KABUL: A female suicide car bomber attacked a van in Kabul yesterday, killing 12 people, including eight South Africans, in an assault insurgents said was revenge for an anti-Islam film made in America.
The bombing on a highway leading to Kabul international airport was the second suicide attack in the heavily fortified city in 10 days, reviving questions about stability as NATO accelerates a troop withdrawal and hands over to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
An AFP photographer saw at least six bodies lying among the wreckage of a gutted minivan, and another vehicle destroyed by flames still burning in the middle of the highway, with debris flung all around.
"At around 6:45 a.m. (0215 GMT) a suicide bomber using a sedan blew himself up along the airport road in District 15. As a result, nine workers of a foreign company and three Afghan civilians are dead, and two police are wounded," police said in a statement.
The South African foreign ministry said eight of its citizens working for a private company at the airport were among the dead.
The Afghan presidency later confirmed that three Afghans, believed to include the bus driver and an interpreter, and one citizen from Kyrgyzstan were also killed. Eleven other people were wounded, it said in a statement.
Afghanistan's second largest terrorist insurgent group, Hezb-i-Islami, said they done it claimed responsibility, saying it was carried out by a woman to avenge the "Innocence of Muslims" film, which has sparked a week of furious anti-US riots across Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
"The bombing was in retaliation for the insult to our Prophet," spokesman Zubair Sidiqi said in a telephone call to AFP from an undisclosed location.
It is extremely rare for the faction to claim a suicide attack in Afghanistan. It is also rare for women, few of whom drive in Afghanistan, to carry out suicide attacks. A police investigator said he believed the bomber was female, after finding parts of a woman's leg. Womens' legs are covered throughout Afghanistan. How would he know?
[NY Times] In a significant blow to a core element of the Western exit strategy from Afghanistan, the American-led military coalition said Tuesday it has temporarily curtailed joint operations with the Afghan Army and police forces. The new limits were a sign of how American priorities were being drastically reordered amid a wave of anti-American sentiment brought on by an anti-Islam movie, which has sparked riots across the Mohammedan world and on Tuesday was the motive behind a suicide kaboom here that killed 14 people, 10 of them foreigners.
"American priorities were being drastically reordered amid a wave of anti-American sentiment brought on by an anti-Islam movie."NY Slimes AKA State Run Media
Has nothing to do with the cold blooded murder of many of our people in uniform implementing Hussein's deadly exit strategy, ya see. Also has nothing to do with the attack on the United States Constitution (free speech) or the establishment of religion (sharia law) upon the free speech by the Democrat Socialist Party USA, allies of all things evil, including 6th century Mecca/Kaaba.
(AGI) Benghazi, 18 Sept. - A week after the death of U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens, an amateur video showed Libyans trying to rescue him at the U.S. Consulate. A young man appears to be shouting " Is there a doctor? Can anybody call a doctor?" while another one bends on the Ambassador to check his pulse.
Just before that the footage shows a group of people dragging the ambassador's body out of the room where he was found lying.
A man says "he is dead," while another states, "he is alive, alive. Let's take him out of here." Chants of "Hallah hu Akbar" can be hear in the background. The video, which appeared on the internet and a copy of which was obtained by Reuters in Benghazi, confirms reports that suggested the U.S. envoy died of asphyxiation after the building caught fire. The footage also sheds new light on the circumstances of the ambassador's death, apparently showing for the first time that some of the people who forced their way into the U.S. compound later tried to rescue Stevens after they found him lying alone, with no security detail, in one of the rooms in the building.
Site contains DRM infested crap. It is really a roundup, save for the mention of the 50 busts
Libya announced on Sunday the arrest of 50 suspects over the killing of the US envoy and three other Americans, blaming the Benghazi attack on foreign extremists and claiming it was pre-planned.
Senior Benghazi commanders have been summoned to the capital Tripoli today to plan action against Islamist extremists accused of killing the US ambassador as al-Qaeda warned of more attacks on American officials.
The new prime mininster, Mustafa Abushagur, and acting president, Mohammed Magarief, are understood to have called the meeting in response to pressure from President Barack Obama to take action.
The meeting will consider to what extent the attack was the work of local Islamist extremists, and how much it was co-ordinated with the "foreign elements" identified by Mr Magarief in interviews over the weekend, particularly members of Al-Qaeda from other parts of North Africa.
[Al Ahram] Suspected members of the Boko Haram ... not to be confused with Procol Harum, Harum Scarum, possibly to be confused with Helter Skelter. The Nigerian version of al-Qaeda and the Taliban rolled together and flavored with a smigeon of distinctly Subsaharan ignorance and brutality... Islamist sect killed the attorney general of Nigeria's northeast state Borno overnight, the state's justice ministry said on Tuesday, a day after the sect's front man was reportedly killed in a shootout.
Boko Haram, which models itself on the Afghan Taliban, is fighting to create an Islamic state in largely Mohammedan northern Nigeria, a battle in which the sect has killed hundreds of people in gun and kabooms. Its headquarters is in Borno.
Zanna Malam Gana was rubbed out in his home town of Bama, in Nigeria's remote northeast, on the threshold of the Sahara Desert, the justice ministry said in a statement to local journalists. It said his burial would take place on Tuesday.
On Monday, a Nigerian security source said its forces had killed Abu Qaqa, the main front man of the Boko Haram sect, which has become the biggest threat to Nigeria's security, as well as another senior jihad boy.
There has been no response from the sect on the claim. Nigerian forces have claimed to have killed or captured him before, only for the jihad boy to issue a statement denying it.
Boko Haram traditionally targets authority figures or security sources, although it started attacking mobile phone installations across the northeast two weeks ago, saying phone companies were helping authorities to track down its fighters.
They have already destroyed around 30 phone masts.
MTN Nigeria said in a statement on Tuesday that due to sabotage it had also "experienced multiple cuts to its fibre cable in the same region, which has impacted service in the eastern part of the country".
"Current security concerns have prevented not only repair work to damaged equipment, but routine maintenance, causing disruption to the lives of millions of Nigerians," MTN Nigeria's general manager of corporate affairs, Funmi Omogbenigun, said.
A military crackdown in the north appears to have damaged Boko Haram's capabilities, although it remains deadly in many parts. At least 186 people died in coordinated attacks in the north's main city of Kano in January.
It's a retaliation for the death of their spokesman Abu Qaqa. But there have been suspicions for some time that Boko Haram would shift to a pattern of assassinations against top leaders in Nigeria. This could be the start of that shift in strategy. Time will tell.
[Washington Post] YouTube said Tuesday that it was stopping users in Saudi Arabia from viewing an anti-Islam video that has sparked protests across the Muslim world, after the kingdom's press agency reported that the ruler had banned all access to the film and the site appeared to be blocked there.
The online video sharing site said that it was preventing "Innocence of Muslims" from being seen on its site in Saudi Arabia after being notified by the government there that the clip is breaking the country's laws.
The Saudi Press Agency said that the kingdom had sent a request to Google to "veil" all links containing the video, which was produced in the United States and which ridicules the Prophet Muhammad.
The agency said King Abdullah had directed that all websites and links that accessed the video should be blocked. An Associated Press reporter in Saudi Arabia reported that the online video sharing site was inaccessible that evening.
DIYARBAKIR, Turkey: Seven Turkish troops were killed and almost 60 others were wounded yesterday in a rocket assault on their military convoy in Turkey's southeast, according to local security sources. The military convoy was hit by Kurdish rebel rockets on the highway on the outskirts of southeastern Bingol province, sparking a fire that wounded 58 soldiers aboard an army bus.
The number of dead soldiers was initially announced at four and the wounded at 48 by the local governor. Dozens of wounded soldiers are being treated at nearby hospitals and the death toll may still rise, according to the sources.
The Turkish army retaliated with an immediate operation backed by air power in the larger Bingol area to capture the members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who staged the attack, Anatolia news agency reported.
The assailants are identified by witnesses as three men who drove away in a car after the attack, and they are believed to be traveling with heavy explosives on board, NTV private news channel reported.
PKK attacks against Turkish security forces have become almost daily events in the Kurdish-majority southeast, but a powerful rocket ambush carried out in daylight marks a rare incident.
[Dawn] LAHORE: At least 10 protesters were maimed when participants in a rally against the profane film on Monday clashed with the police outside the US consulate at Shimla Pahari near Lahore Press Club.
The rally was arranged by Majlis-e-Wahdat-e-Mohammedaneen (MWM).
The clash erupted when a number of protesters tried to march on the consulate. They forced their way through many pickets before being stopped by the police when the consulate building was just less than 50 metre away. As the police baton-charged the marchers, a few participants managed to sneak through the last barrier in a bid to forcibly enter the building.
The place turned into a battlefield after the police tried to stop the protesters from moving on the consulate. Additional police force was called as soon as the mob reached near the consulate's main entrance gate.
Carrying placards, banners and party flags, the rioters rolled their eyes, jumped up and down, and hollered poorly rhymed slogans real loud against the US for supporting anti-Islam activities across the world.
As a result of police baton charge, around 10 people suffered injuries.
Some protesters, who succeeded in climbing up concrete barriers, set the US flag on fire. The police also placed in durance vile Youse'll never take me alive coppers!... [BANG!]... Ow!... I quit! three rioters.
"We just marched on the consulate to lodge a protest through a written memorandum to the US officials there. We lament police action as they unnecessarily resorted to baton charge," MWM Lahore Division Secretary-General Hassan Hamdani told Dawn on the spot.
He claimed that around 10 MWM protesters had succeeded in entering the consulate building and set the US flag (hoisting on the roof) on fire. They also hoisted their flag bearing slogans `Allahuma Labaik' on the roof of the building.
He said the MWM would continue with its country-wide protests.
Earlier, the protesters staged a sit-in on the spot where the Shia leaders, including MWM's Abdul Khaliq Asadi, also spoke.
"The Pakistain government should not put up with such acts further and take up the issue at international forum," Asadi said.
The leaders asked the activists to end the sit-in after the police released their three workers.
[Dawn] The driver of a trailer, supplying goods to NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A cautionary tale of cost-benefit analysis.... forces in Afghanistan, was killed and his assistant received critical injuries when their vehicle was targeted by an bomb on Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. -Torkham road on Monday.
Officials said that unidentified forces of Evil targeted the vehicle, carrying two Humvee jeeps to Afghanistan, with an improvised bomb planted along the roadside near Shahgai Fort in Jamrud.
The blast caused serious injuries to driver Nazar Mohammad and his assistant Gul Mohammad besides damaging the front portion of the vehicle. Officials said that the driver later departed this vale of tears in a hospital. The blast also caused suspension of traffic on the main road for at least an hour.
The incident was second of its kind during the last three days. Officials said that they had beefed up security along Peshawar-Torkham road by increasing patrolling of Khasadar Force and establishing temporary checkposts.
Meanwhile, ...back at the palazzo, Count Guido had escaped from his bonds and overwhelmed this guard using the bludgeon the faithful Filomena had smuggled to him in the loaf of bread... unidentified forces of Evil blew up a jewellery shop in Bara on Sunday.
Sources said that forces of Evil planted explosives outside the jewellery shop of Abdul Akbar at Niazi Market and blew it up on the night between Saturday and Sunday. The shop was closed for the last six months. The reason behind its blowing up could not be known.
Also in Bara, forces of Evil blew up the house of Dr Najib, a resident of Mandi Kas in Sipah area.
The house was empty at the time of kaboom as the family had moved out of Bara when a military operation was launched in the area in November last year.
Reason for destroying the house could not be ascertained nor had anyone grabbed credit for the incident.
In Alamgudar area of Bara, a young man identified as Shakirullah was electrocuted on Sunday. Family sources said that he touched naked wires of electricity while repairing an electricity fault outside his house.
Also in Bara, a teenage nephew of PPP leader Wilayat Shah was burnt to death when a fire broke out due to kaboom in a power generator.
It was learnt that Irfanullah was trying to start the generator when the kaboom occurred that caused a fire. He was rushed to Peshawar in a critical condition where he succumbed to burn injuries.
[Dawn] A rally against the anti-Islam film produced in the US turned violent in Wari area of Upper Dir district on Monday, leading to the torching of the press club building and government offices by protesters and the killing of a local resident in police firing.
Students of two local colleges staged a rally and asked journalists to cover it.
The journalists' refusal enraged them so much that they set the tehsil Wari press club building on fire. Police later tossed in the clink Don't shoot, coppers! I'm comin' out! some protesters and took them to the local cop shoppe. Protesters marched to the cop shoppe and demanded the release of their colleagues.
However, the man who has no enemies isn't anybody and has never done anything... police refused, promoting angry mob to throw stones at the cop shoppe.
Police opened fire on protesters, killing Mohammad, of Wari, and injuring two.
Angered by the killing, protesters torched sub-divisional magistrate and tehsildar offices and many vehicles.
Later in the day, the district coordination officer announced closure of educational institutions in the district for three days in light of possible protest against the student's killing.
[Dawn] Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed, has pleaded for mercy in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks case in a final bid to avoid the gallows. His mercy petition has been sent to the President's office, Indian media outlets reported.
Pakistain-born Kasab sent his petition through officials at the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai where he is being held, the Press Trust of India said.
"We have sent a mercy petition to the president filed by Kasab," the news agency quoted a bigwig at the high-security prison as saying.
Earlier in August, Indian Supreme Court rejected a plea by Kasab to convert the death sentence handed to him by the Bombay High Court to life imprisonment.
"We are left with no option but to award death penalty," the two judges said in a court order on August 29. "The primary and foremost offence committed by Kasab is waging war against the government of India."
Kasab, who is currently held in a maximum-security prison in Mumbai, was found guilty on charges, including waging war, murder and terrorist acts, and was sentenced to death in May 2010.
Only one execution has taken place in India in 15 years -- that of a former security guard hanged in 2004 for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl.
However public demands for the hanging of Kasab have been growing ever since the Supreme Court rejected his appeal against the death sentence.
During the November 2008 attacks, heavily armed gunnies stormed targets in Mumbai, including luxury hotels, a Jewish centre, a hospital and a bustling train station.
India blames the Pakistain-based Lashkar-e-Taiba ...the Army of the Pure, an Ahl-e-Hadith terror organization founded by Hafiz Saeed. LeT masquerades behind the Jamaat-ud-Dawa facade within Pakistain and periodically blows things up and kills people in India. Despite the fact that it is banned, always an interesting concept in Pakistain, the organization remains an blatant tool and perhaps an arm of the ISI... (LeT) jihad boy organization for training, equipping and financing the gunnies with support from `elements' in the Pakistain military.
Kasab initially pleaded not guilty "Wudn't me." but later confessed, admitting he was one of the gunnies sent by LeT.
At his trial, the prosecution produced fingerprint, DNA, eyewitness and TV footage evidence showing him opening fire and throwing grenades at Mumbai's main railway station in the bloodiest episode of the attacks.
"I was denied a fair trial," Kasab said in a statement when his appeal hearing began in January. "I may be guilty of killing people and carrying out a terrorist act but I am not guilty of waging war against the state."
What on earth does he think committing a terrorist act at the behest and expense of a foreign government is?
He said that he was denied proper legal representation and that some charges against him were not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
President Pranab Mukherjee, who took office in July, is currently considering 11 other appeals for clemency from death row prisoners.
[Dawn] Target killings in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... continued on Tuesday as another 10 people bit the dust in various acts of violence, DawnNews reported.
A man was killed in North Bloody Karachi while another was rubbed out in PIB Colony after faceless myrmidons opened fire on them.
In Nanakwara, Lyari, firing resulted in the death of one man while two others were maimed. In another incident, a man was killed while another was injured in Malir.
Meanwhile, ...back at the scene of the crime, Lieutenant Queeg had an idea: there was a simple way to tell whether Manetti had been the triggerman -- just look at his shoes!... a man was killed near the Governor House after faceless myrmidons fired shots at him. The victim was identified as Abdul Wahid.
In other incidents, the tortured body of a twelve year old girl was found near Bloody Karachi University. The bodies of two faceless myrmidons were recovered from Murad Memon Goth. According to police, the men were kidnapped earlier on and were later rubbed out.
One person was also reportedly killed near Hawkes Bay, while another person was rubbed out in near Ghas Mandi.
Three people were maimed in a grenade attack on a Nadra office, DawnNews reported.
[Dawn] A roadside kaboomdestroyed a passenger bus carrying Shia Mohammedan pilgrims in southwestern Pakistain on Tuesday, killing three people and wounding about a dozen, officials said.
Earlier security sources said that four people killed by the attack but Deputy commissioner Mastung confirmed the killings of two people.
Six security personnel who were assigned to provide security to the bus also received injuries.
The blast took place in Mastung district, about 25 kilometres south of Quetta, the capital of insurgency-hit Balochistan ...the Pak province bordering Kandahar and Uruzgun provinces in Afghanistan and Sistan Baluchistan in Iran. Its native Baloch propulation is being displaced by Pashtuns and Punjabis and they aren't happy about it... province.
"It was a roadside kaboom which targeted the bus," senior administration officer Irfan Shah told AFP.
"The bus caught fire after the blast," he said adding that initial reports said "at least two people were killed and about a dozen maimed".
The injured, some of them at death's door, have been taken to hospital in Quetta.
Officials said the bus, carrying up to 40 pilgrims, was returning from Iran after taking pilgrims to Shia holy place
[Dawn] Eight people including a young girl were killed when two bombs went off in a busy commercial area in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... on Tuesday, police and hospital officials said.
The bombs went off in quick succession in the usually crowded Hyderi Market in central Bloody Karachi during the evening rush hour, police officer Azam Khan said.
One bomb went kaboom! near a dustbin and three minutes later another went off at the main parking lot in which about a dozen vehicles were damaged, he said.
"We suspect the bomb was planted in a car or a cycle of violence parked in the area.
"Casualties were caused by the second blast," he added, confirming that the dear departed included a nine-year-old girl. More than 18 others have been maimed.
Bloody Karachi city police chief Iqbal Mehmood said: "The blast occurred at a place from where we had recovered and safely defused a heavy bomb last month.
"I can't say which terrorist organization or individuals are behind this at this point of time," he said, adding that investigations were ongoing.
The powerful blasts were heard several kilometres away, residents said.
The casualties were taken to the local Abbasi Shaheed Hospital.
Doctor Mohammad Shafqat, confirming the toll, said: "We have received bodies of six blast victims." He added that there were 18 injured, including three women and one child.
"We are compiling the figures of deaths and injured," Provincial Health Minister Saghir Ahmed said, adding that emergency has been declared in all state run hospitals in the city.
One victim later succumbed to his wounds in the hospital during treatment.
"The blast was caused by an improvised bomb carrying at least eight kilogrammes of explosives," bomb disposal squad official Abdul Hameed said.
"Both bombs were planted, one was on a cycle of violence and another on a pushcart abandoned nearby," provincial police chief Fayyaz Laghari said.
Nobody immediately grabbed credit for the bombing.
[NY Post] In an apparent case of red, white and blue revenge, a Pakistani protester died yesterday after inhaling smoke from a burning American flag during an anti-US rally.
Abdullah Ismail succumbed at Mayo Hospital in Lahore a day after attending the fierce protest at the city's Mall Road, where an estimated 10,000 people rallied.
Witnesses said Ismail had complained of feeling ill after breathing fumes from burning flags, Pakistan's Express Tribune reported.
Another Pakistani protester was killed during clashes with police yesterday after demonstrators set a press club ablaze, apparently angry that their protest of an anti-Islam film wasn't getting enough media coverage.
Hundreds set fire to the club in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province's Upper Dir area, authorities said. Police said cops charged the crowd, beating them with batons. The mob then set a government office ablaze.
The protester died and several were wounded when police and the demonstrators exchanged gunfire, police said.
Also yesterday, a man died after being shot in the head Sunday during a march in which hundreds of people broke through a barricade to get to the US Consulate in the southern city of Karachi.
There were more clashes in Karachi yesterday as demonstrators from the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami party tried to reach the consulate.
Police lobbed tear gas, fired rounds in the air and made 40 arrests. No injuries were reported.
Pakistanis have also held many peaceful protests against the film, which critically portrays the prophet Mohammed. One held in the southwest town of Chaman yesterday was attended by about 3,000 students and teachers.
The chief justice of Pakistan's supreme court ordered the state telecommunications authority to block the film on YouTube because it is considered blasphemous.
From Der Spiegel via Jerusalem Post
'Der Spiegel' quotes witnesses as saying tanks, helicopters fired shells capable of chemical weapons under observation of IRGC.
Syria tested firing systems for poison gas shells at the country's largest chemical weapons research center at Safira, east of Aleppo, last month, German weekly Der Spiegel reported on Monday, citing statements from various witnesses.
According to the report, Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers were flown in by helicopter to witness the testing.
Several empty shells, designed to carry chemical weapons, were fired by tanks and helicopters in a desert location near the research center, Der Spiegel quoted the witnesses as saying.
According to the report, Syria has reinforced security at the facility and made efforts to safeguard its electricity supply in recent months, in case of rebel attack.
Both the US and Israel have expressed concern over Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons falling into the wrong hands or being used by Syrian President Bashar Assad to quell the uprising in the country.
US President Barack Obama warned last month that any sign that Assad was starting to utilize the weapons, or move them, would constitute a "red line" that could trigger US military intervention in the conflict. A red line, ya say? Will O back up those words? I have my doubts.
"We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people," Obama told an impromptu White House news conference. He acknowledged he was not "absolutely confident" the stockpile was secure.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in July that Israel would take military action if needed to prevent Syria's chemical weapons from falling into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon.
According to Monday's report in Der Spiegel, the Safira chemical weapons research center includes scientists from North Korea and Iran who produce chemical weapons such as mustard gas and sarin which they test on animals.
The German weekly quoted a member of the Free Syrian Army as saying that the rebels are not planning to attack or capture the site.
In from the Cold blog site made these comments: It's also a well-known fact that Iran has been an active participant in Syria's WMD activities. In July 2007 "dozens" of Iranian engineers were killed (along with 15 Syrian military personnel) in an explosion at a research complex in the Aleppo region. According to Jane's Defence Weekly, the incident occurred when rocket fuel caught fire and Iranian and Syrian technicians attempted to load mustard gas onto a SCUD C missile. The blast also released a cloud of mustard, Sarin and VX nerve gas across the compound.
The 2007 disaster was detected--and analyzed--by western intelligence, as were previous tests involving chemical weapons. Syria has a sophisticated denial-and-deception (D&D) program, but there have been only modest efforts to conceal this activity. Indeed, one could make the case that Mr. Assad wants to remind Israel (and other adversaries) that his regime has a large inventory of chemical weapons and is quite prepared to use them.
It is worth noting that yesterday's test did not involve live chemical agents. That may have been a calculated move to avoid so-called "red lines" that would invite outside military intervention.
Another possibility is that the Syrians were testing some type of new binary shell design, perhaps of Iranian origin. Before filling shells with live agent, it's necessary to make sure they function as designed. If the tests were successful, series production of the "new" rounds could begin in as little as a few weeks.
Tehran has long used Syria as a proxy for the development and testing of chemical weapons, largely avoiding the risk (and international condemnation) that comes with conducting such activity on your own soil. Beefing up the Syrian arsenal also provides another benefit for Iran, forcing Israel to contend with a growing WMD threat, literally on its doorstep.
However, the systems tested at Safira are also useful for domestic applications, such as suppressing rebel forces. That's why the recent drill should be viewed as something of a dry run, both literally and figuratively. As the Assad regime continues to crumble, it is facing the choice of using WMD to retain power. And that decision may come sooner rather than later, based on the timing of the recent test.
When Syria recently confirmed its WMD weaponry (perhaps the worst-kept secret in the Middle East), the Assad government vowed they would only be used against "outside" forces. But that's a hollow vow. Collectively, Bashir Assad and his late father slaughtered tens of thousands of Syrians to maintain their hold on power. The younger Assad has no qualms about using chemical weapons against the rebels in Aleppo or other locations.
The recent test was also aimed at gauging outside reaction, particularly from Israel and the United States. Judging from Israeli media coverage, it's clear that Prime Minister Netanyahu and his advisers are paying very close attention. As for the U.S., it's difficult to say. so far, there's been no public reaction from the White House or the Pentagon, and with President Obama MIA from recent intelligence briefings, there are concerns about how much attention the activity is receiving at the highest levels of our government.
One thing is certain: Mr. Assad is tip-toeing along the edge of Mr. Obama's WMD red line, and appears poised to cross it in the near future. At that point, we'll learn if the red line is real, or just imaginary.
The Iranian government recently conducted a major cyber attack on a major U.S. financial institution that a military intelligence report said is a sign Tehran is waging covert war against the West.
The cyber attack was not successful but was one of several Iranian-backed electronic strikes detected in recent months that highlights the growing threat from Tehran, a major backer of international terrorism, according to a recent report by the Joint Staff intelligence directorate, known as J-2.
"Iran's cyber aggression should be viewed as a component, alongside efforts like support for terrorism, to the larger covert war Tehran is waging against the west," the report, dated Sept. 14, concluded.
Iran's hostile posture against the United States is well known. However, those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great things... the Joint Staff J-2's hawkish assessment of the Iranian threat contrasts sharply with the more conciliatory policies of the B.O. regime, a defense official familiar with the report said. For Pentagon's J-2 to acknowledge in the internal report that a covert war is underway was unusual, the official added.
No other details were available on the previously undisclosed attempted Iranian financial cyber attack.
Last year China was accused of a number of cyber attacks of espionage and Intelligence gathering and now they are transferring that hacking knowledge to the Iranians. The "Iranian Cyber Army" had hacked a few popular social networking site and claimed their dominance in the cyber world but this was mainly a few Iranians militants now with the purchase of the new equipment the real Iranian Cyber Army is getting it's feet wet.
As of last weekend ... Israel has mobilized its reservists and deployed them as major reinforcements to its northern border and Golan Hights. Official word is that this is just an exercise ... but there was no early announcement to the reservists.
OK fair response. So the next question is - do those reservists go home again in a few days?
Meanwhile ... where do Islamic terror groups strike next? Obvious response is French embassies and companies. But maybe also locations that are symbols of western religion ... Notre Dame Cathedral (France), Pope & Vatican (Italy), St Pauls Cathedral (London), Saint Patricks Cathedral (New York).
[Al Ahram] A group of Syrian refugees threw stones at UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi's convoy on Tuesday as he left the Zaatari camp in Jordan where he pledged help despite the "worsening" conflict.
"Unfortunately, the situation in Syria is not likely to improve," Brahimi said during a brief visit to the camp in northern Jordan close to the Syrian border.
"It is worsening. It is heading towards more deterioration," he said. "I am trying my best to help the Syrian refugees get out of this crisis."
A small crowd of angry Syrian refugees pelted his motorcade with stones as he left.
"Brahimi out! Brahimi out!" they chanted.
A security official told AFP that around 200 refugees took part in the demonstration.
"They said they were angry because he met Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Despoiler of Deraa... and tried to give him a chance to kill more people, according to them," the official said.
The envoy, who arrived in Jordan from Turkey, where he also visited refugees, met Assad for the first time on Saturday, warning after the talks that the worsening conflict in Syria posed a threat to the region and the whole world.
SYRIAN troops have shelled several districts in Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... and clashed with rebels as Damascus ...The City of Jasmin is the oldest continuously-inhabited city in the world. It has not always been inhabited by the same set of fascisti... ally Iran proposed a simultaneous halt to the violence and a peaceful solution to the conflict.
Clashes erupted in Bustan al-Qasr in the southwest and in nearby Izaa as both districts were shelled, residents of Syria's second city said, also reporting fighting further south in Sukari.
Just wondering will the embassy people be issued herbs and spices in Syria when this cluster phuck ends I would not the UN or such calling our country to task and saying we hurt the people of Syria by not supplying the proper things for a barbeque!
[Reuters] Syrian rebels battled government forces near a Turkish border crossing on Tuesday and bullets flew into the northern neighbour that has backed the 18-month-old uprising against Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad. Leveler of Latakia...
The revolt, which began as peaceful street protests cracked down on by Assad's military, has escalated into a civil war in which over 27,000 people have died. Daily corpse counts now approach 200 and the last month was the bloodiest yet.
In another bid to stem the bloodshed, Iran's foreign minister proposed a new regional monitoring mission ahead of talks with President Bashir al-Assad in Damascus ...Home to a staggering array of terrorist organizations... on Wednesday, Iranian state media said. Two previous missions have collapsed.
From the Turkish side of the crossing with Tel Abyad, a Rooters witness heard sporadic, heavy machinegun fire and saw an ambulance nearby. A Turkish official said stray bullets hit some houses in the town of Akcakale, wounding at least one person, a woman.
He said the rebels were trying to gain control of Tel Abyad, which was a major crossing for Turkish-Syrian commerce in peacetime, and which rebels were rumoured to have used for weapons smuggling in the past year.
It appeared to be the first attempt by bully boyz to assert their grip over a border zone in al-Raqqa province, most of which has remained solidly pro-Assad.
Rebels hold two other crossings on the northern border with Turkey. A third border point would help strengthen their control in the north and put more pressure on the army as they battle for control of Syria's largest city Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... not far away.
Residents say only one town near the border has welcomed rebels in al-Raqqa province. The town held an anti-Assad protest on Tuesday, prompting government shelling, wounding several people, and fighting later erupted.
Parts of Syria's frontiers with Turkey, Leb and Iraq have become porous as the conflict spread. More than 200,000 refugees have poured into Turkey and Jordan to escape bombardment by pro-Assad forces in pursuit of rebels.
Shell fire has occasionally crashed over the borders, and the fighting has sometimes come so close that the armies of neighbouring states have gone on high alert.
Syria's second and third cities, Aleppo and Homs, have been shattered by fighting. With the army relying on fighter jets and helicopter gunships and the rebels on makeshift bombs, neighbourhoods in both cities have been levelled.
Damascus, once seen as an impregnable Assad stronghold, has also suffered near daily shelling and festivities on its outskirts.
At least five fighters and four soldiers died in the latest festivities on the capital's southern outskirts, the London-based Syrian Observatory or Human Rights said.
Security forces are trying to stamp out a rebel foothold in Damascus's southern and eastern suburbs.
Heavy army shelling battered rebellious towns in the southern Deraa region, fount of the uprising, and Idlib, in the north near the Turkish border. More than 60 people were killed nationwide before evening on Tuesday, the Observatory said.
IRAN PROPOSES NEW MONITORING MISSION
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi pitched his proposal for an observer force when a regional "contact group" met in Cairo on Monday, Iran's state news agency said. ... and if you can't believe the state news agency who can you believe? He said observers should come from the group's four member countries - Iran, Egypt, Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in their national face... and Turkey.
Given mutual mistrust within the quartet, it was unclear whether Salehi's proposal had much prospect of success. The new grouping is an awkward combination of supporters and opponents of the uprising. Iran has stuck by Assad while Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey have demanded the president step down.
"Salehi suggested the sending of observers from the four countries to monitor the cessation of violence, the conducting of dialogue, emphasising the need for a sense of integration and national unity and Syrian territory," IRNA news agency reported.
Two monitoring missions in Syria have already unravelled. The first, a regional Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... group of observers, left in protest at a continued escalation of violence with little sign of political reform pledged by Assad. A United Nations ...aka the Oyster Bay Chowder and Marching Society... mission pulled out most of its observers for similar reasons.
Violence has intensified and spread across this large, pivotal Arab country and more than 200,000 refugees have flooded into neighbouring states.
Iraq, which in August closed its border crossings, reopened them on Tuesday to allow in 100 Syrian refugees per day. But Iraq will refuse entry to young men, officials said, citing security reasons, as many young men are believed to be rebels.
REGIONAL RIVALRIES POSE OBSTACLE
Western officials and diplomats are sceptical that the new Middle East contact group that convened in Cairo could reach any deal to draw down the spiralling violence in Syria.
The four countries have differences with sectarian and strategic dimensions that seem insurmountable.
Saudi Arabia and Turkey are actively supporting Syrian rebels and are believed to be training them as well. Other Sunni Mohammedan countries in the region are also throwing their weight behind the mostly Sunni-led uprising in Syria.
Shi'ite Mohammedan power Iran has supported Assad, whose Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, has dominated the country for decades. Tehran has acknowledged having members of its security forces there, but only in an advisory role. Rebels say that Iranian forces are helping Assad militarily.
Underlining the inherent tensions, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister stayed away from the Cairo meeting of the contact group on Monday. Egyptian officials did not say why no one else came in his place.
International powers seem to be equally deadlocked along old Cold War lines, with Western powers backing the Syrian opposition, and Russia and China blocking any U.N.-mandated intervention aimed at dislodging Assad.
Iranian state media said that Salehi, who like Moscow and Beijing has called for an internal resolution without foreign interference, was to meet Assad in Damascus on Wednesday and propose ways to resolve the Syrian crisis.
Iran is holding three suspects who entered the country from Azerbaijan under intense grilling to discover their role in the mid-August explosion of the power lines to the underground uranium enrichment site at Fordo, DEBKAfile's exclusive Iranian sources reveal. Tehran is also questioning the engineers, planners and company heads who built the facility to find out why it was not provided with an independent power generator.
Fordo was forced to be idle for several days until the Revolutionary Guards were able to set up an alternative electrical network at top speed. Iranian investigators suspect that local builders of Fordo may have been bribed by Israeli and American agents to omit this back-up system and so leave the enrichment plant vulnerable to external attack that would interrupt its continuous operation. Their inquiries have even reached the Atomic Energy Commission inspectors who supervised construction, some of them very close to the commission's chairman Fereydoun Abbasi-Davani, and demanded explanations for letting the omission stand.
The act of sabotage showed Iran how simple it would for aggressors to bring the Fordo plant to a total standstill simply by cutting its 40- kilometer power link to the Qom power station. An electricity cut would additionally disarm the facility's security system, including the radar and air defense batteries guarding it.
According to DEBKAfile's sources, the Iranians have kept the three arrests under tight blackout in the hope of rounding up the rest of the team suspected of responsibility for the explosion and, above all, identifying the hand behind it. Their main suspect is Israel.
Our Iranian sources have discovered that the three detainees hail from Tehran, Tabriz in the north and Zahedan in the southeast. They are all in their twenties. According to our intelligence sources, the Iranian inquiry so far points to their having trained at a secret military base in Azerbaijan 25 kilometers south of Baku and infiltrated Iran shortly before the operation.
It was to this attack Abbasi referred Monday, Sept. 17, when he stood up at the nuclear watchdog's annual meeting in Vienna and flatly accused the IAEA of being infiltrated by "terrorists and saboteurs" and of foreknowledge of the explosion.
Already, Iranian officials have turned the incident into a propaganda tool.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi used his first ever Egyptian television interview Tuesday, Sept. 18 to comment: "Israel can't carry out an attack against such a big country [like Iran], and it knows that." He called Israeli warnings about a possible strike "empty."
Salehi also said (apropos of nothing) that his "country's neighbor, Azerbaijan, would not assist Israel in carrying out any attack on Iran."
DEBKAfile: The Iranian foreign minister's show of contempt for Israel was meant to dull the huge impact the explosion at the Fordo plant has had inside Iran and across the Arab world, whereas his remark on Azerbaijan was a signal to Baku that it is under heavy Iranian suspicion of complicity in the blowing up of the power line.