Two senior al Qaeda leaders are among those thought to have been killed in the Sept. 8 Predator strike in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan.
Ilyas Kashmiri and Mustafa al Jaziri may have been killed during the strike in the village of Machi Khel near Mir Ali. Unmanned US strike aircraft are reported to have hit a car and a madrassa in the attack, The News reported.
Initially five Uzbeks from the Islamic Jihad Group were thought to have been killed, but the report was revised to state that two Arab al Qaeda members, three Punjabi jihadis, and two or three local Taliban fighters were killed.
Mustafa al Jaziri is a senior military commander for al Qaeda. “Jaziri sits on al Qaeda’s military shura [council],” a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. “He is an important and effective leader.” Jaziri is an Algerian national.
Ilyas Kashmiri is “one of al Qaeda’s most dangerous commanders” the official said. He is the operational commander of the Harkat-ul Jihad Islami (HuJI), an al Qaeda-linked terror group that operates in Pakistan, Kashmir, India, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Kashmiri was recently listed as the fourth most wanted terrorist by Pakistan’s Interior Ministry.
Kashmiri is thought to have played a major role in the multi-pronged suicide attack against government and security installations in the eastern Afghan province of Khost in May, the military intelligence official said.
Last year, Kashmiri reportedly drafted a plan to assassinate General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, Pakistan’s top military officer, but the plan was canceled by al Qaeda’s senior leadership, according to a report in the Asia Times.
Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami, Laskhar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and several other Pakistani terror groups have merged with al Qaeda in Pakistan, and operate under the name of Brigade 313. This group is interlinked with Pakistan’s Taliban and also recruits senior members of Pakistan’s military and intelligence services, a senior US official told The Long War Journal.
Brigade 313 has been behind many of the high-profile attacks and bombings inside Pakistan, including multiple assassination attempts against former President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Gilani. Brigade 313 is one of the six known units in the Lashkar al Zil, al Qaeda’s paramilitary Shadow Army.
“If we got Kashmiri, this would be the most successful strike against al Qaeda this year,” the official said. Kashmiri’s death would be on par with that of Osama al Kini, al Qaeda’s operational leader in Pakistan, who was killed during a New Years Day airstrike, the official noted.
US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would neither confirm nor deny that Kashmiri and Jaziri had been killed in the airstrike.
In Delhi on 27 April, the 13th meeting of the Steering Committee for the gas pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), whose members were unable to determine the price of Turkmen gas.
The Turkmen side at the meeting were Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Bairamgeldy Nedirov and chairman of state concern Turkmengaz Amana Hanalei .As reported by the Indian newspaper «The Hindu», the parties could not agree on gas prices and transit costs.
“The next meeting will be held in Kabul on May 13-14, where should decide the issue of setting fees for the transit of natural gas. With the positive outcome of this meeting, participants would gather in Turkmenistan to discuss gas prices “- the newspaper notes.
Meanwhile, the Indian newspaper «Economic Times» reports that India was not willing to pay the proposed price for Turkmen natural gas to Davletabadskogo deposits, which may be higher than the price of liquefied natural gas (LNG). “India is willing to pay about 12.67 dollars per 1 million British thermal units (mBTU – a measure of fuel) gas, while Turkmenistan requires the binding rates to the market value of LNG.Turkmenistan requirement may mean the price of 14-15 dollars per mBTU », – publication of results in view of anonymous Indian official. According to this same official, India is not going to invest in pipeline Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), if there is a possibility to import LNG is cheaper than buying Turkmen gas.
In Bahia Solano and Nuquí, Chocó, 24 people were arrested on May 31, through links with the group of the stubble, among whom were 11 members of the security agencies, a councilman and a secretary of court, which puts on the fore the issue of whether this is an isolated case of corruption again, typical of the modus operandi of drug traffickers, or is another example of a link of continuity between the old paramilitary groups such as Los Rastrojos, replaced in many regions.
Among those captured in Bahia Solano are seven police officers, two noncommissioned officers of the Navy, the coordinator and a researcher at the CTI, the secretary of the municipal criminal court and a council of Nuqui. According to partial data collected by week, some 700 members of the security forces are being investigated for alleged complicity with those groups, according to police, filled in 152 municipalities in the spaces left by the AUC. The military says nearly 350 of its members are under scrutiny. Police have dismissed about 300 and the DAS, 30. The Navy has captured nine. And a dozen prosecutors were investigated for this reason.
In some cases, there officers involved. Late last year, the CTI captured an army colonel and a lawyer for the prosecution that, for two years, stealing night vision goggles and other weapons from 11 battalions to sell to new groups, and increasing the Police Intelligence was fired for cooperating with countries. Some senior officers have been removed on suspicion of links with these organizations.
Even with the name they gave-BACRIM, “the authorities of the previous government and have tried to disentangle the new groups of former paramilitaries. Gen. Oscar Naranjo said that paramilitary status would give them “reward” for drug traffickers. However, several signs, in addition to the cases of links between members of the security forces and seven criminal gangs recognized by the authorities indicates that they are important elements of continuity with the old paramilitaries.
It is estimated that only between 7 and 10 percent of the BACRIM file members are exparamilitares, but of the 63 heads of these groups caught up earlier this year, 53 percent come from the AUC. Some experts say that these gangs recruit retired soldiers, as did the paramilitaries. In Cordoba, Bajo Cauca, Valle and Nariño operate with territorial control methods, with uniforms and rifles. Massacres and threats have revived popular leaders and victims’ movement and, as Social Action, were responsible for the displacement of 133,000 people between 2007 and 2010. And as the AUC, ally or battle with the guerrillas, depending on the needs.
Catches in the Chocó put on the table that BACRIM are a complex phenomenon, an expression of the new conditions of armed conflict in the country. Although no doubt his main occupation is the drug (it was also for ‘Macaco’ and ‘Cuco Vanoy’ of the AUC) to the civilian population are a threat as real as the paramilitaries. Also show a capacity for territorial control and penetration of the state as having the stop-and remains to be seen what will they do in local elections in October.
The mere label of organized crime groups does not explain these realities. Without understanding the links of continuity between the paramilitaries and the ‘BACRIM’ on their territorial control methods, forms of penetration of the state and its relations with members of the security forces are not able to design effective strategies to control and protect civilians from the violence generated.
Medical staff who treated protesters accused of plotting to overthrow kingdom’s monarchy amid reports of more violence.
This still, taken from a video uploaded to YouTube, appears to show Bahraini forces firing on Shia marchers in Ma’ameer. Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the contents of the video, as journalists
are barred from reporting from such gatherings [Al Jazeera]
Scores of Bahraini doctors and nurses who treated injured anti-government protesters have been charged with attempting to topple the kingdom’s monarchy.
The 23 doctors and 24 nurses were formally charged on Monday during a closed door hearing in a special security court.
The 47 accused have been in detention since March, when the country declared martial law in order to clamp down on a wave of demonstrations that swept the tiny kingdom earlier this year.
Though the emergency law was lifted last week, Bahraini authorities have warned opposition activists of “consequences” in case of any further challenges to the government.
‘Firing on marchers’
On Sunday, Bahraini police clashed with Shia marchers at religious processions in villages across the country, the country’s opposition al-Wefaq movement and residents said.
Police used tear gas, rubber bullets, sound grenades and birdshot to break up the marches, which were taking place in several Shia villages around Manama, the country’s capital, residents and members of al-Wefaq said.
This map, compiled by Bahraini blogger Fahad Desmukh, shows the sites of reported clashes between
security forces and Shia mourners on June 5.
View the full map here.
Residents said that some gatherings were purely religious, while at others marchers shouted slogans against the ruling al-Khalifa family, including “The people want the fall of the regime”, a chant that has become the symbol of similar protests in Tunisia and Egypt which dethroned long-time rulers.
In Sitra, residents said that several people were injured and that a house was set on fire.
“We condemn this attack, this kind of attack will make the situation even worse,” said Sayyed Hady of al-Wefaq. “This event is so, so normal in Bahrain, we’ve been doing it for centuries … the authorities said they won’t attack religious events, but this is what they did.”
On Sunday, a government official denied that widespread clashes had taken place.
“There are no clashes really, there were some outlaws who caused some problems but these were small incidents that were quickly stopped. The situation is stable and back to normal,” he told Reuters.
Journalists have been unable to verify the reports, as police have set up checkpoints sealing many Shia-majority areas. From outside those areas, the Reuters news agency reported that its reporters heard shouting and smelled tear gas.
The Shia villagers, some beating their chests and chanting religious verses, were marching to commemorate the festival of one of their 12 Imams.
Months of unrest
The fresh unrest comes just two days after the country’s Formula One Grand Prix was reinstated. The race had been postponed from its original March date due to widespread protests at the time.
As that decision was announced, security forces were engaged in a fresh crackdown, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at activists gathered in Manama for the funeral of a protester they said had been killed by tear gas inhalation.
In March, Bahrain’s Sunni rulers asked for military support from its Gulf Arab neighbours to suppress the protests, which have in particular called for democratic reforms and more rights for the country’s Shia-majority citizens.
Bahrain is home to the US Navy’s Fifth fleet, and as such is a key ally for that country in the region. Saudi and Emirati forces appear to be set to remain the country indefinitely in order to ensure that the protesters do not achieve their goals.
Protestors in Sana called for the ouster of Yemens president, Ali Abdullah… (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
SANA, Yemen — Yemeni forces opened fire on a protest camp and killed more than 20 demonstrators yesterday in the southern city of Taiz while government warplanes launched air strikes on another southern town seized by radical Islamists.
The new attempts to suppress the uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh with overwhelming force, after a weekend when high-level military defectors formed a united front in support of the protesters, all pointed to the longtime leader’s increasingly tenuous grip on power.
Early today, residents said multiple explosions were heard in several parts of Sana, apparently from heavy weapons and shells. They said clashes were in progress in the capital. There were no immediate details of who was fighting or whether there were casualties.
More than three months of mass street protests have posed an unprecedented threat to Saleh’s 33-year rule, splintering his security forces and battering the country’s already frail economy.
Saleh has raised the specter of an Islamist takeover of Yemen to solicit international funds and rebuff calls that he stand down.
Government jets bombed the town’s outskirts yesterday, the loud booms sending up columns of smoke, resident Ali Dahmis said by phone. He said the army was targeting residential areas.
The strikes were the government’s hardest hit yet against the Islamists since hundreds of them streamed in Friday, seizing banks and government buildings.
Moammar Khadafy is ready for a truce to stop the fighting in his country, South Africa’s president said yesterday after meeting the Libyan ruler, but he listed familiar Khadafy conditions that have scuttled previous cease-fire efforts. Rebels quickly rejected the offer.
President Jacob Zuma said Khadafy is ready to accept an African Union initiative for a cease-fire that would stop all hostilities, including NATO airstrikes in support of rebel forces. “He is ready to implement the road map,’’ Zuma said.
Zuma said Khadafy insists that “all Libyans be given a chance to talk among themselves’’ to determine the country’s future. He did not say Khadafy is ready to step down, which is the rebels’ central demand.
In Benghazi, the de facto rebel capital, rebel Foreign Minister Fathi Baja, rejected the African Union plan. “It is only some stuff that Khadafy wants to announce to stay in power,’’ he said.
A prominent Egyptian activist was summoned yesterday for questioning by the country’s military rulers over comments criticizing their human rights record.
Hossam el-Hamalawy, 33, said he was ordered to appear before military prosecutors today after he accused the head of the military police of abuses against activists in an interview on a popular TV program.
Critics say the military, which has been managing the transitional period following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, has been slow in introducing changes to uproot former regime officials and has often put civilians on military trial.
The National Transitional Council in Libya is slowly trying to establish itself as the legitimate successor to Gaddafi. The West has helped the rebel movement by widely promoting it and calling for countries throughout the world to officially back the new regime. However while the U.S , the U.K, France, Italy,Portugal, Spain and Canada have officially recognised the political organisation as the new legitimate representative body of the Libyan people, countries in Africa and in the Middle East have been so far less inclined to do so.
ReutersIran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) walks hand with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah as they arrive for the opening of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Doha December 3, 2007.
While the Arab league officially supports the Nato-led operation in Libya, only Qatar and Kuwait have formally recognized the council, a move followed by only two African countries, which are Senegal and The Gambia. Given the fact that Gaddafi was highly criticised by numerous Arab states and has been increasingly ostracised in the last few years (thanks to his own actions), it seems surprising that countries such as Saudi Arabia have not taken a much stronger stand in support of the Libyan rebels. Looking at the reactions emanating from the Middle East it seems that the Libyan conflict has put more than one country in an awkward position.
Saudi Arabia Its no understantement to say that there never was any love lost between Gaddafi and King Abdullah of Saudi. For years the two have been locked in an incessant circle of accusations and public spats. Indeed, over the years, Libya has been accused of subversion by several Arab countries, including Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. For example, Libyan agents reportedly planned on several occasions to disrupt the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. In addition, for many years Libya supported the mostly Christian rebels in southern Sudan, against the central government in Khartoum. Libya was considered to be so unfriendly and untrustworthy, as Gaddafi was known to change alliances rather quickly, that when the United States bombed its cities in April 1986, only a few countries condemned the action strongly. Also, in 2003, Saudi Arabia claimed they had unveiled a Libyan plot aiming at the assassination of the then Crown Prince Abdullah. The men arrested included, according to Saudi investigative documents, eight Saudis and five Libyans, four of whom were Libyan intelligence agents The Libyans were caught delivering more than $1 million in cash at a hotel in Mecca to Saudi dissidents hired to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah. The Libyan agents had allegedly recruited the Saudis to launch grenades and other explosives into Abdullah’s apartment in Mecca, the documents show. At the time, Saudi, U.S. and British officials maintained they had traced the origins of the plot to a public exchange of insults between Abdullah and Col. Moammar Gaddafi, Libya’s long time ruler, at an Arab League summit in March 2003. During the summit, held shortly before the start of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Gaddafi accused the Saudi prince of “making a pact with the devil” by supporting U.S. military forces in the region. Abdullah, who has long had a testy relationship with the Libyan leader, responded: “Your lies precede you and your grave is in front of you.” Of course the Libyan authorities denied any involvement in the plot, but the relationship between the two leaders did not ease as in 2009 Gaddafi famously told King Abdullah: “You are propelled by fibs towards the grave and you were made by Britain and protected by the US.” When the uprising started in Libya many expected the Saudi King to seize the occasion and support the rebel movement to punish Gaddafi. Obama was quick to ask for the support of Saudi Arabia in arming the rebels. However so almost nothing has been heard on the subject from Saudi Arabia. The Saudi regime has gone quiet and has stood clear of the rebels. Four weeks ago it even prevented the new Libyan leaders from reaching Qatar, where they had meetings planned, by forbidding them to cross their airspace. When asked about the reasons behind their decision, the authorities refused to comment. Unfortunately it seems that the U.S. demand came at a time where the regime was itself trying to suppress a nascent protest movement in Saudi, as they banned all street protests to try and supress the uprising. The Saudi monarchy knows that its position is fragile as in the region people see its demise as just a question of time. Moreover, the U.S. involvement in getting European countries and Nato involved in the conflict bared an uncomfortable truth to Saudi King Abdullah and many of his counter-part in the region: Washington will help to push you out of power if it finds it politically advantageous. As much as siding with the rebels to get to Gaddafi might sound attractive, Saudi it seems has for now decided to follow the lead of most Arab countries, that is not breaking with their tradition of doing absolutely nothing when controversial conflicts arise. Iran Saudi Arabia is not the only country that the Libyan conflict has put in an awkward position. Tehran has tried to balance support for the Libyan opposition, which it views as part of a region-wide “Islamic awakening,” with rejection of the Nato-led military strikes. Keeping in with their anti-Western outlook, Iranian officials still insist that the U.N.-endorsed military intervention on humanitarian grounds is hypocritical and part of a secret Western agenda. Tehran has made no secret of the fact that it opposes any military intervention in the Middle East, even if in Iran’s interest, and had also opposed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, despite the fact Saddam Hussein was Iran’s main adversary in the region. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad confirmed Iran’s anti-intervention attitude and said: “The intervention of some European countries and America in the regional nations increases concern and makes circumstances more complicated.” “The double standard action of the Western countries in Bahrain and Libya and their silence towards the atrocities of the Zionist regime against the innocent Palestinians shows their contradictory performance in the world.” However its seems that the person who illustrates the best Iran’s dichotomist position is the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who explained, “Iran utterly condemns the behaviour of the Libyan government against its people, the killings and pressure on people, and the bombing of its cities… but it (also) condemns the military action in Libya.” Additionally to their similar awkward reaction to the Libyan conflict, it is important to point out that the two countries are also both oil exporters. Could they see the Libyan Transitional Council as a potential business competitor, and is the Council already warning them that a new player is in the game by attempting to seek diplomatic ties with Israel, who currently have to look very far afield for their oil, a move that is set to particularly upset Iran?
As the news that 270 people went missing after a fishing boat carrying migrants from Libya to Italy broke down just off the Tunisian coast hit, French writer Bernard Henri Levy announced he delivered a message on Thursday from Libyan rebel leaders to Israel‘s premier saying they would seek diplomatic ties with Israel if they came to power.
Levy told AFP he passed on the verbal message from Libya’s National Transitional Council during a 90-minute meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
“The main point was that the future Libyan regime would be moderate and anti-terrorist and will be concerned with justice for the Palestinians and security for Israel,” Levy said.
“The future regime will maintain normal relations with other democratic countries, including Israel,” he added.
Levy a French philosopher and writer, who helped engineer France’s recognition of Libya’s fledgling rebel authority, visited the rebel-held Libyan city of Misrata last weekend.
Talking about his encounter with the Israeli Prime minister he said that Netanyahu “did not appear surprised” at the content of the Libyan message.
Netanyahu’s office confirmed the meeting with the French writer and philosopher but refused to further comment on the discussion. “The prime minister likes to meet intellectuals,” a spokesman said.
In early March, Levy went to the eastern Libyan town of Benghazi, days after its capture by rebel forces.
While Levy went to eastern Libya and visited Benghazi in early March, he met members of newly formed National Transitional Council and arranged for some of them to meet French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris on March 10.
Following the meeting with the rebel representative, France became the first country to recognise the provisional body as legitimate and to call for Nato’s involvement.