One of my favourite military affairs writers talks about terrorism, Islamists and why the West’s response to them is going to fail.
Of course the anti Muslim “counter Jihad” will claim that they’re only “pretending” to be againsts violence and extremism, without any real evidence, other than the fact that they’re Muslims. Regardless this is a good thing.
A powerful campaign by British Muslims to condemn the actions of the Islamic State militant movement is gaining momentum.
“Not in my name”, led by the Active Change Foundation, is attempting to counter the presence of extremism on social media.
The campaign was praised in the recent speech by the US President to the UN General Assembly.
President Obama said the whole world, especially Muslim communities, had to expose and publicly renounce the ideologies of hatred and violence.
He added the militants cannot be allowed to continue “perverting one of the world’s great religions”.
The “Not in my name” campaign has now spread to other countries too.
I also want to thank Daniela for alerting me to this story
More than 100 people have been killed and 1,500 injured at a protest held by supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in Cairo, doctors say.
However the health ministry has put the death toll lower, at 38.
The army ousted Mr Morsi on 3 July. He has been formally accused of murder, relating to a 2011 jail outbreak, and of links to the militant group Hamas.
Both pro- and anti-Morsi demonstrators held huge protests overnight in the capital.
The anti-Morsi camp occupied Cairo’s Tahrir Square in support of the army, after its chief, Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, had urged people to demonstrate to provide a mandate for its intervention.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Morsi supporters continued their sit-in protest at the mosque in the Nasr City area.
On Saturday, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim vowed to end the sit-in, saying local residents had complained about the encampment.
He said the protest would be “brought to an end soon, and in a legal manner” with an order from the prosecutor, although this has yet to happen.
The BBC’s Jim Muir in Cairo says the latest violence is the most serious since the army’s intervention to remove President Morsi, but this does not appear to have been a planned campaign to clear the area around the mosque.
Tunisian opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi was killed with the same gun as fellow leftist Chokri Belaid, the interior ministry has said.
A Salafist is one of the main suspects involved in the killing, Interior Minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou said.
Gunmen on a motorbike shot Mr Brahmi, who led the Movement of the People party, in his car on Thursday morning.
The governing Islamist Ennahda party has rejected accusations from relatives that it was complicit in the killing.
In February, the murder of prominent secular figure Chokri Belaid sparked mass protests and forced then-Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali to resign.
Mr Ben Jeddou addressed a news conference in the capital, Tunis, that was broadcast live on national television.
“This information surprised us, the weapon used, a 9mm semi-automatic weapon, was the same weapon used to assassinate the martyr Chokri Belaid, not the same type, the same weapon, the same item,” he said.
Initial investigations pointed to Boubaker Hakim, a Salafist radical already being sought on suspicion of smuggling weapons from Libya, as the main suspect, he said.
Another man, Lutfi al-Zayn, was also mentioned as a suspect in the killing - both members of a 14-man group. Six other people were also being sought in connection with the assassination, it was announced.
Health ministry announces 42 dead and over 300 wounded in this morning's events at republican guard HQ #Egypt @hrw
Egyptian soldiers and police have clashed with Islamists protesting the president’s ouster, in bloodshed that killed at least 40 people, according to government officials and witnesses.
One witness says gunmen loyal to the ousted Mohammed Morsi, including some on the roof of a nearby mosque, opened fire first. Morsi’s supporters say the troops fired on protesters as they performed early morning prayers.
Mirna el-Helbawi, a 21-year-old university student who lives in an apartment overlooking the scene, says the gunbattle followed clashes between the two sides in which rocks and tear gas were used.
Thanks to FNB’s Page about recent events in Mali, The Price of War: Ancient African Archives Set on Fire in Timbuktu, I found some good news regarding the manuscripts and (thanks to a commenter), an excellent BBC video:
Time magazine’s Vivienne Walt reports that some experts on the ground in Mali say many of the manuscripts were saved before the Islamists’ pillage:
Realizing that the documents might be prime targets for pillaging or vindictive attacks from Islamic extremists, staff left behind just a small portion of them, perhaps out of haste, but also to conceal the fact that the center had been deliberately emptied.
‘The documents which had been there are safe, they were not burned,’ Mahmoud Zouber, Mali’s presidential aide on Islamic affairs, told Time, ‘They were put in a very safe place.’
Other experts confirmed that while there were ‘a few items’ in the Ahmed Baba library, the rest were protected in an undisclosed hiding place.
Here’s a look at why the world is so worked up over the documents and what it might mean if they were destroyed:
Woohoo—chalk up one for the good guys! They’ve been through this before and were ready for it. *happy dance*
Here’s a fascinating BBC documentary about Timbuktu’s libraries, including the one that was burned (h/t Origuy):
Have I mentioned lately how much I despise extremists who do nothing but hate & leave destruction in their path? Gah!
American planes transported French troops and equipment to Mali, a U.S. military spokesman said Tuesday, as Malian and French forces pushed into the Islamist-held north.
Douentza had been held by Islamist rebels for four months, located 190 kilometers (120 miles) northeast from Mopti, the previous line-of-control held by the Malian military in Mali’s narrow central belt. The Islamist fighters have controlled the vast desert stretches of northern Mali, with the weak government clinging to the south, since a military coup in the capital in March unleashed chaos.
French and Malian troops arrived in Douentza Monday to find that the Islamists had retreated from the town, said a resident, Sali Maiga.
“The Malian military and the French army spent their first night and the people are very happy,” Maiga said Tuesday.
A curfew went into effect at 8 p.m., and there no gunfire or other incidents were reported overnight, he said.
An Algerian military raid to free hostages from at least 10 countries and wipe out their Islamist militant captors unleashed bloody chaos at a remote Sahara natural gas complex, and the British government said Friday the operation was not yet over.
The fate of the fighters and many of the captives remained uncertain amid dueling claims from the Algerian military and the Islamists. Leaders around the world whose citizens were kidnapped by the militants expressed strong concerns about how Algeria was handing the situation.
Algeria’s government said the raid was over late Thursday night. But both Britain’s Foreign Office and U.S. officials said Friday the desert conflict with the terrorists was “ongoing.”
Manuel Valls, France’s interior minister, said the situation remained murky.
The fight is on, with the French taking a very direct hand.
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The battle to retake Mali’s north from the al-Qaida-linked groups controlling it began in earnest Saturday, after hundreds of French forces deployed to the country and began aerial bombardments to drive back the Islamic extremists.
At the same time, nations in West Africa authorized the immediate deployment of troops to Mali, fast-forwarding a military intervention that was not due to start until September.
The decision to begin the military operation was taken after the fighters, who seized the northern half of Mali nine months ago, decided earlier this week to push even further south to the town of Konna, coming within 50 kilometers (30 miles) of Mopti, the first town held by the government and a major base for the Malian military.
Many believe that if Mopti were to fall, the Islamists could potentially seize the rest of the country, dramatically raising the stakes. The potential outcome was “a terrorist state at the doorstep of France and Europe,” French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Saturday.
France scrambled Mirage fighter jets from a base in neighboring Chad, as well as combat helicopters beginning the aerial assault on Friday. They have also sent in hundreds of troops to the front line, as well as to secure the capital. In just 24 hours, French forces succeeded in dispersing the Islamists from Konna, the town the fighters had seized in a bold advance earlier in the week, Le Drian said.
Malian military officials said they were now conducting sweeps, looking for snipers.
“A halting blow has been delivered, and heavy losses have been inflicted on our adversaries, but our mission is not complete,” French President Francois Hollande said after a three-hour meeting with his defense chiefs in Paris. “I reiterate that it consists of preparing the deployment of an African intervention force to allow Mali to recover its territorial integrity.”
However, in a sign of how hard the battle ahead may be, the extremists succeeded in shooting down a French helicopter, the defense minister confirmed. The pilot died of his wounds while he was being evacuated. The Islamists are using arms stolen from ex-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s arsenal, as well as the weapons abandoned by Mali’s military when they fled their posts in the face of the rebel advance.
More at link
President Francois Hollande says French troops are taking part in operations against Islamists in northern Mali.
French troops “have brought support this afternoon to Malian units to fight against terrorist elements”, he said.
Armed groups, some linked to al-Qaeda, took control of northern Mali in April.
Mr Hollande said the intervention complied with international law, and had been agreed with Malian President Dioncounda Traore. A state of emergency has been declared across the country.
Mr Traore used a televised address on Friday to call on Malians to unite to “free every inch” of the country.
He said he was to launch a “powerful and massive riposte against our enemies” after he “called for and obtained France’s air support within the framework of the international legality”.
The militants said on Thursday that they had advanced further into government-controlled territory, taking the strategic central town of Konna.
The Islamists have sought to enforce an extreme interpretation of Islamic law.