Attorney General Holder in Kabul
Attorney General Eric Holder is visiting Kabul today to meet with Afghan officials about the elimination of corruption and the establishment of an “effective criminal justice system”. CNN, AP. The Department of Justice has the text of Holder’s official statement made in Kabul.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has unanimously confirmed General David Petraeus as the new top general in Afghanistan, although both Democrats and Republicans made it clear that they had reservations about the Afghan strategy. In the hearing, General Petraeus hinted at a number of possible strategic changes, including a reevaluation of the use of artillery and air support, which has been discouraged in previous years in order to prevent civilian casualties. The full Senate is expected to vote on his confirmation today. New York Times, New York Times’s At War blog, LA Times, Washington Post, NPR’s The Two-Way blog.
Posted in Afghanistan, Cyber Security, Department of Justice, NYPD, Somalia, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News
Tagged Abdel Nur, Abdul Kadir, ACLU, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, al Shabaab, David Petraeus, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Elena Kagan, Eric Holder, Faisal Shahzad, General Accountability Office, Iran, King Abdullah, Metro Transit Police, Russell Defreitas, Saudi Arabia, Senate Armed Services Committee, Shahram Amiri
by Daniel S. Freifeld
Tensions have been rising on the Israel-Lebanon border. Days before Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited Washington at the end of last month – his first official visit to the United States – Israel concluded military exercises just across the border. Code-named “Turning Point,” Israel has held annual drills since the summer war with Hezbollah in 2006. This year, however, the exercise took on new significance, as it came amid reports that Syria had transferred Scud missiles to Hezbollah, perhaps moving the weapons – which could reach any corner of Israel – into Lebanese territory (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later said the weapons remained in Syria but had been transferred to Hezbollah control). Then, in early June, Lebanon’s armed forces reported that they had fired upon two Israeli jets flying over its territory in an alleged violation of a UN resolution. Sadly, it is not hard to get the impression that there remains unfinished business along the contentious borders weaving between Lebanon, Israel, and Syria.
As always, Lebanon’s internal politics – driven by its multiple religions and sects – are a reflection of regional politics. At the same time as the uneasy regional calm since 2006 has steadily eroded, dynamics in Lebanon are shifting as well. The power of the anti-Syrian political movement is waning and the predominately Shia paramilitary and political organization Hezbollah is ascendant, having survived the war with Israel and prevailed upon the rest of Lebanese society that it will not be disarmed.
Posted in Lebanon
Tagged Iran, Israel, Hezbollah, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Rafic Hariri, United States, France, Saad Hariri, Bashir al Assad, March 14, Beirut, Imad Mughniyeh
New Jersey al Shabaab Suspect Said to Be Engaged, Has “Anger Management Issues”
The two young men in last week’s terrorism arrest in North Bergen, New Jersey – one the son of Palestinian immigrants, the other from a Dominican family – showed signs of angry, disruptive behavior in their teens. According to the New York Times, “Their stories began like many others: troubled teenagers who scare and mystify their neighbors; run-ins with the police while still in high school; parents who cannot compete with the sense of belonging or purpose their boys find elsewhere.” Nadia Alessa, mother of defendant Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, said that her son is “stupid” but not a “terrorist” and had seen “16 or 17 psychiatrists for what she called ‘anger management issues,’” according to CNN. Meanwhile Siham Abedar, 19, has come forward to claim that Alessa was traveling to Egypt to marry her as part of an arranged marriage. His desire to marry her and have children belies any believed terrorist intent, she claims. CNN, NJ.com.
Intelligence and Secrecy
Newsweek reports the newest draft of a bill that would authorize increased congressional oversight of intelligence agencies is likely to pass without a presidential veto and may lessen objections to the nomination of James Clapper as DNI. Foreign Policy notes that inherent to the debate over Clapper’s nomination is a concern with the effectiveness and supervisory competence of both the current nominee and the DNI itself.
Posted in Afghanistan, al Qaeda, Counterterrorism, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Guantanamo, Iran, Somalia, State Department, Taliban, Terrorism prosecutions, Today's Terrorism News, Yemen
Tagged Abu Sayyaf, Adrian Lamo, al Shabaab, Anwar al-Awlaki, Bradley Manning, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Director of National Intelligence, Hamas, Hamid Karzai, ISI, Israel, James Clapper, John Brennan, Julian Assange, Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, Mosab Hassan Yousef, Palau, Peter Erlinder, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, wikileaks