Boko Haram: Growing Interest, Continuing Uncertainty on Capitol Hill

By Andrew E. Harrod:

About 90 Congressional staffers filled a Dirksen Senate Office Building hearing room last May 28 for “Boko Haram:  Beyond #BringBackOurGirls,” a Foreign Policy Initiative briefing on Nigeria’s Muslim terrorist group.  While the audience was “telling how much interest has grown in this group” for panelist Dr. J. Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council, the briefing indicated several complicated issues in the struggle against Boko Haram.

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Islamic terror group Boko Haram

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Islamic terror group Boko Haram

A rescue operation for these girls “just makes no sense,” the Atlantic Council’s Rudolph Atallah specifically commented, as their scattering makes success “next to impossible.”  Previous rescue operations in Nigeria and the region had ended in hostage deaths, concurred Blanchard, perhaps necessitating negotiations for the girls’ release.  These failures were part of wider panelist concerns with respect to Nigerian security forces, often ill-equipped and counterproductively harsh in their tactics.  Nigeria’s army actually “is not a poor and starving military,” Blanchard argued, yet corruption often consumed needed resources.  Nigeria had purchased nine Israeli Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), for example, but they currently do not operate.The April 14 Boko Haram kidnapping of 276 schoolgirlsin Chibok, Borno state, is “really only a drop in the bucket” of Boko Haram’s bloody record, although Boko Haram’s recent international notoriety largely derived from this event, Pham observed.  Boko Haram had caused 4-6,000 deaths, noted Laureen Ploch Blanchardfrom the Congressional Research Service (CRS).  The United Nations (UN) estimated six million people affected by Boko Haram’s violence in an “incredibly important country” with Africa’s largest economy and population (about 180 million). Alone Nigeria’s Muslim population was Africa’s largest Muslim community and one of the largest in the world, observed Pham.

Divergence, however, marked panelist discussions of Boko Haram’s character.  Boko Haram is a “branch of Al Qaeda that is in Africa,” Kansas Representative Mike Pompeo flatly declared in introducing the panel.  Boko Haram’s “evil barbarians” who kidnapped the Chibok girls were part of a “threat of global jihadists” facing America, recently manifested by a foiled 2013 bomb plot in Wichita close to Pompeo’s home.  A “larger, more diverse” Al Qaeda (AQ) in places like Nigeria and Syria is threatening the United States “at a full gallop,” making Nigeria an “enormous American national security interest.”  AQ has indeed “metastasized,” as President Barack Obama often says, yet contradicting Obama, AQ has become more dangerous, not less.

“Marked by economic deprivation,” by contrast, was Pham’s description for Boko Haram’s origins in northeastern Nigeria, raising thereby past controversies concerning whether material need or Muslim zeal was a greater motivation for Boko Haram.  While a “great bit of economic angst” resulted for this region from, for example, lost textile jobs, the area’s “ethnically marginalized” Kanuri tribe also had political grievances against a negligent federal government.  “Boko Haram 2.0” emerging in 2009 and “increasingly virulent,” though, has a “more standard Salafist line” while Boko Haram’s current leader Abubakar Shekau has made video appearances in “classic Al Qaeda fashion.”

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

Also see:

Exclusive: Nigerian Security Forces Infiltrated by Boko Haram

boko-haram-Reuters (1)by JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Breitbart News had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with Lt. Col. Rudy Atallah, former head of African counterterrorism for the Pentagon to discuss Boko Haram and Islamist movements in Africa.

Rudolph Atallah is the former Africa Counterterrorism Director for the Department of Defense. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after 21 years of service in the United States Air Force. Atallah is now a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council & CEO of White Mountain Research.

Breitbart News: Why has it been difficult to counter Boko Haram?

Rudy Atallah: Boko Haram is split into several factions run by different leaders. Also, Boko Haram has been used as a pawn in Nigerian politics. Three days ago there was a Nigerian internal investigation of nine generals and senior military officers all suspected of aiding and abetting Boko Haram. The officers were suspected of giving them weapons, access to the armories, and information on government tactics and targeting. It is very difficult to counter an organization when internally, within the Nigerian structure, there are political, militarily, and logistical issues.

Nigeria is considered a leader in the region. They’ve led ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) missions, they are part of the African Union community, they do peacekeeping missions all over the place. Nigeria is a powerful country. There is also a national pride element when you have such events occur on your own soil. The Nigerians historically have been more hesitant on taking external support and more bent on saying, “We can take care of this issue ourselves.” Boko Haram is resilient because they operate across national borders. When the Nigerian military comes in, Boko Haram tends to move over to countries such as Cameroon and Niger, so that makes it especially difficult to target them.

Breitbart News: Tell us about Boko Haram’s leadership structure under Abubakar Shekau.

Rudy Atallah: Several years ago it was understood that Boko Haram had a Shura council made up of 13 members. Above that Shura council was Shekau as the main leader, and the Shura council members all operated independently in separate areas. The leaders’ communications were very discreet and each ran their own cell. The Nigerians claimed at one point that they had killed Shekau, but then he resurfaced. There are also reports that Shekau was previously wounded. Because of the various reports, it remains unclear how Boko Haram is currently re-structured.

Some believe that there are three main leaders. Shekau is seen as one of them, although there are some that argue Shekau may have been pushed to the outside. There is the possibility Shekau may independently run his own group or cell of Boko Haram. There are other individuals that are also running their own branches of Boko Haram. They merge together in order to do one operation and then they will separate and go their own ways.

There’s no real solid evidence to narrow down Boko Haram’s current structure. The intelligence coming from the area where Boko Haram actually operates is miniscule. A lot of the information comes from prior kidnap victims, from NGOs that operate in the area, and from people that were attackedby Boko Haram. Jacob Zenn, whom I respect and consider to be a very a good resource, just wrote a piece where he claimed that several Boko Haram factions come together in a federation for major attacks such as the recent kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls. This leads me to believe that these guys are now branched off. While they used to be one solid Shura council, right now that may be in question.

Breitbart News: What is stopping the Nigerian forces from rescuing the kidnapped schoolgirls?

Rudy Atallah: Its the complexity of the potential rescue. Its now understood that the schoolgirls have been split up in different areas. You can’t mount a rescue operation of one group of schoolgirls and potentially put the rest of them in danger in another location. By not engaging in an all-encompassing strategy, the result could end in tragedy.

A rescue operation for the girls should have occurred immediately after they were kidnapped in mid-April, but that never happened. Nobody started talking about a potential rescue operation until weeks afterwards, which is way too late.

Read more at Breitbart

Boko Haram and the return of the Nigerian slave trade

747c913f8ff754bfb2ebce61e3adf517_viewBy Geoffrey Clarfield:

Last week the Nigerian Islamic militants, Boko Haram, struck again in a small town in northern Nigeria near the Cameroonian border, killing 300 people. This is part of a series of escalating attacks such as the one they carried out last August, as the men of Konduga, a small northern Nigerian riverine Muslim community, were attending their Friday prayers. As they prayed, a group of armed Boko Haram terrorists attacked the mosque and killed 44 worshippers. The next day, as is their custom, Boko Haram released a video where they vilified and taunted the United States and Israel.

And then, just a few weeks ago, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls and boasted on the Internet that they were going to sell them into slavery, something that has suddenly shocked the world, for few have fully realized that this means that we are witnessing the return of the Nigerian slave trade.

Given the extreme violence and the high death toll of Islamic uprisings in places like Syria and Iraq, the Western public has become accustomed to hearing about an ebb and flow of religiously inspired massacres, but it is the proud slaving propensities of Boko Haram that are a shock to the news reading public and, the fact that they openly boast about it. There is more to this story than meets the eye.

Western readers have difficulty understanding who Boko Haram are, where they come from and what they mean in the context of Nigerian history, for Nigeria is really two distinct countries, a Muslim north and a non Muslim south. These two distinct cultural and religious entities were artificially fused by the British empire in the late 19th and early 20th century in what historians now call the “scramble for Africa,” a period of about forty years when England, France, Portugal, Belgium and Germany occupied almost all of North and Sub Saharan Africa. Most of the members of Boko Haram hail from the northern Islamic states of what later became the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

What we now call Nigeria is the result of English merchants, and later imperial civil servants contracting treaties with a host of African chiefs and then linking them into a colonial framework which set the stage for the large African independence movements that emerged after WWII, motivated by western educated African elites who had witnessed a world war where the supposedly racially “superior” Europeans fought to the death with the help of hundreds of thousands of African and Asian troups. Indeed, it was the French General De Gaulle who once said that without the assistance of the African soldiers of French West and Central Africa, they would not have prospered in their fight against the German Nazis.

When the British established their administrative and military control over Nigeria in the early 20th century, they froze a historical dynamic that had been ongoing for over a thousand years, that is the slow conversion to Islam of the sahelian dwelling northern tribes of Nigeria, such as the Hausa and Kanuri peoples who lived under a range of feuding emirs or local sultans and who then, as sincere believers in Islam, adopted a Jihad which included systematic enslavement and sale of captives from the more southern non Muslim tribes, such as the Yoruba, Ibo and many others who lived nearer to the Atlantic ocean.

This indigenous African slave trade which supplied northerners with an abundance of concubines, cheap domestic help and farm based slave labor, was then incorporated into the more widely known transatlantic slave trade where “up country” West Africans raided and sold slaves to “down country” West Africans, who in turn sold them in growing numbers to Europeans who took them across the Atlantic to the United States and to countries like Brazil, where legalized forms of slavery survived into the 1880s. The northern Nigerian slave trade never stopped, even when the British made it illegal and long before historians brought to our attention the full horror of the transatlantic slave trade that has so dramatically changed the demography of the new world, both north and south and, our perceptions of American and South American history.

Read more at The Times of Israel

 

 

Jerome Vitenberg: France Aims to Destroy African Militias

victims of Boko Haram2By Ryan Mauro:

Jerome Vitenberg is an analyst of international politics and taught International Relations and Political Science for the London School of Economics through the University of London’s International Programsat DEI College Greece.

In a column last month, Vitenberg wrote that France’s involvement in the war-torn Central African Republic is part of a strategy to assemble a bloc of liberal democracies in Africa. He explains that France wants to create what he himself has termed the “Doula-Djibouti Corridor” across Africa, although France has never used this term.

CAR’s population is 80% Christian, but an Islamist campaign of violence is causing mayhem and the deaths of over 1,000 civilians and displacement of over 500,000 people. Unfortunately, some Christians have responded with their own militias that have engaged in retaliatory violence.

The following is Vitenberg’s interview with Ryan Mauro, Clarion Project National Security Analyst:

You should read the entire interview at but I want to focus on this part because it speaks to the most often asked question I see: Why do government officials tolerate and appease Islamists even when they are fully aware of their agenda?

Clarion: What is the official stance of France and other European countries towards the Muslim Brotherhood and, specifically, its role in Egypt?

Vitenberg: The French and other European intelligence agencies are fully informed about the jihadist goals and malicious strategies of the Muslim Brotherhood and affiliated organizations.

On the other hand, the political echelons have shown a policy of appeasement towards those organizations within their countries. Each European country has a different theoretical understanding and practical methodology towards its dealings with Muslim organizations, especially the Muslim Brotherhood.

These differences result from how the various states relate to minority groups, the relationship with the minorities’ representative groups and, more generally, the concept of the relationship between the state and the individual.

There is a blatant contrast between the well-known intolerance of the Muslim Brotherhood ideology towards non-Muslim states and societies and the laissez-faire policy of the European governments towards the Brotherhood. There are several hypotheses about the political elites in Europe.

In some cases, the political echelons are naïve and believe in appeasement of jihadist organizations. Their normative and idealist approach prevents them from listening to their security and intelligence agencies.

CJR: See The Cognitive Dissonance of the Progressive World View on Islam

Political elites may be victims of political blackmail that leads to a quiet understanding with the Muslim Brotherhood organizations in their countries. The understanding is that the European government lets the Islamists operate and the Islamists will keep quiet and not cause too much trouble.

The political elites may also be bribed, possibly via financial donations (e.g. from Qatar) for specific national projects or due to corruption with funding deposited into secret bank accounts.

CJR: See John Guandolo: The Muslim Brotherhood in America – We are at war and we are losing, specificallyPart III – The settlement process

There might be more explanations, but I believe that stupidity, fear and greed summarize why politicians are letting the Brotherhood manipulate individuals and families as a first step and societies and governments later.

CJR: see Western Arrogance and Decline  by Bruce Thornton at Front Page

Virginia: Government case collapses, Somali “pirate” seeks asylum in US

Courts says Ali Mohamed Ali not a pirate, now seeking asylum in US! http://thesomalian.com/us-dropping-case-against-man-accused-of-piracy/

Courts says Ali Mohamed Ali not a pirate, now seeking asylum in US!
http://thesomalian.com/us-dropping-case-against-man-accused-of-piracy/

Refugee Resettlement Watch, by Ann Corcoran:

The case against a middle-aged English-speaking “pirate” ended and now the question becomes, can Ali Mohamed Ali get asylum in the US thus setting up the problematic scenario that the Guantanamo Bay prisoners have also posed for out legal system.  Try them in the US and if they aren’t convicted, then what?

We already know our asylum system is a mess—70% or more are frauds and cheats.

But there is more, did the Obama Justice Department screw-up?

From Politico (hat tip: Judy):

The failed prosecution of an alleged Somali pirate — and the fact that that failure could leave him living freely, and permanently, inside U.S. borders — is highlighting anew the risks of trying terror suspects in American courts.

Just a few weeks ago, Ali Mohamed Ali was facing the possibility of a mandatory life sentence in a 2008 shipjacking off the coast of Yemen — an incident much like the one dramatized in the film “Captain Phillips.” Now, the Somali native is in immigration detention in Virginia and seeking permanent asylum in the United States.

Ali, who was accused of piracy for acting as a translator and negotiator for a crew of pirates, was partially acquitted by a jury in November after a trial in Washington. Prosecutors initially vowed a retrial but decided last month to drop the rest of the case against him.

That’s just the kind of situation that opponents of U.S. criminal trials for Al Qaeda suspects caught abroad have long feared: The government falls short at trial — and the courts eventually order an accused terror figure freed to live legally among Americans.

“It’s a trial, not a play. You don’t know how it’s going to end,” said Cully Stimson, a former military prosecutor and defense official now at The Heritage Foundation. “Justice has all sorts of twists and turns. … It really has to be thought through at the highest level of government before we take action to bring someone here.”

One current federal terrorism prosecutor said the Ali case and the potential for his eventual release is another reason why foreign Al Qaeda suspects picked up overseas should not be brought to the United States but should instead be detained at Guantánamo or some other facility.

“It’s a significant risk … to say, ‘Oh well, we’ll just turn him over to the immigration service’” if a criminal case falls apart, said the prosecutor, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak publicly. “You can’t count on the justice system working out just the way you want it to.”

Even some proponents of closing Guantánamo and relying on American civilian courts to prosecute alleged terrorists agree that the collapse of the Ali case highlights the potential downside of bringing suspected terrorists to the United States for trial.

Read the next section about other cases and the pitfalls.  Then back to Ali’s case near the end of the article.  This was a dumb move by someone in the Obama Justice Department!  Ali had a good claim that he was a hostage negotiator, an official in Somalia, and seems to have been an unlikely pirate!   No, not getting soft on Somalis!  Just something stinks about this whole government case!

The Ali case went off the rails for the government in the face of his claims that he was solely trying to resolve the hijacking of the M/V CEC Future— an event in which 13 crew members were held hostage for 71 days. While prosecutors contended Ali was “every bit as responsible” as those who carried weapons, the middle-aged English speaker, who had spent more than two decades in the United States, may not have seemed like an eye-patch-wearing or AK-47-toting type.  [What he was doing in the US for 20 years (refugee?) and not becoming a citizen is a question I would like answered.---ed]

By the time of his arrest in 2011, Ali was serving as education minister for an autonomous area in Somalia. Officials lured him back to the United States by inviting him to attend an education conference. He was arrested when he landed at Dulles International Airport.

My guess is that he will be granted asylum.

 

U.S. Forces Capture Key Al-Qaeda Mastermind in Libya

Clarion Project National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro talks about the significance of this and other simultaneous operations on Fox News.

Ryan M.

Libya al Qaeda Leader CapturedU.S. Special Forces captured a key terrorist and Al Qaeda mastermind in the Libyan capital of Tripoli Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai (who was also known by the name of Abu Anas al-Libi).

Al-Ruqai, who had a $5 million bounty on his head, had been on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists since the list was established after the 9/11 terror attack in 2001. He was wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed more than 220 people.

Al-Libi, was seized on the streets of the Libyan capital on Saturday.

At the same time, a U.S. Navy SEAL force swam ashore in Somalia in a surprise pre-dawn attack aimed at capturing an Al-Shabaab leader specifically linked to the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Al Shabaab is an Islamic terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda who have been terrorizing East Africa with horrific attacks on schools, churches and, most recently, the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya.

After the SEAL force came under heavy attack, the mission was aborted with no casualities.

As the Clarion Project’s National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro explains on Fox News, the significance of the fact that the U.S. had “actionable intelligence” on the whereabouts of these terrorist leaders.

In addition, Mauro discusses the growing threat of Al Qaeda in Africa as well as the very real capabilities of Al-Shabaab to carry out similar attacks on American soil. The organization has developed a sophisticated recruitment of fighters, both from the Somali community in the United States as well as from hundreds of those who have been illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico.

And Jennifer Griffin reporting:

Separating the Kafirs from the Muslims

hsm tweetBy Bill Warner:

When the al Shabaab jihadi group from Somalia attacked the mall in Kenya, they gathered the crowd together and asked who were Muslims and let them go.  According to the media, they then started killing the non-Muslims who were left.  But “non-Muslims” is not the word what the terrorists would have used.  No, they would have called them Kafirs.  (Actually, they would have called them the Arabic plural of kafirkuffar.  “Kafirs” is the standard English plural form.)

Why did members of al Shabaab do this?  Why did they ask the Muslims to leave and keep the Kafirs and start killing them?  Let’s start with the word “terrorists.”  Members of al Shabaab are not terrorists; they are jihadists, or mujahedeen.  That is what they call themselves.

So what difference does it make which words we use?  It makes all the difference in the world.  You cannot think precisely with imprecise words, and a Kafir is much more than non-Muslim.

The word “non-Muslim” does not imply anything, except not being a believer in Islam.

Kafir, on the other hand, has enormous implications.  Kafir is the actual word that the Koran uses for a non-Muslim.  Indeed, one of the many remarkable things about the Koran is that over half of its text is devoted to the Kafir.  Think about that: most of the Koran is not about how to be a Muslim, but about the Kafir.  Every single verse about the Kafir is not just bad, but terrible.  Allah hates Kafirs and plots and schemes against them.  The cruelest punishments await the Kafir in hell, but who cares about that?  The real problem is what is promised to the Kafir in this life — torture, hatred, death, ridicule, rape, enslavement, political domination, and deception.

It is the same with “mujahedeen” or “jihadist” as opposed to “militant” or “terrorist.”  The words “militant” and “terrorist” do not tell anything about the motivation of the militant or terrorist — only that he uses violence.

Read more at American Thinker

 

Nairobi Attack Prompts Debate Over Shabaab’s Reach

images (96)

by IPT News:

Attack on Nairobi Mall Shows Al-Shabaab’s Ominous Reach

Nairobi attack

Mosques in U.S. areas with a heavy Somali play leading roles in recruiting young men, to sign up for jihad.

BY CLARE LOPEZ:

In a horrific mid-day attack on Saturday, September 21, 2013 in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, jihadist assailants invaded an upscale shopping mall, slaughtering and injuring dozens of terrified shoppers with grenades and automatic weapons.

As of early Sunday morning, even as the stand-off between the attackers and Kenyan security forces continued inside the mall, the death count stood at 59, a number sure to rise in coming hours.

According to reports, at least an additional 150 have been injured. People fleeing from the modern Westgate mall reported that the attackers had singled out non-Muslims to kill after telling Muslims to get out.

The jihadist identity of the attackers as well as their disciplined, swarming tactics, including the use of assault weapons, hand grenades and hostage-taking while holding off responding Kenyan security forces for many hours, which were mounted against a soft civilian target with many non-Muslim, Western individuals inside is reminiscent of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks (although on a smaller scale).

The al-Qa’eda-linked Islamic jihad group al-Shabaab took credit for the Nairobi attack in a number of Twitter messages, claiming the attack was retribution for Muslims killed in Somalia by Kenyan forces which launched a defensive cross-border action against al-Shabaab in 2011.

Al-Shabaab, which means “The Youth” in Arabic, arose in 2006 out of the now-defunct Islamic Courts Union, itself a confederation of Somali courts established to enforce sharia (Islamic law) in the lawless country beginning in the 1990s.

The rise of the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia followed a pattern also seen in Afghanistan in roughly the same time frame, when the Taliban (“The Students”) formed armed militias to impose Islamic law and some semblance of order after the Soviet Red Army defeat led to a chaotic scramble for power among savage warlords in that already-devastated country.

In Somalia, similarly, local clan leaders centered in the capital of Mogadishu used the Islamic court system to impose their own rough justice in the wake of the 1991 overthrow of Siad Barre, the dictator who had ruled Somalia since 1969.

Al-Shabaab, which began as the militant youth wing of that Islamic Courts system, attracted numerous foreign fighters to its cause (including from the United States) and formally joined al-Qa’eda with a pledge of bayat (allegiance) to al-Qaeda (AQ) leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in 2012.

Today, al-Shabaab is estimated to include some 7,000-9,000 fighters. Although al-Shabaab appears to have established its own independent line of communication to AQ Central (located in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region), it also has a relationship with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), currently assessed to pose “the most direct threat to the U.S. homeland” of all the interconnected, “latticed” AQ network of affiliates.

Read more at The Clarion Project

via The Al-Shabaab Terror Cell That Attacked Westgate (ojihad.wordpress.com) – updated

Al-Shabaab released the names and places of origin of the alleged terrorist involved in the Westgate assault. It is no surprise the terror raid was carried out by a international terrorist cell of at least eight Al-Shabaab fighters.

According to the terrorist group the attackers all between the age of 20 and 27 years old, are from four different countries and where all trained in Somalia.

Sayid N. from Kismayu, Somalia.

Zaki Jama C., from Hargeisa, Somalia

Said D., from Damascus, Syria

Mohamed B., from Aleppo, Syria

Qasim Said M., Garissa, Kenya

Ismail G., from Helsinki, Finland

Ahmed Nasir S., from London, UK

Mustafa N., from Kansas City, US

Abdishakur Sheikh H., from Maine, US

Abdifatah Osman K., from Minneapolis, US

Ahmad Mohamed I., from Saint Paul, US

Abdikarem Ali M., from Illinois, US

Shafie D., from Tucson, US

Eliko M., from Dagestan, Russia

Mohammed A., from Svalov, Sweden

 

Al Shabaab Nairobi Mall Attack: THE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON US CITIES

KenyaMallAttack_20130921_153947By Jerry Gordon:

At Noon Saturday, September 21, 2013  (East African Time) a swarm of 10 to 15  al Shabaab terrorists  (including one white woman) heavily armed with AK-47s and grenades attacked the high end Westgate Mall in Nairobi resulting in more than 59 dead and 175  wounded with an estimated 30 hostages held in a continuing standoff.  Among the wounded are several Americans. According to a report from Nairobi newspaper, The Nation, al Shabaab, an al Qaida (AQ) affiliate in Somalia, Tweeted responsibility for the attack.

*******

There  are upwards of an estimated 150,000 Somalis in the US in major cities like Minneapolis St Paul, Boston, Columbus, Nashville, San Diego, Phoenix, Seattle and Salt Lake City, Washington, DC  among others. A recent report estimated that the Somali emigre community  has sent an estimated $215 million in remittances to Somalia nearly equal to the $242 million that the US provides in humanitarian assistance to Somalia. Somali refugee entry to the US via the State Department administered Refugee Resettlement program has been fraught with fraud that led to the shutdown for over three years of the P-3 Visa Family Reunification Program. Some US voluntary agencies that process Somali refugees have commented about innumerable instances of fraud.  Somali émigrés have been involved in drug (Khat- a DEA Class A drug), human trafficking,  Medicaid and US Health and Human Services minority health grants fraud. Imams in major Somali émigré centers have been implicated in facilitating al Shabaab recruitment and transportation to Somalia for Jihad training. Other Somalis have been convicted of funneling funds for Al Shabaab via the Halawal money transfer system.

The Nairobi swarming attack is a clear indication that Al Qaeda is not on the run. The US Refugee Resettlement and counter terrorism programs must address the possible threat from the Somali and other Shariah compliant Muslim refugee groups prone to Jihadism for this country to be safe from possible homegrown swarming attacks.

Read more at New English Review

 Tune in to the Lisa Benson radio show today at 5pm

“Terror Nairobi: Tragedy Predicted” THE POTENTIAL IMPACT ON US CITIES

Attention: Phoenix, Minneapolis, Memphis

with Jerry Gordon, Dr. Raymond Stock and Clare Lopez 

Somali-based militants claim responsibility for Kenyan shopping mall massacre in which at least 39 have died

  • Security guards wheel out bodies in shopping trolleys from Westlands Shopping Centre
  • Foreign Secretary William Hague confirms British citizens are caught up in the terrorist attack in Nairobi
  • The US State Department has also confirmed Americans were at the shopping centre
  • Somalian terrorist group al-Shabaab, which has links to Al-Qaeda, has now claimed responsibility for the attack
  • The terrorist organisation released a statement released saying it warned Kenya to remove troops from Somalia
  • Hostages are being held by at least five attackers still in building
  • The army and special forces are helping police flush out the gunmen
  • Upmarket mall is a favourite shopping spot for expats and wealthy Kenyans
  • Police opened fire after gunmen launched attack at midday today
  • Kenya Red Cross says at least 39 dead though police not given exact toll
  • Witness says attackers told shoppers non-Muslims were the targets
Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013.  Credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Women carrying children run for safety as armed police hunt gunmen who went on a shooting spree in Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi September 21, 2013.
Credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

By ELLIE BUCHDAHL and STUART WOLEDGE

British and American nationals have undoubtedly been caught up in the ‘callous and cowardly and brutal’ terror attack at a shopping centre in Kenya that has left 39 people dead and 150 injured, according to Foreign Secretary William Hague.

Mr Hague said ‘we should be ready for that and aware of that’ as he revealed a rapid deployment team is being sent to Kenya to help in the aftermath of the atrocity at an upmarket shopping centre in the capital.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, a pregnant woman was among several Britons caught up in the attack.

Somali-based militant group al-Shabaab has now claimed responsibility for the atrocity in which men armed with guns and grenades stormed the mall and targeted non-Muslims.

Terrorist gunmen remain at the scene and police officers supported by the army are still fighting to bring the situation to an end.

Mr Hague added the Government’s security committee COBRA had met and was sending a deployment team to ‘re-enforce’ the British Consulate team in Nairobi.

‘Our High Commission staff in Nairobi are working very hard, visiting hospitals, trying to make sure that they are aware of British nationals who might have been in the area or caught up in this,’ he said.

‘We are sending a rapid deployment team to reinforce that work, which will be particularly important if the situation carries on. We have offered the Kenyan authorities any other assistance and of course we will keep in touch with them about that.’

Hannah Chisholm, a Briton visiting Nairobi, said she and 60 others barricaded themselves into a large storeroom.

She told the BBC: ‘We kept running to different places but the shots were getting louder so we barricaded ourselves along with about 60 others into a large storeroom. There were children hiding with us as well as someone who had been shot.’

She added: ‘The gunfire was loud and we were scared but at that point we thought the gunmen were thieves so we assumed they wouldn’t try to reach the storeroom.’

Read more at The Daily Mail

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A Bad Week For the Muslim Brotherhood

Two weeks ago Muslim Brotherhood leaders from across Africa and the Middle East gathered in Istanbul to regroup following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, former head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (and who I noted previously here was recruited into the group while studying in the US). But even more setbacks suffered by the group in a number of countries this past week, another meeting might be in order.

Here’s a rundown of the week’s events:

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Egypt: The most prominent example, the MB there rejected calls for reconciliation meetings by the interim government and demanded Morsi’s reinstatement as president before any negotiations. That’s not remotely likely. So that set the stage this week for a game of chicken, with the MB refusing to stand down and Defense Minister Sisi calling for rallies yesterday in support of the interim government, ostensibly to legitimize a crackdown on a terror campaign being waged by Morsi supporters against police and military targets in the Sinai. Of note is the statement last week by senior MB leader that the terrorist acts would stop when Morsi would be reinstated, indicating some degree of MB control over the terror cells.

The result yesterday were massive rallies supporting both sides, predominately backing the new anti-MB government with as many as 35 million taking the streets in support of the army despite a fatwa issued by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the senior international MB jurist prohibiting participation in the protests. Those protests led to a series of clashes last night and this morning that have reportedly left dozens dead. Meanwhile, Morsi was charged with murder and other crimes by the new government this week, and will probably be sent to the same prison currently housing former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak.

The MB strategy appears to be leveraging the deaths of supporters killed during nearly continuous clashes with the police and army to gain domestic and international sympathy. Yet that doesn’t seem to be happening. Some clashes in which MB supporters were killed have not been with the government, but residents of the areas occupied by the MB protests. And assaults on Egyptian and foreign journalists alike by Morsi supporters and news reports of torture and killing of so-called ‘infiltrators’ at the MB protests aren’t helping either.

And while the MB might have temporarily taken comfort in the Obama administration’s decision this week to halt the transfer of a few F-16 aircraft to the Egyptian military (though the administration continued such military hardware transfers while Morsi declared himself dictator in November and was killing protesters earlier this year), any hope of backing their ‘legitimacy’ campaign were dashed when administration officials said that no determination will probably be made as to whether Morsi’s ouster was a coup or not, which would trigger sanctions against the Egyptian military under a law passed by Congress last year.

So the MB doesn’t appear to be gaining support, and the majority of Egyptians appear willing to hold their nose over the violence against the MB while the army and the police attempt to create some stability. The result will be an increase in the violence and more deaths, and probably the low-grade terrorism in the Sinai will also escalate into more acts of terrorism prompting greater crackdowns.

Gaza: Another big loser in Morsi’s overthrow is the Hamas government in Gaza. In recent weeks the Egyptian military has put a stranglehold on trafficking through tunnels, which provides Hamas with considerable funds. A UN estimate this week said that 80 percent of the traffic through the tunnels running from Egypt into Gaza has been shut down. The Hamas economic minister said the Egyptian crackdown has cost the terror group $230 million – one tenth of the gross domestic product of Gaza. Things aren’t likely to improve with the Egyptian government either, as one of the charges against former President Morsi is collaboration with Hamas in his prison escape back in 2011

Read more at PJ Media

Joint Subcommittee Hearing: The Terrorist Threat in North Africa: Before and After Benghazi

getproxy_oms1Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa | 2172 House Rayburn Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | Jul 10, 2013 10:00am

Full hearing:

 

Opening Statements:

 

 

 

 

Witnesses

Mr. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross
Director
Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Aaron Zelin
Richard Borow Fellow
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Daniel L. Byman, Ph.D.
Professor
Security Studies Program
Georgetown University
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Mr. Mike Lovelady
Brother of Algerian gas plant terrorist attack victim, Victor Lovelady
[full text of statement]
[truth in testimony form]

Obama Pushes Funds for Islamists —- Trashes Their Christian Victims

Boko-Haram-Violence-450x286By :

The “Islamist apologist choir” described in Cinnamon Stillwell’s recent story “Profs on Boston Bombing” doesn’t sing solely on behalf of Chechnya and Cambridge. Some of that choir’s most dreadful caterwauling today is in support of Nigeria’s yet-undesignated terrorists, Boko Haram. The choir stalls are located in the U.S. State Department, which not only refuses to designate the jihadists as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), but maligns and defames Boko Haram’s Christian victims, as well.

Boko Haram’s latest attack, killing at least 42, took place on Tuesday, May 7, in the already battle-worn town of Bama, in Nigeria’s northeast Borno State. Borno, one of 12 states under Sharia, has suffered heavy losses under the Islamists. Some believe that Boko Haram has taken over northern Borno State much as Islamists took over northern Mali. At least 277 had been killed by Boko Haram in Borno State in 2013 before this attack.  According to an AP story the Tuesday event involved “coordinated attacks by Islamic extremists armed with heavy machine guns” in multiple locations around Bama. The jihadists also raided a federal prison, freeing 105 inmates.

Military spokesman Lt. Colonel Sagir Musa told AP that “some 200 fighters in buses and pickup trucks mounted with machine guns attacked the barracks of the 202 Battalion of Nigeria’s beleaguered army.” Musa, who said two soldiers and 10 insurgents died in the attack, revealed that the attackers “came in army uniform pretending to be soldiers.” The Islamists killed 14 prison guards. They also attacked and razed a police station, a police barracks, a magistrate’s court, and local government offices, according to Lt. Col. Musa. Bama police commander Sagir Abubakar reported that at least 22 police officers, three children and a woman were killed in the attacks.

Boko Haram frequently attacks Nigeria’s police and military forces. In 2012 as documented by the Facts on Nigeria Violence website, there were at least 67 attacks, almost exclusively by Boko Haram, against military barracks, police stations, prisons, and other government facilities, as well as against individual soldiers, policemen, and civil servants. But Boko Haram’s main targets are northern Nigeria’s Christians and churches.

The official name of Boko Haram, Jamā’a Ahl al-sunnah li-da’wa wa al-jihād, can be translated “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad.” Its goal is to establish a pure Islamic state in northern Nigeria, removing the Christian presence – either by conversion, expulsion, or extermination. Boko Haram appears to prefer the third option. According to the World Watch Monitor (WWM) report on global Christian persecution, Nigeria had a higher death toll from anti-Christian persecution and violence than the rest of the world combined. WWM concluded that Nigeria is “the most violent place on earth for Christians.”

In a recent Front Page Magazine article, Daniel Greenfield exposed the unfortunate moral equivalence found in the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) 2013 report on Nigeria. While much of the report is very good and condemns Boko Haram, impunity, and the forced imposition of Sharia, USCIRF appears to have developed the same pathological impulse that afflicts the rest of the federal government, to never blame Islam. As a result, portions of the report mischaracterize certain acts of violence by both Boko Haram and other Islamists targeting Christians, and criticize northern Nigerian Christian leaders for calling the situation what it is: persecution.

USCIRF’s egregious observations and recommendations are actually State Department policy. For instance, USCIRF parrots former Asst. Sec. of State for Africa, Johnnie Carson, who declared in a congressional hearing, “It is important to note that religion is not the primary driver behind extremist violence in Nigeria” and that “the Nigerian government must effectively engage communities vulnerable to extremist violence by addressing the underlying political and socio-economic problems in the North.” USCIRF reports that “The U.S. government consistently has urged the Nigerian government to expand its strategy against Boko Haram from solely a military solution to addressing problems of economic and political marginalization in the north,” says USCIRF, “arguing that Boko Haram’s motivations are not religious but socio-economic.”

Read more at Front Page

In Timbuktu, al-Qaida left behind a manifesto

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
Associated Press

TIMBUKTU, Mali     (AP) — In their hurry to flee last month, al-Qaida fighters left behind a crucial document: Tucked under a pile of papers and trash is a confidential letter, spelling out the terror network’s strategy for conquering northern Mali and reflecting internal discord over how to rule the region.

The document is an unprecedented window into the terrorist operation, indicating that al-Qaida predicted the military intervention that would dislodge it in January and recognized its own vulnerability.

The letter also shows a sharp division within al-Qaida’s Africa chapter over how quickly and how strictly to apply Islamic law, with its senior commander expressing dismay over the whipping of women and the destruction of Timbuktu’s ancient monuments. It moreover leaves no doubt that despite a temporary withdrawal into the desert, al-Qaida plans to operate in the region over the long haul, and is willing to make short-term concessions on ideology to gain the allies it acknowledges it needs.

Abdelmalek Droukdel

Abdelmalek Droukdel

The more than nine-page document, found by the AP in a building occupied by the Islamists for almost a year, is signed by Abu Musab Abdul Wadud, the nom de guerre of Abdelmalek Droukdel, the senior commander appointed by Osama bin Laden to run al-Qaida’s branch in Africa. The clear-headed, point-by-point assessment resembles a memo from a CEO to his top managers and lays out for his jihadists in Mali what they have done wrong in months past, and what they need to do to correct their behavior in the future.

Read more