyas Kashmiri has been listed as the Lashkar al Zil commander in recent media reports,” a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. It is not clear exactly when al Libi was killed.

On Jan. 4, the Asia Times described Ilyas Kashmiri as the leader of the Lashkar al Zil during a report that stated al Qaeda’s military organization was behind the suicide attack at Combat Outpost Chapman.

Kashmiri is one of the most dangerous al Qaeda leaders. He served as the operations chief of Brigade 313, a conglomeration of Pakistani jihadi groups and one of six brigades in the Shadow Army. Kashmiri is suspected of planning and leading some of the terror group's most sophisticated assaults in the Afghan-Pakistan theater.

Abdullah Said al Libi is a Libyan national who is thought to have served in his country's military before joining al Qaeda. In April 2009, al Libi laid out al Qaeda and the Taliban's strategy to retake control of the Khorasan, a region that encompasses large areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Iran. In the statement, al Libi is identified as the leader of the Qaidat al-Jihad fi Khorasan, or the base of the jihad in the Khorasan.

"Al Libi's death is significant, but there is little doubt he has been replaced by perhaps the most capable military commander in al Qaeda's stable," a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal. The US thought Kashmiri was killed in a strike in North Waziristan last September, but he later resurfaced in an interview with the Asia Times.

Background on the Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army

The Lashkar al Zil, or Shadow Army, is the successor to al Qaeda’s notorious Brigade 055, the military formation that fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan from 1996-2002. During the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan prior to the US invasion in 2001, the 055 Brigade served as "the shock troops of the Taliban and functioned as an integral part of the latter's military apparatus," al Qaeda expert Rohan Gunaratna wrote in Inside al Qaeda.

At its peak in 2001, the 055 Brigade had an estimated 2,000 soldiers and officers in the ranks. The brigade was comprised of Arabs, Central Asians, and South Asians, as well as Chechens, Bosnians, and Uighurs from Western China. The 055 Brigade was decimated during the Battle of Tora Bora in December 2001 and during Operation Anaconda in March 2002.

The Shadow Army formed from the ashes of 055 Brigade in Pakistan's tribal areas from 2002-2006. The Shadow Army has been expanded to six brigades, and has an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 fighters. In addition to dispatching small teams of embedded trainers to Taliban units, the Shadow Army fights in military formations along the Afghan and Pakistani border region.
The Shadow Army occasional fights alongside the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, Hezb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, and the Haqqani Network, in formations ranging from squad to company level. Evidence of this was seen recently in Swat and Bajaur in Pakistan, where the Pakistani Army met stiff resistance in some battles, as well as during battles in North and South Waziristan in 2007 and 2008.

The Shadow Army also played a role in the assaults on joint US and Afghan outposts in Nuristan province last fall, as well as in a series of attacks last year on outposts in the Afghan provinces of Paktika, Paktia, Khost, Kunar, and Nuristan. The most publicized attack took place in July 2008 in Wanat in Nuristan, when nine US soldiers were killed and the base was nearly overrun.
The US has targeted the leaders of the Shadow Army during its air campaign in Pakistan’s northwest. The US killed Khalid Habib, the former leader of the Shadow Army, during an airstrike in South Waziristan in Pakistan last November. Habib was replaced by Abdullah Said al Libi. The US also killed Zuhaib al Zahib, a senior commander in the Shadow Army during a strike at the end of December.Read more:

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2010/01/us_killed_al_qaedas.php#ixzz0bxu1Q5It

The Rest @ Long War Journal

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Venezuela interest in MANUEL SILVA-JARAMILLO,

CATV.net in Venezuela checking on MANUEL SILVA-JARAMILLO, Department of Justice
Today. See Story below.

-Shimron

SEP 03 - PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and MICHELE M. LEONHART, the Acting Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA"), announced the arrival today of JESUS EDUARDO VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ, a/k/a "Padre," a/k/a "Pat," who was extradited from Romania this morning to face cocaine trafficking and money laundering charges in the Southern District of New York.
According to the Superseding Indictment filed on July 7, 2009, and other filed court documents:



VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ was a leader of a sophisticated international cocaine trafficking organization (the "Organization") based in Colombia and Venezuela that operated worldwide, including in Bolivia, Spain, Holland, Sierra Leone, Guinea Conakry, Mauritania, Mali, Cyprus, and the United States.
  • Beginning in September 2007, members of the Organization sought to purchase a cargo airplane for the purpose of transporting metric tons of cocaine from Venezuela to West Africa.
  • Between September 2007 and March 2009, MANUEL SILVA-JARAMILLO, a member of the Organization arrested earlier this year, conducted meetings in connection with the Organization's efforts to acquire the airplane in, among other places, Madrid, Spain, New York, and Virginia.
  • SILVA-JARAMILLO arranged to finance the purchase of the airplane through a corporation based in Cyprus and to register it in Sierra Leone.
  • In a meeting in Europe in October 2007, SILVA-JARAMILLO delivered more than 1.25 million Euros in cash –- drug proceeds that represented a partial payment towards the airplane –- which he instructed were to be wire-transferred to different bank accounts in the United States.
  • During one of these meetings, which was recorded, SILVA-JARAMILLO stated that the Organization had between 30 and 60 million Euros in Spain that it needed to launder.

In November 2008, VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ, who identified himself as a leader of the Organization, met in Madrid, Spain with a DEA confidential source who was assisting SILVA-JARAMILLO with the acquisition of the airplane.

During this meeting, VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ stated that the Organization enjoyed land support and a private military airfield in Guinea Conakry, located in West Africa, where the Organization could deliver cocaine shipments originating from Venezuela.

VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ also indicated that although he understood the airplane to be capable of carrying seven tons of cocaine at a time, the Organization wanted to start with shipments of two to three tons.

In January 2009, VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ met again with the confidential source in Europe. Among other things, VALENCIAARBELAEZ stated that the Organization was investigating the possibility of flying shipments of cocaine from Bolivia to West Africa.

On the following day, VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ arranged the delivery of 250,000 Euros in cash to the confidential source, which represented an additional payment toward the purchase of the airplane.


On June 10, 2009, VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ traveled to Bucharest, Romania, to attend a meeting concerning the Organization's establishment of a new base of operations.

  • Acting on a provisional arrest request from the United States, Romanian law enforcement authorities arrested VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ in Bucharest, whereupon he was detained pending extradition to New York.
  • VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ arrived in the United States this morning and will be presented later today before United States District Judge ROBERT P. PATTERSON.
  • VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ is the fifth member of the Organization to have been arrested and brought to the United States to face narcotics conspiracy charges.

In April 2009, GERALDO QUINTANA-PEREZ, a/k/a "El Viejo," a/k/a "German Quintero," and HARVEY STEVEN PEREZ, a/k/a "Miguel," were transferred from Sierra Leone to the United States, marking the first ever such transfer of defendants between the two countries.


In June 2009, JAVIER CARO, a/k/a "William Zabieh," a/k/a "El Ingeniero," a/k/a "Javier Gonzalez," was transferred to U.S. custody from the Government of Togo.

Also in June 2009, SILVAJARAMILLO was arrested following a visit to the Dominican Republic. VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ, 43, and SILVA-JARAMILLO, 55, are both charged with conspiring to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine in the United States; conspiring to import at least five kilograms of cocaine into the United States; and conspiring to launder narcotics proceeds. If convicted, VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ and SILVA-JARAMILLO each face life in prison for the drug charges and 20 years in prison for the money laundering charge. The remaining three defendants –- QUINTANAPEREZ, PEREZ, and CARO –- are charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine in the United States.


The arrest and extradition of VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ were the result of the close cooperative efforts of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the DEA, the Department of State, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, the Romanian National Police, and the Danish National Police.

"VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ is charged with participating in a highly sophisticated drug-trafficking network whose criminal activities spanned the globe," said United States Attorney PREET BHARARA.

"Whether operating in Latin America, West Africa, Europe, or the United States, his Organization distributed vast quantities of cocaine and generated millions of dollars worth of illicit proceeds.

VALENCIA-ARBELAEZ's extradition today reflects the remarkable successes that cooperation between the United States and its partners can produce in the our joint efforts to combat drug-trafficking and money-laundering crimes. We will bring drug kingpins to justice wherever in the world they may be found."

"Today's extradition, combined with preceding indictments and arrests, have put Valencia-Arbelaez and his coconspirators out of business and behind bars," said MICHELE M. LEONHART, Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. "Working closely with our partners in countries across four continents, most notably Romania, Denmark, Spain, Sierra Leone, and Togo, this sophisticated international criminal and his organization have been targeted successfully, and their plots to conduct cocaine flights from Venezuela, Bolivia, and elsewhere in Latin America to West Africa effectively disrupted."

Assistant United States Attorneys REBECCA M. RICIGLIANO, BRENDAN R. McGUIRE, and ANJAN SAHNI are in charge of the prosecution, which is being handled by the International Narcotics Trafficking Unit. The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Shabaab Recruiting Mercenaries in Grissa

Two hundred kilometres of desert scrubland populated by nomads herding camels and goats lie between Garissa and Kenya’s border with Somalia.

Around the corrugated-iron shelter where women sell milk each morning from yellow plastic drums, conversation focuses on the encroachment of warring militia and the recent victories of al-Shabab, an Islamist group accused of links to al-Qaeda.

Although the Kenyan government has sent troops to guard the border, people in this region fear that the rebel group has already infiltrated Kenya and is recruiting vulnerable youngsters.

As ethnic Somalis, there is nothing to distinguish the insurgents from their Kenyan neighbours.

Hassan Sherie, who runs an organisation helping unemployed youth, believes they have a sophisticated network of operatives with links to some Koranic schools in Garissa.

He does not think their fundamentalist ideology will attract young Kenyans but says they use generous sums of money as bait.

Cash incentive

It was the offer of $600 (£374) a month that persuaded Abdullah (not his real name) to join.

He was in a group of 20 young men recruited in 2008 at a mosque in Garissa.

“We were jobless. That’s what encouraged us to join al-Shabab,” he says.

“We were told we were fighting a holy war, a jihad, and if you kill supporters of the government you will go to heaven.”

He and his friends were taken across the border where Arab trainers taught them how to use AK47s and bazookas.

After two months, they were sent to the southern Somali port of Kismayo and ordered to disarm civilians.

Abdullah says al-Shabab was attacking local Somalis rather than infidels and he was frightened by their brutality.

“They were praying and reading the Koran but doing evil things,” he says.

“I witnessed four men having their hands chopped off and people in captivity were very scared.”

The Rest @ On the Defense

SNC-Lavalin Engineering Abducted in Algeria

Algiers - An armed group abducted an Algerian engineer in south-east Algeria who was working for the Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin, a daily newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The abduction, not yet claimed by any group, took place on Sunday morning in Djebahia, near Bouira, 120km from the capital Algiers, El-Watan said on its website.

The daily newspaper Echorouk reports that the armed group kidnapped the engineer, whose identity has not been revealed, into a vehicle and drove off to an "unknown destination".

The Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin is building a water distribution and recycling plant project in the Bouira region, south-east Algeria. - Sapa-AFP

The Rest @ AFP vis IOL South Africa


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Shimron Issachar

Monday, January 04, 2010

Jamal Ali Hussein

TBDA suggests that shabaab is hunting Jamal Ali Hussein

Lashkar al-Zil Takes Credit for Pakistan Bombing

The following Asia Times article is Interesting, but possibly disinformaitonn to discredit attempts to gather intelligence from ANA Sources....

Shimron Issachar


ISLAMABAD - The suicide attack on the United States Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) forward operating base of Chapman in the Afghan province of Khost last week was planned in the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan.

The attacker - a handpicked plant in the Afghan National Army (ANA) - detonated his explosive vest in a gym at the base, killing seven agents, including the station chief, and wounding six. The base was officially for civilians involved in reconstruction.

The plan was executed following several weeks of preparation by al-Qaeda's Lashkar al-Zil (Shadow Army), Asia Times Online has learned. This was after Lashkar al-Zil's intelligence outfit informed its chief commander, Ilyas Kashmiri, that the CIA planned to broaden the monitoring of the possible movement of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Well-connected sources in militant camps say that Lashkar al-Zil had become aware of the CIA's escalation of intelligence activities to gather information on high-value targets for US drone attacks. It emerged that tribesmen from Shawal and Datta Khel, in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal area, had been invited by US operatives, through middlemen, to Khost, where the operatives tried to acquire information on al-Qaeda leaders. Such activities have been undertaken in the past, but this time they were somewhat different.

"This time there was clearly an obsession to hunt down something big in North Waziristan. But in this obsession, they [operatives] blundered and exposed the undercover CIA facility," a senior leader in al-Qaeda's 313 Brigade said. The brigade, led by Ilyas Kashmiri, comprises jihadis with extensive experience in Pakistan's Kashmir struggle with India.

Once it became clear that efforts to track down al-Qaeda were being stepped up and that the base in Khost was being extensively used by the CIA, the Lashkar al-Zil (Brigade 055) moved into top gear.
  • It is the soul of al-Qaeda, having being involved in several events since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US.
  • Under the command of Ilyas Kashmiri, its intelligence network's coordination with its special guerrilla action force has changed the dynamics of the Afghan war theater.
  • Instead of traditional guerrilla warfare in which the Taliban have taken most of the casualties, the brigade has resorted to special operations, the one on the CIA base being the latest and one of the most successful.

Lashkar al-Zil comprises the

  • Pakistani Taliban,
  • 313 Brigade,
  • the Afghan Taliban,
  • Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan
  • former Iraqi Republican Guards.

It has taken on special significance since the US announcement of a 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan, due to kick into action this week.

Leaders of the Lashkar al-Zil now knew that CIA operatives were trying to recruit reliable tribal people from Afghanistan so that the latter could develop an effective intelligence network along the border with North Waziristan's Shawal and Datta Khel regions, where high-profile al-Qaeda leaders often move around.

Laskhar al-Zil then laid its trap.

Over the past months, using connections in tribal structures and ties with former commanders of the Taliban and the Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan, the militants have planted a large number of men in the ANA.

One of these plants, an officer, was now called into action. He contacted US personnel in Khost and told them he was linked to a network in the tribal areas and that he had information on where al-Qaeda would hold its shura (council) in North Waziristan and on the movement of al-Qaeda leaders.

The ANA officer was immediately invited to the CIA base in Khost to finalize a joint operation of Predator drones and ground personnel against these targets.

Once inside, he set off his bomb, with deadly results.

"It's a devastating blow," Times Online quoted Michael Scheuer as saying. "[Among others] we lost an agent with 14 years' experience in Afghanistan." Scheuer is a former head of Alec Station, the unit created to monitor bin Laden five years before the attacks of September 11.

Unlike the Taliban's mostly rag-tag army, Laskhar al-Zil is a sophisticated unit, with modern equipment such as night-vision technology, the latest light weapons and finely honed guerrilla tactics. It has a well-funded intelligence department, much like the Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan had during the resistance against the Soviets in the 1980s when it had access to advance information on the movement of the Red Army.

However, Laskhar al-Zil is one step ahead of the Hezb's former intelligence outfit in that it has been able to plant men in the ANA, and these "soldiers" are now at the forefront of al-Qaeda-led sabotage activities in Afghanistan.

In addition, a large number of senior government officials both in the capital, Kabul, and in the provinces are sympathetic to the Hezb-e-Islami Afghanistan, and, by extension, to the Taliban. Similarly, several former top Taliban commanders have been given responsibilities by the central government in district areas, and as the insurgency has grown, these former militants have been increasingly useful to the Taliban-led insurgency.

In sum, the US troop surge, coupled with increased US efforts to track down al-Qaeda, has resulted in a shift in southeastern Afghanistan. There has been hardly any uprising against foreign troops in which the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could hit the Taliban hard. The insurgents now select specific targets for the most effective outcome, such as the spy base in Khost - it took just one insurgent's life for the "devastating" result.

Consequently, for the first time in the many years that Afghanistan has been at war, the winter season is hot. Last October, the US withdrew its troops from its four key bases in Nuristan, on the border with Pakistan, leaving the northeastern province as a safe haven for the Taliban, under the command of Qari Ziaur Rahman. Kurangal Valley in Kunar province is heavily under siege and Taliban attacks on US bases there could see US forces pulling back from Kunar as well.
And in the meantime, Lashkar al-Zil can be expected to be planning more strikes of its own.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at saleem_shahzad2002@yahoo.com

The Rest @ The Asia Times

Friday, January 01, 2010

al Qaeda Claims Umar Farouk Bomboing Attempt




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Shimron Issachar