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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Abu Layth al-Libi intends to Lead Libya Rebels to Al Qaeda Islamic Emirate

Buried deep in this four yearl report, you will find a suggestion that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group's Emir , Abu Layth al-Libi, who led the group to join al Qaeda in 2007 is likely one of the Hidden Rebel Fighters on the new Libya Rebel Government's leadership shura council. Some press person needs to ask that question directly to one of the more public memebers of the council. -Shimron Issachar *********** Home our libyan allies against gaddafi… guess who? AQIM The CIA’s Libya Rebels Serpents, thirst, heat, and sand … Libya alone can present a multitude of woes that it would beseem men to fly from. - Lucan, Pharsalia

  • The current military attack on Libya has been motivated by UNSCR1973 with the need to protect civilians.

  • Statements by Obama, British PM Cameron, French Pres Sarkozy, and other leaders have stressed the humanitarian nature of the intervention, which is said to aim at preventing a massacre of pro-democracy forces and human rights advocates by the Qaddafi regime.

  • But at the same time, many commentators have voiced anxiety because of the mystery which surrounds the anti-Qaddafi transitional government which emerged at the beginning of March in the city of Benghazi, located in the Cyrenaica district of north-eastern Libya.

This government has already been recognized by France and Portugal as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people.



  • The rebel council seems to be composed of just over 30 delegates, many of whom are enveloped in obscurity.

  • In addition, the names of more than a dozen members of the rebel council are being kept secret, allegedly to protect them from the vengeance of Qaddafi. But there may be other reasons for the anonymity of these figures.

  • Despite much uncertainty, the UN and its several key NATO countries, including the US, have rushed forward to assist the armed forces of this rebel regime with air strikes, leading to the loss of one or two coalition aircraft and the prospect of heavier losses to come, especially if there should be an invasion.

It is high time that US and European publics learned something more about this rebel regime which is supposed to represent a democratic and humanitarian alternative to Gaddafi.



  • The rebels are clearly not civilians, but an armed force. What kind of an armed force?

Since many of the rebel leaders are so difficult to research from afar, and since a sociological profile of the rebels cannot be done on the ground in the midst of warfare, perhaps the typical methods of social history can be called on for help.


Is there a way for us to gain deeper insight into the climate of opinion which prevails in such northeastern Libyan cities as Benghazi, Tobruk, and Darnah, the main population centers of the rebellion? It turns out that there is, in the form of a Dec 2007 West Point study examining the background of foreign guerrilla fighters, jihadis or mujahedin, including suicide bombers, crossing the Syrian border into Iraq during the 2006-2007 timeframe, under the auspices of the international terrorist organization Al Qaeda.


This study is based on a mass of about 600 Al Qaeda personnel files which were captured by US forces in the fall of 2007, and analyzed at West Point using a methodology which we will discuss after having presented the main findings. The resulting study permits us to make important findings about the mentality and belief structures of the northeastern Libyan population that is furnishing the basis for the rebellion, permitting important conclusions about the political nature of the anti-Qaddafi revolt in these areas.


The most striking finding which emerges from the West Point study is that the corridor which goes from Benghazi to Tobruk, passing through the city of Darnah (also transliterated as Derna) represents one of the greatest concentrations of jihadi terrorists to be found anywhere in the world, and by some measures can be regarded as the leading source of suicide bombers anywhere on the planet.



  • Darnah, with one terrorist fighter sent into Iraq for every 1,000 to 1,500 persons of population, emerges as suicide bomber heaven, easily surpassing the closest competitor, which was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

According to West Point authors Joseph Felter and Brian Fishman, Saudi Arabia took first place as regards absolute numbers of jihadis sent to combat the US and other coalition members in Iraq during the time frame in question. Libya, a country less than one fourth as populous, took second place.



  • Saudi Arabia sent 41% of the fighters.

  • According to Felter and Fishman: Libya was the next most common country of origin, with 18.8% (112) of the fighters listing their nationality stating they hailed from Libya.

  • Syria, Yemen, and Algeria were the next most common origin countries with 8.2% (49), 8.1% (48), and 7.2% (43), respectively.

  • Moroccans accounted for 6.1% (36) of the records

  • Jordanians 1.9% (11).

This means that almost one fifth of the foreign fighters entering Iraq across the Syrian border came from Libya, a country of just over 6 million people. A higher proportion of Libyans were interested in fighting in Iraq than any other country contributing mujahedin. Felter and Fishman point out: Almost 19% of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone.


Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia. But since the Al Qaeda personnel files contain the residence or hometown of the foreign fighters in question, we can determine that the desire to travel to Iraq was not evenly distributed across Libya, but was highly concentrated precisely in those areas around Benghazi which are today the epicenters of the revolt against Colonel Gaddafi which the US, Britain, France, and others are so eagerly supporting.


As Daya Gamage of the Asia Tribune comments in a recent article on the West Point study:


"Alarmingly for Western policymakers, most of the fighters came from eastern Libya, the center of the current uprising against Muammar el-Qaddafi. The eastern Libyan city of Darnah sent more fighters to Iraq than any other single city or town, according to the West Point report."


It noted that 52 militants came to Iraq from Darnah, a city of just 80,000 people (the second-largest source of fighters was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which has a population of more than 4 million).


Benghazi, the capital of Libya’s provisional government declared by the anti-Qaddafi rebels, sent in 21 fighters, again a disproportionate number of the whole.


Obscure Darnah edged out metropolitan Riyadh by 52 fighters to 51. Qaddafi’s stronghold of Tripoli, by contrast, barely shows up in the statistics at all. What explains this extraordinary concentration of fighters in Benghazi and Darnah? The answer seems related to extremist schools of theology and politics which flourished in these areas. As the West Point report notes: Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya. These areas are in theological and tribal conflict with the central government of Colonel Gaddafi, in addition to being politically opposed to him. Whether such a theological conflict is worth the deaths of still more US and European soldiers is a question which needs urgently to be answered.


Felter and Fishman remark: The vast majority of Libyan fighters that included their hometown in the Sinjar Records resided in the country’s northeast, particularly the coastal cities of Darnah 60.2% (52) and Benghazi 23.9% (21).



  • Both Darnah and Benghazi have long been associated with Islamic militancy in Libya, in particular for an uprising by Islamist organizations in the mid-1990s.

  • The Libyan government blamed the uprising on ‘infiltrators from the Sudan and Egypt’ and one group, the Libyan Fighting Group (jama-ah al-libiyah al-muqatilah), claimed to have Afghan veterans in its ranks.

  • The Libyan uprisings became extraordinarily violent.

Another remarkable feature of the Libyan contribution to the war against US forces inside Iraq is the marked propensity of the northeastern Libyans to choose the role of suicide bomber as their preferred method of struggle. As the West Point study states: Of the 112 Libyans in the Records, 54.4% (61) listed their ‘work.’ Fully 85.2% (51) of these Libyan fighters listed “suicide bomber” as their work in Iraq.



  • This means that the northeastern Libyans were far more apt to choose the role of suicide bomber than those from any other country: Libyan fighters were much more likely than other nationalities to be listed as suicide bombers (85% for Libyans, 56% for all others). The specific institutional basis for the recruitment of guerrilla fighters in northeastern Libya is associated with an organization which previously called itself the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). During the course of 2007, the LIFG declared itself an official subsidiary of al Qaeda, later assuming the name of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). As a result of this 2007 merger, an increased number of guerrilla fighters arrived in Iraq from Libya. According to Felter and Fishman: The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qaeda, which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qaeda on Nov 3 2007.

  • This merger is confirmed by other sources: A 2008 statement attributed to Ayman al-Zawahiri (here, also here) claimed that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group has joined al-Qaeda.

The West Point study makes clear that the main bulwarks of the LIFG and of the later AQIM were the twin cities of Benghazi and Darnah. This is documented in a statement by Abu Layth al-Libi, the self-styled “Emir” of the LIFG, who later became a top official of al Qaeda.



  • At the time of the 2007 merger: Abu Layth al-Libi, LIFG’s Emir, reinforced Benghazi and Darnah’s importance to Libyan jihadis in his announcement that LIFG had joined al-Qa’ida, saying:

  • ‘It is with the grace of God that we were hoisting the banner of jihad against this apostate regime under the leadership of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, which sacrificed the elite of its sons and commanders in combating this regime whose blood was spilled on the mountains of Darnah, the streets of Benghazi, the outskirts of Tripoli, the desert of Sabha, and the sands of the beach.’

  • This 2007 merger meant that the Libyan recruits for Al Qaeda became an increasingly important part of the activity of this organization as a whole, shifting the center of gravity to some degree away from the Saudis and Egyptians who had previously been most conspicuous. As Felter and Fishman comment: Libyan factions (primarily the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) are increasingly important in al-Qa’ida.

The Sinjar Records offer some evidence that Libyans began surging into Iraq in larger numbers beginning in May 2007.


Most of the Libyan recruits came from cities in northeast Libya, an area long known for jihadi-linked militancy.


When Clinton went to Paris to be introduced to the Libyan rebels by Sarkozy, she met the US-educated Libyan opposition leader Mahmoud Jibril, already known to readers of Wikileaks document dumps as a favorite of the US (See here).


While Jibril might be considered presentable in Paris, the real leaders of the Libyan insurrection would appear to be Jalil and Younis, both former ministers under Qaddafi. Jalil seems to be the primus inter pares, at least for the moment:



  • “Mustafa Abdul Jalil or Abdul-Jalil (born 1952) is a Libyan politician. He was the Minister of Justice (unofficially, the Secretary of the General People’s Committee) under Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi. Abdul Jalil has been identified as the Chairman of the National Transitional Council based in Benghazi, although this position is contested by others in the uprising due to his past connections to Gaddafi’s regime.”

  • As for Younis, he has been closely associated with Qaddafi since the 1968-9 seizure of power: “Abdul Fatah Younis is a senior military officer in Libya. He held the rank of General and the post of Minister of Interior, but resigned on Feb 22 2011.” (ibid)

What should concern us most is that both Jalil and Younis come from the Haribi tribe, the dominant one in northeast Libya, and the one that overlaps with al Qaeda. According to Stratfor: The Harabi tribe is a historically powerful umbrella tribe in eastern Libya that saw their influence wane under Col Gadhafi.


The Libyan leader confiscated swaths of tribal members’ land and redistributed it to weaker and more loyal tribes. Many of the leaders now emerging in eastern Libya hail from the Harabi tribe, including the head of the provisional government set up in Benghazi, Abdel Mustafa Jalil, and Abdel Fatah Younis, who assumed a key leadership role over the defected military ranks early in the uprising. This is like a presidential ticket where both candidates are from the same state, except that Libya’s ferocious tribal rivalries make the problem infinitely worse.


This picture of a narrow, sectarian tribal and regional base does not improve when we look at the rebel council as a whole. According to one recent version: The rebel council is chaired by the well-spoken former justice minister for Libya, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, and consists of 31 members, ostensibly representatives from across Libya, of whom many cannot be named for security reasons.



  • The key players on the council, at least those who we know about, all hail from the north-eastern Harabi confederation of tribes.

  • These tribes have strong affiliations with Benghazi that date back to before the 1969 revolution which brought Gaddafi to power. Other accounts agree about the number of representatives: The council has 31 members; the identities of several members has not been made public to protect their own safety.

  • Given what we know about the extraordinary density of LIFG and all Qaeda fanatics in northeast Libya, we are authorized to wonder as to whether so many members of the council are being kept secret in order to protect them from Qaddafi, or whether the goal is to prevent them from being recognized in the west as al Qaeda terrorists or sympathizers. The latter seems to be a more accurate summary of the real state of affairs.

Names released so far include:



  • Mustafa Abduljaleel;

  • Ashour Hamed Bourashed of Darna city;

  • Othman Suleiman El-Megyrahi of the Batnan area;

  • Al Butnan of the Egypt border and Tobruk;

  • Ahmed Abduraba Al-Abaar of Benghazi city;

  • Fathi Mohamed Baja of Benghazi city;

  • Abdelhafed Abdelkader Ghoga of Benghazi city;

  • Omar El-Hariri for Military Affairs;

  • Dr Mahmoud Jibril,

  • Ibrahim El-Werfali

  • Dr Ali Aziz Al-Eisawi for foreign affairs.

The US and European media have not taken the lead in identifying for us the names that are now known, and they above all have not called attention to the majority of the rebel council who are still lurking in the shadows of total secrecy.


We must therefore demand to know how many LIFG and/or al Qaeda members, veterans, or sympathizers currently hold seats on the rebel council.



  • We are witnessing an attempt by the Harabi tribe to seize dominance over the 140 tribes of Libya. The Harabi are already practically hegemonic among the tribes of Cyrenaica. At the center of the Harabi Confederation is the Obeidat tribe, which is divided into 15 sub-tribes. All of this might be of purely academic ethnographic interest, were it not for the fact of the striking overlap between the Harabi tribe and the LIFG and al Qaeda.

  • The political-religious tradition of northeast Libya makes this area such fertile ground for the more extreme Muslim sects and also predisposes it to monarchism rather than to the more modern forms of government favored by Qaddafi.

The relevant regional tradition is that of the Senussi or Sanussi order, an anti-western Moslem sect.


In Libya the Senussi order is closely associated with monarchism, since King Idris I, the ruler installed by the British in 1951 who was overthrown by Gaddafi in 1969, was also the leader of the Senussi order.


The Senussi directed the rebellion against Italian colonialism in the person of Marshal Rodolfo Graziani and his army in the 1930s. Today, the rebels use the monarchist flag, and may advocate the return to the throne of one of the two pretenders to the Idris line. They are far closer to monarchism than to democracy.


There is much more by Webster Tarpley, 3-24-2011, The Rest @ Niqnaq


  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Turkish Pistols Bound for Yemen Caputures in Dubai

Dubai police have seized 16,000 Turkish-made pistols hidden in a sea cargo shipment bound for Yemen, officials said Thursday. Authorities said the guns were headed to Yemen's restive Saada region, where Shiite rebels have fought government forces for years. Dubai's government described the find as the largest arms shipment of its kind discovered in the region. Lt. Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai's police chief, said authorities found the weapons in a red cargo shipping container, hidden behind boxes of furniture wrapped in plastic in a Dubai warehouse about two weeks ago. Police showed photos and a video of thousands of metallic black, silver and gold colored handguns laid out on a concrete parking lot. It was unclear who ordered the shipment. Tamim told reporters it was unlikely the weapons were destined for the Yemeni government because they were counterfeit knockoffs of legitimate brands. He speculated that they might have been bound for Hawthi rebels, a group of Shiite tribesmen that has waged an on-and-off struggle against the government for the last six years. They also could have been ordered by middlemen who planned to sell them one by one, he said. The central government in the capital Sanaa is struggling to exert its authority over Yemen's remote provinces, providing fertile ground for smugglers, al-Qaida militants and other criminals to operate. Tamim said Yemen had a market for illegal firearms. "If you want to sell it, people will buy," he said.

  • The shipment originated in Turkey and passed through an Egyptian port before reaching Dubai's Jebel Ali port, police said.

  • The smugglers had intended to transport the weapons through another Gulf country instead of Dubai but changed their plans to secure a more convenient shipping route, police said.

  • Tamim declined to name the other Gulf country meant to serve as a transport point but said it wasn't Saudi Arabia.

  • He said a number of suspects have been arrested with help from the countries involved.

Jebel Ali is by far the busiest port in the Middle East. It and other Dubai docks serve as major transshipment hubs for cargo traveling between Asia, Europe, Africa and the rest of the Middle East.


Yemen has been embroiled in a month of protests seeking to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for 32 years. A government crackdown on the opposition has killed dozens. Saleh has been under American pressure to curb weapons trafficking in Yemen, where al-Qaida is known to operate.


Emirati authorities last year intercepted one of two mail bombs sent from Yemen to the U.S. in a cargo shipment transiting through Dubai. The other was discovered in Britain.


The Rest @ SIFY News

AQIM Loots Libya SA Missiles moves them to Tenere

Paris, France - The terrorist group Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has taken advantage of the looting of arsenals by insurgents to seize Libya's surface-to-air missiles, which they have transferred to their sanctuary located in Ténéré in the Sahara, according to Chadian President Idriss Deby. 'The Islamists took advantage of the looting of arsenals in the rebel zone to stock up on weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, which they subsequently transferred to their sanctuaries. This is serious,' he warned in an interview published Monday by Jeune Afrique. The Chadian President said that AQIM terrorists were becoming the best equipped army in the entire sub-region by taking advantage of military raids of the international coalition, led by France, against Libya. 'I am utterly sure that AQIM has stocked up on arms from Libya. I ‘am also sure that AQIM has taken an active part in the uprising in Libya. To what extent, I don’t know,' President Déby said. He also warned that the crisis in Libya may affect his country, due to the closeness of the two neighbouring countries.'These are relations between brotherly people, what is happening in Libya may have consequences on Chad,' President Déby said.Pana 29/03/2011

Gagdafi Accused of Supporting Sudan Rebels

March 28, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The chairman of Transitional Darfur Regional Authority (TDRA) slammed the beleaguered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and accused him of being the top supporter of the rebel groups who took arms since 2003 against the central government.



  • West Darfur governor Al-Shertai Ga’far Abdel-Hakam who is also the TDRA head told a forum organized by the National Union of Sudanese youth that Gaddafi provided money and weaponry to rebels in the region as well as the East and the South.

  • He provided no details to back his claims. However, he is the first high ranking Sudanese official to go on the record with these allegations that his peers made privately for years.



  • A failed by attempt by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in May 2008 to take over the capital was blamed on Libyan and French backing.


  • Sudanese media quoted government sources at the time as saying that the financing of the operation was made through the Libyan Sahel-Saharan bank.
Libya is currently hosting JEM leader Ibrahim Khalil after being refused entry by the Chadian authorities last year where he was based. Sudan has sought without success to have Libya expel him. However, it was Gaddafi that pushed the African Union (AU) to grant Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir immunity from arrest in the continent despite an arrest warrant against him issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his alleged role in Darfur war crimes. Gaddafi is fighting an armed rebellion that initially started as a popular uprising in mid-February. The Libyan opposition managed to control most of the Eastern side of the country. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) this month authorized a No-Fly Zone over Libya and using all necessary means to protect civilians. Diplomats at the UN told Reuters last week that Sudan has quietly granted permission for coalition aircraft to use its airspace for enforcement of the No-Fly Zone. BASHIR HEADS TO DOHA The Sudanese president is heading on Tuesday to Qatar for talks with the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani. The Arab Gulf state is hosting peace talks between Khartoum and Darfur rebels for several years but so far little progress was made. Diplomats tell Sudan tribune that Qatari officials are frustrated with what they see as Khartoum’s willingness to offer meaningful concessions for a final peace accord. Specifically the rebels have asked for unifying the three Darfur states as one and giving a Darfuri the post of Vice president something which was categorically rejected by the Sudanese government. A proposal by Khartoum to hold a referendum before May on Darfur’s administrative status, and how it should be governed came under fire from rebels who said it will make negotiations pointless. The Rest @ Sudan Tribune

Monday, March 28, 2011

Somali Refugees Becoming Mercenaries in Yemen?

It is roumered that Somali Refugees are becoming mercenaries in Yemen. Though I think this is not yet wide spread, if true. However, both Yemen government and al Qaeda mercenary recruiters will likely target Somali refugees. Somali refugees have been paying a high price in money and risk of death to cross fromSomalia into Yemen in consistent numbers for many years. Their motivations have been both economic and avoidance of war. It is my belief that it is unlikely that first generation refugees will become mercenaries, except as a last financial resort; however, second generation Somali refugees, aged 9-18 may be motivated to cultivate their prowess as fighters by becoming mercenaries. And their numbers in Yemen are growing. Therefore, it is likely that Somali refugee communities in Yemen will be targeted by both government and al Qaeda organizations. -Shimron *************** Aden — The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says it is concerned by opposition media reports alleging the Yemen government is recruiting Somali refugees as mercenaries to help put down a growing protest movement demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Hala al-Horany, UNHCR protection officer in the southern city of Aden, said the agency had investigated and talked extensively to refugee leaders, but was unable to find even a single anecdotal case of government recruitment among the large Somali refugee population. "We are concerned about this situation and are still following up as this has serious implications for the protection of refugees in the short and long term," Horany told IRIN. "We have also conducted awareness-raising in the communities and warned them against even participating in demonstrations, let alone mercenary activity." The mercenary allegations were reported in opposition media, including TV channel Aden Live, and according to UNHCR had also surfaced on social networks like Facebook. They echo reports from Libya that embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi had recruited foreign fighters, resulting in the persecution of migrants and workers from sub-Saharan Africa accused - by Gaddafi opponents - of supporting the regime. Hali Mahaji Abdi, a community service worker with the development agency ADRA in Basateen, a predominantly Somali-populated district of Aden, told IRIN she had not heard any rumours of recruitment, but dismissed the idea: "There is war in Somalia and we have found freedom in Yemen, how can Somalis come and fight in Yemen?" There are an estimated 181,561 Somali refugees in Yemen, most of them urban-based and granted prima facie refugee status by a government that has adopted an open door policy. Somalia has been riven by conflict since the ousting of former president Siad Barre in 1991. While anti-government protesters in Aden complain bitterly over the alleged heavy-handedness of the security forces in clashes that have left over 20 dead since 16 February, nobody IRIN spoke to mentioned the threat of Somali mercenaries. There was consensus that if recruitment and training was under way it would happen in the remote and mountainous Abyan region in the south, where al-Qaeda is active, and the government has several military bases. Protests threaten Somali livelihoods Saleh is facing growing countrywide opposition to his 32-year rule, particularly among the youth demanding more jobs, a fairer distribution of wealth, and an end to corruption. In Aden, protesters have occupied streets in several districts, throwing up barricades during disturbances, paralysing large parts of the city. That poses problems for Somali refugees who are allowed to work in Yemen, but typically rely on day-to-day earnings as car washers, housemaids or beggars. "Six or seven people rent one room and they try and manage, but rent is expensive [about US$35 per month]. Some women can't go out to work, or come back early for fear of the demonstrations," said Nasiha Omar of INTERSOS, an NGO that runs a drop-in centre for refugees in Basateen. Relevant Links East Africa Somalia International Organisations Refugees Arms and Armies Middle East and Africa Conflict Al-Horany said ADRA has been asked to "be more inclusive" in terms of the targeting of its financial support to refugees, to help deal with any increase in needs. " As anything could happen, we are updating our contingency plan and training the refugees and helping them establish joint committees with our [NGO] partners to run essential services in case the situation blows up," she added. The irony is that if political violence escalates in Aden, there could be an influx of people into apolitical Basateen, seeking stability and functioning services. "In the last few weeks, when roads to the hospitals outside have been blocked, we've seen an influx of Yemenis living in the surrounding areas into Basateen to use the primary health care clinic there," said al-Horany. The Rest @ AllAfrica

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Does Russian Support Gaddafi?

Why Does Russian Support Gaddafi?
Three Reasons.
  • First, an historic defense connection. Gaddafi fashioned a hybrid economy which included many socialist features, which facilitated Libya's cold war strategy. The majority of Libyans military equipment is from the Russian defense industry,
  • Second, Russia sees itself as a a counter-weight against NATO, which is working to defend the Libyan rebels.
  • Third Gazprom The FSB -Laced multi-national Russian oil company Begin exploring an oil field asst swap with Libya last year.

The pensions of many KGB agents depend of Gazprom profits, and they will lose influence and oil field assets if Gaddafi leaves the scene.

-Shimron Issachar

Shabaab Training Camp in Laanta Buro village

Al Shabaab governor of Lower Shabelle region Sheikh Mohammed Abu Abdullah called for youths to attend the regional training camps.
  • One camp is in Laanta Buro village, outside of Afgoi, about 40 km south of Mogadishu.
  • The training camps provide weapons to fighters and teach courses on improvised explosive device (IED) construction.
  • Abdullah also announced the opening of a training camp for elders.[10]

The Defense Minister for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), Abdihakim Mohamud Fiqi, said that Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Djibouti had offered to deploy troops to Somalia as part of AMISOM.[11]


Clashes between African troops and al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu on Sunday left at least one dead and seven others injured. [12] Ethiopian troops pulled out of the Gedo region towns of Beled Hawo and Luq and returned to Ethiopia on Sunday.[13]

  • Fighting broke out in the al Shabaab controlled town of Dhobley in Lower Jubba region as Somali forces returned from training in Kenya.
  • The clash resulted in the deaths of at least ten and injured five others. Al Shabaab remained in control of Dhobley.

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Abu Mus’ab, al Shabaab’s military spokesman, claimed that Kenyan forces aided Somali troops in Dhobley. “We can assure that Kenyan forces were aiding the TFG and its allied militias attacked us and we defeated them,” he said. “The Kenyan forces also shelled the town they targeted civilian houses.”[14]


The Lower Jubba region of Dif was deserted on Saturday by al Shabaab fighters that had claimed the territory the previous week. No fighting had occurred in the village to force al Shabaab out. Locals speculated that the threat of gathering Somali forces on the outskirts of Dif influenced the group’s decision to vacate.[15]

Deputy Minister of Sports and Labor Abdirashid Mohammed Hidig reported that Somali troops were in the Lower Jubba region and were prepared to take on al Shabaab. He also announced plans for TFG forces to take the village of Dif. On Mogadishu, Hidig said, “Bakara is a military base of the rebel groups; they are responsible for the closure of Bakara Market, not AMISOM and Somali Transitional Federal Government.”[16]

Puntland Attorney General Mohamoud Hassan Aw Osman narrowly escaped injury after a remote controlled roadside bomb detonated outside of his vehicle on Saturday in the city of Galkayo. At least four people were injured in the attack that Puntland authorities believe al Shabaab to be behind.[17]

Al Shabaab released a statement describing the punishment of two adulterers in Sako in the Lower Jubba region. The group also described a meeting in Banadir region with Mudulud clan elders in which the elders agreed to support al Shabaab until foreign troops left the country.[18]

The Rest @ Critical Threats

Monday, March 21, 2011

Al Shabaab Forces Koranic Teachers to Enlist Their Children

NAIROBI, 21 March 2011 (IRIN) - With the escalation of fighting across Somalia since January, armed groups have reportedly recruited more child soldiers to their ranks, some even forcing teachers to enlist pupils.

In a recent offensive against rebel groups in Bulo Hawo town on the border with Kenya, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stated on 17 March, "...children were involved as fighters and a significant number of them were killed. According to reports, intense fighting in the area between Dhusamareb and Ceel bur in Galgadud has also resulted in many child casualties.” "The TFG [Transitional Federal Government] forces, their allies, the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama, and Al-Shabab are all engaged in the recruitment.

  • Al-Shabab [the largest armed opposition group] is the biggest culprit," said an official working with an NGO that monitors the state of children in the country.
  • The official, who asked not to be named, did not suggest the African Union's TFG-supporting military mission in Somalia, AMISOM, was also using children.
  • He said although the exact number of child soldiers was unknown, his group suspected between 2,000 and 3,000 children were in different armed groups. He added that Al-Shabab was forcing Koranic and other teachers to bring their charges to be trained.

"We have noticed a major increase in the recruitment of children since January 2011. It coincided with the current escalation of fighting in Mogadishu and parts of south and central Somalia."

"Putting children in the line of fire, killing and maiming them in the context of an armed conflict are among the most serious violations of international law which all parties to the conflict are expected to uphold. The use and recruitment of children under the age of 15 years is a war crime,"

-said UNICEF Representative to Somalia, Rozanne Chorlton.

The TFG denied it recruited children into its forces. "This government, as a policy, does not recruit nor does it encourage the recruitment of children into the military," government spokesman, Abdi Haji Gobdon, told IRIN. He said that whenever an underage child was found among government forces they were immediately released and sent back to their families.

Gobdon invited anyone or any group interested "to go to any government military facility and see for themselves".

Missing

Hawa* is a 40-year-old mother of four, whose 13-year-old son was forcibly recruited. "I have been looking for him for the past 15 days," she told IRIN from a camp for the displaced on the outskirts of Mogadishu.

Officials say Al-Shabab, the largest armed opposition group, is the biggest culprit in the recruitment of child soldiers (file photo)Hawa said Al-Shabab took her son.

"I finally got a call from him on Tuesday night [15 March] and I could hear gunfire. He was in a fight. He is too young to be there. I want them to release my boy." Hawa said she was not the only parent in that situation.

"Many mothers are like me. They are looking for their little ones. Mine does not even look like a 13-year-old. He is too small. How can they take him?"

Jailed The NGO official said children who were not recruited faced other problems as government security forces in the capital, Mogadishu, were reportedly picking up children on suspicion that they "may be working for Al-Shabab”. "

  • There are a large number of children in government jails, simply because someone suspected that the child could be a militant," he said.
  • The official claimed he had evidence that many of the young people killed by government and AMISOM troops were children brought from Jowhar [90km north of Mogadishu].
  • In camps where tens of thousands of displaced are sheltering, or in hospitals in Mogadishu, the "vast majority are children", the official said.

"Unfortunately, there is no safe place for them anywhere in this country." UNICEF also said it was worried about reports of children captured by the TFG and its allies after the fighting in Bulo Hawa.

“No detailed information is yet available on the conditions under which they are being held but UNICEF is making efforts to find out more, in order to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection.”

Recruitment "widespread" In an April 2010 report, the UN said research in June 2009 confirmed that the recruitment of children had become more systematic and widespread. The report says all sides, including the TFG, were recruiting children.

A local journalist, who requested anonymity, told IRIN many displaced families were sending their children to refugee camps in Kenya or to safe parts of Somalia for fear they would be forcibly recruited. "They [parents] cannot protect them," the journalist said. "

Any parent who tries risks losing his or her life.” According to UN estimates, at least 2.4 million Somalis need help across Somalia. These include IDPs in areas controlled by Al-Shabab: 410,000 in the Afgoye Corridor, 15,200 in the Balad corridor [30km north of Mogadishu] and 55,000 in Dayniile, northwest of Mogadishu. Some 600,000 Somalis are refugees in neighbouring countries.

The Rest @ IRIN

Al-Shabaab Planned to Bomb East AFrica Clubs On New Year's Day

Kenya: Al-Shabaab 'Had Planned to Bomb Popular Clubs On New Year's Day'
20 March 2011

Share:Nairobi — On New Year's Eve, as Kenyans partied to usher in 2011, security agencies were having a nightmare. There was credible intelligence that terrorists were likely to strike at some party joints on the stroke of midnight.

The authorities had intercepted this communication, but they did not have the finer details. Two hours to midnight, a contact in the terror network called, saying an al-Shabaab strike was imminent.

The contact did not elaborate, but said that this was the message from one of the Mombasa-based overlords. A source in the police circles said they had learnt of the plot by midday on December 31.

Intelligence gathered by the police, the anti-terror squad and the CID showed that the al-Qaeda-backed Somali militant group had planned simultaneous attacks in:

  • Uganda's Kampala,
  • Kenya's Malindi and Mombasa,
  • Burundi's Bujumbura

The targets in Kenya were said to be a popular casino in Malindi and two nightclubs in Mombasa. Without raising the alarm, security agencies maintained a tight vigil on these places.


Other prominent clubs and hotels in Nairobi and at the Coast were also put under increased surveillance. Somehow, Kenya survived.

According to an insider familiar with the recent terrorist activities in the Horn of Africa, the strategy used by the security agents was to make the militants aware that their plan had leaked.
They do this by identifying a fringe member of the group and telling him to pass the message to the leaders.

"That way, they panic and they can quickly change plans the way they did by bombing Kampala Coach in Nairobi (instead of a target in Kampala), after the Uganda authorities issued an alert and stepped up their vigilance," said the source who cannot be named.

Or they simply shelve the plan, the way they did with strikes planned at the height of the controversy surrounding the fiery Jamaican cleric, Sheikh Abdullah al-Faisal."

Back to the New Year's Eve al-Shabaab plot. Uganda too, had put in place elaborate measures since the Kampala Coach attack on December 20.

The country has been on al-Shabaab's revenge list following its move to send troops to beef up the African Union peace-keeping mission in war-torn Somalia.
Relevant Links

It was attacked on July 11, when an Islamist militant exploded bombs in two Kampala venues as soccer fans watched the finals of the World Cup being played in South Africa, killing 80 people and injuring scores of others.

Revenge list

  • On December 29, three people suspected of being members of al-Shabaab were arrested as they attempted to enter Uganda from Kenya.
  • But Burundi, also on al- Shabaab's revenge list because of the AU troops in Somalia, was unlucky.
  • On New Year's Day, a grenade exploded in Bujumbura, killing three people and wounding three others.
  • Army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza was quoted saying that another grenade went off at Buyenzi in the outskirts of Bujumbura. One person died and five were seriously injured.

For now, the threat of the al-Shabaab militants striking remains real within the region based on the porous border between Kenya and Somalia and the influx of refuge

Rest @ All Africa

The Arab League Provides Cover Dafur Atrocities

The Arab League is hurting Darfur
كُتب يوم 18.03.2011 بواسطة jem

Jimmy Mulla*
September 21, 2006 — The Arab League charter says the organization is a voluntary association of independent countries whose peoples are mainly Arabic speaking. The league’s stated purposes are to strengthen ties among these states, coordinate their policies, and promote their common interests.But when it comes to the Western Sudan region of Darfur, the Arab League uses its charter only to promote the interest of Sudan’s National Congress Party and its proxy militias.

The Darfur conflict is viewed by the Arab League as the conflict of an Arab member state verses a foreign entity within its borders. The league has all along sided with Sudan’s Arab-dominated government, against the Darfur people of African origin who speak Arabic (the same scenario as that of Southern Sudan). The Arab League is, by its preferential treatment of Khartoum, assisting in destruction of Darfur.

Since the latest conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region started in 2003, more than 300,000 people have died and over 2.5 million have been displaced.Although these staggering statistics are comparable to or higher than those affecting other Arab or Muslim people, the Arab League has been silent, or downplayed the seriousness of the situation.

Unlike other conflicts in the Middle East, major Arab media have not focused on the crisis in Darfur. Scenes of the human catastrophe never shows up on TV screens regularly, nor do reports on the conflict surface on major newspaper headlines, as has been the case with the recent war in Lebanon, the war in Iraq or other related conflicts in the Middle East. The Arab League continues to deny that any massacres have taken place in Darfur. It objects to any outside help for the people of Darfur under the pretext that the genocide taking place is an “internal” affair of an Arab country.

The Arab League continues to provide diplomatic cover and to deter or hamper progress being made by the international community to end the crisis. It has continued to support Khartoum’s diplomatic propaganda without questioning its merits. In 2004, the Arab League’s Commission of Inquiry produced a report condemning the human rights violations by pro-government militias in Darfur, but after protest from the government of Sudan, the league decided to sweep the findings under a rug.

Since the UN Security Council began to weigh options for a possible UN peacekeeping mission to Darfur, diplomatic foul play was adopted as policy by the league. In March 2006, in the Khartoum summit, Arab leaders worked against a plan to transform the African Union (AU) Mission in Darfur into a United Nations protection force with a mandate to protect civilians.Instead, the league came up with a plan for extending the AU mission that was not feasible at the time.

Earlier this month, a resolution passed by the Arab League’s Council of Foreign Ministers called for the UN Security Council to give the Sudanese government more time to implement its “plan to improve conditions and preserve security” in Darfur. Now, with the UN set to send peacekeeping forces to Darfur under Resolution 1706, the Arab League is engaged in behind-the-scenes witch hunting efforts.

According to the Arab League psyche – that of Arab/Islamist domination – although the people in Darfur are Arab-speaking, and living in Sudan – an Arab country — the fact that they are of African origin disqualifies them from any consideration under the charter. As it wrestles with ways to implement resolution 1706, the international community should be aware of the bias against black, African Arab-speaking people by the Arab League. The Arab League views the people of Darfur not as victims of Khartoum’s genocide, but as foreigners with no right to their own land. This bigotry is a tremendous obstacle in the path of implementing Resolution 1706. It is Killing Darfur


The Rest @ SudanJEM by Jimmy Mulla

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys Prouodly Recruits Child Soldiers

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, top Al-Shabaab militia's commander confirmed that his group is using underage children in their fight against Somali Transitional Government.
  • "We recruit underage children to fight for us, the children are ready to die for their country and religion" said Sheikh Aweys while addressing people in a mosque at Elasha Biyaha camps in outskirt of Mogadishu, the restive capital of Somalia.
  • He adds they will continue recruiting underage children to fight against Somali government forces and African Union troops.
"There was an incident where 13 year fighter shocked when he heard the loud sounds of the artillery while he was fighting and he said the fighting is terrible but the Jihad is sweet and later he was dead in the clashes," said Aweys.

Human Right Agencies alleged Somali Islamic militants force hundreds of children to serve as soldiers in Somalia, and the international community called on the Somali Islamist not to use children in the fighting.

Somali radical Islamist insurgents are well-known turning children of soccer to fighters, but Aweys is the first commander, who assured that his group use underage children as fighters.

Aweys was former leader of Hizbul Islam militias before they joined Al-Shabaab radical militants late last year.

Al-Shabaab, is fighting to overthrow the Somali government backed by African Union troops to control the country and set up a strict Islamic state.

The militias control much of central and southern regions including large parts of the capital Mogadishu.

The Rest @ AllAfrica

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aleged AQIM Assassins on Trail for Christopher Leggett Murder

NOUAKCHOTT (Reuters) - A Mauritanian prosecutor on Monday requested the death penalty against three alleged members of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, suspected in the murder of American NGO worker Christopher Leggett in June 2009.

The suspects,
  • Mohamed Abdallahi Ould Ahmednah,
  • Sidi Mohamed Ould Bezeid and
  • Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Khouna,

have all denied the charges.

Leggett, 39, was working for an NGO called Noura and was the director of a language and computer school in Nouackchott, the capital of the north African country.

Al Qaeda's branch in North Africa (AQIM) had claimed responsibilty for the killing, saying they shot Leggett because he was trying to convert Muslims to Christianity.

Mauritania is among several countries in the Sahara region where al Qaeda-linked fighters have raised their profiles with a series of attacks and kidnappings.

AQIM grew out of the militant Salafist movement in Algeria and has moved south where it is taking advantage of the vast and lawless desert sahel regions of Mauritania, Mali and Niger.

The Rest @ Reuters, Africa

Saleh Kamel Moves to Strengthen Ikhwan ( Muslim Brotherhood ) in Egypt

Saleh Kamel, non-warrior but still an Islamist who lives and integrated life. His busines, religion and politics are united in pricniple. He is Muslim Brotherhood business supporter, and he is opening a 100 Million Euro bank in Egyp. This venture will significantly strengethen the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Saleh Kamel is a well established supporter of Ikhwan business ventures world wide, including Islamic Banking.

  • He supports the spread of Sharia world wide, and is the most worlds' most powerful Islamist banker.
  • He does not overtly fund jihad, but as a supporter of Sharia, he has been instrumental in building an Islamic global financial structure, which enables Jihadsts to move outside Western Finanacial structures more and more often.
  • He was the first proponent and catalyst behind the emerging Certified Islamic Public Accountant credential.
  • When effective Generally Acceptable Accounting Pracitices (GAAP) are established for the CIPA, a new and separate finanacial accountability standard will be established.

This new Sharia standard will institutionalize a sharia tax called Zakat tax. Zakat is an admirable benevolence system that uses the tax for a number of good purposes. Unfortunately, it also can provide for funding Jihad. The giver can be separated from the receiver making the use of the tax less than trasparent.

The Zakat is collected, and Islamic banks have accounts set up for the collectors of Zakat. Some accounts are co-mingled, or dedicated to Jihad, like Account 98.

Therefore, if an Islamic Student group in the US collects donations to support Tsunami Victims in Indonesia, when the funds arrive in country it is perfectly ethical under Islamic Law and tradition to use the funds to equip and Pay Jihadists defneding of expanding the Ummah.

In this context, read the following news story -

Saleh Kamel, non-warrior but still an Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood business supporter, opens 100 Million Euro bank in Egyp. This venture will signficantly strengethern the Muslim Brotherhhod in Egypt.

-Shimron

*********

1 billion EGP Bank to be established in Egypt, Saleh Kamel says

H.E Sheikh Saleh Kamel, President of Islamic Chamber of Commerce& Industry (ICCI) and Head of Saudi Council of Chambers of Commerce& Industry unveiled his plans of the initiative to establish the first Bank for Development and direct investment in Egypt, with registered capital of 100 billion pounds ($170 million) with the participation of Saudi and Egyptian businessmen.

Kamel announced during a meeting held by the Egyptian Businessmen's Association headed by Hussien Sabour said the bank "would be the first of its kind in the Arab unity and that it targets high-risk development projects and elimination of unemployment in Egypt."He added that businessmen have the chance to participate in the establishment of this bank.

He did not exclude the contribution of the government funds from two sides, pointing out that the Bank’s establishment depends on the completion of the governmental measures. Kamel outlined that the Saudi investment assets in Egypt have not been affected thanks to the staff, while the investment operating losses increased as a result of a slump in tourism and sales.For his part, Abdullah bin Sadek Dahlan, a Jeddah Chamber of Commerce board member and president of the Saudi-Egyptian Business Council said that the investment climate in Egypt is still in the forefront of the Arab markets in spite of the current conditions, pointing out that the Saudi investment in Egypt still exist seeks to achieve further development.

Osama Saleh, Chairman of General Authority for Investments and Free Zones said that Saudi investments comes on top of Arab countries investing in Egypt and the second largest investor in the world, pointing out that the General Investment Authority is seeking in the coming period to focus on supporting the policy of free economy.

The Rest @ ICCOnline

Hamammi May Be Alive

An American citizen who serves as a senior Shabaab military commander and propagandist is thought to be still alive, US intelligence officials told The Long War Journal, disputing a report from last week by a Somali official claiming that Hammami had been killed.

"Our assessment is Hammami is not dead, at least we see no evidence of it," a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal, referring to Omar Hammami, the American from Alabama who is better known as Abu Mansour al Amriki.

Hamammi was reported to have been killed sometime during the last month in heavy fighting in Mogadishu and the surrounding areas, Somalia's defense minister told The Associated Press on March 8. But the defense minister did not present any evidence of Hammami's death. Also, Shabaab did not announce Hammami's death.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal on March 8, the date of the initial report, would not confirm Hammami's death.

The Rest @ The Long War Journal

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Nigerias Boko Haram Continues Assasinations

In the midst of Libya’s protests, I don’t want to neglect stories taking place elsewhere in Africa. For today, I’d like to give an update on the activities of Boko Haram, the Muslim rebel group in Nigeria’s north east.

When I last wrote on the subject earlier this month, I said that Boko Haram’s foray into political assassinations as well as its continued attacks on security personnel threatened to disrupt the elections in the north east.

I added that with turmoil elsewhere in the country, such as the Christian-Muslim conflict in Plateau State, Boko Haram’s guerrilla tactics were straining the capabilities of Nigerian security forces to respond to the country’s different crises.

  • Meanwhile, Boko Haram’s career of violence is threatening to exacerbate Christian-Muslim tensions in Nigeria.
  • For their part, Nigerian authorities have kept on trying to dismantle the movement.
  • Boko Haram’s latest killings include two policemen shot over the past week.
  • At least one of the attacks followed Boko Haram’s pattern of dispatching two-man motorcycle teams to murder their victims.
  • Boko Haram was also apparently involved in a recent attack on a church in Maiduguri.
  • This assault follows incidents last Christmas Eve where three churches were hit in Maiduguri.
  • Bloomberg’s Dulue Mbachu argues that Boko Haram’s attacks on Christians could inflame national rivalries between Christians and Muslims.

Increasing population growth and the southward drive of the Sahara desert have pushed Muslim farming and herding communities up against non-Muslims, sparking heightened competition for land and resources. That has fueled conflict along religious lines, said Peter Egom, an analyst at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs in Lagos, the commercial capital“These people are now using violence on a religious platform to address their social and economic exclusion,” he said.

In the north, Boko Haram is capitalizing on an upsurge in religious tension since Jonathan, a native of the Niger River delta who took office in May after the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim, won the nomination of the ruling People’s Democratic Party. That violated a party rule to rotate the presidency between the north and the south.

Explicit Christian-Muslim conflict involving Boko Haram could push Boko Haram into an even more politicized role this election season.

The State Responds

  • The Nigerian state continues to investigate and attack Boko Haram. Police raids and clashes with Boko Haram have yielded weapons caches belonging to the group and have caused several deaths among suspected members.
  • The military leadership says its strategy is evolving, and that it is committed to finding a solution to the problem in the north east: “We recently changed our strategy and we will continue to do so, until we succeed in all the places we are having challenges, including Borno, Bauchi and Plateau States.
  • Part of the success is that the military and other security agencies impounded several arms and ammunitions in Maiduguri recently,” [Air Marshal Oluseyi Petinrin] said.
  • He added that the military would continue to ensure the integrity of the nation by recruiting and re-training credible manpower, that would handle the task of ensuring national security.“We are going to change the way we operate. It will be aggressive, but people should bear with us. I want to call on the people of the state, not to panic because the military and other security agents deployed to the state are working together to ensure that peace returns very soon,” he added.
  • Petinrin’s frankness and determination show how seriously the Nigerian government is taking the challenge of Boko Haram. But Boko Haram’s guerrilla tactics have thus far made it difficult for authorities, even though they possess superior firepower, to make much headway in defeating Boko Haram

The Rest @ The Sahel Blog

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Million Protesters in Yemen

Tue Mar 8, 2011About one million people have staged a protest in southern Yemen, as forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh have killed a boy and injured several others.

The 12-year-old Omar Atta died in hospital in Yemen's southern province of Ibb on Monday night after sustaining a gunshot injury, Reuters reported.

The incident occurred after Saleh loyalists stormed an anti-government protest camp, also wounding around 60 people in the attack.Almost one million protesters marched through the streets of Ibb on Tuesday to condemn the attack."My son sacrificed himself, this is my family's gift to the revolution in Yemen," Omar's father said in a tearful speech to protesters in Ibb on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, heavy security forces and armored vehicles were deployed across the capital to guard the Sana'a University, which has been the epicenter of anti-government protests for the last two weeks.Tanks were stationed in main streets leading to the presidential palace, while armored vehicles were deployed to guard foreign embassies, banks and governmental compounds.

On Tuesday, large numbers of security forces were also deployed in nearly all major cities rocked by protests, especially in the southern provinces, where anti-government sentiments have been on the rise.

On Monday, President Saleh called for a national-dialogue conference in an attempt to end the impasse with the opposition, which was rejected by the opposition's rotating President Yaseen Saeed Noman.

Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in the Yemeni government's violent crackdown on anti-regime protests.

Source: PressTV.Link: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/168887.html.

Iranian Arms Capured in Nigeria Intended for The Gambia

According to Vanguard Newspaper, A Nigerian, Alli Abass Jega, standing trial alongside Azim Aghajani, an Iranian, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, for arms importation yesterday, told the court that he (Jega) was misled by Aghajani to use his name and office address to bring in the seized consignments of arms and ammunition.

Jega and Aghajani are both facing a fresh four-count charge for alleged illegal importation, without licence, of 13 container loads of firearms and ammunition into Nigeria from Iran in contravention of Section 1 (14) of the Firearms Act, Cap MI7, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

During a cross-examination, yesterday, the prosecution witness, Mr. Charles Okpekor, who was cross-examined by the defence counsel, said Jega had claimed ignorance of the content of the13 container loads of arms and ammunition imported into the country from Iran last October.Part of Jega statement, read:
  • “they (Masud and Aghajani) asked me to allow them used my name and the address to send the goods in transit to Nigeria, before being cleared for The Gambia.
  • Masud and Aghajani thus deceived me into using my name and office address to send weapons instead of building materials they dubiously mentioned to me.”
  • Further hearing in the matter was adjourned till March 21 and 22 for continuation of trial.

The Rest @ Forya Online

Friday, March 11, 2011

European Operatives being Recruited by AQIM

BEIRUT, Lebanon, March 10 (UPI) -- European security authorities are concerned about reports that al-Qaida and its North African affiliate, determined to strike the United States and its allies, are recruiting European operatives able to blend into Western societies and evade capture.

France's Le Figaro newspaper recently cited French intelligence sources as saying that 100 such recruits are undergoing training in camps along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.
  • The newspaper said French authorities were on alert for attacks and noted that 14 French citizens were among Europeans undergoing training by al-Qaida in late 2010.
  • French President Nicolas Sarkozy declared war on the jihadist group in North Africa, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, in July 2010 after it beheaded a 78-year-old French captive, Michel Germaneau.
  • He was killed after an abortive attempt by French Special Forces to rescue him in the Sahara Desert in Mali. Six AQIM fighters were shot dead in the attack.
  • AQIM has stepped up its attacks on French nationals in northwest African, kidnapping at least eight and killing three

In January, Osama bin Laden threatened attacks on France, "on different fronts, inside and outside of France."

The last major successful terrorist attack in France was in 1995, when Algeria's Armed Islamic Group, or GIA, from which AQIM emerged two years ago, carried out a bombing campaign against the transportation system and tourist sites.


The jihadists' most innovative, and potentially most lethal, operation in France was on Dec. 24, 1994, during the Algerian civil war. Four GIA members in Algerian police uniforms hijacked a Paris-bound Air France Airbus 300 at Houari Boumedienne Airport in Algiers, killed three passengers and forced the pilot to fly the jetliner to Marseille.There they ordered the aircraft loaded with fuel and planned to crash it into the Eiffel Tower in Paris -- a forerunner of al-Qaida's Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.The plot failed when French counter-terrorism police stormed the aircraft and killed all four hijackers.


In December 2010, police forces across Western Europe arrested dozens of suspects amid warnings of continent-wide terrorist attacks hatched in Pakistan. No major attack took place and there was speculation that authorities had been spooked by faulty intelligence.


But Western intelligence sources insist that al-Qaida is planning attacks in the West that go beyond the amateurish lone-wolf type of attacks that have occurred in recent months in the United States.

The report also supported the belief among Western intelligence services that the focal point of this threat is Pakistan, now the major battleground in the war against al-Qaida.

The increase in such activity observed in recent months has occurred at a time when al-Qaida has been re-energized by the gathering of a new field leadership comprising veteran commanders drawn from other regions, many with their eyes on hitting the West hard.


These include such notorious figures as

  • Mohammed Ilyas Kashmiri, a 45-year-old Pakistani who fought India in Kashmir for years and now heads bin Laden's Lashkar-e Zil, or Shadow Army. Kashmiri, who joined al-Qaida in 2005, is also closely connected to bin Laden's notorious Brigade 313, one of the key components of the Lashkar-e Zil. According to the CIA, "the footprints of Brigade 313 are now in Europe."
  • Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian, and other seasoned jihadists from Iran, where they were reportedly held under varying degrees of restriction since late 2001. Adel, a former Egyptian Special Forces colonel and considered one of bin Laden's most able lieutenants, is reported to be currently operating in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan and planning major strikes against the West.

Syed Saleem Shahzad of Asia Times Online, who has access to jihadist circles in Pakistan and Afghanistan, reported in January that al-Qaida was planning to infiltrate white Westerners, all converts to Islam, into their home countries "to spread the flames of the South Asian war theater to the West."

  • The Westerners include a group of 12 Canadians said to be undergoing terrorist training in jihadist camps in North Waziristan. Others reportedly include Americans, Britons and Germans.
  • Taliban sources said the Canadian group is led by a 30-year-old known by his nom de guerre of Abu Shahid. He converted to Islam in 2007.Read more:

The Rest @ UPI

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Shabaab Operating In Kenya, as their defeated foreign fighters Flee South

Note the names of al Shabaab Hit Squad entering Kenya.

-Shimron

*************

Police yesterday released the identities of nine suspected terrorists operating between Kenya and Somalia as al Shabaab announced it was considering carrying out attacks in Nairobi.

Police deputy spokesman Charles Owino Wahong'o said the nine had received military training by the militia group. He said police require the help of the public to arrest the suspects who have since gone into hiding.

Two of the suspects,
  • David Kahuho Wangechi also known as Yusuf
  • John Mwanzia Ngui otherwise known as Yahya are believed to have been responsible for the grenade attack on two traffic police officer on Thika Road in December last year.

    Other suspects were identified as
  • Abbas Mwai
  • Juma Daud Abdirahman
  • Duda Brown
  • Duda Black
  • Hussein Mwai
  • Osodo and Ibrahim Ruta who are said to be in Somalia.

Owino said anti-terrorism police were on high alert to make sure the country was not attacked following several threats by terrorists.

Addressing Muslim faithful at a mosque in the Somali capital Mogadishu, Muktar Robow Al Mansur, a key commander of the Islamist group yesterday said the Kenyan government has failed to respond to a call asking it not to interfere in Somali affairs.

Sheikh Mansur said their attempts to convince the Kenyan government have fallen on deaf ears and now warrants possible military retaliation. He accused the Kenyan government of harbouring Ethiopian troops and forces allied to the Somali government. Robow also accused the Kenyan government of arresting civilians and branding them as members of the group.

The latest threat comes barely a week after Al Shabaab spokeman, Sheikh Mohamoud Rage, issued a warning to Kenya that it "will pay the price for allowing Ethiopian and Somali government to use Kenyan soil as launch pad for attacks". The group has previously threatened Kenya for training Somali government forces.

While the past threats have been general, yesterday the group specifically mentioned Nairobi as a target of a possible attack. "Kenya has constantly disturbed us, and now it should face the consequences of allowing Ethiopian troops to attack us from Mandera," said Rage

In a rejoinder, the Department of Defense spokesman Bogita Ongeri, who spoke to the Star, rubbished the accusation and threats by al Shabaab. He said the Kenyan military has sealed the border with Somalia and the county was prepared to thwart any attempts to carry out attacks.

"Al Shabaab has been threatening us for no apparent reason. It is a balatant propaganda that we allowed in foreign troops. We have our own soldiers at the border, as we respect the sovereignty of other countries we will also wish the same to be accorded to us," said Ongeri.

The Rest @ AllAfrica

Defeated Al Shabaab May Be Crossing Into Kenya

Somalia's al Shabaab rebels are on the verge of being defeated after a four-year insurgency and could be driven out of the capital Mogadishu, the country's president said.

Troops backed by pro-government militia took two towns from the Islamist group, which claims ties to al Qaeda, in fighting on Monday, said President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, clad in the military uniform he has worn since the government launched its offensive.

Battles have raged across central and southern Somalia in recent weeks as Somali troops backed by the moderate Ahlu Sunna Waljamaca militia struggle to reclaim territory from al Shabaab. "Al Shabaab is on the verge of collapse," the president told reporters.

"We shall also sweep them from Mogadishu. Our enemies have suffered a great loss, it is obvious they will run away from many towns."Residents said al Shabaab had deserted more towns after it was rumoured the Ethiopian and Somali troops had advanced further. Ahmed said on Saturday his fighters were receiving logistical help from Ethiopian troops.

  • Kenyan police said suspected al Shabaab rebels had entered Kenya and warned the public to be on alert and provide any information to aid in arresting them.
  • The rebels who crossed the border were fleeing the fighting in Somalia, Kenyan authorities said.
  • They are concerned because the Islamists have threatened to strike at Kenya to punish the east African country for training hundreds of new recruits to bolster Somali troop numbers.
  • Kenya has been twice hit by al Qaeda. The militants have waged an insurgency against the largely ineffective UN-backed government and control large chunks of southern and central Somalia.
  • Counter-terrorism experts say the lawless nation is a haven for foreign jihadists. In the past few weeks, Somali forces have clawed back parts of Mogadishu and now control 70% of the city, the government says.

Government soldiers captured Luq, 80 km (50 miles) from the Ethiopian border, and Elwaq, a frontier town close to Kenya after taking Beledhawo over the weekend. "We have taken Luq town after a brief fight. Al Shabaab has fled," Abdi Fatah Mohamed Gesey, former governor for Bay region, told Reuters by telephone from the agricultural town.

The Rest @ Reuters


"We will not stop our operations against al Shabaab. The residents have warmly welcomed us and our next stop will be Baidoa." Sustained clashes over the past week have focused on the capital and Somalia's southern border with Kenya. Government troops and African Union peacekeepers say they have inflicted heavy losses on al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu, but have also sustained some casualties.

"Our troops have captured Elwaq, nine km from the Kenyan border, peacefully," Colonel Mahamud Ali Shire told Reuters by telephone. "They run away from the town. We are now headed for Garbaharey, we have heard their last convoy has left for Bardhere to keep their foreign fighters safe, but we will not for a minute stop our fight against them." (Reuters)

Abu Mansur Amriki (Hammi) May be Dead After Al Shababb Defeats

An American citizen who holds a senior military leadership position in Shabaab, al Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, is thought to have been killed during the recent fighting in the warn-torn country.

Omar Hammami, the American citizen who is a commander in Shabaab and who is better known as Abu Mansour al Amriki, may have been killed during the heavy fighting in Mogadishu and the surrounding areas, Somalia's defense minister told The Associated Press.

The defense minister said the report is unconfirmed but intelligence reports indicate he was killed.

Shabaab has not released a statement announcing his death. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal said they were aware of the reports but could not confirm Hammami's status.

Hammami is a US citizen from Alabama who converted to Islam and then traveled to Somalia in 2006. Once in Somalia, he quickly rose through the ranks, and now serves as a military commander. He is one of the many foreign commanders who hold senior leadership positions in Shabaab, which is al Qaeda's affiliate in East Africa. Hammami is one of 14 people indicted by the US Justice Department in August 2010 for providing material support to Shabaab.

Hammami also began appearing in Shabaab propaganda tapes. In one tape, released in May 2010, Hammami stressed that Shabaab's war is not confined to Somalia but is global in nature. "From Somalia and Shiishaan (Chechnya), from Iraq and Afghanistan, gonna meet up in the Holy Lands, establishing Allah's Law on the land," Hammami says in a chorus repeated throughout the song. Hammami and others identify their enemy as the "salib," or crusaders.

Two weeks ago, the Somali government, backed by Ugandan and Burundian forces in the African Union, as well as Ethiopia, launched an offensive against Shabaab. Somalia's President, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, claimed yesterday that Shabaab "is on the verge of collapse" after the terror group has been driven out of several strongholds in the capital of Mogadishu as well as in the Gedo region on the Kenyan border.

The government claimed that Shabaab has lost more than 500 fighters during the offensive. But the African Union has suppressed information about heavy casualties to its own forces. Last week, it was reported that 53 African Union troops were killed during the fighting. No estimates on the number of Somali troops killed have been released.


The Rest @ by Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal

Azim Aghajani, Quds Chife in Africa, Accused of Deception in Arms Trafficking

A Nigerian on trial over an arms shipment seized in Lagos told authorities an alleged Iranian Revolutionary Guard member lied to him about the containers' contents, court documents said Tuesday.

In his statement made to secret police and read out in court, Ali Abbas Jega said that his co-accused, Azim Aghajani, "deceived" him into believing that the consignment contained building materials.

"Azim duped and deceived me to use my office address to receive the consignment ... he told me they were building materials and not weapons," the statement said.

Jega's lawyer, Aliyu Musa Yawuri, also told the court that documents indicated the shipment was wrongly routed to Nigeria.

"They were meant for Gambia," he stated.

Iran has already said the shipment was destined for Gambia and was part of an agreement between the two countries, but Banjul has denied being the intended recipient and has severed ties with Tehran.

Senegal has also cut ties with Iran and expressed concern that the weapons could have ended up in the hands of rebels in its south.

The two accused are on trial together in a Nigerian court for allegedly importing bombs, grenades and rockets sent from Iran and seized in October at a Lagos port.

The prosecution accuses the two suspects of illegally importing them and say the weapons were under their control. They are also accused of having falsely declared the 13 containers as building materials.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to four counts against them.

The case has drawn international attention because it may constitute a violation of UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

Nigeria has reported the seizure to the UN Security Council, which has approved four sets of sanctions against Iran, including a ban on arms sales.

A UN panel of experts on sanctions on Iran was in Nigeria earlier this year to investigate the weapons shipment.

The judge adjourned the trial until March 21, when prosecutors are expected to question additional witnesses

The Rest @ AFP

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Impact of Libya's Credibility Loss in Africa

The fall of oppressive North African Regimes in Tunisia and Egypt came suddenly, and the impact on Africa will unfold over time; but the Loss of Gaddafi and Libya as a stabilizing force in Arab - African relations is currenlty being overlooked, and contingincy planners need to explore  possibilities that have not been considered before.

Though I am not a fan of  Gaddafi's regime, he deliberatly and successfully placed himself in a role as mediator and ambassador between the Arab World and the African World.

Gaddafi has invested signficant ammounts of money in Africa, and that will disappear. Using his  Libya African Arab Investement Company ( LAAICO ) Gaddfi brought Libyan Oil and outside  Arab investment money into a wide vareity of African businesses like food companies, hotel chains, real estate, banks, and even telecoms. As a Muslim owned business, LAAICO has it's sharia - compliant accountants and lawyers that made sure these inverstments funded the expansion of Islam in Africa. Though the principles of Taqiyya make it difficult to know for shure, it appears Qaddifi has been funding the building of Mosqs all over Africa for a generation, likely funded by Libya's Islamic Charity Tax that Deloitti calls the Jihad Tax. There is no dispute that their are many thousands employed in Sub-Saharan Africa busuinesses because of Gaddaffi's investments.

Gaddifi  has been an equal opportunity oppressor, oppressing and torturing hard-core Islamist groups groups in Libya, as well as nomadic islamist groups from Niger and Chad who have passed through Libya. The current civil war may have begun when an Al qaeda group, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group took over an arms depot. Now there is more opportunity for Al Qaeda affiliates, or other islamic groups to expand their operations in the Sahel region.


He has been a mediator between several North African countries on more than one occasion.
I will not argue with any one putting forth the concept the Gaddafi is evil. However, removing a two generation consistent force in North Africa will produce power shifts all over North Africa.

Here are some possibilities:
  • Groups like AQIM, the remnants of  MNJ, and even  will try and move their individual agendas forward.
  • Watch for North Sudan Malitias, the government funded perpetrators of  the Darfur genocides to try to move in this space and time while the west focuses on otherpaces in North Africa
  • Watch for a weapon and logstics resupply for Congo rebel groups.
  • Aglerian and Morocco Islamist groups with try to
  • Southern Libya is mostly unoccopied desert, spareselt frequeneted by Tuaregs and Smugglers.
  • Expect Drug and human Trafficers to look for new Libyan connections into Europe.
  • Expect Arab Investors to look for new people to help them invest in Africa
After the last two months, No matter what happens in the civil war, Gaddafi will move back into his status as a pariah. His influence  has been damaged beyond repair, and this will change the face of North Africa.


Shimron Issachar