Sunday, April 28, 2013

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Egypt Terrorism Watch: Bin Laden's Message and Mujihadeen Network Carries Threat to Egypt

As suggested yesterday, all signs are pointing to Al Qaeda looking to either join forces with organizations in Egypt and the "Levant" or simply move the next phase of their operations into that area.   

Bin Laden's latest, posthumous audio message just released largely concentrated on the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, congratulating the people on over throwing their dictators.  At the same time, he notably left off any mention of the democracy movements, giving most of the praise to the "lions" in Tahrir square.  

"Tunisia was the first but swiftly the knights of Egypt have taken a spark from the free people of Tunisia to Tahrir Square," said bin Laden, adding: "It has made the rulers worried."

He barely mentions Syria or Yemen nor Bahrain.  Bahrian's lack of mention is obvious.  This is a Shi'ite revolution with potential connections to Iran, though this may only be a chimera in order to make it look like Iran has more political power than they do.  Still, it would be unlikely that  Al Qaeda would make any attempt to support a Shia' rebellion against a Sunni government.

What is more telling is the continued references to Egypt, not only this from bin Laden, but also Zawahiri's last several messages.  What has been even more interesting is the selection of al Adel, an Egyptian, not Zawahiri, to be the "interim" head of al Qaeda.  It isn't completely surprising as the Egyptian contingent has held the largest number of seats on the Shura or Quetta council.  However, as suggested yesterday, this may not be just a political move for the general al Qaeda organization. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Information War: Rueters Photoshoped Golan Heights Image May 15

Don't know how long it will last but Reuters is using a photo-shopped image for it's headline on the Golan Heights protests.  Check here.  The guy is holding up a "key", his upraised arm is obviously photo shopped (see white line along grey shirt) and he is amazingly un-smokey considering the tire burning behind him.

Gotta love when the media buys obvious propaganda as the real thing.  I did read on twitter that tires were being brought up and burning, but thinking now that this is agitprop along with the twitter post.

Egypt, Syria, Israel and Palestine: Revolutionaries Selling Their Freedom Cheap and Their Top Bidder is Syria, Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas

It is becoming very clear that the revolutionary youth in Egypt are determined to throw away everything they earned to act as proxies for the Muslim Brotherhood and their subsidiaries, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip.  The second runners up for the bid for cheap revolution are Hezbollah and Syria.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Egypt Terrorism Watch: Jail Breaks and Explosives

Contractor holding 15 bombs arrested in Giza (headed to Helwan, location of Tora Prison)

The contractor tried to pretend he was innocent bystander:

The suspect said he found the handbag in the street and on opening it discovered a mobile phone number on a piece of paper. He called the number and the man who answered asked him to bring the bag to a place near Tora in the Helwan governorate.

The prosecutor ordered that Mohamed be detained for four days pending investigation.
According to a security official, Mohamed was arrested in a taxi when a police officer stopped the driver to examine his license and noted the suspect’s confusion. Mohamed then tried to escape when the officer asked to search his bag.

Since the beginning of the revolution, jailbreaks are becoming pretty normal.  The revolutionaries believed that this was the regime trying to set criminals among them to scare them, but the reality is, as a friend pointed out, the majority of prisoners in Tora Prison are "political" and among those, mainly Islamists.  The same people all of the protesters believe are some form of at least "legitimate" party in Egypt (if not honest brokers, Wael Ghonim being one of those who have insisted that he has "looked into their eyes" as Bush said of Putin, and found only decent Egyptians who wanted to be free).

Meanwhile, calls for marches of unity against sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians were drowned out by the MB and Islamist screams for martyrs to march to Jerusalem. 

Middle East Revolutions: The Coming War For "Arab" Independence and Israel

There is among western nations a strange idea that the settlement of the Israel-Palestine issue into two, viable states will extinguish at least one of the complaints of the "Islamists" and general "Arab on the street".  An idea that this is the cause of "extremism", or one part of it, and a necessity to reduce the tensions between east and west.

This is probably the most naive concept to ever have taken root in the great foreign policy think tanks that have influenced state policy.  The formation of Israel is a matter of history defined by each side of the question.  Some basic information researched by this blog can be found here (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII.)

The reality of this conflict comes down to two points: the war that never ended and the spirit of anti-colonialism that has never left the Arab constituency.  This is the war that has simply been put off for generations.  Largely because, no matter how often someone attempts implement Lawrence's idea of Arab Unity and an Arab Greater Nation, the desires and demands of the tribes, Shayks and political trends continuously drag them apart.  Because, while their may be a general designation of "Arab" among the population, it can never overcome the great divides within the entire community.

As with the Egyptian revolution, where the case for unity revolved around ousting Mubarek and was almost instantly gone, unity is only over singular ideas and moments.  The Revolution in Egypt is quickly being overcome by the Muslim Brotherhood, the reality of sectarian divides and the weakness of all other parties.  The only idea that is bringing any sense of unity back to the greater polity is now "Palestine".

While secular Egyptian movements had intended to mobilize millions of Egyptians on Friday in order to support national unity and condemn attacks on Christians in Egypt, Islamist forces succeeded in turning the protest in support of what is referred to as the "Third Palestinian Intifada".

It seems true freedom will be sacrificed once again to the driving political ideologies of others.   This is, as with the failure of the Arab contingency to take what was about to be handed to them on three other occasions in the early twentieth century and turn it into a battle they are destined to lose.  Again. 

The current interim government of Egypt is blocking the movement to the Sinai.  They at least recognize that Egypt and the surrounding nations are hardly in a position to confront Israel directly.  While the marchers were chanting "millions of martyrs to Jerusalem", the reality of a "peasants' crusade" would, indeed, result in millions of martyrs that would result in Arab states attempting to go to war on behalf of the martyrs and, once again, failing.  That is, if they can convince Jordan to allow them to cross the territory or can figure out how to cross the narrow Sinai peninsula in great enough numbers not to be completely slaughtered and pile up in the hole as most attempted breaches in history have shown.

As with the last war with Israel, Jordan was coerced by it's association with the Arab League.  The Arab League is quickly becoming a farce, being replaced by things like the Gulf Cooperative Council and Egypt and Iran jockeying for political position in the region.

As Syria is torn in half by unknown forces that are similar to Egypt.  The Brotherhood, liberals, leftists, etc all looking to make it their own fight

What is more than likely is that the end state of the status of Israel and anything that could be called Palestine will come at the tip of a gun and missiles.  Not necessarily because the MB wants a greater war.  They would prefer to do it the slow way, the same way in which they have been Islamacizing Egypt, taking over by population density.  That is the purpose of pushing for the "Two state" plan to have Palestine recognized as a state with the 1967 agreed upon borders.  At that point they can allow in a greater part of the "refugees" for a population boom that would attempt to mirror Israel.

The obvious points of insisting on the right of return for "Palestinian Arabs" is to take over Israel by dent of population and, if it is not allowed to take that position, a continuous cause for war.  This last purpose is the most likely.  So long as there is some "enemy" that it can point to as the "cause", they can continue to consolidate their hold over the general populations of the Middle East, bringing their ideology into the main by slow degrees.   It is very ironic to read from the "liberals" (left, center left largely) that the US is looking for the next enemy to confront as it is "perpetually at war".  No one has examined that the perpetual theme of war is the status of any entity in power or coming to power because someone always wants that power.  People who think that there is a future of "sharing" or "social justice" washes greed (capitalism) away and creates peace.  It isn't "greed", it is power and the thirst for it will never end.  It is a matter of how that power is used and to whose benefit.

The liberals are being broken slowly by their inability to be anything separate except whether to implement a minimum or maximum wage or a taxation program.  They want a different education program but the MB has already taken that ministry through negotiations with SCAF.  They will get different, but it will be about on par with that offered by the previous administration except with the inclusion of more Islamist bent educators and any religious or "humanity" education will be from their perspective.  Of course, leftist ideology will remain the main theme when it comes to "social justice" because this is the most acceptable aspect for the Islamists.

The enemy of liberalism and democracy in Egypt is not the United States.  It is entirely Egyptian made and they are willingly throwing freedom under the bus.  Continuously there are posts that insist that the Islamists are part of Egypt and must be given their place at the table.  There is no perception of history that shows that the intellectuals and free thinkers consistently giving ideologies "space at the table" and then finding themselves the first to be oppressed, imprisoned and killed. 

The warnings fall on deaf ears and those ears will be followed by muted voices. 

The Brotherhood has shown again and again that they have the power of the street.  The NAC (National Association for Change), April 6 and various others called for a "unity march" in Tahrir while the Islamists issue a call through the mosques for a march to Palestine to remember "Nakba", the catastrophe, when Israel declared State Hood, May 14, 1948. 

The Islamists have shown their power.  The Liberals and the Leftists will get what is left over if there is much of anything as the Islamists slowly push the entirety of Egypt towards confrontation with Israel.

Syria Revoltion: Who is Fighting Nobody Knows

Golan Druze Perspectives On The Syrian Uprising

via Michael Totten Everybody is in the propaganda business:

So when the opportunity recently arose to join a tour to the area with a group of foreign journalists unable to currently get visas to enter Syria, I too went along to hear the next best thing; the perspective of the Golan Druze - most of whom who have friends and family in Syria - on the uprisings there. As so often is the case in the Middle East, not least when talking to the Druze, attempts to peel back the onion-like layers to get to the facts raised many more questions than they provided answers. 

The office of the Al Marsad human rights organisation in Majdal Shams is located near the village square, high up on the breezy slopes of Mount Hermon.  A little prior research had shown that Al Marsad's concept of human rights appears to be limited to writing reports and briefing foreign visitors exclusively on one subject: how awful the lives of the Druze residents of the Golan are under Israeli rule. At least one of its reports indicates that it has associations with the Hamas-linked 'European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza': the outfit which organises the flotillas, including the one last year which ended in extreme violence initiated by its IHH participants, and which was founded in 2007 by the Muslim Brotherhood's European branch – the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe.

Read the rest here



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Iran's Unwanted Revolution?

We're talking about the Khamenei and Ahmadinejad going head to head for awhile.  This author says that we should be rooting for Khamenei because the cleric led government, as distasteful as it is, is some how more reasonable then the nationalist Ahmadinejad. 

Is it too much to ask that they continue clawing at each other until they both bleed to death?

And the beat goes on.

United States - Pakistan Relations: The Pretense of Ignorance

After reading a considerable amount on the subject, I can barely muster the outrage that the public face of both governments are showing.  

Is the United States saying that it didn't know?  After the numerous visits by politicians and military leaders to urge Pakistan to do more and the well known history of that government with extremists, it is difficult to believe that the US did not have some idea that the Pakistanis, or some elements within, were double dealing.  

At this moment, the US government is sounding considerably like the wronged mistress who complains loudly that "he said he was going to leave his wife and marry me." Ridiculous and, if true, unbelievably naive.  

I don't buy it.  The US knew that something was up or would not have been playing the same game.  

Obviously, the public outrage is for cover.  For Pakistan, for the US government to it's constituents who, if they are to believe the government, would be equally naive.  We have not traded billions of dollars to get one terrorist, nor to buy Pakistan's weak assistance.  We have used billions of dollars to get inside the largest state sponsor of terror, make contacts and discover exactly how far within and without the Pakistani government this endeavor goes.  

Who has been supplying the millions of dollars to buy fighters and weapons?  This isn't all drug money or from Saudi Arabia.  Has no one wondered where all of the Russian and Chinese AK-47's and RPGs are coming from?  The explosives to make IEDs?  As much as Pakistan may or may not be officially directing some aspect of the Afghanistan Insurgency/Terrorist network, there is much money and duplicity running around the globe.

Ignorance is bliss, they say, but it is hard to believe this pretense of ignorance.  What is more important is the message that is being sent that, strangely enough sounds like Bush's "you're either with us or against us".  A short term strategy that will shake the pillars of Pakistan, shake some people and information loose, but will not have them collapse.  Instead, the US will get a new bargain for the next billions spent or Pakistan will discover that the US knows just a little bit more about their internal workings.  

If there is one thing that Pakistani politicians and military leaders understand, it is survival.  They have many examples of what happens inside Pakistan to those who can no longer pay the headsman to put off their turn at the block.  

On that, there can be no pretense of ignorance.

Update: Seven al Qaeda have "surrendered" to Saudi authorities after bin Laden's death while others flee to Yemen.  The Saudis say that the men are with their families and their cases are being considered.

Pretense of ignorance.

Egypt Sectarian Clashes: The Root of All Evil Is Not Money, It is Ignorance

Nadia el Awady sent this via Twitter yesterday.  I thought it was an excellence explanation of the casual bigotry that occurs. 

The truth about Muslim-Copt Relations in Egypt

I finally settled in Egypt in 1986 when I started med school at Cairo University. It took only one year for my Muslim friends to teach me about what was proper in Muslim-Coptic relations in the country.

I remember befriending Mariam who had come from New York. She had the dark black hair of an Egyptian but an uncanny New Yorkan accent. It was nice to meet someone who came from a background similar to mine. Quickly my Muslim friends explained I could not befriend her. She’s Christian, I was told. So what, I asked. In Egypt, it’s not all right, was the answer.

By the end of that same year I had heard my Muslim friends say it was yucky to drink out of a cup a Copt had drank from; they explained that the way to identify a Copt was by their odd smell and their oily hair; and I saw them secretly sign to each other if someone speaking to them was a Copt by making a cross on the inside of their wrist or by whispering the word “Kuftis”, a word Egyptians use in place of Copt, stupidly thinking the Copts don’t know that’s what they mean.

Read also Nadia on the Hijab  and Sarrah's World about being a "halfie" or "half blood" in Egypt

My grandmother once told me that the root of all evil was money.  I have since learned that the root of all evil is actually ignorance. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sectarian Clashes in Egypt: Bad Romance, Honor and Religion

Days after the events of May 5, 2011 in the urban enclave of Imbaba, Cairo, Egypt, the truth was hard to come by, but it eventually will come out.  

Sectarian clashes have been occurring in Egypt for a very long time.  However, with the fall of Mubarek and the general extinguishing of his dreaded police state, the security that at least kept a lid on it is now gone and the actors seem more free than ever to push the boundaries.  Which they have been doing since right before the events of January 25.  Some of those events can be read here.

As with most stories, it seems that both sides involved in Friday's events can share the blame.  The basic facts can be found here.  The rest of the story can be best related to Western readers by invoking either "Romeo and Juliet" or, better yet, "West Side Story".  Is it true?  We don't know.  The young woman in question sent a video to an Islamist website that was then sent to Egypt Today, a local newspaper, that printed the "interview" whole.  She later "phoned in" an interview to TahrirTV, the Muslim Brotherhood's new Satellite television station.  Why she has not contacted one of the other "liberal" or less biased papers or stations is unanswered at this time.

It begins with a young woman named Abeer Fahkry(arabic).  

Monday, May 09, 2011

First Al Iraq al Qaeda First Affiliate to Acknowledge Zawahiri as Head of Al Qaeda

Iraq's Qaeda Pledges Allegiance to Zawahiri and Vows Revenge

In a statement posted on an Islamist website forum on Monday, the caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISC), Abu Baker al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Qurashi, mourned bin Laden's death.
"I tell our brothers in al Qaeda organisation and on the top of them Sheikh Mujahid Ayman al-Zawahiri ... be merry, you have faithful men in the Islamic State of Iraq who are following the right path and will not quit or be forced out," he said in the statement.

Of course, they can still pull off a bombing or two, but they can't do anything like they did in 2005-6.

This seems to be the first acknowledgement of Zawahiri as the leader of Al Qaeda though AQ itself remains quiet on the subject, making announcements as the "leadership" without official or specific names.

Information War: Al Qaeda's Devolution and Zawahiri the Divisive Leader

Two good articles on the status of al Qaeda and Zawahiri as the next leader of Al Qaeda:

Al Qaeda Is It's Own Worst Enemy

After 9/11 and the destruction of al-Qaeda's headquarters in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda fractured into a moving target, a global cadre of autonomous cells which enabled it to continue to both elude and fight its enemies. However, with the globalisation of his jihad, bin Laden's authority was at once far-reaching and fragmented. Ceding command-and-control to self-defined "al-Qaeda" franchises brought enormous setbacks.

Al Qaeda: Bin Laden Assassination Inside Job? and the Next Battle Front - Egypt

This is an incredibly good read about how Al Qaeda has failed to do as it had intended at that it's decentralized structure, meant to insure survivability in an intelligence driven war, has probably hastened the demise of the organization and ideology.  Although, I would not count them out yet as you will read further down.  There is likely at least one more grand battle to come.

The second is a report linked by Bryan Preston of Pajamas Media that suggests that Zawahiri may have provided the information to find bin Laden as part of an internal power struggle.  While that may sound far fetched to some, it is not outside the realm of possibilities nor would it be out of character for the organization that, like any outlaw group, deals with contention inside the organization with swift and bloody retribution.

Historically, there are several instances where the removal of a rival, either ideological or in the direct line of command, have provided the opportunity for others to move up or consolidate their own power.  In the case of Zawahiri and Al Qaeda, the first suspected "deniable assassination" of a rival was the death of Abdullah Yusef Azzam.  Several other local militia leaders were also assassinated either by unknown entities or by ISI and other intelligence agencies.  Many of the local organizations suspected that it was a plot by the "foreign", (ie, Saudi and Egyptian) contingent to take control of the groups and bring them into their larger organization.

Both Zawahiri and bin Laden left Pakistan at that time under a cloud of suspicion and did not return until they were expelled from Sudan in 1998 after the notorious embassy bombings in Kenya and Nairobi.  By then, Zawahiri had firm control and confidence of bin Laden, his money and power base.