Skip to comments.Operation Phantom Fury--Day 268 - Now Operations River Blitz; Matador--Day 163
Posted on 08/01/2005 4:20:35 PM PDT by Gucho
August 02, 2005
By Dan Murphy and Howard LaFranchi | Staff writers of The Christian Science Monitor
Persistent suicide bombings in Iraq. Attacks on London subways. Explosions at an Egyptian resort.
Whether related or not, these recent incidents have heightened global concern about the spread of radical Islamist militancy. And they raise questions about the current reach of Al Qaeda and groups with similar ideology. Today and tomorrow, the Monitor examines the origins of Islamic terrorism and how it is evolving now.
What is Al Qaeda today compared to five years ago?
In some ways it is less like the Al Qaeda of 2001 than like the Al Qaeda of the mid-1990s, before it was able to build up organizationally with a base of operations in Afghanistan. It is best understood as a radical ideology loosely inspiring a disparate and very decentralized set of localized Islamist extremist organizations.
For some terrorism experts, Al Qaeda as an organization simply no longer exists. Its Afghan training and indoctrination sites are gone. Key leaders have been killed or captured, or are on the run. Yet Al Qaeda as an ideology of global confrontation and jihad, "struggle" or "holy war," still exists.
"That is why I speak of 'Al Qaedaism' as more of a factor today than Al Qaeda," says Magnus Ranstorp of the Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Who are Al Qaeda's leaders?
Osama bin Laden, still at large, founded the organization in 1988, along with Mohammed Atef (aka Abu Hafs al-Masri), an Egyptian who was killed in a US airstrike in Afghanistan. The group has a shura, or consultative council, the composition of which is unknown. But some of the people "most wanted" for organizing operations under Al Qaeda's name or ideology, such as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, are not believed to be part of any centralized leadership.
Are they still organizing operations?
The Al Qaeda leadership may maintain some command-and-control capability from suspected locations in or near Pakistan - despite Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's recent declaration about a smashed Al Qaeda. One possible example: In a tape released June 17 by the Arab television network Al Jazeera, Al Qaeda No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri called for revenge against Britain for allying with the US. Some experts believe such tapes are directives to proceed with an operation. In any case, the London bombings soon followed.
ALLIES: Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and President Bush talk in April. Their ties have angered jihadists. (AP/WHITE HOUSE)
What do the militants want?
For Islamist militants, the long-term objective is an Islamic superstate, or caliphate. Narrower objectives include the end of the state of Israel and toppling secular Middle Eastern regimes like Egypt's. It is an article of faith that the US and all secular Western states stand in their way, and weakening those states is seen as positive for all their objectives.
Who is their main enemy?
The global jihad has long named two types of targets: the "near enemy" (Israel or secular Arab regimes) and the "far enemy" - America and its allies. Zawahiri was always more interested in the "near enemy" that stood in the way of an Islamic state in his homeland, Egypt. Bin Laden was more interested in the "far enemy," because he felt success could not be achieved closer to home until US financial and military backing for these regimes was eroded. When Zawahiri merged his Egyptian Islamic Jihad with Al Qaeda in 1998, the two trends were brought together.
What Is their ideal society?
They want a society that applies the Koran literally and adheres to the social practices that prevailed at the time of the prophet Muhammad. It would not be democratic in any modern sense, though there are provisions for shura, or consultation - generally interpreted to mean the leader should take advice from trusted community members. In their interpretation of Islam, women and men have defined roles, and women generally have fewer rights.
Their views stem from the Salafi movement within Islam's Sunni sect, the religion's largest. For a Salafi adherent, interpretation of the Koran stops 1,300 years ago, with Muhammad, his companions, and the three generations that followed them.
What about Wahhabi thinking - is that behind Al Qaeda?
While many in the West use the term Wahhabi, practitioners of this Sunni school reject the notion that they belong to any particular sect. To their thinking, they are simply following the true path of Islam. They are Salafi followers of Mohammed ibn abd al-Wahhab, an 18th century Arabian preacher. Although the vast majority of Salafis are not involved in violence, almost all attacks linked to Al Qaeda have been carried out by people under the Salafi umbrella. The House of Saud helped this school become Saudi Arabia's dominant interpretation of Islam. Many Saudis refuse to view Osama bin Laden as a Wahhabi, rejecting his thirst for overthrowing the Saudi regime. Wahhabis are supremely intolerant of Shiites, seeing practices such as the veneration of historic Imams Hussein and Ali as a breach of monotheism.
What are the roots of violent jihad?
Ibn Taymiyah, a 13th century scholar, is an intellectual forerunner of the modern Salafis. He rejected Sufi and Shiite Muslims, describing the latter as apostates who deserved death. Appearing in an era when crusaders remained in the Middle East, he advocated a muscular approach to Islam that called on believers to fight infidel invaders. The modern Salafi revival is generally traced to late 19th and early 20th century opposition to colonial rule, and was particularly taken up by Egyptian thinkers, who saw in it a way to oppose Western colonialism and modernize without giving up Islamic values. The foundation of Israel was seen by most Muslims, of all strains, as a hostile act that undermined Islam. For Salafis it was a call to jihad, to regain the land and holy places they felt had been usurped. Frustration mounted with the 1967 Arab defeat by Israel, which many Muslims interpreted as a sign of God's displeasure.
But the Salafi group around bin Laden really took hold after the 1991 Gulf War. Bin Laden was a wealthy Saudi who had helped support Afghans and Arab volunteers in the jihad against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, with financial support from Pakistani intelligence and the CIA. He wanted to lead an Arab and Muslim effort to end Saddam Hussein's occupation of Kuwait. He and his followers were enraged and humiliated that a US-led coalition repelled Hussein and that US troops were then stationed in Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest places. Citing this issue, bin Laden and Zawahiri announced the "World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Crusaders and Jews" in 1998.
What does the Koran say about violence against civilians?
As with most religions, it is a question of where emphasis is placed. The Koran has fairly clear injunctions against murder, including "Whoever slays a human being, unless it be for murder or for spreading corruption on earth, it shall be as though he had slain all mankind" (5:32). Suicide is warned against even more strongly: "Do not kill yourselves ... whoever does so, in transgression and wrongfully, we shall roast in a fire" (4:29). Warfare in certain circumstances is condoned, even urged, just as in the Old Testament, but there are limits. "Fight in the cause of God against those who fight against you, but do not transgress limits. God loves not transgressors" (2:190) and "let there be no hostility, except to those who practice oppression" (2:193).
In the most widespread interpretations, such verses bar both attacks on civilians and suicide attacks, while allowing Muslims to fight against those who directly attack them. But how does one define the meaning of "those who practice oppression" or "spreading corruption on earth" or even "those who fight against you?" It is here that the minority of Islamist radicals who attack civilians find their wiggle room. ====================================================
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American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2005 Iraqi and coalition soldiers conducted targeted searches for terrorist operatives in Fallujah, Iraq, July 30, military officials reported.
Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force, and soldiers with the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, searched more than 445 homes during the operation. A cache of bomb-making materials was found, including an artillery fuse, 20 blasting caps and five triggering devices.
Officials noted that all of the items were found hidden in an air conditioning duct staged on a pile of trash. An Iraqi explosive ordnance disposal team removed the materials.
Three suspected terrorists were detained during the operation. Two of the suspects were found in possession of an AK-47 assault rifle, five loaded magazines, four bayonets and insurgent propaganda materials. The third suspect had a .38- caliber revolver.
In a similar operation, soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Iraqi Intervention Force, searched 205 houses and captured one mortar tripod and an improvised explosive device detonator, while detaining four suspected terrorists.
(From a Multinational Security Transition Command news release.)
By Gerry J. Gilmore - American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 1, 2005 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld likes to take his office with him and stay connected to events on the ground when he flies overseas to visit with troops and confer with U.S. and allied military and civilian officials.
Rumsfeld's "flying Pentagon" of choice is an Air Force E-4B aircraft, a highly modified Boeing 747-200 four-engine jet. Known as the National Airborne Operations Center, the plane boasts sophisticated communications equipment as well as the capability to be refueled in flight.
The commander of the NAOC, Army Col. David L. Molinelli, pointed out July 24 during Rumsfeld's recent trip to Central Asia and Iraq that use of the converted 747 enables the secretary to conduct a variety of secure communications with senior government and military officials back on the ground. The NAOC, the colonel said, is a joint-service organization with headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., with the E4Bs assigned to the 55th Wing there.
"We have the day-to-day mission of the backup to the National Military Command Center in the Pentagon" in case of a national emergency, Molinelli explained. "We also provide support to the secretary of defense for his travel when we have aircraft available to do so."
The E-4B has "a more robust communications platform" than other available aircraft, Molinelli noted, including video-teleconferencing capability that provides Rumsfeld with "a link back to his office and his subject-matter experts" at the Pentagon. And the aircraft's capability to be refueled in flight can save the secretary "almost a day of travel" when he's making some long-distance trips, the colonel said.
Flying at about 400 mph above Scotland en route to Kyrgyzstan on July 24, Rumsfeld's E-4B needed more fuel. Air Force pilot Maj. "Spike" Tellier of the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron based at Offutt made adjustments to link up with a KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft that was positioned just above and ahead of the E-4B.
After being attached to the tanker's fuel nozzle, the E-4B began receiving 90,000 pounds of JP-8 fuel, as flight engineer Master Sgt. Mike Skoworn maintained radio contact with the tanker, which was on autopilot during the refueling operation. Within the hour, a second tanker on the scene would deliver another 90,000 pounds of fuel to the thirsty E-4B.
"If we had to land somewhere and refuel, it would add, easily, three hours to the flight," Air Force Lt. Col. Bill Zehner, an instructor pilot, remarked in the cockpit during the refueling operation.
The E-4B crew also includes a group of flight attendants who prepare and serve food and beverages and much more, said Tech. Sgt. Kris D. Laeding, the chief attendant.
"We also take care of safety," said Laeding, a 41-year-old Air Force veteran of 22 years. We're in charge of the emergency equipment." The attendants also operate the aircraft's doors, she noted, and transact passport and visa business with foreign travel officials at the plane's ports-of-call.
"We're the 'eyes and ears' for the entire main deck of the aircraft, where all the passengers and crew sit," Laeding explained. And, all meals served on board are prepared with fresh ingredients by the crew in the E-4B's versatile galley, she noted.
"I love this job. It's challenging, for one. And, you get to see a lot of places," Laeding said.
The original E-4A model was fielded in the mid-1970s to replace previous aircraft used to provide an airborne national military command center in the event of nuclear war, said Air Force Master Sgt. Gregory S. Grieser, superintendent of the E-4B's airborne communications. The upgraded E-4B was introduced in 1980.
The Cold War ended in 1991, but the four E-4Bs in the fleet fly on with state-of-the-art equipment to "provide all the communications, secure and nonsecure, to support the Joint Staff in a time of conflict, so they can support our national leaders," Grieser, a 45-year-old Detroit Lakes, Minn., native, explained.
Since 1994, with the approval of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, E-4Bs can be deployed to support Federal Emergency Management Agency requests for assistance during natural disasters.
National Airborne Operations Center commander Army Col. David L. Molinelli, right, and Air Force Capt. Brian K. Phillippy, a communications control officer, scan data on a laptop computer July 24 aboard Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's E-4B aircraft during the secretary's recent trip to Central Asia and Iraq. Use of the converted Boeing 747 enables the secretary to conduct a variety of secure communications with senior government and military officials back on the ground. (Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore)
Flying above Scotland en route to Kyrgyzstan on July 24, Air Force pilot Maj. "Spike" Tellier of the 1st Airborne Command and Control Squadron based at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., makes adjustments to link up with a KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft that was positioned just above and ahead of the E-4B during Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's recent trip to Central Asia and Iraq. (Photo by Gerry J. Gilmore)
Monday, August 1, 2005
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) shakes hands with the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ronald Neumann after he accepted his credentials in Kabul August 1, 2005. (REUTERS/Ahmad Masood)
Deadly riots erupt in Sudan after Garang death
02 August 2005
KHARTOUM: At least 24 people were killed in Khartoum on Monday in riots sparked by the death of John Garang, who led Sudan's southern rebels for two decades before making peace and joining the government he fought.
Garang, a key figure in a January peace deal hailed a rare success story for Africa, became the first vice-president on July 9. He died over the weekend after the Ugandan presidential helicopter he was travelling in went down in bad weather.
As news of his death spread on Monday, thousands of his southern Sudanese supporters who had greeted a triumphant Garang when he became first vice president in July, took to the streets of Khartoum, wielding knives and bars, looting shops, starting fires and clashing with police.
Two police officers said 24 people, including police, were killed in the rioting. A Khartoum resident earlier said two people had been killed in his street.
"They (southerners) are beating anybody they see who looks like they are Arab," Swayd Abdullah, a student, said.
"People have been running all over the streets. The policemen are taking people from the streets. There is fire and smoke," a Reuters TV witness said.
The Khartoum governor announced a curfew from 6pm until 6am in the capital.
The rioting was some of the worst in the Sudanese capital in recent years. In May, displaced southerners attacked a police station in a camp on the outskirts of the capital and at least 17 police and residents were killed in the violence.
Members of Garang's southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) and the government in Khartoum bitter enemies during the 21-year conflict both promised to maintain the peace agreement Garang helped bring about.
Six of Garang's companions and a crew of seven also died in the crash near the Sudan-Uganda border, Khartoum said on Monday, though a member of the southern Sudan leadership council said 17 bodies were recovered.
Garang's death stunned the region, where Sudan's neighbours helped negotiate an end to the continent's longest civil war.
"It's shocking the loss of a visionary leader," Kenya's Lt. Gen. Lazarus Sumbeiywo, who was the chief mediator in the Sudan peace talks, said.
"My prayer is that the Sudanese will remain level-headed."
Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir expressed confidence the power-sharing peace accord would remain intact.
"We are confident that the peace agreement will proceed as it was planned," he said in a televised statement.
At an SPLM news conference in Nairobi, members wept in grief. "Sudan has lost its loved son Dr John Garang," said Salva Kiir, deputy leader and Garang's probable replacement.
"We want to assure everyone that the leadership and all cadres of the SPLM/SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) will remain united and strive to faithfully implement the comprehensive peace agreement."
SPLM leaders were heading to New Site in southern Sudan for a crisis meeting. Garang's body arrived there early on Monday afternoon, a Western diplomat with the SPLM said.
Garang had left Uganda by helicopter late on Saturday to return to Sudan after talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Various sources in Uganda and Sudan said it appeared his helicopter ran into bad weather, although there was also speculation it had run out of fuel.
The helicopter came down near the remote, mountainous border region, with conflicting reports as to which side it fell on.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Deng Alor, a member of the SPLM's leadership council, said from New Site 17 bodies a higher number than that given by the Sudanese presidency had been recovered.
"We are not ruling out anything. We have asked Uganda's aviation authority to look at the flight recorder," he added.
More than a million Sudanese came out to salute Garang when he was sworn in as first vice-president on July 9 and signed with his old enemy al-Bashir a new interim constitution.
Many had hoped Garang would help achieve peace in Sudan's still ongoing conflict in Darfur in the west. And he was critical to the success of the north-south peace process.
There was speculation SPLM leaders may fight over the succession despite their calls for unity on Monday.
"What happens next is very, very interesting. In the worst case scenario, it's a south-south war. In the best case, we will see a democratic overhaul of the SPLM, which many people view currently as something of a dictatorship," said an experienced foreign Sudan observer well connected with the SPLM.
The southern civil war started in 1983 when the Islamist Khartoum government tried to impose Islamic sharia law on the mainly Christian and animist south. Two million people died in the conflict, mainly through hunger and disease.
Garang proved an adept politician as he allied himself with communists, courted US Christian groups and juggled tribal rivalries to hold power even amid fierce infighting.
August 01, 2005
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The Multi-National Corps released almost 900 of the nearly 2,000 detainees held in brigade and division-level internment facilities in July.
"The release of detainees is a positive step toward the fundamentals of establishing a democracy," said Col. Arnaldo Claudio, Multi-National Corps Iraq provost marshal. "It is also an indication of Iraqi and coalition forces working together towards a common objective a free and prosperous Iraq.
"Detainees are treated humanely and receive medical and dental care as well as three meals per day as they are processed through the detainee system. In addition to the health screening, detainee spiritual needs are addressed through access to a Quran and prayer rug," Claudio said.
"The release of almost 7,000 Iraqis from division and brigade internment facilities during the first six months of the year demonstrates the case review system set in place works," said Claudio.
Source : CPIC - Baghdad
8/1/2005 - 11:53:13 PM
An Islamic extremist tonight said that the London bombings were the consequence of Britains refusal to accept the offer of a ceasefire from Osama bin Laden.
Abu Izzadeen, who described himself as a spokesman for the Al-Ghurabaa organisation, said that bin Laden had made the offer conditional on troop withdrawal, apparently from countries including Iraq and Afghanistan.
Speaking on BBC2s Newsnight, he said: Sheikh Osama bin Laden offered to the British public and the UK people at large an offer of ceasefire.
He said if they rolled up against the Government, brought the troops home, he promised not to attack them.
But unfortunately, the stiff upper British lip became hard-headed and we saw what took place on 7th July.
Abu Izzadeen, who is British-born but of Jamaican origin, and who converted to Islam when he was 17, would not denounce the bombings, which he described as mujahideen activity.
Im sure if you asked those who passed away on 7th July, should we negotiate with Osama bin Laden, they would say yes, to bring their lives back, to save themselves from the burning inferno underground, he said.
He also said he had no allegiance to the Queen or British society.
Another extremist and former member of the Al-Muhahjiroun group, Abu Uzair, had previously said that Britain should not be attacked in the wake of the September 11 atrocities, which he described as magnificent, the programme said.
This was because it had accommodated Muslims, the programme said.
We dont live in peace with you any more, which means the covenant of security no longer exists, he said tonight.
Thats why those four bombers attacked London they believed that there was no covenant of security, and for them their belief was that it was allowed to attack the UK.
Seeming to warn of the possibility of further attacks, he added: For them, the banner has been risen for jihad inside the UK.
He also said that there were many other Muslim cells, as he called them, in this country.
Your welcome anonymoussierra.
very good photographs. Very well thank you good friend good information news
Bump - Thank you.
Speaking on BBC2s Newsnight, he said: Sheikh Osama bin Laden offered to the British public and the UK people at large an offer of ceasefire.
Just what do you have to do in our sad deluded world to get arrested for TREASON? Why is this ass clown not in the Tower?
Bump - Thank you.
August 1, 2005
PHOENIX Putting classified information on his Internet blog has cost a National Guardsman in Iraq a demotion.
The Army says Leonard Clark of Glendale, Arizona, is a private first class once again. He was demoted from specialist, and fined more than 16-hundred dollars.
No word what classified information Clark put on his blog, but soldiers are forbidden from including anything about Army operations or movements.
Clark is a kindergarten teacher in civilian life. He decided not to appeal the ruling. His company is expected to return from Iraq next January.
2005 Associated Press
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