Laura Mansfield

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Second Al Qaeda TV Broadcast Released

Al Qaeda's Media Office Releases Second 'Voice of the Caliphate' Broadcast
Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Download now

The one-minute 31-second video features a lone, masked spokesman who proceeds to read a short statement denouncing the Spanish court's sentencing of Al-Jazirah correspondent Taysir Alluni to prison and stresses the need for solidarity with their brother. Unlike the first broadcast, the news presenter had no Koran or machine gun at his desk. A translation of the statement follows:

"God's peace and blessings be upon you.

In an urgent report aired a short while ago, the Qatari Al-Jazirah Channel said that the Spanish court looking into the case of our Muslim brother Taysir Alluni convicted him to seven years in prison. The Sawt Al-Khilafa Media Establishment on the Web has issued a statement strongly denouncing the practices of the infidel Crusader Spanish courts against the Muslim journalist Taysir Alluni, the correspondent of the Qatari Al-Jazirah Channel. The statement stressed full solidarity with our brother Taysir Alluni in his ordeal and against the injustice he is being subjected to due to his reporting on the news with full neutrality and according to the internationally-established standards of journalism.

Thank you and God's peace and blessings be upon you."


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mastermind behind kidnapping of Italian aid worker arrested - again

This is good news. From the Guardian UK comes the good news that the person responsible for the kidnapping of Italian aid worker Clementina Cantoni has been arrested:

The "mastermind" behind the gang who kidnapped an Italian aid worker in Afghanistan in May has been arrested, interior officials confirmed.

The Afghan interior minister, Ali Ahmad Jalali, said Temur Shah was arrested in a joint operation between police and intelligence agents yesterday.

Mr Shah is accused of kidnapping 32-year-old Clementina Cantoni, who was dragged from her car at gunpoint on May 16 and released 24 days later. She had been working for CARE International in Kabul when she was abducted.

He is also accused of abducting and killing the son of an Afghan businessman and threatening a bank chairman with extortion last week, Mr Jalali said.

Mr Shah was arrested earlier this month but released after an army general said there had been a case of mistaken identity. Ms Cantoni reportedly then identified him from photographs shown to her by investigators, leading to his re-arrest.

According to reports in Italian newspapers, he was the only person who had spoken to Ms Cantoni during her captivity. She said he told her his name shortly after she had been abducted.

The Italian had been working in Kabul on an aid project helping Afghan widows and their families. After she was kidnapped, hundreds of women she had helped staged protests in the capital to call for her release.

When she was freed, Ms Cantoni said she had been treated well while in captivity.


Does Saudi most wanted have passport from Bosnia-Hertzogovenia?

This article, translated by FBIS, denies that Yunis Muhammad Ibrahim al-Hayari, one of the Saudi most wanted, has a passport from Bosnia-Hertzogovenia. Apparantly the story is making the rounds that a number of terrorists, including al-Hayari, have received passports from that country. This will be an interesting one to follow.

Ministry 'Source' Denies 'Most Wanted' Moroccan Extremist Holds B-H Passport "Wanted Arab Extremist is Not a B-H Citizen" -- BETA headline

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sarajevo, 30 Jun (BETA) -- Yunis Muhammad Ibrahim al-Hayari, one of the most wanted extremists in Saudi Arabia, does not have a B-H passport or identity card, sources in the B-H Council of Ministers said this evening.

A source in the B-H Council of Ministers told BETA that al-Hayari was given a passport in 1996 as a reward for serving in the B-H Army, but he never submitted a request for renewing his citizenship, nor does he have a valid CIPS passport or B-H identity card.

The CIPS project in B-H, that is, the introduction of uniform personal documents in line with European standards, was first implemented in 2003. The implementation of the CIPS project was one of the conditions for B-H's faster European integration, and B-H citizens exchanged their old personal documents for new, uniform throughout B-H.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry has published a new list of 36 most wanted extremists who are suspected of carrying out numerous attacks in Saudi Arabia, and other countries. Al-Hayari, originally from Morocco, is on that list. (Passage omitted)

(Description of Source: Belgrade BETA in Serbian -- independent Belgrade press agency BETA)


Ezzedin Qassam Brigades of Hamas kidnap and execute Jerusalem resident, release video on the web

The announcement was made in postings on jihadi forums, and was also sent out through the Ansar mailing list under the banner of the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, which bills itself as the "Military Wing of Hamas". (banner shown below)

The organization released a videotape of Nuriel in captivity apparently made shortly before his murder. In the tape, Nuriel appears with his face covered and his hands bound, and he urges the government, in Arabic, at his captors' demand, to release all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

In its statement, Hamas said it kidnapped Nuriel in order to exchange him for Palestinians held by Israel, but the army's massive arrest operation in the West Bank this week compelled it to kill Nuriel instead. Hamas also threatened to kidnap additional Israelis, warning: "The operation is just beginning." The army said it takes this threat seriously and reiterated that Israelis are forbidden to enter areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The group also released copies of the ID cards of Nuriel.

The video is available to subscribers of our Strategic Translations service.


Al Quds Al Arabi accuses US of flipflopping

The Arabic language newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi is a London-based independent Arab nationalist daily with an anti-US and anti-Saudi editorial line; generally pro-Palestinian, tends to be sympathetic to Bin Ladin.

This article is typical of the newspaper's anti-American slant but it does provide a good view of what many in the Arab world see as a US flip-flop.

UK Arabic Paper Accuses US of Backing Down on Support for Democratic Reforms

Editorial: "US Backing Down on Democratic Reform"

Al-Quds al-Arabi

Wednesday, September 28, 2005 T10:26:44Z

The United States has apparently backed down on its declared policy of supporting the democratic reform process in the Arab region and has started to lean toward dealing with the present dictatorial regimes, even if temporarily.

The current tour of the region by US Assistant Secretary of State Karen Hughes has provided more signs of this.

During her stopover in Cairo, Mrs. Hughes was eager to show an understanding of the slow reforms in Egypt and the viewpoint of President Husni Mubarak which says that the democratic change process needs time for enacting new legislations and laws. She did not criticize the regime at all in all her talks with officials and media representatives and focused on the means of marketing the United States as a country that is not hostile to the Arabs and Muslims.

But when she arrived in Jedda to meet Saudi King Abdallah Bin-Abd-al-Aziz, she was keen to praise the Saudi Government's efforts to fight terror and did not bring up at all the issues of human rights violations, the absence of freedoms, and the lack of the fair and independentce judiciary and merely referred shyly to the need to respect non-Muslims and their rights to worship.

It is evident from the above that two principal criteria govern US policy on the democratic change process in the Middle East:

The first criterion is the relationship with Israel. Democratic reforms remain marginal or occupy a lower level on the list of US priorities as long as the ruling Egyptian regime is performing its role of protecting the Hebrew State's security and continuing the political and economic normalization processes with it.

US pressures for reform in Egypt abated noticeably after the signing of the QIZ (qualified industrial zone) economic agreement between Egypt and Israel, the completion of the deal to sell it Egyptian gas, and Egypt's continued efforts to pressure the Palestinians to stop the military operations.

The second criterion is the fight against terror. As long as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is committed to fighting Al-Qa'ida organization, changing the curricula that encourage Islamic extremism, and cooperating with the United States in the war on terror, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, then this means that it is doing for Washington what is required of it and hence is exempted from any blame or criticism. Democratic reforms therefore remain unimportant and can be frozen or postponed or even dropped completely.

This US backing down on supporting reforms will increase the hatred for US policies in the Arab region and make Mrs. Hughes' tour futile or with very limited results.

The present US administration is hated for three main reasons. The first is its war in Iraq that was based on lies, ripped a stable country apart, and killed at least 100,000 of its sons. The second is the absolute support for the Israeli aggression in Palestine. The third is the backing for the dictatorships and the preference to deal with them rather than with elected democratic regimes.

Mrs. Hughes' statements and the backing down they implied as well as her government's pressures on the Arab countries to normalize with Israel after a nominal pullout from Gaza and its insistence on remaining in Iraq are all factors confirming separately and collectively that the hatred for the United States will increase and widen and all the desperate and nominal attempts to change this glaring truth will not succeed.


New Al Qaeda video with English subtitles

An email was distributed this morning through the Al Ansar Mailing List Project containing links to a video that the email calls “They Die to be Alive 1”. The video claims to have been made by the Jihad Media Battalion. The email includes English subtitles, so it’s clearly targeted to a western audience.

The video itself, which was packages on September 23, 2005, begins with an excerpt from a speech by Osama Bin Laden and includes video footage of a series of bomb attacks on US forces in Iraq. It includes excerpts of videos previously released by various terror groups in Iraq, including the Ansar al Sunnah Army, the Army of Islam in Iraq, and Qaeda’t al Jihad in Mesopotamia.

The video is ten minutes, 35 seconds in length.

A copy of the email is in the attached file or you may view it at

The video may be downloaded from
To view the video, you will need to download it and unzip it.


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Now the Arabic media is mocking Al Qaeda...

Articles Mocks Al-Qa'ida Media Image, Says Viewers Tired of Tapes' 'Monotony'

Well, now the Arabic language media is mocking Bin Laden and Zawahiri. This is an interesting article from Sharq al Awsat:

Article by Dayana Muqallad:

"Al-Qa'ida Organization and the Imagination Behind the Images"

Al-Sharq al-Awsat

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The latest videotape by the number-two man in Al-Qa'ida, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in which he blessed what he called "conquest of London and its sisters," has not succeeded in stealing our attention nor moving much in our imagination, unlike what those videotapes used to do a few years ago. Despite the fact that this videotape and the words that Al-Zawahiri uttered on it appeared on the front pages and occupied first place on Al-Jazirah's newscasts for many, many hours, this type of propaganda for Al-Qa'ida has started to become monotonous for our imagination and our viewing, to the extent that the tapes make us feel more bored and fed up, rather than stirring the emotions they want us to feel.

The appearance of Usamah Bin-Ladin himself no longer has the impact that it used to have before and after the New York and Washington attacks. Here, one may start wondering with derision as one follows Al-Zawahiri's tape, at least visually (because one's mind may wander as a result of one's boredom) that perhaps Bin-Ladin and his clique should meet and decide what to do about their image in the media, which has retracted to an extent that has become almost pitiful.

Bin-Ladin's very few appearances on the videotape and his tired features blend in well with the reports that spoke about his sickness and poor health.

This is the person who was keen on appearing fighting fit, donning ammunition and weapons, prancing around on his horse, or showing off his cleverness to a Western journalist by conducting an interview with a map behind him, only to announce years later that the map in that picture bore one of the locations targeted by his organization in bloody attacks.

There is no doubt that Bin-Ladin showed a clear infatuation with his own image before the world, particularly before the Western world, which prompted many to compare Bin-Ladin with Che Guevara, especially the fact that both of them were quite taken by their own images. It seems that the Al-Qa'ida leader has decided to substitute his image, which no longer conveys the image he aspires to convey, by repeatedly showing his aide Al-Zawahiri. But this is nothing more than a garbled repetition of the same old message, only this time it has lost all its power of attraction.

If one lets his imagination run away with him, then perhaps one can think about the image of Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, who is now the new Al-Qa'ida star, the inspiration for the suicide bombers and for his fans. He is the one whose crimes have sent shivers down the spine of the whole world, while those who like him demand more of them. However, despite the narcissism Bin-Ladin displays, Al-Zarqawi displays a hatred of his own image. Or at least, this is the feeling we get. The few images of Al-Zarqawi that have been shown have revealed a restless and worried figure, given the way he looks at the camera and his reluctance to appear before it.

If it is proved that he is the one who appeared in some of the clips where the throats of foreigners in Iraq were being slit on screen, which the extremists' sites have been bragging that Al-Zarqawi himself carried out, then we would be confronting a different kind of image that Al-Zarqawi links himself to, since he believes perhaps that his image is forbidden (from being shown) unless it is for some throat-slitting here or killing there.

Perhaps Al-Zarqawi's emergence on the videotape constitutes an earthquake that could break the visual monotony of the current scenes from which Al-Qa'ida is suffering.

What has just been said is not praise for the image. Rather, it is speculation about its significance.

(Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic -- Influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy)


Yeah, right, sure: Palestinian Factions Agree To Stop Operations From Gaza Against Israeli Targets

Yeah right sure. We've heard this before... They must have their fingers crossed.

"Hudna means please pause while we reload our weapons" -- Charles Welty

Palestinian Factions Agree To Stop Operations From Gaza Against Israeli Targets

Voice of Palestine

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

(PLC) Deputy Ibrahim Abu-al-Naja, coordinator of the Higher Follow-up Committee of the National and Islamic Forces, has said that the representatives of factions, including HAMAS Movement and the Islamic Jihad Movement, agreed to stop (armed) operations from the Gaza Strip.

(Description of Source: Ramallah Voice of Palestine in Arabic -- Official radio station of the Palestinian Authority)


Monday, September 26, 2005

Issue 23 of Ansar al Sunnah’s magazine summarizes their previous two weeks activities

This magazine, dated the 4th day of Shaban 1426 on the Islamic calendar, corresponding to September 8, 2005, summarizes the activities of the Army of Ansar al Sunnah in Iraq (Jaish Ansar al Sunnah fe Iraq). The publication covers the two week period between the 22nd of August and the 6th of September, 2005.

The 28-page “magazine”, published in PDF and DOC format, includes a summary of the daily attacks conducted by the group.

One paragraph summaries of twenty-nine different operations are included in the publication.

The publication also outlines the kidnappings and executions it has conducted, and where they have the ID’s of the victim, they include a copy along with the summary.

The publication includes an illustrated article showing the mujahideen launching missiles on American targets. (The images were apparently taken from a video released several weeks ago.)

The publication also includes an illustrated “tutorial” describing the use of the Dragonov SVD weapon, which appears to have been copied from an internet webpage published in English.

Download entire report

(Special thanks to Archangel)


Iraqi-bound Mercenaries Leave Honduras for Nicaragua

This is an interesting article from today's FBIS translations. The source is ACAN-EFE in Spanish -- Independent Central American press agency that is a joint concern of Panama City ACAN (Agencia Centroamericana de Noticias) and Madrid EFE.

The Honduras reference caught my eye.

If there are mercs available for hire by US companies, there are probably mercs available for hire by Al Qaeda, further strengthening the suspicions of the link between MS-13 and Al Qaeda.

Honduras: Chilean Mercenaries Leave Honduras for Nicaragua "Chilean Mercenaries Leave Honduras for Nicaragua"-- ACAN-EFE Headline


Friday, September 23, 2005 T22:05:27Z

Chilean mercenaries ordered out of Honduras after authorities learned they had come to the Central American nation to train for duty in Iraq left here Friday for neighboring Nicaragua.

Benjamin Canales, manager of the Honduras office of Your Solutions, the U.S. firm that hired the Chileans for security tasks in Iraq, told EFE the men had to leave because Honduran officials turned down a request from the company that they be allowed to remain a few more days before flying out to the Middle East.

He said the 105 Chileans left early Friday for Nicaragua, traveling by road.

Tuesday, Honduras gave the Chileans 72 hours to leave the country after immigration authorities discovered they had entered the Central American nation on tourist or business visas but were actually there for training as employees of the U.S.-based firm.

The country's constitution bars military training of foreign nationals on Honduran territory.

The existence of the Your Solutions training facility in Lepaterique, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Tegucigalpa, was uncovered by La Tribuna newspaper.
Your Solutions Honduras is committed to delivering 600 private security guards to Iraq by next month, and has already sent 36 Hondurans to Baghdad.

"If we had gotten 600 Hondurans, we wouldn't have sought the Chileans," Canales told EFE, adding that the firm expects to fill its 600-guard quota through recruitment in Nicaragua.

Your Solutions is offering new hires assignments in Iraq that pay between $990 and $1,500 a month.

The incident has stirred criticism from some Hondurans who accuse their government of knowingly allowing the mercenaries to enter the country, but Defense Minister Federico Breve said Tuesday that Tegucigalpa turned down a request from Your Solutions to conduct training in the Central American country.

"This is an absolutely private issue, among private parties, to possibly carry out security duty in Iraq, and the truth is that as government and as a state, we don't have much to say," Chilean Foreign Minister Ignacio Walker said earlier this week about the situation involving his compatriots in Honduras.

"The truth is that we - as a government, as a state - we have had a very clear position on the matter of Iraq," Walker said, alluding to Santiago's consistent opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of the Arab nation. "But who hires whom in the private world is not an issue that concerns the foreign ministry."

In October 2003, 120 Chilean military veterans were hired for work in Iraq by North Carolina-based Blackwater USA, one of the principal private security contractors operating in the Middle Eastern country.


Friday Sermon in Saudi Arabia: "O God, give power to Islam and Muslims, humiliate unbelief and unbelievers"

When the Imam of a mosque in Saudi Arabia, on government controlled Saudi-TV, makes comments like the ones they made on Friday, you have to wonder what they are teaching when they are not in the public eye.

OK, you probably DON'T have to wonder.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia TV1 in Arabic and Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia TV2 in Arabic, official television stations of the Saudi Government, on Friday 23 September carry live sermons from the holy mosques in Mecca and Medina.

On this Friday, the sermons from the holy mosque in Mecca and the holy mosque in Medina deal with the month of Ramadan and Zakat (almsgiving).

After praising God and the Messenger, the imam calls on people to obey God and says that the blessed month of Ramadan is approaching. In this month, he says, the Koran was revealed and "the doors of Hell are closed and the doors of Paradise are opened." It is also the month of forgiveness and mercy for all Muslims, he says, adding that the month of Ramadan includes Al-Qadr Night (the night in which the Koran was revealed), urging people to stand by the poor, particularly in the month of Ramadan, and to fear God and have faith in Him as a away to forgiveness and Paradise. The imam cites relevant Koranic verses.

The imam also urges people to carry out their religious duties in an appropriate manner before it is too late.

In the second sermon, the imam warns people against indulging in entertainments, which, he says, derail people from worshiping and obeying God's orders.

Concluding, the imam prays to God: "O God, give power to Islam and Muslims, humiliate unbelief and unbelievers. O God, support those supporting the religion and disappoint tyrants, atheists, and the corrupt. O God, give safety and security to this country and the rest of the Islamic countries." He also asks God to support "the mujahidin" in Palestine and to give success to the Saudi leaders.

After praising God and the Messenger, the imam says that Islam is the religion of righteous people and that the justice of the shari'a is evident in the Koran and the Sunnah.

Zakat, he says, is one of the pillars of Islam and urges the rich to stretch their hands to the poor, warning that he who denies zakat is considered an unbeliever and will receive severe punishment on the Judgment Day, citing relevant Koranic verses.

In the second sermon, the imam deals with the same theme of Zakat.

Concluding, the imam asks God to strengthen Islam and Muslims, humiliate unbelievers, destroy the enemies of the religion, give safety and prosperity to this country and the rest of the Islamic countries, and grant success to the Saudi leaders. The imam also prays to God: "O God, improve the situation of our brothers in Palestine and Iraq. O God, have mercy on them, heal their wounds, and support them. O God, let them restore security and stability in their homelands. O God, protect their land and their homes by the Koran and the Sunnah. O God, save Al-Aqsa Mosque from the paws of the Jews."


Iran: President Says Nation Grounded in Faith, Love for Martyrdom Will Not Fail

Iran's President once again tells us what he believes.

The concept of a nation "grounded in faith and loved for martyrdom" is something that is difficult for those of us in the west to comprehend.

Monday, September 26, 2005

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Monday that a nation grounded in faith and love for martyrdom will never fail or capitulate.

Speaking at a ceremony marking the start of the new academic year in Imam Hossein University, he said the cultural achievements of the nation in the past eight years of sacred defense against Iraq were the most valuable as they would sustain the Iranian people as they continue in the path of revolution.

He further said that an unwavering faith in God, self-reliance and trust in one's capabilities were among the lessons learned by the nation during the years of sacred war.

Imam Hossein University was established in 1986 and is run by the Islamic Republic Guard Corps. Over 15,000 students are currently enrolled in the university.


Zarqawi's Terrorists Execute Jordanian Driver in Iraq

This article, from the Al-Ra'y newspaper in Amman, Jordan, shows how the local media in Jordan reports the kidnappings and executions in Iraq.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A group claiming to be affiliated with the Al-Qa'ida of Jihad Organization in the Land of the Two Rivers (Tanzim Qa'idat Al-Jihad fi Bilad Al-Rafidayn), led by Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi, shot and killed Jordanian national Khalid Husayn al-Disuqi and disposed of his body in an area near the Iraqi side of the Jordanian Al-Karamah border crossing on the pretext of his collaboration with the US Army through his transportation of goods belonging to it. The deceased had driven his tow truck to Iraq to tow a broken down truck for a fee of 2,500 Jordanian dinars; he secured the job through a Jordanian firm specializing in services in Iraq. According to his brother, Khalid was consequently kidnapped by a terrorist group claiming to be affiliated with Al-Zarqawi.

The "terrorist" group then contacted Khalid's family using his cellular phone, and told them that he was working with the Americans and that his file was referred to Abu-Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, who subsequently sentenced him to decapitation under Islamic law. The group, however, told the family that Khalid was killed execution-style.

Negotiations between the deceased's family and the terrorist group through Khalid's cellular phone went on for four days, and finally revealed that he had been murdered and that his body had been dumped near the Amman-Baghdad international highway , where it was found by US forces and handed over to the Jordanian border police, who in turn informed his family. The body was transferred to Al-Ruwayshid Hospital and then to Al-Bashir Hospital in Amman before being handed over to his family, who laid him to rest in the Sahab cemetery yesterday afternoon.

The deceased's brother, Akram al-Disuqi, told Al-Ra'y that he had reported his brother's disappearance in Iraq to the Jordanian Foreign Ministry and the company that sent him there. He said that he was contacted by his brother's abductors, who claimed to have killed his brother upon orders from Al-Zarqawi.

Al-Disuqi said that his brother was brutally tortured before he was killed, and that he plans to relay this information to all concerned parties so that they may investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident. He said that he would also demand compensation from the company that sent his brother to Iraq.

The deceased is a 26 year old father of five.


Egyptian Engineer Kidnapped in Baghdad

The name of this engineer, Samuel Edward, caught my eye. Samuel Edward is not an Islamic name, so most like he is member of the Coptic Christian minority in Iraq.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A group of unidentified gunmen kidnapped an Egyptian engineer, called Samuel Edward, working for Iraq's Iraqna (our Iraq) Telecommunications Company as he was leaving his house in al-Mansour neighbourhood in Baghdad on his way to work on Monday.

Company and Police sources said that a company driver who was waiting outside the engineer's house to drive him to the company's office in the same neighbourhood was also abducted but was later released.


Friday, September 23, 2005

January 1999 Article in Al Majallah: Iraqi Intelligence Linked to Bin-Ladin

Sometimes reading old press reports truly uncovers gems.

The following article was published in the Arabic language publication Al Majallah in London in January 1999. It sets forth the claim, some two and a half years before the 9/11 attacks, that Iraqi Intelligence was linked to Osama Bin Laden.

This article is well worth reading.

Iraq: Iraqi Intelligence Linked to Bin-Ladin
London Al-Majallah in Arabic 10-16 Jan 99 p 25
Wednesday, January 20, 1999

Unattributed report: "Story of Cooperation Between Iraq and Both Taleban and Bin-Ladin; It Started Before Operation Desert Fox"

Islamabad, exclusive to Al-Majallah -- Hours after Operation Desert Fox against Iraq, a meeting was held in a mosque in Kandahar, birthplace of Taleban movement leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, which was attended by a number of senior Taleban commanders, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of the Jihad movement in Egypt, and Abu-Sa'id al-Masri, a leader of the Afghan Arabs.

According to an Afghan source close to the Taleban, a message signed by Arab and Muslim combatants was sent during the meeting to "the Muslim masses throughout the world, urging them to hit US and British interests and stage demonstrations in protest at the US-British attack on Iraq." And for the first time in Afghanistan's contemporary history since the Red Army's departure and the downfall of Najibollah's rule voices were heard shouting support for Saddam Husayn, which surprised some observers. But the developments that followed the propaganda meeting in a Kandahar mosque revealed the clues behind the relationship between both Mullah Omar's group and Usamah Bin-Ladin's group and Iraqi intelligence.

Al-Majallah's exclusive information indicates that the credit for the establishment of relations between both the Taleban and leaders of the Afghan Arabs and the Iraqi regime goes to the Iraq-based Iranian (opposition) Mojahedin-e Khalq. A delegation was sent to Pakistan from Iraq by Mas'ud Rajavi, leader of the Mojahedin-e Khalq, when the Taleban were in control of Mazar-e Sharif. The delegation delivered a message from Rajavi to Mullah Omar, expressing his willingness to help the movement to confront what he termed "the Iranian regime's conspiracies" against the Afghan people.

According to an Afghan source close to Ahmad Shah Mas'ud, the military commander of the front opposed to the Taleban, Mas'ud's services had detected the arrival of technical and military missions belonging to the Mojahedin-e Khalq from Iraq to the areas under the Talebn's control in south, southeast, and west Afghanistan since the end of August 1998. The source said that Mas'ud Rajavi's men participated effectively in organizing the Taleban's propaganda policy and running their radio aimed against Iran.

They also took part in interrogating the Iranian diplomats and technicians arrested by the Taleban in Mazar-e Sharif and Tashqurghan. However, the link between the Taleban and the Mojahedin-e Khalq remained limited until October 1998. At that time, in particular, an Iraqi intelligence official named Abu-Walid accompanied a Mojahedin-e Khalq delegation to Islamabad on 9 November; the delegation continued its journey to Afghan territory with the help of a retired Pakistan Army official who has close ties with Taleban leader Mullah Omar.

In addition to Mullah Omar, the Iraqi official also met with Usamah Bin-Ladin and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri during his travels with the Mojahedin-e Khalq delegation. Contacts then expanded between Baghdad and the Taleban and also with the leaders of the Afghan Arabs to the extent that an adviser to Taleban leader Mullah Omar met with a high-ranking Iraqi envoy in a Gulf capital in November when it was agreed that the Iraqi and Afghan sides would cooperate in the security, military, and intelligence spheres.

In December, the Iraqi Embassy in Islamabad held a series of meetings between an Iraqi security official and the leaders of a number of Pakistani fundamentalist movements and elements from the Taleban, with the knowledge of Pakistani military intelligence.

According to sources close to Ahmad Shah Mas'ud, a group of Pakistani military intelligence officers who are still under the influence of their former chief General Hamid Gul played an influential role in strengthening the Iraqi regime's links with the Taleban and the Usamah Bin-Ladin group.

The source said that the group in question, which also has trade links with the Zardari family (family of the husband of People's Party leader Benazir Bhutto), which is known for its trade relations with Iraq, facilitated the transit to Afghan territory of Mojahedin-e Khalq elements, Iraqi intelligence men, and some of the military and technical aid paid for by the Iraqi Embassy.

On 21 December a high-ranking Iraqi diplomat normally based in Turkey visited Taleban leader Mullah Omar's residence in Kandahar, then headed for Khowst where he met with Bin-Ladin and al-Zawahiri.

An informed Afghan source has revealed to Al-Majallah that the diplomat in question, whom the Taleban leaders call by his first name, Faruq, and his nom de guerre, Abu-Muhammad, conveyed to the Taleban leader and Usamah Bin-Ladin Iraqi President Saddam Husayn's greetings and his wish to develop cooperation between Baghdad and the Arab and Afghan mujahidin in Afghanistan against "US and British arrogance and the regimes collaborating with Washington and London." Abu-Muhammad affirmed to his Afghan and Arab audience Iraq's willingness to provide financial, logistic, political, and informational support for the Taleban and the Afghan Arabs.

After the Iraqi diplomat Abu-Muhammad's visit to Kandahar, a source close to Ahmad Shah Mas'ud, the leader opposed to the Taleban, revealed that scores of Iraqi military intelligence men, in addition to a number of Mojahedin-e Khalq elements, arrived in Afghan territory in December, and are (now) in Kandahar, Khowst, Bamian, and Velayat-e Nimruz, adjacent to Iranian territory.


1999 Article in Sharq al Awsat Said Al Qaeda Had Anthrax

The following article, published in Arabic on March 6, 1999 in the London-based newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat, details confessions made to courts in Egypt that confirm that as of 1999, Osama Bin Laden and elements loyal to him had already purchased biological weapons including Ebola, Anthrax, and Salmonella.

Bin-Ladin Men Reportedly Possess Biological Weapons

Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic

March 6, 1999

Report by Khalid Sharaf-al-Din in Cairo

(FBIS Translated Text) Confessions by defendants in the "Albanian Arabs" case, which is being considered by the Egyptian Supreme Military Court at Hykstap Base, northern Cairo, have revealed that elements loyal to Bin-Ladin have obtained germ and biological weapons by post in return for a small sum. Factories in the former (Soviet bloc) eastern countries are supplying to whoever wants them viruses causing deadly diseases, such as Ebola and Salmonella, without verifying the identity of the importer.

Thus, a member of the organization has managed to obtain an offer for the supply of samples of anthrax and other poisonsfrom a factory in one of the East Asian countries. The germs have been made available at a price equivalent to $3,695 plus freight charges. At another point in the investigation, the defendants pointed out that a laboratory in the Czech Republic agreed to supply samples of the deadly gas, Potolinium (transliterated as published), for a sum equivalent to $7,500 per sample.

The laboratory did not inquire about the purposes for using the deadly gas.

Egyptian security agencies have conducted investigations into the case of the "returnees from Albania" over the past four months and compiled a 20,000-page report, parts of which have been examined by Al-Sharq al-Awsat. The defendants made full confessions about the nature of their activities against the Egyptian regime, such as acts of violence in Egypt and plans to destabilize the state. The confessions of the defendants revealed many surprises about the full role being played by the leaders of fundamentalist groups abroad.

The first defendant in the "Albanian Arabs" case, Ahmad Ibrahim al-Najjar, revealed in his confession, which covers 143 pages of the report on the investigations conducted by the higher state public prosecution before referring the whole case to the military justice, that Ayman al-Zawahiri was declared leader by members of Jihad group abroad several years ago; also, that 'Abbud al-Zummar, former leader of the group and founder of the Jihad Organization, who is currently serving a life sentence for the assassination of the late Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat, is no longer the actual leader of the organization and does not have any organizational authority.

This information explains the conflicting positions of the imprisoned group leaders and the absconding leaders abroad on the initiative to stop acts of violence, which was announced by the imprisoned leaders and rejected by the absconding ones. Al-Najjar says Jihad's organizational structure has become very complex since many leaders now live abroad, and those who live in Egypt are careful to not expose themselves to danger.


Moving back in time - to May 16, 2001

Every now and then I go back through the news archives. This morning, I came across this article about the now-infamous Abu Mus'ab al Zarqawi, dated May 16, 2001.

Jordanian Court To Begin Trial of Al-Qa'idah Organization Member Hijazi
16 May 2001
Source: AL-RA'Y newspaper, Amman, Jordan

The State Security Court will today, Wednesday, begin the trial of Ra'id Hijazi, one of those accused of belonging to the Afghan Al-Qa'idah Organization, which belongs to Usamah Bin-Ladin. This will be his second trial, since he was tried the first time in absentia, as he was absconding from justice. Then he was arrested in Syria and delivered to Jordan.
Hijazi, who was sentenced to death by hanging, faces several charges.

These are: Possessing explosive materials without any license for use illegally and collectively contrary to the provisions of Article 12/2 of the penal code, possessing an automatic weapon with a license for use illegally and collectively contrary to the provisions of Article 11/A of the Firearms and Ammunitions Law No. 24 of 1952 and Article 76 of the penal code, manufacturing explosive materials collectively without any license contrary to Article 12/A of Explosives Law No. 13 of 1952 and Article 76, plotting to carry out terrorist actions contrary to the provisions of Articles 147 and 148 of Penal Code No. 16 of 1960, entering into criminal agreement to commit crimes against people and property contrary to the provisions of Article 157/A of Penal Code No. 16 of 1960, and belonging to an illegal organization contrary to the provisions of Articles 159 and 160 of the penal code.

The court will also try Ahmad Fadil Nazzal al-Khalayilah, alias "Abu-Mus'ib al-Zarqawi," born in Al-Zarqa, currently residing in Afghanistan, and absconding from justice; and Lu'ay Muhammad Haj Bakr al-Saqqa, alias "Ali al-Turki Al-Daktur Ala," a Syrian national currently residing in Germany and absconding from justice. Both of them face the charge brought against them in the bill of indictment issued by Ma'mun al-Khasawinah, public prosecutor at the State Security Court. The charge is carrying terrorist actions contrary to the provisions of Articles 147 and 148 of Penal Code No. 16 of 1960.

(Description of Source: Amman Al-Ra'y in Arabic -- Jordanian daily of widest circulation; partially owned by government.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

PA Writer Slams HAMAS (kinda, sorta): "Transferring the Corruption With RPG's"

This is an interesting article from Ramallah-based Al-Hayah al-Jadidah, which is owned by the Palestinian Authority. Usually the PA writers tend to be much more conciliatory towards HAMAS.

I found the following quote especially interesting: "A sensible patriot would never expect HAMAS to clone corruption with a decision backed by RPGs, bombs, and shells."

I don't know about him, but frankly this is just the kind of behavior I would expect from HAMAS.

PA Writer Slams Hamas For Seizing Evacuated Gaza Lands By Force Commentary

by Muwaffaq Matar: "Transferring the Corruption With RPG's"

Al-Hayah al-Jadidah

Wednesday, September 21, 2005 T17:11:04Z

It is an irresponsible mentality which -decides to pull out a weapon and seize, with its bullying strength, government land.

  • What legal and moral logic invokes a resistance movement to order its members to raise earth barriers on donums of government land in the center of Al-Awdah city in Gaza? They drew RPG rockets to protect two bulldozers, which we thought were being used to lift the pile of damage left by the Zionist occupation from citizen homes but we were surprised to see them being used to seize government land through force of weapon.

  • What is happening to HAMAS Movement's behavior and thinking? It decided to enter the arena of honorable political competition and aim -- according to a natural right stipulated by law -- to win legislative and municipal elections. Why should it strengthen itself at this time through weapons and resistance youth against the authority and the law? Do they not fear the negative repercussions on the mujahidinn's consciousness when they see their strength being utilized for means other than the peaceful social struggle on the domestic front?

  • Do they think that any sensible person would stand before them and say: "No" if they did everything necessary for the political peaceful struggle in order to adjust the domestic conditions?

    On the other hand:

  • Why are the brothers being dragged into these methods that we have rejected and they have rejected? The National Authority proceeded to retrieve the solemnity of the law's sovereignty when it destroyed the luxurious homes of influential people that have taken advantage of their positions and returned the ownership of the land to the true original owners?

  • How could it justify its use of a method that is wrong from the standpoint of principles? How can a resistance movement, which attributes itself with the jihadist quality, approve such an act and execute it regardless of what its objectives are? These objectives will not convince us regardless of how honorable the substance is. If this movement, which enjoys a broad popular base, does this, then are we going to be surprised when some group commits acts that destroy the national unity that is losing its meaning gradually with these acts?

  • Why does this happen at this time in particular? Is it because the security and national police are busy trying to control the loose security control caused by some people in Rafah to suit their interest and the interest of drug dealers, smugglers, and arms dealers?

  • Do the brothers in HAMAS not realize that this sort of behavior can be as bad to the Palestinian mind as the worm that rots the Palestinian tree, which we should protect the purity of its roots, trunk, and branches. If one branch decomposes, the other will serve as a source of life for the tree. A sensible patriot would never expect HAMAS to clone corruption with a decision backed by RPGs, bombs, and shells.

    (Description of Source: Ramallah Al-Hayah al-Jadidah in Arabic -- Daily owned by the Palestinian Authority)

  • |

    And the violence in Iraq continues...

    And the violence in Iraq continues. This report from Xinhua news service in China, describes the murder of 3 members of a family, and the kidnapping of a fourth in Bagdad.

    Xinhua Told: Gunmen in Police Uniforms Kill 3 Family Members, Kidnap 1 in Baghdad "Gunmen in Police Uniform Kill Three Family Members in Baghdad"


    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Gunmen disguised in police uniform raided a house in southern Baghdad early Thursday, killing three family members and kidnapping another, police said.

    "Four police vehicles with armed men posing as policemen raided a house early before dawn in Baghdad's al-Jadida district, killing the father of the family, two of his sons and kidnapping another," police officer Captain Ahmed Abdullah told Xinhua.Earlier

    Thursday, Abdullah said four bodyguards of the female minister of immigration Suhaiyla Abed Jaafar were killed and two others wounded when gunmen ambushed their vehicle in the Iraqi capital."Unidentified gunmen opened fire at a vehicle carrying six bodyguards of the Immigration Minister this morning on the al- Qanat Street in Baghdad, killing four of them and wounding two others," Abdullah said.

    Meanwhile, an Iraqi police colonel was shot dead and his driver wounded as he was heading to work near Baquba, northeast of Baghdad, the police said."Col. Fadhel Mahmoud, an officer in Diyala provincial police headquarters was shot dead by unknown gunmen in an area located between Baquba and Kanaan, some 50 km northeast of Baghdad," an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua.

    Insurgents frequently target Iraq's fledgling security forces and government employees in an attempt to cripple the Shiite- dominated government formed in late April.


    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    I'll take these statements much more seriously when the Saudi's start doing the following:

    1. Denouncing suicide bombings by Palestinians against Israel as terrorism
    2. Fire the government-paid clerics who preach radicalism in their mosques

    Saudi Official Urges Muslims 'To Combat Deviant Thoughts', 'Oppose Terrorism' Report by Galal Fakkar in Mecca: "Makkah Plays Pivotal Role in Promoting Tolerance: Governor"

    Arab News

    Monday, September 19, 2005 T07:02:04Z

    The holy city of Makkah has been playing a big role in promoting tolerance and encouraging dialogue between various cultures, says Makkah Governor Prince Abdul Majeed.

    Prince Abdul Majeed made the remarks while inaugurating celebrations to mark Makkah as the Islamic cultural capital of 2005. He urged intellectuals and scholars all over the Islamic world to combat deviant thoughts and oppose all types of terrorism, which is totally against the spirit of Islam and its lofty goals.

    The governor reminded scholars and intellectuals of their great responsibility saying they have to lighten the way of people keeping up with modern developments.

    He also emphasized the role of educated women in bringing up future generations on the basis of pure Islamic teachings.

    Culture and Information Minister Iyad Madani said Makkah has been the center of culture and civilization since time immemorial. Scholars from different parts of the world came to the city and enlightened the world through their knowledge.

    "These scholars promoted tolerance by reaching out to non-Muslims," he pointed out. He spoke about Makkah's heritage, which is manifested itself in its streets, buildings, lifestyle, fashions and food.

    Dr. Nasser Al-Saleh, president of Um Al-Qura University and secretary-general of the festival organizing committee, said his university would host about 70 cultural events this year as part of the festivities.

    Higher Education Minister Dr. Khaled Al-Anqari inaugurated a museum at the university showcasing the city's rich heritage including old coins, Islamic engravings, old calligraphic writings and several rare possessions.

    Dr. Muhammad Al-Oqla, undersecretary at the university for studies and scientific research, said the university had been making preparations for the festival for the past 18 months in coordination with other government agencies.

    A three-day seminar focusing on the importance of Makkah is being held as part of the festival. Al-Saleh said more than 300 research papers would be presented at the seminar by scholars and historians from within and outside the Kingdom.

    "The seminar will focus on nine main topics including Makkah's religious role and its influence on other nations; cultural and educational movements in Makkah; endowments and their effect on Makkah society; the concept of security in Makkah; Makkah environment; and the expansion of the Grand Mosque.

    "The main objective of the seminar is to study the cultural role of Makkah, past and present," the Um Al-Qura president said, adding that the seminar would have a total of 16 sessions.


    Muslim Council of Britain holds forum "British Muslims, Dealing with the Media"

    The following article comes from Sharq al Awsat. I love the quite from Gradam Dudman, managing editor of The Sun: "The Sun is not against the Muslim society but instead, it is only against terrorists and those who call for hatred."

    Muslim Council of Britain Forum Shows Muslims' Resentment Toward Western Media Report by Faysal Abbas: "Symposium in London Discusses How Islam Deals with Muslims' Issues"

    Source: Al-Sharq al-Awsat

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005 T08:35:09Z

    The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) has organized a special symposium titled: "British Muslims, Dealing with the Media," at London's Islamic Center of England. The symposium included speeches and discussions with a number of the most prominent media practitioners and academics, including Graham Dudman, the managing editor of the popular newspaper The Sun. Dudman listened to criticism from many people who accused his newspaper of implementing an anti-Islam agenda. However, after Dudman scanned the audience and found that most of them are not readers of his newspaper, he said that The Sun is not against the Muslim society but instead, it is only against terrorists and those who call for hatred.

    David Seymour, the political editor of the popular newspaper the Daily Mirror, explained that it is important for journalists to clarify the nature of their work and how it is being done so people would not get the wrong impression about what they do. Professor Greg Philo, the writer of "Bad News from Israel," spoke about the dominance of pro-Israel parties over the media and the amount of ignorance spread among the British public regarding the reasons behind the Arab-Israeli conflict. The list of speakers also included reporters and editors from the newspapers The Independent, The Times and The Sunday Times, in addition to reporters from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

    The discussions between the audience -- including normal citizens, religious personalities and academics -- and the speakers showed that Muslim quarters hold some kind of resentment against western media in general. Speakers from the BBC explained some of the BBC's editorial policies and clarified that the corporation prefers not to use the word "terrorist" (on its programs). They also spoke about some policies that have to do with the Palestine question, such as the corporation's continued use of the expression "the occupied territories." Greg Philo commented on the need to determine who is occupying who, because according to a study he conducted, many of those included in the survey, on which Philo based his study, believe that the lands are Israeli lands and that the Palestinians have occupied them. Philo added: We must say that these are Palestinian lands occupied by Israel since 1967 and that this is an international position that entails no bias whatsoever.

    MCB Secretary General Iqbal Sacranie dedicated most of his opening speech to speak about the reactions he had received as a result of his dispute with the program "Panorama." The MCB sees that this program, which was aired by the BBC about two weeks ago, showed bias against Sacranie. Sacranie explained that the dispute has resulted in a flow of letters of support from the different members of the Muslim society in the United Kingdom and even from non-Muslims. He added: Panorama has achieved for us in one night what would have taken us four or five years of work to achieve.

    In a statement to Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Sacranie said that organizing this event has nothing to do with the 7 July attacks or with the media focus on the Muslim society in the United Kingdom following the attacks. He added: We organized a similar event last year. He explained: The feeling that there is media bias against Muslims existed before 7 July and even before 11 September. As for the reasons for this alleged bias, Sacranie said that it is due to the conduct of both sides: the media and the Muslim society. He added: As for media practitioners, they do not perform their job in full most of the time, because they either do not have the desire to search or they want to get things done quickly and turn in their reports on time. He continued: "As for the Muslim society, the truth is that they do not make enough effort to explain the tolerant teachings of their religion and to talk to the media. In the end, media persons get only a small or a false part of the picture, thus causing problems."

    For his part, Toro Takagi, a producer at the news programs department of the Japanese NHK station (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), told Al-Sharq al-Awsat that in Japan, they are interested in the cultures of other peoples and that they focus a lot of attention on making documentary programs about Islam, Muslims and fundamentalist terrorism. He added: There are few sources available for the Japanese in this regard.

    International religious and social personalities also attended the symposium, including Muhammad Alami Musa from the Islamic Center of Singapore (ICS). Musa said that he and his accompanying delegation are on a tour to visit Muslim societies in a number of states in the world and that he is looking forward to benefiting from this symposium and learning about the MCB's experiences.

    It is worth noting that the MCB is the umbrella that joins about 400 Islamic organizations, representing the different Islamic schools in the United Kingdom.


    Defendant Says US Embassy in Amman Was Original Target of Al-Aqabah Attack

    This is the first report on this I've seen. According to the article, published in Sharq al Awsat, one of the suspects arrested in the attack on the US Navy ship in the port of Aqaba, Jordan, has disclosed that the US Embassy in the Jordanian capital of Amman was the original target of the attack.

    A translation of the article follows:

    Defendant Says US Embassy in Amman Was Original Target of Al-Aqabah Attack

    Report by Faris Shar'an and Muhammad al-Da'mah in Amman:
    "Defendant in Al-Aqabah Bombings: Plan Targeted US Embassy and Was Changed After Arrival of Two US Destroyers"

    Al-Sharq al-Awsat

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005 T11:03:05Z

    Syrian national Muhammad Hasan Abdallah al-Sahli, the principal defendant in the case of Al-Aqabah's terrorist bombings, has admitted that the operation targeted the US Embassy before the plan was changed to attack two US destroyers in the city's port.

    The investigations that the concerned Jordanian security authorities carried out with Al-Sahli indicated that one of Abu-Mus'ab al-Zarqawi's aides visited him three times, was his guest in his house in Amman's Nazzal neighborhood, and went out all day to meet other people but did not tell Al-Sahli about his meetings and contacts but only slept in his house. He added that the last time he was his guest was two months before Al-Aqabah bombings.

    Al-Sahli also confessed that the US Embassy in Amman was the target of the operation and that the plan involved positioning four rockets on a hill opposite the US Embassy from the Marj al-Hamam direction. He added that preparations were underway to carry out the plan but a major change happened when "Al-Qa'ida" organization was informed that two US destroyers had arrived at Jordan's Al-Aqabah Port and would unload their cargo of weapons and military equipment in the port for transporting to Iraq overland to be used in the fight against the insurgents in western Iraq.

    (Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat in Arabic -- Influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy)


    Sharq al Awsat: Writer Slams Ba'thists, Fundamentalists for Using Suicide Bombers in Iraq

    This is an interesting article, originally published in Arabic in Sharq al Awsat.

    Sharq al Awsat is an influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy.

    by Tariq al-Humayd: "All of Them Are Drugged"

    Al-Sharq al-Awsat

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005 T13:00:05Z

    I write this article as a comment on the report published on page 1 about the young man who was forced to bomb a Shiite mosque in Iraq. The attempt was foiled after the young man fled from the mosque. He said he was forced to undertake this mission after he was kidnapped, beaten, and given drugs by the terrorists in Iraq. Statements by US military officials confirmed that the tests carried on this young man indicate he was telling the truth.

    I strongly believe that what he said was correct. All the terrorists are drugged. They were drugged by the media and articles, the false and fabricated whimsical tales, and the faked photos that are chosen from the angle that serves the terrorists, Ba'thists or fundamentalists.

    They were drugged with speeches from mosques' rostrums, honeyed promise of houris, and statements signed by persons who know nothing about jihad other than words and resonant speeches. They were drugged by the politicians who continue to reiterate in our hearing the need to define terror at a time when we have become in dire need for defining the resistance.

    Killing thousands of civilians and military in Iraq is terror. Killing civilians and military in Saudi Arabia is terror. What happened in Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, and Qatar is terror. Blowing up oneself in vain in the Palestinian territories is not resistance but a frustration of every step taken by the Palestinian Authority. We therefore need to have a definition of resistance today.

    These young men are drugged day and night for political purposes. They are traded on the borders of all the issues and not the borders of Iraq alone. Everyone with a political bill uses them to settle it. Just list how many of the failed suicide operations where those who escaped said they did not know it was a suicide operation.

    Some of the returnees from Iraq and those arrested mentioned they were surprised to see bearded Ba'thists, who are so far removed from religion, steering and using them to achieve their purposes in Iraq. It is not the Ba'thists alone who are benefiting from these young men but also forces that open the doors to them and reap the result of their terror and abuse. The day will come when the Iraqis will discover the facts themselves.

    Truly, it is not this or that who is to be blamed but the merchants of words and rumors who should be brought to account. Stop drugging these young men. This noisy throng of throwing them in hell is enough. The merchants of blood and destruction should know that words are subject to accountability and punishment. The Saudi mufti's fatwa on the statement of the head of evil Al-Zarqawi and his attacks on the Iraqi Shiites should be accompanied by a real effort by those who want to protect the religion from these people who are distorting its image and drugging our youths.

    (Description of Source: London Al-Sharq al-Awsat (Internet Version-WWW) in Arabic -- Influential Saudi-owned London daily providing independent coverage of Arab and international issues; editorials reflect official Saudi views on foreign policy)


    From ITV: London bombers staged trial run

    Thanks to Velveeta, WestCoastGal and FreeperFromNJ at FreeRepublic for pointing out the following:

    London bombers staged 'dummy run'

    20 September 2005

    London bombers staged trial run
    2.44PM, Tue Sep 20 2005

    The July 7 bombers took part in a "dummy run" of the attacks two weeks before carrying out the atrocity.

    Police have released CCTV footage of the men as they staged a reconnaissance mission on the capital's transport network on June 28.

    Evidence of the dummy run will provide further weight to the theory that all four had planned to detonate their rucksack bombs on the underground.

    It is thought that the bus bomber, Hasib Hussain, was prevented from getting in the Northern Line on the day of the attacks because of disruption to the service.

    The other bombers, Shehzad Tanweer, Germaine Lindsay and the suspected ringleader Mohammad Sidique Khan detonated their devices almost simultaneously.

    Scotland Yard's investigation into the attacks is the biggest operation in the history of the force.

    Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch, revealed details of the bombers' dummy run.

    Sidique Khan and Tanweer met Lindsay at Luton station at around 8.10am. They bought tickets and caught a Thameslink train to King's Cross.

    Further CCTV footage recovered by police shows them arriving at 8.55am. There was a further sighting of the three at Baker Street at midday.

    They were captured again on CCTV leaving King's Cross at 12.50pm before arriving back in Luton at 1.40pm.

    Detectives are anxious to find out what the men were doing during their three-hour trip to London, and in particular, whether they met anyone.

    Mr Clarke said: "The implication is that they were possibly conducting reconnaissance on that day. We know that is part of a terrorist's methodology: to check timings, layout and security precautions.

    "We are trying to reconstruct their movements as far as we can on that day. What we want to know is where else they went and did they meet anybody else while they were in London?

    "If any member of the public thinks that they know something about the movement of these men on that day, they should call us on the anti-terrorist hotline."

    The images of the men on June 28 were discovered among the 80,000 CCTV tapes seized by police since the investigation into the terror attacks began.

    They show three of the four bombers apparently relaxed and in casual clothes mingling among ordinary commuters just 10 days before they unleashed death and carnage on the capital.

    Earlier this month, a video suicide message from Sidique Khan emerged in which he claimed that the British public were to blame for the terror attacks.

    And a tape broadcast on Arab television showed al-Qaeda's second in command Ayman al-Zawahri saying the attack was a strike at 'British arrogance'.

    He said: "The London attack is one of the attacks that al-Qaeda had the honour of carrying out against British arrogance, the aggression of the crusader British against the Muslim nation for over a hundred years."

    He denounced Britain for "the historical crime of setting up Israel and the continuing crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    "These and other attacks have revealed the true hypocritical face of Western civilization that talks about human rights and freedom only as long as it is in its interest," he said.

    US counterterrorism officials said the tape was "al-Qaeda's clearest public statement to date suggesting that they were responsible for the London attack."



    UK Defense Ministry Admits Using Force To Free Soldiers in Iraq "Britain Admits it Used Force To Rescue Two Soldiers" -- AFP headline

    Another report from Agence-France Presse regarding the rescue of two British soldiers held by militia in Iraq.

    UK Defense Ministry Admits Using Force To Free Soldiers in Iraq "Britain Admits it Used Force To Rescue Two Soldiers" -- AFP headline

    LONDON, Sep 20 (AFP) -- The British government admitted Tuesday ( 20 September) its troops smashed into a British-allied Iraqi police jail in a bid to rescue two detained soldiers but only after it said negotiations for their release had failed.

    The ministry of defense said in a statement that it turned out that the prisoners were not inside the police jail but the troops obtained intelligence that allowed them to rescue the pair in a house in the city of Basra.

    "Two British soldiers were detained and taken to an Iraqi police station," a defense ministry spokesman said.

    "We then started negotiating with the Iraqi authorities for their release.

    "We understand that the authorities ordered their release.

    "Unfortunately they weren't released and we became concerned for their safety and as a result a Warrior infantry fighting vehicle broke down the perimeter wall in one place.

    "Our guys went in there and searched it from top to bottom in order to go and recover our two soldiers who had been detained," he said.

    "They weren't there unfortunately but we did obtain intelligence that pointed to where they were.

    "We then launched another operation to recover them, from a house in Basra."

    The ministry of defense late Monday told AFP only that "we're certainly not denying it but we're not confirming it either."

    The operation followed a shooting incident and riots in which two British armoured vehicles were torched as their crews fled for safety in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.

    British Defense Secretary John Reid said that the soldiers seen emerging from a burning tank under mob attack suffered only minor injuries -- despite violent scenes which stunned British newspapers.


    Update: Paris suburb Iraq recruitment ring dismantled

    Here's an update from Agence France Presse about the ring that was recruiting in France for young men to go jihading in Iraq:

    Paris suburb Iraq recruitment ring dismantled

    Excerpt from report by French news agency AFP

    Paris, 19 September: Six men were taken in for questioning on Monday morning (19 September) in Seine-Saint-Denis (Paris suburb) as part of an investigation into a ring recruiting Jihadists to fight in Iraq, sources close to the inquiry said.

    The operation was led by the Territorial Surveillance Directorate (DST), in collaboration with the Police Prefecture's General Intelligence unit (RGPP) as part of a judicial investigation led by counter-terrorist judges Jean-Louis Bruguiere, Jean-Francois Ricard and Philippe Coirre.

    The group, "believed to consist of friends" aged 20 to 25, was organized on "the same model" than the "cell of the 20th arrondissement" of Paris. This cell, dismantled in early 2005, consisted of a group of friends united around an "ideological reference", Farid Benyettou.

    The two groups do not seem to be directly linked to eachother, even if it remains possible that Benyettou was in contact with some acquaintances of those detained on Monday, sources said.

    According to a source close to the inquiry, Monday's arrests, which were made simultaneously in three districts of Seine-Saint-Denis, came at a time when the ring was about to send enlisted fighters. "To our knowledge, no one was sent", sources said.

    (Passage omitted)

    In 2004, French intelligence services identified some 20 young men who had left to fight in Iraq: six died in fighting or suicide bombings, three were made prisoners by coalition forces, and there has been no news of about ten of them.

    Unlike the Afghan or Chechen examples, the "Iraq networks" appear to be "small-scale", organized within groups of people who know eachother, using mobile phones and the Internet to recruit via chat rooms, sources said. (Passage omitted)

    (Passage omitted)

    The intelligence services are extremely attentive - and very discreet - as to the potential return of Jihadists travelling back with orders to carry out terrorist attacks on French soil.

    (FBIS Translation)


    Interfax reports Ministry Verifies Reports Of Russian Convicted In Iraq

    This report just in from Interfax:

    RUSSIA-CITIZEN-MINISTRY-IRAQ Ministry verifying reports of Russian convictedin IraqMOSCOW. Sept 20 (Interfax) - Russia's Foreign Ministry is investigating thereports claiming that a Russian citizen has been sentenced on charges ofterrorism in Iraq, the ministry's press and information department toldInterfax on Tuesday.

    "The Russian Foreign Ministry keeps in close contact with the Iraqileadership to clarify the situation: whether it is a Russian citizen and whathe has been sentenced for," the department's Deputy Director Mikhail Troyanskysaid.

    Mass media reported earlier that Iraq's Central Criminal Court convicted 54foreigners, among them a Russian citizen, on charges of terrorism.However, "at the moment, the situation is unclear," Troyansky said.


    Al-Majd TV Program Discusses Saudi, Arab Young Men Joining 'Jihad' in Iraq Saudi Arabia

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005 T09:50:04Z

    The Dubai-based, Saudi-owned Islamic satellite television channel Al-Majd TV-1 in Arabic at 1830 GMT on 17 September carries a special 150-minute live program entitled "A Return to Senses," moderated by Muhammad al-Dukhayni.

    The program discusses the issue of Saudi and Arab young men going to join "Jihad" in Iraq from the religious, security, and psychological perspectives.

    Today's studio guests include Dr. Sa'd Bin-Abdallah al-Burayk; Major General Dr. Sa'd Bin-Ali al-Shahrani, director of higher education at Nayif Arab University for security sciences; and Dr. Abdallah Bin-Sultan al-Subay'i, consultant and psychology professor at the medical department at King Sa'ud University. Al-Dukhayni invites viewers to contribute to the program with their comments and views via phone, text messages, and email.

    The program begins by showing a recorded video of a 30-minute interview with Ahmad al-Shayi, a Saudi young man who has returned from Iraq and is being held by the Saudi authorities after engaging in a "bloody experience," by Muhammad al-Dukhayni, at a "major hospital in Riyadh."

    Al-Dukhayni begins by asking Al-Shayi about his health, who answers he is in good health, however, the video shows his badly burned face and disfigured hands and fingers. Asked about his injuries, he says: "It was caused by an explosion in Iraq. A tanker used for transporting gas exploded. It was a miracle that I have survived, may God be praised."

    Asked about the reason for going to Iraq, Al-Shayi says: "As everybody knows. It is well known and we hear that Iraq has been invaded and that there is war there, as we hear in the news. At the beginning, it was out of a desire to support and defend our religion. This was the main reason for this sentiment. Sometimes you see images of the US bombardment of houses in Iraq. You see bodies. All this creates some sort of a motive. This was the basic reason."

    Asked whether he had been brought up as a religious person, he answers: "Not really. I have become religious recently... some three years ago."
    Asked what influenced his and how he came up with the idea of joining in the fighting in Iraq, Al-Shayi says: "Several factors contributed to this, including the desire to defend my religion as well as images of the dead and injured among our Muslim brethren in Iraq." He adds the images and videos of operations and bombings from Iraq had provoked him.

    Asked how he left for Iraq, he says: "With the help of one of my friends. We talked about it... I used to know him before. He was not religious before. We shared the same feelings... He told me: I will find my way to Iraq. I am going in a while, will you come with me or not? So I said I was prepared to go. He asked me to collect some money to take care of myself there. I had some money. When the time came, I left."

    He adds this friend of his left with him to an unspecified Arab country, then to Iraq. He continues: "Then, we met the groups in Iraq and moved from one place to another." He adds: "Movement there is of course done in secret. It is guerilla war. You do not appear before the Iraqi and US forces. All movements are done in secret. We stayed in hiding, indoors. We never went out in public. When the troops came near, we would leave, and so on... this lasted for some six weeks."

    Asked about his passport and money, he says "they" kept them, giving him a small amount and keeping the rest, in exchange for a fake Iraqi identity card.

    Asked about the movement of these groups in Iraq, Al-Shayi says: "It depends on the duties of the person there. Some people were used in combatant teams. For example, they would be asked to carry out a certain task, so they would go out, carry it out, and come back, such as planting explosives, carrying out bombings, and so on. There are specialized teams made up of both Arabs and Iraqis."

    Asked whether he found what he was expecting when he arrived there, Al-Shayi says: "It was completely different. I had never imagined this. I imagined there would be lines of US troops, Muslims, and infidels. I thought there would be war and the wounded would be lifted and so on. This is what I was expecting but the reality was completely different. We stayed indoors all the time. It was just sectarian-based guerilla war. It was not a pleasant situation."

    Asked whether he was aware of the role expected of him or not at the time, he says: "No. The minute you enter the Iraqi territories, you are no longer in charge. You do not make any decisions. The groups there and their leaders take care of everything. You cannot say I want to take a stroll or leave the house or go anywhere. You cannot decide. When you are asked to do something, you carry out the orders."

    He says most of the time they had stayed home was spent discussing many issues, arguing, engaging in heated debate, and praying.

    Asked to recount what had happened to him, Al-Shayi says: "I was in Baghdad. I met an Iraqi person. I had come from Al-Ramadi in Al-Anbar to Baghdad where I met this person who took me to the place where the explosion was going to occur, but I was unaware of that. He told me: Your first mission is to drive this tanker from here to this place, which was less than one kilometer away. He took me to some other house and told me: This is your group. I was attached to this group, most of whom were Iraqis. I spent the day with them. Then at 2100, they took me to a place to take the tanker." He says he was unaware it was an operation.

    He adds: "I had honest intentions. I was going to do as told, to move the tanker. I had no idea what was going on. I took the tanker at approximately 2100. Two people who were riding with me descended, climbed into another car, and left. I was left alone. I was to drive the tanker from this place to another." He adds: "This made me suspicious. I was thinking how come they not take it themselves since they were Iraqis and I was not. It was strange for a first job. I went along with it driven by my good intentions. I drove all alone. When I came near the location, some 100 meters ahead, the tanker exploded. Suddenly, something weird happened. The noise was very strong. There was an explosion, followed by yellow fire. I could see this moving fire. I was screaming inside this fire. I recited the declaration of faith and was wondering what happened. Then it was all over. There was no more fire. I looked but saw nothing. I could hear a heavy exchange of fire so I quickly descended from the tanker to dodge the bullets. I still do not know what happened. My brain does not comprehend what happened. I was in a state between consciousness and unconsciousness, then I fell... Then I was taken to an Iraqi hospital."

    Asked whether he had considered carrying out a suicide operation when he decided to go to Iraq, he says: "Never... I thought they would give me a weapon to fight in a combatant situation. Suicide operations were categorically rejected as far as I was concerned." He continues: "They asked me at the beginning: Do you want to become a suicide bomber, or what they call a martyrdom bomber? I said no. Some might like to, but not me... They asked me: Do you want to or not. I said no and that was it. The issue was never raised again."

    Asked whether he thinks they wanted to get rid of him, he says: "The question raises itself. This is what happened. My father was called and told: Your son has been killed. He has been martyred. My father was not aware I had went to Iraq at the beginning."

    Asked who had called his father, he says: "They did. They had my father's phone number... They said so that we can call your family and tell them so and so in case you are killed or something happened to you."

    He recalls how he stayed at an Iraqi hospital for over a month until he was handed over to the US forces then transferred to Abu-Ghurayb prison, where he stayed in the intensive care unit for approximately three months in Iraq. During this time, he says his family was receiving condolences for his death. He goes on to describe how he was questioned by a Saudi team and promised to be taken home. Then he described the warm reception he was given in Riyadh and how he was reunited with his family. The video shows his return to the Kingdom and meeting his father.

    Asked whey he did heed the advice of Saudi and Iraqi scholars and figures warning against taking part in these operations, Al-Shayi says: "I did, but certain quarters preached the opposite exactly, citing for example a hadith by the Prophet saying one can leave the house without the permission of one's guardian or parents." He adds: "The images we saw were a great source of provocation. There are videos. Some young men here, God guide them to the right way, see videos here and believe it is the reality there, which is not."

    Asked what his fate would have been had he refused to carry out this mission, he says: "I believe it is clear what my fate would have been since you are not in a position to make any decisions over there. Also, you cannot refuse anything. You just do as you are told. You are driven, not given a choice."

    Asked whether he had considered returning before this operation, he says: "It crossed my mind when I saw the situation there, however, I did not see anything until what happened to me, which made me want to come back."

    Asked whether other Saudi and Arab young men also rejected suicide operations but were forced into a similar situation and were killed before they could make themselves heard, he says: "It is possible. It is very likely. What happened to me is live testimony. I am talking about something that happened to me personally, not someone else's story. I asked the officials to talk to the media to warn the young men against taking this path. I do not want what happened to me to happen to anyone else."

    Asked whether he regretted what happened, he says: "Important question. I am very sorry. What is gone cannot be brought back."

    Asked to address young people who might be considering traveling to Iraq, he says: "Making a decision in such matters must be after long consideration, deliberation, and consultation with those who are more knowledgeable."

    He adds: "Once you get there, you will no longer be able to make your own decisions. Do not be fooled by the images of the situation there. It is completely the opposite of what you think. Fear God, abide by your religion, and listen to well known figures and scholars. Be good citizens."

    The interview ends at 1910 GMT.

    This is followed by a discussion of the issue.

    Asked whether the enthusiasm expressed by the likes of Al-Shayi in defense of their religion was wrong, Shaykh Al-Burayk says Al-Shayi has served as an example to others by surviving this ordeal.

    He adds: "The US occupation has caused the Arab nation disasters and calamities both locally and abroad. America is suffering as a result of its practices against Muslims in Iraq and is in pain as a result... This occupation of Iraq has caused problems that have exhausted problem-solvers, advisors, and the sound-minded in an attempt to control the consequences and its ramifications."

    He adds in response to Al-Shayi's remarks about his desire to defend religion: "We are both proud and pained. We are proud we have young men who have the courage, ability, and strength that would have been a great gain for us had it been employed in defending the homeland." He adds: "At the same time, we are pained that this zeal has been directed in unknown paths." He concludes: "Zeal is not enough as basis for making a decision."

    Asked about the reason for calls warning young men against traveling to Iraq in the Kingdom and the rest of the Arab world, Al-Shahrani says: "The occupation of Iraq has caused the whole world, not only Iraq, the Arabs, and Muslims, even the United States, the only superpower, a lot of problems. We can see evidence of this. It might have even affected their local affairs, for example, they were not able to accomplish anything during the Katrina hurricane."

    He adds: "In these troubled times, each country is responsible for its borders, nationals, and laws. This is not an age of individuals since they will only be the victims in international relations in view of this troubled international situation and the imbalance of power."

    He stresses: "Zeal and goodwill are not enough. You have to use your brain and apply religious rulings. Who wants to discuss jihad outside the known religious framework?... In this age, there are international borders. You are breaking the laws of countries, overriding armies and intelligence agencies to prove you are the defender of Islam and Muslims." He adds: "It is our duty to protect our entity, our affairs, our young men. This is the least we could do. This is the responsibility of the state."

    Asked about the age group of young men killed in Iraq, which is between 18-30, Al-Subay'i attributes this to their inexperience, zeal, recklessness, and good intentions. He adds: "These young men need a leader. As the brothers here have said, taking fatwa from the Internet or other young men is not enough..."

    He adds that young men who fall under this category are often uneducated, impressionable, unskilled, jobless, and have no responsibilities.

    At this point, Al-Dukayni says: "We will try to find positive solutions to convince those who are already there to return and those who are here and considering traveling to change their minds. This is the objective of this episode and program."

    At this point, Shaykh Abd-al-Aziz Bin-Abdallah Al al-Shaykh, Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, joins the program on the phone. Asked about Saudi men who join so-called "jihad" in Iraq, Al-Shaykh says: "It is a given that every Muslim is passionate about his faith and the Muslim nations. However, we must pay attention to the fact that only those living there might know the reality of the situation... Some of our young men, may God help them and guide them to the good, imagine that going there is easy and that it amounts to jihad. They believe making sacrifices there is required and so on. We tell our sons: May God guide you. You must look at the situation realistically and think before you get involved. It is the wise who consider the consequences of their acts before taking action."

    He adds: "You go there without any knowledge of what the situation is like and which group you will belong to. There are conflicts and discord. You will not know the affiliation of these groups. You do not have the full picture. You have Islamic and good sentiments, however, over there, you will not know which groups are good. You are ignorant of all of this." He says: "Therefore, I do not advise you to go. I stress it is wrong to go. If you do, you will be risking your life and getting involved in something the consequences of which are unknown to you."

    Asked why fighting in Afghanistan was permissible whereas fighting in Iraq is not, Al-Burayk says: "The situation in Afghanistan is completely different for many reasons. First of all, the mujahidin in Afghanistan at the time, before they disagreed among themselves, had a united objective; namely, to expel the Russian occupiers from their country. Similarly, we are now saying the Iraqi people have the right to resist by all means available to expel the occupier from their country." He adds: "We also apply this to the situation in Palestine, in expelling the occupier."

    He continues: "It is not prohibited or unacceptable for me to join forces with another, even non-Muslims, to foil the plans of a third party that is planning to harm me." He stresses: "It is prohibited to embark on the unknown. One might be considered sinful in God's eyes. Are young people aware that at present there are 13 armed groups in Iraq."

    He adds: "Above all, the situation in Afghanistan cannot be applied in Iraq because scholars, led by imam Shaykh Abd-al-Aziz Bin-Abdallah Bin-Baz and a group of scholars, ruled that fighting alongside the Afghani people against the Russians amounted to jihad. In this matter, however, there is consensus, except for those who kept quiet..."

    At this point, Shaykh Salman Bin-Fahd al-Awdah, the general supervisor of Islam Today website, joins the program on the phone. Asked about the statement he issued warning young people against going to Iraq, he says: "I was in Najran, Sharurah, and other areas in the north last week, I found tribal leaders, scholars, judges, and others complaining bitterly about the infiltration of some young men into Iraq... It is true some men perhaps go at an early stage of their commitment to Islam as they feel they must carry out a special deed... Some of them believe it is the end of time and we must stop thinking logically since these are exceptional times."

    He adds: "Let me be frank, the quarters that receive them there in Iraq are extremist and believe in the takfiri thought (the ideas embraced by those who hold other Muslims to be infidels) to some extent. They also do not hesitate to spill the blood of those who disagree with them. We are now hearing threats being made against the Shiites and others, even the Sunnis who vote for the constitution or carry out certain things."

    He continues: "I have met Iraqis in Mecca in Ramadan and during Hajj who told me in pain: Your young men are being sold there at a price, for a lot of money or none at all sometimes, in Iraq and its neighboring countries. God be my witness, a well known and trustworthy Iraqi person told me he saw the bodies of Saudi men lying in the streets. He said the most they could do was cover these bodies with bags."

    He says: "This great suffering require vigilance and calls on fathers to pay attention to their young sons and any changes in them. It also requires us to look after them well. It also requires us students and scholars to welcome these young men instead of isolating them and being angry with them when we find out what their believes are. We should, instead, give them a chance to talk and divulge their feelings."

    He adds: "Some young men are influenced by phone calls they receive from their friends who had been there, urging them to join them, particularly as soon as they arrive there. These calls, albeit limited, are circulated. At the same time, other stories are not circulated and young men do not hear about them, stories in which these men are victims."

    He explains: "This does not mean we are abandoning the Iraqi people and their resistance of the occupation."

    He concludes: "As far as I know, I do not know of any highly regarded scholar who urged young men to go to Iraq. At the same time, there has not been a great effort to warn against this and explain its consequences and dissuade young men."

    Asked about the fate that awaits those who return from Iraq, Al-Shahrani says: "I am certain anyone who comes back will find a warm welcome from all of us. Here we are celebrating with you in Al-Majd the return of Ahmad al-Shayi... We hope they return in one piece before they are bought and sold, maimed, killed, or wasted."

    Discussing the reasons that compel young men to behave this way, Al-Subay'i says: "These young men have lost any sense of identity. When you suddenly become religious there is nothing to control this transformation. You are willing to do anything. Therefore, some have gone to Iraq, some tried to carry out things locally, some even go to extremes in their religiousness both on themselves and their families. It is in this state of weightlessness if you like that these young men fall into certain hands that begin by teaching them to ignore religious figures such as scholars and the Higher Ulema Council as well as intellectual and political figures. They instill doubt in the minds of these young men so they can absorb these new ideas until they can no longer distinguish between right and wrong."

    Asked whether the society and the respectful way it treats religious people was to blame, Al-Subay'i says: "I am afraid we might move from this exaggerated manner of worshipping religiousness, unaware of the kind of education behind it, to the other extreme of branding any religious person as terrorist, which is a key cultural objective of the enemies of the nation."

    Commenting about returning from Iraq, Al-Burayk says as soon as these young men arrive in Iraq, they are made to believe there is no going back. He adds they are told even if they try to return home, they will not survive the intelligence services, the police, the questioning, and torture that await them. He urges young men to return and reassures them they will be welcomed and assisted even if they were not carrying any identification papers or money.

    Asked about the frustration and pain young people are feeling because of these images they see on the Internet and television about the suffering taking place in Iraq, which makes them willing to do anything that can be construed as a service to Islam, Al-Subay'i says: "The bloody images we see on television about our brothers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, or Palestine undoubtedly stir hatred and anger at the enemy... If this is accompanied by a degree of religiousness, if not harnessed, it might lead to serious issues. It might also have simple outlets in terms of behavioral problems such as drugs, writing on walls, smoking, disobedience, and leaving the country for dishonest purposes. Before we leave the young people, as parents and educators, we are required to play our role by opening the door for dialogue... If we do not establish dialogue with these young men, we will never find out what is going on inside their heads. I believe there is a missing chain between parents and young men."

    Asked about an email message blaming the scholars for encouraging young men to fight in Afghanistan, which they are applying in Iraq now, Al-Burayk says: "In Afghanistan, there was a permission from the leaders, for the ministry used to give discounted tickets. Also, there was a fatwa sanctioning it by the president of the Higher Ulema Council with the consensus of the Ulema. The slogan, interests, and strategy were clear."

    He adds: "Now, in Iraq, we applied the insight of our scholars and warned our young men against it. However, they chose to listen to individuals and solitary views over the masses of scholars."

    As for claims the people of Iraq were not asking people to stay away, an excerpt of a video of 16 September Friday sermon at Umm al-Qura mosque in Baghdad by a Sunni preacher is shown. Preacher Shaykh Mahmud al-Sumayda'i, the imam and preacher of Umm al-Qura mosque, calls for an expanded meeting of scholars, intellectuals, and highly educated people as well as religious, intellectual, tribal, and political authorities to say a word about the bloodshed taking place in Iraq.

    The preacher adds: "We have all been sentenced to death. The Sunnis and Shiites have been sentenced to death. This is a great responsibility. We do not need anyone to come from across the border to appoint themselves our guardians and kill our sons and kill us on the pretext of defending us. We say: We are the sons of one country. We are brothers in one country. We will handle our own affairs. We will rule our country. We can achieve something with dialogue and words."

    He concludes: "Killing only serves our enemies. Anarchy only serves our enemies. It only serves the interests of the occupier. We want to hear words of conciliation and support for the authorities and brotherhood from the others to calm down the situation."

    Asked a question, Al-Shahrani says: "I doubt our message will reach those in Iraq. I doubt they would watch such programs or that they have heard that a member of the Association of Muslim Clerics in Iraq and other Iraqi scholars and leaders have spoken like this because they are isolated." He adds: "However, other groups in Islamic countries, including the Kingdom, are considering going to Iraq, which I hope the message will go across to them loud and clear."

    At this point, Dr. Ali Bin-Abdallah al-Afnan, dean of the teachers' college in Riyadh, joins the program on the phone. He stresses young men between 14-24 are driven by emotions that could lead to recklessness, which makes it easier to recruit them to carry out suicide operations. He calls for trying to understand these young men and be aware of attempts to influence them.

    Asked whether the repentance of those who perpetrated terrorist attacks in Iraq will be accepted, Al-Burayk cites Koranic verses and Hadith promising forgiveness to those who repent and commit good deeds instead.

    He says: "Unless he repents, believes, and works righteous deeds, for Allah will change the evil of such persons into good, and Allah i s Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful, And whoever repents and does good has truly turned to Allah with an (acceptable) conversion." (Koranic verse)

    Al-Burayk adds Al-Shayi did not seem to him to believe in takfiri thought, adding that many young men go to Iraq not believing in the takfiri though but are often injected with these thoughts, only to return fully embracing it.

    He adds many of these victims are young, uneducated, and agree to join these secretive groups and engage in secretive activities, which is unacceptable in Islam.

    He also raises the issue of financing these groups and warns against inadvertently supporting them when making donations to the poor and needy. He warns the young men against fully surrendering to these groups and handing over their passports and money.

    Al-Shahrani then calls for seeking the reasons that entice these young men to commit terrorist acts in the Kingdom, Iraq, or elsewhere. He also calls for seeking the masterminds behind these groups that are recruiting young men.

    Al-Subay'i adds that the only heroic act Al-Shayi perpetrated was to appear on television to warn and advice other young men who are contemplating traveling to Iraq.

    Al-Burayk urges young men fighting in Iraq to return and reminds them of the warm welcome Al-Shayi fouund. He also warns them against the treachery of these groups.

    Al-Dukhayni concludes the program by urging any young men contemplating traveling to Iraq to reconsider. He also urges official authorities to establish dialogue with these young men.

    The program ends at 2100 GMT.


    More observations on the 9/19/2005 Zarahiri tape

    A few more observations from the tape:

    Background is different - the last few tapes have had a darker brownish background

    He isn't wearing his black vest that we've seen in his recent tapes.

    He doesn't have a weapon visible in the portions of the tape that I've seen.

    The tape appears to be several segments put together. I can't tell if Al Jazeera did that or if Sahab did that when they created the tape. It does look consistent with previous tapes where Al Jazeera has cut portions out.

    The English subtitles are interesting - clearly oriented towards an English speaking audience.

    In this tape he appears to be answering questions, as opposed to the monologue seen in his other recent tapes.

    The tape makes a clear reference to an article published on August 11, making it possible to limit the date when the tape was made a little more closely - i.e. between August 11 and September 18.

    The last tape was done outdoors; you can see the wind clearly whipping things around.

    This tape appears to have been made indoors, with artificial lighting.


    Monday, September 19, 2005

    Al Qaeda 2nd in Command Zawahiri Brags About London Attacks

    Dressed in a black turban once again, but this time in front of a white backdrop, Al Qaeda second in command Dr. Ayman Zawahiri bragged to the world that "The London attack is one of the many such attacks that al Qaeda has the honor of carrying out against the British arrogance, the aggression of the crusader British against the Muslim nation for over a hundred years".

    The statement, aired on Al Jazeera this afternoon, was the second such tape from Zawahiri in less than a month.

    Al Jazeera claimed that the tape was produced by Sahab Enterprises, the media production arm of Al Qaeda, which has produced many other videos in recent years.

    The video included subtitles in English. Al Jazeera claims that they were informed the tape was made to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

    A more detailed analysis and complete translation will be provided shortly.

    The tape can be viewed in its entirety here.


    French Police Investigating Iraq-Insurgency Ring Arrest Six Men in Paris

    The following report comes from Agence France-Presse and claims that French police have broken up a ring that is actively recruiting Muslims to join the jihadis in Iraq. The report says:

    "Agence France-Presse reports French police probing Iraq recruitment ring arrest six men in Paris"

    Monday, September 19, 2005 T09:11:04Z

    PARIS, Sept 19 (AFP) -- French police probing a ring which allegedly recruited Muslim fighters for the anti-US insurgency in Iraq arrested six men in the Paris area Monday ( 19 September), an official source close to the investigation told AFP.