Subscribe

RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Monday, October 31, 2011

AQIM Warns they will Attack Commercial Aircraft Attacks

French journalists embedded in recent counter terror operations in the Sahael region of  Africa claim to have been briefed that AQIM has warned of upcoming surface-to-air missile attacks against commercial aircraft. Though it is buried deep in the following story, the timing of such a warning is important. Salafist teachings tell Mujahdin to warn the oppressors so that they may repent. Al Qaeda organizations and their affiliates have consistently given repentance warnings before they introduced a new methods of warfare. This may indicated that AQIM has resolved their SA-7 training and battery issues.

- Shimron Issachar

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

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- Regional cooperation is needed in the fight against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb but many potential allies are content to point fingers, a specialist said.

Heavy weaponry lost during the Libyan war is in the hands of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, French newspaper France 24 reports. Its journalists were embedded recently with a counter-terrorism unit in the deserts of Mauritania.

The report said Mauritanian officials say AQIM now has surface-to-air missiles in its possession that can down a commercial airliner.

Mauritania declared parts of its desert a demilitarized zone in 2008 to combat terrorist groups like AQIM, the North African branch of al-Qaida.

Authorities there said, however, that close cooperation between countries in the region is the only effective strategy against AQIM.

Mohamed Mahmoud Adoulmaaly, a newspaper editor and AQIM specialist, told France 24, however, that regionally cooperation was unlikely.

"Algeria spends it's time warning against the French presence and not giving any support, same goes for Niger," he said. "The interests of these countries are all totally divergent."

AQIM took responsibility for a September attack on the Cherchell Military Academy in Algeria that left 16 students and two civilians dead. Washington had earlier acknowledged that AQIM had issued threats against chartered planes in Algeria.

U.S. counter-terrorism officials told reporters during a recent background briefing that "these regional nodes are the way of the future" for al-Qaida.

The Rest @ UPI

SA-7


SA7 SAM7 GRAIL STRELA by mleconte

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Another Minnesota Mujahadeen Becomes a Suicide Bomber in Somalia

One of two suicide bombers who blew themselves up during an attack on peacekeepers in Somalia was an American, the country’s Islamist leadership claimed on Sunday.

In a post on a Somali website popular with the al-Shabaab insurgency, Abdusalam al-Muhajir said that he left the US to fight with militants two years ago but now “wanted to die as a martyr”.

He and his accomplice disguised themselves as Somali government soldiers, allowing them to get close to an African Union position before troops there became suspicious and opened fire.

The two men then detonated explosive vests they were wearing. At least two AU soldiers were wounded in the attack, on Saturday morning, although al-Shabaab claimed six were killed.

The Rest @ Vinienco

In an online video released on Sunday and recorded before he died, al-Muhajir said that he was born in Somalia but that his family fled with him to the US when he was two-years-old.

He had an American accent and used both Islamic religious terminology and US street slang as he urged Muslims to carry out attacks against what he called “unbelievers”.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The US in Africa

With the US announcing that 100 troops will be sent to help combat the Lord's Resistance Army, Gary K. Busch unpacks the history of US intervention in Africa - and points to recent oil discoveries in East Africa as the real reason for the military intervention.

US President Barack Obama said on Friday 14 October 2011 that 100 troops would help Uganda track down Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel chief Joseph Kony and other senior LRA leaders. This is interesting, indeed, but it is not news. The US has been among those who have been fighting LRA for over 15 years without any discernible success. The fight against the LRA has brought together in the US Congress a consensus from all wings of the political process - from one extreme to the other. The legislation was sponsored by Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold and involved almost every humanitarian NGO and outraged citizen groups arrayed against the depredations of the LRA.

The US has a very poor track record in attacking the LRA. An earlier US military co-involvement with Uganda's army - Operation Lighting Thunder - in December 2008, was a disastrous failure, leading to additional massacres of Congolese civilians. There's not a single place in Africa where US military intervention has resulted in a favourable resolution and restoration of peace and stability. It is not for the want of trying.

There are around 2,500 service personnel permanently stationed at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti. The Camp supports approximately 2,500 US, joint and allied forces military and civilian personnel and US Department of Defense contractors. Additionally, the base provides employment for approximately 1,200 local and third country nation workers. Camp Lemonnier provides, operates and sustains and supports regional and combatant command requirements; and enables operations in the Horn of Africa and nearby.


  • There are around 320 additional Special Forces personnel operating in West Africa, including three teams in the Niger Delta. 
  • The upsurge of Boko Haram violence in Northern Nigeria has attracted more. 
  • Others are working, with the Marines, in training exercises across Africa. 
  • There are three 'Psychops' groups operating in East Africa, especially in Kenya's Northeast Frontier. 
This is in addition to scores of private military corporations (like Dyncorp or the several companies formed by retired US brass).

THE US IS AT WAR IN AFRICA

The US is at war in Africa. It has been at war as an integral part of the Cold War. It has had practical experience in African wars. America has been fighting wars in Africa since the 1950s - in Angola, the DRC, Somalia, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Morocco, Libya, Djibouti to name but a few counties. In some countries they used US troops, but in most cases the US financed, armed and supervised the support of indigenous forces. In its support of the anti- MPLA forces in Angola it sent arms and equipment to the UNITA opposition.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Larry Devlin of the CIA was an unofficial Minister of Mobutu's government; the US ran its own air force in the Congo at WIGMO. US airmen supported the South African forces in Kwando, Fort Doppies and Encana bases in the Caprivi from WIGMO. At these bases one could also find soldiers from Southern Rhodesia (in their DC3s) and German, French, Portuguese and other NATO troops.

One of the largest of these bases was at Wheelus Field, in Libya. Wheelus Air Base was located on the Mediterranean coast, just east of Tripoli, Libya. With its 4,600 Americans, the US Ambassador to Libya once called it 'a Little America'. During the Korean War, Wheelus was used by the US Strategic Air Command, later becoming a primary training ground for NATO forces. Strategic Air Command bomber deployments to Wheelus began on 16 November 1950. Wheelus became a vital link in SAC war plans for use as a bomber, tanker refuelling and recon-fighter base. The US left in 1970.

Another giant base was Kagnew Field in Asmara. The base was established in 1943 as an army radio station, home to the US Army's 4th Detachment of the Second Signal Service Battalion. Kagnew Station became home for over 5,000 American citizens at a time during its peak years of operation during the 1960s. Kagnew Station operated until 29 April 1977, when the last Americans left Kagnew Station.

However, with the end of the Cold War, the US has found itself fighting a much more difficult and insidious war; the war with Al Qaida. This is much less of a war that involves military might and prowess. It is a war against the spread of drug dealing, illicit diamonds, illicit gold and the sheltering of Salafists (Islamic militants) who use these methods to acquire cash which has sustained the Al Qaida organisation throughout the world. The political dichotomy between the Muslim North in Africa and the Christian/Animist South is not only a religious conflict. It is a conflict between organised international crime and states seeking to maintain their legitimacy.

There are now several 'narco-states' in Africa. The first to fall was Guinea-Bissau, where scores of Colombian cartel leaders moved in to virtually take over the state. Every day an estimated one tonne of pure Colombian cocaine is thought to be transiting through the mainland's mangrove swamps and the chain of islands that make up Guinea-Bissau, most of it en route to Europe This drug trade is spreading like wildfire in West Africa, offering remuneration to African leaders, generals or warlords well in excess of anything these Africans could hope to earn in normal commerce.

This burgeoning drug business was an offshoot of the political, economic and military connections which were made by Al Qaida in pursuit of their takeover of the 'blood diamond' business in West Africa.

  • During the civil wars in Sierra Leone the Revolutionary United Front ('RUF') took over the diamond fields in the country; initially at Kono. The diamonds were mined by RUF rebels, who became infamous during Sierra Leone's civil war for hacking off the arms and legs of civilians and abducting thousands of children and forcing them to fight as combatants. 
  • The country's alluvial diamond fields, some of the richest in the world, were the principal prize in the civil war, and they were under RUF control for years. 
  • Small packets of diamonds, often wrapped in rags or plastic sheets, were taken by senior RUF commanders across the porous Liberian border to Monrovia, where they were exchanged for briefcases of cash brought by diamond dealers who flew several times a month from Belgium to Monrovia, returning to Pelikaanstraat in Antwerp.

Now the battle is with Al-Qaida in the Maghreb (AQIM) which combines drug and diamond smuggling with terrorist acts. This battle has required a lot of troops on the ground, as advisers and trainers, as well as teams of DEA agents across West Africa.

BACKGROUND TO AFRICOM

These are not unique examples. According to a US Congressional Research Service Study[1] published in November 2010, Washington has dispatched anywhere between hundreds and several thousand combat troops, dozens of fighter planes and warships to buttress client dictatorships or to unseat adversarial regimes in dozens of countries, almost on a yearly basis. The record shows that US armed forces intervened in Africa 47 times prior to the current LRA endeavour.[2] The countries suffering one or more US military intervention include the Congo, Zaire, Libya, Chad, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Central African Republic, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea.

Between the mid 1950's to the end of the 1970's, only four overt military operations were recorded, though large-scale proxy and clandestine military operations were pervasive. Under Reagan-Bush Sr. (1980-1991) military intervention accelerated, rising to eight, not counting the large scale clandestine 'special forces' and proxy wars in Southern Africa. Under the Clinton regime, US militarised intervention in Africa took off. Between 1992 and 2000, 17 armed incursions took place, including a large-scale invasion of Somalia and military backing for the Rwanda genocidal regime. Clinton intervened in Liberia, Gabon, Congo and Sierra Leone to prop up long standing troubled regimes. He bombed the Sudan and dispatched military personnel to Kenya and Ethiopia to back proxy clients assaulting Somalia. Under Bush Jr. 15 US military interventions took place, mainly in Central and East Africa.

Most of US African outreach is disproportionally built on military links to client military chiefs. The Pentagon has military ties with 53 African countries (including Libya prior to the current attack). Washington's efforts to militarise Africa and turn its armies into proxy mercenaries in protecting property and fighting terrorists were accelerated after 9/11.[3]

The Bush Administration announced in 2002 that Africa was a 'strategic priority in fighting terrorism'.[4] Henceforth, US foreign policy strategists, with the backing of both liberal and neoconservative congress people, moved to centralise and coordinate a military policy on a continent wide basis forming the African Command (AFRICOM). The latter organises African armies, euphemistically called 'co-operative partnerships', to conduct neo-colonial wars based on bilateral agreements (Uganda, Burundi, etc.) as well as 'multi-lateral' links with the Organisation of African Unity.[5]

The Rest @ AllAfrica ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Al Shabaab Attacks in Kenya

French and Kenya Attacks in Somalia Support Al Shabaab's Warrior Culture

The international community is counterattacking against al Shabaab, but the methods in use right now will give al Shabaab life, when the group was starving in place, about to become irrelevant. Now, they will work the Jihadi online networks, call on their al Qaeda recruiters, and Ikhwan funders, and be revived.

Al Shabaab is a warrior cult. Their culture fades when their is no enemy to fight. In the Somalia regions where al Shabaab has ruled, their administration became increasingly oppressive against the people they rule because their warriors had no one to fight. They had to manufacture crises to justify the existence of their fighters.

Eroding the foundations of War in Somalia

1.  Hunt the all Qaeda Culture Carriers, leave the people and Muslims alone.
2.  Develop a simple Clan-based government, with a federal military subject to the central government, structured to de-emphasize clan roots. This gives their warriors a place to go and  strip the local clans of their fighters; perhaps give them AU or UN missions to support.
3.  Put a plan in place to get this done, with a time table.Include a legislative agenda, keep the promises you make.

Every warrior cult in history either took over the world or were wiped out
-Shimron Issachar

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


A FRENCH fighter jet struck a rebel base near the militias-bastion port city of Kismayu yesterday, as Kenyan and Somali troops edged closer to another town hoping to strike a quick blow against al Shabaab. The French naval gunship bombarded the town of Kuday, south of Kismayu on Saturday. France joined the operation against the al Shabaab, a few days after pledging to support the push by Kenya to rid Somalia of the rebel group.


  • Frenchwoman Marie Dedieu is among four tourists and aid workers who were abducted by people linked to al-Shabaab. 
  • She died after her captors withheld her medication for cancer and heart problems. 
  • The gang later asked to be paid to release her body. 
  • "A jet bombarded an al Shabaab base near the port. It dropped a huge shell, flew past, came and then dropped another shell," Kismayu resident Mahmoud Hassan told Reuters. 
  • "The whole town shook. We've never heard anything like it. Everyone ran away," he said.

A labourer at the harbour said the militants had ordered people to run to their homes. "Al Shabaab fighters deserted the port but besieged the areas around the base," Hared Ali told Reuters. An al Shabaab official who declined to be named said a Kenyan jet had also struck two bases in Kismayu. "There were no casualties. We fired at the plane after the second bombardment and it has not come back," the senior official told Reuters from southern Somalia.

The US yesterday said it was discussing how to assist Kenya militarily and financially in its fight against al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia. "We are talking with the Kenyans right now to figure out where they need help," US ambassador Scott Gration told the Financial Times in an interview at his residence in Nairobi. "We are looking to see how, as an ally in this conflict on terrorism, can we help the Kenyans," said Ambassador Gration, a former Air Force fighter pilot and presidential adviser, adding that the US is considering assisting with training and equipment.

The rebels have meanwhile reinforced their defences in the town of Afmadow, a strategic transit point for goods trafficked illegally through Kismayu, al Shabaab's centre of operations. Foreign Minister Moses Wetang'ula said al Shabaab militants were on the run after Kenya deployed more troops and struck rebel targets by air to secure its border from the rebels.

Wetang'ula said the military was making gains against the insurgents in southern Somalia. "We've made tremendous progress and al Shabaab are definitely on the run. They are looking weaker by the day," he told reporters after an emergency meeting of regional group Igad in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

Somalia government troops say the aim of the operation is to rid Kismayu of the militants, which, if achieved, would wipe out their base for logistics and recruitment. "We have so far captured Qoqani, just 120km (75 miles) west of Kismayu, where we are heading to," said Gen Yusuf Hussen Dhumal, commander of Somali government troops near Afmadow. "Our troops in Taabto and Hayo have also moved near Afmadow and are just 7km away. We wish in the coming two days to reach Afmadow ... Kenyan convoys are also with us," he told Reuters.

Residents said convoys of armoured vehicles and trucks carrying weaponry, food supplies and tents were seen leaving four military camps in Isiolo in northern Kenya on Friday and heading towards the border. Kenya says it has not encountered any resistance from the rebels and that the militias are on the run and getting weaker, but any attempt to take Afmadow, where the rebels have massed and dug trenches, could result in a significant ground battle.

Residents in Afmadow, where the rebels have hunkered down, said they heard air strikes overnight. "There are al Shabaab fighters between Hayo and Afmadow and currently it is a frontline," Afmadow resident Abdirahim Ali Abukar told Reuters. "We heard heavy bombardments yesterday afternoon and throughout the night ... but we don't know the specific area and the casualties," he said.

A Somali colonel confirmed "bombardment operations" had taken place after heavy rain hampered the ground troops' advance. "Today we have killed eight al Shabaab fighters, including four foreigners in a bombardment in Kolbio," Yusuf Abdi told Reuters, referring to a town just taken by Kenyan troops, along with the town of Oddo.

On Saturday, the Kenyan military said it had moved beyond Oddo and that it had launched an air strike on Munarani, 10 km from Oddo, hitting an al Shabaab command centre. Kenya is the latest of Somalia's neighbours to intervene militarily in a country that has not had an effective government for 20 years. The militants have vowed to bring the "flames of war" into Kenya if Nairobi refuses to withdraw its troops.

The threat of reprisal prompted the US embassy in Kenya to warn its citizens of a possible "imminent threat", with attacks possibly targeting prominent Kenyan facilities and places where foreigners tend to gather like malls and nightclubs. The British government also issued fresh travel advisory against its citizens in Kenyan over fears of terrorist attacks.


  • The Foreign Office claims it has credible information that Kenya could be a victim of terrorism over the ongoing war in Somalia. "In late October we were aware of credible information suggesting the threat of a terrorist attack in Kenya," the statement on the website says. 
  • The UK claims that Kenyan institutions could be targeted as could places where foreigners gather and advice its citizens against all but essential visits. "There is a high threat from terrorism in Kenya. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers."

 Regional group Igad expressed its support for Kenya's operation in Somalia and urged the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone on parts of Somalia and a blockade on Kismayu, the southern port city that serves as the rebels' nerve centre. Prime Minister Raila Odinga meanwhile called on the international community to support Kenya's war against the al Shaabab.

Speaking in Voi during a public rally, Raila criticised the international community for non-commitment to the war against al Shabaab. "We are not interested in empty talk but what we need is a hands-on approach from the international community. This is the time to know Kenya's real friends," he said. He called on the United Nations to support Kenya's bid to dismantle the al Shabaab group which he described as dangerous to the region's security.


the Rest @ AllAfrica

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Kenya and Somali TFG Forces Raid al Shabaab in Southern Somalia

Kenyan troops have crossed into Somalia and have driven out al-Shabab fighters from two bases near the border in a joint operation with Somali soldiers, according to a Somali military commander.


  • Kenya has said it will hunt the fighters they accuse of being behind several recent kidnappings of foreigners. 
  • Abdi Yusuf, a senior Somali military commander, said on Sunday that fighter jets struck two al-Shabab bases in southern Somalia, but could not confirm if the aircraft belonged to Kenya. "There have been air strikes in al-Shabab bases near Afmadow late yesterday and today. 
  • We are heading towards Afmadow now. Al-Shabab have already vacated the town," he said. 
  • Alfred Mutua, the Kenyan government spokesman, said that its troops had entered southern Somalia to fight the al-Shabab, who it says are responsible for attacks on its territory. 
  • In response, al-Shabab called on Somalis to rally and attack the Kenyan troops. "Kenya violated the territorial rights of Somalia by entering our holy land, but I assure you that they will return disappointed, God willing," 
  • Sheikh Hassan Turki, a senior al-Shabab leader, said. "Mujahideen fighters will force them to test the pain of the bullets." Turki called on Somalis to stand united against "this blood-thirsty enemy that has crossed into our territories and the apostate Somali militants helping them". 
Several witnesses reported heavy troop movement in Kenya's border regions, with lorries full of soldiers heading towards the frontier. The assault came a day after George Saitoti, Kenya's interior security minister, branded al-Shabab "the enemy" and pledged to attack them "wherever they will be".


  • In response to Kenya's deployment of forces in Somalia, Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage warned that Shabaab would retaliate with suicide bombings in Kenya, saying "[R]emember what happened in Uganda's capital," a reference to the 2010 Shabaab suicide attacks in Kampala that killed 76 people, according to The Associated Press. 
  • Kenya's decision to send troops into Somalia is interesting, as the Kenyan military has hitherto been cautious and largely stayed out of the fight in Somalia, with the exception of some border clashes with Shabaab. 
  • If Kenyan forces are in Qooqaani, and are moving toward Afmadow, then they've moved about 40-50 miles inside Somali territory. 
It remains to be seen if the Kenyans are committed to taking the fight to the port city of Kismayo, Shabaab's stronghold in the south.

The Rest @ Longar Journal


Bookmark and Share

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Viktor Bout Trial I

U.S. prosecutors insist that the trial of accused Russian arms broker Viktor Bout, which opened in Manhattan federal court this week, is an open-and-shut case.

During a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sting operation in Bangkok in March 2008, the alleged arms dealer, known as the Merchant of Death, was caught on tape describing his plan to sell millions of dollars in weapons to the Colombian rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to "kill American pilots."

"This is not a complicated case," Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan McGuire told a federal jury on Wednesday, Oct. 12, during his opening argument, before itemizing a shopping list of weapons Bout pledged to supply to the rebels. "It's all on tape.... This man, Viktor Bout, agreed to provide all of it to a foreign terrorist organization he believed was planning to kill Americans."

Sure, it may be a slam dunk. But Bout's lawyer, Albert Dayan, provided by far the more dramatic narrative, weaving together a complex opening argument this week that seemed like it came straight out of a David Mamet play.

It's true, Dayan said, that federal informants lured his client into entering into discussions about a plan to purchase for the FARC 100 surface-to-air missiles, 20,000 AK-47 rifles, 20,000 fragment grenades, 740 mortars, 350 sniper rifles, five tons of C-4 explosives, and 10 million rounds of ammunition. But he said Bout was playing his own con, luring them into purchasing two cargo planes he was trying to unload for $5 million while holding up the promise of supplying weapons that would never be delivered.

"The simple and very profound truth is that Viktor Bout never wanted, never intended, and never was going to sell arms," Dayan said, a Queens, N.Y., criminal attorney. "He played a perfect sucker to catch a sucker."

The success of Dayan's trial strategy will require jurors to imagine a world in which nobody can be trusted and everyone -- including the good guys -- is motivated by selfish interests. That's not such a tall order, given the remarkably opaque nature of the illicit arms trade, which occurs outside the reach of international laws and regulations and relies on the cooperation of a far-flung network of shady entrepreneurs willing to make a buck off the backs' of some of the world's most desperate people.

The Rest @ Foreignpolicy (US)

Saturday, October 08, 2011

5 Washington DC Pakistanis Captured Planning Jihad in Pakistan

LRA Crisis Tracker Brings Technology to Track the Lord's Resistance Army Terrorist Group

Uganda LRA rebel tracking technology unveiled

A new system of radio links has been developed to try to counter a rebel movement whose attacks have plagued vast areas of Central Africa.

Funded by US charities, it will allow remote communities to warn each other.

So far this year around 140 civilians have been killed and more than 600 abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army.

All the incidents will now be displayed on the LRA Crisis Tracker website which can also be used by Congolese and Ugandan troops fighting the rebels.

"Through these series of high frequency radios, communities can now be able to connect and communicate with one another, letting each other know where this rebel group is moving, being able to broadcast security reports, and then being able to defend themselves from LRA attacks," Adam Fink of the US-based charity Invisible Children, which helps fund the operation, told the BBC.

According to the San Diego-based charity, the device was developed in response to a massacre in December 2009, where 321 civilians were killed by the LRA in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Despite the scale and brutality of the "Makombo massacre", the international community did not learn of the incident until March 2010 - three months later.

LRACrisisTracker.com now gives an immediate update on the current situation.

The LRA has brought misery to villages across the region for more than two decades.

The rebel group originated in Uganda 20 years ago and initially claimed to be fighting to install a theocracy in the country based on the Biblical 10 commandments.

But the rebels now roam across parts of Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR), as well as north-eastern DR Congo.

LRA leader Joseph Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and now lives an itinerant life, crossing between Sudan and the CAR.

In 2008, he was about to sign a peace deal, negotiated by South Sudan, but at the last minute he refused to lay down his arms.

Last year, the US government unveiled a strategy to work with regional governments to protect civilians from LRA attacks

By Martin Plaut

The Rest @ BBC

AQIM Smuggler Convey Captured

The capture of AQIM Smugglers as described below was likely a routine return trip form Europe, bringing drug money, a variety of miscellaneous arms picked up in Libya, but the money may be bribe money from Gaddafi being delivered.....to a friendly government

****************
ALGIERS (Xinhua) -- Algerian army forces killed eight militants pertaining to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in the border area and seized some arms smuggled from Libya, a local newspaper reported Thursday.

Arabic-language daily El Khabar quoted a security source as saying that the army carried out the hours-long military operation Sunday night in Bordj Houine, a desert area on the border with Niger and Libya, killing eight militants and arresting four others, including a Libyan national.

The army forces recouped a load of weapons smuggled from Libya, including anti-tank missile launchers, middle-sized missiles, ammunition and explosives, and modern wireless devices, the source said, specifying that there were no anti-crafts missiles among the seized weapons.

They also destroyed several vehicles of the militants, and seized a sum of 1 million U.S. dollars and some documents pertaining to the AQIM, according to the source.

Meanwhile, the newspaper quoted another security source as saying that Algeria, Mauritania, Niger and Mali have established a joint security panel composed by arm experts and detectives, and tasked it with following up the smuggled weapons from Libya

The Rest @ Philstar

Somali Khatt Smugglers Bring Underage Girls to Makhalis in Kenya for the Sex Trade

At least 50 girls, aged between ten and 15, are sold every week to tour operators and tourist hotels at Sh60,000 each as sex workers and to star in pornographic movies, a report claims. The report released on Tuesday by the International Peace Institute (IPI) says that the girls are trafficked or smuggled to Nairobi from North Eastern Province and Somalia.

The estimation of the number of girls smuggled per week comes from a non-governmental organisation Womankind Kenya, which is based in Garissa.

  • "Vehicles that transport miraa  [also called khat, a narcotic weed chewed widely in Somalia] from Kenya to Somalia return loaded with young girls and women, who end up in brothels in Nairobi or who are shipped to Mombasa and destinations outside Kenya," the report says.
  • The report titled Termites at Work: Transitional Organised Crime and State Erosion in Kenya was compiled by IPI executive director Mr Peter Gastrow.
  • The report says the girls are taken to massage parlours or beauty shops, where contacts from tour operators and hotels come to select the ones they wish to take as sex workers.
  • "Tour operators and hotel workers also operate as traffickers and brokers," the report alleges.
  • The report says the trafficked children are then taken to scheduled villas in Mombasa where sex tourism thrives.

"The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has estimated that about 10,000 people are trafficked into Coast Province each year," the report says.

Mombasa is a destination for people trafficked from as far as Uganda, Somalia, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

In Kenya, those who control the networks involved in trafficking of humans or smuggling migrants use supermarkets, foreign exchange bureaus and electronic shops as cover for the human trafficking business, the report says.

  • The report claims that most traffickers are Somalis and those who head and control the network are known as makhalis.


Code of silence


  • In Nairobi and Garissa, the report claims that some traffickers operate as travel agents for airlines. "They pay taxes for their legitimate businesses to ensure that they do not attract queries from Government authorities," the report says.
  • The report claims that a code of silence exists among the makhalis and their agents and contacts. "Only other agents, brokers, corrupt senior police officers, and their lawyers know what they do behind their veneer of law abiding upright citizen," the report claims.
  • There are at least five to ten makhalis in northern Kenya and in Eastleigh in Nairobi.

They each control a loosely structured network, which they run independently from each other.
By Athman Amran

The Rest @ Standard Media (Kenya)


Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Abdelmalek Droukdel

Rome, 4 Oct. (AKI) - Underscoring concerns about a rise of extremism in Libya, the purported leader of Al-Qaeda's North African branch has urged the rebels who ousted autocratic leader Muammar Gaddafi to impose Islamic rule.

In a 12-minute audio message posted to jihadist websites, the voice of a man identified as Abdelmalek Droukdel congratulated the rebels for toppling Gaddafi and taking the Libyan capital, Tripoli.But the message warned the west to stay away from Libya and urged rebels not to succumb to "NATO blackmail" as Gaddafi and members of his family remained at large.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb will torch the armies of France and NATO in Libya if they attempt to lead a ground invasion of the country," the message said. "We will set their armies alight if they set foot in Libya," it stated.

To avenge Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden's killing by US special forces in Pakistan in May, AQIM will "deal a killing blow and will destroy the economies of western countries to complete the 9/11 attacks on America," the message warned.

The message said anti-Gaddafi forces' victory in Libya would inspire a revolution in neighbouring Algeria and urged Libyans to rise up against the rebel National Transitional Council, described as an agent of France.
"It is for Libyans to protect their revolution agains the unbeliever countries and the servants of France," the message stated.

"No foreign party has the right to interfere in the affairs of Libya or to try and impose alternatives," the message added.

The authenticity of the tape has not been verified.

The Rest @ ADNKronos

Monday, October 03, 2011

Somali Pirates and al Shabaab Raid Kenya, Kidnapp disabled Woman at Manda

Somali
(Reuters) - Kenya said on Monday the weekend kidnapping of a French woman was a serious provocation by Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab group which threatens the east African country's multi-million dollar tourism industry.

Internal Security Minister George Saitoti also warned that those behind the kidnapping "and all others who are trying to provoke Kenya have made a big mistake and will live to regret it."

In the second such kidnapping in recent weeks, gunmen stormed the private home of 66-year-old, wheelchair-bound Marie Dedieu on the northern coast island of Manda on Saturday.

They then grabbed and carried her to a waiting boat that crossed into Somalia, where the al Qaeda-allied rebels are in control of large swathes of the south and center.

Analysts and diplomats in the region had warned that Somali pirates were likely to turn to softer targets, such as tourists in Kenya, in response to more robust defense of merchant vessels by private security guards.


  • Early last month, gunmen attacked British tourists at a camp resort a short speedboat ride away from northern Kenya's Lamu archipelago, killing a man and kidnapping his wife.
  • Last week, fighting also erupted on the Somali-Kenyan border, raising pressure on Kenya's authorities to beef up their defenses against cross-border and sea-based attacks which threaten to hit a tourism industry that earned 74 billion shillings ($737 million) in 2010.
"This is a serious provocation on Kenya's territorial integrity by the al-Shabaab with negative effects on the tourism industry and generally also on our own investment," Saitoti told reporters.

"SPEEDBOATS DISABLED"

Saitoti announced increased security measures near Lamu, an island resort town which is about 100 kilometers from the Somali border, including 24-hour aerial surveillance and the deployment of additional navy vessels.

"All entry and departures by boats will be regulated through a common security point," he said, adding that any speedboats defying orders to stop would be "disabled," without elaborating on the measures.

Hotel operators fear tourists may cancel their bookings due to governments' travel warnings, threatening a sector which is a leading foreign exchange earner and employs many Kenyans.

About a 100 people took to the streets of Lamu to protest against the government's lax security measures and called for greater cooperation with British and French security forces to prevent a repeat of the kidnappings.

"Kenyan police should employ us locals to patrol the water because we can swim and we know the area," said Pius Ndung'a, a construction worker who joined the protest in Lamu.

Dedieu's kidnappers escaped with their hostage after a maritime gun battle with Kenyan security forces, in which Saitoti said two kidnappers had been shot dead.

"The disabled French woman is here and she is very fine, we are keeping her between lower Juba and middle, we are not al Shabaab and we are looking for ransom money," a former al Shabaab fighter who operates with a pirate group in the southern port town of Kismayu told Reuters.


"We have not agreed how much yet. Some of us are waiting to take her in to a different zone," he said. 

Reuters could not independently verify his account.

HOSTAGE "VERY SICK"

Film director Elie Chouraqui, who owns a house near Dedieu, appealed for her friend's release.

"The kidnappers must understand that she is very sick and needs urgent help," Chouraqui was quoted in Le Parisien newspaper as saying.

The protesters slammed the government for failing to provide adequate resources to the local navy base.

"It is unbelievable that we have the Kenyan navy base here and yet we don't even have a boat. We want the Kenyan government and international governments to protect us more," hotel-owner Muhidin Athman said as he marched by the port.

The demonstrators also urged French and British tourists not to shun the palm-fringed archipelago, despite travel warnings by both governments who have asked their citizens to avoid all but essential travel within 150 km (90 miles) of the Somali border.

"We love France. We love Britain. We want them to stay," one placard held aloft by a protester said.

France already has eight hostages held overseas, including one in Somalia who is a member of France's secret service.

On Monday, beaches in the area were empty with one boatman saying he had not ferried any tourists for the last five days.

During a typical high season which runs through October, the white-sand beaches are dotted with tourists who water-ski, snorkel and fish in the turquoise waters and others who stroll along the shore enjoying the Indian Ocean sun. ($1 = 100.400 Kenyan Shillings)

(Additional reporting by Flora Bagenal in Lamu and John Irish in Paris; Writing by Yara Bayoumy)

The Rest @ Reuters

Khalid Siyf Allahu Almaslul Arrested in Mallorca, Spain

The Spanish Civil Guard arrested a suspected Al-Qaeda operative. a few weeks ago. According to media reports, the 26-year-old man, originally from Cuba, was then released after a 45-minute closed-door arraignment and has to report daily to the police station nearest his home in Cala Rajada, on the northeast side of the Spanish island of Mallorca.

According to the Spanish Interior Ministry’s statement, the young man, identified as Jose Ernesto Feliu Mora, was wanted for allegedly being an Al-Qaeda’s member and for having 1,120 radical videos on the Internet, mostly produced by him. Reports mention that he used these YouTube videos with jihadi, or holy war, content to indoctrinate other individuals. The Interior Ministry’s statement added that the police also seized from him portable computers, external hard drives and USB memory sticks.

Feliu Mora converted years ago to Islam, probably in Spain. He took the name of Khalid Siyf Allahu Almaslul and grew his Muslim beard. During his free time he learned Arabic, apparently on his own, and tried several times to move to Pakistan to join terrorist training camps. Media outlets reported that he was obsessed with attacking Spanish troops in Afghanistan, while promoting online hate against the U.S.. The police started to track his e-mails in 2010, when Feliu Mora allegedly tried to contact leading Islamic fundamentalists.

Al-Qaeda on the island of Mallorca

Although Almaslul used to live with his mother and his half-brother in Mallorca, one of the Balearic islands located in the Mediterranean Sea. However, he was not the only Al-Qaeda operative to do so.

Several Al-Qaeda members have spent time on Mallorca. The most known is Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, co-founder of Al-Qaeda, now imprisoned in the ADX Florence facility in Colorado. Salim, born in Sudan from Iraqi parents, was involved in the terrorist attack against U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Just before being arrested in Germany, Salim lived for a while in a luxurious apartment in Mallorca.

The apartment belonged to Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian Al-Qaeda member who was one of the masterminds of the 1998-attack against the U.S. embassies. Brahim, who allegedly had “routine” contacts with Tariq Ramadan, was detained by the Spanish authorities for financing Al-Qaeda in Spain. He lived for 14 years on Mallorca, where his apartment on the island was used as a logistical center for terrorist activities.

Two more Al-Qaeda terrorists, involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, spent time in Mallorca. One, Jamal Ahmidan, known as “The Chinese,” had been born in Morocco and lived surrounded by call girls and expensive cars. Just one week before the train attacks, he went to Mallorca to organize a sale of hashish and Ecstasy to finance the terrorist attack. Just after the attacks, however, police came close to his hiding place, and Ahmidan blew up himself in the Madrid’ suburb of Leganes. The other mna involved in the 2004 attacks was the ringleader: Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, known as “El Tunecino” (The Tunisian); he was involved a love relationship with Nora, the daughter of Ahmed Brahim, and often visited the island of Mallorca. He also blew himself up in Leganes, along with Ahmidan.

Among Islamist terrorists who stayed on Mallorca there was also Mohamed Achraf, sentenced by a Spanish court to 14 years in prison for plotting a car bomb attack on government buildings in Madrid. While in jail on Maillorca in 2002, Achraf managed to organize and lead a terrorist cell before eventually being transferred to the prison of Salamanca.

Cuba and Al-Qaeda

The Cuban origin of the suspected Al-Qaeda operative again provoked questions about links between the Cuban regime and the terrorist movement. The book For Whom the Bell Tolls by Gautam Maitra states that according to a Country Reports on Terrorism released by the Office of the Coordinator for Terrorism in 2006, Cuba “virtually” refused to agree with U.S. request to support the U.S. in its War on Terrorism. “Cuba, according to the report, has not, so far, made any attempt towards tracking, blocking, or seizing terrorist assets despite legal provisions to do so. Cuba has never spoken against either the Al-Qaeda or any other group designated in the FTO list, the report claims. Nor did Cuba embark on any counter terrorist drives or join any international or regional forum on counter terrorism issues,” the book states.

In 2007, the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami [UM] reported that that the Cuban regime could have links with Al-Qaeda through the Polisario, a terrorist group fighting for the independence from Morocco of the Western Sahara. Cuba has been sponsoring and supporting the Polisario since its birth in 1973. In recent years, the Moroccan government has accused the Polisario of “coordination and cooperation with al-Qaeda.”

According to the UM, “the ‘Cuban brigade’ of advisors and intelligence operatives stationed within the Polisario zone may be directly or indirectly supporting al-Qaeda operations and training camps. At the very least, it would be unwise to assume that Cuba’s sophisticated intelligence apparatus is not providing valuable information and guidance to Polisario with a tacit consent to pass it on to an enemy (al-Qaeda) of a mutual enemy (the U.S.).”

Around the beginning of September, the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera sparked the rumor that another terrorist group, Hezbollah, was opening a base in Cuba. The news item stated that the organization chose Cuba as a safe haven from where to plan attacks against Israeli targets in Latin America to avenge the death of the Hezbollah commander, Imad Mughniyah.

The Internet

The possible links with Feliu Mora and Al-Qaeda reminded Spain that the threat of terrorism is still there, and that the country could be again attacked. Even though Feliu Mora was released, his videos are still circulating on the internet and luring new members, especially adolescents. His account on Twitter is still active, and it is still possible to read messages against Christians and Jews.

Although his account on Facebook was blocked, a website saved what had used to be front page of his account. According to the media, the Spanish police are now trying to erase his profiles on the Internet. It seems that next battle against terrorism will not be done only on the ground but also online — especially on social networks — which are rapidly proliferating as a way to recruit young people to join the jihad against the West.

The Rest @ Hudson NY

Khalid Siyf Allahu Almaslul Arrested in Mallorca, Spain

The Spanish Civil Guard arrested a suspected Al-Qaeda operative. a few weeks ago. According to media reports, the 26-year-old man, originally from Cuba, was then released after a 45-minute closed-door arraignment and has to report daily to the police station nearest his home in Cala Rajada, on the northeast side of the Spanish island of Mallorca.

According to the Spanish Interior Ministry’s statement, the young man, identified as Jose Ernesto Feliu Mora, was wanted for allegedly being an Al-Qaeda’s member and for having 1,120 radical videos on the Internet, mostly produced by him. Reports mention that he used these YouTube videos with jihadi, or holy war, content to indoctrinate other individuals. The Interior Ministry’s statement added that the police also seized from him portable computers, external hard drives and USB memory sticks.

Feliu Mora converted years ago to Islam, probably in Spain. He took the name of Khalid Siyf Allahu Almaslul and grew his Muslim beard. During his free time he learned Arabic, apparently on his own, and tried several times to move to Pakistan to join terrorist training camps. Media outlets reported that he was obsessed with attacking Spanish troops in Afghanistan, while promoting online hate against the U.S.. The police started to track his e-mails in 2010, when Feliu Mora allegedly tried to contact leading Islamic fundamentalists.

Al-Qaeda on the island of Mallorca

Although Almaslul used to live with his mother and his half-brother in Mallorca, one of the Balearic islands located in the Mediterranean Sea. However, he was not the only Al-Qaeda operative to do so.

Several Al-Qaeda members have spent time on Mallorca. The most known is Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, co-founder of Al-Qaeda, now imprisoned in the ADX Florence facility in Colorado. Salim, born in Sudan from Iraqi parents, was involved in the terrorist attack against U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. Just before being arrested in Germany, Salim lived for a while in a luxurious apartment in Mallorca.

The apartment belonged to Ahmed Brahim, an Algerian Al-Qaeda member who was one of the masterminds of the 1998-attack against the U.S. embassies. Brahim, who allegedly had “routine” contacts with Tariq Ramadan, was detained by the Spanish authorities for financing Al-Qaeda in Spain. He lived for 14 years on Mallorca, where his apartment on the island was used as a logistical center for terrorist activities.

Two more Al-Qaeda terrorists, involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, spent time in Mallorca. One, Jamal Ahmidan, known as “The Chinese,” had been born in Morocco and lived surrounded by call girls and expensive cars. Just one week before the train attacks, he went to Mallorca to organize a sale of hashish and Ecstasy to finance the terrorist attack. Just after the attacks, however, police came close to his hiding place, and Ahmidan blew up himself in the Madrid’ suburb of Leganes. The other mna involved in the 2004 attacks was the ringleader: Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, known as “El Tunecino” (The Tunisian); he was involved a love relationship with Nora, the daughter of Ahmed Brahim, and often visited the island of Mallorca. He also blew himself up in Leganes, along with Ahmidan.

Among Islamist terrorists who stayed on Mallorca there was also Mohamed Achraf, sentenced by a Spanish court to 14 years in prison for plotting a car bomb attack on government buildings in Madrid. While in jail on Maillorca in 2002, Achraf managed to organize and lead a terrorist cell before eventually being transferred to the prison of Salamanca.

Cuba and Al-Qaeda

The Cuban origin of the suspected Al-Qaeda operative again provoked questions about links between the Cuban regime and the terrorist movement. The book For Whom the Bell Tolls by Gautam Maitra states that according to a Country Reports on Terrorism released by the Office of the Coordinator for Terrorism in 2006, Cuba “virtually” refused to agree with U.S. request to support the U.S. in its War on Terrorism. “Cuba, according to the report, has not, so far, made any attempt towards tracking, blocking, or seizing terrorist assets despite legal provisions to do so. Cuba has never spoken against either the Al-Qaeda or any other group designated in the FTO list, the report claims. Nor did Cuba embark on any counter terrorist drives or join any international or regional forum on counter terrorism issues,” the book states.

In 2007, the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami [UM] reported that that the Cuban regime could have links with Al-Qaeda through the Polisario, a terrorist group fighting for the independence from Morocco of the Western Sahara. Cuba has been sponsoring and supporting the Polisario since its birth in 1973. In recent years, the Moroccan government has accused the Polisario of “coordination and cooperation with al-Qaeda.”

According to the UM, “the ‘Cuban brigade’ of advisors and intelligence operatives stationed within the Polisario zone may be directly or indirectly supporting al-Qaeda operations and training camps. At the very least, it would be unwise to assume that Cuba’s sophisticated intelligence apparatus is not providing valuable information and guidance to Polisario with a tacit consent to pass it on to an enemy (al-Qaeda) of a mutual enemy (the U.S.).”

Around the beginning of September, the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera sparked the rumor that another terrorist group, Hezbollah, was opening a base in Cuba. The news item stated that the organization chose Cuba as a safe haven from where to plan attacks against Israeli targets in Latin America to avenge the death of the Hezbollah commander, Imad Mughniyah.

The Internet

The possible links with Feliu Mora and Al-Qaeda reminded Spain that the threat of terrorism is still there, and that the country could be again attacked. Even though Feliu Mora was released, his videos are still circulating on the internet and luring new members, especially adolescents. His account on Twitter is still active, and it is still possible to read messages against Christians and Jews.

Although his account on Facebook was blocked, a website saved what had used to be front page of his account. According to the media, the Spanish police are now trying to erase his profiles on the Internet. It seems that next battle against terrorism will not be done only on the ground but also online — especially on social networks — which are rapidly proliferating as a way to recruit young people to join the jihad against the West.

The Rest @ Hudson NY