She lured them to good life, jihad
Sufi council to combat extremism by Bikya Masr
TALIBAN BLOWAWARNING TO INDIAAND THE US by Manoj Joshi
A reminder of India’s burden and stake in Afghanistan by Siddharth Varadarajan
Obama eyes war strategy to focus on Qaeda in Pakistan
The law in whose hands? Pakistan's Swat valley
Deadly blast hits Pakistan city: 49 Killed
War on terrorism flares in Philippines by Calum MacLeod
Day of anger” at al-Aqsa Mosque by Bikya Masr
Moscow Rejects Accusations of Assisting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program by Pavel Felgenhaue
Iranian monarchist 'sentenced to death'
Two top Indonesian terror suspects killed
Iran blames US as nuclear expert goes missing
Turkish Opposition to the IMF Appears Ideological by Emrullah Uslu
Political Tensions Rise in Dagestan with Approach of Municipal Elections by Valery Dzutsev
Syria’s Grand Mufti Expected In Aceh
Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau
President Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize
By Steven Thomma, October 09, 2009
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, it was announced Friday, making him the first American president to win the award in his first year.
Despite his brief tenure on the job and lack of tangible achievements yet, the Nobel Committee said it honoured Obama "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples."
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," said Nobel chairman Thorbjoern Jagland.
Obama was notified of the surprise award at about 6 a.m. in a call from Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Obama planned to make a statement in the White House Rose Garden at 10:30 EDT.
Obama becomes the fourth American president to win the award and the third to win while in office.
Theodore Roosevelt won the 1906 prize after personally interceding to negotiate a peace between Japan and Russia. Roosevelt brought the two sides to New Hampshire in September 1905 and helped negotiate a peace treaty after several weeks.
Woodrow Wilson won the 1919 prize after he pushed to create the League of Nations following World War I, traveling to Europe to personally negotiate. The U.S. Senate ultimately rejected the U.S. role, however.
After leaving office, Jimmy Carter won the 2002 prize for what the committee called decades of work. As president, Carter personally brought Egypt and Israel together for weeks of talks at Camp David, Maryland, that produced a peace deal. As an ex-president, he's traveled the globe trying to promote human rights and mediate disputes.
Obama has no comparable accomplishments. He has urged peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians but has so far been rebuffed. His one measurable achievement has been to improve the U.S. standing in the world as measured by polls in foreign countries, particularly after reaching out to the Muslim world in several speeches, including one from Cairo, Egypt.
"The prize signals that America is definitively back in the world's good graces and the President deserves full credit for that," said Martin Indyk, Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, a former official in the Clinton administration.
"Now comes the hard part: turning goodwill into concrete results that can heal the wounds of a very troubled world. If Obama can do that he'll deserve another Nobel."
The prize was a surprise even at the White House.
"It's an honor. It's nothing anyone expected. It's certainly nothing the president sought," senior adviser David Axelrod said on MSNBC. "I think that he's less interested in individual honors and this certainly is one than in advancing the causes that the were cited by the Nobel committee."
Axelrod also said it was not known if Obama would travel to Oslo, Norway, to personally accept the award.
"This is all news to us," he said, "so I don't know what we're going to do with regards to that. I would assume so, but I don't know."
She lured them to good life, jihad
October 09, 2009
On September 21, when the Kolkata Police arrested Mehrunissa, 42, who had three different passports, they realised they had hit upon a network of recruiters for terror camps in Pakistan.
Mehrunissa, who allegedly lured around 50 youngsters from small towns in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar with the promise of a better life in Malaysia , was at the centre of it.
Mehrunissa — also known as Malaysia— would have flown to Kuala Lumpur if the two men she sent from Amroha in Uttar Pradesh had not been caught at Bangkok airport and deported to India.
She was arrested at Kolkata airport when she arrived from Bangkok. Her local contact Babloo Shaw and her son Deepak were arrested in Kolkata’s Raja Bazar.
Amroha residents — Javed Alam, 29, of Raipur village and Wasim Ahmed, 26 of Danish Maidan — reportedly identified her as their mentor.
But, Mehrunissa told investigators that the two were destined to train at a jihadi camp in Pakistan’s south Punjab. “She has dispatched some 49 youths (27 from Uttar Pradesh alone) from Malaysia to Pakistan. The rest are from Bihar,” said a Kolkata Police official, who did not want to be identified. Security agencies are now looking for the missing men.
The Kolkata Police have shared information about the case with the Delhi Police, which are likely to join the investigations along with the anti-terrorist squad of Uttar Pradesh Police. “She (Mehrunissa) is part of a much bigger ring than we initially thought. We are trying to locate the families and the boys if they are in India,” a Delhi police officer said.
Mehrunissa spent a good part of her life in Agra’s Kasai Bara and ran a travel agency in Delhi before shifting to Saudi Arabia in the late nineties.
According to police sources, she got in touch with some Pakistan nationals and moved to Bangkok as Jyoti Rana. He companion was a Pakistani man, who had been identified as Ali.
Ali would take away the legal papers of the youngsters Mehrunissa brought to Malaysia and try to convert them to the jihadi cause, an UP police officer said on condition of anonymity. He said, ““This channel is supplying man power to terror groups for three years.”
With the investigation set to expand in several states, the police are looking for Kamlesh Shaw — Babloo’s brother and a confidant of Mehrunissa. He was with her at the time of her arrest, but managed to slip away. Kamlesh allegedly arranged travel documents for Javed and Wasim.
Sufi council to combat extremism
Bikya Masr Staff
8 October 2009 in News
CAIRO: Sheikh Mohammad Shahawi, Chairman of the Committee of the Five Ways of Sufism and the man charged with organizing the leadership of the Sufi sect, has announced the establishment of a Global Sufi Council based in London to spread what he called “moderate and tolerant Islam.” The council will aim to confront the spread of the less tolerant Salafist and Wahhabi branches of the faith, which are expanding their influence internationally.
The announcement of the new council comes after Shahawi’s wife, Magda Eid, established Egypt’s first female association for Sufi women. She said that the aim of the association is to raise awareness of Sufi women and the principles and teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah – the deeds, sayings and actions of the Prophet Mohamed – especially since most of the women lack awareness in these issues, “because of its unique role to serve the practice of Sufi groups through the preparation of food in celebrations, and other business, where the laws and customs of the chiefdom prevent the participation of Sufi women in its work.”
Shahawi believes it is the spread of these less tolerant ideologies, which has led to increased militant extremism and has tarnished the image of Islam and Muslims, especially after the events of 9/ 11.
Shahawi told al-Dustour that he chose London as the headquarters of the Global Sufi Council after Sufi leadership in Cairo failed to promote and spread Sufism in Egypt and around the world. Being located in London also means fewer legal and administrative problems for the council, which has the approval of the British government and security chiefs at Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the UK police force, he said.
Shahawi stressed that he will set up branches of the Council in Cairo and other Arab and Islamic capitals, adding that Egyptian security authorities warmly welcomed and encouraged the establishment of a branch in Cairo, where they will be licensed as a foreign Islamic body that practises religious activities within the country. He emphasized Sufis’ devotion to confronting the imminent dangers of a Salafist and Wahhabi ideological invasion that threatens Egyptians and people around the world.
Wahhabis, historically, are mortal enemies to Sufism, deeming its followers “infidels and heretics.”
Full Report at: http://bikyamasr.com/?p=4618
TALIBAN BLOWAWARNING TO INDIAAND THE US
by Manoj Joshi
A LITTLE more than a year after the first blast, the Indian embassy in Kabul was rocked by another one on Thursday. Once again the Taliban have claimed the authorship of the deed, and once again the needle of suspicion has veered towards Islamabad as the organiser of the attack. It does not take a genius to connect the dots on this one. Last month, US journalist Bob Woodward leaked a confidential report of the US commander in the region, General Stanley McChrystal, who noted, among other things, that “Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant development efforts and financial investment. [I]ncreasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India”.
It is more than certain that the Pakistanis misread the American general and are trying to underscore what they think was his import. McChrystal’s was a factual statement, not a justification for Pakistani covert action against Indian targets. Indian influence in Afghanistan is growing and it is something that is riling the Pakistanis. The US had itself determined that the Inter- Services Intelligence (ISI) had been responsible for last July’s attack that killed the Indian military adviser, Brigadier Ravi Dutt Mehta, and foreign service officer V.
Venkateswara Rao among others. The question to ask is why Pakistan thinks Afghanistan is a zero-sum game. Minus the Taliban, the Pakistanis are detested throughout the country because of the role they have played in prolonging war and mayhem there. Any government other than the Taliban and the Pakistanis are in the wilderness. Pakistan has another fear. The Durand Line that marks the Pakistan- Afghanistan border has not been recognised by any Afghan government, not even the Taliban when it was in power. Currently, with the rise of the Pakhtun-dominated Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, the Durand Line has all but vanished, the Pakhtun areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan are operating as one area under the leadership of the Quetta Shura headed by Mullah Omar.
On the other hand, New Delhi may not mind a pro-India government, but it can live comfortably with a neutral Afghanistan, as indeed can other regional and international players — Iran, Russia, China, the US and the European Union. Pakistan cannot match the Indians in constructive activity — building hospitals, roads, power plants, transmitting skills to Afghan workers and officials. Neither can it hope to match India’s soft power. Afghans love Bollywood films and songs and Hindi TV soaps are a staple. When the Afghan elite wants some R&R, they come to India.
The only influence Pakistan has is through the Taliban and its mediaeval interpretation of Islam. The business about strategic depth in relation to India is humbug. In the era of strategic missiles and nuclear weapons, geographical depth means little. The blast has come at a critical time. The US is in the midst of reviewing its AfPak strategy that it set in motion only months ago. President Barack Obama is considering a request of General McChrystal for an additional 10,000-40,000 troops and a revised new counter-insurgency strategy. But the administration may be veering around to the view that it needs to contract its operations in Afghanistan from counterinsurgency to counter-terrorism. That is, focus on killing or capturing the al-Qaeda present in the country, and abandon the battle against the Taliban. Whether it is even possible to separate the two organisations any more is a moot question. Another facet of the strategy is to sharply enhance the US presence in Pakistan. In other words, the operations now come under the rubric of PakAf, not AfPak. To this end, the US has recently proposed a massive increase in civilian aid to Islamabad as well as the presence of its own personnel. The target is the al-Qaeda, which they believe is operating out of the Pakistani badlands.
This Pak First strategy does make sense, but Afghanistan cannot be abandoned like that. In the world of counter-insurgency, geographical depth does have a meaning. The Taliban are playing the issue with skill and finesse. The Voice Of Jihad, the Taliban’s official propaganda arm online declared on Wednesday: “Our aim is obtainment of independence and establishment of an Islamic system. We did not have any agenda to harm other countries including Europe nor (do) we have such agenda today.” In other words, they are saying that while are ready to fight any invader, they have no revolutionary agenda for any other country. If you leave them alone, they will do the same to you. This will be music to the ears of those in the US and Europe who do not have the stomach for the fight any more.
A reminder of India’s burden and stake in Afghanistan
By Siddharth Varadarajan
October 09, 2009
New Delhi: The suicide attack on the Indian embassy compound in Kabul underlines a curious irony about the situation in Afghanistan: Despite playing no direct role in the American-led war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, India is rapidly becoming one of the most highly favoured targets of terrorists in that country.
In 2008, a suicide bomber believed to be linked to the Haqqani network blew himself up outside the embassy, killing 58 people, including three Indian officials. And workers and engineers on Indian-led projects have been kidnapped and killed by the Taliban in the past, forcing India to limit its assistance to projects not involving its own manpower.
Barely 24 hours before Thursday’s deadly attack in Kabul, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had expressed her government’s frustration at the “sense of defeatism” which has begun to overwhelm international public opinion about the situation in Afghanistan and which serves no purpose other than to encourage insurgent groups to step up their activities. She also warned against “facile attempts to strike Faustian bargains with terrorists,” a thinly veiled message to those in the United States who might find a quick pullout linked to a Pakistani-brokered political settlement with the Taliban a viable or tempting option.
The timing of the embassy bombing was obviously a coincidence but the Taliban – which has claimed responsibility in a statement on its website, shahamat.org – would like nothing better than to have the same defeatist spirit take hold of New Delhi, one of the largest providers of development assistance to the Afghan government.
Last year, India was told by U.S. officials that the embassy bombing had been sanctioned at the highest levels of the Pakistani intelligence establishment. This time, too, the Indian government is likely to conclude the suicide attack was scripted in Rawalpindi, presumably as a part of the “countermeasures” America’s top military commander in Afghanistan recently warned India about.
Full Report at: http://www.hindu.com/2009/10/09/stories/2009100956281000.htm
Obama eyes war strategy to focus on Qaeda in Pakistan
October 09, 2009
US president gets Pakistan updates
WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama is weighing a shift in strategy to focus more on Al Qaeda in Pakistan and less on the Taliban in Afghanistan, said officials.
During a three-hour meeting Wednesday, some members of Obama’s national security team argued the Taliban in Afghanistan did not pose a direct threat to America, the New York Times reported in its Thursday edition.
That thinking, on the eighth anniversary of the war in Afghanistan, marks the latest suggestion that the administration may be moving away from a sharp build up of US troops in Afghanistan, said the Times.
A senior administration official said US officials increasingly viewed the Taliban in Afghanistan as a group that did not aspire to attack the US. The official contrasted that with Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
Full Report at: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\10\09\story_9-10-2009_pg1_6
The law in whose hands? Pakistan's Swat valley
Oct 1st 2009
The army’s triumph over the Taliban in the valley risks turning sour
THE mayor of Swat, a pretty valley in north-west Pakistan that the army has just wrested back from the Taliban, has now returned to work. But instead of overseeing the rebuilding of the schools and roads, he has gathered his own lashkar, or traditional tribal militia, 2,500-men strong, to defend his village and nearby areas.
In late September Jamal Nasir, who used to feature near the top of a Taliban hit-list, returned to the Matta area of Swat two years after militants burned his house. He says that repairing infrastructure and damaged buildings can wait. Organising anti-Taliban forces comes first. “You have to involve the people in their own defence,” he says. “The army won’t stay here forever.”
Armed lashkars, or “village-defence committees” to employ the less aggressive term now in vogue, are being set up across Swat as unpaid private armies to guard individual districts. Swat was a relatively developed area, so the lashkar tradition is having to be relearnt. Such militias did not exist when the Taliban staged a near-complete takeover of the huge valley with ease in the autumn of 2007.
Militia members bring their own firearms. The better-off have Kalashnikovs; others have old shotguns or rusty pistols. Some white-bearded old men turn up with an axe or just a stick. At the airport outside Swat’s main town, Mingora, a lashkar about 10,000-strong rallied on September 24th (see picture), and was addressed by an army brigadier. This was a sign of the sanction the lashkars enjoy from the army and the government. Some see this as a dangerous abdication of authority that could spell trouble in the longer run.
Full Report at: http://www.economist.com/world/asia/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=14563668
Deadly blast hits Pakistan city: 49 Killed
9 October 2009
At least 49 people have been killed in a bombing in a crowded area of the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar, officials say.
More than 100 people have also been injured in the suspected suicide bombing, a regional minister said.
Officials said a vehicle laden with explosives had been detonated near the city's Khyber Bazaar.
Friday's explosion was the latest in a series of recent bombings across north-western Pakistan.
It comes as the Pakistani army prepares an operation against the Taliban in the tribal region of South Waziristan.
TV footage showed what appeared to be the charred frame of a bus destroyed by the explosion. Many of the victims of the blast were thought to be passengers and police said this included a number of children.
The remains of other vehicles were strewn in the road.
Officials said they thought a suicide bomber travelling in a car had carried out the attack.
"He blew himself up as the car was next to a passenger bus passing through the market," senior police officer, Shafqat Malik, told the BBC.
It is the deadliest attack in Pakistan since March when a suicide bomber destroyed a crowded mosque in Jamrud, killing at least 50 people.
But doctors at the Lady Reading hospital, close to the blast site, warned that the toll could rise as many of the injured were in a critical condition.
Pakistani officials emphasised the government's resolve to tackle militancy on a wider scale.
"One thing is clear, these hired assassins called Taliban are to be dealt with more severely," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters.
Full Report at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8298296.stm
War on terrorism flares in Philippines
By Calum MacLeod, USA TODAY
MANILA — Roads through the thick jungle of Jolo, an island in the southern Philippines, help tell the long story of American involvement here.
"When we were young, our parents told us, 'Look at the roads. These are American-built roads,' " dating back to the early 20th century when the Philippines was a U.S. colony, says Asiri Abubakar, a Jolo native and expert on the region at the University of the Philippines.
These days, those roads are much more dangerous to Americans. The recent deaths of two U.S. troops in a roadside bomb attack in Jolo has drawn attention to a little-known, but increasingly perilous, front in global counterterrorism efforts.
About 600 U.S. troops have been stationed in the Philippines since shortly after 9/11, helping the government battle an Islamic extremist group known as Abu Sayyaf. The group, which the Pentagon says has ties with al-Qaeda and other regional terrorist organizations, has just a few hundred members but has carried out numerous attacks on Filipinos and foreigners in the south in recent years.
The Sept. 29 roadside bomb attack, which also killed a Filipino marine, was the first of its kind against U.S. troops operating in the Philippines, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman says.
It was part of a wave of violence that has left some Philippine soldiers questioning the effectiveness of their tactics. The problems here, which include poverty and allegations of cultural insensitivity, echo some of the issues U.S. troops and their allies have faced in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
"No matter how many we kill, someone else will pick up the rifle and come back. Their son, father or brother will take their place and bring two or three more with him. It's like Vietnam all over again," says Maj. Ramon David Hontiveros, a spokesman for the Philippine military's command in Western Mindanao. "We can't keep on killing them," Hontiveros says. "We have to kill the idea in their heads."
Greater sensitivity to Islamic tradition would be a good start, Abubakar says. He says recent troubles were sparked by Philippine military action on Sept. 20, the last day of the Muslim holiday of Ramadan. "We can never forgive people who create trouble on that particular day," he says.
Full Report at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2009-10-08-terror-group_N.htm
Day of anger” at al-Aqsa Mosque
News Bikya Masr
Oct 9 2009 in Featured
al-AqsaCAIRO: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has thrown some support behind the head of the International Association of Muslim Scholars Sheikh Yussif al-Qaradawy’s calls for Arabs, Muslims and the globe to join Palestinians in “a day of anger in support of al-Aqsa Mosque,” which he and other Arab leaders have become angered over Israel’s use of force at the holy monument. In a statement to media, Qaradawy – a leading Islamic figure based in Qatar with ties to Egypt’s Brotherhood in the past and founder/financier of Islamic media – called for marches on Friday to protest the Jewish state’s policies.
Qaradawy called for the peaceful marches to morph into a sit-in on Friday night at the mosque, where believes “supplicating” to God will help “protect the sanctuaries of Muslims.”
He condemned Arab governments’ silence towards what he called the “violation of Al Aqsa’s holiness” by Israeli settlers and occupation forces. “This Umma (Muslim community) is still resilient and won’t die. Leaders will die, but nations won’t,” he continued.
“We came to speak freely at the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate urging masses of people in the Arab and Islamic world, to undertake their responsibility to defend Al Aqsa mosque. The Palestinian cause does not belong to the Arabs, Muslims, or even the Palestinians alone, but belongs to the entire world. Every Muslim and Arab must consider Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque the most significant of his priorities,” he said in Cairo.
For their part, the Muslim Brotherhood has been outspoken against the Israeli aggression at the mosque. Mohamed Morsi, a top leader in the Islamic group, said that “Israel’s storming of the mosque is an effort to liquidate the Palestinian issue in accordance with the schemes of the United States and Israel in the Arab region.”
Full Report at: http://bikyamasr.com/?p=4650
Moscow Rejects Accusations of Assisting Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Program
The Russian press has picked up a story first report in the Sunday Times from October 4, quoting Russian and Israeli sources, that the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had secretly visited Moscow last month to present President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with a list of Russian nuclear scientists that are helping Iran to build a nuclear bomb. The secret visit by Netanyahu to Moscow on September 7 was initially denied by Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov (ITAR-TASS, September 9). Later it was confirmed by Medvedev, who said that he met Netanyahu to discuss “different matters,” but did not understand why the Israeli prime minister came to Moscow in secret. Medvedev added: “We talk with the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad –our position is to talk to all” (www.kremlin.ru, September 20).
The Israeli press had at first suspected that Netanyahu’s secret visit to Moscow was to discuss the mysterious disappearance of the Arctic Sea ship that was alleged to have been carrying antiaircraft S-300 missiles to Iran from Russia, while the Israeli intelligence service Mossad sabotaged the delivery (EDM, September 10). Russian investigators have announced that they did not find anything sinister onboard the Arctic Sea –only plywood (Interfax, September 15).
Russian officials have cautiously reacted to the alleged Israeli claims. The former chief of the Federal Security Service (FSB), now the Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev stated: “Russia is against Iran obtaining nuclear weapons,” but he did not know about any intelligence reports regarding “any Russian citizens and organizations participating in the Iranian nuclear program.” Other officials admitted that some nuclear scientists may have volunteered to work in Iran and that in today’s Russia it is impossible to control the movement of people (Interfax, October 6).
The possibility that disgruntled former Soviet nuclear scientists might be recruited by rogue states to help develop nuclear weapons, or that nuclear materials and expertise would proliferate from Russia, has been a security risk since the collapse of communism in 1991. The West has spent millions of dollars to re-educate and accommodate Russian nuclear specialists to divert them from pursuing these options. But until now there has been little solid evidence of Russia being a major source of nuclear proliferation. The number of real bomb-making scientists in Russia is limited –only several hundred at best, according to nuclear industry insiders that I have interviewed. Nuclear weapons making is a highly specialized field that requires much more than regular nuclear physics or reactor technology training.
There is another problem –Russian nuclear weapons are technologically advanced and on par with those in the U.S. The “new nuclear powers” like Pakistan, North Korea and the apparently aspiring Iran are developing relatively primitive weapons –on par with the ones that Russia and the U.S. made in the 1950’s. Present rogue states mostly do not have and cannot make all the components Russian nuclear bomb-makers use to produce modern warheads. It would seem that Iran could gain much more practical knowledge by recruiting help from nations on the same level of science such as Pakistan, North Korea or possibly China.
If the Iranians manage to amass sufficient quantities of weapons-grade uranium-235, they could most likely make the bomb with or without Russian specialist help. It would seem that Israel is exerting pressure on Moscow over the alleged involvement of Russian scientists in the Iranian nuclear program mostly to secure support for punitive sanctions and to probe the reaction to a possible Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear installations. President Barack Obama and other Western leaders have pressed Moscow to exert pressure on Iran to fully disclose its nuclear program. The Russian reaction has been indecisive. After talks with Medvedev in New York Obama told journalists that their positions on Iran almost fully coincide, while Medvedev stated: “Sanctions seldom produce tangible results, but in some circumstances they are inevitable” (Kommersant, September 25). Apparently, Medvedev remains uncertain as to what the Russian position might be on punitive sanctions, like an embargo on gasoline imports to Iran. Most likely it is because the real decision maker is the all-powerful Putin. Of course, Medvedev will be consulted, if it comes to a vote on punitive sanctions in the U.N.
Tehran’s anti-Jewish, anti-American policies, as well as its purchase of Russian military and nuclear technologies have helped to build a powerful lobby in Moscow. But Tel-Aviv also has its Moscow lobby as well. At present the official Russian position on Iran may indeed largely coincide with that of the Obama administration: to continue negotiations to seek concessions. During talks with the group of six leading world powers on the nuclear issue in Geneva last week, Iran appeared to show flexibility, but this could easily be a delaying tactic (Reuters, October 2).
A new factor that may alter the decision-making in Moscow is the reported effort by the Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, to press the Russians to dump Tehran. Saudi Arabia is reported to have offered to buy over $2 billion worth of Russian weapons (helicopters, armor, anti-aircraft missiles) on the condition that Moscow refuses to sell Iran S-300 missiles and stops supporting it at the U.N. (Financial Times, September 30; Vedomosti, October 1). The Russian arms-trading monopoly Rosoboronexport seems to be anticipating “a breakthrough” in arms sales to Arab nations (RIA Novosti, October 5). Supported with Saudi oil money, the unlikely alliance of Arabs and Israelis may indeed tilt the Russian official foreign policy on Iran.
Copyright (c) 1983-2009 The Jamestown Foundation.
Iranian monarchist 'sentenced to death'
09 Oct 2009
A member of a group seeking to restore Iran's monarchy has been sentenced to death for his involvement in the unrest that followed the disputed June presidential election, according to reports on a reformist website.
Mohammad Reza Ali Zamani, who belongs to the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, was among scores of people arrested over mass demonstrations against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, mowjcamp.com reported.
The site said he appeared in court on Aug 8 and was informed of the sentence against him on Monday.
He was taken from Evin prison on Monday to the revolutionary tribunal, where he was informed of the verdict," the website said.
No official comment on the report was immediately available.
In August, the semi-official Mehr news agency said Mr Zamani was accused of being "mohareb (at war with God) for participating in the terrorist Kingdom Assembly of Iran, for insulting religious values, for propaganda against the regime and for participating in a demonstration whose aim was to act against the security of the state."
Mehr said Mr Zamani "accepted" the accusations against him.
However, Mehr quoted his lawyer as saying that because the man had not borne arms, he could not be mohareb, and asked for clemency.
Full Report at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/6276958/Iranian-monarchist-sentenced-to-death.html
Police source says two top Indonesian terror suspects killed
09 October 2009
JAKARTA : Indonesian anti-terror forces killed two brothers wanted over the July 17 hotel bombings in Jakarta during a raid on Friday on a militant hideout in the city, a police source said.
Asked to confirm local media reports that Syaifudin Zuhri bin Jaelani and Mohammed Syahrir were the two men killed in the raid, the source from the elite counter-terror squad said only: "Yes".
Police have not publicly confirmed the killings but the national police chief was holding a meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and was due to address a press conference later Friday, officials said.
Jaelani is a Yemen-educated Islamic extremist and "healer" who is accused of recruiting the two suicide bombers who detonated themselves at the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta in July, killing seven people.
His brother, Mohammed Syahrir, once worked as a technician for national airline Garuda Indonesia and is known to police from their investigations into the 2004 truck bombing of the Australian embassy, according to analysts.
The brothers were accomplices of slain Malaysian terror leader Noordin Mohammed Top, the alleged mastermind of the hotel attacks who was killed by police in Central Java on September 17.
Gunfire and an explosion were heard as police raided the house in Ciputat on the capital's southern outskirts, witnesses said.
Hundreds of anti-terror police officers were deployed to the area and two ambulances were parked nearby, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
Full Report at: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific/view/1010317/1/.html
Iran blames US as nuclear expert goes missing
9 October 2009
TEHRAN: Iran accused the US on Wednesday of involvement in the disappearance of a technology university researcher “rumored” to be involved
in Tehran’s nuclear program, Iranian media reported.
ISNA news agency referred to “some rumors that Shahram Amiri, who went missing during a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in June, was an employee of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization who wanted to seek asylum abroad.
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki did not confirm that when he made the allegation. “We have found documents that prove US interference in (Amiri’s) disappearance,” he said.
“We don’t have any information on this individual”, US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said.
Amiri disappeared more than three months before the disclosure of a second uranium enrichment facility that Iran has been building near the city of Qom. The underground plant was kept secret until Iran disclosed its existence last month. Diplomats say it did so after learning western intelligence services had discovered the site.
Turkish Opposition to the IMF Appears Ideological
The IMF and World Bank annual summit in Istanbul have ended after seven days of meetings and seminars. During the meetings the policy-steering International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), asked the IMF to address four key reform areas –the IMF’s mandate, its financing role, multilateral surveillance and governance. Their decisions comprise:
1. A review of the mandate of the IMF, to encompass the whole range of macroeconomic and financial sector policies that affect global stability.
2. An assessing of how to build on the success of the Flexible Credit Line and provide insurance to more countries as the lender of last resort.
3. An evaluation of whether the fund’s enhanced financing instruments, such as the Flexible Credit Line, could help address the question of global imbalances by reducing the need for countries to self-insure against crisis by building up large reserves.
4. The IMFC endorsed the G20 proposal for the IMF to help with their mutual assessment of policies. This represents a new type of multilateral surveillance for the IMF.
5. An endorsement by the panel of a recent step forward on the governance front agreed by the G20. This will shift quota shares toward dynamic emerging markets and developing countries by at least 5 percent from the over-represented to under-represented countries, by January 2011 (www.imf.org, October 6).
It appears that the legitimacy of the world economic structure has faced challenges on two fronts. First, the protestors outside the Congress Valley in Istanbul were questioning the legitimacy of the IMF and World Bank system as a whole. Around 5,000 protesters gathered in Taksim Square to protest against the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank. Some trade union confederations and professional chambers organized the gathering, while a wide range of leftist groups participated in the protest. As the protestors attempted to enter the Congress Valley, police confronted the group attempting to provoke violence. The ensuing clashes spread to side streets with small groups of protesters using slingshots and Molotov cocktails. Police also used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the groups. The demonstrations continued until the end of the meetings (Hurriyet Daily News, October 7).
The most important challenge to the IMF-led economic model came from within the system itself. The representatives of developing countries raised the legitimacy issue which the fund has to overcome in order to be a trusted reserve pool. Economists emphasized that officials from emerging economies wanted assurances that any shift in voting power at the Washington-based IMF will continue in their favor. Germany has 5.9 percent of the votes at the IMF and China has just 3.7 percent, even though China is now a larger economy. On October 5 the Mexican Central Bank Governor Guillermo Ortiz said in Istanbul that he is concerned that “legitimacy” is “not likely to happen anytime soon.” His Brazilian counterpart Henrique Meirelles said on the previous day that “self-insurance works better.” “The IMF is accountable to its shareholders and that is going to be an issue for Dominique Strauss-Kahn [the Managing Director of the IMF],” explained the economist Joseph Stiglitz in an interview in Istanbul (Hurriyet Daily News, October 7).The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan supported the argument advanced by developing countries by saying: “To have a better world we should cooperate to find solutions for the regions that are underdeveloped. We should listen to those who are now protesting against us outside this hall” (Radikal, October 6). Initially, the Turkish press argued that Erdogan was alone in his criticism of the world economic model. However, as the debates intensified in the Congress Center it became clear that Ankara supports the argument that has been developed by the world emerging markets. On the following day, the Turkish Economy Minister Ali Babacan, stressed that Ankara welcomed the decision to shift quota shares toward dynamic emerging markets and developing countries by at least 5 percent from the over-represented to under-represented countries by January 2011. Babacan stated that with the increased quota share and its economic performance Turkey is becoming a world class economy that will have a greater future role in the world economy (NTV, October 8).
With Erdogan and Babacan’s statements it appears that Ankara’s opposition to the IMF standby agreement is not simply rooted in technical reasons, but it also exposes principled differences. Unlike Brazil, China or other developing countries, Turkish economic recovery since 2001 is linked to IMF economic programs. In addition, as it implements E.U. reforms Turkish economic development is closely tied to promoting trust among the international business community. If the E.U. membership process is one pillar that provides such insurance for the Turkish economy, the credit pillar provided by the IMF approved economic program is also important. Thus, it will be interesting to see where Turkey’s opposition to the IMF might end.
Copyright (c) 1983-2009 The Jamestown Foundation.
Political Tensions Rise in Dagestan with Approach of Municipal Elections
On October 5, a police unit in the southern Dagestani city of Derbent complained of being forced by their superiors to vote for a certain candidate in the mayoral elections set to take place on October 11. Seventy-five policemen signed the complaint to the Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev and were subsequently suspended from service (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, October 5). Although electoral fraud is common across the North Caucasus and Russia as a whole, it is very unusual when a disciplined police force unit makes its protest public. This fact signifies the fierceness of the campaign in Derbent, the third largest city in Dagestan, with a population over 100,000.
Despite popular elections being almost discredited due to the authorities’ deliberate denigration of them across Russia and specifically in the North Caucasus, municipal elections in Dagestan still evoke enormous public interest and serious political clashes like few other places elsewhere in the country. Dagestan is considered to be so volatile, that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin personally reached out to solve a local business-related conflict between Makhachkala’s administration and the local electricity generating company, asking the mayor of Makhachkala sharply and unequivocally “Where is the money?” and demanding that the conflict be resolved (Interfax, October 6).
Six candidates are running for the post of Derbent’s mayor. The current head of the city Felix Kaziahmedov, who has been the mayor since 2000, and the head of Dagestan’s Suleiman-Stalsky, former Dagestani prosecutor general Imam Yaraliev, are considered to be the two main competitors in the race (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, October 3). Both principal candidates are ethnic Lezgins. The race is noteworthy for the fact that the Dagestani President Mukhu Aliev supports Kaziahmedov, while relations between Aliev and Yaraliev are openly strained. Given that the end of Aliev’s presidential term is approaching, the result of the elections in Derbent will be a good indicator of Aliev’s grip on power and whether he stays or goes at the beginning of 2010.
Imam Yaraliev is a colorful political figure, having been Dagestan’s prosecutor general from 1994 to 2006 and combining alleged significant business interests with a love for writing poetry. He resigned soon after Aliev assumed power in 2006. Unlike the general pattern in the North Caucasus of top officials moving to Moscow after they resign to take sinecures there, Yaraliev stayed in Dagestan, winning the Suleiman-Stalsky district head position despite opposition from the republican authorities (Regnum, August 24).
One of the richest people in Russia and an ethnic Lezgin, Suleiman Kerimov has not revealed his interests in the Derbent electoral struggle, but he is registered with the Derbent tax authorities and so is likely to also have a stake in the race. While President Aliev tacitly supports the current head of the city, another political heavyweight, Said Amirov, the mayor of Makhachkala and a likely candidate in the next republican presidential race, supports Yaraliev (Chernovik Weekly, October 2).
Another electoral campaign currently underway is in the Gunib district of Dagestan, and it has also been marred by allegations of irregularities and the use of administrative resources by the authorities (Novoe Delo Weekly, October 2).
The city of Derbent is situated south of Dagestan on the border with Azerbaijan. Ethnic Lezgins are the ruling majority in the city and the surrounding districts, even though there is significant Azeri minority living in the town. There is an Azeri candidate for the city mayor’s position, but he is not considered to be the frontrunner. Some of the ethnic Lezgins live in northern Azerbaijan, which is adjacent to Derbent. The Lezgin nationalist organization Sadval is known for having raised the issue of the division of the Lezgin people and proposing to unite them within the borders of Dagestan. According to various estimates, there are anywhere from 180,000 to over 400,000 Lezgins living in Azerbaijan (Full Report at: http://lezgin.boxmail.biz/cgi-bin/guide.pl?action=article&id_razdel=50627&id_article=75374). Given that Imam Yaraliev has presented himself as the leader of Lezgins in Dagestan, he could also take a more proactive approach on the issue of the divided Lezgins. According to the expert on Dagestan Konstantin Kazenin, nationalist ideas have not eroded much among the Lezgins, because there is still the issue of the divided Lezgin people and the nationalist agenda has not been stained by vicious internal conflicts (Regnum, August 24).
Meanwhile, Derbent, previously a relatively calm Dagestani city whose tranquility was attributed to its friendly “southern character,” started to show signs of volatility, particularly in the past several months. On October 4, law enforcement officials claimed to have prevented an attempt on the life of a Federal Security Service (FSB) officer in Derbent. The attack was allegedly planned to involve using an explosives-laden car (www.kavkaz-uzel.ru, October 4).
While political life in other republics of the North Caucasus went almost completely into the shadows after Moscow abolished gubernatorial elections in 2004, the heat of the governor’s race in Dagestan seems to have sifted through to the municipal and parliamentary levels. Dagestan, being the most ethnically diverse region of Russia, can hardly be fit into the rigid Russia-wide “power vertical.” At the same time, Dagestan is the place where Moscow’s suppression of democratic participation has the most visible negative results, including a rise in political violence. So while “the power vertical” has no real power in Dagestan, its influence on the democratic process in the republic nonetheless has been clearly harmful.
Copyright (c) 1983-2009 The Jamestown Foundation.
Syria’s Grand Mufti Expected In Aceh
Oct 9, 2009
Banda Aceh (Berita): Sheikh Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria, is expected to visit Aceh, on October 13-14, 2009, a local religious affairs official said.
Dr. Hassoun, who is also the head of the Supreme Council of Fatwa, would come together with his wife and be accompanied by Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister Maftuh Basyuni in Aceh, Juniazi, a spokesperson of the Aceh provincial religious affairs office, said here on Friday (9/10).
The Syrian religious leader will meet members of the Aceh Ulema (Islamic Scholars) Council (MUI), and give a lecture at Ar-Raniry Islamic Institute.
His visit to Aceh is part of his Indonesian tour which will include Jakarta and Yogyakarta.
Sheikh Dr Ahmad Badr Al-Din Hassoun was born in Aleppo in 1949 as the son of Muhammad Adib Hassoun, a great Muslim scholar and educator.
He received his BA and MA in Arabic literature and Islamic studies from Al-Azhar University in Egypt. He received his Ph.D in Islamic studies on a book titled “The Mother” written by Islamic grand scholar Al-Imam Alshafyee in ten volumes or 4,500 pages in addition to 10 other books.
In all his meetings with men of different religions – Islam, Christianity, Judaism and other religions – in many countries, Dr Hassoun always focused on the bases of the universality of Islam.
His positions include teacher and professor in schools and universities in Syria, preacher and scholar in different mosques in Aleppo and recently in Al-Rawda Mosque, member of the Syrian parliament for two periods (1990- 1994 and 1994-1998), Mufti of Aleppo, Member of the Supreme Council of Fatwa, in Syria, and member of the universal council to propagate Islamic doctrines.
In 2005, he was elected Grand Mufti of Syria and head of the Supreme Council of Fatwa. (ant)