RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Boko Haram Has Northern Nigeria Politician Patronage

Nigerian politicians are funding members of a radical Islamist sect responsible for dozens of shootings and bombings this year in the north and capital of Africa’s most populous nation, the state security service (SSS) has said. Boko Haram, whose name translates as “Western education is forbidden”, has carried out near daily attacks in the remote northeast in Borno state, where Nigeria borders Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

Although parts of the sect say they want sharia law more widely applied across Nigeria and threaten international targets, most factions are focused on local issues and carry out politically motivated attacks.

  • The SSS, Nigeria’s intelligence agency, said in a press briefing on Monday that on Nov. 3 they arrested Ali Sanda Umar Konduga who admitted to being one of the spokesmen for Boko Haram, using the name Usman al-Zawahiri. 
  • “He was a former political thug operating under a group widely known as ECOMOG,” said Marilyn Oga, an SSS spokeswoman.
  • ECOMOG was a militia group funded by politicians several years ago in Borno and some former members have now joined Boko Haram, diplomats and security experts have said. 
  • “His arrest further confirms the Service position that some of the Boko Haram extremists have political patronage and sponsorship. 
  • "This is more so as al-Zawahiri has so far made valuable confessions in this regard," Oga added.
  • The SSS said a politician in Borno recruited al-Zawahiri, who attended the press briefing, gave him a new name to portray him as an extremist and paid him to send threatening text messages to judges and rival politicians.
(Al-Zawahiri is also the name of the leader of al Qaeda)

The Rest @ Reuters.
Witnesses and authorities say at least four people died in an apparent attack on a northeast Nigeria city that saw churches and businesses burned to the ground.
The attack happened on the night of November 26 in the city of Geidam in Nigeria's Yobe state, which sits near the country's arid border with Niger.

Witnesses say attackers blew up a local police station and attacked a bank, as well as set fire to businesses and at least eight churches. Yobe state police commissioner Sulaiman Lawal declined to comment on November 27, referring calls to the national police headquarters, where no one answered calls. Emergency officials declined to comment.

The attacks come after a November 4 attack in the state capital claimed by the radical Muslim sect known as Boko Haram that killed more than 100 people.

The Rest by Martin Barillas @ Speroforum

Monday, November 28, 2011

South Sudan Arms Trafficking

Posted Recently in a Linkedin Group:

"Hi all we are leading manufacturer of quality armoured vehicles in UAE and looking for someone who would be interested to take the same forward in their region. Please write to"

United Arab Emirates

apparently attempting to establish connections in South Sudan...

They don't advertise arms, per se....but offer an armored vehicle with weapon mounts...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Boko Haram Atrocities Against Christians in Northern Nigeria

 Islamic law forbids Muslims to leave Islam. These murders were revenge upon one Muslim who dared to exercise his freedom of conscience. "NEWS ALERT: Nigeria Militants Kill Children Of Christian Convert, Missionaries Say," by Stefan J. Bos for BosNewsLife, November 23 (thanks to Mackie):

ABUJA, NIGERIA (BosNewsLife)-- A militant group seeking to enforce Sharia, or Islamic law, throughout Nigeria, has shot and killed two children of an ex-terrorist and "murderer" because he converted to Christianity, well-informed missionaries told BosNewsLife Wednesday, November 23.

Boko Haram, meaning “Western education is a sin”, carried out the killings this month after discovering that a former fellow fighter refused to kill a Christian and instead accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, explained Rae Burnett, Africa Director of the U.S. based Christian Aid Mission (CAM) group.

  • Burnett told BosNewsLife that the father and Boko Haram militant "was poised to slit the throat of his Christian victim" during November attacks in northern Nigeria that killed at least over 130 Christians, including missionaries, when "he was suddenly struck with the weight of the evil he was about to commit."
  • Dropping his machete, the man ran to the nearest church, asking a pastor for help, Burnett said....
  • "When the call came, the ministry leader was grieving the loss of several close missionary friends who were murdered in the Yobe State slaughter. 
  • He immediately met with the confessed killer and joyfully led him to Christ. He is discipling him in a secret location because of the extreme danger."

Burnett declined to identify the former Muslim militant and missionaries, citing security concerns.

"After meeting the Lord, the converted terrorist [and] murderer called his former colleagues to testify what had happened to him without disclosing where he was," she said.


"Upon discovering the man's conversion to Christianity, Boko Haram members invaded his home, kidnapped his two children and informed him that they were going to execute them in retribution for his disloyalty to Islam.

  • Clutching his phone, the man heard the sound of the guns that murdered his children," the CAM official added.
  • There was no known published comment about the specific attack by Boko Haram, but the reported murders were part of what President leader Goodluck Jonathan called "heinous violence" which began November 4 mainly in and around Damaturu, the capital of Nigeria's northern Yobe state.
  • Christian missionaries said that during the attacks Muslim "extremists" of Boko Haram also demanded that Christians recite the Islamic creed. Those who refused, were reportedly butchered on the spot.
  • Additionally, "among the "devastation and destruction left in the wake of Boko Haram's violence were 10 church buildings set aflame while Christians remained trapped inside," added Burnett, who has close knowledge about the situation.

Though "severely traumatized," the former Boko Haram fighter who lost his children "is growing in the knowledge of Christ through the loving care he is receiving from his brothers and sisters in the ministry that is sheltering and training him," she said. "He knows he is called to become a missionary to Nigerian Muslims."...

Burnett said several ex-Muslims facing "the danger of persecution or death from the Islamic community and  even family members," are brought to "a safe location while they are discipled and trained in the Word of God."...

The Boko Haram's "goal is to force Sharia law throughout Nigeria" targeting "secular education by bombing schools and universities, " the CAM director said. She added that while attacks are often prompted by local issues, they also aim at "anything that is perceived to be foreign influence."...

The Rest @ Jihad Watch

Two French Geologists Kidnapped in Mali

It is customary for AQIM to use their Tuareg connections to hold hostages in the Sahel. AQIM 's hostage fund raising specialist is  Abdelmalek Droukdel. It is likely he is the general contractor for the Philippe Verdon and Serge Lazarevic kidnappings this week, or is now handling the communication for an opportunistic operation.

-Shimron Issachar

HOMBORI, Mali — French soldiers joined Mali's army Friday in the hunt for two French geologists who were kidnapped by an armed gang this week.

The two were seized from their hotel in the eastern village of Hombori near the border with Niger early Thursday, in an assault bearing the hallmark of Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militants.
An AFP journalist saw about a dozen of the French soldiers near Hombori.

They had been despatched from a nearby town where they are training elite Mali soldiers to join the local army in trying to track down the captives.

According to documents seen Friday by the journalist, the names of the two French men are Philippe Verdon and Serge Lazarevic. They had arrived on Tuesday night, and the hotel manager put their names on file.

The same names were on company documents of their employer, Mande Construction Immobiliere, also seen by AFP.

  • The two men had been sent by the firm to take soil samples in the Hombori region where it plans to build a cement factory.
  • Lazarevic, described by a witness as a large man while Verdon was said to be "more frail", had just completed their first day's work on the ground when they were kidnapped.
  • The watchman at the hotel said that "the kidnappers were armed to the teeth (...) I was tied up and told to point out the rooms of the Frenchmen, whom they brutally took away."
  • The kidnap was "well organised", said a source in the security forces at Hombori. "We think that these people came from one of Mali's neighbouring countries to take part in the operation."

Northern Mali is classified as a "red zone" by the French authorities, which is a recommendation that travel there be avoided. Hombori is in the "orange zone" to the south, deemed less dangerous.

The kidnappings were the first in this region situated to the south of the vast Malian desert and close to Dogon territory, which is popular with tourists because of the famed masks, architecture and dances of the Dogon people whose land lies close to the border with Burkina Faso.

Thursday's kidnapping, the latest in a series of abductions of foreigners, was believed to be the of work Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), but there has as yet been no claim of responsibility.

AQIM has bases in the northern Mali desert from which it organises raids and kidnappings and deals in the trafficking of weapons and drugs.

A security source in Hombori said a search was under way for "two Sahrawis, two Algerians and a Malian known for drug trafficking between the camps in Tindouf (housing Sahrawi refugees from Western Sahara) in west Algeria and the Sahel.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on Thursday confirmed that the men had been taken "in circumstances that were not yet clear".

The latest kidnapping brings to six the number of French hostages in the restive Sahel area, with AQIM still holding four French nationals abducted in Niger in September 2010.

The four were among seven people kidnapped at Arlit, the main uranium mining town in Niger. They included an executive of the French nuclear giant Areva and his wife, both French, with five employees of a sub-contractor of Areva, who were identified as three French men, a Togolese and a Madagascan.

The French woman and the two African men were freed on February 24, but the others are still being held.

The Rest @ AFP

Al Shabaab Attack on Ahlu-sunna Wal-jama’a in Galgaduud Repulsed

Shabaab militias have yesterday afternoon attacked Dusamareb district in Galgadud region where Ahlu-sunna Wal-jama’a repulsed the assault that was waged on them.

According to some members of Ahlu Sunna Wal-jama’a there were many Shabaab corpses lying in Waberi village in Dusamareb following a clash that erupted between the two sides but the number of injuries and death toll are yet to be established.

Ahlu-Sunna got reinforcement from their collogues in Guraeel area within Galgadud region.
This assault is one of the continuous attacks Shabaab militias have previously waged on Dusamareb district.

The Rest @ Bar-Kulan

Monday, November 21, 2011

Santa Cruz, Bolivia Interested in Emmerson Mnangagwa or Zimbabwe Arms

An IP Adress in Santa Cruz, El Beni, Bolivia came directly to a page discussing China's delivery of AK 47s and other small arms to Zimbabwe.

This is not a regular reader or subscriber and suggests they were given the link and went directly to that article...

...Both Countries are small socialist dicatatorships; Someone in Bolivia may be looking for arms or has specific interest in Emmerson Mnangagwa

-Shimron Issachar

Entry Page Time:
17 Nov 2011 17:55:31
Visit Length:
0 seconds
Browser: Google Web Preview
OS: Unknown

Santa Cruz, El Beni, Bolivia
IP Address:
Telefónica Celular De Bolivia S.a. (
Referring URL: (No referring link)
Visit Page:
Shimron Letters: Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe Gets 20,000 AKs from China

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ethiopias Support of Kenya's Offensive is a Mistake

Ethiopia seems to have moved back into to Somalia 's West to support Kenya's offensive. in the South.
This is a mistake, a failure to recognize the history between Ethiopia and Somalia.

Al Shabaab promptly held recruiting rally's in the areas they still hold, inviting the boys that remain to join the tradition of their ancestors and fight against the invading Ethiopians.This will give energy to a dying Al Shabaab. The Same effect could have been gained by moving many Ethiopian troops up to the border to prevent al Shabaab from escaping to the East,,,,,

-Shimron Issachar


(Reuters) - Scores of Ethiopian military vehicles pushed at least 80 km into neighboring Somalia on Saturday, residents said, five weeks after Kenya entered Somalia to fight Islamist militants it blames for a wave of kidnappings on its soil.

"The Ethiopian troops, which are in convoys of armored vehicles, come to us today, crossing from Balanbale district on the border," Gabobe Adan, an elder in the town of Guriel told Reuters.

  • "They were in about 28 trucks and armed battle wagons - the armed vehicles are very big."
  • Other residents told Reuters that the Ethiopians had set up a base in Guriel and moved troops to other towns nearby.

A spokesman for the Ethiopian government, Shimeles Kemal, would neither confirm nor deny the reports. Another Ethiopian official told Reuters that an Ethiopian move to support the Kenyan assault on the al Shabaab group was likely.

Senior Kenyan government ministers have shuttled around the east Africa region this week and travelled to the Gulf to drum up political and financial support for a coordinated campaign to rout the al Qaeda-linked rebels.

Although Ethiopian troops regularly cross the border with Somalia, and it has admitted opening "humanitarian corridors" into the country that it says are for food relief, residents said the numbers and locations of the troops was unusual.

Ethiopia entered Somalia in 2006, with tacit U.S. backing, to oust another Islamist movement that had taken control of the capital Mogadishu and large swathes of the country.

Its army set up a base in Guriel during that operation.

The presence of the Ethiopian troops was hugely unpopular with Somalis, and with some analysts saying it was fanning support for new militant groups, they withdrew in early 2009.

(Writing by Barry Malone; Additional reporting by Aaron Maasho in Addis Ababa and Sahra Abdi in Nairobi)

The Rest @ Reuters

Al Shabaab Raid Kenya Navy Ships Near Madhawa Island

Mugadisho — A group of armed of Somalia's Islamist militant group Al-shabab on four speed boats reportedly launched a massive attack on a fleet of Kenyan naval warships, burning one the warships, according to reliable sources on Sunday.

Witnesses said, that the 20 minute attack on Kenyan warships happened Madhawa Island, an island in southern coast of Somalia, causing damages not casualties.

Neither Kenya nor Al-shabab has made comments about the attack on the Kenyan Warships on Sunday in the lawless coastal territories of Somalia, but it is the first assault on Kenyan warships by Al-shabab since Kenya has sent last month troops and tanks into Somalia to root out the threat of Al-shabab militants on its national security and tourism.

The Rest @ The Rest @

Viktor Bout and Murmar Gaddafi

Libya, Nov 6(ANI): Records found in killed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence office in Tripoli show that the United Kingdom had warned his regime about a Russian arm’s dealer convicted in the United States last week.

According to the New York Daily News, the documents found by human rights activists indicate that Viktor Bout was trying to expand his operations in Libya while Gaddafi was still in power.

Bout was convicted in New York on Wednesday on federal charges that he conspired to kill Americans and US officials, deliver anti-aircraft missiles and aid terrorists.

The new records indicate that British officials in 2003 told then-Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa that Bout had a “considerable commercial presence in Libya” and wanted to expand his interests there. (ANI)

The Rest @ Truth Drive

NIgeria Settles in for a Long Guerrilla War With Boko Haram

Boko Haram: Fighting guerrilla warfare the unusual way

| Print | E-mail
Sunday, 20 November 2011

Mohammed Yusuf, slain Nigerian sect leader

Despite Federal Government’s consistent insistence that the Boko Haram problem would soon be a thing of the past, the group has continued to do damage to the lives and property of both the lowly and the mighty.

THAT the problem of Boko Haram started in Nigeria as a religious sect issue is no longer news. That the Federal Government is seemingly lacking in the ability to contain the rampaging group is also no longer news. But if there appears a practicable solution to the menace that sprang up in lethal attacks against Nigerians of all persuasion a couple of years ago, many would describe it as welcomed news.

Critics of the Goodluck Jonathan-led government have said at every given opportunity that the approach it deploys to tackle the sect that has murdered hundreds of people in cold blood is less than desirable. Such critics are quick to argue that members of the sect usually come out to detonate bomb and disappear into thin air or send a suicide bomber who dies with his victims, with both options making it difficult for security operatives to trail perpetrators.

Thus, many analysts are contending that apart from relying on detailed intelligence gathering, possibly by the use of secret agents and spies, the Federal Government would also need to see the Boko Haram fight as a guerrilla war and borrow a leaf from the book of countries that have witnessed such development which is now commonly referred to as insurgency.

Anytime guerrilla warfare is mentioned in Nigeria, the images that readily come to mind are far and distant. For decades, radio broadcast news of guerrilla warfare in distant countries such as the Mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, FARC rebels in Colombia and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebels in Angola. For decades, stories of armed civilians attacking institutions of government such as the police and the military, striking vulnerable targets, throwing bombs at government facilities and killing people were major headlines on the pages of newspapers and ‘World News’ on radio and television stations.

Although Nigeria has had its fair share of crisis, culminating in a civil war between 1967 and 1970, still no occurrence of insurgent fighters attacking people or agents of government was reported in the country.

How it started

Even when Boko Haram, which official name is Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, attacked policemen in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, in July 2009, many believed that the altercation was only between the police and an angry mob protesting alleged killing of its members by the police. Prior to this, members of the Boko Haram were only known to residents of Borno, Yobe, Bauchi states and other parts of the North East.

Although the sect had shown signs that it was set out to question constituted authorities, through its clandestine activities, many did not believe that the organisation would threaten to bring the nation down if its condition to Islamise the nation and to release its members arrested by government is not met.

The attack on policemen in Maiduguri in July 2009 was, indeed, a climax of activities that started a couple of years before that. Founder of the sect, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, was reported to have enrolled children from poor families from states in the North and neighbouring countries to serve as a recruiting centre for jihadis to fight the Nigerian state. Mohammed was said to have established a camp in 2004 in Kanamma, Yobe State, where he set up a base called “Afghanistan” used to attack nearby police outposts and killing policemen. In Bauchi, the group was reported as refusing to mix with the local people.

But since the July 2009 attack, more heart-shattering and heinous crimes, including the November 4, 2011 attack on the Yobe State police headquarters and the 2011 New Year Eve bombing in Abuja, have been attributed to the dreaded Islamic sect. In the former attack, more than 100 people were reported dead, while the latter also claimed scores of others.

Others attacks, mostly bombings, that Boko Haram claimed responsibilities for were the June 17 suicide bombing of the garage of the Abuja headquarters of the Nigeria Police; the August 26 bombing of the Abuja headquarters of the United Nations (UN) building by a suicide car bomber, leaving at least 21 dead and dozens more injured; and the assassination of Borno State governorship candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) alongside his brother, four policemen and a 12-year-old boy.

... and now, guerrilla warfare

Now, with the sustained attack on the nation by members of the Boko Haram, the question on the lips of many discerning Nigerians is, has guerrilla warfare finally landed in Nigeria? Closely related to this is, has Nigeria joined the list of countries such as Angola, Sri Lanka, Russia, Colombia and Cuba who battled insurgent fighters for a very long time?

Sources told Sunday Tribune during the week that what the country is experiencing with the Boko Haram challenge, though, might be politically-motivated, has already snowballed into guerrilla warfare.

Former Minister of Interior, Mr. Abba Moro, pathetically, admitted that what the nation has in its hands might not be different from what the governments of Angola, Sri Lanka and Colombia battled for a good part of their post-independence years and that the modus operandi of Boko Haram was not different from that of the guerrilla fighters.

He said, “they engage in guerrilla warfare, running away after each attack and making it difficult for security men to get them, but it doesn’t mean that they are winning the battle. Government is on top of the situation and very soon, the attacks would stop.”

According to The Encyclopedia Britannica, guerrilla warfare is a “type of warfare fought by irregulars in fast-moving, small-scale actions against orthodox military and police forces and, on occasion, against rival insurgent forces, either independently or in conjunction with a larger political-military strategy.”

Che Guevara, the Argentine Marxist, also provided the reasons guerrilla fighters fight. According to him, “we must come to the inevitable conclusion that the guerrilla fighter is a social reformer, that he takes up arms responding to the angry protest of the people against their oppressors, and that he fights in order to change the social system that keeps all his unarmed brothers in ignominy and misery.”

Informed sources described guerrilla warfare as “a form of irregular warfare which refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians (or “irregulars”) use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise and extraordinary mobility, to harass a larger and less-mobile traditional army, or strike a vulnerable target and withdraw almost immediately.

“The term means “little war” in Spanish, and the word, guerrilla, has been used to describe the concept since the 18th century, and perhaps earlier.”

It has also been said that theories of some past leaders of insurgent group act as propelling force for such groups today. People like Mao Zedong (Mao Tse Tung) of the Chinese Civil War, T. E. Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), Ireland’s Michael Collins, Abdul Haris Nasution and Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna, among others are figures whose doctrines propel guerrillas.

Recently, an online news agency traced the leadership of Boko Haram to a former president of Mauritania who was ousted by military putsch. Mauritania is an Islamic country which also has a history of strife alongside its neighbor, Morocco.

Morocco/Mauritania experience

History has it that Morocco and the Polisario Front once contested the Western Sahara, a 266,000-square kilometre territory in the Northwest corner of Africa. Named by the United Nations (UN) in 1975, the desert area was formerly a Spanish colony (1884-1976), known in the West as the Spanish Sahara. Spain handed over administrative authority to Morocco and Mauritania in a November 1975 tripartite agreement. Morocco’s claims were said to be based on the desire to restore the boundaries of the Almoravid Empire of the 11-12th centuries. Morocco also saw Spain’s withdrawal as the continuation of the gradual decolonisation of Morocco, which would not be complete until Spain also gave up Ceuta and Melilla, the two remaining Spanish enclaves in Northern Morocco. The day after Spain withdrew from the territory in 1976, the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro (POLISARIO) was said to have proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a government in exile, and initiated a guerrilla war against Morocco and Mauritania.

Records have it that King Hassan of Morocco responded by sending in troops. The area was noted as valuable, not only because of its natural resources, but also as a bargaining chip in North African geopolitics. Despite the UN attempts to resolve the conflict, the Western Sahara remained the only unresolved colonial dispute in Africa. And its characteristics of guerrilla fighting appear stuck. In September of 2008 alone, Islamic extremists killed not less than 12 soldiers in Mauritania.

Also, last Sunday, the Algerian government was reported to have announced that it had “credible intelligence” that Boko Haram had linked up with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), a group said to have its North African headquarters in Algeria.

Deputy Foreign Minister of the North African country, Abdelkader Messahel, was quoted to have told journalists that intelligence report showed both groups had been coordinating.

“We have no doubts that coordination exists between Boko Haram and al-Qaeda,” Messahel reportedly said.

In view of this, when security experts considered that Afganistan is a hotbed of the dreaded al-Qaeda, what a journalists with the Toronto Sun newspaper, Eric Margolis, suggested recently seems to become necessary to be looked into by countries facing insurgency like Nigeria.

Margolis was quoted as asking, “doesn’t anyone remember the Vietnam War’s fruitless search and destroy missions and inflated body counts? Don’t NATO commanders know their every move is telegraphed in advance to Taliban forces? Don’t they see what’s going on now in Iraq?

“Did Canadian officers making such fanciful claims really believe Taliban’s veteran guerillas would be stupid enough to sit still and be destroyed by US air power? Now, Canadian-led NATO forces are crowing about having finally occupied Panjewi. ‘Taliban has fled!’ they proudly announced. Don’t they understand that guerilla forces don’t hang on to fixed positions? Occupying ground is meaningless in guerilla warfare.”

It has been contended that the alarm raised by the journalist is a replica of what some Nigerians have been saying concerning the Federal Government’s stance that Boko Haram would soon fizzle out, as well as such statement as Boko Haram constitutes no threat to investors. Some see this development as trivialising the security challenge posed by the sect, a method thought to be inimical to achievement of success in the crisis.

And examining the definition given by the encyclopeadia and the reasons guerrilla fighters fight, given by Che Guevara, it might not be wrong to say that the Boko Haram movement has the features of guerrilla fighters that some countries of the world have battled and that some are still battling.

Sri Lanka’s 26 years of guerrilla war

In Sri Lanka, for example, the on-and-off insurgency against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers) lasted for 26 years before the Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tigers in May 2009. With an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 killed, the insurgency brought hardship to the population, environment and the economy of Sri Lanka. The tactics employed by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam resulted in their being branded terrorists.

The root of the conflict dates back to British colonial rule when the country was known as Ceylon. A nationalist political movement from Sinhalese communities arose in the country in the early 20th century with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948. Disagreements between the Sinhalese and Tamil ethnic communities flared up when drawing up the country’s first post-independence constitution.

Why guerrilla warfare?

Looking back in time, it would be discovered that since World War II, guerrilla warfare has been employed by nationalist groups to overthrow colonialism; by dissidents to launch civil wars and by communist and Western powers in the cold war. There have been dozens of such conflicts. Thus, the Nigerian example of Boko Haram can be said to fit into number two.

US’ tango with guerrilla fighters

Just after World War, II large-scale guerrilla warfare broke out in Indochina between the French and the communist Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap. After the French defeat at Dienbienphu in 1945, France withdrew from the conflict; but the 1954 Geneva conference was believed to have brought no permanent peace, and communist guerrilla activities continued in Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam.

In the subsequent Vietnam War, the United States fought in support of the South Vietnamese government against local guerrillas, Viet Cong, aided by North Vietnamese troops. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge waged guerrilla warfare to win control of the nation and after being ousted by the Vietnamese army, again, resorted to it until the group’s disintegration in 1999.

Coming closer to Africa, it was also learnt that in Algeria, guerrilla warfare against the French was begun by the nationalists in 1954 and conducted with ever-increasing violence until Algeria won its independence in 1961.

Greek nationalists in Cyprus carried on guerrilla warfare against the British from 1954 until the country gained independence in 1959. Fidel Castro and Guevara, in 1956, launched a guerrilla war in Cuba against the government of Fulgencio Batista. In 1959, Batista fled the country and Castro assumed control.

This success is believed to have given encouragement to rebel guerrilla bands throughout Latin America. In 1967, Guevara was killed by the Bolivian army, while leading such a rebel band in the jungles of Bolivia.

Israel and Palestine

In the late 1960s, Palestinian Arab guerrillas intensified activities against the state of Israel. In 1971, after a full-scale war with the Jordanian army, they were ousted from their bases in Jordan. But the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and other groups continued their raids on Israel from other Arab countries. After the PLO was forced to leave Lebanon, its fighters were again dispersed, but it continued to mount attacks until peace negotiations in the early 1990s.

The United States has been accused of sponsoring guerrillas, most notably anti-Castro Cuban forces and Nicaraguan contras.

Advent of ideology guerrilla

Today, it is believed that “urban guerrilla” activities such as, bombing, hijacking and kidnapping, as currently being witnessed in Nigeria, are frequently inspired by ideology, rather than patriotism and are often tinged with elements of terrorism.

Particularly from the 1990s, many nations have experienced some degree of societal disruption due to persistent guerrilla warfare. Among these are Algeria, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Turkey (in Kurdish areas) and Libya, among others.

The civil war which started in Angola immediately after the country gained independence from Portugal in November 1975 would last for 27 years. The civil war was primarily a struggle for power between two former liberation movements, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and UNITA.

Each organisation had different roots in the Angolan social fabric and mutually incompatible leaderships, despite their sharing the aim of ending colonial occupation. Although, both the MPLA and UNITA had socialist leanings, for the purpose of mobilising international support, they posed as “Marxist-Leninist” and “anti-communist,” respectively. A third movement, the National Front for the Liberation of Angola (FNLA), having fought the MPLA alongside UNITA during the war for independence and the decolonisation conflict, played almost no role in the civil war. Finally, a Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda FLEC, an association of separatist militant groups, fought for the independence of the province of Cabinda from Angola.

In Colombia, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) a revolutionary guerrilla organisation based in Colombia has been involved in armed struggle with the Colombian government since 1964. It was established as a military wing of the Colombian Communist Party after government military forces attacked rural communist enclaves during the aftermath of the violence that rocked Colombia in 1964.

There are different estimates for the organisation’s membership. According to Colombian Armed Forces Commander, Admiral Édgar Cely, FARC had a total of 18,000 members in 2010, with an estimated 9,000 of those being armed combatants and the remaining 9,000 made up of plainclothes militia who provide intelligence or logistical support.

He added that they have been weakened and retreated to mountainous regions since President Álvaro Uribe took office in 2002. Other sources and analysts have reported that FARC’s fighting force is currently estimated to have around 9,000 to 11,200 guerrillas. In 2011, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, claimed FARC may have fewer than 8,000 members while FARC Commander, Raul Reyes, claimed that their force consisted of 18,000 guerrillas.

How to beat guerrilla fighters

Guerrillas can be difficult to beat, but certain principles of counter-insurgency warfare are well known since the 1950s and 1960s and have been successfully applied.

The widely distributed and influential work of Sir Robert Thompson, counter-insurgency expert of the Malayan Emergency, offers several such guidelines. Thompson’s underlying assumption is that of a country minimally committed to the rule of law and better governance.

Some governments, however, give such considerations short shrift, and their counter-insurgency operations have involved mass murder, genocide, starvation and the massive spread of terror, torture and execution. The totalitarian regimes of Hitler are classic examples, as are more modern conflicts in places like Afghanistan.

In the Soviet war in Afghanistan, for example, the Soviets was reported to have countered the Mujahideen with a policy of wastage and depopulation, driving over one-third of the Afghan population into exile (over five million people), and carrying out widespread destruction of villages, granaries, crops, herds and irrigation systems, including the deadly and widespread mining of fields and pastures.

Many modern countries employ man-hunting doctrine to seek out and eliminate individual guerrillas.

Some of Thompson’s moderate approach are outlined as follows:

The people are the key base to be secured and defended, rather than territory won or enemy bodies counted. Contrary to the focus of conventional warfare, territory gained, or casualty counts are not of overriding importance in counter-guerrilla warfare. The support of the population is the key variable. Since many insurgents rely on the population for recruits, food, shelter, financing, and other materials, the counter-insurgent force must focus its efforts on providing physical and economic security for that population and defending it against insurgent attacks and propaganda.

There also must be a clear political counter-vision that can overshadow, match or neutralise the guerrilla vision. This can range from granting political autonomy, to economic development measures in the affected region. The vision must be an integrated approach, involving political, social and economic and media influence measures. A nationalist narrative, for example, might be used in one situation, an ethnic autonomy approach in another. An aggressive media campaign must also be mounted in support of the competing vision or the counter-insurgent regime will appear weak or incompetent.

Thomson also argues that practical action must be taken at the lower levels to match the competitive political vision, contending that it may be tempting for the counter-insurgent side to simply declare guerrillas “terrorists” and pursue a harsh liquidation strategy. Brute force, however, may not be successful in the long run. Action does not mean capitulation, but sincere steps such as removing corrupt or arbitrary officials, cleaning up fraud, building more infrastructure, collecting taxes honestly, or addressing other legitimate grievances can do much to undermine the guerrillas’ appeal.

Also, the counter-insurgent regime must not overreact to guerrilla provocations, since this may, indeed, be what they seek to create a crisis in civilian morale. Indiscriminate use of firepower may only serve to alienate the key focus of counter-insurgency – the base of the people.

He added that police level actions should guide the effort and take place in a clear framework of legality, even if under a State of Emergency. Civil liberties and other customs of peacetime may have to be suspended, but again, the counter-insurgent regime must exercise restraint, and cleave to orderly procedures. In the counter-insurgency context, “boots on the ground” are even more important than technological prowess and massive firepower, although anti-guerrilla forces should take full advantage of modern air, artillery and electronic warfare assets.

Big unit action may sometimes be necessary. If police action is not sufficient to stop the guerrilla fighters, military sweeps may be necessary. Such “big battalion” operations may be needed to break up significant guerrilla concentrations and split them into small groups where combined civic-police action can control them.

Sir Thompson also said mobility and aggressive small unit action are extremely important for the counter-insurgent regime. Heavy formations must be lightened to aggressively locate, pursue and fix insurgent units. Huddling in static strongpoints simply concedes the field to the insurgents. They must be kept on the run constantly with aggressive patrols, raids, ambushes, sweeps, cordons, roadblocks, prisoner snatches, etc.

“In tandem with mobility is the embedding of hardcore counter-insurgent units or troops with local security forces and civilian elements. The US Marines in Vietnam also saw some success with this method, under its CAP (Combined Action Programme) where Marines were teamed as both trainers and “stiffeners” of local elements on the ground. US Special Forces in Vietnam like the Green Berets, also caused significant local problems for their opponents by their leadership and integration with mobile tribal and irregular forces.

“The CIA’s Special Activities Division created successful guerrilla forces from the Hmong tribe during the war in Vietnam in the 1960s from the Northern Alliance against the Taliban during the war in Afghanistan in 2001, and from the Kurdish Peshmerga against Ansar al-Islam and the forces of Saddam Hussein during the war in Iraq in 2003. “In Iraq, the 2007 US “surge” strategy saw the embedding of regular and special forces troops among Iraqi army units. These hardcore groups were also incorporated into local neighborhood outposts in a bid to facilitate intelligence gathering, and to strengthen ground level support among the masses.

“Counter-insurgent forces require familiarity with the local culture, mores and language or they will experience numerous difficulties. Americans experienced this in Vietnam and during the US invasion of Iraqi and occupation, where shortages of Arabic speaking interpreters and translators hindered both civil and military operations. Every effort must be made to gather and organise useful intelligence. A systematic process must be set up to do so, from casual questioning of civilians to structured interrogations of prisoners. Creative measures must also be used, including the use of double agents, or even bogus ‘liberation’ or sympathiser groups that help reveal insurgent personnel or operations.

“An ‘ink spot’ clear and hold strategy must be used by the counter-insurgent regime, dividing the conflict area into sectors, and assigning priorities between them. Control must expand outward like an ink spot on paper, systematically neutralising and eliminating the insurgents in one sector of the grid, before proceeding to the next. It may be necessary to pursue holding or defensive actions elsewhere, while priority areas are cleared and held,” he explained further.

The expert also added that mass forces, including village self-defense groups and citizen militias organised for community defense, can be useful in providing civic mobilisation and local security. Specialist units can be used profitably, including commando squads, long range reconnaissance and ‘hunter-killer’ patrols, defectors who can track or persuade their former colleagues “like the Kit Carson units in Vietnam,” and paramilitary style groups.

He said the limits of foreign assistance must be clearly defined and carefully used. Such aid should be limited either by time, or as to material and technical, and personnel support, or both. While outside aid or even troops can be helpful, lack of clear limits, in terms of either a realistic plan for victory or exit strategy, may find the foreign helper ‘taking over’ the local war, and being sucked into a lengthy commitment, thus providing the guerrillas with valuable propaganda opportunities as the stream of dead foreigners mounts. He said such a scenario occurred with the US in Vietnam, with the American effort creating dependence in South Vietnam, and war weariness and protests back home. Heavy-handed foreign interference, he noted, might also fail to operate effectively within the local cultural context, setting up conditions for failure.

“A key factor in guerrilla strategy is a drawn-out, protracted conflict that wears down the will of the opposing counter-insurgent forces. Democracies are especially vulnerable to the factor of time. The counter-insurgent force must allow enough time to get the job done. Impatient demands for victory centered around short-term electoral cycles play into the hands of the guerrillas, though it is equally important to recognise when a cause is lost and the guerrillas have won.

“Some writers on counter-insurgency warfare emphasise the more turbulent nature of today’s guerrilla warfare environment, where the clear political goals, parties and structures of such places as Vietnam, Malaysia, or El Salvador are not as prevalent. These writers point to numerous guerrilla conflicts that center around religious, ethnic or even criminal enterprise themes, and that do not lend themselves to the classic ‘national liberation’ template.

“The wide availability of the Internet has also caused changes in the tempo and mode of guerrilla operations in such areas as coordination of strikes, leveraging of financing, recruitment, and media manipulation. While the classic guidelines still apply, today’s anti-guerrilla forces need to accept a more disruptive, disorderly and ambiguous mode of operation.

“Insurgents may not be seeking to overthrow the state, may have no coherent strategy or may pursue a faith-based approach difficult to counter with traditional methods. There may be numerous competing insurgencies in one theater, meaning that the counterinsurgent must control the overall environment rather than defeat a specific enemy. The actions of individuals and the propaganda effect of a subjective ‘single narrative’ may far outweigh practical progress, rendering counterinsurgency even more non-linear and unpredictable than before. The counterinsurgent, not the insurgent, may initiate the conflict and represent the forces of revolutionary change. The economic relationship between insurgent and population may be diametrically opposed to classical theory. And insurgent tactics, based on exploiting the propaganda effects of urban bombing, may invalidate some classical tactics and render others, like patrolling, counterproductive under some circumstances. Thus, field evidence suggests, classical theory is necessary, but not sufficient for success against contemporary insurgencies,” he added.

Many Nigerians who understand the danger posed by the Boko Haram menace have been expressing a lot of fear that it has assumed a most dangerous dimension and the Federal Government needs to fight it appropriately.

The Rest @ The Tribune (Nigeria)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

UN to Take Action as Eritrea and Others Still Trafficking Arms to al Shabaab

The troops backed by TFG soldiers have now secured the towns of Qoqani, Tabda and Afmadow in Somalia.No casualties were reported on the Kenyan side and the port of Kismayu on Somalia’s coastline is the next clear target as terrorist group.
Kenya has accused Eritrea of being behind three planeloads of weapons delivered last month to Al Shabaab at Baidoa airport.
On Tuesday, President Kibaki welcomed the support Kenya has obtained from both its citizens and governments in the operation against the militants who seek to destabilise the region’s economies.

While opening the Regional Infrastructure Conference at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kibaki said: "As we embark on planning our infrastructure programmes, I wish to underscore the importance of peace and stability in our region."
Meanwhile, a police Toyota Land Cruiser escorting aid agency vehicles headed back to the UN complex in Dadaab reportedly hit a landmine on Tuesday along the road to Hagdera refugee camp, injuring two people.
North Eastern PPO Leo Nyongesa confirmed the incident. Last night President Kibaki worked late at his Harambee House offices discussing internal security matters with top departmental officials.
In July, the UN Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Monitoring Group cited what it called "credible information received from multiple sources" that said aircraft carrying arms, ammunition, equipment, militia commanders and wounded fighters on behalf of Al Shabaab landed in Baidoa, Baledogley and Kismayu from Eritrea.
The UN Group is already preparing a list of individuals and States targeted for sanctions.
In addition to Eritrean officials, the list is expected to include Mr Abdirahman Abdi "Salawat"; a Somali national who the UN says illegally obtained Kenyan identity cards and passports. It gives the numbers for Salawat’s Kenyan passports as A739601 and A183790 under the alias "Abdi Warsame Dirie".

He is accused of actively smuggling Somali emigrants to Europe since 2004, and acting as broker for Somalis who encounter "immigration difficulties in Kenya".

Illegal immigrants

Also named is Salawat’s alleged associate, a Mr Abdullahi Abdinur Mohamed ‘Topolino’ who it says held "a Sh350,000 a month lease agreement for a property on 10th Street, Eastleigh. This property, which subsequently came to be known as Top Ten Hotel (now called Gaman Hotel)."

The two are accused of facilitating the provision of forged Kenyan identity cards and passports to illegal Somali emigrants.

Eritrea has dismissed the claims against it as a "fabrication" and a ploy by its bitter rival Ethiopia to undermine its international standing.

But the Monitoring Group says it has evidence of Eritrea violating various Security Council resolutions. They include resolution 1844 of 2008 and1907 of 2009.

It says "the Government of Eritrea conceived, planned, organised and directed a failed plot to disrupt the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa by bombing civilian and governmental targets."
The UN also says Eritrea’s intelligence apparatus, which spearheaded the AU bombing plot, is also active in Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda, making it a threat to those countries.

Sources for the UN include Eritrean military, intelligence and diplomatic officials who it says "retain active contacts within the Government of Eritrea and PFDJ, and in some cases were able to obtain information from serving Eritrean officials."

The UN Monitoring Group report says Al Shabaab in the past benefited from the fact that "the Transitional Federal Government security forces and their local allies continue to be little more than clan-based militias with loyalties to individual commanders and that look to Amisom rather than to the Government for leadership and support".

\Also targeted for sanctions are heads of indigenous networks engaged in recruitment, radicalisation and resource mobilisation on behalf of Al Shabaab in Kenya. It mentions the Muslim Youth Centre "commonly known as Pumwani Muslim Youth", which it accuses of actively recruiting for the insurgents.
The centre has since denied the allegations that it facilitated travel to Somalia for Kenyan youth recruited to train and fight for Al Shabaab.

The group also names several hotels in Nairobi as "safe houses" for illegal Somali emigrants with links to Salawat.

Best equipped

Reports also quote the African Union’s Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra as saying the entry into the conflict by the Kenya Defence Forces – arguably the best equipped and most disciplined military force in the region – offers the best chance yet in years of cutting of supply lines to Al Shabaab.
KDF has already cut off a key revenue stream of the insurgents by blocking smuggling routes for charcoal, electronics, and clothing across the Kenya-Somali border.

The Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea estimates that by July, Al Shabaab was generating between $70 million to $100 million per year in revenue from extortion and taxing traders in areas under its control.

"You see Al Shabaab is under pressure because Kenya is taking advantage of assets, helicopters, aircraft, and navy vessels. So clearly today, we have even the possibility to implement a no-fly zone, thanks to Kenya’s assets. So it is different," he said.

Six East African countries involved in fighting the insurgents have also appealed for more international support to assist the African Union Mission in Somalia, following a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday.
The meeting heard that Al Shabaab is in disarray following its ouster from 98 per cent of the capital Mogadishu, and the ongoing joint offensive by the Kenya Defence Forces and soldiers of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

The pledge to pursue sanctions against the insurgents and their allies came from the UN special envoy for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, who said a UN Security Council-appointed monitoring group will recommend broad sanctions against Al Shabaab and its allies that include freezing their assets as well as ban on travel and import of weapons.

The meeting involved the defence chiefs of Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, and Burundi met at African Union headquarters.

Other sources quote UN Chief of Field Operations, Susana Malcorra who is in the region to assess conditions, as saying closer co-operation among countries that oppose Al Shabaab will be necessary to ensure defeat of the insurgents and restoration of peace in Somalia.

By Collins Kweyu in Tabda

The Rest @ The Standard (Kenya)

Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe Gets 20,000 AKs from China

A huge arms shipment has arrived in Zimbabwe, courtesy of Beijing. Good news for one of the factions jostling to succeed Mugabe, but bad news for anyone who hoped Zimbabwe could peacefully negotiate the exceedingly difficult challenges facing it in the coming months. By SIMON ALLISON.

The Zimbabwean Defence Force has just taken delivery of 20,000 AK-47s, reports the Southern Africa Report. The arms were delivered from China via a circuitous route, avoiding countries such as Mozambique and South Africa where unions (not governments) have prevented arms shipments from reaching Zimbabwe before. But where and on who is the ZDF planning to use all these shiny new weapons?

The answer, it seems, is in the details. Along with the rifles came 21,000 pairs of handcuffs – not a traditional military accessory. But very useful when it comes to crowd control and making arrests (or illegal detentions).

The deal was reportedly arranged by defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. This too is important. Mnangagwa is leader of one of the major factions jockeying for power in the post-Mugabe era. His is the hardline faction thought to include the top generals and security chiefs, and considered by some to be effectively running the country already.

  • It’s a bad time for Zimbabwe to be flooded with new weapons (is there a good time?) in light of the country’s extremely uncertain political future. 
  • There are worries over Mugabe’s health and who might succeed him, concerns over next year’s constitutional referendum and fears for citizens’ safety during the presidential election, also scheduled for next year some time. 
  • It was during the last presidential election in 2008 that forces connected with Zanu-PF used widespread violence and intimidation on opposition supporters, eventually forcing opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the run-off election. 
  • An influx of new weapons makes it even tougher to avoid a repeat of this violence.

The Rest @ The Daily Maverick

AQIM Smuggles Drugs for FARC

NEW YORK — A Malian man faces up to 15 years in jail after pleading guilty to trafficking cocaine to fund the activities of Al-Qaeda and FARC guerrilla fighters in Colombia, US prosecutors said on Tuesday.
Oumar Issa, who was arrested in Ghana in December 2009 at the request of the United States, and subsequently transported to New York, admitted one count of "conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization."

  • Court papers said he agreed to move cocaine through West and North Africa to support the drug-trafficking activities of Al-Qaeda, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
  • From September 2009 through December 2009, Issa and two other Malians agreed to provide the FARC with "logistical assistance and secure transportation for a shipment of cocaine across Africa, (and) false identification documents," despite knowing the FARC "was engaged in terrorist activity," prosecutors said.
  • "The defendants also agreed to provide material support and resources, including property, and currency and monetary instruments to Al-Qaeda and AQIM, knowing that these groups were engaged in terrorist activities," they added.

Issa is scheduled to be sentenced by US District Judge Richard Holwell on February 15, 2012. Cases against his two conspirators are ongoing.

Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the southern district of New York, said narcotics trafficking provided vital cash to terrorist organizations, and Issa's guilty plea underscored prosecutors commitment to catching wrongdoers.

The Rest @ AFP

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A Oil Export Base in Kismayo?

 It is the middle of the night in Eastleigh, a district of Nairobi mainly occupied by the Somali community. Jamal Sharif has not slept for 48 hours, steadily chewing miraa stems, which contain a mild amphetamine that dispels fatigue and makes people talkative.

Sharif is terrified the rest of Kenya might "attack and kill" Somali residents, and even those of Somali extraction. Operation Linda Nchi (Protect the Nation), which Kenya launched in mid-October, is already yielding poisonous fruit.

The army sent about 2,000 men across the border into Somalia to combat Islamist al-Shabaab insurgents who control much of the south. Al-Shabaab has promised to respond with attacks inside Kenya, endangering the Somali community, particularly in poor areas where lynching is commonplace. There have been a number of attacks.

There is more to operation Linda Nchi than just an incursion by a powerful neighbour. Until now Kenya has supported the Somali transitional federal government, which is backed by Ugandan and Burundian troops belonging to the African Mission in Somalia (Amison), and the US, without becoming directly involved.

Under rules set by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, formed by Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, no other country is empowered to launch a military intervention in Somalia.

Several sources agree, however, that the Kenyan intervention plan was discussed and decided in 2010, then finalised with input from western partners, including the US and to a lesser extent France. Nairobi seems to have seized on kidnappings of foreign nationals by Somali groups on Kenyan territory as an excuse to launch an operation ready and waiting.

The final decision, taken precipitously, apparently surprised allies of Kenya, such as Ethiopia, which also has plans to intervene in Somalia. It is thought that both countries want to carve out zones of influence. Nairobi plans to set up a semi-autonomous region, Jubaland. A puppet government would be used to control resources and facilities, starting with Kismayo, a port used by smuggling networks with Kenyan links, according to a UN report published in July.

If the Kenyan army took control of Kismayo and established a satellite region in Jubaland, who would run it? The former Somali defence minister, a French-educated anthropologist, Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, seemed a good choice. In April he formed the Azania group, made up of Somali soldiers belonging to the Ogaden clan and trained by Nairobi at Isiolo in Kenya.

  • But plans for Azania have been cut down. Equipped by Nairobi with arms supplied by China, as revealed by WikiLeaks cables, Azania's 3,000-strong force did not live up to expectations in the field.
  • Ethiopia also objected to an Ogadeni principality being established on its doorstep: Addis Ababa is already combating a rebellion led by the Ogaden National Liberation Front, which finds recruits among this clan. 
  • So the task of governing Kismayo will be allotted to other influential clans, primarily the Marehan, and the most powerful armed groups in the region, in particular the Ras Kamboni militia, former Islamist combatants who have been "turned round" to fight al-Shabaab.

However, if Kenya does capture Kismayo, another solution is now being considered. Amisom forces from Mogadishu could be deployed there, at which juncture Kenyan troops could join the ranks of the African Union force. This would also pave the way for a major infrastructure project in the region. Lamu, Kenya's traditional port, mainly used for luxury tourism until now, would be converted into an oil terminal, providing an outlet for the as yet unexploited oilfields of southern Sudan and northern Kenya. Radiating out from Lamu, a rail and road network would connect Ethiopia and Sudan to the Indian Ocean.

This scheme, which is still under study, would be supported by almost $10bn in Chinese investments. But it is obviously not compatible with a zone of insecurity maintained by al-Shabaab.

However, the advance by the Kenyan military is not going as well as hoped: it rained steadily for the first fortnight of the intervention and heavy vehicles were bogged down.

The Rest @ the Guardian
This article was originally published in Le Monde

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Eritrea Still Trafficking Point Arms to al Shabaab

The Kenyan military said two planes landed at an al-Shabab controlled airfield in Somalia this week, loaded with arms destined for the al-Qaida-linked group. The news immediately heightened longstanding suspicions that Eritrea is arming Somali militants.

The Kenyan military did not say from where the airplanes came, but that they landed in the south-central town of Baidoa, an al-Shabab stronghold, and that they were carrying weapons for the militant group.

Local media reports were quick to pin the shipment on Eritrea, which has long been accused of supplying al-Shabab.

The Eritrean Foreign Ministry issued a statement Wednesday denying the accusations, calling them “pure fabrications and outright lies.” It also accused its regional rival Ethiopia of being the chief author of a disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting Eritrea.

But, Rashid Abdi, an analyst with the International Crisis Group says Eritrea has a history of supplying militants in Somalia.

“I think no one doubts that Eritrea has throughout the last four years been supportive of al-Shabab, sending in weapons, sending in trainers and also training hundreds of al-Shabab fighters in some of its military camps," said Abdi. "But, as I said, it is very difficult to confirm this news story that this support has been resumed by Eritrea.”

A United Nations report released in July alleged Eritrea had flown weapons and fighters into Somalia on numerous occasions.

The report also said Eritrea has been funneling about $80,000 per month to people linked to al-Shabab through the Eritrean embassy in Nairobi. Eritrea has consistently denied the accusations.

Why fund al-Shabab? Rashid Abdi says it is all about Ethiopia:

“Eritrea definitely has been supportive of al-Shabab for a long time and this support is not ideological, it is essentially meant to counter Ethiopia's influence in Somalia and during the Ethiopian occupation, that was the height of Eritrea's involvement in Somalia,” he said.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought an intense border war between 1998 and 2000 and tensions have remained high ever since. Analysts say this prompted Eritrea's alleged support of al-Shabab during Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia in 2006.

Now Kenyan troops are pursuing al-Shabab in Somalia, in a cross-border operation that began nearly three weeks ago.

Kenya blames the militants for a spate of recent kidnappings and attacks and has vowed to continue fighting until the threat is eliminated and Kenyans can feel secure.

This week, a spokesperson for the Kenyan army warned of impending military strikes on al-Shabab targets across Somalia, including Baidoa, Afmadow and the port town of Kismayo.

The Rest @ VOA

Boko Haram Trying To provoke a Somali-like Civil war

Dozens Dead in Swarm of Boko Haram Attacks
by John Little
The Boko Haram attacks had a dual focus – the state security apparatus and Christians. The focus on security forces is pretty typical Boko Haram behavior but the widespread targeting of churches, the successsful coordination of this attack, and the scale are particullary troubling:

“The fighting centered around Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, Nigerian Red Cross official Ibrahim Bulama said. The attack started Friday with a car bomb exploding outside a three-story building used as a military office and barracks in the city, with many uniformed security agents dying in the blast, Bulama said.

Gunmen then went through the town, blowing up a First Bank PLC branch and attacking at least three police stations and some churches, leaving them in rubble, he said. Gunfire continued through the night and gunmen raided the village of Potiskum near the capital as well, witnesses said, leaving at least two people dead there.

On Saturday morning, people began hesitantly leaving their homes, seeing the destruction left behind, including military and police vehicles burned by the gunmen, with the burned corpses of the drivers who died in their seats.”

Boko Haram is obviously quite interested in fueling sectarian tensions. This strategy, they hope, will lead to increased sectarian violence and will ultimately contribute to the destablization of the state. The inevitable reprisals will also broaden their recruitment base. Even if this amplification doesn’t take place they still get to slaughter their enemies. So, win-win.

These coordinated swarms are also relatively easy to execute and can be, as we see here, quite damaging. Small and improvised arms are sufficient, little is required financially, and mixing in a number of soft targets ratchets up the terror while increasing the chance of success. Yes, some coordination is optimal but it isn’t rocket science.

You can monitor live twitter streams for Nigeria and Boko Haram at the Blogs of War Africa Monitor at

The Rest @ Blogs of War

Friday, November 04, 2011

ABDISALAM ALI, Another Minnesota Mujahadeen, becomes a Suicide Bomber

The extremist group al-Shabab in Somalia said, on Sunday 10/30/2011. an American man was one of two suicide bombers who carried out an attack in Mogadishu on Saturday, killing 10 people. The only evidence of the bombers' identities so far is a recording of what al-Shabab says is one of their voices.

That audio clip has led some local Somalis to identify one of the bombers as a young man from Minneapolis, although others who knew the man dispute that. The Associated Press reports two suicide bombers blew themselves up in an attack Saturday on an African Union base.

A website associated with the terror group al-Shabab posted an audio clip of a speaker identified as responsible for the bombing. The man urges jihad against nonbelievers. "Jihad is what is most important for the Muslim (omah?). It is not important that you become a doctor or you become some sort of engineer."

Several news outlets quote Omar Jamal of St. Paul, first secretary of the Somali mission to the United Nations, as identifying the man as Abdisalan Hussein Ali of Minneapolis, after two of Ali's friends who listened to the recording said it sounds like him (see - Minnesota-Suspects).

Local community activist Abdirizak Bihi said the voice on the recording has a persuasive tone that is meant to appeal to Somalis worldwide. "What we are worried about is the immensity of the message. How articulate it is," said Bihi. "It is really, really very good for the recruiters to use that."

Abdirizak Bihi's nephew, Burhan Hassan, left for Somalia in 2008 (see - Minneapolis Network), the same year Abdisalan Hussein Ali allegedly did -- and Hassan was killed there in 2009. Bihi says he won't be sure the voice in the recording is Abdisalan Ali until Ali's mother confirms it. Official sources also aren't ready to name the bomber.

"The information that we have thus far is that one of the bombers could possibly be an American citizen of Somali origin," said Suldan Farahsed, communications director for the Somali president. "But we don't know the name or the age. All that will come out soon."

An FBI spokesman in Minneapolis also said he could not confirm the man's identity. Others who knew Abdisalan Ali in Minneapolis don't think the recording is Ali's voice. Three of Ali's friends from his years as a student at the University of Minnesota say the man on the recording has the wrong accent. They say Ali's English is worse than the speaker's on the recording.

MPR News agreed not to name the friends because they don't want to draw attention to themselves in a high-stakes investigation that started about three years ago.

The three say when they knew Abdisalan Ali, he dressed and spoke with a bit of "gangster" swagger. Despite his baggy jeans and sagging shirts, they describe him as studious and serious about school. During his freshman year at the U, he sold designer sneakers to help support his family in Minneapolis.

Abdisalan Hussein Ali's alleged departure to Somalia in 11/2008 as part of a second wave of aspiring al-Shabab fighters was a shock to many of his friends. About two dozen Minnesota men are believed to have traveled to Somalia to take up arms with the Somali terror group that has links to Al Qaeda.

While some of the men had troubled and criminal pasts, others, like Ali, seemed to have promising careers ahead of themselves.

The Rest @ Global Jihad

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

UAE IP of Interest in UAE has a history of specific interest in al Shabaab leadership. It has been reported that some family of al Shabaab leaders live in UAE. It is possible this IP belongs to Family members of al Shabaab leaders like Zubayr and Mansur almriki

recent visit history includes: — omar+iman+abubakar+sunatime #5
30 Oct 09:54:44
30 Oct 09:56:43 — omar+iman+abubakar+sunatime #5
30 Oct 10:01:20

(No referring link)
31 Oct 04:22:35
31 Oct 04:46:25
31 Oct 04:48:55

(No referring link)
1 Nov 06:11:17

(No referring link)
1 Nov 06:12:27

(No referring link)
2 Nov 04:38:53

(No referring link)
2 Nov 05:03:07

(No referring link)
2 Nov 10:20:21
2 Nov 10:23:14
2 Nov 10:24:43

Viktor Bout Convicted Sentencing in 2012

NEW YORK, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Viktor Bout was convicted Wednesday of peddling military arms to undercover agents the Russian thought were Colombian rebels bent on killing U.S. soldiers.

It took a federal court jury in New York that heard three weeks of testimony about 8 hours of deliberations to find the man dubbed the "Merchant of Death" guilty on four counts of conspiring to kill Americans, exporting anti-aircraft missiles and aiding terrorists, the New York Daily News reported.

The 44-year-old weapons dealer is to be sentenced Feb. 8. He could receive life in prison.

Federal prosecutor Preet Bharara expressed pleasure with the "swift verdict."

"Justice has been done and a very dangerous man will be behind bars," he said.

"Viktor Bout was ready to sell a weapons arsenal that would be the envy of some small countries."

Defense attorney Kenneth Kaplan said the verdict would be appealed.

"We are disappointed. We gave it a good fight," he said. "We still have legal options."

Bout, a former Soviet military officer, was arrested in Thailand in 2008 on charges he allegedly offered to sell Russian anti-aircraft weapons to FBI agents posing as members of the Colombian militant group FARC.

In closing arguments Tuesday in federal court, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan McGuire said Bout offered to be a "one-stop shop" for FARC.

CNN said American officials consider Bout among the most notorious of global arms traffickers. The 2005 Nicolas Cage film "Lord of War" was inspired by Bout's life.

Defense attorney Albert Dayan contended Bout, who is in the transport business, was baited by federal agents into selling weapons to order to close a deal for airplanes.

the Rest @ UPI

Read more: