Monday, September 10, 2007

From Fritz to Adbullah: conversion shocks Germans

by Nicholas Kulish and Souad Mekhennet from The Age, Australia

Fritz Gelowicz, 28, is in police custody, charged with leading a plot that, had it succeeded, could have surpassed the London bombings in its toll ... When searching for potential converts, leaders at the Multi-Kultur-Haus focused on young people, generally between 17 and 28 years old. Gelowicz began to frequent the centre, which preached the strict Wahabi form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia, far from the norm for the rest of the Muslim community in the area ... an Iranian-born Kurd with German citizenship named Dana Boluri told investigators that he met Gelowicz and Selek in Saudi Arabia. Gelowicz would later take part in the surveillance of US military barracks in Hanau that refocused investigators' attention on him in the months before his arrest.

Citi eyes international acquisitions

by Shanny Basar from Financial News Online US

Last year, Citi CEO Chuck Prince admitted his frustration with the lack of movement in the bank’s share price ... he had come under pressure from shareholders including the bank’s largest investor, Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, to improve the bank’s performance. In response to the criticism, Prince appointed Robert Druskin as chief operating officer to oversee a cost-cutting review that includes shedding 17,000 jobs and saving $10bn over three years. Meantime, the bank has carried out a series of overseas acquisitions. Citi, whose European acquisitions in the past year include UK internet bank Egg and investment manager Quilter, as well as a 20% stake in Turkey’s Akbank, is thought to be eyeing several potential banking takeovers outside the US. Outside Europe, Citi’s acquisitions include Old Lane, the US hedge fund run by former Morgan Stanley banker Vikram Pandit, and Nikko Cordial, the Japanese brokerage.

The Nibble Offensive

from The Strategy Page

September 4, 2007: The LTTE campaign to drive Moslems out of eastern Sri Lanka had a noxious side effect. Islamic radical groups formed to fight back. These groups grew out of Wahhabi missionary efforts (funded by Saudi Arabian religious charities). The Wahhabi preach a very conservative form of Islam, and the need to fight non-Moslems. The Islamic radicals formed a coalition with Moslem gangsters, so that when the army pushed the LTTE out of the east, they found armed Moslem groups, that don't want to disarm.

Newt Gingrich Goes 'On the Record'

Newt Gingrich interviewed by Greta Van Susteren from Fox News

Q: But your saying it's a mess and, looking back, we didn't take it seriously. What should we have done? We should have, first of all, recognized and had a national dialogue about the fact that if these people get nuclear or biological weapons, we are mortally threatened as a free country. We should have insisted on a real Homeland Security Department capable of dealing with a nuclear attack or biological attack, which, by the way, would have been capable of dealing with New Orleans. We should have insisted on a fundamental thinking of our policy overseas, including holding Saudis to account for the fact that most of the terrorists were Saudis, most of the money is Saudi money.

$70 crude not justified by fundamentals-Exxon

from Reuters

Exxon Mobil's top official said on Friday that oil market fundamentals did not justify a crude oil price as high as $70 a barrel. Oil prices on Friday were above $76 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, speaking at a conference in Calgary, added that OPEC powerhouse Saudi Arabia had the resources and technology to boost its oil production capacity to 12.5 million barrels per day.

Opec ignores global pleas

by Veronique Dupont from AFP

Oil producers' cartel Opec is expected to keep its output unchanged at its meeting next week, ignoring pleas from rich countries for more supplies as crude prices approach $80 per barrel ... But the Saudi Arabia-led club is seen as facing a dilemma: it seeks high oil prices to maximise its income, but it wants to avoid a global economic slowdown caused by expensive crude. "They (Opec members) are worried that if they increase production, prices will collapse," explained Leo Drollas, chief economist for the Britain-based Centre for Global Energy Studies. Opec, which expanded to 12 countries in January when African producer Angola joined, produces about a third of global crude supplies, a total of 30.5 million barrels per day.

Tick, Tock

Michael Ledeen interviewed by Kathryn Lopez from National Review

Q: What’s been the biggest mistake? The failure of strategic vision, which endures still: believing “the war” was in Iraq alone, and that we could liberate and protect Iraq from inside her borders. It always was a regional war, but we keep denying it, above all to ourselves.Q: How can it be remedied ASAP? Call for regime change in Damascus and Tehran, and threaten Riyadh with grave actions if the Saudis don’t stop funding the jihadi global network ... What drives me crazy is that even our most brilliant analysts — among whom I count some very close friends — still aren’t talking about the regional war. They still talk about Iraq alone. And down that road only misery lies.