News from Western Europe, Tuesday 4th June 2013

AUSTRIA

Translated from German – Die Presse: FPÖ politician beaten. ‘Vienna Favorites several FPÖ functionaries have become victims of attacks in recent days. On Saturday, a district councilor was beaten when leaving the tram, even in building an information booth there was a last attack. For the incidents were “apparently politically motivated violent offenders” responsible to FP-chairman Heinz-Christian road was convinced on Monday in a press release.

According to police information, the incident took place at a station of the tram line 6 on weekends. The 38-year-old district councilor was of an unknown male person – reflected from behind and attacks with kicks – which apparently was traveling with several boys. After the attack, the perpetrator fled on foot, according to police. The woman suffered injuries to the arm and the face and was taken to a hospital. Currently, the background of the incident to be tested. Witnesses could not be traced so far, they said to the police.’

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Ansar al-Sharia’s Long Game: Dawa, Hisba and Jihad

My new report focuses on Ansar al-Sharia Tunisia (AST), which is Tunisia’s largest salafi jihadist group. AST has featured prominently in the country’s news recently, following clashes between the group and the government. These clashes followed clashes at the Algerian border between Tunisian security forces and a jihadist group known as Katibat Uqbah Ibn Nafi, after which the Tunisian state began to turn inward, clamping down on AST. The government’s crackdown began with the interruption of public lectures and other AST dawa (missionary) activities, and culminated in the state announcing the cancellation of the group’s annual conference, which is held in Kairouan.

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News from the United Kingdom, Tuesday 4th June 2013

The Telegraph: David Cameron: We will ‘drain the swamp’ which allows Muslim extremists to flourish. ‘David Cameron has pledged to “drain the swamp” in which radical Muslims are allowed to hide and develop their extreme views in the wake of the Woolwich terror attack. The Prime Minister told MPs he would do more to tackle the “conveyor belt to radicalisation” which is poisoning the minds of young Muslims’.

BBC News: Woolwich killing a betrayal of Islam, says Cameron. ‘The fatal attack on soldier Lee Rigby was a betrayal of Islam and the Muslim community, the prime minister has said. In his first Commons statement about last month’s killing in Woolwich, south London, David Cameron said it was important to learn lessons.’

Comment: The Guardian: Anti-fascists should be free to stand their ground against the far right. ‘Far-right groups tried and failed to exploit the Woolwich murder. But why are police arresting protesters trying to stop them? The message from the family of Lee Rigby could not have been clearer: “Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others.” Yet that did not stop far-right activists from trying to exploit his brutal murder for a second weekend running. They tried – but they failed.’

The Independent: Woolwich attack: As Michael Adebolajo showboats in court, PM attacks ‘poisoning’ of young minds. ‘University students and schoolchildren will be targeted in a new government anti-extremism drive to prevent the “conveyor belt of radicalisation” that resulted in the murder of a soldier, the Prime Minister has announced.’

The Telegraph: Stabbed MP urges Google and YouTube to remove extremist sites. ‘Stephen Timms, who was attacked by a Muslim student in his East Ham constituency in east London three years ago, said ministers must investigate how to remove radical material from the internet in the wake of the Woolwich terror attack.’

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News from South Asia, Monday 3rd June 2013

Pakistan:

Dawn: Two soldiers have been wounded in an IED attack in North Waziristan. “Official sources told Dawn.com that a security forces’ vehicle was targeted with an IED near the Esha check post, which damaged the vehicle and injured two soldiers.”

Comment: Imran Awan writing for the Guardian: US drone strikes are ‘further radicalising Pakistan‘. “The use of drones violates Pakistan’s sovereignty and whilst the death of Wali ur Rehman will be celebrated across the United States and afar, for ordinary Pakistanis there is a chilling reminder that reprisal attacks are around the corner. US drones put all Pakistani’s at risk and therefore are counter-productive in defeating the Taliban. Their legality can also be questioned and ultimately their psychological impact on Pakistanis and inhumane manner in which they have killed many innocent civilians is fermenting and radicalizing more people and creating a destabilised Pakistani society.”

Afghanistan:

CBS: A suicide blast in Afghanistan has killed one police officer and ten school-children. “A suicide bomber killed at least 10 school pupils and a policeman on Monday outside a market in the country’s east.

Gen. Zelmia Oryakhail, provincial police chief of Paktia province, told CBS News’ Mukhtar Ahmad the attacker was targeting a joint U.S. military and Afghan Local Police (ALP) patrol, and that two U.S. troops were wounded in the blast.”

Long War Journal: The May 29 suicide attack targeting the governor’s compound in Panjshir was carried out by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and the Taliban. “The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan released the statement announcing its participation in the attack in Panjshir, one of the most secured provinces in Afghanistan and the bastion of the former Northern Alliance. The statement was obtained and translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

The IMU admitted that the attack was executed under the banner of the Taliban’s Khalid bin Waleed spring offensive, which was announced at the end of April. In that statement, the Taliban said it would conduct suicide assaults on Coalition and Afghan facilities. The IMU has integrated its operations with the Taliban in the Afghan north; the two groups conduct joint attacks, and IMU leaders serve in the Taliban’s shadow government in some areas.”

India:

Outlook: Security forces in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir have killed a Hizbul Mujahideen militant during a prolonged gunbattle on Saturday.

“Security forces today gunned down one more Hizbul Mujahideen militant in Shopian district of south Kashmir after a two-day long gunned battle. The militant, identified as Mohammad Ashraf Rather alias Molvi, a resident of Nowpora, Pulwama was killed in the encounter, which started yesterday, in Vandena village in Zainapora area of Shopian, a police spokesman said here. Rather he is the second militant to be killed in the encounter.The militant killed in the encounter yesterday has been identified as Sajad Yousuf Mir of Litter Pulwama, the spokesman said.”

The Times of India: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are “proving ineffective” in tracking Maoist rebels, intelligence officials in India claim. 

“…The UAV, operated by the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) from the Begumpet airport, is meant to be used for anti-Maoist intelligence gathering in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The information gathered by the drone is meant to be shared with various security agencies.

However, it is learnt that after the recent ambush on Congress leaders in Sukma district in Chhattisgarh, in which the Maoists killed 28 people, the UAV was of little use in locating the retreating Maoists. A decision has been taken now to relocate the UAV from Hyderabad to Bhilai in Chhattisgarh. State police officials said Andhra Pradesh would get another drone at a later stage as a replacement.” 

The Times of India: India has asked the US to “temporarily” hand over Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist David Headley for a year and to extradite his accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana to obtain more information about the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

“In its fresh efforts to get access to the Pakistani American terrorist, India has conveyed to the American interlocutors to ‘temporarily’ hand over Headley for a year after the US expressed its inability to extradite him.”

Daily News and Analysis: India and Nepal have agreed to share intelligence in an effort to limit terrorist activities across their border.

“The two sides agreed to tackle criminal activities such as human and drug trafficking, smuggling of Indian counterfeit currency and trade in illegal substances at the meeting. India and Nepal have agreed to exchange information to combat terrorism and curb criminal activities like human and drug trafficking and smuggling of Indian counterfeit currency across their open border.”

Bangladesh:

Bangladesh News 24 Hours: An Islami Chhatra Shibir-led strike in the town of Feni on Sunday has been marked by violence and explosions, with police firing shots and teargas to bring the strike undercontrol.

 “Three strikers were nabbed. Police lobbed teargas shells and fired from shotguns to bring the situation under control. Police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) personnel were patrolling the streets, Feni Model Police Station Inspector Syed Mostafa told bdnews24.com.

At least 12 explosions were reported from Feni town, witnesses said. A battery-driven three-wheeler was burned down on Shahidullah Kaiser road around 10am. At least 10 more three-wheelers were vandalised in Lemua, Mahipal and other areas, bdnews24.com Feni Correspondent reported. Inspector Mostafa said police were compelled to fire to control the situation.”

Dhaka Tribune: Security personnel are monitoring at least 40 Islamist groups in the country, according to intelligence officials.

“Fearing militant attacks, law enforcers  have kept close and constant surveillance on at least 40 Islamist groups in the country.  According to the intelligence department, supporters of those Islamist outfits are plotting to launch militant attacks by whipping up the masses through anti-government propaganda. The members of law enforcing agencies were asked to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious by those Islamist organisations…”                                                                                  

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News from Central and Eastern Europe, Monday 3rd June 2013

BALKANS

Balkan Insight: Macedonia Rescues Threatened Ministerial Summit. ‘Macedonia has salvaged a threatened regional ministerial conference after two countries at the heart of a diplomatic stand-off, Serbia and Kosovo, agreed to sit at the same table at the meeting.

The breakthrough occurred after host country Macedonia downgraded the meeting to an “informal” one.

Kosovo then said it would send its deputy Foreign Minister, Petrit Selimi, while Serbia will be represented by its Foreign Minister, Ivan Mrkic.

Earlier, Macedonia’s plans to host a summit of presidents of SEECP states ended in fiasco after most guests pulled out, prompting Macedonia’s President, Gjorge Ivanov, to call off the meeting.’

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News from Western Europe, Monday 3rd June 2013

AUSTRIA

Translated from German – Die Presse: Skinhead Report: Freedom Party announces parliamentary inquiry.With incomprehension FPÖ General Secretary Harald Vilimsky on Friday responded that the prosecution Wiener Neustadt won the case against Ed Moschitz inciting reactivation and falsification of evidence related to the set “On the Scene” skinhead reportage.

After this method can be set only with the approval of the Justice Department, the Freedom Party will bring a corresponding parliamentary question,” Vilimsky announced in a press release. dispute between the FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache and Moschitz took a good three years.’

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News from North America, Monday 3rd June 2013

Daily Telegraph: “More than three years after the anti-secrecy website began publishing a trove of classified US government documents, Private First Class Bradley Manning will appear for the start of his long-delayed court martial.

The 25-year-old soldier faces life imprisonment if military prosecutors successfully argue that the largest intelligence leak in American history also aided al-Qaeda’s efforts to wage jihad.

Prosecutors are expected to call a US Navy Seal who took part in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound as they try to prove that the terror leader made use of the leaked documents.”

The Guardian: “The head of a US congressional delegation said on Sunday that its meetings in Russia had shown there was ‘nothing specific’ that could have helped prevent April’s Boston Marathon bombings, but that the two countries needed to work more closely on joint security threats.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who led the six-person delegation, said discussions with Russian parliament members and security officials had been productive. Some of the meetings, he said, had been made possible by actor Steven Seagal.”

Huffington Post: “The military leader of al-Qaida’s Yemeni branch says Americans will not be safe unless their leaders respect the security of other nations and do not attack or oppress them.

In a message addressed ‘to the American nation,’ Qassim al-Rimi, commander of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, said: ‘your security is not achieved by despoiling other nations’ security or by attacking and oppressing them.”

The six-minute English-subtitled audio, posted on a militant website late Saturday, implored Americans to ‘leave us with our religion, land and nations and mind your own internal affairs.’”

Sky News: “American Islamist militants jailed for threatening violence over the internet are still posting political writings on the web from prison.”

Jesse Curtis Morton, a Muslim convert, was jailed for threatening the writers of the satirical television show ‘South Park’ for their depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in a bear outfit.

Writing under the name Younus Abdullah Muhammed, he managed to post a lengthy tract opposing US drone policy on May 21 on a website he launched in 2010. He argued the policy had encouraged homegrown Islamist extremism.

Comment: START: ‘Discussion Point: Counterterrorism Strategies and Democracy: Lessons for the US from the (Unfortunate) Example of Turkey’ by Nil Satana. “The United States has not faced large-scale terrorist campaigns at home following the 9/11 attacks. And it is dealing with global terrorism and not ethno-nationalist separatism. Nevertheless, the approach used has centered on the military and shares other similarities to the Turkish case. Should we expect a similar decline in the quality of American democracy?

The 9/11 attacks were presented as an existential threat to the nation, and shortly after, the counterterrorism response was framed as ‘War on Terror’ by President George W. Bush. After twelve years of war and the increasing use of drone strikes, little has changed except for the lost lives of thousands of American soldiers resulting in withdrawal from Iraq (Romano 2011). From my Turkish perspective, it looks like the American society has started internalizing the military approach of the War on Terror. We have seen this gradually happening in our war against the PKK. Indeed, Richard Kohn (2005) argues that the global war on terror ‘brings back the problem of militarization and the threat of militarism’ to the American society.”

Comment: LA Times:‘Tea party’ tempest brewing” by Doyle McManus. “The ‘tea party’ is back and is brewing trouble for the Republican establishment.

After the GOP debacle in the 2012 election, when Republicans not only failed to win the presidency but blew a chance to take over the Senate, party leaders paused to consider what had gone wrong.

The Republican National Committee issued a scathing report warning that the party was in “an ideological cul-de-sac” and resolved to act friendlier toward women, minorities and low-income voters. Strategist Karl Rove said the lesson was to nominate more moderate candidates and set about raising money to do just that.

But tea party and other conservative leaders, undaunted, drew the opposite conclusion.”

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News from the United Kingdom, Monday 3rd June 2013

The IndependentWoolwich attacks: BNP and anti-fascists in street clashes. ‘At least 58 people were arrested in London yesterday after anti-fascist demonstrators clashed with British National Party members outside the Houses of Parliament. The far-right group’s march was one of around 60 planned across the country yesterday to mark the death of Drummer Lee Rigby, murdered in Woolwich last month.’

BBC NewsTerror watch lists: Can you keep tabs on every suspect? ‘After the Boston Marathon bombing and the killing of a British soldier on the streets of Woolwich in London, it emerged that suspects were known to the security services – prompting concern from critics. But how feasible is it for the spies to monitor everyone on their watch list?’

Comment: Huffington Post: Islamic hate crime won’t last: The UK is a tolerant place. ‘Tell Mama – the hotline to report anti-Muslim hate crime has documented a large increase in reports in the week since Woolwich: from around four-five a day to more like 40. I would rather it were none, of course, but it should not cause for panic: the UK is in fact a remarkably tolerant country.’

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News from South Asia, Friday 31st May 2013

Pakistan:

Dawn: Explosions in the Bannu district have killed one security official and injured three others. “Official sources told Dawn.com that the blasts killed one security official and injured three others in Bannu’s Janikhel area.

The wounded were subsequently shifted to a nearby hospital.”

Guardian: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have appointed a new deputy, Khan Said, following the death of Wali-ur Rehman. “The previous deputy commander, Wali ur-Rehman, was killed in a missile attack by a pilotless aircraft in the militant stronghold on Pakistan’s north-west border with Afghanistan on Wednesday, according to Pakistani security officials and militants.

A Pakistani Taliban committee met late on Wednesday to choose a new deputy after Rehman was buried in a low-key ceremony, three Taliban members told Reuters.

The Taliban members said the new number two, Khan Said, 38, had served as Rehman’s deputy. He was involved in planning a 2011 attack on a Pakistani navy base in Karachi in which 18 people were killed and a 2012 jailbreak in which nearly 400 militant inmates escaped, they said.

‘There was absolute consensus over Khan Said,’ one Pakistani Taliban member said.”

USA Today: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have withdrawn their offer to engage in a dialogue with the Pakistani government following the death of their second-in-command, Waliur Rehman, in a US drone strike. “The death of Waliur Rehman, wanted by the U.S. for a 2009 attack in Afghanistan that killed seven people working for the CIA, also focuses attention on the controversial U.S. drone program. Despite President Barack Obama’s sweeping promise last week of new transparency, Wednesday’s strike against a longtime American target shows that the CIA will still launch attacks on militants without having to explain them publicly.

The announcement by the Pakistani Taliban came amid conflicting reports about whether the Islamic militant movement had selected a replacement for Rehman, who was killed Wednesday in an attack that Pakistani officials said left at least four other militants dead.”

Afghanistan:

Dawn: The Red Cross has suspended all operations in Afghanistan following the recent attack on their Jalalabad office. “’All movements have been frozen throughout Afghanistan, there is not a single ICRC delegate or employee that is moving, taking the roads, today,’ Jacques De Maio, ICRC’s South Asia chief, said in a statement released in Geneva on Thursday.

‘Our sub-delegation in Jalalabad has been closed, so we are reconnecting with the government and re-connecting with armed groups to determined what happened and why.’

Jalalabad lies on the key route from the Pakistani border region to Kabul, and it has been the scene of repeated attacks in recent years.”

India:

The Times of India: India continues to be one of the most persistently targeted countries by transnational terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, a US report has said.

“‘While this figure represents a 25 per cent decrease from the previous year, India remained subject to violent terrorist attacks and continued to be one of the most persistently targeted countries by transnational terrorist groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT),’ the State Department said in its annual Congressional-required Country Reports on Terrorism 2012. The report said as many as 805 people died last year in India in terrorist attacks.”

Zee News: A Naxalite has surrendered to police in the Narayanpur district of Chhattisgarh on Friday. “‘Naveen, Divisional Committee Member of Mad Division of Maoists, surrendered along with his weapons before senior police officials,’ Narayanpur Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) N K Sahu said. The 35-year-old was active in Nelnaar area of the district since 2002 and involved in several crimes like murder, loot and arson, he said.

‘He decided to quit the movement due to growing pressure on Naxals from security personnel, harsh forest life and humiliation by his seniors,’ the ASP said.”

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News from Central and Eastern Europe, Friday 31st May 2013

BALKANS

Presseurop: Croatia responsible for crimes during Bosnian War. ‘Six former political and military leaders of the Bosnian Croats were sentenced to a total of 111 years in prison on May 29 by the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia. They were found guilty of implementing an ethnic cleansing operation from 1992 to 1994 aimed at expelling Muslims from the area and creating Herzég Bosna, a Croat entity within Bosnia-Herzegovina, drawn according to the 1939 boarders, and which was to be annexed by Croatia.

The court also condemned the “criminal enterprise,” reports Croatian daily Novi list on its front page. “Croatia was found guilty of aggression towards Bosnia-Herzegovina,” the paper notes, because the verdict also includes former Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, his former Defence Minister Gojko Šušak, and General Janko Bobetko, [Chief of Staff from 1992-1995].’

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