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06

Feb

Late last August, a 40-year-old cleric named Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber stood up to deliver a speech denouncing Al Qaeda in a village mosque in far eastern Yemen. It was a brave gesture by a father of seven who commanded great respect in the community, and it did not go unnoticed. Two days later, three members of Al Qaeda came to the mosque in the tiny village of Khashamir after 9 p.m., saying they merely wanted to talk. Mr. Jaber agreed to meet them, bringing his cousin Waleed Abdullah, a police officer, for protection. As the five men stood arguing by a cluster of palm trees, a volley of remotely operated American missiles shot down from the night sky and incinerated them all, along with a camel that was tied up nearby. The killing of Mr. Jaber, just the kind of leader most crucial to American efforts to eradicate Al Qaeda, was a reminder of the inherent hazards of the quasi-secret campaign of targeted killings that the United States is waging against suspected militants not just in Yemen but also in Pakistan and Somalia.

Sorry, we thought you were “up to no good” (via theamericanbear)

Here’s one more reason why USA’s reckless, unethical drone strike program is extremely counterproductive.

(via mehreenkasana)

30

Jan

We don’t look at this region of the world and think that the answer is purely a military one. It isn’t. What is required in countries like Mali, just as countries like Somalia on the other side of Africa is that combination of a tough approach on security - aid, politics, settling grievances and problems - an intelligent approach that brings together all the things we need to do with countries in this neighborhood to help them, to make them safer, but make us safer too.

23

Jul

A series of gun and bomb attacks has racked Iraq for the second straight day, with unidentified gunmen targeting a military base and car bombs exploding in Baghdad, Kirkuk and elsewhere.

More than 100 people are reported to have been killed and 180 injured in at least 19 separate explosions and attacks on Monday morning, officials said.

"It is certainly a sign that despite all gains made against al-Qaeda in Iraq … they are still out there," reported Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf, adding that the group had recently warned that it was commencing "a new stage" in its campaign.

The Islamic State of Iraq, a group closely aligned with al-Qaeda in Iraq, warned in an audio message posted on jihadist forums that it would begin targeting judges and prosecutors as it renewed its campaign to free members who are currently being held in prison.

"We are starting a new stage," said the voice on the message, purportedly that of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has been leader of the Islamic State of Iraq since May 2010.

"The first priority in this is releasing Muslim prisoners everywhere, and chasing and eliminating judges and investigators and their guards."

(via Al Jazeera)

29

May

Drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants; in his 2010 guilty plea, Faisal Shahzad, who had tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square, justified targeting civilians by telling the judge, “When the drones hit, they don’t see children.”

 

[…]

William M. Daley, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff in 2011, said the president and his advisers understood that they could not keep adding new names to a kill list, from ever lower on the Qaeda totem pole. What remains unanswered is how much killing will be enough

 

“One guy gets knocked off, and the guy’s driver, who’s No. 21, becomes 20?” Mr. Daley said, describing the internal discussion. “At what point are you just filling the bucket with numbers?”

23

May

Yemen government troops advance; donors pledge $4 bln aid

Yemeni government troops battled Islamist militants in two southern cities on Wednesday as international donors met in Saudi Arabia to pledge $4 billion to help stabilise a state that has become a base for al Qaeda.

Government forces recaptured parts of the strategically important city of Zinjibar and fought militants in the city of Jaar, leaving 33 militants and nine soldiers dead, officials and residents said.

The militants, who seized large swathes of southern Yemen last year, have given shelter and support to al Qaeda’s local wing, which on Monday killed 100 soldiers in a suicide bombing at a military parade in the capital Sanaa.

Western and Gulf Arab countries have watched with mounting alarm as political crisis in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state gave al Qaeda the opportunity to develop a base from which to launch attacks around the world.

"I assert one more time our support to Yemen to back all the phases of the political initiative to help achieve security, stability and prosperity in facing the threats of extremism and terrorism," Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said in Riyadh.

VIDEO: Rich countries pledge $4bn aid to Yemen

02

Apr

reuters:

New York and federal authorities are investigating the meaning and origin of a graphic that surfaced on Monday on the Internet apparently threatening an al Qaeda attack on New York City.
The graphic is a stylized photograph of the Manhattan skyline superimposed with a Hollywood-style caption that says: “ALQAEDA - coming soon again in New York.”
The New York Police Department was “investigating the origin and significance of the graphic … which appeared today on a few Arabic-language al Qaeda forums that remain online at the moment,” NYPD chief spokesman Paul Browne said.
READ MORE: Authorities investigate internet threat to New York City

reuters:

New York and federal authorities are investigating the meaning and origin of a graphic that surfaced on Monday on the Internet apparently threatening an al Qaeda attack on New York City.

The graphic is a stylized photograph of the Manhattan skyline superimposed with a Hollywood-style caption that says: “ALQAEDA - coming soon again in New York.”

The New York Police Department was “investigating the origin and significance of the graphic … which appeared today on a few Arabic-language al Qaeda forums that remain online at the moment,” NYPD chief spokesman Paul Browne said.

READ MORE: Authorities investigate internet threat to New York City

19

Feb

We urge the international community to act as quickly as possible to solve the Syrian crisis, so as not to have a future where these organizations will have a part. Syria now as a country is losing control and it is an open country and this might lead to others seizing opportunities to enter a country that is out of control.

23

Dec

Syria Blames Al Qaeda After Bombs Kill Dozens in Damascus

The government pointed to Al Qaeda but also linked the bombings to Syria’s nine-month-old uprising, setting off a new round of recriminations with opposition groups.

15

Oct

U.S. drone strikes kill Al Qaeda operative in Yemen

Reporting from Washington— A U.S. military drone strike killed a top Al Qaeda operative in Yemen and the son of Anwar Awlaki, the American-born cleric killed in a similar strike two weeks ago, Yemeni security officials said.
As political unrest continues to roil Yemen, the U.S. has escalated its attacks against Al Qaeda’s affiliate in the country.

Yemeni officials told reporters that nine members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula were killed in the strike near the town of Azzan in southeastern Yemen, including Awlaki’s 21-year-old son, Abdul-Rahman Awlaki, and Egyptian-born Ibrahim Banna, whom officials described as the media chief of the Al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen.

09

Sep

Al Qaeda shadow of former self 10 years after 9/11

"The movement fueled by a common ideology has morphed into more of an AQ hydra, with the old core weakened but new franchises and inspired individuals taking on the global jihadi mantle," said Juan Zarate, a White House counterterrorism adviser to former President George W. Bush, referring to the multi-headed serpent of Greek mythology.

'LONE WOLVES'

A worrisome development is the proliferation of individual violent militants — the “lone wolves” — who operate unseen by intelligence agencies and police and can create mayhem with a carful of home-made explosives or guns. The result is a lower risk of future large conflagrations but a growing threat of smaller attacks that could be harder to detect and thwart.

"Future attacks against America will be less complex, less well organized, less likely to succeed, less lethal if they do succeed. They will just be more numerous," said retired General Michael Hayden, who led the CIA and National Security Agency.

….

Brennan said that over the past 2 1/2 years — the period since Obama became president — more than half of al Qaeda’s top leaders have been eliminated and virtually every affiliate has lost its key leader or operational commander.