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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Al Qaeda has Decided to Claim the Arab Spring

AQIM , AQAP , Hamas and al Qaeda leadership seem to have fallen into a decision about what to do about the Arab Spring. They are using the Hezbollah Spin.

in 2000, Israel unilaterally left the occupation of Southern Lebanon in accordance with a UN negotiated agreement. Though they neither defeated Israel nor caused them to withdraw, Hezbollah followed Israeli troops out of Lebanon shouting victory slogans. Anti-Israel (or anti-zionist) factions around the world, desperate for some sort of victory, began to repeat Hezbollah's spin that they themselves had driven Israel out of Lebanon. Hezbollah status and prestige gained from the myth continues to this day.

Today, Al Qaeda affiliates around the world are beginning to take credit for the Arab Spring in their recruiting propganda, claiming that they have "planted the seeds" of the rebellion."

While it's true the al Qaeda created an overall strategy that included dealing with "apostate secular states" like Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, (See 7 Steps) they had been unable to gain any traction in secular states with an Islamic majority population. The Arab Spring was a surprise to the West and Islamist activists alike.

Watch now for other anti-zionists to feed into the newest myth, that The Arab Spring was the fruit of an Islamist idea.
-Shimron Issachar

Al-Qaida in North Africa seeks Arab Spring jihad


PARIS (AP) - Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb wants to put its footprint on the Arab Spring now that violence is fueling the uprisings, and in a two-part video is trying to lure new followers for revolt by jihad.

The push comes as the group has sought to expand its operations beyond its Algerian base and desert outposts to countries around Africa, from Nigeria to Libya, after the death of Osama bin Laden and after being sidelined when the Arab revolts erupted earlier this year.

During the mostly peaceful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, the al-Qaida offshoot kept up sporadic attacks on Algerian security forces in its bid to overthrow the government and install an Islamist state. But the world was looking elsewhere.

Now, with Arab uprisings meeting increasingly violent resistance from autocratic regimes in countries such as Libya and Syria, AQIM wants to be seen as an alternative force.

Seeking a peaceful change of leaders is "like giving aspirin to a cancer patient," a member of AQIM's military board, Commander Abu Saeed al-Auresi, says in the lengthy video, according to the SITE Intelligence Group. SITE has made the video available and said it was posted Aug. 3 on jihadist forums.

AQIM has entered a new phase and is no longer on the defensive, says Mathieu Guidere, an expert in strategic monitoring and al-Qaida specialist.

Despite repeated threats, the group has provided no evidence it is capable of striking across the Mediterranean into Europe. But with bin Laden's death, Guidere said, AQIM promised to lead a military and media offensive in the north, south, east and west of the African continent.

And, he argues, that is happening, with stepped up attacks on soldiers in Algeria - the north - in Mauritania - the west - as well as in Libya - the east - where the movement allegedly sent a "minimal" number of fighters.

To the south, AQIM offered training, men and weapons in January 2010 to a feared Islamist sect in Nigeria called Boko Haram, the local Hausa language for "Western education is sacrilege," according to an AQIM statement provided by SITE. It was signed by AQIM's leader, Abelmalek Droukdel, using his nom de guerre Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, who evoked "the duty to support Muslims everywhere."

Boko Haram has significantly raised its profile since the offer with numerous deadly attacks.

There is no sign of a formal AQIM partnership with Boko Haram. British authorities said this month they were investigating a video claiming an unspecified al-Qaida group was holding a Briton and Italian man kidnapped in Nigeria in May.

AQIM stepped up deadly attacks in Algeria in spring and registered more attacks in July than any time this year, according to Guidere. He counts attacks throughout AQIM territory, including in the desert Sahel region south of Algeria - which crosses Mauritania, Niger and Mali, where hostage-taking is a main source of revenue. Four French hostages, captured in September 2010 in Niger, are still being held, possibly in Mali.

For Guidere, AQIM has found a new legitimacy that it had lost at the start of the then-peaceful Arab Spring. Its message is that people can demonstrate in vain against dictators or choose jihad.

"For me, this video is a turning point in the (AQIM) propaganda," Guidere said, because it is looking for a new way to reach the people.

"AQIM is an elitist organization that believes it is chosen by God," he said, adding that it always presented its heroes as "exceptional." Now, "they want to mix the images of popular revolution and AQIM to show that they are the same."

Part I of the nearly two-hour propaganda film shows protest rallies throughout the Arab world. It includes contrasting footage of various Arab leaders in clubby poses, from Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika kissing Egypt's now-deposed leader Hosni Mubarak to former French President Jacques Chirac shaking hands with the ousted Tunisian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Part II addresses efforts by the United States, France and Algeria to counter AQIM in the lawless Sahel region, but contrasts that with a deadly July 4, 2009 raid by AQIM's southern arm in Mali that killed 29 soldiers.

For senior SITE analyst Adam Raisman, it is less the message than the medium - a video - that is a departure from previous AQIM propaganda. Audio messages supported the Tunisians as January protests forced their strong-armed leader to flee into exile.

In what could be another part of AQIM's bid to appeal to new recruits, the video shows AQIM leader Droukdel taking part in what is claimed to be an April 15 attack on an Algerian army outpost - carried out as the Algerian president gave a speech announcing constitutional and electoral reforms to calm daily demonstrations around the country. The attack near the town of Azazga, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of Algiers in the mountainous Kabyle region - an AQIM stronghold - left 13 soldiers dead.

It is rare to see an al-Qaida branch leader fighting alongside his men, Raisman said.

Members of jihadist forums "were exhilarated to see him participating in battle, leading the charge," Raisman said. "He's firing his gun, he's hiding behind a rock, he's talking on a walkie-talkie, issuing orders. He's defiant."

Often graying, aging fighters shown in the Arabic-language videos are filmed on their sorties through the craggy forested hills of Algeria's Kabyle region or in the Mali desert, accompanied in the videos by taped songs. As in other AQIM propaganda videos, the viewer is not spared the bloody bodies of attack victims and booty taken from the corpses, displayed and recorded almost tenderly by the camera.

The video by AQIM's media arm is titled "Assault Them Through the Gate, For When You Are In, Victory Will be Yours." Using a Quranic reference, AQIM pleads for frontal action, not peaceful uprisings, to bring change. A photo of bin Laden, and scenes of him walking in rugged terrain, punctuate the videos.

The North African al-Qaida affiliate was born in late 2006 out of the last remaining Algerian insurgency movement still organized enough to do harm, the Salafist Group for Call and Combat. Pledging its allegiance to bin Laden's operation provided new dynamism for an increasingly battered insurgency movement.

Today, AQIM, like other al-Qaida arms, claims it set the spark for the uprisings around the Arab world.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Boko Haram

It is largely believed that the current form of the group has evolved from the so called, 'Nigerian Taliban' founded in 2003, with foreign operatives from neighbouring countries such as Benin, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. The group went underground following a massive security crackdown by the then government of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Boko Haram, which means Western education is profane or sinful is formally known as 'Jama'atu Ahlis-Sunnah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad'. It emerged in 2006 with the aims of establishing sharia all over Nigeria. It opposes secular governments and a Western system of education, which it believes is not founded on moral religious teachings.

The current mayhem in Nigeria owes its origin to the killing of Boko Haram's founding leader, Mohammed Yusuf, and hundreds of his followers by security forces in 2009, which Boko Haram vowed to revenge. The worst of the group's atrocities have occurred this year, reaching their peak in the post April-May elections, that brought President Goodluck Jonathan to the helms of the Nigerian Aso Rock Villa.

Since their New Year's Eve bombings at a busy fish market in Abuja, Boko Haram has perpetrated almost daily deadly attacks, which threaten the stability and fledging democracy in Africa's most populous nation.

Most attacks have taken place in northern Nigeria, particularly at Boko Haram's headquarters in Maiduguri, which for the past several months has been a ghost town, with many businesses including schools shut down.

Although Boko Haram activities have been confined to the northern part of the country, the group has used Abuja to stage its most high profile attacks aimed at attracting international attention. These attacks have demonstrated sophistication, resilience and ability of Boko Haram to strike when and wherever it deems fit.

For example, on 29 May, on the occasion of the inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan, Boko Haram attacked a crowded beer garden in Abuja, and on 16 June, it carried out a suicide attack at the Federal Police headquarters in the city. Nearly 30 people died in both attacks and several others were injured.

Since the New Year's Eve bombings, Boko Haram has carried out no fewer than 70 major attacks (4 of them in Abuja) or an average of one attack every three days. In total, more than 600 people have been killed.

The timing of the 26 August suicide attacks on the UN and the selection of the target were never coincidental nor was it an opportunistic moment. Rather, the attacks show careful planning, a thorough understanding of the target, and a deliberate strategic choice aimed at demonstrating that the group means business. It wants Nigeria, the United States and the rest of the world to take notice and to signal that the group is now under the supreme command of Ayman Zawahiri, the new al Qaeda leader who replaced Osama bin Laden.

Boko Haram's public declaration of its allegiance and loyalty to al Qaeda is part of its 'public awareness strategy'. It also claimed that some of its operatives have been trained with al Shabaab in Somalia. Furthermore, on 18 August 2011 the online version of the Nigerian Standard carried a message purportedly from Imam Abubakar Shekau, the mystic Boko Haram leader, who replaced the charismatic founder, Mohammed Yusuf. In the message, Shekau offered solidarity with al Qaeda and sent a chilling threat to the United States.

Apart from its rhetoric and pronouncements, intelligence gathered on Boko Haram is yet to reveal compelling evidence of its link to al Qaeda, despite the group's increasing use of al Qaeda style sophistication and tactics. The kidnapping of two foreigners in May (a British and an Italian) is perhaps the most illustrious of this growing axis.

To date, the group had never attacked or kidnapped foreigners and it is believed that the two foreigners were handed to Al Qaeda in the land of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the Algeria based group, which has been touting lawlessness in the Sahel region. Understanding this link, and Boko Haram's ultimate goal of morphing into a global terrorist organisation, is important and such foreknowledge might have prevented the attacks on the UN building.

Abuja is host to many international institutions, including an African Union Office and the headquarters of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), both of which have not been attacked. The attack on the UN was therefore a strategic choice for Boko Haram and represents a trend that we have seen in recent times, particularly in the transformation of local terrorist organisations.

This is not the first time that the UN has been targeted by a terrorist group. In 2003, 15 UN staff died in a bomb blast in Iraq following an attack by the militant group, Jama'at al-Tawid wal-Jihad (now called by its new name, Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn) shortly after announcing its allegiance to al Qaeda, by its late leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Similarly, 41 people (17 of them UN staff) were killed in December 2007, when a car bomb slammed into the UN building in Algiers, Algeria after the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) declared its loyalty to al Qaeda and adopted its new name-AQIM. More than 20 UN employees have also died in Afghanistan in militant attacks in 2009 and in April this year.

The current trend shows that the UN has become a regular target in the transformation of a local or domestic terrorist group into a global network. This seems to be a key al Qaeda requirement for initiation of local groups-the demand to internationalise their targets and agenda. The internationalisation of a domestic terrorist group or its initiation into al Qaeda may follow different models such as the one taken by al Shabaab in Somalia, which failing to attack a UN building, decided to attack a popular Ethiopian restaurant frequented by foreigners in Kampala, on 11 July 2010, during the finals of the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

The attacks on the UN headquarters completes Boko Haram's metamorphosis into an international terrorist group and represents a turning point for the future of terrorism in Nigeria. In reality, this means that moving forward the goal of islamisation or for spreading sharia shall not be confined to Nigeria and that other countries in the region are potential targets. Although this has always been imbedded in the name 'Boko Haram,' the recent fatwa issued by Shekau, however promised to attack and kill any Muslim that goes against the establishment of sharia.

Relevant Links
West Africa
International Organisations
Given its new international profile, Boko Haram will become even more complex, sophisticated and difficult for law enforcement to intercept and neutralise. Although it will lose substantial support in Nigeria as many Nigerians are now growing weary of the groups heinous acts, however, it now has a wider milieu for recruitment, training and access to weapons, as well as other resources for sustaining the group. It could be expected that future attacks would include foreign targets.

A far more dangerous consequence of Boko Haram's activities would be if the group expands its activities further south and destroys the imaginary line that divides Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. It should also be expected that suicide terrorism will increasingly become a dominant feature of Boko Haram tactics. Both scenarios do not bode well for a region already plagued by a multiplicity of security and development challenges.

Martin A. Ewi

New Mass Graves found in South Kordofan Sudan

South Kordofan lies just across the border from newly independent South Sudan and has been the site of clashes between government troops from Sudan's Arab north and black tribesmen aligned with the south's Sudan People's Liberation Movement. Many inhabitants of South Kordofan fought for the south during the country's two decades-plus civil war against the north and are ethnically linked to the south.

A report released this month by the U.N. human rights office in Geneva said Sudanese security forces allegedly carried out indiscriminate aerial bombardments in South Kordofan that killed civilians in the weeks before South Sudan became independent on July 9. It also alleged that Sudanese forces executed prisoners accused of belonging to the south's Sudan Peoples' Liberation Movement before burying them in mass graves.

"The evidence against the Sudanese government continues to compound and has now become impossible to dismiss. It is time for the international community to take serious action and execute its responsibility to protect innocent lives in Sudan," said John Prendergast, co-founder of the activist group the Enough Project.

The Sudanese Red Crescent Society has said that it buried 59 bodies in marked burial sites in Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan state, between mid-June and mid-July.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says it supplied body bags, rubber boots and cameras to SRCS teams tasked with the management of dead bodies, according to spokeswoman Anna Schaaf. The ICRC is not on the ground in South Kordofan.

The satellite group in July reported the first three mass graves as excavated areas measuring about 26 meters (yards) by 5 meters (yards) visible near a school in the town of Kadugli. The group said that an eyewitness reported seeing 100 bodies or more put into one of the pits on June 8.

Sudan said last week that it will allow six U.N. agencies to take part in a government-organized mission to South Kordofan, where the U.N. human rights office has called for a probe into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Khartoum's U.N. Ambassador Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman said the joint mission will be sent to South Kordofan "to assess the situation of human rights there and the humanitarian needs."

Sudan President Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday announced a two-week cease-fire in South Kordofan.

The Rest @ Huffington Post

Italy Anxious about Libyan Republic's Oil Partner Choices

Possible Coming Al Shabaab Bombing Outside of Somalia

Russian made Semtex, similar to to US made C-4 was held in large Stockpiles in Libya. An undetermined quantity of Semtex now been acquired by AQIM, al al qaeda affiliate during the Libyan Revolution.

Bombings of both the Nigerian UN Building and the Algerian Military Academy took place in the last week, both less than a month after the Semtex was acquired. Both were car bombs, both with very powerful explosions, and both by al Qaeda affiliates.It would not be a surprise to find that Semtex was involved in both bombings.

  • Since AQIM, Boko Haram and al Shabaab have both been active in seeking to communicate with each other
  • Since there is an established arms smuggling route along the Southern Saraha that reaches Somalia,
  • It would not be a surprise for some of this Semtex to be in the hands of al Shabaab
I would watch in the next two weeks to see if al Shabaab conducts a bombing outside of Somalia, as they do not want to interfere with current famine food relief

-Shimron Issachar

AQIM Car Bomb in Chercell, Near Algiers

A suicide bomber detonated a car loaded with explosives outside a military academy west of the Algerian capital on Friday (August 27th, 2011), killing at least 18 people.

At least 20 were wounded at the academy in Cherchell, which lies west of Algiers. The death toll was expected to rise, according to the Sidi Ghilas hospital where the victims were taken.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, citing policy, gave conflicting tolls, and it was not clear whether those killed were troops or civilians.Friday was a sacred day in the Muslim calendar that falls toward the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and it is often accompanied by attacks. Although no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, similar assaults have been blamed on al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Islamist extremists have battled Algerian security forces since 1992 when the army cancelled a national election that a now-banned Muslim fundamentalist party was poised to win.

Security forces gained the upper hand over the years, but sporadic attacks continue and increased dramatically in July. An estimated 200,000 people civilians, insurgents and security forces have been killed since the violence began.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jordan IP Searching for Al Shabaab Training Camp in Somalia

28 Aug 14:48:01 (GMT)Amman, Jordan IP Address (Governorate) Searched on Russian Search engine Yandex for an Al shabaab Jihadist training camp in eel arfid, Somalia.

Search Data: — eel aarfid
Host Name: Browser: Opera 11.5
IP Address: — [Label IP Address] Operating System: WinXP
Location: Amman, Amman Governorate, Jordan Resolution: 1440x900
Returning Visits: 0 Javascript: Enabled
Visit Length: 0 seconds ISP: Jtc

Navigation Path

Date Time WebPage — eel aarfid
28 Aug 14:48:01
Shimron Letters: Pakistani Clerics and Shabaab Recruiting Efforts

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More on Libyan Commander Belhadj

Who are the rebels?
Posted by David Manning on August 27, 2011, 2:42 pm

A few links..

The man introduced 2 journos yday as head of rebels' Tripoli military council is Abdelkarim Belhaj, ex emir of Libyan Islamic Fighting Group

The group's leader Abdel Hakim Belhadj, widely known by the nom de guerre of Abu Abdallah Assadaq, said in a letter published in a newspaper on Thursday that his group and the government had built trust in their two years of dialogue.

"More than two years of talks have created trust so that the dialogue could bear fruit," he said in the letter printed in the daily Oea, which is close to Saif al Islam.

LIFG staged bloody battles in city streets and the mountains in the 1990s, killing dozens of soldiers and policemen, as part of its attempts to overthrow Gaddafi.

According to Libyan political and security sources, al Qaeda had been courting LIFG to join its North Africa wing but most of the group's leadership opposed al Qaeda's global strategy and believed it was unlikely bring about any change in Libya.

According to Escobar, Abdelhakim Belhadj, who commanded a military offensive in Libya over the weekend, has become the de facto commander of the Tripoli armed forces. Belhadj has also, says Escobar, was trained in Afghanistan by a
“very hardcore Islamist Libyan group.”

  • Escobar says that Taliban-linked sources overseas have confirmed Belhadj as the new commander.
  • In the aftermath of 9/11, the CIA began tracking Belhadj, who was eventually captured in Malaysia in 2003.
  • Escobar says that he was then tortured in Bangkok before being transferred back to Libya and imprisoned.
  • He made a deal that allowed for his release in 2009 and as of this week is the military commander of Tripoli.

Re: Who are the rebels? - Hidari Yesterday, 5:23 pm
« Back to thread

Abdul Hakim Belhaj

Take this Video with a grain of salt.....

Vladimir Gavrilov Aleged Russian Arms Trafficker Detained in Greece

Police in northern Greece say they have detained a Russian citizen wanted in Peru for a case of arms trafficking to Colombia's leftist guerrilla group FARC.

Police say the man was arrested Friday in a hotel near Thessaloniki. He will appear before an appeals court Monday in connection with an international warrant issued against him by Peru.

Police officials told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing that the suspect is named Vladimir Gavrilov.

Police say Gavrilov allegedly partVladimir Gavrilov.icipated in a deal involving 10,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, purchased in Jordan and parachuted to the FARC in 1999. Former Peruvian spymaster Vladimiro Montesinos was sentenced in September 2006 to 20 years for masterminding the deal.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bashir Saleh is Key to Gaddafi's Africa investments, possible location in Hiding

He was sanctioned this year by hte US office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC), identified by Treasury on March 15 as subject to sanctions for being owned or controlled by the Government of Libya.

Libya Africa Investment Company (LAICO) corporate records are the key for tracking the Gaddafi family's influence in Africa, including payments to other African Leaders.

Libya Africa Arab Investment Company (LAAICO) became Libya Africa Investment Company (LAICO) in 2007. We have been tracking its activity for a few years. Here is what we know about it's history.

During the Civil War, Qadaffi dispatched Bashir Saleh (Asharq Al-Awsat reported – citing unnamed Libyan sources in Tripoli and Benghazi, Western diplomatic sources in Cairo, Tripoli and Tunis, and vaguely described "Arab sources" –) that Gaddafi was suffering from an "incurable illness" and was attempting to negotiate a voluntary exile for himself and his family inSouth Africa under the protection of South African President Jacob Zuma.

The newspaper claimed Gaddafi's chief of staff, Bashir Saleh, had been dispatched to Djerba, Tunisia, and then to Bamako, Mali, to meet with British and French officials about the possibility of Gaddafi being allowed to leave Libya without facing arrest or trial.

Checking Bashir Saleh's communications over the last months may even give a clue as to where Gadaffi has gone, there are hotels and businesses all over Africa.

Al Qaeda's Africa Express-Three arested

On the trafficking route from Sudan to Somalia, three Low level gun runners have been arrested in Moroto, Uganda. They may know the logistician running the supply chain.

Three men two other Kenyans have been arrested in Moroto for alleged arms trafficking. They are Peter Amadoi from Kitale Kenya, Loito Madelynoroto, Uganda. from Lokiliyama in Kenya and Ben Okello, a resident of Pallisa district.

Read more:, Kenyaphp?s=36280#ixzz1W9HtmSUl

Al Qaeda's Africa Express-Three arested

On the trafficking route from Sudan to Somalia, three Low level gun runners have been arrested in Moroto, Uganda. They may know the logistician running the supply chain.

Three men two other Kenyans have been arrested in Moroto for alleged arms trafficking. They are Peter Amadoi from Kitale Kenya, Loito Madelynoroto, Uganda. from Lokiliyama in Kenya and Ben Okello, a resident of Pallisa district.

Read more:

UN Building in Nigeria Car Bombed Today

Though no one has yet claimed credit, this has the earmarks of Boko Haram carrying out an Al Qaeda, Africa Agenda.
  • both Al Shabaab in Somalia and AQIM in Algeria have explicitly declared the UN as an enemy, having attacked UN assets in the past. They are both a part, in one way or another, with the Al Qaeda Network.
  • Boko Haram has not yet explicitly declared the UN as an enemy but has started a Nigerian insurgency, with unclear demands.
  • Boko Haram has regular contact with, and received training and funding from Al Qaeda Africa
  • TBDA suggests Al Shabaab and AQIM have been looking for email addresses to reach out to each other over the last year, more frequently in the last few months.
  • There are other organizations in Nigeria who wish to harm the Nigerian government, but they have shown neither the resources nor the inclination to attack the UN.
-Shimron Issachar


ABUJA, Nigeria - A car bomb tore through the United Nations' main office in Nigeria's capital Friday, flattening one wing of the building and leaving an unknown number of people dead.

A U.N. official in Geneva confirmed to CBS News that it was a bomb attack, and a Nigerian security official told Reuters news agency it was the result of a car bomb.

"I saw scattered bodies," said Michael Ofilaje, a UNICEF worker at the building. "Many people are dead."

He said it felt like "the blast came from the basement and shook the building."

A medical worker at the scene told Reuters at least 10 people were killed and local media said as many as 40 more were injured, but the death toll was not immediately confirmed by officials and many more victims could still be buried by rubble.

The building, located in the same neighborhood as the U.S. embassy and other diplomatic posts in Abuja, had a huge hole punched in it.

The building houses about 400 employees of the U.N. in Nigeria, including the majority of its offices.

U.S. Embassy spokesperson Debbie MacLean tells CBS News that, as far as she is aware, no U.S. citizens were injured in the blast, but the embassy was still collecting details and the facts from the incident were still evolving rapidly.

MacLean said there was no damage to the U.S. Embassy.

Nigeria, a nation of 150 million, is split between a largely Christian south and Muslim north. In recent months, the country has faced an increasing threat from a radical Muslim sect called Boko Haram, which wants to implement a strict version of Shariah law in the nation.
The group has carried out assassinations and bombings, including the June car bombing of the national headquarters of Nigeria's federal police that killed at least two people.

Earlier this month, the commander for U.S. military operations in Africa said Boko Haram may be trying to link with two al Qaeda-linked groups in other African countries to mount joint attacks in Nigeria.

Gen. Carter Ham told AP on Aug. 17 during a visit to Nigeria that "multiple sources" indicate Boko Haram made contacts with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which operates in northwest Africa, and with al-Shabab in Somalia.
"I think it would be the most dangerous thing to happen not only to the Africans, but to us as well," Carter said.

"This is very likely the work of Boko Haram and, or, AQIM and is a serious escalation in the security situation in Nigeria," the unnamed security official told Reuters.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Shaykh Abdul Hakim Belhaj

According to al Jazira,Abdul Hakim Belhaj was the Tripoli battalion commander for the opposition National Transition Council that took Tripoli in the Libya Civil war.

video added September 5th 2011
  • He said "We want to thank God for this victory, we call on the residents to protect the city, we call on remaining parts of the regime to surrender and join the opposition."
  • We have won the battle," Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the top rebel commander in Tripoli, told al-Jazeera.
  • About Entering the Gadaffi's compound, "They fled like rats."We entered the tyrant's offices, his rooms, we searched everywhere, but there was no-one."
Other information suggests:
  • He is a Libyan, has been an al Qaeda fighter for 22 years in Iraq and many other places

Who Will Control the Army in the New Libya?

This fox video is not really news to us, but what role will al Qaeda fighters hold in the new Libya? This will become more important soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Libya's Scud B Missils

I have, on occasion, thought about writing a little post about the disposition of Libya’s force of Scud-B missiles. The apparent collapse of the Qadhafi regime seems as auspicious an occasion as any.

As his regime collapsed, Qadhafi’s forces fired a Scud-B missile at the advancing rebels. This was same type of missile that Qadhafi agreed to eliminate as part of his renunciation of weapons of mass destruction.

Obviously, that didn’t happen. So, how did Qadhafi’s Scud force outlast Qadhafi himself? That’s an interesting story,

Initially, Qadhafi only pledged to “modify” Libya’s Scud-B missiles to comply with the MTCR. According to an April 2004 article by Judy Miller, Libya “had decided to convert the missiles so that their range was less than 185 miles with a payload of less than 1,100 pounds.” Libyan and US officials, according to Miller, were discussing a monitoring arrangement to ensure that the conversion was “irreversible.” If that sounds odd to you, it certainly sounded odd to Paul Kerr who got a US official to admit that “the United States is ‘not sure’ the plan is feasible.” (Apparently, the Libyans considered reducing the fuel tanks or adding weight to the missile.)

Eventually the United States persuaded Qadhafi to just eliminate the Scud-B force. In September 2004, the US, UK and Libya signed a Trilateral “Agreement on the Disposition of Scud-B Missiles” that committed Libya to eliminate its Scud-Bs by a generous September 2009 deadline.

The US offered to take 10 Scud-B missiles off Qadhafi’s hands, according to a February 2005 Yedi’ot Aharonot article (full text in the comments), but “the Libyans seized the opportunity to demand from them to buy all the 417 missiles in their possession at the astronomic total of $834 million.” The US does, on occasion, use live Scuds in missile defense tests, but wasn’t willing to part with more than $800 million for a Scud force that was ” aging and suffers from maintenance problems.”

Once Libya agreed to eliminate, rather than modify, the Scud-B force, Libya began seeking a replacement. Qadhafi, as Alex Bollfrass reported in 2007 in Arms Control Today, eventually settled on the Russian Iskander-E. Libyan officials may have believed that the United States was obligated to help Libya procure a replacement. They appear to have been upset to learn that the United States objected to the Iskander sale, instead suggesting shorter-range Russian and Ukranian alternatives that Libya deemed unacceptable. Washington was also not enthusiastic about Libya’s bid to join the Missile Technology Control Regime, which Tripoli believed would ease future missile procurement.

It seems the United States relented on the issue of the Iskander-E after a few months, but by then the Russian price had doubled. The Libyans were incensed — or at least acted incensed — by all this and refused to eliminate the Scud-B force until a replacement was procured, preferably the Iskander-E at the original purchase price. The September 2009 deadline came a went. A pair of cables released by Wikileaks pick up the story at this point and fill in some of the details outlined by the two articles in Arms Control Today.

There are any number of interesting cables that document the broader Libyan disillusionment with the United States, including a standoff over the removal of some highly enriched uranium that Max Fisher detailed in The Atlantic.

The most detailed cable on the Scud-B issue is an account of a February 2010 meeting between General Ahmed Azwai, the head of Libya’s Scud-B destruction program, and Gene Cretz, the US Ambassador in Tripoli, entitled, “Libya Insists Ball in U.S. Court on Scud B Alternative.” Azwai recounts the torturous negotiations over the Scud-B missiles following the 2004 trilateral agreement, ultimately arguing somewhat melodramatically that “I will not allow 12,000 Libyan soldiers to remain unarmed and vulnerable. If I give up their weapons before I have a replacement, they will turn on me.”

Obviously, they may have had other reasons for turning on him.

A second cable adds an interesting wrinkle to this story. While the US, UK and Libya were formally haggling over the Iskander-E issue, Saif al-Qadhafi approached the US Ambassador in Tripoli in September 2009 and suggested that France might sell Libya the SCALP air-launched cruise missile. (I have discussed SCALP sales to the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a pair of previous posts.) France separately, however, told the US that selling SCALP to Libya was “too sensitive.” In the February 2010 cable, Cretz speculated that the “the proposal may have been an independent move by Saif.”

This is, as far as I can tell, basically where we were when the Arab Spring hit, Qadhafi’s grip faltered and allied aircraft started a noncooperative threat reduction program aimed at eliminating the remaining Scud-Bs. The initial launch of a Scud-B prompted speculation about an impending “blitz” of Scud missiles that never materialized.

There are any number of really interesting aspects to this story.

The most interesting aspect to me is Libya’s insistence on getting as close to the MTCR threshold as possible. It seems likely that Libya intended to reduce the amount of conventional explosive in the warhead of any replacement system, as Iraq did with the al-Husayn missile, to maintain a conventional deterrent at ranges significantly in excess of 300 km. I had forgotten that, after the 1986 US-led bombing raid on Tripoli, Libya fired two conventionally-armed Scud-B missiles at US naval facilities on the Italian island of Lampedusa. “If we had a deterrent force of missiles able to reach New York we would have directed them at that very moment,” Qadhafi explained.

I am always struck at how much value certain Middle Eastern potentates place in conventionally-armed ballistic missiles. I have never really understood the Saudi decision to purchase medium-range ballistic missiles from China because such missiles are simply too inaccurate for a conventional warhead to offer much military utility. Perhaps, however, I might feel differently about the political value of such weapons if I had, as the Saudis did, a front row seat for the War of the Cities. Saddam certainly decided that 190 kg of explosive was enough as long as it got there.

This is, in a way, the question that Brian Palmer at Slate attempted to answer in his essay “Why Do So Many Dictators Use Scud Missiles?“ Palmer’s conclusion is that a Scud is “the easiest way to terrorize nearby enemies.” It is easy to forget that the first use of ballistic and cruise missiles — the V weapons — were Nazi efforts to terrorize the British during World War II. It seems Middle Eastern leaders value being able to shoot back, if only for the sake of reprisal. Libya’s interest in SCALP — a very expensive air launched cruise missile — as a replacement for the relatively low-tech SCUD-B casts recent cruise missile purchases by the UAE and Saudi Arabia in this somewhat different light.

Perhaps there is a missile race underway in the Middle East, but we just haven’t noticed it.

Late Update | August 23, 10:33 am A colleague objected to my “assumption that the NKs had provided Scud-B” force. I don’t think I assumed that, but just to be clear I was under the impression that Libya’s Scud B purchases were a mid-1970s acquisition from the Soviet Union, while North Korea supplied the Scud C program.

Monday, August 22, 2011

US prepares to Aid Nigeria Against Boko Haram

s the shadowy Boko Haram insurgency continues to wreck havoc in northern Nigeria, the United States is contemplating launching drone airstrikes inside Nigeria amid reports that Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have been training Boko Haram

militants, a senior US Counter-terrorism official who was briefed on the plan confided to in New York, USA.

“Two years ago, after its leader was killed, Boko Haram was on the verge of extinction, but today they strike at the landmarks of Nigerian military power using improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that bear the hallmarks of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” the official told, adding: “in the past two years, Boko Haram has met and trained with Al Qaeda affiliates outside Nigeria, including the al-Shabab terror group of Somalia and the group has begun waging a propaganda campaign that includes conference calls with journalists - another sign of its growing sophistication.”

According to the source, this link-up between Nigeria’s fundamentalist Islamic sect, Boko Haram and al Qaeda is sending jitters down the spine of Western governments, giving the Nigerian government’s demonstrated incapacity to handle the rising insurgency. “The Nigerian government appears to have only a shaky grasp of how to confront the threat, responding with such a broad, harsh crackdown involving soldiers that many residents now see the military as more of a danger than Boko Haram; residents are fleeing the military crackdown,” the source noted.

Nigerian Defence and Intelligence officials were briefed of the disturbing situation by the top US Military Commander for Africa, Gen. Carter Ham, who told the Associated Press (AP) after a visit to Nigeria last week that there were “multiple sources” showing that Boko Haram was co-ordinating its efforts with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al-Shabab. A source who attended the briefing quoted Gen. Ham as saying that Nigeria has now become the new battle front in the global war on terror. “We understand that parts of northern Nigeria are pretty similar to Afghanistan; the US is therefore willing and ready to put its unique capabilities and experience to help the Nigerian government defeat the terrorists and crush the Boko Haram insurgency.”

The planned US operations will involve a strategic network of flexible military bases with very few permanently stationed troops but with the infrastructure to rapidly launch major operations, including flying US surveillance aircraft across the Sahara desert and sending Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) into Nigerian airspace from strategically placed "jumping off points" in military bases from Djibouti or Dakar (Senegal), which is the latest focal point of the Pentagon in West Africa.

Already, the US has achieved a wide range of concessions at a Dakar airfield, which already has been used as a landing point for several US military operations in West Africa. These include the large-scale operation in Liberia, but also smaller missions as under the last coup attempt in neighboring Mauritania. Analysts note that under President Abdoulaye Wade, Senegal has made a major strategic alliance shift from France towards the US. learnt from high ranking US military officers that São Tomé and Príncipe is likely to become the next US military base, from where the "US military could monitor the movement of oil tankers and protect oil platforms." The small archipelago - an upcoming oil producer - is strategically placed in the Gulf of Guinea, sub-Saharan Africa's major oil producing area.

Also the bases in Djibouti and Senegal are strategically place to protect US oil interests. Djibouti is located at the narrow Bab el Mandeb Strait at the entrance of the Red Sea, at the "world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields," according to the CIA. Senegal, at the West African coast is strategically placed in a region with intensive oil explorations, which the US hopes may become a new major oil supplier within some years.

Already, about 140 people have died in the violence since January, according to Amnesty International, including dozens of civilians killed by the military. Most of Boko Haram’s attacks have occurred in the northern city of Maiduguri at the edge of the Sahara desert, but there have also been blasts farther south in Kaduna and outside the national police headquarters in the capital, Abuja.

US intelligence and counter-terrorism officials and analysts have expressed grave concern that Islamic extremists bent on jihad are spreading their reach across the African continent and planting roots in a major, Western-allied state like Nigeria; hitherto not seen as a hotbed of global terrorism. It might sound far-fetched to say this, but the sad truth is that security situation in northern Nigeria and the perennial low intensity conflict in the restive Niger Delta is forcing Nigerian defence and intelligence officials to re-consider their strategic options including allowing a significant US military presence under the guise of AFRICOM which Abuja had vehemently condemned and opposed requests for it to be head-quartered in Nigeria.

Aso Rock sources told that Washington is pressuring Abuja to consider hosting the administrative headquarters of AFRICOM (expected to go operational next October) as a strategic decision of choice and Pentagon officials have been emphasizing the humanitarian role the command will play, downplaying AFRICOM's involvement in military co-operation and on training African security forces to deal with terrorism and other concerns. This could, for example, enable the African Union's (AU) African Standby Force (ASF) to intervene more effectively in conflicts, or help Nigerian security forces prevent militants from disrupting oil flow in the troubled Niger Delta.

President Goodluck Jonathan has already been briefed about the planned US operations, but he is expecting a report from his security team before making a decision whether or not to allow US Drones and airplanes to fly at will into Nigerian airspace and hit suspected terrorist targets as they currently do in Pakistan. Of course, the Americans have made a very tempting offer that Nigerian might not be able to refuse. The Pentagon is proposing a military pact involving a huge aid package worth billions of US dollars to help modernize the Nigerian military as the US hopes to develop into the principal military partner of Nigeria.

President Jonathan has to make a strategic choice between what American officials portray as a simple organizational realignment of Washington's latest military oversight structure for Africa, and what many Nigerian and African observers see as the start of an increased US military presence in Africa to secure resources, check China's rising power and bolster counter-terrorism efforts.

THe Rest @ John English at linkedin

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Somali Pirates Escalate - Capture Ship 2 Miles of Oil Port in Oman

Calming of Monsoon winds in the Gulf of Adan at the end of August opens the Somali Pirate Season, and pirates captured a methanol ship waiting a berth in the Oman port of Salalah on Saturday. This is an escalation of the Somali Pirate war, since it was at an oil port inside Oman's territorial waters- watch now for an quick international response to this threat to the oil shipping lanes.

-Shimron Issachar


MUMBAI/DUBAI (Reuters) - Somali pirates hijacked a chemical-oil tanker with 21 Indian sailors on board Saturday from near an Omani port, although the exact location was unconfirmed.

India's Directorate General of Shipping said the Fairchem Bogey, managed by Mumbai-based Anglo-Eastern Ship Management, was hijacked while anchored in Salalah port. A Salalah-based shipping source said the vessel was being loaded with methanol when it was seized.

The port's operator, APM Terminals, however, said pirates boarded the vessel while it was two miles off the coast of Oman, awaiting a berth, and comandeered it toward Somalia.

Andrew Mwangura, shipping editor of The Somalia Report, who is based in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa told Reuters the position of the hijacking showed the ship was inside Oman's territorial waters.

"It was captured six nautical miles south of Salalah so it is definitely inside Oman," he said, adding that a country's territorial waters usually stretch out 12 miles into the sea.

"If it is Somali pirates, it means they have a mother ship they are operating with. The high season for piracy has just started."

The end of the southwest monsoon winds in August marks the end of very turbulent high seas In the Gulf of Aden, making it easier for Somali pirates with small vessels to sail out and attack ships, Mwangura said.

Tom Boyd, director of external communications at APM Terminals, told Reuters there were no reported injuries or deaths among the crew, adding that the Omani government was negotiating with the pirates.

APM Terminals has a 30 percent share in Salalah port and operates it for the government.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Interview of Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel

Saleh Abdullah Kamel is the father of contemporary Islamic Finance, speaks frankly - an English translation should be first priority,

Analysis suggests this is important

Al Shabaab Targeting Men and Women in Canada as Receruits

Toronto man facing terrorism charges after allegedly planning to join a Somali group linked to Al Qaeda was granted bail on Friday. Mohamed Hassan Hersi, 25, will remain under 24-hour house arrest except for medical emergencies and lawyer meetings. Hersi must be with one of his four sureties at all times in a release plan approved by Justice of the Peace Hilda Weiss in a Brampton courtroom. Bail of $200,000 with no deposit was ordered. Hersi must not to have any Internet access, a cell phone or a smart phone, but can use a home landline.

He can’t possess any weapons or ammunition, and must remain in Ontario and not apply for a passport. The reasons for granting bail remain under a publication ban as is all evidence presented during a two-day special bail hearing held earlier this month. “It was a well-reasoned and thought out decision and we are obviously very pleased,” Hersi’s lawyer, Anser Farooq, said outside the courtroom. “I hope the Crown re-evaluates its case and decides whether this is a prosecution worth pursuing…” Federal Crown attorney Iona Jaffe said she accepts the court’s decision.

Hersi was arrested at Toronto’s Pearson Airport last month as he was about to board a jet to Cairo via London. He had a one-way ticket, police said. Police allege Hersi planned to join the Somali militant group Al Shabaab, which is trying to overthrow Somalia’s government. Al Shabaab has been designated as a terrorist group in the U.S. and Canada. His lawyer previously told reporters that his client never wanted to join the group. He claimed he was set up by a man who tried to befriend him.

Police suspect several young Canadians have gone to Somalia to join the group in recent years. Hersi is a Canadian citizen. He was traveling alone when arrested, police said. He was charged under Canada’s anti-terrorism law with attempting to participate in terrorist activity and with providing counsel to a person to participate in a terrorist activity.

Hersi’s arrest came following a six-month investigation dubbed “Project Severe.” Relatives earlier told the Star that Hersi planned to study Arabic for several months in Egypt. Hersi was born in Somalia but moved to Canada as a child. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a science degree in 2009 but had been working as a security guard, relatives said.

Hersi’s arrest sparked fears within the local Somali community that Al Shabaab, known as an Islamic youth militia, is still recruiting young men. In 2009, six Somali-Canadian men disappeared from the Toronto area and are believed to have joined the group. One died in battle about a year ago.

Because Al Shabaab is a listed terrorist group within the authority of law in Canada, any participation in that group constitutes an offence under Canadian law. Hersi’s next court appearance is scheduled for May 26

Source: The Star

The Rest @ Somali Swiss TV alleged to be from the Toronto Star

Canadian Al-Shabaab Militant Killed in Mogadishu

by IPT News • Jun 9, 2011 at 10:00 pm

UPDATE: The FBI's Minneapolis Office has confirmed the identity of one of two suicide bombers involved in the attack on a Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) military checkpoint in Mogadishu on May 30th as Farah Mohamed Beledi.

Somali forces killed a Canadian al-Shabaab fighter Wednesday in a gun fight that ensued after he and other man refused to obey orders to stop at a military checkpoint in the capital of Mogadishu.

A source from the Somali-Canadian community told the National Post that a cell phone found on the body contained text messages and call logs reflecting contact with family in Toronto. A Somali army official said that a Canadian passport on the body identified the man as Muhan Jeans.

Jeans, reported a Somali radio station, is known as "Abdurrahman the Canadian" and is said to be an al-Shabaab commander in charge of the Juba region, near the Kenyan border.

Canadian security authorities are currently investigating the disappearance of 20 Canadians thought to have traveled to Somalia to join the al-Qaida linked militant Islamist group. In March, Canadian police arrested 25-year-old Mohamed Hersi at a Toronto airport before he left for Somalia and charged him with plotting to join al-Shabaab.

Al-Shabaab is well-known for its ability to recruit Western youth to fight the Somali transitional government for its ultimate goal of installing a pan-Islamic state in Somalia.

Like Canada, the U.S. has also opened investigations into the disappearance of Somali youth-primarily out of Minnesota. One Minnesota man, indicted in absentia by the U.S. last year, was reported to have died while trying to execute an al-Shabaab suicide bomb attack in Mogadishu last week.

Family members identified 27-year-old Farah Beledi in a photo from the scene of the attack which killed three, including one government solider. The Star Tribune reports that Beledi is believed to have left Minnesota shortly before he was indicted with seven others on terrorism-related charges. Abdullahi Ahmed, also from Minnesota, was initially identified as the perpetrator of the attack.

The FBI has not yet confirmed the identity of the bomber. It is unclear whether the initial reports were incorrect or if both men were killed in the attack. A Minnesota Public Radio report noted that while Beledi died before he successfully activated his bombs, African Union officials say another man successfully detonated his.

The Rest @ The Toronto Star

Group may be trying to extend reach, head of Canadian Somali Congress says
Ottawa, Canada, August 6, 2011 – Terrorist recruiters are targeting young Canadian Somali women to take up arms, the head of the Canadian Somali Congress told U.S. politicians Wednesday

  • In testimony before the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, Ahmed Hussen suggested the reason may be increased police and security service attention over the recruitment of "dozens" of young Canadian Somali men from Ottawa and Toronto in recent years.
  • "Lately, the recruiters have turned their attention to the facilitation of young Canadian Somali women into joining al-Shabaab," the radical Somali youth militia now fully integrated with al-Qaeda, Hussen said in a prepared statement
  • Much of the youth recruiting is believed to be through the Internet and an online mix of religious tracts, rap music, videos and recruiting pitches delivered in English. Visiting extremist clerics are another propaganda source.
The fear, said Hussen, is that al-Shabaab will use Canadians and other westerners to extend its reach outside the war-and famine-ravaged East African nation, where it is battling a weak Western-backed government to turn the country into an Islamic state.

  • "There is no shortage of foot soldiers and young men that al-Shabaab can recruit in Somalia, so why would they spend all this money, effort and at great risk to recruit westerners, people who hold Canadian, U.S. and British passports?" he said during questioning by committee members.
  • "It's because we think they have aspirations beyond East Africa. They've proven that by attacking Uganda" last July with two suicide bombers, killing 79 people gathered to watch the FIFA World Cup Final on television.
U.S. officials are becoming increasingly worried, too, particularly after capturing an al-Shabaab commander who had allegedly been a liaison with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an active Yemeni group that has tried to strike the U.S.

New York Republican Rep. Peter T. King, presiding Wednesday over the third in a series of controversial congressional hearings examining the radicalization of Muslim Americans, said committee staff investigators have determined that 40 Americans and 20 Canadians have joined the group in Somalia.

Critics charge that King's focus on Muslim Americans plays into the hands of extremists who say
Washington is wrongly targeting Islam for the 9/11 strikes.

  • King revealed that three Canadians, whom he did not identify, and at least 15 Amer-icans have been killed in fighting.
  • Previously, only one Canadian death was suspected, that of Mohamed Elmi Ibrahim, a University of Toronto student whom al-Shabaab said was killed "in battle" last year. He was the first of six Somali-Canadian men who reportedly disappeared from the Toronto area in 2009.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, 18 people have been charged in a scheme to recruit Somalis from the Minneapolis area to travel to Africa and join al-Shabaab. Eight defendants have been arrested, and six have pleaded guilty.

Fourteen people, including several U.S. citizens, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Minneapolis in last August on terrorism charges for travelling to Somalia and joining al-Shabaab, which Canada and the U.S. have banned as an outlawed terrorist group.

Canada's first arrest related to al-Shabaab was in March, when police detained Mohamed Hersi, 25, as the Canadian was waiting to board a flight from Toronto to Cairo. Police alleged his ultimate destination was Somalia and al-Shabaab. He is free on bail awaiting trial on two terrorism-related offences, including counselling a person to take part in terrorist activity.

Hussen could not be reached for comment after delivering his testimony.
  • He has said previously that in addition to the "Somali Six" from the Toronto area, he has been told two young Ottawa men, as well as two young women, also left for the Horn of Africa nation.
His prepared text Wednesday, citing unnamed Canadian national security officials, referred to, "the disappearances of dozens of young Canadian Somali males who had travelled to Somalia to fight for the al-Shabaab."

In his testimony, Hussen portrayed Canada's estimated 200,000 Somalis as struggling to fit into mainstream Canadian society since fleeing civil war in the late 1990s.

  • Almost 85 per cent of Canadian Somalis are under 30, with unemployment in Ottawa and Toronto hovering around 40 per cent in this group.
  • Many young men have dropped out of school.
  • Those who do persevere often can't find jobs in their professions, he said.
"A minority becomes alienated and fall victim to a narrative that turns them against Canada and the United States, the very countries that have sustained them and also gave refuge to their parents as they fled the brutal civil war in Somalia.

This dangerous and constant anti-western narrative is fed to them by radicals in our community who do not hesitate to use these vulnerable youth as gun fodder in their desire to establish a base for the al-Qaeda terrorist group in Somalia," he told the committee.

Police and security intelligence work is not enough to counter the threat, he said, nor is only working with religious leaders.

"You need to target the young professionals, people who are coming up, people who are dedicated to the values that have made this country great. Those are the people who have the credibility to turn back against the messaging that leads to radicalization.

"The fact of the matter is you can be a fully functioning Muslim in the United States and Canada more than any other place in the Islamic world because of our freedom of worship."

Although he spent many years in Toronto, Hussen was living in Ottawa when he founded the Canadian Somali Congress, one of the only national associations claiming to represent Somali-Canadians.

The organization does advocacy work and partners with other agencies, including Jewish Family Services of Ottawa, to organize professional internships for young Somali-Canadians.

Hussen often appears in the media, whether to talk about the Somali pirate issue, violence claiming the lives of Somali youth living in Alberta or, more recently, pressing the Canadian government to increase its immigration quota from Somalia in light of the worsening famine there.

The Rest @ The Somliland Times

"New" Sufi Militia Emerges to Oppose al Shabaab

Friday, August 19, 2011

Somali Pirate Ransom Negotiator Indicted in US

US charges accused Somali pirate negotiator again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Somali man already facing U.S. charges of negotiating a ransom for four Americans later killed by pirates was indicted on Thursday for allegedly playing the same role in another incident with 22 hostages held seven months.

Mohammad Saaili Shibin was brought to the United States in April to face federal court charges in Norfolk, Virginia, over the pirating of an American yacht in February off the coast of Somalia and taking hostage two American couples who were later killed.

  • Shibin allegedly researched over the Internet who the hostages were to try to determine how much money to demand and the identity of their family members so he could contact them about a ransom.
  • The four slain Americans were Jean and Scott Adam of California and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle fromSeattle.

The new charges involved a different incident. Shibin was accused of being the ransom negotiator for the pirates who seized the M/V Marida Marguerite, a German-owned vessel with a crew of 22 men, who were held hostage off the coast of Somalia for seven months, starting in May 2010.

  • According to the indictment, Shibin received $30,000 to $50,000 in U.S. cash as his share of the ransom payment.
  • "Shibin is alleged to be among the select few who are entrusted with one of the most important tasks in Somali piracy -- ensuring a ship's owners pay the maximum amount of ransom possible for the release of a hijacked vessel," U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride, whose office brought the case, said in a statement.
  • The 50-year-old Shibin now faces 15 counts, including charges of piracy, hostage taking, kidnapping and conspiracy. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

(Reporting by James Vicini; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

The Rest @ Zimbio

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Italian Aid Worker Kidnapped in Darfur, Sudan

Aug 16, 2011 (2 days ago)

Italian aid worker kidnapped in South Darfur

August 15, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — An Italian aid worker has been abducted yesterday in the capital of South Darfur state by an unidentified group of armed men, the UNAMID and Italian government said today.

The logistics specialist was kidnapped on Sunday while he is was in the rout to the airport with two Sudanese colleagues, the UN hybrid mission said Monday. The abductors who were dressed in plain clothes took Francesco Azzara after stoping the car.

The Italian foreign ministry said concerned services are already working with the Sudanese authorities and the aid group Emergency.

The Italian medical aid group Emergency said Francesco, 34-year, was on his second visit to Nyala where it operates a pediatric center.

Abductors used to demand ransom and talks take time as the authorities used to convince them to release the hostages unharmed.

The UN Security Council on 29 July expressed its "deep concern" over the deterioration of security conditions in Darfur, including among others, the attack on aid workers.

However Khartoum denounced the resolution saying it distorts the image of the country and urged UN body to relay on verified reports.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Honda AP 851 ABJ Fails in Boko Haram Car Bombing

Nigeria: Massive Boko Haram suicide car bomb thwarted at state police headquarters
True to form, Boko Haram maintains its focus on institutions and practices that run contrary to its intentions to impose Sharia law as the only form of government. "Boko Haram: Suicide Bomber Killed In Maiduguri," from Leadership, August 16:

A 25-year-old suicide bomber was yesterday shot dead by the police when he rammed the vehicle he was driving into the gate of the state police headquarters in Maiduguri, Borno State and headed straight for the main building in an attempt to bomb it.

The suicide bomber was suspected to be a member of the Boko Haram sect in the state.
Confirming the incident to journalists during a press briefing at the state police headquarters, Maiduguri, the commissioner of police, Borno State Command, Mr. Simeon Midenda, said that sometime last week, his command received a threat text message, that the police cadet officers screening exercise slated for yesterday would be disrupted by a faceless group.

He said the development prompted him to beef up security around the police headquarters and other formations.

Narrating the incident, Midenda explained that at about 12:15pm, the suicide bomber crashed through the gate of the police headquarters in a Honda Accord saloon car with registration number AP 851 ABJ, and headed for the main building with the intention of detonating bombs close to his office.

However, before the bomber could carry out his plan, armed policemen on guard within the premises opened fire on him. He further said, “On reaching the vehicle, our men discovered that the boot was loaded with gas cylinders containing explosives connected with wires ready for detonation.”

The commissioner said that the bomb disposal unit was promptly drafted to the scene, where, he claimed, they successfully incapacitated the improvised explosive devices (IED).

Our correspondent also gathered that items recovered from the car included
  • six 13.6kg gas cylinders, each connected with wires;
  • One air conditioner gas cylinder;
  • two 25 litre jerry cans of fuel;
  • One tin of Abro, five-litre volume and
  • one Acid Orange drum of 28kg weight.
The CP said no written documents were recovered, saying that investigations had begun in earnest to unravel those behind the dastardly act.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weapons Bound for Saad Hariri and Baniyas, Syria Intercepted in Lebanon

Islamabad—Lebanese army intelligence has intercepted a covert shipment of 1,000 assault rifles, reportedly destined for the city of Baniyas in Syria. According to Arabic daily Al-Akhbar, Army investigators uncovered ties between the smugglers and the political entourage of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Baniyas is one of a number of cities hit by protests against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in the months since the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Syrian regime has mobilized the Syrian army against these protests, stating it was trying to repress violent opposition by armed guerrilla movements.Al-Akhbar published details of the arms shipment to Syria based on Lebanese security sources. According to Al-Akhbar, army intelligence had been notified that two members of the Tamim clan from Tripoli were seeking large quantities of arms to be delivered to Syria. One of the two suspects was the manager of the tourist seaport of Marina, which is administered by Solidere, a real-estate firm founded by the late billionaire and former premier Rafik Hariri, Saad Hariri’s father.Lebanese intelligence eavesdropped on discussions between the suspects and an arms dealer, in which the two sides agreed on a down payment of US$100,000 once buyers were shown high-quality Kalashnikov and M-16 rifle samples. The plan was to either ship the rifles in one batch by sea to Baniyas in Syria, or to divide it into smaller batches and smuggle it through Lebanon’s northern border. The suspects and the dealer were followed and arrested by army intelligence forces on July 30, after delivery of the arms in Ras Beirut.

Arabic daily Al-Safir newspaper quoted a security official: “The recently foiled operation is still under investigation, and there has been highly significant information gleaned from those involved who are affiliated with a prominent tendency in the March 14 alliance.

This is not the only operation that they have carried out.”The March 14 alliance is a coalition of Lebanese political parties hostile to Syria, whose largest member is Saad Hariri’s Al-Mustaqbal (“The Future”) movement. Its name comes from the date of the so-called Cedar Revolution of 2005, a series of US-backed street demonstrations that led the Syrian army to evacuate Lebanon after the assassination of Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005.

Saad Hariri served as prime minister from 2009 to January 2011, when Hezbollah—a Syrian-backed Lebanese Shiite political party and armed militia— left Hariri’s governmental coalition, bringing down his government.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television identified the smugglers as Wassam and Samir Tamim. They have reportedly confessed to running over 30 arms-smuggling operations from Marina to Baniyas with the assistance of Mohammad Kabbara, a member of the Al-Mustaqbal parliamentary bloc . Al-Manar stated that the center of operations was Kabbara’s farm in northern Lebanon, adding that this was also a transit point for Salafist fighters traveling to the Syrian city of Homs.

The Syrian army claimed last week that in recent fighting near Homs it has detained hundreds of Salafi fighters (reportedly including Afghans) with Lebanese documents, whose transfer to Syria was facilitated by Kabbara.

The Lebanese cabinet met to discuss the arms-smuggling case. There are increasing tensions between political forces inside Lebanon—especially between the US-backed March 14 alliance and the Syrian-backed March 8 alliance formed around Hezbollah.

The discovery of covert arms shipments to Syria by Lebanese politicians comes amid rising pressure by US on President Assad. US officials are warning they may soon issue a statement formally demanding the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

Al Qaeda in North Africa After Bin Laden

Posted at Vimeo 2 MOnth ago.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Al Shabaab's Executive Council and Their Clans

This was originally published 5 May 2001, and lays out key figures in al Shabaab leadership. Most names are well known, some are not, some are now dead.

- Shimron Issachar


MOGADISHU (Sunatimes) The executive council of Al-Shabaab militant group in southern Somalia are 85 members of Somalis and foreigners. 42 of that figure are Somalis while the rest are Al-Qaeda operatives from different outside countries as indicated in a year long investigation made by reporters from Waagacusub Media and Radio Mogadishu.

The leader of the Al-Qaeda members fighting along side Al-Shabaab insurgent group in Somalia is Fazul Abdullah Mohamed of Comorous Islands as his deputy is Mohamed Faadil of Saudi Arabia while the head of the network's military operations was Khalid Al-Muhajir Al-Mustafa who was killed in the current ongoing fighting in Mogadishu between Al-Shabaab and the government troops backed by the African Union peacekeepers on 3 September 2010.

Foriegner Al-Qaeda fighters who escaped from thier origin countries and are still at large have a big influence in Al-Shabaab administration in Somalia and this may certainly create bigger security concern in the East Africa region.

The names, ranks and clans of the Somali executive members in Al-Shabaab are as here below:-

1. Ahmed Abdi Godane (Abu-Zubeyr), the leader of Al-Shabaab from Isaq clan of Arab sub-clan.

2. (Abu-Zalma)Ibrahim Haji Jama Meecaad Afkhani , the first deputy leader of Al-Shabaab and in charge of finance, from Isaq clan of Sacad Muse sub-clan.

3. Mukhtar Robow Ali (Abu-Mansor), the second deputy leader of Al-Shabaab, from Rahanweyn clan of Leesaan sub-clan.

4. Fuad Mohamed Khalaf (Ina-Shangole), the head of public awareness of Al-Shabaab, from Darod clan of Awrtabe sub-clan.

5. Mukhtar Abu-Muslim, the head of Fatwas, from Darod clan of Ogaden sub-clan.

6. Khalif Mohamud Warsame (Khalif Cadale) the head of tracking down the NGO's, from Hawiye clan of Habar-Gidir, Ayr.

7. Madey Mamad Karatay, the head of destroying the graves, from Tuni clan.

8. Omar Mohamud Jimale (Matan), the head of security guards of Godane, from Hawiye clan of Duduble sub-clan.

9. Ali Muhumad Rage (Ali Dhere), the spokesman for Al-Shabaab, from Hawiye clan of Murursade sub-clan.

10. Abdulahi Timo Jilic, the head of technician for the weapons and salesman, from Hawiye clan of Murursade.

11. Hassan Afgooye, the especial servant for Godane, from Dir clan of Biyo-Maal.

12. Abdulahi Nadir, the interpretor for Godane, from Isaq clan of Toljecel sub-clan.

13. Hussein Ali Fidow (Hussein Daynile), the head of regions, from Hawiye clan of Murursade sub-clan.

14. Hassan Dhere, the head of the roped property, from Hawiye clan of Habar Gidir, Ayr sub-clan.

15. Hassan Afrah, the head of relationship with pirates, from Hawiye clan of Saleban sub-clan.

16. Mohamed Omar, the head of services and caring for the foreign fighters, from Darod clan of Ogaden sub-clan.

17. Bashir Qoorgaab, the commander of mortar brigade, from Hawiye clan of Habar gidir, Saleban sub-clan.

18. Ahmed Osoble, the police commander, from Hawiye clan of Hawadle sub-clan.

19. Mahad Karatey but known as (Sheik Burhan), the head of trainings, from Hawiye clan of Ayr sub-clan.

20. Ahmed Fifle, the head of finance, from Hawiye clan of Habargidir,Eyr sub-clan.

21. Hassan Turki, the father of Mujahideens and leader of Raskamboni brigades, from Darod clan of Ogaden sub-clan.

22. Mohamed Dulyaden, the contector of Raskamboni and Al-Shabaab, from Darod clan of Ogaden sub-clan.

23. Farhan Moahmed Kahiye, the head of defence, from Hawiye clan of Saleban sub-clan.

24. Abdulahi Hirane, the head of lower Shabelle region, from Dir clan of Biyo-maal sub-clan.

25. Dahir Gamaey but uses the name (Abdi Al-Haq), the judge of Al-Shabaab, from Hawiye clan of Duduble sub-clan.

26. Ali Muse, the treasure, from Hawiye clan of Habargidir, Faqashini sub-clan.

27. ali Mohamed Hussein, the head of Banadir province, from Hawiye clan of Abgal sub-clan.

28. Abdulahi Haji (Daud), the head of assasinations, from Hawiye clan of Murursade sub-clan.

29. Omar Faruk, the head of police in Banadir province, from Darod clan of Majerteen sub-clan.

30. Mohamed Balli, the head of the propogandas (the man who described Hawiye as infedals) from Darod clan of Majerten sub-clan.

31. Aden Oonbe, the head of social affairs, not known yet for his clan.

32. Farah Ali Hussein, the head of Dacwa in middle Shabelle region, from Hawiye clan of Abgal sub-clan.

33. Yusuf Kaba Kudukade, the head of Galgadud region, from Hawiye clan of Abgal sub-clan.

34. Abdiqani Kaba Jecel, the deputy mayor of lower Shabelle region, from Darod clan of Ogaden sub-clan.

35. Abdirahim Ali Mudey, the head of taxes for coil production, from Hawiye clan of Galjecel sub-clan.

36. Hassan Qodax, the head of militias in Gedo, from Darod clan of Marehan sub-clan.

37. Hussein Daqare, the head of Gedo region, from Darod clan of Marehan sub-clan.

38. Ali Roti, the man in charge of burying the children killed in the war, from Darod clan of Majerten sub-clan.

39. Abshir Ali Bukhari, the head of middle Shabelle region, from Darod clan of Ogaden sub-clan.

40. Yusuf Moalim Abdukadir, deputy leader, not known yet for his clan.

41. Mohamud Mohamed Nor (MMNOR), the deputy commander in chief for the invasions, from Isaq clan of Habarjeclo sub-clan.

42. Sahal Isku Dhuuq, the head of kidnappings of aid workers for ransom, from Dir clan of Biyomaal sub-clan.

The Rest @ Sunatimes

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Decisions for the Anglican Church in the Sudans

AFRICA/SUDAN - In October the Sudanese Bishops will decide whether to form two distinct Episcopal Conferences for the North and the South

Khartoum (Fides Service) - The Sudanese Bishops will meet in October in the Diocese of Wau (Southern Sudan) to decide whether to form two distinct Episcopal Conferences, after the separation between north and south Sudan (which officially became an independent state on July 9 ).

This is what is said by a source of the Sudan Catholic Radio News.

Currently there is only one Episcopal Conference with two independent Secretaries in Juba (the capital of southern Sudan) and in Khartoum.

This decision is likely to be affected by how the situation in the Church in northern Sudan will evolve.
  • The number of faithful in the north is declining, as reported by John Ashworth, Consultant of the Church in Sudan to CISA Agency in Nairobi, since many Catholics living in the north, but born in the south, have been forced to return to their places of origin after the separation.
  • "Others will likely be forced to do so in the coming months because of problems related to the granting of citizenship, as well as for the real possibility that the cultural and religious minorities in the Republic of Sudan (north) are subjected to harassment.
  • This is why some churches and Catholic schools have had to close down. If Khartoum grants citizenship rights to the southern Sudanese, then the situation might improve, but it all depends on how the southerners and Christians are treated ", Ashworth said to CISA.
Out of the nine Sudanese dioceses, only two are in the North, Khartoum and El Obeid, the others (Malakal, Juba, Yei, Wau, Rumbek, Tombura-Yambio and Torit) are in the south. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 04/08/2011)

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Anatomy of an Alms for Jihad Transaction

Zakat, a legitimate Sharia tax can be used for many different things, including alms for the poor and even paying a Mujahadiin's expenses. To the payer it is simply a mandatory religious tax on money left in the bank. Many of these funds are rerouted (called money laundering) and used to pay for terrorism.

Someone fighting a" religious cause" or Holy war is a legitimate candidate for Zakat funds under Sharia law. The following is a hypothetical anatamoy of what an alms for jihad transaction looks like:
  • A Jihadist logistical leader hunts down wealthy or well connected Ikhwans, (Muslim Brotherhood) believers who are ideologically aligned with a particular Jihad.
  • They meet them on line, at conferences, through funding Brokers (UBL brokered deals like this at high levels, for example the Golden Chain List).
  • They come to agreement about funding. The Funder need not be aware of the details of what the funding is for as long as he gets credit for the Zakat religious taxes they owe in accordance with Sharia.
  • Then they transfer the funds using a Hawala or remmitance company. For example, a not-so-hypothetical funder in UAE agrees to fund a Mujahadeen group in Northern Nigeria, Somalia, Cameroon, Western Sahara, or even the new country of South Sudan.
The Zakat transaction recorder gives the name and number of one or more of his independent Hawala agents to the fund provider who is located in the funder's country, in this case, the UAE.
  • The Agent looks up an agent in the receiving country from his agent directory, or more likely is given a preferred agent by the terrorist logistician in the country where the funds are needed; in our example, Northern Nigeria,
  • The Sending Hawala Agent calls the receiving Hawala agent, and they make a deal.
  • They then call the Hawala Agency, in our example, Dahabshiil (based in Somalia) and the Agency agrees to back the transaction.
  • Dahabshiil is supposed to ask questions about what the transaction is for. In our example, the sending Independent Hawala Agent tells the agency that he thinks it is for "farm equipment".
  • The Funder gives the funds to the sending Independent Hawala agent. The agent charges a 4% commission for the transfer. He keeps 25% of the commission, the agency (Dahabshiil in this case) keeps 50% of the commission, and the receiving Independent Hawala Agent keeps 25% of the commission.
  • There are many transactions like this a month, and Dahabshiil settles up with the Independent Agents by receiving and paying the funds out in Aggregate every week or month.
  • The terrorist in the receiving country gets a phone call with an agent's contact information if needed, and a transaction code number.
  • The Terrorist goes to the receiving agent in Northern Nigeria and gets the cash.
  • The funder takes his Zakat religious tax receipt for "farm equipment"from the sending Hawala back to the Zakat accountant - he may never know to whom his Zakat is going, or what it is used for. This is permissible under Sharia.
The steps in this process provide deniability for terrorism support at every level. It may be true that someone thought their zakat funds were going for the medical needs of children, and they were actually used to buy an explosive vest used by a child.
  • The funder could say they did not know the funds were for a child's explosive vest
  • The Sender could say they did not know the funds were for a child's explosive vest
  • Dahabshiil could say they did not know the funds were for a child's explosive vest
  • The receiver might say they did not know the funds were for a child's explosive vest
  • The fund user could say he did not know the funds were for childrens' medical needs, and he buys the child's explosive vest.
Only one person commits the crime, but no one else in the process accepts responsibility for equipping the war criminal to use a child as a bomb.

Note: Dahabshiil is used as an example. There are many many Hawalas in almost every country on earth. Dahabshiil and its leaders were severely sanctioned after 9-11 for a history of unaccountable transactions.

Since that time, they have taken steps to mitigate the process and many sanctions against Dahabshiil have been lifted by the US. This global corporation has taken strategic steps to look more like a bank, but every day diaspora around the world send money home to their families and clans using the Hawala system... And some of those transactions fund terrorists.

The following posts from a discussion among Hawala

AQIM with About a ton of Libyan Semtex

AQIM: how to protect Algeria suicide bomber 05/08/2011 at 09h: 30

 The safety device has been strengthened in Algiers. Bomb attacks against convoys of the army, suicide ...

 For three months, there has been an upsurge in terrorist violence. Trafficking of arms from Libya are not strangers and authorities feared the worst during Ramadan. Algeria is under surveillance ...

 On the eve of Ramadan, the month in which the jihadists of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) mission is to increase the coup, Abu Musab Abdelwadoud - Abdelmalek Droukdel real name - national emir of terrorist organization, confirmed that the group recovered nearly a ton of Semtex from Libya arsenals in June. 

 July 16, in fact, a double suicide bombing targeted the police station in Bordj Ménaïl, 60 km east of Algiers. Result: two dead, including a civilian, and a dozen injured. Nine days later, Thénia in Kabylia, an Atos - a low-end car manufacturer Hyundai South Korean popular in Algeria - is intercepted at a roadblock. On board, three suicide bombers, including Abdelqahar Benhadj (see box below).

When police ordered him to stop, the driver refused and darkens. One of the gendarmes draws and fires a single bullet. The vehicle exploded. The violence of the explosion is such that a police source estimated that the three men were carrying several hundred kilograms of explosives. Were they in Algiers to commit their crimes? "Not likely, said a police superintendent. The terrorists know they have no chance with el-fnek. " 

The "Fennec", an explosive detector about the size of a remote control, with an antenna, powers all the barriers controlling access to capital. "Since we have this equipment, acquired in 2008 from a U.S. firm, or any car bomb containing explosives could not enter Algiers, said the Commissioner. This is why suicide bombers avoid the city, but it's not like they lack. "In fact, the last suicide bomber that hit the capital was in December 2007.

A jihadist drove his truck against the UN headquarters on the heights of Algiers, killing 67 people including 10 UN employees. Since then, this type of attack focuses on Kabylia, which houses the headquarters of maquis Abdelmalek Droukdel. "It is much easier to secure the capital by building barriers around the Kabylie filter with its dense road network," said a senior officer (since June, a presidential decree has placed all of the forces responsible for the fight terrorism under the command of the army). The fact remains that the safety was further strengthened in Algiers . The increased activity of AQIM is not limited to suicide attacks, the organization conducts operations knuckle-fist against the police. "Since mid-April, we lost about fifty soldiers, police and gendarmes, said the officer.

 The Rest @ GrendelReport