Yemen's main oil export pipeline sabotaged, crude flow halted
May 24, 2013
Unknown attackers have blown up Yemen’s main oil export pipeline in the central province of Ma’rib, halting the flow of crude oil, government and industry sources say.
Yemen’s Defense Ministry said in a statement on Friday that the pipeline in Serwah was exploded by “subversive elements.”
The key pipeline, which carries oil to an export terminal on the Red Sea shore, had been pumping around 125,000 barrels per day (bpd), Reuters quoted an industry source as saying.
Oil revenues make up more than 70 percent of Yemen’s state budget. Oil and gas products also account for over 90 percent of Yemen's exports.
Insurgents and tribesmen have repeatedly attacked oil and gas pipelines in Yemen over the past two years in a bid to win concessions from the central government, causing fuel shortages and slashing export earnings in the impoverished country.
In December 2012, at least 17 people were killed after the Yemeni Army launched an offensive against tribesmen suspected of sabotaging the pipeline.
Official figures show lost production due to pipeline attacks in the east cost the Yemeni government more than USD one billion in 2012, while oil exports fell by 4.5 percent.
Steve Amundsen, a colleague in The United West, who hails from Southern California, sent me an Investors Business Daily editorial, entitled, “Stop Importing Terrorists”. The byline was “restrict visas issued to hostile Muslim countries.” This came at the conclusion of a bizarre and ghastly week, with the slaughter in London of British Soldier Lee Rigby by two British home grown jihadis , one a second generation and the other a third generation of Nigerian Christian origin, who converted to Islam while at university. The other troubling event was the shooting death by FBI agents in Orlando, Florida of Chechen refugee, Ibrigrim Todashev. He attempted to stab one of the agents during an interrogation in his Florida apartment concerning a triple murder allegedly perpetrated by him and the late Tamerlan Tsardaev on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Ann Corcoran of Refugee Resettlement Watchnoted a blog post how Todashev entered the US:
In 2008, the US government granted Todashev asylum, a protection granted to foreigners with a credible fear for their safety in their homelands because of religious, political, or other specific forms of persecution.
But Reutersreports that Todashev’s father is a government official in Grozny and has close ties to Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadryov.
Up on Capitol Hill in Washington, the US Senate Judiciary Committee was going through mark up of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform measure S.744 that will throw more money at the broken Refugee Resettlement Program run by our State Department. That potentially may let more refugee jihadi terrorists in. The only palliative amendment allowed was one offered by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) that would bar re-entry of Asylees and refugees who return to their country of origin for unauthorized visits.
In New York City this week, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman held a press conference. They announced the arrest of a ring of 16 Palestinians, 14 of whom were found illegally living here, engaged in a mega millions illegal enterprise. They were skimming illegal profits from more than $70 million in unpaid taxes on more than $55 million in cigarettes purchased in Virginia and North Carolina. It is estimated that over $14 million of those purloined profits may have been funneled to Hamas.
Yesterday, during a 1330AMWEBY Middle East Roundtable broadcast, listen to segment four, I asked Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Policy Center a question about how the NYPD was able to round up 16 Palestinians in New York and Maryland engaged in a cigarette smuggling scam.. She noted that the NYPD has engaged in profiling and monitoring of Muslim fundamentalists, despite objections that it was racist from groups like CAIR and even the DOJ and DHS.
She also disclosed the less well known connection that enabled the NYPD to do this; their liaison office in Tel Aviv with Shin bet, Israeli security. The proof of that valued connection was the foiling of several dozen terror plots in New York City and this week's bust of the Palestinian cigarette smuggling caper with the arrest of two legal kingpins living here and 14 other illegals.
The failure of the DHS, ICE and FBI to have found these Palestinian extremists beavering away in this illegal enterprise is evidence that our federal counterterrorism program doesn't protect us. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and his counterterrorism team appear to be among the only ones doing that 24/7. The LAPD out in Southern California wouldn't dare consider raising that possibility as Muslim advocacy groups like MPACT successfully killed a Muslim community policing program several years ago. The Deputy Mayor for Public Safety in Los Angeles at the time who ended that proposal was an MPACT member, Arif Alikhan, now Assistant Secretary for Policy at DHS in Washington. That is why many of us toss and turn wondering when the next refugee or home grown Jihadi terrorist will engage in a WMD attack taking the lives of innocent fellow citizens.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and his highly effective counterterrorism program need this broken Refugee Resettlement program fixed by the Senate Judiciary Committee to prevent more refugee jihadis from entering this country. Problem is the Senate Judiciary Committee has been lobbied by 11 voluntary agency (Volags) contractors seeking more refugee clients and fees for processing asylum applications for the likes of the late Ibrigrim Todashev and the Tsarnaev brothers. One of those Volags is the International Rescue Committee whose Boston office may have processed asylum papers for these Chechen terrorists who did us harm.
"The best way to prevent violent extremism is to work with the Muslim American community – which has consistently rejected terrorism – to identify signs of radicalization, and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting towards violence." Also sprach Obama yesterday.
"Remember: the Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was thrown out of his local mosque after lashing out at the imam for praising Martin Luther King in his Friday sermon" -- Mehdi Hasan in a Guardian article .
And this crazed idea has been echoed by Cameron and by Clegg, in the general despairing degringolade all over the Western world where, confronted with the millions of Muslims -- busily procreating, tirelessly proselytizing, limitlessly clever in presenting themselves as victims and as worthy of support in every possible Infidel way -- they simply don't know what to do, but above all want to keep pretending that somehow if they say Islam is peaceful and non-violent and, properly understood, not a threat to anyone, that Muslims themselves will ignore what is in the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira, will forget what Muhammad was like, will drop their deep-seated belief that the world belongs to Allah, that all the world ultimately should be part of one Dar al-Islam, and that Musilms have a duty to participate, communally or in some circumstances individually, directly or indirectly, in the Jihad to remove all obstacles to the spread of Islam, until it everywhere dominates, and Muslims rule, everywhere.
In the general rush to pretend that there is nothing troubling or frightening about the ideology of Islam, and that Muslims are almost to a man -- save for a handful of demented extreme extremists -- fine, wonderful, trustworthy -- we keep being told how Muslims are our first line of defense, for it is they who, we are led to believe, are eager to, ready and willing to, monitor other Muslims for the first signs of that crazy behavior, having nothing to do with Islam, that Muslims and Muslims alone exhibit.
It's all nonsense. There are paid informers, and some of them, not out of sympathy, are on the regular payroll -- and what a good living so many Muslims are making claiming to monitor other Muslims. Shouldn't we ask ourselves, by the way, why we only need informers to monitor what goes on among Muslims? In any case, there have been practically no examples of Muslims sua sponte reporting on any signs of "extremism." I know of only one case, where five Muslims left America to join the Taliban in Pakistan, and did not notify their parents, and the parents, alarmed that their sons might be killed, then went to the sinister group CAIR to tell them. And CAIR, which works day and night to keep Muslims from volunteering information to the FBI, and that campaigns for all Muslims to "know their legal rights" and to contact CAIR should the FBI come a-calling, was in a quandary. For having been informed by these Muslims, the CAIR people were not sure that the parents would not go to the government anyway, and furthermore, CAIR must worry now about a deliberate set-up by the FBI to test whether CAIR would indeed relay information. And in that case, in that single solitary case, CAIR did not prevent the parents from telling the FBI about their missing sons who had gone off to become martyrs in Pakistan, or possibly Afghanistan.
The other day Mehdi Hasan asserted, in a piece in The Guardian, that members of the Boston mosque had thrownTamerlan Tsarnaev "out of the mosque" after criticizing the local imam for praising Martin Luther King in his khutba (Friday sermon). That is false. Tsarnaev was never "thrown out of the mosque." He had, on two occasions, taken issue with what was said in passing at the mosque. He did this, first, when at Friday Prayers the imam of the local mosque (not in Boston but in Cambridge, on Prospect Street, a few blocks from Norfolk Street where Tsarnaev lived) apparently praised Martin Luther King. Tsarnaev was islamically correct in saying that praise was due only to Muslims, never to a non-Muslim. Apparently, Tsarnaev didn't realize that the mosque on Prospect Street likes to proselytize among the blacks who live nearby, and praise of Martin Luther King would be a way to their hearts and minds. The second outburst occurred when someone at the mosque suggested at Friday Prayers that it would be okay for Muslims to celebrate, or pretend or seem to celebrate, Thanksgiving, in order better to outwardly fit in, in a country where Muslims know they are 1% of the population, are not popular, and are being observed. America is not Western Europe. Indeed, in one of the Boston Globe articles about the mosque, someone -- possibly the imam -- said that Tsarnaev didn't understand the "American Islamic" version of Islam that was being offered. In other words, Tsarnaev, being by this time a True Believer, and knowing it is impermissible for Muslims to celebrate any Infidel holiday, or even to wish Infidels good wishes on their own holidays, was outraged -- and again, Tsarnaev was correct in his understanding of Islamic doctrine. What he failed to understand was the cunning of those who were willing, given the doctrrine of Darura or Necessity, (for example, a starving Muslim might be allowed to eat pork) the Muslims running the Cambridge mosque were willing, in very tiny insignificant ways, to make comprommises -- either because such compromises would be useful in proselytizing a particular community (as with praise of M. L. King) or in helping to misleadd unwary Infidels about the willingness or ability of Muslims to fit in, as by the seeming participation in Thanksgiving.
The imam at the mosque, and other members too, admitted that both incidents passed quickly, and, that Tsarnaev was never expelled from the mosque, as Mehdi Hasan claims above. And most importantly, no one at the mosque had informed the local police, or the FBI, or any other authorities, that Tsarnaev exhibited behavior that suggested he really did take Islam fully to heart and was not a compromiser in any respect (for Tsarnaev didn't realize that the imam was not giving up his Muslim principles, but merely cleverly adjusting them to the circumstances of American life, and what he had to do to proselytize, and to help members of the mosque seem outwardly to fit in) that he was someone to watch. The reason why the Muslims at the mosque had, this time, to tell the truth, the reason why they could not say that they had expelled him when they hadn't, the reason they did not dare to claim, as they no doubt would have liked to, that they "had reported Tsarnaev's outbursts to the authorities" is that they are now smart enough to know that the police and the FBI kept records, and that neither had any records of such reports or complaints. So they couldn't get away with what, no doubt, early on, some may have tried, cunningly, to suggest -- or did not contradict others who suggested that there had been this tremendous brouhaha in the mosque with Tsarnaev.. followed by his being expelled. There never was, and he never was.
But thjat doesn't stop Mehdi Hasan from lying, for he's a sly Defender of the Faith.
It's not the most disgusting part of his article. The most disgusting part of his article is, I think, this:
"Perversely, it was the non-Muslim Cub Scout leader who, in trying to save the soldier’s life, and standing up to his alleged attackers, was acting in accordance with Koranic principles"
"On a visit to Baalbek on Thursday, Australia's foreign minister, Bob Carr, said the week's events had marked a groundshift in Syria's war. The deteriorating situation there, he said, "could become a sectarian civil war across the region. The prospect of it being a Shia, Sunni war across more than one country and this would be a huge tragedy."
What do you think?
Do you think the Iran-Iraq War, that kept both the Khomeni regime, and Saddam Hussein's regime, busy with their mutual bloodletting for eight years, was "a huge tragedy" for the world's non-Muslims?
Do you think that watching the members of Jabhat Al-Nusra (including all those Muslims who come from Australia, from Germany and France and England, but who are sufficiently fanatical in their faith to have rushed to Syria to fight) fight, and engage in some mutual takfiring (declaring others to be Infidels) with the members of Hezbollah, in Qusayr is a "huge tragedy"?
Do you think the fact that Sunni Arabs in Iraq will never acquiesce in their new, inferior status, and Shi'a in Iraq will never surrender the power that they have acquired, that automatically transferred to them (they are at least three times as numerous as the Sunni Arabs in Iraq) once the regime of Saddam Hussein had been toppled, constitutes a "huge tragedy" for the world's non-Muslims?
If, in Lebanon, in Yemen, in Pakistan, in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, Sunnis go on the offensive against Shi'a, enraged perhaps at the news of Shi'a victories, and of course massacres of Sunnis, in Qusayr, and that leads to disruption and bloodletting between Sunnis and Shi'a in these places -- and perhaps even between Sunnis and Shi'a in London, or Dearborn, or Berlin -- would that constitute, for the world's non-Muslims, a "huge tragedy"?
What's wrong with Bob Carr? And what's wrong with all the bob-carrs in the Western world? Perhaps, for a start, they fail to recognize, to adequately gauge, the world-wide threat of the adherents of Islam, and the inadqquacy, the want of preparation, the want of knowledge, the want of imagination, of those who presume, everywhere in the West, to instruct and protect us.
But not everyone is ill-prepared. Not everyone is ignorant. Not everyone is without ideas as to how to weaken the Camp of Islam. And those who are prepared will welcome the disarray, and the mounting hatred of Sunni for Shi'a. It may or may not be a "huge tragedy" for Muslims. For non-Muslims, it's just the ticket.
Fighting continued for a fifth straight day in the strategic Syrian city of Qusayr, as opposition forces fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad sought desperately to maintain their slipping grip in a battle that could dictate the direction of the war. As government tanks, artillery and warplanes pounded rebel positions throughout the city, fighters engaged in sniper attacks and small forays against government ground troops seeking to take terrain. Rebel fighters are calling it one of the worst ground battles of the war.
“In some areas the fight is within three-meters diameter, and you are able to hear them yelling and crying in the battlefield,” Abu al-Baraa, a field commander from the Jabhat al-Nusra in Qusayr, tells TIME by telephone from Tripoli, where he is recovering from wounds gained earlier in the week. Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra is fighting under the umbrella of the Free Syrian Army, a loose confederation of volunteers, jihadists and opportunists aligned against the regime. Al-Baraa says he is in constant contact with his men at the front. “Now the battle is centralized in the eastern side of Qusayr, and our mujahedin are teaching [the Syrian government forces] hard lessons which, God willing, they will never forget.” He says his brigade has more than 2,000 fighters willing to sacrifice their lives to prevent Qusayr from being taken back by regime forces. Assad’s supporters are equally ferocious in their desire to retake the city, which has been under rebel control for several months.
Qusayr, a city of 30,000, straddles a key transit corridor between the Syrian capital of Damascus and the coast. Victory in Qusayr allows the regime easy access to the Mediterranean port city of Tartus, where Russian tankers can supply both oil and weapons in case the Damascus airport is destroyed. Tartus is also the entryway to a coastal region dominated by Assad’s Alawite sect — an essential refuge for the President and his supporters should Damascus fall. “No doubt Qusayr is a strategic city for the Rafidah,” says al-Baraa, using a derogatory name for Alawites, meaning rejecters, or apostates. “It is the main city that will allow them to link their state together.”
For the rebels, Qusayr is an important logistics hub. Weapons and supplies can easily be smuggled over the porous Lebanese border, 10 km away, and fighters, like al-Baraa, use safe houses across the border for rest and recovery. Members of Hizballah, an Iranian-linked Shi‘ite militia based in Lebanon, have gone across the border in the opposite direction to help the regime, raising fears of a regional and sectarian conflagration. With more than 80,000 killed in a civil war that has gone on for more than two years, the fight for Qusayr is seen as a pivotal test by both sides. George Sabra, acting head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition based in Turkey, reiterated the importance of Qusayr in a statement calling for reinforcements of men and weapons on Wednesday, citing concerns about sectarian violence and “foreign invaders” from Hizballah and Iran. “Everyone who has weapons or ammunition should send them to Qusayr and Homs to strengthen its resistance. Every bullet sent to Qusayr and Homs will block the invasion that is trying to drag Syria back to the era of fear.”
In a war where journalists have limited access, the propaganda battle of Qusayr is equally vociferous. The government news agency SANA claims to have taken half the city, whereas a local government official from the district governor’s office told the Associated Press that 80% of Qusayr was in government hands. Rebel fighters in the western part of the city, where the fighting is most fierce, told TIME by Skype that the FSA has 60% of the city. “We still control the center of Qusayr and the west,” says activist Abu Islam, speaking from the FSA’s Qusayr media center. As proof, he pointed out that the media center was able to run on generator power and he could speak safely using the Internet. On Twitter, rebels, activists and government supporters traded taunts and crowed over successes. “So far we have the bodies of 50 pigs,” al-Baraa told TIME, using an extremely pejorative term for anyone of the Muslim faith. Then, using a play on words that twisted the meaning of Hizballah, or Party of God, into party of idol worshipers, he said “Hizb el-Lat already lost 70 fighters under the strikes of our mujahedin, and if they continue the number will be more than 700.” Others in Qusayr projected weary defiance. One doctor, filmed at a makeshift field hospital where he attended wounded civilians and rebel fighters, said that half the houses in the city had been destroyed, that scores had been injured and that there was a shortage of “everything.” Still, he declared: “We will not surrender, and Qusayr will not fall.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a meeting with the Friends of Syria group in Amman on Wednesday, admitted that the regime had “made some gains in the last few days but this has gone up and down like a seesaw.” Kerry told reporters that Assad was “miscalculating” if he thought the advances would be decisive. But hopeful predictions that the regime is on its last legs are just that — hopeful. For nearly a year observers have spoken of the government’s imminent collapse, only to be proved wrong again and again. As long as Syria has the support of Iran and Russia, it is unlikely to fall no matter how well armed the rebels.
Victory in Qusayr, for either side, will have long-term implications, not just for Syria but for the region. The U.S., Russia and the international community are preparing for a summit next month that hopes to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict. By reasserting its military superiority in Qusayr, and by extension the west of the country, before the summit, the regime will be able to transform its military advances into a stronger negotiating position. For Russia this means keeping Tartus, its only warm-water port, in the hands of a close ally, even if the rest of the country falls to the rebels. For Iran, it means keeping a conduit open to its proxy, Hizballah. For that reason alone, Israel will keep a close eye on what happens next in Qusayr. “There are several thousands of Hizballah militia forces on the ground in Syria who are contributing to this violence, and we condemn that,” said Kerry at the Friends of Syria meeting, referring to Qusayr. If the regime can consolidate power from Damascus to the coast in a swath of territory that flanks northern Lebanon and Hizballah’s Lebanese heartland of the Bekaa Valley, the opportunity for weapons transfer from Iran to the sworn enemy of Israel via the Syrian capital will be even stronger. The Israelis have already targeted Syrian military positions three times under the suspicion that they were being used as transit points for weapons destined for Hizballah in Lebanon.
But the greatest risk of a regime success in Qusayr would most likely fall on its vulnerable neighbor, Lebanon. The conflict has already spilled into the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, where Alawites and Sunni Muslims have fought pitched street battles, killing 14 since Sunday. Rebel commanders in Syria, and Sunni religious leaders in Lebanon, have hinted at sectarian revenge attacks against Shi‘ites and Alawites on both sides of the border should Qusayr fall, laying the groundwork for a regional sectarian conflict.
Opposition fighters in Qusayr take up position. [Trad Zehouri/Al-Shorfa]
Hizbullah fighters are leading the assault on the city, backed by Syrian regime forces, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.
Meanwhile, Hizbullah hospitals are packed with injured fighters.
While estimates vary, opposition sources put the number of confirmed Hizbullah deaths from fighting Sunday through Wednesday evening at more than 50 fighters.
Speaking from Qusayr, Hadi al-Abdullah, spokesman for the General Committee of the Syrian Revolution in Homs said the battle for Qusayr is a Hizbullah battle "par excellence" against the city's current population of about 40,000 people.
Out of necessity, most Qusayr residents have had to fight to defend their families and city, he said.
Al-Abdullah compiles reports on casualties and battlefront information for the General Committee. He previously operated from Homs city.
Hizbullah fighters constitute most of the commanders and combatants carrying out operations in Qusayr, he told Al-Shorfa. The Syrian army backs up Hizbullah fighters on the front lines of the battle with tanks.
"Hizbullah fighters are from the elite forces," al-Abdullah said. "We know their number is considerable, but we cannot estimate it."
Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps fighters have some presence on the outskirts of the city, he said.
Al-Abdullah put the number of confirmed deaths in Hizbullah's ranks from Sunday through Wednesday evening at 64, with 56 opposition fighters and civilians killed on Sunday alone.
Hizbullah fighters are using "sophisticated sniper rifles", he said.
In one ambush, "[opposition fighters] were able to capture a pickup truck loaded with weapons and advanced night vision goggles, an identity card bearing the party's emblem, in addition to Iranian-made shells bearing Farsi inscriptions", he said.
Hizbullah trajectory in Syria
Ten months ago, Hizbullah's involvement in the conflict was modest, al-Abdullah said. It occupied eight villages in Homs province: four Alawite villages the regime handed over to it without a shot being fired, and four Sunni villages where clashes took place between opposition and Hizbullah fighters.
Several months ago, Hizbullah tried to storm three other villages; al-Burhaniyah, Saqrajah and Abu Houri near Qusayr, he said.
Hizbullah's ranks in Syria previously "numbered in the dozens, and they were equipped with light weapons", al-Abdullah said.
"Then [Hizbullah] began to send in large numbers of heavily-armed [fighters], who occupied the village of Tal al-Qaresh, which overlooks Alawite-populated areas, and later seized control of villages west of al-Assi River and prepared to storm Qusayr," he said.
Free Syrian Army spokesman Luay al-Meqdad told Elaph news website that Hizbullah recently transferred more than 3,000 fighters to Syria, with 1,200 others currently preparing to enter the country from Hermel.
Hizbullah 'at forefront' of Qusayr battle
Mahmoud Shukr, a correspondent for Bekaa's Voice of Lebanon radio station who has followed the situation in Qusayr since the outbreak of fighting, told Al-Shorfa that daily funerals for Hizbullah fighters killed in Qusayr have been held in areas where the militia has a presence.
Convoys have been leaving Hizbullah hospitals in Beirut's southern suburbs and in the Bekaa region -- specifically Dar al-Hikma hospital in Baalbek, funded by an Iranian charity -- all week, he said.
When Qusayr fell to the opposition more than a year ago, al-Jousi border crossing remained under regime control, Shukr said.
The party continues to send convoys of fighters to Qusayr through the Bekaa, preceded by convoys of armed members to clear the way for them, he said.
"This was a secret to no one, because we used to see convoys of SUVs with darkly-tinted windows pass through the Bekaa towards Syria on a daily basis at the rate of four to seven cars per day," Shukr said.
Hizbullah has been at the forefront of the Qusayr battle, according to Shukr. Since Sunday afternoon, ambulances have been transporting dead and wounded fighters to Dar al-Amal, Dar al-Hikma, al-Rayan and al-Batoul hospitals in northern Bekaa, and al-Rasoul al-Aazam hospital in Beirut's southern suburbs.
Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman on Friday (May 24th) cautioned Hizbullah over its fighting alongside regime troops in neighbouring Syria.
The day before, former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora criticised Hizbullah's growing involvement in the war in Syria, saying its actions could plunge Lebanon into a "dangerous quagmire", Lebanon's The Daily Star reported.
Siniora, head of the parliamentary Future bloc, also spoke by telephone with Shia politicians and religious leaders and urged them to intervene to put an end to Hizbullah's "dangerous involvement" in the conflict in Syria.
"What Hizbullah is doing is extremely dangerous and undermines all national principles and contradicts the Constitution, norms, laws, the Baabda Declaration, UN resolutions and the policy of disassociation upheld by Lebanon," Siniora said in a statement quoted by The Daily Star.
Acting chief of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, George Sabra, urged the United Nations Security Council "to convene an emergency meeting and go beyond expressing concern to action" regarding Qusayr.
"Our country's borders and sovereignty and the lives of its citizens are being violated. We call on the Security Council to take a position equal to the seriousness of this situation," AFP quoted Sabra as saying.
Just when you thought the religion of peace couldn't get any more wonderful, this comes in from the LATimes:
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Taliban gunmen launched a coordinated attack on an international aid group’s guesthouse in an upscale Kabul neighborhood Friday, setting off a furious firefight that lasted several hours and renewing fears of the insurgents’ ability to strike virtually at will in the heart of the capital.
The late-afternoon attack took place in Kabul’s Shar-e-Naw district, home to numerous heavily fortified compounds housing international aid groups and Afghan governmental and security entities.
The assault began with a powerful car bomb detonated at the gates of the guesthouse used by workers for the International Organization for Migration, an inter-governmental group based in Geneva. Insurgents then raided the compound, throwing hand grenades and severely burning an Italian woman working for the organization, said IOM spokesman Chris Lom.
Three other people at the compound, all of them security guards, suffered minor injuries from the grenade blasts, Lom said. Mohammad Zahir, criminal investigations chief for the Kabul police, said one officer was killed and five others injured.
All of the attackers were wearing explosives-filled suicide vests, said police spokesman Hashmat Stanakzai. Armed with automatic rifles and grenades, they battled with dozens of Afghan security personnel for several hours. Some of the attackers were shot and killed by police but at least two others holed up in the IOM guesthouse and continued to exchange gunfire with security forces, Stanakzai said.
Late Friday, Police Chief Mohammad Ayub Salangi said five of the assailants had been killed, but that fighting was continuing.
The Taliban militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, contending that they had laid siege to a U.S. military guesthouse. The Taliban often exaggerate the nature of their attacks.
Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., commander of the U.S.-led military coalition in Afghanistan, condemned the attacks.
“The insurgents have repeatedly shown little regard for innocent civilians and the future of Afghanistan as demonstrated by attacks such as these,” Dunford said. “Their actions fly in the face of their claim that they are looking to avoid civilian casualties.”
The assault was the second major insurgent attack to strike the center of Kabul in eight days. A suicide bombing on May 16 targeting a U.S. convoy killed 15 people, including six Americans. Hezb-i-Islami, a Taliban-affiliated insurgent group, claimed responsibility for that attack.
Tommy Robinson of the English Defence League doesn't always do himself any favours. He needs to stay off the booze, at least in public. But watch him here (thanks to Gates of Vienna) at his most articulate. And compare and contrast the mealy mouthed appeasement of our so-called leaders Cameron and Clegg.
It is Ramadan. The Chinese government has mandated all restaurants remain open for business during fasting hours. Regulations stipulate that state workplaces provide free lunches for their employees, and non-Muslims wait to see if their Muslim co-workers will sit down to eat with them. Schools tell students under the age of 18 that they cannot go to the mosque and pray during the holy month, or indeed at any time. The state has proscribed the communal and private religious education of children to the extent that affinities to Islam are becoming diluted. Imams, all of whom have undergone political education classes, sermonize to the only people eligible to enter the mosque, that is, men aged over 18 not employed by the government. Every Koran in public use is state approved. Any outward expression of faith in workplaces, hospitals, and some private businesses, such as men wearing beards or women wearing headscarves, is forbidden. In short, the state controls the smallest details of individual expressions of religious belief and practice.
This is the stark picture of restrictions placed on the religious freedom of the Uyghur people, documented by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) in a new report titled Sacred Right Defiled. The Uyghur are a Turkic Muslim people whose homeland, in China’s far northwest, is known as either Xinjiang or East Turkestan, depending on your politics. The distinct Uyghur cultural identity is besieged through a variety of state policies that include the exclusion of the Uyghur language in educational institutions, the demolition of traditional Uyghur neighborhoods, and a steady migration of Han Chinese into predominately Uyghur towns and cities. Sacred Right Defiled details how the Chinese state has implemented an array of ever-restrictive regulations on religion, a cornerstone of Uyghur identity. As scholar Arienne Dwyer states, “For both urban and rural Uyghurs, ethnic identity is linked with religious and linguistic identity.”
In 2005, Religious Affairs Regulations took effect across the People’s Republic of China. The regulations were the most comprehensive attempt to date to define the permissible aspects of religious expression across the nation, and marked the culmination of numerous regional regulations covering religious sites, government employees and religious leaders implemented since the late 1980s, especially in Uyghur and Tibetan regions. At the time the national regulations came into force, according to Ma Pinyan of the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, the Uyghur region already had more religious regulations than any other province, proving them to be a “powerful legal weapon” to control religion. Sensing the effectiveness of heavy regulation in managing religious affairs in ethnic minority areas, Chinese authorities moved to contain burgeoning religious groups countrywide through national measures.
In a hallmark of authoritarianism, the Chinese government is codifying its repression through the development of legal instruments. Since 2005, the policy with regard to religion has continued unabated on a national and regional level. More regulations, as well as revisions of existing regulations, have been passed in an attempt to further narrow the scope of religious expression. In the Uyghur region, this has resulted in further curbs on imams, religious publications, and undertaking the Hajj among many other controls. Ramadan in 2012 was widely viewed as one of the most restrictive in years. State work units assigned personnel to check that colleagues were not worshipping at mosques in accordance with the ban on mosque attendance for government employees. China often cites security concerns in implementing such limitations. As recently as April, Wang Zuo’an, head of the State Administration for Religious Affairs said, “religion can become a lure for unrest and antagonism.” Many of the regulations targeting Uyghurs, especially those aimed to confine the religious beliefs and practices of Uyghur children, are not seen in other regions of China. Coupled with the absence of the Uyghur language in education, restrictions on the religious practice of Uyghur children weaken connections to ethnic identity and create disincentives for their use and practice in wider society.
The even darker side of China’s regulatory body to curb religious freedom is that many Uyghurs interviewed by UHRP described their confusion over what religious expressions were permitted under Chinese laws, as there were such a bewildering number of regulations passed. According to UHRP research, while officials continue to emphasize the need to make legislation clearer and more accessible, the latest Religious Affairs Regulations remain difficult to find on government websites. Confusion or innocent ignorance of religious regulations tended to make Uyghurs err on the side of caution rather than risk trouble with the authorities. Rightfully so, as UHRP documents, those Uyghurs who have been convicted of “illegal religious activities” face long terms in prison and even torture, as in the case of the Uyghur Christian, Alimjan Yimit.
China does have articles protecting religious freedom in the Constitution and the Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law; however, urging China to respect them is only part of the picture. China implementation of harsh religious regulations against Uyghurs is one of many egregious violations of Uyghur human rights that also include abuses of political and economic rights. Yet it is through the Uyghurs’ faith in Islam that China is pressing hardest to validate an intensification of its repression on the Uyghur people. China’s recent attempt to equate a violent incident in Maralbeshi, near Kashgar, on April 23 with the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing illustrates how China is leveraging terrorism accusations to justify crackdowns on the Uyghur. In the murky case of Maralbeshi, where 21 people lost their lives in a clash between local police and alleged Uyghur terrorists, even the usually reticent U.S. State Department said China should “provide all Chinese citizens, including Uighurs, the due process protections to which they are entitled.” [Why? In China, does the writ of the U.S. Constitution ru? When did the American government start thinking that that the First and Fourteenth Amendments were universal in their application?]
While launching the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2013 Annual Report, USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett remarked on the importance of religious freedom to security. She concluded religious freedom encourages moderate factions to flourish and saves religious minorities from the dangers of marginalization. China’s future stability faces this challenge stemming from its current treatment of religious minorities within its borders. If China is to realize its potential as a global power, it must abide by its international standards; however, China also needs to appreciate the value of religious freedom to its own prosperity. [China needs lessons from no one in how to control --i.e., constrain -- the forces of Islam]
The Woolwich suspects were “hunting for soldiers” in the weeks leading up to the atrocity in which drummer Lee Rigby was killed, it was claimed today.
Neighbour Paul Ramsamy, 46, claimed the pair confronted him after apparently mistaking him for a squaddie because he was wearing combat trousers and boots.
The father of two said Michael Adebowale, 22, and Michael Adebolajo, 28, had followed him in the street in Greenwich as he walked home.
He claimed: "They followed me for about 50 metres and approached me together. They looked very serious, like they meant business. They looked at my camouflage trousers and boots. I then thought they just wanted me to buzz them into the flat block but that was obviously not the case.
"When I saw what happened in Woolwich I recognised them and realised how lucky I have been. They must have been hunting for soldiers to attack when they followed me.
“I realise now what a a lucky escape I had. They were obviously looking for a soldier to attack in the time before they struck. They were whispering to each other when they walked away, it was very scary.
"They obviously saw I was not a soldier and let me go. They could have followed me into the lift and attacked me. I feel lucky to be alive."
The alleged incident took place two months ago and suggests the pair may have been plotting their attack for some time.
"This was not just an attack on Britain – and on our British way of life. It was also a betrayal of Islam – and of the Muslim communities who are give so much to our country.
'There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act.
'We will defeat violent extremism by standing together, by backing our police and security services and above all by challenging the poisonous narrative of extremism on which this violence feeds.
'Britain works with our international partners to make the world safe from terrorism. Terrorism that has taken more Muslim lives than any other religion.
'It is an utter perversion of the truth to pretend anything different. That is why there is absolutely no justification for these acts and the fault for them lies solely and purely with the sickening individuals who carried out this appalling attack."
-- David Cameron
Do you enjoy, do you find the slightest bit convincing, any of this? And what about the further statement that Cameron made, gushing with gratitude to Muslims for what he called all that they "give" to the United Kingdom, all the ways -- let's count the ways, shall we? -- that they make the United Kingdom a richer, more wonderful, more peaceful, more harmonious, place just by being here and making their wonderful contributions, which contributions are of course too numerous to mention.
But let's return to the main text posted above.
“There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act." This is completely false. There are more than one hundred Jihad verses, and many hundreds of ahadith, that support exactly such acts as these. The "poisonous narrative" is in the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira --- and how does David Cameron propose to modify, or interpret away, the "poisonous narrative" of the canonical texts of Islam? It can't be done.
“The people who did this were trying to divide us. They should know: something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger.”
No, they -- the two meat-cleavered butchers -- were not ":trying to divide us" -- with the implied corollary, according to Cameron's formulation, that we should not take a dim view of Muslims and Islam because if we were to do so, that would "only let the terrorists win." They want us, you see, the camerons of the world assure us, to take a dim view of Islam, to be suspicious of the ideology of Islam and of Muslims, and we mustn't do that for that would give those "terrorists" -- those "extremists" -- the very victory they so desire. This may remind some of Shimon Perest who, after every PLO attack, during and after the Oslo Accords, would mechanically repeat that "these were the enemies of peace" and that, therefore, Israel should make even more concessions so as to bring "peace" (in reality, a peace treaty, or rather, a hudna modelled on Hudaibiyya). It's hard to believe that Cameron is so ignorant and stupid, but I'm afraid he is.
The killers of Drummer Rigby had no need to "try to divide us."They were trying to punish, to inflict revenge, as they saw it, on the strange people, the enemy people, the non-Muslim English people, among whom they live and whom, for the moment, they must endure. There's no need to talk about preventing the "dividing of people." Islam divides the world in two, between Believers and non-Believers. Central to Islam is that distinction. And non-Muslims are not entitled to equal rights with Muslims, but rather are subject to a host of legal and financial disabilities..
That distinction, between Usand Them, Believers and Non-Believers, Muslims and Infidels. It's all over the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sira. It's the very heart of the Sharia' -- the different treatment of Muslims and non-Muslims. It's how so many non-Muslim peoples, far more numerous than their Muslim conquerors, were converted to Islam, to escape from the many heavy social and economic and political disablities placed on them by Muslims. I don't expect Cameron to have read a lot about islam, but by this time, he and everyother leader in the Western world should know enough to refrain from such idiotric remarks, which merely invite ridicule, and certainly help to delegitimise his rule. And all over Western Europe, the rule of those who keep lying and lying about Islam is being deligitimised -- by those very lies. It's happening everywhere.
“Over the last few days London has shown itself at its best: an unbreakable city once again refusing to bow to hatred and violence. Of all the groups and faiths represented here today, I would like to pay special tribute to London's Muslim community.
“An unspeakable act has been conducted in their name. Yet while this has provoked feelings of frustration and anger - it flies in the face of the peace and love that Islam teaches - Muslim organisations, Mosques, Imams and community leaders have responded with a call for unity and calm. They have set an example for us all.”
--- Nick Clegg, at a "community" meeting held after the most recent Muslim murders
Nick Clegg, spoiled and stupid and callow, like so many of those now running the United Kingdom, had a fvoreign policy, you may remember. It was based on Clegg's deep and vicious hostility to israel (such hostility tends, unsurprisingly, to accompany a deep unconcern for the behavior and attitudes of Muslims all over the world). Or have you forgotten that about Nick Clegg? On the other hand, for Nick Clegg the adherents of Islam are wonderful people, and not deserving of any scrutiny or criticism.
Here he is, on the killing, mutilation, dismemberment, of a British soldier in the middle of the day, in the middle of London, by someone who tells us, who makes clear, that he was prompted to do this by the texts of Islam, and he even quotes directly from Sura 9, the Surat Al-Tauba.
What does Nick Clegg know or understand about the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sira? Will no one attempt to cross-question him about his knowledge of these texts, and about how they are received by adherents of Islam? Will no one point out to him thew 1350-year history of violent Islamic conquest of many different lands, and many different peoples, and how the histories, the languages, the memories of those peoples were, wherever possible, simply erased, as were their art, their artifacts, their other monuments. Will no one ask him, callow hollow Nick Clegg, what he makes of the figure of Muhammad, the Model of Conduct and the Perfect Man? Is it possible that among those ruling now in the U.K. are people who are ignorant (of Islam), cowardly (terrified of offending Muslims lest those peaceful Muslims erupt in even more violent ways) and unimaginative (because they cannot begin to figure out all the ways that the Camp of Islam can be divided, demoralized, weakened, and all the ways that the hold of Islam on the minds of at least its non-Arab adherents can be weakened, and how, too, the Muslim presence in the U.K. and other threatened Western lands can be diminished,if a policy of relentless hostility and containment is instituted, one that would be supported by all sane people in the United Kingdom, if only they could be given intelligent direction and someone, or some people, were to come to power who, unlike Nick Clegg, had intelligence, knowledge, wit, and imagination.
Here he is, Nick Clegg, this limited man, who with such pronouncements as he makes in this Telegraph article, invites contempt and ridicule.
You couldn’t make this up: As thousands of people in large swathes of the planet, including war-torn Syria, are dying daily for lack of adequate medical care, the one geographic area whose “health conditions” are slated for condemnation at the World Health Organization’s annual conference is, naturally, “the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan.” What makes this surreal isn’t just that the above areas enjoy far better “health conditions” than much of the rest of the world. It’s that the Palestinian Authority (Israel’s “peace partner”), together with Syria and other Arab countries, is seeking to condemn Israel at a time when it is actively providing medical services to both Palestinians and Syrians.
The denunciation of health conditions on the Golan is particularly surreal: Syrians in Syria, where medical care of any kind is often simply unavailable, would be thrilled to get the same state-of-the-art care as their brethren on the Golan–where, as in East Jerusalem, Israeli law applies, entitling residents to the same services as all other Israelis.
But thanks to Israel, some of those Syrians actually are getting such care–which is doubtless Syrian President Bashar Assad’s real gripe. Israel has quietly set up a field hospital on the Golan where dozens of Syrians wounded in the civil war have been treated; others, who need more intensive care, have been transferred to regular Israeli hospitals.
Israel has also offered treatment to some Syrian refugees. Just this month, via Israel’s Save a Child’s Heart program, Israeli doctors saved the life of a four-year-old Syrian refugee with a serious heart condition. Similar treatment was offered to three other Syrian children in Jordan who have similar conditions, but their parents refused: Apparently, they fell victim to their own anti-Israel propaganda. Still, the doctors are hoping they will change their minds once the first girl returns to Jordan healthy and happy.
In the PA and Hamas-run Gaza, health care is also far better than in much of the rest of the world, though admittedly not up to Israeli standards. Of course, any deficiencies are their own fault: Both have had complete autonomy in civil affairs for years; Israel can hardly be blamed if they chose to invest in, say, military training for schoolchildren rather than better health care.
But more importantly, they have an advantage most other countries with similar health-care systems don’t: generous access to Israeli hospitals for any problems their own can’t treat. And you needn’t take my word for it: Just this month, after PA Health Minister Hani Abdeen visited Jerusalem’s Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital, the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadidareported that “30% of the patients who are children are Palestinians.” It also reported that Hadassah is now training some 60 Palestinian doctors, who will then return to serve the PA’s own population.
It’s disgraceful that an otherwise respectable organization like WHO would lend its countenance to a farcical resolution like this. But it’s an excellent lesson in why the positions of the “international community” are often deserving of derision rather than respect–especially when it comes to Israel.
Thanks to Kuperwasser al-Dura report, truth is on its way
By PHILIPPE KARSENTY 22/05/2013
I strongly recommend that the State of Israel establish another investigative committee to determine the problems which led to this situation.
For over 10 years, I’ve been fighting, along with many friends, to get out the truth about the al-Dura blood libel.
For many years, the strongest argument of our opponents has been the silence of the State of Israel when my efforts were sometimes undermined by Israeli diplomats. So getting the support of Israeli public diplomacy was an important objective.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received Moshe Ya’alon’s and Yossi Kuperwasser’s report, which confirms my accusation against French public TV.
It’s a milestone on the way to the truth.
Yesterday, a French court of appeals was expected to release its verdict on another episode of my defamation trial against France 2, but the verdict was postponed, for the second time. It is now due to be given on June 26.
My victory in that case could be an important step forward, but nothing is certain.
Five years ago, after I won the appellate court trial, France 2 denied the report was a hoax and appealed to the French Supreme Court on technicalities. Last year, they won and the verdict was annulled. The highest French court said we didn’t have the right to look at France 2’s raw footage to decide if I was right or wrong to accuse them of having staged their news report.
Kafka was back! If I lose, you can be sure Israel demonizers and France 2 will use the verdict to slander Israel, and me, even if I lose on technicalities.
Almost 13 years after the broadcasting of the Dura hoax, Israel is still trying to recover its good name, and this should be a reason to worry for the State of Israel and its citizens. Thirteen years and so many lives lost because of Israel’s silence, because of Israel’s incapacity to understand global anti-Semitism is fed by Israel’s reluctance to defend its point of view.
During all these years, I’ve been undermined by Israelis; ambassadors, politicians, journalists and by a prominent American Jewish organization which preferred to keep access to the French politicians over fighting for the truth. Nevertheless, I was confident because the truth has always been on my side.
NOW THAT the State of Israel has taken the official decision to fight for its good name, it is important to encourage it to continue and to analyze how this huge PR failure has been allowed to go on for so long.
This Kuperwasser investigation committee has been important and productive. I strongly recommend that the State of Israel establish another investigative committee to determine the problems which led to this situation.
One day or another, Israel will face another lie, another blood libel or other false accusations during military operations. Israel was not prepared for this war, and Israel lost.
Since the creation of the State of Israel, Arabs, with the complicity of some Western countries, have tried to destroy this tiny nation by open warfare. They failed.
Then they tried terrorism. In the end, that also failed. So, they turned to media war – and here, unfortunately, they succeeded.
The result is that now, the wars Israel wins on the ground, while respecting international laws and treaties, are lost on the media battlefield, and then in the diplomatic arena.
The official Israeli report, which was issued on Sunday, shows a turning point in the Israeli authorities’ state of mind: they decided to fight for their good name. This is good news, and will be effective only if they are able to analyze their mistakes and draw conclusions in order not to repeat past mistakes.
As in every previous war, Israel has no choice but to win. It’s a question of survival, and I’m sure Israel will succeed.
The writer has been a truth fighter on the Dura case for more than 10 years.
The two men were arrested by police on suspicion of endangering an aircraft. An RAF typhoon jet was launched after an incident on board the Pakistani passenger aircraft within UK airspace.
Manchester Airport said the aircraft was a Pakistan International Airlines passenger plane which was flying from Lahore to Manchester.
The incident is understood to have happened around 10 minutes before the plane, flight number PK709, was due to land in Manchester at 2pm. The plane has now landed at Stansted Airport in Essex and is in an isolated stand, away from passenger areas. The Essex airport is the UK's anti-terrorism base, where planes can be safely isolated.
Channel 4 News understands that Essex police are now carrying out security checks on the aircraft.
And from Sky News: A witness speaking in Urdu to Pakistani station Geo TV, said that two men over 6 feet tall tried to enter the pilot's cabin.
Mashood Takwar, from Pakistan International Airlines, told Sky News that 25 minutes before landing Manchester air traffic control contacted the pilot after apparently receiving some information from British security services.
NBC news misleadingly identifies the Muslims riotiing in Sweden and destroying property both of individuals and the state as "immigrants' or as "youths" but never as Muslims. But these "youths" are not just any "youths" of all ethnicities and religions. And these "immigrants" are not a representative sampling of immigrants -- there's not a single Chinese or Hindu among them, but Muslims, Turks, Kurds, Arabs, the same Muslims whose Qur'an teaches them that they are the best of peoples, that they should not take Christians and Jews as friends, that when the holy months pass, they should make war on the Infidels, that the Infidels owe them support -- the Jizyah which, in lands where Muslims do not yet rule, should be taken by Muslims in the form of seizure -- theft -- or inveigling -- massive exploitation, through fraud, of whatever benfits the generous states of the Western world so trustingly offer.
What is never asked is: why is it that in every country of Western Europe, no matter that country's history, or its political regime, that the Muslim immigrants are always unable to integrate, despite the best efforts -- and in Sweden the entire country has fallen all over itself not only to offer "asylum" to undeserving Muslims, but to provide them with free or heavily subsidized housing (and the housing, with the nursery schools and kindergartens attached, and the stores, and everything else the Swedish state so unstintingly has provided for so long), and free language-training, and education, and subsidised transportation, and free health care, and all the rest of it, for people who come from Islamic lands of misrule where they get nothing. And instead of overwhelming gratitude toward Sweden and the Swedes, the Muslims demonstrate resentment, and ill-concealed -- or sometimes unconcealed -- hatred toward the non-Muslims who still insist on treating Sweden as a country where their Infidel laws and customs should prevail, and where Muslims feel they are not given their due - but their due is clearly that of superior status, whiich is their right because, you see, they are Muslims, and any other status -- equality or inferiority, in economic or social or political status, to non-Muslims is siimply intolerable, contra naturam, against the Will of Allah. It cannot be accepted.
Look not only at Sweden, but at all the other countries of Western Europe. People of substantially lower I.Q. than the indigenous non-Muslims arrive. Many of them are the products of cousin-marriage, so favored in Muslim socieites because the level of aggression and mistrust is high, so that one favors marriage within families -- and that of course has its effects,in the large number of congenital defects, now to be paid for by the non-Muslim taxpayers, and also has effects on I.Q. Education, in the Western sense, about the language, history, literature, and laws of Infidels, is of little or no interest to Muslims, who have everywhere disrupted classrooms and refused to listen, or allow non-Muslims to listen, to those topics that Muslims find offesnive (includiong, of course, any discussion of local kings, or the history of Christianity, or sympathetic study of the artifacts of Western Christendom, or of antisemitism in any of its manifestations, including the industrial-strength murders, by the Nazis and their collaborators all over Europe, of Jews)/ And when it comes to science, which requires training in skepticism and questioning, how can those raised up in a fanatical faith that is based on punishment of any questioning of that faith, and of its central figure, not Allah but, rather, Muhammad -- no wonder that despite the trillions of dollars that have flowed to Muslim oil-and-gas countries, the contribution of Muslims to modern science has been negligible, practically invisible, and it is only here and there, and in a very few fields, working in the West, that a handful of Muslim researchers have gone beyond the mediocre.
And the Muslims in Sweden resent this state of affairs. They think they deserve not only whatever they get -- and they get so much -- from the Swedish taxpayers, but that they deserve more and more. They should not be expected to simply accept their comfortable state-supported conditions which, in fact, are superior to anything they could obtain on their own, or enjoy at home, in their own dreadful and dreadfully-governed countries. They want more, more, more.
But that's not how the pious reporters of NBC News see it. Just read, below, their report on the sixth day of rioting in Stockholm by "youths" and "immigrants" whom you know, and I know, are nothing but Musliims rioting against the Infidels:
Sweden riots: Cops seek reinforcements, US citizens warned
Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix via Reuters
Firefighters extinguish a row of burning cars in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby Thursday after youths rioted for a fifth night.
By Simon Johnson and Patrick Lannin, Reuters
STOCKHOLM - Police in the Swedish capital are to seek reinforcements after youths again set cars ablaze and threw stones at police for a fifth night running, officials said on Friday.
The unrest has led the United States embassy to warn U.S. citizens this week not to go to areas hit by rioting.
"I can confirm we have sent out a Warden message," embassy spokeswoman Danielle Harms said, referring to alerts by the Department of State with safety or travel information.
Around 30 cars were set on fire in poorer neighborhoods in northwestern and southwestern parts of the capital on Thursday night and rioters caused widespread damage to property, including schools, police said.
Despite Sweden's reputation for equality, the rioting has exposed a fault-line between a well-off majority and a minority, often young people with immigrant backgrounds, who cannot find work, lack education and feel marginalized.
"In terms of extent, it is a little less, a little quieter," police spokesman Kjell Lindgren said of the disturbances on Thursday night. Eight people, mostly in their early 20s, had been detained during the night.
He said police were planning to request reinforcements from other areas to help deal with the rioting, upcoming football matches and the wedding of Princess Madeleine, third in line to the throne, on June 8.
He said the police needed to be prepared to maintain a heavy presence on the streets. "We will do that for days, weeks, as long as it is necessary," he said.
The violence of recent days appears to have been sparked by the death in Husby - the centre of the rioting - of a 69-year old, shot by police earlier this month.
One recent government study showed up to a third of young people aged 16 to 29 in some of the most deprived areas of Sweden's big cities neither study nor have a job.
The gap between rich and poor in Sweden is growing faster than in any other major nation, according to the OECD, though absolute poverty remains uncommon.
The second suspect in the killing of drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich was today identified as a former London schoolboy who attended the same university as his accomplice. Michael Adebowale, 22, was shot by police along with his accomplice Michael Adebolajo, 28, during the attack outside the Army barracks on Wednesday.
The pair are throught to have plotted the attack in Adebowale’s flat in Greenwich which was raided by up to 20 heavily armed police yesterday. Neighbours said both men were regularly seen at the address where Adebowale was living with his mother Juliet.
He and Adebolajo - said to have also been a drug dealer and robber - both attended Greenwich University, though it is not known how they met.
A man and a woman, both 29, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder during a series of raids on six addresses in London, Essex and Lincolnshire yesterday.
It came as MI5 also faced continued questions over whether they had let the two men slip through the net. Adebolajo was once intercepted by police as he tried to travel to Somalia to fight alongside Al-Shabaab and is also said to have served a jail sentence for violence. Both men were said to be known to the security services but were not classified as an active threat.
Anjem Choudary, the former leader of banned radical group al-Muhajiroun, said Adebolajo regularly attended meetings and demonstrations held by his group and successor organisations.
Omar Bakri Mohammed, a hate preacher banned from Britain, claimed he had converted Adebolajo himself.
At least two schools, a police station, and 15 cars were set ablaze in Stockholm on Thursday night as riots in the suburbs of the Swedish capital continued for the fifth straight night.
In Rinkeby a predominantly immigrant district in northern Stockholm, firefighters rushed to put out flames that engulfed six cars parked alongside each other. Three more cars were torched in the southern suburb of Norsborg, and a police station in Älvsjö, also on the city's south side, was set on fire but quickly extinguished, police said.
Eight people were arrested in Älvsjö, while four arrests were made in Norsborg.
Firefighters also reported a school in Tensta, another north Stockholm suburb, was set ablaze but quickly extinguished, while a Montessori school in the neighbouring Kista suburb was also on fire.
Meanwhile, police in Södertälje, a town south of Stockholm, said rioters threw stones at them as they responded to reports of cars set alight.
Car fires were reported in the suburb of Sollentuna, while a car fire in Jordbro had spread to a nearby shopping centre before being brought under control, police told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
The previous night, the fire brigade had been called to some 90 different blazes, most of them caused by rioters.
SEYDA ZEINAB, Syria—This town on Damascus's southern fringe, with a shimmering golden-domed shrine at its center and a heavily patrolled perimeter of berms and concrete barriers, has become the first stop for many foreign fighters entering Syria to battle alongside President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Shiite fighters, primarily from Lebanon, Iran and Iraq, are now flowing into Syria in greater numbers to bolster government forces, say Syrians familiar with them. They are arriving to defend Mr. Assad's regime, but more fundamentally to protect the Shiite faith from what they see as a regional Sunni onslaught, say people in Seyda Zeinab and the fighters' hometowns.
Shiite mourners in Basra, Iraq, May 17. Relatives say Mohammed Aboud was killed defending Seyda Zeinab, Syria. His coffin reads 'Sigh in grief, Zeinab.'
The influx provides more concrete illustration of how Syria's conflict, long viewed as a civil war fought largely along sectarian lines, is now a full-fledged religious conflagration drawing its oxygen from across the region.
The dynamics have been most visible over the past week in the battle for rebel-held Qusayr, whose capture would bring the regime secure logistical lines in the center of the country, running from Damascus to the pro-Assad Syrian coast and into sympathetic territory inside Lebanon.
In Qusayr, Iran-backed Shiite Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon have battled openly alongside forces loyal to Mr. Assad, whose regime is dominated by the Shiite-linked Alawites. On Thursday, Hezbollah's media arm said regime forces were in control of roughly the southern half of Qusayr and were pressing ahead with an air and ground offensive to take the whole town.
But Shiite militants are increasingly involved in combat elsewhere in the country as well. These include fighters from Hezbollah, from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and from Iraq's Asaib Ahl al-Haq—an Iran-backed group that was responsible for some of the most sophisticated and lethal attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq—according to militia members and Syrians familiar with the fighters.
Such fighters have been active in campaigns launched this year to wrest control of Damascus suburbs from the rebels, said Maher Ajeeb, the commander of a Syrian pro-regime militia in Seyda Zeinab. Many Shiite warriors have answered calls to protect important shrines like the one here, a mausoleum where Shiites believe Zeinab, a saint-like granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad, is buried.
Mr. Ajeeb said he faced a dilemma when Syrian rebels launched an assault here on New Year's Day this year. His brother was battling on one front, he said. Pressing against rebels on a second front, he said, was a group of fighters he called "the friends"—members of Hezbollah.
Mr. Ajeeb, whose group was mustered the previous month, backed up the Hezbollah fighters. The town's defense proved successful. But his brother Hussein was killed, he said.
"They are my brothers, too," said Mr. Ajeeb of his choice to battle alongside Hezbollah. "And we are all servants of Seyda Zeinab."
The number of Shiite foreign fighters in Syria isn't clear. President Assad told an Argentine newspaper last week that only senior Iranian and Hezbollah military experts with long-standing ties to the Syrian army are in the country. But Syrians and Iraqis fighting alongside the regime say hundreds of foreigners have come this year, compared with dozens late last year.
"I personally get dozens of calls each day from people in the provinces and Baghdad who want to go," said a commander of Asaib, the Iraqi militia. "We send well-trained ideological fighters."
These Shiites form a counterpoint to similarly religiously motivated fighters who have entered the country to aid the predominantly Sunni rebels. Many Syrian rebels are increasingly under the sway of al Qaeda fighters, clerics and benefactors from Gulf Arab states who extol the eradication of "heretic" communities of Shiites and Alawites.
Foreign Sunni fighters represent more than two dozen nationalities, from Saudi and Turkish to Chechen, Mr. Assad and other Syrian officials have said. Some 500 to 700 Europeans are among the nearly 6,000 Islamist foreign fighters who have come to Syria to support the rebels since the start of the war, a European diplomat said. In April, the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation placed the number of European rebel fighters at 135 to 590, with the largest numbers from the U.K., France and the Netherlands, basing its count on media reports and martyrdom notices.
The religious fervor extends to fighters' communities as far away as Kuwait, Libya, Iran and Saudi Arabia—on dueling satellite channels, online chat forums and social-media websites. Some Shiite clerics are propagating the idea that the war in Syria is laying a foundation for the imminent return of the Messiah-like Imam Mahdi, who Shiites broadly believe will wage an end-times battle against evil on Syrian soil.
"We must be ready for the reappearance and committed to its aftermath because the process won't be easy," Jalaleddin al-Saghir, an Iraqi Shiite cleric and politician, said in October in one of his many sermons in Baghdad about the topic.
The influx of Shiite fighters to Syria has triggered calls, particularly from Syrian rebel backers and clerics in Gulf Arab Sunni states, for all-out jihad against Iran and its allies in Syria. Faisal bin Jasim al-Thani, a member of Qatar's royal family, warned on his Twitter account Tuesday that Shiites in the region would now face revenge attacks. "Iran and its tails will be crushed in Syria," he wrote.
This regional reach makes a political compromise to end fighting that much more elusive.
"I have every right to ask a Lebanese military expert to help me with my just cause," said Fadi Burhan, a Syrian Shiite cleric in Seyda Zeinab. Mr. Burhan heads public relations at a local office of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian supreme leader who also conveys religious guidance through offices serving Shiite communities around the world.
Mr. Burhan, a tall and imposing figure in his 30s, lifts his shirt to show scars on his stomach from three bullets that he says were from a failed assassination attempt in Seyda Zeinab in April 2012. His assailants, he said, were two Sunni teenagers—members of the many Sunni families who had sought refuge here because, at the time, it was safer than other areas. The attempt on his life came two weeks after another Syrian Shiite cleric, Naser al-Alawi, was killed here in a similar manner.
By July, most Sunnis had left Seyda Zeinab. At the same time, Shiites and Alawites were brutally chased from a neighboring district, Hajeera, that is now under the control of extremist Sunni rebels and foreign jihadists, according to residents.
Seyda Zeinab is now a virtual fortress accessible only through army checkpoints. The shrine's perimeter is sealed off with concrete walls. Rebels recently fired mortar shells that narrowly missed the shrine. They have also threatened in text messages sent this year to some residents to level the shrine and turn it into an ice-skating rink, said residents.
Hundreds of male residents have joined government-sponsored paramilitary groups tasked with securing the town and participating in operations against rebels around Damascus.
The very name of Mr. Ajeeb's militia, the Abu al-Fadhel al-Abbas Brigade, positions it within the sectarian drama: Al-Abbas was the half-brother of revered Shiite Imam Hussein, the grandson of Muhammad. The brothers were among the Shiites slaughtered more than 1,300 years ago in Karbala, in present-day Iraq, by forces dispatched by the Damascus-based Sunni caliph. The shrine here to the men's sister is one of Shia Islam's holy sites.
The brigade's creation, coupled with the threats against the shrine, have attracted volunteer fighters. especially from Lebanon and Iraq, Mr. Ajeeb said. Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei and Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah both issued in April what amounted to religious justification to Shiites fighting in Syria.
"To be martyred in Syria is like being martyred in Karbala" 1,300 years ago, said Mr. Ajeeb, a bearded and stocky 30-year-old in a military uniform, who said that before the conflict he owned a fruit and vegetable stand in town.
In Lebanon and Iraq, funerals for fighters slain in Syria are now an almost daily occurrence.
"At your service, Zeinab!" read one of the banners carried in the southern Iraqi city of Diwaniyah on Saturday at the funeral of Muthana al-Karawi, whom a local news website identified as a fighter killed in Syria a week ago.