[Daily Nation (Kenya)] US President Barack Obama Because I won... has vowed that the international community would not abandon Afghanistan as it seeks to take control of its own security and shape its future.
"As Afghans stand up, they will not stand alone," Obama told the opening of an unprecedented NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A collection of multinational and multilingual and multicultural armed forces, all of differing capabilities, working toward a common goal by pulling in different directions... gathering of more than 50 world leaders discussing the end of the international combat mission in Afghanistan due in 2014.
NATO leaders on Monday endorsed plans to hand Afghan forces the lead for security across their country by mid-2013 while foreign troops will gradually switch their focus from combat to support mode.
In a Chicago summit declaration, Obama and his 27 military allies confirmed they would withdraw combat troops by the end of 2014 and leave behind a training mission.
"Today will decide the next phase of the transition, the next milestone, we will set a goal for Afghan forces to take the lead across the country in 2013, next year, so that ISAF can move towards a supporting role," Obama told the meeting also attended by Afghanistan's Caped PresidentHamid 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... Karzai announced last week that Afghans would soon take control of more provinces, which will put 75 percent of the population under the protection of local forces.
"More Afghans are reclaiming their communities, Afghan cops have grown stronger," Obama said.
"Today we can agree on NATO's long-term relationship with Afghanistan beyond 2014 including our support of Afghan cops."
(Sh. M. Network)-Representatives from Somali government, the breakaway Puntland ...a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garowe in the Nugaal province. Its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998. Puntland and the equally autonomous Somaliland seem to have avoided the clan rivalries and warlordism that have typified the rest of Somalia, which puts both places high on the list for Islamic subversion... region, the central Galmudug ...a semiautonomous region in central Somalia, bordering Puntland on the north. Galmudug is not trying to obtain international recognition as a separate nation, but rather considers itself autonomous within the larger Somali federalism, for what that's worth... region, and the pro-government militia Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa are gathering today in Addis Ababa , the ∆thiopian capital, for the formation of a permanent government to replace the current transitional government.
Somalia's Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohammed Ali, parliament speaker Sharif Hassan and as well as TFG president are at the meeting with officials of the United Nations ...an organization which on balance has done more bad than good, with the good not done well and the bad done thoroughly... , US, 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... , Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... and East African peace bloc, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
The meeting is scheduled to review what has come out from the previous Roadmap meetings inSomaliaas a document that leads towards ending the transitional period on time, in August 2012. it is expected the conference will produce a positive outcome for Somalia.
[Al Ahram] Over the weekend festivities broke out after dozens of Tunisia's Salafis armed with sticks and knives raided bars and stores in Sidi Bouzid, where the suicide of a street seller last year sparked Tunisia's revolution and the Arab Spring uprisings, witnesses said.
Shop owners fought back, chasing Salafis to the main mosque and opening fire on them, the witnesses added.
Shop owners fought back, chasing Salafis to the main mosque and opening fire on them, the witnesses added. Bullet marks could be seen on the wall of the mosque on Monday.
"They have crossed all red lines and will be strictly punished ... The opening they were granted has ended," Justice Minister Noureddine Bouheri told Express FM radio station in the first government reaction to the festivities.
Many Salafi Moslems were in jail or underground before the 2011 uprising that ousted secular strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. But they have since become more assertive.
While Islamists did not play a major role in the revolt, the struggle over the role of religion in government and society has since emerged as the most divisive ...politicians call things divisive when when the other side sez something they don't like. Their own statements are never divisive, they're principled... issue in Tunisian politics.
More conservative Salafis want a broader role for sharia in the new Tunisia, alarming secular elites who fear they will seek to impose their views and undermine Tunisia's nascent democracy.
Since the revolution, violent incidents involving Salafis have increased. Salafis have attacked a television station and a cinema that aired films they deemed blasphemous. Scuffles have broken out between Salafis and actors outside the theatre.
Ennahda, a moderate Islamic group, won Tunisia's first elections since the revolution but formed a coalition with two non-religious parties and has promised not to ban alcohol, impose the veil or name sharia, or Islamic law, as the basis of law.
Tunisians are overwhelmingly Moslem but the North African country has a long secularist tradition, firmly established by independence hero and longtime leader Habib Bourguiba, who famously called the Islamic headcovering an "odious rag".
[Al Ahram] Hundreds of protesters entered Mali's presidential palace unopposed on Monday and said they would remain there until interim civilian president Dioncounda Traore resigned, a Rooters witness said.
The protesters tore up images of Traore and called for him to be replaced by Captain Amadou Sanogo, the officer who led the March 22 military coup, the witness said. Soldiers positioned at the palace stood by as the civilians entered the buildings.
Earlier, negotiations between the West African block ECOWAS and the junta, which often ended in stalemate, led to an agreement on Sunday that coup leader Captain Sanogo would step down with all the privileges owed to a former president.
[Al Ahram] The Arab League ...an organization of Arabic-speaking states with 22 member countries and four observers. The League tries to achieve Arab consensus on issues, which usually leaves them doing nothing but a bit of grimacing and mustache cursing... called on Tehran on Monday to halt what it described as a media campaign against Bahrain over a proposal for political and military union between Gulf Arab states. Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in their national face... has been pushing the idea of closer Gulf integration to contain Shi'ite Moslem unrest in Bahrain and counter the influence of regional Shi'ite power Iran.
Riyadh's initial goal appears to be a merger with Bahrain, where majority Shi'ites have been staging pro-democracy demonstrations targeting the Sunni Moslem ruling family for over a year. Bahraini leaders have been publicly receptive to union.
"The Iranian government must stop its media escalation campaign and provocative statements from Iranian officials regarding the situation in Bahrain," Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said in a statement.
"Any union steps between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are a sovereign issue of the two states and other Gulf countries and no other country has the right to interfere in it," he said.
Iranian state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
aired last week footage of thousands of people holding rallies around the country protesting against the proposed Manama-Riyadh union and an influential holy man denounced the idea as an "ill-fated plot".
The head of Germany's intelligence service said the country could be a target of an Islamist attack similar to those carried out by a gunman in France two months ago. Heinz Fromm's comments, quoted in an interview with the top-selling Bild daily, follow a series of clashes in several German cities and towns between police and Salafi Muslims.
Fromm said, "The danger for Germany has unfortunately not decreased. And it is not by any means abstract. An attack like in France in March... is also conceivable here.", adding that Merah had had contact with Salafis before his shooting spree.
Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, gunned down seven people - three soldiers, three Jewish children and a rabbi - before being killed himself by elite French police commandos in Toulouse on March 22.
Fromm cited a video made by a Berlin-based Salafi, a former rapper known as Denis C., which calls for jihad and praises Merah and Osama bin Laden. He said, "We must take (this video) seriously. It could well be that this video is taken as an inducement for attacks.
"With their intensive propaganda over the Internet, in the streets, in mosques and also at so-called Islam seminars, Salafi preachers are reaching especially young people who are more sensitive to this ideology. Almost all Islamist terrorists from Germany have been radicalized in this way."
Earlier this month, Germany said it was considernig a legal ban on Salafis after recent clashes. In the most serious violence, Salafis turned on police protecting far-right anti-Islam protesters during a regional election rally in the western city of Bonn, wounding 29 officers, two of them seriously. Authorities arrested 109 people, among them a 25-year-old man suspected of stabbing two police officers.
The anti-Islam protesters had infuriated the Salafis by waving banners showing cartoons of Mohammad. Local reports said 500-600 Salafis faced off with 30 far-right protesters.
In recent weeks, Salafis have been handing out thousands of Korans, translated into German, to infidels non-Muslims, sparking a controversy in Germany. North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger promised to identify all Salafis ready to use violence, so that officials could take swifter action in future.
Posted by: Frank G ||
Iran already has a UAV that looked like it just rolled out of a Barrett-Jackson auction. Reportedly Obama disapproved a DoD or Agency request to destroy it after it "clash landed." The Turks will simply have to wait........
"until after his election, when he'll have more flixibility."
[Iran Press TV] Lawyers for five protesters tossed in the slammer ... anything you say can and will be used against you, whether you say it or not... on terrorist-related charges ahead of the NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. It's headquartered in Belgium. That sez it all.... summit have accused police of entrapping them and encouraging an alleged bomb-making effort.
Three of the men were placed in durance vile Maw! They're comin' to get me, Maw! on Wednesday night and the other two on Saturday by members of the Chicago police department.
According to court documents released on Saturday, the men considered targeting Barack Obama's The Cambridge police acted stupidly... re-election headquarters and the home of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The Chicago police department said the men, described as self-proclaimed anarchists and members of the "Black Bloc" movement that has disrupted international gatherings in the past, were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism and possession of an explosive incendiary device.
A lawyer for the five, Michael Deutsch, said undercover coppers had entrapped them by infiltrating the group and encouraging the bomb-making effort. The Chicago police department declined to comment on the tactics employed in the case.
Deutsch said at the hearing that police had planted weapons at the scene of the arrests. "This is a way to stir up prejudice against a people who are exercising their First Amendment rights," Deutsch said.
"There were undercover coppers that ingratiated themselves with people who come from out of town."
the men, described as self-proclaimed anarchists and members of the "Black Bloc" movement that has disrupted international gatherings in the past...ingratiated themselves with people who come from out of town."
Repeat offenders on the Chi coppers radar--do they have records? do they have passports? Inquiring minds would like to know.
[Iran Press TV] The charges filed to spread "fear and intimidation with would be protesters who want to make a statement about the country and its policies," NLG front man Kris Hermes told Press TV's US Desk on Monday.
"We're alarmed by the seriousness of the charges and the possibility that these crimes were manufactured by undercover police or informants," Hermes said.
He added that the charges are an "effort to frighten people and to diminish the size of the demonstrations."
On Saturday, charges filed against three Occupy activists, Jared Chase, Brent Betterly, and Brian Jacob Church, including possession of explosives or incendiary devices, material support for terrorism, and conspiracy.
Two more men were also charged with planning to make explosives to be used during the NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A cautionary tale of cost-benefit analysis.... summit.
An attorney from the National Lawyers Guild, whose members represented the five men charged in the alleged plots to disrupt the NATO summit, said police are using "preemptive raids meant to intimidate and stifle dissent which is all too common during National Special Security events."
The National Lawyers' Guild is a national non-profit legal and political organization comprised of lawyers, legal workers, law students, and jailhouse lawyers.
[NY Post] He may be locked in prison facing federal terrorism charges -- but he has his pride!
Accused al Qaeda techno-geek Wesam El-Hanafi has filed a $1 million defamation and libel suit against a federal prosecutor who accused him of working to modernize the terror network's IT capabilities.
The Brooklyn-born brainiac, 36, contends Assistant US Attorney John Cronan created a "state of false panic" by charging that he bought seven Casio digital watches like those used as timers for terrorist bombs.
But El-Hanafi insists he bought the watches with his credit card in 2009 as surprise gifts for his brothers -- not for bombs -- said Walid El-Hanafi, 34, the accused terrorist's brother.
And the suit claims that FBI agents and the NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force never questioned any of his brothers about the watches or bothered to search the homes where the Casios had been sent.
"This is nonsense," Walid El-Hanafi said. "And we can attest to that."
The government also charged that he met with al Qaeda thugs in Yemen in 2008 -- another claim his brother and the suit deny.
"There was no al Qaeda meeting," the suspect's brother said.
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan US Attorney's Office declined to comment.
[Dawn] The elders of Salarzai tribe have assured the political administration and security forces that no one will be allowed to shelter foreigners in Bajaur tribal region.
The tribal elders told the authorities during a jirga held in Raghan area of Salarzai on Sunday that more peace committees would be formed and volunteers would be deployed in sensitive areas near the Afghan border.
More than 600 elders belonging to different sub-tribes of Salarzai attended the jirga.
Tribal elders Malik Mohammad Younas, Malik Abdul Hakim Khan, Malik Anwarzeb Khan, Malik Mohammad Yar Khan, Malik Hafizur Rahman Khan, Malik Abdul Salam and others said that they would extend full support to the administration in maintenance of law and order in the area.
They said that members of Salarzai tribe were peace loving people and patriotic citizens of the country. "The Salarzai tribe always supported government. It is the only tribe in the entire agency that has been bravely fighting against Taliban since 2008 and never surrendered to thugs," they said.
They said that they fought against forces of Evil only to abolish militancy from the tribal region and restore peace and stability there.
The jirga imposed ban on gunfire in the entire Salarzai tehsil and said that strict action would be taken against the violators.
Chief of his own faction of Jamaat Ulema-e-Islam ...Assembly of Islamic Clergy, or JUI, is a Pak Deobandi (Hanafi) political party. There are two main branches, one led by Maulana Fazlur Rahman, and one led by Maulana Samiul Haq. Fazl is active in Pak politix and Sami spends more time running his madrassah. Both branches sponsor branches of the Taliban, though with plausible deniability... Maulana Fazlur Rehman Deobandi holy man, known as Mullah Diesel during the war against the Soviets, his sympathies for the Taliban have never been tempered by honesty ... has threatened to block supply of goods to NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. A single organization with differing goals, equipment, language, doctrine, and organization.... forces in Afghanistan by force if government ignores the conditions laid down by parliament in this regard.
"We have asked the government to follow the recommendations of parliament in restoring NATO supply otherwise we will resist it by force. JUI-F has already chalked out a comprehensive strategy in this regard," he told a conference of his party in Battagram on Saturday.
Maulana Fazl delivered a short speech on the occasion amid tight security as rumours were in circulation that two suicides bombers had entered the city.
He said that America and NATO forces killed soldiers at Salala checkpost but the government wanted to restore supply of arms to them through Pakistain.
"If government wishes to restore NATO supply by its own to please America and NATO and bypasses the recommendations of parliamentary committee then it should get ready to face the consequences," the JUI-F chief said.
He said that the apex court should deliver a clear verdict about the fate of the prime minister. "We agree with other political parties in their demand about resignation of prime minister on moral grounds but what we can do in these circumstances when court is silent about his fate," said Mr Rehman.
He urged people to come out for enforcement of Sharia in the country. He said that people were bearing the brunt of the corruption of rulers.
Mr Rehman hoped that his party would win the next general elections.
[Dawn] Officials of Pakistain Navy on Monday recommended court-martial for three officers allegedly involved in May 22, 2011 attack on PNS Mehran base in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... , DawnNews reported.
An investigation committee was constituted after the attack, which after probing for months has recommended to court-martial Base Commander Raja Tahir, Commander of Mehran Base Israr and Lt-Commander Mohammad Absar.
However, there is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened... the final decision will be taken by the Navy chief and other high ranked officials after going through details of the committee's recommendation.
The committee has also recommended stringent security measures at all bases including Mehran air base.
On May 22, 2011, armed beturbanned goons stormed into the naval airbase and destroyed three aircraft and killed six military officials. Five beturbanned goons were also killed during the operation, which was launched by the security forces to liberate the base which was held by the beturbanned goons for more than 15 hours.
IRANIAN scientists have inserted a domestically made fuel rod into the core of a research nuclear reactor in Tehran, Iran's official news agency said
The overnight report comes a day before Iran and six world powers meet in Baghdad for negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program. The West says Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
IRNA reported that the fuel rod, which contains pellets of 20 per cent enriched uranium, was inserted into the core after preliminary tests. The advance would be another step in achieving proficiency in the entire nuclear fuel cycle.
Iran said in January that it had produced the first nuclear fuel rod, saying it had to find a way to make them because Western sanctions prohibit their purchase from foreign markets.
seems like a waste of Uranium to use 20% enriched U into a fuel rod when you only need about 4% but maybe the nuclear engineers were overruled by a nuclear fatwa
Posted by: lord garth ||
The entire rod may not be made of the 20% U-235, they only need a few. Once the reaction gets going, you get enough P-239 created from neutron absorption by U-238 to fuel the reactors. When a "spent" fuel rod is removed, nearly all of the fission taking place is from P-239 and most of the uranium is gone.
Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah urged calm Tuesday after news of the abduction of at least 13 Lebanese in Syria and said contacts were under way with Syrian authorities and others to help resolve the matter.
"On behalf of Hezbollah and Amal I call on all relatives and supporters in the various regions to cooperate to end the closure of roads. Blocking roads does no good," Nasrallah, who spoke on Al-Manar TV, said, expressing concern of attempts to stir conflict between the people and the Lebanese Army or "take the country to some place else."
Lebanese security sources told The Daily Star that at least 13 Lebanese men returning from a pilgrimage to Shiite holy shrines in Iraq were kidnapped by Syrian rebels near the city of Aleppo in north Syria.
Upon hearing the news, angry relatives took to the streets of the southern suburb of Beirut where most of the kidnapped live and blocked several roads by burning tires.
Because that has proven so effective in the past. Or not, as the case may be.
Ahead of the Baghdad nuclear conference, Iran's tone has become conciliatory and optimistic, pointing to the Supreme Leader's decision to push President Ahmadinejad to the sidelines.
Perhaps to help Champ get re-elected, so that he can be more flexible afterwards...
An extraordinary report was published on Saturday in the conservative Iranian website Botia. According to the report, the chief of the Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force, General Qasem Suleimani, warned Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah not to attack Israel.
The website reported that during a meeting between the two, Suleimani explained to Nasrallah that "Israel is an isolated country, and any attack on it can portray it as the victim and us as the aggressors."
Suleimani even demanded that Nasrallah explain to his followers that the road to Jerusalem does not involve arms, but preaching.
Within a few hours the report was removed from the website, and a denial was published.
"Please don't kill us!"
Iran has not changed its official policy of supporting armed resistance against Israel. Yet aside for public statements by senior army and Revolutionary Guards officials -- saying Iran is ready for any act of aggression and is planning military drills -- the Islamic Republic's tone ahead of the Baghdad summit is conciliatory and optimistic.
Taquia, taquia, taquia.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Yukiya Amano has said that he expects to sign a deal with Iran "quite soon" on the arrangements for further investigation into the country's nuclear activities.
Amano made the remarks in an interview with reporters in Vienna on Tuesday upon his arrival from Tehran, where he held rare talks with Iranian officials on Monday during his first trip to the country since he assumed the post on December 1, 2009.
"(A) decision was made to conclude and sign the agreement... I can say it will be signed quite soon," the IAEA director general said, Reuters reported.
According to Bloomberg, Amano also stated, "There was an important development on the structured approach document on which we have been working since January."
In addition, AFP quoted him as saying, "A decision was made by me and Mr. Jalili to reach an agreement on the structured approach," he said, referring to his discussions with Iran's Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili, who is the country's chief nuclear negotiator.
"At this stage I can say it will be signed quite soon, but I cannot say how soon it will be," he said, without going into detail about the terms of the agreement.
"There remain some differences," he said, according to a transcript of his remarks released by IAEA officials, New York Times reported.
But Amano noted that Mr. Jalili had told him that existing differences "will not be the obstacle to reaching agreement."
Asked about the Parchin military site specifically, Amano said, "I have raised this issue of access to Parchin, and this issue will be addressed as a point of the implementation of the structured approach document."
Iran rejected requests by the IAEA delegations to inspect the Parchin site, which is located southeast of Tehran, during their visits to the country from January 29 to 31 and February 21 to 22 and has made it clear that a framework must be agreed on for any access or visit.
[Al Ahram] UN Secretary General the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon ... of whom it can be said to his credit that he is not Kofi Annan... warned Monday that the search for a peaceful end to the unrest in Syria was at a "pivotal moment," his front man said on the sidelines of a NATO ...the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Originally it was a mutual defense pact directed against an expansionist Soviet Union. In later years it evolved into a mechanism for picking the American pocket while criticizing the cut of the American pants... summit in Chicago.
"The secretary general said we were at a pivotal moment in the search for a peaceful settlement to the crisis and that he remained extremely troubled about the risk of an all-out civil war," the front man said in a statement.
Ban, who met with new French President Francois Hollande ...the impending Socialist president of La Belle France... in Chicago, was also "concerned about the outbreak of related violence in Leb," the statement added.
Street battles between pro- and anti-Syrian groups in Beirut overnight left two people dead, a security official said Monday, sparking concerns the conflict in Syria is increasingly spilling into Leb.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen voiced concern about the relentless violence in Syria, but ruled out any military intervention against the regime of Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad The Scourge of Hama... .