New Age Islam
Thu Nov 26 2020, 04:25 PM

Islamic World News ( 11 Sept 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Obama vows 'justice will be done' over killing of US ambassador in Libya

 

 

 

 

US envoy to Libya killed in violence over film on Prophet Mohammed

Mystery surrounds 'Sam Bacile', maker of controversial anti-Muhammad film

US consulate attack in Libya underlines threat of Salafi fundamentalists

Libya: there is good reason to ban the hateful anti-Muhammad YouTube clips

Anti-islamic film search leads to coptic Christian in California

Libyan attack: it should have been clear deposing Gaddafi was the easy bit

How anti-Islamic movie sparked lethal assault on US consulate in Libya

Chris Stevens: career diplomat feted for his understanding and empathy

Muhammad film: reaction around the Middle East

Libya's new democracy must not be derailed by the Benghazi murders

Glenn Greenwald

The tragic consulate killings in Libya and America's hierarchy of human life

US sends Marines to Libya after deadly attack

Envoy killing: US sends destroyers, 50-member marine unit to Libya

Origins of Provocative Video Are Shrouded

Struggle for Ideological Upper Hand in Muslim World Seen as Factor in Attacks

Spotlight Is on Libya, but Bigger Challenge for White House May Lie in Egypt

A Challenger’s Criticism Is Furiously Returned

For Veteran Envoy, Return to Libya Was Full of Hope

Libya Attack Brings Challenges for U.S.

Pakistan

Khatm e Nabuwat Conference calls for restrictions on Ahmadi community

Dramatic moustache declared ‘un-Islamic’ by Lashkar-e-Islami

Karachi garment factory fire kills 240: Police

‘I do not want a country of extremists and mullahs’: MQM Chief

Pak I&B Minister urges war on extremist mindset

Sharifs on Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan hit list, says secret report

Pak Minority students: ‘Ethics not a substitute for religious studies’

Two schools blown up in KP

Pakistani Hindus flee to India claiming persecution

Domki murder case: Report submitted to Sindh Police

Zardari using 'journalists' for electioneering: Chaudhry Nisar

Khar briefs UN Working Group on human rights situation in Pakistan

SC grants interim bail to Makhdoom Shahabuddin

Investigations of Dr Afridi’s Fox news interview in process: Malik

World Bank approved two credits of $220 million for Pak Punjab

Kayani's service extension challenged in Pak High Court

Doctor linked to Osama raid mum on CIA links

UN missing persons probe hits Pak hurdle

Sectarian violence: ASWJ leader says can help resolve Quetta issue

 

Africa

Gaddafi loyalists killed US diplomats: Libya

Mali Islamists chop hands, feet off five suspected robbers

Sudan: Darfur rebels kill 11 civilians

 

India

India pledges support to Palestine, announces $10 million in aid

India, Saudi Arabia to enhance military ties

40 ‘missing’ youth in IM’s ‘jihad factory’

It’s not Muslim vs non-Muslim, says MP Ajmal

UP govt. has failed Muslims: Imam Delhi’s Jama Masjid

India grants further US$25million to Maldives

Zee to launch another Arabic channel

Pakistan's minister for Kashmir Affairs silent on Kashmir during his visit to India

No valid papers, no rehab: Bodo leaders

BSF lodges protest with Pakistan Rangers

Kasab took Supreme Court order copy with a smile: Jail sources

India banned Satanic Verses without proper scrutiny: Salman Rushdie

 

South Asia

Terror taunt: Taliban say US faces 'utter defeat' in Afghanistan

Taliban raises $400 million in 2011 from donations, extortion: UN

Western and Afghan Officials Split Over Karzai Nomination for Spy Chief

5 Destiny high-ups bail cancelled: Bangladesh

OIC tours unrest-hit western Myanmar

Invest in Rakhine state to end Rohingya crisis

Bangladesh PM for united efforts of Muslim countries

Bangladesh: Murders for land of ethnic groups go on in Dinajpur

 

Southeast Asia

Jailed Indonesian Children Sue Australian Government

Severely injured man involved in bomb making: Police

 

Mideast Asia

Turkey concerned on Islamophobic poster

US has no right to block Israel on Iran: Netanyahu

Palestinian Tax Increases Cancelled in Move to Calm West Bank Protests

Yemen's President Replaces Security Chiefs after Sanaa Attack

Turkish Man Kidnapped in Lebanon Set Free

 

Arab World

Makkah Governor urges youth to confront anti-Islam designs by leading an exemplary life

Saudi Kingdom and Spain to bolster military links

Ex-Jeddah mayor gets 5 years for corruption

8 years, 2,000 lashes, fine for blackmailer

UAE among emerging e-Government leaders

Mursi: Remove all obstacles facing Saudi investment in Egypt

Heavy Fighting in Syria's Largest City of Aleppo

Relief Crisis Grows as Refugees Stream Out of Syria

Dubai to reward model motorists

Egypt orders arrest of last Mubarak PM

WikiLeaks releases Syrian foreign ministry e-mails

Regional quartet to work for Syria solution

Syria rebels kill 18 soldiers, clash near Aleppo airport

Egypt Copts to protest against 'Islam insult' film

 

North America

US ambassador to Libya, three others killed in rocket attack

'Death loving' Zawahiri’s brother proposes 'peace plan' to end jihad

CAIR: U.S. Muslims to Condemn Killings of American Diplomats

At ground zero, an anniversary without politicians reflects a decade of the politics of 9/11

Canadian Biology Student Converts to Islam

Anti-Islam filmmaker in hiding after protests

America’s fight not with Islam, says Obama

Pak partner of terrorists who murder Americans: US lawmaker

Marking 9/11, Romney makes point of citing war in Afghanistan

Pre-9/11, Haqqani group urged US ties: documents

US concern over Pakistan ‘CIA doctor’ torture claims

U.S. welcomes India, Pak. talks

No rift with Israel over Iran: White House

Qaeda video says US will target American-Muslims

Romney Criticizes Obama Response to Libya, Egypt Attacks

Boeing evacuates US plant after threat on 9/11

In unusual snub, Obama to avoid meeting with Netanyahu

'Bush didn't act promptly on pre-attack warnings'

 

Australia

Australia to give scholarships to 50 Bangladeshis

 

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: The mission in Benghazi was engulfed in flames

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/obama-vows--justice-will-be-done--over-killing-of-us-ambassador-in-libya/d/8645 

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Obama vows 'justice will be done' over killing of US ambassador in Libya

Ewen MacAskill

13 September 2012

President says bond between US and Libya won't be shaken as officials say embassy attack may have been premeditated

Barack Obama vowed on Wednesday to hunt down the killers of US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans during an assault on its mission in Benghazi as suspicion grew that the diplomat was the victim of an organised attack by an Islamist group.

"Make no mistake: justice will be done," Obama said at the White House. He described the killing, the first of a US ambassador since 1979, as "outrageous and shocking".

Crucially, though, the president made it clear that the US would work alongside the Libyan government to track down those responsible and would not be turning its back on the Arab spring in Libya or elsewhere in the Middle East.

"This attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya," he said.

One witness told the Guardian that a mob fired at least one rocket at the consulate building then stormed it, setting everything ablaze. Stevens is understood to have died from smoke inhalation. Several Libyan security officers were also reported to have been killed in the attack.

The Libyan government expressed deep regret over the attack. The country's interim leader, Mohammed Magarief, apologised, calling the killings "cowardly criminal acts" and part of a campaign "to impede our democratic experiment".

The FBI is being dispatched to Libya to help with the hunt, as well as 50 marines to reinforce the Tripoli embassy. Two US warships were reportedly heading towards the Libyan coast on Wednesday night. US surveillance drones are being redeployed to search for suspects among alleged jihadist camps in eastern Libya.

The state department ordered the evacuation of all non-essential staff from the country.

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton blamed the killings on "a small and savage group". CNN reported a senior US official saying the assault was planned to coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington and that those responsible used the protests as cover. The fact that a rocket-propelled grenade was used is cited as evidence.

Congressman Mike Rogers, head of the House intelligence committee, who is usually briefed by the intelligence agencies during a crisis, said details were still fuzzy but it was "a well co-ordinated attack", one in which he said he could see the "signature of al-Qaida" and a link to the 9/11 anniversary.

Rogers, a former FBI agent, told CNN: "It has all the hallmarks of an al-Qaida-style event."

Jay Carney, Obama's White House spokesman, responding to a question from a journalist whether the consulate attack was planned, said: "It's too early for us to make that judgment."

Mohammed el-Kish, a former official with the National Transitional Council, which handed power to an elected parliament last month, blamed the attack on hardline jihadists, as did the Quilliam thinktank in London which tracks jihadist groups.

But other officials cautioned against jumping to conclusions, suggesting that the attack was more likely to have been opportunistic than planned many days in advance.

The killings led to a political row between Obama and his Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney. In what may turn out to be one of the defining moments in the race for the White House, Romney attempted to pin some of the blame on the Obama administration, accusing it of being an apologist for American values.

It was a badly-handled, confused intervention that immediately backfired, with former diplomats, foreign policy analysts and even fellow-Republicans accusing Romney of behaving in an unpresidential manner, making political points with the American corpses barely cold.

Stevens, 52, a career diplomat since 1991, had been a strong backer of the rebels, going into Benghazi at the height of the revolt aboard a cargo ship.

Also killed was another diplomat, Sean Smith, an air force veteran who was based in the Hague but was on temporary transfer to Libya. The other two Americans were security staff.

A senior Obama administration official said three staff were wounded in addition to the four killed. The official ran through the timeline, saying the attackers opened fire about 10pm Libyan time and within 15 minutes they had gained access to the compound shot. They attacked the main building which held three staff, Stevens, Smith and a regional security officer and which caught fire.

"They became separated from each other due to the heavy, dark smoke while they were trying to evacuate the burning building. The regional security officer made it outside, and then he and other security personnel returned into the burning building in an attempt to rescue Chris and Sean.

"At that time, they found Sean. He was already dead, and they pulled him from the building. They were unable, however, to locate Chris before they were driven from the building due to the heavy fire and smoke and the continuing small arms fire."

Exchanges of gunfire continued for a further four hours until Libyan security forces helped the US gain control. Stevens body was found and taken to a hospital in Benghazi.

The attack in Benghazi came after a protest at the US embassy in Cairo on Tuesday afternoon over an American-produced amateur film denigrating Muslims. This was ostensibly the motive behind the protests in Benghazi too.

It was supposedly made by a Californian real estate developer called Sam Bacile, and both the Associated Press and the Wall St Journal had quoted somebody using that name saying that he was in hiding.

But by Wednesday evening, there were signs that Bacile did not exist and it was unclear who was behind the production. Cast members said they had been duped into making it and that anti-Islamic dialogue had been dubbed on later.

Obama, in an apparent swipe at the film, said the US was a nation that respected all faiths and "we reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others". In spite of that, he added: "There is no justification for this senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts."

The ambassador's killing follows an attack in June on the UK ambassador to Libya, Dominic Asquith. Two British bodyguards were injured after a rocket was fired at Asquith's convoy in Benghazi. There have been similar attacks on the Red Cross and the UN premises. The UK foreign secretary, William Hague, condemned the attack as "brutal and senseless".

According to the Libya Herald, which cited local witnesses, the killers included members of the hardline Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia. But a spokesman, Hani al-Mansouri, told the Guardian the allegation was false.

Noman Benotman, a former Libyan jihadi who now runs the Quilliam thinktank in London, said he had information it was a terrorist attack that was planned to avenge Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaida's Libyan second-in-command, who was killed in a US drone strike a few months ago.

Egypt's president, Mohammed Morsi, who used to lead the country's Muslim Brotherhood, was criticised for not speaking out to condemn the Cairo incident. But he asked the Egyptian embassy in Washington to take legal action in the US against the makers of a film.

The Brotherhood called for nationwide protests on Friday outside all main mosques. "The president has to balance between his domestic alliances with ultraconservative Islamists and Egypt's relations with the US on the foreign affairs front," said analyst Khalil a-Anani.

As anger over the film spread across the Muslim world, the Afghan government gave orders for YouTube to be closed to the public until the offending film was removed, though the site was still visible to internet users in Kabul.

• Additional reporting by Luke Harding, Chris Stephen and Sarah Sirgany.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/obama-vows-justice-libya-attack

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US envoy to Libya killed in violence over film on Prophet Mohammed

Chidanand Rajghatta

 Sep 12, 2012

WASHINGTON: The United States' ambassador to Libya and three other American personnel were killed on Tuesday when fundamentalist mobs, purportedly enraged by a film mocking the Prophet Mohammed, attacked the US consulate in Benghazi on a day that also marked the 11th anniversary of 9/11.

Angry crowds swept over US missions in Libya and Egypt after excerpts of the film, derisively titled Innocence of Muslims, and ridiculing the Prophet, surfaced on the Internet. The US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, who helped the Libyan opposition overthrow the Gaddafi regime and was visiting the US consulate in Benghazi at the time of the violence, is said to have died after he was injured in a rocket attack from a nearby farm. A US foreign service officer and two other US marines assigned to protect them were also reported killed in the incident.

President Obama expressed outrage at the attack and ordered increased security for US diplomatic posts across the world, even as the episode became fodder for campaign politics in the US. The President was pilloried by Republican candidate Mitt Romney and others for a weak-kneed response to the attacks, with calls from right-wingers to the administration to wield a "big stick."

Soon after, Obama pledged that the attackers would be brought to justice. "We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice will be done," he said in a statement from the White House Rose Garden that reminded one of the way in which Washington hunted down the Lockerbie bombers and Osama bin Laden. "Make no mistake, justice will be done."

Earlier, the Obama administration reeled back initial comments from lower level functionaries that sought to understand the rationale for the attacks, condemned the provocation for it, and ended up seeming to validate the violence. The comments, which officials later said were "not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government," were overwritten by strong condemnation of the violence from President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind," Hillary Clinton said in a statement.

President Obama echoed similar sentiments, saying that while the US rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others..."There is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None."

The initial US reaction to the violence read as follows: "The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

Evidently, the statement, issued in Cairo in response to the violence there, came before the scale of the violence was known and news emerged of the killing of the US ambassador in neighboring Libya. In fact, the State Department first announced the death of a single unnamed person. It was only hours later that word emerged of Ambassador Stevens' death. Ironically, Stevens' was the US envoy to opposition forces that overthrew long-time Libyan dictator Moamar Gaddafi.

Both President Obama and Secretary Clinton absolved the Libyan government and the people for the attack, with the latter saying it was carried out by a "small, savage group."

Meanwhile, the Israeli-American real estate developer-turned-film maker Sam Bacile, who made the provocative movie, went into hiding in the US. Quickly dubbed "imBacile" on social media, he was reported by the Israeli news channels Ynet as having raised $ 5 million from 100 Jewish donors to make the movie, the trailer of which revealed it to be thoroughly mediocre and tacky.

The 52-year old Bacile said he had made the two-hour movie in three months in California last year, working with about 60 actors and 45 crew members. He was quoted as saying he produced the film to call attention to what he perceived were the "hypocrisies" of Islam. "Islam is a cancer," he said in a Wall Street Journal interview. "The movie is a political movie. It's not a religious movie."

But the movie was promoted by a well-known religious fundamentalist, Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose burning of Qurans some months back sparked riots around the world. Jones had previously announced that he planned to show a 13-minute trailer of the film at his church in Gainesville, Florida. "It is an American production, not designed to attack Muslims but to show the destructive ideology of Islam," Jones said in a statement before the latest conflagration. "The movie further reveals in a satirical fashion the life of Muhammad."

There was confusion, recrimination, and plenty of anger and outrage surrounding the incidents. In the US, it quickly became red meat for the ongoing Presidential election campaign, with the Romney camp taking aim at the Obama administration's handling of the Arab Spring.

This is not the first attack on a US mission abroad or the first time a US ambassador has been killed in the line of duty. In 1979, angry Pakistani mobs burned to the ground the American Embassy in Islamabad after rumors of a US attack on Mecca (there was an attack but it was Islamic fundamentalists trying to take over the Grand Mosque). American personnel were killed both in that attack and in more recent attacks on the US Consulate in Karachi. One US ambassador to Pakistan, Arnie Raphel, was killed in the unresolved 1988 air crash mystery that also killed Pakistan's military dictator Zia-ul-Haq.

In all, five US ambassadors have been killed in the line of duty, mostly in the 1970s. The most recent before the Benghazi incident was Adolph Dubs, killed after being kidnapped in Afghanistan in 1979. The others were John Gordon Mein, in Guatemala in 1968, Cleo A. Noel, Jr., in Sudan in 1973, Rodger P. Davies, in Cyprus in 1974 and Francis E. Meloy, Jr., in Lebanon in 1976.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-envoy-to-Libya-killed-in-violence-over-film-on-Prophet-Mohammed/articleshow/16373321.cms

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Mystery surrounds 'Sam Bacile', maker of controversial anti-Muhammad film

Rory Carroll

12 September 2012

The Innocence of Muslims has sparked mayhem in Egypt and protest in Libya, and US-based film-maker has gone into hiding

The maker of the anti-Muhammad film that sparked mayhem in Egypt and protest in Libya has gone into hiding, leaving questions over his identity.

He has been widely named as Sam Bacile – with his age varying from 52 to 56 – but conflicting reports suggested that Bacile was a pseudonym for a California-based anti-Muslim zealot who appeared to have intentionally stoked fury in the Arab world.

The Associated Press, which interviewed him over the phone from an undisclosed location, described him as "a California real estate developer who identifies himself as an Israeli Jew". However, the California Association of Realtors told the Guardian he was not a member and appears not to have a real estate licence. He does not appear on the state's Department of Real Estate's database.

"A lot of things don't add up here about the claimed identity of the filmmaker," wrote Sarah Posner, an editor at Religion Dispatches.

The Israeli consulate in Los Angeles did not immediately respond to interview requests but official Israeli sources elsewhere indicated he was not Israeli but part of the Egyptian Coptic diaspora, but a cleric with the Coptic Orthodox Church diocese of Los Angeles, who declined to be named, said he did not recognise the name Sam Bacile.

Hollywood producers and screenwriters said they were mystified over his film, The Innocence of Muslims, which was reportedly screened once to a largely empty cinema earlier this year before fragments surfaced on YouTube. Bacile wrote and directed the film purportedly with $5m (£3m) donated by 100 unnamed Jewish backers. The goal was to show "Islam is a cancer", he told the Wall Street Journal.

The Hollywood Reporter said the ramshackle production values of the 13-minute clip posted online cast doubt on Bacile's claim of a $5m budget. Industry figures had not previously heard of him or the film.

Bacile has virtually no footprint in the Hollywood community. The writer-director-producer has no agent listed on the IMDBPro website and no credits on any film or TV production.

Steve Klein, a "consultant" on the film, describes himself as a Vietnam veteran, counter-terrorism expert and board member of an ultra-conservative group, Courageous Christians United. In 2010, he self-published a book, Is Islam compatible with the Constitution?, which assails Islam's treatment of women.

Bacile was also linked to Morris Sadik, an Egyptian Coptic Christian based in California who runs a small virulently Islamophobic group called the National American Coptic Assembly. He promoted a clip of the film last week.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/mystery-sam-bacile-innocence-muslims

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US consulate attack in Libya underlines threat of Salafi fundamentalists

Ian Black

12 September 2012

Radicals who were kept at bay or in prison under dictators such as Gaddafi and Mubarak are now free to pursue their agendas

If Muammar Gaddafi were still alive, he might give a bitter laugh at the news that the US ambassador to Libya has been killed in Benghazi. Hosni Mubarak, in his prison hospital, would growl a wry "I told you so" after the attack on the fortress-like American embassy in Cairo.

Two onslaughts in two of the cities that witnessed the historic drama of the Arab spring last year do not an Islamist winter make. But both underline the glowering and dangerous presence of the sort of radical Muslim fundamentalists whom the old regimes kept at bay and are now free to pursue their agendas. Gaddafi and Mubarak may have been unreconstructed dictators but, by and large, they did Washington's bidding while presenting themselves as the guardians of stability. And US diplomats were usually safe.

Libya is the more disturbing case. On a day when Gaddafi's democratically elected heirs were due to announce a new prime minister, it will be infuriating to have global attention diverted to the Salafi extremists who killed an American official who was instrumental in helping overthrow a hated tyrant. It will also highlight the grave problem of security as the authorities in Tripoli struggle to create a national police force and disarm militias.

Conspiracy theories are common in the Middle East, but it was surely no coincidence that these incidents took place on 11 September – a date that will be associated with the notion of an inevitable "clash of civilizations" long after the death of Osama bin Laden and demise of George W Bush.

In Cairo, much was made of the role of the brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden's Egyptian successor, and of the black Salafi flags carried by demonstrators. Still, the target was a crude and poisonously anti-Muslim film made in the US and circulated on YouTube, aided by the notorious Pastor Terry Jones – evidence of American arrogance and prejudice rather than anything directly political.

Barack Obama faced criticism for backing Mubarak until the end, but the US supports Cairo's new regime – now led by Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood. Libyans know the US backed last year's UN resolution that led to a no-fly zone, Nato intervention and Gaddafi's downfall. Salafi groups in Tunisia, a thorn in the side of its Muslim Brotherhood government, also called for anti-US protests. (Salafis, like Islamists, come in different shapes: all are socially conservative but not all condone violence.)

Islam is by definition wider than any national issue and this violence highlights the uncomfortable truth that the US remains deeply unpopular across the Muslim world, where Iraq, Afghanistan and, above all, the enduring Israeli-Palestinian conflict remain open sores.

But religion and politics make for a toxic combination. "The US has killed hundreds of thousands of unnamed Muslims in 9/11 revenge wars," commented the Palestinian activist Ali Abunimah. "Media dehumanisation helps make this possible."

Coming amid the US presidential campaign, the attacks are likely to curb what enthusiasm remains for US activism in the Arab world as the fear of Islamist chaos overwhelms hope for the springtime of Arab democracy. Syrians hoping that the US will back Libyan-style intervention or arm the rebels will be disappointed. Others pray that the influence of Saudi-financed Salafis will be limited.

Arab governments want to get on well with Washington but their relationships will always be vulnerable to provocations by extremists on both sides. For too many across the region, the Florida pastor Jones looks more influential than Obama.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/us-consulate-attack-libya-gaddafi

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Libya: there is good reason to ban the hateful anti-Muhammad YouTube clips

12 September 2012

The material I have viewed, said to be linked to the US embassy attack, is purely and simply an incitement to religious hatred

I have just watched a YouTube video of clips from a film which, it is claimed, provoked the attack on the American embassy in Libya. It is impossible to completely authenticate them at this stage, or exclude the possibility the clips could have been doctored in some way by the uploaders. However, we do know that the film has been linked to riots in Egypt and the attack in Benghazi in which four embassy staff, including the ambassador, were killed. It's a really nasty piece of lying propaganda: something which deserves to be called hate speech, since hatred is its wellspring and the propagation of hatred is its goal.

It is – obviously – blasphemous to Muslims. Less obviously, it offends against the central values of liberal democracy. The justification of free speech put forward by John Stuart Mill is that the remedy for bad speech is better speech. But this presupposes an interest in truth, and perhaps some agreed means of deciding on it. It's a system that breaks down when confronted with determined and malevolent liars.

The film portrays Muhammad as a pathetic fraud, a child molester. He is an unwanted bastard at birth, and only gains his self-confidence after an older woman summons the cringing young man to her tent and pushes his head under her skirts where he nuzzles her crotch. When he emerges, he has seen visions.

The dialogue reminds me of a Jack Chick comic. In one scene Muhammad tells a noble Jewish elder, "Pay the extortion or go to Palestine". The elder spits at his feet and walks off.

The mother of one of Muhammad's wives weeps and calls him "a child molester". He is shown running his hands over a silently protesting pubescent girl. Then he pushes her on to her back, kneels between her legs, and says, "For you, I am cancelling the adoption. Islamic nation forbids the adoption for Zeinab. That is the next verse in the Qur'an."

Cut to an old woman, saying she is 120 years old "and in all my young life, I have never seen such a murderous thug as Muhammad … he sells the children as slaves after he and his men have used them". The camera cuts back to show her feet are tied with ropes to a camel; as it moves forwards, she is hoisted into the air. The watching Muslims LAUGH – in great capital letters, pantomime villain style. The production values of the video as a whole are those of a backyard performance of Ben Hur. In the great battle scene, the Muslim hordes sweeping across the desert are represented by six camel riders.

"Whoever refuses to follow Islam have only two choices: pay extortion – or die!"

Later, the prophet is shown pronouncing judgment: "Pull off his arms, and then his legs. And then his head. And do it in front of his beautiful wife, Sophia." In the event though, the victim is tied to a stake and allowed to make a speech begging God to give his descendants the land of Palestine before being stabbed with a sword. The lovely Sophia is then dragged off to the prophet's bed.

This is only 13 minutes. It's hard to imagine the full two hours. The way I have told it may provoke incredulous giggles, but there is an element of intended nastiness in it that dries up laughter.

Some people will want to defend the film as critical of an idea, or of a belief. But I don't think that will do. No Muslim could think of Muhammad as he is portrayed in the film, and very few can suppose that Islam commands them to behave the way the Muslims in the film do. The beliefs criticised are entirely imaginary. If any other group but Muslims were the target this would be obvious at once.

This film is purely and simply an incitement to religious hatred. It stokes hatred in both of its intended audiences – Christians and Jews in the US, and Muslims in the wider world. If jihadi videos are banned in this country, and their distributors prosecuted, the same should be true of this film and for the same reasons.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2012/sep/12/libya-anti-muhammad-youtube-clips

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Anti-islamic film search leads to coptic Christian in California

Rory Carroll

13 September 2012

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula claims role in the Innocence of Muslims saying it was intended as a provocative statement

The hunt for the maker of the anti-Islamic video that inflamed mayhem in Egypt and Libya and triggered a diplomatic crisis has led to a Californian Coptic Christian convicted of financial crimes.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, who lives outside Los Angeles, confirmed on Wednesday he managed and provided logistics for The Innocence of Muslims.

Nakoula, who pleaded no contest to federal bank fraud charges in 2010, told AP in a brief interview outside his home that he considered Islam a cancer and that the film was intended to be a provocative political statement assailing the religion.

He denied being Sam Bacile, the pseudonym for the video's purportedly Israeli Jewish writer and director, but AP said the cellphone number it called for a telephone interview with Bacile on Tuesday matched Nakoula's address.

His outing solidified growing evidence that members of Egypt's Coptic diaspora, who complain of persecution by Egypt's Muslim majority, were behind the making and promotion of the video.

Morris Sadek, a conservative Coptic Christian in the US, promoted it on his website last week. Within days it was fuelling outrage in Arab countries horrified at the depiction of the prophet Muhammad as an illegitimate, murderous paedophile.

An anti-Islamic activist and self-described "consultant" on the film, Steve Klein, has worked closely with Coptic groups over the years, according to Jim Horn, a fellow activist. "He's been helping them to stand up for themselves against Islamic terror in Egypt. That's what he does," he told the Guardian.

Klein, who claims to have led a "hunter-killer team" in Vietnam, helped to found a conservative Christian group and calls himself a counter-terrorism expert.

Another evangelical connection was the Koran-burning Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who had no involvement in making the vide but has promoted it. He said the film's director, whom he knew only as a voice on the phone, was "shook up" over the deaths in Libya.

Details of the film – supposedly a $5m production funded by Jewish donors – remained as murky as those of its makers. The one undisputed fact was that in July a video in English was posted on YouTube under the pseudonym "Sam Bacile".

The blasphemous, 13-minute video – purportedly a trailer for a full-length film - comprised clumsily overdubbed and haphazardly-edited scenes. "Among the overdubbed words is 'Mohammed', suggesting that the footage was taken from a film about something else entirely. The footage also suggests multiple video sources — there are obvious and jarring discrepancies among actors and locations, " wrote Buzzfeed's Rosie Gray.

That analysis appeared to be bolstered when a statement in the name of cast and crew was issued, distancing them from the footage. "We are 100% not behind this film, and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose. We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."

Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress from Bakersfield, California, who had a small role in the video, told Gawker she had no idea she was participating in an offensive spoof on the life of Muhammed when she answered an agency's casting call last summer. The script was titled Desert Warriors, she said, and contained no mention of Islam."It was going to be a film based on how things were 2,000 years ago. It wasn't based on anything to do with religion – it was just on how things were run in Egypt. There wasn't anything about Muhammed or Muslims or anything."

The character who on the YouTube clip was called Muhammad was in filming called "Master George," Garcia said. The words Muhammed and apparently all offensive references to Islam and Muhammed were dubbed afterwards.

The actor said she was horrified that four US embassy employees, including the ambassador, died in Benghazi. "I had nothing to do, really, with anything. Now we have people dead because of a movie I was in. It makes me sick."

She said the director, who went by the name Sam Bacile, claimed to be an Israeli real estate tycoon, but later told her he was Egyptian. He had white hair and spoke Arabic as well as English. He was keen that Master George – aka Muhmmad – be depicted in the worst possible light, she said.

Hollywood agencies said they had never heard of the film. Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry, dismissed claims from Bacile – made in his interview on Tuesday with AP – that he was a Jewish Israeli.

"Nobody knows who he is," Palmor told reporters in a telephoned statement: "He is totally unknown in filmmaking circles in Israel. And anything he did — he is not doing it for Israel, or with Israel, or through Israel in any way." He added the filmmaker was "a complete loose cannon and an unspeakable idiot."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/13/anti-islamic-film-us-nakoula

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Libyan attack: it should have been clear deposing Gaddafi was the easy bit

Simon Tisdall

 12 September 2012

The west has once again started a fire it cannot extinguish, with the revolution it fanned in danger of degenerating into chaos

The assassination in Benghazi of the American ambassador to Libya is an appalling act – and one foreseen by his employers. On 27 August, the state department warned US citizens against all but essential travel to Libya, painting a picture of a country beset by increasing instability and fraught with danger.

"The incidence of violent crime, especially carjacking and robbery, has become a serious problem… Political violence, including car bombings in Tripoli and assassinations of military officers and alleged former regime officials in Benghazi, has increased. Inter-militia conflict can erupt at any time or any place in the country," the state department said.

Exactly who is responsible for the death of Christopher Stevens and three embassy staff is unclear. Libyan officials blamed pro-Gaddafi loyalists linked to the bombings in Tripoli. Salafists, ultra-conservative Muslims who besieged the Benghazi consulate overnight, seem to be the more likely culprits. They have mounted a string of recent attacks on Sufi shrines and are said to have been enraged by clips of a film on the internet that defames the prophet Muhammad.

Any number of other Libyan armed groups might have had a hand in the killings. But in truth, responsibility may also be traced back, directly or indirectly, to those in London, Paris, Brussels and Washington who launched last year's Nato intervention in Libya with insouciant disregard for the consequences. It was clear then, or should have been, that toppling Muammar Gaddafi was the easy bit. Preventing an Iraq-style implosion, or some form of Afghan anarchy, would be much harder.

Yet this is exactly what Stevens's death may presage. Once again, the western powers have started a fire they cannot extinguish. A year after David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy jointly travelled to Libya to lay claim to a liberator's bogus laurels, the Libyan revolution they fanned and fuelled is in danger of degenerating into a chaotic, violent free-for-all.

Do not be misled by the fig leaf of this summer's national assembly polls. Post-Gaddafi Libya lacks viable national political leadership, a constitution, functioning institutions, and most importantly, security. Nationwide parliamentary elections are still a year away. The east-west divide is as problematic as ever. Political factions fight over the bones of the former regime, symbolised by the forthcoming trials of Gaddafi's son, Saif, and his intelligence chief, Abdullah al-Senussi.

Effective central control, meanwhile, is largely absent. And into this vacuum have stepped armed groups – whether politically, religiously or financially inspired matters little – all claiming sectional suzerainty over the multitude of fractured fiefdoms that was, until Nato barged in, a unified state.

Research published in June by the Small Arms Survey suggested that the emergence and influence of armed groups challenging national government and army was accelerating rapidly. The survey identified four distinct types including experienced revolutionary brigades accounting for up to 85% of all weapons not controlled by the state and myriad militias – loosely defined as armed gangs, criminal networks and religious extremists bent on exploiting post-revolution weakness.

A power struggle is now under way between the Libyan army and these various groups, and while some play a constructive role, others threaten the future of the Libyan state, the survey said. In Misrata, for example, in addition to about 30,000 small arms, revolutionary brigades "control more than 820 tanks, dozens of heavy artillery pieces, and more than 2,300 vehicles equipped with machine-guns and anti-aircraft weapons." Misrata, scene of some of the worst fighting last year, has become a state within a state.

In its weakened condition, politically and economically, Libya appears especially vulnerable to extremist ideology and foreign influence. In an echo of Taliban depredations, the Salafists who besieged the Benghazi consulate have also been involved in a wave of attacks on historic Sufi mosques and libraries and attempts to intimidate female university students who eschew the hijab.

In this they are reportedly encouraged by a Saudi-based scholar, Sheik Mohamed Al-Madkhalee, who issued a fatwa praising the desecration of Sufi graves and urging Libyan Salafists to do more to clear the country of the taint of Sufi worship. According to author Jamie Dettmer writing in the Daily Beast, the Libyan government has complained to Riyadh about al-Madkhalee, but to no avail.

Christopher Stevens was a respected diplomat who was helping hold Libya together in the wake of last year's upheavals. Maybe it was always an impossible task. But it was rendered all the harder by western politicians who, just as in Iraq, jumped feet first into a complex situation without sufficient care or thought for the future.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/12/libyan-attack-fire-cannot-extinguish

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How anti-Islamic movie sparked lethal assault on US consulate in Libya

Julian Borger

12 September 2012

Previously obscure film made last year provided pretext for violence that left US ambassador and three others dead

The attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi came after midnight in a blaze of gunfire and grenade explosions, taking the diplomats inside by surprise.

The consulate IT expert, Sean Smith, was chatting online to fellow internet gamers when it happened. According to another player, who goes by the online handle of The_Mittani, Smith "said 'fuck' and 'gunfire' and then disconnected and never returned".

Smith was one of four Americans killed in the Benghazi attack along with the ambassador, Chris Stevens, and two bodyguards who have not yet been named, presumably because they were members of US special forces. CNN quoted a senior US official as saying the four became separated from their colleagues trying to escape to the roof, where they succumbed to smoke inhalation.

A photograph taken in the chaos outside showed Stevens being carried, apparently unconscious, by a crowd of Libyans. He was taken to a Benghazi hospital where a doctor, Ziad Abu Zeid, initially had no idea who the emergency patient was. The doctor told Associated Press that Stevens had "severe asphyxia", apparently from smoke inhalation, causing stomach bleeding, but had no other injuries. The doctor tried for 90 minutes to revive him but to no avail.

Stevens was only the sixth American ambassador to be killed in the line of duty in the country's history. His killing is likely to have far-reaching consequences in American attitudes towards the Arab spring, and could become a factor in the US presidential elections.

It was the culmination of a day of rage in north Africa ostensibly triggered by a previously obscure, rabidly anti-Islamic film made a year earlier in the US. Demonstrators stormed the US embassy compound in Cairo, climbing over the outer wall, taking down the flag and daubing the buildings with Islamic slogans. There were suggestions by unnamed senior US officials that the attack in Benghazi had been planned by an extremist group using outrage at the film as a diversion. But it seems likely the anger generated by the movie provided both the occasion and pretext for the lethal assault.

According to al-Jazeera's correspondent in Benghazi, Suleiman Idrissi, "at about 11.30pm a group of people calling themselves Islamic law [Sharia] supporters heard there would be an American movie insulting the prophet Muhammad. Once they heard this news they came out of their military garrison, and went into the streets calling on people to go ahead and attack the American consulate in Benghazi."

The long fuse that led to the explosion of violence that ultimately killed Stevens was lit last summer in California, where someone calling himself Sam Bacile set about making what is likely to be remembered as one of the most notorious films in recent history. It is far from clear who Bacile is. He described himself in telephone interviews this week with the Wall Street Journal and AP as an Israeli-American property developer, but neither the Israeli authorities nor the California realtors association had heard his name.

In July, a clip from Bacile's film, called Innocence of Muslims, a bizarre and amateurish attack on the prophet Muhammad, appeared on the internet. The subject is religion but the style, production values and acting are reminiscent of gonzo, low-budget porn, a vast industry in southern California, where this movie seems to have been made. Rarely has the porn industry produced anything as intentionally offensive as the Bacile film.

Steve Klein, a militant Christian activist credited as a consultant on the film, told The Atlantic online: "He's not Israeli … His name is a pseudonym. All these Middle Eastern folks I work with have pseudonyms. I doubt he's Jewish. I would suspect this is a disinformation campaign."

The man calling himself Bacile said he had raised a budget of $5m from 100 "Jewish donors", whom he declined to name, to make the film, which he wrote and directed himself with the aim of demonstrating his belief, as he described it to the Wall Street Journal, that "Islam is a cancer".

To that end, Bacile got his amateur cast to depict the prophet Muhammad as a feckless philanderer who approved of child abuse. It took three months, 59 actors and about 45 crew. The result was two hours of stumbling dialogue and wooden acting among flimsy sets, and a stream of gratuitous insults aimed at Muslims. It was screened in an almost empty cinema in Hollywood earlier this year. In another age, that would probably have been the end of the story. In the YouTube era, however, it was a bomb primed for detonation.

Bacile posted a 13-minute English-language trailer on YouTube in early July but it was only in the past week that it appears to have caught on of the online sectarian culture wars.

A Florida pastor, Terry Jones, who had triggered protests in the Islamic world for burning the Qur'an and his campaign to stop the construction of a mosque at the site of the 9/11 attacks, promoted the film on his website and announced his intention to broadcast the trailer at his Gainesville church this week.

The film clip was also promoted last week by Morris Sadik, the Egyptian Coptic Christian also based in California, who runs a small, virulently Islamophobic group called the National American Coptic Assembly. It was later denounced by mainstream Copts in Egypt, but it was too late to stop it going viral.

At some point over the summer, a version of the YouTube trailer surfaced with the dialogue dubbed in Egyptian Arabic and the translated clip was picked up by a firebrand Cairo television host, Sheikh Khaled Abdallah, with a record of focusing on perceived threats to Islam. He aired clips from the video on his television show on Saturday, and the same video clips were posted to YouTube on Monday.

As the audience for Innocence of Muslims grew exponentially, militant Islamists called for a mass protest at the US embassy in Cairo. The organisers said they began planning it last week when Sadik began promoting the trailers, but support for the demonstration snowballed after the Sheikh Abdallah programme.

A crowd of some 2,000 is reported to have gathered outside the embassy walls in Cairo on Tuesday. The security services appear to have been caught flat-footed even though the protest had been announced. Most of the diplomats and local staff had left early and a few dozen of the demonstrators were able to scale a wall, take down the stars and stripes and replace it with a black flag. The Egyptian police only managed to evict them in the late evening.

By that time, however, the spark had jumped westwards to the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. According to al-Jazeera, an extremist militia called Ansar al-Sharia, one of many such armed groups staking out fiefdoms in Libya in the aftermath of Muammar Gaddafi's fall, heard about the storming of the Cairo embassy and the American film.

Stevens had the misfortune to be making a short visit to Benghazi, and, according to US officials quoted on Wednesday, was probably not the intended target.

Bacile, whoever he is, was reported to have gone into hiding on Wednesday night. He spoke to AP from an undisclosed location, said he had not expected such a furious reaction, and criticised security at US diplomatic outposts. "I feel sorry for the embassy. I am mad," he said. But Bacile insisted that the movie would help Israel by exposing what he described as Islam's flaws to the world.

"My plan is to make a series of 200 hours," he claimed.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/movie-assault-us-consulate-libya

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Chris Stevens: career diplomat feted for his understanding and empathy

Chris McGreal

 12 September 2012

Tributes pour in for US ambassador whose humility, warmth and integrity won him friends across the Middle East

Chris Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya killed in the Benghazi embassy attack, sent an email to friends a couple of months ago commenting on how very different life in Tripoli was than his time there as a more junior diplomat in the Gaddafi years.

"The whole atmosphere has changed for the better," he wrote. "People smile more and are much more open with foreigners. Americans, French and British are enjoying unusual popularity. Let's hope it lasts!"

After two decades serving as a US diplomat in the Arab world and North Africa, Stevens was in the unusual position of a posting where Americans were feted by many ordinary people as being on the right side even if, as the email suggested, he remained firmly realistic about the difficulties of building a new Libya.

Yet it is a reflection of what friends and colleagues describe as Stevens' personal integrity as well as his diplomatic skills that after a history of postings where US policy has fallen short of proclaimed American values – from Jerusalem and Cairo to Damascus and Riyadh – he won friends in those places who came to trust him even if they didn't trust his government.

"I heard about his death when I was on the road and I just pulled over and cried," said Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli lawyer who has long battled the iniquities of the occupation. "We called him the senator. He was capable of expressing empathy with Israelis and Palestinians simultaneously in the same room without being one bit maudlin or romantic about it. This was real nobility. There was something of a clarity of vision. He was a humble person without being servile."

Stevens, 52 – a Californian, a graduate of Berkeley and briefly a trade lawyer – was set on his life's path as a diplomat in the Arab-speaking world after teaching English as a Peace Corps volunteer in Morocco's Atlas mountains.

Former colleagues who stayed lifelong friends describe him as unusually at ease with almost everyone and able to express genuine understanding for passionately held views on opposite sides of divides while remaining a firm realist. They said he was often sceptical about policies of the government he served yet firmly regarded the US as a force for good while attempting to nudge policy back in Washington.

"He believed that the US, and he had a role in this, can have a role in the world and can do good in the world," said Lara Friedman, a close friend of Stevens and former state department colleague who served in Jerusalem, Beirut and Tunis.

"He believed very much in what he was doing as a foreign service officer. He served in difficult places. He didn't shy away from complicated issues. He made friends wherever he went on all sides of every issue. He was actually interested in the people he was talking to. He met everybody at eye level."

Stevens did not shy away from droll and sometimes devastating observations about the Middle East but he was widely regarded as making them from a sympathetic understanding.

Among the Facebook messages posted was one from Ezzedine Choukri Fishere, an Egyptian novelist who knew Stevens while serving as a diplomat in Jerusalem: "One of the best people I met, an American who understood and empathized with the Arab predicament."

Stevens also had his doubts about those he served at times.

A decade ago he headed the political section of the US consulate in East Jerusalem – not an easy task. American diplomats – and British ones for that matter – who see the Israeli-Palestinian situation up close from Jerusalem, often find themselves privately at odds with the strongly pro-Israel positions of their governments.

Seidemann, who counted Stevens as a close friend, described him as having an "ironic" take on the situation.

"He had great familiarity with the details but never missing the big picture. Knowing that he was representing his government, even though he wasn't always entirely comfortable with its policies, and doing it splendidly," he said.

"He knew that Israelis and Palestinians were not blessed with Scandinavian temperaments and didn't let that affect his ability to engage them and engage empathetically. But he was not in any way operating in the world of delusion. He knew exactly what he was dealing with."

Stevens' doubts extended to the war in Iraq. He turned down a posting there because of his disagreement with what he regarded as the neoconservative-driven conflict.

In Jerusalem, Stevens was also known as a generous host who, unusually for a diplomat, had a wide circle of friends beyond the rarefied confines of the embassy world. Yet for all his openness, he was discreet about his private life.

He was the natural choice as the American liaison with the Libyan rebels once Washington made the decision to embrace the uprising last year having served in Tripoli in the Gaddafi years. Stevens arrived in the de facto rebel capital, Benghazi, in the midst of the uprising and made his way to a hotel where the leaders of the uprising were meeting a delegation of African peacemakers who were trying to press a ceasefire.

A large, well-armed crowd had gathered outside to make it known to the Africans that there would be no deal that kept Gadaffi in power and that they were not welcome.

Stevens stood at a window looking out on the scene and said that in his days serving in Tripoli he had never imagined such a thing could happen. He appeared to be genuinely excited and moved at the Libyan people's struggle to liberate themselves from a dictatorship that for the few years previously had been supported by the US and Britain.

With the revolution over, Stevens was named as ambassador to Libya in May. Friedman said he was excited at the prospect.

"He'd been through the whole war. He knew how complicated the politics were and how complicated the future was going to be and he was excited to be going out there," she said. "I attended his confirmation hearing and he believed his service there could make a difference for the people and for America's role there. I don't think I would ever use the word cynical to describe Chris."

Stevens recorded a video in Washington introducing himself to the Libyan people.

"I had the honour to serve as the US envoy to the Libyan opposition during the revolution, and I was thrilled to watch the Libyan people stand up and demand their rights. Now I am excited to return to Libya to continue the great work we started," he said in the video.

Seidemann said that for all Stevens' expression of hope, he did not lose sight of the challenges or dangers.

"He knew exactly where he was going when he took on this posting in Libya," said Seidemann. "He had no illusions. He knew he would be in harm's way and he didn't think twice about it."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/chris-stevens-diplomat-profile

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Muhammad film: reaction around the Middle East

Harriet Sherwood

12 September 2012

A film that sparked an attack on a US consulate in Libya has caused uproar from Algeria to Afghanistan

The film that sparked the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi caused uproar across the Muslim world. Protesters took to the streets in some countries, US citizens were warned to keep a low profile and public condemnations of the film were issued.

Afghanistan

The president, Hamid Karzai, condemned the movie, which he described as "inhuman and insulting". The US embassy in Kabul appealed to Afghan leaders for help "maintaining calm" over the film, a statement said.

An Afghan official said the government had temporarily blocked access to YouTube to prevent people from watching the film. Aimal Marjan, general director of information technology at the ministry of communications, said the site was blocked for about 90 minutes on Wednesday until YouTube took the video down.

Access to the site was then restored, he said. The government decided to temporarily deny access to YouTube because of concerns the video could spark protests, he added.

The Taliban called on Afghans to prepare for a fight against Americans and urged insurgents to "take revenge" on US soldiers.

"The Islamic Emirate calls on religious heads around the country to completely inform Muslim followers of the inhumane acts of Americans … and make them ready for a long-term fight," the group said in a statement, using the name it calls itself.

Earlier this year, Afghans rioted after US soldiers serving at Bagram prison north of Kabul mistakenly burned hundreds of Qur'ans and other religious materials.

Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood called for a nationwide demonstration on Friday to protest at "insults to the prophet". The rallying cry followed a protest in Cairo on Tuesday, in which Islamist demonstrators climbed the walls of the US embassy and tore down an American flag. Four people were later arrested, and security forces were searching for others who took part in the protest.

The Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, asked the Egyptian embassy in Washington to take legal action in the United States against makers of the film, the official state news agency said. Morsi had requested the mission take "all legal measures".

Mahmoud Hussein, the Muslim Brotherhood's secretary general, posted a message on the party's website calling for all Egyptians to join a "peaceful protest to condemn insults to religious convictions and insults to the prophet" after noon prayers on Friday in front of main mosques across Egypt.

Another group, the Salafi Call, demanded the suspension of co-operation between Egypt and the US "until [the US government] takes practical measures to stop this farce".

Gaza

Dozens of people joined a protest in Gaza City, some carrying swords, axes and black flags, and chanting: "Shame on everyone who insults the prophet," and: "Death to America." The rally was organised by supporters of the militant organisation the Popular Resistance Committees.

Hamas, the larger militant group that governs Gaza, also condemned the film.

Its religious affairs minister, Ismail Radwan, called it an "insult to the millions of Muslims all over the world".

Lebanon

Hezbollah condemned the film as an attack on religious belief which it said reflected western policy. In a statement that made no reference to the killing of US diplomats in Libya, the Shia militant group said the film was an "immoral act which represents the highest degree of aggression against the highest human right … for respect of beliefs and sanctities".

The film aimed to stir tensions and hatred between Muslims and Copts in Egypt and reflected "the true position of the American-Zionist alliance towards Islam and Muslims", it said.

"In this context, the statements of official US condemnation no longer fool anyone," Hezbollah said.

Algeria and Tunisia

US embassies in Algeria and Tunisia warned Americans to avoid crowded places, saying that even gatherings intended as peaceful could turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.

The Algiers embassy said unspecified groups were using online social networks to organise demonstrations "to protest a range of issues" there on Wednesday.

The statement out of Tunis cited "media reports" indicating protests were planned, but said the embassy remained open.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/muhammad-film-reaction-middle-east

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Libya's new democracy must not be derailed by the Benghazi murders

Oliver Miles

12 September 2012

Diplomats do not always get immunity: I lost several colleagues to terrorist attacks. But the US must show restraint in Libya

What are we to make of the murder of the American ambassador and members of his staff in Benghazi? What will be the consequences?

The murder of a serving ambassador is deeply shocking, not only for the obvious human reasons, but because it is a blow against the fabric of the international community in which we all live. The immunity that ambassadors enjoy is not simply a matter of duty-free alcohol and avoiding parking fines. It is essential for communication between governments in a world of nation states which are often hostile to each other if not actually at war.

There have, of course, always been such murders, and I have myself been close to some of them. In Aden, I lost a colleague and close friend, shot down in the street. Shortly after I left Athens, Britain's defence attaché was murdered by Greek terrorists as he drove to the embassy using a route I had used a hundred times myself. When I served as an ambassador (as I did in Libya, in 1984), I got used to an armed guard trailing around with me all day. I used to ask myself "is it really necessary?" – in peaceful Luxembourg, for example. But the British ambassador in The Hague had been murdered by the IRA.

Most Libyans will be shocked for other reasons, as well. The obligations of hospitality, of which Libyans are acutely conscious, have been flouted. America deserved well of Libya during the overthrow of Gaddafi last year, and US Ambassador Chris Stevens played his part in that. Libyans will blame a small minority of extremists: religious fanatics who have already outraged public opinion (for example, by their desecration of Sufi shrines, the tombs of saints, which are dear to the people).

The Libyan government will be acutely embarrassed. Although normal security in Libya is not bad, the Libyan government has yet to take control of the so-called militias, fighters who took up arms during the revolution last year. They are not in revolt against the government; yet, neither does the government enjoy the monopoly of force. Libya has, quite understandably, refused permission for international security companies to operate there, learning the lesson of Iraq. But this means that responsibility for security rests entirely with the state – and events, particularly the latest events in Benghazi, have shown that they are not yet up to it.

The background to the Benghazi murders may be complicated, with several factors at work. Part of the story was popular indignation at an American film insulting Islam and its prophet, which caused demonstrations, presumably coordinated, in other Muslim countries, as well. Another part may have been the killing a few months ago of Abu Yahya al-Libi, al-Qaida's Libyan second in command, by the US. His death was announced by al-Qaida on the anniversary of 9/11 with a call for revenge. More generally, there is deep bitterness throughout the Arab and Muslim world against America's actions in Iraq and Afghanistan and over the Palestinian question.

What happens next? Everything will depend on the reactions in Libya and the United States. Libya must take robust and effective action, while retaining the democratic standards it has fought so hard to achieve. This could be the testing time: the Libyan people know what has to be done and will respond to decent leadership.

The US will have to show restraint, insisting on a proper reaction from Libya, but not overwhelming it with disproportionate force. This would not be easy at any time, but is least of all so now when everything in Washington is done with an eye on electoral politics – as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's contemptible knee-jerk reaction makes all too clear.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/12/libya-democracy-benghazi-murders

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The tragic consulate killings in Libya and America's hierarchy of human life

Glenn Greenwald

12 September 2012

The murder of American staff over a hate film is an unmitigated wrong. But so are deaths caused by the US that go unremarked

Protesters attacked the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday night and killed four Americans, including the US ambassador, Chris Stevens. The attacks were triggered by rage over an amateurish and deeply hateful film about Islam that depicted the Prophet Muhammad as, among other things, a child molester advocate, a bloodthirsty goon, a bumbling idiot, and a promiscuous, philandering leech. A 13-minute trailer was uploaded to YouTube and then quickly circulated in the Muslim world, sparking widespread anger (the US embassy in Cairo was also attacked).

The anti-Islam film was written, directed and produced by an Israeli real estate developer living in California, Sam Bacile. He claimed, in an interview with Haaretz, that the film "cost $5m to make and was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors". Its purpose, as described by the Israeli newspaper, was to show that "Islam is a cancer" and to provide a "provocative political statement condemning the religion". It's hard to believe that the film – which is barely at the level of a poorly rehearsed high-school play – required $5m to make, but the intent seems clear: to provoke Muslims into exactly the sort of violent rage that we are now witnessing.

Events like this one are difficult to write about when they first happen because the raw emotion they produce often makes rational discussion impossible. A script quickly emerges from which All Decent People must recite, and any deviations are quickly detected and denounced. But given the magnitude of this event and the important points it raises, it is nonetheless worthwhile to examine it:

1) The deaths of Ambassador Stevens, a former Peace Corps volunteer and a dedicated Arabic-speaking career diplomat, and the other three American staff, are both a tragedy and a senseless outrage. Indiscriminately murdering people over a film, no matter how offensive it is, is an unmitigated wrong. The blame lies fully and completely with those who committed these murders.

2) Sam Bacile and his cowardly anonymous donors are repellent cretins for producing this bottom-feeding, bigoted, hateful "film" that has no apparent purpose but to spread anti-Islamic hatred and provoke violent reactions. But just as was true of the Qur'an burnings by Pastor Terry Jones (who, unsurprisingly, has a prominent role in promoting this film), or the Danish Muhammad cartoons before that, it is – and it should be – an absolute, unfettered free speech right to produce films no matter how offensive their content might be.

The US has steadily eroded free speech rights in the name of fighting terrorism by criminalizing pure political speech it deems dangerous and prosecuting Muslims who express those prohibited ideas. Attempts to constrain the rights of individuals to produce anti-Muslim films like the trash produced by Bacile and friends are just as dangerous and wrong as all other efforts to constrain free speech. Free speech is a vital liberty – arguably, the central one – and what it means, at its core, is that the right to express even the most repellent and inflammatory ideas is just as inviolable as the right to express inoffensive or conventional ones.

3) It is hard not to notice, and be disturbed by, the vastly different reactions whenever innocent Americans are killed, as opposed to when Americans are doing the killing of innocents. All the rage and denunciations of these murders in Benghazi are fully justified, but one wishes that even a fraction of that rage would be expressed when the US kills innocent men, women and children in the Muslim world, as it frequently does. Typically, though, those deaths are ignored, or at best justified with amoral bureaucratic phrases ("collateral damage") or self-justifying cliches ("war is hell"), which Americans have been trained to recite.

It is understandable that the senseless killing of an ambassador is bigger news than the senseless killing of an unknown, obscure Yemeni or Pakistani child. But it's anything but understandable to regard the former as more tragic than the latter. Yet there's no denying that the same people today most vocally condemning the Benghazi killings are quick and eager to find justification when the killing of innocents is done by their government, rather than aimed at it.

It's as though there are two types of crimes: killing, and then the killing of Americans. The way in which that latter phrase is so often invoked, with such intensity, emotion and scorn, reveals that it is viewed as the supreme crime: this is not just the tragic deaths of individuals, but a blow against the Empire; it therefore sparks particular offense. It is redolent of those in conquered lands being told they will be severely punished because they have raised their hand against a citizen of Rome.

Just compare the way in which the deaths of Americans on 9/11, even more than a decade later, are commemorated with borderline religious solemnity, as opposed to the deaths of the hundreds of thousands of foreign Muslims caused by the US, which are barely ever acknowledged. There is a clear hierarchy of human life being constantly reinforced by this mentality, and it is deeply consequential.

This is a vital process for enabling and justifying endless aggression. It is a way of dehumanizing those who are killed by the US while venerating American lives above all others. As the media watchdog group Media Lens put it today:

"A crucial task is to perceive how our compassion is channeled towards some and away from others. It's the foundation of all mass violence."

The death of Ambassador Stevens and the three Americans who died with him is as tragic as the constant killing of innocent people by the US, but not more so.

4) The two political parties in the US wasted no time in displaying their vulgar attributes by rushing to squeeze these events for political gain. Democratic partisans immediately announced that "exploiting US deaths" – by which they mean criticizing President Obama – "is ugly, unwise".

That standard is as ludicrous as it is hypocritical. Democrats routinely "exploited US deaths" – in Iraq, Afghanistan, and from 9/11 – in order to attack President Bush and the Republican party, and they were perfectly within their rights to do so. When bad things happen involving US foreign policy, it is perfectly legitimate to speak out against the president and to identify his actions or inaction that one believes are to blame for those outcomes. These are political events, and they are inherently and necessarily "politicized".

It's one thing to object to specific criticisms of Obama here as illegitimate and ugly, as some of those criticisms undoubtedly were (see below). But trying to impose some sort of general prohibition on criticizing Obama – on the ground that Americans have died and this is a crisis – smacks of the worst debate-suppressing tactics of the GOP circa 2003. (To his credit, one of the Democrats making those claims today subsequently acknowledged his error and wrote: "Obviously there's nothing wrong with criticizing the president, even during a crisis.")

But in this case, what the GOP and Mitt Romney did is substantially worse. As the attacks unfolded, Romney quickly issued a statement, based on the response of the US embassy in Egypt, accusing Obama of "sympathiz[ing] with those who waged the attacks" (the Obama White House repudiated the statement from the embassy in Cairo). The chairman of the GOP, Reince Preibus, unloaded on the world this disgusting tweet: "Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic".

These accusations were all pure fiction and self-evidently ugly; they prompted incredulous condemnations even from media figures who pride themselves on their own neutrality.

But this is the story of the GOP. Faced with a president whose record is inept and horrible in many key respects, they somehow find a way to be even more inept and horrible themselves. Here, they had a real political opportunity to attack Obama – if US diplomats are killed and embassies stormed, it makes the president appear weak and ineffectual – but they are so drowning in their own blinding extremism and hate-driven bile, so wedded to their tired and moronic political attacks (unpatriotic Democrats love America's Muslim enemies!), that they cannot avoid instantly self-destructing. Within a matter of hours, they managed to turn a politically dangerous situation for Obama into yet more evidence of their unhinged, undisciplined radicalism.

5) Drawing conclusions about Libya, and the US intervention there, from this situation would be unfair and far too premature. This does, however, highlight the rampant violence, lawlessness, militia thuggery, and general instability that has plagued that country since Gadaffi's removal from power. Moreover, given all the questions, largely ignored, about who it was exactly whom the US was arming and empowering in that country during the intervention, and what the unexpected consequences of doing that might be, it is vital to know how the attackers came into possession of rocket-propelled grenades and other heavy weaponry.

This event also serves as a crucial reminder, yet again, that merely removing a heinous dictator is not proof that the intervention was successful, just or worthwhile. To assess that question, one must know what will follow in that country, for its people, once the intervening powers have removed the government. Declarations of victory and vindication over the intervention in Libya have always been premature, self-serving and baseless – precisely because that crucial fact is yet unknown. We can only hope that Tuesday's events do not presage a depressing answer to that question.

In sum, one should by all means condemn and mourn the tragic deaths of these Americans in Benghazi. But the deaths would not be in vain if they caused us to pause and reflect much more than we normally do on the impact of the deaths of innocents which America itself routinely causes.

UPDATE: There are two developments in this story which, though they do not affect any of the observations I made, should be noted as they are at odds with some of the earlier reports: (1) although the Haaretz report was (and remains) quite definitive that the filmmaker is an Israeli named Sam Bacile, doubts have now been raised about the identity of the actual filmmaker, and (2) an anonymous US official claims that the attack was preplanned to coincide with 9/11, and the attackers exploited the protests over the film as a diversion. Neither of those claims is proven.

UPDATE II: AP does further work investigating the identity of "Sam Bacile", and traces the genesis of the film to a Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, living in California. Also note that, contrary to what I indicated the above, the article in Haaretz I referenced which featured the interview with "Sam Bacile" was actually an Associated Press article that Haaretz carried.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/12/tragic-consulate-killings-libya

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US sends Marines to Libya after deadly attack

Sep 13, 2012

BENGHAZI: The US dispatched an elite group of Marines to Tripoli on Wednesday after the mob attack that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans. Officials were investigating whether the rampage was a backlash to an anti-Islamic video with ties to Coptic Christians or a plot to coincide with the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Tuesday's stunning attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi poses a daunting task for US and Libyan investigators: searching for the culprits in a city rife with heavy weapons, multiple militias, armed Islamist groups and little police control.

The one-story villa that serves as the consulate was a burned-out wreck after the crowd armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades rampaged through it. Slogans of "God is great" and "Muhammad is God's Prophet" were scrawled across its scorched walls. Libyan civilians strolled freely in charred rooms with furniture and papers strewn everywhere.

President Barack Obama vowed in a Rose Garden address that the US would "work with the Libyan government to bring to justice" those who killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, information manager Sean Smith and two other Americans who were not identified. Three other Americans were wounded.

Stevens was the first US ambassador killed in the line of duty in 30 years.

"We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, but there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None," said Obama, who also ordered increased security at US diplomatic posts abroad.

Republican Mitt Romney accused the Obama administration of showing weakness in the consulate killings, but the president retorted that his rival "seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later." Some in the Republican Party called Romney's remarks hasty.

The mob attack on Tuesday -- the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist strike in the US -- was initially presumed to have been a spontaneous act triggered by outrage over a movie called "Innocence of Muslims" that mocked Islam's Prophet Muhammad that was produced in the US and excerpted on YouTube. The amateurish video also drew protests in Cairo, where angry ultraconservatives climbed the US Embassy's walls, tore down an American flag and replaced it with an Islamic banner.

But a US counterterrorism official said the Benghazi violence was "too coordinated or professional" to be spontaneous. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the incident publicly.

The FBI was sending evidence teams to Libya, a law enforcement official said.

Libya's new leadership -- scrambling to preserve ties with Washington after US help to overthrow former dictator Moammar Gaddafi -- vowed to find those behind the attack. Interim President Mohammed el-Megarif apologized to the United States for what he called the "cowardly" assault, which also killed several Libyan security guards at the consulate in the eastern city.

Parliament speaker Omar al-Houmidan suggested the attack might have been planned, saying the mob "may have had foreign loyalties" -- an apparent reference to international terrorists. "We are not sure. Everything is possible," he said.

A Libyan jihadist group, the Omar Abdel-Rahman Brigades, claimed responsibility for a bomb that went off outside the Benghazi consulate in June, causing no injuries. The group, which also carried out several attacks on the International Red Cross in Libya, said at the time that the bomb was revenge for the killing of al-Qaida's No. 2, Abu Yahya al-Libi, in a US drone strike in Pakistan.

About 50 US Marines were sent to Libya to guard US diplomatic facilities. The Marines are members of an elite group known as a Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team, or FAST, whose role is to respond on short notice to terrorism threats and to reinforce security at embassies.

The Marines, sent from a base in Spain, were headed initially to the US Embassy in Tripoli, not to Benghazi, according to US officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

The consulate attack illustrated the breakdown in security in Libya, where the government is still trying to establish authority months after Gaddafi's fall.

There also were indications that two distinct attacks took place -- one on the consulate, then a second hours later early Wednesday on a nearby house to which the staff had been evacuated.

The crowd of several thousand that descended on the consulate was armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, said Wanis el-Sharef, the deputy interior minister of Libya's eastern region.

A small contingent of Libyan security protecting the facility fired in the air, trying to intimidate the mob. But faced with superior size and firepower, the Libyan security withdrew, el-Sharef said. Gunmen stormed the building, looted its contents and torched it, he said.

Details of how the Americans were killed were still unclear.

Stevens, 52, and a consulate staffer who had stayed behind in the building died in the initial attack, el-Sharef said. The rest of the staff successfully evacuated to a nearby building, preparing to move to Benghazi Airport after daybreak to fly to the capital of Tripoli, he said.

Hours after the storming of the consulate, a separate group of gunmen attacked the other building, opening fire on the more than 30 Americans and Libyans inside. Two more Americans were killed, he said.

Dr. Ziad Abu Zeid, who treated Stevens, told The Associated Press that he died of asphyxiation, apparently from smoke. In a sign of the chaos, Stevens was brought by Libyans to the Benghazi Medical Center with no other Americans, and no one at the facility knew who he was, Abu Zeid said.

He said he tried to revive Stevens for about 90 minutes "with no success." The ambassador was bleeding in his stomach because of the asphyxiation but had no other injuries, the doctor said.

Widely regarded as one of the most effective American envoys to the Arab world, Stevens brokered tribal disputes and conducted US outreach efforts in Jerusalem, Cairo, Damascus and Riyadh. As a rising star in US foreign policy, he retuned to Libya four months ago, determined to see a democracy rise where Gadhafi's dictatorship flourished for four decades.

Smith, 34, was an Air Force veteran who had worked as an information management officer for 10 years in posts such as Brussels, Baghdad and Pretoria. Smith was also well-known in the video game community.

The bloodshed stunned many Libyans, especially since Stevens was a popular envoy among different factions and politicians, including Islamists, and was seen as a supporter of their uprising against Gadhafi.

The leader of Ansar al-Shariah, an armed ultraconservative Islamist group, denied any involvement in the attack.

"We never approve of killing civilians, especially those who helped us," Youssef Jihani said in a reference to Stevens. "We are well-educated and religious."

The violence in Libya raised worries that further protests could break out around the Muslim world, but the reaction was limited.

The movie, "Innocence of Muslims," came to attention in Egypt after its trailer was dubbed into Arabic and posted on YouTube. The video-sharing website blocked access to it on Wednesday. The trailer depicts Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a madman in an overtly ridiculing way, showing him having sex and calling for massacres.

In Cairo, some 200 Islamists staged a second day of protest outside the US Embassy on Wednesday, but there were no more attempts to scale the embassy walls. After nightfall, the group dwindled and some protesters scuffled with police, who fired tear gas and dispersed them, emptying the streets.

In a statement on his official Facebook page, Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, condemned the movie, saying the government was responsible for protecting diplomatic missions as well as the freedom of speech and peaceful protest.

But, he added, authorities "will confront with full determination any irresponsible attempt to break the law."

Romney's criticism of Obama didn't mesh completely with events in Cairo.

A US Embassy statement that Romney referred to as akin to apology was issued by the Cairo embassy at midday on Tuesday at a time the staff was aware of still-peaceful demonstrations nearby. It was four or five hours later when the mob breached the compound's walls and tried to burn a US flag, and later still when the Libya attack happened.

The embassy statement condemned "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions," and noted that religious freedom is a cornerstone of American democracy.

About 50 protesters burned American flags outside the US Embassy in Tunisia's capital on Wednesday but were kept away from the building by reinforced security. And in Gaza City, dozens of protesters carrying swords, axes and black flags chanted "Shame on everyone who insults the prophet." The rally was organized by supporters of a militant group aligned with the ruling Hamas movement.

Afghanistan's government sought to avert any protests. President Hamid Karzai condemned the movie, and authorities also temporarily shut down access to YouTube, said Aimal Marjan, general director of Information Technology at the Ministry of Communications.

The search for those behind "Innocence of Muslims" led to a California Coptic Christian convicted of financial crimes who acknowledged his role in managing and providing logistics for the production.

A man identifying himself as Sam Bacile told the AP on Tuesday that he wrote, produced and directed the film.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, told the AP in an interview outside Los Angeles that he was manager for the company that produced "Innocence of Muslims."

Nakoula denied directing the film and said he knew Bacile. But the cellphone number that the AP used Tuesday to reach the man who identified himself as Bacile was traced to the same address near Los Angeles where the AP found Nakoula. Federal court papers said Nakoula's aliases included Nicola Bacily, Erwin Salameh and others.

Nakoula told the AP that he was a Coptic Christian and said the film's director supported the concerns of Christian Copts about their treatment by Muslims.

Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was also sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.

Nakoula denied posing as Bacile. During a conversation outside his home, he offered his driver's license to show his identity but kept his thumb over his middle name, Basseley. Records checks by the AP subsequently found the name "Basseley" and other connections to the Bacile persona.

Bacile told the AP he was an Israeli-born, 56-year-old, Jewish writer and director. But a Christian activist involved in the film project, Steve Klein, said Wednesday that "Bacile" was a pseudonym, that he was not Jewish or Israeli, and a group of Americans of Mideast origin collaborated on the film. Officials in Israel also said there was no record of Bacile as an Israeli citizen.

And even though Bacile told AP he was 56, he identified himself on his YouTube profile as 74. Bacile also said he is a real estate developer, but his name does not appear in searches of California state licenses, including the Department of Real Estate.

Film industry groups and permit agencies said they had no records of "Innocence of Muslims." A man who answered a phone listed for the Vine Theater, a faded Hollywood movie house, confirmed the movie had run for a least a day, and possibly longer, several months ago, arranged by a customer known as "Sam."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/US-sends-Marines-to-Libya-after-deadly-attack/articleshow/16378841.cms

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Envoy killing: US sends destroyers, 50-member marine unit to Libya

September 13, 2012

US President Barack Obama branded the attack that killed the ambassador to Libya and three other Americans as "outrageous" on Wednesday and vowed to track down the perpetrators, while ordering a tightening of diplomatic security worldwide. The United States dispatched two destroyers

to Libya and deployed a Marine team to bolster security at its Tripoli embassy after its ambassador was killed in Benghazi.

The decision to move the ships and a roughly 50-member Marine unit to Libya comes after Washington's envoy and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday.

The ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and the other Americans died after Islamist gunmen attacked the US consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi on Tuesday night. The attackers were part of a mob blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.

The violence in the eastern city, a cradle of Libya's U.S.-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi last year, came on the 11th anniversary of al Qaeda's attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. Another assault was mounted on the US embassy in Cairo in which protesters, who included Islamists and teenage soccer fans, tore down and burned a US flag.

Stevens, 52, became the first US ambassador killed in such an attack since Adolph Dubs, the US envoy to Afghanistan, died in a kidnapping attempt in 1979. Envoy nurtured Libyan democracy

US government officials said the Benghazi attack may have been planned in advance and there were indications that members of a militant faction calling itself Ansar al Sharia - which translates as Supporters of Islamic Law - may have been involved.

They also said some reporting from the region suggested that members of Al-Qaeda's north Africa-based affiliate, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may have been involved.

"It bears the hallmarks of an organized attack," one US official said. However, some US officials cautioned against assuming that the attacks were deliberately organized to coincide with the Sept 11 anniversary.

Security personnel were separated from Stevens during the attack, US officials said, describing a chaotic scene of smoke, gunfire and confusion.

A US official said Washington had ordered the evacuation of all US personnel from Benghazi to Tripoli and was reducing staffing in the capital to emergency levels.

The US military is moving two Navy destroyers toward the Libyan coast, giving the Obama administration flexibility for any future action against Libyan targets, according to a US official. The military also is dispatching a Marine Corps anti-terrorist security team to boost security in Libya.

The violence in Benghazi and Cairo threatened to spread to other Muslim countries.

Police fired teargas at angry demonstrators outside the U.S. embassy in Tunisia and several hundred people gathered in front of the US embassy in Sudan. In Morocco, a few dozen protesters burned American flags and chanted slogans near the US consulate in Casablanca.

Obama said the world must unite against such "brutal acts" as the assault in Libya.

"The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack," he said, while insisting it would not threaten relations with Libya's new government. "... And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people."

Libyan leader Mohammed Magarief apologized to the United States over an attack.

US SECURITY STEPPED UP WORLDWIDE

Obama said he had ordered an increase in security at US diplomatic posts around the globe.

The attacks could alter US attitudes towards the wave of revolutions across the Arab world that toppled secularist authoritarian leaders in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and brought Islamists to power.

The violence also could have an impact on the closely contested US presidential race ahead of the Nov 6 election.

Republican Mitt Romney, Obama's challenger, criticized the president's response to the crisis. He said the timing of a statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo denouncing "efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims" made Obama look weak as protesters were attacking US missions.

Romney said it was "disgraceful" to be seen to be apologizing for American values of free speech. Obama's campaign accused Romney of trying to score political points at a time of national tragedy. Obama said Romney has a tendency "to shoot first and aim later."

Libyan deputy interior minister Wanis al-Sharif said Stevens and another diplomat died as a result of the consulate attack, while the other Americans died in what a Libyan military officer called an intense and highly accurate mortar attack on the safe house.

Ziad Abu Zaid, the duty doctor in the emergency room at Benghazi Medical Centre on Tuesday, said he had treated Stevens.

"He came in a state of cardiac arrest. I performed CPR for 45 minutes, but he died of asphyxiation due to smoke inhalation."

US officials said Stevens, information technology specialist Sean Smith and one security officer were trapped under fire in the burning consulate building.

The security officer made it outside and returned with help to search for the diplomats, officials said. The searchers found Smith, who was already dead, but were unable to find Stevens amid repeated exchanges of gunfire between Libyan security forces and the attackers over the next several hours.

"At some point in all of this ... we believe that Ambassador Stevens got out of the building and was taken to a hospital in Benghazi. We do not have any information on what his condition was at that time," a senior US official said.

Stevens' body was later returned to US custody at Benghazi airport, the official said.

Images of Stevens, purportedly taken after he died, circulated on the Internet. One image showed him being carried, with a white shirt pulled up and a cut on his forehead.

Two more Americans died when a squad of U.S. troops sent by helicopter from Tripoli to rescue the diplomats from the safe house came under mortar attack, said Captain Fathi al-Obeidi, commander of a Libyan special operations unit ordered to meet the Americans.

"It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it," Sharif said of the safe house.

Western countries denounced the Benghazi killings and Russia expressed deep concern, saying the episode underscored the need for global cooperation to fight "the evil of terrorism."

The attack raised questions about the future U.S. diplomatic presence in Libya, relations between Washington and Tripoli, and the unstable security situation after Gaddafi's overthrow.

Witnesses said the mob at the consulate included tribesmen, militia and other gunmen. Hamam, a 17-year-old who took part in the attack, said Ansar al-Sharia cars arrived at the start of the protest but left once fighting started.

"The protesters were running around the compound just looking for Americans, they just wanted to find an American so they could catch one," he said.

'WE STARTED SHOOTING AT THEM'

"We started shooting at them, and then some other people also threw hand-made bombs over the fences and started the fires in the buildings," he said.

"There was some Libyan security for the embassy outside but when the hand-made bombs went off they ran off and left."

Hamam said he saw an American die in front of him in the mayhem that ensued.

He said the body was covered in ash.

Clips of the "Innocence of Muslims," the film that stirred the deadly attacks, had been circulating on the Internet for weeks before protests erupted.

For many Muslims, any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous and caricatures or other characterisations have in the past provoked protests all over the Muslim world.

Many Muslim states focused their condemnation on the film and will be concerned about preventing a repeat of the fallout seen after publication in a Danish newspaper of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. This touched off riots in the Middle East, Africa and Asia in 2006 in which at least 50 people died.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called the making of the movie a "devilish act" but said he was certain those involved in its production were a very small minority.

The US embassy in Kabul appealed to Afghan leaders for help in "maintaining calm" and Afghanistan shut down the YouTube site so Afghans would not be able to see the film.

General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, took the unusual step of telephoning a radical Florida Christian pastor, Terry Jones, and asking him to withdraw his support for the film. Earlier provocative acts by Jones, like publicly burning a Koran, had sparked Muslim unrest.

In Egypt, Prime Minister Hisham Kandil called on Washington to act against the film's makers for stirring up strife but condemned the violence.

'SMALL AND SAVAGE GROUP'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the attack was the work of a "small and savage group."

US ambassadors in such volatile countries as Libya have tight security, usually travelling in well-protected convoys. Diplomatic missions are normally protected by Marines or other special forces.

Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, spokesman for Libya's Supreme Security Committee, said Libyan security forces came under heavy fire and "were not prepared for the intensity of the attack."

Security experts say the area around Benghazi is host to a number of Islamist militant groups who oppose any Western presence in Muslim countries.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/NorthAmerica/Envoy-killing-US-sends-destroyers-50-member-marine-unit-to-Libya/Article1-929075.aspx

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Origins of Provocative Video Are Shrouded

By ADAM NAGOURNEY

Sep 13, 2012

LOS ANGELES — The film that set off violence across North Africa was made in obscurity somewhere in the sprawl of Southern California, and promoted by a network of right-wing Christians with a history of animosity directed toward Muslims. When a 14-minute trailer of it — all that may actually exist — was posted on YouTube in June, it was barely noticed.

But when the video, with its almost comically amateurish production values, was translated into Arabic and reposted twice on YouTube in the days before Sept. 11, and promoted by leaders of the Coptic diaspora in the United States, it drew nearly one million views and set off bloody demonstrations.

The history of the film — who financed it; how it was made; and perhaps most important, how it was translated into Arabic and posted on YouTube to Muslim viewers — was shrouded Wednesday in tales of a secret Hollywood screening; a director who may or may not exist, and used a false name if he did; and actors who appeared, thanks to computer technology, to be traipsing through Middle Eastern cities. One of its main producers, Steve Klein, a Vietnam veteran whose son was severely wounded in Iraq, is notorious across California for his involvement with anti-Muslim actions, from the courts to schoolyards to a weekly show broadcast on Christian radio in the Middle East.

Yet as much of the world was denouncing the violence that had spread across the Middle East, Mr. Klein — an insurance salesman in Hemet, Calif., a small town two hours east of here — proclaimed the video a success at portraying what he has long argued was the infamy of the Muslim world, even as he chuckled at the film’s amateur production values.

“We have reached the people that we want to reach,” he said in an interview. “And I’m sure that out of the emotion that comes out of this, a small fraction of those people will come to understand just how violent Muhammad was, and also for the people who didn’t know that much about Islam. If you merely say anything that’s derogatory about Islam, then they immediately go to violence, which I’ve experienced.”

Mr. Klein has a long history of making controversial and erroneous claims about Islam. He said the film had been shown at a screening at a theater “100 yards or so” from Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood over the summer, drawing what he suggested was a depressingly small audience. He declined to specify what theater might have shown it, and theater owners in the vicinity of the busy strip said they had no record of any such showing.

The amateurish video opens with scenes of Egyptian security forces standing idle as Muslims pillage and burn the homes of Coptic Christians. Then it cuts to cartoonish scenes depicting the Prophet Muhammad as a child of uncertain parentage, a buffoon, a womanizer, a homosexual, a child molester and a greedy, bloodthirsty thug.

Even as Mr. Klein described his role in the film as incidental, James Horn, a friend who has worked with Mr. Klein in anti-Muslim activities for several years, said he believed Mr. Klein was involved in providing technical assistance to the film and advice on the script. Mr. Horn said he called Mr. Klein on Wednesday. “I said, ‘Steve, did you do this?’ He said, ‘Yep.’ ”

As the movie, “Innocence of Muslims,” drew attention across the globe, it was unclear whether a full version exists. Executives at Hollywood agencies said they had never heard of it. Hollywood unions said they had no involvement. Casting directors said they did not recognize the actors in the 14-minute YouTube clip that purports to be a trailer for a longer film. Production offices had no records for a movie of that name. There was a 2009 casting call in BackStage, however, for a film called “Desert Warrior” whose producer is listed as Sam Bassiel.

That name is quite similar to the one that Mr. Klein, in the interview, said was the director of his film. He spelled it Sam Basile, though he added that was not the director’s real name. Mr. Klein said he met Mr. Basile while scouting mosques in Southern California, “locating who I thought were terrorists.”

An actress who played the role of a mother in the film said in an interview that the director had originally told cast members that the film was “Desert Warriors” and would depict ancient life. Now, she said, she feels duped, angry and sad. “When I looked at the trailer, it was nothing like what we had done. There was not even a character named Muhammad in what we originally put together,” said the actress, who asked that her name not be used for fear of her safety.

She said she had spoken on Wednesday to the film’s director, whose last name she said was spelled Basil. She said he told her that he made the film because he was upset with Muslims killing innocent people.

The original idea for the film, Mr. Klein said, was to lure hard-core Muslims into a screening of the film thinking they were seeing a movie celebrating Islam. “And when they came in they would see this movie and see the truth, the facts, the evidence and the proof,” he said. “So I said, yeah, that’s a good idea.”

Among the film’s promoters was Terry Jones, the Gainesville, Fla., preacher whose burning of the Koran led to widespread protests in Afghanistan. Mr. Jones said Wednesday that he has not seen the full video.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Mr. Jones on Wednesday and asked him to consider withdrawing his support for the video. Mr. Jones described the conversation as “cordial,” but said he had not decided what he would do because he had yet to see the full film.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said Mr. Klein taught combat training to members of California’s Church at Kaweah, which the center described as a “a combustible mix of guns, extreme antigovernment politics and religious extremism” and an institution that had an “obsession with Muslims.”

Warren Campbell, the pastor of the church, said that Mr. Klein had come to the congregation twice to talk about Islam. He said the law center’s report on his church was filled “with distortions and lies.” The center also said that Mr. Klein was the founder of Courageous Christians United, which conducts demonstrations outside abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques. Mr. Klein also has ties to the Minuteman movement.

Mr. Horn said Mr. Klein was motivated by the near-death of his son, who Mr. Horn said had served in the United States Army in Iraq and was wounded in Falluja. “That cemented Steve’s feelings about it,” he said.

Although Mr. Horn described Mr. Klein as connected to the Coptic community in Los Angeles — and Morris Sadek, the leader of a Washington-based Coptic organization, had promoted the film on the Web — Bishop Serapion of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles said he did not know of Mr. Klein. “We condemn this film,” he said. “Our Christian teaching is we have to respect people of other faiths.”

Reporting was contributed by Brooks Barnes, Michael Cieply and Ian Lovett from Los Angeles; Jason Henry from Gainesville, Fla.; Lizette Alvarez from Miami; Serge F. Kovaleski and Andrea Elliott from New York; and Elisabeth Bumiller from Washington. Kitty Bennett and Jack Styczynski contributed research from New York.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 12, 2012

An earlier version of this article mispelled the name of a bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles. It is Serapion, not Serapian.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/world/middleeast/origins-of-provocative-video-shrouded.html?ref=world&gwh=4AB772523EFBAEB5EFB1421A185839D2

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Struggle for Ideological Upper Hand in Muslim World Seen as Factor in Attacks

By ROBERT F. WORTH

Sep 13, 2012

DOHA, Qatar — The Arab uprisings have appeared to offer a new bridge in the anguished relationship between the United States and the Muslim world, perhaps most of all in Libya, where American firepower helped oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi and earned the United States deep popular gratitude.

A history of mutual suspicion seemed to be giving way to a shared language of civic rights and freedoms; American visitors are often still greeted with smiles and hugs.

But on Wednesday, in the wake of angry anti-American protests and the killing of the American ambassador and three other diplomatic workers in Benghazi, Libya, there was a return to sadly familiar ground. The cause, as in earlier riots that followed the burning of Korans in Afghanistan and the publication of anti-Islamic cartoons in Denmark, was a perceived blasphemy — in this case a video clip that denigrated the Prophet Muhammad.

Once again, Muslims were furious, and many in the West found themselves asking why Islam seems to routinely answer such desecrations with violence.

But the attacks, analysts say, might have less to do with any intrinsic Muslim intolerance than with the ideological chaos that reigns in the Arab world, where extremists routinely exploit popular anger and invoke Islam to draw attention to fundamentally political and even internecine goals. Those radicals might even include jihadis loyal to Al Qaeda, which has made clear that it hopes to win new followers in Libya and other Arab Spring countries. American officials said Wednesday they suspected the attack that killed the ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, was planned, though many details still remain uncertain, including the identity of the killers.

Bernard Haykel, a professor of Middle East studies at Princeton University, said, “It’s true that there are sanctions against insulting the Prophet, but this is really about political or symbolic opportunists, who use religious symbols to advance their own power or prestige against other groups.”

Libya and Egypt are especially vulnerable to this kind of contest over symbols and power; their new national governments are still insecure about the exercise of authority, and newly empowered ultraconservative religious groups — mostly known as Salafis — are keen to assert their visibility and influence against other factions. Libya, in particular, remains a checkerboard of militias, some of them composed of Salafis, who have proved themselves capable of intimidating the newly elected government.

“Who’s going to control these people?” said Tarik Yousef, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who is also the son of Libya’s interim president, Mohammed Yousef Magarief. “Some of these Salafi groups claim to operate under the banner of the Interior Ministry.”

At the same time, there were outpourings of rage across Libya on Wednesday against the killers and against the Salafis more generally. In addition to demonstrations in Tripoli and Benghazi, Twitter was inundated with pro-American messages by young Libyans; several of them pleaded for the United States Marines to come and crush the Salafis.

In Egypt, too, Salafis have become powerful in the newly elected Parliament, and anti-Americanism remains a resonant way to gain attention. But the attack on the American Embassy in Cairo — unlike the one that killed Mr. Stevens — appears to have been spontaneous, led by Egyptians genuinely angered by news of the film clip, distributed on YouTube, which portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a confused, bloodthirsty pedophile of uncertain parentage.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood reacted to the Cairo protests with statements that illustrated its need to rein in the popular anger while maintaining its role as the mainstream voice of Islam: it implicitly criticized the violence of the embassy attack while calling for peaceful nationwide protests against the video on Friday.

As in earlier violence after the accusations that Islamic symbols had been desecrated, the nature of modern communications bears a heavy share of blame: a single match lighted by an anti-Islamic zealot in Florida can — again via YouTube — ignite deadly riots a world away. Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who provoked riots in 2010 and 2011 by threatening to burn (and later burning) a Koran at his church, has promoted the new film clip, amplifying the controversy.

But the fury also has roots in the slow breakdown of religious authority in the Islamic world over the past century or more, an erosion that has allowed self-appointed interpreters to render instant judgment on issues that might once have been left to established, respected figures. In the past, even an insult to the Prophet would have to be investigated in accord with Islamic jurisprudence before anyone was licensed to take action.

“People used to look to their local imams on matters of faith and interpretation,” said Michael A. Reynolds, also a professor of Middle East studies at Princeton. “But in a more mobile and transnational world, with more people living in cities and much higher rates of literacy, it’s easier for ideologues and extremists to assert their own views.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/world/middleeast/ideological-struggle-seen-in-middle-east-attacks.html?ref=world&gwh=E7AFC4C52F627A687FB44A7F9C93FA6A

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Spotlight Is on Libya, but Bigger Challenge for White House May Lie in Egypt

By HELENE COOPER and MARK LANDLER

Sep 13, 2012

WASHINGTON — For all the harrowing images of the deadly attack on the American mission in Benghazi, the Obama administration is grappling with the possibility that its far bigger long-term problem lies in Egypt, not Libya.

Hours before the attacks in Benghazi on Tuesday, the American Embassy in Cairo came under siege from protesters. While the violence there did not result in any American deaths, the tepid response from the Egyptian government to the assault gave officials in Washington — already troubled by the direction of President Mohamed Morsi’s new Islamist government — further cause for concern.

President Obama telephoned Mr. Morsi and the president of Libya’s National Assembly, the White House said early on Thursday, in calls that seemed different in tone, suggesting dissatisfaction with Cairo’s response as opposed to Tripoli’s.

To Mohammed Magarief, the leader of Libya’s National Assembly, Mr. Obama “expressed appreciation for the cooperation we have received from the Libyan government and people in responding to this outrageous attack,” the White House said in a statement.

To Mr. Morsi, there was no mention of of appreciation. Instead, the White House said in a separate but parallel statement that Mr. Obama “underscored the importance of Egypt following through on its commitment to cooperate with the United States in securing U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel.”

President Obama, speaking in the Rose Garden on Wednesday, pointedly noted that Libyan authorities had tried to help the American effort to protect diplomats in Benghazi. “This attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya,” Mr. Obama said. The Libyans “helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned he had died,” he added, referring to the envoy J. Christopher Stevens.

The president found less reason to be pleased with Egypt, the second-largest recipient of American foreign aid after Israel, at $2 billion a year. Mr. Morsi issued only a mild rebuke of the rioters — and on Facebook — while his movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, has called for a second day of protests against the lurid anti-Muslim video that set off the riots. And though the Egyptian police coordinated with American officials, Mr. Morsi waited 24 hours before issuing his statement against the militants who stormed the embassy; Libyan authorities issued immediate, unequivocal statements of regret for the bloodshed in Benghazi.

Mr. Obama seemed to indicate that the American relationship with Egypt is evolving. “I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy,” he said in an interview with Telemundo that was broadcast Wednesday night on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. “I think it’s still a work in progress, but certainly in this situation, what we’re going to expect is that they are responsive to our insistence that our embassy is protected, our personnel is protected.”

For the United States, “politically the bigger issue is Egypt,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former United States ambassador to Israel. “On the one hand, you didn’t have Americans getting killed, but this was the fourth time an embassy was assaulted in Cairo with the Egyptian police doing precious little,” Mr. Indyk said. “And where was President Morsi’s condemnation of this?”

Several foreign policy experts said they worried that Mr. Morsi was putting appeasement of his country’s Islamist population ahead of national security. That comes on top of other moves by his government, including restrictions on press freedom and squabbling with Israel over how to crack down on terrorists taking root in the Sinai Peninsula.

While the killing of Mr. Stevens is a “tragedy,” said Robert Malley, Middle East and North Africa program director at the International Crisis Group, “in the longer term, Libya mainly is a problem for Libyans.” What happens in Egypt, by contrast, from “popular attitudes toward the U.S., to its domestic economy, to relations between the Muslim Brotherhood and the army, to relations between Cairo and Jerusalem, to the situation in Sinai, will profoundly affect the region, and so will profoundly affect America’s posture in the region,” he said.

What makes Egypt’s uncertain course so vexing for the White House is that Mr. Obama, more than any other foreign leader, has sided again and again with the Arab street in Cairo, even when it meant going expressly against the wishes of traditional allies, including the Egyptian military, the Persian Gulf states and Israel.

As recently as June, Mr. Obama was calling on the Egyptian military to quickly hand over power to the democratically elected civilian government — a move that helped Mr. Morsi, whose movement has called for greater use of Islamic law, assume power. At the same time, the administration was chastising the military, which has for 30 years served as the bulwark of a crucial American strategic interest in the Middle East: the 1979 Camp David peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

For anti-American unrest to erupt in Egypt after all that could reflect a deeper divergence of a once-staunch ally from the United States. Mr. Morsi’s belated reaction came after other actions that have troubled American officials, from his decision to attend a meeting of nonaligned countries in Tehran to his choice of China for his first overseas trip. Mr. Obama has pledged to forgive $1 billion in Egyptian debt.

“How does the president go to the Hill and say, ‘We need to forgive $1 billion in Egyptian debt?’ “ said Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “The complication is that this is happening six weeks before the election. The things that the administration wants to do in Egypt have become a heavier lift.”

David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said: “There are some real serious questions about the direction of the Egyptian government. Some of this will be submerged because of the election, but it is likely to come back later.”

The violence in Libya and Egypt reinforces what has been true from the start of the Arab uprisings last year: These are homegrown popular movements over which the United States has at best limited influence.

The odds of success may be greater in Libya, some analysts said, since that country’s problems are rooted in a lack of effective governance and security problems with a heavily armed populace, rather than in a newly empowered movement with a long history of suspicion of the United States.

The killing of Mr. Stevens sets back American efforts to help Libya with its transition, officials said, but only because he was such a tireless figure in this work.

“Libya’s public is quite pro-American, so it might produce a backlash against those responsible,” said Dennis B. Ross, a former senior adviser on the Middle East in the White House.

In Egypt, by contrast, Mr. Ross said: “Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood continue to live according to their own reality. If they want to attract any amount of economic support and investment from the outside, they’re going to have to create an environment of security.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/world/middleeast/egypt-not-libya-may-be-bigger-challenge-for-white-house.html?ref=world&gwh=887307EFC661324928591335C8B91F96

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A Challenger’s Criticism Is Furiously Returned

By PETER BAKER and ASHLEY PARKER

Sep 13, 2012

WASHINGTON — The deadly attack on an American diplomatic post in Libya propelled foreign policy to the forefront of an otherwise inward-looking presidential campaign and presented an unexpected test not only to the incumbent, who must manage an international crisis, but also to the challenger, whose response quickly came under fire.

While President Obama dealt with the killings of an ambassador and three other Americans and deflected questions about his handling of the Arab world, Mitt Romney, the Republican seeking his job, wasted little time going on the attack, accusing the president of apologizing for American values and appeasing Islamic extremists.

“They clearly sent mixed messages to the world,” Mr. Romney told reporters during a campaign swing through Florida.

But Mr. Romney came under withering criticism for distorting the chain of events overseas and appearing to seek political advantage from an attack that claimed American lives. A statement he personally approved characterized an appeal for religious tolerance issued by the American Embassy in Cairo as sympathy for the attackers even though the violence did not occur until hours after the embassy statement. Mr. Romney on Wednesday said the embassy statement, which was disavowed by the administration, was “akin to apology, and I think was a severe miscalculation.”

Mr. Obama fired back later in the day, accusing his opponent of politicizing a national tragedy. “Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later,” he told CBS News for its “60 Minutes” program. “And as president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that — that, you know, it’s important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts, and that you’ve thought through the ramifications.”

The harsh exchanges had their origins on Tuesday night as Mr. Romney’s team was following the increasingly volatile developments in the Middle East. The embassy statement, issued hours before protests in Cairo and the attack in Libya began, had tried to mollify Muslims upset at an American-made anti-Islam video. “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others,” the statement said.

For Mr. Romney, whose 2010 book, “No Apology,” assailed Mr. Obama for what he saw as trying to placate America’s enemies, the embassy statement rankled. When aides showed it to him, they said he reacted strongly to the notion of “hurt” religious feelings. In his mind, they said, the Obama administration was aligning itself with those who would do harm to the United States. Already on the defensive for not mentioning Afghanistan in his convention speech and losing some ground in recent polls, Mr. Romney saw an opportunity to draw a stark contrast.

While Mr. Romney was on a four-hour flight from Reno, Nev., to Jacksonville, Fla., his senior staff — a mix of the policy shop, the communications team, and the strategy operation — crafted a statement on a conference call. Among those participating were Lanhee Chen, the policy director; Richard Williamson, a foreign policy adviser; and Stuart Stevens, the campaign strategist.

As soon as Mr. Romney landed, he was updated on breaking developments. He personally read and approved his campaign’s statement before it was sent out at 10:10 p.m. Tuesday. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” it said.

The resulting episode was perhaps the most vivid confrontation over events abroad since the general election began taking shape, and it ended up putting Mr. Romney on the defensive as he sought to define his differences with the president and demonstrate his bona fides as a potential commander in chief. The debate over his comments drew attention from questions about how Mr. Obama had managed the popular uprisings in the Arab world, the aftermath of the war in Libya and the broader battle against Islamic extremists. The president has been criticized for not doing more to guide the transition to democracy in the Middle East and to stop religious extremists from coming to power.

The attack in Libya and the protest in Egypt came as Mr. Obama was already struggling to tamp down a dispute with Israeli leaders that has fueled Mr. Romney’s critique of the president’s foreign policy. Accused of not drawing firm lines over Iran’s nuclear program and refusing to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel during his scheduled visit to the United States this month, Mr. Obama picked up the telephone on Tuesday night and called the Israeli leader to hash over their differences for an hour.

In the midst of that, White House officials saw Mr. Romney’s denunciation of the Cairo embassy statement. They, too, decided the embassy language went too far without standing firm against potential violence; officials privately told reporters it was not cleared in Washington. The embassy reaffirmed the statement even after protests began, posting a message on Twitter that it “still stands,” but then tried to delete that message.

By Wednesday morning, when it became public that four Americans had been killed in an attack at the mission in Benghazi, Mr. Romney’s initial statement looked clumsy and badly timed to many, and Republicans like Peggy Noonan, the Wall Street Journal columnist, and John E. Sununu, the former New Hampshire senator, publicly criticized it.

Rather than back away, Mr. Romney doubled down with reporters in Jacksonville, where he denounced Mr. Obama for not defending the filmmakers’ free speech rights. “Apology for America’s values is never the right course,” Mr. Romney said. He argued that the White House disavowal of the statement showed that the administration, too, realized it was wrong.

Democrats pounced. Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey said Mr. Romney showed “a degree of instability” and demonstrated that “there is almost nothing he won’t do for political gain.” Pundits called it “craven” and a “Lehman moment,” alluding to Senator John McCain’s fumbled handling of the collapse of Lehman Brothers that helped sink his 2008 campaign. Mr. McCain’s longtime adviser Mark Salter chastised Mr. Romney for “unfair and hyperbolic sound bites.”

“I would probably have waited 12 or 24 hours and put out a more comprehensive statement,” said Representative Peter T. King, a New York Republican and chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. “When something tragic happens and a quick statement is made, it can be interpreted as political.”

John Ullyot, a Republican strategist, said it was a self-inflicted wound: “It’s developed into another distraction that has put foreign policy — not a strong suit for the G.O.P. ticket this time — front and center in an uncomfortable way in a campaign that is becoming less and less about the administration’s job record.”

Republicans like Speaker John A. Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, kept their distance from Mr. Romney’s comments, instead sticking to expressions of resolve and sorrow. Only as the criticism mounted did Mr. Romney get some support, mainly from conservative leaders like Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Jim DeMint of South Carolina and James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma and Representative Howard P. McKeon of California. Mr. Inhofe attributed the attacks to “President Obama’s failure to lead and his failed foreign policy of appeasement and apology.”

Mr. Kyl echoed Mr. Romney’s criticism of the embassy statement. “This is like a judge telling the woman that got raped, ‘You asked for it because of the way you dressed,’ ” he said. “O.K.? That’s the same thing: ‘Well, America you should be the ones to apologize. You should have known this would happen.’”

Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York said Mr. Obama “wasn’t the one that put out that really stupid statement by the embassy,” but he defended Mr. Romney. “I just kind of saw more leadership out of him than I did from the president, who doesn’t seem to have a really clear picture of what’s going on with the aftermath of the Arab Spring.”

Mr. Romney’s camp was surprised by the blowback. “While there may be differences of opinion regarding issues of timing,” Mr. Chen said, “I think everyone stands behind the critique of the administration, which we believe has conducted its foreign policy in a feckless manner.”

Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Ashley Parker from Jacksonville, Fla. David E. Sanger, Jonathan Weisman and John H. Cushman Jr. contributed reporting from Washington, and Michael Barbaro and David W. Chen from New York.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/us/politics/behind-romneys-decision-to-criticize-obama-on-libya.html?ref=world&gwh=353D69BB6C724366201083EB394F2F20

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For Veteran Envoy, Return to Libya Was Full of Hope

By STEVEN LEE MYERS

Sep 13, 2012

WASHINGTON — J. Christopher Stevens arrived in Benghazi, Libya, in April 2011 aboard a Greek cargo ship carrying a dozen American diplomats and guards and enough vehicles and equipment to set up a diplomatic beachhead in the middle of an armed rebellion.

Even then, the polarized views about the NATO-led intervention were on display, as were the dangers of diplomacy in a turbulent nation. The rebels fighting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi had hoisted American, British and French flags in the plaza in Benghazi that they renamed Freedom Square, Mr. Stevens often recalled, but a car bomb later exploded in the parking lot of the hotel where he had settled.

That forced him to move into the villa in Benghazi where, more than a year later, he died Tuesday. Mr. Stevens, 52, and three other State Department employees were killed during a prolonged assault on the consulate, which he was visiting to inaugurate a cultural center as part of his efforts to deepen ties in a new Libya.

He became the first United States ambassador killed in an attack while on duty since Adolph Dubs was kidnapped and killed in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1979. The circumstances of the attack — including the motives and any security lapses — are still not known.

“It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi,” President Obama said in the White House Rose Garden on Wednesday, “because it is a city that he helped to save.”

Mr. Stevens, who was fluent in Arabic, knew better than most diplomats in the American Foreign Service the opportunities and travails facing Libya after the fall of Colonel Qaddafi, and was undaunted.

“The image of the striped-pants ambassador who goes to cocktail parties and steeples his hands — that was not Chris Stevens,” said Jeffrey D. Feltman, a former assistant secretary of state and now under secretary general at the United Nations, who worked closely with him.

After having served as the deputy ambassador during Colonel Qaddafi’s rule, Mr. Stevens became the Obama administration’s main interlocutor to the rebels based in Benghazi who ultimately overthrew him with the help of NATO airstrikes. Mr. Obama rewarded Mr. Stevens with the nomination to become the first ambassador in a post-Qaddafi Libya, and he arrived in May with indefatigable enthusiasm for the country’s prospects as a free, Western-friendly democracy.

“The whole atmosphere has changed for the better,” he wrote in an e-mail to friends and family in July. “People smile more and are much more open with foreigners. Americans, French and British are enjoying unusual popularity. Let’s hope it lasts.”

For those who knew him, Mr. Stevens was an easygoing, accessible, candid and at times irreverent diplomat, with a deep understanding of Arab culture and politics that began when he was a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

“The thing that struck me was that he had a level of candor that was unusual for a diplomat,” said Sidney Kwiram, who conducted research for Human Rights Watch in Libya during the revolution and afterward and often met with him. She last spoke with him two weeks ago after her own visit to Benghazi, spending two hours on the telephone discussing t Libya’s new political forces. “There was no formality to his rank,” she said. “He didn’t take himself too seriously, but he took his job very seriously.”

He also earned bipartisan support on Capitol Hill. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, recalled twice visiting him in Libya, most recently in July, when Mr. Stevens “insisted on personally making me a cappuccino, a task that he carried out with as much pride and proficiency as his diplomatic mission.”

Mr. Stevens, a native of California and graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, joined the Foreign Service in 1991. He spent much of his career in the Middle East, serving in Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Israel, where he focused on the Palestinian territories, and in State Department offices overseeing policy in the region. In Syria in 2001 and 2002, he courted Iraqi exiles before the American overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s government the next year. When the embassy in Damascus, Syria, held his farewell party, he insisted on it being in a disco and invited all the Iraqis, who were fractious even then. “This was probably the only time the Iraqis sat at one table — before or since,” said a State Department diplomat who served with him.

His return to Libya took place in circumstances that would challenge any diplomat. Mr. Feltman said he was surprised by the network of contacts Mr. Stevens established in Benghazi in weeks, shaping the administration’s understanding of the rebellion’s leaders. As he prepared to take up his post as ambassador this year, Mr. Stevens appeared in an introductory video recalling the United States’ Civil War as an example of overcoming strife. “We know that Libya is still recovering from an intense period of conflict,” he said. “And there are many courageous Libyans who bear the scars of that battle.”

He developed a reputation as a keen observer of Libya’s politics, and, as Ms. Kwiram noted, a patient listener who eagerly sought out activists, diplomats and journalists. He also kept up his routine of daily runs through goat farms, olive groves and vineyards nearby.

In his e-mail to family in friends, he joked about the embassy’s Fourth of July party.

“Somehow our clever staff located a Libyan band that specializes in 1980s soft rock,” he wrote, “so I felt very much at home.”

By Wednesday afternoon, the wall on Mr. Stevens’s Facebook page had turned into a memorial as friends from high school, college, the Peace Corps and the State Department posted photos and eulogies. “In our 1983 Peace Corps training in Morocco, there was a tall, blond kid who was known, among other things, as the one with the unfailing old-school courtesy toward all,” wrote Valerie Staats, who is now the Peace Corps director in Sierra Leone. Mr. Stevens, she recalled, “always said he wanted to be an ambassador, and we didn’t doubt him.”

Mervat Mhani, an activist for the Free Generation Movement in Libya, said that she could “no longer hold my head up high as a Libyan.”

Harvey Morris contributed reporting from London; Kareem Fahim from Beirut, Lebanon; and Michael Schmidt from Washington.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/world/middleeast/for-veteran-envoy-return-to-libya-was-full-of-hope.html?ref=world&gwh=045B62A5F643EFED65D145CA5BA9A0E1&pagewanted=print

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Libya Attack Brings Challenges for U.S.

By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK and STEVEN LEE MYERS

Sep 13, 2012

CAIRO — Islamist militants armed with antiaircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades stormed a lightly defended United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, late Tuesday, killing the American ambassador and three members of his staff and raising questions about the radicalization of countries swept up in the Arab Spring.

The ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, was missing almost immediately after the start of an intense, four-hour firefight for control of the mission, and his body was not located until Wednesday morning at dawn, when he was found dead at a Benghazi hospital, American and Libyan officials said. It was the first time since 1979 that an American ambassador had died in a violent assault.

American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning.  But the officials cautioned that it was too soon to tell whether the attack was related to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Fighters involved in the assault, which was spearheaded by a Islamist brigade formed during last year’s uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, said in interviews during the battle that they were moved to attack the mission by anger over a 14-minute, American-made video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as a villainous, homosexual and child-molesting buffoon. Their attack followed by just a few hours the storming of the compound surrounding the United States Embassy in Cairo by an unarmed mob protesting the same video. On Wednesday, new crowds of protesters gathered outside the United States Embassies in Tunis and Cairo.

The wave of unrest set off by the video, posted online in the United States two months ago and dubbed into Arabic for the first time eight days ago, has further underscored the instability of the countries that cast off their longtime dictators in the Arab Spring revolts. It also cast doubt on the adequacy of security preparations at American diplomatic outposts in the volatile region.

Benghazi, awash in guns, has recently witnessed a string of assassinations as well as attacks on international missions, including a bomb said to be planted by another Islamist group that exploded near the United States mission there as recently as June. But a Libyan politician who had breakfast with Mr. Stevens at the mission the morning before he was killed described security, mainly four video cameras and as few as four Libyan guards, as sorely inadequate for an American ambassador in such a tumultuous environment. “This country is still in transition, and everybody knows the extremists are out there,” said Fathi Baja, the Libyan politician.

Obama Vows Justice

President Obama condemned the killings, promised to bring the assailants to justice and ordered tighter security at all American diplomatic installations. The administration also sent 50 Marines to the Libyan capital, Tripoli, to help with security at the American Embassy there, ordered all nonemergency personnel to leave Libya and warned Americans not to travel there. A senior defense official said that the Pentagon sent two warships toward the Libyan coast as a precaution.

“These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity,” Mr. Obama said in a televised statement from the White House Rose Garden with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”

In Tripoli, Libyan leaders also vowed to track down the attackers and stressed their unity with Washington.

Yussef Magariaf, president of the newly elected Libyan National Congress, offered “an apology to the United States and the Arab people, if not the whole world, for what happened.” He pledged new measures to ensure the security of foreign diplomats and companies. “We together with the United States government are on the same side, standing in a united front in the face of these murderous outlaws.”

Obama administration officials and regional officials scrambled to sort out conflicting reports about the attack and the motivation of the attackers. A senior Obama administration officials told reporters during a conference call that “it was clearly a complex attack,” but offered no details.

Col. Wolfgang Pusztai, who until early August was Austria’s defense attaché to Libya and visited the country every month, said in an e-mail that he believed the attack was “deliberately planned and executed” by about a core group of 30 to 40 assailants who were “well trained and organized.”  But he said the reports from some terrorism experts that the attack may be linked to the recent death in drone strikes of senior Qaeda leaders, including Abu Yahya al-Libi, were unsupported.

A translated version of the video that set off the uprising arrived first in Egypt before reaching the rest of the Islamic world. Its author, whose identity is now a mystery, devoted the video’s prologue to caricatured depictions of Egyptian Muslims abusing Egyptian Coptic Christians while Egyptian police officers stood by. It was publicized last week by an American Coptic Christian activist, Morris Sadek, well known here for his scathing attacks on Islam.

Mr. Sadek promoted the video in tandem with a declaration by Terry Jones — a Florida pastor best known for burning the Koran and promoting what he called “International Judge Muhammad Day” on Sept. 11.

The video began attracting attention in the Egyptian news media, including the broadcast of offensive scenes on Egyptian television last week. At that point, American diplomats in Cairo informed the State Department of the festering outrage in the days before the Sept. 11 anniversary, said a person briefed on their concerns. But officials in Washington declined to address or disavow the video, this person said.

By late afternoon Tuesday, hundreds had gathered in mostly peaceful protest outside the United States Embassy here, overseen by a large contingent of Egyptian security forces. But around 6 p.m., after the end of the workday and television news coverage of the event, the crowd began to swell, including a group of rowdy young soccer fans.

Gaining Entrance

Then, around 6:30 p.m., a small group of protesters — one official briefed on the events put it around 20 — brought a ladder to the wall of the compound and quickly scaled it, gaining entrance to the ground. Embassy officials asked the Egyptian government to remove the infiltrators without using weapons or force, to avoid inflaming the situation, this official said. (An embassy official said that contrary to reports on Tuesday, no one fired weapons in the air.) But it took the Egyptian security officers five hours to remove the intruders, leaving them ample time to run around the grounds, deface American flags, and hoist the black flag favored by Islamic ultraconservatives and labeled with Islam’s most basic expression of faith, “There is no god but God, and Muhammad is his prophet.”

It is unclear if television images of Islamist protesters may have inspired the attack in Benghazi, which had been a hotbed of opposition to Colonel Qaddafi and remains unruly since the Libyan uprising resulted in his death. But Tuesday night, a group of armed assailants mixed with unarmed demonstrators gathered at the small compound that housed a temporary American diplomatic mission there.

The ambassador, Mr. Stevens, was visiting the city Tuesday from the United States Embassy compound in Tripoli to attend the planned opening of an American cultural center, and was staying at the mission. It is not clear if the assailants knew that the ambassador was at the mission.

Interviewed at the scene on Tuesday night, many attackers and those who backed them said they were determined to defend their faith from the video’s insults. Some recalled an earlier episode when protesters in Benghazi had burned down the Italian consulate after an Italian minister had worn a T-shirt emblazoned with cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad. Ten people were reportedly killed in clashes with Colonel Qaddafi’s police force.

That assault was led by a brigade of Islamist fighters known as Ansar al-Sharia, or the Supporters of Islamic Law. Brigade members emphasized at the time that they were not acting alone. On Wednesday, perhaps apprehensive over Mr. Stevens’s death, the brigade said in a statement that its supporters “were not officially involved or were not ordered to be involved” in the attack.

At the same time, the brigade praised those who protested as “the best of the best” of the Libyan people and supported their response to the video “in the strongest possible terms.”

Conflicting Accounts

There were conflicting accounts of how Mr. Stevens had died. One witness to the mayhem around the compound on Tuesday said militants chased him to a safe house and lobbed grenades at the location, where he was later found unconscious, apparently from smoke inhalation, and could not be revived by rescuers who took him to a hospital.

An unidentified Libyan official in Benghazi told Reuters that Mr. Stevens and three staff members were killed in Benghazi “when gunmen fired rockets at them.” The Libyan official said the ambassador was being driven from the mission building to a safer location when gunmen opened fire, Reuters said.

Five American ambassadors had been killed by terrorists before Tuesday’s attack, according to the State Department. The most recent was Adolph Dubs, killed after being kidnapped in Afghanistan in 1979. The others were John Gordon Mein, in Guatemala in 1968; Cleo A. Noel Jr., in Sudan in 1973; Rodger P. Davies, in Cyprus in 1974; and Francis E. Meloy Jr., in Lebanon in 1976.

Witnesses and State Department officials said that the attack began almost immediately after the protesters and the brigade arrived around 10 p.m. Witnesses said the brigade started the attack by firing a rocket-propelled grenade at the gate of the mission’s main building. American officials said that by 10:15 the attackers had gained entrance to the main building.

A second wave of assailants arrived soon after and swarmed into the compound, witnesses said.

“They expected that there would be more American commandos in there. They went in with guns blazing, with R.P.G.’s,” said Mohamed Ali, a relative of the landlord who rents the building to the American mission and who watched the battle.

Libya’s deputy interior minister, Wanis al-Sharif, made somewhat contradictory and defensive-sounding statements about the attack.

He acknowledged that he had ordered the withdrawal of security forces from the scene in the early stages of the protest on Wednesday night. He said his initial instinct was to avoid inflaming the situation by risking a confrontation with people angry about the video.

He also said he had underestimated the aggression of the protesters. But he criticized the small number of guards inside the mission for shooting back in self-defense, saying their response probably further provoked the attackers.

The small number of Libyans guarding the facility, estimated at only six, did not hold out long against the attackers, who had substantial firepower, the interior minister and State Department officials said. Defending the facility would have been a “suicide mission,” Mr. Sharif said.

Mr. Sharif also faulted the Americans at the mission for failing to heed what he said was the Libyan government’s advice to pull its personnel or beef up its security, especially in light of the recent violence in the city and the likelihood that the video would provoke protests. “What is weird is that they refrained from this procedure, depending instead on the simple protection that they had,” he said. “What happened later is beyond our control, and they are responsible for part of what happened.”

When the attack began, only Mr. Stevens, an aide named Sean Smith and a State Department security officer were inside the main building. As the building filled with smoke, security officers recovered Mr. Smith’s body but were driven out again by the firefight, senior administration officials said. Mr. Stevens, however, could not be found and was lost for the rest of the night.

It took another hour — until 11:20 — before American and Libyan forces recaptured the main building and evacuated the entire staff to an annex nearly a mile away. The militants followed and the fighting continued there until 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, when Libyan security reinforcements arrived and managed to gain control of both compounds.

A freelance photographer took pictures of Libyans apparently carrying Mr. Stevens’s ash-covered body out of the scene that were distributed worldwide by Agence France-Presse. A doctor who treated him at the Benghazi hospital told The Associated Press that Libyans had brought him in but were unaware of his identity. The doctor said that he tried for 90 minutes to revive Mr. Stevens but that he died of asphyxiation, The A.P. reported.

A senior administration official said it was not clear how or when Mr. Stevens was taken to the hospital — or by whom. “We frankly don’t know how he got from where Americans last saw him,” the official said.

On Wednesday night, residents of both Tripoli and Benghazi staged demonstrations to condemn the attack and express their sorrow at the loss of Mr. Stevens. Stationed in Benghazi during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi, Mr. Stevens, who was fluent in Arabic and French, had become a local hero for his support to the Libyan rebels during their time of greatest need. Benghazi residents circulated photographs online of Mr. Stevens frequenting local restaurants, relishing local dishes, and strolling city streets, apparently without a security detail.

On Wednesday, some friends of Mr. Stevens suggested that his faith in his bond with the people of Benghazi may have blinded him to the dangers there. “Everybody liked him,” said Mr. Baja, who ate breakfast with Mr. Stevens on Tuesday. “He is a good man, a friendly man, he knows lots of the sheiks in town and a lot of the intellectuals have spent some good times with him.”

“The people in Benghazi, I think, are very sad right now.”

David D. Kirkpatrick reported from Cairo, and Steven Lee Myers from Washington. Reporting was contributed by Osama Alfitory and Suleiman Ali Zway from Benghazi, Libya; Mai Ayyad from Cairo; Eric Schmitt and Scott Shane from Washington; and Alan Cowell from London.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 12, 2012

An earlier version of this article misstated Mohammed Magarief’s position. He is the president of Libya’s National Assembly, not Libya’s interim president.

Source: New York Times

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Pakistan

 

Khatm e Nabuwat Conference calls for restrictions on Ahmadi community

By Rana Tanveer

 September 10, 2012

LAHORE: The Khatme Nabuwat Conference ended here on Monday with speakers calling for various measures against the members of the Ahmadi community.

A resolution, proposed by Justice(r) Nazeer Ahmed – member of Islamic Ideology Council, was passed during the Tajdar Khatame Nabuwat Conference, organised by Fidayane Khatame Nabuwat at Aiwan-e-Iqbal on Monday.

The participants of the conference also stated that Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, has not committed any offence by killing him and should be released.

Demanding amendments in the country’s laws, the participants said that the religious activities of the Ahmadi community should be banned in Pakistan and their social activities should be monitored.

The attendees further demanded that Ahmadis should be treated as non-Muslims not only in Pakistan but also in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Those who attended the conference include Ruet-e-Hilal committee chairman Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman, MNA Haji Fazal Karim, MNA Captain Safdar, Maulana Syed Irfan Mashhadi, Khadim Hussain Rizvi, Akhtar, Sarwat Ijaz Qadri, Shah Ahmed Awais Norani, Pir Muhammad Afzal Qadri, Dr Raghib Naeemi, Mumtaz Qadri’s father Malik Bashir and his brother Dilpazir Ahmed.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/434302/khatme-nabuwat-conference-calls-for-restrictions-on-ahmadi-community/

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Dramatic moustache declared ‘un-Islamic’ by Lashkar-e-Islami

By Asad Zia

September 12, 2012

PESHAWAR: Malik Ameer Muhammad Afridi has become a celebrity in his own right owing to his 30-inch long moustache curling up to his forehead which he proudly displays along the streets of Peshawar.

Aside from the usual looks of amusement, Afridi’s gangling moustache managed to draw the attention of members of militant group Lashkar-e-Islami.

The iconoclastic facial hair caused him to abandon his hometown of Bara in Khyber Agency after the militants declared it ‘un-Islamic’.

“It was the summer of 2008, when members of the LeI arrested me and took me to a religious scholar who declared the moustache un-Islamic and ordered it to be shaved,” he said.

The pride of Afridi’s life was shaved at gunpoint. Refusing to be cowed by the militants’ threats, however, he decided to move to Peshawar so that his moustache may thrive unfettered.

Afridi said he has not been able to visit his hometown for four years owing to the threat of ‘anti-moustache’ militants. “I left my dear homeland, my friends and relatives and prepared to sacrifice all that but will not compromise my moustache,” he said.

Afridi has been living in Peshawar after braving ‘anti-moustache’ hardliners in Khyber Agency.

Now, he proudly displays his handle-bar moustache in the relatively secure environs of the provincial capital. The 47-year-old runs an electronics business in Deen Plaza and says, “My moustache style is unique. It has made my tribesmen proud as no one in Pakistan has such a moustache.”

Afridi also said his moustache had gained him respect, adding that people even give him their turn while standing in queues outside banks and other places.

Afridi’s moustache-care regime is elaborate. Spending 30 minutes grooming himself every day, he uses oil extracts of almond and coconut to nourish the hair. He then fashions the handlebar whiskers into crescent-like curls using a German-made gel.

However, his gangling whiskers did not amuse his wife. She urged him to get rid of it since he had run afoul of the militants.

Despite his wife’s protestations, Afridi said he would only surrender his moustache – over his dead body.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/435247/dramatic-moustache-causes-man-to-flee-hometown/

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Karachi garment factory fire kills 240: Police

Sep 12, 2012

KARACHI: A huge fire at a garment factory in Pakistan's largest city of Karachi has killed at least 240 people, according to police.

Earlier the provincial health minister Saghir Ahmed had put the death toll on 194.

"Three major hospitals in Karachi have so far received 194 bodies" from the blaze, the minister told AFP.

The factory made underwear and also plastic utensils in one section, said the workers who managed to survive the blaze.

Some shouting and sobbing relatives of trapped workers, desperate to get inside the factory, scuffled with police during the night, an AFP photographer said.

Rescuers used arc lights to work through the night. A steady stream of bodies were stretchered out, covered by white sheets.

Firefighters on crane lifts reached through the gutted building's windows to rescue some trapped survivors, who were taken to hospitals suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.

Mohammad Saleem, 32, who broke a leg after jumping out of the second floor, said he and his colleagues were hard at work late on Tuesday when flames suddenly reached their section.

"It was terrible, suddenly the entire floor filled with fire and smoke and the heat was so intense that we rushed towards the windows, broke its steel grille and glass and jumped out," Saleem told AFP in hospital.

"I fell on the ground and it was extremely painful, I saw many people jumping out of windows and crying in pain for help," he said.

Around 150 employees were working at the time in one of the factory's three round-the-clock shifts, Saleem said.

Officials said the cause of the Karachi fire was not yet known but Rauf Siddiqi, the industry minister for Sindh province, said the factory owner was under investigation for negligence.

"We have ordered an inquiry into how the fire erupted and why proper emergency exits were not provided at the factory so that the workers could escape," Siddiqi said.

Earlier Tuesday, the blaze in Pakistan's second-largest city Lahore trapped dozens of workers in the shoe-making factory, killing 21 and injuring 14 others, local officials and medics said.

Tariq Zaman, a government official in Lahore, said the fire was caused by a faulty electricity generator.

Karamat Ali, a spokesman for the local government's emergency rescue team, said fire crews succeeded in bringing the blaze under control after several hours and rescue workers had evacuated all those trapped inside the factory.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/Karachi-garment-factory-fire-kills-240-Police/articleshow/16365951.cms

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‘I do not want a country of extremists and mullahs’: MQM Chief

September 12, 2012

KARACHI: Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a liberal-minded Muslim who did not believe in differences between sects of Islam, said Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain said in a speech on Tuesday.

He spoke via telephone at a seminar organised by the MQM to mark the death anniversary of the country’s founder. Altaf Hussain highlighted that Jinnah had included Hindus and Ahmadis in the cabinet – the country’s first foreign minister was Sir Mohammad Zafarullah Khan, who was an Ahmadi, and the law minister was Joginder Nath Mandal.

Speakers at the event included veteran politician and a former key leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mairaj Mohammad Khan, author and journalist Mohammed Hanif as well as Mujahid Barelvi, Saleem Safi and Dr Farman Fatehpuri. According to an account of the event issued by the MQM, Hanif noted that if the ambulance that had transported the Quaid from Ziarat left today, it would have been stopped in Quetta. Jinnah would have never reached Karachi because if they had checked his identity card, they would have realised what sect of Islam he belonged to. The Quaid, Hanif said, did not want a country like the one we have today, which has become a ‘factory producing non-believers’.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/435144/i-do-not-want-a-country-of-extremists-and-mullahs-but-a-country-of-quaid-e-azams-vision/

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Pak I&B Minister urges war on extremist mindset

September 12, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said on Tuesday that derailment of democracy and imposition of dictatorial rulers on the nation resulted in stagnation of society which led to extremism.

While addressing a seminar on “Terrorism: reasons, consequences and its remedies” the minister said that the entire nation will have to fight the extremist organisations and the mindset.

He said extremism is the biggest challenge confronting the nation and conscious efforts will have to be made to reverse the tide.

The minister pointed out that extremism is not a recent phenomenon as its foundations were laid by world powers after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. At that time sustained efforts were made to use religion as a weapon and to change culture, syllabus and psyche of the nation.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/435271/biggest-challenge-kaira-urges-war-on-extremist-mindset/

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Sharifs on Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan hit list, says secret report

By Asad Kharal

September 12, 2012

LAHORE: Several leading politicians, including Pakistan Muslim League –Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, are on the potential hit-list of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), according to an intelligence report circulated among law enforcement agencies.

Also appearing on the list are Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Fakhar Imam and the head of the Shia Ulema Council Pakistan Allama Sajid Naqvi. The report, citing plans of TTP Punjab’s commander Matiur Rehman and his associates, also spoke of terror plots being hatched by the group in Punjab. For instance, it warned of a possible suicide attack on the police force in order to free their jailed comrades who were implicated in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore in 2009.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/435236/sharifs-on-ttp-hit-list-says-secret-report/

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Pak Minority students: ‘Ethics not a substitute for religious studies’

By Aroosa Shaukat

September 12, 2012

LAHORE: “Discrimination begins from the point when children are offered [to study] ethics [rather than compulsory Islamic studies] instead of a subject that relates to their faiths,” Peter Jacob, the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) executive director, says.

Jacob says ethics is not a suitable alternative for religious studies. He says considering that the contents are derived from Islamic traditions, the stated purpose of giving students this option is lost.

Church-run schools across the city teach Christian students catechism. This, however, affords them no advantage in the board. According to an NCJP survey, as many as 90 per cent of non Muslim students appearing in the matriculation board exams opt for Islamic studies rather than ethics.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/435075/minority-students-ethics-not-a-substitute-for-religious-studies/

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Two schools blown up in KP

September 12, 2012

PESHAWAR: Militants blew up two scholls in KHyberPakhtunkhwah and its tribal areas on Wednesday, DawnNews reported.

A government primary school was targeted in Budh bher area in Peshawar’s surrounding.

No loss of life had been reported whereas two rooms of the school were completely destroyed as a result of the explosion.

According to the Bomb Disposal squad,  15 to 20 kilograms of explosive material was used in the bomb.

The bomb disposal squad also defused another improvised explosive device (IED) planted on the school premises.

In another incident militants targeted another government primary school in Khyber agency’s Akakhel area.

Security forces reached the site of explosion as investigations into the blasts went underway.

http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/two-schools-blown-up-in-kp/

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Pakistani Hindus flee to India claiming persecution

September 12, 2012

JAIPUR: A group of 170 Hindus from Pakistan who travelled to India on pilgrim visas have said they will not return home due to alleged persecution in the Islamic republic.

Officials in the western Indian state of Rajasthan have reported an increase in Hindu refugees, but Pakistani authorities say the numbers are exaggerated and those who leave are economic migrants seeking better jobs.

The latest group from Pakistan’s Sindh province arrived in the desert city of Jodhpur at the weekend, and have appealed for help from the Indian government.

“Hindus are suffering social and religious persecution in Pakistan,” Chetan Ram, 39, the group’s leader, told AFP on Tuesday.

“My wife, mother and family are with me and we will not return to Pakistan whatever the living conditions are in India.”

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/435374/pakistani-hindus-flee-to-india-claiming-persecution/

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Domki murder case: Report submitted to Sindh Police, says NCMS director

September 12, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the case pertaining to the murder of the wife and daughter of Balochistan MPA Mir Bakhtiar Domki, DawnNews reported.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, heard the case over the murder that took place in Karachi on Jan 31, 2012.

During the hearing, Director of the National Crisis Management Cell Masoodur Rehman appeared before the court.

Rehman informed the bench that an interim report over the murder case had been submitted to Sindh Police.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/domki-murder-case-report-submitted-to-sindh-police-says-ncms-director/

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Zardari using 'journalists' for electioneering: Chaudhry Nisar

By Ema Anis

September 12, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan unleashed allegations against President Asif Ali Zardari during a press briefing on Wednesday outside the parliament. He alleged that Zardari was using the public money to campaign for the next elections and is using ‘fake’ journalists for the purpose.

“I have proof with me. The people who were affected came to me with the proof. I don’t want to name anyone. It includes people from the media, some from agencies as well – the agencies which capture thieves,” he told the media.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/435381/zardari-using-journalists-for-electioneering-campaign-chaudhry-nisar/

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Khar briefs UN Working Group on human rights situation in Pakistan

September 12, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday briefed a two-member team of the ‘UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances’ (WGEID) on the steps taken by the government for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.

The delegation, comprising Olivier de Frouville, the Chair-Rapporteur, and Osman El Hajjé, member, was being accompanied by members of the secretariat of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Khar said that the elected government takes the issue of disappearances very seriously and is making all efforts to strengthen the domestic mechanisms to address this humanitarian issue and ensure rule of law in the country.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/khar-briefs-un-working-group-on-human-rights-situation-in-pakistan/

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SC grants interim bail to Makhdoom Shahabuddin

September 12, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted interim bail to Textile Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin in response to his petition seeking pre-arrest bail, DawnNews reported.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Nasirul Mulk and including Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Amir Hani Muslim, heard the petition submitted by the minister and granted him interim bail until Sept 25. The minister was also ordered to submit two personal bonds amounting to Rs500,000 each.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/sc-grants-interim-bail-to-makhdoom-shahabuddin/

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Investigations of Dr Afridi’s Fox news interview in process: Malik

September 12, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Wednesday said that the investigations of Shakeel Afridi’s interview to the international media are underway, DawnNews reported.

Malik said that Afridi was not allowed to speak to media representatives and give any interviews.

Earlier it was reported that, Afridi, who helped the CIA nail Osama bin Laden, told a US television channel that the ISI considered America Pakistan’s “worst enemy”.

Fox News had claimed that its correspondent had conducted the interview in the Peshawar Centre Jail, and quoted Dr Afridi as saying that he suffered “brutal interrogation and torture” when arrested.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/investigations-of-dr-afridis-fox-news-interview-in-process-malik/

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World Bank approved two credits of $220 million for Punjab

September 12, 2012

ISLAMABAD: World Bank’s executive directors approved two credits totaling $220 million for two projects of  the Punjab government, DawnNews reported on Wednesday.

The $150 million Punjab Cities Governance Improvement Project is aimed at realizing the growth potential of five largest cities of the province through strengthening systems for improved planning, resource management and accountability, says a bank statement issued here today.

The additional financing of $70 million for Punjab Land Records Management and Information Systems Project is meant for further strengthening and expanding better service delivery of land record management throughout the province.

“Punjab is leading the way in fusing together the rural and urban development agenda”, said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.

“Improved management of land records bolsters existing and potential landholders’ confidence, especially the small holders who are the most vulnerable, and attracts investment in the sector.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/world-bank-approved-two-credits-of-220-million-for-punjab/

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Kayani's service extension challenged in Pak High Court

 Sep 12 2012

Islamabad : The extension in service given to Pakistan Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has been challenged by a retired army officer in the Islamabad High Court.

Col (retired) Inam-ur-Rahim, the convenor of the Ex-Servicemen Legal Forum, said in a petition filed in the High Court that the forum was of the opinion that the extension was "immoral and unconstitutional". He asked the court to set aside the extension and send Kayani home.

Chief Justice Iqbal Hameedur Rehman directed Rahim yesterday to show how he had been affected by the government's decision to give Kayani an extension and to submit copies of relevant documents annexed with the petition.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/kayanis-service-extension-challenged-in-pak-high-court/1001525/

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Doctor linked to Osama raid mum on CIA links

ANITA JOSHUA

September 12, 2012

The Pakistani doctor imprisoned for helping the CIA zero in on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has claimed that the ISI views the Americans as Pakistan’s worst enemy — worse than even India — and the country’s fight against terrorism is just a pretence to get funds from the U.S.

Dr. Shakil Afridi, said this in a phone interview to Fox News from the Peshawar Central Jail, where he is lodged after being sentenced for 33 years. How this interview was conducted in the high-security prison is unclear but the report does include a reference to his family being able to smuggle things to him by bribing jail personnel.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3886000.ece

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UN missing persons probe hits Pak hurdle

Sep 12, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A United Nations working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances currently in Pakistan to collect data on missing persons has ruffled a section of the country's politicians and security establishment.

Pakistan's Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Tuesday refused to meet the UN delegation, saying the cases are sub judice. "There are cases pending before the court regarding the issue; hence, the meeting cannot be held," he said.

The 10-day visit of the UN fact-finding mission coincides with a rise in enforced disappearances across Pakistan, particularly in Baluchistan province. The group will visit all provinces and meet officials, politicians, civil society representatives, relevant UN agencies and relatives of missing persons for information on enforced disappearance cases. A final report will be presented to UN Human Rights Council in 2013.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/UN-missing-persons-probe-hits-Pak-hurdle/articleshow/16359826.cms

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Sectarian violence: ASWJ leader says can help resolve Quetta issue

By Rabia Mehmood

 September 11, 2012

LAHORE: Sitting inside a room at the Jamia Farooq-e-Azam seminary in Walton, Ghulam Rasool Shah, a senior operative of the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ), is irritated. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) founder and his one-time mentor, Malik Ishaq was recently detained by the authorities for giving a “provocative speech” against Shia Muslims.

Shah says Ishaq had only given a speech and questions why his arrest could not have been avoided. “Compromises are reached here on murder; people get bail and are walking free.”

“Ishaq is not the only one from a proscribed organisation. Does Sajid Naqvi not have any cases against him? Are there no cases against Hafiz Saeed sahib? They are from proscribed organisations as well.”

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/434865/sectarian-violence-aswj-leader-says-can-help-resolve-

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Africa

 

Gaddafi loyalists killed US diplomats: Libya

Sep 12 2012

Dubai: A senior Libyan official accused supporters of the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi of carrying out an attack that killed the US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.

Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif told a news conference in Benghazi that the attackers had used rocket-propelled grenades.

There were RPGs...which shows there were forces exploiting this. They are remnants of the (former) regime, he said. The news conference was broadcast on Al Jazeera television.

He suggested that the attackers could have been acting in revenge for the extradition from Mauritania this month of Gaddafi's former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senoussi.

Gaddafi was ousted by rebel forces backed by NATO air power in August 2011 and was killed in October after months as a fugitive.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/gaddafi-loyalists-killed-us-diplomats-libya/1001617/

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Mali Islamists chop hands, feet off five suspected robbers

September 10, 2012

BAMAKO (Reuters) - Islamist fighters in northern Mali cut the hands and feet off five suspected robbers in the northern city of Gao in what they said was the application of sharia or Islamic law, residents and a hospital official said on Monday.

Armed Islamist groups including the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) have controlled the northern two-thirds of the vast arid nation since April, when they hijacked a rebellion launched by ethnic Tuareg separatists.

MUJWA, which is allied to other al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups, has said it intends to impose sharia throughout Mali. It had already carried out corporal punishments in territory under its control, including public floggings of suspected adulterers. This is the first time it has carried out group amputations.

"I witnessed them cut off the hand and foot of the five young men that MUJWA has been holding for the past months for theft and armed robbery," a relative of one of the suspected thieves told Reuters by telephone.

Full report at:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-mali-crisis-shariabre889148-20120910,0,5998169.story

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Sudan: Darfur rebels kill 11 civilians

12 September 2012

Rebels killed 11 civilians during an attack on a market and a mine in Sudan's Darfur region, state news agency Suna said on Tuesday, the latest violence in the troubled western region.

Darfur, a vast arid region, has been plagued by violence since rebels took up arms in 2003, complaining the central government had neglected the remote western territory.

While violence is down from its peak in 2003 and 2004, law and order have collapsed in parts of the vast territory and banditry, tribal fighting and clashes between rebels and there said at the time.

Rebel gunmen opened fire on Monday on a market and area used by artisanal miners near Kabkabiya in North Darfur, the area's local governor Adam Salah Adam told Suna.

"They fired on citizens...and stole their belongings," he said, without identifying the rebels. Six people had been injured, he added.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=40745

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India

 

India pledges support to Palestine, announces $10 million in aid

SANDEEP DIKSHIT

September 12, 2012

India on Tuesday announced another tranche of aid to Palestine and promised to back the Palestine National Authority’s quest for non-member status at the United Nations, an upgrade from the observer status, a move the U.S. has threatened to veto.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a $10-million contribution to Palestine and vowed to back Palestine's bid for full and equal membership of the U.N. after a meeting with Palestine National Authority president Mahmoud Abbas here on Tuesday.

The two sides signed three agreements, including one in information technology.

“Support for the Palestinian cause has been the cornerstone of India's foreign policy. I reiterated India's firm support for the struggle of the Palestinian people to achieve a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Dr. Singh said at a press conference he addressed with Mr. Abbas.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3886223.ece

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India, Saudi Arabia to enhance military ties

VINAY KUMAR

September 11, 2012

Taking their defence cooperation to an enhanced level, the first meeting of India-Saudi Arabia joint committee on defence cooperation was held in New Delhi on Monday.

Both sides expressed their interest in further enhancing defence exchanges and interactions between their armed forces. Proposals for exchange of high level visits, training exchanges and functional exchanges in various areas were discussed and will be finalised over the coming weeks, a spokesperson of the Defence Ministry said.

The 11-member Saudi Arabian delegation was headed by Major General Suleiman Saleh Al-Khalifa, Chief of the Armed Forces Operations, while the Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary, Ministry of Defence.

The establishment of the joint committee had been decided during the meeting of the Defence Minister A K Antony with the Saudi Defence Minister (now the Crown Prince) Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud during his first ever visit to Saudi Arabia in February this year. The joint committee was mandated to formulate a programme to develop area of cooperation between the defence establishments of both countries.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3885515.ece

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40 ‘missing’ youth in IM’s ‘jihad factory’

Vishwa Mohan

Sep 12, 2012

NEW DELHI: Calling Indian Mujahideen (IM) a "start to finish jihad factory", security agencies have asked the country's police brass to watch out for the banned terror outfit, which continues to be on a "talent scouting" spree, emboldened by tacit support of Pakistan's ISI and its labyrinthine networks in various cities of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Delhi.

Referring to 40 "missing" youth of Maharashtra, who might have gone underground after joining IM, the central agencies during last week's security conference asked top cops to look for their whereabouts. It is suspected that some of the youth might have joined the outfit during its routine recruitment drive.

While "innocuous religious platforms" like Quran Foundation, Pune; and Islamic Guidance Centre, Mangalore, among other similar institutions are happy hunting ground for its cadres, IM's primary targets are disenchanted Muslim youth —ranging from petty criminals to well-heeled software professionals.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/40-missing-youth-in-IMs-jihad-

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It’s not Muslim vs non-Muslim, says MP Ajmal

Seema Chishti

Sep 12 2012

New Delhi: The head of the All India United Democratic Front, Dhubri MP Badruddin Ajmal, has spoken about his views on the violence in Assam. In a conversation with The Indian Express from Mumbai, he has said that his party has never viewed the clashes as Muslim versus non-Muslim, demanded that Election Commissioner H S Brahma be removed for his comment that “illegal migrants have attacked Bodos”, and defended the rights of those who settled in Assam before 1971.

On July 28, days after violence had erupted in Kokrajhar, Brahma wrote an article titled ‘How to Share Assam’ in The Indian Express, stating, “The present ethnic clashes between the two communities can be directly attributed to the aforementioned facts of illegal migration into Assam.”

“How can such a high officer in such a responsible position ignore the facts and say that ‘illegal migrants’ have attacked the Bodos?” Ajmal said. “I also told fellow-MPs to make the demand that he be removed from the post for his communal views, and they did in the recent session.”

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/its-not-muslim-vs-nonmuslim-says-ajmal/1001179/

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UP govt. has failed Muslims: Imam Delhi’s Jama Masjid

Faisal Fareed

Sep 12 2012

Lucknow: Even as the Samajwadi Party is all set to laud Akhilesh Yadav as an able chief minister in its national executive meet at Kolkata, cof Delhi’s Jama Masjid Syed Ahmed Bukhari has termed the first six months of his government as “disappointing” for Muslims.

Bukhari met Akhilesh in Lucknow on Saturday, and said that the SP government has so far failed to fulfil the expectations of the Muslims. “Muslims had high hopes from the SP. They voted overwhelmingly for the party, but it failed to deliver in its first six months,” Bukhari told The Indian Express.

After the Akhilesh government was sworn in on March 15, SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav had sought six months for his son to deliver results.

Bukhari said, “If elections are held today, we don’t have the face to ask Muslims to vote for them. I had appealed to Muslims to support the SP during the Assembly polls. But it will be a tough call now, I have no answer.”

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/sp-govt-has-failed-muslims-bukhari/1001453/

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India grants further US$25million to Maldives

By Daniel Bosley | September 11th, 2012

India has granted a further US$25million to the Maldives as part of the $US100million standby credit facility agreed during last November’s official visit from Prime Minister Manmoham Singh.

Indian High Commissioner D M Mulay signed the agreement with Minister of Finance and Treasury Abdulla Jihad at the Indian High Commission, local media reported.

Mulay, who was not responding to calls at the time of press, said that the deal represented the third instalment of the credit facility, with the previous two instalments having amounted to US$50million.

The previous tranche of US$30 million was released following President Waheed’s first official visit to India in May.

Mulay is also reported to have said that the rest of the promised credit will soon be handed to the Maldivian government:  “The paperwork on the agreement is being processed now, the amount will soon be awarded to the Maldives,” Haveeru quoted Mulay.

Full report at:

http://minivannews.com/politics/india-grants-further-us25million-to-maldives-43724

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Zee to launch another Arabic channel

12 September 2012

Indian television major Zee Entertainment on Sunday announced a $100 million investment in Zee Alwan, the second Arabic channel by Asia’s largest television provider, which marks its grand launch on September 12.

Zee Alwan will have over 180 hours of original programming monthly with three Arabic series offered exclusively on the free-to-air channel.

The programme roster also includes popular Indian serials that have been dubbed into Arabic, in addition to a range of lifestyle shows including cookery, yoga, and travel. Mukund Cairae, CEO – Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, Zee Entertainment Enterprise LLC, said: “Zee Alwan has received overwhelming response from Arab audiences across the Gulf region, particularly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia following its soft launch. With the grand roll-out, we are further strengthening the programming of Zee Alwan, with a focus on providing original Arabic content.”

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/nation/inside.asp?xfile=/data/nationgeneral/2012/September/nationgeneral_September179.xml&section=nationgeneral

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Pakistan's minister for Kashmir Affairs silent on Kashmir during his visit to India

Yudhvir Rana

Sep 12, 2012

ATTARI: Though Kashmir is an integral part of Pakistan's foreign policy aimed at make anti-India propaganda but surprisingly Pakistan's Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Mian Manzoor Ahmad Watto maintained a stoic silent on the controversial issue upon his arrival on India via Attari land border on Wednesday.

Watto avoided giving direct replies to media queries and said he was on a personal visit to India.

However state government had left no stone unturned in extending hospitality to the Pak's visiting minster and had sent Forests and Wild Life Preservation Minister Surjit Kumar Jiani, Minister for Animal Husbandry, Fish Farming and Dairy Development Gulzar Singh Ranikae and Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) Member Parliament Rattan Singh Ajnala and a battery of civil administrative officers to receive the Pak minister on his personal visit.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Pakistans-minister-for-Kashmir-Affairs-silent-on-Kashmir-during-his-visit-to-India/articleshow/16366635.cms

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No valid papers, no rehab: Bodo leaders

 Sep 12 2012

Guwahati : On a day when AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi made a whirlwind tour of three violence-affected districts of Assam and touched four relief camps, Bodo leaders, including Bodo People’s Front chief Hagrama Mohilary, said that only those displaced people who had valid land documents would be rehabilitated.

Rahul visited four camps, three having Muslims and one having Bodos. While he kept away from the media, Rahul chose to spend most of his time listening to the people who have been there for more than eight weeks now.

“We have told Rahul Gandhi that the state government and the BTC will rehabilitate in the first phase only those who have valid land documents. We are yet to decide about cases of those who do not have land documents but have documents to prove they are Indian citizens,” Mohilary said in Kokrajhar.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/no-valid-papers-no-rehab-bodo-leaders/1001228/

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BSF lodges protest with Pakistan Rangers

Sep 12, 2012

JAMMU: The Border Security Force has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan Rangers for unprovoked firing, ceasefire violations and construction of a tunnel into Jammu and Kashmir's Samba sector from across the border.

The protest was lodged at a flag meeting held at Garkhal forward post along the International Border (IB) in Samba yesterday in which BSF was represented by Commanding Officer Vijay Paul Singh and Pakistan was represented by 24-Chinab Rangers Lt Col Shahid Raja.

"We have lodged a strong protest with Pakistan Rangers at a flag meeting over several incidents of unprovoked firing, ceasefire violations and construction of underground tunnel into Indian territory from across the border", a senior BSF officer told .

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/BSF-lodges-protest-with-Pakistan-Rangers/articleshow/16364635.cms

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Kasab took Supreme Court order copy with a smile: Jail sources

Sep 12, 2012

MUMBAI: 26/11 attacks convict Ajmal Kasab, lodged in a high security cell of the Arthur Road jail, smiled when he was told on Saturday about the Supreme Court's order confirming his death sentence. Kasab, say jail sources, smiled and collected a certified copy of the SC's order.

Jail sources said they received a certified copy of the SC order a few days ago. "We had not informed him about it as we did not have a copy of the order. Once we received it a few days ago, Kasab was informed about the order," said a jail official.

However, Kasab has remained silent on whether he would file a mercy petition. He is accused of conspiring and killing 166 people in terror attacks on the city in November 2008. He was the sole gunman to be captured alive as his nine associates were killed in police encounters.

Now, Kasab has an option of appealing for mercy to the President of India. For this, he will have to approach the government through his lawyer.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Kasab-took-Supreme-Court-order-copy-with-a-smile-Jail-sources/articleshow/16358886.cms

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India banned Satanic Verses without proper scrutiny: Salman Rushdie

Sep 11, 2012

NEW DELHI: Salman Rushdie's book 'The Satanic Verses' was banned by India four months before Iran's supreme leader late Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa for his killing without any proper examination or a judicial process, writes the controversial author in his memoirs.

"The Satanic Verses was denied the ordinary life of a novel. It became something smaller and uglier: an insult. And he became the Insulter, not only in Muslim eyes but in the opinion of public at large," Rushdie writes in his memoirs 'Joseph Anton' on his hiding days after the fatwa.

In excerpts from the book published in 'The New Yorker', he said but for few weeks in the fall of 1988 the book was still "only a novel" and he was still himself.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-banned-Satanic-Verses-without-proper-scrutiny-Salman-Rushdie/articleshow/16353165.cms

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South Asia

 

Terror taunt: Taliban say US faces 'utter defeat' in Afghanistan

Sep 12, 2012

KABUL: The Taliban has taunted US with the prospect of "utter defeat" in Afghanistan, marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The anniversary itself was muted in Afghanistan, where US and NATO troops organized only small ceremonies to commemorate the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.

On the eve of the anniversary, a rocket fired by insurgents on the largest US base in Afghanistan destroyed a helicopter, killing three Afghan intelligence agents, officials said. On the day itself, a suicide bomber killed a local Afghan police commander and four civilians in a shop. There was no claim of responsibility, but in a statement posted online, the Taliban said the US "is facing utter defeat in Afghanistan militarily, politically, economically".

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Terror-taunt-Taliban-say-US-faces-utter-defeat-in-Afganistan/articleshow/16359745.cms

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Taliban raises $400 million in 2011 from donations, extortion: UN

September 12, 2012

Taliban raised about USD 400 million last year through donations, taxes on Afghanistan's poppy cultivation and extortion from narcotics dealers and construction companies, a UN report has said.

A team of UN sanctions experts said in its report to the UN security council that the

Taliban raised USD 400 million in the year that ended in March 2012.

Of this money, about USD 275 million went to Taliban leadership while USD 125 million was collected, spent or misappropriated at the local level.

The main source of revenue for the militant group has been donations as well as extortion money collected from drug traffickers and the billions pumped into Afghanistan for development projects.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/worldsectionpage/World/Taliban-raises-400-million-in-2011-from-donations-extortion-UN/Article1-928562.aspx

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Western and Afghan Officials Split Over Karzai Nomination for Spy Chief

By RICHARD A OPPEL Jr

September 12, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai’s determination to make a close aide, Asadullah Khalid, his next intelligence chief has divided Western officials here, some of whom say they are troubled by allegations of torture and drug trafficking against Mr. Khalid and worry that in such a powerful role he would be a step back for the country.

With a charismatic style and a record of fighting the Taliban, as well as close ties to the C.I.A. and differing Afghan factions, Mr. Khalid could become a powerful political proxy and security enforcer for Mr. Karzai, Western officials say. If he is confirmed this week as chief of the Afghan spy agency, the National Directorate of Security, he would be in a unique position to help Mr. Karzai stay in influence after term limits require him to step down in 2014.

Since the assassination of the president’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, last year, Mr. Khalid has become almost a surrogate family member — an ethnic Pashtun with deft political skills who has proved himself fiercely loyal, and a bridge to some former Northern Alliance leaders who remain important to Mr. Karzai’s support but are wary of presidential aides too sympathetic to Pakistan.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/world/asia/officials-split-over-nominee-for-afghan-spy-chief.html?ref=world&gwh=D1D3EEB7672B30D95865DFAA0B906619

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5 Destiny high-ups bail cancelled: Bangladesh

12 September 2012

A Dhaka court on Wednesday cancelled the bail of five Destiny Group top officials, including its managing director, granted by a lower court in two money laundering cases.

Judge (in-charge) Dr Akhtaruzzaman of the Senior Special Judge's Court of Dhaka passed the order after hearing two petitions submitted by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) seeking cancellation of the bail granted by the lower court on August 6.

The ACC filed the petitions on August 13.

The officials are -- Destiny's Managing Director Md Rafiqul Amin and its Director Lt Gen (retd) M Harunur Rashid, Destiny-2000 Ltd Chairman Mohammad Hossain and its two directors Gofranul Huq and Sayed-ur Rahman.

There is no legal bar to arrest the five Destiny officials as their bail was cancelled, Public Prosecutor Mosharraf Hossain Kajol told The Daily Star.

Meanwhile, the ACC today filed two separate petitions with the same court seeking cancellation of the bail of 16 other Destiny officials by a lower court on September 5. The same court accepted the petitions.

On July 31, the ACC sued 22 officials of Destiny Group for laundering Tk 3,285.26 crore by cheating investors.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/latest_news.php?nid=40741

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OIC tours unrest-hit western Myanmar

12 September 2012

Members of an influential Islamic body have visited Myanmar's Rakhine state, a government official said yesterday, to survey fallout from deadly sectarian unrest between Buddhist and Muslim communities.

A delegation from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) led by the group's representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ufuk Gokcen, arrived in the western region on Sunday, an official in the state capital Sittwe said.

"They met the union border affairs minister and Rakhine chief minister here and also visited some refugee camps and made donations," he said, adding that the group concluded their visit on Monday.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=249417

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Invest in Rakhine state to end Rohingya crisis

12 September 2012

Bangladesh govt urges USA, int'l community

The government yesterday urged the United States and the international community to invest in Rakhine state of Myanmar to create livelihood so that it could bring a permanent end to the sufferings of Rohingyas.

Investment in Rakhine will also help Bangladesh to get a relief from the influx of Rohingyas into the country.

The government made the suggestion when a four-member high-powered delegation from the US State Department sought Bangladesh's views for a long-term humanitarian solution to the Rohingya crisis.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=249342

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Bangladesh PM for united efforts of Muslim countries

12 September 2012

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday emphasised on the united efforts of the Muslim countries to ensure welfare of the people and establish peace around the world.

The prime minister came up with the view when Director General of Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) Dr Moneef R Zou'bi met her at her office.

PM's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad briefed reporters after the meeting.

During the meeting, Azad said the prime minister and the IAS DG discussed issues relating to development of the Muslim Ummah.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=249390

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Bangladesh: Murders for land of ethnic groups go on in Dinajpur

12 September 2012

Justice eludes minorities while their landed properties continue to shrink fast

Clashes arising from land disputes and attacks by Bangalee settlers have left at least 36 indigenous people, including six women dead over the last ten years in different upazilas of the district, according to Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP), an NGO working for the welfare of ethnic minorities.

Most of these murders were committed by Bangalee settlers while trying to grab the land of minorities. Incidents of rape and murder were also reported during the same period. In many cases young women were assaulted and raped. Instances of politically backed Bangalee settlers torturing indigenous women were also noted, the leaders of JAP said.

There are 18 different ethnic groups in the district, and over 90 percent people of them belong to Santal community. The other groups include Kora, Turi, Mahle, Malpahari Orao, and Mundal.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=249436

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Southeast Asia

 

Jailed Indonesian Children Sue Australian Government

 September 12, 2012

The Australian Government is facing its first civil compensation suit from two Indonesian children who were locked up in an adult jail while awaiting trial on people smuggling charges.

The two boys were 14 and 15 when they were taken into custody, after an asylum boat was intercepted by customs off Ashmore Reef in February last year.

They were part of the crew.

Peter O’Brien, one of the boys’ lawyers, said the Australian Federal Police (AFP) relied solely on discredited and unreliable X-ray analysis to determine their ages and then charged them as adults.

The lawyer told Australia Network’s Newsline program: “The fundamental problem with the prosecution of this case was that they relied on what was known to be a redundant and unreliable form of technology in determining age.”

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/jailed-indonesian-children-sue-australian-government/543946

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Severely injured man involved in bomb making: Police

September 12 2012

The National Police alleged on Wednesday that the man severely injured in an explosion in Depok last week was a bomb maker.

According to National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar, the critically ill man being treated at the National Police Hospital in Kramat Jati, matched the criteria of the bomb assembler mentioned by terror suspect Muhammad Thoriq.

“We suspect that the injured man and Thoriq were in the learning process [of bomb-making], and the former was more advanced than Thoriq,” Boy said.

Boy said that the man was provisionally identified as Wahyu Ristanto, based on documents and an ID card found at the crime scene in Depok.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2012/09/12/severely-injured-man-involved-bomb-making-police.html

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Mideast Asia

 

Turkey concerned on Islamophobic poster

ANKARA / BERLIN

September/11/2012

A poster campaign by Germany’s Interior Ministry to advertise a hotline for those worried that a friend or family member may be turning to radical Islam has met with strong criticism from Turkish officials.

Citing German Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s decision to disable a court decision prohibiting circumcision, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has called on her to again take steps against her interior ministry’s latest initiative. “I hope she will not let this campaign be launched,” Bozdag told reporters yesterday, adding that the law of the state should stand against real criminals and terrorists, “instead of incriminating innocent people.” The campaign has been founded under the “Security Partnership Initiative” by Germany’s Interior Ministry. Bozdag said the campaign was an affront to Muslims “since it sees Muslim people as a security concern.”

Full report at:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-concerned-on-islamophobic-

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US has no right to block Israel on Iran: Netanyahu

Sep 11, 2012

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said the United States had forfeited any moral right to stop Israel taking action against Iran's nuclear programme because it had refused to be firm with Tehran itself.

On comments which appeared to bring the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran closer, Netanyahu took the administration of President Barack Obama to task after Washington rebuffed his own call to set a red line for Tehran's nuclear drive.

"The world tells Israel 'wait, there's still time'. And I say, 'Wait for what? Wait until when?" said Netanyahu, speaking in English.

"Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don't have a moral right to place a red light before Israel," he added, addressing a news conference with Bulgaria's prime minister.

Netanyahu has been pushing Obama to adopt a tougher line against Iran, arguing that setting a clear boundary for Iran's uranium enrichment activities and imposing stronger economic sanctions could deter Tehran from developing nuclear weapons and mitigate the need for military action.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/US-has-no-right-to-block-Israel-on-Iran-Netanyahu/articleshow/16355490.cms

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Palestinian Tax Increases Canceled in Move to Calm West Bank Protests

September 12, 2012

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) — In a reversal aimed at ending protests that have swept the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority announced Tuesday that it had canceled recent tax increases. But a union leader rejected the concession and said street demonstrations would continue.

The protests are being watched with growing concern by Israel, which fears that the Palestinians’ frustration with their leadership will snowball into a third general uprising against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

Thousands of youths attacked a police station in Hebron on Monday night, calling for the dismissal of Salam Fayyad, prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, who is struggling to keep the economy afloat in the face of a slowdown in foreign donor aid and continued Israeli trade restrictions.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/world/middleeast/palestinian-tax-increases-canceled-

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Yemen's President Replaces Security Chiefs After Sanaa Attack

September 12, 2012

SANAA (Reuters) - Yemen's president replaced security officials and some ministers late on Tuesday, state media reported, in an apparent move to reduce the influence of former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh following an attempt on the defense minister's life.

A car bomb targeting the motorcade of Defense Minister Major General Muhammad Nasir Ahmad in Sanaa on Tuesday killed 12 people and wounded dozens but left him largely unscathed.

Yemen has been in turmoil since an uprising against Saleh last year that forced the former president to step down in November under a Gulf power transfer deal in favor of his deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Hadi appointed a new oil and minerals minister, Ahmed Dares, and higher education minister, Hesham Sharaf, state news agency Saba said.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/09/12/world/middleeast/12reuters-yemen-shuffle.html?ref=middleeast

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Turkish Man Kidnapped in Lebanon Set Free

September 12, 2012

BEIRUT (AP) — Members of a powerful Shiite Muslim clan in Lebanon have released a Turkish man they took hostage last month, angered by their relative's abduction in Syria.

The al-Mikdad clansmen kidnapped Aydin Tufan Tekin and more than 20 Syrians as retaliation for the capture of one of their family members inside Syria by rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad.

Turkey has been hosting Syrian rebels and refugees.

Tekin was released late Tuesday, hours after a raid by the Lebanese army freed the last four Syrian hostages held by al-Mikdad's.

He told reporters after his release that he was well treated but that his 27 days in custody were "not easy." He flew home on Wednesday.

The kidnappings are a sign of the spillover of the Syrian civil war into Lebanon.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/09/12/world/middleeast/ap-ml-lebanon-

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Arab World

 

Makkah Governor urges youth to confront anti-Islam designs by leading an exemplary life

12 September 2012

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal yesterday urged Saudi youth to confront the anti-Islam smear campaign by leading an exemplary life, following the teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah. “You are a good example to the whole world in adhering to the eternal values, the values of the Qur’an and Sunnah,” he told young Saudis while addressing a youth seminar at the opening of Souk Okaz festival.

Prince Khaled thanked Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for giving his directives to rebuild the historic Souk Okaz to promote Arab culture and civilization. “Souk Okaz will become a window on the future and a stage for dialogue benefiting all people, especially Saudis.”

He called upon Saudi youth to participate actively in the annual festival, presenting innovative and attractive ideas and programs. “We also need the participation of economic, scientific and technological institutions. “We need not cry about the past. We need smile of the future,” the governor said at the applause of more than 700 youth who were present at the gathering. Prince Khaled highlighted the Kingdom’s progress in terms of huge industrial cities, desal plants, electricity power stations and state-of-the-art road systems.

The seminar was attended by Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities; Prince Nawaf bin Faisal, president of Youth Welfare Presidency; Khaled Al-Anqari, higher education minister; and Abdul Aziz Khoja, minister of culture and information.

http://www.arabnews.com/youth-urged-confront-anti-islam-designs

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Saudi Kingdom and Spain to bolster military links

12 September 2012

Vice Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Salman held talks with Spanish State Secretary for Defence Pedro Arguelles at Al-Salam Palace here yesterday on ways of strengthening bilateral cooperation.

Prince Salman highlighted the deep-rooted relations between Saudi Arabia and Spain under the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

“Prince Salman and Arguelles discussed major regional and international developments and expressed their views,” the SPA said.

Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan and senior officials attended the talks.

Prince Khaled later held a separate meeting with Arguelles and his delegation and emphasized Saudi Arabia’s desire to strengthen military ties with Spain.

Arguelles said he was happy to visit Saudi Arabia and meet with its officials, emphasizing the strength of bilateral ties.

Last June Prince Salman visited Madrid and met with Spanish Defence Minister Pedro Morenes.

He said his visit to Spain was fruitful, adding that both countries would benefit from it.

“Saudi Arabia and Spain have identical views on all issues discussed during my meetings with King Carlos, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Defence Minister Morenes and Foreign Minister José Manuel,” Prince Salman said.

http://www.arabnews.com/kingdom-and-spain-bolster-military-links

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Ex-Jeddah mayor gets 5 years for corruption

KHALID AL-SUBIANI

11 September 2012

JEDDAH: The head of the third criminal department in Jeddah’s administrative court sentenced the former mayor of Jeddah five years in jail and fined him SR 100,000 for accepting bribes, failing to deliver on his duties and wasting public money.

The defendant remained silent after the sentencing, but later said he did not agree with the verdict.

During the trial, the judge asked the defendant what actions he took after realizing that a 1000-meter-long pipeline costing SR 70 million was installed in the wrong location by a national contracting company. He replied that he wrote a letter to his department, but the judge showed him a copy of that letter in which there was no mention of the project being located in the wrong place.

The judge also confronted the defendant about a car he received from a contracting company. The defendant replied that he did not know it was given by the company, as he asked the company about it and was assured that it wasn’t from them.

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/ex-jeddah-mayor-gets-5-years-corruption

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8 years, 2,000 lashes, fine for blackmailer

KHALID AL-SUBIANI

Wednesday 12 September 2012

A 34-year-old Saudi who blackmailed 13 women has been sentenced to 2,000 lashes and eight years in jail. A fine of SR 300,000 has also been slapped on him by Jeddah’s district court.

The blackmailer used personal pictures of the victims to get paid SR 1,500 monthly from each one. If the victims did not comply, he threatened them he would publish the photos.

The judge said it was the defendant’s wife who reported him to the cops after she found that he took her colleagues’ numbers from her cell phone and saved them under company names on his cell phone.

The defendant managed to involve his victims in affairs with him until he took private pictures of them to blackmail them.

http://www.arabnews.com/8-years-2000-lashes-fine-blackmailer

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UAE among emerging e-Government leaders

Silvia Radan / 12 September 2012

In the United Nations’ 2012 e-Government Survey, the UAE is ranked among the emerging leaders group in e-Government development, ranking at 0.73 EGDI (e-Government Development Index), close behind the world’s top 20 leaders, topped by Republic of Korea with a 0.92 score.

The UAE is thus joining the group of 25 emerging leaders for the first time, after developing at astonishing rates its electronic government services.

“We had the biggest jump, from position 49 in 2010 to position 28 this year, according to the UN evaluation,” said Salem Al Shair, Deputy Director-General of e-Government and Information sector, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

A giant leap was made particularly in the government online services, which gave the UAE a push from the 99th place to seventh place worldwide.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-

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Mursi: Remove all obstacles facing Saudi investment in Egypt

12 September 2012

Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi held talks here yesterday with Commerce and Industry Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah and instructed his officials to remove all obstacles facing Saudi investment in the country.

Al-Rabiah's meeting with the president was attended by a large number of Saudi businessmen as well as Saudi Ambassador to Cairo Ahmed Kattan and Egyptian Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Hatem Saleh.

"During the meeting the two sides reviewed bilateral relations and ways of strengthening these relations in all areas as well as new investment opportunities in Egypt and prospects of establishing more joint ventures," the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Mursi's spokesman Dr. Yasser Ali said the president had given his instructions to remove all obstacles facing Saudi investment in Egypt. "The president has also instructed to speed up procedures for Saudi investments," he added.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/mursi-remove-all-obstacles-facing-saudi-investment-egypt

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Heavy Fighting in Syria's Largest City of Aleppo

September 12, 2012

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists are reporting heavy fighting in Syria's largest city as battles intensify ahead of a visit by the new international peace envoy.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees say the fighting Wednesday was mostly near the government-held Aleppo International Airport.

Aleppo-based activist Mohammed al-Hassan says the airport, which includes a military base, is widely used by the regime to bomb rebel-held areas in Aleppo.

Diplomatic efforts have so far failed to stop the bloodshed in Syria, but the new U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi plans to travel to the country this week in a bid to revive them.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Brahimi will sit down with President Bashar Assad during an upcoming visit, although the date has not been announced.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2012/09/12/world/middleeast/ap-ml-

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Relief Crisis Grows as Refugees Stream Out of Syria

By NICK CUMMING-BRUCE and NEIL MacFARQUHAR

September 12, 2012

GENEVA — International relief officials reported an increasingly grim aid crisis stemming from the Syria conflict on Tuesday, with two million people there not getting desperately needed help, and a sudden acceleration of refugees overwhelming the ability of neighboring countries to absorb them.

With less than a week before the start of the Syrian school year, classes have been scrapped indefinitely for tens of thousands of children, because their schools have either been destroyed or been sequestered as squatters’ quarters for displaced families, the officials said. In the province of Homs, so many doctors have fled that only three surgeons remained to serve a population of two million, the officials said, and laws to protect civilians during wartime were being ignored by both government soldiers and insurgents.

The United Nations refugee agency in Geneva said the number of people fleeing Syria had increased almost exponentially, from 18,500 in June to 35,000 in July to 102,000 in August. Roughly 2,000 Syrians were crossing daily into Jordan alone, trying to evade air and artillery attacks on towns near the southern border, said Adrian Edwards, a spokesman for the refugee agency.

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/world/middleeast/relief-crisis-grows-as-refugees-

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Dubai to reward model motorists

Amira Agarib / 12 September 2012

Motorists in Dubai will be rewarded for good driving habits as the police on Tuesday announced plans to begin a white-point system by early next year.

Major-General Mohammed Saif Al Zafin, Director of the General Department of Traffic, said motorists would be given incentives ranging from grand prizes like a car to exemption from traffic fines. They will also get gift vouchers every year. The police will send an SMS to the motorist to alert him/her about the selection for the prize.

He said the motorists who abide by the traffic laws for five years will enter a draw to win a car in addition to other incentives developed as part of the white point system.

The system was launched by Lt-General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Commander-in-Chief of the Dubai Police, to encourage people to reduce traffic accidents.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/kt-article-display-

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Egypt orders arrest of last Mubarak PM

11 September 2012

CAIRO: Egyptian authorities ordered the arrest of ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq on Tuesday on suspicion of corruption, judicial sources said.

Shafiq, who has been living abroad in the United Arab Emirates since narrowly losing the first post-Mubarak elections to Islamist incumbent Muhammad Mursi in June, has been barred from travel using his Egyptian passport since last month.

He faces corruption charges in a case connected to that of Mubarak’s long untouchable sons Alaa and Gamal.

A former air force chief and civil aviation minister, Shafiq was named premier in the last days of Mubarak’s presidency before the veteran strongman’s overthrow in February last year.

He won 48.3 percent of the vote in a second-round presidential election runoff against Mursi in June.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/egypt-orders-arrest-last-mubarak-pm

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WikiLeaks releases Syrian foreign ministry e-mails

HASAN SUROOR

September 12, 2012

WikiLeaks on Tuesday released a cache of more than 32,000 e-mails to and from the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying they revealed “the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy”.

Dubbed the “Syria Files”, they are part of over two million e-mails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies – dating from August 2006 to March 2012 — which it began publishing in July.

“This extraordinary data set derives from 680 Syria-related entities or domain names, including those of the Ministries of Presidential Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Information, Transport and Culture. At this time Syria is undergoing a violent internal conflict that has killed between 6,000 and 15,000 people in the last 18 months. The Syria Files shine a light on the inner workings of the Syrian government and economy, but they also reveal how the West and Western companies say one thing and do another,” WikiLeaks said

They can be accessed at http://wikileaks.org/syria-files/releasedate/2012-09-10-13-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-and-expatriates.html.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3886786.ece

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Regional quartet to work for Syria solution

ATUL ANEJA

September 12, 2012

Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran meet in Cairo

A regional initiative to resolve the crisis in Syria quietly commenced with the inaugural meeting of diplomats from Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran in Cairo on Monday.

The intention for talks by the regional quartet, without involvement of western powers, was announced by Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy during last month’s Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference in Saudi Arabia.

Despite the boldness of Egypt’s pronouncement — pitting together regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran — the initiative is likely to be fine-tuned.

Iran has already announced its discomfort in engaging three other countries that have been openly hostile to Damascus, Tehran’s top ally. Consequently, Iran wants two other partners — Iraq, current head of the Arab League and Venezuela, member of the troika of NAM — to join the quartet.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3885995.ece

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Syria rebels kill 18 soldiers, clash near Aleppo airport

September 12, 2012

ALEPPO, Syria: Syrian rebels killed at least 18 soldiers in a car bomb and ground attack on a military position in Idlib province on Wednesday, as fighting also raged in the country’s commercial capital, Aleppo.

Four Armenian Syrians were killed and 13 wounded on the road home from the airport after a trip to Yerevan.

“There were 70 to 100 soldiers there when the attack occurred” in the town of Saraqeb, Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

“Twenty soldiers escaped, and clashes are still going on,” he added.

Abdel Rahman said the details of the incident were still sketchy, and that he could not say whether the car bombing was a suicide attack.

Outside Aleppo, fighting erupted at dawn in the Nayrab area, around five kilometres from the city’s airport, which remained fully operational, the Observatory said.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/syria-rebels-kill-18-soldiers-clash-near-aleppo-airport/

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Egypt Copts to protest against 'Islam insult' film

September 12, 2012

CAIRO: Coptic activists in Egypt are to stage a vigil on Wednesday in protest against a film deemed offensive to Islam that sparked violence outside US missions in Egypt and Libya, they said in a statement.

The Maspero Youth Union (MYU) and the Coalition of Coptic Egypt condemned “all sorts of contempt or disdain against any religion, as well as to the sowing of sedition between people who embrace different religions,” the statement said.

The MYU said it would be “holding a vigil tonight (Wednesday) in front of the US embassy in Cairo to protest against the film that insults Islam and the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).”

The film at the centre of the controversy, which sparked the attack in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi that left one US State Department employee dead, was made by an Israeli-American, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/435392/egypt-copts-to-protest-against-islam-insult-film/

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North America

 

US ambassador to Libya, three others killed in rocket attack

Sep 12, 2012

CAIRO/BENGHAZI/BEIRUT: BEIRUT: The US ambassador to Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack on Tuesday night that targeted his car in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, a Libyan official said on Wednesday.

"The American ambassador and three staff members were killed when gunmen fired rockets at them," the official in Benghazi told Reuters. Asked about the deaths, a US Embassy employee in Tripoli said: "We have no information regarding this." The employee said the embassy could confirm the death of one person.

The Libyan official said the US ambassador had been on his way to a safer venue after protesters attacked the US Consulate in Benghazi and opened fire, killing a staff member, in protest at a US film that they deemed blasphemous to the Prophet Mohammad.

The official said the ambassador and three other staff were killed when gunmen fired rockets at his car. He said the US Embassy had sent a military plane to transport the bodies to Tripoli to fly them to the United States.

Gunmen assaulted the Benghazi compound on Tuesday evening, clashing with Libyan security forces, who withdrew under heavy fire. The attackers fired at the buildings while others threw handmade bombs into the compound, setting off small explosions. Small fires were burning around the compound.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/US-ambassador-to-Libya-three-others-killed-in-rocket-attack/articleshow/16365717.cms

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'Death loving' Zawahiri’s brother proposes 'peace plan' to end jihad

Sep 12 2012

London : Mohamed al-Zawahiri, the brother of Al-Qaeda leader Aymen al-Zawahiri, voiced his personal ''peace plan'' in an interview aired by CNN on the eve of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took place on the World Trace Center in New York.

In the exclusive interview, he proposed to mediate a ‘peace deal’ between the West and Islamists, saying he is in a ‘unique position’ to help end the violence.

“Our people like death, the same way others like life. But we do not want to get into this endless cycle of violence. We like for the others and us to live peacefully,” the Daily Mail quoted Al-Zawahiri, as saying.

He claimed that the portrayal of him and his brother Aymen as ‘blood thirsty terrorists’ were absolutely untrue.

“The portrayal of my brother''s ideologies and mine: that it’s blood thirsty, barbaric, or terrorist, is not true at all,” Al-Zawahiri said.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/death-loving-zawahiris-brother-proposes-peace-plan-to-end-jihad/1001506/

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CAIR: U.S. Muslims to Condemn Killings of American Diplomats

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/12/12) –- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), along with other Muslim organizations, will hold a noon news conference today on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to condemn both the killings of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats in that nation and the attack on the American embassy in Egypt.

Among the speakers at the press conference will be a Libyan-American leader who knew the slain ambassador closely.

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At ground zero, an anniversary without politicians reflects a decade of the politics of 9/11

September 12, 2012

NEW YORK — The Sept. 11 anniversary ceremony at ground zero has been stripped of politicians this year. But can it ever be stripped of politics?

For the first time, elected officials won’t speak Tuesday at an occasion that has allowed them a solemn turn in the spotlight. The change was made in the name of sidelining politics, but some have rapped it as a political move in itself.

It’s a sign of the entrenched sensitivity of the politics of Sept. 11, even after a decade of commemorating the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. From the first anniversary in 2002, the date has been limned with questions about how — or even whether — to try to separate the Sept. 11 that is about personal loss from the 9/11 that reverberates through public life.

The answers are complicated for Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles was the pilot of the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon. She feels politicians’ involvement can lend gravity to the remembrances, but she empathizes with the reasons for silencing officeholders at the New York ceremony this year.

Full report at:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/at-ground-zero-an-anniversary-without-

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Canadian Biology Student Converts to Islam

12 September 2012

Steven Byers, a fourth-year science student, has been learning a lot lately.

But his latest studies are not limited to just physics and biology.

Byers is learning about Islam; a religion he's recently embraced.

About five years ago, Byers couldn’t have pinpointed what belief system he followed.

He was raised a Christian, but Byers remembers feeling let down by his faith when bad things happened in his life.

“I would always question like why would God do that to me, my family, or my friends? It just didn’t make sense to me. And then I would get pretty angry. It was like the only time in my life I was really angry with a lot of stuff.”

Full report at:

http://onislam.net/english/reading-islam/my-journey-to-islam/contemporary-

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Anti-Islam filmmaker in hiding after protests

Sep 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES: A filmmaker has gone into hiding after his movie attacking Islam's Prophet Muhammad sparked assaults on US missions in Egypt and Libya, where an American State Department officer was killed.

Writer and director Sam Bacile spoke on the phone on Tuesday from an unidentified location. He remained defiant, saying Islam is "a cancer" and he wanted his film to make a political statement.

The 56-year-old identifies himself as an Israeli Jew and says he believes his video will help his native land by exposing Islam's flaws to the world. Excerpts dubbed into Arabic were posted on YouTube.

Among other claims that have caused outrage, the film claims Muhammad was a philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse.

Bacile says he's sorry for the person who died, but blames lax embassy security.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Anti-Islam-filmmaker-in-hiding-after-protests/articleshow/16362588.cms

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America’s fight not with Islam, says Obama

September 12, 2012

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama assured the Muslims on Tuesday that America’s war was with terrorists and not with Islam. On the 11th anniversary of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, President Obama and rival Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also reminded the world that in situations like this the Americans always rose above political considerations and fought together to defeat the enemy.

“I’ve always said that our fight is with Al Qaeda and its affiliates, not with Islam or any other religion,” said President Obama while addressing a remembrance service at the Pentagon.

“This country was built as a beacon of freedom and tolerance. That’s what’s made us strong, now and forever,” he said.

“On this most sombre day, those who would attack us should know that we are united as one in our determination to destroy them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world,” said Mr Romney.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/americas-fight-not-with-islam-says-obama/

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Pak partner of terrorists who murder Americans: US lawmaker

 Sep 12 2012

Washington : A key US lawmaker has said that Pakistan is not a friend of the United States, while alleging that instead it is a "partner" of terrorist who murdered fellow Americans.

"The continued incarceration of Dr (Shakeel) Afridi by the Pakistani government should reaffirm to all Americans that Pakistan is not our friend but instead is the partner of terrorists who murder our fellow Americans," Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, chairman of House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said yesterday.

Rohrabacher had this year introduced legislation to award Dr Afridi, the imprisoned Pak physician who helped CIA trace Osama bin Laden, the Congressional Gold Medal and offered a personal relief bill to grant him US Citizenship.

Full report at:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/pak-partner-of-terrorists-who-murder-americans-us-lawmaker/1001465/

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Marking 9/11, Romney makes point of citing war in Afghanistan

September 12, 2012

RENO: US Republican presidential Candidate Mitt Romney used the anniversary of the attacks of September 11, 2001, to do some repair work.

Still under fire from Democrats for not mentioning the war in Afghanistan during his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican convention on August 30, Romney spoke at length on Tuesday about the war during an address to the National Guard Association.

Romney said he was taking the day off from politics and focusing instead on remembering the nearly 3,000 people killed 11 years ago, while offering thanks to the emergency crews that responded to the attacks and service members who went to war afterward.

In a campaign that has been dominated by debate over the struggling economy, Romney discussed America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in detail.

“While the war in Iraq is over, nearly 70,000 American troops will still remain in Afghanistan at the end of the month,” Romney said.

“Our goal should be to complete the successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.”

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/435371/marking-911-romney-makes-point-of-citing-war-in-afghanistan/

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Pre-9/11, Haqqani group urged US ties: documents

September 12, 2012

WASHINGTON: The founder of Afghanistan’s now-scorned Haqqani network voiced hope for cooperation in a meeting with US diplomats two years before the September 11 attacks, a declassified document said Tuesday.

The United States decided last week to blacklist the Pakistan-linked network as terrorists following a wave of attacks in Afghanistan. The guerrilla group once enjoyed US support as it battled Soviet troops in Afghanistan.

In a document released on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, a State Department cable said that US officials met in May 1999 with the group’s founder Jalaluddin Haqqani who was informally representing the Taliban regime.

In the meeting, a diplomat from the US embassy in Islamabad urged the Taliban to expel Osama bin Laden who was wanted over the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania three years before the September 11 atrocity.

The cable said that Haqqani insisted that the Taliban had placed “tight controls” on bin Laden and that the best solution for the United States may be for the Saudi-born al Qaeda leader to stay in Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/09/11/pre-911-haqqani-group-urged-us-ties-documents/

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US concern over Pakistan ‘CIA doctor’ torture claims

September 12, 2012

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Tuesday it cannot verify an alleged interview by a Pakistani jailed after he helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden but would be concerned if his torture claims were true.

In May, a Pakistani court sentenced a doctor, Shakeel Afridi, to 33 years in jail after he was arrested following the killing by US troops of bin Laden in May 2011 at his compound in the town of Abbottabad.

Afridi was said to have worked with the CIA to set up a fake vaccination program to obtain DNA samples in Pakistani communities in order to identify relatives of the fugitive al Qaeda leader.

But he was charged and jailed for treason over alleged ties to the militant group Lashkar-i-Islam.

US television channel Fox News said on Tuesday it had obtained an exclusive phone interview with Afridi from behind bars, in which he detailed months of torture by Pakistan’s shadowy Inter Service Intelligence.

Full report at:

http://dawn.com/2012/09/12/us-concern-over-pakistan-cia-doctor-torture-claims/

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U.S. welcomes India, Pak. talks

September 12, 2012

The United States has praised the just concluded Pakistan visit of the Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, noting that it is pleased to see the progress made by the two countries on visa issues.

“We strongly support increasing contact at the high level between Pakistan and India. We think the trip was a good thing, and we were pleased to see the visa progress that they made, which supports progress that they had made in the past on economic issues,” the State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at her daily news conference here yesterday.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article3887888.ece

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No rift with Israel over Iran: White House

September 12, 2012

The White House on Tuesday denied reports of a rift with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that he and President Barack Obama have reaffirmed the two countries’ commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu spoke for an hour Tuesday night. The White House said in a statement later that the two men agreed to continue “close consultations going forward” regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The White House denied published reports that Mr. Obama had rejected Mr. Netanyahu’s request to meet with Mr. Obama in Washington next week. No such request was made or rejected, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

The unusual, late-night announcement from the White House comes after Mr. Netanyahu criticised what he called the world’s failure to spell out what would provoke a U.S.-led military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Mr. Netanyahu has urged the U.S. to set “red lines” for Tehran. The Obama administration has refused.

Full report at:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article3887865.ece

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Qaeda video says US will target American-Muslims

September 12, 2012

Al Qaeda released a September 11 anniversary video declaring the United States is at war with Islam and that American Muslims should brace for a "holocaust", US monitors said Wednesday.

The video, which features al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri as well as its American spokesman Adam

Gadahn, is entitled "Truth has Come and Falsehood has Perished" and was posted on jihadist forums, according to SITE and IntelCenter.

According to a SITE transcript, Gadahn rejects President Barack Obama's assertion that the United States is not at war with Islam because "America is crystal-clear about its opposition to Islam as a political system".

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/Americas/Qaeda-video-says-US-will-target-American-Muslims/Article1-928455.aspx

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Romney Criticizes Obama Response to Libya, Egypt Attacks

September 12, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, Florida (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday criticized the Obama administration's initial response to violent attacks at U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya as a campaign centered on the U.S. economy took a detour into foreign policy.

An American was killed in clashes at the diplomatic mission in the Libyan city of Benghazi as demonstrators protested what they described as a film that insulted the Prophet Mohammed. Protesters also attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

The Romney campaign seized on an initial statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in which the embassy said it "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims - as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."

Full report at:

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2012/09/11/world/africa/11reuters-usa-campaign-

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Boeing evacuates US plant after threat on 9/11

Sep 11, 2012

WASHINGTON: Boeing evacuated some 500 employees from a plant in Pennsylvania on Tuesday after a reported bomb threat on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

"Early this morning round about 7:30 am (1130 GMT) Boeing received notification of a threat at one of its facilities at Ridley Park," Boeing spokesman Damian Mills told AFP.

"In the interest of safety, we evacuated employees, notified the local authorities and contacted Delaware County Police," the spokesman said.

Neither Mills nor the police would comment on US media reports that a note was left in a bathroom at the Ridley Park facility claiming explosives had been planted in one of the hangars.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Boeing-evacuates-US-plant-after-threat-on-9/11/articleshow/16354829.cms

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In unusual snub, Obama to avoid meeting with Netanyahu

Sep 12, 2012

WASHINGTON/JERUSALEM: In a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally as tensions escalated over how to deal with Iran's nuclear program, the White House said on Tuesday President Barack Obama would not meet Benjamin Netanyahu during the Israeli prime minister's US visit later this month.

The apparent snub, coupled with Netanyahu's sharpened demands for a tougher US line against Iran, threatened to plunge US-Israeli relations into crisis and add pressure on Obama in the final stretch of a tight presidential election campaign.

An Israeli official, who declined to be identified, said the White House had refused Netanyahu's request to meet Obama when the Israeli leader visits the United States to attend the UN General Assembly, telling the Israelis, "The president's schedule will not permit that."

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor denied that Netanyahu had ever made such an overture - let alone that it had been spurned - insisting instead that the two leaders were attending the General Assembly on different days and would not be in New York at the same time.

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/In-unusual-snub-Obama-to-avoid-meeting-with-Netanyahu/articleshow/16362406.cms

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'Bush didn't act promptly on pre-attack warnings'

Sep 12, 2012

NEW YORK: Months before the 9/11 attacks, former US President George Bush had received multiple briefings by intelligence agencies warning of an "imminent" attack on US soil by al-Qaida but he did not take prompt action that could have prevented the tragedy, an op-ed in the New York Times said on Tuesday.

Former reporter for the news daily Kurt Eichenwald said Bush had begun to get "direct warnings" about the possibility of an attack by alQaida as early as the spring of 2001 but some in the administration considered the warning to be just "bluster".

Full report at:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Bush-didnt-act-promptly-on-pre-attack-warnings/articleshow/16359750.cms

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Australia

 

Australia to give scholarships to 50 Bangladeshis

12 September 2012

Australia will provide development scholarships to more than 50 Bangladeshis under the Australia Awards this year.

Australian High Commissioner in Dhaka Gregory A Wilcock announced this while inaugurating a two-day Australian Education Exhibition at Hotel Ruposhi Bangla in the capital yesterday.

Wilcock said the Australian government invests more than 200 million Australian dollars each year in scholarships that supports around 5,000 overseas students, researchers and professionals to study in Australia.

Currently, around 7000 Bangladeshi students are studying in Australia, he said.

Representatives from 21 leading Australian universities are present at the exhibition to provide higher education and admission related information to students.

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=249401

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/obama-vows--justice-will-be-done--over-killing-of-us-ambassador-in-libya/d/8645

 

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