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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Al Shabaab Enforces Teaching Radical Jihad in Somali Schools

MOGADISHU (Sunatimes)- Somalia’s extremist group of Alshabab has
ordered public schools to include Jihad subject to the school
curriculum, one of the latest pressing hardship being faced by the
war-weary Somalis.

Sheikh Ali Mohamed Hussein, an Al shabaab Mogadishu mayor has told the
reporters the move is aimed at training young students about the
“importance” of their Jihad version which Somali religious leaders
described as ‘interests follow-up’ not Jihad.

“ People are wanted to take part in the Jihad against the apostate
government and the Christian AMISOM. All schools are supposed to take
these news orders” he said.

Somalia’s ineffective government is busy with clashing itself and
sitting few blocks in Mogadishu as the world community finances their
futile moves. The government was supposed to crash the Al-Qaeda linked
militants beheading people and committing prosecutions in Somalia, but
instead its officials are filling their pockets with corrupt money.

Hundreds of Somalis are dying for hunger as the result of droughts hit
the country at the eyes of Somali government.

The horn of Africa nation has been without central government
since1991 after clan militias and warlords overthrown the dictator
regime of Siad Barre that lastly leashed out to constant violence for
more than 20 years.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hundreds of Billions at Risk in Libya



The objective of the war against Libya is not just its oil reserves (now estimated at 60 billion barrels), which are the greatest in Africa and whose extraction costs are among the lowest in the world, nor the natural gas reserves of which are estimated at about 1,500 billion cubic meters. In the crosshairs of "willing" of the operation “Unified Protector” there are sovereign wealth funds, capital that the Libyan state has invested abroad.

The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) manages sovereign wealth funds estimated at about $70 billion U.S., rising to more than $150 billion if you include foreign investments of the Central Bank and other bodies. But it might be more. Even if they are lower than those of Saudi Arabia or Kuwait, Libyan sovereign wealth funds have been characterized by their rapid growth. When LIA was established in 2006, it had $40 billion at its disposal. In just five years, LIA has invested over one hundred companies in North Africa, Asia, Europe, the U.S. and South America: holding, banking, real estate, industries, oil companies and others.

In Italy, the main Libyan investments are those in UniCredit Bank (of which LIA and the Libyan Central Bank hold 7.5 percent), Finmeccanica (2 percent) and ENI (1 percent), these and other investments (including 7.5 percent of the Juventus Football Club) have a significance not as much economically (they amount to some $5.4 billion) as politically.

Libya, after Washington removed it from the blacklist of “rogue states,” has sought to carve out a space at the international level focusing on "diplomacy of sovereign wealth funds." Once the U.S. and the EU lifted the embargo in 2004 and the big oil companies returned to the country, Tripoli was able to maintain a trade surplus of about $30 billion per year which was used largely to make foreign investments. The management of sovereign funds has however created a new mechanism of power and corruption in the hands of ministers and senior officials, which probably in part escaped the control of the Gadhafi himself: This is confirmed by the fact that, in 2009, he proposed that the 30 billion in oil revenues go "directly to the Libyan people." This aggravated the fractures within the Libyan government.

U.S. and European ruling circles focused on these funds, so that before carrying out a military attack on Libya to get their hands on its energy wealth, they took over the Libyan sovereign wealth funds. Facilitating this operation is the representative of the Libyan Investment Authority, Mohamed Layas himself: as revealed in a cable published by WikiLeaks. On January 20 Layas informed the U.S. ambassador in Tripoli that LIA had deposited $32 billion in U.S. banks. Five weeks later, on February 28, the U.S. Treasury “froze” these accounts. According to official statements, this is "the largest sum ever blocked in the United States," which Washington held "in trust for the future of Libya." It will in fact serve as an injection of capital into the U.S. economy, which is more and more in debt. A few days later, the EU "froze" around 45 billion Euros of Libyan funds.

The assault on the Libyan sovereign wealth funds will have a particularly strong impact in Africa. There, the Libyan Arab African Investment Company had invested in over 25 countries, 22 of them in sub-Saharan Africa, and was planning to increase the investments over the next five years, especially in mining, manufacturing, tourism and telecommunications. The Libyan investments have been crucial in the implementation of the first telecommunications satellite Rascom (Regional African Satellite Communications Organization), which entered into orbit in August 2010, allowing African countries to begin to become independent from the U.S. and European satellite networks, with an annual savings of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Even more important were the Libyan investment in the implementation of three financial institutions launched by the African Union: the African Investment Bank, based in Tripoli, the African Monetary Fund, based in Yaoundé (Cameroon), the African Central Bank, with Based in Abuja (Nigeria). The development of these bodies would enable African countries to escape the control of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, tools of neo-colonial domination, and would mark the end of the CFA franc, the currency that 14 former French colonies are forced to use. Freezing Libyan funds deals a strong blow to the entire project. The weapons used by "the willing" are not only those in the military action called “Unified Protector.”

Il Manifesto, April 22, 2011

Translated from Italian by John Catalinotto


The Rest @ Global Research (Canada)

Manlio Dinucci is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research


AQIM Demands that France Leave Afghanistan to Free Hostages


BAMAKO - Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) holding hostage four French for seven months, calls especially for the departure of French troops from Afghanistan in addition to a ransom of 90 million euros, said Saturday a source close to the mediation.

  • "People of AQIM also claimed and especially the departure of French troops from Afghanistan to free the four French hostages still being held. They stressed that," said the source close to the mediation, which included elected officials and Malian Nigerian personalities.


  • This requirement for a withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan had already been made twice by the leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, to which AQIM has made allegiance.

  • March 21, the same source close to the mediation had told AFP that AQIM claimed "at least 90 million euros" and the "liberation of prisoners held in several countries" in exchange for the release of the French, a demand which was immediately rejected by France.

  • A group of mediators is currently in the stronghold of the kidnappers in an unnamed country in the Sahel, for a new round of negotiations, also said a Malian source close to the case. "These are long and difficult negotiations. We hope very soon to obtain, why not, the release of some hostages," the source added.

  • AQIM is holding hostage four French nationals who were among a group of seven people kidnapped Sept. 16, 2010 in Arlit, a uranium mining site in northern Niger, of a French nuclear group Areva.

  • On 24 February, three of the hostages (a French, a Togolese and a Malagasy), were released near the junction of the borders between Algeria, Mali and Niger.

  • AQIM has bases in Mali where it operates in several countries in the region of Sahel-Saharan desert where it is guilty of the attacks, carries out kidnappings, mostly of Westerners, and engaged in smuggling.

Al Qaeda's Africa Express East -Khartoum to Mogadishu

There seems to be an al Qaeda resupply route running fro Khartoum to Mogadishu.

Another al Shabaab member was just detained in the same area as the other four, carrying bomb making materials from Kenya to Somalia. This time, an Arab. He claims to have come a similar route as the other four. They seem to have no papers or forged papers and when they have passports, they have no stamps in them.

This suggests that there is a regular route from South Eastern Sudan, across the Northern frontier of Kenya near the Ethiopia border, crossing over into Southern Somalia.

It's worth Exploring whether the South Sudan Liberation Army in South Sudan are providing safe conduct for Islamist terrorists connected to al Qaeda from Khartoum through South Sudan, being handed off to Somali tribes in North Kenya who then move them through to the Somali border.

This would be third land resupply and route for al Shabaab, and suggests that the Kenya border with Somalia is tighter now than it used to be. If this is true, then there is probably a small but key transportation organization lead travelers on that route.

-Shimron Issachar

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


By Cyrus Ombati

A man believed to be an Al-Shabaab militant was arrested and bomb-making material seized from him as he tried to cross into Somalia at the Liboi border.

The man who police said is of Arab origin was carrying a powder and other chemicals used in assembling explosives.

He told police he had come from Sudan via Uganda before entering Kenya through the Busia border.

Anti-terror police who are interrogating him are, however, puzzled his passport does not bear the stamps of the borders he claims to have crossed.

"We do not know why his passport is not stamped, but he insists he came from Sudan and is headed to Somalia to teach his followers," said a senior officer, who sought anonymity.

Train militants

A Ugandan national who wanted to cross into Somalia was also nabbed at the same border. Police say they are yet to establish the pair’s motive for crossing into Somalia but suspect they were going to train the militant group.

Both men were driven to Garissa where anti-terror police interrogated them. Police on Thursday issued a terror alert, citing intelligence reports, that Al-Shabaab was planning attacks during Easter.

Commissioner of Police Mathew Iteere cautioned Kenyans to be careful when visiting shopping malls, places of worship, Government buildings and recreational centres.

"We wish to inform the public that Police headquarters has received intelligence that Al-Shabaab has threatened to carry out violent attacks on certain targets," said Iteere.

The police boss advised the management of targeted places to enhance security.

"Members of public are also reminded it is their civic duty to co-operate with legitimate security personnel to improve security and safety. We also wish to encourage the public to promptly report any suspicious activities or characters to police.

"It is encouraging to note that due to this co-operation there is a marked improvement in the flow of information between police and the public," he said.

This is the second time this year that the terror group threatens to hit Kenya for supporting Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

The group had two months ago threatened to hit Kenya for training TFG security personnel.

TFG is battling with the gang at the Kenyan border to oust them from the region. The group was blamed for the bomb attacks on fans during the World Cup finals in Kampala that killed more than 70 people, last year.

At least eight Kenyans are among suspects being held over the bombing. The same group was also blamed for the bombing of a bus in Nairobi that killed at least one person last year.

South Sudan Rebels Seem to Support Khartoum Interests

Khartoum may be creating a crisis in South Sudan to justify a future invasion to secure South Sudan's oil.

-Shimrom Issachar



April 22, 2011 (JUBA) – Northern Sudanese employees working at the oilfields of South Sudan’s Unity state have begun evacuating as fighting between the South Sudan army (SPLA) as rebel forces under the command of the renegade Peter Gatdet Yak, have intensified for the last four days in the state.

The rebel forces of Gatdet, known as the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), launched a series of heavy attacks this week since April 19, against the SPLA forces of Division Four in Mayom County in the state, resulting to the South Sudan army losing at least one town to the rebel group.

The minister of information in Unity state, Gideon Gatpan Thoar, told Sudan Tribune on Friday from the state capital, Bentiu, that the northern oil company employees were evacuated to Higlig area near the North-South border where the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have deployed.

He said the workers could return to their stations any time, explaining that the decision was based on ensuring their safety in response to anger expressed by the state citizens against northerners whom they accuse of supporting renegade Peter Gatdet.

On Thursday in Khartoum, the undersecretary of the Ministry of Petroleum, Omer Mohamed Khair, confirmed the evacuation saying the 150 oil workers from north Sudan are to resume their work in the Unity state within 24 hours after the end of fighting.

Chinese diplomats in Juba have expressed concern to the Southern Sudanese authorities about the insecurity caused by the fighting and its implications in the oilfields operated by the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC). The Chinese Consul General in Juba this week said more than 200 northern Sudanese drillers and other staff have been asked to evacuate the area for safety reasons by the Unity state government
.
Bol Gatkuoth, former member of the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly and the current spokesperson of Gatdets’s rebel group, claimed that the SSLA captured Guong on 19 April, and captured Mankien on 21 April, after two separate clashes with the SPLA forces in the state.

Officials of Unity state, including the commissioner of Mayom county, reportedly confirmed the capture of the two towns by the rebel group.

However, SPLA spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer, denied the claim that the second town, Mankien, fell to the rebels. No casualties were reported by both sides.


  • The rebels claim to seek control of strategic locations in the state to establish a base in the renegade General’s home county, Mayom, from which to command his rebellion against Juba.

  • South Sudan officials suspect that the militia group wants to create a corridor supply route and weapons and ammunitions from Khartoum to their base in Mayom from which to expand their targets into other areas in the region.

  • The rebel force of Peter Gatdet is one among the seven other different rebel groups fighting against the government. They are based in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity and Northern Bahr el Ghazal states.

  • They claim to be fighting for democracy and justice and against tribalism and corruption.

  • Most groups began their rebellion due to grievances caused by elections last year but others who were not part of the SPLA in the past like the SSLA accused the South Sudan government of corruption and tribalism.

  • The South Sudan government rejects the accusations and claim that Gatdet is being backed by Khartoum.

The United Nations Security Council briefing on Thursday on the situation in Sudan raised concern about the increasing violence in South Sudan ahead of formal independence on July 9.


In January the South voted to secede in a plebiscite agreed as part of a 2005 peace deal that ended over two decades of conflict.


The 15-member UN body was briefed by the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Atul Khare, who told the Council that a number of internal grievances which might have contributed to the rebellion needed to be addressed in South Sudan.


The UN official’s presentation further highlighted the need to address "ethnic tensions, mismanagement, political and social marginalization, economic development and governance, especially in rule of law institutions ".


The Rest @ The Sudan Tribune

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Kenya captures three from al shabaab in the NE part of Kenya ferrying bomb materials back into Somalia to make bombs. They are now being interrogated.....


-Shimron Issachar

By Noor Ali

ISIOLO, Kenya (Reuters) - Kenyan police said on Saturday they had arrested three Somali al Shabaab rebels in the nation's northeast and seized bomb making materials, a day after giving an alert on possible attacks during Easter.

Twice hit by al Qaeda attacks, Kenya is wary of its lawless neighbour Somalia and is among countries in the region supporting the fight against the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab.

On Thursday, police said they had information that al Shabaab planned to carry out attacks in heavily populated areas during the Easter holidays.

North Eastern Province police commander Leo Nyongesa told Reuters three rebels who were arrested as they ferried the materials from Kenya had sneaked in from Somalia and had been under surveillance.

"We have made a major breakthrough. Three al Shabaab rebels have been arrested inside Kenya. They were going back to Somalia with materials which they had come to collect in order to make bombs," he said by phone.

Nyongesa said the three were being interrogated and were likely to be transferred to the capital Nairobi for further questioning by anti-terrorism personnel.

Al Shabaab, which has waged an insurgency against Somalia's Western-backed government, claimed responsibility for twin bombings in Kampala as football fans watched the finals of the World Cup tournament on television in July, killing 79.

The insurgents have threatened to strike Kenya, east Africa's biggest economy, with an assault

similar to the attack on Kampala.

The Rest @ Reuters

Suspects carrying bomb-making materials arrested near border with Somalia


A handout released by IntelCenter shows members of Somalia’s hardline Islamist rebel group al Shabaab. Photo/FILE

By the way: guess what this weapon is - it is not your average RPG....

  • Suspects carrying bomb-making materials arrested near border with Somalia as police heightened surveillance following Al-Shabaab threats

Police are trying to establish whether three suspects arrested on the Kenya-Somalia border have any connections with Al-Shabaab.

Related Stories

Anti-terorism officials were also said to have increased security for the Ugandan High Commission in Nairobi over terrorism threats, unit chief Nicholas Kamwende said.

Mr Kamwende said police had information that the Uganda High Commission was likely to be hit and they were closely monitoring the area.

And Diplomatic Police boss Allan Sangoro said patrols and surveillance had been enhanced in most foreign missions in Kenya.

“We would not want to state who is targeted more than the other, but what I can say is that all the missions are adequately covered,” said Mr Sangoro. He said some of the officers were operating covertly and had been briefed adequately.

Military spokesman Bogita Ongeri acknowledged that Al-Shabaab posed a credible threat to Kenya and the entire region, and even beyond.

Mr Ongeri said Operation Linda Nchi was going on well and normalcy had been restored along the border with Somalia. He also urged the militia group to fight its own wars, and not extend its aggression to Kenya.

“A time comes in the life of any nation to choose between submission and aggression,” said Mr Ongeri in a commentary published elsewhere in this newspaper.

The increased surveillance comes against the backdrop of the arrest of a Sudanese national who was in possession of bomb making materials including powder, matches and assorted wires.

Two other suspects who were travelling in the same vehicle, which was intercepted by police at Liboi on the Kenya-Somali border, are also in police custody helping with investigations.

Police are trying to establish why the men were transporting dangerous items and whether they have anylinks to the extremist militia group.

The trio was travelling towards Somalia and was arrested at the border after the Somali-based militia issued threats to Kenya that it would bomb public places.

Kenya police had already issued a terrorism alert and asked the public to be on the lookout following the threats.

North Eastern provincial police boss Leo Nyongesa said police were questioning the foreigners.

“We are investigating the suspects to establish their motives and whether they have any links to the Al-Shabaab militia,” he told the Sunday Nation on the phone.

As the Easter festivities kicked in, police in major towns were on high alert, guarding crowded shopping malls, while passengers travelling to various destinations were subjected to thorough scrutiny to ensure explosives were not smuggled into passenger buses.

Mr Nyongesa said surveillance would remain high along the porous border.

Kenya has in the past suffered Al-Shabaab related attacks that resulted in death in Nairobi.

The war against terrorism has been complicated by reports that the militia has been recruiting Kenyan youth to join its terrorism networks.

The rag tag militia, which has been fighting over control of war-torn Somalia with the internationally backed Transitional Federal Government forces, has been a constant threat to regional security and has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks including bombings in Kampala, Uganda, in which more than 70 people were killed.


The Rest @ The Nation (Kenya)

Kenyan Officials Concerned about al Shabaab Threats for Easter

Visitors enjoying the Easter weekend at the beach were on Friday ordered to leave the shoreline at 6pm over terrorist threat.

Kenyans were also cautioned to be careful when visiting shopping malls, places of worship, government buildings and recreational centres.

On Thursday evening, Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere issued a terrorist alert and asked Kenyans to be “vigilant” wherever they were during the Easter festivities.

He said the police had intelligence report indicating that the Somali-based terror group, al-Shabaab planned to attack certain targets in highly populated areas.

“As part of community policing, we are advising the management of all the places mentioned and other places where a large number of people are admitted to enhance their security measures,” he said.

The commissioner said the police were alert and had improved security in and around the possible targets.

At the Jomo Kenyatta public beach in Mombasa, Mr Levis Juma Malove, a Kenya Maritime Authority search and rescue officer, said a siren would be sounded at 6pm every day to get people out of the water.

This timeframe will affect the stretch from Jomo Kenyatta public beach to Severin, Mombasa Beach to Reef Hotel in the North Coast and the Shelly Beach stretch in the South Coast.

The beach emergency rescue centre will operate between 10.30am and 6.30pm every day during the Easter period.

At the Likoni ferry, the anti-terrorist police unit conducted an impromptu search on passengers and motorists on Thursday.

The security agents used two sniffer dogs to check people’s luggage and vehicle boots in the channel used by 250,000 people and more than 3,000 vehicles daily.

Kenya and the rest of East Africa continue to be under the shadow of al-Shabaab terrorists. The Somali insurgents attacked Kenya and Uganda last year.

The Rest @ The Daily Nation (Kenya)

Friday, April 08, 2011

President Obama Signs Executive Order to Continue Somali "Situation"

WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- Piracy and persistent violence in Somalia requires an extension of a national emergency as it pertains to U.S. interests, the White House said.

The transitional government in Somalia is struggling to expand its control beyond a small portion of Mogadishu as it battles against al-Qaida fighters in al-Shabaab bent on establishing an Islamic state.O

U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive order describing an "unusual and extraordinary" threat to U.S. national and foreign policy interests.

Obama said there was a deteriorating security situation in Somalia complicated by acts of piracy off the Somali coast.

"Because the situation with respect to Somalia continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, the national emergency declared on April 12, 2010, and the measures adopted on that date to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond April 12, 2011," the presidential statement read.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a February suicide attack at a police station that killed 10 people, including civilians and high-ranking police officials.

Four Americans were killed that month off the coast of Somalia after gunfire erupted during an attempt by the U.S. Navy to broker their release

The European Union, meanwhile, agreed recently to support the African Union mission in Somalia with around $92.5 million to help its work in the war-torn country.

Somalia hasn't had a functioning government since 1991.

The Rest @ UPI


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

New Somali State of Azania Declared

Somalia creates new state, Azania

MALKHADIR M. MUHUMED
Associated Press
NAIROBI, Kenya

Somali politicians on Sunday announced the creation of a new state in the battle-scarred nation, a move condemned by Somalia's fragile government, which said it could further fracture the already chaotic Horn of Africa country.

The creation of Azania was celebrated Sunday in a colorful ceremony in Kenya's capital. Its creation brings the total number of new states to more than 10.

Kenya supports the new administration as it creates a buffer zone near its border with Somalia.

Azania President Mohamed Abdi Gandhi said his first duty is to retake his territory from al-Qaida-linked militant group al-Shabab.

"Our aim of establishing this administration is to first liberate these regions," he said. "We are not breaking away from Somalia."

Much of Somalia's southern and central regions, including large swaths of the capital of Mogadishu, are controlled by al-Shabab.

But Somali Information Minister Abdulkareem Jama said the new states are a bad idea.

"Taking that path is a disaster," he said. "The idea that every region and every group of people has to form their own government without the consultation of the national government will only create more differences among communities and encourage Somalis not to come together."

Somalia's interim charter allows for new states. The idea is appealing to many, who still bear hatred toward the country's last centralized government, which failed to accommodate many residents outside the capital. Somalia has been mired in chaos since the fall of that government in 1991.

In 1991, inhabitants of northern Somalia formed their own administration called Somaliland. The region is independent from Mogadishu but does not have international recognition.

In 1998, residents of the northeast followed suit by creating the semiautonomous region of Puntland.

"The whole process is being driven by local people who just said 'let's try at different options that are responsive to our local needs,'" said Rashid Abdi, a Somali expert at the International Crisis Group.

Many say the rush to form these states may create conflicts among communities because of the lack of demarcated borders. The national government can do little, as it can barely control a few blocks of the capital, where it is busy battling Islamist militants.

"The biggest danger of this trend is that in a few contested areas the declaration of regional administrations could trigger armed clashes between clans or other social groups," said Ken Menkhaus, a Somali expert at North Carolina's Davidson College.

By law, the government is required to promote and develop state governments to ensure that the process of federalism takes place within two and a half years.

"The government has failed those people who are establishing new administrations," said Asha Gele, Puntland's minister for women and family affairs, and one of the founders of the administration. "If the government gave them directions they would not have acted by themselves. What is missing is the government's role."

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    Al Shabaab May be Sending Reenforcement from Kismayo to fight for the Kenya border cities

    • 200 new al shabaab recruits possibly being moved from Kismayo in anticipation of attack
    • 150 had been sent to Dhobley from Middle Juba

    Somalia's Transitional Federal Government is preparing a new assault to seize more towns in regions bordering Kenya, while militant Islamist group al-Shabaab is sending hundreds of new recruits from its Kismayo stronghold to stop the rot, sources told Somalia Report.

    The TFG's Kenyan-trained forces and local militia have been gaining ground along the border with Kenya, most recently seizing Dhobley in Lower Juba region. Locals say that Kenyan tanks and helicopters have backed TFG forces and the Raskamboni militia in fierce fighting that has left more than 20 al-Shabaab fighters dead and dozens wounded, including a senior commander.

    A delegation of ministers, including deputy minister of defense Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig, this week paid the first visit in years to Gedo and Lower Juba regions, in a move seen as motivating troops and showing the gains made in recent months. One of the delegation, who did not wish to be named, said the plan now was to tighten the government's grip on the region.

    "The government will take over Afmadow, Qoqani and Tabto in Lower Juba, and Bardera, Garbahare and Burduba in Gedo," he told Somalia Report. "That is our next plan, because it will be difficult for us to hold the towns we have taken if we do not spread our control."

    "The offensive has bases and targets which I am not going to outline, but we are on the move to liberate the whole region," he added.

    However, a local journalist in the port town of Kismayo, whose wanted to remain anonymous for security reasons, said that al-Shabaab is sending out forces from its stronghold to halt the advance. Kismayo, in Lower Juba, around 110 km from Afmadow, is a key town for the insurgents, as it provides as vital sea supply route.

    The journalist said he knew of 200 new recruits that were being moved from Kismayo, while 150 had been sent to Dhobley from Middle Juba.

    Rumours have been circulating in African Union peacekeeping circles that the TFG is aiming to take Kismayo, relying on the offensive in the border regions to draw off forces and make the crucial town easier to take.

    Mohamed Mohamed, one of the TFG's Kenya-trained forces, said that other factors could slow up the advance, particularly an increasing al-Shabaab reliance on landmines as it loses ground.

    "There are fears of landmines and the current drought is causing a problem ... but were are ready to start taking new areas," he said.


    The Rest @ Somalia Report

    Monday, April 04, 2011

    AQIM now may have Russian SA-7s.

    This is a separate source confirmation that AQIM now has Surface to Air Missiles, probably SA-7s. The means and route of transport suggests that the convoys discussed below are being led or contracked by Abdelmalek Droukdel, of AQIM.

    -Shimron Issachar

    *******

    ALGIERS (Reuters) - Al Qaeda is exploiting the conflict in Libya to acquire weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, and smuggle them to a stronghold in northern Mali, a security official from neighbouring Algeria told Reuters.

    • The official said a convoy of eight Toyota pick-up trucks left eastern Libya, crossed into Chad and then Niger, and from there into northern Mali where in the past few days it delivered a cargo of weapons.
    • He said the weapons included Russian-made RPG-7 anti-tank rocket-propelled grenades, Kalashnikov heavy machine guns, Kalashnikov rifles, explosives and ammunition.
    • He also said he had information that al Qaeda's north African wing, known as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), had acquired from Libya Russian-made shoulder-fired Strela surface-to-air missiles known by the NATO designation SAM-7.

    (picture of Nicaraguan Soldier with SA-7, source)


    "A convoy of eight Toyotas full of weapons travelled a few days ago through Chad and Niger and reached northern Mali," said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    "The weapons included RPG-7s, FMPK (Kalashnikov heavy machine guns), Kalashnikovs, explosives and ammunition ... and we know that this is not the first convoy and that it is still ongoing," the official told Reuters.

    • "Several military barracks have been pillaged in this region (eastern Libya) with their arsenals and weapons stores and the elements of AQIM who were present could not have failed to profit from this opportunity."
    • "AQIM, which has maintained excellent relations with smugglers who used to cross Libya from all directions without the slightest difficulty, will probably give them the task of bringing it the weapons," said the official. Continued...

    The official said that al Qaeda was exploiting disarray among forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and had also infiltrated the anti-Gaddafi rebels in eastern Libya.

    The rebels deny any ties to al Qaeda. U.S. Admiral James Stavridis, NATO's supreme allied commander for Europe, said last week intelligence showed only "flickers" of an al Qaeda presence in Libya, with no significant role in the Libyan uprising.

    "AQIM ... is taking advantage by acquiring the most sophisticated weapons such as SAM-7s (surface-to-air missiles), which are equivalent to Stingers," he said, referring to a missile system used by the U.S. military.

    Algeria has been fighting a nearly two-decade insurgency by Islamist militants who in the past few years have been operating under the banner of al Qaeda. Algeria's security forces also monitor al Qaeda's activities outside its borders.

    The security official said the Western coalition which has intervened in Libya had to confront the possibility that if Gaddafi's regime falls, al Qaeda could exploit the resulting chaos to extend its influence to the Mediterranean coast.

    "If the Gaddafi regime goes, it is the whole of Libya -- in terms of a country which has watertight borders and security and customs services which used to control these borders -- which will disappear, at least for a good time, long enough for AQIM to re-deploy as far as the Libyan Mediterranean."

    "In the case of Libya, the coalition forces must make an urgent choice. To allow chaos to settle in, which will necessitate ... a ground intervention with the aim of limiting the unavoidable advance of AQIM towards the southern coast of the Mediterranean, or to preserve the Libyan regime, with or without Gaddafi, to restore the pre-uprising security situation," the official told Reuters.

    Al Shabaab Reaching out to LIFG?

    TBDA Suggests that someone, perhaps al Shabaab, in Somalia may be trying to reach out by Nokia Smartphone to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in Libya, based on news that AQIM may have acquired SAMS from LIFG:

    4th April 201117:46:11
    196.201.205.237 Publish Post
    Woqooyi Galbeed,
    Hargeysa
    Telcom Somalia - Isp
    Opera -



    Sunday, April 03, 2011

    Did AQIm Get SAMs from Libyan Insurvgents?

    The algerian Government appears to believe that AQIM now has anti-aircraft missils it aquired from an al qaeda group now figthing with Libyan Rebels..... -Shimron Issachar *********************** ALGIERS - Algeria has tightened security at the border with Libya because of the situation there to "prevent any attempt of infiltration" of al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) on its territory, according to the daily “L’Expression”. According to the newspaper, some 7,000 policemen and five army battalions were dispatched to the Algerian-Libyan border to include "any attempt to prevent delivery of weapons and infiltration" of members of AQIM in Algeria. This information has not been confirmed by official sources.

    • AQIM "managed to acquire heavy weapons and anti-aircraft missiles from its new allies, the Libyan insurgents," said L'Expression citing "security sources".



    • "The alert is maximum especially that the head of state will make a visit on April 5 in Tamanrasset. There is no question of leaving the slightest flaw in the security grid in the south," said the French-language daily.

    President Abdelaziz Bouteflika will make Tuesday a working visit and inspection in the Department of Tamanrasset in the far south of Algeria, according to an official source.


    The Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci said March 24 that the events in Libya might encourage "terrorism" in an interview with L'Expression.


    "What happens in Libya can be considered one more chance we give to terrorists," he said, holding that this situation will be "exacerbated by foreign intervention"


    The Rest @ Ennahr Online

    A Review of Wikileaks cables on Arms issues, in light of the recent capture of  Syria's Hezbolahs capture of weapons suggests that Hezbolah is already armed with Missils, and is now down to mortar resupply. This suggests Hezbolahs next ofeesnive strategy:

    They will launch short and medium range missils in enough numbers as far as Telaviv to provoke an attack a ground attack by Israle to take out launcher sites. As Israeli forces are drawn into Southen lebanon, Hezbolah will deliver a massive amount of large mortar rounds on attachking forces. Hezbolah will then call upon the Arab league, the UN and whoever else will listen to ask for help to stop the israelai invaders.

    This has happened before. The difference this time is a possible nuclear equiped Iran, a well equipped uprizing in Gaza.

    Nn Ivory coast, where the opposition, which won a fair election but ownes its arms to take power to Iran. Northern Nigeria, which is already under Sharia is being armed by Iran.

    Diplomats have attempted to stop a Serbian black marketer selling sniper rifles to Yemen, China selling missile technology to Pakistan, and India exporting chemicals that could be used to make poison gas.



    They expressed repeated concern that the Palestinian militant group Hamas was receiving weapons on huge cargo planes operated by Sudan's Badr Airlines.



    Despite Sudan's insistence the cargo was agricultural machinery, the United States asked other countries in the region to deny overflights but Yemen declined, according to a February 2009 cable released to The New York Times.



    In another, dated April 2009, Egypt accuses Iran of providing 25 million dollars a month to Hamas and links Tehran to a Hezbollah arms smuggling cell.



    The cables shed light on how North Korea uses the Korea Mining Development Corporation as a front for its operations, relying on steel and machinery parts from China, Japan and Switzerland and Taiwan.



    Diplomatic protests about North Korea's sale to Sri Lanka of rocket-propelled launchers and to Yemen of Scud missile launchers went unheeded in early 2009, cables show, according to The New York Times.



    "Chinese banks have been targeted by North Korea as the main access point into the international financial system," said a July 2009 cable from senior US Treasury official Stuart Levey.



    But the principal concern appeared to be Hezbollah and Syria, who President Barack Obama has sought to engage as part of his efforts to foster a wider peace in the Middle East.



    "Syria's determined support of Hezbollah's military build-up, particularly the steady supply of longer-range rockets and the introduction of guided missiles could change the military balance and produce a scenario significantly more destructive than the July-August 2006 war," said a November 2009 cable from diplomatic staff in Damascus.



    A particularly grave concern was that Hezbollah had been provided with sophisticated Fatah-110 missiles, which are deadly accurate and would have the capacity to strike Tel Aviv.



    The New York Times said that, according to a Pentagon official, Hezbollah's arsenal now includes some 50,000 rockets and missiles, including some 40 to 50 Fatah-110 missiles and 10 Scud-D missiles.



    "The newly fortified Hezbollah has raised fears that any future conflict with Israel could erupt into a full-scale regional war," the report said
     
    The Rest @ Ynet News.

    Saturday, April 02, 2011

    Said Of Libya's Rebel leaders: "In this Council there are people who tortured our nurses"

    Wars are won with force, and force in the 21st century is manifested in fire power and ammunition. To the hapless rebel, the man who has lived his life in the shadows of brutality and the silhouettes of barbarism, a gun is a beautiful thing. Likewise, In a society built on inequality and oppression, bullets can quickly become the only equaliser, and hold the promise of emancipation. In places like Benghazi, Sitre and eventually Tripoli the utter simplicity of kill or be killed is a frightening simplifier of morality and it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith to imagine ourselves also looking on with jealousy and hatred as our thuggish oppressors open fresh supplies of AK 47s and ground-to-air missiles. It is therefore understandable that the Libyan National Council (LNC) should look to their new grossly over-armed western allies for a supply of freedom-promising weaponry. But when the question is asked of us the answer must ring out loud and clear that, even if the coalition forces were legally allowed to take sides, that side would not be the LNC. The de facto government, now recognised by most of the EU and NATO as the legitimate opposition to Gadaffi, finds its strong hold in Benghazi between the oil harbours of Azzuwaytinah and Al Hariqa. The council is made up of largely dissident figures, many of whom have longs histories of criticism and pasts riddled with government ‘attention’. But when making the choice to give arms to an unelected and hitherto unknown band of merry men slightly more background research is required to sure up the move. The research has been done, and the recipients found wanting.

    • Far from the voice of liberal democracy and civil compassion the LNC’s Chairman, Mustafa Abdel Jalil has a history of ruthless legal absolutism and political vapidity. As a graduate of Shari’a and Law from the Libyan University, and links with Egyptian Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, fears of Islamist tendencies are justifiably rife.

    There is a form of soft racism that often clouds the discussion of Islamic forces in the region but the facts are clear; almost every group that has either been elected or seized power on an Islamist or Shari’a platform in the Middle East has not taken long to instil the key virtues of tyranny, the oppression of women and the brutalisation of ethnic minorities.


    It was facilitated by Soviet Russia in Afghanistan during the Proxy Wars of the 1970s and 80s, historically reinforced by the west in the name of ‘stability’ and could well find purchase here.



    • Then there are Jalil’s dubious decisions as a Judge and President of the Libyan court of appeal. For instance, he twice upheld the decision to execute 5 Bulgarian nurses and 1 Palestinian doctor for ‘infecting hundreds of children with a HIV’, a crime that was never proven and heard in a case overseen by Gadaffi himself.The intervention by the EU to save their lives was vehemently opposed by the now leader of the free Libya, a move that earned him Gadaffi’s praise as ‘a faithful among the faithful’ and a position in his cabinet for 3 years.

    • But he resigned, he has broken his links with Gadaffi, he has, to quote the most sickening of condescending platitudes, ‘seen the light’. That may be so, but let’s not kid ourselves; loyalties aren’t quickly forgotten and moral doggedness not quickly forgiven, especially in Libya. Even the bluntest of imaginations can look on the fractured Libyan society and foresee a time that the LNC also has to defend itself from the disenfranchised masses.

    Add to the considerations as well the history Idris Laga, the LNC’s military coordinator, who oversaw the skewed investigation into, and rape and torture of, the above mentioned nurses, and has been described by middle eastern academic Vladimir Tchoukov as ‘a greedy and unscrupulous man, animated by a deep hatred of the West’.


    The outburst by the Bulgarian Prime Minister in Brussels this month said it best when he said it simply: ‘In this Council there are people who tortured our nurses’.


    For the disheartened, the disparate and the slain guns are a beautiful thing, but its beauty is recognised as well by the ogre who walks amongst them, and the irrational megalomaniac who one day wants to. We should know, beyond doubt, which of them we are dealing with, especially when we are dealing in death.

    The Rest @ The Independant (UK)

    Friday, April 01, 2011

    Ivory Coast: Thw Battle for Abidjan has Begun

    Ivory Coast: French troops in Abidjan The situation seems to be in favor of the Ouattara camp. \ President of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, is meeting, on this Friday, April 1, with Prime Minister Francois Fillon, the foreign minister Alain Juppé and Defense minister Gerard Longuet, to be briefed and make decisions related to the situation in Ivory Coast. Fighters loyal to Alassane Ouattara took control of the cocoa-exporting port city of San Pedro, and seized the administrative capital of Yamoussoukro. Ouattara's forces appear to be consolidating their gains as they move toward the commercial capital Abidjan where the French soldiers are deployed. T

    • Tanks and at least one helicopter would follow the rioters in some residential areas to prevent looting and violence, and protect vulnerable civilians over the coming days.

    • The Defense Ministry and the Embassy of France have mapped the positions of both camps, and Prime Minister Soro said, on Thursday, that the forces of the Ivorian president internationally recognized are 100 kilometers northeast from Abidjan, and if Mr. Gbagbo doesn't step down, Abidjan may be under attack.

    He ensured that several of Gbabo’s Generals, including his chief of staff, had defected, and will make public statements.



    • There are also defections by groups in the police, the gendarmerie and the army, the Prime Minister Soro added.

    • Alassane Ouattara called for the "physical integrity" of his rival to be preserved if he would step down and ovoid a bloody slaughter to the innocent citizens, Ally Coulibaly, Ambassador of Ivory Coast in France has reported.

    Earlier this morning, the battle of Abidjan has begun, and the latest stronghold position of Gbabo might fall in the hands of Alassane Ouattara’s troops and the international community fears again another slaughter…


    The Rest @ African Bulletin