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Friday, November 19, 2010

Iraq races to avoid export collapse

Iraq is rushing to build export infrastructure, but not just because oil production is set to rise. The current pipelines could break at any moment, causing an economic and environmental disaster.


An oil tanker filling up at the al-Basra Oil Terminal in February, 2010. (BEN LANDO/Iraq Oil Report)
By Ben Lando of Iraq Oil Report
Published October 18, 2010

BAGHDAD - The pipelines that export most of Iraq’s oil are 15 years past their shelf life and were last inspected in 1991, when pipeline corrosion forced a 75 percent reduction in safe exporting capacity. According to a previously undisclosed study commissioned by the U.S. government, they are at risk of failing any time – an economic and environmental catastrophe that would reverberate from Baghdad to its neighbors and the entire oil market.

More than $100 million a day is pumped through Iraq’s main export arteries, 52 kilometers of now questionable pipeline which begin on the Fao peninsula, dip more than 29 meters below the northern Arabian Gulf, and extend to the al-Basra Oil Terminal (ABOT). Those pipelines were built in 1975 and were supposed to last only 20 years without any major inspections and upgrades.

“We are afraid of anything happening to them,” said Deputy Oil Minister Ahmad Shamma, who started his career on the oil platforms and until recently has been the most senior official pushing for a rapid fix, which is underway.“We are not putting any more pressure on them, touch wood.”


Simply shutting down the southern pipelines – the best option from an environmental standpoint – would cause a financial heart attack in a war torn country that needs oil revenue to fund even the most basic of services, not to mention reconstruction. Iraq depends on oil exports for more than 90 percent of state income, and relies on its southern pipelines to sell three quarters of that oil.

The potential environmental nightmare scenario is more tangibly horrific since BP’s Deepwater Horizon platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in April, prompting an oil spill that lasted five months and wrecked the waters and coasts of numerous U.S. states. Officials say the severity of a pipeline rupture in Iraq would depend on the location. In the more likely – and ruinous – scenario, the pipeline would break far from shore, and weather would push the oil throughout the Gulf toward Iraq’s neighbors.

The frailty of the pipelines is a well known secret. But the extent was made clear in the warnings in the two reports, obtained by Iraq Oil Report, neither of which has been made public before today. In October 2007 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers commissioned Foster Wheeler to assess the integrity of export pipelines for Iraq’s Ministry of Oil. In December 2007, Foster Wheeler produced a feasibility study on building redundancy for the exports.

In October 2008, the Financial Times reported that the U.S. State Department had sent a notification to the U.S. Congress that the pipelines were at risk, in a justification for more funds, but the reports underlying that warning have never before been disclosed.

The feasibility study is nearly identical to the Oil Ministry’s published blueprint for a massive, $4 billion-plus expansion of the south export infrastructure, which would build new export outlets that are slated to come online by the end of 2012. Contracts have been signed and more are expected in mere months – an accelerated timeline that highlights the double urgency of meeting increasing export demands and creating alternate export routes before the current pipelines fail.

“The 48-inch export pipelines have long passed their design life and are due for replacement,” concluded the 2007 reports. “A full integrity evaluation of the existing pipelines is required if these pipelines were to continue in service. Without this assessment it is considered that the condition of the pipelines should be considered critical.”

No such assessment has been made, officials close to the southern export activities confirmed.

The report relies heavily on the 1991 survey, which found “excessive corrosion” and estimated that the pipeline wall had deteriorated by 76 percent.

“If this average corrosion rate has continued linearly, the pipeline should have lost containment by now,” the Foster Wheeler assessment said. The follow-up 2007 feasibility study said the pipelines can’t be fixed or even inspected until alternative export routes are built, due to the risk of rupturing the pipelines – a problem echoed by Iraqi and U.S. officials.

The plan

The Oil Ministry’s plan, according to Shamma, is to shut the current export lines as soon as the first new pipeline and export outlet is ready.

“We will test them and see what we can do with them. We will operate them as long as it’s possible,” he said.

Iraq has signed 11 oilfield development deals with the world’s largest oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Lukoil and the Chinese National Petroleum Corp. The ministry has a stated goal of more than 12.5 million bpd of production capacity within seven years, most of which would be exported. However, new export routes have yet to be established, and current pipelines in the north need refurbishing as well.

The southern export pipelines have problems beyond the observed corrosion, according to the Foster Wheeler reports. As the pipelines plunge downward toward ABOT, their steep trajectory allows water to collect in the pipe, creating a corrosion risk from the inside.

Such accumulated water would typically be removed by a routine maintenance and inspection technique called “pigging.” But pigging hasn’t occurred in 19 years, for fear of rupturing a line.


The Foster Wheeler reports said there is an utter lack of information, since the pipelines have not been inspected since 1991 and a review of the data has not taken place. The future life of the lines therefore remains as murky as it is risky.

Shamma said first priority is “intelligent pigging” that determines “the remaining thickness” of the pipeline wall. After that, a decision will be made: repair, downgrade, or shut down.

Iraq exports no more than 1.6 million barrels per day (bpd) from the Gulf due to the fragile state of the pipelines. Iraq has another 600,000 bpd of export capacity through its northern pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. If ABOT and the Khor al-Amaya Terminal – the latter of which handles only 5 percent of the south exports due to war damage – can be refurbished to their original capacity, they could support 3.2 million bpd of flow.

The potential for disaster

“We don’t want to have a problem of leakage from the line,” Shamma said.

He’s not alone.

On an international level, shutting in 1.6 million bpd of Iraq’s oil exports would create an immediate spike in world oil prices, though Saudi Arabia could use its excess capacity to buffer the loss.

Domestically, Iraq needs to export all the oil it can. The country earned $39.2 billion from oil revenues last year, and has made $37.5 billion this year so far. Losing southern exports would cripple Iraq’s economy, which is already billions of dollars over budget every year and relies on outside loans from the International Monetary Fund.

From a regional and environmental perspective, Iraq and its neighbors would be hard hit by the effects of a spill in the Gulf.

“The environmental issue is just not a top priority (in the Iraqi government),” said Deputy Environmental Minister Kamal Latif. “We don’t have the capacity to deal with that amount of potential pollutant (in the event of a spill) if Iraq is producing that much oil.”

Iraq’s weak environmental record is a piece of Saddam Hussein’s legacy. Years of isolation during wars and sanctions also prevented Iraq from maintaining its infrastructure, and kept it from key regional initiatives designed to promote environmental protection. Compared to the many priorities that post-2003 Iraq has had to juggle, preventing and responding to an environmental disaster has received less attention.

But Iraq has just begun participating again in the Marine Emergency Mutual Aid Center and the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment, two of the leading Middle East marine protection groups, whose members include Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

A massive oil spill could harm relations with neighbors that are nearly as temperamental as the corroded pipelines. In the event of a pipeline rupture, Iranian, Kuwaiti and Saudi Arabian waters and shores could see Iraqi crude, depending on the direction of the current and the amount of oil spilled, according to a senior Western official familiar with the southern export expansion projects.

“Previous spills in the northern Gulf resulted in oil spreading to the shores of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia and expectations are that any future (south oil export) spills would behave similarly,” the official said. Saudi Arabia, specifically, could see crude clogging the desalination plants it relies on to provide the desert nation – and others in the region – with potable water.

But, like a patient in need of life-saving surgery but not quite healthy enough to go under the knife, Iraq will have to cross its fingers and wait. Either its pipelines break and catastrophe will ensue, or the massive export infrastructure program will be finished in time, and oil revenues will be not only secured, but quintupled.

The senior Western official, when asked in the days after the Gulf of Mexico spill about the consequences of an Iraqi pipeline rupture, said he was “very concerned,” though he noted that if the pipeline were to break on the Fao peninsula, shutting the pipelines off would be quick and clean-up would be captured on land.

At sea, however, where the presence of water heightens the risk of corrosion, a burst line would be far more disastrous – perhaps not quite as bad as the Deepwater Horizon spill, but not far off.

“That is not an unsubstantial amount as the two pipelines jointly contain approximately 28 million gallons of crude oil, or approaching three times what was spilled in the Exxon Valdez incident (approximately 10.8 million gallons),” the official said, referring to the oil tanker that ran aground off the coast of Alaska in 1989.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

World's largest power ship arrives in Karachi

The world's largest power generating has arrived in Karachi.

KARACHI: The world’s largest power-generating ship reached Karachi from Turkey on Thursday.

The Turkish-made power ship, Kaya Bey, is docked in the open sea between the Korangi Thermal Power Station and Jamot jetty.

The Turkish company (Karkey) that owns the ship guaranteed 93 per cent efficiency to provide the 231.8 MW based on diesel-run sets for 60 months.

Work on laying the high tension lines and an underground cable between the thermal plant and the Qayyumabad grid for the new supply has been completed and the network is being tested.

The ship came as part of an agreement signed a year ago between Pakistan and a private Turkish company. The Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco), Siemens and the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) have been preparing for its arrival.

As reported in The Express Tribune earlier, the ship will provide electricity to the Lakhra Power Generation Company Limited, a Pepco subsidiary, through KESC. Karkey has erected a tower to connect the power ship to the Karachi grid. It has also produced and delivered related interconnection protection panels to Lakhra Power after completing dredging and interconnection facilities.

The ship has the necessary fuel storage facilities on board or on storage vessels berthed near it. The company entered a rental services contract in December 2008 after winning the international bid and has completed necessary groundwork for operation of the ship.

The company entered a rental services contract in December 2008 after winning the international bid and will help to address the woes of domestic and industrial consumers of electricity in the city. These rental power plants will supply power to the national electricity grid in an attempt to stem the power crisis in the country.

The inauguration of the supply is expected after an on-board ceremony to welcome dignitaries on the 21st of this November.

FEATURE-Saudi Arabia less rigid with Muslims during haj

18 Nov 2010 11:15:32 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Ulf Laessing

MECCA, Saudi Arabia, Nov 18 (Reuters Life!) - Saudi Arabia's religious police keep such a low profile during the haj, it's hard to imagine that you are in Islam's holiest city.

The kingdom, where Islam first emerged around 1,400 years ago, applies a strict form of Sunni Islamic sharia law that imposes gender segregation, forces shops to close during prayer times and prohibits women from driving.

But in Mecca, the enforcement of many of these rules is relaxed during the haj, a duty for every able-bodied Muslim. And with the government investing billion of dollars in recent years to make pilgrimage safer and more comfortable, many pilgrims end up going home as goodwill ambassadors for the country.

"We have to thank Saudi Arabia for their services. It's getting better and better every year," said Ritha Naji, a U.S. pilgrim performing a "stoning of the devil" rite that has been the scene of numerous deadly crushes in recent years.

The Grand Mosque, home to the Kaaba shrine which Muslims around the world turn to in prayer every day, is the only place in the desert kingdom where women and men can pray together.

Western diplomats say this tolerance is part of wider efforts to improve the country's image over the past decade after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington in which Saudis were involved.

King Abdullah has tried hard to dispel the association between Saudi Arabia and lslamist militancy, promoting an international "interfaith dialogue" through the United Nations.

This year's haj -- which ended this week -- drew a record 1.8 million foreigners from diverse regions of the world like Nigeria, Russia and Indonesia that apply a less strict form of Islam than Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. ally often comes under fire from human rights groups criticising its public beheadings and lack of political freedoms in what is an absolute monarchy.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International called on Riyadh to improve the situation of expatriates after an Indonesian maid was reportedly mistreated by her employer.

But during haj Egyptians, Indians or Pakistanis -- who make up the bulk of millions of expatriates in the country -- receive markedly kinder treatment from Saudi officials who refer to pilgrims as "guests of the Merciful", meaning God.

Polite policemen guide pilgrims around the vast Grand Mosque, while the religious police turn a blind eye to pilgrims taking the kinds of photographs that they had frowned on in previous years.

In the capital Riyadh religious police scour the streets to keep unrelated men and women apart, but in Mecca the sexes mix easily in shops and restaurants. Some eat side-by-side on the ground in front of the Grand Mosque, an impossible sight elsewhere in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia's minority Shi'ites often complain of discrimination and attacks by Wahhabi clerics, yet during haj Iranian, Iraqi and other Shi'ites perform the rites unhindered.

Loudspeakers give instructions to the multitude in many languages, including English and Farsi, as well as Arabic.

SAFE HAJ IS KEY TO SAUDI PRESTIGE

As pilgrim numbers shot up over the past three decades, staging a safe haj became crucial for the image of a monarchy that styles its king Custodian of the Two Holy Sites -- a reference to the sacred precincts in Mecca and in Medina where the Prophet Mohammad set up the first Muslim administration.

A series of disasters have claimed hundreds of lives during haj since 1990, including fires, stampedes, hotel collapses and clashes between police and pilgrims staging political protests.

This year the government unveiled a haj train linking the holy sites in and around Mecca that cost $1.8 billion to build. It will only be used some six days a year.

"We want to give pilgrims the best possible level of services," Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz told reporters last week.

Thanks to its oil wealth, Saudi Arabia can afford to waive the fees for the services it provides, including drinking water, toilet facilities, medical and security services, as well as maintenance and expansion of the Grand Mosque itself.

Cold water is on tap at every corner and medics turn up within minutes when someone collapses. Saudi firms distribute umbrellas as protection from the sun.

The plain of Arafat, where pilgrims spend a whole day according to the rites, has a vast sprinkler system covering an area of some 1.3 sq km (0.5 square miles).

"The Saudi services for pilgrims are really good. One has to say that," said Mohammed Idam, a Yemeni cooling under the spray in the afternoon heat at Arafat.

The efforts pay off in the positive message many pilgrims take home with them.

"Our Saudi brothers have expanded many services," said Moroccan pilgrim Mohammed Hamdush.

"Now they've built a train for pilgrims, which is nice."

(Editing by Andrew Hammond and Paul Casciato)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Facebook takes on Google, Yahoo on email, messages


SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook trotted out an all-in-one messaging tool on Monday that pools users' email, instant and text messages, taking on Google Inc's and Yahoo Inc's popular email platforms.

Addressing speculation the world's largest social networking site was planning a "Gmail-killer," Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said the new system will let users own "facebook.com" addresses, but stressed it did not stop at email.

It also lets users send instant and text messages in addition to standard email and Facebook notes, he said.

"This is not an email killer. This is a messaging system that includes email as one part of it," Zuckerberg told reporters at the swanky St. Regis hotel.

Zuckerberg, who said more than 350 million of Facebook's half-billion users now actively send and receive messages on his website, did not see communications being email-based in future.

While people will not stop using email immediately, more and more will shift to an integrated, cross-platform mode of communications such as Facebook, Zuckerberg argued.

More than 4 billion messages get sent everyday through Facebook. Its new messaging platform will incorporate a number of features, including an inbox devoted to a user's friends and contacts on Facebook, and another for other mail and messages.

Facebook and Google's intensifying rivalry is expected to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the Internet. The industry is closely watching their pitched struggle for Web surfers' time online, advertising dollars, and increasingly costly Silicon Valley talent.

===============
Google bars data from Facebook as rivalry heats up
By Alexei Oreskovic, Reuters
Posted at 11/06/2010 5:56 PM | Updated as of 11/09/2010 3:20 PM



SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc will begin blocking Facebook and other Web services from accessing its users' information, highlighting an intensifying rivalry between the two Internet giants.

Google will no longer let other services automatically import its users' email contact data for their own purposes, unless the information flows both ways. It accused Facebook in particular of siphoning up Google contact data, without allowing for the automatic import and export of Facebook users' information.

Facebook, with more than 500 million users, relies on email services such as Google's Gmail to help new users find friends already on the network. When a person joins, they are asked to import their Gmail contact list into the social network service. Facebook then tells the user which email contacts are also on the social network.

In a statement, Google said websites such as Facebook "leave users in a data dead end." Facebook did not immediately provide a comment on Friday.

While Google framed the move as an attempt to protect its users' ability to retain control of their personal data on the Internet, analysts said the move underscored the battle between Google, the world's largest search engine, and Facebook, the dominant Internet social network.

"The fundamental power dynamic on the Web today is this emerging conflict between Facebook and Google," said Gartner analyst Ray Valdes. "Google needs to evolve to become a big player in the social Web and it hasn't been able to do that."

"If people do search within Facebook, if they do email within Facebook, if they do instant messaging within Facebook, all of these will chip away at Google's properties."

Reciprocity

Google said that while it makes it easy for other Web services to automatically import a user's contact data, Facebook was not reciprocating.

"We have decided to change our approach slightly to reflect the fact that users often aren't aware that once they have imported their contacts into sites like Facebook, they are effectively trapped," Google said in an emailed statement.

"We will no longer allow websites to automate the import of users' Google Contacts (via our API) unless they allow similar export to other sites," Google said.

Some technology blogs were reporting that Facebook still appeared to be allowing users to import their Google Gmail contacts into Facebook as of mid-day Friday.

A Google spokesman told Reuters that the company had begun enforcing the new rules "gradually."

Google also stressed that users will still be able to manually download their contacts to their computers in "an open, machine-readable format" which can then be imported into any Web service.

Google has coveted the wealth of information that Facebook's half-billion users generate and amass. Having access to that data could be especially valuable to Google, whose business model is based on allowing its users to find any information anywhere on the Web.

"Google is trying to use the leverage that it has to get as much access to the Facebook social graph (network of friends and interests) that it can, so it can provide the best search function that it can," said Wedbush Securities analyst Lou Kerner. "The more data Google has access to the better its search results are going to be."

Last month, Facebook announced a deal with Microsoft Corp allowing Facebook information -- such as Web pages that Facebook users have endorsed by clicking on "like" buttons -- to appear within Microsoft search results.

Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt said in September the company would add social "layers" to many of its existing Web products in the coming months, following its less-than-stellar track record of developing stand-alone social networking products like Orkut and the recently shuttered Wave service.

Google also has acquired a slew of small social networking companies in recent months, including Slide and social payment company Jambool.

Gartner's Valdes said access to the explosion of new types of data generated by Web services, such as location-based services, would provide further flashpoints between Google and Facebook.

"It's one skirmish among many to come," said Valdes.

Google's shares closed Friday's regular session down 81 cents at $625.08.


====





WASHINGTON - Facebook, rumored for some time to be planning its own email service, may finally be on the verge of doing so in a move that would send a shot across the bow of Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

TechCrunch, a leading Silicon Valley technology blog, reported Friday that the social network plans to announce a Web-based email service complete with @facebook.com addresses at an event in San Francisco on Monday.

Agence France-Presse and other media outlets have been invited to Facebook's event but have not been told what it will be about.

Facebook boasts more than 500 million members around the world and offering a personal email service would lay down a powerful challenge to the established email giants -- Microsoft's Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and Google's Gmail.

Hotmail currently has the most users, 361.7 million as of September, according to online tracking firm comScore, followed by Yahoo! with 273.1 million and Gmail with 193.3 million.

TechCrunch said Facebook's planned Web-based email service is part of a secret project known as "Project Titan" that is "unofficially referred to internally as its 'Gmail killer.'"

"And while it may only be in early stages come its launch Monday, there's a huge amount of potential here," TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid noted.

The report comes amid a recent bout of sparring between Facebook and Google over data sharing and Silicon Valley engineering talent.

Google last week blocked Facebook from importing Gmail contact information over the Palo Alto, California-based social network's refusal to reciprocate and share data about its users.

And The Wall Street Journal reported that Internet search king Google, in a bid to stem defections to rival technology firms such as Facebook, has given all of its 23,000 employees a 10% pay hike.

According to the Journal, roughly 10% of Facebook's employees are Google veterans.

TechCrunch's Kincaid and others noted the advantages Facebook could bring to an email battle.

"Facebook has the world's most popular photos product, the most popular events product, and soon will have a very popular local deals product as well," Kincaid said.

"It can tweak the design of its webmail client to display content from each of these in a seamless fashion.

"And there's also the social element: Facebook knows who your friends are and how closely you're connected to them; it can probably do a pretty good job figuring out which personal emails you want to read most and prioritize them accordingly," he said.

Gadget blog Gizmodo said the prospect of an email service from Facebook should make Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft "very nervous."

"Facebook Mail could be a killer not only because of its potential instant size, but because of its natural advantage at making mail more useful," Gizmodo blogger Jesus Diaz said.

"Actually, it may become the only 100% useful mail service out there, only showing you the email you are actually interested in," Diaz said.

"Since Facebook knows how you interact with all your contacts, they would be able to perfectly separate what is important from what is not."

"Of course, not every Facebook user will jump on its mail bandwagon," Diaz added. "But chances are that a huge percentage of the user base will."


============


San Francisco, California (CNN) -- Facebook wants to be your inbox for every kind of message.

The world's largest social networking company is providing each of its 500 million users with an @facebook.com e-mail address as part of a revamped messaging system that integrates with various types of communications.

Facebook's new inbox can tie together mail sent to someone's e-mail address, instant-message aliases and cell phone number in addition to Facebook's own messages and chat conversations. Like the News Feed, unread notes are ranked by how important Facebook thinks the sender is in your life, and users can tweak those settings.

"Because we know who your friends are," said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, "we can do some really good filtering for you."

Rather than creating separate threads for each conversation, Facebook logs all communications and groups them together by contact. So all chats with your mom are listed on one page. Based on a brief demo Monday, the stripped-down page resembles an IM or text-message window, eliminating the option of e-mail subject lines.
Facebook shakes up e-mail

"I should only need those two things: a person and a message," Andrew Bosworth, a software engineer at Facebook, said at the company's news event Monday. "The system is definitely not e-mail. We've actually modeled it more after chat."

Incoming messages pop up on the bottom of Facebook's site, similar to the chat feature.
RELATED TOPICS

* Facebook Inc.
* Mark Zuckerberg
* Instant Messaging
* Texting and MMS

"We think that we should take features away from messaging," Zuckerberg said. "We think it should be minimal."

But like e-mail, users can attach files. Sharing documents via Microsoft's Office Web Apps service will be integrated "over the coming months," a Microsoft spokeswoman said.

The inbox is broken into three folders.

The "social inbox" contains conversations with your top contacts -- people you message with most often. An "other" folder keeps correspondences of less importance, or those with people or companies that Facebook's system is not familiar with, such as banking notices. (Operators of pages you've "Liked" can send messages to this folder as well.) Finally, the service filters what it thinks is spam into a last bin.

Facebook will launch this with a "slow rollout," said Bosworth, turning it on for more users over time. Facebook's iPhone application will support the new inbox Monday for accounts that have it enabled, Bosworth said.

The system may incorporate more services later. Zuckerberg said he considered voice as one.

For instant messaging, it supports Jabber -- the underlying technology of Google Chat -- but not Skype, AIM or Windows Live Messenger. Support for IMAP, which would allow Facebook.com e-mail users to access their inbox from a program such as Microsoft's Outlook, is in development, Zuckerberg said.

Zuckerberg opened the announcement by talking about changes in how young people communicate. He reminisced about a conversation with some high school students who said they primarily talked through Facebook and text messaging on their phones. E-mail is "too slow," he recalled them saying.

"It's not that e-mail doesn't get delivered immediately," Zuckerberg said. "It's too formal."

Numerous studies, as recently as April of this year, have found that e-mail is a very small part of how young people keep in touch. Facebook has modeled its new system to reflect those trends. Zuckerberg said 350 million people use its system for private correspondences, transmitting 4 billion messages a day.

Zuckerberg will take the stage again Tuesday during the Web 2.0 Summit, presumably to elaborate on this new system, which Bosworth said has been among the company's biggest undertakings. The project took about 18 months of work from 15 engineers -- the largest team the company has ever devoted to a new product, Bosworth said.

At least 55 killed in Delhi building collapse

16 Nov 2010 02:25:28 GMT
Source: Reuters
NEW DELHI, Nov 16 (Reuters) - At least 55 people were killed and 75 injured after a multi-storey building collapsed in east Delhi late on Monday, local media said.

Local television channels said rescue operations as some people were still feared to trapped in the debris.

Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dixit blamed the building's faulty construction for the tragedy.

"This is the carelessness of the builder...I am not even sure if it is an authorised or unauthorised building," she said. (Reporting by Rajesh Kumar Singh)

=============

Shanghai apartment block fire death toll rises to 53
16 Nov 2010 02:00:20 GMT
Source: Reuters
SHANGHAI, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The death toll from a fire that swept through a central Shanghai apartment block on Monday has risen to 53, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Xinhua had reported earlier that 42 people had perished in the blaze, which broke out on Monday afternoon in a 28-storey building that was being renovated.

Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu has flown to Shanghai and called for a thorough investigation into the cause of the fire, saying those responsible would be punished, Xinhua said on Tuesday.

More than 70 people were hospitalised after the blaze, it said.

The cause of the fire was unknown, but a witness said he saw construction material burning before the fire climbed up the scaffolding and quickly spread, Xinhua reported. (Reporting by Jason Subler; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Hussain Haroon to remain at his post

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Abdullah Hussain Haroon said on Saturday that he had been granted an extension.

Haroon said that although he had made a “principled stand” to be relieved of his duties, he had been asked to continue due to important developments like floods and India’s ambitions to be part of UN’s Security Council. “My purpose is to return and do some welfare work for the people,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 14th, 2010.


============

Born on 21 October 1950, Ambassador Haroon completed his education from Karachi
Grammar School and Karachi University. He began his early carrier in public service as
election Coordinator for Pakistan Muslim League in 1970. Later he served as
Councillor, Karachi Metropolitan Corporation KMC through 1979-1985, remained
Trustee Karachi Port Trust 1980-1982, Member Sindh Provincial Assembly 1985-1988,
Speaker, Provincial Assembly of Sindh 1985-1986 and leader of opposition, Sindh
Assembly from 1986 to1988. He also served as Consultant, Pakistan Herald Publication
1988-1989, delegate to UN General Assembly, Member to the Board of Governors,
Institute of Business Administration Karachi 1996-1999, Director Board of Directors
Karachi Electric Supply Corporation 1997-1999, Chairman Griffith College Karachi
1999-2005 and President, Pakistan-China Business Forum from 1999 to 2004.


He joined the post of Permanent Representative Pakistan to the United Nations in New
York on 3rd of September 2008.
Hussain Abdullah Haroon formerly speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh, On
28th February, 1985 General Zia-ul-Haq hold elections on non party basis, sits on the
board of several educational institutes, sports associations and charity organizations. He
also has the distinction of being the youngest President of the Sind Club. The elder
brother of Hameed Haroon and grandson of Sir Abdullah Haroon whom Quaid-e-Azam
called one of the strongest pillars of the Muslim League.

Hussain Abdullah Haroon
belong to noble Sindhi family. He is member of many boards of educational institutes,
sports associations and charity organizations. He also has the distinction of being the
youngest President of the Sindh Club. He also been part of protest against real estate
development in Bundal Island by Emaar. Hussain Haroon is the chair of the English
speaking club of Karachi.


In July 2008, Hussain Abdullah Haroon was appointed as the Permanent Representative
of Pakistan to the United Nations, replacing veteran Munir Akram. He took over the
post on 3 September, 2008.


The PPP government has nominated Hussain Haroon, a Karachi-based businessman,
social activist and former Sindh Assembly speaker for the key diplomatic position of
Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, The News has learnt

===

Is China overtaking America?
While it is the world's second largest economy, China is unlikely to become the dominant global power.
Joseph S Nye Last Modified: 08 Apr 2011 12:52

Even though Chinese growth is outpacing the US, it is unlikely to ever replace America as a dominant powerhouse [AP]

The twenty-first century is witnessing Asia's return to what might be considered its historical proportions of the world's population and economy.

In 1800, Asia represented more than half of global population and output. By 1900, it represented only 20 per cent of world output – not because something bad happened in Asia, but rather because the Industrial Revolution had transformed Europe and North America into the world's workshop.

Asia's recovery began with Japan, then moved to South Korea and on to Southeast Asia, beginning with Singapore and Malaysia. Now the recovery is focused on China, and increasingly involves India, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the process.
This change, however, is also creating anxieties about shifting power relations among states. In 2010, China passed Japan to become the world's second largest economy.

Indeed, the investment bank Goldman Sachs expects the Chinese economy's total size to surpass that of the United States by 2027.
But, even if overall Chinese GDP reaches parity with that of the US in the 2020s, the two economies will not be equal in composition.

China would still have a vast underdeveloped countryside. Assuming six per cent Chinese GDP growth and only two per cent US growth after 2030, China would not equal the US in terms of per capita income – a better measure of an economy's sophistication – until sometime near the second half of the century.
Moreover, linear projections of economic growth trends can be misleading. Emerging countries tend to benefit from imported technologies in the early stages of economic takeoff, but their growth rates generally slow as they reach higher levels of development.

And the Chinese economy faces serious obstacles to sustainable rapid growth, owing to inefficient state-owned enterprises, growing inequality, massive internal migration, an inadequate social safety net, corruption, and inadequate institutions, all of which could foster political instability.

China's north and east have outpaced its south and west. Almost alone among developing countries, China is ageing extraordinarily fast. By 2030, China will have more elderly dependents than children. Some Chinese demographers worry that the country will get old before getting rich.

During the past decade, China moved from being the world's ninth largest exporter to its leader, displacing Germany at the top.

But China's export-led development model will need to be adjusted as global trade and financial balances become more contentious. Indeed, China's 12th Five-Year Plan is aimed at reducing dependence on exports and boosting domestic demand. Will it work?

China's authoritarian political system has thus far shown an impressive capacity to achieve specific targets, for example, staging a successful Olympic Games, building high-speed rail projects, or even stimulating the economy to recover from the global financial crisis.

Whether China can maintain this capability over the longer term is a mystery to outsiders and Chinese leaders themselves.

Unlike India, which was born with a democratic constitution, China has not yet found a way to channel the demands for political participation (if not democracy) that tend to accompany rising per capita income.

Communist ideology is long gone, so the legitimacy of the ruling party depends on economic growth and ethnic Han nationalism. Whether China can develop a formula to manage an expanding urban middle class, regional inequality, and resentment among ethnic minorities remains to be seen.

The basic point is that no one, including the Chinese, knows how China's political future will affect its economic growth.

Some analysts argue that China aims to challenge America's position as the world's dominant power. Even if this were an accurate assessment of China's intentions (and even Chinese cannot know the views of future generations), it is doubtful that China will have the military capability to make this possible.

To be sure, Chinese military expenditures, up more than 12 per cent this year, have been growing even more rapidly than its economy.

But China's leaders will have to contend with other countries' reactions, as well as with the constraints implied by the need for external markets and resources in order to meet their economic-growth objectives.

A Chinese military posture that is too aggressive could produce a countervailing coalition among its neighbours, thereby weakening China's hard and soft power.

In 2010, for example, as China became more assertive in its foreign policy toward its neighbours, its relations with India, Japan, and South Korea suffered. As a result, China will find it more difficult to exclude the US from Asia's security arrangements.

China's size and high rate of economic growth will almost certainly increase its relative strength vis-à-vis the US in the coming decades.

This will certainly bring the Chinese closer to the US in terms of power resources, but China will not necessarily surpass the US as the most powerful country.

Even if China suffers no major domestic political setback, many current projections based on GDP growth alone are too one-dimensional: they ignore US military and soft-power advantages, as well as China's geopolitical disadvantages in the internal Asian balance of power.

My own estimate is that among the range of possible futures, the more likely scenarios are those in which China gives the US a run for its money, but does not surpass it in overall power in the first half of this century.

Most importantly, the US and China should avoid developing exaggerated fears of each other's capacities and intentions. The expectation of conflict can itself become a cause of conflict.

In reality, China and the US do not have deeply rooted conflicting interests. Both countries, along with others, have much more to gain from cooperation.

Joseph S. Nye, Jr. is a professor at Harvard and the author of The Future of Power.

This article first appeared on Project Syndicate.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

==========


By Sui-Lee Wee Sui-lee Wee – Tue Apr 12, 6:50 am ET
BEIJING (Reuters) – A 21-year-old Chinese man who attended a proposed pro-democracy "Jasmine Revolution" protest in Beijing was sentenced to labor re-education, in the first confirmed punishment for the Middle East-inspired gatherings that were squashed by wary authorities.
The man, Wei Qiang, was sentenced to 2 years in a labor re-education camp. He was a former art student who did some work at the studio of the detained artist-activist Ai Weiwei, according to two friends of Wei, who confirmed his sentence to Reuters.

That connection may be one element that helps explain why authorities moved against Ai, whose detention sparked an outcry from Washington and other Western capitals critical of the Chinese Communist Party's crackdown on dissent.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it was unhappy with foreign support for Ai, an internationally known artist, as well as a vocal critic of censorship.

Wei was seized by police in Beijing on February 25 for participating "in an illegal assembly and demonstration" at Beijing's downtown Wangfujing shopping street on February 20 and then held in a detention center in the capital, according to two of his friends who had spoken to Wei's father.

An overseas Chinese website had spread calls for pro-democracy gatherings in Beijing and other Chinese cities, citing uprisings across the Arab world as inspiration.

Wei's parents were told last week that he had been sent to a labor re-education camp in Yan'an city in central Shaanxi province, Yang Hai, a close friend of Wei's family, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"He is full of integrity and has a strong sense of righteousness," said Yang, 43, who lives in Xi'an, the provincial capital of Shaanxi. "But to send someone to labor camp, it's such a pity. It's outrageous. For someone still so young, the mental blow will be too huge."

Another friend of Wei confirmed the labor re-education sentence. That friend spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals from authorities.

DOZENS DETAINED

Chinese authorities have detained dozens of dissidents, human rights lawyers and bloggers following the calls for the "Jasmine" protests, which were poorly attended but quickly snuffed out by the authorities.

Wei's photographs of the gathering at Wangfujing on his Twitter account, which has more than 3,200 followers, showed a crowd of reporters and policemen standing guard outside the McDonald's restaurant.

"These two police officers shamelessly kept on telling me: 'Walk on, walk on, what's there to look at? Disperse, disperse!'" he wrote in a message on February 20.

China's "re-education through labor" system empowers police and other agencies to sentence people to up to four years' confinement without going through the courts.

It is a system that critics say undermines rule of law, and rights activists say it targets political prisoners, as well as prostitutes and drug users.

"This is very arbitrary, there's often no logic," said Wang Songlian of rights group Chinese Human Rights Defenders. "He's not a well-known activist so they might just want to send him to a labor camp and not bother with a trial."

The EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Tuesday she was deeply concerned at the "deterioration in the human rights situation in China."

"Arbitrary arrests and disappearances must cease," she said in a statement. "I urge the Chinese authorities to clarify the whereabouts of all persons who have disappeared recently."

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the detention of Ai Weiwei was dealt in accordance with the law.

"The Chinese people also feel baffled -- why do some people in some countries treat Chinese crime suspect as a hero? The Chinese people are unhappy about this. The handling of this matter will show that China is a country ruled by law."

(Additional reporting by Chris Buckley and Sabrina Mao; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Pakistan second globally for 'extreme risk' of terrorism

Reuters
Rescue workers search for the bodies amid debris at the scene of a suicide car bomb blast, in Karachi, Pakistan, 11 November 2010. PHOTO: EPA

LONDON: While Somalia tops the list, Pakistan is second among 16 countries at extreme risk from terrorism according to a study published by British global risks advisory firm.

Pakistan, where more than 2,000 people have been killed in a wave of deadly attacks by militants since 2007, moved up one place to become the country second most at risk, while neighbouring Afghanistan slipped from second place to fourth.

Somalia has replaced Iraq as the state most at risk from terrorist attack, according to a ranking by global analysts Maplecroft, which sees threats also rising in Russia, Greece and Yemen but falling in India and Algeria.

A statement by the consultancy about its latest Terrorism Risk Index said increased dangers seen in Somalia and Yemen were caused by al Qaeda-associated violence while those in Russia stemmed from attacks by separatists from the North Caucasus.

The largest change in the rankings was Greece, which moved from 57 to 24 to become the European country most at risk, a trend the consultancy said was due to violent left-wing groups.

Iraq, where sectarian carnage unleashed after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion is receding, is now in third place.

Security experts say the global risks posed by militant groups were most recently underscored by al Qaeda’s claim of responsibility for the planting of explosives on cargo planes flying to the United States from Yemen last month.

Maplecroft said Somalia suffered 556 terrorist incidents, in which 1,437 people were killed and 3,408 wounded, between June 2009 and June 2010, the period on which the rankings are based.

“Somalia is the most extreme risk country,” it said.

“It has the highest number of deaths from terrorism per population and surpassed Iraq and Afghanistan in the number of fatalities per terrorist attack.”

Maplecroft said much of Somalia’s violence was attributable to the al Qaeda-aligned al Shabaab militant group, which has been fighting a weak transitional government for three years and now controls swathes of the south and centre of the country.

Yemen, across the Gulf of Aden, worries the West because it is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which claimed the failed cargo plane attack and a botched plot by a Nigerian student to bomb an airliner over Detroit on Dec. 25 2009.

The UK-based company’s index rates 196 countries on the number, frequency and intensity of terrorism attacks, plus the likelihood of mass casualties occurring. While based on historical data, it is intended as a forward-looking assessment.

The index’s reporting period partly overlaps with calendar 2009 data used in a previous ranking issued in Feb. 2010.

None of the main Western economies fall within the ranking’s high or extreme risk bracket. The United States is at 33, France 44 and Britain 46, all in the medium risk category, while Canada at 67, and Germany at 70 are rated as low risk.

The index lists 16 countries as extreme risk, topped by Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan and followed by the Palestinian Territories in fifth place, Colombia 6, Thailand 7, Philippines 8, Yemen 9 and Russia 10.

The company said that an increase in risk in Russia, which rose to 10 from 15, was due to a rise in big attacks by separatists from the North Caucasus including twin suicide bombings on the Moscow metro in March 2010 which killed 40 people.

Other major movers in the index included Algeria, which fell to 36 from 7, and India, which dropped to 15 from 6.

Allegations against the ISI

The writer is a retired brigadier who has served in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata asad.munir@tribune.com.pk

Hillary Clinton, Matt Waldman of the London School of Economics and Wikileaks have blamed the ISI for their active support for the Taliban. This is not the first instance that an official of the US administration or a western research institute has directly, or indirectly, accused the ISI of having links with the Afghan Taliban and the al Qaeda leadership. This is a widespread impression, not only in the western media but also in the local media and the public of this country. Primarily, this perception is based on lack of information and ignorance about the role and functioning of the ISI.

A number of terrorist groups are operating in this region. The CIA, through the ISI, trained the Mujahideen to fight Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Muslims from all over the world were encouraged to come to Peshawar and Quetta. The ISI and CIA imparted training to these jihadis to fight Russian troops. In February 1989, Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan. More than 90 per cent of these foreign jiahdis left Pakistan for their own countries in 1989-90, including Osama. Therefore, the al Qaeda militants now fighting against the army are not those trained by the ISI in the 1980s.

The second group of militants is from Central Asia. They were not part of the Afghan jihad, since these states came into existence in 1991. These militants are mostly from the Islamic Movement of Uzbeks (IMU), formed in 1998. They came to Afghanistan, to train terrorists in camps, return to their countries and topple their regimes through violent means. In the post 9/11 scenario, they crossed over to South and North Waziristan. They received no training from the ISI.

The local Taliban first appeared in North Waziristan and Orakzai agency in 1998-99. The presence of foreign militants in Fata and their raids against coalition forces in Afghanistan, motivated people living in the tribal areas to raise a Taliban force in other agencies, in 2003-2004. The people, then at the helm of affairs, did not take this threat seriously. There was no consensus on how to tackle the local Taliban. Dialogues were preferred over army action. Various peace agreements, enacted between 2004 and 2006, enabled them to spread their influence to all agencies in the tribal areas. Operations by the army against the TTP prove that the latter had no links with the ISI.

The other group, known as the ‘Punjabi Taliban’, comprises members of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Sipah-e-Sahaba, Jaish-e-Mohammad and various factions of Harkat. Once banned, groups from these outfits joined other terrorists in tribal areas. They are responsible for most of the terrorist incidents executed in Punjab.

The ISI was not involved in the creation of the Afghan Taliban, but established links with them once they captured Kandahar. The perceived presence of Indians in Afghanistan, the resurgence of the Taliban, the failure of coalition forces to secure Pashtun areas, the expected withdrawal of Nato forces, and offers of negotiation to the Taliban by Hamid Karzai are some of the factors which may have compelled Pakistan to review its Afghan policy. Even now, Pakistan would not like the Taliban to return to power and establish a radical regime in Afghanistan since this would promote Talibanisation within Pakistan. What Pakistan would most likely desire is that any future Afghan regime should not be hostile to Pakistan. The ISI is a disciplined organisation in which no individual or group can run his own agenda. Therefore, those who talk of individuals from the agency knowing Osama’s whereabouts are not familiar with the functioning of this organisation.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2010.

====


Elements in ISI aiding terrorists: Pentagon

The Pentagon has alleged that some elements in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were supporting terrorist networks in the region. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has alleged that some elements in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were supporting terrorist networks in the region, thus undermining the war against terrorism by the US-led international forces.

Pentagon spokesperson Colonel David Lapan told reporters that some members of the ISI “might be interacting with terrorist organisations in ways that aren’t consistent with what the government and military are doing.”

He was responding to questions about a news report in The Wall Street Journal which said that ISI was asking and assisting the Taliban against Nato and US forces in Afghanistan.

Noting that the ISI as an organisation does not support terrorism, Lapan said some elements within the intelligence agency are providing assistance to terrorists.

US officials have raised concerns about whether some members of the ISI “might be interacting with terrorist organisations in ways that aren’t consistent with what the government and military are doing,” he said.

Observing that the top Pakistan military leadership is working to correct the problem, he said that like any large organisation, change is difficult and comes slowly.

“The ISI has done a great deal in fighting terrorism. Some have said they probably have killed more terrorists than any other organisation. But we also have some concerns with the strategic focus of the ISI,” Col Lapan said, adding that Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is aware of these concern and shares it. “Our optimism is that General Kayani understands and has made it clear that they need to make some changes,” he said.Online

Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2010.

It was Bin Laden Family who attacked on Ka'aba on November 20, 1979

It was Bin Laden Family who attacked on Ka'aba on November 20, 1979





محمد بن عبداللہ الخطانی کا تعلق سعودیہ کے شاہی خاندان اور اُسامہ بن لادن فیملی سے تھا، جسنے 20 نومبر 1979 کے دن اہنے 700 سے ذائد ساتھیوں کے ہمراہ خانہ کعبہ پر قبضہ کیا اور امام مہدی ھونے کا دعویٰ بھی کیا تھا، ان لوگوں نے اسی حرم کے اندر جہاں حشرات کو مارنے پر پابندی ھے، میں خانہ کعبہ کے 127 گارڈز کے ساتھ ساتھ 451 زائرین کو بھی شھید کیا(گو کہ اصل تعداد تو ہزاروں میں ھے، مگر وہی تعداد بیان کی جا رہی ھے جسے سعودی حکومت نے آفیشل طور پر قبول بھی کیا اور اسکا اعلان بھی کیا)



اس واقعے سے مطعلق تمام تر تصاویروں اور ویڈیوز کی نشر و اشاعت کو سعودی حکومت نے ممنوع قرار دیا اور اسکی اقتداء میں تمام دُنیا کے میڈیا والوں نے اس واقعے اور اسکے تمام ثبوتوں کو ایسا دبا رکھا ھے جیسے کہ یا تو یہ اندھوناک اور قبیح واقعہ کبھی ھوا ھی نہ ھو، مگر پھر بھی چند چھوٹے موٹے غیر سرکاری اخبارات اور جرائد نے اس خبر کو ایک آدھ بار جاری تو کیا مگر بعد میں حکومتی دباؤ کی بناء پر اسپر مذید تبصروں سے گریز کیا۔



اس اندھوناک اور انتہائی شرمناک واقعے کو بیان کرنے سے پہلے اس واقعات کے پس منظر پر نظر ڈالنا نہایت ہی ضروری ھے تاکہ اس واقعے کے پیچھے اصل مُحرّکات اور اسباب کو اُس کے اصلی روپ میں جانا جا سکے۔ جسکی ابتداء میں اُسامہ بن لادن کے یمنی نژاد باپ محمد بن عوض بن لادن سے کرنا چاہونگا۔



اُسامہ بن لادن کا باپ محمد بن عوض بن لادن ایک غریب گھرانے کا تعلیم سے عاری، مزدور شخص تھا،جسنے آل سعود کی زیر نگرانی بریطانیہ، فرانس، اٹلی، اسپین کی فوجوں کے ساتھ ملکر سلطنت عُثمانیہ کی حکومت کا تختہ اُلٹا جسمیں لاکھوں مُسلمانوں کو قتل کیا گیا۔سعودی حُکمران، عبدالعزیز آل سعود نے عوض بن لادن کی خدمات کے صلے میں اُسے جنّت البقیع کے مزارات کو مُنہدم کر کے آل رسول(ع)، اصحاب رسول(ص) اور ازواج رسول(ص) کی چودہ سو سالوں سے قائم مزارات اور قبروں کو شھید کرنے کا ٹھیکہ دیا، اور پھر 21 اپریل 1925 کو عوض بن لادن نے جنّت البقیع کے مزارات مُقدّسہ کو شھید کر دیا، اس حرکت کی اصل وجہ برطانوی سامراج کے خلاف برصغیر، ایشیا، افریقہ اور یورپ میں تیزی سے پھیلتی ھوئی خلافت موومنٹ کی مقبولیت اور طاقت کو کُچلنا تھا، جسکے بانیوں میں، علامہ اقبال(ر)، مولانا مُحمّد علی جوہر(ر)، مولانا آذاد جیسے سینکڑوں جیّد عُلماء اور مُفکّرین شامل تھے۔



عوض بن لادن نے یہ کام اتنی تیزی سے کیا کہ جبتک یہ بات کسی کو پتہ چلتی اُسوقت تک عوض بن لادن نے راتوں رات میں جنّت البقیع کے مزارات کو اسلام کے نام پر شھید کر دیا، اور اسی سال 1925 میں عبد العزیز آل سعود نے، عوض بن لادن کو جنّت المُعلّیٰ کے مزارات کو شھید کرنے کا حُکم بھی دے دیا۔ اس کام کو انجام دینے کیلیئے عوض بن لادن نے، "بن لادن کنسٹرکشن کمپنی" کی بنیاد رکھی جو بعد میں "بن لادن گروپ آف کمپنیز" اور پھر "سعودی بن لادن گروپ" بنی، جسے سعودی عرب کے تمام سرکاری اور غیر سرکاری کاموں کا ٹھیکہ دیا گیا اور اسطرح بن لادن گروپ آف کمپنیز دُنیا کی سب سے بّڑی کنسٹرکشن کمپنی بن گئی



یہ وہی کمپنی ھے جسے سعودی دفاعی عمارتوں، پُلوں، سڑکوں کے ساتھ ساتھ مسجد نبوی(ص) اور خانہ کعبہ کی توسیع، تزیّن و آرائش کا ٹھیکہ بھی دیا گیا، اور یہ وہی کمپنی ھے جسکے ڈائریکٹرز میں اُسامہ بن لادن کا سوتیلا بھائی ماہ روز بن لادن، اُسکا بہنوئی جُھیمن سیف العتیبی، اور جُھیمن کے بہنوئی محمد بن عبداللہ اور اسی کمپنی میں کام کرنے والے ہزاروں لوگوں کو اسلام کے نام پر ترغیب دیکر 20 نومبر 1979 جو کہ یکم محرم الحرام 1400ھ کی صبح نماز فجر کے وقت اُسوقت خانہ کعبہ پر قبضہ کر لیا جب حُجاج کرام، زائرین اور شہر مکّہ کے مکین نماز فجر کی ادائیگی اُس وقت کے امام کعبہ امام شیخ عبد العزیز بن عبداللہ بن باز کے پیچھے پڑھ رھے تھے۔



ذیل میں تصویر بھی اُسی محمد عبداللہ(ملعون) کی ھے، جس نے اُسوقت (نعوذ بللہ) امام مہدی ھونے کا دعویٰ، بھی کیا تھا، تاکہ انکی اس حرکت کا الزام اُسوقت کی ایران حکومت اور اسلامی انقلاب سے مُسلمانوں کو گُمراہ کیا جا سکے اور مُسلمانوں کو جمع کر کے ایران کے اسلامی انقلاب کا امریکہ کے ایماء پر خاتمہ کیا جا سکے۔ مگر ایران کے انقلابی رہنما آیۃاللہ الخُمینی(ر) نے فوراً اس گھناؤنے کفریہ عمل کی سخت الفاظوں مُذمّت کرتے ھوئے اسے امریکہ کی سازش قرار دیا، جسکے نتیجے میں 21 نومبر 1979 کو یعنی خانہ کعبہ پر قبضے کے دوسرے ہی دن اسلام آباد، پاکستان میں قائم امریکی سفارت خانے کو آگ لگا دی گئی، اور اسطرح مُتحدہ عرب امارت، ترکی، لیبیا، یمن، فلپّین، لیبیا، اُردن اور بنگلہ دیش میں موجود امریکی سفارات خانوں کو بھی نُقصان پہنچایا گیا اور آگ لگائی گئی۔ اور اسطرح سے جو ایران کے اسلامی انقلاب کے خلاف جو گھناؤنی سازش تیّار کی گئی تھی وہ انھی کے گلے میں آن پڑی۔



خانہ کعبہ پر قبضے کے لیئے انھوں نے بن لادن گروپ آف کمپنیز کی گاڑیاں استعمال کیں اور اُنھی گاڑیوں میں اسلحہ اور بارود بھر بھر کر وہ پہلے سے خانہ کعبہ کے بیسمنٹ میں جمع کرتے رھے، اور پھر یکم محرم الحرام 1400ھ بمطابق 20 نومبر 1979 کی صبح انھوں نے اپنے 700 سے ذائد ساتھیوں کے ہمراہ چاروں طرف سے خانہ کعبہ کے دروازوں کو اندر سے بند کر کے اور اُنپر مظبوط زنجیریں باندھ کر 50،000 سے ذائد زائرین کو یرغمال بنا کر کیا، اس قبضے کے دوران انھوں نے بہت سے محافظوں اور زائرین کرام کو خانہ کعبہ کی مسجد کے احاطے ھی میں شھید کر دیا۔ سعودی حکومت کے مُطابق انھوں نے خانہ کعبہ کے سامنے 127 محافظوں کو قتل کیا اور 451 حُجاج اور زائرین کرام کو شھید کیا، جبکہ غیر مُصدّقہ اطلاعات کیمُطابق شھید کیئے جانے والے زائرین کی تعداد ہزاروں میں تھی، جسمیں سے اکثر اُسوقت شھید ھوئے



جب ہیلی کاپٹروں سے خانہ کعبہ پر فائرنگ کی گئی، اور جب لوکل اور انٹر نیشنل میڈیا نے اُن ہیلی کاپٹروں کو امریکی ہیلی کاپٹر بتایا تو تمام میڈیا پر پابندی لگا دی گئی اور پورے مکّہ کی آبادی کو عام شہریوں سے خالی کروا لیا گیا۔ خانہ کعبہ پر قبضے سے حاصل ھونے والے مقاصد پر ایران نے دوسرے ہی دن اُسوقت پانی پھیر دیا جب پوری دُنیا میں امریکی سفارتخانوں اور مفادات کو مُسلمانوں نے نشانہ بنانا شروع کر دیا، جسکے فوراً بعد یہ اعلان کیا گیا کہ قبضہ کرنے والے آل سعود کی سعودی حکومت پر قبضہ کرنا چاہتے ھیں(مگر سوال یہ ھیکہ پھر انھوں نے سعودی محلات کے بجائے خانہ کعبہ ھی پر قبضہ کیوں کیا اور جن لوگوں کے عقیدوں میں امام مہدی کا تصوّر بھی نہیں ھے اُنھوں نے امام مہدی ھونے کا دعویٰ کیوں کیا)



یہ قبضہ دو ہفتوں تک جاری رھا اور اس قبضے کے دوران، دھشتگردوں نےخانہ کعبہ کی بیسمنٹ کو بارود سے اُڑانے کی بھی کوشش کی، جو آپ مندرجہ ذیل تصاویروں میں مُلاحظہ کر سکتے ھیں، اس حملے میں شریک صرف اُن 67 لوگوں کو جنکا تعلق سعودیہ سے باہر سے تھا کو سعودیہ کے آٹھ بڑے شہروں میں کھلے عام قتل کیا گیا، جبکہ 650 سے ذائد اُن دھشتگردوں کے بارے میں جنکا تعلق آل سعود اور بن لادن فیملی سے تھا اور جنمیں سعودی عرب کے بڑے بڑے وہ مُفتی تھے جو امام کعبہ عبدالعزیز بن عبداللہ بن باز کے شاگرد تھے، کے بارے میں یہ اعلان کیا گیا کہ اُنھیں سبکو قید خانوں ہی میں قتل کر دیا گیا ھے،



ان 700 دھشتگردوں میں سے صرف ایک شخص جسکا نام ماہ روز بن لادن ھے کو عام معافی دی گئی ھے، جسکی وجہ سعودی حُکّام نے یہ بتائی تھی کہ ماہ روز بن لادن نے سعودی حکومت سے تعاون کیا ھے، آج بھی ماہ روز بین لادن سعودی حکومت میں شامل ھے اور اُسامہ بن لادن کی کمپنی کو چلا رھا ھے(غیر مُصدّقہ مگر نہایت ہی قوی ذرایع ابلاغ سے یہ بات معلوم چلتی ھیکہ اس پورے واقعہ میں اُسامہ بن لادن نے اپنے سوتیلے بھائی ماہ روز بن لادن کو راضی کیا تھا کہ وہ کعبہ کی عمارت میں لگے ھوئے بموں کو ناکارہ بنادے، اور اُن مقامات کی نشاندھی کرے جہاں جہاں دھشتگردوں نے پوزیشنز بنا رکھی ھے، اور اسطرح ماہ روز بن لادن نے ان ھدایات پر عمل کرتے ھوئے اکثر بموں کو ناکارہ بنا دیا تھا، مگر کُچھ تک وہ رسائی حاصل نہ کر سکا جو آپریشن کے دوران پھٹ گئے اور خانہ کعبہ کی مسجد کی عمارت کو جزوی طور پر نُقصان ھوا۔



اور انھی ذرایع سے یہ بات بھی معلوم چلتی ھیکہ سعودی حکومت نے اُن 650 یا اس سے ذائد دھشتگردوں کو قید خانوں میں قتل نہیں کیا اور اُسامہ بن لادن اُن 650 دھشتگردوں کو اپنے ساتھ لیکر امریکہ کی جنگ لڑنے افغانستان آ گیا، جن کے بل بوتے پر اُسامہ بن لادن نے پوری دُنیا سے مُسلمانوں کو ایک بار پھر اسلام اور جہاد کے نام پر جمع کیا اور امریکہ کی جنگ کو افغانستان کی سرزمین پر روس کے خلاف لڑوایا (650 یا اس سے ذائد دھشتگردوں کے بارے میں یہ بات مشہور ھوئی تھی کہ اُنمیں سے کسی کو بھی قتل نہیں کیا گیا، کیونکہ دُنیا میں آپکو صرف اُن لوگوں کی قبریں ملینگی جنھیں سعودیہ میں سر عام قتل کیا گیا تھا، جبکہ کسی 650 یا اس سے ذائد دھشتگردوں کی نہ تو کوئی قبر ھے اور نہ ہی کسی نے اُن قید خانوں سے کسی کو مُردہ حالت میں باہر آتے دیکھا، جبکہ پورے دُنیا کا میڈیا اس بات پر اور ان لوگوں کے انجام پر نظر رکھے ھوئے تھا۔ اور کسی میڈیا اور اُن قید خانوں میں مقیّد قیدیوں نے اس بات کی توثیق نہیں کی کہ ان قید خانوں میں کسی بھی شخص کو اس دوران میں قتل کیا گیا ھو)



http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/320657.The_Siege_of_Mecca



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Mosque_Seizure



http://middleeast.about.com/od/terrorism/a/me081120b.htm



http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?42193-Remembering-the-siege-of-Holy-kaba-in-Makka-in-1979



http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/siegeofmecca/photoGallery.php



http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?103386-Grand-Mosque-Seizure-1979&s=e6e8f2ce22788648c0ea041900a8ec00





Background



The seizure was led by Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaibi, who belonged to a powerful family of Najd.
Juhaiman Saif al Otaibi (WAHABI) was from "one of the foremost families of Najd.
His grandfather had ridden with Abd al Aziz in the early decades of the century." He was a preacher, a former corporal in the Saudi National Guard, and former student of revered conservative Sheikh Abdel Aziz al Baaz, who went on to become the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia.

Juhaiman was the student of Baz (Grand Mufti), who had began advocating him to return to the original ways of Wahabi Islam, among other things; a repudiation of the West; an end of education of women; abolition of television and expulsion of non-Muslims." He proclaimed that "the ruling Al Saud dynasty had lost its legitimacy, because it was corrupt, ostentatious and had destroyed Saudi culture by an aggressive policy of Westernization."
He declared his brother-in-law Muhammad bin abd Allah al-Qahtani to be the Mahdi, or redeemer of Islam, whose coming at endtimes is foretold in many ahaadith of Muhammad. Although one of the essential signs to know the Mahdi is that he is a descendant of Muhammad, Muhammad bin abd Allah al-Qahtani was not a descendant of the Prophet of Islam, since he belongs to Al-Qahtani tribe. However, the fanatics overlooked this by relying on the fact that Al-Qahtani's name and his father's name are identical to the Prophet's name and father, and they used one of the Prophet's sayings "His and his father's names were the same as Muhammad's and his father's, and he had come to Mecca from the north" to justify their opinion. Furthermore, the date of the attack, November 20, 1979, was the first day of the year 1400 according to the Islamic calendar, which according to another hadith, was the day that the Mahdi would reveal himself.
Pakistan Army Commandos Detaining the Members of Juhayman's (Wahabi) Group. Hours after clearing of the Qaboo underground, on Tuesday, November 20th 1979.













Juhaiman Saif al Otaibi was from "one of the foremost families of Najd.
Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaibi (WAHABI), who belonged to a powerful family of Najd & claimed to be AL-MAHDI.

Juhaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Saif al Utaibi (Wahabi, Najd) sieged the Holy Shrine of KABA (Grand Mosque, Mecca) along with his over 500 armed Wahabi Terrorists on November 20, 1979...

They are responsible of Killing Hundreds of Hujjaj (Pilgrims) who were performing Hajj at the time...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Mosque_Seizure
His grandfather had ridden with Abd al Aziz in the early decades of the century." He was a preacher, a former corporal in the Saudi National Guard, and former student of revered conservative Sheikh Abdel Aziz al Baaz, who went on to become the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia. Juhaiman had turned against al Baz, "and began advocating a return to the original ways of Islam, among other things; a repudiation of the West; an end of education of women; abolition of television and expulsion of non-Muslims." He proclaimed that "the ruling Al Saud dynasty had lost its legitimacy, because it was corrupt, ostentatious and had destroyed Saudi culture by an aggressive policy of Westernization."
Surviving Wahabi Insurgents Arrested By Pakistan Army Commandos...

Osama Bin Laden Half Brother Mahrous bin Laden was among the Wahabi Terrorists who Sieged & took the control of Masjid Al Haram for 2 weeks...

Later, All the Insurgents were beheaded by Saudi Govt. except Mahrous bin Laden ... due to his close relation ship with the Al-Saud Family since 1802 (1217 AH), when Mohammad Ibne Saud & Wahabi Leader Abdul Wahab, In a coordination, attacked the Holy Land of KARBALA, Destroying the Holy Shrine Of Imam Hussain(AS) & Killing all Shia residents, including Newborns, Women, Children & Handicaps, destroying their properties and crops, looting the wealth & valuables)...

The Family or Mahfous Bin Laden has had a close relationship with the Family of Al-Saud it is therefore they freed Mahrous bin Laden, who still possess key position in Saudi Regime even Today.









Otaibi and Qahtani had met while being imprisoned together for sedition, when Otaibi claimed to have a vision sent by God telling him that Qahtani was the Mahdi. Their declared goal was to institute a theocracy in preparation for the imminent apocalypse. Many of their followers were drawn from theology students at the Islamic University in Medina, which was known as a center of the Muslim Brotherhood. Other followers came from Yemen, Kuwait, and Egypt and also included some Muslim African-Americans. The followers preached their radical message in different mosques in Saudi Arabia without being arrested. The government was reluctant to confront religious extremists. Members of the ulema cross-examined Otaibi and Qahtani for heresy, but they were subsequently released as being traditionalists harkening back to the Ikhwan, like Otaibi's grandfather, and not a threat.
Osama Bin Laden(SOB), Wahabi Terrorist ... still he is the biggest & the Largest Contractor in Muslim World, even Today...

He has/had shares in Microsoft, BOEING, Royals Royss and in the Oil Companies of the then American President Bush.

"If you do business with terrorists, if you support or succor them, you will not do business with the United States," said President Bush.

He didn't say anything about doing business with a terrorist's brother - or his wealthy financier.

When President George W. Bush froze assets connected to Osama bin Laden, he didn't tell the American people that the terrorist mastermind's late brother was an investor in the president's former oil business in Texas. He also hasn't leveled with the American public about his financial connections to a host of shady Saudi characters involved in drug cartels, gun smuggling, and terrorist networks.

Doing business with the enemy is nothing new to the Bush family. Much of the Bush family wealth came from supplying needed raw materials and credit to Adolf Hitler's Third Reich. Several business operations managed by Prescott Bush - the president's grandfather - were seized by the US government during World War II under the Trading with the Enemy Act.

On October 20, 1942, the federal government seized the Union Banking Corporation in New York City as a front operation for the Nazis. Prescott Bush was a director. Bush, E. Roland Harriman, two Bush associates, and three Nazi executives owned the bank's shares. Eight days later, the Roosevelt administration seized two other corporations managed by Prescott Bush. The Holland-American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation, both managed by the Bush-Harriman bank, were accused by the US federal government of being front organizations for Hitler's Third Reich. Again, on November 8, 1942, the federal government seized Nazi-controlled assets of Silesian-American Corporation, another Bush-Harriman company doing business with Hitler.

Doing business with the bin Laden empire, therefore, is only the latest extension of the Bush family's financial ties to unsavory individuals and organizations. Now that thousands of American citizens have died in terrorist attacks and the nation is going to war, the American people should know about George W. Bush's relationship with the family of Osama bin Laden.

Salem bin Laden, Osama's older brother, was an investor in Arbusto Energy. - the Texas oil company started by George W. Bush. Arbusto means "Bush" in Spanish. Salem bin Laden died in an airplane crash in Texas in 1988.

Sheik Mohammed bin Laden, the family patriarch and founder of its construction empire, also died in a plane crash. Upon his death in 1968, he left behind 57 sons and daughters - the offspring he sired with 12 wives in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. About a dozen brothers manage Bin Laden Brothers Construction - one of the largest construction firms in the Middle East.

Fresh out of Harvard Business School, young George W. Bush returned to Midland, TX, in the late 1970s to follow his father's footsteps in the oil business. Beginning in 1978, he set up a series of limited partnerships - Arbusto '78, Arbusto '79, and so on - to drill for oil.

One of President Bush's earliest financial backers was James Bath, a Houston aircraft broker. Bath served with President Bush in the Texas Air National Guard. Bath has a mysterious connection to the Central Intelligence Agency.

According to a 1976 trust agreement, Salem bin Laden appointed James Bath as his business representative in Houston. Revelation about Bath's relationship with the bin Laden financial empire and the CIA was made public in 1992 by Bill White, a former real estate business partner with Bath. White informed federal investigators in 1992 that Bath told him that he had assisted the CIA in a liaison role since 1976 - the same year former President George Herbert Walker Bush served as director of the CIA.

During a bitter legal fight between White and Bath, the real estate partner disclosed that Bath managed a portfolio worth millions of dollars for Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz and other wealthy Saudis. Among the investments made by Bath with Mahfouz's money was the Houston Gulf Airport.

A powerful banker in Saudi Arabia, Mahfouz was one of the largest stockholders in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. BCCI was a corrupt global banking empire operating in 73 nations and was a major financial and political force in Washington, Paris, Geneva, London, and Hong Kong. Despite the appearance of a normal banking operation, BCCI was actually an international crime syndicate providing "banking services" to the Medellin drug cartel, Pamama dictator Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, terrorist mastermind Abu Nidal, and Khun Sa, the heroin kingpin in Asia's Golden Triangle.

The BCCI scandal implicated some of the biggest political names in Washington - both Democrats and Republicans - during the first Bush White House. The bank was accused of laundering money for drug cartels, smuggling weapons to terrorists, and using Middle Eastern oil money to influence American politicians.

The chief of the Justice Department's criminal division under former President Bush was Robert Mueller. Because the major players came out of the scandal with slaps on the wrists, many critics accused Mueller of botching the investigation. Mr. Mueller was recently appointed by President George W. Bush as the new Director of the FBI, replacing Louis Freeh who did nothing while William Jefferson Clinton allowed the Red Chinese to loot our national security secrets.

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a division of the Justice Department, reviewed allegations by Bill White in 1992 that James Bath funneled money from wealthy Middle Eastern businessmen to American companies to influence the policies of the Reagan and Bush administrations. Robert Mueller, the new FBI chief, was in a senior position at the Justice Department at the time of the review.

White told a Texas court in 1992 that Bath and the Justice Department had "blackballed" him professionally and financially because he refused to keep quiet about his knowledge of an Arabic conspiracy to launder Middle Eastern money into the bank accounts of American businesses and politicians.

In sworn depositions, Bath admitted he represented four wealthy Saudi Arabian businessmen as a trustee. He also admitted he used his name on their investments and received, in return, a five- percent stake in their business deals.

Indeed, Texas tax documents revealed that Bath owned five percent of Arbusto '79 Ltd., and Arbusto '80 Ltd. Bush Exploration Company controlled the limited partnerships, the general partnership firm owned by young George W. Bush.

Although George W. Bush's Texas oil ventures were financial failures, his financial backers recovered their investments through a series of mergers and stock swaps. He changed Arbusto's name to Bush Exploration, then merged the new firm into Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation in 1984.

The Bush-controlled oil business eventually ended up being folded into Harken Energy Corp., a Dallas-based corporation. Mr. Bush joined Harken as a director in 1986 and was given 212,000 shares of Harken stock. Bush used his White House connections to land a lucrative contract for the obscure Harken Energy Corp. with the Middle Eastern government of Bahrain. On June 20, 1990, George W. Bush sold his Harken stock for $848,000 and paid off his loan he took out to buy his small share in the Texas Rangers. The Bahrain deal was brokered by David Edwards, a close pal to Bill Clinton and a former employee of Stephens Inc. Shortly after Bush sold his stock, Harken's fortunes nose-dived when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Some critics claim young George was tipped off in advance by his father about the soon-coming Gulf War.

George W. Bush, however, worked wonders for Harken Energy Corp. before the stock collapse. Using the Bush family name, he managed to bring much-needed capital investment to the struggling firm. George W. Bush traveled to Little Rock, AR, to attend a meeting with Jackson Stephens - a powerful Arkansas tycoon who help bankroll the state campaigns of young Bill Clinton. He first gained political prominence as a fund-raiser for President Jimmy Carter. Stephens was also deeply involved in the BCCI scandal by helping the corrupt bank take control of First American Bank in Washington, DC.

Jack Stephens didn't need an introduction to young George W. Bush. Mary Anne Stephens, his wife, managed Vice President George Bush's 1988 presidential campaign in Arkansas. Stephens Inc., the well connected brokerage firm owned by Jack Stephens, donated $100,000 to a Bush campaign fundraising dinner in 1991. When George W. Bush won the contested Florida election in 2000, Jack Stephens made a substantial contribution to the Bush inauguration. Recently, former President Bush played golf on April 11, 2001, with Jack Stephens at the Jack Stephens Youth Golf Academy in Little Rock. The former president told Stephens, "Jack, we love you and we are very, very grateful for what you have done."

Perhaps the former president was thanking him for the money Stephens provided young George W. Bush. Stephens arranged for a $25 million investment from the Union des Banques Suisses. The Swiss Bank held the minority interest in the Banque de Commerce et de Placements, a Geneva-based subsidiary of BCCI.

Both Stephens and Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, a wealthy and well-connected Saudi real estate investor, signed the financial transaction. The Geneva transaction was paid through a joint venture between the Union Bank of Switzerland and its Geneva branch of BCCI.

The BCCI connection, therefore, linked George W. Bush with Saudi banker Khaled bin Mahfouz. Known in Arab circles as the "king's treasurer," Mahfouz held a 20 percent take in BCCI between 1986 and 1990. Mahfouz is no stranger to the Bush family. He was a big investor in the Carlyle Group, a defense-industry investment group with deep connections to the Republican Party establishment. Former President Bush is a former member of the company's board of directors. George W. Bush also held shares in Caterair, a Carlyle subsidiary. Sami Baarma, a powerful player in the Mahfouz-owned Prime Commercial Bank of Pakistan, is a member of the Carlyle Group's international advisory board.

President Bush certainly is aware of that his former Saudi sugar daddy is still financing Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. USA Today newspaper reported in 1999 that a year after bin Laden's attacks on US embassies in Africa, Khaled bin Mahfouz and other wealthy Saudis were funneling tens of millions of dollars each year into bin Laden's bank accounts. Five top Saudi businessmen ordered the National Commercial Bank to transfer personal funds and $3 million pilfered from a Saudi pension fund to the Capitol Trust Bank in New York City. The money was deposited into the Islamic Relief and Bless Relief - Islamic charities operating in the US and Great Britain as fronts for Osama bin Laden.

The Capitol Trust Bank is run by Mohammad Hussein al-Amoudi. His lawyer is Democratic Party bigwig Vernon Jordan, close friend of former President Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

Abdullah Taha Bakhsh, the Arab who cosigned the $25 million cash infusion into George W. Bush's Harken Energy Corporation, appointed Talat Othman to manage his 17.6 percent share in Harken Energy Corp. Othman, a native Palestinian, is president and CEO of Dearborn Financial Inc. - an investment firm in Arlington Heights, IL.

Bakhsh also bought a 9.6 percent stake in Worthen Banking Corporation, the Arkansas bank controlled by Jack Stephens. Abdullah Bakhsh's share was the identical percentage as the amount of shares sold by Mochtar Riady, the godfather of the wealthy Indonesian family with close ties to the Chinese communists, Bill Clinton and evangelist Pat Robertson. Bakhsh is represented by Rogers & Wells, a well-connected Republican law firm in New York whose partners include former Secretary of State William P. Rogers.

Independent investigator reporter David Twersky reported in the early 1990s that Othman had a seat on Harken's board of directors and met three times in the White House with President George Herbert Walker Bush. Organized by Chief of Staff John Sununu, Othman's first meeting with President Bush at the White House was in August 1990, just days after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

There exist to this day an Arab-Texas connection. Khalid bin Mahfouz, financier of both George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden, still maintains a palatial estate in Houston, TX. Former President George Bush also lives in Houston. James Bath, Texas political confidant of George W. Bush, managed to obtain a $1.4 million loan from Mahfouz in 1990. Bath and Mahfouz, along with former Secretary of Treasury John Connally, were also co-investors in Houston's Main Bank. Bath was also president of Skyway Aircraft Leasing Ltd, a Texas air charter company registered in the Cayman Islands. According to published reports in the early 1990s, the real owner was bin Mahfouz. When Salem bin Laden, Osama' brother, died in 1988, his interest in the Houston Gulf Airport was transferred to bin Mahfouz.

Since Osama bin Laden's bloody attack on America on September 11, the federal government has moved quickly to freeze bank accounts connected to Osama bin Laden, Khalid bin Mahfouz, and a host of Islamic charities.

Perhaps federal agents should freeze the financial assets of the Bush family too. It would not be the first time Bush-family assets were seized by the US government for trading with the enemy.

Ref: http://www.rense.com/general14/bushsformer.htm



Because of donations from wealthy followers, the group was well-armed and trained. Some members, like Otaibi, were members of the National Guard. Some National Guard troops sympathetic to the insurgents infiltrated weapons, ammunition, gas masks, and provisions into the mosque compound over a period of weeks before the new year. Automatic weapons were stolen from National Guard armories, and the supplies were hidden in the hundreds of tiny underground rooms under the mosque that were used as hermitages.



Seizure



In the early morning of November 20, 1979, the imam of the Grand Mosque, Sheikh Mohammed al-Subayil, was preparing to lead the prayers for the fifty thousand worshipers who had gathered for the first prayer of the Islamic year. He was interrupted by insurgents who procured weapons from under their robes, chained the gates shut and killed two policemen who were armed with only wooden clubs for disciplining unruly pilgrims. The number of insurgents has been given as "at least 500" and "four to five hundred", which included several women and children who had joined Otaibi's movement.



At the time, the Grand Mosque was being renovated by the Saudi Binladin Group in what was the most prestigious construction contract in the Islamic world. An employee of the organization was able to report the seizure to corporate headquarters before the insurgents cut the telephone lines. A representative of the Binladin Group was thus the first to notify King Khalid.



The insurgents released most of the hostages and locked the remainder in the sanctuary. They took defensive positions in the upper levels of the mosque, and sniper positions in the minarets, from which they commanded the grounds. No one outside the mosque knew how many hostages remained, how many militants were in the mosque and what sort of preparations they had made.



Siege
On November 20, 1979, worldwide attention was focused on Tehran, where the Iranian hostage crisis was entering its third week. The same morning—the first of a new Muslim century—hundreds of gunmen stunned the world by seizing Islam’s holiest shrine, the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Armed with rifles that they had smuggled inside coffins, these men came from more than a dozen countries, launching the first operation of global jihad in modern times. Led by a Saudi preacher named Juhayman al Uteybi, they believed that the Saudi royal family had become a craven servant of American infidels, and sought a return to the glory of uncompromising Islam. With nearly 100,000 worshippers trapped inside the holy compound, Mecca’s bloody siege lasted two weeks, inflaming Muslim rage against the United States and causing hundreds of deaths.

Despite U.S. assistance, the Saudi royal family proved haplessly incapable of dislodging the occupier, whose ranks included American converts to Islam. In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini blamed the Great Satan—the United States —for defiling the shrine, prompting mobs to storm and torch American embassies in Pakistan and Libya. The desperate Saudis finally enlisted the help of French commandos led by tough-as-nails Captain Paul Barril, who prepared the final assault and supplied poison gas that knocked out the insurgents. Though most captured gunmen were quickly beheaded, the Saudi royal family responded to this unprecedented challenge by compromising with the rebels’ supporters among the kingdom’s most senior clerics, helping them nurture and export Juhayman’s violent brand of Islam around the world.

This dramatic and immensely consequential story was barely covered in the press in the pre-CNN, pre–Al Jazeera days, as Saudi Arabia imposed an information blackout and kept foreign correspondents away. Yaroslav Trofimov now penetrates this veil of silence, interviewing for the first time scores of direct participants in the siege, including former terrorists, and drawing on hundreds of documents that had been declassified on his request. Written with the pacing, detail, and suspense of a real-life thriller, The Siege of Mecca reveals how Saudi reaction to the uprising in Mecca set free the forces that produced the attacks of 9/11, and the harrowing circumstances that surround us today.



Surviving Wahabi Insurgents Arrested By Pakistan Army Commandos...Osama Bin Laden Half Brother Mahrous bin Laden was among the Wahabi Terrorists who Sieged & took the control of Masjid Al Haram for 2 weeks...Later All the Insurgents were beheaded by except Mahrous bin Laden ... due to his relation ship with the Royal Family... Mahrous bin Laden still possess key position in Saudi Regime today.
US EMBASSY, ISLAMABAD WAS SET ON A FIRE BY VERY ANGRY ANTI-AMERICAN DEMONSTRATORS ON NOVEMBER 21, 1979.

B E C A U S E : -
Immediately, After the Siege, US State Department of State announced that this is a wok of Iranian (Shia).
But, Ayatullah Khomeni very calmly encountered the American blame, and said that It is America, who is Behind the Siege of KABA.

When the News spread to the world, in a Protest, they all gathered outside the US Embassies & Consulate Generals in Philippines, Turkey, Bangladesh, India, eastern Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emigrates and Pakistan.

Anger fueled by these rumors peaked within hours in Islamabad, Pakistan, and on November 21, 1979, the day following the takeover of KABA, the U.S. Embassy in that city was overrun by an anti-American demonstrators, who then burned the Embassy of the United States to the ground.

A week later, this anger swept to the streets of Tripoli, Libya, where a mob attacked and burned the U.S. embassy there on December 2, 1979.

Perhaps the most disturbing development to come out of the 1979 takeover of the Grand Mosque was the eventual revelation of prime organizer al-Utaibi’s connection to the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

Wahabi rebels’ leader, Juhayman, was captured, and he and 67 of his fellow Wahabi rebels—”all the surviving males”—were tried secretly, convicted and publicly beheaded in the squares of four Saudi cities (Surprisingly, Jyhayman was released, who is still holds key position in Saudi Regime, Today.

Nearly 100,000 worshippers trapped inside the holy compound, Mecca’s bloody siege lasted two weeks, inflaming Muslim rage against the United States and causing hundreds of deaths.

Despite U.S. assistance, the Saudi royal family proved haplessly incapable of dislodging the occupier, whose ranks included American converts to Islam.

In Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini blamed the Great Satan—the United States —for defiling the shrine, prompting mobs to storm and torch American embassies in Pakistan and Libya. The desperate Saudis finally enlisted the help of French commandos led by tough-as-nails Captain Paul Barril, who prepared the final assault and supplied poison gas that knocked out the insurgents. Though most captured gunmen were quickly beheaded, the Saudi royal family responded to this unprecedented challenge by compromising with the rebels’ supporters among the kingdom’s most senior clerics, helping them nurture and export Juhayman’s violent brand of Islam around the world.

This dramatic and immensely consequential story was barely covered in the press in the pre-CNN, pre–Al Jazeera days, as Saudi Arabia imposed an information blackout and kept foreign correspondents away. Yaroslav Trofimov now penetrates this veil of silence, interviewing for the first time scores of direct participants in the siege, including former terrorists, and drawing on hundreds of documents that had been declassified on his request. Written with the pacing, detail, and suspense of a real-life thriller, The Siege of Mecca reveals how Saudi reaction to the uprising in Mecca set free the forces that produced the attacks of 9/11, and the harrowing circumstances that surround us today.



Soon after the seizure, about a hundred security officers of the Interior Ministry attempted to retake the mosque, and were decisively turned back with heavy casualties. The survivors were quickly joined by units of the Saudi Army and National Guard.



By the evening, the entire city of Mecca had been evacuated. Prince Sultan, then-Minister of Defense, rushed to the city to set up a field command. Sultan appointed his nephew Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, head of the Al Mukhabarat Al A'amah, to take over the forward command post several hundred meters from the mosque, where Turki would remain for the next several weeks. However, the first order of business was to seek the approval of the ulema, which was led by Abdul Aziz bin Baz. Islam forbids any violence within the Grand Mosque, to the extent that plants cannot be uprooted without explicit religious sanction. Ibn Baaz found himself in a delicate situation, especially as he had previously taught Otaibi in Medina. Regardless, the ulema issued a fatwa allowing deadly force to be used in retaking the mosque.



With religious approval granted, Prince Sultan ordered frontal assaults on three of the main gates, preceded by an artillery barrage. The assaulting force was repulsed, and never even got close to breaking through the insurgents' defenses, while snipers continued to pick off members of the security forces whenever they showed themselves. The mosque's public address system was used to broadcast the insurgents' message throughout the streets of Mecca. Confusion reigned at the field command, where several senior princes, the heads of the armed forces and military attachés from France and Pakistan gave contradictory advice. Pakistani troops were rushed to Makkah on Saudi Government's request and Pakistani SSG commandos lead a successful operation afterwards. It is said that the group was commanded by Pervez Musharraf, then the commanding officer of the Group of Pakistani commandos.



In the middle of the day, Prince Sultan ordered helicopters to lower troops on ropes directly into the courtyard in the center of the mosque, which turned out to be a suicide mission. At this point, King Khalid appointed Turki head of the operation.

The insurgents broadcast their demands from the mosque loudspeakers, calling for the cutoff of oil exports to the United States and expulsion of all foreign civilian and military experts from the Arabian peninsula. On November 25, the Arab Socialist Action Party - Arabian Peninsula issued a statement from Beirut alleging to clarify the demands of the insurgents. The party, however, denied any involvement of its own in the seizure.



Three commandos from the French GIGN led by thirty-three year old Lieutenant Paul Barril converted to Islam so that they would be allowed into Mecca to aid the Saudi police and military and their Pakistani attaches in planning the retaking of the mosque – as non-Muslims cannot enter the city of Mecca. Their identities were concealed by the Saudi government so as to avoid the appearance of being too closely allied with non-Muslim nations and parties, as was frequently the accusation leveled by the propaganda services of Ayatollah Khomeini against The House of Saud.



The Pakistanis proposed to end the siege by flooding the mosque and then droppping a high-voltage electric cable to electrocute all present, which was dismissed. Pakistani Commandos then resorted to non-lethal gases in order to subdue the occupiers, and dropped grenades into the chambers through holes drilled in the mosque courtyard. During their operation, the commandos used the least amount of force possible to avoid damage to the mosque, and managed to force the surrender of the surviving insurgents.
A close-up of what the Saudi Government said was the cadaver of Mohammed Abdullah, Juhayman's brother-in-law and the and the allege Mahdi in the Meccza uprising.

It is very important to note that Mohammed Abdullah was the Brother in Law of Juhayman & Juhayman is the half-brother of Osama bin Laden & Osama Bin Laden Father Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the Close friend of Saudia's King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, both were involved in demolishing the Holy Shrines of Jannat Al-Baqi on Tuesday, April 21st 1925...

King Abdul Aziz Al Saud granted the contract of demolition of Jannat Al-Baqi to Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, who was illiterate & Poor @ the time. Later, King Abdul Aziz Al Saud granted him to more contacts in which the demolition of Jannat-ul Moallah & Other Holy Shrines & Holy Graves of Ahlul-Bait(AS), Sahaba-e-Kiram(RA), Ummahaatul Momaineen(SA) & The Holy Graves of the both Parents of the Holy Prophet (SAWAW) was included.

Due to his satisfactory performance, he was awarded with the Contract Of Mecca to renovate all the Places of Interests including the Holy Shrine of Kaba.



The battle had lasted more than two weeks, and had officially left "255 pilgrims, troops and fanatics" killed "another 560 injured ... although diplomats suggested the toll was higher." Military casualties were 127 dead and 451 injured.



The Bin Laden family's alleged involvement



The bin Laden family and business resources were allegedly involved in this conflict. Dr. Daly, an adjunct scholar at Washington's Middle East Institute and author for Jane's Intelligence Review, says, "It has been reported that one of Osama's half brothers was arrested as a sympathizer of the takeover but was later exonerated."

According to Cooperative Research:

In the 1960s Osama bin Laden's half-brother Mahrous bin Laden joined a rebel group opposed to the Saudi government. With his assistance, in 1979 the rebels smuggled weapons into Mecca, Saudi Arabia, using trucks belonging to the bin Laden family company. 500 rebels then seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest mosque in its holiest city. They try, but fail, to overthrow the Saudi royal family. All the men who took part are later beheaded except Mahrous. Eventually he is released from prison because of the close ties between the bin Ladens and the Saudi royal family. Mahrous apparently abandons the rebel cause and joins the family business. He is eventually made a head of the Medina branch and a member of the board. He will still hold these positions on 9/11. But a newspaper reports that "his past [is] not forgiven and most important decisions in the [bin Laden family business] are made without Mahrous' input."



Aftermath
QABOO: is the underground facility in the Holy Shrine of KABA. The Place was Exploded by the Wahabi insurgents who sieged the Kaba so they can rule all over the Muslim world by claiming their selves Al-Mahdi & His Army.



Perhaps the most disturbing development to come out of the 1979 takeover of the Grand MIn Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini told radio listeners, "It is not beyond guessing that this is the work of criminal American imperialism and international Zionism." Muslim anti-American demonstrations followed in the Philippines, Turkey, Bangladesh, India, eastern Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.
Safa-wa-Marawa.... Smoke is rising ... Pakistan Army's Commando Operation against Wahabi Insurgents has begun
Anger fueled by these rumors peaked within hours in Islamabad, Pakistan, and on November 21, 1979, the day following the takeover, the U.S. embassy in that city was overrun by a mob, who then burned the embassy to the ground. A week later, this anger swept to the streets of Tripoli, Libya, where a mob attacked and burned the U.S. embassy there on December 2, 1979.osque was the eventual revelation of prime organizer al-Utaibi's connection to the Saudi Arabian National Guard.
Pakistan Army used the Gas to over come upon Wahabi insurgents.
Many of the insurgents were secretly freed by the Saudi regime, who later, fled to the Afghanistan with Osama Bin Laden to fight Against Russia under the Flag of United States of America, who provided them finance, Ammunition followed by the Training under the Command of Pakistan Army & the CIA...

Later, having all these trained gorilla fighters, money & weaponry power, Osama Bin Laden laid down the Foundation of Al-Qaida... right under the nose of US ARMY, CIA & Pakistan Army.



The rebels' leader, Juhayman, was captured, and he and 67 of his fellow rebels—"all the surviving males"—were tried secretly, convicted and publicly beheaded in the squares of four Saudi cities.
the basement walls of Holy Shrines tells everything, No more words are required to explain this Picture.

But what many don't able to see is that there were over 500 Wahabi insurgents, who took over & seized the Holy Shrine of Kaba for two weeks. But, when the Siege was over many conflicting reports starts coming, some said that out of 500 many insurgents were killed and few were captured & some said that all captured & few are among the dead including their Leader.

In reality only 67 Wahabi insurgents, belongs to Sudan, Syria, Egypt, Yemen were executed Publicly, whereas rest of the Saudi based Wahabi terrorists were not shown, & the media was informed that they were executed except the Osama bin Laden's half-brother Mahrous bin Laden, who was released, and still holding a key position in Saudi Arabian Regime, even today (as of Sunday, September 5, 2010)



Refrence



http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/320657.The_Siege_of_Mecca

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Mosque_Seizure

http://middleeast.about.com/od/terrorism/a/me081120b.htm

http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?42193-Remembering-the-siege-of-Holy-kaba-in-Makka-in-1979

http://www.randomhouse.com/doubleday/siegeofmecca/photoGallery.php

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?103386-Grand-Mosque-Seizure-1979&s=e6e8f2ce22788648c0ea041900a8ec00

French Commandos, who is the real Founder & Saviour of Saudi Arabia are ready to Defend their old Buddy, Al-Saud to stay in control & Power. after all they fought together against the Ottoman Caliphate under the Flag of British Queen...









KABA WAS RELEASE FROM WAHABI INSURGENTS



HATS OFF TO PAKISTAN ARMY



This is one of the Pickup trucks Belongs to Osama Bin Laden, who was the Only Contractor of the Holy Shrine at the time of SEIZURE on Tuesday, November 20th 1979.

Wahabi terrorists used these trucks to transport weapons and explosives in to the KABA...

They set the Explosives all around the Holy Shrine of Kaba







Whole Concrete Ceiling & Ceiling fans are damaged. Shrapnels Spread due to the blasts, inside the Holy Shrine Of KABA & Some Billets marks can bee seen on the Pillars as well.

Saudi Govt. ordered all the residents of Mecca to leave the Mecca, few days earlier they planned to attack against Insurgents, who have chained all the gates of Kaba, and ordered all the Hujjaj (Pilgrims) to gather around the Kaba-Tush-Sharif ... they release many, including women & children, and announced the remaining Pilgrims to stand with them & Fight in the Name of Allah(SWT) & Islam...

Many were fooled and they said Labbaik... Like these days .:-)

Area of Safa-wa-Marwa was heavily effected during the Siege of Kaba by the Wahabi Insurgents, who have had very close ties with the Riyal family of Saudi Arabia...

After the failed coup/drama to mislead the Muslim world. it is reported that many of the insurgents who was belongs to or was close to the Saudi Royal Family were sent to Afghanistan with Osama Bin Laden to gather the Muslims around the world to fight Russian invasion, using the same tactics that they used in seizing the Kaba, i.e collecting, training & using foolish & poor Muslims to serve their purposes for few dollars or in the name of Jihad.

there were over 100,000 Pilgrims (Hujjaj) were present inside the Premises of the Holy Kaba.

The dead Bodies of 451 Pilgrims excluding 121 policemen were lying on the floor of Kaba ...