Sunday, January 31, 2010

How Is Al-Shabaab Recruiting Terrorists In America and Europe?


This really is a good, detailed article on how the al Qaeda-linked terror group, al Shabaab, which operates in Somalia is actively and effectively recruiting jihadists in America and also in Europe. I don't think I've seen an article tie all of the pieces together quite as well as this one from Family Security Matters. It's long but some excellent pieces of information are in it. And what this helps explain is how we are seeing some of the same recruitment succeeding for the al Qaeda elements in Yemen.



How Designated Terror Organization al-Shabaab Targets Western Youth

Steve Emerson


As the new year begins, al-Shabaab, a terror group fighting to overthrow the government of Somalia, has served notice that it intends to play an increasingly prominent role in international jihad. Al-Shabaab fighters declared their support for Al Qaeda in Yemen following the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253, allegedly by a terrorist linked to that group. And police in Denmark said a man charged with the attempted New Year's Day murder of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard (who drew a controversial 2005 cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammad) was a member of al-Shabaab with "close links" to leaders of al Qaeda in East Africa. Al Qaeda and al-Shabaab made official their alliance in September.

"It was a brave step taken by a brave Somali man; he attacked a devil who insulted our honored Prophet Mohammed," an al-Shabaab spokesman told the London Daily Telegraph. "Surely an honored Muslim brother or sister will kill that devil on the next attack."

On Monday, an al-Shabaab terrorist killed seven people and wounded 11 others during a suicide bombing at a clinic near the Mogadishu airport.

It appears that the group intends to carry on that fight with recruits from the United States. Between September 2007 and October 2009, 20 young men (all but one of Somali descent), left the Minneapolis area for Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab.

Thus far, Congress and the intelligence community have been reluctant to conclude that Americans who train with al-Shabaab could return and stage terrorist attacks in the United States or threaten American interests outside the Horn of Africa.

Perhaps the most detailed discussion of al-Shabaab recruiting efforts in the United States was a March 11, 2009 Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing where Andrew Liepman of the NCTC and Philip Mudd of the FBI expressed doubt that al-Shabaab could evolve into a major threat to U.S. interests.

But Mudd, associate executive assistant director of the FBI's National Security Branch, provided one significant caveat when asked how serious a problem the group is.

"I would talk in terms of tens of people, which sounds small but it's significant, because every terrorist is somebody who can potentially throw a grenade into a shopping mall," he said. Mudd added that information about the number of American recruits for al-Shabaab is "fuzzy" because "[t]here are thousands of people – thousands – going to the Horn of Africa every month. You can go to Kenya to look at game parks, and it's hard for me to tell you if somebody's going to a game park or going to Shabaab. So I am sure that there are people out there that we're missing."

At least six Americans have been killed after going to Somalia to join al-Shabaab. One of those was Shirwa Ahmed, who left Minnesota in December 2007. Ten months later Ahmed blew himself up, apparently becoming the first American citizen to carry out a suicide bombing. Another is Jamal Bana, 20, who in July was reported killed in Somalia. He was studying engineering at two Minneapolis schools when he disappeared in November 2008. Bana's family said it learned of his fate when a photograph of his body appeared on a website. Burhan Hassan, 17, also disappeared from his Minneapolis home in the fall of 2008 and flew to Somalia to join al-Shabaab. He, too, was shot to death in June. Read more here.

Criminal prosecutions in the United States

At least 14 people have been charged in federal cases related to al-Shabaab recruitment in America, including attending terror training camps, fighting for – and providing support to – the group, designated a terrorist organization. The Justice Department announced the indictment of eight men alone on November 23rd.

Four defendants have pled guilty and await sentencing. One, Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, admitted in April to training with al-Shabaab, building a terrorist training camp and learning to fire weapons. In July, Salah Osman Ahmed pled guilty to traveling to Somalia in December 2007 to fight Ethiopians. During his time fighting alongside al-Shabaab, Ahmed built a training camp and learned how to fire an AK-47.

Court documents unsealed by federal prosecutors in Minneapolis on November 23, 2009 provide a detailed look at how al-Shabaab recruits and raises money in the United States. The documents examine the case of Burhan Ahmed, who was part of a group of four men who left the Minneapolis area in December 2007 to fight against Ethiopian forces that had invaded Somalia. He first went to Saudi Arabia to participate in the pilgrimage to Mecca, then joined the other three at an al-Shabaab safe house in Somalia.

Between December 2007 and February 2008 the men moved "from northern Somalia to an al-Shabaab training camp in southern Somalia, staying at multiple al-Shabaab houses along the way," according to a criminal complaint by FBI Special Agent Michael Cannizzaro. "The trainees were trained by, among others, Somali, Arab, and Western instructors in, among other things, small arms, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and military-style tactics. The trainees were also indoctrinated with anti-Ethiopian, anti-American, anti-Israeli, and anti-Western beliefs."

Several of the Minnesota men dropped out of the program after a week or two, but Ahmed completed the entire training course. He subsequently took part in an armed ambush of Ethiopian troops. On October 29, 2008, he died in one of a series of coordinated suicide bombings that day targeting Ethiopian, Somali government and United Nations facilities in Somalia. More than 20 people were killed. Ahmed, who drove a truck into an office of the Puntland Intelligence Service, was identified by a fingerprint on a severed finger recovered at the scene.

The criminal complaint alleges that Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax and Abdiweli Yassin Isse played key roles in recruiting for al-Shabaab. In explaining the case against Faarax and Isse, it quotes extensively from interviews with three "confidential witnesses" – individuals who have already pled guilty to conspiracy to commit murder outside the United States in connection with supporting al-Shabaab.

Recruitment was accomplished through personal meetings held in the Minneapolis area, emphasizing the need for participation, and the resulting camaraderie. At one, held in an unidentified Minneapolis mosque, according to the complaint, the men called a co-conspirator in Somalia who "explained the need for CW #1 [confidential witness # 1] and his Minnesota-based co-conspirators to travel to Somalia and fight against the Ethiopians."

Speaking about his own work for jihad, Faarax allegedly told another witness that he "did his part for Islam" while fighting in Somalia. But during three interviews with the FBI, he denied fighting or knowing anyone who fought in Somalia. The complaint contradicts this, alleging that during a meeting in the fall of 2007, Faarax "told his co-conspirators that he experienced true brotherhood while fighting in Somalia and that travel for jihad was the best thing that they could do." Faarax also told the co-conspirators that traveling to Somalia to fight jihad would be fun and not to be afraid. Faarax also explained to his co-conspirators that they would get to shoot guns in Somalia."

Some travel to Somalia was financed by deceptively seeking funds from the community for trips to Saudi Arabia. Witnesses said they saw Isse make the claim while soliciting members of the Somali community, telling them the travel was to study the Koran in Saudi Arabia to study the Koran and not mentioning the Somali jihad.

Isse and Faarax were last seen at the U.S.-Mexico border on the morning of October 8, 2009. The pair, who were dropped off by a taxicab at the San Ysidro border crossing near San Diego, carried tickets for a flight from Tijuana to Mexico City. They crossed into Mexico and their whereabouts are unknown.

In a related case, the Justice Department announced in November that charging documents were unsealed against Mahamud Said Omar, who is accused of conspiring to provide financial support and personnel for al-Shabaab. Omar, who has been in custody in the Netherlands, allegedly gave money for young men to travel from Minneapolis to Somalia to fight with and train for al-Shabaab. He is believed to have "visited an Al-Shabaab safe-house and provided hundreds of dollars to fund the purchase of AK-47 rifles for men from Minneapolis."

The Omar indictment alleges that he "committed and caused" nine men to leave Minnesota for Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab. Of that group, "two are believed to have died in Somalia, three have returned and pled guilty to terror charges, and four are still believed to be in Somalia," Minnesota Public Radio reported.

The role of local mosques in al-Shabaab recruitment is shrouded in mystery. Some relatives of the missing men – among them Osman Ahmed of Minneapolis, whose nephew Burhan Hassan was killed in Somalia in early June – contend that the youths were radicalized at the Abubakar as-Saddique mosque in Minneapolis. They point to the fact that many of the young men who went to fight for al-Shabaab attended the mosque, among them his nephew and Shirwa Ahmed. As noted above, the criminal complaint against Isse and Faarax alleges that a jihadist recruiter called a co-conspirator in Somalia from a Minneapolis mosque, but does not name the mosque. Officials at the Abubakar mosque deny any involvement and say they oppose anyone going to Somalia to fight.

Authorities believe one al-Shabaab recruiter was Zakaria Maruf, a charismatic former Minneapolis resident who is thought to have gone to Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab and has worked as a recruiter. Maruf was indicted in August for supporting the group.

Investigating Jihadist Recruitment on Both Sides of the Border

Al-Shabaab recruitment appears to be growing in Canada, too. Five Somali men in their mid-20s disappeared from the Toronto area between September and November, spurring anxiety among Somali Canadians and triggering investigations by authorities. The first to leave the country was 22-year-old Ahmed Elmi, who vanished in early September. He called his parents a month later to say he was in Kismayo – a Somali city controlled by al-Shabaab. Canadian officials have expressed concern that 20 or more people may have left the country to join al-Shabaab.

"This is a potential menace," said David Harris, former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Harris told the Investigative Project on Terrorism that departures to Somalia could turn into "a developing and metastasizing threat" that could prove dangerous on both sides of the border.

"No one should take comfort from the fact that it is five or six or 20" who have gone to Somalia, he said. "It could easily be 200 or more in the near future" and "it is just a matter of time" before someone who went abroad comes back to North America in an effort to carry out an attack.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner William Elliott apparently agrees. In a speech last October, he said his agency is concerned about Canadians who travel to Somalia "to fight and then return, imbued with both extremist ideology and the skills necessary to translate that into direct action."

In a January 6th interview with Ottawa radio station CFRA, Harris noted there are "clear indications" that "there are transportation networks in America that would take kids to Somalia where they are impressed into service by al-Shabaab. There is no reason to imagine that the Ottawa community would be immune from this, and it would seem to me very much in the interest of Somali-Canadians of good faith to cooperate with the authorities."

Though there have been complaints among some Somali Canadians that the CSIS has been unfairly targeting them, Harris says investigations have been far from excessively intrusive. Canadian security services "are effectively handcuffed in doing their job" when it comes to investigating jihadist activities. Canadian intelligence has been weakened by a series of investigations into alleged human rights abuses that have had "an unbelievably chilling effect on the intelligence services." Canadian intelligence officials now have to ask themselves whether aggressively investigating potential threats is worth "spending the next five to 20 years in court" dealing with government inquiries. This situation means "the enemy has achieved a massive victory."

Terrorism experts on both sides of the border point to Abu Mansour al-Amriki, an American al-Shabaab operative who has lived in the U.S. and Canada. Amriki, a 25-year-old native of Mobile, Alabama, was born Omar Hammami. He grew up as a Baptist before converting to Islam and becoming president of the Muslim Students Association at the University of South Alabama at the time of the September 11th attacks. "Everyone was really shocked," he told an interviewer at the time. "Even now it's difficult to believe a Muslim could have done this." Hammami warned about the possibility of misguided retribution against Muslims.

Hammami dropped out of school in 2002 and went to Toronto two years later. He stayed for a little over a year and made it to Somalia in 2005. He has since become one of al-Shabaab's top commanders and a fixture on recruiting videos like this, in which he denounces human rights and democracy for being at war with Muslim traditions such as stoning and cutting off hands.

Militant Islamists regard the West as "Al-Harb, the land of war," Harris says. "There's…a lack of respect, a profound view that we are a happy, effete civilization. And we are proving it – by allowing them to recruit, we reinforce this stereotype. We reinforce the growing impression among Somalis that the Shabaab writ runs in our backyard, not the democratic governments of the United States and Canada."

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After All The Dust Has Settled, Is Taliban Leader Hakimullah Mehsud Dead? UPDATE: He's Dead and Gone


If you all recall, in mid-January, after the CIA was hit so badly by the suicide bombing of their base in Afghanistan on December 30th and after a video was put out afterwards that showed the bomber of that attack meeting with Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud, the CIA unleashed a string of predator drone attacks in Mehsud's area that nearly lit the skies for a week solid. Mehsud was thought to have been killed, then it came out that maybe he was just wounded and then the Taliban produced an audio tape that was supposedly Mehsud saying he was aokay.

The problem for the Taliban is that since that supposed audio of Mehsud, there hasn't been a peep from him and the intel inside of Pakistan from tribal leaders and civilians in the area is that the clown IS dead and IS buried. Here's some from the article at Breitbart where the Pakistani government is trying to confirm this asshat's death:


The Pakistani government was investigating reports Sunday that Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died from injuries sustained in a U.S. drone missile strike launched in mid-January after he helped orchestrate a deadly bombing against the CIA in Afghanistan.

Pakistani government officials said they were investigating whether Mehsud was mortally wounded in one of those strikes after state television reported that he died in Orakzai, an area in Pakistan's tribal region where he was supposedly being treated for his injuries.
"We have these reports coming to us," army spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas told The Associated Press. "We are investigating whether it is true or wrong."

"But the local tribal elders there and the local population say that he has been buried," Malik told ARY News TV.
A tribal elder told the AP that he attended Mehsud's funeral in the Mamuzai area of Orakzai on Thursday, after Mehsud died at his in-laws' home. The elder spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the Taliban.
Now, it is never wise to report stuff from Pakistan prematurely - we've had an instance where one al Qaeda leader in Pakistan was reported killed I think four times! But it's my gut feeling that Hakimullah Mehsud IS dead and that news, even though I have no certainty of it, would be wonderful news.

Here's why I think the way I do on this - it appeared to me that there was no question after the drone attack where Mehsud was first reported killed, that he indeed had been hit and injured. The audio tape took at least a week afterward to surface, even if it was him. Couple that with absolutely no film of him or audio of him since that time and you can see some serious evidence that he indeed was hurt pretty damn bad. We also have to remember that Hakimullah Mehsud is/was a media hound - while Baitullah Mehsud was a mystery man with only two photographs of him ever taken, Hakimullah Mehsud was all about being in front of a tv or video camera and making numerous audio tapes. At the same time, when Baitullah Mehsud was killed in the same fashion, it wasn't until reports of the funeral started coming in from tribal leaders and contacts that the Taliban finally admitted that he was dead.

Yes, I'm crossing my fingers, but I'm hoping that the Pakistani Taliban make an announcement this week that their second leader in a matter of months has been sent on a search for 72 goats in Hell due to a hellfire missile produced in the good old U.S.A. And this WILL rock the world of the Pakistani Taliban - these clowns are finding out that they can't keep a leader for long and as is usually the case, the leadership types aren't exactly as thrilled with the martyrdom role as their grunts are.
UPDATE:
Pakistani State Television is confirming that indeed, Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud is deader than a door nail! Hallelujah! I'll still feel 100% when the Taliban announce it and name the unlucky fuck who takes his place.


Pakistan investigates report Taliban chief is dead

ISLAMABAD (AP) - The Pakistani government was investigating reports Sunday that Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud died from injuries sustained in a U.S. drone missile strike launched in mid-January after he helped orchestrate a deadly bombing against the CIA in Afghanistan.
Mehsud's predecessor was killed in a missile strike less than six months ago, and inflicting another blow to the militant group's leadership would be an important success for both Pakistan and the U.S.

The U.S. unleashed more than a dozen drone strikes in the month following the Dec. 30 suicide bombing against the CIA in Afghanistan, and Mehud's death would be further proof of the ability of the unmanned aircraft to target Taliban and al-Qaida leaders holed up in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas.

Pakistani government officials said they were investigating whether Mehsud was mortally wounded in one of those strikes after state television reported that he died in Orakzai, an area in Pakistan's tribal region where he was supposedly being treated for his injuries.

"We have these reports coming to us," army spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas told The Associated Press. "We are investigating whether it is true or wrong."

Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the state TV report relied on "local sources" in Orakzai that the government could not confirm.

"But the local tribal elders there and the local population say that he has been buried," Malik told ARY News TV.

A tribal elder told the AP that he attended Mehsud's funeral in the Mamuzai area of Orakzai on Thursday, after Mehsud died at his in-laws' home. The elder spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution from the Taliban.

Pakistani intelligence officials had said that Mehsud was targeted in a U.S. drone strike against a meeting of militant commanders in South Waziristan on Jan. 14, triggering rumors that he had been injured or killed.

Mehsud issued an audio tape after the strike directly denying the rumors, and his voice sounded strong. But Pakistani intelligence officials told the AP on Sunday that they had confirmation that the Taliban chief's legs and abdomen were wounded in the strike.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Pakistani Taliban officials were not immediately available for comment, but low-level fighters have dismissed rumors of Mehsud's death in recent days as propaganda.

The drone strike that targeted Mehsud came after he appeared in a video beside the Jordanian man who killed seven CIA employees in a suicide bombing at a remote base in Afghanistan. The bomber, Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, said he carried out the attack in retribution for the death of former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike last August.

The U.S. refuses to talk about the covert CIA-run drone program in Pakistan, but officials have said privately that the strikes have killed several senior Taliban and al-Qaida leaders.

Pakistani officials publicly protest the strikes as violations of the country's sovereignty, but U.S. officials say privately they support the program, especially when it targets militants like Mehsud who the government believes are a threat to the state.

Mehsud, who has the reputation as a particularly ruthless militant, took over leadership of the Pakistani Taliban soon after Baitullah Mehsud's death.

The 28 year-old militant leader has focused most of his attacks against targets inside Pakistan, but his men have also been blamed for attacking U.S. and NATO supply convoys traveling through the country en route to Afghanistan.

Hakimullah Mehsud first appeared in public to journalists in November 2008, when he offered to take reporters in Orakzai on a ride in a U.S. Humvee taken from a supply truck headed to Afghanistan. He was the Pakistani Taliban's regional commander in the Orakzai, Khyber and Mohmand tribal areas before taking over the organization.

He has taken responsibility for a wave of brazen strikes inside Pakistan, including the bombing of the Pearl Continental hotel in the northwestern city of Peshawar last June and the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore earlier that year. There is a 50 million rupee ($590,000) bounty on his head.

The Pakistani Taliban stepped up its attacks after the army invaded its stronghold of South Waziristan in mid-October. More than 600 people have been killed in attacks throughout the country since the ground offensive was launched.

Pakistani officials have said some of the militants have fled to neighboring North Waziristan, an area dominated by groups launching cross-border attacks against U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

The government struck deals with the leaders of two of those groups, Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir, before the army invaded South Waziristan, promising not to target the militants if they stayed on the sidelines.

An umbrella group that includes the two militants and the Pakistani Taliban issued a pamphlet in North Waziristan on Sunday accusing the government of violating the agreement and warning it would trigger a major war if it launched any kind of military operation in the area.

The pamphlet issued by the Shura-e-Ittehad-ul-Mujahedeen, or United Council of Holy Warriors, said the government violated the agreement in various ways, including by creating a network of spies in North Waziristan who help the U.S. kill militants in drone attacks.

"We have tolerated all sorts of mistreatment, but now we are not going to accept any kind of military operation in even our smallest area," said the pamphlet, a copy of which was obtained by the AP.

The Pakistani army has said it cannot launch another major operation for at least six months, but it has carried out two strikes in North Waziristan in the past two weeks.

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jihadi Captured At Israeli Checkpoint With Six Bombs


Just in case anyone is thinking that all is peaceful and calm in Israel...this little ditty came in today where a Pali jihadist decided to try and attack Israelis with six pipe bombs.

Imagine if this terrorist had made it through the roadblock or if there had been no roadblock.

As usual, Israeli security forces were all over this scumbag but it's just another reminder that every minute of every hour of every day, Israel is at war with islamic terror. Think about that a moment, Average Joe American.....think about the furor and chaos in America that occurred when a Nigerian islamist tried to blow up one of our planes on Christmas Day and then consider just what it must be like to face that each and every day of the year.

From Israel National News:


6 Bombs Found at Roadblock East of Shchem

(IsraelNN.com) Six pipe-bombs were discovered in the possession of an Arab man at an IDF roadblock east of Shchem in Israel’s northern Samaria region. IDF sappers destroyed the bombs and security forces apprehended the suspected terrorist who is currently undergoing interrogation.

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Report: Iranian Militia Teams Set To Storm British Embassy In Tehran


This report is coming from DEBKA here and states that the brutal Iranian militias, the Basij, are plotting to storm the British embassy in Tehran and while it may sound a bit "out there", one can't deny this from the article:


Western intelligence agencies monitoring Iran have warned London that radical groups are secretly preparing to overrun the British embassy buildings and living quarters and take the diplomats hostage, replicating the siege of the US embassy in 1979, when extremist students held the staff hostage for 444 days.

More from the article:


Our intelligence sources report that two Iranian militia teams have been formed to seize the two compounds: one takes orders from Ayatollah Mohammad Mesbah Yazdi, whereas the other is under the command of senior cleric Hojat-ol-Eslam Ahmad Khatami. The plan has been submitted to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad for approval. He favors the project but has yet to set a date.

So, let's say this is true and it does happen. What happens next? Well, us Americans have a little bit of experience as to what happens when Iranian militants take over an embassy and hold people hostage. And yes, we have experience with how long that hostage experience can drag on if you have a weak-kneed leader confronted with this affront. So, with Gordon Brown in charge in Britain, we could likely see a hostage-taking event that could rival the length of time that occurred under Jimmy Carter.

So, what could the Iranians gain from such a blatant capture of British citizens? Let me propose a couple of theories:

1. The Iranians sense that the Israelis are getting closer to some decision about an attack on Iranian nuke facilities and by holding Brit hostages, they can stave off that attack. Britain certainly has a history to bowing to Iranian demands in similar scenarios and that is why the British embassy would be targeted. The Iranians would bet that the Israelis would yield to British calls to halt an operation until the hostages are returned.

2. The Iranians have more of their personnel being held in Iraq that anyone really realizes and this capture of the British embassy would be used to get release of all Quds and Revolutionary Guard personnel currently being held in Iraq. Again, the British have worked behind the scenes in these kinds of deals to release Iranian personnel from Iraq in return for kidnapped British journalists and civilians in the past.

At this point in time, can anyone put ANYTHING past the Iranians? Does this plan seem so far fetched? I think not. The Iranian regime right now is teetering on the head of a pin and it's my belief that they feel they need to go on some sort of offensive - if this does happen, it will be interesting to see just how the West reacts...will the West respond like the past few years with strong words and bogus sanctions or will there finally be a real response...a response that includes hell from above and from the sea?


Iranian Basijj plots UK embassy seizure


debkafile's Iranian sources report that the Basijj militia chiefs have a plan to seize the British embassy in Tehran. Western intelligence agencies monitoring Iran have warned London that radical groups are secretly preparing to overrun the British embassy buildings and living quarters and take the diplomats hostage, replicating the siege of the US embassy in 1979, when extremist students held the staff hostage for 444 days. Those students were the early nucleus of the radical Revolutionary Guards Corps.Britain maintains two embassy compounds in Tehran - one downtown occupies a 100-yer old landmark building surrounded by a large garden and a wall; the other housing the embassy's nerve center and living quarters on a large site which the deposed shah presented to Her Majesty's Government as a gift.
Our intelligence sources report that two Iranian militia teams have been formed to seize the two compounds: one takes orders from Ayatollah Mohammad Mesbah Yazdi, whereas the other is under the command of senior cleric Hojat-ol-Eslam Ahmad Khatami. The plan has been submitted to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad for approval. He favors the project but has yet to set a date. It has also provoked controversy in the Majlis (parliament).
The pretext for the seizure would be that the two sites are the rightful property of the Iranian people. The real reason is that the Iranian regime has been gunning for Britain for some time, scheming revenge for London's alleged direct role in organizing the wave of opposition protests besetting the government since last June. Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has been leveling this charge at the UK for the last six months.Most of all, the Islamic regime would like to set off a huge row with Britain to overshadow the dispute over another round of tough sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program.
The radical factions behind Ahmedinejad are cheered on by China's opposition to sanctions and even more bucked up by the letter the US Chamber of Commerce sent to President Barack Obama urging him to refrain from harsher sanctions.While played up in Tehran, this letter received little media coverage in the US and none at all in Israel.It states: “The proposed sanctions would incite economic, diplomatic, and legal conflicts with U.S. allies and could frustrate joint action against Iran.”Iranian radicals believe US business interests took this position under the influence of Tehran's intransigence in the face of Western pressure to cut back on their weapons-related nuclear projects. They insist that by continuing to play hard ball they will throw the plans for serious military action or economic penalties out of court altogether.

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U.S. Predator Drones Kill 9 Haqqani Network Jihadists In North Waziristan


You're right if you were wondering if it's been awhile since we've had news of UAV success in Northwest Pakistan - it's been ten days since any Taliban or al Qaeda have been hellfire justice but now, there are nine members of the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network laying dead in a pile of hellfire debris and charred Nike sneakers. The airstrike occurred in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan.

From The Long War Journal:


Unmanned US strike aircraft killed nine Haqqani Network fighters in an attack on a compound in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
The strike took place in the Datta Khel region in North Waziristan. Al Qaeda's Shadow Army is based in Datta Khel.
The unmanned aircraft, likely Predators or their more dangerous cousins the Reapers, fired three missiles at a compound run by the Haqqani Network. "Foreign fighters," a term used to describe Arab al Qaeda members, are also known to use the compound, AFP reported.
At this time, no senior Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, or Taliban commanders have been reported killed. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not comment on the target of the strike.
Today's strike is the first in 10 days and breaks a lull in US attacks after a flurry from Dec. 31, 2009, to Jan. 19. There were 11 airstrikes in that timeframe, and all of them took place in North Waziristan.
Now, there are reports that two predator drones have been shot down over the past week in the same general area but it's not known if that is why we haven't had success in the past ten days or even if those reports are accurate. I find it hard to believe that a Pakistani tribesman sitting on a rock is going to shoot down a predator drone with his 1965 era rifle but who knows.

Anyway, hopefully this is just an appetizer of a weekend of strikes in NW Pakistan but to get nine jihadis in one strike is some damn good shooting.


US airstrike targets Haqqani Network in North Waziristan


Unmanned US strike aircraft killed nine Haqqani Network fighters in an attack on a compound in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.

The strike took place in the Datta Khel region in North Waziristan. Al Qaeda's Shadow Army is based in Datta Khel.

The unmanned aircraft, likely Predators or their more dangerous cousins the Reapers, fired three missiles at a compound run by the Haqqani Network. "Foreign fighters," a term used to describe Arab al Qaeda members, are also known to use the compound, AFP reported.

At this time, no senior Haqqani Network, al Qaeda, or Taliban commanders have been reported killed. US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not comment on the target of the strike.

Today's strike is the first in 10 days and breaks a lull in US attacks after a flurry from Dec. 31, 2009, to Jan. 19. There were 11 airstrikes in that timeframe, and all of them took place in North Waziristan.

The US has launched more airstrikes in January 2010 than in any other month since the program began in 2004. Prior to this month, October 2008 saw the most attacks, with 10 recorded.

The Taliban have claimed to have shot down two Predators over the past week in North Waziristan. The Taliban reportedly rewarded the tribesman who shot down a drone, giving him a car.

Background on the Haqqani Network

The Haqqani Network is based in North Waziristan and across the border in Paktia, Paktika, and Khost provinces in eastern Afghanistan. The network is also active in the Afghan provinces of Ghazni, Logar, Wardak, Kabul, Kunar, Nangarhar, Helmand, and Kandahar.

The Haqqanis have extensive links with al Qaeda and with Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. These relationships have allowed the Haqqani Network to survive and thrive in North Waziristan. The Haqqanis control large swaths of North Waziristan, and run a parallel administration with courts, recruiting centers, tax offices, and security forces.

Siraj Haqqani, a son of family patriarch Jalaluddin, has risen in prominence over the past few years. He is believed to be the mastermind of the most deadly attacks inside Afghanistan and to be the senior military commander in eastern Afghanistan. The US military has described Siraj as the primary threat to security in eastern Afghanistan.

Siraj is considered dangerous not only for his ties with the Afghan Taliban, but also because of his connections with al Qaeda's central leadership, which extend all the way to Osama bin Laden. On March 25, 2009, the US Department of State put out a $5 million bounty for information leading to the capture of Siraj.

Al Qaeda has promoted Siraj to serve on the military shura, or council, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. Siraj is known to mediate disputes between Taliban groups in Pakistan and is also credited with the group's virtual control of the eastern Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktika, and Paktia.

Background on the recent strikes in Pakistan

The US air campaign in Pakistan's tribal areas has been stepped up since Hakeemullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, aided the Dec. 30, 2009, suicide attack by a Jordanian al Qaeda operative at Combat Outpost Chapman in Afghanistan's Khost province. The bomber killed seven CIA officials, including the station chief, and a Jordanian intelligence officer. Hakeemullah appeared on a martyrdom tape with the suicide bomber that was released shortly after the attack.

The US is actively hunting Hakeemullah, intelligence officials told The Long War Journal.

The air campaign has had success over the past two months. Since Dec. 8, 2009, the air campaign in Pakistan has killed two senior al Qaeda leaders, a senior Taliban commander, two senior al Qaeda operatives, and a wanted Palestinian terrorist who was allied with al Qaeda.

Already this year, the US has killed Mansur al Shami, an al Qaeda ideologue and aide to al Qaeda’s leader in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu Yazid; and Haji Omar Khan, a senior Taliban leader in North Waziristan. Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim, the Abu Nidal Organization operative who participated in killing 22 hostages during the 1986 hijacking of Pan Am flight 73, is thought to have been killed in the Jan. 9 airstrike. And Abdul Basit Usman, an Abu Sayyaf operative with a $1 million US bounty for information leading to his capture, was killed in a strike on Jan. 14.

In December 2009, the US killed Abdullah Said al Libi, the top commander of the Lashkar al Zil, al Qaeda's Shadow Army; Zuhaib al Zahib, a senior commander in the Lashkar al Zil; and Saleh al Somali, the leader of al Qaeda's external network [see LWJ report, “Senior al Qaeda and Taliban leaders killed in US airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004 – 2010” for the full list].

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Friday, January 29, 2010

U.S. GDP Grew By 5.7% In The 4th Quarter:.. Really?


U.S. GDP Grew By 5.7% In The 4th Quarter

The U.S. Department of Commerce released its preliminary 4th Quarter GDP calculation today. It looks pretty good. GDP grew by a whopping 5.7% annualized pace during the quarter, the fastest growth the U.S. has seen since 2003. That's the second quarter of positive income growth, and significantly better than the 3rd quarter's 2.2% growth.

Let's look at this for a second:

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The gross domestic product (GDP) or gross domestic income (GDI) is a basic measure of a country's overall economic output. It is the market value of all final goods and services made within the borders of a country in a year. It is often positively correlated with the standard of living,[1] though its use as a stand-in for measuring the standard of living has come under increasing criticism and many countries are actively exploring alternative measures to GDP for that purpose.[2] GDP can be determined in three ways, all of which should in principle give the same result. They are the product (or output) approach, the income approach, and the expenditure approach. The most direct of the three is the product approach, which sums the outputs of every class of enterprise to arrive at the total. The expenditure approach works on the principle that all of the product must be bought by somebody, therefore the value of the total product must be equal to people's total expenditures in buying things. The income approach works on the principle that the incomes of the productive factors ("producers," colloquially) must be equal to the value of their product, and determines GDP by finding the sum of all producers' incomes.[3]

Example: the expenditure method:

GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports), or

GDP = C + Inv + G + \left ( eX - iM \right )


One more Time: GDP = private consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports − imports)

let's look at the parts now:

Private Consumption: A lot of us are un-employed, the rest are scared Private Consumption is way down.

Gross Investment: After the bath that investors took in the last 18 months, investmenst are way down.

Government Spending: (I'll get back to this portion)

(Exports - Imports): Well our Trade Balance is usually a negative here in the GDP equation so there isn't much change here.

So it looks like the only portion of the GDP Pie that is growing is the Government Spending !! None of the "Good" parts of the GDP are growing. isn't this just swell ???

So Please folks, don't look at this "Growth in the GDP" as a good sign... it sure as hell aint!

Obama's Weak-kneed Stance Against Terrorism Begins To Get Slammed From All Sides


Let's face it...from all corners of America, Barack Hussein Obama is finally getting bitch slapped like he has deserved since he became President...hell, he deserved it BEFORE he was elected but that's another blogpost in itself.

But now, with America reeling from a new fear of terror attacks, with Americans shuddering at the thought of the mastermind of the assassination of 3,000 of our brothers and sisters being tried in a public courtroom just minutes from the bloodstained concrete of Ground Zero...well, there is a new movement alive that is calling Obama and his cast of clowns out.

This article at Family Security Matters lays out some of this criticism of the Administration's efforts and what is most appropriate is the fact that some of these critics are now getting to the real source of the issue and that is NOT the mechanics of how we are approaching terrorism...it's the mind set of this President about the subject - I've stated many times that Obama doesn't care about islamic terror...he doesn't feel it's a threat...and that he is ignoring and subverting the progress we have made.

I'm encouraged that American leaders in the area of politics, the military and law enforcement are finally feeling the freedom to take this President on...it might just save our damn lives.


We’re Fighting 'Alice in Wonderland' Terrorism War, says Sen. Lieberman


Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, accused the administration of an "Alice in Wonderland" approach to the nation's anti-terrorism strategy.

Lieberman and other senators on both sides of the aisle are critical of the administration’s decision to try terrorists in civilian court in New York City as well as the Justice Department decision to process the so-called "Underwear Bomber" captured on Christmas Day in the civilian criminal justice system.

Lieberman urged the administration Monday to move Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from civilian to military custody because "he is an enemy combatant and should be detained, interrogated and ultimately charged as such."

"Though the President has said repeatedly that we are at war, it does not appear to us that the President's words are reflected in the actions of some in the Executive branch, including some at the Department of Justice, responsible for fighting that war. The unilateral decision by the Department of Justice to treat Abdulmutallab – a belligerent fighting for and trained by an al Qaeda franchised organization – as a criminal rather than a UEB and to forego information that may have been extremely helpful to winning this war demonstrates that very point," Lieberman wrote in his letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder’s decision to prosecute murderous, fanatical terrorists – including the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – in civilian courts continues to infuriate many Americans, but to no avail.

The administration sees American intelligence, homeland security and law enforcement systems working together seamlessly, wanting the professionals in these areas to collect, share, integrate, analyze and act on intelligence "as quickly and effectively as possible to save innocent lives, not just most of the time, but all of the time," President Obama said. "That's what the American people deserve. As president, that's exactly what I will demand."

But not everyone believes the administration is serious about intelligence gathering and analysis during a time of war. Some security experts believe that it wasn't the intelligence people who failed in the prelude to the Christmas Day attempted airline bombing, but a clear lack of leadership.

"You have a Homeland Security Secretary who believes returning war veterans are extremists and an Attorney General who's biting at the bit to prosecute intelligence agents," said former NYPD detective and US Marine intelligence officer Mike Snopes.

"And when they get caught with their pants down, right away they blame the people – the intelligence community – whom they denigrate with their usual vitriol," he added.

"We and many others have already expressed serious concerns about whether a trial in civilian court might compromise classified evidence, including revealing sources and methods used by our intelligence community," said Sen. Lieberman.

"We are also very concerned that, by bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other terrorists responsible for 9/11 to the federal courthouse in lower Manhattan, only blocks away from where the Twin Towers once stood, you will be providing them one of the most visible platforms in the world to exalt their past acts and to rally others in support of further terrorism," he said.

"The moment [Abdulmutallab] was given Miranda [warnings], the guy lawyered-up. Which means investigators will have to negotiate with him and possibly trade intelligence for a lighter prison sentence or other break," said political strategist Mike Baker.

When asked about his motives for not allowing the military justice system to try Gitmo detainees, Attorney Holder and his supporters blame President George W. Bush's failure to try Gitmo terrorists in the so-called military tribunals.

However, the real reason there were so few military trials was that lawyers were continuously working to derail the military courts martial by challenging them in the civilian courts. And far too many of those lawyers are now working for Holder at the Justice Department, according to administration critics.

In fact, during the Bush Administration, Holder's law firm, Covington & Burling, provided pro-bono services for about 20 of the enemy combatants held at Gitmo. In lawsuits Holder and his firm brought against the American people, Covington contributed more than 3,000 hours of free, top-flight legal assistance to these violent terrorists.

"From a political standpoint, Holder reserves his vitriol and passionate opposition for U.S. intelligence officers and those law enforcement leaders who fight terrorists, or police commanders who are tough on criminal aliens," said Mike Baker.

Here We Go Again, Flight Diverted To Jacksonville, Is There A No-Fly List Passenger On Board? UPDATED: False Alarm


I told everyone weeks ago that there is blood in the water concerning America's vulnerability to terrorists and at this very moment, news is dribbling in about a flight that originated in Newark headed to Bogota, Columbia that has had to be diverted to the Jacksonville, Florida airport because a passenger's name matches that of a name on the No-Fly list.

Good grief. How in the world is an airliner two hours or so into it's flight plan and THEN someone decides to check the list of passengers?!!!

Oh yeah baby....Janet Napolitano...she's the best ain't she? Quite an operation at DHS you got going there Janet.

I'm guessing this is going to turn out to be a false alarm but who knows with the keystone kops we have running our national security right now. Here's the story from the LA Times.

UPDATE:

Okay, I just heard on local news that this scare IS a false alarm. The name didn't actually match that on the No Fly list. Boy, that makes you feel better doesn't it? Oh wait, if the names don't match, then why was the plane diverted?




Flight diverted to Florida due to concerns about passenger

Government officials say a flight was diverted to Jacksonville, Fla., because a passenger on board was an apparent match to a name on the terrorist watch list.Law enforcement officials are looking into whether the passenger is actually a suspected terrorist listed on the government's no-fly list.An airline is not supposed to issue a boarding pass to a person on the no-fly list. It was not immediately clear which airline was involved.According to an internal government report, the flight originated in Newark and was bound for Bogota, Colombia. It was diverted to Jacksonville International Airport.The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the incident.

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Hamas Blames Israeli Agents For Killing Hamas Leader In Dubai


Probably the most important part of this story out of Breitbart is the fact that, yes, a senior Hamas official is dead - cold and dead. That is indeed a reason to celebrate. TGIF and TGAHID all in one day!

I haven't seen this reported anywhere else but apparently a senior Hamas official who was one of the founders of Hamas' "military" wing, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, was killed last week while traveling through Dubai and now, Hamas officials are blaming the guy's death on Israeli agents.

From the article:


Hamas claimed on Friday that Israeli agents assassinated one of the Palestinian militant group's veteran operatives in a killing allegedly carried out last week in Dubai, and vowed to retaliate.
The militant group identified its slain figure as Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas' military wing that has been responsible for hundreds of deadly attacks and suicide bombings targeting Israelis since the 1980s. It said he was 50 years old.

"We in Hamas hold the Zionist enemy responsible for the criminal assassination of our brother, and we pledge to God and to the blood of the martyrs and to our people to continue his path of jihad and martyrdom," read the statement on Hamas' Palestinian Information Center Web site. The group pledged to "retaliate for this Zionist crime at the appropriate time and place."


Now, there is one line from the story that I wanted to highlight:


It said al-Mabhouh, who was born in the Gaza Strip, was involved in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers in 1989 and that he was still playing a "continuous role in supporting his brothers in the resistance inside the occupied homeland" at the time of his death.
Do I know that Israel's Mossad was involved in this killing? No. But I do know that Israel has a long memory regarding the killing and assassination of its soldiers. Do I think Israel did take this chump out? Yep. And G_d bless them for doing so. Will Hamas actually retaliate for this? No. Let's face the facts...Hamas has been neutered since the days of Operation Cast Lead. In fact, Hamas' tactical operations since Operation Cast Lead have been more focused on rounding up rogue terrorists in Gaza who intermittently have fired rockets into Israel...because Hamas fears the certain and deadly reprisals from Israel for such attacks.

And don't kid yourself. Hamas leaders and operatives who have been directly responsible for the deaths of Israeli soldiers or Israeli citizens KNOW that it could be one year....it could be five years....it could be 20 years....that they meet their moongood for their actions. They know for certain that Israel will never forget their actions and their execution isn't in question, it is a matter of when.

I would put forth that this is why Gilad Shalit is still not released. Every single Hamas official that was linked to the abduction of Shalit is a marked man and they know that as soon as Shilat is returned to Israel, whether dead or alive, their dance with certain death begins.


Hamas: Israel assassinated operative in Dubai


DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) - Hamas claimed on Friday that Israeli agents assassinated one of the Palestinian militant group's veteran operatives in a killing allegedly carried out last week in Dubai, and vowed to retaliate.
The militant group identified its slain figure as Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, one of the founders of Hamas' military wing that has been responsible for hundreds of deadly attacks and suicide bombings targeting Israelis since the 1980s. It said he was 50 years old.

Hamas blamed Israel for the slaying but gave no details on how al-Mabhouh was killed and no information on alleged Israeli involvement in the man's death. Israel's government had no immediate comment.

Izzat Rashaq, a top member of Hamas' exiled leadership in Damascus, told The Associated Press that details have not been released to avoid compromising an ongoing investigation, and that Hamas' delayed announcement was linked to an attempt to "reach the Israeli agents who implemented this operation."

Al-Mabhouh lived in Syria and was passing through Dubai when he was killed late Jan. 19 or early Jan. 20, Rashaq said. Originally from the Gaza Strip, al-Mabhouh was married and had four children, he said.

"We in Hamas hold the Zionist enemy responsible for the criminal assassination of our brother, and we pledge to God and to the blood of the martyrs and to our people to continue his path of jihad and martyrdom," read the statement on Hamas' Palestinian Information Center Web site. The group pledged to "retaliate for this Zionist crime at the appropriate time and place."

Al-Mabhouh was to be buried Friday at the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, near Damascus, the statement said.

It said al-Mabhouh, who was born in the Gaza Strip, was involved in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers in 1989 and that he was still playing a "continuous role in supporting his brothers in the resistance inside the occupied homeland" at the time of his death.

In Dubai, officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Hamas rules Gaza but has leaders and operatives based in Damascus, Syria, and elsewhere. The group's members abroad have been targeted in the past. The leader of its Damascus-based politburo, Khaled Mashaal, survived an Israeli assassination attempt in Amman, Jordan, in 1997. Last month, two Hamas men were killed in a mysterious late-night blast in Beirut. Hamas said at the time that Israel was an obvious suspect but stopped short of openly accusing Israel of the killings.

Israel is suspected of being behind the assassination of a senior military commander from the Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah in Damascus in 2008. The Mossad, Israel's intelligence arm abroad, never openly discusses its operations and Israel's government typically does not comment on incidents in which the Mossad's involvement is suspected.

Dubai has for years been known as a low-risk hideaway for disgraced politicians and deposed foreign leaders but that image was shattered last March, when Chechnya's Sulim Yamadayev—a former rebel in the republic's long conflict with Russia who switched sides but then fell out with the territory's pro-Moscow leader—was shot dead in broad daylight in a Dubai underground parking lot.

The Emirates backs Hamas rival, the West Bank-based Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, but does not list the militant group as a terrorist organization. Emirati officials have several times met with Hamas representatives in the capital Abu Dhabi.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

U.S. Forces Kill One of the Top Al Qaeda In Iraq Leaders In Mosul


This is a HUGE win for our side in Iraq and a horrendous blow to the scum of al Qaeda in Iraq as one of their top terror leaders was killed last week by U.S. forces in the northern city of Mosul.

From the article at The Long War Journal:



Iraqi and US forces dealt al Qaeda in Iraq a major blow last week during a raid in Mosul that killed the terror group's top facilitator, who was based out of Syria.

The joint US and Iraqi special operations team killed Abu Khalaf, al Qaeda in Iraq's seniormost foreign fighter facilitator, during an operation on Jan. 22. Khalaf was killed after he "attacked a security-team member participating in a warranted operation," a US Forces- Iraq press release stated.

The US military said Khalaf's identity was confirmed using "multiple sources, including fingerprint matches."

Khalaf, whose real name is Sa'ad Uwayyid 'Ubayd Mu'jil al Shammari, was placed on the US Treasury Department's terrorist sanctions list in May 2009 and was identified as al Qaeda in Iraq's top facilitator, who operated from Syria.

Khalaf and a cadre of his aides entered Mosul sometime last fall to lead al Qaeda's terror operations, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

"Khalaf was responsible for coordinating recent suicide attacks in Baghdad and Anbar," the official said. There have been five mass-casualty suicide attacks in Baghdad since August 2009, including two attacks this week, as well as several suicide attacks in Ramadi.

"Khalaf was perhaps the most dangerous AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] facilitator in Iraq," the official said. His death "leaves a void in AQI hierarchy."
It's been awhile since such a big fish has been found in Iraq and taken out so this is welcome news and at the same time, this news comes just one day after Barack Hussein Obama's State of the Union speech in which he underlined the complete withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq. I guess one can say that this is a reminder that the Iraqis will have their hands full when we are gone and it leads to a bigger question. And that is: Just how bad will it have to get in Iraq before U.S. troops would be sent back? Or would they be sent back at all?

Now, I have to say I'm not overly worried that the Iraqis will find themselves in real trouble when we are gone - I think al Qaeda in Iraq has moved on to other things in Yemen and Gaza and Pakistan and Afghanistan but we'd be remiss if we didn't keep in mind that Iraq has always been the jewel in bin Laden's eye.

I, personally, would rather that a good-sized contingent of U.S. troops remain for a couple of more years as a precaution but hey, that's just me - I'm sure our President has it all under control, right?


US kills senior Syrian-based al Qaeda facilitator in Mosul

Iraqi and US forces dealt al Qaeda in Iraq a major blow last week during a raid in Mosul that killed the terror group's top facilitator, who was based out of Syria.

The joint US and Iraqi special operations team killed Abu Khalaf, al Qaeda in Iraq's seniormost foreign fighter facilitator, during an operation on Jan. 22. Khalaf was killed after he "attacked a security-team member participating in a warranted operation," a US Forces- Iraq press release stated.

The US military said Khalaf's identity was confirmed using "multiple sources, including fingerprint matches."

Khalaf, whose real name is Sa'ad Uwayyid 'Ubayd Mu'jil al Shammari, was placed on the US Treasury Department's terrorist sanctions list in May 2009 and was identified as al Qaeda in Iraq's top facilitator, who operated from Syria.

Khalaf and a cadre of his aides entered Mosul sometime last fall to lead al Qaeda's terror operations, a senior US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.

"Khalaf was responsible for coordinating recent suicide attacks in Baghdad and Anbar," the official said. There have been five mass-casualty suicide attacks in Baghdad since August 2009, including two attacks this week, as well as several suicide attacks in Ramadi.

"Khalaf was perhaps the most dangerous AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] facilitator in Iraq," the official said. His death "leaves a void in AQI hierarchy."

US and Iraqi intelligence began to draw a bead on Khalaf's location after Iraqi forces broke up a major suicide bombing operation on Jan. 12. Four suicide bombers and hundreds of pounds of explosives were seized during the raid, as well as information that pointed to Khalaf's location.

More intelligence on Khalaf was gathered after Iraqi security forces detained Ali Hussein Alwan al Azawi, a senior al Qaeda in Iraq operative who was involved in the first major suicide attack in the capital in the summer of 2003, the official said. That suicide attack killed 22 United Nations employees, including special representative Sergio Vieira de Mello. The attack led to the United Nations' withdrawal from Iraq.

Khalaf is the second major al Qaeda leader killed in Mosul this month. On Jan. 5, US forces killed Abu Na’im al Afri, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq's northern operations. Like Khalaf, Afri also was killed during a joint US and Iraqi raid. In that raid, the joint forces also detained Al Qaeda in Iraq’s administrative emir, the advisor to the sharia emir, and the detainee affairs emir.

Abu Khalaf and al Qaeda's operations in Syria

Khalaf was an Iraqi member of al Qaeda who operated from inside Syria. He was known to recruit suicide bombers from North Africa and aid in setting up their travel arrangements into Syria and ultimately Iraq.

Khalaf also helped al Qaeda suicide bombers based in the Persian Gulf region travel the Levant to conduct suicide attacks. The Levant consists of the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea and includes Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Egypt. Before his death, US intelligence indicated that Khalaf operated in Tal Hamis in Syria, and in Tal Wardan and the 'Awinat village in the Rabiah district in northwestern Iraq.

Syria has long supported or looked the other way as al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents used the country as a transit point and safe haven for fighters entering western Iraq. More than 90 percent of the suicide bombers who have entered Iraq since the insurgency began in 2003 have entered Iraq via Syria.

Al Qaeda’s Syrian network is thought to have suffered a setback as the US implemented a counterinsurgency program in 2007, and a covert operation in Syria 2008 targeted and killed a senior member of al Qaeda facilitation network. An estimated 120-plus foreign fighters per month are thought to have entered Iraq from Syria at the peak of the foreign-fighter influx, in 2007. The number is now estimated to be in the single digits.

In October 2008, the US sent a strong message to Syria when it launched the first recorded cross-border strike inside Syria since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Nine terrorists were reported killed after US commandos dropped from helicopters conducted a raid in eastern Syria. The target was Abu Ghadiya, Khalaf's predecessor and a senior al Qaeda leader who had been in charge of the Syrian facilitation network since 2005. Ghadiya and his staff were killed in the attack.

But there is concern that al Qaeda's Syrian network is being rejuvenated. US intelligence officials fear that eastern Syria is becoming a terrorist haven.

Al Qaeda has refocused its efforts to build an infrastructure in eastern Syria after its network in Iraq was decimated by Iraqi and US security forces from 2007 to 2009, and now the organization is partnering with former Ba’athists from Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Last summer, al Qaeda's central leadership reportedly sent Sheikh Issa al Masri to lead al Qaeda's efforts in Syria. Sheikh Issa is a senior Egyptian cleric and ideologue who has helped the terror group gain a foothold in Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan over the past decade.

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State Of The Nation

by Findalis of Monkey in the Middle



Book of Obama:  Chapter 10

 


e placed The Holy Suit and Tie once again upon His body, and ascended once again to the Dome.  There the assembled chapter of the Congress, the Holy Justices of the land, the members of the anointed Cabinet and guests from near and far sat awaiting His words.  Unlike the year before, He wasn't popular.  Every plan, every idea He had, was rejected by the people.

"We do not want your Cap and Trade, Health Care, or other Moonbat ideas.  Your bowing down to dictators, despots and tyrants around the world does not put us at ease You have apologized to everyone for all the supposed evils that we were suspected of doing.  You are getting ready to destroy our laws, by declaring the Holy Document invalid.  We have heard enough lies from you, your dogs Emanuel, Axelrod, Pelosi and Reid.  We've heard them all and we've learned a couple of things."

The Anointed One just smiled and then addressed the Nation:

short year ago I took office, but that is just a breeze in time.  Look back upon our Founding Fathers, our struggles during the Civil War, the Depression.  We did not flounder or despair.  Nor did we despair through out the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement.  And I will not despair now.

For I inherited a bad economy that was shaken to its core.  I opposed all of the bailouts done, for I saw the harm they will do.  My stimulus plan has created jobs in teaching, rescue, construction and other sectors.

We need Health Care now!  I demand Congress to pass.  Cap and Trade too.  Forget about the Holy Document.  There is too much to do.

I am a man of the people, representative of the Middle Class, My values are the same as yours.  I love this country so much I would never bad name it.  But we did wrong with the Muslim world, and other places too.  I said to them I am sorry, there is nothing you can do.

I said I would create jobs, and that I will do.  For every man and woman.  New industries, new factories, Red, White, Blue, and Green.  We must compete with China, Korea, and Germany too.  This we must excel in if we are going to continually survive.

I will eliminate the nukes of the world, starting with our own.  For did not the Great Reagan of old try to achieve this very goal.

People through out the land write to Me with their problems.  A businessman in Denver*, or in Philadelphia, a teacher in the city, the cop on the beat, a child who wants to know why Mommy and Daddy lost their jobs, another who just lost his home.  I read all their letters, I know all their problems, and I will solve them all.

I could go on all night, but that will do no good at all.  I promised you Hope and Change, and did not lie to you on that, for I am not President #43.

And after The Anointed One had finished His speech, His  followers were full of glee.  For they just knew that once again He had saved the day.

But from right across the river, from the city of Richmond in the land of Virginia, came a new prophet from the right.  Bob The Wise McDonnell.
The Prophet spoke of those with a job, how 1 in 10 lost theirs.
He spoke of the despair the nation felt, of how the economy  was gone.
He spoke of the need for smaller government, how The Anointed One did spend.
He said that the time for spending cuts and freezes were last year, not when your polling number has shown you have failed.

The Prophet McDonnell told the people that it isn't too late.
That the time has come to sit and wait,
So The Anointed One could not shove His agenda down our throats.

He told the assembled people and media the truth.
And our solutions aren't 1,000-page bills that no one has fully read,
After being crafted behind closed doors with special interests.
In fact, many of our proposals are available online at solutions.gop.gov, and we welcome your ideas on Facebook and Twitter.

He told them this and more.
 And through it all, the world went on, the nation will endure.

The GOP got Teddy's seat, they can get more they will.
For the people have seen the truth, heard the lies and broken promises.
Unlike those on the left, the right will not just yell.
They are the ones, in Midterm years, come out in droves to vote.

Reid, Frank and Boxer, plus many more are running scared tonight.
For the GOP has the will, the drive and the clout,
To drive the Moonbats back into the dark.

We just have to wait for November to do it!


The President mentioned many people in his speech, but none by name, nor did he recognize any of them in the balcony (he only recognized his wife).  Could it be they are all named:  Ellie Light?

Iran Hangs 2 Dissidents For Conspiring To Overthrow The Islamic Regime


The islamic regime of Iran executed two men today by hanging that they claim were conspiring to try and topple the government of Iran but others are noting that these two men were simply caught in the recent protests against the Ayatollah and his henchmen.


Photo above is file photo.

From the article at Breitbart:


Tehran's top prosecutor says two men executed Thursday were convicted of involvement in an armed group aiming to topple Iran's clerical leadership.
State television earlier linked the executions to the unrest following June's disputed presidential election, saying they were among those convicted of involvement in rioting.
But prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi made no mention of the protests in a later statement to state TV, saying the two were members of a monarchical group and plotted assassinations of officials and bomb attacks.

Dowlatabadi also says five other people have been sentenced to death for opposition protests.


When you sit back and take it all in, it really is hard to believe that this all has happened in Iran - the protests, the movement of many in this country to try and remove the mullah regime ... it really is amazing that the iron-clad grip on this country by the islamists could have been shaken so. One has to wonder what might have happened if there had been some well-conceived Western support of the dissidents in Iran - could they have actually toppled the Ayatollah and the mullahs along with Ahmadinejad? We'll never know but we will know that we never even tried.

I have been critical of Barack Hussein Obama for not seizing the opportunity to try and see if the opposition in Iran couldn't have been assisted and I stand by that - it's not like there was only a one week window of opportunity and we just couldn't act fast enough....hell no, this went on for months and it is still not completely squashed. But, when we are looking at a nuclear armed Iran in a matter of a year or so, we can look back at this opportunity and shake our heads and repeat that famous line from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi...."elections have consequences."


Iran hangs 2 for allegedly aiming to topple state



TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Tehran's top prosecutor says two men executed Thursday were convicted of involvement in an armed group aiming to topple Iran's clerical leadership.
State television earlier linked the executions to the unrest following June's disputed presidential election, saying they were among those convicted of involvement in rioting.

But prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi made no mention of the protests in a later statement to state TV, saying the two were members of a monarchical group and plotted assassinations of officials and bomb attacks.

The lawyer of one of the executed men says her client was arrested in April, before the election.

Dowlatabadi also says five other people have been sentenced to death for opposition protests.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

TEHRAN, Iran (AP)—Iran on Thursday hanged two men convicted of trying to topple the country's clergy-led regime, the first known executions of opposition activists since unrest broke out following June's disputed presidential elections, the Web site of state television reported.

The report identified the two men as Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani and Arash Rahmanipour and said they were convicted of trying to topple "the Islamic establishment" and for membership of armed opposition groups.

News of the executions first came in a report by the semiofficial news agency Isna but was later reported by the state TV Web site and other media.

Iran has put on trial more then 100 political activists and figures since August.

According to past official reports, five activists have since been sentenced to death and more then 80 to prison terms ranging from six months to 15 years. Thursday's reports said nine more have been sentenced to death in those trials and that an appeals court was currently reviewing their cases.

Some of the nine death sentences, according to the TV Web site report, were related to deadly clashes on Dec. 27. At least eight people were killed that day in clashes between police and protesters on the streets. It was the worst violence since authorities launched a harsh crackdown against the opposition in the summer.

Zamani and Rahmanipour are believed to be among the five sentenced to death in October. They were hanged at dawn Thursday after an appeals court upheld their death sentences, according to the TV Web site.

The opposition says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the June presidential election through fraud. Hundreds of thousands have poured into the streets in Iran since then on various occasions to support Ahmadinejad's main challenger, opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.

Dozens of protesters were killed in the unrest and hundreds detained since June.

The charge of membership of armed groups opposed to the Tehran ruling establishment is widely taken to be a reference the Mujahedeen Khalq Organization, or MEK, as well as groups loyal to the Western-backed monarchy toppled by the 1979 Islamic revolution.

MEK fought Iran's monarchy in the 1960s and the current Islamic establishment in the 1980s. It moved its base to neighboring Iraq soon after 1979 revolution and is said to have provided Americans with intelligence on Iran. The U.S. lists MEK as a terrorist organization, but the European Union removed it from its terror list last year.

Iran has accused both groups of involvement in the assassination this month of an Iranian physicist.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two Islamic Terrorists Convicted In Bahrain Of Plotting Attacks On U.S. Navy Ships


Somehow, I don't think we'll see Keith Olbermann reporting on this tonight because of course, this talk of possible terror attacks is just fear-mongering by the Right, right? Well, there are two islamic terrorists in jail tonight in Bahrain for plotting to attack U.S. Navy ships located in Bahrain. By the way, the terrorists' defense was that they were arming themselves to help defend their country of Bahrain against attack by Iran....I kid you not.

Here's some of the article from Gulf Daily News:



TWO men accused of planning attacks against US Navy ships in Bahrain were each jailed for five years yesterday.
The Bahrainis were convicted of plotting a terrorist attack and weapon smuggling by the High Criminal Court, which also ordered their weapons be confiscated.
They earlier claimed they had acted in readiness to protect their country from a possible attack by Iran.

They were allegedly awaiting orders from overseas terror chiefs to launch their attack, which was to include an assault on US military ships and personnel at Mina Salman, when they were arrested.
Prosecutors alleged both men received combat training in Jordan and had test-fired two rounds in a secluded area near Riffa Views, before being detained.
It's important to note that the only reason the Bahrain security forces found these two assholes and got the evidence on them was because U.S. Naval intelligence steered them to the terrorists.

The other issue here is the almost pandemic situation we are starting to see with these terror plots against the U.S. worldwide - it's so obvious to me and should be to everyone that the word is out....Barack Hussein Obama is a spineless President, that there will be no repurcussions for hitting the U.S. over and over. I liken it to bloody chum in the water....the sharks come out in droves for a feeding frenzy....Obama's policies and statements are the chum in the water and emboldened islamic terrorists are coming out of the damn woodwork. It's only a matter of time til we get hit people, whether it is here in the U.S. or our interests or people outside of the U.S. Only a matter of time.


Terror plot pair jailed


TWO men accused of planning attacks against US Navy ships in Bahrain were each jailed for five years yesterday.

The Bahrainis were convicted of plotting a terrorist attack and weapon smuggling by the High Criminal Court, which also ordered their weapons be confiscated.

They earlier claimed they had acted in readiness to protect their country from a possible attack by Iran.

The men, a 21-year-old customs officer and a 22-year-old who is unemployed, were arrested on April 26 - the same day as the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix.

They were detained based on information obtained by the US Navy's Naval Support Activity (NSA) that the 22-year-old had intensified contacts with a terrorist cell, said the prosecution.

They were allegedly awaiting orders from overseas terror chiefs to launch their attack, which was to include an assault on US military ships and personnel at Mina Salman, when they were arrested.

Prosecutors alleged both men received combat training in Jordan and had test-fired two rounds in a secluded area near Riffa Views, before being detained.

Officers obtained a search warrant and seized tapes, CDs, computers, bank statements and various other documents from the customs officer's house, according to court documents.

He then led police to the other defendant, who allegedly possessed the smuggled weapons.

Police raided his home and found two machine-guns, a pistol, bullets, knives and swords.

Prosecutors earlier claimed to have seized several books on building missiles, rockets, weapons and explosives, pictures of the US Navy base and ships, as well as research and videos on jihad.

Attorney Abdulla Hashim, who represented the 22-year-old, previously argued that his client purchased the weapons with the intention of protecting Bahrain.

He said that seized photographs of the US Embassy in Zinj, "towers" on the King Faisal Highway and detailed maps of Mina Salman, were not going to be used to plot terror attacks.

Meanwhile, lawyer Fareed Gazi, who represented the customs officer, said during a previous hearing that the men had no links to any terror organisation.

He also argued that the seized weapons could not possibly be used to attack large navy ships in Mina Salman.

It is understood the men will appeal against their convictions.

The defendants allegedly confessed during questioning to smuggling the weapons and ammunition from Jordan, as well as plotting terrorist attacks.

However, they have since denied charges of weapon smuggling and plotting a terrorist attack.

In a previous hearing it was claimed the two men had stockpiled weapons because they feared Iran was planning to attack Bahrain and they wanted to defend their country.

However, an NSA officer earlier claimed that no such threat of an attack on Bahrain existed.

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