He fled to Moscow a few years ago and may now be operating out of the Ukraine
Shining Light on Jihad and Other Imperialst Strategies Moving Against Africa's Freedom to Choose
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he Nouakchott Supreme Court on Sunday (June 19th) convicted and sentenced eight people for aiding and supporting al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The prison terms ranged from five years for two Salafists – Ahmed Sale ould Hassan and Ely Cheikh Ould Wadiaa – to three years for Hassan Ould Maata and two years for the remaining five defendants: Mauritanians Bah Ould Mohamed, Moustapha Ould Ahmed, Issa Ould Ahmed, Abdellahi Ould Hamadi and Tunisian national Malek Lekrimi.
"They supplied the chief fighter of the Battalion of the Masked with communication devices, quantities of explosives and a SA-7 missile, an act which is punishable under the Mauritanian anti-terrorism law," the court said.
The prosecutor told the court that "some of them helped Abul Abbas, a.k.a. 'Balor', who is the leader of the Battalion of the Masked that is based in the desert, by providing logistical tools that helped him launch attacks against the Sahel countries' armies and kidnap and kill European and US nationals, and blow up European and US diplomatic headquarters."
Abdellahi Ould Hamadi was using an alias (Abul Hammam) and received 3,000 euros from a collaborator of Balor's in exchange for supplying him with communication devices and phones, according to prosecutor Ahmed Ould Abdellahi.
"The defendant was receiving instructions from Sidi Ould Sidna who was convicted in the killing of French nationals in the city of Aleg, Mauritania, in December 2007," the prosecutor added. "He was also in touch with the terrorists who took part in the Tourine operation that was carried out by al-Qaeda against the Mauritanian army in September 2008."
Defendant Abdellahi Ould Hamadi confessed to the charges against him saying that "it's very normal to see an arms shipment or smuggled contraband where we live in the desert."
"I received an amount of 25 million ouguiyas from Balor to hand it to some collaborators with AQIM. However, I was arrested by the Mauritanian security forces at a time when I was planning to surrender and report al-Qaeda," Ould Hamadi said.
As to the importance of the trial, Rabii Ould Idoumou, a journalist specialising in terrorism, said that "these elements don't have dangerous files because they were not involved in direct murders or kidnappings. Therefore, it's almost like a trial of individuals rather than an organised network, because they had no ties or joint co-ordination."
Analyst Yacoub Moustapha said the sentence was a message to "the many people who have commercial dealings with al-Qaeda, to the effect that they won't be secure from prison".
Young activist Mohamed Ould Zeine noted that the trial had taken just one hearing. "This leaves an impression among observers about the danger of these groups; something that some people may see as an incentive to pass the sentences against them," he added.
"I believe that charges made against those young people are not very serious as long as the prison terms are that short," university professor Mohamed Kanté said. "However, I think that selling arms to al-Qaeda is not at all different from killing because those who help in killings, even with a single word, are like perpetrators."
Commenting on the terrorists, university student Sidi Elmokhtar Ould Sidi said, "Their act is considered treason in this country, and the trial will certainly serve as a deterrent."
Somalia's Transitional Federal Government has named a Somali-American Economist as the next Prime Minister.
President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has chosen Abdiweli Mohamed Ali to replace Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as prime minister. Ali has been serving as acting prime minister since the resignation of Mohamed on Sunday.
Speaking in Mogadishu, President Ahmed called Ali a good man and said he hoped he would improve the situation in Somalia.
A spokesman for the government, Abdifatah Abdinur, told VOA that Ali was chosen for his experience in the government and his extensive qualifications. “He is a very charismatic leader. He is one of the best educated men that we have in our country. He is experienced in the whole situation in Somalia and he was also playing a big role for the last administration. He is exactly what the country needs," he said.
Ali served as Minister for Planning and International Cooperation and as Deputy Prime Minister.
Ali, like his predecessor, is an American citizen who earned a living teaching in the Buffalo, New York area before returning to Somalia. He was a professor of economics at Niagara University, holds a masters degree from Harvard University and earned his doctorate in Economics from George Mason University.
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was forced out of the office by a deal struck in Kampala between President Ahmed and Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.
Ahmed and Aden had been engaged in a power-struggle over the future of the Somalia government. The TFG’s mandate was originally set to expire in August of this year, but the two agreed on a one-year extension on the mandates of both Parliament and the Federal Institutions in order to move the Somali government out of its transitional phase.
Mohamed’s resignation was reportedly a key demand made by the speaker, who was often at odds with the former prime minister during his seven-month tenure.
The deal provoked riots and demonstrations throughout southern Somalia, with many citizens angry over Mohamed’s ouster. While initially unwilling to resign, the popular prime minister eventually capitulated to pressure from the president and speaker and stepped down Sunday.
Mohamed was seen by average Somalis as a serious reformer who regularized pay for soldiers and civil servants and reopened schools within the war-torn capital, Mogadishu. But some observers believe he provoked the ire of Speaker Aden by failing to involve him in the formation of the Somali Cabinet.
Internationally, Mohamed received praise for abandoning the traditional clan-balancing formula and building a small, technocrat-heavy team.
A statement released by the Somali government said the new prime minister was “expected to consult with members of parliament and clan elders” as he forms his own Cabinet in the coming weeks.
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s unexpected about-face comes days after an outpouring of support by Somalis opposed to his departure
PARIS - They had Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers. Now, with the plundering of Libyan barracks AQIM fighters have military explosives and no doubt formidable anti-aircraft weapons.
Earlier today, the U.S. Treasury Department enacted sanctions against two major Islamic Republic [of Iran] commercial entities: Tidewater Middle East Co. and national air carrier Iran Air.
Tidewater is a port operating company owned by Mehr-e Eqtesad-e Iranian Investment Company, itself owned by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The latest incident involving Tidewater was an arms shipment seized by Nigeria in October 2010, which was loaded at a port in Iran operated by Tidewater. Iran Air—a commercial airline—is accused of being used by the IRGC and the Islamic Republic’s defense ministry to transport military-related equipment.
Today’s sanctions not only tighten the grip on the IRGC, but also send a clear message to the allies of the Islamic Republic who may feel tempted to allow the Republic to use their transport infrastructure. Unfortunately, civilians may also suffer as an undesired side effect of the sanctions regime. Passengers to Tehran already experience prolonged trips and layovers in Yerevan, Armenia, because most European airports deny fuel to Iran Air, and the Iranian merchant class suffers under the weight of increased shipping prices and other commercial impediments.
But it isn’t U.S. sanctions that cause such suffering. Rather, it’s the self-serving policies of the Revolutionary Guards that have induced these hardships. Had the Guards not used civilian airliners, shipping lines, and port facilities to pursue its goals, average Iranians would not have to endure the unfortunate by-products of U.S. efforts to rein in the Islamic Republic’s most troublesome institution.
By Ali Alfoneh
SANAA, Yemen — Islamic militants emboldened by months of turmoil in Yemen launched a surprise dawn attack Wednesday on a southern city, seizing entire neighborhoods after gunfights with government forces, security officials said.
The militants, believed to include al-Qaida members, were in control of several neighborhoods of Houta, the provincial capital of Lahj province, the officials said.
The attack came a day after a senior U.S. official said Washington was worried that the ongoing unrest in Yemen could fuel connections between al-Qaida-linked militants in the Arab nation and al-Shabab insurgents in Somalia.
Daniel Benjamin, the State Department's counterterror coordinator, also said insurgents in Yemen were now operating more in the open and have been able to acquire and hold more territory.
The Yemeni security officials also said that bands of militants drove through some neighborhoods in the southern port city of Aden early Wednesday, opening fire on security forces. They had no further details. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Islamic militants, taking advantage of more than four months of political upheaval in Yemen, had attacked and seized two other southern cities in Abyan province in late May.
Massive anti-regime protests have swept much of the country since February, and rival forces are squaring up to each other in the capital Sanaa after days of fierce street fighting earlier this month.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country's president of nearly 33 years, is in neighboring Saudi Arabia for treatment from wounds he suffered in a rocket attack on his compound in Sanaa.
The capture of Zinjibar and Jaar in Abyan province and Wednesday's attacks in Houta and Aden suggest a further weakening of the central government's authority that, if left unchecked, could cause the impoverished nation in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula to unravel or fall deeper into chaos.
Residents in Shabwa, one of the al-Qaida strongholds in southern Yemen, have been reporting intensifying overflights by U.S. drones, suggesting the Americans were keeping close watch on the situation.
The CIA is trying to speed up construction of a Persian Gulf base for its drones, but the process is being held up by logistic delays, U.S. officials said in Washington. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters, said the base is at least eight months away from completion.
The Associated Press has withheld the exact location at the request of U.S. officials.
Two people being held by the police in Mombasa for allegedly being major financiers of terrorism activities will be deported to the United States.
The couple was flown to Nairobi on Saturday to pick up their two children at their Eastleigh house before being deported.
According to sources close to police investigations, the two suspects have a case to answer in the US where they are said to have escaped from custody about seven years ago.
Mark Ture Somerville (American) and Abdi Raha Aki (Somali) were picked up at a hotel in Bondeni last Thursday night by a special police force that had been trailing them for several weeks.
On Friday night, the two were released from the Coast provincial police headquarters after being questioned over the allegations for more than 14 hours.
According to deputy Anti-Terror Police Unit (ATPU) boss Njiru Mwaniki, the police could not continue holding them since they had committed no offence in Kenya.
The pair was picked up near the hotel where a Kenyan allegedly involved in planning the 1998 US embassy bombing in Nairobi was arrested in 2002.
The Kenyan, Mohammed Abdulmalik, is currently being held in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay.
A source within ATPU said the two suspects had evaded arrest in different countries within and outside Africa.
1 September 2010
South African Islamic investors and financiers are likely to be recognised via a new insertion in the Income Tax Act, says consultancy firm Grant Thornton SA, enabling the country to attract further foreign investors to its financial markets.
Islamic finance is derived from the Shariah, and essentially involves profit and risk sharing and forbids the paying or receiving of interest or investment in certain industries.
"Interest is considered economically harmful by Shariah law, as the extension of credit increases money supply, which stimulates demand for goods and services but does not always result in real, tangible economic activity," Grant Thornton tax consultant Tasneem Gangat said in a statement last month.
"It believes interest-bearing transactions result in economic ills, including issues such as high inflation and unemployment."
The proposed new section takes into account three types of Islamic financing and will be aligned to Shariah law.
For investment account agreements, or Mudarabah, tax will be payable on any profits derived by the client as these will be deemed as interest, thus making them taxable at the hand of the client.
Any Murahaba, or financing transactions, between a client and the financier will see "marked up" amounts within the agreement as the taxable amount payable in favour of the bank for tax purposes.
For joint ownership financing – known as Diminishing Musharaka – the client purchases the bank's "portion" of ownership in the asset over time, and the amount paid monthly to the bank includes both the premium payable and taxable amount owed to the bank.
According to Grant Thornton, South Africa joins Australia, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and a growing number of other non-Muslim countries developing their Islamic finance sector by changing regulations to attract investors who can only put their money in Shariah-compliant assets.
The changes will be effective from a date to be announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Shariah law states that the emphasis on economic activity must ensure that money changes hands (from provider to user), accompanied by an increase in trade, manufacture, service provision and, as a result, employment.
The basis of Islamic finance is equity through profit and loss sharing schemes and rental income, usually mutually developed through agreements between the bank and client. The Islamic financier will assume the risk of the purpose of the funds he is investing and share in pre-agreed ratios in profit or loss which result from the transactions.
"The principles of investment management such as sector diversification, low risk versus high risk, income versus capital growth et cetera, will still apply to an Islamic investor, but the manner in which these objectives are achieved, as well as the investments utilised, will differ from conventional finance," said Gangat.