Showing posts tagged as "Terrorism"

Showing posts tagged Terrorism

27 Jun
Fear Grips Nigeria Capital After Attack in City Centre | AFP
Abuja:  A bombing blamed on Boko Haram in the heart of Nigeria’s capital raised fears on Thursday of a worsening Islamist insurgency, with the security forces struggling to prevent attacks in remote villages and near the seat of government.
Wednesday’s blast, which killed at least 21 people, shook the crowded Emab Plaza in downtown Abuja during the afternoon rush as shoppers were buying groceries an hour ahead of the country’s World Cup match against Argentina.
The explosions struck “a very prominent street and it sends a very loud message”, said Nnamdi Obasi, Nigeria researcher at the International Crisis Group. “The message is that everywhere in the city is vulnerable.” cited as causes of the tragedy.
FULL ARTICLE (Agence France-Presse)
Photo: theglobalpanorama/flickr

Fear Grips Nigeria Capital After Attack in City Centre | AFP

Abuja:  A bombing blamed on Boko Haram in the heart of Nigeria’s capital raised fears on Thursday of a worsening Islamist insurgency, with the security forces struggling to prevent attacks in remote villages and near the seat of government.

Wednesday’s blast, which killed at least 21 people, shook the crowded Emab Plaza in downtown Abuja during the afternoon rush as shoppers were buying groceries an hour ahead of the country’s World Cup match against Argentina.

The explosions struck “a very prominent street and it sends a very loud message”, said Nnamdi Obasi, Nigeria researcher at the International Crisis Group. “The message is that everywhere in the city is vulnerable.” cited as causes of the tragedy.

FULL ARTICLE (Agence France-Presse)

Photo: theglobalpanorama/flickr

23 Jun
Iraq’s House of Cards: The Primary Mission | Robin Wright
On Friday, a new report by the International Crisis Group, an independent research and policy institute, bluntly warned of both the political and military challenges in Iraq. Under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the report declared, “Parliament has been rendered toothless, independent state agencies shorn of their powers. Ministries, to an unprecedented extent, have become bastions of nepotism and other forms of corruption; the severely politicized judiciary represents anything but the ‘rule of law,’ with even the Supreme Court doing the government’s bidding.”
This week, as the jihadi juggernaut solidifies its control over almost a third of the country in a Sunni proto-state, a token American team of Special Forces will embed in Iraq to assess and advise Iraq’s disintegrating military. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is conferring with regional leaders about ways to prevent a geostrategic prize from imploding into a failed state. He, too, is expected in Baghdad. 
The primary American mission is to help rebuild the house of cards that is the Iraqi government—a political challenge almost as daunting as devising a strategy to beat back the alienated Sunni (and other) forces in the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The goal is to prevent Iraq from becoming another Lebanon, where sectarian tensions over a power-sharing formula dragged on in a fifteen-year civil war (despite repeated American diplomatic interventions and attempts to rebuild the national Army).
FULL ARTICLE (The New Yorker)
Photo: United States Forces-Iraq/flickr

Iraq’s House of Cards: The Primary Mission | Robin Wright

On Friday, a new report by the International Crisis Group, an independent research and policy institute, bluntly warned of both the political and military challenges in Iraq. Under Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the report declared, “Parliament has been rendered toothless, independent state agencies shorn of their powers. Ministries, to an unprecedented extent, have become bastions of nepotism and other forms of corruption; the severely politicized judiciary represents anything but the ‘rule of law,’ with even the Supreme Court doing the government’s bidding.”

This week, as the jihadi juggernaut solidifies its control over almost a third of the country in a Sunni proto-state, a token American team of Special Forces will embed in Iraq to assess and advise Iraq’s disintegrating military. Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry is conferring with regional leaders about ways to prevent a geostrategic prize from imploding into a failed state. He, too, is expected in Baghdad. 

The primary American mission is to help rebuild the house of cards that is the Iraqi government—a political challenge almost as daunting as devising a strategy to beat back the alienated Sunni (and other) forces in the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). The goal is to prevent Iraq from becoming another Lebanon, where sectarian tensions over a power-sharing formula dragged on in a fifteen-year civil war (despite repeated American diplomatic interventions and attempts to rebuild the national Army).

FULL ARTICLE (The New Yorker)

Photo: United States Forces-Iraq/flickr

4 Jun
Turkey Blacklists Al Qaeda-Linked Syrian Rebel Group In Sign Of Growing Concern Over Extremists | Sophia Jones
A year and a half after the United States designated the al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist organization, Turkey has followed suit, signaling what experts say is a shift in its approach to the Syrian civil war.
The country’s Official Gazette said in a statement that Turkey will now freeze any assets linked to the group. Turkey, which backs the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad and hosts more than 700,000 Syrian refugees, has been accused of aiding extremist Islamist militants and failing to stop them from crossing the border to join the fight against Assad. The change in policy, experts say, shows that the country wants to put a stop to those claims and is increasingly concerned about the rise of extremists.
“Significant shifts have been underway behind the scenes in recent months within a number of key opposition-supporting states, including Turkey, which have had as their focus the adoption of a dual-track policy of bolstering moderate rebels and isolating extremists,” said Charles Lister, a Syria analyst and visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center.
FULL ARTICLE (Huffington Post)
Photo: Asitimes/flickr

Turkey Blacklists Al Qaeda-Linked Syrian Rebel Group In Sign Of Growing Concern Over Extremists | Sophia Jones

A year and a half after the United States designated the al Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist organization, Turkey has followed suit, signaling what experts say is a shift in its approach to the Syrian civil war.

The country’s Official Gazette said in a statement that Turkey will now freeze any assets linked to the group. Turkey, which backs the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad and hosts more than 700,000 Syrian refugees, has been accused of aiding extremist Islamist militants and failing to stop them from crossing the border to join the fight against Assad. The change in policy, experts say, shows that the country wants to put a stop to those claims and is increasingly concerned about the rise of extremists.

“Significant shifts have been underway behind the scenes in recent months within a number of key opposition-supporting states, including Turkey, which have had as their focus the adoption of a dual-track policy of bolstering moderate rebels and isolating extremists,” said Charles Lister, a Syria analyst and visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center.

FULL ARTICLE (Huffington Post)

Photo: Asitimes/flickr

3 Jun
How Obama Thinks About Counterterrorism | David Rohde
In a foreign-policy address last week, President Obama gave his clearest outline yet of his counterterrorism strategy. Al-Qaeda splinter groups remain the largest threat to the United States, he said, but Washington must respond to it in a new way: by training local security forces, not deploying American ground troops.
“We have to develop a strategy that matches this diffuse threat—one that expands our reach without sending forces that stretch our military too thin, or stir up local resentments,” Obama said. “We need partners to fight terrorists alongside us.”
But critics say America’s past efforts to train local security forces have had mixed results. Washington has a poor track record of applying the long-term resources, funding, and attention needed to carry out such efforts successfully. In Libya, training by U.S. Special Forces soldiers was suspended after a local militia stole a cache of American-provided weapons. In Mali, American-trained military officers carried out a coup. And in Afghanistan, the United States failed to mount a major training effort until nine years after the fall of the Taliban.
FULL ARTICLE (The Atlantic)
Photo: cmccain202dc/flickr

How Obama Thinks About Counterterrorism | David Rohde

In a foreign-policy address last week, President Obama gave his clearest outline yet of his counterterrorism strategy. Al-Qaeda splinter groups remain the largest threat to the United States, he said, but Washington must respond to it in a new way: by training local security forces, not deploying American ground troops.

“We have to develop a strategy that matches this diffuse threat—one that expands our reach without sending forces that stretch our military too thin, or stir up local resentments,” Obama said. “We need partners to fight terrorists alongside us.”

But critics say America’s past efforts to train local security forces have had mixed results. Washington has a poor track record of applying the long-term resources, funding, and attention needed to carry out such efforts successfully. In Libya, training by U.S. Special Forces soldiers was suspended after a local militia stole a cache of American-provided weapons. In Mali, American-trained military officers carried out a coup. And in Afghanistan, the United States failed to mount a major training effort until nine years after the fall of the Taliban.

FULL ARTICLE (The Atlantic)

Photo: cmccain202dc/flickr

27 May
Tunisia could be the first Arab Spring success. But it’s not there yet | Joanne Leedom-Ackerman
Joanne Leedom-Ackerman visited political, business, and civil society leaders in Tunisia as part of a recent trip with the International Crisis Group, of which she is a board member. This article originally appeared in the Christian Science Monitor.
In Roman times wild animals paced beneath Tunisia’s El Jem colosseum, ready to spring into mortal combat with gladiators – usually slaves fighting for their lives and sometimes freedom – as an audience looked on. Recently I paced the floor of this same amphitheater, trying to imagine its history – and future.
Today, Tunisia is engaged in its own struggle for the life of its new democracy. Though a small country – 64,000 square miles with 11 million people – Tunisia is vital to regional stability. Now this ancient North African country where the Arab Spring began is poised to become the first success in the region – but only if it can shore up a weak economy, curb the dual threats of terrorism and crime, and continue needed government reforms.
Three years after a young street vendor set himself on fire to protest the authorities’ harassment and corruption, three years after the citizens rose up and ejected their longtime autocratic leader, Tunisia has laid the groundwork for its future. In January, the citizenry adopted a new Constitution that was widely debated and passed with the votes of more than 90 percent of the Constituent Assembly. All sectors endorse and are proud of the forward-leaning Constitution, which balances the secular and religious and is looked at as a model for the region.
As a further mark of progress, the Assembly recently passed a law establishing a judicial body to determine the constitutionality of new laws. It will be replaced by a new constitutional court after the next election. This opens the way now for the Assembly to pass a law to set up elections, which are anticipated this year.
Many donors and investors, particularly in the West and in the Gulf, are awaiting these elections before they commit further aid. Citizens are hoping the partisanship that divided the country after the revolution won’t reemerge. As one trade union leader told me, this frustration helped pave the way for the new government: “Technocrats were accepted as an interim government because people were fed up with political parties.”
A Marshall Plan for Tunisia
Still, large challenges lie ahead for Tunisia. The greatest is the economy, which remains state-controlled and relies on large subsidies it can’t afford. Some say the country is on the brink of bankruptcy. Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa visited the United States and the Gulf in April looking for financial assistance, including loan guarantees. 
Mr. Jomaa has agreed with institutions such as the International Monetary Fund that the subsidy programs must be cut back or ended, but there are political and societal costs when prices on energy and food suddenly rise and government employment decreases. Unemployment is already more than 15 percent and as much as 40 percent among youth. In a show of good faith, President Moncef Marzouki recently announced he is taking a two-thirds pay cut.
But Tunisia’s future will not be assured without international support. As Mustapha Ben Jaafar, president of the Constituent Assembly, said to me and a small gathering of international observers: “We need a Marshall Plan for Tunisia and the Maghreb.”
The threat of terrorism
Another threat to Tunisia’s progress is terrorism, along with weapons flows and black market smuggling across the borders of neighboring Algeria and Libya.
“Gangsters control weapons and drug traffic,” Sihem Bensedrine, a prominent journalist and human rights activist, told me. She explained the context that gives rise to violence and illicit activity. “We don’t want to give religious cover to jihadists who are really criminals. The violence is created by poverty. There is a generation of young people marginalized. The state doesn’t have money. The money is in the gray economy, which some say is 60 percent of the economy.”
In order to curb the threat of violent extremism and its links to crime, Tunisia must continue to address the poverty and disillusionment that fuel it. Economic reforms and foreign aid to support economic growth are thus doubly important to Tunisia’s future.
Out with the old
Tunisia must also dismantle and reform the structures of the old dictatorship, including the police and the Ministry of the Interior. Close observers say that the success of the country’s democratic transition depends on the government’s ability to decentralize as well.
The concentration of government at the national level has bred corruption. As Ms. Bensedrine put it: “As long as [the] administration is centralized, it gets many privileges.” Decentralization (establishing more empowered regional governments) has been enshrined in the new Constitution to allow a more equitable distribution of revenue and governance.
“The country has long been divided by its coastal wealth and poorer interior,” former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali explained to me and our small group of international visitors. Some legislators are thus looking to redraw regions so each includes both coastal and interior areas.
Reasons to hope
In spite of the challenges it faces, Tunisia has many advantages that set it up well for progress. For one, it has an educated population (both women and men) and has a 90 percent literacy rate. Women also hold key positions in the public and private workforce.
In addition, Tunisia’s proximity to Europe (geographically, culturally, and historically) facilitates exports and manufacturing. Tunisia also offers a historical bridge between Islam and secularism, one that has played a key role in its democratic transition – and will help it maintain international support going forward.
As I stood in Tunisia’s famous amphitheater (the setting for the movie “Gladiator”), two things were clear to me: The beasts of poverty, terrorism, and criminality wait just beneath the surface to destroy Tunisia’s democratic dream. But Tunisia is also poised to show that more-benevolent and more-moderate forces, including the citizens’ own determination to have democracy, can prevail. 
We – the international community – are the spectators in this great match. But we cannot just sit in the audience and watch. For the sake of Tunisia – and the region – the world must engage and support Tunisia’s economic and political progress. As one local governor told me, “We are determined to succeed with a democratic state. We will not go back!”
ORIGINAL ARTICLE (Christian Science Monitor)
Photo:  Wassim Ben Rhouma/flickr

Tunisia could be the first Arab Spring success. But it’s not there yet | Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman visited political, business, and civil society leaders in Tunisia as part of a recent trip with the International Crisis Group, of which she is a board member. This article originally appeared in the Christian Science Monitor.

In Roman times wild animals paced beneath Tunisia’s El Jem colosseum, ready to spring into mortal combat with gladiators – usually slaves fighting for their lives and sometimes freedom – as an audience looked on. Recently I paced the floor of this same amphitheater, trying to imagine its history – and future.

Today, Tunisia is engaged in its own struggle for the life of its new democracy. Though a small country – 64,000 square miles with 11 million people – Tunisia is vital to regional stability. Now this ancient North African country where the Arab Spring began is poised to become the first success in the region – but only if it can shore up a weak economy, curb the dual threats of terrorism and crime, and continue needed government reforms.

Three years after a young street vendor set himself on fire to protest the authorities’ harassment and corruption, three years after the citizens rose up and ejected their longtime autocratic leader, Tunisia has laid the groundwork for its future. In January, the citizenry adopted a new Constitution that was widely debated and passed with the votes of more than 90 percent of the Constituent Assembly. All sectors endorse and are proud of the forward-leaning Constitution, which balances the secular and religious and is looked at as a model for the region.

As a further mark of progress, the Assembly recently passed a law establishing a judicial body to determine the constitutionality of new laws. It will be replaced by a new constitutional court after the next election. This opens the way now for the Assembly to pass a law to set up elections, which are anticipated this year.

Many donors and investors, particularly in the West and in the Gulf, are awaiting these elections before they commit further aid. Citizens are hoping the partisanship that divided the country after the revolution won’t reemerge. As one trade union leader told me, this frustration helped pave the way for the new government: “Technocrats were accepted as an interim government because people were fed up with political parties.”

A Marshall Plan for Tunisia

Still, large challenges lie ahead for Tunisia. The greatest is the economy, which remains state-controlled and relies on large subsidies it can’t afford. Some say the country is on the brink of bankruptcy. Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa visited the United States and the Gulf in April looking for financial assistance, including loan guarantees. 

Mr. Jomaa has agreed with institutions such as the International Monetary Fund that the subsidy programs must be cut back or ended, but there are political and societal costs when prices on energy and food suddenly rise and government employment decreases. Unemployment is already more than 15 percent and as much as 40 percent among youth. In a show of good faith, President Moncef Marzouki recently announced he is taking a two-thirds pay cut.

But Tunisia’s future will not be assured without international support. As Mustapha Ben Jaafar, president of the Constituent Assembly, said to me and a small gathering of international observers: “We need a Marshall Plan for Tunisia and the Maghreb.”

The threat of terrorism

Another threat to Tunisia’s progress is terrorism, along with weapons flows and black market smuggling across the borders of neighboring Algeria and Libya.

“Gangsters control weapons and drug traffic,” Sihem Bensedrine, a prominent journalist and human rights activist, told me. She explained the context that gives rise to violence and illicit activity. “We don’t want to give religious cover to jihadists who are really criminals. The violence is created by poverty. There is a generation of young people marginalized. The state doesn’t have money. The money is in the gray economy, which some say is 60 percent of the economy.”

In order to curb the threat of violent extremism and its links to crime, Tunisia must continue to address the poverty and disillusionment that fuel it. Economic reforms and foreign aid to support economic growth are thus doubly important to Tunisia’s future.

Out with the old

Tunisia must also dismantle and reform the structures of the old dictatorship, including the police and the Ministry of the Interior. Close observers say that the success of the country’s democratic transition depends on the government’s ability to decentralize as well.

The concentration of government at the national level has bred corruption. As Ms. Bensedrine put it: “As long as [the] administration is centralized, it gets many privileges.” Decentralization (establishing more empowered regional governments) has been enshrined in the new Constitution to allow a more equitable distribution of revenue and governance.

“The country has long been divided by its coastal wealth and poorer interior,” former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali explained to me and our small group of international visitors. Some legislators are thus looking to redraw regions so each includes both coastal and interior areas.

Reasons to hope

In spite of the challenges it faces, Tunisia has many advantages that set it up well for progress. For one, it has an educated population (both women and men) and has a 90 percent literacy rate. Women also hold key positions in the public and private workforce.

In addition, Tunisia’s proximity to Europe (geographically, culturally, and historically) facilitates exports and manufacturing. Tunisia also offers a historical bridge between Islam and secularism, one that has played a key role in its democratic transition – and will help it maintain international support going forward.

As I stood in Tunisia’s famous amphitheater (the setting for the movie “Gladiator”), two things were clear to me: The beasts of poverty, terrorism, and criminality wait just beneath the surface to destroy Tunisia’s democratic dream. But Tunisia is also poised to show that more-benevolent and more-moderate forces, including the citizens’ own determination to have democracy, can prevail. 

We – the international community – are the spectators in this great match. But we cannot just sit in the audience and watch. For the sake of Tunisia – and the region – the world must engage and support Tunisia’s economic and political progress. As one local governor told me, “We are determined to succeed with a democratic state. We will not go back!”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE (Christian Science Monitor)

Photo:  Wassim Ben Rhouma/flickr

16 Apr
Losing Hearts and Minds in Kenya | Cedric Barnes (@CedricHOA)
The round-up and mass detention of Somalis in Nairobi, which began in earnest on 31 March, deliberately conflated immigration issues with counter-terrorism and has widened dangerous communal divides. Al-Shabaab and its extremist allies in Kenya will be very satisfied. What the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall last September failed to do – sow division among Kenyans – might well be achieved by these detentions and deportations. This month’s events brought out the worst in Kenya, from the prejudice shown, especially in social media, by ordinary citizens, to petty point scoring by the political class, to police extortion of bribes from lawfully resident Somalis, to the extrajudicial execution of the controversial Muslim preacher known as Makaburi (“graveyard”).
The terrorist threat is real enough. In March, security forces seized a pick-up truck packed with explosives, reportedly part of a planned multi-pronged attack in Mombasa. (Authorities believed the truck was one of several devices.) Soon thereafter, armed gunmen killed six worshipers at a Christian Church in the Likoni area of Mombasa. There was also a spate of grenade attacks targeting Christians, and claiming another six lives, in the Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh, where people of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds live side by side.
The Westgate mall attack killed indiscriminately and brought a unified response: private Kenyan citizens, including of Somali origin, were applauded for their individual heroism and community support, and the nation, led by President Kenyatta, stood as one. By contrast, the recent attacks were targeted and the government’s security operations in response quickly exposed divides between majority and minority communities, even between MPs within the ruling Jubilee coalition. The operations also drew a belated but firm response from the opposition Orange Democratic Coalition.
FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group’s Blog: The African Peace-building Agenda)
Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Losing Hearts and Minds in Kenya | Cedric Barnes (@CedricHOA)

The round-up and mass detention of Somalis in Nairobi, which began in earnest on 31 March, deliberately conflated immigration issues with counter-terrorism and has widened dangerous communal divides. Al-Shabaab and its extremist allies in Kenya will be very satisfied. What the attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall last September failed to do – sow division among Kenyans – might well be achieved by these detentions and deportations. This month’s events brought out the worst in Kenya, from the prejudice shown, especially in social media, by ordinary citizens, to petty point scoring by the political class, to police extortion of bribes from lawfully resident Somalis, to the extrajudicial execution of the controversial Muslim preacher known as Makaburi (“graveyard”).

The terrorist threat is real enough. In March, security forces seized a pick-up truck packed with explosives, reportedly part of a planned multi-pronged attack in Mombasa. (Authorities believed the truck was one of several devices.) Soon thereafter, armed gunmen killed six worshipers at a Christian Church in the Likoni area of Mombasa. There was also a spate of grenade attacks targeting Christians, and claiming another six lives, in the Nairobi suburb of Eastleigh, where people of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds live side by side.

The Westgate mall attack killed indiscriminately and brought a unified response: private Kenyan citizens, including of Somali origin, were applauded for their individual heroism and community support, and the nation, led by President Kenyatta, stood as one. By contrast, the recent attacks were targeted and the government’s security operations in response quickly exposed divides between majority and minority communities, even between MPs within the ruling Jubilee coalition. The operations also drew a belated but firm response from the opposition Orange Democratic Coalition.

FULL ARTICLE (Crisis Group’s Blog: The African Peace-building Agenda)

Photo: REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

18 Feb
Suicide bomber likely behind tourist attack: Egypt police | Samer al-Atrush
Egyptian police said Monday a suicide bomber was likely behind an attack on a tour bus that killed three South Koreans and signalled a possible change in tactics by militants who have mainly targeted security forces.
The bombing on Sunday, near the Taba border crossing with Israel, was the first targeting tourists since the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July sparked a militant campaign that has killed scores of police and soldiers.
A shift to ‘soft targets’ such as tourists would further damage Egypt’s foundering tourism industry as army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to announce a presidential bid which would focus on law-and-order and economic recovery.
After reviewing CCTV footage of the attack, police said they believe a suicide bomber boarded the tourist bus and detonated explosives near the door.
FULL ARTICLE (AFP)
Photo: ChrisYunker/flickr

Suicide bomber likely behind tourist attack: Egypt police | Samer al-Atrush

Egyptian police said Monday a suicide bomber was likely behind an attack on a tour bus that killed three South Koreans and signalled a possible change in tactics by militants who have mainly targeted security forces.

The bombing on Sunday, near the Taba border crossing with Israel, was the first targeting tourists since the military overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July sparked a militant campaign that has killed scores of police and soldiers.

A shift to ‘soft targets’ such as tourists would further damage Egypt’s foundering tourism industry as army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to announce a presidential bid which would focus on law-and-order and economic recovery.

After reviewing CCTV footage of the attack, police said they believe a suicide bomber boarded the tourist bus and detonated explosives near the door.

FULL ARTICLE (AFP)

Photo: ChrisYunker/flickr

6 Feb
'Toothpaste Bomb' Fears Over Russia Flights | Katie Stallard
Terrorists could be trying to place explosives disguised as toothpaste on Russia-bound flights, the US Government has warned.
An intelligence official said information suggested terrorists were “specifically targeting flights to Russia” as the Winter Olympics get under way.
It is understood the toothpaste tubes could hold ingredients that could be used to make a bomb during a flight.
The official did not say whether any specific intelligence led to the warning.
Vladimir Putin has insisted Russia is ready to host the Winter Olympics as Sochi enters a state of virtual siege ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony.
Islamist militants have vowed to stop the games by any means. 
Chechen warlord Doku Umarov has urged his followers to use “maximum force” to attack what he called “satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors”.
The skiing and snowboarding events are being held in the Caucasus Mountains, Russia’s most volatile region.
FULL ARTICLE (Sky News)
Photo: rapidtravelchai/flickr

'Toothpaste Bomb' Fears Over Russia Flights | Katie Stallard

Terrorists could be trying to place explosives disguised as toothpaste on Russia-bound flights, the US Government has warned.

An intelligence official said information suggested terrorists were “specifically targeting flights to Russia” as the Winter Olympics get under way.

It is understood the toothpaste tubes could hold ingredients that could be used to make a bomb during a flight.

The official did not say whether any specific intelligence led to the warning.

Vladimir Putin has insisted Russia is ready to host the Winter Olympics as Sochi enters a state of virtual siege ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony.

Islamist militants have vowed to stop the games by any means. 

Chechen warlord Doku Umarov has urged his followers to use “maximum force” to attack what he called “satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors”.

The skiing and snowboarding events are being held in the Caucasus Mountains, Russia’s most volatile region.

FULL ARTICLE (Sky News)

Photo: rapidtravelchai/flickr

8 Oct
LINK

How big is the terrorism threat in Africa?

EJ Hogendoorn, our Deputy Africa Director, will be answering readers’ questions on the threat of terrorism in Africa over on CNN’s GPS blog. Leave your questions in the GPS comment section, and the editors may pick your question to be answered by EJ later this week.

25 Sep
Kenya’s Brutal Coming of Age | Cedric Barnes
The terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall, in the center of this increasingly prosperous — for some at least — capital, is a cruelly ironic indicator of the arrival of Kenya as a serious regional power, a hub for international business and diplomacy, and a target for international Islamic armed radicals.
Even more so than the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies here and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the deadly mall attack — a four-day siege that began on Saturday and resulted in at least 60 deaths — is a reminder of Kenya’s coming of age. It heralds a difficult period for a country waging a war that is at once beyond its borders and very close to home.
FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)
Photo: United States Marine Corps/Wikimedia Commons

Kenya’s Brutal Coming of Age | Cedric Barnes

The terrorist attack on the Westgate Mall, in the center of this increasingly prosperous — for some at least — capital, is a cruelly ironic indicator of the arrival of Kenya as a serious regional power, a hub for international business and diplomacy, and a target for international Islamic armed radicals.

Even more so than the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies here and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the deadly mall attack — a four-day siege that began on Saturday and resulted in at least 60 deaths — is a reminder of Kenya’s coming of age. It heralds a difficult period for a country waging a war that is at once beyond its borders and very close to home.

FULL ARTICLE (New York Times)

Photo: United States Marine Corps/Wikimedia Commons