Thursday, October 25, 2007

Spanish Judge Indicts 22 for Terror

by Harold Heckle from The Associated Press

National Court judge Baltasar Garzon charged 18 of the suspects with belonging to a terrorist organization, the other four were accused of collaborating with it. The cell's mission was to send potential fighters to Iraq "so they might join in terrorist activity sponsored and directed by al-Qaida," Garzon said. One of those arrested, Moroccan Omar Nakhcha, 24, was also charged with helping some of those involved in the 2004 Madrid train bombings to escape from justice. The bombings killed 191 people and wounded 1,800.

Somalia PM visits Ethiopia, insurgents attack Mogadishu

from Garowe Online

Prime Minister Gedi will hold talks with senior Ethiopian and African Union officials who aided the interim Somali government last January by deploying troops to oust Islamic Courts rulers from Mogadishu. Meanwhile, insurgent attacks continue in Mogadishu where at least 7 civilians died today after a roadside bomb missed a police patrol and hit a minibus carrying 23 passengers. No group has claimed responsibility, but the capital has been targeted by Islamist fighters attempting to overthrowing the interim government... Mortars rained down on Mogadishu port Mortars rained down on Mogadishu port where African Union (AU) peacekeepers from Uganda stand guard. Al-Shabaab, the Islamists' militant youth wing, claimed responsibility. Witnesses and port employees said at least 6 mortar shells slammed into parts of the airport. Other mortars hit surrounding neighborhoods. Two civilians, a mother and her daughter, died inside their home when a shell rammed into the roof. Medical contacts at three Mogadishu hospitals said six people were admitted overnight with wounds.

Terror suspects 'funded attacks'

by Mohammed Alsam from The Gulf Daily News

Two Bahraini terror suspects are thought to have joined the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan and are accused of receiving weapons and explosives training. The pair are being tried in Bahrain's High Criminal Court along with three other men - two Bahrainis and a Qatari - who have been charged with providing them financial support. All four Bahrainis are accused of joining and co-operating with a terrorist group based abroad and supporting terrorist acts against a foreign country ... High Criminal Court Judge Shaikh Mohammed bin Ali Al Khalifa rejected a bail request and ordered them to remain in police custody. The brother of the Bahraini still at large was among those who attended the hearing and claimed he was innocent. "We have not seen anything in my brother's behaviour and this is an injustice," he told the GDN. "There was a project in Saudi Arabia 20 years ago and that office was encouraging young men to go to Afghanistan to carry out humanitarian work. Now these people are being chased and punished for going to Afghanistan."

While Pakistan Burns

by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross from The Weekly Standard

Prompted by assassination attempts against Musharraf, Pakistan's military mounted a campaign to flush al Qaeda out of the tribal areas--but it suffered so many losses that by September 2006 Musharraf felt he had no option but to deal with his would-be killers. His solution was the Waziristan accords, peace agreements that essentially ceded North and South Waziristan to the Taliban and al Qaeda ... This leaves us with the present alarming picture: relative security for al Qaeda's senior leadership, greater instability in Afghanistan, a steady flow of skilled terrorists coming out of training camps, and a systemic risk of catastrophic attack reminiscent of the risk we faced before 9/11. This occurs against the backdrop of Musharraf's political impotence. Despite his electoral victory in October, Islamic extremists have sworn to topple him from power, and his clumsy handling of conflicts with his supreme court has destroyed his already dwindling support among liberal elites.

No Euphoria Yet

by Charles R. Kesler from The Claremont Institute

Many of the 9/11 terrorists and most of the killers who struck in London and on the continent lived not under Middle Eastern tyranny but enjoying all the comforts and freedoms of Western liberal democracy. Their actions were not protests against tyranny but against that democracy. If they resented the West for supporting their home countries' unsavory regimes, they did so mostly because they despised those regimes as apostate or heretical, i.e., less complete religious tyrannies than they preferred. When out of disgust with misgovernment terrorists do arise, one would expect them to strike, in the first place, their own hated regime. In vowing no more 9/11s, however, Americans are concerned not with terrorists killing Saudis or Egyptians but with Saudi and Egyptian terrorists killing Americans. They were, and are, enabled to kill Americans because their perverted regimes deflect and co-opt their anger, channeling it against us through various missionary and terrorist networks around the globe kept in business for just such purposes. This fact might indeed be grounds for "draining the swamps," if we knew how to or could do that. But it is also grounds for a much simpler strategy. Give the tyrants a choice: keep your alligators in your own swamp, or we will feed you to them.

A Conversation with Saudi Businessman Amr Khashoggi

from Saudi-US Relations Information Service

Everyone acknowledges there is a real threat from violent extremists and that threat exists whether you are in New York City, Madrid, London, Beirut, Baghdad or Riyadh or anywhere else. However, I cannot accept world leaders advancing their own agendas under the banner of the “war on terrorism” at any cost. One country cannot bomb another country to smithereens just because you want to kill a few terrorists. Have you looked at the statistics coming out of Iraq? There are American casualties to be sure, but there are 10 or 20 times those numbers of casualties among Iraqis many of whom are innocent men and women and children. The whole security infrastructure of Iraq was totally demolished and rendered ineffective, so I cannot see how the United States expects to win the peace. Winning the war is easy, but it has a heavy price to pay both in human and physical capital. Now we hear of an imminent threat to invade and bomb Iran. No thanks; we would rather deal with the Iranians through our own diplomatic and civil means and channels. You have not won in Iraq or in Afghanistan. What makes you think you can win in Syria or Iran?

Saudi Arabia bans Forbes issue over king's wealth

from Reuters

"The reason was a two-page report on the wealth of 15 ruling dynasties, seven of which are Arab," Refaat Jaafar, managing editor of Dubai-based Forbes Arabia, told Reuters. "This sort of ban is counterproductive." He said the Saudi distribution company was told about the ban on Tuesday. "Instead of ripping out the pages of the report, the authorities decided to ban the magazine altogether," said one government official, speaking on condition of anonymity. Officials at the information ministry could not immediately comment on the ban ... Saudi authorities have ordered columns by Khalid al-Dakhil, a prominent Saudi analyst and university lecturer, to be ripped out of Forbes Arabia twice so far this year.

'It's OK for Saudi women not to drive'

by Eman Mohammed from Gulf News

The issue of Saudi women and driving triggered a heated debate at the New Arab Women's Forum in Dubai. Nawal Al Shalhoub, wife of the Saudi Consul General in Dubai, said during a panel discussion about women and public affairs that she did not think it necessary for Saudi women to drive as they have full rights. "Women don't have to drive in Saudi Arabia because they are used to having drivers or can always be driven by family members," she said. Nawal, who has lived in Dubai for 10 years and drives her own car, says it is OK for her not to drive in Saudi Arabia. Nadine Al Bedair, a Saudi presenter and producer of Al Hurra TV, who was in the audience at the Emirates Towers, responded: "She doesn't have the right to speak on behalf of all Saudi women who don't have any social or political rights. It's humiliating to say that."