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December 2, 2015 / 20 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Somalia’

Cheat Sheet on Who’s Doing What to Whom in the Middle East

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan (and a few quiet others) have been urging U.S. President Barack Obama to climb down from his tree and listen to Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. There’s a reason for that.

A new radical Islamic axis is forming, one that is cuddling up to the Muslim Brotherhood. The once-scattered Iranian-backed terror groups dedicated to annihilating the State of Israel are coalescing into a second axis while threatening to form an alliance with Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria also known as ISIS, as well as Al Qaeda and other global jihad organizations.

Because part-time pundits don’t have time to study the fine details of where things are happening on the political chessboard of the Middle East, here’s a cheat sheet to help you keep score on the latest realities in the region.

For a lot of Western political analysts, the Arab Spring was confusing and a real pain in the neck — but that was a walk in the park compared to the nightmare now facing foreign affairs policy makers trying to stay abreast on current terrorist ties and the tangled web they are spinning in the ‘hood.

U.S. President Barack Obama is looking for a way to nurse his salty wounds over having to spend his final tenure swallowing bile while chatting civilly, if not with good manners, during phone calls with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

But here’s what’s happening right now — and what the leader of the greatest country on earth has to grapple with — while he continues to search for ways to pick a fight with Israel’s most popular leader since the Israel was founded by its first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.

In Africa:
Two terror organizations in Nigeria and Somalia, Boko Haram and Al Shaba’ab respectively, have both pledged allegiance to Daesh, also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. Both groups have slaughtered thousands and wounded more, committed numerous atrocities and are continuing to carry out murderous terror attacks to prove their mettle as “jihadists,” or holy warriors for Islam.

The moderate Arab nation of Tunisia suffered its first public terrorist attack by ISIS this weekend in a massacre that left 20 dead and dozens of others wounded in the iconic Bardo museum in Tunis, including many foreign tourists. At least 3,000 Tunisians have flown to Syria to join the ISIS terror organization; it’s no surprise those chickens are beginning to come home to roost in North Africa.

Tunisia is one of the few Arab nations left that can claim to be home to one of the most ancient Jewish communities in Africa, and which has enjoyed a healthy international tourism trade. It now faces severe damage to its tourist industry, which was just beginning to recover from the ravages of the Arab Spring. Ominously, the threat level facing Tunisia’s Jewish community on the country’s island of Djerba is also not clear.

Libya, which borders Tunisia — and where an American Ambassador and three U.S. diplomats were murdered in an Al Qaeda attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 — has been entirely swallowed by Al Qaeda and allied terrorist groups. ISIS has also joined the party, spreading cells throughout the country as well. Earlier this month, ISIS made its “debut” appearance in the oil-rich nation with a public seaside beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christian laborers taken captive by the terror organization.

In the Middle East:
Egypt is facing one of the toughest fights of its life in the Sinai Peninsula as it battles a budding invasion by ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iranian proxy groups. Homegrown terror cells and disgruntled Bedouin tribes are aiding and abetting this effort, having always looked for greener pastures and a better deal regardless of who’s in power in Cairo.

Gaza has been controlled since 2007 by Iran‘s proxies who include Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and in a consultant position, Hezbollah. All maintain contentious but cooperative relationships with the Salafi, global jihad Army of Islam terror group which is linked to Al Qaeda. ISIS is also now represented in the region as well.

Jordan is facing an existential threat on its borders with Iraq and Syria due to ISIS having captured border crossings on both, and the presence of Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guards along the border with Syria. So far, its only remaining friendly borders are with Israel, and with Egypt. In addition, the Palestinian citizens within Jordan are not as friendly to the Hashemite regime as one might believe; moreover, they are wont to align with the Muslim Brotherhood which also operates within the kingdom and which can be seen as a fifth column.

Lebanon has been swallowed by ISIS, Palestinian Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades linked to Fatah, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, all of whom vie for power in the nation. Hezbollah holds the lion’s share of the political clout in the government since the terrorist group long ago expanded to include parliament members and actual ministers in the government cabinet as well.

Iraq was the first to fall to ISIS; its border crossings with Syria and Jordan were easy prey for the terror group. Iran easily persuaded the government that its was better off allowing its Islamic neighbor to “help” it fight off the Sunni threat than to place its trust in the American administration that had abandoned its ally when it was still to weak to fend off terrorist and tribal challenges to the power of the central government. So now Iran has now entered the picture there as well, to “assist” Iraqi forces in fighting ISIS, which Iran perceives as a threat to its own interests, for the time being at least.

It is likely that when the power struggle ends, one way or the other, Iran will be the force to divide the spoils and cut a deal with ISIS in order to ultimately divide up the region between the two emerging empires. However, Iran will ultimately be the one to rule because ISIS does not have the self-discipline, nor the structural underpinnings necessary to create and maintain an administration to rule an empire. This is quite separate and apart from Iran’s booming weapons production industry, not to mention its galloping race to develop nuclear arms.

Watch it happen – you read it here first on Jewish Press.com.

Syria was the little ticking time bomb that appeared to have set off this entire conflagration – but if one looks closely, it is clear that ISIS does not attack the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Nor does Assad bother much with the ISIS terrorists. Both have bigger fish to fry.

Assad is an Alawite — a sect that is linked to Shia, hence his close ties with Shiite Iran and that nation’s support of his struggle. Iran sent Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps units and Hezbollah guerrillas to fight alongside his troops. Russia also supplemented Assad for quite some time — right up to the point that Assad began to lose and Russian citizens were endangered. Then Russian “consultants” were evacuated, funding slowed down to a crawl but weapons shipments continued to arrive.

ISIS meanwhile wants to expand its reach throughout the entire Middle East — and that’s just for starters. Its ultimate stated goal is simply to establish a worldwide caliphate — an “Islamic State” — and nothing less. Think ‘Hitler’ with a 21st century media team and you’re headed in the right direction.

In any case, Syria is no longer really Syria; it is now divided up into cantons, each of which is governed separately by various emirs and such. Many report to ISIS already. Some report to Al Qaeda. Others still are loyal to the “moderate” Syrian National Council and its Free Syrian Army. A few are hanging on to Syria’s government, or what’s left of it – mostly around Damascus.

And now there’s Yemen, bits of it left currently on the chopping block and most already nearly to the mop-up stage by Al Qaeda, ISIS and their Houthi opponents, soon probably to be allies as well. Of course, Al Qaeda had laid the groundwork for the takeover of the country to a great extent, having infiltrated and permeated the territory over the past several years. Al Qaeda promotes the image of being at odds with ISIS, although the latter began as a freak offshoot of the terror mothership, but it is more likely all a bluff. We will yet see the day the two will re-unite as one, or return as allies.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is starting to move its military forces towards the border with Yemen. The last time Saudi Arabia did that was in March 2011, when it “helped” its neighbor Bahrain fend off a surreptitious move by Iran to foment unrest in the Sunni-ruled country (which has a Shia majority) under cover of the Arab Spring.  It took one day for 1,000 Saudi troops and 500 troops from United Arab Emirates to clear protesters from around the iconic Pearl Roundabout in Manama, and then to destroy the statue on what became known locally as “Bloody Thursday.”

The U.S. Embassy in Yemen has been closed due to the escalating attacks. Embassy staff and families of diplomats were evacuated from the country, just in time. The last group of 100 American special forces who were there to consult and help the Yemen military fight off the takeover in the first place were evacuated from the country last weekend due to the ‘rising danger.’

Houthi rebels seized the airport and control of the entire city of Taiz as well as the surrounding province over the weekend as well – about 240 miles south of the Yemeni capital of Sana’a — according to Taiz provincial government officials who spoke with international media.

As early as January, Yemen’s president and his cabinet resigned after the Houthis surrounded the presidential palace, and in fact the entire capital city of Sana’a was captured by the Houthi rebels. Last week ISIS suicide terrorists arrived in Sana’a and bombed two mosques, killing 137 Yemenis and wounding hundreds more, making it clear that supremacy over the city is still up for grabs.

The United Nations Security Council met Sunday (March 22, 2015) to discuss Yemen’s deteriorating situation, with its UN envoy to Yemen reporting the country is “at the edge of civil war.” Meanwhile, Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi remains in exile in the southern port city of Aden, maintaining that he is still the nation’s leader. Last week, the Houthi war against Hadi pursued him all the way south to Aden, with an air strike aimed at the palace where he is housed. That day, Houthi rebels on the ground battled Hadi loyalists in Aden leaving 13 dead.

Finally, there is Turkey.

It’s odd how few actually discuss what’s happening in Turkey, a NATO member who has provided free passage to literally every single terrorist group that has requested safe passage through its country, even into Syria to reach the ISIS capital of Raqqa. If you travel through Istanbul airport on an average day, it becomes amazingly clear that whoever wishes to, can travel through Istanbul from Iran, Russia, or anywhere else.

Turkey is the ultimate Casablanca of today’s Middle East.

Muslim Brotherhood officials are warmly greeted by their supporters there. Hamas has a new international headquarters in the country, Fatah and other Palestinian officials are always welcome, and ISIS operatives move across the border to bring imports (brides and other ‘items’) to Raqqa with no trouble at all. Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps members – you name it, and you can make that meeting happen in Turkey, if you know the right buttons to push. Even United States officials are welcome.

Just be wary if you’re Jewish, or Israeli, of course.

Only a U.S. reject deported back home via Cairo to make a good showing to the Americans was turned back. Turkish authorities didn’t bother with that performance when it came to ignoring three young Muslim school girls from the UK whose frantic parents begged the Ankara government to block them from crossing the border into ISIS Land.

One wonders how Turkey is able to square its relationship with NATO with all that going on.

But managing delicate, intricate relationships are a peerless skill practiced by Turks since ancient times. There are few who can match a Turkish diplomat in anything, let alone the multi-lateral negotiations involving events so complex that one would need a nuclear microscope just to see past the surface, let alone begin to address it.

No wonder President Obama feels so disgruntled, so out of sorts, so … over his head.

This is not his neighborhood. He doesn’t know the language, diplomatically, behaviorally, gramatically or culturally. Nor has he yet learned the basic regional sport of bargaining in the souk. Worse, he probably would never enjoy it. You have to really love it to survive it.

But if you don’t live in the neighborhood, or you never come to visit, how on earth can you work out a two-state “solution” — let alone PEACE? More to the point, if you really dislike it so much why bother?

Mr. President, at least relax a little before you really hurt someone, and let those who actually like the region deal with it and with the Israelis too.

By the way – just as for your information — you may not realize it, but in Israel the appliance stores are still doing a really brisk business selling those terrific home appliances that are made in Turkey. Now, how do you suppose that could be, given all that hostile anti-Israel ranting from Ankara?

Al Qaeda-Linked Al-Shabaab Calls for Attacks on ‘Jewish-Owned’ Malls in UK, Canada & USA

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

The Somali al-Shabaab terror group linked to Al Qaeda has called on Muslims in the West to “answer the call” and attack “American and Jewish-owned” shopping malls in the UK, US and Canada.

In the 77-minute video the speaker, whose face was covered, said, “We call upon our Muslim brothers, particularly those in the West, to answer the call of Allah and target the disbelievers wherever they are,” said a speaker wearing a military jacket, face covered.

Suggesting the Mall of America – the largest mall in the United States – the speaker displayed coordinates for the site on the screen. The “twin cities” of S. Paul and Minneapolis are home to the largest population of Somali immigrants in the U.S. More than a few are known to have traveled from there to the Mideast and Africa to fight with radical Islamist terrorists.

The threat has become a raison d’etre for America’s Department of Homeland Security, which was slated for shutdown this week.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday that the propaganda video released Saturday by al-Shabaab, made clear “why I need a budget.” The video also called for attacks on Oxford Street in London and two Westfield Malls in Stratford and White City as well as Canada’s West Edmonton Mall in Alberta – the largest shopping mall in North America.

In an interview over the weekend on CNN, Johnson said “It’s absurd that we’re even having this conversation about Congress’s inability to fund homeland security in these challenging times.”

Libyan Al Qaeda Terrorist to Appear in NY Court Tuesday

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Al Qaeda terrorist Abu Anas al Libi, snatched off the streets in Libya last week by U.S. soldiers, is expected to appear in federal court in New York Tuesday on his way to being tried in the United States for terrorism.

Al Libi’s wife has claimed that he has nothing to do with Al Qaeda anymore, while New York Republican Congressman Peter King said that putting him on trial deprives investigators of the chance to learn more from him about Al Qaeda operations.

Al Libi was indicted in New York in 2001 in the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and for allegedly involvement in Al Qaeda attacks on American soldiers in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia.

SEALs Abandoned Somalia Raid Since Target Was Surrounded by Children

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

Is it possible that political correctness is now guiding military strategy? According to Fox News, U.S. Navy SEALS from SEAL Team Six were ordered to abandon their targeted operation against a top al-Shabaab commander in Barawe, Somalia, ending a fierce firefight at his seaside compound when they saw that there were children present and realized they could not capture their target without hurting the little ones.

As details were emerging about the Friday night raid that was intended to capture Abdikadir Mohamed Abdikadir, aka “Ikrima,” a Kenyan of Somali origin. Pentagon press secretary George Little said in a statement Monday, the military personnel “conducted the operation with unparalleled precision.”

That means that as soon as they realized they were going to incur the wrath of the politically correct troops in the west for cutting through children to reach their target, they dropped their equipment and fled.

Military sources told Fox News that the military gear that was left behind, and was then photographed and tweeted lavishly by al Shabaab, was typical of the gear used by the SEALs and left little doubt that the Americans left the place in a hurry.

Al Shabaab is the Somali terrorist group that executed last month’s Kenya mall attack that killed more than 60 people, including many children. Apparently, the same rules don’t apply to their own children, who must never be harmed by Western forces.

Matt Bryden, director of Nairobi-based think tank Sahan research, told NPR that the Nairobi mall demonstrated a “dangerous convergence of al-Shabab, al-Hijra and the old al-Qaida East Africa networks,” which may lay a foundation for future cooperative attacks in East Africa.

A leaked Kenyan intelligence report confirms that Ikrima was plotting “multiple attacks” inside Kenya, “sanctioned by al-Qaida” in Pakistan, and “involving financial and logistical support from South African operatives.”

He just has to make sure to bring along the kids, and his success is certain.

Kenya, Unlike Israel, ‘Does not Negotiate with Terrorists’ (Video)

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Loud explosions pouring black smoke into the skies of Nairobi Monday afternoon signaled a hoped for conclusion of the bloody military-style terrorist attack on the partly-Israeli owned Westgate Mall in Nairobi, where the death toll is feared to rise to nearly 70 or more.

Authorities, who promised on Sunday that the three-day siege would end by nightfall, said they are in the final stages of killing or arresting all of the terrorists after having “smoked them out” with an assault at dawn.

Security forces said that they have taken control of the entire mall, but gunfights and explosions continued after the announcement. Despite claims that no hostages remain, it is feared that several still remain trapped by the terrorists.

Nearly 200 people already have been counted as wounded, and 62 have been confirmed as murdered, including the wife of a U.S. AID worker.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, whose nephew and his fiancé were among the victims, maintained a policy that Israel introduced to the world in the Entebbe raid and then abandoned in recent years – no negotiations with terrorists. “We will not negotiate with terrorists,” said Colonel Cyrus Oguna, a Kenyan military spokesman.

Al Shabaab has been airing propaganda, claiming that its terrorists on Monday repulsed “Israelis and Kenyan forces” that tried to enter the mall. Kenyan officials said clashes erupted inside the building early Monday morning, when approximately a dozen terrorists or believed to be holed up in a supermarket.

Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said in an online audio statement, “The mujahedeen will kill the hostages if the enemies use force.”

At least five Americans have been injured and at least four Britons have been killed.

Among the dead are the wife a foreign worker for the U.S. Agency for International Development in Nairobi, a dentist, a widely-known Ghanan professor and poet, a British-Australian architect and his pregnant girlfriend, a Canadian diplomat who was a liaison officer with the Canada Border Services Agency, an 8-year-old child from India, two French women, a woman form China who worked in real estate, and a retired UNICEF worker from Peru.

Kenyan Terrorists May be American Citizens

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

The FBI is investigating whether three, and possibly five of the ten to fifteen terrorists in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya are American citizens.

As of now, it is believed that three American, a Canadian, a Brit, and a Finnish citizen are among the terrorists.

As of Sunday, at least 68 people were killed and 175 were injured by the terrorists who were targeting non-Islamists. 1000 people were freed during the raid.

Fox News reports there may be between 50 to 200 people are still in the mall, in hiding to avoid the terrorists, and there are another ten people who are still being held hostage.

Al Qaeda Takes ‘Credit’ for Kenya Attack, Holds Hostages in Mall

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Al Qaeda has taken responsibility for the ongoing terrorist attack that so far has resulted in the murders of at least 59 victims, with others still being held hostage by up to 15 terrorists. Nearly 200 have been wounded.

The attack began on Saturday with an armed attack on Nairobi’s upscale Westgate Mall. More than 1,000 have escaped, but Sky News reported Sunday that security forces have not been able to secure the second floor of the shopping center after clearing terrorists from the upper and lower levels.

Several American were injured, but none have been killed, according to the latest reports. Two Canadians, at least one of them a diplomat. were murdered by the Somalia-based al Shabaab terrorist organization, linked with Al Qaeda. A statement from al-Shabab on its official Twitter feed Saturday says the attacks are retribution for military action by Kenya inside Somalia.

One eyewitness told Sky News, “I witnessed a few people get up and say something in Arabic and the gunmen let them go. A colleague of mine said he was Muslim and recited something in Arabic and they let him go as well. I saw a lot of children and elderly people being shot dead.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/al-qaeda-takes-credit-for-kenya-attack-holds-hostages-in-mall/2013/09/22/

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