>While the current situation in Afghanistan is not good, there is much that can be done to correct it. However, if Washington and the regime in Kabul do not address the serious problems built up rather than resolved over the last decade, President Obama’s “light in the distance” may fade into night forever.
Entries in Al Qa'eda (96)
I've noticed that most of the foreign media as well as my non-Egyptian friends usually see the political scene in Egypt as a simple bipolar one, Islamists & Liberals, and that's it. That's why I decided to put the Egyptian political spectrum the way I see it.
Every cable news channel has its moment.
CNN had the gulf war. Fox News had the war on terror. And Al Jazeera English had the Arab Spring.
But six months after widespread protests erupted in the Middle East, the Qatar-based Al Jazeera has not gained distribution on any major cable or satellite systems in the United States. The channel’s supporters say they feel it has been blacklisted; the distributors say they have to contend with limited channel space.
1905 GMT: Oil and Politics. Even though he has not been approved as Minister of Oil by Parliament, Rustam Qassemi --- Revolutionary Guards commander and head of its engineering branch, Khatam al-Anbia --- has called a Saturday meeting of the Ministry's staff and experts in the industry.
Why such a hurry? An EA correspondent observes that a Tehran conference has noted that Qatar is taking 450,000 barrels of oil per day from the South Pars field --- and Iran is taking 0.
Our correspondent mischievously follows up, "[Qassemi is] trying to save his assets after yesterday's conference."
Despite the provocative phrase “secret deal", Treasury's announcement says nothing else about any such agreement. The only dealings it describes all seem to have to do with the imprisonment of al-Qa'ida members. Only one of the six designated individuals, named Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, is described as “Iran-based”; the other five all live and operate somewhere else and are included in the announcement because they are part of the same network as Khalil. The one bit of business Khalil is said to have with Tehran is that he “works with the Iranian government to arrange releases of al-Qa'ida personnel from Iranian prisons.” One of the other five is said to have “petitioned Iranian officials on al-Qa'ida's behalf to release operatives detained in Iran”—with no indication whether he succeeded. Any connection between the Iranian regime and the group's other activities involving movement of money and operatives is all a matter of innuendo, at least as far as Treasury's announcement is concerned.
Finally, this case is an example of the dangers of a “rush to judgement” without the full facts. I am as guilty of this as anyone else with my analysis yesterday, potentially linking the attacks to Al Qaeda. Others went even further with media appearances and Twitter messages connecting the attacks to a so-called "jihadist" group that does not appear to exist. In turn, the media were only to happy to lap this up and this groundswell of misjudgements can have real consequences for ordinary people.
The targeting of Norway should not be a surprise. In 2003, Al Qaeda --- through its current leader, Ayman Al-Zawahiri --- first threatened Norway, possibly because of the involvement of Norwegian special forces in Afghanistan. Since then, the Norwegian role in Afghanistan has expanded, although its troops are to be withdrawn later this year.
In July 2010, the Norwegian police announced the arrests of three suspected Al Qaeda members who may have been planning an attack. Two months later, the suggestion was that the attack they were planning was in retaliation for the publication of the cartoons ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad. In December 2010, there was the suicide attack in neighbouring Sweden by a British resident. On 12 July, an Iraqi-born cleric, facing deportation since 2005 as a security risk, was charged with issuing death threats against Norwegian politicians.
News this week seemed to answer an on-going question since the terrorist attacks of 7 July 2005 that killed 52 people in London: according to the story, 7-7 was the late Osama bin Laden’s last successful attack. This judgement was gleaned from documents captured in the raid on the compound in Abbotobad, Pakistan, in which bin Laden was killed.
That’s it then. A definitive conclusion.
Well, not quite. Look closer at the story....
Nestled in a back corner of Mogadishu’s Aden Adde International Airport is a sprawling walled compound run by the Central Intelligence Agency. Set on the coast of the Indian Ocean, the facility looks like a small gated community, with more than a dozen buildings behind large protective walls and secured by guard towers at each of its four corners. Adjacent to the compound are eight large metal hangars, and the CIA has its own aircraft at the airport. The site, which airport officials and Somali intelligence sources say was completed four months ago, is guarded by Somali soldiers, but the Americans control access. At the facility, the CIA runs a counterterrorism training program for Somali intelligence agents and operatives aimed at building an indigenous strike force capable of snatch operations and targeted “combat” operations against members of Al Shabab, an Islamic militant group with close ties to Al Qaeda.
Yemen Snapshot: With President Saleh Away, Relatives Try to Hold Power Against "Boring" Protests (Kasinof)
“The problem is that the rest of the world believes that this is a youth revolution,” Brig. Gen. Yahya Saleh, one of the nephews, said in an interview in his office at the sprawling headquarters of Central Security Forces, the paramilitary division he commands.
“How many are there in the squares?” he asked. “Do they represent the majority? In a democracy, does the minority rule the majority? They should have some self-respect and go home. It’s been five months now, and it’s boring.”