Al-Qaeda Takes Over East Africa
Ethiopia of great interest to Al-Qaeda, which sees it as the gateway to the whole African Continent.
Al-Qaeda is expanding its presence in Africa. The Islamist terrorist group hopes to find in the African continent new safe havens from which to attack Western interests and build logistical bases. Al-Qaeda is already present in the North Africa and in Somalia. However, Al-Qaeda is looking for new countries in which to establish its own rule. It is now looking at Ethiopia, a country ruled by a cruel dictatorship, and situated in the Horn of Africa. Although Ethiopia has a Christian majority, a third of the population is Muslim. Ethiopia is, the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa and where the Prophet Mohammed found refuge when he was persecuted by the Meccans. It is also the country where the jihadist Abu Musab Zarqawi may be following in the Prophet's footsteps, and to which he is thought to have to relocated before being killed in Iraq.
Al-Qaeda Cell Uncovered
The Ethiopian government recently confirmed having arrested eight suspected Al-Qaeda members as they were attempting to launch an attack in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian state-run news agency, ENA, citing a statement by Ethiopia's Federal Police, reported that the National Intelligence and Security Service Taskforce of the Federal Police said the eight suspects had been arrested after they were found organizing, providing training to, and educating recruits, with the assistance of the Somali terror group, Al-Shabab. According to the same report, the suspects also had links with al-Qaeda cells in other parts of the world, including Kenya, Sudan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.
Ethiopia became one of Al-Qaeda's targets after intervening in the Somalia war in 2006, when the Ethiopian government sent in its army to counter another Islamist movement that ruled much of southern Somalia. Last November, media reported that Ethiopian troops again entered Somalia, this time to support, Kenya's offensive against the Al-Qaeda linked group Al-Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow the Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government and impose Islamic law there. Reuters reported that "scores of Ethiopian military vehicles, ferrying troops and weapons, pushed at least 80 km into Somalia [...], according to local residents and elders." In response, Al-Shabab militants released a statement warning Ethiopia against military intervention in Somalia: "Let them come and sniff the kind of gunpowder we have here," the statement read. Despite the warning, media reported in December that Ethiopian troops in Somalia killed a member of a notorious Yemeni Al-Qaeda-linked family, Abu Al-Baraa Abdul Aziz bin Attash. In January, Al-Shabab, in return, killed 33 Ethiopian soldiers, during a suicide attack on a Somali army base.
Last December, The Ethiopian Times, among other media outlets, reported that the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram, responsible for recent terrorist attacks against the Nigerian Christian community, opened training camps in Ethiopia. "A source revealed that the Boko Haram, in conjunction with Al-Qaeda in Islamic Magreb opened training camps in Ethiopia, besides the usual training grounds of Al-Qaeda in Sudan and Somalia."
The Sudan Tribune also mentions that "Africa's porous borders, poor security at sea and airports as well as luck of coordinated counter-terrorist task forces, conflict and political instability among others have created [a] conducive environment to terrorist groups."
In 2010, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article mentioning that the Yemen-based arm of Al-Qaida was examining the possibility of infiltrating terrorists into Israel, coming from training camps in Somalia under the guise of new Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia or as Somali refugees.
Al-Qaeda's support for Somali jihadists has ensured the Islamist movement a base from which to expand its activities in Eastern Africa and West Africa, and from which to develop and stage attacks against local and U.S. interests in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Because of its geographical position, Ethiopia in particular is of great interest and importance for Al-Qaeda, which sees the country as an opening gateway to the whole African continent.
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by Khaled Abu Toameh
"Armed robbery in broad daylight." — Palestinians, after Hamas "seized" $750,000 from Gaza bank.
Fatah accused Hamas of "squandering" $700 million of financial aid earmarked for the Palestinian victims of war. Fatah wants to ensure that the millions of dollars intended for the Gaza Strip will pass through its hands and not end up in Hamas's bank accounts. Relying on Fatah in this regard is like asking a cat to guard the milk.
The head of the Palestinian Authority's Anti-Corruption Commission revealed that his group has retrieved $70 million of public funds fund embezzled by Palestinian officials. Arab and Western donors need to make sure that their money does not end up (once again) in the wrong hands. Without a proper mechanism of accountability and transparency, hundreds of millions of dollars are likely to find their way into the bank accounts of both Hamas and Fatah leaders.
by Mudar Zahran
"If Hamas does not like you for any reason all they have to do now is say you are a Mossad agent and kill you." — A., a Fatah member in Gaza.
"Hamas wanted us butchered so it could win the media war against Israel showing our dead children on TV and then get money from Qatar." — T., former Hamas Ministry officer.
"They would fire rockets and then run away quickly, leaving us to face Israeli bombs for what they did." — D., Gazan journalist.
"Hamas imposed a curfew: anyone walking out in the street was shot. That way people had to stay in their homes, even if they were about to get bombed. Hamas held the whole Gazan population as a human shield." — K., graduate student
"The Israeli army allows supplies to come in and Hamas steals them. It seems even the Israelis care for us more than Hamas." — E., first-aid volunteer.
"We are under Hamas occupation, and if you ask most of us, we would rather be under Israeli occupation… We miss the days when we were able to work inside Israel and make good money. We miss the security and calm Israel provided when it was here." — S., graduate of an American university, former Hamas sympathizer.
by Ben Cohen
Now, with the Islamic State's self-proclaimed caliphate having captured key oil wells in the Middle East this year, foreign oil has become an even more lethal financial weapon-of-choice for those seeking to destroy democracy and further escalate the War on Terror.
That President Barack Obama failed even to mention oil as a critical factor in the war against IS during his speech to the nation on September 10, is an omission both revealing and dangerous in terms of how his administration wants to depict the stakes involved in this latest confrontation with the jihadis.
by Lawrence A. Franklin
One Pakistani recruiter of child suicide bombers describes these children as "tools provided by God."
Another Muslim cleric in a madrassa [Islamic boys' school] describes child suicide bombers as "a gift from Allah that we have an unlimited number willing to be sacrificed to teach Americans a lesson."
Using children as suicide bombers will stop when... they stop "condoning the killing of innocents."
by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.