Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Iraq: Special Operations: High Profile, but in Shadow

Every night in Iraq, American Special Operations forces carry out as many as a dozen raids aimed at terrorist leaders allied with Al Qaeda, other insurgent fighters and militia targets. Their after-action reports are the first thing that Gen. David H. Petraeus, the senior American commander in Baghdad, reads the next day. The missions also are closely watched by senior policy makers in Washington, who differ on whether the small number of elite units should focus on capturing and killing leaders of the group that calls itself Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and foreign fighters in Iraq, or whether the greater threat comes from the Sunni- and Shiite-based insurgency. A vast majority — between 80 percent and 90 percent — are aimed at Qaeda-allied targets, while the rest attack other extremist elements, say senior military officers in Baghdad and Pentagon officials.

The mix of targets on any night depends on the intelligence that has been gathered and on an assessment of "can we go after the specific threat or target with the precision required to have a high probability of capture," the officer said. The Special Operations teams are deployed throughout the country so they can respond faster to emerging intelligence on potential targets.
Larger-unit missions primarily engage in what are called clearing operations and aim to uncover arms caches, go after bomb-making cells, rescue civilian hostages held by Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia or other insurgents and capture or kill insurgent and militia leaders.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Amir Taheri - While elements of the Left in the United States and Europe are calling on Western democracies to abandon Afghanistan and Iraq to the Taliban and al Qaeda and surrender to the Khomeinists in Iran, new alliances are emerging against the jihadists in the region.
In much of the Middle East, most notably Afghanistan and Iraq, the Left is part of these new alliances.

* In Iraq, two rival Communist parties, along with Social Democrats and other center-left groups, supported the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and continue to play a significant role in the new pluralist system. They are resolutely opposed to a premature withdrawal of American and allied forces, as demanded by the U.S. Congress.

* In Lebanon, Walid Jumblatt's Progressive Socialist Party is at the heart of the democratic movement to against the Islamic Republic's attempt to dominate the country through its Hezbollah surrogates. The Lebanese democratic movement includes other parties of the Left, notably the Socialist Salvation Movement (Inqadh) and the Movement of the Democratic Left.

* In Iran, virtually the whole of the Left rejects President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's anti-Americanism and calls for normalization of ties with the United States. The recently created independent trade-union movement is emerging as a vocal challenger to Khomeinism.

Perhaps the most interest ing new anti-jihadist alli ance, however, is taking shape in Afghanistan. After months of discussions the leaders of several parties that had fought each other for two decades have come together to set up a new alliance called Popular Front (Jibheh Melli). One major figure in the group is Burhaneddin Rabbani - an Islamic scholar who served as Afghanistan's president after the Communist regime's collapse in 1992. More

Saturday, May 26, 2007

U.S. Working To Sabotage Iran Nuke Program

CBS News - Iran is continuing to make progress on its expanded efforts to enrich uranium — in spite of covert efforts by U.S. and other allied intelligence agencies to actively sabotage the country's nuclear program. "Industrial sabotage is a way to stop the program, without military action, without fingerprints on the operation, and really, it is ideal, if it works," says Mark Fitzpatrick, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation and now Senior Fellow in Non-Proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Sources in several countries involved told CBS News that the intelligence operatives involved include former Russian nuclear scientists and Iranians living abroad. Operatives have sold Iran components with flaws that are difficult to detect, making them unstable or unusable.
Senior government representatives pointed to the case of the exploding power supplies. Installed at the pilot enrichment facility at Natanz in April 2006 as Iran was first attempting to enrich uranium, the power supplies, used to regulate voltaage current, blew up, destroying 50 centrifuges. The head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency, Vice-President Gholamreza Aghazadeh said in January of this year that the equipment had been "manipulated."

Friday, May 25, 2007

Welcome to Gaydamakland

Buses paid for by billionaire Arkadi Gaydamak roll into Ganei Yehoshua's Bereshit Park in Tel Aviv Thursday evening, carrying several hundred Sderot residents as part of his efforts to provide them with a temporary respite from Kassam attacks.
As they leave the buses, each family is greeted by a representative of the Israel Experience Ltd., an organization set up by Gaydamak to absorb and process the Sderot "refugees" while they are under his care. And as long as they are under his tarpaulin roof, they have to follow his rules: Watch TV on a huge screen with surround sound, eat gourmet food, dance at a concert, play in a jumping castle, and basically pretend you are on an all-expenses-paid weekend away.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Israel Left Gaza - Now Gaza Attacks Israel

Less than two years after Israel pulled out of Gaza, Gaza is now once again attacking Israel. Kassams continuing to rain down upon Sderot and environs - three more were fired Tuesday morning, causing no damage - it appears that the public is just as confused about what to do as the government is. In a poll taken this week for the Knesset TV Channel, 78% of the public opined that the government was not responding forcefully enough to the Kassam-firing terrorists in Gaza. However, at the same time, a majority of the respondents still feel that ground forces should not be sent in. It should be noted that the poll was carried out before the Kassam-caused death of Shir'el Friedman of Sderot Monday night.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Al Qaeda's New Front in Lebanon

Walid Phares - In northern Lebanon, a group named Fatah al Islam conducted several attacks against the Lebanese Army, killing (up to) 25 soldiers and losing (up to) 15 members in addition to civilian casualties. The fighting is still raging at this hour. This security development, which could be happening in many other spots in the troubled Middle East, from Iraq to Gaza, and from Somalia to Afghanistan, has however a special dimension. It signals in fact the opening of a new front in the War with al Qaeda’s Terror: Lebanon.

Fatah al Islam, formed last November and headed by Palestinian-born Shaker Absi, is linked directly to al Qaeda. Absi was a colleague of Jordanian-born Abu Musab al Zarqawi, killed by an US air raid last year. Fatah al Islam since its inception has told its supporters and the population in its areas of training and operations that it follows the Jihad of al Qaeda.

Fatah al Islam aims at creating an "Emirate" (Islamist principality as in the Taliban model) in the Sunni areas of Lebanon, and is planning on conducting operations similar to the ones in the Sunni Triangle of Iraq. But according to the Lebanese Government and terrorism experts, the group is being secretly supported by the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Christians seek protection after Islamic extremists warn them to convert or face bombs

Pakistani Christians living in a town beset by pro-Taliban militants sought government protection on Wednesday, a day before the expiry of an ultimatum warning them to convert.
About 500 Christians in Charsadda, a town in North West Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan, received threatening letters earlier this month telling them to shutter their churches and convert to Islam by May 17 or face "bomb explosions."
Community leaders say several Christians — a tiny minority in predominantly Muslim Pakistan — have fled the town and that others are living in fear.
Chaudhry Salim, a Christian leader in Charsadda, said police had not taken the threat seriously.
"Police say someone is joking with us by writing these letters," Salim said at a news conference in the capital. "They have deployed only two policemen at our churches ... this is the kind of security we are getting now."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Turkish Daily Hurriyet: "Turkey - A Stage For Spy Wars Related to Iran's Nuclear Activities"

The mainstream, high circulation Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on the mysterious crash of a small aircraft near Trabzon, under the headline "Again, Iran. Again, A General. Again, Nuclear Espionage."
The paper said that on May 10, during a visit to Ankara, retired Pakistani general Zakaullah Bhangoo, who is close to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, flew in a Sky Arrow 650T craft piloted by a Briton, Michael Newman, to the Turkish city of Trabzon, on the Black Sea. After spending the night in a small neighborhood hotel, the two took off for Tebriz, Iran.
When the plane did not arrive at its destination, search and rescue operations were launched; the remains of the plane and the bodies of the two were found in a forested area near Trabzon.
While the crash is being investigated, autopsies were carried out on the two victims. The bodies will be repatriated via their countries’ diplomatic missions.
The Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that authorities had confirmed that the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT), and possibly also the CIA and the Mossad, were tailing Gen. Bhangoo due to suspicions that he might be traveling to Iran to deliver nuclear know-how and possibly parts for nuclear plants.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Saudi Arabia: Bin Laden fatwa behind attack on oil platform

Osama bin Laden directly ordered the failed attack against an oil platform in Saudi Arabia in February 2006, Saudi authorities announced on Tuesday. The revelation came from a terror suspect arrested by the police accused of having given logistic support to the suicide bomb cell that sought to attack the Abqiq site. Abdullah al-Muqrin said "an operation of this nature could not be carried out without a fatwa (religious edict) from bin Laden himself and to receive it we had to wait for eight months". According to the statements by the terror suspects, the aim of the terror network was to reproduce in the kingdom the same effect that the 11 September attacks had in the United States. In addition, the cell reportedly planned to carry out attakcs in neighbouring Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Last month the Saudi authorities arrested 172 suspected members of seven terrorist cells, some of whom had reportedly been training as pilots to be used in attacks on state oil sites.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hezbollah builds a Western base: From inside South America’s Tri-border area, Iran-linked militia targets U.S.

The Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia has taken root in South America, fostering a well-financed force of Islamist radicals. From its Western base in a remote region divided by the borders of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina known as the Tri-border, or the Triple Frontier, Hezbollah has mined the frustrations of many Muslims among about 25,000 Arab residents whose families immigrated mainly from Lebanon.
An investigation by Telemundo and NBC News has uncovered details of an extensive smuggling network run by Hezbollah. The operation funnels large sums of money to militia leaders in the Middle East and finances training camps, propaganda operations and bomb attacks in South America, according to U.S. and South American officials. U.S. officials fear that poorly patrolled borders and rampant corruption in the Tri-border region could make it easy for Hezbollah terrorists to infiltrate the southern U.S. border.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Germany Terror Threat May Involve Kurd Radicals

A threat warning issued by the United States in Germany last month could involve attack plans by an al Qaeda-affiliated group of Kurdish militants, officials said on Friday. U.S. and German authorities said, however, that there was no new threat in Germany beyond the official April 20 State Department warning. They were responding to a report by ABC News on its Web site on Friday that officials believe terrorists were in the advanced planning stages for an attack on U.S. military personnel or tourists in Germany.
Some German media reports have suggested involvement by Iraqi militants. However, U.S. officials rejected the notion of a role by Ansar al-Islam, a militant group of Iraqi Kurds and Arabs who have vowed to establish an independent Islamic state in Iraq. "There is intelligence reporting suggesting there is a group interested in staging an attack, potentially in Germany," said a U.S. official who asked not to be named because the issue involves classified information.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Cheney Lines up Middle East Arab Allies for US Iraq Pull-out and Possible Iran Attack

DEBKAfile - US Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Riyadh Sat. May 12, with a full caseload for his talks with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz . He is seeking coordination with the Saudis in good time for the approaching winding-down of US military forces in Iraq. Cheney will also clinch the Bush administration’s offer to double the Saudi air force in size, boosting its capability for contending with Iranian air might and the Revolutionary Guards’ naval and marine strength.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Schalit´s incertain future

Hamas's armed wing, Izzadin a-Kassam, has threatened to execute kidnapped IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit if the army enters Gaza. In an as-yet-unpublished statement to a Palestinian Web site, the group's spokesman, Abu Obaidah, was quoted as saying that if the IDF carries out a military incursion in Gaza, Schalit's life could be in clear danger, and he may even be killed. "One way or another, it is in the hands of Izzadin Kassam," Obaidah said in the statement. Shortly after the report was released, Hamas sources in Gaza denied that Abu Obaidah had made any such statement.
In response, MK Yisrael Katz (Likud) called on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to declare that if Hamas harmed Schalit, PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and his friends in the Hamas government would be assassinated. More...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Al-Qaeda: Hamas betrayed God

Terror group says it cannot 'keep silent' over Hamas path 'which will lead to hell'.
Hamas has been accused of "betraying its own martyrs and God" during a recent statement issued by al-Qaeda.
A video made by al-Qaeda leader Yahya al-Libi, who is in Afghanistan, was released at the end of April. Ynetnews has obtained the full recording, one of a number of growing scathing verbal attacks on Hamas by al-Qaeda.
"I am sending this message to the people of Palestine, whose blood is being shed by the Jewish occupiers," al-Libi said.
"Hamas has abandoned jihad for politics. It has betrayed its youths. Its main activity is politics. Since its decision to go down the path of politics, Hamas has begun to descend on a downhill slope. They betrayed the dreams of their young fighters and they stabbed them in the back," al-Libi added.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Al-Qaeda fanatics in bid toi join MI5

AL QAEDA extremists are trying to infiltrate Britain’s spy agencies. Dozens of suspected Islamic fanatics have been weeded out after attempting to join MI5 and MI6.They were identified by the vetting process applicants go through over six to eight months.The success in exposing the moles has underlined the dangers faced by the security services as they seek to recruit more Muslims.Britain is also facing a bigger threat from home-grown extremists than has so far been admitted, say experts.Police and MI5 say they are working at full stretch to defend Britain from Al Qaeda attacks.Last week MI5 declared there were 2,000 terror suspects and their supporters active in the UK. Lord Stevens, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, believes the true figure is nearer 4,000. He called on the Government to increase the manpower of police and intelligence services to combat Al Qaeda-linked terror gangs.


Saturday, May 5, 2007

U.S. military arrived in Algeria to fight al-Qaida

According to Washington Examiner newspaper, United States of America have sent U.S. Marines and a group of military experts specialised in intelligence to Algeria upon its request in order to help the country fighting terrorism. Adm. Eric T. Olson, SoCom's deputy commander said the U.S. military arrived in Algeria after Algerian authorities had asked for the American help and declared the war against “al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb”. This terrorist organisation targeted Algiers in April 11th by suicide bombings attacks. The American special operations troops are on a mission to train Algerian troops in how to track and capture terrorists, said Washington Examiner. The deployment of U.S. special operation forces is not just in Northern Africa, but in several parts of the world, in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, said Eric T. Olson. He added that U.S. Special Command did not have enough for the increasing demands. The Pentagon's decided to devote $2,5 billion for 2008 budget provided for 6,300 additional special operations troops, bringing the command to 54,000 personnel. According to U.S. Special Forces, North and West Africa and the Sahara region about more than 4 million square miles of desert and villages has become one of the main fronts in the war on al-Qaida.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Sudan: Evangelists killed in Nuba mountains

(Compass Direct News) – An Egyptian and three Sudanese Christians were killed last week when their truck came under gunfire after holding an evangelistic meeting in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains region. Egyptian Daniel Girgis, 37, and local Sudanese Christians Markous Tiya, Rihab Kafi Jadeen and an unidentified young boy were killed when unknown assailants opened fire on their vehicle last Friday night (April 27). At least five others, two foreigners and three Sudanese, were injured in the attack that began when the truck driver refused to stop at a makeshift roadblock of large rocks. “When they finished [showing] the Jesus film [in the village of Gnaya] they were going back to the town they were visiting,” Barnaba Timothous, evangelism coordinator at the Bahry Evangelical Church, told Compass. “On their way there, someone behind the mountain fired at them. It was night, they saw just two men.” Though the motive for the attack remains unclear, Timothous said he suspects it was caused by Muslims who were unhappy that Christians were doing evangelism in the area.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Guantanamo prisoners have no place to go

(ADNKI).- The US military has cleared as many as 85 Guantanamo prisoners for release but they are still at the prison camp because they have no where to go. Only three have gone home. Eighty-two remain at the prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as US officials try to find a country that would accept them. In many cases, the prisoners' countries do not want them back. Yemen, for instance, has refused to accept some of the 106 Yemeni nationals at Guantanamo. US laws prevent the deportation of people to countries where they could face torture or other human rights abuses. Virtually, all the prisoners at Guantanamo come from countries that the State Department has cited for records of human rights abuses. There are 17 Chinese Muslim separatists who have been cleared for release but fear they could be executed for political reasons if returned to China. Compounding the problem are persistent refusals by the United States, its European allies and other countries to grant asylum to prisoners who are stateless or have no place to go.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Iran’s complicity in al-Qaeda operations

DEBKAfile - The US Pentagon states that the senior al Qaeda operative -Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi- was captured by the CIA at an undisclosed location while attempting to reach his native Iraq after meeting al Qaeda operatives in Iran. DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources say this disclosure points to four significant developments:
1. Iran is again providing al Qaeda members with a path to Iraq from Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2002, the Islamic Republic afforded defeated al Qaeda groups an escape route from Afghanistan.
2. Iran is allowing al Qaeda terrorists operating in Iraq to strike from within its borders. Evidence of this, if confirmed by al Hadi ,would further exacerbate the military tensions between Washington and Tehran.
3. DEBKAfile’s sources surmise that he was picked up crossing the Iranian border into Iraq.
4. Word is awaited to clarify if the CIA’s capture of al Hadi’s capture was a fluke or the result of a tip-off by an Iraqi informant, whether in Kurdistan or from inside Iran.