Middle East

Egypt:: Death penalty for attackers of public facilities: draft amendment

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Death penalty for attackers of public facilities: draft amendment

Death penalty

CAIRO: The State Council has approved draft amendments to toughen the penalty imposed on those who attack power, natural gas or petroleum plants to reach the death penalty, according to news reports Saturday.

The amended article in the recently approved anti-terrorism draft law stipulates that those who deliberately destroy electricity, petroleum and natural gas networks or seize facilities that belong to the said services will be jailed for at least 10 years.

Life in prison is a penalty possible for thosewho use force or violence in committing the said crimes, prevent experts from fixing the damages, or caused the suspension of petroleum, electricity or natural gas supply. Read the rest of this entry »

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UK : Government donation to Muslim Charities Forum denounced as “madness”

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An £18,000 grant to a charity coalition with alleged ties to terrorist organisations has been brandished “completely counter-intuitive” by interfaith groups
Egypt presidential election: Muslim Brotherhood win sets up army fight

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi celebrate in Tahrir Square, Egypt Photo: EPA

A government department donated £18,000 to a charity coalition with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose activities Britain has vowed to curtail following concerns over their extremist links in the Middle East, it has been claimed.

Last week the Telegraph revealed that the government was set to impose curbs on Muslim Brotherhood-linked organisations after a report by a senior diplomat exposed its ties with Islamist armed groups in Middle East and elsewhere.

Yet a Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) spending report shows they donated £18,397 earlier this year to the Muslim Charities Forum (MCF), an umbrella group for a number of leading Islamist charities, some of which allegedly have links to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other terrorist organisations.

David Cameron ordered an urgent investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood’s alleged role in violent extremism in April, after Gulf allies put pressure on the government to curtail the movement’s London-based operations. Read the rest of this entry »

Convergent Technologies, Dual-Use Weaponry and the Global Balance of Power

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30 June 2014

HMS Edinburgh fires Sea Dart Missile, courtesy of UK Ministry of Defence/flickr
Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic

Convergent and dual-use technologies could match or surpass the capabilities of existing nuclear and conventional arsenals within the next 20 years. For Robert McCreight, the dangers these technologies pose must be taken seriously, especially since states are almost sure to use them.

By Robert McCreight for ISN

As the complexity of advanced technologies continues to increase, hard questions need to be asked about the possibility of dual-use risks that could jeopardize the stability and security of the planet. States with weapons systems that are already highly developed could gain significant advantages from the advent of novel weaponry. Indeed, it is not inconceivable that in 15-20 years advanced dual-use technologies could match, nullify or surpass the capabilities of existing nuclear and conventional arsenals. What implications does this have for international security? Read the rest of this entry »

UK :New terrorism data shows retail and transport sectors face highest risk of attack

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English: Data taken from Country Risk data in ...

English: Data taken from Country Risk data in Euromoney magazine, published in Mar-2000, Sep-2000, Mar-2001, Sep-2001, Mar-2002, Mar-2003, Sep-2004, Mar-2005, Mar-2006, Sep-2006, Sep-2007, Mar-2008, Sep-2008, Mar-2009, Sep-2009, Mar-2010, Mar-2011. Chart was created using the ‘rworldmap’ package in R v. 2.13.0, and rendered using the ‘Cairo’ package (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jan 28, 2014

LONDON, England – Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon plc, today released its annual Terrorism and Political Violence Map to help organisations assess risk levels of terrorism and political violence across the globe. Produced in collaboration with global risk management consultancy, the Risk Advisory Group plc, Aon’s 2014 Terrorism and Political Violence Map comes in a print edition and as an online dashboard, providing clients with a clear global and country-level view on terrorism and political violence ratings.

Aon’s 2014 Terrorism and Political Violence Map indicates that Brazil was the only Latin American country to see its risk rating increase from medium to severe due to widespread and large-scale violent anti-government protests throughout 2013. The analysis indicates this unrest will likely continue in 2014, particularly ahead of the FIFA World Cup and the October general elections.

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Russia plays the Iran card

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Russian President Vladimir Putin passes Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during their meeting at the Kremlin, Jan. 16, 2014.  (photo by REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin)

The Geneva II conference to be held next week may be the most intriguing event in diplomacy since the Cold War. On the one hand, this is an example of the cooperation of major countries that want to resolve a regional conflict, each for its own reason. On the other hand, this is a classic “great game,” when all participants are afraid to miscalculate and miss out on the opportunities that will arise. All this is happening, yet the result is completely unpredictable. Even the process itself is unpredictable — a few days before the conference is set to begin, it is still unclear who will participate.

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Terrorism in Yehuda & Shomron Becoming More Sophisticated

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(Wednesday, September 11th, 2013)

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Commander of the Binyamin Region Brigade Colonel Yossi Pinto said at an annual review of incidents in the sector that Israeli forces are not facing a rise in terror overall in Yehuda and Shomron but rather a rise in the sophistication of terrorist infrastructure and planning. These changes demand a high-level of intelligence gathering from security forces.

Commander of the Binyamin Brigade Colonel Yossi Pinto participated in an event to mark Rosh Hashanah and to review incidents from last year in his sector in the IDF’s Central Command. “During the year we dedicated long months to thwarting and preventing terror incidents, which ultimately led to relative quiet in the sector,” he noted.

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Containing the Islamist Revolution

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When politicians are in election mode, they can see nothing but victory. All decisions, all considerations, are subservient to one question: how they can convince voters to check their name at the ballot box. As someone who ran for office nine times, I know what I am talking about. But for the candidate who wins the election, and for the voters, there is always the day after.

The rise of anti-Western Islamist movements — exemplified this week by the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi in Egypt’s presidential election — represents a grave threat to U.S. interests and values in the Middle East. The next president of the United States, on the day after the election in November, will have to cope with this new reality. If he is to be successful, he must develop a strategy that takes into account the new state of affairs in this region and develop a long-term strategy to unite America’s friends and confront its enemies.

Unfortunately, the new reality in the greater Middle East is bad for the United States and its allies, including my country. Most importantly, the president should recognize that Islamist forces are on the move: They have seized control from Waziristan to the Atlantic Ocean in almost uninterrupted territorial contiguity. Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Libya are at the midst of a brutal and destructive battle for their identity. Their future territorial integrity is in doubt. In these five countries, and now in Egypt, the Islamist and extremist forces have the upper hand. The media has already replaced the term “Arab Spring” with “Arab Awakening.” Sooner rather than later, it will be replaced again by “Islamist takeover.”

In no country are these Islamist forces friends of the United States. The extremists among them despise its culture and way of life. They deplore its status as a global superpower. The pragmatists are ready to receive U.S. financial and military aid, but will not heed U.S. advice on foreign and domestic policy.

As Islamist movements gain strength, America’s traditional allies are wavering about how to confront this new threat. They doubt the loyalty of the United States, and wonder if they will enjoy American backing and support when they need it most. They are exploring other options to protect their interests.

Nor are there any glimmers of progress when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. The Israeli government continues to expand and foster settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinians — to whom everybody, including their Arab brothers, have given a cold shoulder — are swept into a dangerous despair and growing radicalization. The lack of a serious Israeli-Palestinian dialogue is leading to a binational state, which would signal the end of the Jewish national dream and the Palestinian one.

The complete international illegitimacy of the settlement project and of the occupation aimed to protect it — combined with the combustibility of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — is a liability for U.S. foreign policy. It will remain so even if other parts of the world become a higher priority to the United States than the Middle East.

Both U.S. presidential candidates and their advisors need to begin thinking about the day after the election, and how the next American president will deal with this complex reality. As one who lives in the midst of it, here is my advice.

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