by Florian Flade
Izzaddin Abdel Aziz Khalil from the Syrian town of Al-Qamishli is now international terrorist celebrity. The 29 year-old Syrian has been added to the U.S. Most Wanted List of terrorists. A $ 10 Million reward is offered for information leading to his killing or arrest.
Khalil who is known as “Yassin al-Suri” is labeled as a senior Al-Qaida facilitator based in Iran. According to U.S. authorities Al-Suri is moving terrorist recruits across the Middle East into Iran and then to Pakistan and Afghanistan. His activities are known to Iranian authorities, the U.S. claims.
“Iranian authorities maintain a relationship with al-Suri and have permitted him to operate within Iran´s borders since 2005″ – the U.S. Ministry of Justice states – “Al-Suri funnels significant funds via Iran for onward passage to al-Qaida´s leadership in Afghanistan and Iraq”. Continue reading
by Florian Flade
Just two days before Christmas numerous bomb explosion hit the predominately Shiite districts of Iraq´s capital Baghdad killing at least 69 people, wounding 180 others – most of them Shiite civilians. The sixteen different attacks took place only about two weeks after U.S. forces officially withdrew from the country.
Immediately blame was on Sunni militants linked to Al-Qaida. Today the “Islamic State of Iraq”, an umbrella organization which de facto represents Al-Qaida, has claimed responsibility for the December 22th Baghdad bombings. A written statement was released and posted in several Jihadi Internet forums.
The multiple attacks, Al-Qaida claims, were carried out “to support the weak Sunnis in the prisons of the apostates and to retaliate for the captives who were executed by the Safavid (Persian) government”. “Special operations”, as Al-Qaida calls the attacks, have allegedly targeted headquarters of the Al-Sadr Militia (Al-Qaida calls them “Army of the Devil”). Continue reading
Author: Toni Johnson, Senior Editor/Senior Staff Writer
Update: December 27, 2011
Boko Haram, an Islamist religious sect, has targeted Nigeria’s police, rival clerics, politicians, and public institutions with increasing violence since 2009. Some experts say the group should primarily be seen as leading an armed revolt against the government’s entrenched corruption, abusive security forces, strife between the disaffected Muslim north and Christian south, and widening regional economic disparity in an already impoverished country. They argue that Abuja should do more to address the issues facing the disaffected Muslim north. But Boko Haram’s suspected bombing of a UN building in Abuja in August 2011 and its ties to regional terror groups may signal a new trajectory and spark a stronger international response that makes it harder to address the north’s alienation.
Birth of Boko Haram
Mohammad Yusuf, a radical Islamist cleric, created Boko Haram in 2002 in Maiduguri, the capital of the northeastern state of Borno. The group aims to establish a fully Islamic state in Nigeria, including the implementation of criminal sharia courts across the country. Paul Lubeck, a University of California professor studying Muslim societies in Africa, says Yusuf was a trained salafist (CSMonitor) (a school of thought often associated with jihad), and was strongly influenced by Ibn Taymiyyah, a fourteenth century legal scholar who preached Islamic fundamentalism and is considered a “major theorist” for radical groups in the Middle East.
Boko Haram colloquially translates into “Western education is sin,” which experts say is a name assigned by the state. The sect calls itself Jama’atul Alhul Sunnah Lidda’wati wal jihad, or “people committed to the propagation of the prophet’s teachings and jihad.” Some analysts say the movement is an outgrowth of the Maitatsine riots of the 1980s (AfricaToday) and the religious/ethnic tensions that followed in the late 1990s. Many Nigerians believe Yusuf rejected all things Western, but Lubeck argues that Yusuf, who embraced technology, believed Western education should be “mediated through Islamic scholarship,” such as rejecting the theory of evolution and Western-style banking.
Before 2009, the group did not aim to violently overthrow the government. Yusuf criticized northern Muslims for participating in what he saw as an illegitimate, non-Islamic state and preached a doctrine of withdrawal. But violence between Christians and Muslims (al-Jazeera) and harsh government treatment, including pervasive police brutality, encouraged the group’s radicalization. Human Rights Watch researcher Eric Guttschuss told news service IRIN that Yusuf gained supporters “by speaking out against police and political corruption.” Boko Haram followers, also called Yusuffiya, consist largely of hundreds of impoverished northern Islamic students and clerics as well as university students and professionals, many of whom are unemployed. Some followers may also be members of Nigeria’s elite. Continue reading