Internet Anthropologist Think Tank: 4/6/08 - 4/13/08

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    Saturday, April 12, 2008

    Anyone know where the TURN SIGNAL IS?


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    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Iran . aL Qaeda vector

    The north side of the White House, home and work place of the U.S. presidentImage via Wikipedia

    Hd_ouropinionUSA TODAY, Secret author? iGNORANT


    With al-Qaeda on the run, Bush turns focus to Iran

    The Iraq war has featured a changing cast of U.S. adversaries. Saddam Hussein. Sunni insurgents. Foreign fighters. Radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

    In the latest shift, the two top U.S. officials in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, focused in this week's congressional testimony on "special groups" — Iranian-backed militias — as the greatest long-term threat to Iraqi democracy.

    (Photo - In Basra: An Iraqi army colonel says these weapons found during a raid were made in Iran / AFP/Getty Images)

    On Thursday, President Bush endorsed the officials' troop recommendations and again recast the enemy. Iraq, he said toward the end of his speech, is "the convergence point for two of the greatest threats to America in this new century: al-Qaeda and Iran."

    There's no question that al-Qaeda and Iran represent threats. But to conflate the two is disingenuous and misleading:


    * Al-Qaeda in Iraq is an enemy, pure and simple. It is an offshoot of the al-Qaeda network of Sunni Muslim fanatics that attacked the United States on 9/11, killing 3,000 people. It must be rooted out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and anyplace else it establishes its malignant presence.

    This is an easy sell to the American public, and, in the fight against al-Qaeda in Iraq, the news is good. It's on the run, in part because of the U.S. troop surge and in part because local Sunnis have turned against its medieval brutality.

    * Iran and Iranian-backed militias are a different matter. Iran is a strategic adversary that hasn't attacked the U.S. homeland. Its engagement with Iraq, its neighbor, is inevitable. Iran's strategy in Iraq appears to be to back many different groups of its fellow Shiites, including the Iraqi leadership.


    As Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., pointed out with some irritation at Tuesday's hearings, Iran's hard-line, anti-U.S. president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was greeted in Iraq recently with red carpet treatment and kisses.

    Dealing with Iran, and the militias it backs, is not as straightforward as dealing with al-Qaeda. Iran is a country, not a terror network. It's a rising power in the region, vying for influence with the United States. It has the potential to make great mischief, both in Iraq and through its sponsorship of Middle East militants.


    In fact, the United States and Iran are facing off in a duel almost as complex as that between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This requires a whole range of tools, beyond Bush's bellicose warning on Thursday that Tehran "has a choice to make." One key is to reinforce the sense of nationalism among Iraqi Shiites, many of whom are wary of too much Iranian influence, don't want to be sucked into the extremism of Iran's ayatollahs and have lingering resentment from the Iran-Iraq war.

    Sunni al-Qaeda and Shiite Iran pose different challenges and require separate strategies. About the only thing they have in common is that neither would have a foothold in Iraq today had the United States not invaded and then mismanaged the aftermath.


    "Sunni al-Qaeda and Shiite Iran...neither would have a foothold in Iraq today had the United States not invaded and then mismanaged the aftermath."









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    al Qaeda in Iraq supported by Qods

    SOURCELogo of Islamic State of IraqImage via Wikipedia
    Hamas-Iraq: Al-Qaeda in Iraq is Subservient to Iran; 'The U.S. is Our Main Enemy, But a More Dangerous Enemy is Iran'

    In a March 26, 2008 interview with the Qatari daily Al-'Arab, the spokesman for the Iraqi Sunni jihad organization Hamas-Iraq, Ahmad Salah Al-Din, accused Al-Qaeda in Iraq of regarding most Iraqi resistance factions as its main enemy, of subservience to Iran, and of receiving from it weapons, funds, training, and medical care for its wounded. Salah Al-Din added that in the past year Al-Qaeda in Iraq had become considerably weaker and smaller.

    The following are excerpts from the Al-'Arab article on the interview:

    Al-Qaeda in Iraq Has Its Own Agenda, Which Transcends the Borders of Iraq

    "Regarding the reasons for the confrontation with Al-Qaeda, Salah Al-Din stated: 'We do not regard Al-Qaeda [in Iraq] as a resistance organization, since it has its own agenda which transcends the borders of Iraq. This has been clear since Abu-Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi vowed allegiance to Osama bin Laden - because after the occupation of Iraq, Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad, [1] which was under Al-Zarqawi's command, was close to all Iraqi resistance factions and even planned to join forces with Al-Jaish Al-Islami. However, after Al-Zarqawi's vow of allegiance to bin Laden was publicly announced, things changed considerably: Al-Qaeda began openly spreading its ideas, goals, and hatred, and accusing of heresy anybody who took part in the political process, including Sunni Arab parties.

    "'Following Al-Zarqawi's assassination, Al-Qaeda intensified its aggression against Iraq's resistance factions, until they became its primary [targets]. A confrontation ensued between [Al-Qaeda] and most of the Iraqi resistance factions, including the Thawrat Al-'Ishrin brigades - after Al-Qaeda had the audacity to murder Hareth Al-Dhari, the nephew of Sheikh Hareth Al-Dhari, secretary-general of the Council of Muslim Clerics in Iraq.'"

    The Real Al-Qaeda Commander [in Iraq] is Abu Ayub Al-Masri

    "Salah Al-Din accused Al-Qaeda of being subservient to Iran, [claiming] that they had [extensive] evidence to that effect. He said: 'We found Iranian [currency], toman, at an Al-Qaeda headquarters that we uncovered. We have also captured Iranian weapons, not to mention audio and video recordings containing announcements by Al-Qaeda fighters that they had received training in Iranian military camps and that Al-Qaeda wounded were being transported to Iran for medical treatment.'

    "Salah Al-Din claimed that Al-Qaeda's real commander [in Iraq] was Abu Ayub Al-Masri, and that [Abu 'Omar] Al-Baghdadi [2] was an Iraqi figure to whom many [words and deeds] are attributed solely to create the impression that [Al-Qaeda is a genuinely] Iraqi organization. He said that [Abu Ayub] Al-Masri had been rescued from arrest by an Arab intelligence apparatus using a diplomatic vehicle belonging to the Iranian Embassy... Salah Al-Din explained that as of late, Al-Qaeda in Iraq had considerably diminished in size - so much so that today it can be said to constitute 15 percent of what it was a year ago, [and that therefore, even] if Al-Qaeda has begun launching suicide operations, these [operations] are not proof of its strength...'"

    Iran Wants to Eradicate Our Beliefs and to Change the Demography of the Sunni Regions, Particularly Baghdad

    "[In conclusion,] Salah Al-Din stated, in the name of Hamas-Iraq: 'The U.S. is our main enemy, but a more dangerous enemy is Iran. The U.S. wants [our] oil, and possibly it wants to establish military bases [on our soil], or to remain [in Iraq] for many years to come - while Iran wants to rule, [and] to eradicate and change [our] beliefs and ideas, [and] aspires to alter the demography of the Sunni regions, particularly Baghdad.'" [3]

    [1] Al-Tawhid Wal-Jihad was the name of Al-Qaeda in Iraq before it vowed allegiance to bin Laden.

    [2] Al-Baghdadi is the "Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq."

    [3] Al-'Arab (Qatar), March 26, 2008.


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    TALIBAN pinned:

    Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global HawkImage by James Gordon via FlickrU.S. Needs Taliban to Regain Afghanistan

    Eye on the Arab Media

    New America Media, News analysis, Jalal Ghazi, Posted: Apr 10, 2008

    Editor's Note: The Taliban have changed their tactics in order to capitalize on anti-occupation sentiment in Afghanistan. Now Arab media commentators say the United States and NATO will have to negotiate with a resurgent Taliban in order to reassert control over Afghanistan writes Arab media monitor Jalal Ghazi. Ghazi is the associate producer of the Peabody Award-winning show Mosaic: World News from the Middle East, and writer of the column "Eye on Arab Media" for New America Media.

    The Taliban are back and stronger and more popular than ever.


    NATO and the United States will soon have no choice but to negotiate with them six years after driving them out of Kabul. That's the impression one gets from reading Arab media on the war in Afghanistan.

    The Afghan government, led by President Hamid Karzai and backed by the United States and NATO, does not even have full control of Kabul. Basdir Ghafuri, a former professor at Kabul University, told the London-based Arab News Broadcast (ANB) in February 2008, "NATO and the U.S. forces have even failed to establish security in Kabul."

    The Afghan people have lost confidence in NATO and the United States. Journalist and political writer Ahmad Asfahani told ANB, "There is a large segment of the Afghan people who will not accept the presence of occupation forces in Afghanistan and will not accept a government that is linked to the occupation." Many Afghans do not see much difference between today's occupation and that of the British in the 19th century or the Soviets from 1979 to 1989.


    The Taliban has capitalized on this anti-occupation sentiment by establishing itself as the main resistance force against the occupation. Many Afghans are now willing to overlook the Taliban's rigid interpretation of Islam. "The Taliban movement is no longer just a former regime. It rather represents a large segment of the Afghan population regardless of whether we agree [with its ideology] or not," said Asfahani.

    Some of the reasons may have to do with the evolution of the Taliban in the last several years. For example, Afghan writer Musbah Alah Abdel Baki wrote on Al Jazeera's website, "The Taliban focus their attacks on NATO, and avoid attacking the government forces or institutions. They also do not interfere with schools or relief agencies. They usually ask the Afghan forces to stay away from NATO forces so they wouldn't get hurt when NATO is attacked."


    Another commentator, Muhna al Habil, recently wrote for Islam Today's website that the Taliban's Mullah Omar has evolved as a leader. "The statements and speeches made by Mullah Omar prohibited attacks on civilians and condemned attacks on mosques," wrote al Habil.

    According to al Habil, Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, the commander for southern Afghanistan, was relieved of his command by Mullah Omar because of his willingness to take money from Arab fighters. This is an indication that the Taliban is trying to operate independently from Al Qaeda.


    This could also allow the Western powers to negotiate with the Taliban as a way to attempt to restore stability to Afghanistan. Arab media experts say the war of attrition launched by the Taliban is really aimed at forcing the United States and NATO to the negotiating table.

    Though the Taliban insist that they will not negotiate unless the occupation forces leave Afghanistan, Ahmad Asfahani believes that they are just playing tough. The Taliban know that they need NATO to return to power. At the same time, the West has reached the conclusion that they can't win the war in Afghanistan militarily and will have to use political and economic venues to find a resolution.


    NATO-led forces have risen from 33,000 troops in January 2007 to 47,000 in March to confront the increasing attacks by the Taliban. But this number is not enough to win the war. Only three of the 26 NATO countries are willing to send their troops to direct conflict areas in southern Afghanistan.

    This means that NATO and U.S. forces have no choice but to negotiate with Taliban to end the fighting. The United States has already proposed the idea of negotiating with the Taliban according to Muhammad Aatif, head of the Afghan Association for Reform and Social Development. He told ANB in August 2007 that the Afghan and Pakistani presidents met for three days in Kabul and 50 members of the Loya Jirga tribal council were selected to negotiate with the Taliban and their supporters. The meeting, he said, had the support of the United States.


    On the British side, Hani al-Sibai, director of the London-based al-Maqreze Center of Historical Studies, told ANB that he believes the British who have been doing much of the fighting have been simply making deals with the Taliban and handing some areas back to them. "An agreement was made between the British and the Taliban," Al-Sibai said, "in which Musa Qala was handed over to the Taliban forces."


    The United States did the same thing in Iraq when they handed Fallujah over to a Ba'ath general after intensive fighting did not establish control of the city. Today former Ba'ath leaders are leading Awakening Councils, or Sahwa, against Al Qaeda. Could the Taliban do the same in Afghanistan for the Americans?

    Middle East

    Articles by Jalal Ghazi


    Jalai has the cart infront of the horse.

    The taliban are being attrited, the pressure increases daily on the Taliban to come to the table.

    Once the Taliban feels enough pain they will
    start negotiating.
    Mullah Mansoor Dadullah was relieved of command, NOT.
    Omar is upset the Paki Taliban would not buckle under to al Qaeda in Afghan and send troops to rescue them in Afghan.

    The Taliban realize their struggle is not global but local to the region.

    The Guest has turned against the Host.
    al Qaeda against the Taliban.

    Taliban continue to come to its senses.


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    Iran's secret nuke

    Nuclear Monster AhmadinejadImage by azrainman via Flickr

    Do satellite photos show Iran ballistic missile facility?
    New report says site is being used to develop missiles with 4,000 mile range.
    By Arthur Bright

    posted April 11, 2008 at 10:00 am EDT

    A new report by The Times of London says that satellite photographs of a site in Iran indicate the location is being used to develop a ballistic missile that could reach most of continental Europe.

    The Times writes that the photographs show the launch site of a Kavoshgar 1 rocket that Iran tested on February 4. Tehran claimed that the rocket was intended to further a nascent Iranian space program, but The Times says that the photos suggest otherwise.

    Analysis of the photographs taken by the Digital Globe QuickBird satellite four days after the launch has revealed a number of intriguing features that indicate to experts that it is the same site where Iran is focusing its efforts on developing a ballistic missile with a range of about 6,000km (4,000 miles).

    A previously unknown missile location, the site, about 230km southeast of Tehran, and the link with Iran's long-range programme, was revealed by Jane's Intelligence Review after a study of the imagery by a former Iraq weapons inspector. A close examination of the photographs has indicated that the Iranians are following the same path as North Korea, pursuing a space programme that enables Tehran to acquire expertise in long-range missile technology.

    Geoffrey Forden, a research associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that there was a recently constructed building on the site, about 40 metres in length, which was similar in form and size to the Taepodong long-range missile assembly facility in North Korea.

    The Times adds that the rocket launched from the facility in February was based on Iran's Shahab 3B missile, which is in turn based on North Korea's Nodong missile. Geoffrey Forden, a member of the UN team monitoring Iraq's weapons of mass destruction in 2002 and 2003, noted that while the test rocket did not indicate any significant advances in Iran's missile technology, the launch site had "very high levels of security and recent construction activity" and appeared to be "an important strategic facility."

    If the Iranian facility is indeed developing a long-range ballistic missile, it would explain NATO's decision last week to move ahead with the missile shield program supported by the US. The Christian Science Monitor reported last week that the Bush administration scored a key success by persuading NATO to approve the missile shield, which is meant to protect against missiles like those that Iran is linked to.

    NATO members all supported the US position on missile-shield defense, which is to be deployed in the Czech Republic and Poland. "There is a threat ... and allied security must be indivisible in the face of it," read the statement on missile defense.

    But Iran has denied any hostile intent behind its rocket program. While Tehran has not yet commented on the Times report, after the February test of the Kavoshgar 1 rocket it stated its intent to use the technology for launching satellites, reported The New York Times.

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... said on state-run television: "We need to have an active presence in space. We witness today that Iran has taken its first step in space very firmly, precisely and with awareness."

    Iran has said that it wants to put satellites into orbit to monitor natural disasters and to improve telecommunications, as well as for security reasons.

    Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najar said Iran would launch its domestically made satellite, called Omid, meaning Hope, in June, Fars News reported.

    But US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the launch "troubling," noting that "the kinds of technologies and capabilities that are needed in order to launch a space vehicle for orbit are the same kinds of capabilities and technologies that one would employ for long-range ballistic missiles."

    Much of the concern of both the US and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog, stems from evidence found on a laptop stolen by an Iranian in 2004 and turned over to US intelligence services. Among other documents on the laptop, investigators found "drawings on modifying Iran's ballistic missiles in ways that might accommodate a nuclear warhead," reported The Washington Post in February. But the problem is proving that the documents are legitimate.

    U.S. intelligence considers the laptop documents authentic but cannot prove it. Analysts cannot completely rule out the possibility that internal opponents of the Iranian leadership could have forged them to implicate the government, or that the documents were planted by Tehran itself to convince the West that its program remains at an immature stage....

    British intelligence, asked for a second opinion, concurred last year that the documents appear authentic. German and French officials consider the information troubling, sources said, but Russian experts have dismissed it as inconclusive. IAEA inspectors, who were highly skeptical of U.S. intelligence on Iraq, have begun to pursue aspects of the laptop information that appear to bolster previous leads.

    "There is always a chance this could be the biggest scam perpetrated on U.S. intelligence," one U.S. source acknowledged. "But it's such a large body of documents and such strong indications of nuclear weapons intent, and nothing seems so inconsistent."

    Despite the possibility of Iran developing a long-range ballistic missile in time, Mr. Forden says that they likely still have a long way to go., a blog on WMDs and national security, cites Forden's observations about the flaws revealed by the February launch .

    Iran's February 4th launch of a Shahab-3 just keeps on getting more and more interesting; that is if you are interested in just how good of a missile the Shahab/No'dong is. Video from Iran's television show that there is a failure of the missile's thrust vector control system nineteen seconds into its powered flight. At that point, there is a brief flaring at the very end of the missile and an object is seen flying off for several seconds, until it leaves the video's frame as the camera continues to follow the missile. Tellingly, it doesn't just drop off the missile but is given quite a transverse boost.

    Forden says that the debris indicates that the missile's graphite jet vanes, used to steer the rocket in flight, are being "eaten away" by the rocket exhaust. Such a problem can knock a missile severely off course, he adds.

    So what does this mean for missile proliferators in general and Syria and Iran (and North Korea since they are all involved in the development of these missiles) in particular? It means that they are still having a hard time producing graphite tough and pure enough to be used in large missiles. It also indicates that a top priority for their missile engineers will be to develop other thrust vector control mechanisms.



    Reactions to Irans actions:
    World Intelligence Agencys Paradigm indicates:
    Possibility of Iranian nuclear counterstrike:



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    Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Afghan Violence

    Afghanistan: Graphing the violence


    Click the image to view the charts on the attacks in Afghanistan.

    NATO has made a renewed push to secure Afghanistan after attacks rose to their highest levels since the Taliban regime of Mullah Omar was ousted in early 2002. At this week’s annual NATO summit in Bucharest, Bulgaria, members committed additional troops to Afghanistan. France will send a battalion of infantry – more than 700 troops. Georgia will send 500 soldiers and Poland will send 400 additional soldiers. Czechoslovakia has committed 100 elite counterterrorism troops. Romania, Italy, Greece, Spain, and Britain agreed to send an unspecified amount of additional troops. The US will deploy two additional Marine battalions and supporting elements this year and committed additional forces in 2009. Canada has committed to staying in Afghanistan through 2011 after threatening to withdraw if NATO members did not step up and shoulder their fair share of the fighting.

    NATO has also secured supply line through Russian territory to resupply forces in Afghanistan after fears that the Pakistani supply lines through the Khyber Pass would be interrupted by Taliban attacks in Pakistan.

    According to NATO statistics, “More than 75% of [Afghanistan] experienced less than 1 security incident per quarter per 10,000 people, supporting the assessment that the insurgency is not expanding across [Afghanistan]. 70% of the events occurred in 10% of the districts. The population of these districts is less than 6% of the population of [Afghanistan].” NATO attributes the increase in violence to increased operations by NATO forces.

    Data provided to The Long War Journal by Vigilant Strategic Services Afghanistan (VSSA) shows that the attacks by the Taliban and “Anti-Government Elements” such as Gulbaddin Hekmatyer’s Hizb-I Islami Gulbuddin and other allied groups have increased from the first quarter of 2007 when compared to the first quarter of 2008. The eastern, southeastern, and southern provinces bordering Pakistan still remain the most violent areas in Afghanistan.


    Mujahideen Khan: 'we do not know who the Taliban is right now'
    Afghanistan remains a huge challenge for NATO. Whilst officials met in the Bucharest's Parliament Palace from 2-4 April, a group of Estonian journalists cast an eye back with a mujahideen in the Afghan mountains
    Mujahideen Khan is an ethnic Tajik. His title denotes that he was one of the warriors who over the course of the past three decades of war in Afghanistan successfully fought against the soviets, the Taliban and fellow Afghans seeking to conquer his territories. But looking into the future makes him anxious, as a group of Estonian journalists found out in August 2007, when they met him at his home in the Panjshir Valley, a picturesque gorge 150 kilometers north of Kabul in the Hindu Kush Mountains. How do locals regard the international reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan?

    Mujahedeen Khan on:

    ... the soviets' nine-year invasion from 1978 - 1989

    Afghanistan was calm then. Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud was such a strong, brave man. He never believed that Russia could take over the whole of Afghanistan. When they did attack us with gas in 1978, there was nobody left in Panjshir. People fled their houses and escaped to the mountains. About 90% of the population ended up with weapons that we took from the soviets. The locals retaliated for our independence after three days, with only about 36 people in the Mujahedeen in the beginning of the resistance. I was busy in jihad for fourteen years, I didn't work, so my older brother helped to feed my family and my parents.

    ... the Taliban who ruled from 1996 - 2001

    It is impossible that anyone from the Panjshir or Nangarhar province in the east could support the Taliban; never. I fought with Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden, Mullah Dadullah and other famous people from the Taliban face to face, and I resisted. The Taliban got Kabul because commander Massoud did not want more people to be killed, and had moved the Mujahideen back to Panjshir valley.

    The Taliban are not human - they kill themselves with bombs! Meanwhile, US forces were bombing our provinces, killing our people whilst thinking they were killing the Taliban, thus paving the ground for the latter. We do not know who the Taliban is right now - maybe we will face them again.

    View of the Panjshir Valley

    ...foreign aid and Afghanistan

    When Hamid Karzai became president in 2001, we thought Afghanistan would become a great, reconstructed country. I think that the UN didn't need to come and help. They should have set up a good interim government in Afghanistan led by Afghans, not foreigners. There are more bad things in Afghanistan than there used to be. If foreign countries help Afghanistan, everyone wants a piece – it's a bad habit of the Afghan people to take advantage. Every country, and especially the UN, have helped Afghanistan, but unfortunately we cannot see it. What is more, our people do not care about our country and its future. People are more interested in having a car; everyone just thinks about themselves.



    International Islamic Conference in Pakistan Calls on Authorities to Confront Ahmadi Muslims
    By: Tufail Ahmad *


    The Ahmadis are a religious movement founded in the late 19th century by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1839-1908), a spiritual leader from the town of Qadiyan, now in the Indian Punjab. Although they consider themselves Muslims, many Muslims reject them because of the Ahmadis' belief that their founder received divine revelation. This belief is regarded as a violation of the basic Islamic tenet which defines Muhammad as the last prophet. In Pakistan, Ahmadis are officially designated as non-Muslims, and suffer from persecution; many of them have been tried for blasphemy.

    A large group of Islamic scholars recently held an international conference in Pakistan dealing with the question of the Ahmadi Muslims. According to the Urdu-language Pakistani daily Roznama Jang, the conference participants urged Pakistan's leaders to confront the Ahmadi Muslims, stressing that the sole responsibility for "countering the growth of this community" should not rest with the religious groups alone.

    Following are details from the Roznama Jang report on the conference. [1]

    Conference Participants, Speakers and Statements

    The conference - held in Chichawatni, a town in the Pakistani Punjab - was organized by Majlis-e-Ahrarul Islam, a Pakistan-based organization that opposes the Ahmadi Muslims, and chaired by the organization's head, Syed Ataul Maheman Bukhari, who is also active against the Ahmadi community in India. The conference was held in honor of "the 10,000 martyrs of the Khatm-e-Nabuwat movement" - an Islamic movement which instigated the 1953 riots against the Ahmadi population in Lahore, which led to the first imposition of martial law in Pakistan.

    Among the conference participants were the emir of the International Khatm-e-Nabuwat Movement, the Saudi Maulana Abdul Hafeez Makki; the secretary-general of Alami Majlis Tahaffuz-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwat (The World Assembly for the Protection of the Finality of Prophethood), Maulana Azizur Rahman Jalandhari; the secretary-general of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Syed Munawwar Hasan; the secretary-general of Pakistan's Shari'a Council, Maulana Zahid Al-Rashidi, the leader of Ahl-e-Sunnah wal Jamaat, Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi; the leader of Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, Maulana Abdullah Gurdaspuri; Maulana Ziauddin Azad of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam; and Maulana Ahmad Ali Siraj, a Kuwaiti member of the International Khatm-e-Nabuwat movement.

    Speakers at the conference included Syed Muhammad Kafeel Bukhari of Majlis-e-Ahrarul Islam; Abdul Lateef Khalid Cheema; Saifullah Khalid, chairman of Bazm-e-Raza; Sheikh Aijaz Ahmad Raza; Maulana Muhammad Yunus Hasan; Maulana Abdul Nayeem Nomani; Hafiz Muhammad Masood Dogar; Hafiz Muhammad Sharif Manchanabadi; Hafiz Muhammad Akram Ahrar; Maulana Shahid Imran Rasheedi; Hafiz Abdul Basit; Qari Muzaffar Khan; Pirji Qadri Abdul Jaleel; Maulana Abdus Sattar; Qari Manzoor Ahmad Tahir; Qari Abdul Jabbar; Qari Atiqur Rahman; Qari Bashir Ahmad; Muhammad Aslam Bhatti; Maulana Kalimullah Rasheedi; Qari Saeed ibn Shaheed; and others. The local leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) also attended the conference.

    At the conference, the participants said that Pakistan's political parties should confront the growing influence of "those who reject the finality of prophethood" (i.e. the Ahmadis), and that the incoming government should work to eradicate them. They also accused the Ahmadi Muslims of promoting the nationalist Indian ideal of "akhand bharat" (a united India), and of "weakening Pakistan's geographic and ideological boundaries."

    Maulana Abdul Hafeez Makki said at the conference that about 20,000 Jews and Christians had converted to Islam in the month following 9/11, and that this "troubled the world of the infidels." He added that belief in Muhammad as the final prophet was a fundamental tenet of Islam, and that those who rejected it were therefore eternal enemies of the faith. Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Munawwar Hasan said that the Ahmadis have always relied on the infidels and on those in power to help them survive. He also said that the infidels have always striven to reduce religion to an aspect of personal identity by removing it from the mainstream of people's life.

    The closing statement of the conference expressed concern that an Islamic system has not been implemented in Pakistan. It also asked the incoming Pakistani government to reconsider all pro-U.S. policies, and to stop the military operations in the tribal regions.

    The participants said that it was unfortunate that the government was not doing anything to stop the international activities of the Ahmadi Muslims. They demanded that all Ahmadis serving in the armed forces be discharged, and that their property be confiscated by the government.

    The Majlis-e-Ahrarul Islam organization was founded in the early 20th century by Syed Ataullah Shah Bukhari from the town of Patna, now in northern India. The organization was founded with the explicit goal of fighting the influence of the Ahmadi Muslims, who were then just beginning to emerge as a movement. Maulana Azizur Rahman Jalandhri, head of the World Assembly for the Protection of the Finality of Prophethood, said at the conference that it was thanks to the efforts of Syed Ataullah Shah Bukhari that the Ahmadi Muslims were declared a minority in Pakistan in 1974. (In Pakistan, the term "minority" designates non-Muslims, and many Sunni groups in the country are therefore demanding that Shi'ite Muslims also be declared a minority as well. Ahmadi Muslims are also designated a minority in Saudi Arabia).

    * Tufail Ahmad is the director of MEMRI's Urdu-Pashtu Media Project.

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    Wednesday, April 09, 2008

    The unspoken paradigm

    Saddam HusseinImage via WikipediaTestimony of Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis Charles E. Allen before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, "Assessing the Nuclear Attack Threat"

    Release Date: April 2, 2008

    Dirksen Senate Office Building
    (Remarks as Prepared)
    SOURCE: dhs


    Iraqi WMD Found…In Syria?!

    By David Schenker

    Yesterday, the Jerusalem Post ran a short story about a soon-to-be released US-Israeli report on the September 6, 2007 attack on the alleged North-Korean supplied Syrian nuclear facility. The Post says the (Israeli) attack was related to Saddam’s WMD. This is the text of the relevant part:

    'Report on Sept. 6 strike to show Saddam transferred WMDs to Syria': An upcoming joint US-Israel report on the September 6 IAF strike on a Syrian facility will claim that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein transferred weapons of mass destruction to the country, Channel 2 stated Monday.

    It’s a pretty remarkable story. Given Syria’s support for Saddam in the run-up to the war and the Asad regime’s ongoing efforts to support former regime elements after the fall of Baghdad, it wouldn’t be surprising if some of Iraq’s WMD actually made it to Syria. While many still believe that Saddam transferred his WMD out of Iraq on the eve of the 2003 US invasion, however, to date, no evidence has been found to corroborate the theory.

    April 8, 2008 02:09 PM Link


    Exclusive: Israel’s five-day missile defense exercise exposes unready home front

    April 8, 2008, 1:23 PM (GMT+02:00)

    DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the 19 o’clock warning siren Tuesday, April 3 – day three of the nationwide missile defense exercise – was not heard in many parts of Israel, including the Knesset – as criticism of the exercise spread.

    Most people did not know where to find public shelters – none were marked - and were given no answers about protection against chemical or biological missile warfare.


    Experts: Real, growing nuke threat
    USA Today - Apr 1, 2008
    "Today, al-Qaeda's nuclear intent remains clear," his testimony says. The near-monthly reports of people trying to smuggle "real or purported" nuclear ...


    Background noise, Nuke Chatter



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    Iraqi WMD Found…In Syria?!

    Republic of Iraq Former President Saddam Hussein, following his capture by US Army (USA) Soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq. Hussein had his beard shaven to confirm his identity.Image via Wikipedia

    Iraqi WMD Found…In Syria?!

    By David Schenker

    Yesterday, the Jerusalem Post ran a short story about a soon-to-be released US-Israeli report on the September 6, 2007 attack on the alleged North-Korean supplied Syrian nuclear facility. The Post says the (Israeli) attack was related to Saddam’s WMD. This is the text of the relevant part:

    'Report on Sept. 6 strike to show Saddam transferred WMDs to Syria': An upcoming joint US-Israel report on the September 6 IAF strike on a Syrian facility will claim that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein transferred weapons of mass destruction to the country, Channel 2 stated Monday.

    It’s a pretty remarkable story. Given Syria’s support for Saddam in the run-up to the war and the Asad regime’s ongoing efforts to support former regime elements after the fall of Baghdad, it wouldn’t be surprising if some of Iraq’s WMD actually made it to Syria. While many still believe that Saddam transferred his WMD out of Iraq on the eve of the 2003 US invasion, however, to date, no evidence has been found to corroborate the theory.

    April 8, 2008 02:09 PM Link



    Exclusive: Major row in Assad regime delays Sunday publication of Mughniyeh probe findings

    April 7, 2008, 11:41 AM (GMT+02:00)

    Gen. Asif Shawqat, sacked Syrian military intelligence chief missing

    Gen. Asif Shawqat, sacked Syrian military intelligence chief missing

    DEBKAfile’s Middle East and intelligence sources report that President Bashar Assad has fallen out with his brother-in-law Gen. Asif Shawqat, sacked him as military intelligence chief and appointed Gen. Aly Younes in his place.

    Our Washington sources report that Assad decided at the last minute to hold back the report promised for Sunday, April 7, on the killing of Hizballah leader Imad Mughniyeh last February, until after April 17, when the US House Intelligence Committee hears the details of Israel’s reported Sept 6, 2007 strike on a nuclear installation Syria was building with North Korean assistance. He will the decide how to play it.

    Exclusive: Iran, Syria, Lebanon on military alert over US Gulf movements and Israel’s home defense drill

    April 6, 2008, 10:29 PM (GMT+02:00)

    USS Abraham Lincoln heads to Persian Gulf

    USS Abraham Lincoln heads to Persian Gulf

    According to British media, the US is set to attack Iranian military facilities. DEBKAfile’s military sources add that the USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Force is heading for the Persian Gulf.

    War tensions in the Middle East have shot up - not only over the signals flashing between Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, but also on the US-Iranian front in Iraq in the wake of rising in violence around the Basra conflagration.

    Tuesday, April 8, US Iraq commander, Gen. David Petraeus accuses Iran of waging war on America in Iraq.




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    Tuesday, April 08, 2008

    Interesting anthropological discovery

    After Zee's little Internet Q&A session there has been a significant increase in Searches from
    Egypt for terrorist sites, and these searchers are easily distracted by Internet Porn.

    Our bots have been taking readings and discovered this social , cultural phenomenon.

    It could suggest the Egyptians are younger, sexually repressed young men, thinking Allah will
    forgive them this transgression if they die as Martyrs.

    The paradigm suggest an influx of al Qaeda suicide bombers comming from Egypt.



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    A look inside Al Qaeda

    Kursants (cadets) of the Soviet Red Army's Military School of Artillery in Chuhuyiv, 1933Image via WikipediaA look inside Al Qaeda

    The militant is known as Abu Ubaida al Masri, and charting his path reveals his vulnerabilities and those of the terrorist group.
    By Sebastian Rotella, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
    April 2, 2008
    COPENHAGEN -- If Al Qaeda strikes the West in the coming months, it's likely the mastermind will be a stocky Egyptian explosives expert with two missing fingers.

    His alias is Abu Ubaida al Masri. Hardly anyone has heard of him outside a select circle of anti-terrorism officials and Islamic militants. But as chief of external operations for Al Qaeda, investigators say, he has one of the most dangerous -- and endangered -- jobs in international terrorism.

    He has overseen the major plots that the network needs to stay viable, investigators say: the London transportation bombings in 2005, a foiled transatlantic "spectacular" aimed at U.S.-bound planes in 2006, and an aborted plot in this serene Scandinavian capital last fall.

    But pursuers have captured or killed his predecessors and have been gunning for him. He prowls Pakistani badlands one step ahead of satellites and security forces.

    Although periodic reports of his death have proved false, rumors resurfaced after recent American airstrikes. Asked whether Masri is alive, a Western anti-terrorism official said, "It's a question mark."

    Masri himself can be described that way. Authorities know only bits and pieces of his biography. They know his face, having identified an unreleased photo, but not his real name.

    "He is considered capable and dangerous," said a British official, who like others in this report declined to be identified. "He is not at the very top of Al Qaeda, but has been part of the core circle for a long time. He is someone who has emerged and grabbed our attention as others were caught or eliminated in the last couple of years. Perhaps he rose faster than he would have otherwise."

    The Times has charted Masri's rise in interviews with anti-terrorism officials and experts from Europe, the United States and the Middle East, and a review of case files and academic and intelligence reports. The stories of man and network intertwine, revealing the dangers and vulnerabilities of both.

    Masri's emergence reflects Al Qaeda's resilient, hydra-like structure. As leaders fall, mid-level chiefs step up, shifting tactics and targets with determination and innovation.

    But Al Qaeda seems diminished despite insistent propaganda and an onslaught of violence in Iraq, South Asia and North Africa. The network has not pulled off an attack in the West since 2005.

    "We have to be careful not to fall prey to our fears," said a senior British anti-terrorism official. "The language of 2001, 2002, gave an inflated view of Al Qaeda's size and structure. It's not the Red Army, it's not even the Irish Republican Army. . . . There have been advances by AQ at the ideological level, it has spawned franchises, but don't lose sight of the operational setbacks that AQ has suffered."

    SOURCE: More:



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    War With Iran

    Book Review
    Francois Heisbourg Book Review
    War With Iran?
    David A. Andelman
    A top European strategist argues that the world's key challenge is a nuclear Iran--and says what the U.S. will have to do about it.

    In an effort to show the world that the U.S. has not been paralyzed by its disastrous adventure in neighboring Iraq, on Aug. 16, 2008, Bush orders a massive aerial bombardment, flights of Tomahawk cruise missiles streaking from submarines and naval warships to strike Iranian command and control centers, ministries, telecommunications facilities and Iranian air defenses, especially Russian-made TOR M-1 missile emplacements, while B-2 stealth bombers destroy all access to the subterranean enrichment facilities at Natanz.

    American warplanes and missiles carefully avoid striking research reactors in Teheran and Ispahan as well as the nuclear reactor at Bousher--less than 100 kilometers from Kuwait--as well as the centrifuges themselves at Natanz in an effort to prevent the spread of radioactive material to nearby population centers. However, other missiles producing electromagnetic pulses do knock out virtually all of Iran's electric grid and computer systems.

    By Sept. 4, less than three months after the first flight of Tomahawks, Iran is reduced to a state of near paralysis, unable in any sense to retaliate militarily, its entire economic infrastructure in shambles. The president's near-term goal is satisfied to the letter. But if you think that's the end, well then, read on.


    It is only in French, put it on hte Internet and Google will translate it.


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    Media Activities Of The Taliban

    The Media Activities Of The Taliban Islamic Movement
    By Al-Somood Magazine.
    Published and translated by Al-Somood Magazine

    Since its inception as a military jihadi movement, the Taliban Islamic movement has recognized the extraordinary importance of the news media in deciding [the outcome of] conflicts, in particular, ideological conflicts. It is convinced that the media are among the most important elements of psychological warfare - and the war of morale, which is by no means less important than the field war. Accordingly, the movement undertook to begin its media activity, together with its military activity, against the invading crusader forces at the time of the latter's invasion of Afghanistan. The movement appointed a unit consisting of the journalistic cadres who formerly occupied important media positions within the Government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

    The [media] unit officially began its journalistic activities on 23/09/2002; the activities consisted of the following:

    1. The setting up of an internet website, speaking on behalf of the Islamic Emirate.

    2. Issue of the monthly magazine Sirk in the Pashtu and Dari languages.

    3. The quarterly magazine Murshal [The Trench], specializing in the publication of military news and reports.

    4. Issue of the weekly newspaper ad-Dami^r [The Conscience] in Pashtu and Dari.

    5. Publication and distribution of CDs containing jihadi films.

    6. Publication and distribution of [audio] tapes of jihadi songs and [news] reports.

    7. Contact with both local and world [TV] channels and other news media.

    8. The collection and gathering of field news, then the translation thereof into Arabic, English and Urdu.

    9. Translation and publication of Islamic books, especially those concerning jihad and resistance [to occupation].

    Initially, the media unit was conducting its activities under the supervision of Sa'ada Qudratu'llah Jamal, who held the position Minister of Media and Culture in the period of the Islamic Emirate Government. Then Sheikh Ustaz Muhammad Yasir was appointed official in charge of this unit on 08/05/2004.

    Likewise, Brother Mufti Latifu'llah Hakimi was appointed its official spokesperson, in which capacity Brother Hakimi would proclaim the continued pursuit of the jihadi course by the Muslim Afghan people, under the leadership of Commander-of-the-Faithful Mullah Omar (God protect him), against all the occupiers and their minions; and this he would do by contacting the news agencies and TV stations.

    This unit led the movement's journalistic struggle against the crusader occupation, and contributed toward directing the media battle against all the various, rancorous Western media [outlets]; as the world crusader alliance led by America had launched an ideological attack against Afghanistan, besides its military onslaught. And in this attack they spared no effort, but did whatever they could.

    In the context of these sorely expended crusader efforts, the Foreign Relations Committee of the American Congress agreed in November 2001 to instigate a media war against the Taliban through the setting-up of a 24-hour "Radio Free Afghanistan", as well as the creation of radio stations and television channels. The Republican Congressman Ed Royce, who proposed the project, said at the time:

    "Directing radio and television programs toward Afghanistan will help us win the media war against the Taliban."

    The Western media set out to distort the public image of the Taliban movement by stirring up a number of issues related to the Afghan question. However, through its active spokespersons, the movement succeeded in repelling these attacks using its own media. Brother Mufti Hakim had played the critically effective role in this serious confrontation, at a time when the efforts of all the enemies were concentrated against the movement.

    By the writ of Almighty God, that the enemies were able to capture Sheikh Ustaz Muhammad Yasir. The enemy accounted his capture a painful blow to the movement, but God (Great and Exalted) caused their hopes to be disappointed through his replacement by other active brothers of the media unit, similarly able and qualified in this field.

    Only a short space of time elapsed before Brother Latif al-Hakimi was arrested, and the brothers Qari Muhammad Yusuf "Ahmadi" and Dr Muhammad Hanif were appointed the media unit's official spokespersons for the movement. By the Grace of God, and through His Succour, the movement's media activities did not come to an end. Indeed, they were in a state of forward progress, and that owing, first, to the Goodness of God, and then to the efforts of the brothers who took upon themselves the task of achieving that progress.

    In the year 1427 AH the media centre issued Alsomood [The Resistance] magazine in Arabic, under the supervision of Sa'ada Nusayru'ddin 'Herawi' (may God protect him). It is worth mentioning that Sheikh Nusayru'ddin "Herawi" is considered among the most important and pre-eminent personages and jihadi leaders in the movement at present. So too previously, he occupied very high and important positions, and acquired the honour of [being] "Secretary of State" in the Bureau of the Commander-of-the-Faithful at the time of the Islamic Emirate.

    Seeing as he enjoys a special status and dignity in his relation to the Commander-of-the-Faithful (may God protect him), and, furthermore, undertakes the accomplishment of important military and administrative activities, he has become famous among the leadership of the Taliban and among the Mujahideen as the "Right Hand" of the Commander-of-the-Faithful (God protect him). Accordingly, he is respected by all.

    Security circumstances have necessitated that he use the name "Herawi" instead of his real name; as he works in more than one sphere, his original name appears at the head of the Americans' list of the main wanted persons belonging to the Taliban. We content ourselves here with revealing this much of his identity and no more, for the sake of his protection; and we implore God (High and Exalted) to help him in his undertakings in noble jihadi causes, and to grant him success, and to protect him through His Generous Protection.

    Sheikh Nusayru'ddin "Herawi", in addition to the founding and publication of Alsomood magazine, has created a sister website at:; this he did on 01-02-2007.

    Likewise, the magazine office has other media projects, such as the production and issue of jihadi films in Arabic and the local language, and their publication in the Islamic world through websites and Islamic jihadi forums. In this way, Taliban has been able (with God's Help) to take the battle to the heart of the enemy, achieving this, specifically, by the broadcast, through world and local media outlets, of the pictures of jihadi operations against crusader soldiers.

    Taliban continues to conduct significant and notable media activities besides those we have already mentioned, such as the creation of news websites in Pashtu and Arabic, as well as the issue of newspapers and magazines, all of which has given the movement a broad media presence.

    We mention here some of these activities, as examples:

    1. 'Azm [Resolution/Purpose] monthly magazine

    This magazine was established on 25th May 2002 by brother Nasiruddin al-Nasir. It published articles, reports, and accurate military statistics from behind the frontline in Pashtu and Dari. Its preparations for publication got as far as the eighth issue but it stopped publication after the seizure/capture of its editors on 16th April 2003. 'Azm magazine is considered one of the most successful of the movement's publications because it was distinguished in publishing extensive essays specializing in the Afghan situation and carrying out interviews with the leaders in the field and also the detailed reports from the trenches.

    Newsweek, the American magazine - after the detention of its founder - wrote a detailed report [Newsweek, Periscope (March 22nd 2004)] about 'Azm magazine and its important role in the movement's first media appearance [i.e. it was important in establishing for the Taliban, for the first time, a media presence].

    2. Tawakkal [Trust] magazine

    This magazine was established by the martyred brother Mullah Mohammad Hussein Mustas'ad (may God (Most-High) have mercy on him) following the capture of the founders of 'Azm magazine in accordance with the saying of God Most-High [in the Qur'an], "then, when thou has taken a decision, put thy trust in God," taking it [the saying] as a good omen. The publication of this magazine continues in Pashtu to this day. However, it be delayed from its specified date [of publication] following the martyrdom of its founder brother Mohammad Hussein Mustas'ad (may God have mercy) in a fierce battle face to face with American forces in Zabul province on 22nd July 2007. The martyred brother Mullah Mohammad Hussein Mustas'ad (may God have mercy on him) was considered one of the movement's preeminent scholarly and journalistic personages of the movement since he left behind a great wealth of his scholarly and cultural writings; and we mention here, in particular, his well know n four-volume work entitled "The Taliban in Afghanistan - from the rightly-guided caliphate to the Islamic Emirate." This weighty book is a comprehensive encyclopedia of the Afghan Taliban movement since the author (may God have mercy on him) explores all the stages of the growth of the movement and its development. He also discusses the details of the formation of the Islamic Emirate and its administrative, political and military affairs and its relationships with [other] Islamic movements and the countries of the Islamic world and others.

    Brother Mustas'id (may God have mercy on him) held important scholarly and administrative positions at the time of the Islamic Emirate government, such as President of the Central Academy in Kabul and Deputy Minister of Finance.

    3. Basoun [Revolution] newspaper

    This newspaper was established by brother Mullah Hussein Khan in the last days of the month of October in 2002 and was issued on a fortnightly basis in Pashtu and Dari. Its publication continued for a whole year but it stopped on account of security conditions.

    4. Tora Bora magazine

    This magazine was established by brother Ghazi Ajmal in 2003 and is issued every 3 months in Pashtu and Farsi. Its pages included articles, announcements and military reports. It enjoys great fame among other jihadi publications in Afghanistan.

    5. Monthly Istaqamat [Uprightness] magazine

    Istaqamat magazine was established on 3rd November 2005 by brother Hamidullah Hamed and this magazine was published in 3 languages: Pashtu, Dari and English. It stopped publication following the third issue on account of straitened security circumstances.

    6. I'idaad [Preparation] website in Pashtu on the internet

    7. Nafir [Trumpet/Horn] website in Arabic on the internet

    They both [also I'idaad website] were closed down and stopped from publishing after 6 months. That happened after their closing on the internet by the enemies.

    8. Mujahid Ghag [Voice of the Mujahid] magazine

    This magazine was established on 6th August 2004 by brother Suleymankhil. It is published every 2 months in Pashtu.

    All the supervisors and those who published and established these media/informational publications are journalists and followers of the Islamic Emirate, even if they prefer to publish these magazines and newspapers not officially as spokespersons for the movement's media unit.



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    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Old news vetted by Time.

    Disowned by Mentor, Bin Laden Seeks New Pastures

    As bin Laden seeks recruits from the marginalized in the West, a Saudi cleric blames him for Muslim suffering

    Jihad against capitalism: Bin Laden expands his appeal to discontents of the West while his Islamic mentor Salman al-Oadah (inset) denounces him for the mayhem

    NEW YORK: After Osama bin Laden reappeared on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary, television and newspaper commentators pondered the meaning of his newly blackened beard and the significance of his message. Barely noticed in the Western media barrage was the reaction of a Saudi cleric that could have far-reaching impact on the fortunes of Al Qaeda.

    In an open letter, one of his prominent Saudi mentors, preacher and scholar Salman al-Oadah, publicly reproaches bin Laden for causing widespread mayhem and killing. “How many innocent children, elderly people, and women were killed in the name of Al Qaeda?” asks al-Oadah on his website,, and in comments on an Arabic television station. “How many people were forced to flee their homes and how much blood was shed in the name of Al Qaeda?” The reaction of his former pupil is not known, but the angry denunciation by bin Laden’s supporters leaves no doubt that it hurts.

    The significance of that can be appreciated only in the context of the position al Oadah holds in Islamic orthodoxy. He’s a heavyweight Salafi preacher with a large following in Saudi Arabia and abroad. In the 1990s the Saudi regime imprisoned al-Oadah, along with four leading clerics, for criticizing the kingdom’s close relationship with the US, particularly the stationing of American troops there after the 1991 Gulf war. That decision – posting forces in Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam – was the catalyst that drove bin Laden to attack the US. Throughout the 1990s bin Laden cited al-Oadah as a dissident voice and critic of the Saudi royal family and fellow Salafi traveler who shared his strict religious principles and worldview.

    Although al-Oadah and other senior Muslim scholars condemned the 9/11 attacks, they had refrained from direct criticism of bin Laden. With al-Oadah’s new frontal assault on the elusive Al Qaeda leader, any ambiguity vanished. He holds bin Laden personally accountable for the occupation of Muslim lands in Afghanistan and Iraq, displacement of millions of Iraqis, killings of thousands of Afghans, internment and torture of promising and deluded young Muslims, and a tarnished image of Islam all over the world.

    “Are you happy to meet Allah with this heavy burden on your shoulders?” al-Oadah, a highly prolific scholar and media commentator, presses bin Laden. “It is a weighty burden indeed – at least hundreds of thousands of innocent people, if not millions [displaced and killed].”

    Ironically, the letter includes no criticism of US foreign policy toward the Muslim world, a dramatic departure from the norm.

    The widespread suffering of Muslims stems from “crimes” perpetrated against civilians by Al Qaeda on September 11, al-Oadah said. Islam, he reminds his former disciple, prohibits the killing of any bird or animal, let alone “innocent people, regardless of what justification is given.”

    The letter to bin Laden received coverage by the Arab media, including Al Jazeera network and, and elicited angry reactions by Al Qaeda’s supporters. The targeted attack on bin Laden and his militant group by a respected religious authority is lethal, coming at a critical juncture for Al Qaeda and like-minded factions worldwide.

    Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia – largely independent from Al Qaeda Central – faces the beginning of an internal revolt by Sunni tribes and fighters fed up with its sectarian fanaticism. Sunni resistance to Al Qaeda in Iraq gathers steam, limiting the group’s movement and options. Another militant group – Fatah al-Islam, which subscribes to Al Qaeda’s ideology and was active in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr el Bared in North Lebanon – was dealt a mortal blow by authorities and universal rejection by Muslim Palestinian and Lebanese opinion. Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Saudi Arabia has suffered major setbacks and is on the run.

    Although Al Qaeda appears to revitalize its infrastructure in Pakistan-Afghan tribal areas, it faces insurmountable challenges in the Arab hinterland – its historic social base of support.

    Perhaps in implicit recognition of his success in tapping marginalized youth in Europe, bin Laden went to great length in his videotape to project a new image and message, an effort to appeal to a larger audience. He has exchanged his military fatigues and Kalashnikov for a white robe, circular cap, and beige cloak, portraying himself as a spiritual figure, not the old rifle-toting self.

    In his address to the American people, bin Laden borrows the language of the left and anti-globalization movement, an attempt to galvanize Americans against their oppressors – big capital, multinational corporations, and globalization. His use of secular-political language is a conscious, yet naive, attempt to drive a wedge between Americans and their leaders who, he says, serve the interests of the capitalist system and war industry.

    According to the new bin Laden, this global system of big capital that benefits the wealthy class is responsible for the tragedies in Iraq, Afghanistan, the poverty of Africa and the huge gap between the haves and have-nots within the US. By rejoining the debate raging in the US over the war in Iraq and due legal process, a growing wealth gap connected with anti-globalization sentiment, bin Laden aims at broadening his constituency and scoring gains in another war – the war of ideas.

    Contrary to common sense, bin Laden believes that Westerners will buy his new message and assign blame to “warmongering owners of the major corporations.” Apparently, he had never expected a direct rebuke by one of his spiritual Salafi mentors. Dispensing with formalities, al-Oadah pins the blame squarely on bin Laden for the 9/11 spark that lit subsequent fires throughout the world:

    “You are responsible – brother Osama – for spreading Takfiri ideology [excommunication of Muslims] and fostering a culture of suicide bombings that has caused bloodshed and suffering and brought ruin to entire Muslim communities and families.”

    The Saudi scholar admonishes his elusive countrymen for turning Muslim nations like Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco and others into a battlefield where no one feels safe. “To what end, even if your plan succeeds by marching over the corpses of hundreds of thousands of people?” al-Oadah inquires. “Is Islam only about guns and war? Have your means become the ends themselves?”

    Never before has bin Laden been subjected to such direct, withering censure by a Salafi scholar who cannot be dismissed by militants as a vessel of the ruling regime. His record of defiance of the Saudi royal family speaks volumes of independence of judgment and moral courage. His credibility as a defender of Muslim rights worldwide is unassailable. In November 2004, al-Oadah, along with 25 prominent Saudi religious scholars, posted an open letter on the internet, urging Iraqis to support fighters waging legitimate jihad against “the big crime of America’s occupation of Iraq.”

    Adding insult to injury, al-Oadah praises those jihadist “brave hearts” and “courageous minds” that defected from Al Qaeda and distanced themselves from its terrorism. “Many of your brethren in Egypt, Algeria and elsewhere have come to see the end road for Al Qaeda’s ideology,” he states. “They now realize how destructive and dangerous it is.”

    Al-Oadah’s public censure of bin Laden deepens internal fissures within the Salafi universe which supplied his group with many of its foot soldiers.

    Just before the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden released a new videotape, in which he adopts a neo-Marxist posture, suggesting that mortgage debt, global warming, growing wage inequality and other ills are a result of greed from multinational corporations and politics of the West. "The capitalist system seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations under the label of 'globalization' in order to protect democracy," bin Laden says. Perhaps bin Laden worries that his fundamentalist message fails to resonate or he hopes to inspire more would-be terrorists among disaffected youth in the West. Or, he wants to give the most conservative US presidential candidates a boost. While pundits of the West bantered about his darkened beard, the reaction from the Arab world was more serious. In an open letter, Salman al-Oadah, a prominent Salafist scholar and cleric based in Saudi Arabia and one-time mentor of bin Laden, criticizes Al Qaeda, blaming the 9/11 attacks for delivering death and suffering to the Muslim world and damaging the reputation of Islam. He urges young Muslims to distance themselves from terrorism. The words of one cleric and scholar, spread with the help of the internet, offers a glimmer of hope, more so than what comes from periodic reports of arrests and killing of terrorists. –

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    Israel would destroy Iran if attacked

    Israel would destroy Iran if attacked: minister

    3 hours ago

    JERUSALEM (AFP) — An Israeli government minister warned on Monday that Israel would respond to any Iranian attack by destroying that country, public radio reported.

    "An Iranian attack against Israel would trigger a tough reaction that would lead to the destruction of the Iranian nation," National Infrastructure Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer said in remarks of rare virulence.

    "Iranians are aware of our strength but continue to provoke us by arming their Syrian allies and Hezbollah," he said during a meeting at his ministry.

    Ben-Eliezer, a member of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's security cabinet, stressed however that the Iranians were unlikely to attack as "they understand the meaning of such an act".

    Last month, Defence Minister Ehud Barak told visiting US Vice President Dick Cheney that "no option" would be ruled out in Israel's bid to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    Israel, along with its ally the United States and other Western powers, accuses Iran of pursuing the development of a nuclear bomb under the guise of its civilian nuclear programme -- a charge Tehran denies.

    Israel considers Iran its top enemy following repeated calls by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Jewish state to be wiped off the map.

    Ben-Eliezer also stressed that an ongoing five-day home front defence exercise was not meant to threaten Israel's neighbours, but stressed that "the scenarios considered in the exercise could be reality tomorrow".

    He said Israel could one day find itself in a situation in which hundreds of rockets rain down on Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

    "Nowhere would be safe from Syrian and Hezbollah rockets," Ben-Eliezer said.

    The scenario for Monday's drill had Israel coming under simultaneous attack from Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia in the north and from Palestinian militants in Gaza to the south.

    The exercise, which started on Sunday, comes amid media reports of heightened tensions along Israel's heavily guarded border with Syria and just days after Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora put his armed forces on alert.


    What would Israel do if attacked by a non-State entity?



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