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Showing posts from March 2, 2013

French and Chad Forces Strike Militants in the Mountains of Mali

DAKAR, Senegal — The French military struck at Islamist militants dug in along the remote, rocky mountain ranges of northern Maliover the last week, killing scores, a French military spokesman said Friday.

The week’s operations, conducted with Chadian troops, were a further sign that the French military intervention against the jihadists in Mali, initially viewed as a quick strike, was not winding down soon.

Meanwhile, the Chadian president, Idriss Déby Itno, said that Abu Zeid, the most important commander in Al Qaeda’s regional franchise, had been killed in combat, Mr. Déby’s communications director, Dieudonné Djonabaye, said Friday night.

The Algerian newspaper El Khabar asserted that samples from the corpse presumed to be that of Abu Zeid — he was of Algerian birth — had been sent to Algiers for testing against relatives; a senior Algerian official declined to confirm the report on Friday night.

Abu Zeid’s death would represent a significant blow to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, as…

In Nigeria’s Largest City, Homeless Are Paying the Price of Progress

LAGOS, Nigeria — The young man with the crowbar stood on a heap of rubble — planks, pallets, remains of pots, bits of cardboard, wisps of clothing, chunks of concrete — indistinguishable from every other pile in a field of debris stretching far into the distance.

“This is the home I am staying in before Fashola demolished it,” said John Momoh, 28, looking down at the pile, referring to the governor of Lagos, Babatunde Fashola. Mr. Momoh, a driver, searched doggedly for anything salvageable — a nail, a board — in the mess.

Government backhoes came in and plowed through Mr. Momoh’s simple wooden dwelling and some 500 like it last Saturday, instantly making homeless perhaps 10,000 of Lagos’s poorest residents and destroying a decades-old slum, Badia East. For days, residents wandered the chaotic rubble-strewn field, near prime Lagos real estate.

They were dazed and angry. Small children slept on the muddy ground. Men climbed the mounds of rubble, searching. In intense heat, women, men and c…

Russia 'concerned' over Max Shatto Texas death ruling

Russia's foreign ministry has expressed concern after US authorities ruled the death of an adopted three-year-old boy was an accident.

Max Shatto, adopted from a Russian orphanage, died on 21 January, shortly after a Russian ban on US adoptions.

Four Texas doctors reviewing the case found that bruises on his body were self-inflicted, officials said, adding the investigation was continuing.

Thousands of marchers in Moscow called for a halt to all foreign adoptions.

Police put the number of protesters in the centre of the city at 12,000, Russian media reported.

The rally on Saturday, involving pro-Kremlin activists, came two months after tens of thousands of people joined a demonstration against the ban on US adoptions of Russian orphans.'Torn artery'

Max Shatto, born Maksim Kuzmin, and his younger brother Kristopher were adopted from an orphanage in north-west Russia last year by Alan and Laura Shatto, who live in Gardendale, Texas.
Max Shatto (L), and his brother Kristopher, wer…

Chad says al Qaeda commander killed in Mali, France cautious

N’DJAMENA/GAO: One of al Qaeda’s most feared commanders in Africa, Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, has been killed by Chadian forces in northern Mali, Chad’s President Idriss Deby said on Friday. French officials said they could not confirm the report.

“It was Chadian forces who killed two jihadi leaders, including Abou Zeid,” Deby told opposition politicians in the presence of journalists after a funeral ceremony for Chadian soldiers killed in fighting at the weekend.

Chadian soldiers with support from French special forces and fighter jets are hunting down pockets of al Qaeda-linked insurgents in the border region with Algeria after a seven-week French-led campaign broke Islamist domination of northern Mali.

The death of Abou Zeid, who has earned AQIM tens of millions of dollars with a spate of kidnappings of Westerners in the Sahara over the last five years, would be a significant but far from fatal blow to the group.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed mastermind of a mass hostage-taking at the In…

US court finds Raymond Davis guilty of assault

DENVER: A former CIA contractor who triggered an international incident in 2011 when he killed two men in Pakistan pleaded guilty on Friday to assaulting a man in a dispute over a parking spot, prosecutors said.

Raymond Allen Davis entered the plea in Douglas County District Court to misdemeanor third-degree assault and received a two-year probationary sentence, said Lisa Pinto, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office.

Pinto said Davis was also ordered to take anger management classes and write a letter of apology to the victim, Jeff Maes.

Davis, 38, was originally charged with second-degree felony assault in the altercation with Maes in October 2011.

Officers were sent to a bagel store parking lot on reports of a fight between the two men, according to Douglas County Sheriff’s spokesman Ron Hanavan.

Police said Davis started the fight and knocked Maes to the ground. He was arrested at the scene.

A US Army veteran and former special forces soldier, Davis made international headlines …

Who’s Turning Syria’s Civil War Into a Jihad?

The West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia all have their own angles in the conflict—but Salafism and anarchy may be the big winners.

By Philip Giraldi

March 01, 2013  - "The American Conservative" -- The tale of what is going on in Syria reads something like this: an insurgency active since March 2011 has been funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and allowed to operate out of Turkey with the sometimes active, but more often passive, connivance of a number of Western powers, including Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. The intention was to overthrow the admittedly dictatorial Bashar al-Assad quickly and replace him with a more representative government composed largely of Syrians-in-exile drawn from the expat communities in Europe and the United States. The largely ad hoc political organization that was the counterpart to the Free Syrian Army ultimately evolved into the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Syrian National Coalition) i…