Saudis’ Role in Iraq Frustrates U.S. Officials

This article was reported by Helene Cooper, Mark Mazzetti and Jim Rutenberg, and written by Ms. Cooper.

WASHINGTON, July 26 — During a high-level meeting in Riyadh in January, Saudi officials confronted a top American envoy with documents that seemed to suggest that Iraq’s prime minister could not be trusted.

One purported to be an early alert from the prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr warning him to lie low during the coming American troop increase, which was aimed in part at Mr. Sadr’s militia. Another document purported to offer proof that Mr. Maliki was an agent of Iran.

The American envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, immediately protested to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, contending that the documents were forged. But, said administration officials who provided an account of the exchange, the Saudis remained skeptical, adding to the deep rift between America’s most powerful Sunni Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, and its Shiite-run neighbor, Iraq.

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‘Moslims hinderen artsen bij zorg voor vrouwen’

Door een onzer redacteuren

Rotterdam, 26 juli. Mannelijke artsen worden regelmatig om religieuze redenen bij hun werkzaamheden gehinderd door moslimmannen. Dit meldt het Nederlandse artsenorgaan Medisch Contact.

In het laatste nummer wordt een voorval beschreven waarbij de echtgenoot van een moslima een mannelijke gynaecoloog de toegang tot de verloskamer ontzegt en een vrouwelijke arts eist.

Volgens de hoofdredacteur van Medisch Contact, Ben Crul, is dit geen uitzondering. „Een rondvraag onder ziekenhuisdirecteuren leert dat het begint toe te nemen.” In het genoemde geval intimideerde de echtgenoot van de moslima de artsen, waarna die de vrouw per ambulance naar een ander ziekenhuis stuurden om behandeling door een vrouwelijke gynaecoloog mogelijk te maken. Volgens het artikel kwam het kind „ternauwernood” gezond ter wereld.

„Het is de vraag in hoeverre je als arts moet toegeven aan zaken als cultuur en religie”, zegt Crul. Vooral ’s nachts, bij een mindere bezetting, kunnen dit soort voorvallen leiden tot gevaarlijke situatie, denkt Crul.

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‘Fatwa instituut’ werkt nauw samen met Universiteit Leiden

Nederland, mei 2007

Universiteit Leiden logo

Professor P.S. Koningsveld van de faculteit Godsdiensthistorie van de Universiteit Leiden, is zeer te spreken over de European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR): ‘Ze doen veel onderzoek om de problemen van de Europese islam op te lossen. Zo vaardigden ze een paar jaar geleden een fatwa uit over hypotheken. We hebben veel aan ze te danken'.
Een fatwa is een juridisch advies, dat op verzoek wordt verstrekt met betrekking tot een specifieke kwestie.
Koningsveld: 'We gebruiken veel boeken en papers van de ECFR. We hebben ook seminars over de fatwa’s van ECFR. Er zijn inmiddels ook afstudeerscripties over de ECFR. Ze spelen een zeer belangrijke rol in ons onderwijs en onderzoeksprogramma'.
'De ECFR kan een nog grotere rol vervullen in de toekomst als ze deel uitmaakt van onze faculteit, met een eigen researchprogramma en een eigen bibliotheek'.
Koningsveld ziet ook een grote rol weggelegd voor de ECFR bij de ontwikkeling van een Europese ‘fiqh’. Fiqh is islamitische jurisprudentie op basis van de sharia.
De voorzitter en oprichter van de ECFR is Yousef Al-Qaradawi, de spirituele leider van de Muslim Brotherhood.
Meer over de ECFR

Ukrainian Security Service detained Turkish citizen with 174.5 kg of heroine

24.07.200715:05 (GMT)

Officers of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), together with the Intelligence Service with cooperation with the US Drug Enforcement Agency and Turkish law enforcement bodies seized 174.5 kg of heroine of a Turkish citizen at the Ilichivsk Marine Port (Odesa), Ukrainian Public Radio reported today.
According to First Deputy Chief of the Security Service's main agency for combating corruption and organized crime Yevgeny Skulysh, officers arrested a 39-year-old Turkish citizen, driving Scania car. According to the Security Service, the auto was heading from Turkey to Ukraine and the drug parcel was transferred from Iran to Western Europe. This April the Security Service of Ukraine seized 114 kg of heroine of a Turk in Kiev, radio

Paris exploits appeal from kidnapped Israeli soldiers’ families to launch new Middle East initiative based on promoting Hizballah and Syrian interests in Lebanon

July 24, 2007, 10:04 AM (GMT+02:00)

Middle East sources highlighted to DEBKAfile Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s praise for French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner as “a clever man” in the speech he aired by the Arabic TV al Jazeera network Monday night, July 23.

Kouchner commented last week after the the “Lebanese reconciliation” meeting President Nicolas Sarkozy convened near Paris that he believed Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were alive. Earlier, their families while appealing for French help to release the two kidnapped soldiers, voiced surprise at the presence of Hizballah delegates, condemned by Europe as a terrorist group, at the Lebanese meeting.

DEBKAfile’s sources note that the new French administration has indeed earned praise from the Hizballah’s leader and his Syrian and Iranian patrons. Paris cleverly saw its chance to ride into center stage of Lebanese politics on the back of the desperate Israeli appeal. The former French ambassador to Damascus, Jean-Claude Cousseran, is in and out of Beirut these days and sees his Hizballah contacts almost daily. But he has not lifted a finger - even to find out if the two missing soldiers missing for a year are alive.

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General Must Not Lie

By Boba Borojevic
July 17, 2007
Lt.-Gen. Michel Maisonneuve
In his recent interview "The General Who Testified Before Milosevic " By Brian Adeba - published by the Embassy newsweekly in Ottawa on July 11, 2007,  Lt.-Gen. Michel Maisonneuve recalls his testimony against former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague in 2002. Canadian Lt.-Gen. Michel Maisonneuve calls Milosevic the "new Hitler". In 1993, the general had served for one year in the UN protection force in the former Yugoslavia as chief operations officer, and in 1998 in Kosovo, where he “witnessed the massacre of 45 ethnic Albanians in a place called Racak in 1999”. Lt.-Gen. Michel Maisonneuve also believes that the proposal put forward by Finnish diplomat Matti Ahtisari for a supervised independence for Kosovo is " the best of a number of bad solutions."
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Problem of Jews and Christians expelled from Arab lands must be dealt with in any Middle East peace process – US Congressional caucus states

July 21, 2007, 12:04 PM (GMT+02:00)

Of the million-strong, 2,500-year old Jewish communities of the Middle East, only 8,000 remain in 10 Arab countries, said former Justice Minister and Attorney General of Canada Dr. Irwin Cotler in his briefing to the bipartisan Congressional Human Rights Caucus in Washington co-headed by Frank R. Wolf (R.-VA) and Tom Lantos (D-CA), Thursday, July 19. Yet against the 101 UN resolutions passed on the Palestinian refugees since 1947, not one addressed the forcible expulsion of Jews from Arab countries by state-orchestrated oppression, persecutions and pogroms.

This raises serious questions about the appropriateness of the United Nations having a role in the Middle East Quartet meeting in Lisbon Thursday, said Cotler, counsel to former prisoners of conscience Andrei Sakharov and Nelson Mandela. he whole question of refugees and refugee claims is at the forefront of the Peace Process, and integral to the Roadmap. Rights for Jewish refugees from Arab countries, 600,000 of whom were absorbed in Israel, have to be part of any peace process with a claim to integrity.

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The Fatah-Hamas Conflict: Roots and Implications

The Events in Gaza

The Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip was the culmination of two separate processes which began years ago. The first is the resurgence of Islam as the primary foundation of individual and collective identity in the Middle East. I will deal with this issue in more detail further on, but at this point I want to emphasize that in Gaza, where the Muslim Brotherhood has been deeply implanted for many years, Islamization has been especially far-reaching. It has included not only Islamist indoctrination in the mosques, but has also occurred through a wide variety of social services - kindergartens, clinics, welfare to the poor - all provided under the banner of Islamic charity.

The second process was the decline in the power and prestige of the Palestinian Authority (henceforth: PA) and its main constituent body, Fatah. This process began as soon as Arafat set up the PA in Gaza and the West Bank. The PLO, and specifically Fatah - Yasser Arafat's organization and the main constituent body of the PLO - failed to make the transition from the phase of "struggle against the Zionist enemy" to the phase of institution-building and governance. Corruption and ineffective leadership in the PA territories created a void that was filled by Hamas. Even though Hamas, like all the Islamist groups, rejects democracy as a matter of principle, it took advantage of the opportunity to participate in the elections to the Palestinian parliament (in January 2006) and won the majority of seats. Subsequently, Hamas formed a government with Isma'il Haniyeh as prime minister. Fatah, defeated in the elections, has refused to turn over power (primarily - public funds and control of the armed forces) to Hamas. The Saudis made an attempt to resolve the dispute by brokering an agreement between the rival movements (the Mecca agreement of last February) - an agreement that has obviously not held up.

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Turkije pakt Hollandse vrouwen op wegens drugs

De Turkse antinarcoticabrigade heeft zes Nederlandse vrouwen gearresteerd op de luchthaven van Istanbul op verdenking van drugssmokkel.

Majou A. had elf kilo heroïne in haar bagage

De verdachten komen onder meer uit Den Haag en Utrecht. Dat bevestigt woordvoerder Rob Dekker van het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken tegenover elsevier.nl. Twee van de vrouwen, die van Turkse en Marokkaanse afkomst zijn, zitten al ruim twee weken in voorlopige hechtenis.

De andere vier, van wie drie vrouwen Nederlands zijn en één de Nederlandse verblijfstatus heeft, mogen Turkije niet verlaten en worden continu in de gaten gehouden. 'Het is ons niet bekend waarom ze niet weg mogen,' zegt Dekker. Volgens de woordvoerder is het onduidelijk of er een verband is tussen de twee vrouwen die vastzitten en de vier andere vrouwen.

Elf kilo heroïne
De twee vrouwen die nog vastzitten, Majou A. en Siyam O., werden op het vliegveld aangehouden toen zij wilden terugkeren naar Nederland. A. bleek elf kilo heroïne in haar bagage te hebben en O. had tien kilo bij zich, meldt het AD. De straatwaarde van de drugs wordt geschat op vele miljoenen euro’s.

De vrouwen zouden de drugs uit Afghanistan hebben gekregen van de Turkse Derya U., een vrouw die ook de Nederlandse nationaliteit heeft. Volgens de Turkse krant Zaman zeggen de vrouwen niet te weten hoe de drugs in hun bagage is terechtgekomen.

Zitting
Dekker vertelt dat het nog niet bekend is wanneer de zitting zal plaatshebben. 'Het Nederlandse consulaat houdt contact met de vrouwen en volgt de zaak.'

Het AD schrijft dat de vrouwen modellenwerk doen in Nederland en op 30 juni op een toeristenvisum zijn aangekomen in Ankara. Mogelijk zijn ze drie keer eerder naar Turkije gereisd om drugs te smokkelen. De politie in Turkije onderzoekt of de vrouwen zijn aangesloten bij een internationale drugsbende.

Turkey’s Existential Election

July 18, 2007
Prepared by:

The results of Turkey’s July 22 general elections don’t seem much in doubt, with polls strongly favoring (Angus Reid) the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) to retain an edge over its main competitors. But in a Muslim country pointedly questioning the foundations of its secular constitution and considering an invasion of northern Iraq, the vote assumes a greater meaning.

The election stands as a verdict on the direction of Turkey’s leadership. AKP officials called for the early vote this spring, following massive protests (IHT) challenging the party’s push to install a moderate Islamist, Abdullah Gul, as Turkey’s president. For the better part of a century, Turkey’s government followed a strict secularist code imposed in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who eschewed traditional Islamic dress and called for societal “modernity” (FT). But some 60 percent of Turkish women still wear headscarves (Reuters), and the AKP’s efforts to loosen bans on covering up in government buildings and universities proved popular among many Turks. Yet they also provoked this spring’s protests, which were led by the country’s secularist military elite.

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Musharraf and his Labyrinth

July 18, 2007
Prepared by:

As the Pakistani government scrambles to salvage a peace accord (BosGlobe) with tribal leaders along the country’s lawless northwest frontier, unrest elsewhere in Pakistan has raised new questions about the stability of Pervez Musharraf’s military government. The ten-month-old truce, known as the Miramshah Agreement, was viewed at the beginning by some critics as a capitulation (ABC) after Pakistani troops suffered heavy casualties in trying to impose order on the region. This CFR.org Interactive Map looks at the historically ungovernable region.

The Miramshah agreement compelled Pakistan to withdraw troops from the region, a stronghold of Pakistan’s Taliban as well as the most likely location of al-Qaeda’s leadership. In theory, Musharraf and Bush administration officials argue the truce would convert the prickly tribal chieftains, whose long history of resistance to central government rule is detailed in this Backgrounder, into allies against radical Islamists.

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Energy factor as factor in Balkans

By Ioannis Michaletos | Blog
July 13, 2007

A mark of our age is the interconnectivity of the political, social and economic global units, based on the expanding networks of telecommunications, transportation and in the case of the current article; energy.  The future of the Balkans and the developments to occur in issues such as Kosovo, strongly depend on the emerging landscape shaped by the antagonisms of the stronger nations and based on the effective control of energy routes.

Since the ascendancy of Putin in the Russian Presidency, Moscow has proved to be an apt player in the economic game that is being unfolded through the construction of a variety of pipelines transferring hydrocarbon from East-to West. Nowadays at least 25% of the European Union’s energy needs in natural gas & oil are being met by Russia and in some cases such as Slovenia; this percentage reaches 60% (Gas) or even 100% for Romania and Slovakia. Moreover the projector for the next generation is negative for the EU since its energy dependency levels will increase from 76% (Oil) to 93% in 2030.  If one adds the political perils concerning imports from the Middle East and the proximity of the Russia market; then the influence of the former seems to be enchasing.

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Arab Countries Must Join Forces to Counter Iranian Threat

In an article published in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa and in the English-language Kuwaiti daily Arab Times, the editor-in-chief of both papers, Ahmad Al-Jarallah, wrote that Iran was increasingly taking control of countries in the Middle East - including Gaza, Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and the Gulf states - in order to strengthen its position in future negotiations with the U.S. over its nuclear program. In his article, he said that Arab countries must convene a summit to counter this threat, and must "hit the head of the snake in Tehran."

The following are excerpts from the Arab Times article, in the original English: [1]

"Tehran Will Gain Complete Control Over Iraq When the U.S.-Led Coalition Forces Leave Iraqi Soil"

"The entire Arab world is in danger, after becoming the epicenter of Iran's policies. Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's aggressive policies confirm our fears. Many issues which concern only Arabs have now fallen into the hands of Iran. After Hamas, using weapons, separated Gaza from the West Bank, the Palestinian issue has become a property of Tehran.

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Iran Claims Spy Networks Disrupted

July 10, 2007 -- Iran has reportedly discovered five new espionage networks allegedly linked to Western intelligence services.

Iran's Fars and IRNA news agencies quoted the head of the intelligence service in the western province of Kermanshah as saying a total of 20 people have been arrested, including Iranians and foreigners.

The official, identified only as Karimi, said the alleged spies were trained for economic, military, political, cultural, and social espionage.

Tehran has previously accused the United States, Israel, and Britain of operating in Iran to destabilize the Islamic republic.

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In West Africa, Threat of Narco-States

July 10, 2007
Prepared by:

Eighteen months ago, fishermen in the West African state of Guinea-Bissau hauled up packages of a mysterious white powder (Telegraph) in their nets. Some reportedly sprinkled it on their crops, killing them, while others—once they discovered the powder was cocaine—sold it and used the windfall to start businesses. When you live in the fifth-poorest country in the world, it’s hard not to look at drug trafficking as a business opportunity, and Guinea-Bissau’s drug business is booming. Western officials estimate $150 million of cocaine flows into Guinea-Bissau per month from Latin America, equal to the country’s annual gross domestic product.

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New Insights into the Clandestine Muslim Brotherhood Work in the United States

By Douglas Farah

Thanks to my colleague Jeff Breinholt's new post we have new insights into the long-standing, clandestine nature of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. A 1959 court case, a public record that had remained unexamined for decades, reprints the Muslim Brotherhood's constitution, found in a prison locker.

The rare document of the Ikhwan in the United States, sitting in musty but public court records since 1959, explains much about the Brotherhood and much about some of the enigmas that, to my mind, still surround the Northern Virginia Safa case and other issues.

It is important, but often forgotten, that the Brotherhood arrived here decades ago, contemporaneously with the efforts to spread Islam in Western Europe. While their activities have been successfully traced to the early 1960s, with the formation of numerous Islamist groups here at that time, this document pushes the launch date of the efforts back by several years, especially as an organized political/religious movement embedded here.

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Kosovo: the coming Muslim spectacle of destruction

It is worthy to recall, especially for the Kosovo Albanian negotiating team that thinks is setting the agenda in these status talks, that during the Rambuliet talks in 1999, as the alleged negotiations were ongoing, US warships were heading for the Adriatic in preparation for bombing of Serbia. At the time, Serbia had all of the “incentives” to sign on any dotted line negotiators forced upon them and yet it did not.

Today, there are no American warships in the Adriatic, there is no military mobilization of NATO to force Serbia to accept any plan it does not like…nor will West unilaterally recognize Kosovo.

Pristina thugs need to now blame Washington and London for making them look so stupid by getting them to believe that independence is just around the corner. With allies like those, Serbia does not need to be publicly called their friend.

In fact, today, as Serbia is denying to accept the Ahtisaari plan, America is actually arming Serbia and training its military personnel in Ohio.

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EUROPEAN COUNCIL FOR FATWA AND RESEARCH (ECFR)

19 Roebuck Road
Clonskeagh, D 14
Dublin, Ireland

Phone :00351-1 208 0004
URL: Website

  • Promotes militant Islam and justifies jihad for Muslim youths
  • "Martyrdom operations are not suicide and should not be deemed as unjustifiable means of endangering one's life."
  • Established in March 1997 in the United Kingdom by the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, the European Council for Fatwah and Research (ECFR) is a private foundation whose stated objectives are fourfold: (1) to unify Europe's differing views of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence); (2) to apply Fiqh in European societies where Muslims live; (3) to conduct studies of various issues related to Islamic Law (Sharia) in Europe; and (4) to guide "Muslims in Europe generally and youth particularly, through spreading authentic concepts of Islam and its noble principles."

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    Hamas's Hidden Economy

    By Matthew Levitt
    Los Angeles Times, July 3, 2007

    Military insurrections cost money. To take over the Gaza Strip last month, Hamas had to pay salaries, procure weapons, manufacture rockets, buy help from local crime families, bribe opponents, print leaflets and banners, produce media propaganda and even order up Hamas hats and bandanas.

    How did Hamas fund this Gaza coup? What of the international "economic siege" that Hamas complained of against its government? Wasn't Hamas so strapped for funds that its leaders resorted to smuggling suitcases of Iranian cash into Gaza across the border with Egypt?

    Part of the answer lies in -- or rather under -- the city of Rafah, on the Egyptian border. Smuggling tunnels, operated primarily by Gaza clans more interested in profit than ideology, run between houses on either side of the border. Egyptian and Israeli authorities have discovered tunnels dug as deep as 98 feet below ground in an effort to avoid sonar detection. Some tunnels include air ducts, electricity and lighting, and even rails and wagons to help smuggle heavy objects. Even when the mouths to the tunnels are found and sealed, the midsections remain intact and new openings are dug to reconnect them.

     

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    NEFA Conference Slides: "The Internet as a Forum for Conflict Between the Brotherhood and Competing Salafi-Jihadists"

    By Evan Kohlmann

    My colleagues Doug Farah and Jeff Breinholt have written two excellent posts on points raised during discussions at a recent international conference on the Muslim Brotherhood hosted by the NEFA Foundation in Florence, Italy. I would concur with Doug that one of the most interesting debates was over the tumultuous relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood (and its various organs) versus Salafi-Jihadists orientated towards Al-Qaida. During my own presentation at the conference, I approached this issue from a "web angle" in a section titled, "The Internet as a Forum for Conflict Between the Brotherhood and Competing Salafi-Jihadists." I present points from my speech and several of my Powerpoint slides as a basis for future public discussion.

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    Potential Water Conflicts in the Middle East

    By: Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli

    At a Capitol Hill briefing on June 6, 2007, Senior Analyst of MEMRI's Middle East Economic Studies Program, Dr. Nimrod Raphaeli addressed staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on water poverty and potential water conflicts in the Middle East.

    Dr. Raphaeli will be the editor of MEMRI's upcoming Economic Blog. The blog will provide its readers with economic news from the Middle East as well as analysis of major developments and trends.

    The following is the paper Dr. Raphaeli presented at the briefing:

    Introduction

    This briefing comprises two parts: part one offers an introduction to the water poverty in the Middle East, part two focuses on three potential areas of conflict: [1]

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    Of Bribes and Allegations

    By M. Bozinovich
    July 1, 2007

    Recent allegations that Martti Ahtisaari was a recipient of Albanian money in order to recommend independence for Kosovo has been refuted as "rubbish" by the Ahtisaari's spokesman, Remi Dourlot.

    With that dismissal being swell and good, the other unexamined part in this entire allegations fiasco is one of the personalities that allegedly paid the money to Ahtisaari.

    According to the allegations made against Ahtisaari, a briefcase stuffed with money was delivered to his office and the money allegedly came from Kosovo's Muslim Albanian billionaire Behgjet Pacolli.

    It could turn out that the charismatic Pacolli does know few things, here and there, about stuffed briefcases.

    Back in 1995, Russian prosecutors alleged that Pacolli "delivered a briefcase stuffed with U.S. currency, a Cartier watch and a diamond-studded brooch to Pavel Borodin, President Boris Yeltsin's chief of administrative affairs."

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