Saturday, 11 October 2014

امیر جماعةالدعوة پاکستان پروفیسر حافظ محمد سعید قزافی سٹیڈیم میں سیلاب متاثرین کے لے قربانی کر رھے ھیں

امیر جماعةالدعوة پاکستان پروفیسر حافظ محمد سعید قزافی سٹیڈیم میں سیلاب متاثرین کے لے قربانی کر رھے ھیں

Al Qaeda in Yemen says it executes 14 soldiers

Al Qaeda in Yemen posted a video online purporting to show the abduction and execution of 14 soldiers the militants alleged were “apostates”.

The reported attack by the hard-line militant group underscores the security vacuum and potential for sectarian violence in unstable Yemen, a country in political turmoil two weeks after the Houthi rebel group took control of the capital Sanaa.

Posted to Twitter on Sunday and reported by the SITE intelligence monitoring group, the video shows masked militants stopping a bus in the eastern city of Shibam and forcing several of its occupants to lie face down outside.

The video did not indicate when the attack happened.

Displaying the captives' military IDs before the camera, militants waved pistols and knives, shouting, “God is great!” “God enabled the holy warriors of Ansar al-Sharia to detain 14 Houthi apostate soldiers in Shibam taking part in the military campaign against the Sunnis. Three of them were slaughtered and the rest were shot,” the video said. Al Qaeda's use of the term “slaughtered” usually indicates being killed by a knife.

Al Qaeda, which also calls itself Ansar al-Sharia, spread in the impoverished Arabian state in the wake of 2011 Arab Spring protests which ousted the country's veteran leader, split the army and saw the state's authority disintegrate in rural areas.

Efforts by the military to crack down on the group in recent years have done little to undercut its ability to carry out spectacular attacks on government targets.

The United States has repeatedly bombed Al Qaeda with unmanned aerial drones, while energy rich Gulf states also worry at the deterioration of their strife-torn neighbour's capacity to keep order.

Yemen's stability appears even more precarious after Houthi insurgents seized Sanaa on September 21 after four days of fighting which killed 200 people, and government institutions have since functioned at a minimal level.

Why the terrorists shouldn’t be stopped from tweeting

THE Islamic State mixes primitive savagery and high-tech sophistication. Its fighters behead and crucify while they post photos of a child holding a severed head and tweet about cats. Although the content is abhorrent and helps the Islamic State radicalise and recruit in the West, the group’s massive social media presence is also useful to those fighting terrorism.

The Islamic State’s public relations campaigns are slick, even hijacking seemingly benign hashtags such as #WorldCup2014 to propagate the militants’ message. And the propaganda is issued in multiple languages — including English, French, Russian and Turkish — to appeal to potential followers. Some of this content is spread from the top ranks of the Islamic State, but the jihadists also have thousands of online followers who retweet messages and create their own content, enabling them to effectively crowdsource jihad.

Although such death videos nauseate most of the world, they make the Islamic State look cool to a key demographic: angry young Muslim men susceptible to indoctrination. Throw in a bit of sectarian hatred and a touch of promise about Islamic government, and the mix helps keep the Islamic State well supplied with impressionable foreign fighters.

On the other hand, the Islamic State’s broadcasting of its brutality over social media makes it easier for people to support the United States and its allies’ war with the militants, and it has sparked calls to block the jihadists from the internet. In the United States, sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube remove some offensive comments linked to terrorism, with support from government agencies. British Prime Minister David Cameron has gone one step further, saying the time has come to be “intolerant of intolerance” and boasting of government efforts to take down thousands of internet pages.

How can democratic governments, with great concern for civil liberties and free speech, ever hope to impose their will on social media? In some cases, banning particular sites or individuals may make sense if the risk of recruitment and radicalisation is high. But those risks have to be weighed against the intelligence value of having groups such as the Islamic State active on social media.

Social media is a counter-intelligence nightmare for Islamic State militants. Although tweets and Facebook postings inspired them to fight and helped them get to Syria and Iraq, these technologies are easily monitored. As former FBI official Clint Watts points out, social media offers “a window into what’s going on in Iraq and Syria right now”. The same bragging the group did in Syria to inspire others can be turned against it: intelligence services can determine the identities of supporters and potential recruits, flagging individuals not previously on the government’s radar.

ABU Bakr al-Baghdadi
ABU Bakr al-Baghdadi
With data analysis, governments can use social media to trace entire networks of contacts. A constant problem for intelligence services is detecting a terrorist before he acts. Now we have one good marker: the would-be terrorist is a “friend” or a “follower” of militants in Syria. The Carter Center, among many other organisations, has used online data to map the complex Syrian civil war with a level of fidelity that was never possible in previous conflicts. Intelligence agencies are putting it to similar good use.

At the very least, intelligence officers can learn the most prominent ways jihadists recruit others and try to counter them. At best, they can communicate with actual and potential terrorists, feeding information — and misinformation — to their networks.

Like political movements everywhere, terrorists have a message they want to communicate. But because every fighter can broadcast anything to the world, leaders cannot control the narrative. For example, the Islamic State is in a flame war with Jabhat al-Nusra, the official Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria: the contest makes both groups less appealing as it reveals divisions within the jihadist camp for all to see. According to European security officials we interviewed, this dissension turns off potential recruits.

If foreign fighters return home, they might find that they have incriminated themselves on social media. In most western countries it is illegal to join a designated terrorist group such as the Islamic State, but in the past it was often hard to prove that someone was a member of such a group. Tweets and Facebook pictures of fighters standing over dead bodies and declaring their allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi don’t look good in a court of law.

Because the volunteers think they are heroes joining an army, they are not operating in a clandestine way. Despite Edward Snowden’s leaks and other revelations about the power of the National Security Agency, terrorists seem to think that no one is listening — or that they don’t care. As John Mueller, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, told us, “We’ve had 13 years in which officials talk about how they listen to ‘chatter’ by jihadists, and yet the jihadists continue to chatter.”

Beyond the debate about the wisdom of barring terrorists from social media, it may simply be impossible. Websites and Twitter accounts move and reappear as quickly as they can be taken down. Technological tools and methods quickly arise to circumvent controls — and those who most want to avoid scrutiny are the first to go underground. Even the Chinese government, with all of its vast apparatus and effort devoted to the Great Firewall of China, has not succeeded in completely cutting off protesters from using social media.

In most cases, social media promotes openness, collaboration, creativity and the spread of information. But when it comes to terrorism, social media is both disease and cure. It has helped the Islamic State recruit and grow, but it also strengthens the counterterrorism response and ultimately will weaken the group’s message. Even though terrorists can exploit social media, these networks are an important source of our strength and our advantage over repressive groups such as the Islamic State.

Byman is a professor in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and the research director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. Shapiro is a fellow in the Brookings foreign policy programme.

Monday, 15 September 2014

The genesis of the Islamic State group

The international alliance to fight the Islamic State group is gaining shape and momentum.

The US secretary of state, John Kerry, met a number of Middle Eastern foreign ministers in Jeddah to discuss how best to deal with the group.

The Islamic State group's swift seizure of territory in Iraq and Syria was a shock to many countries in the region and beyond.

The group is the successor to the Islamic State in Iraq. It has a seasoned military operation with a transnational membership, to which, despite heavy losses, it is constantly recruiting.
With key leaders who were prominent in the Iraqi rebellion of the 2000s, it is also well-armed and financed.

On Inside Story a discussion on the root causes of the birth and emergence of the Islamic State groupMario Abou Zeid - political analyst with the Carnegie Middle East Center.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi - fellow with the Middle East forum and specialist on rebel groups in Iraq and Syria.

Juan Cole - history professor with the University of Michagan and author of the book, The New Arabs How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East.

US banks shut Muslims’ accounts

US Muslims have been receiving letters from their banks from Washington to Florida, notifying them that their accounts will be closed soon, moves decried by Muslim civil rights group as motivated by racist policies.

“We never understood what’s going on,” said AbdulHyee Waqas, who had his Bellevue, Washington, nonprofit group’s account closed, told Los Angeles Times. “We had been a good customer. It was very disheartening.”

Last year, reports surfaced that Iranian students studying at the University of Minnesota had their accounts closed. Now banks appear to be closing the accounts of people who have connections to Kuwait and Syria.

Florida businessman Sofian Zakout had barely opened his new accounts at Chase Bank when he received a letter stating that both his personal and business accounts were being closed. “To shut me down – this is not good,” Zakout told the Times. “This kind of prejudice is not acceptable.”

Zakout runs American Muslims for Emergency and Relief Inc., which has helped victims of Hurricane Katrina, as well as the civil war in Syria. “Usually nonprofit and charitable organizations are scared to publicize such things,” he told the Times of the account closures. “I’m not going to be quiet. I don’t want to see this happening to anyone again.”

The bank offered no explanation to Zakout.

Another Minneapolis dentist applied at TCF Bank last summer, offering a detailed explanation of all his transactions. However, the shocking response came as: Sorry, we’re not interested in your business. “I don’t see why there would be a red flag on anything I performed,” said the dentist, a Kuwait native who requested anonymity for fear of retribution from his current bank. “Maybe they have something I’m not aware of, but they said they couldn’t say anything.”

With no explanation offered from the banks, a Florida attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has submitted a complaint to the US Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said the issue was a matter for banking regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “The bureau takes seriously any allegations of discrimination in the consumer financial marketplace and is committed to ensuring consumers have fair and equal access to credit,” a bureau spokeswoman said in a statement. But she added: “We cannot confirm or comment on whether any investigation is ongoing.”

Frustrated by the responses from regulators, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is contemplating a lawsuit against banks, said Executive Director Dawud Walid.

Awaiting the result of the lawsuit, Muslims were complaining that these measures have curbed their charity services, including America’s largest group, the Islamic Circle of North America.

In Washington, Waqas said the accounts’ closure has affected ISNA’s work with the homeless and funding disbursing to the indigent. “Small, local organizations are trying to do some good work, and it looks that someone at the bank found something they didn’t like, and they didn’t have to answer to anyone,” he said of the closure. “Being a good customer, we deserve to at least know if we missed anything so we know we can act accordingly.”

He said he wants a government forum where he could complain without enduring an expensive court battle. “That this is national phenomenon – it’s kind of worrying, because if next they don’t like some other type of organization, will they shut down them?” he said of the banks. “There’s apparently no checks or ability to stop them.”


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