Diana Rigg [English] aka Emma Peel in "The Avengers (1965--1968)" aka Tracy in "On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)" aka Barbara in "The Hospital (1971)" aka Edwina Lionheart in "Theatre of Blood (1973)" aka Portia in "Julius Caesar (1970)" aka Charlotte Mittelheim in "A Little Night Music (1977)" (age 74)
[An Nahar] Eight Afghan non-combatants were killed in a Taliban bombing in northern Afghanistan on Thursday and two NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A single organization with differing goals, equipment, language, doctrine, and organization.... soldiers were killed in similar bombs elsewhere in the troubled country, officials said.
The civilians died in northern Faryab province when their mini-van struck a home-made bomb of the kind widely used by Taliban hard boyz in attacks aimed at military forces.
"Eight civilians, including a woman and child, were killed and six others maimed," provincial police chief, Abdul Khaliq Aqsai told Agence La Belle France Presse, adding that a police convoy had been passing as the bomb went kaboom!.
Jawed Badar, a front man for the provincial administration, said the civilians were travelling to the bustling provincial capital for Ramadan, the Moslem fasting month which is set to start within days.
In separate but similar kabooms two NATO soldiers were killed in eastern and southern Afghanistan on Thursday, the military said, giving no further details.
Roadside bombs are the most the common weapon used by Taliban hard boyz waging a war to bring down the government of President Hamid Maybe I'll join the Taliban Karzai ... A former Baltimore restaurateur, now 12th and current President of Afghanistan, displacing the legitimate president Rabbani in December 2004. He was installed as the dominant political figure after the removal of the Taliban regime in late 2001 in a vain attempt to put a Pashtun face on the successor state to the Taliban. After the 2004 presidential election, he was declared president regardless of what the actual vote count was. He won a second, even more dubious, five-year-term after the 2009 presidential election. His grip on reality has been slipping steadily since around 2007, probably from heavy drug use... , which is backed by some 130,000 US-led NATO troops.
Most bully boy activity is centered in southern and eastern Afghanistan, but the faceless myrmidons have stepped up attacks in the previously peaceful northern and western parts of the country.
On Wednesday, a bomb that authorities said was planted by the Taliban destroyed 22 fuel tankers carrying supplies for NATO troops in Samangan, a province along a key highway that connects Kabul, Afghanistan's capital, to the north.
Earlier in the week a suicide kaboom on a wedding party in the same province killed 17 people, including a prominent MP.
[Daily Nation (Kenya)] Nearly 60 people have been killed this week in fighting between Arab tribes in Sudan's conflict-plagued Darfur region, the official SUNA news agency said on Thursday.
Fierce festivities along the border between East Darfur state and South Kordofan killed 35 Misseriya rustics and 23 from the rival Rezeigat tribe, South Kordofan governor Ahmed Haroun was quoted as saying by SUNA, citing a preliminary assessment.
Another 24 rustics from both sides were maimed, he said, after officials from the two states met in the East Darfur town of Ed Daein.
"We agreed to take some measures to control the situation in the area, and the local leaders are discussing procedures" to prevent a recurrence, Haroun said.
The 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... -United Nations ...When talk is your weapon it's hard to make yourself heard over the sound of artillery... peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), said it understood "that the fighting has subsided" at the moment.
"And of course if this is the case then we hope that the peace will hold," said Christopher Cycmanick, a UNAMID front man.
In June 2010 more than 100 people were killed in two weeks of festivities between the groups.
Non-Arabs in Darfur rebelled in 2003 against the Arab-dominated Sudanese government to secure a greater share of resources and power.
Two Kenyan aid workers and a Somali doctor were kidnapped in lawless northern Somalia
As distinguished from lawless southern Somalia...
on Wednesday, probably by pirates, a local police official told AFP.
Several local employees from aid agencies and non-governmental groups in Galkayo and Garowe, another town farther north, told AFP the victims work for Swedish group International Aid Services. The organisation said it would not be commenting in the immediate future.
"Two Kenyans and a local Somali doctor were kidnapped and the initial reports indicate the kidnappers were pirates, but we are still investigating the incident," said police official Adan Warsame in Galkayo, close to where the abductions occurred.
Galkayo straddles the border separating semi-autonomous Puntland from the self-proclaimed separate region of Galmudug to the south.
Which wants to be separate from both Puntland and Somalialand further north...
Another Galkayo police official, Mohammed Ise Hassan, said the kidnapping took place Wednesday afternoon near the village of Baadweyn, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north. Hassan said the abductees' driver and two of their police escorts were wounded.
[An Nahar] Three European aid workers released in Mali after being kidnapped by an al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group were on Thursday "safe and sound" in neighboring Burkina Faso ...The country in west Africa that they put where Upper Volta used to be. Its capital is Oogadooga, or something like that. Its president is currently Blaise Compaoré, who took office in 1987 and may be in the process of being chased out now... , a negotiator said.
"We are in Gorom-Gorom (a town in northern Burkina Faso). We have all the hostages," the negotiator said, adding that the two Spaniards and one Italian snatched in Algeria in October 2011 were "safe and sound... everyone is well".
The group would arrive in Ouagadougou later in the day.
A leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) on Wednesday announced the hostages' release.
He said a ransom had been paid for the three -- a Spanish man and woman, Enric Gonyalons and Ainhoa Fernandez Rincon, and an Italian woman, Rossella Urru.
The hostages were kidnapped from a Sahrawi refugee camp in Tindouf, Algeria. Sahrawis are people from the disputed Western Saharan territory that abuts Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria.
The previously unknown group MUJAO grabbed credit, presenting themselves as an offshoot of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
[Al Ahram] Gunmen believed to be Islamist bully boyz rubbed out two Egyptian soldiers in north Sinai on Thursday, security officials said.
The dawn attack by four men armed with automatic weapons and on cycle of violences came after Islamist bully boyz distributed pamphlets calling on the army, brought in to restore security, to leave the lawless north of the peninsula.
The attack took place in the town of Sheikh Zuwaid, roughly 15 kilometres (9 miles) west of the Paleostinian Gazoo Strip.
The military sent tanks and soldiers into the region last year to quell Islamist beturbanned goons, after receiving permission from Israel. Under a 1979 peace treaty with Israel, Egypt should have a limited military presence in the area.
Sinai-based Islamist bully boyz are believed to have been responsible for several rocket attacks against Israel, which also blamed them for a cross-border ambush last year that killed nine Israelis.
[Yemen Post] A Yemeni court handed down jail sentences to Somalis after convicting them of forming an illegal group and carrying out piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden, the 26 September website reported on Wednesday.
The specialized penal court in Mukallah, Hadramout ...the formerly independent Qu'aiti state and sultanate, annexed by Communist South Yemen in 1968, encompassing a region along the Gulf of Aden, extending eastwards to the borders of the Dhofar region of Oman. The people are called Hadhramis and speak Hadhrami Arabic. The city Tarimis estimated to contain the highest concentration of descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (PTUI) anywhere in the world, approximately seven in every square yard... , convicted Mahmoud Golid and Ahmed Dirih of kidnapping a Yemeni boat in the Yemeni territorial waters giving them a ten-year jail term each, according to the website. The second convict is still on the lam.
The court also sentenced two other Somali pirates, Ahmed Abdi and Abdulkadir Abdulelah, to five years in prison each, it said.
The four were convicted of forming an illegal, armed gang which carried pirate attacks off Yemen and the terms were ruled to have started since their arrest, the website added.
The convicts confessed to their crimes and possessing weapons during the investigations, but they still have a chance to appeal against the verdict.
In recent years, Yemen has enjugged Please don't kill me! many Africans and Yemenis on charges of maritime piracy. Some of them went on trial and were given death and jail sentences.
Piracy has soared off Yemen and Somalia in the past few years affecting the national economy and one of the world's busiest waterways in the region.
[Yemen Post] A high-ranking security official, Abdullah Al-Mawzai, was killed on Thursday in Aden as a bomb was put on his vehicle.
According to the military-run 26 Newspaper, unidentified persons put the bomb on his car and it exploded as he was heading to his job.
It further said that Al-Mawzai was subjected to liquidation attempts previously, but he escaped them miraculously.
Security sources said that saboteurs attacked the headquarter of Aden governorate, using three grenades , pointing out that one of the attacker was seriously maimed as security forces responded to them.
Five people suspected of killing a top Muslim cleric and wounding another in Tatarstan province were detained Friday, Russian prosecutors said.
Valiulla Yakupov, the deputy to the province's chief mufti, was gunned down Thursday in the regional capital of Kazan. Minutes later, the chief mufti, Ildus Faizov, suffered leg wounds after an explosive device ripped through his car.
Both clerics were known to be critics of the radical Islamist groups that have mushroomed in recent years in this predominantly Muslim Volga River province of 4 million people.
Faizov has also been criticized by media in Tatarstan for allegedly profiting on tours he organized for Muslim pilgrims and for trying to gain control of one of the oldest and largest mosques in Kazan, which receives hefty donations from thousands of believers.
The Investigative Committee said Friday that one of the suspects -- Rustem Gataullin, 57 -- owned a company that organized hajj pilgrimages, and another one -- Murat Galleyev, 39 -- heads a religious institution in Tatarstan.
The 49-year-old Faizov became Tatarstan's chief mufti in 2011 and began a crackdown on radical Islamists by dismissing ultraconservative preachers and banning textbooks from Saudi Arabia, where the government-approved religious doctrine is based on Salafism.
The rise in Tatarstan of radical adherents of an austere, puritanical version of Islam known as Salafism has been fueled by the influx of Muslim clerics from Chechnya and other predominantly Muslim provinces of Russia's Caucasus region, where an Islamic insurgency has been raging for years. Last year, Doku Umarov, leader of the embattled Chechen separatists, issued a religious decree calling on radical Islamists from the Caucasus to move to the densely-populated Volga River region that includes Tatarstan.
Islamic radicals from the Caucasus have called for the establishment of a caliphate, an independent Islamic state under Shariah law that includes the Caucasus, Tatarstan and other parts of Russia that were once part of the Golden Horde -- a medieval Muslim state ruled by a Tatar-Mongol dynasty.
The other three suspects in the case are Airat Shakirov, 41; Azat Gainutdinov, 31, and Abdunozim Ataboyev, a 36-year-old national of ex-Soviet Uzbekistan. The investigators did not provide any details on their occupation or background.
49-year-old Faizov became Tatarstan's chief mufti in 2011 and began a crackdown on radical Islamists by dismissing ultraconservative preachers and banning textbooks from Saudi Arabia, where the government-approved religious doctrine is based on Salafism
Saudi is the source of religious intolerance worldwide and the West accept it!why?
[An Nahar] The Islamic leader of Russia's main Moslem region of Tatarstan was maimed Thursday and another holy man killed in rare attacks in an oil-rich republic often praised for its religious tolerance.
The Mufti of Tatarstan, Ildus Faizov, was maimed in a car kaboom while his former deputy, Valiulla Yakupov, was rubbed out in the strikes an hour apart as Moslems prepared to begin observing Ramadan at sundown.
President Vladimir Putin ...Second President of the Russian Federation and the first to remain sober. Because of constitutionally mandated term limits he is the current Prime Minister of Russia. His sock puppet, Dmitry Medvedev, was installed in the 2008 presidential elections. Putin is credited with bringing political stability and re-establishing something like the rule of law. During his eight years in office Russia's economy bounced back from crisis, seeing GDP increase, poverty decrease and average monthly salaries increase. During his presidency Putin passed into law a series of fundamental reforms, including a flat income tax of 13%, a reduced profits tax, and new land and legal codes. Under Putin, a new group of business magnates controlling significant swathes of Russia's economy has emerged, all of whom have close personal ties to Putin. The old bunch, without close personal ties to Putin, are in jail or in exile... said the twin attacks were a "serious signal."
"This is a serious signal," Putin said in televised remarks. "We can say that no pre-emptive steps had been taken."
Investigators opened a murder case while the region's leader linked the attacks in Tatarstain's main city of Kazan to the holy mans' work to promote moderate Islam.
"Our leaders have followed the policy of traditional Islam. It is clear that there are other movements, and what happened today is a clear challenge," said the president of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, pledging a firm response to radicals.
"Our position should be tougher," he said in comments released by his office.
Russia's top Moslemholy man Ravil Gainutdin said that those behind the attacks were seeking to place a bomb under the foundation of "peace and order of the entire Russian Federation."
"I have to admit that a wave of violence has come to the Volga region too," he said.
The oil-producing region on the Volga River is touted by authorities as an example of peaceful coexistence of Moslems and Christians, in contrast to the troubled North Caucasus, where the Kremlin fought two wars against separatists in the past 20 years.
But over the past few years officials have sounded the alarm about radical Islam spreading to a region where secessionist sentiments ran high following the Soviet breakup.
Yakupov, 48, was shot on the porch of his apartment block and died from his wounds in his car.
Faizov was maimed when his vehicle went kaboom! in another part of the city, the Investigative Committee said.
"The Toyota Land Cruiser with the Mufti of Tatarstan inside, Ildus Faizov, was blown up," it said.
"He was thrown out of the car by the force of the blast. He has been hospitalized with wounds of varying severity."
Television showed flames and smoke bursting out of Faizov's black vehicle, which regional police said he was driving.
Faizov, 49, has mounted a crackdown on cut-throats among the Moslem clergy of the republic of four million inhabitants.
He has said the main threat comes from followers of radical forms of Islam, Salafism and Wahhabism, whose ideology is now preached in some of the mosques in Tatarstan.
"The Salafis and Wahhabis constitute a very great danger. There are no moderates among them. They all finish one day by taking up arms," Faizov said in an interview with AFP last year shortly after his election.
Yakupov headed the education department of the Moslem Spiritual Directorate of Tatarstan at the time of his death, but until recently was Faizov's first deputy.
In May, the Kazan Week website listed him as Tatarstan's second most influential Moslem, calling him the "strategist behind Faizov's policy of rooting out religious extremism."
Russia fears that the radical Islam of the North Caucasus whose rebels are calling for the creation of an Islamic state could spread to its other historically Moslem regions.
Militant leader Doku Count Doku Umarov ... Self-styled first emir of the Caucasus Emirate. Count Doku has announced that his forces will not target civilians, but qualified that statement by saying there aren't any civilians in Russia... last year warned that his fighters were on a mission to "free the lands of our brothers," referring to Russian regions with large Moslem populations.
In November 2010, three Islamists were killed in Tatarstan in a rare armed clash with police.
Around half of Tatarstan's population is Moslem, but in Kazan few women wear headscarves and a huge mosque stands beside an Orthodox cathedral.
"The Salafis, the Islamic bully boyz have been active in Tatarstan for the past two years," said Alexei Malashenko, an analyst with the Carnegie Moscow Center. "This violent flare-up was expected."
Why does the US support Salifis and Wahhabis in Saudi?
The Salafis and Wahhabis constitute a very great danger. There are no moderates among them. They all finish one day by taking up arms," Faizov said in an interview with AFP last year shortly after his election
[ABC.net.au] The South Korean government is investigating unconfirmed intelligence reports that a shootout, leaving between 20 and 30 soldiers dead, broke out when the North Korean regime removed army chief Ri Yong-ho from office.
The Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean daily newspaper, reported that some intelligence analysts believe Mr Ri, who has not been seen since his abrupt sacking earlier this week, was injured or killed in the confrontation.
Citing South Korean government officials, it said the shootout erupted when vice marshal Choe Ryong Hae, director of the People's Army General Political Bureau, tried to detain Mr Ri while carrying out North Korean leader Kim Pudge Jong-un's ...the hereditary potentate of North Korea... order to sack him.
Guards protecting Mr Ri, who was a vice marshal, apparently opened fire.
"We cannot rule out the possibility that Ri was injured or even killed in the firefight," one source said.
North Korea's state media said in a surprise announcement on Monday that Mr Ri, a close aide to Mr Kim, had been removed from all his posts due to "illness", sparking speculation he may have been purged amid a power struggle in the core of the Kim regime.
Meanwhile, ...back at the Hubba Hubba Club, Nunzio had his hands full of angry bleached blonde... North Korean soldiers in Pyongyang have celebrated leader Kim Jong-un's appointment as the head of the military with mass choreographed dancing. NOTE: That statement is not inline. It's in the original, so help me...
Swedish and Bulgarian officials denied Thursday that Mehdi Ghezali, a Swedish citizen of Algerian descent, is responsible for the attack against Israelis in Bulgaria a day earlier.
Bulgarian media reported earlier Thursday that the suspected suicide bomber who blew up a bus of Israeli tourists in Burgas, which killed seven people and wounded 34, was Ghezali, who is a 33-year-old former detainee of Guantanamo. Several hours after the name was circulated in Israeli and global media, Swedish officials were quoted by the Swedish news agency TT as saying that Mehdi Ghezali was not the bomber behind the Burgas attack.
I'm sure his mother is happy...
Moreover, Bulgarian officials told ABC news that the bombing suspect's name that has been circulating on the web is incorrect.
Earlier Thursday, Bulgarian media reported that the man responsible for the attack was Mehdi Ghezali, a 33-year-old Swedish citizen of Algerian descent and former Guantanamo detainee. The Novinite Daily reported Thursday that the Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said that officials are still trying to determine whether the suspect's U.S. passport was also counterfeit.
Earlier Thursday, ABC showed an image of the suspect's fake Michigan driver's license with the name Jacque Felipe Martin. According to the image obtained by ABC, the license read "Michigan Operator's License" and showed a fake Louisiana address, which is actually that of a casino called the Belle of Baton Rouge.
Bulgarian media reported that the man had been in the country between four to seven days, and was about 35 years old.
Bulgarian police said they believed the suspect was the suicide bomber because his body sustained the most damage in the explosion.
Usually a good indicator...
The Bulgarian police said that footage from airport security cameras captured the suspect roaming the airport for at least one hour, the Novinite Daily reported.
That seems a little strange: you'd think the splodydope would get in and set off the bomb as soon as he could to ensure he wouldn't get caught.
According to the report he was a long-haired Caucasian in sportswear.
Top Bulgarian official said Thursday that it was a "mistake" to blame any specific country or organization for the terror attack.
"We are only in the beginning of the investigation and it is wrong to jump to conclusions," he added, saying that Bulgaria had "excellent cooperation with the Israeli security forces in matters pertaining to the investigation."
Mladenov added that the countries "will investigate until we discover who is behind the attack. At this stage all we know about the identity of the culprit is his external appearance and a copy of a counterfeit Michigan driver's license."
Question is, will the FBI implement the needed reforms?
WASHINGTON -- In emails to a known terrorist, the man charged with killing 13 people in a 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas, expressed his support for suicide bombings and killing civilians -- glaring signs that the FBI did not act on but should have, a lawmaker briefed on a new report on the rampage said Wednesday.
Army Maj. Nidal Hasan told a radical Islamic cleric -- a man well-known to the U.S. intelligence community -- that he advocated using suicide bombers and that he believed it was OK to kill civilians, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, told The Associated Press. And the known terrorist, Anwar al-Awlaki, told Hasan in an email that the Army psychiatrist should keep the terrorist's contact information handy, McCaul said.
But the agents on the FBI's Washington anti-terrorism task force thought the issue of a Muslim soldier talking to extremists was too sensitive to bring up with the Defense Department, McCaul said the report found.
"It shows you the length of the political correctness stuff going on," McCaul said after he was briefed on the findings of the independent review Wednesday.
FBI Director Robert Mueller called for the review in 2009 and asked a former bureau director, William Webster, to lead it. The FBI is expected to release an unclassified version of the report this week, McCaul said.
A Senate report released last year also said the FBI missed warning signs about Hasan, who Senate investigators said had become an Islamic extremist and a "ticking time bomb" before the rampage. But McCaul said some of the emails described in the Webster report were ones he had not previously seen.
Immediate reviews into the government's handling of the Hasan case revealed that members of two FBI anti-terrorism task forces saw emails between the Army psychiatrist and al-Awlaki beginning in December 2008. Those task forces reviewed the communications and decided they were in keeping with Hasan's research at the time, and as a result, no formal investigation of Hasan was opened. Hasan was writing a research paper about the effects of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
On who, American soldiers or Muslim terrorists?
But McCaul said that wasn't the whole story. The FBI in San Diego had been investigating al-Awlaki, a former San Diego resident, for his possible connections to the 9/11 hijackers. When agents saw emails between Hasan and al-Awlaki, they asked the FBI's Washington office to talk to Hasan's bosses, according to a government official briefed on the findings. But the Washington agents thought that interviewing American Muslims who visit extremist websites was a sensitive issue and did not reach out to Hasan's bosses at the Defense Department.
FBI agents also misinterpreted an abbreviation the Army used regarding Hasan, McCaul said. The Army identified Hasan as a "Comms. Officer," and, while the Army meant Hasan was a commissioned officer, the FBI interpreted it to mean that Hasan was a communications officer. The FBI decided not to disseminate an intelligence report on Hasan because the FBI thought that as a communications officer, Hasan would have seen the report, the government official said.
Neither the FBI nor Webster responded to requests for comment. But the FBI and Defense Department have said that they've made several policy changes since the Fort Hood assault to help prevent similar attacks.
Hasan is charged with killing 13 people and wounding 32 others in the November 2009 attack at the Texas Army post. He is being tried in a military court. Al-Awlaki, implicated in other terror attacks, was killed in a drone strike in Yemen last year.
The feeling I have is they did not walk in with an investigation, they HAD to walk in with a narrative. It was directed and the investigated what they were directed to do - nothing more or else and I do not blame the FBI.
A "review" [not an investigation] called for 3 years ago by the current FBI director, handed to a former director to execute? [Anyone fired ?] Please, give me a break. Why does our gov't think we are all morons?
The FBI in San Diego had been investigating al-Awlaki, a former San Diego resident, for his possible connections to the 9/11 hijackers.
[For how long? How many intelligence reports submitted? What dissemination levels? POTUS briefed? Other potential terrorists mention in e-mails or copied in e-mails?]
High level terrorist and Hasan e-mail pal Anwar al-Awlaki was eventually killed via drone strike by the CIA correct? [Terminated, not captured or interrogated? Any legal review of US person terminated? Future wrongful death suits?] Article alleged FBI did not coordinate with Army Counrterintelligence. No mention of FBI coordination with CIA. POTUS and CIA just assumed Anwar al-Awlaki needed killin and didn't bother to talk to the Bureau or DOJ about a US person?
When the Fort Hood shooting took place, no one to include the Post Commander used the term "terrorism." Former president Bush drives to Fort Hood Hosptial to visit the wounded and is quietly told to leave. The trial for MAJ Hasan will take place when?
Not even a nice try Directors Webster and Mueller. A sixth grader could have written a more plausible explanation. This is a classic 'source operation' gone terribly bad and a very, very shameful cover up.
[Dawn] At least 12 people were killed and another was injured when a vehicle carrying passengers from Orakzai Agency ... crawling with holy men, home to Darra Adam Khel, the world's largest illegal arms bazaar. 14 distinct tribes of beturbanned primitives inhabit Orakzai agency's 1500 or so square kilometers... to Kohat bazaar was blown up by an anti-tank mine in Tanga Pahar area on Wednesday, police said.
The pick-up coming from Sipah area of Lower Orakzai hit the mine when it entered Ustarzai area of Kohat at around 7.40am. Eight of [the victims] belonged to one family. The driver, Nowa Khan, was injured and admitted to the Sipah hospital.
Police said the kaboom took place about a kilometre outside the tribal region. Rescue work was delayed because of absence of mobile phone link with the area.
Agencies add: The dead included three women, two 11-year-old boys and a three-year-old girl and all of them belonged to the same clan, an official said.
"It was a beturbanned goon attack and the aim was to create panic in the area by killing ordinary people," he said. He said the victims belonged to the Shia community.
[Dawn] A grand jirga of tribal elders, tasked by the government to persuade bully boy groups to allow polio ...Poliomyelitis is a disease caused by infection with the poliovirus. Between 1840 and the 1950s, polio was a worldwide epidemic. Since the development of polio vaccines the disease has been largely wiped out in the civilized world. However, since the vaccine is known to make Moslem pee-pees shrink and renders females sterile, bookish, and unsubmissive it is not widely used by the turban and automatic weapons set... vaccination, informed the administration on Wednesday that the ban on immunisation in Wazoo would continue till drone attacks were stopped.
A source privy to the meeting told Dawn that in plain words the pro-government jirga had endorsed the ban imposed by a Taliban group on polio campaign in North Waziristan.
The jirga of tribal elders, Learned Elders of Islam and political authorities, held at the Governor's Circuit House here, discussed ways of resuming polio vaccination in North Waziristan. It was attended by about 300 tribal elders and prominent Learned Elders of Islam from across the tribal agency. Prominent among them were Maulvi Salim Gul, Malak Shah Jehan, Malak Nasrullah Khan, Malak Qadar Khan, Malak Mamoor Khan and Malak Amanullah.
Political Agent Siraj Ahmed Khan briefed the jirga on the importance of the campaign. Agency Surgeon Dr Muhammad Sadiq, Assistant Political Agent Shah Tasleem Khan and the local tehsildar were present on the occasion.
Leaders of the jirga told the government functionaries that the ban imposed by the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group would continue till the stoppage of drone strikes because innocent people, including children and women, were being killed in such attacks.
However, women are made to be loved, not understood... the jirga stressed the need for continuing dialogue and decided that effort would continue to be made to sort out the issue amicably.
Representing the jirga, Malak Qadir Khan said it was ready to talk to the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain's group if a 'peace committee' set an appointment with the bully boys' leader.
The five-member peace committee was given a mandate by the government as well as tribal elders to mediate with the Taliban and persuade them to lift the ban. The committee includes Khan Faraz, Malak Rais Khan, Malak Haji Sarfaraz and Mufti Sadiqullah.
[An Nahar] National carrier Royal Jordanian (RJ) said on Thursday it has suspended flights to the Syrian capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo over the unrest in the neighboring country.
"Flights to Damascus and Aleppo have been suspended because of a sharp slump in passenger traffic following developments in Syria in the past two days," state-run Petra news agency quoted RJ as saying.
RJ, which used to fly daily to these cities, "will study the possibility of resuming flights if passenger traffic returns to normal," it added.
[An Nahar] The Syrian regime is in its last days, the head of the main exiled opposition group said on Thursday, warning that a veto by Russia and China at the United Nations ...a formerly good idea gone bad... could have "disastrous" consequences.
"The regime is in its final days," Syrian National Council chief Abdel Basset Sayda said following talks in Rome with Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi shortly after the veto at the U.N. Security Council in New York.
Sayda said the U.N. system was "outdated" with a set of rules dating back to World War II "that do not reflect the needs of our times".
"We cannot allow an illegitimate regime to massacre its people," he said.
The resolution would have threatened Syria with sanctions and Russia accused Western nations of preparing military intervention, while Washington said it would now work outside the council to confront Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Lord of the Baath... "We must break this vicious circle and ask the Friends of Syria, which includes 100 countries and has international legitimacy, to step in and speak to the regime with a unanimous voice," Sayda said.
[An Nahar] Regime troops stormed a Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... district with tanks on Thursday for the first time, five days on from the outbreak of fierce festivities in the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"The army stormed the Qaboon district with a large number of tanks," the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence La Belle France Presse. "This is the first time that tanks enter a Damascus district."
The army's move stoked fears of an imminent massacre in the western quarter of the capital, scene of festivities over the past five days, the Britannia-based monitoring group said.
Earlier on Thursday, a security source told AFP on condition of anonymity that the army would show no restraint in its operations.
"These extremely violent festivities should continue in the next 48 hours to cleanse Damascus of faceless myrmidons by the time Ramadan begins" on Friday, the source said, referring to the Mohammedan holy fasting month.
The developments came a day after three top regime officials were killed in an unprecedented attack in the National Security headquarters in Damascus, which was claimed by the rebel Free Syrian Army.
"After the attack, (the army) has decided to use all the weapons in its possession to finish the faceless myrmidons off," the security source said.
This is the rebels' Tet offensive. It's a media offensive that hopes to generate mass surrenders by demoralizing its opponents. The problem is that it's hard to demoralize an opponent that (1) has the armor, artillery and air assets and (2) sees a Sunni victory leading to the liquidation of the Alawite community. Despite the talk of massacres, the 10K dead figure (including all Sunni fighters) over 16 months is a lower death rate than the annual death rate for Iraqis during the American occupation which peaked at around 30K a year in the 2006/2007 time frame.
The border post escapades are a re-run of Lang Vei, during which the North Vietnamese forces overran a Montagnard camp partly staffed by 2 dozen Green Berets, just so they could claim they could win a battle.
I fully expect Sherman-esque reprisals in the future. Districts that support the guerrillas will be given some amount of time to evacuate, after which those areas will be burned to the ground, the way Sherman burned Atlanta.
I don't think he'll warn them. He's already lost the PR campaign and has no incentive to leave future problems in the form of the displaced.
Posted by: Charles ||
I don't think he'll warn them. He's already lost the PR campaign and has no incentive to leave future problems in the form of the displaced.
There's a myth that starving people have nothing to lose and are therefore more motivated to fight. In reality, starving people don't have the energy to fight - all of it is devoted to scrounging for food. The whole point of the burning of Atlanta was (1) to warn others about the cost of supporting the Confederacy, (2) to strain the resources of the Confederacy by forcing them to divert resources towards feeding and housing the refugees from Atlanta and (3) to force the Confederate leadership to factor into its calculations the cost of housing and feeding future refugees from other cities burned to the ground when figuring out if they had the resources to continue fighting the Union armies. Burning districts that house and feed enemy combatants is a lot like wounding enemy fighters instead of killing them - it simultaneously takes up enemy resources and demoralizes them. (And if the enemy abandons its wounded or kills them to prevent their capture - that's even more demoralizing).
For those who are not entirely clear on the demographic situation re the combatants, the 25% of population that is Alawite or Christian is fighting the 60% of the population that is Sunni Arab. The Kurds and the Druze are staying out of it. If they were equally trained and equally armed, the Sunni Arabs would probably win. However, the units with the most training and weaponry are Alawite units along with a smattering of Christians. In addition, Alawites have always gotten along well with Christians in Syria, whereas their relationship to Sunni Arabs was a lot like the relationship of Jews to European Christians for most of antiquity - simultaneously scapegoat and target for pogroms.
Why are Christians backing Assad? The rebels are giving them a preview of the future they face under Sunni Arab rule:
Washington, D.C. July 18 (International Christian Concern) -- A mass exodus of Christians, including a group evacuated from the besieged city of Homs last week, are fleeing Syrian cities for safety. Caught in the middle of a showdown between opposition forces and the Syrian army, many Christians fear the prospect of an Islamist-led government if President Bashar al-Assad is deposed.
On July 11, Maximos al-Jamal, a Greek Orthodox priest, negotiated a deal between armed rebels and the army to evacuate 63 Christians caught between the crossfire in the bombed-out city of Homs, The Associated Press reports. Al-Jamal feared that rebels were keeping Christians in the city as bargaining chips while army attacks intensified.
"Gunmen have told the besieged people that if you go out of these areas, we will die," al-Jamal told The Associated Press.
Thousands of Christians lived in Homs before Syria's uprising began early last year. Today, however, Al-Jamal said that only 100 Christian civilians remain, the result of which is more likely contributed to rebel attacks against Christians than the army's bombardment of the city.
"The armed [rebels] in Syria [have] murdered more than 200 Christians in the city of Homs, including entire families with young children. These gangs kidnapped Christians and demanded high ransoms. In two cases, after the ransoms were paid, the men's bodies were found," a priest in Homs told Barnabas Aid.
The evacuation of Christians from Homs is only the latest occurrence in a mass exodus of Christians from Syrian cities. In June, nearly 10,000 Christians fled Qusayr after being given an ultimatum to leave the city by a rebel commander, reported Barnabas Aid. The threat was reportedly echoed in the city mosques: "Christians must leave Qusayr within six days, ending Friday (June 8)." Rebels, however, denied the accusations, claiming that Christians began fleeing months earlier when the army shelled the city.
The Sunni Arabs reporting on Syria (or providing color for the foreign media) are doing an outstanding job of pumping up rebel achievements. However, as we've repeatedly discovered during Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Gaza - what Sunni Arabs say they've achieved and what they've actually achieved in battle aren't necessarily the same thing:
Syrian troops and tanks on Friday drove rebels from a Damascus neighborhood where some of the heaviest of this week's fighting in the capital left cars gutted and fighters' bodies in the streets. More than 300 people were killed in a single day, activists said, as the military struggles to regain momentum after a stunning bombing against the regime's leadership.
[An Nahar] Syrian rebels took control of all border crossings between Iraq and Syria on Thursday, Storied Baghdad ...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate... 's deputy interior minister told Agence La Belle France Presse, as a rights group said rebels also seized a crossing on the border with Turkey.
"All the border points between Iraq and Syria are under the control of the Free Syrian Army," Adnan al-Assadi told AFP by telephone.
"The border points and all the outposts are under the control of the Free Syrian Army.
"The Syrian army are focusing on Damascus ...Capital of the last overtly fascist regime in the world... "Assadi also said there was fighting underway between the Syrian army and rebels across the border from the northern Iraqi region of Sinjar.
The top official said Iraqi border guards had witnessed the Free Syrian Army take control of a border outpost, detain a Syrian army lieutenant colonel, and then cut off his arms and legs.
"Then they executed 22 Syrian soldiers in front of the eyes of Iraqi soldiers."
Assadi added: "If this situation continues, we are going to close the entire border with Syria."
Earlier, an Iraqi border police lieutenant colonel told AFP that festivities began at noon at the al-Bukamal crossing in Anbar province.
"And then in the evening, we saw the Syrian flag being brought down and the flag of the Free Syrian Army replaced it," he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity ... for fear of being murdered... "We saw people wearing dishdashas (traditional Arab robes) and holding guns and they were walking inside the border post. We closed the border and we sent more patrols and more checkpoints along all the border with Syria."
Government front man Ali Dabbagh meanwhile told Iraqiya state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
that four planeloads of Iraqis had been flown from Syria back to Iraq on Thursday.
Also on Thursday, officials in western Anbar province, which borders Syria, said thousands of Iraqi families crossed from Syria back into their home country after Storied Baghdad appealed for them to return to avoid escalating violence in Iraq's western neighbor.
Anbar provincial council chief Saadun Obeid Shaalan said provincial authorities had provided Iraqis crossing the border with "humanitarian aid and 60 buses have entered Iraq, carrying Iraqis emigrating from Syria."
Earlier on Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the FSA seized control of a crossing on the border with neighboring Turkey.
"Rebel fighters seized control of the Bab al-Hawa crossing (in the northwestern province of Idlib) on the border with Turkey," the Britannia-based rights group said, adding that the rebels went on to remove the photograph of Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Horror of Homs... that was displayed at the frontier post.
Amateur video posted on YouTube showed rebels firing into the air and describing the seizure as "the liberation of Bab al-Hawa."
Another video, purportedly filmed at the border post, shows two men burning a large portrait of Assad's father and his predecessor Hafez, along with the Baath party flag.
Anti-regime sentiment is strong in Idlib, and according to activists large parts of this border province have long been under rebel control.
The rebel offensive on Syria's eastern border came as the army focused its resources on Damascus, resorting to tank fire in the capital for the first time in its efforts to root out rebel fighters a day after a kaboom killed three of Assad's top aides.
The upsurge in fighting, which claimed some 200 lives on Thursday alone according to the Observatory's figures, sent a new exodus of refugees fleeing across Syria's borders.
Nearly 19,000 Syrians pouring into Leb, a security official told AFP in Beirut, while Iraqi officials said thousands of Iraqi refugee families had fled home from Syria.
The Syrian army gave residents 48 hours to leave areas of the capital, where festivities are taking place between security forces and rebels pushing their "Damascus Volcano" offensive.
"These extremely violent festivities should continue in the next 48 hours to cleanse Damascus of gunnies by the time Ramadan begins" on Friday, a security source told AFP, referring to the Mohammedan fasting month.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that in the western district of Mazzeh alone, hundreds of people were on the move, "fearing a large-scale operation by regime troops."
"The army stormed the Qaboon district with a large number of tanks," the Observatory's Rami Abdel Rahman added.
[Al Ahram] Clashes erupted on Thursday near the government headquarters in Damascus after rebels attacked forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, who have deployed armoured vehicles and increased roadblocks across the city, activists and residents said.
At least one person was reported killed in the fighting in Ikhlas neighbourhood adjacent to the Council of Ministers, a huge complex, and a Damascus University campus, they said.
[Indendent.uk] Rumours about the location of the royal couple were rife yesterday with unverified reports claiming that Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Before going into the family business Pencilneck was an eye doctor... had fled to safety in the coastal province of Latakia while his glamorous British-born wife left for Russia.
Although the president made a brief appearance on state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
yesterday to swear in his new Defence Minister, Fahad Jassim al-Freij, whose predecessor was killed in the Damascus ...Home to a staggering array of terrorist organizations... blast that took out several top regime officials, state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
did not say where or when the footage was filmed.
The president's first public appearance since the attack will, however, allay suspicions that the president was himself injured.
Opposition sources and a Western diplomat told Rooters that the president was directing the official response to the liquidations from Latakia, the heartland for the Alawite sect to which the ruling family belongs. The Assad clan hails from the provincial town of Qardaha which perches on a hill above Latakia city.
Assad's mother Anisa Makhlouf and his newly widowed sister Bushra travelled with the body of his brother-in-law Assef Shawkat to Latakia last night on a private jet, according to a Free Syrian Army source who said the group had "insiders" informing them of the ruling family's movements.
The same source said that Assad had been injured -- but in an attack earlier on Wednesday and not the blast at the national security centre.
"The president was in Al Shaab Palace in Damascus and there was a warning at 3.30am and they decided to move him," the source said. "As they moved, the Free Syrian Army was striking the area with mortars and one hit the cars. He only had small injuries."
Syrian rebels took control of the Albu Kamal border post between Iraq and Syria on Thursday, two security officials on the Iraqi side of the crossing said.
"At noon, the clashes began. And then in the evening, we saw the Syrian flag being brought down and the flag of the Free Syrian Army replaced it," an Iraqi border police lieutenant colonel told AFP. "We saw people wearing dishdashas (traditional Arab robes) and holding guns and they were walking inside the border post. We closed the border and we sent more patrols and more checkpoints along all the border with Syria."
Another Iraqi security official at Albu Kamal said the post had been taken over by Syrian rebels. Eyewitnesses also reported seeing the flag of the Free Syrian Army raised at the outpost.
The Albu Kamal border post lies near the Iraqi town of Qaim in the mostly Sunni Arab desert province of Anbar.
Earlier on Thursday, Anbar officials said thousands of Iraqi families crossed from Syria back into their home country after Baghdad appealed for them to return to avoid escalating violence in Iraq's western neighbor.