I'll be retiring our current server, Honorable Lucretia, for the new one, Faithful Penelope, tomorrow after noon.
I'm going to shut access down when I leave for Baltimore. I'll probably sync the databases before I leave, which means another half hour or so. Twenty minutes travel time, thirty if I get lost, which I usually do in that part of town. Then the installation, which'll be about twenty minutes (most of it devoted to carrying the machine from the parking lot to the third floor of the building and the requisite polite chit-chat.) So we should be down for a little over an hour.
Penelope has been running in my basement, though under minimal load, for 79 days, with nary a bobble. She's got twice the memory and twice the storage of Lucretia, plus a better processor--i7 versus i3.
The major problem is that somewhere in that 70 minutes something will go wrong, so count on an hour and a half. Then count on at least something being out of whack--I still find things I forgot to do on Penelope's setup. At this point they're minor, but it bugs me that they're still there.
I assume you have made the proper sacrifices to Patron Saint Murphy, Fred?
And even if the optimisitc Murphy intercedes and thr transfer extends into the weekend, just remember that only Robinson Crusoe could have everything done by Friday.
[Pak Daily Times] KUNDUZ: Police in a remote northern Afghan village rescued a woman from being stoned to death after she was condemned by the Taliban for allegedly cheating on her husband, officials said on Tuesday.
Talibs, who often run informal justice systems in rural Afghanistan, handed down the death penalty on the woman after her husband accused her of having an affair.
"When police rescued her, she was locked in a room in a compound that was used as a Taliban base," Sayed Sarwar Hussaini, police front man for Kunduz province, told AFP.
He said the rescue operation in the village, a krazed killer stronghold, was launched after the woman's relatives told police the Taliban had sentenced her to death.
The husband, a supporter of the Islamic bully boy group, handed her over to the bully boyz on Friday.
The incident happened in Dasht-e-Archi district of Kunduz, a province where the Taliban have had an active presence in recent years after they were ousted from power nationally in 2001.
[Tolo News] The criminal masterminds behind planned attacks against the Presidential Palace, Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Kabul International Airport were enjugged Yez got nuttin' on me, coppers! Nuttin'! by security forces in Kabul, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said on Tuesday.
This year saw a slew of Taliban-claimed high-profile attacks in Kabul that targeted Afghan and foreign security forces and government officials, but caused mostly civilian deaths. The Presidential Palace and Kabul Airport were both subject to attacks in June.
The Directorate said that the suspects were arrested by Afghan cops while in possession of five boom jackets and explosives devices including heavy weapons.
"Light and heavy weapons have been confiscated from their hideouts," NDS Deputy Spokesman Farid Shamal said. "The alleged wanted to target several important buildings in Kabul including the Presidential Palace, Ministry of Defense and Kabul International Airport."
NDS deputy front man Farid Shamal said that in the past ten days the Directorate prevented nine other suicide kabooms planned to be carried out in Kabul.
"They intended to carry out terrorist attacks during the Loya Jirga based on the direction of the Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. Council and Haqqani Network," Shamal said.
The NDS reported that the detainees are thought to be members of the Haqqani Network and Pak terrorist groups.
[Pak Daily Times] Gunmen killed eight Kenyans including five coppers Tuesday in an ambush in the troubled northeast border region close to war-torn Somalia, police said.
Insurgents sprayed a police patrol with gunfire near the border town of Liboi, also leaving some officers badly maimed, in the latest in a string of attacks in the restive region. "Five were killed on the spot when they were ambushed out on patrol, and we are told many bullets were fired on their vehicle," said a police brass hat who asked not to be named. "Three civilians were also killed in the attack." Two other coppers were badly maimed, he added. The identity of the perpetrators remains unclear, but such attacks against police and other targets are frequent along Kenya's mostly non-existent border with Somalia and are routinely blamed by the authorities on the Al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab.
The region along Kenya's 700-kilometre (400-mile) border with Somalia has seen a series of attacks, mainly on police but also against hotels and restaurants. Liboi, some 550 kilometres (340 miles) northeast from the capital Nairobi, hosts a military base and is used by the army as a staging point to supply troops fighting the Shabaab as part of an African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... force inside southern Somalia.
[Shabelle] News reports from Hiran region (central Somalia) have confirmed that AMISOM troops based in the region to have enjugged Drop the rosco, Muggsy, or you're one with the ages! three administrative officials in Beledweyne town, the capital of the region.
The three detained government officials have been identified by name as Lieutenant Abdullahi Barre,Mumin Ali Siad and another official whose name was only identified as Indabuur.
It is reported that the reason behind the detention of the three officials comes after being accused to be involved of the murder of Hashi Hussein Diriyea who was also a top government official a fortnight ago.
A string of coordinated attacks have increasingly taken place in Beledweyne town for the past few months which has created fear among its residents.
[An Nahar] Three Sudanese have been placed in durance vile Drop the rod and step away witcher hands up! for three to five years for arson and looting during fuel-price protests in September, police said Tuesday.
Theirs were among the first major sentences handed down for the worst urban unrest of President Omar al-Bashir Head of the National Congress Party. He came to power in 1989 when he, as a brigadier in the Sudanese army, led a group of officers in a bloodless military coup that ousted the government of Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi and eventually appointed himself president-for-life. He has fallen out with his Islamic mentor, Hasan al-Turabi, tried to impose shariah on the Christian and animist south, resulting in its secessesion, and attempted to Arabize Darfur by unleashing the barbaric Janjaweed on it. Sudan's potential prosperity has been pissed away in warfare that has left as many as 400,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced. Omar has been indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court but nothing is expected to come of it. 's 24-year rule.
The court in the Khartoum-area district of Ombada convicted them of attacking a commercial center, Khartoum State Police said on their website.
The police statement also said two people were fined and sentenced to three years in jail for setting fire to a cop shoppe.
However it did not give the names of any of the accused or specify whether the two events were linked.
Demonstrations began on September 23 after Bashir slashed petrol subsidies, raising pump prices by more than 60 percent.
Thousands erupted into the streets with calls for the downfall of the regime.
Security forces are believed to have killed more than 200 demonstrators, many with gunshots to the head and chest, according to Amnesia Amnesty International.
Authorities gave a toll of less than half that and said they had to intervene when crowds turned violent, attacking petrol stations and police facilities.
The government initially said it had tossed in the slammer Drop the rosco, Muggsy, or you're one with the ages! 700 "criminals" after the protests but authorities later said most had been released.
Fifty-eight would be brought to court, Bashir said in late October.
Judges have thrown out protest-related charges against 32 other people, according to a tally of cases followed by Agence La Belle France Presse.
But among the few convicted was Sudanese author Rania Mamoun, who last week said she was found guilty and fined for "disturbance" during the protests.
[An Nahar] French troops killed 19 Islamist forces of Evil during an army operation in Mali's rebel-infested northern desert on Tuesday, a French military source told Agence La Belle France Presse, as the country prepared to stage nationwide elections.
The violence comes with Malians due to vote on Sunday in a second round of parliamentary polls supposed to mark the west African nation's first steps to recovery after it was plunged into chaos by a military coup in March last year.
"A French military operation is underway north of Timbuktu. French troops are facing a pretty determined group. At the moment, 19 members of this group have been killed," the Bamako-based source said.
"The French troops haven't reported any deaths or injuries. We are in control of the situation," the source said, without specifying which Islamist group the forces of Evil were part of.
The military coup in Bamako opened the way for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other Islamist groups to seize the vast north of the country, where they ran cities under their brutal version of sharia law for nine months.
Former colonial power La Belle France intervened in January to drive out the radicals.
After several months of calm, with French and African troops overseeing security, jihadist groups launched fresh attacks in September, leaving a dozen civilians, Malians and African troops dead.
French, U.N. and Malian forces launched Operation Hydra in late October after being taken aback by the renewed violence, after two Chadian U.N. peacekeepers and a civilian were killed in the northern town of Tessalit.
The goal of Hydra was "to put pressure on any terrorist movements to avoid their resurgence," the French military said, indicating that about 1,500 troops were involved, including some 600 French, 600 Malians and 300 U.N. soldiers.
Mali is also battling the latest separatist rebellion launched by the Tuareg, traditionally a federation of nomad tribes that rebelled in Mali and Niger in the 1960s and the 1990s, and are seeking some kind of self-determination for the country's north, a swathe of desert the size of Texas they call Azawad.
The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) ambushed soldiers as they were on patrol at a market near the border with Niger on November 8.
The clash followed three attacks by the MNLA on soldiers in the rebel stronghold of Kidal in September, after the forces of Evil pulled out of peace talks with the government, dealing a blow to hopes of a durable peace in the troubled nation.
The collapse of the talks led to an upsurge in violence which saw two French journalists rubbed out on November 2 during a kidnapping in Kidal by AQIM.
The chief suspect in the kidnapping is a Tuareg thought to have associated with both AQIM and the mainly secular MNLA.
I've heard that Rummy invited every nation which could be considered an ally to send troops to Astan. Not necessarily the latest grads from Basic, either, but spec ops guys, airborne units, that sort of thing.
So a lot of countries we don't think of as bellicose got some combat time for their lifers. Can't hurt.
The French legion and paras aren't wimps. It's their bosses.
Good for the French (viva La France!) et. al.
But let's recall, the more of these you kill the more they flourish and the better they get at not getting killed (though this may be by running away rather than training).
Somewhat like swatting individual mosquitos instead of draining the swamp.
[Libya Herald] A senior navy officer survived an liquidation attempt in Benghazi this morning when his car went kaboom! while he was having coffee.
Captain Khaled Bazama had parked his in downtown Benghazi after taking his children to school when the kaboom occurred. No one was injured in the blast.
The front man for Benghazi Joint Security Room, Ibrahim Shara, confirmed the attempt to the Libya Herald . "The kaboom took place in Al-Sharif Street in south Benghazi's Sidi Akhraibish area at 9:30 am," he said.
One person was killed and six injured on Sunday when a boom-mobilewent kaboom! in Libya at the funeral of the intelligence officer Kamal Bazaza, the first time such tactics had been used in Libya.
The Libyan Navy is very active in drug interdiction. Lots of Hash and Speed being seized by the Libyan Navy.
The Mafia is not amused.
A Libyan Navy Commander who I met, commanded a unit that seized several tons of Hash and then burned it on the beach using the seized vodka as fire starter...the Mafia took out a contract on him and he slept at different houses every night while his family was sent to a safe location in the EU.
This could have been a Mafia attempt to intimidate the Libyan Navy.
Posted by: Bill Clinton ||
It would not be surprising, given the lack of governmental control in Benghazi. It would also not be surprising if 'militias' like Ansar al Sharia were working with the Mafia.
[Libya Herald] A store of tank ammunition at Brak Airbase went kaboom! last night, causing a huge fire, in a suspected arson attack.
No-one was injured in the incident, which took place in the town of Brak, in Wadi Shatti. However, we can't all be heroes. Somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud when they go by... repeated kabooms caused by ammunition overheating and igniting inside the store made it difficult for local fire-fighting units to control the blaze. Flying debris from the kaboom apparently landed up to a two kilometres away from the site.
An officer at the air base, Abdul Wahab Urabi, was quoted the Libyan news agency LANA saying the blast was believed to have been caused by arson, .
Less than two weeks ago, several people were killed and over 20 injured in another kaboom at the airbase, reportedly during the theft of tank ammunition.
The commander of the base, Mohammed Matooq, said that it had 17 tank ammunition stores. He added that these were in dangerous and unstable condition and a technical committee had been formed to organise the destruction of what remained of the ammunition. This was essential for the safety of local people, he added.
[Egypt Independent] Mohammed al-Gawady, a leading figure of the National Alliance in Support of Legitimacy (NASL), announced the formation of an exile government headed by Hisham Geneina, chairman of the Central Auditing Organization.
Gawady posted on Twitter that the government would be formed for only two months and that it would include Wael Qandil, Nevin Malek, Osama Rushdi, Asaad Sheikha, Bassem Khafagy, Hatem Azam and Mahmoud Hussein.
He added that the Defense Ministry would be headed by Nadia Zachary, the former minister of scientific research, the Interior Ministry would be headed by Hazem Salah Abu Ismail and Hisham Qandil would be the minister of irrigation.
Gawady also said the government would include a number of imprisoned Moslem Brüderbund members, such as Essam al-Erian, Mohammed al-Beltagy, Abul Ela Mady, Essam Sultan and Bassem Oda.
He concluded by saying that the exile government is a step to reinstating President Mohammed Morsy, the 2012 Constitution, the People's Assembly and the Shura Council, all of which were elected.
[Pak Daily Times] French President Francois Hollande ...the Socialist president of La Belle France, an economic bad joke for la Belle France but seemingly a foreign policy realist... was expected on Tuesday in the Central African Republic, on the second day of an operation to disarm rogue rebels that has already killed two French soldiers.
As the poverty-stricken country's former colonial master led the military effort to restore order after a year of chaos, Washington said it was offering to fly in African peacekeepers.
The French deaths came moments after Gay Paree announced Monday that the capital Bangui had been largely purged of marauding gangs.
The two paratroopers were fatally maimed while conducting a night patrol in Bangui, the first casualties since La Belle France's 1,600-strong contingent deployed last week.
"They bit the dust to save many others," said Hollande, who is to stop in Bangui on his way back from South Africa, where he attended a memorial honouring Nelson Mandela.
A year to the day after Seleka -- a motley coalition of Mohammedan rebels and foreign warlords -- took up arms, Hollande was to hold talks with their leader turned president, Michel Djotodia.
He was also due to meet Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye and deliver a message of encouragement to his troops, a source at the French presidency said.
Among the leaders gathered in Soweto to celebrate Mandela's life was US President Barack Obama My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me as we try to change it... , who on Monday urged the transitional Central African government "to arrest those who are committing crimes."
The US also said its military would provide C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft to fly African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... peacekeeping troops from Burundi to the Central African Republic.
They will add to 2,500 African Union peacekeeping troops already on the ground as part of the MISCA force.
The French forces had deployed in the wake of days of horrendous fighting in Bangui in which nearly 400 people were killed. The stench of dead bodies still permeates some areas of the capital.
Most of the festivities were between Christian and Mohammedan militias armed with guns and machetes.
After only a day of vehicle and house searches, the French military had said Monday that all rebel patrols had left Bangui and that the situation was calm.
Besides the incident that killed two French soldiers, AFP news hounds in Bangui said that several shops were looted Tuesday morning and Seleka vehicles still visible.
Swarms of residents anxious to see their tormentors disarmed trailed French soldiers across the streets of Bangui, egging them on and pointing them to alleged Seleka hideouts.
"We have started to go out because the French are here," said Arlette Papaye, a local tradeswoman.
"We had remained holed up in our homes and cellars. We are hungry. The French must chase out the Seleka."
Air La Belle France announced on Tuesday it had indefinitely suspended its flights to Bangui for security reasons.
Djotodia's Seleka launched their offensive in December 2012 and, after a peace initiative collapsed, captured Bangui and ousted president Francois Bozize in March.
Djotodia became the first Mohammedan president but while some Seleka members remained loyal to him, others went rogue and government forces were powerless to end their reign of terror.
Months of massacres, rapes and looting spurred a humanitarian catastrophe -- a third of the population needs food aid -- while the increasingly sectarian nature of the unrest fuelled international fears a genocide was in the making.
The UN children's agency UNICEF told AFP in Bangui that nearly 480,000 people -- mostly women and kiddies -- had been displaced since the March coup.
The military intervention has prompted some criticism from Hollande's foes at home at a difficult time for the French economy.
Christian Jacob, who heads the right-wing UMP party's parliamentary group, raised concerns over "the length of the intervention, La Belle France's isolation and financing."
Hollande early this year sent troops to another troubled African nation, Mali, to stop Islamists and Tuareg rebels from advancing on the capital Bamako.
But Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the cost of the deployment was "minimal" as the French troops were drawn from bases in other African countries.
[Yemen Post] A top Defense Ministry official told the Yemen Post that the kidnapped Dutch couple who were just announced released by the Yemeni government have been in government custody for three days. The kidnappers handed over the couple to the Yemeni military.
The official said that the couple were have been in Sanaa for three days ago and were in the custody of the Yemeni Defense Ministry after their release.
Back in June, police sources confirmed the disappearance of the Duch couple from their residence in Hadda (a southern district of the capital home to a majority of diplomats and foreign workers), saying they had both been kidnapped by al-Qaeda operatives, the latest victims of the terror group's abduction program.
[An Nahar] Yemeni security forces have defused two booby-trapped vehicles and are searching for five others in Sanaa following a deadly attack on the defense ministry last week, police said Tuesday.
Acting on a tip-off, the security forces launched a major operation to locate and rid the capital of the bombs, and managed to find two of them on Monday, a police official told Agence La Belle France Presse.
"Special forces units are searching for five others," the official said, adding that "al-Qaeda suspects have been nabbed Drop the gat, Rocky, or you're a dead 'un! in raids."
Authorities have beefed up security around government buildings as well as embassies and foreign interests, especially in Sanaa, officials said.
The measures come after Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula grabbed credit for a brazen daylight assault on the Yemeni defense ministry that killed 56 people on Thursday.
A preliminary inquiry into Thursday's attack has shown that most of the attackers were Saudis.
Meanwhile, ...back at the comedy club, Boogie sadly admitted that he was a better peeping Tom than he was a comedian... in the country's southeastern Hadramawt province, an al-Qaeda stronghold, gunniesshot up an army vehicle that was handing out food supplies at a checkpoint, killing two soldiers before fleeing, a military official told AFP.
[Bangla Daily Star] Two were killed and three others, including two children, were maimed in Naogaon, Feni and Rajshahi during the Jamaat-enforced countrywide hartal ... a peculiarly Bangla combination of a general strike and a riot, used by both major political groups in lieu of actual governance ... yesterday.
In another incident, four coppers were beaten up by Shibir activists in Rajshahi city.
Shukbor Ali, 65, of Raninagar upazila of Naogaon, was killed when Jamaat-Shibir activists clashed with local businessmen yesterday afternoon, said Abdullah Al Masud Chowdhury, officer-in-charge of Raninagar Police Station.
The local Jamaat unit claimed he was one of its members and called a half-day hartal in Naogaon district for tomorrow protesting the killing.
Twenty others were maimed in the incident. At least five vehicles, including a journalist's cycle of violence, and seven shops were also damaged.
The clash began around 12:30pm at Abadpukur Bazar of the upazila, as Jamaat-Shibir activists in processions suddenly attacked local businessmen and damaged a tractor, the OC said.
In Feni, Mohammad Salman, a class-X student of Jamaatul Al Salayyha Madrasa, was killed in a clash between Jamaat-Shibir men and police on Trunk Road in the town last night.
[Bangla Daily Star] A college teacher was stabbed to death allegedly by Jamaat-Shibir men in Bogra town on Monday night.
Ziauddin Zakaria Babu, lecturer of Sherpur Degree College, was the joint convener of Bogra district unit of Sector Commanders' Forum, and one of the organisers of Gonojagoron Mancha in the district.
Babu, who hails from Gokul area under Sadar upazila in the district, was living in Shibbati area of the town.
Police said a gang of criminals riding two to three cycle of violences had assaulted Babu in Chokjadu Road area of the town around 9:20pm.
As he fell to the ground, the criminals slashed him mercilessly in the face, leaving him dead on the spot.
They then blasted at least six crude bombs and escaped the scene. An employee of a hotel, Abdul Kafi, sustained injuries in the kaboom.
Nazir Ahmad Khan, senior assistant superintendent of police (A Circle) of the district, said police had sent the body to Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital morgue for his appointment with Doctor Quincy. Injured Kafi was also taken to the hospital.
[Pak Daily Times] A British national accused of operating a website that promoted jihad and supported al Qaeda pleaded guilty in a US court on Tuesday to charges of providing material support for Death Eaters and an associate was due to appear later in the day.
The first man, Babar Ahmad, said in US District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, that he was guilty of two counts of providing support to Death Eaters but did not plead guilty to two additional charges that also included conspiracy to injure the property of a foreign government and money laundering. US prosecutors said that Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan ran a website that raised funds for MoslemDeath Eaters in Afghanistan and Chechnya. The two were extradited to the United States from Britannia last year.
Ahmad, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, stood with his hands behind his back and gave brief answers to questions from District Judge Janet Hall, who said she would review his plea and set sentencing for March 4.
[Pak Daily Times] KARACHI: Law enforcers claimed to arrest about 109 "criminal" in targeted raids across the city on Tuesday. Rangers in their continued targeted operation in the city Monday night rounded up eight professional criminals and recovered weapons.
According to the Rangers' front man, the targeted operation was conducted in different parts of the city including Landhi, Liaquatabad and Nazimabad among other areas.
The weapons recovered include an LMG, sniper rifle and pistols. Separately, Rangers claimed to seize a huge cache of weapons during a raid in Landhi. Rangers' front man said the raid was conducted on a tip-off at an empty house situated in Landhi No 5. During the raid, Rangers recovered two light machineguns (LMGs), a G-3 rifle, seven sub machineguns (SMGs), 8mm rifle, 7mm rifle, two 303 rifles, a shotgun and a large quantity of mixed ammunitions, the spokesperson added.
Elsewhere, Garden police placed in durance vile ... anything you say can and will be used against you, whether you say it or not... an alleged suspect, Bilal, who was involved in the killing of Rangers personnel, Sohail Abbas, in 2010. The arrest was made during a raid conducted in Dhobi Ghat. Meanwhile, ...back at the wreckage, Captain Poindexter wished he had a cup of coffee. Even instant would do... Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... police claimed to round up 100 criminals form various city localities. Weapons were also seized.
[An Nahar] A jacket wallah attacked a Shiite shrine in Iraq Tuesday, killing 11 people, including some mourning seven who were rubbed out earlier in the day, police and a doctor said.
The blast at the Abu Idris shrine in Baquba, northeast of Storied Baghdad ...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate... in the religiously and ethnically mixed province of Diyala, also maimed 19 people, the sources said.
The victims of the bombing included people who were mourning the deaths of seven Shiite shepherds who were bumped off northeast of Baquba earlier on Tuesday.
Members of Iraq's Shiite majority are frequently targeted by Sunni Death Eaters, who consider them to be apostates.
In Storied Baghdad, a roadside kaboomwent kaboom! near a market on Tuesday, killing one person and wounding five, while gunniesrubbed out a police officer and maimed two more near Ramadi, a city west of the capital.
[An Nahar] Syria's largest Islamist rebel force seized a crossing on the Turkish border Tuesday from other rebels, including brigades loyal to the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, a monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Islamic Front, a new grouping of the most powerful Islamist rebel groups battling to overthrow Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Supressor of the Damascenes... , seized the Bab al-Hawa crossing in northwestern Syria.
The capture came after the Islamic Front seized arms depots near the crossing belonging to the Free Syrian Army at the weekend, heightening tensions among the fractured Syrian opposition.
Last week the Islamic Front rejected the authority of the FSA, which was the first major rebel force formed after the outbreak of Syria's civil war and was made up of army deserters and civilians.
The Islamic Front was formed last month by six rebel groups that merged with the goal of overthrowing the Assad regime and establishing an Islamic state.
It does not include al-Nusra Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) -- two jihadist rebel groups linked to al-Qaeda.
See also RELATED TOPIX > [Long War Journal] NEW "ISLAMIC FRONT BRIGADE" LAUNCHED JOINT RAID WID AL-QAEDA SYRIAN BRANCHES.
As agz Assad's + the Hezbollah Boyz.
* Also from TOPIX > AL-QAEDA OFFICIAL: FORCE NEEDED TO ESTABLISH SHARIA IN EGYPT, aswell as rest of Muslim Middle East.
* SAME > [World Tribune = East-Asia-Intel] AL-QAEDA ARMIES FORMING IN SYRIA POSE THREAT TO ENTIRE REGION.
* SAME > [Arutz Sheva] FORMER IDF HEAD [Dan Halutz]:ISRAEL PREFRS ASSAD [Regime] TO ISLAMIST RADICALS.
Finally, some most-assuredly-NOT-PCorrect T-R-U-T-H.
Ditto SSSSSHHHHH ... CCCCCCCCC POTUS Bammer Admin - IFF THE US-ALLIES COVERTLY PREFER ASSAD,BY EXTENSION THEY MUST ALSO COVERTLY PREFER ASSADIAN TREATY BFF IRAN, ALBEIT ROUGHLY = NOT WIDOUT QUESTIONS???
RELATED BHARAT RAKSHAK = ...
> [Guardian.UK] ANALYSIS: IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL SHOWS US PREPARED TO ACT INDEPENDENTLY OF ALLIES.
> DEFENCE/PK/FORUMS, TOPIX > MIDDLE EAST RELATION A MAJOR FACTOR FOR US IN IRAN NUCLEAR NEGOTIATIONS?
As goes ISRAEL + KSA vee Syria + Iran, so goes JAPAN + PHIL + ASEAN, India? vee China in East Asia-Pacific???
Reminds me once again of ROBIN WILLIAMS' post-911 skit, i.e. WHEN IT COMES TO FRANCE = EUROPE BEING INVADED BY THE GERMANS OR SOVIETS,
"YANKEE/AMERICAN GO HOME" LOCAL RANTS QUICKLY DEVOLS INTO "YANKEE/AMERICA, COME BACK, WE LOVE YOU".
[An Nahar] Four prominent Syrian activists, including one whose work was recognized by the European parliament, were kidnapped Tuesday in a rebel-held area near Damascus by unknown individuals, an activist network said.
"On the morning of December 10th, a group of unknown people broke into the headquarters of a group documenting abuses in Syria in the Douma area in besieged Eastern Ghouta," the Local Coordination Committees said.
"The activists Razan Zeitouneh, Wael Hamada, Samira Khalil and Nazem al-Hamadi were all enjugged Into the paddy wagon wit' yez! ," the group added in a statement.
Zeitouneh is a well-known Syrian activist who was among the 2011 winners of the European parliament's human rights ...which are often intentionally defined so widely as to be meaningless... prize. Hamada is her husband.
The kidnapping took place in Damascus province, not far from the capital, in a rebel-held area besieged by regime forces.
Fares Mohammed, an activist with the LCC, told Agence La Belle France Presse that an armed opposition group in the region was believed to be behind the kidnapping.
Multiple rebel groups, including the jihadist al-Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, are operating in the Douma area.
"We're working to gather information, but we don't have any leads yet," Mohammed said.
The LCC strongly condemned the kidnapping and those behind it, saying it held them "directly responsible for any harm" to the activists.
It called for the captors to immediately return the activists safely and unconditionally.
Zeitouneh is one of the Syrian uprising's most prominent early proponents, and has criticized abuses by all parties to the conflict.
The LCC supports the uprising against Syrian Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Despoiler of Deraa... but is opposed to the militarization of the conflict and has documented deaths in the civil war, which was ignited by a brutal government crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
[An Nahar] Syria's army on Tuesday trained its sights on the town of Yabrud, the last rebel stronghold in the strategic Qalamoun region near Leb's border, after a string of battlefield victories.
The town is believed to be where a group of nuns from the historic Christian hamlet of Maalula have been transferred, reportedly in the hands of jihadist rebels from al-Nusra Front.
In Spain, meanwhile, El Mundo newspaper said Spanish journalists Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Garcia Vilanova have gone missing in northern Syria.
The pair are believed to have been kidnapped in September by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but El Mundo's director Pedro Ramirez said "we believe they are alive and we believe they are well."
ISIL has carried out public executions and committed other human rights ...not to be confused with individual rights, mind you... violations in the areas under its control as it has sought to impose a harsh version of Islamic law.
The group's growing influence has alarmed Western nations backing the rebellion, and on Tuesday opposition leader Ahmed al-Jarba accused the regime of supplying it arms in order to divide the rebels and tarnish their cause.
The Islamic Front, the largest Islamist rebel alliance in Syria's 33-month conflict, meanwhile seized a Turkish border crossing from the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The Islamist alliance, which rejected the FSA's authority last week, does not include ISIL or the al-Nusra Front, another al-Qaeda-linked group.
The Observatory said regime forces in Qalamoun were shelling Yabrud, a day after they captured the nearby town of Nabak.
Government forces, reportedly backed by fighters from Leb's Hizbullah and members of a pro-regime militia, have seized Nabak, Deir Attiya and Qara.
The Damascus-Homs highway, a key supply route from the capital to the center of the country, is expected to reopen soon after being closed by the fighting in Qalamoun.
The regime advance along the highway allowed rebel fighters to re-enter Maalula last week, shortly after which a group of nuns from the Mar Takla convent were reported kidnapped. Religious officials have said the 12 nuns are in Yabrud.
The women appeared Friday in a video broadcast by the Al-Jazeera ... an Arab news network headquartered in Qatar, notorious for carrying al-Qaeda press releases. The name means the Peninsula, as in the Arabian Peninsula. In recent years it has settled in to become slightly less biased than MSNBC, in about the same category as BBC or CBS... news channel, apparently in good health and denying they had been kidnapped.
It was unclear who was filming the video, and whether the nuns were speaking under duress.
They were dressed in their traditional black robes and head coverings, but none were wearing their usual crucifixes.
In Spain, El Mundo said journalists Espinosa and Vilanova had been kidnapped on September 16 in Raqa province.
Despite indirect contact with the kidnappers, which resulted in information last month suggesting the pair were still alive, there has been no progress towards their release, nor any demands made.
Espinosa's wife Monica Prieto, speaking at a news conference in Beirut, noted the journalists had braved fierce fighting to report on the plight of Syrians.
"Javier and Ricardo are not your enemy. Please, honor the revolution they protected, and set them free," she said.
The opposition Local Coordination Committees also said Tuesday that four prominent activists, including Razan Zeitouneh, who was honored by the European parliament in 2011, had been kidnapped by members of the armed opposition.
In Geneva, meanwhile, the United Nations ...an idea whose time has gone... said it would begin sending 40 metric tonnes of aid from Iraq into Syria on Thursday.
Amin Awad, who heads the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) Syria response, told news hounds in Geneva the aid would be flown from Arbil in Iraq's northern Kurdish region to Qamishli and Hasakeh in northeastern Syria.
UNHCR front man Peter Kessler told Agence La Belle France Presse it was "to my knowledge" the first such international airlift into Syria.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which received its Nobel Peace Prize Tuesday, said destruction of Syrian chemical weapons aboard a U.S. ship could start by the end of January.
But OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu warned the timeline depended on security in Syria, adding "unfortunately the security situation has tanked over the past weeks."
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.