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Showing posts from July 16, 2008

Israel Targets Hamas Philanthropy - by Peter Hirschberg

Israel Targets Hamas Philanthropy - by Peter Hirschberg: "JERUSALEM - Shopping malls. Schools. Medical centers. Charities. Orphanages. Soup kitchens. These are the latest targets in the campaign the Israeli military is waging against Hamas in the West Bank.

Israeli military officials have identified Hamas' civilian infrastructure in the West Bank as a major source of the Islamic group's popularity, and have begun raiding and shutting down these institutions in cities like Hebron, Nablus, and Qalqilyah.

Last week, troops focused their efforts in Nablus, raiding the city hall and confiscating computers. They also stormed into a shopping mall and posted closure notices on the shop windows. A girls' school and a medical center were shut down in the city, and a charitable association had its computers impounded and documents seized.

This policy, officials say, is meant to deny the Islamic group, which is committed to Israel's destruction, the ability to use these institut…

Reuters AlertNet - U.S. troops abandon Afghan outpost following attack

Reuters AlertNet - U.S. troops abandon Afghan outpost following attack: "KABUL, July 16 (Reuters) - U.S. troops have pulled out of a remote outpost in northeastern Afghanistan, NATO-led security force said on Wednesday, three days after Taliban militants tried to overrun the base and killed nine U.S. soldiers.

NATO played down the significance of the withdrawal, but Taliban militants are sure to claim victory in driving foreign forces out of the wooded valley, close to the Pakistani border.

Taliban militants briefly breached the incomplete defences of the newly established base in the Wanat district of Kunar province on Sunday and hours of fierce fighting ensued that killed nine U.S. soldiers and many more insurgents.

It was the biggest single loss of life for U.S. forces in Afghanistan since 2005.

'We can confirm that a temporary outpost which was established in the village of Wanat has been removed,' said NATO spokesman Mark Laity. 'We will continue to patrol the villag…

Al Jazeera English - Focus - The long road to repatriation

Palestinian women call for the release of relatives jailed in Israel during a demonstration in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus on July 5, 2008 [AFP]

The recent negotiations between Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah to repatriate prisoners of war are the latest episodes in a series of such exchanges since 1948.

Since the first conflict, Israel has signed separate agreements with Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia for prisoner repatriation.

Lamis Andoni, Al Jazeera's political analyst, said: "Parties at war with Israel have always had a better chance at securing a prisoner exchange than those who had signed peace agreements with them.

Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side—By Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine)

Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side—By Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine): "In a series of gripping articles, Jane Mayer has chronicled the Bush Administration’s grim and furtive dealings with torture and has exposed both the individuals within the administration who “made it happen” (a group that starts with Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, David Addington), the team of psychologists who put together the palette of techniques, and the Fox television program “24,” which was developed to help sell it to the American public. In a new book, The Dark Side, Mayer puts together the major conclusions from her articles and fills in a number of important gaps. Most significantly, we learn the details on the torture techniques and the drama behind the fierce and lingering struggle within the administration over torture, and we learn that many within the administration recognized the potential criminal accountability they faced over these torture tactics and…

Turning their backs on jihad | Salon News

Turning their backs on jihad | Salon News
July 16, 2008 | Noman Benotman walks into a restaurant on Park Lane, the exclusive, minimalist sort of place that is currently all the rage in London. People in business suits converse in hushed tones at nearby tables. Benotman, wearing an orange polo shirt and a gray checked blazer, fits in perfectly.

Benotman, a 41-year-old man from Libya, was once a jihadist. He fought against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and it was in those days, which some would later romanticize as heroic, that he met Osama bin Laden. Benotman says that he was once adept at using an AK-47, and that he remembers making out the faces of Soviet helicopter pilots before shooting them down.

After the Soviet army withdrew in disgrace from Kabul and Kandahar, Benotman returned to his native Libya, where he became one of the leaders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). The group, several hundred strong, sought to overthrow the regime of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, which…