Posts Tagged ‘terrorism

01
May
14

Nigeria’s abducted Girls: A Democracy Under Siege

by @zizii2

The world is slowly waking up to a 2 week old horror, the gut-wrenching story of 234+ teenage girls abducted by a band of terrorists from their boarding school just as they were in the midst of taking their High School Certification exams. A horror that was no less eased when it was reported that some of the traumatized girls who had managed to escape their captors, the Boko Haram, recently told grim news of their fellow captives being sold into “marriage” to terrorists within and without Nigeria’s Northern borders.

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Within the 2 wks since the girls were kidnapped public anger inside Nigeria rose and spilled out into the streets in the last 24-48 hours in demonstrations against government impotence to grapple with the terrorist menace that its victims call Boko Haram, which means “Western education Forbidden” (See further below for more on history of Boko Haram). Social media relayed that anger to a wider global public under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. Petition drives have accelerated to galvanize awareness and demand action, including one from Change.org currently gathering steam in the US.

Video of when abduction happened 2 weeks ago:

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However the indignation captured in the hashtag bumps up against a very messy and complicated reality, one that lifts the scab off the virulent canker metastasizing in several 21st century fledgling democracies and in some mature ones as well, gashing open threadbare societies. Democracy itself is rendered naked. And so:

1) #BringBackOurGirls. But from where?

2) Who do we ask to #BringBackOurGirls?

3) And if we are able to identify captors, who, if anyone, are they answerable to?

4) When a fledgling democracy is faced with a lawless group linked to a global terrorist franchise that fights an asymmetric war, how is security of anyone, let alone children to be guaranteed?

5) Who is bankrolling and profiting from arming a group that is not directly seeking political inclusion/representation but instead wants dissolution of the modern pluralist state itself and modern life?

6) What strategy to deal with Boko Haram? Crush them? Under what rules? Negotiate with them? Contain them? Abdicate democratic governance altogether? Can Nigeria or any young democracy survive a Boko Haram menace and remain intact?

Nigeria Female Literacy RatesSource: BBC.com

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Continue reading ‘Nigeria’s abducted Girls: A Democracy Under Siege’

24
May
13

Catching Up

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Later Today:

1:10: President Obama returns from the United States Naval Academy to the White House

2:15: Signs a bill designating the Congressional Gold Medal commemorating the lives of the four young girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing of 1963

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The Hill: President Obama will sign a bill Friday awarding the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously to the four girls killed in the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, the White House said Thursday.

The bombing at the church, which civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy used as a meeting place, by members of the Ku Klux Klan proved a pivotal turning point in the push for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The dynamite blast killed four girls — Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair — and injured an additional 22 others.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award bestowed by the legislative branch…

More here

“These children, unoffending, innocent, and beautiful were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity,” said the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in a eulogy for the four children–Addie Mae Collins, 14, Denise McNair, 11, Carole Robertson, 14, and Cynthia Wesley, 14. “They died nobly. They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity.”

More here

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Paul Krugman: Obamacare Will Be A Debacle — For Republicans

… the biggest test case was always going to be California …. well, the preliminary numbers are in – and they’re looking very good, with costs coming in below expectations. At this point, it looks as if this thing is indeed going to work.

….. the whole political calculus was supposed to be that Republicans in red states could point to the horrors of Obamacare and ride them to political victory. Instead, it looks as if we’re going to see blue-state residents reaping the benefits of a functional health care system, while red-state residents are denied many of those benefits, for what looks like no better reason than mean-spirited spite – because what’s going on is, indeed, mean-spirited spite.

Predictions that Obamacare will be a big political issue are probably right – but not in the way gleeful conservatives imagined.

Full post here

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CNN Money: Health insurers in California will charge an average of $304 a month for the cheapest silver-level plan in state-based exchanges next year, according to rates released Thursday by Covered California, which is implementing the Affordable Care Act there. But many residents will pay a lot less than that for coverage.

Rates will vary by region, age and level of coverage, and many lower-income Californias will qualify for federal subsidies that will greatly lower the premiums…..

…. Oregon and Washington recently posted their rates, as well. They were also lower than some had expected.

“Many people will see rates similar to what they’re paying now, or in some cases, lower – and with substantially better benefits,” the Washington Insurance Department wrote in a blog post. “We’re definitely not seeing the huge rate increases that some insurers had predicted.”

More here

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23
May
13

‘The rhetorical end of the War on Terror’

Text of speech here

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President Obama listens as Medea Benjamin, an activist from the organization called Code Pink, shouts at him while he speaks at the National Defense University, May 23

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23
May
13

Keep Chatting Away

23
May
13

President Obama Speaks on Counter-terrorism Policies

2:0: President Obama Speaks on Counter-terrorism Policies

White House live * C-Span 3 * CBS

30
Sep
11

‘the un-bush’

Andrew Sullivan: …. This administration actually is what the Bush administration claimed to be: a relentless executor of the war on terror, armed with real intelligence and lethally accurate execution…..

…. Obama has done in two years what Bush failed to do in eight. He has skillfully done all he can to reset relations with the broader Muslim world (despite the machinations of the Israeli government) while ruthlessly wiping out swathes of Jihadist planners, operatives and foot-soldiers in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has thereby strengthened us immeasurably both in terms of soft and hard power.

…. Obama has ended torture and pursued a real war, not an ideological spectacle. He has destroyed almost all of al Qaeda of 9/11 (if Zawahiri is taken out, no one is left), obliterated its ranks in Afghanistan and Pakistan, found and killed bin Laden, in a daring raid pushed relentlessly by the president alone, capturing alongside a trove of intelligence, procured as a consequence of courage and tenacity rather than cowardice and torture.

…. Obama is winning the war Bush kept losing. And since Cairo, we have witnessed the real flowering of democratic forces in the Middle East – unseen during the Bush-Cheney years. For all the tireless efforts of the Israelis to cripple US foreign policy against Jihadism, Obama has done the job….

Back in 2001, I wondered if Bush would be the president to win this war, while hoping he would. I wondered if his errors might lead to a successor who learned from them. That hope has now been fulfilled – more swiftly and decisively than I once dared to dream about.

Full post here

30
Sep
11

“if this is defense, what does offense look like?”

BBC: US-born radical Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a key al-Qaeda leader, has been killed in Yemen, the country’s defence ministry said. Unnamed US officials confirmed the reports, but have not provided details. Awlaki, of Yemeni descent, has been on the run in Yemen since December 2007. The US had named him a “specially designated global terrorist” for his alleged role in a number of attacks and US President Barack Obama is said to have personally ordered his killing. More here

Jake Tapper: The list of senior terrorists killed during the Obama presidency is fairly extensive:

Osama bin Laden in May …. Anwar al-Awlaki today …. Earlier this month al Qaeda’s chief of Pakistan operations, Abu Hafs al-Shahri  …. In August, ‘Atiyah ‘Abd al-Rahman, the deputy leader of al Qaeda…

In June, one of the group’s most dangerous commanders, Ilyas Kashmiri … In Yemen that same month, AQAP senior operatives Ammar al-Wa’ili, Abu Ali al-Harithi, and Ali Saleh Farhan ….. In Somalia, Al-Qa’ida in East Africa (AQEA) senior leader Harun Fazul….

…. Going back to August 2009, Tehrik e-Taliban Pakistan leader Baitullah Mahsud was killed in Pakistan …. In September of that month, Jemayah Islamiya operational planner Noordin Muhammad Top was killed in Indonesia, and AQEA planner Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan was killed in Somalia .. Then in December 2009 in Pakistan, al Qaeda operational commanders Saleh al-Somali and ‘Abdallah Sa’id were killed.

In February 2010, in Pakistan,  Taliban deputy and military commander Abdul Ghani Beradar was captured; Haqqani network commander Muhammad Haqqani was killed; and Lashkar-e Jhangvi leader Qari Zafar was killed …. In March 2010, al Qaeda operative Hussein al-Yemeni was killed in Pakistan, while senior Jemayah Islamiya operative Dulmatin was killed during a raid in Indonesia.

In April 2010, al Qaeda in Iraq leaders Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were killed …. In May, al Qaeda’s number three commander, Sheik Saeed al-Masri was killed …. In June 2010 in Pakistan, al Qaeda commander Hamza al-Jawfi was killed.

Remember when Rudy Giuliani warned that electing Barack Obama would mean that the U.S. played defense, not offense, against the terrorists?

If this is defense, what does offense look like?




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