Saturday, April 30, 2011

British Travel Writer Among Marrakesh Attack Victims


VOA REPORTS Morocco's interior minister says the bomb that killed 16 people in a historic square in Marrakesh appears to have been the work of al-Qaida.

The minister told reporters late Friday the bomb was detonated remotely, in a style normally used by the terrorist organization.

The blast tore the facade off a two-story cafe in Jemaa el-Fna square--a bustling tourist destination in the heart of Marrakesh. Authorities say at least 10 foreigners were among the dead, many of them French citizens.

Morocco was rocked by a series of Islamist extremist attacks in 2003 that left 45 people dead, including 12 suicide bombers.

WikiLeaks: Britain Sheltered Muslim Terrorists



Believe it Or Not, Iran's Maniac-in-Chief May Not be Islamic Enough for the Atomic Ayatollah, Turbaned Tyranny's Top Tyrant

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's days as president of Islamist Iran may be numbered, and the reason is truly terrifying in light of the regime's nuclear and missile programs. Click here for the analysis.

MB Using AQ-Supporting Salafists for Dirty Work




Syria Sends More Troops to Daraa


Thursday, April 28, 2011







Obama's New Egypt Works Against US, Israel





Analysts say Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups are prime suspects in today's bombing, which was clearly aimed at Westerners, given the target's popularity with foreign tourists. At least 11 of the 14 people killed in the blast were foreigners.

The bombing comes at a time when the United States and NATO are inexplicably intervening in Libya's civil war--on the side of Islamist/AQ-connected rebels.

Turkish Ties and Iran Nukes


Carter Flops in North Korea


China Rapidly Urbanizing


'Birther' Author Puzzled by Obama's Certificate

Puzzling numbering. Non-existent or lost hospital records. Read all about it here.

Related Video Below: Pamela Geller on Fox Business. Key points: COLB is not a birth certificate, signs of digital alterations.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

FBI Warns of China-Related Cyber-Scams

One victim lost nearly $1 million. Click here for the story.

Pakistan, Afghanistan Draw Closer to China


Hamas Takes Over Palestinian Movement


White House Lists 'Mideast Stability' as a Main Aim

The White House statement regarding the long-awaited release of President Obama's original, long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate includes the following revealing sentence:

At a time of great consequence for this country – when we should be debating how we win the future, reduce our deficit, deal with high gas prices, and bring stability to the Middle East, Washington, DC, was once again distracted by a fake issue.

In fact, America's most important ally in the region--after Israel--was stable until Obama emboldened and encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood to topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Obama's complicity in Mubarak's overthrow recalls Jimmy Carter's involvement in Iran's Islamic Revolution.

Obama also supported the overthrow of Tunisia's president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, another U.S. ally and staunch opponent of Islamism.

More important, Obama, without consulting the United States Congress, committed the U.S. to an unnecessary armed intervention in Libya, whose dictator had given up terrorism and weapons of mass destruction in the context of an overall deal with the West that also brought about meaningful Libyan cooperation in the war against Al Qaeda (the only remaining radical Muslim group that Obama is not presently prepared to engage). Obama intervened in Libya--on the side of violent, Islamist-linked rebels--who began their anti-regime protests by raiding arsenals and setting fire to police stations.

Finally, the Obama administration has pressured and embarrassed U.S. ally Bahrain, made Saudi Arabia exceedingly nervous--to the point of pushing the Saudis to cozy up to Russia and China, both of which long ago ceased being potential threats to the Arab monarchy--and weakened Israel by (a) allowing Iran to continue its nuclear/ICBM program, and (b) obsessively squeezing the Jewish State to abandon its capital, Jerusalem, and the disputed and strategically situated West Bank lands (captured from Jordan in the defensive Six-Day War of June 1967) in order to make room for a second Arab state in historic Palestine (the first such entity being the Hamas-ruled terror-mini-state in Gaza).

American voters should understand that the Obama administration's idea of Middle East stability is a dangerously diminished Israel, forced behind indefensible borders--the infamous "Auschwitz lines," in the memorable words of the late, great, distinctly dovish Israeli foreign minister, Abba Eban--and a string of so-called Islamic democracies, or Islamocracies, ruled by supposed "moderate Islamists" (a concept akin to moderate Nazis or moderate Communists).

POSTSCRIPT: In the White House statement, notice the phrases "win the future" and "deal with high gas prices." What happened to wealth and job creation--meaning millions of well paying, permanent jobs with benefits? What about energy independence--unlocking the country's truly awesome but neglected oil and gas and coal reserves? How about prosperity? Is that the same as winning the future? Or, has prosperity become a dirty word in Obamanation?

Obama Releases Original Birth Certificate


If the document proves valid, it could answer the questions raised by those who have alleged he was not actually born in Hawaii. But it also could prove his ineligibility because of its references to his father. Some of the cases challenging Obama have explained that he was a dual citizen through his father at his birth, and they contend the framers of the Constitution excluded dual citizens from qualifying as natural born citizens.

Obama's Foreign Policy Reflects Radical Ideology

Human Rights Non-Existent in North Korea


"The human rights situation in North Korea is grim, grim, grim," said U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights, Democracy and Labor Michael Posner. "It is a society where any notion of dissent, any notion of public debate, any notion of free assembly is simply not tolerated."

According to the 2010 State Department Human Rights Report, North Korea continues to be a dictatorship under the absolute rule of Kim Jong-il. There continue to be reports of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, arbitrary arrest of political prisoners, harsh and life-threatening prison conditions and torture.

At Least 150,000 Political Prisoners
Reports have indicated that North Koreans considered hostile to the regime or who committed political crimes are sent to political prison camps indefinitely. Unconfirmed estimates of the total number of prisoners and detained in political penal-labor camps range between 150,000 and 200,000. Reports indicate that conditions in the political prison camps were harsh and that systematic and severe human rights abuses occurred throughout the prison and detention system.

Methods of prison torture and abuse in North Korea reportedly include severe beatings, electric shock, prolonged periods of exposure to the elements, humiliations such as public nakedness, confinement for up to several weeks in so-called "punishment cells" in which prisoners were unable to stand upright or lie down. There are also reports of prisoners being forced to kneel or sit immobilized for long periods, being hung by wrists or forced to stand up and sit down to the point of collapse, and forcing mothers recently repatriated involuntarily from China to watch the infanticide of their own new born infants.

The North Korean Human Rights Database Center's 2010 White Paper on North Korean Human Rights indicated that officials have in some cases prohibited live births in prison and ordered forced abortions, particularly in detention centers holding women repatriated from China, according to firsthand refugee testimony. In some cases of live birth, prison guards reportedly killed the infant or left it for dead. Guards also sexually abused female prisoners, according to the white paper.

China's Industrial Plan Released

China is letting the world know which industries it plans to encourage or discourage. Read all about it here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

On Obama's Black Nationalism

Obama's Easter All About Resentment, Not Resurrection

Chris Matthews Supports Obama's Right to Conceal


Clearly, the so-called journalist Chris Matthews could have had a brilliant career in Stalinist Russia or Hitler Germany. Notice how Matthews sets the stage for a possible exposure of Obama as a fraud--born abroad instead of in the United States.

What does it matter, the moron Matthews appears to ask in the video in the above-referenced piece, if Obama was brought to the U.S. a few days after his birth?

Sarah Palin put it best on Fox News tonight: "What the heck is wrong with asking the President to disclose his college thesis?"

Iranian Snipers Deployed in Syria

Iranian Islamists are gunning down Syrian protestors. Click here for the story, and here, also.

Iranian intervention in the Arab country on Syrian president Bashar Assad's secular fascist side recalls PLO chief Yasser Arafat's intervention in Iran on the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's clerical fascist side. Keffiyeh-wearing PLO assassins manned Iranian firing squads, gleefully gunning down captured, tortured and beaten political prisoners.

The late Iranian diplomat-turned-activist--Iran Freedom Foundation founder-president Ali Tabatabai--was murdered in his home, in the United States, within commuting distance of the nation's capital, largely, if not mainly, for relentlessly exposing the Khomeini-PLO connection. (Tabatabai's Muslim American assassin was allowed to flee the U.S. by the craven, catastrophic Carter administration, which was complicit in the Islamist overthrow of Iran's modernizing monarch, Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, a strategic, staunch U.S. ally. But ... that's another story.)

White House Happy With Fed's Easy Money Policy

'Danger Signs are Everywhere,' Says the Wall Street Journal

In China, truckers are on strike to protest rising fees from that country's inflation. In the Middle East, food price increases add to the sense of injustice driving political protests.

And around the world, investors reach for investments—gold, silver, Iowa farmland, emerging market stocks—to hedge against the decline in the value of dollar assets or to bet on booming commodity prices. This dollar flood can't last forever, and when it stops the reckoning could be—for many it will be—harsh.

Click here to read the editorial.

Recalling Reagan's Easter-Passover Message

Click below to watch and listen ... and consider just how far the country has come--in a bad way--as a result of Barack Obama's ascendancy to power. The first Muslim-born (according to Islamic law, assuming his biological father was Barack Obama, Sr.)-and-reared American President (he practiced and studied Islam during his Indonesian childhood while living with his Indonesian Muslim stepfather) has made appeasement of overseas political Islam the centerpiece of an utterly failed foreign policy in parallel with an odious "outreach" to organized/political Islam at home that has effectively elevated Islamist myths and lies to the level of accepted truth (by liberal media and liberal educators/indoctrinators).

Trump Questions Obama's Academic History

Trump on Obama's Ivy League background. Click here for the story.

The billionaire developer of real estate and entertainment properties is mainstreaming forbidden (by liberal media) concerns over Obama's sealed school records. The secrecy has fed rumors that Obama presented himself as a foreign student--an Indonesian Muslim--(a) to improve his chances of being accepted into the Ivy League, and (b) to obtain financial assistance.

As a prominent (and passionate) New Yorker, Trump is probably also aware of the spiked video interview with the late Percy Sutton, posted below. More about the video over here.

The Koran is Their Constitution


Prediction: Barack Hussein Obama will be remembered as the American President who assisted and presided over the Islamist conquest of the Middle East and North Africa.

Background over here on a key Obama helper (henchwoman?). That anyone concerned with America's national security--and the security and well being of America's ally, Israel--could even think of voting for Obama, even for a minute, in a moment of weakness, is beyond belief.

Unholy Marriage: Islamism and Liberalism

Not since the Hitler-Stalin pact, have left-wingers twisted their minds to such a degree in order to make common cause with totalitarian monsters. Click here for an in-depth, up-to-the-minute analysis.

Monday, April 25, 2011

US Ignores Huge Domestic Oil Resources

"The U.S. Still Has 400 Billion Barrels of Undeveloped Technically Recoverable Oil Resource. Undeveloped domestic oil resources still in the ground (in-place) total 1,124 billion barrels. Of this large in-place resource, 400 billon barrels is estimated to be technically recoverable. This resource includes undiscovered oil, 'stranded' light oil amenable to CO2-EOR technologies, unconventional oil (deep heavy oil and oil sands) and new petroleum concepts (residual oil in reservoir transition zones5)."

Click here to read the entire report.


China Raises Capital Requirements for Top Banks

China is clearly concerned about the health of its biggest banks. Click here for the story.

Can/Will China Dump the Dollar?

Will China dump dollars to buy euros?

Click here for the answers.

Iran Says it Was Struck by Second Worm


Syria: Who is the Opposition? When is the Moment of Truth?

By Barry Rubin

There’s a bit of a mystery regarding Syria. First, who is the opposition? Second, what will happen?

Having been the first to warn about the threat and power of Islamists in Egypt, I think that’s earned me some credibility to say that Syria may well be a different case. There is a possibility of an Islamist takeover and of an ethnic conflict in Syria, make no mistake, but a number of factors suggest that those things might not happen.

Click here to continue.

Cabin Crew and Passengers Foil UN Advisor's Attempt to Hijack Alitalia Airliner to Libya; Kazakh Man Smuggled Knife Onto Plane

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Gold's Ominous Message Explained


Crazy N. Korea Alleges 'Madcap' Conspiracy

The war of words continues, as reported here.

Pope Urges Diplomacy in Libya


New Era of Persecution of Mideast Christians


Chinese Police Arrest Christians on Easter


US-Trained Palestinian Policeman Kills Jew on Passover


Early Sunday morning, Palestinian Authority police officers shot at a group of 15 Breslev Hassidim leaving a prayer service at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. Ben Yosef Livnat, a married father of four who is a nephew of Knesset member Limor Livnat, was shot dead and several others were wounded, some seriously.

The shooting took place as the three carloads of Hassidim left Joseph's Tomb in PA controlled territory. They had not coordinated their visit in advance with the IDF.

Sources say Breslev Hassidim routinely attempt to enter Joseph's Tomb without coordination. Palestinian Police are familiar with this regular occurrence.

After the incident, Palestinians rioted and set fires near Joseph's tomb.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Islamist Militancy in Pre- and Post-Saleh Yemen

By Reva Bhalla

Nearly three months have passed since the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, first saw mass demonstrations against Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but an exit from the current stalemate is still nowhere in sight. Saleh retains enough support to continue dictating the terms of his eventual political departure to an emboldened yet frustrated opposition. At the same time, the writ of his authority beyond the capital is dwindling, which is increasing the level of chaos and allowing various rebel groups to collect arms, recruit fighters and operate under dangerously few constraints.

The prospect of Saleh’s political struggle providing a boon to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is understandably producing anxiety in Washington, where U.S. officials have spent the past few months trying to envision what a post-Saleh Yemen would mean for U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the Arabian Peninsula.

While fending off opponents at home, Saleh and his followers have been relying on the “me or chaos” tactic abroad to hang onto power. Loyalists argue that the dismantling of the Saleh regime would fundamentally derail years of U.S. investment designed to elicit meaningful Yemeni cooperation against AQAP or, worse, result in a civil war that will provide AQAP with freedom to hone its skills. Emboldened by the recent unrest, a jihadist group called the Abyan-Aden Islamic Army launched a major raid on a weapons depot in Ja’ar in late March, leading a number of media outlets to speculate that the toppling of the Saleh regime would play directly into the hands of Yemen’s jihadists.

Meanwhile, the opposition has countered that the Yemeni jihadist threat is a perception engineered by Saleh to convince the West of the dangers of abandoning support for his regime. Opposition figures argue that Saleh’s policies are what led to the rise of AQAP in the first place and that the fall of his regime would provide the United States with a clean slate to address its counterterrorism concerns with new, non-Saleh-affiliated political allies. The reality is likely somewhere in between.

The Birth of Yemen’s Modern Jihadist Movement
The pervasiveness of radical Islamists in Yemen’s military and security apparatus is no secret, and it contributes to the staying power of al Qaeda and its offspring in the Arabian Peninsula. The root of the issue dates back to the Soviet-Afghan war, when Osama bin Laden, whose family hails from the Hadramout region of the eastern Yemeni hinterland, commanded a small group of Arab volunteers under the leadership of Abdullah Azzam in the Islamist insurgency against the Soviets through the 1980s. Yemenis formed one of the largest contingents within bin Laden’s Arab volunteer force in Afghanistan, which meant that by 1989, a sizable number of battle-hardened Yemenis returned home looking for a new purpose.

They did not have to wait long. Leading the jihadist pack returning from Afghanistan was Tariq al Fadhli of the once-powerful al Fadhli tribe based in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan. Joining al Fadhli was Sheikh Abdul Majid al Zindani, the spiritual father of Yemen’s Salafi movement and one of the leaders of the conservative Islah party (now leading the political opposition against Saleh). The al Fadhli tribe had lost its lands to the Marxists of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), which had ruled South Yemen with Soviet backing throughout the 1980s while North Yemen was ruled with Saudi backing. Al Fadhli, an opportunist who tends to downplay his previous interactions with bin Laden, returned to his homeland in 1989 (supposedly with funding from bin Laden) with a mission backed by North Yemen and Saudi Arabia to rid the south of Marxists. He and his group set up camp in the mountains of Saada province on the Saudi border and also established a training facility in Abyan province in South Yemen. Joining al Fadhli’s group were a few thousand Arabs from Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan who had fought in Afghanistan and faced arrest or worse if they tried to return home.

When North and South Yemen unified in 1990 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Yemen’s tribal Salafists, still trying to find their footing, were largely pushed aside as the southern Marxists became part of the new Republic of Yemen, albeit as subjugated partners to the north. Many within the Islamist militant movement shifted their focus to foreign targets — with an eye on the United States — and rapidly made their mark in December 1992, when two hotels were bombed in the southern city of Aden, where U.S. soldiers taking part in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia were lodged (though no Americans were killed in the attack). A rocket attack against the U.S. Embassy in January 1993 was also attempted and failed. Though he denied involvement in the hotel attacks, al Fadhli and many of his jihadist compatriots were thrown in jail on charges of orchestrating the hotel bombings as well as the assassination of one of the YSP’s political leaders.

But as tensions intensified between the north and the south in the early 1990s, so did the utility of Yemen’s Islamist militants. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh brokered a deal in 1993 with al Fadhli in which the militant leader was released from jail and freed of all charges in exchange for his assistance in defeating the southern socialists, who were now waging a civil war against the north. Saleh’s plan worked. The southern socialists were defeated and stripped of much of their land and fortunes, while the jihadists who made Saleh’s victory possible enjoyed the spoils of war. Al Fadhli, in particular, ended up becoming a member of Saleh’s political inner circle. In tribal custom, he also had his sister marry Brig. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a member of the president’s Sanhan tribe in the influential Hashid confederation and now commander of Yemen’s northwestern military division and 1st Armored Brigade. (Mohsen, known for his heavily Islamist leanings, has been leading the political standoff against Saleh ever since his high-profile defection from the regime March 24.)

The Old Guard Rises and Falls
Saleh’s co-opting of Yemen’s Islamist militants had profound implications for the country’s terrorism profile. Islamists of varying ideological intensities were rewarded with positions throughout the Yemeni security and intelligence apparatus, with a heavy concentration in the Political Security Organization (PSO), a roughly 150,000-strong state security and intelligence agency. The PSO exists separately from the Ministry of Interior and is supposed to answer directly to the president, but it has long operated autonomously and is believed to have been behind a number of large-scale jailbreaks, political assassinations and militant operations in the country. While the leadership of the PSO under Ghaleb al Ghamesh have maintained their loyalty to Saleh, the loyalty of the organization as a whole to the president is highly questionable.

Many within the military-intelligence-security apparatus who fought in the 1994 civil war to defeat South Yemen and formed a base of support around Saleh’s presidency made up what is now considered the “old guard” in Yemen. Interspersed within the old guard were the mujahideen fighters returning from Afghanistan. Leading the old guard within the military has been none other than Mohsen, who, after years of standing by Saleh’s side, has emerged in the past month as the president’s most formidable challenger. Mohsen, whose uncle was married to Saleh’s mother in her second marriage, was a stalwart ally of Saleh’s throughout the 1990s. He played an instrumental role in protecting Saleh from coup attempts early on in his political reign and led the North Yemen army to victory against the south in the 1994 civil war. Mohsen was duly rewarded with ample military funding and control over Saada, Hudeidah, Hajja, Amran and Mahwit, surpassing the influence of the governors in these provinces.

While the 1990s were the golden years for Mohsen, the 21st century brought with it an array of challenges for the Islamist sympathizers in the old guard. Following the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, Saleh came under enormous pressure from the United States to crack down on al Qaeda operatives and their protectors in Yemen, both within and beyond the bounds of the state. Fearful of the political backlash that would result from U.S. unilateral military action in Yemen and tempted by large amounts of counterterrorism aid being channeled from Washington, Saleh began devising a strategy to gradually marginalize the increasingly problematic old guard.

These were not the only factors driving Saleh’s decision, however. Saleh knew he had to prepare a succession plan, and he preferred to see the next generation of Saleh men at the helm. Anticipating the challenge he would face from powerful figures like Mohsen and his allies, Saleh shrewdly created new and distinct security agencies for selected family members to run under the tutelage of the United States with the those agencies run by formidable members of the old guard. Thus the “new guard” was born.

The Rise of Saleh’s Second-Generation New Guard
Over the course of the past decade, Saleh has made a series of appointments to mark the ascendancy of the new guard. Most important, his son and preferred successor, Ahmed Ali Saleh, became head of the elite Republican Guard (roughly 30,000-plus men) and Special Operations Forces. Ahmad replaced Saleh’s half-brother, Mohammed Saleh al Ahmar, as chief of the Republican Guard, but Saleh made sure to appease Mohammed by making him Yemen’s defense attache in Washington, followed by appointing him to the highly influential post of chief of staff of the supreme commander of the Armed Forces and supervisor to the Republican Guard.

The president also appointed his nephews — the sons of his brother Muhammad Abdullah Saleh (now deceased) — to key positions. Yahya became chief of staff of the Central Security Forces and Counter-Terrorism Unit (roughly 50,000 plus); Tariq was made commander of the Special Guard (which effectively falls under the authority of Ahmed’s Republican Guard); and Ammar became principal duty director of the National Security Bureau (NSB). Moreover, nearly all of Saleh’s sons, cousins and nephews are evenly distributed throughout the Republican Guard.

Each of these agencies received a substantial amount of money as U.S. financial aid to Yemen increased from $5 million in 2006 to $155 million in 2010. This was expected to rise to $1 billion or more over the next several years, but Washington froze the first installment in February when the protests broke out. Ahmed’s Republican Guard and Special Operations Forces worked closely with U.S. military trainers in trying to develop an elite fighting force along the lines of Jordan’s U.S.-trained Fursan al Haq (Knights of Justice). The creation of the mostly U.S.-financed NSB in 2002 to collect domestic intelligence was also part of a broader attempt by Saleh to reform all security agencies to counter the heavy jihadist penetration of the PSO.

Meanwhile, Mohsen watched nervously as his power base flattened under the weight of the second-generation Saleh men. One by one, Mohsen’s close old-guard allies were replaced: In 2007, Saleh sacked Gen. Al Thaneen, commander of the Republican Guard in Taiz. In 2008, Brig. Gen. Mujahid Gushaim replaced Ali Sayani, the head of military intelligence (Ali Sayani’s brother, Abdulmalik, Yemen’s former defense minister, was one of the first generals to declare support for the revolt against Saleh); The same year, Gen. Al Thahiri al Shadadi was replaced by Brig Gen. Mohammed al Magdashi as Commander of the Central Division; Saleh then appointed his personal bodyguard Brig. Gen. Aziz Mulfi as Chief of Staff of the 27th mechanized brigade in Hadramout. Finally, in early 2011, Saleh sacked Brig. Gen. Abdullah Al Gadhi, commander of Al Anad Base that lies on the axis of Aden in the south and commander of the 201st mechanized brigade. As commander of the northwestern division, Mohsen had been kept busy by an al Houthi rebellion that ignited in 2004, and he became a convenient scapegoat for Saleh when the al Houthis rose up again in 2009 and began seizing territory, leading to a rare Saudi military intervention in Yemen’s northern Saada province.

Using the distraction and intensity of the Houthi rebellion to weaken Mohsen and his forces, Saleh attempted to move the headquarters of Mohsen’s First Armored Brigade from Sanaa to Amran just north of the capital and ordered the transfer of heavy equipment from Mohsen’s forces to the Republican Guard. While Saleh’s son and nephews were on the receiving end of millions of dollars of U.S. financial aid to fight AQAP, Mohsen and his allies were left on the sidelines as the old-guard institutions were branded as untrustworthy and thus unworthy of U.S. financing. Mohsin also claims Saleh tried to have him killed at least six times. One such episode, revealed in a Wikileaks cable dated February 2010, describes how the Saleh government allegedly provided Saudi military commanders with the coordinates of Mohsen’s headquarters when Saudi forces were launching air strikes on the Houthis. The Saudis aborted the strike when they sensed something was wrong with the information they were receiving from the Yemeni government.

Toward the end of 2010, with the old guard sufficiently weakened, Saleh was feeling relatively confident that he would be able to see through his plans to abolish presidential term limits and pave the way for his son to take power. What Saleh didn’t anticipate was the viral effect of the North African uprisings and the opportunity they would present to Mohsen and his allies to take revenge and, more important, make a comeback.

An Old Guard Revival?
Mohsen, 66, is a patient and calculating man. When thousands of Yemenis took to the streets of Sanaa in late March to protest against the regime, his 1st Armored Brigade, based just a short distance from the University of Sanaa entrance where the protesters were concentrated, deliberately stood back while the CSF and Republican Guard took the heat for increasingly violent crackdowns. In many ways, Mohsen attempted to emulate Egyptian Field Marshal Mohammed Tantawi in having his forces stand between the CSF and the protesters, acting as a protector of the pro-democracy demonstrators in hopes of making his way to the presidential palace with the people’s backing. Mohsen continues to carry a high level of respect among the Islamist-leaning old guard and, just as critically, maintains a strong relationship with the Saudi royals.

Following his March 24 defection, a number of high-profile military, political and tribal defections followed. Standing in league with Mohsen is the politically ambitious Sheikh Hamid al-Ahmar, one of the 10 sons of the late Abdullah bin Hussein al-Ahmar, who ruled the Hashid confederation as the most powerful tribal chieftain in the country and was also a prominent leader of the Islah political party. (Saleh’s Sanhaan tribe is part of the Hashid confederation as well.) Hamid is a wealthy businessman and vocal leader of the Islah party, which dominates the Joint Meetings Party (JMP), an opposition coalition. The sheikh who, like Mohsen, has a close relationship with the Saudi royals, has ambitions to replace Saleh and has been responsible for a wave of defections from within the ruling General People’s Congress, nearly all of which can be traced back to his family tree. In an illustration of Hamid’s strategic alliance with Mohsen, Hamid holds the position of lieutenant colonel in the 1st Armored Brigade. This is a purely honorary position but provides Hamid with a military permit to expand his contingent of body guards, the numbers of which of recently swelled to at least 100.

Together, Mohsen and Sheikh Hamid have a great deal of influence in Yemen to challenge Saleh, but still not enough to drive him out of office by force. Mohsen’s forces have been gradually trying to encroach on Sanaa from their base in the northern outskirts of the capital, but forces loyal to Saleh in Sanaa continue to outman and outgun the rebel forces.

Hence the current stalemate. Yemen does not have the luxury of a clean, geographic split between pro-regime and anti-regime forces, as is the case in Libya. In its infinite complexity, the country is divided along tribal, family, military and business lines, so its political future is difficult to chart. A single family, army unit, village or tribe will have members pledging loyalty to either Saleh or the revolution, providing the president with just enough staying power to deflect opposition demands and drag out the political crisis.

Washington’s Yemen Problem
The question of whether Saleh stays or goes is not the main topic of current debate. Nearly every party to the conflict, including the various opposition groups, Saudi Arabia, the United States and even Saleh himself, understand that the Yemeni president’s 33-year political reign will end soon. The real sticking point has to do with those family members surrounding Saleh and whether they, too, will be brought down with the president in a true regime change.

This is where the United States finds itself in a particularly uncomfortable spot. Yemen’s opposition, a hodgepodge movement including everything from northern Islamists to southern socialists, are mostly only united by a collective aim to dismantle the Saleh regime, including the second-generation Saleh new guard that has come to dominate the country’s security-military-intelligence apparatus with heavy U.S.-backing.

The system is far from perfect, and counterterrorism efforts in Yemen continue to frustrate U.S. authorities. However, Saleh’s security reforms over the past several years and the tutelage the U.S. military has been able to provide to these select agencies have been viewed as a significant sign of progress by the United States, and that progress could now be coming under threat.

Mohsen and his allies are looking to reclaim their lost influence and absorb the new-guard entities in an entirely new security set-up. For example, the opposition is demanding that the Republican Guard and Special Forces be absorbed into the army, which would operate under a general loyal to Mohsen (Mohsen himself claims he would step down as part of a deal in which Saleh also resigns, but he would be expected to assume a kingmaker status), that the CSF and CTU paramilitary agencies be stripped of their autonomy and operationally come under the Ministry of Interior and that the newly created NSB come under the PSO. Such changes would be tantamount to unraveling the past decade of U.S. counterterrorism investment in Yemen that was designed explicitly to raise a new generation of security officials who could hold their own against the Islamist-leaning old guard. This is not to say that Mohsen and his allies would completely obstruct U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Many within the old guard, eager for U.S. financial aid and opposed to U.S. unilateral military action in Yemen, are likely to veer toward pragmatism in dealing with Washington. That said, Mohsen’s reputation for protecting jihadists operating in Yemen and his poor standing with Washington would add much distrust to an already complicated U.S.-Yemeni relationship.

Given its counterterrorism concerns and the large amount of U.S. financial aid flowing into Yemen in recent years, Washington undoubtedly has a stake in Yemen’s political transition, but it is unclear how much influence it will be able to exert in trying to shape a post-Saleh government. The United States lacks the tribal relationships, historical presence and trust to deal effectively with a resurgent old guard seeking vengeance amid growing chaos.

The real heavyweight in Yemen is Saudi Arabia. The Saudi royals have long viewed their southern neighbor as a constant source of instability in the kingdom. Whether the threat to the monarchy emanating from Yemen drew its roots from Nasserism, Marxism or radical Islamism, Riyadh deliberated worked to keep the Yemeni state weak while buying loyalties across the Yemeni tribal landscape. Saudi Arabia shares the U.S. concern over Yemeni instability providing a boon to AQAP. The Saudi royals, which are reviled by a large segment of Saudi-born jihadists in AQAP operating from Yemen, is a logical target for AQAP attacks that carry sufficient strategic weight to shake the oil markets and the royal regime, especially given the current climate of unrest in the region. Moreover, Saudi Arabia does not want to deal with a dramatic increase in the already regular spillover of refugees, smugglers and illegal workers from Yemen should civil war ensue.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia and the United States may not entirely see eye to eye in how to manage the jihadist threat in Yemen. The Saudis have maintained close linkages with a number of influential Islamist members within the old guard, including Mohsen and jihadists like al Fadhli, who broke off his alliance with Saleh in 2009 to lead the Southern Movement against the regime. The Saudis are also more prone to rely on their jihadist allies from time to time in trying to snuff out more immediate threats to Saudi interests.

For example, Saudi Arabia’s current concern regarding Yemen centers not on the future of Yemen’s counterterrorism capabilities but on the al Houthi rebels in the north, who have wasted little time in exploiting Sanaa’s distractions to expand their territorial claims in Saada province. The Houthis belong to the Zaydi sect, considered an offshoot of Shiite Islam and heretical by Wahhabi standards. Riyadh fears Houthi unrest in Yemen’s north could stir unrest in Saudi Arabia’s southern provinces of Najran and Jizan, which are home to the Ismailis, also an offshoot of Shiite Islam. Ismaili unrest in the south could then embolden Shia in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, who have already been engaged in demonstrations, albeit small ones, against the Saudi monarchy with heavy Iranian encouragement. Deputy AQAP leader Saad Ali al Shihri’s declaration of war against the al Houthi rebels on Jan. 28 may have surprised many, but it also seemed to play to the Saudi agenda in channeling jihadist efforts toward the al Houthi threat.

The United States has a Yemen problem that it cannot avoid, but it also has very few tools with which to manage or solve it. For now, the stalemate provides Washington with the time to sort out alternatives to the second-generation Saleh relatives, but that time also comes at a cost. The longer this political crisis drags on, the more Saleh will narrow his focus to holding onto Sanaa, while leaving the rest of the country for the Houthis, the southern socialists and the jihadists to fight over. The United States can take some comfort in the fact that AQAP’s poor track record of innovative yet failed attacks has kept the group in the terrorist minor leagues. With enough time, resources and sympathizers in the government and security apparatus, however, AQAP could find itself in a more comfortable spot in a post-Saleh scenario, likely to the detriment of U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the Arabian Peninsula.

The above report is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

Sila Sahin Poses Nude for Playboy



Turning on a Dime, China Invests in Shale Gas


Click here to read or download an in-depth report.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Truckers Strike in Shanghai

Dispatch: Truckers Strike in Shanghai | STRATFOR

One Year After Gulf Oil Accident, Americans Reject Extreme Environmentalist View; Majority Say Cleanup Successful

54% Surveyed Say Cleanup At Least Somewhat Successful

China Leads Electric Vehicle Race

China is expected to overtake the United States in sales of electric vehicles, as reported here.




COMMENT: Like a martial artist trying to combine hard and soft fighting styles in the same match, Muslim-overrun France is cynically trying to ride the international Islamist bandwagon, attempting to curry favor with the clerical fascist movement abroad in order to prevent a major Muslim uprising at home. The much publicized burqa ban can be considered the hard style--an effort by French president Nicolas Sarkozy to steal the thunder from his rightwing political rival, Marine Le Pen--while the pro-Islamist intervention in Libya and the 180-degree turn on appeasing and even aligning with Islamists is the soft style.

S. Korea Warns North Ready to Test Nuke


Obama Insults Jews on Passover


Allen West weighs in--over here--on Obama's Passover slap in the face to Jews.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


A Libyan Islamist who was an important figure in the global jihad--Abdel-Moneim Mokhtar--was killed on April 15. The 41-year-old terrorist, a so-called commander of the Al Qaeda-connected Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, was ambushed and shot to death by Khadafy regime troops in eastern Libya, the part of the country that has traditionally been a center of Islamism.

Mokhtar was a leader of the NATO-backed Libyan rebels.

His death highlights the insanity of the US-led intervention--a mad military adventure certain to backfire.

Mokhtar ... arrived in Afghanistan at age 20 in 1990 when the mujahedeen were fighting the puppet regime installed by the Soviets before they withdrew after a decade-long war.

He fought for three years in the fields and mountains of Khost and Kandahar provinces under Jalaluddin Haqqani — a prominent commander who was backed by the U.S. during the Soviet war but has now become one of its fiercest enemies in Afghanistan....

Mokhtar became one of the LIFG's top three military commanders, said Anes Sharif, another member of the group who has known him for almost two decades.

Mokhtar was in charge in southern Libya and planned several assassination attempts on Gadhafi, including one in 1996 when a militant threw a grenade at the ruler near the southern desert town of Brak that failed to explode, Sharif said....

The LIFG also waged attacks against Gadhafi's security forces. But the Libyan leader cracked down on the group, especially in Darna and what is now the rebel-held capital of Benghazi.





The Case for $5,000 Gold, $300 Silver

The world’s largest bond fund, PIMCO, and its acerbic chief Bill Gross, are now shorting the U.S. dollar. China has stated repeatedly that it will reduce its holdings of U.S. debt. This is sending a signal to the rest of the sovereign wealth and LCPs that the U.S. dollar should be abandoned. That means, when the convulsions that seize the global financial system, such as that of 2008, manifest themselves, investors will flee less and less to the U.S. dollar, and more and more to other currencies – especially gold and silver.

So not only does the price of gold appreciate in strictly nominal terms, but demand for it is growing even as it grows exponentially in price. That’s why, given this illogical yet nevertheless existing stupidity, the more expensive gold and silver get, the greater will be their demand as a replacement for U.S. dollar denominated safe haven asset classes.

The third major factor that is going to drive gold to $5,000 and silver through $300 is related to the first two. Governments, always reactive and never proactive, will eventually start to ratify gold and silver as official currency alternatives as a result of public pressure.

Click here to read the entire essay.