Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Fatah al-Islam snipers claim two Lebanese soldiers as fighting rages on

by Rym Ghazal and Hani M. Bathish from the Daily Star

Sniper fire from Fatah al-Islam militants killed two Lebanese soldiers on Monday at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, as sporadic fighting continued in the southern part of the camp, where militants have been cornered by the army ... During the past two months, security forces have been taking the offensive across Lebanon against groups said to be pursuing plans to set up an Islamic mujahideen base in North Lebanon. The army has called for "assistance" from citizens to inform them of any "suspects or suspicious behavior." The Latest raided building was reported as belonging to "al-Shahal" an attribution denied by the man in question the Sunni Sheikh Dai al-Islam al-Shahal and founder of Salafi movement in the north.

What to do with the Dubai sheikh

from Nieuws uit Amsterdam

Last Sunday, Fatih Dag of Milli Görüs (MGT) told the Reporter TV programme that he is considering asking Sheikh Hamdan Al-Maktoum from Dubai for money to build the Westermoskee. “Our first choice is to work with Dutch partners, but if that fails, we don’t rule out going to the Emirates”. Chances that the Westermoskee will really be funded by petrodollars seem remote. For now, housing corporation Het Oosten is trying to buy MGT out of the project. However, Laroui claimed that 11 out of 12 mosques in the Netherlands are funded by sheikhs, who want to spread their version of Islam. Especially Wahhabism, an orthodox branch of Islam with roots in Saudi Arabia, would be active here.

Wahhabi opponent killed in Iran

from the BBC News

A Shia cleric known for his stance against Wahhabism, a strict version of Sunni Islam, has been killed in the south-western Iranian city of Ahwaz. Reports said Hojjat ol-Eslam Hesham Seymari was shot dead in his home at night by two men claiming to know him. Wahhabism is practised throughout the Arabian Peninsula, most notably by the ruling family of Saudi Arabia. Ahwaz, home to a large community of ethnic minority Arabs, has seen much anti-government tension since 2005 ... The representative of Iran's Supreme Leader in Khuzestan Province said the cleric had been martyred "at the hands of the mercenaries of Satan".

Bosnian Wahhabis taken into custody

from International Relations and Security Network (ISN)

Bosnian security forces recently arrested the newly self-appointed leader of the country's radical Muslim Wahhabi movement for his involvement in a shooting in a village near the central Bosnian city of Zenica. Tunisian-born Karray Kamel bin Ali, alias Abu Hamza, was arrested on 9 June, several hours after he and possibly three or four others attacked a house owned by Zijad Kovac and wounded three of his family members ... In the car Abu Hamza was driving when he was arrested, police found a Kalashnikov used in the attack and a hand grenade. Of Abu Hamza's co-conspirators - who were also arrested and then released from custody pending a hearing - some were members of the local Wahhabi movement while others were common criminals, with prior convictions.

Boxing champ arrested in Lebanon raids

by Ed O'Loughlin and Jamie Pandaram from The Age

Syrian Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed — who issued prepared statements allegedly from bin Laden after the 1998 bombings of US embassies in Africa — witnessed the raids in Tripoli in which four Australians were arrested on suspicion of militant activity, including boxing champion Ahmed Elomar. The nephew of Mohamed Ali Elomar (awaiting trial in Sydney on terror charges) Ahmed fought on the undercard of the Anthony Mundine-Danny Green bout last year. Boxing identity Hussein Hussein, who helps train Elomar, 24, said he was surprised to learn Elomar had left the country. "He went to Mecca to do his pilgrimage, and since then he hasn't come back to the gym ... I will be shocked if he is involved in anything like what they are saying."

Strategic Reset

by Brian Katulis, Lawrence J. Korb, and Peter Juul from the Center for American Progress

The core problem in Iraq's internal conflicts involves vicious internal struggles for power. Yet several of Iraq's neighbors are linked to the Iraqi groups engaged in these battles. Iran, for example, offers support to some Shi'a militia while elements in Syria and Saudi Arabia offer financial and logistical support to some Sunni groups in Iraq. In many ways, Iraq's multiple conflicts are mini-regional proxy wars, with neighboring countries supporting one group versus another.