Somalia's hardline Islamist militia, Al Shabab, has forced a halt to United Nations food relief, putting at least one million Somalis at risk of hunger.
The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) suspended its food relief operations today, citing repeated threats by Al Shabab commanders, raids on its offices, and detention of its staff. Al Shabab commanders in the southern portion of Somalia had gone as far as demanding monetary payments to ensure the security of WFP staff, and also placed demands that WFP found untenable, such as firing of Somali women staffers and coordinators of food-relief programs.
Ninety-five percent of the territory where WFP operates is controlled by Al Shabab, and in November, Shabab gave us a list of 11 conditions for aid agencies to meet, including removing women from jobs in aid work,' says Peter Smerdon, spokesman for WFP in Nairobi, where most of the agency's Somali operations are coordinated. They also made a demand for payment of $20,000 over six months for security. We can't agree to the conditions and to that payment, so feel that it is time to pull out for the moment.'
The pullout of food aid reflects the hard line of Al Shabab, which increasingly appears to be led by foreign jihadists, who are replacing the local Islamists agenda of mere governmental takeover with a much broader objective of taking on the West in a permanent jihad. Shabab's top leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, appears to have been sidelined after he disavowed the suicide bomb blast in a Mogadishu market that killed some 23 people. Security experts say that Mr. Godane has been replaced by foreign Islamists, who have no ties with the community, and no qualms about the effects of bomb blasts or cutoffs on the local population.
Insulting remarks by a Saudi cleric about the most revered Shia cleric in Iraq, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, have strained relations between Baghdad and Riyadh.
In a Friday sermon in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, a leading Wahhabi cleric, Mohammad al-Ureifi, called Ayatollah al-Sistani an "atheist and debauched."
He also launched an attack on Iraqi Shias accusing them of conspiring with Yemen's Houthis against Saudi Arabia with Iran's support.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki strongly criticized the Saudi religious institutes after the cleric's remarks.
He said Saudi religious institutes had a tendency to launch attacks on Shia clerics due to their hostile attitude towards Shia Muslims, AFP reported.
Iraq's Parliament also condemned the remarks by calling on the Saudi government to take transparent position on the issue. In a statement, Iraqi lawmakers said the Saudi cleric had intended to create a rift among Muslims.
They called on the Saudi government to warn the clerics against making provocative statements.
The Iraqi Parliament also called on the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), the Association of Asian Parliaments and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani to condemn the remarks.
[Al Arabiya Latest] Britain will introduce its first full-body scanners at London's Heathrow airport in about three weeks' time in the wake of the failed Detroit plane bombing, a minister said Tuesday.
Airports will also be ordered to increase the proportion of people they search by hand and whose baggage they test for traces of explosives, while there will be more sniffer dogs, British Home Secretary Alan Johnson added.
"It is clear that no one measure will be enough to defeat inventive and determined terrorists, and there is no single technology which we can guarantee will be 100 per cent effective against such attacks," Johnson told lawmakers.
In what no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time, Slovak officials decided to test security at two airports in Slovakia on Saturday by concealing plastic explosives in eight suitcases and waiting to see what happened next.
Here's what happened next: airport security intercepted seven of the suitcases but failed to detect 96 grams of the plastic explosive RDX loaded into one bag, which belonged to a Slovak electrician who lives in Ireland and had no idea his luggage had been tampered with. The man boarded his flight to Dublin, retrieved his bag and went home to his apartment.
The man then unpacked but, The Irish Times reports, the explosives had been concealed so well that he did not find them.'
Two days later, on Monday, it occurred to someone in Slovakia that one of the explosive-packed bags had gone missing and Slovakian police contacted their counterparts in Dublin to ask for help.
On Tuesday morning, the Irish Army's bomb squad paid a visit to the apartment of the Slovak electrician in Dublin and secured the explosives.
According to a Canadian Press report, the man was detained for several hours by the Irish police who said they initially were led to believe the man might be a terrorist.' The man was released after Slovak officials made it clear that they had been responsible for planting the explosives.
The Web site Slovakia Today reported that the tests were carried out at two airports one in Bratislava, the country's capital, and the other in central Slovakia.
The Canadian Press reported that the explosives were loaded onto a Danube Wings flight to Dublin from Poprad-Tatry Airport.
Irish authorities said that Slovakia's interior minister had been in touch to convey his government's profound regret for this incident,' Reuters reported.
Nah, that's just "gone wrong". It wouldn't have gone very wrong unless the explosives had detonated midair.
Posted by: Mitch H. ||
01/06/2010 10:17 Comments ||
There have been incidents of Japanese police doing the same thing with drugs, too, just to see what happens.
My wife and I fly US to Australia five or six times a year between us, and we never check luggage anymore. One carry on bag in the overhead bin, and that's it.
This is not an "incident".
This is criminal behavior.
Posted by: European Conservative ||
01/06/2010 13:51 Comments ||
My mother worked for Northwest Airlines back in the day and they occasionally had her walk through security with a fake grenade to test the security. I think this sort of thing works best when the "mule" knows about it and a powerful figure is there to straighten things out afterwards. The way they handled it in Slovakia was a bit sketchy.
Uh, uh, D *** NG IT, does this mean 1960's GUAM TAOTAMONOAS + future PENN STATER, "WHAT, YOU'RE A COMMIE-RUSSIAN-CZECHOSLOVAK!" SHE-COULD-HAVE-BEEN-A-US NAVY SEAL/COMMANDO CALENDAR BABE "WENDY" needs a 2010 BAMMER BAILOUT???
Posted by: Rambler in Virginia ||
01/06/2010 13:38 Comments ||
Blame cannot rest with Barry, it must rest elsewhere. These so-called terrorist issues are subsidiary and only detract from the media's ability to extol his virtues and continuance of the administration's monopolistic control of what remains of the private sector and economy. He must never deviate from the principles and philosophy which brought him to power. The overriding objective of totalitarian governments must always be the retention of power.
Al-Qaeda arose as a Wahabi opposition to the parasitic House of Saud. Widespread support in that cesspool of terror, is revealed in the fatwah support of Taliban issued by every major Saud-Wahabi cleric. The Sauds ceased indulgence only when Taliban-alQaeda took a jihad position against the Sauds. When the Taliban was tossed in 2001, they escaped in some of the 400 Toyota trucks that they received from the Saudi kleptocracy.
Posted by: Pearl Snitle9579 ||
01/06/2010 17:08 Comments ||
"We dodged a bullet but just barely. It was averted by brave individuals, not because the system worked, and that is not acceptable." But if the system does work, we can't tell anybody, because only Bush does that, to scare people.
"When a suspected terrorist is able to board a plane with explosives on Christmas Day, the system has failed in a potentially disastrous way." Not a potentially dangerous way, Wordsmith, just a disastrous way that, as you noted above, was averted by a brave individual, not your socialist state.
"While there will be a tendency for finger-pointing, I will not tolerate it," Obama lectured them.
Especially not at me!
Only if we can point the finger at someone else - like ... Bush.
"We will do better, and we have to do it quickly. American lives are on the line." And not just the dopes who volunteered to be tools and cannon fodder for us elites, these were voters. On the other hand, they could all vote Democratic if they were dead. But, just in case you suspect a change, while Gitmo transfers wil slow down -
Make no mistake, we will close Guantanamo prison." The camp, "was an explicit rationale for the formation of al-Qaida" operating in Yemen.
I saw the asshole-in-chief spewing lies all over the TV, I kept my supper down, Barely.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
01/06/2010 12:19 Comments ||
The thrust of his statements was
"Somebody screwed up,
BUT IT WASN'T ME.
And somebody will pay,
BUT IT WASN'T ME
The system failed,
THAT BUSH BUILT.
and I'll find who's responsible,
BUT IT WASN'T ME."
get the idea?
Oh yeah, i got it, ass covering asshole.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
01/06/2010 12:25 Comments ||
spewing lies all over the TV, I kept my supper down, Barely. If you're going to watch TV while eating, keep your remote with you, well-oiled and with fresh batteries.
Sometimes I take strong drink when watching television or visiting Rantburg. However, I get into rants that often don't make much sense and the typing suffers. Come to think of it also happens when sober. It must be global warming (sarc).
Barack Obama is under pressure to disclose what information MI5 passed to the American authorities about the Detroit bomber after Downing Street disclosed that a file had been "shared" with the CIA in 2008. After initially denying that they had received British intelligence, senior American sources confirmed last night that they were "reviewing" what British information had been received on Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
The admission is embarrassing for the White House and threatens to provoke a rift with Gordon Brown. The conflicting briefing over the shared intelligence also suggests that the transatlantic relationship may have weakened in recent months.
Confirmation that Abdulmutallab's name was passed to the US in 2008 would be a major blow to Mr Obama, although it could also open up accusations that George W Bush's administration failed to collate intelligence properly.
The Prime Minister's spokesman disclosed on Monday that MI5 information had been shared with the Americans more than a year ago. Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, confirmed this in the House of Commons yesterday. The information is understood to have detailed Abdulmutallab's contacts with radical preachers but did not give warning that he might be a terrorist threat.
White House sources are thought to be furious over the British intervention, with Mr Obama already under pressure over intelligence failures concerning the thwarted attempt to blow up the US airliner.
Mr. Brown was going to tell Obama more just before Bambi refused to meet with him ...
Yesterday, the Prime Minister's spokesman played down the rift. Both British and American officials insisted the intelligence would not have prevented the attempted attack.
However, there are growing questions as to why Abdulmutalab was granted a US visa and why his name was not on a US watch list.
In an official briefing on Monday, the Prime Minister's spokesman said of the Detroit bomber: "Clearly there was security information about this individual's activities and that was information that was shared with the US authorities."
A US counter-terrorism official did not deny that information on Abdulmutallab had been received from Britain but told The Daily Telegraph: "It's wrong to think that there was, from any source, information that identified Abdulmutallab as a terrorist, let alone a terrorist who was planning to carry out an attack in the United States."
Yesterday morning, the Prime Minister's spokesman issued a revised statement that said: "There is no suggestion that the UK passed on information to the US that they did not act on." He then said that Downing Street would not be commenting further on intelligence matters.
Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said: "This is the second time in a week that Downing Street had given false information to the US about the nature of its discussions with the United States about over terrorist issues. For a Prime Minister to behave in this way is nothing short of a complete disgrace. These are highly sensitive issues of national importance and should be dealt in a manner that is free from political opportunism and spin."
[The News (Pak) Top Stories] Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman has asked the government to quit the United States-led alliance against terror and implement the resolution unanimously passed by parliament for formulating anti-terror policies to safeguard Pakistan's integrity.
"It is due to the government's pro-US polices that the war on terror has reached our homeland and now lives and properties of the people are not safe," he said while talking to reporters on Monday after offering Fateha for the souls of Shah Hasankhel, who died in the massive suicide blast.
Fazlur Rehman said the nation was paying a heavy price for the pro-US policies of the present government. He said 58 per cent issues relating to terrorist activities in the country would come to an end if the government announced its withdrawal from the so-called US-led alliance against terrorism. The government, he said, should review its policies in the light of the resolution passed by parliament instead of mere condemning the terrorist activities in the country. He said the government should ponder over the reasons and factors behind Shah Hasankhel-like incidents. The JUI-F leader sympathised with the bereaved families and affected people of the village.
Posted by: Fred ||
01/06/2010 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Jamaat-e-Ulema Islami
[Geo News] Culprits responsible for the bomb blast at the Karachi's main Ashura procession have been identified, CCPO Karachi Wasim Ahmed told Geo on Tuesday.
Speaking to Geo News, the CCPO disclosed that police was now aware how the Ashura blast was planned. "We are also aware who wants to disturb peace of Karachi city," he said.
Ahmed said he was aware of the perpetrators of Ashura blast and other leads in this regard. He further said a similar attempt to carry out another terrorist attack in Karachi was thwarted by the police on 1st January.
"We have successfully safeguarded the city for two years, he said, adding he can not share these information according to some compulsion," said Ahmed.
Posted by: Fred ||
01/06/2010 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: al-Qaeda in Pakistan
[Ma'an] The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called for a review of the Oslo process and negotiations that stem from its premises, blaming the recent Israeli decision to okay construction of tens of new settlement homes in East Jerusalem.
In a statement, the party lamented what it called the "extent of Israeli disregard for the Palestinian side, the Arab side and international law," and said Palestinians require a renewed position, stronger than the settlement construction halt for peace talks position currently held by the Palestinian Authority.
The PFLP said the Palestinian priority should be on the creation of a unified leadership, the revival of the national struggle with the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. Within that framework, it said, a new strategy for dealing with Israel must be formulated.
[Al Arabiya Latest] Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has assured Saudi Arabia his movement is loyal to Arab states, the kingdom's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, said on Tuesday.
"I asked Khaled Meshaal whether the movement stood with Arabs or with others," Prince Saud said, referring to Iran, a strong regional backer of Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza.
"Meshaal insisted that Hamas was an Arab movement and that the Palestinian question was an Arab issue," the Saudi minister said at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after talks with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
The London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reports that Bakr bin Laden, Osama's 16-year-old son, arrived in Damascus on December 25, 2009 after spending 8 years in Iran, while his sister Iman is still taking refuge at the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Another son of Bin Laden, Omar, said that he and his mother have requested visas to enter Iran but have not yet been granted them.
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal said on Sunday (January 3) that Saudi Arabia was negotiating a deal with Iran to release Iman, and the Saudi daily Al-Majalla reported December 28 that Syria was mediating between the two countries in this affair.
Iran's interior minister warned opposition activists on Tuesday they risk execution as enemies of God if they continue anti-government demonstrations, and the foreign ministry said arrested foreigners face punishment.
Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar made the latest threat after the Intelligence Ministry said on Monday several foreigners engaged in a "psychological war" against the Islamic Republic were arrested on Dec. 27 in the bloodiest unrest since the aftermath of a disputed June 12 presidential poll.
The opposition says the vote was rigged to secure President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's re-election. The authorities deny the accusations, which they say were part of a Western-orchestrated plot to overthrow the Islamic system.
Eight people were killed in clashes between security forces and supporters of opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi on the Shi'ite mourning day of Ashura. More than 40 leading reformists, including four advisers to Mousavi, have since been arrested.
"After Ashura, anyone who takes part in riots will be considered as 'mohareb' (waging war on God) and an opponent of national security," Najjar said, according to the official IRNA news agency.
Despite such warnings, the opposition has shown no inclination to back down and street protests have continued sporadically in the six months since the vote.
Posted by: Fred ||
01/06/2010 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Iran
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.