Growing evidence suggests that the influence of the Islamic State organization has reached the South Asian, Muslim-majority country of Bangladesh. The country has long been home to small, but significant, numbers of radicals from both local militant groups, such as the Jama’at ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), the country’s most significant local jihadist group, and those linked to transnational jihadist formations, such as al-Qaeda. However, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate and the promise of it’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to return to all Muslims their “dignity, might, rights and leadership” seem to have infused a renewed Islamist fervor within a section of Bangladeshi youths and among existing radical elements. 
Arrests Expose Militant Links
One of the clearest indications of this development came in late September 2014 when the government’s arrest of a British citizen of Bangladeshi origin, Samiun Rahman (a.k.a. Ibn Hamdan), who lived in the capital Dhaka’s Kamalapur area, unearthed an apparent Islamic State recruitment drive in the country (Daily Star [Dhaka], September 30, 2014). Read the rest of this entry »
Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction never came up once at VP Cheney’s dinner. An invasion, the participants agreed, would be designed to trigger a democratic process in Iraq, thus completing a peaceful Arab circle around Israel. Read the rest of this entry »
Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 12 Issue: 4
February 21, 2014 02:19 PM By: Andrew McGregor
SUCCESSFUL OFFENSIVE ESTABLISHES HOUTHI SHIITE MOVEMENT AS A POLITICAL FORCE IN THE NEW YEMEN
Since last October, the Zaydi Shiite Houthis of northern Yemen’s Sa’ada governorate have been involved in simultaneous conflicts with the Zaydi Shiites of the Hamid Confederation of tribes in neighboring Amran governorate and Salafist Sunnis concentrated in the town of Dammaj in Sa’ada governorate. Propelled by an apparently new armory of heavy weapons, the Houthists began to push south into neighboring Amran governorate in early January, eventually defeating the powerful al-Ahmar clan, leaders of the Hashid Arab confederation. By the time a ceasefire could be arranged in early February, Houthist forces were in the Arhab region, only 40 kilometers from the Yemeni capital of Sana’a (AFP, January 30).
The Zaydi, also known as “Fiver Shi’a,” constitute over 40 percent of Yemen’s population, though only a portion of this total are Houthis. They have traditionally had few major doctrinal differences with Yemen’s Sunni Shafi’i majority, but have run into conflict with the growing numbers of anti-Shiite Salafists in Sa’ada governorate. In the two years since the uprising that deposed Yemen’s old regime, the Houthis have made a dramatic transition from a Sa’ada-based rebel movement to an important and recognized political player in Yemen. Read the rest of this entry »
Thursday, January 30, 2014, 00:01 by
Paul Micallef Grimaud and Philip Mifsud
Traditionally businesses treat physical assets as their most valuable. Intangible assets are, however, increasingly relevant. This is particularly true of intellectual property. The new challenge for businesses is keeping the ingredients that define their product or service secret.
The European Commission’s Proposal for a Directive on the Protection of Trade Secrets published in November 2013 will likely be well received by European commercial players across the spectrum. Its objective: a uniform level of protection and certainty for trade secrets throughout the single market.
As defined, a trade secret has three constituent elements: (i) the information must be confidential; (ii) it should have commercial value because of its confidentiality; and (iii) the trade secret holder should have made reasonable efforts to keep it confidential.
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Indian, Chinese and Russian officials will meet on Friday to discuss Afghanistan. Is there substance to this trilateral?
By Ankit Panda January 16, 2014
On Friday, senior officials from India, China, and Russia will meet in Beijing for a trilateral discussion on the emerging security situation in Afghanistan ahead of the United States’ drawdown and the upcoming general election scheduled for April. Cooperation between the three powers on Afghanistan has been burgeoning since 2013 and could become a major factor for Afghan leadership following a U.S. withdrawal.
A new book looks at the damage the fugitive American whistleblower and his Snowdenistas are doing to Western interests
By Edward Lucas 8:27PM GMT 24 Jan 2014
Edward Snowden is, in the eyes of many, a secular saint. The fugitive NSA contractor has sacrificed his career and risked his freedom to expose systematic wrongdoing by Western intelligence agencies: America and Britain spy on other Western countries; they hoover up and store vast quantities of information about domestic emails and phone calls; they use secret court orders to force cooperation, and they can bug almost any international communication.
After his daring heist of secrets from America’s National Security Agency, the 30-year-old has fled to a secret hiding place where he awaits deserved vindication. It is the stuff of spy movies – played out in real life. Read the rest of this entry »
Elements of the Irish-English settlement may offer a model for how a Kosovar-Serbia deal might be made, including recognition that the creation of an ethnic state cannot proceed peacefully on the back of forcing an ethnic minority to join.
By Gerard M. Gallucci
The history of Ireland presents interesting points of similarity with that of Serbia and Kosovo, as well as clear differences.
At the dawn of history, Ireland was a land of Celtic tribes. It was one of the first nations to be converted to Christianity in the 5th century. The Celts struggled to maintain their existence through waves of invasions by Vikings, Normans and English. The history of the Irish from the 12th Century to the last was one of reaction to foreign rule and the struggle to preserve their Catholic faith. The Irish sometimes made their accommodations with their foreign rulers but never abandoned the quest to regain independence. In 1916, in the Easter Rising, the Irish rose again against English rule. The small band of rebels in Dublin didn’t expect a military victory but to reaffirm the Irish demand for independence. They were defeated in six days. But thanks to the British overreaction – they executed all the leaders and imprisoned many – the Irish people rallied around the nationalist cause and supported a guerrilla war that finally led the UK to accept a treaty in 1921. It recognized the independence of the Irish Free State.
The British, however, forced the Irish to accept a deal which kept Ireland within the British Commonwealth and under the British Crown. It also allowed the Protestant majority in the northern six counties to opt to remain part of the United Kingdom. Ireland only declared itself a sovereign state in 1937 and a republic in 1949. It was only in 1999 that the Republic of Ireland gave up its claim on the north. Read the rest of this entry »
English: Map showing the territorial four main races/ethnicities/colors of South Africa in 1979: Whites, Coloureds, Blacks and Indians. The gray areas indicate the Apartheid-era Bantustans, which are almost exclusively black. This map is a photoshopped version of the CIA-made original map at Perry Castañeda map collection at the University of Texas website. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Written by Raeesah Cassim Cachalia (1)
Part I of this discussion explored the paranoia around the growth of political Islam after the Arab Spring. The discussion explained many of the issues involving Islam and Islamophobia and where these issues stem from. Continuing from this, part II briefly examines democracy as well as the Islamic state and explains why democracy, as we know it today, should not be the only option considered for regime change in Arab Spring nations.
The flaws and fallacies of democracy
Democracy needs to be evaluated as more than a theoretical ideal but in light of its implementation and track record as well. This is because freedom and justice, among the other values which democracy is meant to entail, do not merely exist in the right to vote or in the existence of a peoples’ constitution. Democracy, at its core, is a system meant for the benefit of the masses. As Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: “…freedom translates into having a supply of clean water, having electricity on tap; being able to live in a decent home and have a good job; to be able to send your children to school and to have accessible health care. I mean, what’s the point of having made this transition [to democracy] if the quality of life of these people is not enhanced and improved? If not, the vote is useless.”(2) South Africa, despite having come a long way from its Apartheid past, is an example of the distance between democracy in theory and practice.
The past six months have seen a number of South African citizens worked up into a frenzy over Government attempts to impose toll tariffs for the use of major public roads. Government claims the tariff is necessary to cover a large ZAR 20 billion (US$ 2.6 billion) debt accrued for various road projects. In considering why the regular national budget does not cover such expenses, many angrily point to Government corruption along with gross wastage of state expenditure by South African politicians. To name but one example, that of former Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sicelo Shiceka, we may look at the following official findings regarding the former Minister’s expenditure of state, and thus taxpayers, money in 2011 (keeping in mind that poverty rates are as high as 64% in parts of South Africa with these parts of the population living on less than ZAR 10 (US$ 1) a day):
- ZAR 546,864 (US$ 71,687) for a personal trip to Switzerland under the pretence of official Government work.
- ZAR 640,000 (US$ 83,920) in one year spent by the Minister and his immediate staff on one of South Africa’s most costly hotels.
- ZAR 55,793 (US$ 7,300) for a one night stay for the Minister and a private acquaintance in the same hotel.
- ZAR 160,000 (US$ 20,975) in eight months for flights for the Minister’s family members (including an “estranged wife and current girlfriend”).(3)
South Africa may be a relatively new democracy, but even established democracies indicate the illusions of this system. Read the rest of this entry »
Yemen’s violent unrest continues ahead of the scheduled presidential election, which opposition groups will boycott. Al Qaeda-linked militants in south Yemen continue to assert control over seized territory.
Al Qaeda-linked militants executed men accused of assisting the United States. A Yemeni security official reported that the executions occurred in Azzan in Shabwah governorate and in Jaar in Abyan governorate. Residents reported that two Saudis and a Yemeni were beheaded at dawn; a spokesman for the militants denied that any were Saudi citizens. The three were accused of planting electronic devices that sent information on militant positions. Ansar al Sharia, an insurgent al Qaeda-linked organization, seized control of Jaar in March 2011 and al Qaeda militants operate openly in Azzan.
Violence has broken out at election protests. In Aden, a group of southern separatists set fire to an anti-government protest camp in Crater district late Saturday. Many protesters see the February 21 presidential election as a mechanism of formally removing President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power. The Southern Movement remains factionalized, and three separate factions denounced the violence. Two people were killed at a Southern Movement march protesting the election in Dhaleh Thursday. The sole candidate for the election, Vice President Abdul Rab Mansour al Hadi, announced that he will pursue reconciliation with the separatists and the al Houthis, who have also called for election boycotts.
According to the Mexican government, cartel-related homicides claimed around 12,900 lives from January to September 2011 — about 1,400 deaths per month. While this figure is lower than that of 2010, it does not account for the final quarter of 2011. The Mexican government has not yet released official statistics for the entire year, but if the monthly average held until year’s end, the overall death toll for 2011 would reach 17,000.
Indeed, rather than receding to levels acceptable to the Mexican government, violence in Mexico has persisted, though it seems to have shifted geographically, abating in some cities and worsening in others. For example, while Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, was once again Mexico’s deadliest city in terms of gross numbers, the city’s annual death toll reportedly dropped substantially from 3,111 in 2010 to 1,955 in 2011. However, such reductions appear to have been offset by increases elsewhere, including Veracruz, Veracruz state; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon state; Matamoros, Tamaulipas state; and Durango, Durango state. Read the rest of this entry »