(Sh. M. Network)-Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a officials have for the first time spoke out about their recent serial withdrawal from some key towns in central Somalia over the past three days.
Abdi-Sahkur Husein Cabdi, one of ASWJ executive authorities, told Shabelle Media during in a telephone interview that their retreat from towns located in Hiiran and Galgadud region of central Somalia was "a military tactics".
He expressed optimistic to retake over all towns from Al shabab fighters who moved into and took control peacefully, shortly after the allied forces from ASWJ and Æthiopian forces under unknown circumstances.
ASWJ officials refuted a statement from interior ministry of Somali government, accusing the group of taking orders fromÆthiopiainstead the government. In the statement the ministry said ASWJ fighters abandoned Somali towns under Æthiopian orders.
[An Nahar] The leader of Tunisia's ruling Islamist party on Wednesday dismissed suggestions that recent unrest was the result of a call to rise up by Al-Qieda supremo Ayman al-Zawahiri ... Formerly second in command of al-Qaeda, now the head cheese, occasionally described as the real brains of the outfit. Formerly the Mister Big of Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Bumped off Abdullah Azzam with a car boom in the course of one of their little disputes. Is thought to have composed bin Laden's fatwa entitled World Islamic Front Against Jews and Crusaders. Currently residing in the North Wazoo area. That is not a horn growing from the middle of his forehead, but a prayer bump, attesting to how devout he is... "Ayman al-Zawahiri has no influence in Tunisia. This man is a disaster for Islam and for Moslems," Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi told news hounds.
True. An interesting development that Mr. Ghannouchi is willing to say so publicly.
"Al-Qaeda's project is one of destruction and civil war," he said, citing the Iraqi, Afghan and Somali examples. "We see no link between the Salafists ...Salafists are ostentatiously devout Moslems who figure the ostentation of their piety gives them the right to tell others how to do it and to kill those who don't listen to them... in Tunisia and Al-Qaeda."
Violence broke out across the country after men identified as following the ultra-conservative Salafist brand of Islam destroyed paintings at a Tunis exhibition they deemed "blasphemous".
The incident took place on Sunday and riots pitting Salafist demonstrators against police broke out in several towns on Monday and Tuesday, leaving one dead and dozens maimed.
The authorities locked away ... anything you say can and will be used against you, whether you say it or not... 165 people and imposed a nighttime curfew on several regions in Tunisia, vowing to crack down on rioters.
Tunisia's Salafist movement, which has flexed its muscle since the fall of longtime president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in January last year, denied any involvement in the violence.
The movement perhaps not, but arrested members show the membership certainly was.
[Ma'an] A Tunisian military court on Wednesday sentenced ousted dictator Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to 20 years in jail in absentia for inciting violence during a police attempt to smuggle his nephew out of the country during last year's revolt.
Ben Ali, who fled to 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... as protests engulfed Tunisia on Jan. 14 2011, has already been sentenced to decades in jail - also in absentia - on charges ranging from corruption to torture and faces more charges.
Last month, a Tunisian military prosecutor demanded that the death penalty be imposed on the former strongman for his role in the deaths of protesters in the towns where the Arab Spring began last year.
There is, however, little indication that Riyadh would be willing to extradite Ben Ali.
No bigwigs have so far been convicted for the deaths of more than 300 people in last year's uprising, angering the families of the dead and raising pressure on the Tunisian government to ensure that justice is done.
Tunisia's government has faced persistent criticism over its failure to persuade Saudi Arabia to hand over Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi, a former hairdresser whose lavish lifestyle and clique of wealthy relatives came to be seen by many Tunisians as a symbol of the corrupt era.
A newly declared Saudi opposition movement called 'Ikhwan al-Mo'menoun (Faithful Brotherhood) for Freedom of Hejaz' described the al-Saud family reigning over Saudi Arabia as infidels, and called for their removal from power.
Al-Qaeda under new management?
"At this sensitive moment that nations have decided to determine their fate and while a wave (of determination) has risen to change their bitter situation, we grab the string of faith brotherhood and announce that it is now the time to start change (in Saudi Arabia) and declare existence of our Islamic movement," a statement by the group said on Wednesday.
"Since our movement and move is based on Islamic change, the real point of change in our dear homeland is the overthrow of the criminal al-Saud, which is the underlying cause of division in the Muslim world, so that the Muslim people can take the power and infidels are fired from Hejaz," it added.
"This is the start of our secret activity and there is no return on this path," the statement stressed.
The royals aren't feeding the Ikhwan. The founder of the al Saud dynasty slaughtered them a century ago. The problem is that the Saudi hoi polloi is composed of fanatics and the Ikhwan is catering to them. It wouldn't surprise me if the Saudi Royal family were overthrown much as the Iranians overthrew the Shah. That's if we stand aside as we did in 1979 during the Iranian revolution, of course.
Posted by: Charles ||
And let oil reach $5 a gallon? Oh wait...
Thanks to massive demand increases from Asia, world oil consumption has gone from 60m bbl per day in 1980 to 87m bbl per day. That is a 45% increase in consumption, even as American oil production has fallen from 8.6m bpd to 7.8m bpd since 1980, after factoring in the shale oil revolution. The marginal barrel of oil is being produced in Angola, where oil production costs hover in the $80/bbl range, whereas tar sands' and shale oil's cost are $60/bbl. Bottom line is that sub-$2 gas will never again materialize unless a good chunk of the world's population simply vanishes.
And anyone who thinks $5 a gallon gasoline is expensive won't be happy when a Brotherhood-ruled Caliphate (which will consign the name Saudi Arabia to history books along with Rhodesia and Ruthenia) decides to unify the Arabic-speaking ummah in the Middle East via a mixture of subversion and large-scale infusions of weaponry. Think $10 a gallon. And that's not even counting the number of terrorist attacks against Western interests they can mount using the full resources of the largest oil producing state in the world, including attacks against oil pipelines, tankers, and so on. Bin Laden's operation was a shoestring setup mounted by a few thousand amateurs funded with the equivalent of collection plates and several hundred thousand dollars of his personal fortune. At $80/bbl, 1% of Saudi Arabia's oil revenues = $3b. That's oil that costs a few dollars a barrel to extract. The mind boggles at what al Qaeda could do with $3b and a draftee pool of over 10m military age men.
Beijing said Wednesday Chinese companies were not involved in shipping missile launch vehicles to North Korea last year, denying a Japanese newspaper report that accused it of breaking U.N. resolutions.
The Asahi Shimbun report -- based on Japanese government sources -- is the most strident of recent claims that China has been involved in helping to arm its wayward ally Pyongyang.
"China has been strictly implementing relevant Security Council resolutions and its own laws and regulations on non-proliferation export control," foreign ministry front man Liu Weimin said in response to a question on the report.
"Chinese companies did not export items that are banned by relevant Security Council resolutions or Chinese laws and regulations."
Asked whether China may have exported the vehicles through companies from third countries, Liu refused to comment further.
Incident at Oslo school barbecue comes after reported long-term antisemitic bullying. School officials uninterested. Norwegian embassy in Israel again rejects what they see as an attempt to paint Norway as an antisemitic country, though there have been a number of reports in the European press over the years indicating a systemic problem ignored by teaching staff and legitimized by statements from government officials.
[Jerusalem Post] About 2,000 Syrians fleeing violence in their homeland have crossed into Turkey in the past 48 hours, a significant increase in the number of Syrian refugees now taking shelter in Turkey, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.
Turkish foreign ministry front man Selcuk Unal said the latest wave of arrivals had brought the total number of Syrian refugees in Turkey to about 29,500, the highest taking shelter in Turkey at one time since the start of the uprising some 15 months ago.
Among the 2,000 new refugees were 43 maimed people who have been hospitalized in Turkey, Unal said.
Turkey has given shelter to more than 50,000 Syrians since March 2011 but thousands have since returned to their homes in Syria.
In a new ad, the Emergency Committee for Israel demolishes President Obama's pandering to Iran.
Today the Emergency Committee for Israel released a 30-second ad on President Obama's failure to curb Iran's nuclear program. The ad will air in the coming days on broadcast and cable TV in New York and Washington DC, on Sunday political shows, and during weekend sporting events, with additional markets to follow next week.
ECI's executive director, Noah Pollak, explains:
"President Obama says we must prevent the Iranian regime from getting nuclear weapons. Yet talking isn't accomplishing this goal. Today, Iran has six times more enriched uranium than when President Obama came into office -- enough for five nuclear bombs. We fear that the Obama administration is now intent on kicking the can down the road past the election. The Emergency Committee urges the president to live up to his promise to stop Iran. Don't delay. Don't ask others to do our job for us. It's time to act."
The U.S. branch of the international Hizb ut-Tahrir movement had been planning to hold a conference titled, "Revolution: Liberation by Revelation -- Mohammedans Marching Toward Victory," at the Meadows Club in Rolling Meadows. Organizers said they were expecting roughly 1,000 people.
"Phone lines were starting to get jammed," Kulkarni told the newspaper. "With other events scheduled on that day and the possibility of protests, it was not the best position for us to be in. In this kind of economy, we can't afford any picketing."
Hizb ut-Tahrir says it rejects violence but it is banned in several countries, including Pakistain, where it advocates the government's overthrow. The group seeks to unite the Moslem world under a single government following strict Islamic law.
[Dawn] Pakistain's foreign minister said on Tuesday difficult talks with the United States to repair frayed ties and re-open NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all.... supply routes to Afghanistan were not being thwarted by a Pak demand for high tariffs on the supplies.
Once upon a time, O Best Beloved, the Pakistanis were really good at Byzantine intrigue...or so they said about themselves. They still say that about themselves, but things have changed, as things are wont to do.
Pakistain cut the routes for NATO supplies in November last year to protest against the death of 24 Pak soldiers killed in cross-border fire from NATO aircraft.
The supply lines for goods shipped in to the Pak port of 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... and trucked in to landlocked Afghanistan have been vital for US-led forces over their more than 10-year involvement in Afghanistan.
Now, the routes are seen as important for the withdrawal of most foreign troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2014.
But talks on getting the routes re-opened have become snagged on a Pak demand for a substantial increase in the fees Pakistain charges on the supplies, media has reported.
But Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar rejected that.
"Pakistain is not in any sort of price-gouging debate right now. So these impressions are indeed incorrect, wrong and must be dispersed as soon as possible," Khar told news hounds.
"The US side knows very well the needs and requirements to enable us to move in that direction, to enable us to take that decision," she said, referring to re-opening the routes.
[Dawn] The United States should examine setting conditions for aid to Pakistain but not cutting it off, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ...current SecDef, previously Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Panetta served as President Bill Clinton's White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997 and was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1977 to 1993.... said on Wednesday, as he disclosed that Islamabad's closure of supply routes to the Afghan war cost American taxpayers millions of dollars a month.
Asked during a Senate budget hearing whether he would recommend halting aid to Pakistain, Panetta said: "I'd be very careful about just shutting it down."
"What I would do is look at conditions for what we expect them to do," Panetta said, without elaborating. He agreed to help write a letter to Congress with his recommendations for how to proceed with aid for the Pak military and government.
The comments came less than a week after Panetta, on a trip to Kabul, said the United States was reaching the limits of its patience with Pakistain because of the safe havens the country offered to gunnies fighting in neighboring Afghanistan.
India church says Israeli tourists inhumane, sent to Goa by government to repress army service
An unprecedented letter issued by the Catholic Church in the Indian state of Goa slams Israeli backpackers in the area, referring to them as inhumane.
The letter, drafted by local church officials in Goa, was sent to churches in Jerusalem and in the Paleostinian authority in the aims of showing solidarity with Arab Christians living in Israel and in the territories.
In the letter, Goa church officials say they are "horrified" by Israel's "occupation policy" and its results, while vowing to no longer remain silent on the issue.
The message takes on anti-Semitic undertones when church officials refer to a "study" they undertook some three years ago into the behavior of Israeli backpackers who arrive in Goa in order to "forget and repress their military service."
The letter claims that many of these Israeli tourists have lost their humanity and have become their own victims as result of the brutality of Israel's "illegal occupation."
According to the study, Israelis lose their minds because of the need to kill during their military service, prompting the government to send them on relaxing vacations to sites such as Goa. Israelis are a nuisance to their surroundings and their aggressive character drives away other tourists, the study says.
'Smells like anti-Semitism'
Israeli tourists in Goa said they were very disappointed by the letter, which they claimed contradicts the good relationship between backpackers and the local population.
"Those who wrote it are simply detached from what really goes on here," said Itamar Rafel, who is currently in India. "After all, the Indians make a good living from our tourism, give their stores Hebrew names, and are very hospitable."
Another Israeli tourism, Rotem Natan, said: "Obviously there are Israelis who behave impolitely, but there are also Americans like that. Why are they focusing on us? It smells like anti-Semitism."
Responding to the report, Goa's tourism minister said he was surprised by the harsh accusations made in the letter, noting this it clearly does not mark official government policy. Goa's residents have no ill feelings towards Israeli tourists, who should feel comfortable in the area, he said, adding that he will further look into the contents of the letter.
As opposed to other states in India, the Church plays a key role in Goa's daily life and local politics. About one-third of the area's residents are Catholics who converted under Portuguese rule.
It is no exaggeration to say the impact of the pending U.S. and European sanctions against Iran are one of the most taboo subjects at an OPEC meeting in years says Robert Campbell.
A visitor from Mars could well walk away from the day to day events in Vienna under the impression that the impending U.S. and European sanctions regimes has nothing to do with Iranian oil exports.
Ministers and delegates are extremely reticent to discuss the subject of the sanctions, set to take effect July 1, which may well force Tehran, OPEC's No. 2 producer, to slash output.
Don't worry, Champ has been handing out exemptions to the sanctions left and right. Why, it's almost like he's handing out exemptions to ObamaCare...
Already Iranian crude shipments are down by an estimated 1 million barrels per day, according to the International Energy Agency, as Tehran's customers in Europe and Asia cut back purchases ahead of the sanctions.
Instead, ministers focus, at least publicly, on the risks to world economic growth due to Europe's sovereign debt crisis and debate the real size of the growing overhang of oil stocks in consumer nations.
The problem for OPEC on Iran is twofold. First, and foremost, no one really knows what the ultimate effect of the sanctions will be so there's no real grounds to make a policy decision.
Secondly, despite historical antagonism between Iran and some members of OPEC, notably Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Arab states, there seems to be at least a tacit agreement not to politicize OPEC policy. Although the market has coped well in recent months with lower Iranian oil exports, this has come at a period of traditionally slack demand for crude.
No one is ready to venture an opinion about what will happen July 1.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Fifty international charities and UN agencies called Thursday on Israel to lift its years-long blockade of the Gazoo Strip.
Marking the fifth anniversary of the siege, the organizations -- among them Amnesia Amnesty International, Médecins du Monde, Oxfam, and Save the Children -- joined agencies like UNICEF and the World Health Organization in urging Israel to lift the siege "now."
In a statement, the groups said more than 1.6 million people were living under blockage "in violation of international law. More than half of these people are children."
It added: "We the undersigned say with one voice: 'end the blockade now.'"
[Jerusalem Post] Mosab Hasan Youssef was invited to visit by MK, is questioned for over 3 hours at B-G Airport before being allowed to enter.
Mosab Hassan Yusef, the son of Hamas, always the voice of sweet reason, founder Sheikh Hassan Yusef, arrived in Israel Wednesday evening from the US.
Despite receiving an official invitation to visit the Knesset from Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud), Yusef was incarcerated You have the right to remain silent... at passport control for more than three hours of questioning before being allowed to proceed.
"They questioned me for a long time but they treated me well and with respect," said Yusef regarding his detainment at Ben-Gurion Airport.
Yusef, who served as his father's right-hand man, worked as an undercover agent for the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) from 1997 until 2007 and was considered the most valuable spy within Hamas during the second intifada.
In his capacity as a source for the Shin Bet, Yusef prevented dozens of terrorist attacks and planned liquidations against Israeli leaders. He further assisted in exposing Hamas terrorist cells and provided intelligence that led to the detention of key Paleostinian leaders -- including his own father. In 2007, Yusef, who is a convert to Christianity, quit being an agent and moved to the US where he received political asylum.
Announcement in Iranian media marks 2nd wave of arrests of alleged assassins accused of killing nuclear scientists; Tehran says it is committed to bring to justice "terrorists" who "martyred scientists in cold blood."
Wrong network. The real one is lead by a guy named 'Mahmoud'...
Iranian security forces on Thursday announced the arrest of a ring of assassins which it says were responsible for the recent killings of nuclear scientists, Iranian media reported. Police also sought to directly tie the suspects to Israel, alleging that they were "hired by an Israeli spy network," according to state news agency IRNA.
Tehran has in the past accused Israel of being behind the killings of several of its nuclear scientists. In January, the Islamic state blamed Israel when a nuclear scientist was killed by a bomb placed on his car by a motorcyclist in Tehran.
The announcement marks the second wave of Iranian arrests of alleged assassins in recent months. In April, Iran announced that it had arrested several members of a "major terrorist group" over the killing of nuclear scientists.
Syrian rebels resting and recovering from wounds in Turkey say that far from receiving a host of heavy weapons to take the fight to government forces, they feel forgotten by their backers.
Some rebels and opposition figures inside and outside Syria say there has been an upsurge in recent weeks of heavier weaponry being smuggled into Syria via Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq.
The weapons, which according to the rebels are being supplied by private sponsors, include thousands of shells, hundreds of sniper rifles, as well as anti-armour missiles.
But in the verdant hills, wooded mountainsides and languid refugee camps of Turkey's southern Hatay province, Free Syrian Army rebels returning from the fight to rest and tend their wounds, said they had seen no sign of any new weapons.
One rebel said less than half the fighters in his unit even had a gun. What weapons they did have, the rebels said, came from inside Syria.
"This is an absolute lie. We have not seen anything. If they are coming through Lebanon, maybe, but if they were, we would see these weapons. We don't see them, where are they?" said one rebel who gave his name only as Ahmad.
"Every household has had one person killed or wounded. If we had weapons we could defend ourselves," said Ahmad, clean-shaven and dressed in jeans and a white t-shirt, not fitting the typical image of a rebel fighter.
I don't think I agree with you. As bad as Assad is I think that most of the alternatives are worse and I certainly don't trust any of our bureaucrats to back the slightly better option regardless of what that might be.
[An Nahar] Syria has not entered into a civil war, the regime and an opposition group said on Wednesday in response to the U.N. peacekeeping chief's statement to the contrary.
"This announcement makes the killer and the victim equal and ignores all the massacres committed by the Assad regime," the Syrian Revolution General Commission said, adding that people in the country "are only asking for freedom and dignity."
"We again confirm that our peaceful revolution and our self-defense will continue" until the fall of the regime of Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Leveler of Latakia... , it said in a statement received by Agence La Belle France Presse.
U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said on Tuesday that the situation in Syria could be qualified as a civil war, as violence escalates and Assad's forces seek to retake "large chunks of territory" lost to the opposition.
Also on Wednesday, the Syrian foreign ministry said the country is not in civil war but is fighting "terrorists," and expressed "surprise" at statements made the day before by the peacekeeping chief.
"Talk of civil war in Syria is not consistent with reality... what is happening in Syria is a war against armed terrorist groups plotting against the future of the Syrian people," the ministry said.
When an uprising broke out in March last year, the regime unleashed a brutal repression of protesters, leading rebels to take up arms against the government.
The authorities have consistently blamed violence on "armed terrorist groups," and failed to recognize the existence of a widespread anti-regime movement.
[An Nahar] La Belle France plans to ask the United Nations ...where theory meets practice and practice loses... Security Council to make U.N.-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... envoy Kofi Annan ...Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh and so far the worst Secretary-General of the UN. Annan and the UN were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize for something or other that probably sounded good at the time. In December 2004, reports surfaced that Kofi's son Kojo received payments from the Swiss company Cotecna, which had won a lucrative contract under the UN Oil-for-Food Program. Kofi Annan called for an investigation to look into the allegations, which stirred up the expected cesspool but couldn't seem to come up with enough evidence to indict Kofi himself, or even Kojo... 's Syria ceasefire plan mandatory, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Wednesday, as British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that Syria was "on the edge of a collapse."
Fabius called on fellow Security Council members to "take recourse to Chapter Seven (of the U.N. charter) to make the measures in the Annan plan obligatory."
He told a presser: "We are working on that and we hope that measure will be put in place quickly."
The U.N. Charter's Chapter Seven allows measures to be imposed on a country under penalty of sanctions or the use of force.
"We even heard today China expressing its deep concern. So the Security Council must now step up a gear, and place under Chapter Seven, that is to say make obligatory, the terms of the Annan plan or face very tough sanctions," he said.
"I remind you that the Annan plan calls notably for an end to violence, the withdrawal of the army from cities, bringing in humanitarian aid, that is everything that will allow the beginning of the political transition in Syria and the departure of Bashir al-Assad," Fabius said.