[An Nahar] Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab on Wednesday issued a stark warning to Kenyan voters ahead of next week's general elections, threatening them with a "long, gruesome war".
The Islamist group argued Kenya was safer when it ruled bordering southern Somalia but stopped short of saying who Kenyan voters should choose in the March 4 polls.
Kenyan troops, who have since become part of the 17,000-strong African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... force fighting the Shabaab, invaded southern Somalia in October 2011 to attack the bad turbans' bases after a string of killings and kidnappings inside Kenya.
"If you put a government in place, then be willing to endure the consequences of your actions, for you will bear the full brunt of its follies," the Shabaab said in a statement.
Kenya holds presidential, parliamentary, gubernatorial, senatorial and local elections on March 4. None of the leading candidates have hinted they would pull troops out of Somalia.
"The changing political climate in your country may now hold the key to a better future, a future that involves less bloodshed," they continued, warning they would "do whatever it takes to defend our lands from invasion."
Since Kenya's invasion attackers have set off bombs and hurled grenades in the capital Nairobi, while gunnies have killed both security officials and civilians along Kenya's restive border with Somalia.
The attacks are regularly blamed on Shabaab gunnies or their sympathizers, although the beturbanned goons do not specifically claim the killings.
"Remember, we are mujahedeen who celebrate the martyrdom of our loved ones; you are a public that laments the loss of your loved ones," the Shabaab added.
"We are men who have nothing to lose and everything to gain by fighting against you."
[An Nahar] Somali government troops and African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... forces seized the formerly Islamist-held town of Burhakaba on Wednesday, the latest loss for the al-Qaeda linked Shabaab fighters, commanders said.
Soldiers backed by tanks stormed the town from three directions but the hardline Shabaab had already fled before the assault
Soldiers backed by tanks stormed the town from three directions but the hardline Shabaab had already fled before the assault, said Somalia's deputy army commander Abdikarin Yusuf Dhegobadan.
"Our forces took control of Burhakaba without a fight, and we are clearing any bombs that might have been planted," he told news hounds.
The capture of Burhakaba marks a key stage in efforts to open up the main highway from the capital Mogadishu running northwest to Baidoa, a major town wrested from the Shabaab by Æthiopian troops last year.
Burhakaba lies some 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest from Mogadishu, leaving some 60 kilometers (40 miles) until AU troops can reach Baidoa by road.
"The situation is calm and the government and AU troops are now patrolling in the streets," Mohamed Nurow, a resident, told Agence La Belle France Presse by phone.
Mahamet Saleh Annadif, AU representative for Somalia, said the capture of the town marked the "determination" of the 17,000-strong AU force "to support the people of Somalia".
The town is the latest in a string of Shabaab bases to fall to AU and Somali forces in recent months, with Æthiopian troops also battling the gunnies from the west.
However, man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them... the Shabaab remain a potent threat, still controlling rural areas as well as carrying out guerrilla attacks in areas apparently under government control.
Some, retreating ahead of AU-led assaults, have relocated to the northern Golis mountains in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland ...a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garowe in the Nugaal province. Its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998. Puntland and the equally autonomous Somaliland seem to have avoided the clan rivalries and warlordism that have typified the rest of Somalia, which puts both places high on the list for Islamic subversion... region.
[MAGHAREBIA] Tunisian salafists on Tuesday (February 26th) attacked the Sidi Bouzid cop shoppe to reclaim a seized cycle of violence, Tunisie Numerique reported. Police used tear gas to disperse the assailants. Army units were also deployed to restore calm.
In related news, Nafta and Tozeur suspects were placed in durance vile Please don't kill me! in connection with the deadly February 21st Sidi Bouzid shootout between armed salafists and National Guard forces.
[News24] La Belle France's defence minister said on Tuesday that French troops are involved in "very violent fighting" in the mountains of northern Mali and that it's too early to talk about a quick pullout from the West African country, despite the growing cost of the intervention.
The fighting against Islamic forces of Evil in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains has been going on for days. A clash in the area killed 23 soldiers from neighboring Chad on Friday, according to a letter from French President Francois Hollande ...the Socialist president of La Belle France, and a fine job he's doing of it... expressing condolences to his Chadian counterpart.
Soldiers from Chad and a few other African countries have joined the French-led operation to help Mali's weak military push back forces of Evil who had imposed harsh rule on northern Mali and started moving toward the capital last month.
On Tuesday, the B.O. regime imposed sanctions on an Islamic rebel leader whose turban group seized much of northern Mali last year and prompted the French military intervention. The US State Department designated Iyad Ag Ghali, head of the Islamic group Ansar Dine, a global terrorist. The action blocks any assets he holds in the US and prohibits Americans from doing business with him.
The UN also added Ag Ghali to its global sanctions list.
Ag Ghali's armed forces of Evil conquered much of northern Mali after a military coup in Mali's capital, aided by al-Qaeda's North Africa wing. In Timbuktu, he imposed strict Shariah law and forced thousands to flee; others were tortured and executed. But the French-led intervention in January has turned the tide, forcing back Ag Ghali's rebels to mountainous hideouts near the Algeria border.
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on La Belle France's RTL radio Tuesday that the French intervention in Mali has cost more than $133m since it started on January 11.
[MAGHAREBIA] Tunisian Islamic fascistitried to prevent a performance of internet dance craze "Harlem Shake" on Wednesday (February 27th), AFP reported.
When the dozen or so salafists, including women in veils and a man carrying a Molotov cocktail, showed up at the Bourguiba Language Institute in the El Khadra neighbourhood, students shouted "Get out, get out!"
The assailants were driven off after coming to blows with students.
On Monday, Education Minister Abdellatif Abid said a probe had been ordered into another Tunis "Harlem Shake" video made by students in the Menzah 6 neighbourhood. He said there could be expulsions of students or the sacking of educational staff.
In response, the ministry's website was hacked and a call went out on social media for the staging of a mass "Harlem Shake" in front of the ministry on Friday.
[Yemen Post] Several local newspapers reported on Tuesday on a decision taken by one of Yemen specialized Penal Courts to issue a freeze order against Brig. Gen. Yehia Mohammed Saleh's assets in the country following his decisions not to appear before a judge in regards to an investigation carried out on the aftermath of May 2012 kaboom against the Central Security Forces.
On May 21st, 2012, a bomb destroyed a military parade at the heart of the capital, killing 86 soldiers and injuring 171 others. While the attack was soon after blamed on al-Qaeda, the victims' families demanded that an investigation be carried out in order to assess the events and look into ways in which such tragedy could be prevented in the future.
Al-Hadath online news site cited an official court injunction in which the judge informed the Ministry of Interior of its decision to freeze all bank assets until the next court hearing scheduled on March 5th, 2013.
The court also targeted Maj. Gen. Abdul-Malik al-Tayeb former Commander of the Central Security Forces, blocking all access to his accounts in Yemen.
The judge is said to have reacted negatively to Gen. Yehia Saleh and Gen. Al-Tayeb refusals to show up at several court hearings.
The court decision comes in direct contradiction to a immunity blanket which the Yemeni Parliament granted all former regime men upon deposed President President-for-Life Ali Abdullah Saleh ... Saleh initially took power as a strongman of North Yemen in 1977, when disco was in flower, but he didn't invite Donna Summer to the inauguration and Blondie couldn't make it... 's resignation -
[Bangla Daily Star] Hours after Jamaat top leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to death, Jamaat and Shibir activists set fire to a temple and houses of Hindu community at different parts of Noakhali on Thursday.
Two people were killed as the activists clashed with law enforcers at different points of the district town, reports our Noakhali correspondent.
Md Khokon, 17, a tempo helper, received a bullet wound in the clash around 3:45pm, locals said.
Doctors pronounced Khokon dead after he was rushed to Noakhali Medical College Hospital at 4:00pm, said medical sources.
[Bangla Daily Star] At least 29 people were killed as the activists of Jamaat-e-Islami and Islami Chhatra Shibir ran riot across the country centring Sayedee's verdict on Thursday.
The victims included cops, activists of Jamaat, Shibir, Juba League and common people.
Of the deceased, six people, including three cops, were killed in Gaibandha, four each in Thakurgaon, Satkhira, three in Rangpur, two each in Noakhali, Chittagong, Moulvibazar and Sirajganj while one each in Dinajpur, Natore, Cox's Bazar and Chapainawabganj.
Meanwhile, a van driver aged around 35 was killed as miscreants blasted bombs at Mirpur in the capital on Thursday evening.
Soon after a verdict awarding death sentence to Jamaat Nayeb-e-Ameer Delawar Hossain Sayedee was declared, several thousand supporters of the Islamic party attacked Bamondanga police outpost in Sundarganj upazila in the afternoon.
They beat three policemen to death and set fire to the outpost, reports our Gaibandha correspondent.
In response, police opened fire, leaving three people killed.
The policemen were named as constable Nadim, Bablu and Hazrat Ali. Sure hope Sgt. Shafiq is okay.
[Bangla Daily Star] A Dhaka tribunal on Thursday handed death penalty to top Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delwar Hossain Sayeedi ...Islamic orator and politician. He was a former Member of Parliament in the National Assembly of Bangladesh from 1996 to 2008, and is one of the most prominent leaders of the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami... for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971 Liberation War.
The 73-year-old Jamaat nayeb-e-ameer was handed down the penalty for eight wartime criminal offences as his party enforced a shutdown threatening anarchy across the country.
The three-member tribunal said eight out of 20 charges pressed against Sayedee were proved beyond doubt. Sayedee received death penalties in two cases--filed for the killing of Ibrahim Kutti and Bisha Bali.
Disagreeing with the judgement vehemently, the convict stood up on the dock and blamed the judges for "not giving the verdict from the core of their heart".
The verdict came due to the excessive pressure from "some atheists of Shahbagh", he reacted. Referring to the ongoing protests against the Jamaat butchers in Shahbagh Square...
Many present in the courtroom yelled at Sayedee to keep his mouth shut, calling him "promanito razakar", which means a proved collaborator.
At 2:23pm, the convict was taken out of the tribunal premises in a prison van and was taken to Dhaka Central Jail. He'll appeal. If BNP isn't in power by then the appeal will be turned down. Then he'll ask for clemency. If BNP isn't in power by then it will be denied. Then they'll hang him. Whether BNP is in power or not he'll rot in hell.
Original in Spanish. Computer translation followed by editing by me for clarity. All mistakes are mine.
Guillermo Cochez, Panamanian politician,
Formerly Panama's ambassador to the Organization of American States. He's been harshly critical of Hugo, and the government of Panama cashiered Cochez last month for the statements he made to the OAS about Chavez. More on Cochez at Foreign Policy if you can get past the paywall.
claims that the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez passed away four days after he was removed from an artificial respirator.
That's the claim; seems that Hugo wasn't doing so well before that.
In an interview hosted by CNN Chile, the former ambassador of Panama to the OAS affirmed that on December 30 Chavez was declared to be brain dead while in Cuba, after which he returned to Venezuela in that same state. Cochez claims that this is the reason that Chavez was not visited by different proxies, and he questioned the most recent photographs published of Chavez with his daughters.
The former diplomat claims that the information came from what are "internal sources of the Venezuelan government" and that the information circulated weeks ago. "[I] Challenge to the Venezuelan government to contradict me, and that show president Chavez and thus will be known what I say is true or lie" to clarify the situation to the people of Venezuela.
CNN Chile queried the Department of Foreign Affairs of Venezuela who replied that this version of events is not true and is contradicted by the medical information released at present about the President of Venezuela. They declined to discuss the matter further.
The article also said the Venezuelan government has asked Conchez to "clarify" his remarks, presumably in person.
Cóchez also stated that 4 days after Chavez's daughters asked to disconnect Chavez from the artificial respirator December 30th, Chavez passed away.
[Times of Israel] French police tossed in the calaboose Drop the heater, Studs, or you're hist'try! two men on suspicion that they helped Mohammed Merah in two killing sprees in the Toulouse ...lies on the banks of the River Garonne, half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The Toulouse metropolitan area is the fourth-largest in La Belle France... area last year, including at a Jewish school.
The two were arrested separately on Tuesday in Toulouse, according to Le Monde.
Merah, a 23-year-old radical Mohammedan, killed a rabbi and three children in an attack on the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school, now Ohr Hatorah, on March 19. The slayings came a few days after Merah bumped off three French soldiers in two drive-by shootings from a scooter near Toulouse. He was rubbed out on March 22 during a standoff with police.
French police have arrested and released several people and questioned dozens in connection with the shootings.
The only person in jug besides the two men who were arrested Tuesday is Merah's brother, Abdelkader, who has denied having anything to do with the shootings. Police believe he was with his brother when they stole a scooter that Mohammed Merah used to escape after the shootings.
[Dawn] A senior local journalist working for a Pak newspaper and TV news channel was shot down Wednesday by unknown gunnies in restive North Wazoo agency, family members said.
According to family members, Malik Mumtaz, a correspondent for The News and Geo News, was rubbed out Wednesday in his home town of Miranshah ... headquarters of al-Qaeda in Pakistain and likely location of Ayman al-Zawahiri. The Haqqani network has established a ministate in centered on the town with courts, tax offices and lots of madrassas... in the militancy hit tribal region.
Mumtaz was president of the local press club and had reported on the area for more than 20 years.
Mehboob Afridi, the secretary general of the Tribal Union of Journalists, confirmed the Mumtaz had been rubbed out and condemned the killing.
"Mumtaz was traveling towards Chashma bridge when the attackers fired on his vehicle," said Afridi.
Local media men said Mumtaz may have been killed by bully boyz as he had been receiving threats. However, some men learn by reading. A few learn by observation. The rest have to pee on the electric fence for themselves... a front man for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP) condemned the killing and denied any involvement in the attack.
"He was a good news hound and was serving tribal people, we condemn his killing and salute his services for tribal people," TTP front man Ehsanullah Ehsan said by telephone from some holy man's guesthouse an undisclosed location.
Mumtaz is survived by his wife, two sons and one daughter.
According to the press campaign group Reporters Without Borders, Pakistain was the third deadliest country for journalists last year, behind Syria and Somalia, with 10 killed in connection with their work.
[Dawn] At least four persons bit the dust in different incidents of violence in various area of Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... on Wednesday whereas an officer of the Pakistain Navy was injured in a gun firing incident, DawnNews reported.
An activist of a religious organization was killed in a gunfriung incident in Surjani Town's block L-1 area of Karachi.
Two other persons died of gunshot wounds suffered in Karachi's Nagan Chowrangi and North Karachi areas respectively.
A body was found on Hub River road near Raees Goth area. The body bore marks of torture and the victim was shot to death, according to police sources.
Naval officer injured
An officer of the Pakistain Navy suffered gun shot injuries near Karachi Port area early on Wednesday. The maimed officer was rushed to the PNS Shifa hospital where he underwent surgery. He was shifted to the Intensive Care Ubit after the operation where his condition was reported as stable.
The officer's vehicle was shot at four times according to police sources whereas a statement by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) dispelled the impression that the officer was targeted in the incident.
According to the ISPR statement the officer's vehicle was struck by bullets as it came in the line of fire. Further details over the incident were not available till the filing of this report.
Police on Thursday said they are investigating the possibility that Palestinians may have vandalized six cars in the Kusra village so that they could falsely claim it was a price tag attack by Jewish extremists. I deplore these American fashions
Thailand is ready to begin peace talks with Muslim insurgent groups active in the south, a senior security official said on Wednesday, signaling a possible breakthrough in the conflict.
Paradorn Pattanathabutr, secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC), said, "This is the first step. The start of a peace dialogue with representatives from Muslim rebel groups."
An agreement on preliminary talks is to be signed on Thursday in Kuala Lumpur ahead of a meeting between Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Malaysian counterpart, Najib Razak.
Malaysia, which helped broker a peace deal between the Philippine government and Muslim insurgents in October, appears to have brought the Thai rebels to the table. Previous attempts at talks have gone nowhere and analysts said it was not even certain the participants in those talks were the legitimate leaders of the insurgency.
Before his trip to Malaysia, Paradorn had said Thailand would seek Malaysia's help to determine which rebel groups were operating in the Thai south and then facilitate talks with the groups. He said, "There has been dialogue with insurgent groups on and off for many months but not as often as we would like."
Thai officials say the attacks in the south are organized by the Barisan Revolusi Nasional Coordinate, an offshoot of the Patani Malay National Revolutionary Front set up in the 1960s to seek greater autonomy. Another group, the Patani United Liberation Front, publicly calls for a separate state.
The insurgents have never clearly stated their demands since the violence flared up in 2004 but they are thought to want more autonomy or a separate state in a region that was part of a Malay sultanate until annexed by Thailand in 1909.
[Jpost] Rebels claim Naim Qassem ... the Grand Vizier of the Hezbullies... killed in bombing on Leb-Syria border; Hezbollah denies that he was injured.
Hezbollah's deputy chief Naim Qassem was killed Tuesday when Syrian rebels bombed a convoy consisting of high-ranking Syrian government officers near the Leb border, news portal Now Leb quoted the Free Syria Army as saying on Wednesday.
"It has been confirmed... that Hezbollah's number two man died after [receiving] a serious injury," the Free Syria Army posted on its Twitter account.
Lebanese newspaper al-Mustaqbal ... the Future Movement, political party led by Saad Hariri... quoted the Syrian rebels as saying mines placed on the Beirut-Damascus ...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy... highway had detonated as the convoy returned from a high-level security meeting in Leb. The kaboom reportedly took place near the town of Jdeidet Yabous near the Leb-Syria border.
The al-Mustaqbal report made no mention of Qassem being killed in the attack, saying that he had merely been injured, which Hezbollah later denied.
"'e's pining for the fjiords..."
Nasarallah was scheduled to make a televised address on Wednesday evening after it had been reported Tuesday that he was ill and undergoing treatment in Iran.
[An Nahar] A stray mortar shell landed Wednesday in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, the army said, while also reporting that six maimed Syrians receiving treatment in Israel have been discharged from hospital.
"We found a shell in the central Golan Heights," a military front man said after troops saw smoke rising near an Israeli town in the central sector of the strategic plateau which borders war-torn Syria.
It was the first time in nearly three months that a shell had slammed into the Israeli side of the Golan, without causing injuries or damage.
Such incidents have been sporadic but have increased over the past six months as violence from the civil war in Syria spilled across the ceasefire line.
On February 16, seven Syrian nationals who were maimed in the fighting over the border were allowed to cross into Israel where they received treatment at Ziv hospital in the northern Galilee town of Safed.
Six of them were discharged from hospital on Wednesday and returned to Syria while the seventh stayed behind for further treatment, the military said.
"Following completion of their medical treatment, six of the seven injured Syrians that received medical aid in Israel have been released today," it said.
They were returned "at some holy man's guesthouse an undisclosed location for their own safety" while an additional Syrian "who is severely maimed, remains hospitalized for further treatment."
In recent months, there have been several instances of gunfire or mortar shells landing on the Israeli side of the plateau, prompting troops in November to respond with artillery in the first such instance of Israeli fire towards the Syrian military since the 1973 war.
Israel seized the Golan from Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981, in a move never recognized by the international community.
It is currently upgrading its security fence along its armistice line with the work expected to be finished by the end of the year.
[An Nahar] Fierce battles pitting Syria's army against rebels rocked towns near Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... on Wednesday as the regime renewed its campaign to suppress the insurgency around the capital, a watchdog said.
Army tanks pounded the rebel-held town of Daraya southwest of Damascus, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, while fresh festivities broke out in Irbin, northeast of the city.
State television reported meanwhile that "two mortar rounds fell near the Faculty of Literature in Damascus", without elaborating.
Pro-regime daily Al-Watan ran a headline that read: "New attempt (by turbans) to break security in the capital, hundreds of Islamic fascistikilled".
Using the regime's term to refer to turbans, the newspaper said the army was locked in a bid to keep encroaching rebels out of Damascus on Tuesday night.
"In the northeastern entrance into Damascus, on the edges of Qabun district, there was a new bid to stage an incursion into the capital... but the attempt resulted in the death of more than 100 attackers who committed a kind of collective suicide," said Al-Watan.
Elsewhere, six rebel fighters were killed in fighting near the police academy in Khan al-Assal, said the Britannia-based Observatory.
Clashes over the academy have raged for the past week, as beturbanned goons have been attempting to seize one of the last regime bastions in the northern province of Aleppo.
Wednesday's violence came a day after at least 134 people were killed in violence across Syria, among them 52 civilians, said the Observatory, which relies on a network of sources on the ground for its information.