Posts Tagged ‘Qaeda’

‘Syriana’: Same funding; Same culprits; Same victims!

July 27th, 2012 Comments off

“… Unidentified fighters have shot down an Iraqi army helicopter in clashes that have killed at least 19 people including 12 policemen, a regional official has said.The fighting around the town of Hadid on Thursday follows a warning last weekend from al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq to push back into areas the group was driven out of by the US military after sectarian fighting peaked in 2007.
Diyala provincial spokesman Salih Ebressim Khalil said fighters opened fire on the helicopter, killing one soldier, wounding another and forcing the aircraft to make an emergency landing. The rest of the crew was unharmed….
In a statement posted online last Saturday, local al-Qaeda leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced a new campaign dubbed “Breaking the Walls”.
He said it sought to undermine the nation’s weakened Shia-led government by realigning with Sunni tribes, and returning to areas it was driven from before the American military withdrew from Iraq last December.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is regarded by Iraqi officials as significantly weaker than at the peak of its strength in 2006 and 2007, but it is still capable of spectacular mass-casualty attacks across the country.…”

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Qaeda says Iraq bloodshed marks new campaign

July 25th, 2012 Comments off

Iraq has tightened security after militants launched 29 separate attacks in 19 cities on July 23Al-Qaeda's front group in Iraq said Wednesday that a wave of attacks that killed 113 days earlier marked the launch of a new offensive, as officials said five people died in a car bomb north of Baghdad.

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111 killed in Iraq’s deadliest day in two years

July 23rd, 2012 Comments off

Iraqis survey the scene after a series of bomb attacks in the town of TajiA wave of violence killed 111 people across Iraq on Monday, the country's deadliest day in two and a half years, after Al-Qaeda warned it would seek to retake territory and mount new attacks.

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Meet some of the armed Syrian groups lionized in the West

July 15th, 2012 Comments off
The FSA’s leadership, a collection of mid-ranking Sunni Arab military defectors headed by Colonel Riyad Musa al-As’ad from a base in Turkey, is actively courting Western support and has unambiguously condemned jihadi groups. This attitude is not necessarily shared by the fighters on the ground, who tend to label themselves FSA whether or not they are in actual contact with the FSA headquarters. With Sunni sectarian perspectives becoming more central to the armed uprising as time passes, most FSA factions are now steeped in religious rhetoric and there are a number of explicitly Islamist groups calling themselves part of the FSA, some of whom use radical jihadi slogans. One such group is the al-Bara bin Malek Brigade, which uses the Salafi-Jihadi flag made famous by al-Qaeda in Iraq and vows to carry out “martyrdom operations.” [3]

Outside the FSA umbrella, there are other groups which are more radical and more hostile to Western influence over the uprising. These include the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades, a network of Islamist militias spread over several provinces, as well as a Salafist group in Homs called the Ansar Brigade. Others, such as Fath al-Islam, a Syrian-Lebanese-Palestinian group, predate the uprising. There is not, however, a formal al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, after the failed attempt to establish al-Qa’ida fi Bilad al-Sham (”al-Qaeda in the Levant”) in the mid-2000s, though this situation may be about to change (al-Hayat, September 28, 2010).” (thanks Aron) 

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Suicide attack on Yemen police academy kills 6: security

July 11th, 2012 Comments off

A Yemeni soldier guards the wall of the police academy in Sanaa, at the scene of a suicide attackAn Al-Qaeda suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a police academy in Sanaa on Wednesday, killing at least eight cadets and wounding several more more, the High Security Commission said.

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11 killed in new Iraq attacks ahead of Shiite rituals

July 4th, 2012 Comments off

Iraqis inspect the damage following a car bombing in ZubaidiyahA car bomb blamed on Al-Qaeda at a market in central Iraq killed eight people on Wednesday and three others were murdered in Baghdad, the latest in a spike in unrest ahead of Shiite rituals.

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Four anti-Qaeda militiamen, soldier killed in Iraq

June 29th, 2012 Comments off

An anti-Qaeda fighter on patrol near the outskirts of BaqubaGunmen shot dead four anti-Qaeda militiamen in central Iraq on Friday, while a roadside bomb killed an Iraqi soldier, security and medical officials said.

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UN Official: CIA Drone Strikes on Rescuers a War Crime (Serle)

June 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Jack Serle writes at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

The UN’s expert on extrajudicial killings has described a tactic used by the CIA and first exposed by a Bureau investigation as ‘a war crime’.

Earlier this year the Bureau and the Sunday Times revealed the CIA was deliberately targeting rescuers and funeral-goers in its Pakistan drone strikes. Those controversial tactics have reportedly been revived.

Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur, told a meeting in Geneva on June 21: ’Reference should be made to a study earlier this year by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism… If civilian ‘rescuers’ are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: those strikes are a war crime.’

Related article: Obama terror drones – CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals

Heyns’ forthright comments were made at an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) event, linked to a UN debate into the US covert war on terror.

Ambassador Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva told the Bureau ‘we fully agree with what has been said by Mr Heyns.’ Ambassador Akram called on the US ‘to respect the growing international opinion’ that the use of drones ‘not only violates our sovereignty but also violates the UN charter in our view and also international law.’

Reference should be made to a study earlier this year by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism… If civilian ‘rescuers’ are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: those strikes are a war crime.
Christof Heyns, UN special rapporteur

Unsatisfactory response
In a separate presentation to the Council, Heyns, said that he was hopeful that the US would reveal the procedures, rules and legal opinions underlying its controversial use of drones. He also noted that the US government did not give his predecessor a satisfactory response when asked to clarify which aspects of international law it believes covers targeted killings.

But after a two-day Council debate, Heyns said the US had not been forthcoming: ‘I don’t think we have the full answer to the legal framework,’ he said. ‘We certainly don’t have the answer to the accountability issues.’

A number of other Geneva delegates also expressed concern about targeted killings. Swiss UNHRC representative Dante Martinelli addressed the Council and called for transparent reporting of casualties from targeted killing operations which ’cause many victims among the civilian population.’ Because of the cost to civilians, Switzerland called for ‘respect for the rules of international law.’

Outside the Council’s purview
The United States responded to Heyns’ report by saying the question of targeted killings of al Qaeda members and their allies was ‘broader than the issues in the purview of this Council,’ and that ’questions about the US legal and policy framework for use of force against al Qaeda and associated forces have been addressed by senior US officials in a number of recent public statements.’

In those public statements senior White House officials, including presidential adviser John Brennan, argued that because the US is in a worldwide, armed conflict with al Qaeda and its allies, strikes are governed by the laws of armed conflict. Targeted killings are therefore legal and can be carried out in self defense.

Heyns later told the Bureau that his key concern, however, is whether the US is now setting a dangerous precedent. ‘The spectre that haunts the whole thing is that eventually everyone thinks they can use force in this way.’

Hina Shamsi, national security director of the ACLU and at the UN debate, shares Heyns’ concern: ‘The authority the government asserts today could be used tomorrow by nations with far less respect for the right for life.’

The ACLU insists that the US is not applying the laws of war or human rights law to its targeted killing policy. Instead ‘the United States has cobbled together its own legal framework for targeted killing, with standards that are far less stringent than the law allows,’ says Shamsi.

The authority the government asserts today could be used tomorrow by nations with far less respect for the right for life.’
Hina Shamsi, ACLU

Jonathan Eyal of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) says the US’s ‘rather shop worn’ legal and ethical justification for its covert drone strikes are symptomatic of a hardening of Washington’s position on the issue of targeted killings.

Eyal believe that this stems both from not wanting to appear weak in the fight against al Qaeda in an election year, and because of the complexities of arresting and trying suspects. ‘I don’t think there is any temptation within the United States for anyone to admit that these practices are illegal or at least to say that they will cease in the future,’ he added.

Professor Philip Alston, the former special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings told the Bureau: ‘there has been a huge reluctance to criticise policies of the Obama administration’ by America’s allies.

‘Instead, most states are remaining relatively silent in the face of the evolution of US policies that are entirely inconsistent with international law and deeply problematic from a human rights and international law perspective.’

Mirrored from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

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30 Qaeda fighters dead in Yemen air raids: local official

June 20th, 2012 Comments off

Displaced Yemenis return to their hometown ZinjibarThirty suspected militants were killed as Yemeni aircraft pounded Al-Qaeda positions between the southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa on Wednesday, a local official told AFP.

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Suicide bomber kills Yemen anti-Qaeda general

June 19th, 2012 Comments off

Yemeni soldiers stop vehicles at a checkpoint in the port city of AdenA suicide bomber on Monday killed the army general spearheading a blistering offensive against Al-Qaeda in south Yemen, throwing himself on the officer's vehicle as he blew himself up, officials said.

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