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Friday, August 26, 2011

Bedouns suffer uncertain fate in Kuwait



23 Aug 2011 10:00

Source: alertnet // Reuters


Bedoun activist Mohamed Alenezi pictured in Regent’s Park, London where he now lives. Photo by Emma Batha

This story is part of an AlertNet special report on statelessness

By Emma Batha

LONDON, Aug 23 (AlertNet) - For years after he left his native Kuwait, Mohamed Alenezi had nightmares about checkpoints and would wake up terrified the police were chasing him.

A religious man, Alenezi had not broken any law. His crime was of being an illegal immigrant in the land of his forebears. He was stateless.

On Thursday, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR will launch an international campaign to highlight the plight of millions of people not considered nationals by any country.

Being stateless is like being "between the earth and the sky", said Alenezi, 42, now a British citizen.

"You are here and not here," he said in London, where he lives with his wife and seven children and works as an Arabic teacher.

"You are here as a human being, but you don't have an identity. Without an identity, without a nationality you cannot do anything. No one will respect you or deal with you."

Alenezi's family are bedouns, from the Arabic "bedoun jinsiyya" meaning "without nationality". Like many bedouns, they are descendants of nomadic Bedouin tribes which had for centuries roamed freely with their animals across what is now Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and Iraq.

Many bedouns fell through the cracks when Kuwait became independent in 1961. Some did not apply for citizenship because they did not know how important it would become. Others were illiterate or could not produce documents.

"After independence my tribe stayed in the desert in Kuwait. The government offered them nationality but they did not understand the meaning of nationality because they knew each other by tribes and families," he told AlertNet, a humanitarian news site run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"They weren't used to carrying papers and documents or ID cards. All they carried was their clothes."

RIGHTS STRIPPED

No one knows how many Kuwaiti bedouns there are but estimates range from 93,000 to 180,000 inside the country and possibly 100,000 outside.

Until the mid-1980s the bedouns were treated as citizens, Alenezi said. But by the time he left school in 1986, the government had started stripping them of basic rights. He was not allowed to go to university to study medicine, and he was turned down for jobs in the military, police and media.

"They told me they couldn't take me because I was a bedoun," he said. "I was accepted by universities in Jordan and the UAE, but Kuwait wouldn't give me a passport."


Rights groups say the fact the bedouns were included in the 1965 census indicates Kuwait considered them citizens at that time.

"In the beginning when we were Bedouin they used to call us 'Kuwaiti'," Alenezi said.

"Then they changed it to 'Kuwaiti from the Desert', then 'Bedoun'. After the Gulf War they changed it to 'Unspecific Nationality' and since '96 they have called us 'Illegal Residents'."


The Kuwait government says the bedouns are nationals of other countries. But rights groups say the vast majority are not considered nationals by any other state.

GULF WAR

Many bedouns have served in Kuwait's armed forces. When Iraq invaded in 1990, Alenezi's brother, who was in the Navy, was captured as a prisoner of war.

But there was no hero's welcome when he returned home after Kuwait's liberation in 1991. Like other bedouns he was sacked from the military.

Many people, bedouns and Kuwaitis alike, fled the country during Iraq's occupation but the bedouns were barred from returning after the war. Alenezi's parents were among those who ended up stranded behind the Iraqi border.

Alenezi left Kuwait to join his parents and later moved to Jordan. With no passport of his own he resorted to buying a false Yemeni passport to travel to Europe.

'KUWAITI UNTIL DEATH'


Alenezi never intended to become a champion for his people. But he set up the Kuwaiti Bidoons Movement in 2005 after a London-based Arabic TV station asked him to speak about their plight and the emails started flooding in.

"The letters didn't just shock me, they turned my hair white because of the suffering. People didn't have food. When they were sick they had no treatment. They were dying," he said.

Alenezi said people with cancer are refused treatment and some bedouns resort to selling their blood for cash. The ban on schooling has rendered a generation illiterate and many children work.

"They sell food or tissues on the street. They don't have school, they come from big families where no one is allowed to work and they need to pay for rent and food," he added.

Kuwait is a rich country. An average salary is around 1,000 dinar ($3,650) a month. But Alenezi says bedouns able to find work earn 120-150 dinar, which has to go round 15 to 20 people.

Alenezi has taken his campaign to the United Nations where he hopes someone will champion the cause. He says the revolutions sweeping the Arab world should help the bedouns seek their rights.

"We are not looking to change the regime, we just think it is a good chance to highlight the issue," he said. "The eyes of the world are on the Middle East."
The government promised limited reforms earlier this year, but Alenezi says he will not rest until all bedouns have full citizenship. "This issue is my day and my night," he said.

The day he received British citizenship was a bittersweet one.

"When the official said you now have all the rights of a British citizen I was thinking of Kuwait. Here I have all the rights, even to be a prime minister," he said. "It made me feel quite sad about my country."

Alenezi is grateful to the United Kingdom for providing his children with a future, but he will never feel it is his real home. Kuwait may have disowned him, but that won't change how he sees himself.

"I'm Kuwaiti until death; in my blood, in my feelings, in my dreams," he said. "Even if they won't let me be a Kuwaiti citizen."


(Reporting By Emma Batha; Editing by Katie Nguyen and Sonya Hepinstall)

Shahbaz Taseer abducted from Lahore





By Asad Kharal / Express

Published: August 26, 2011





Shahbaz Taseer, son of former governor Salmaan Taseer. PHOTO: TMN/FILE

LAHORE: Shahbaz Taseer, son of late Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer, was abducted from the Gulberg area of Lahore on Friday.

The Express Tribune’s Asad Kharal reports Taseer had left his house from Cavalry Ground in his silver Mercedes Kompressor (LZT-1) for his office around 10:15am. Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Lahore said his car was intercepted by a black SUV and motorbike around 600 yards from the office and up to three men dragged Taseer out of the car and took him away.

Family sources said they had been informed of the kidnapping when a company driver passing by the area saw Taseer’s car abandoned in the street.

The kidnappers headed to Firdous Market via Cavalry Flyover, which leads straight to DHA Lahore and the cantonment areas. A traffic warden in the area reported a black SUV, white corolla and a motorbike sped through the area and made a sharp turn, which resulted in a black Kalashnikov dropping out of one of the cars.

“Shabhaz was out with a friend when four unidentified people kidnapped him,” his brother Sheryar Taseer told Reuters.

“Our family has been receiving threats from the Taliban and extremist groups,” he said, adding they could be behind the abduction.

Official sources said Shahbaz Taseer had some property disputes and had also been receiving threats recently.

No one has claimed responsibility.

Taseer was travelling without any security today and is normally reported to have travelled in a silver Prado with Elite force and police guards.

Police is also retrieving CCTV footage from the area to help with investigations.

One of the guards posted with Shahbaz Taseer was taken into custody and had his weapon seized when police questioned him and he revealed another guard was on leave. He had not left the house with Taseer but had later been told to go to the office.

Two police personnal, Liaquat and Sharafat, were posted with Taseer.

Police officials said the Taseer family had a total of 12 police and five Rangers personnel posted with them.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has taken notice of the incident and has issued directives to Inspector General of Police (IG) Punjab and Chief Secretary Punjab to take immediate action.

A Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) team, on the directives of Director Punjab and Interior Minister Rehman Malik, has started investigations.

A National Response Center for Cyber Crimes (NR3C) team visited the office, home and checked Shahbaz Taseer’s car to collect forensic evidence. The team consisted of Deputy Director NR3C Sajjid Akram Chaudhry, SHO NR3C Ahmer Naeem, forensic expert Abdul Ghaffar and hardware engineer Muhammad Usman.
Background

Shahbaz Taseer, who is the eldest son of former governor Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Taseer is a director in several companies his father founded, including Pace Pakistan Ltd., First Capital Equities Ltd., Media Times Ltd. and First Capital Securities Corp. Ltd.

This is the second high profile kidnapping in Lahore during the last two weeks. Earlier on August 13, armed men had abducted US aid expert Warren Weinstein from his residence in the city.

Late governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer was shot dead on January 4 this year by his security guard.

A vocal critic of the blasphemy law, Salmaan Taseer showed his overwhelming support for Aasia Bibi, the woman charged with making disrespectful remarks against the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and condemned the controversial law on several occasions.

(Read: Taseer’s remarks about blasphemy law)

Last week, the cleric who led the funeral prayers for Salmaan Taseerwas forced to flee the country following threats.

According to a report by the Press Trust of India, Muhammad Afzal Chishti, the secretary general of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Ulema wing, left the country after having received numerous threats against his life.

For more on this issue follow: shahbaztaseer
.


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Reader Comments (67)

All Comments
Reader's Recommendations
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bulbul

2 hours ago

Reply



Oh no…….. this is sad…. =(

btw….. the car he was driving LZT 1 is using fake number plates…

MERCEDEZ – SLK 200
Registeration Date 2005-08-17 00:00:00.0
Vehicle Price 5622474
Year of Manufacture 2005
Color COOL RED

Recommend11.
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sulman

2 hours ago

Reply



Soo…the traffic wardens just watched this happen?
wtf…

Recommend5.
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Asma

2 hours ago

Reply



so much sorry to hear abt it… i wonder will a news ever make its way to any paper or site within half an our if my or any commoner’s brother or son is abducted! i dun think so…. sad sad Pakistan

Recommend8.
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Dee

2 hours ago

Reply



sad :(

Recommend10.
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M.Akthar

2 hours ago

Reply



Now Popular Qadri will be released in exchange. Wait & watch this space.

Recommend41.
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Usman Ahmad

2 hours ago

Reply



Will he be murdered too? How unfortunate…! No body is safe in this country save zardari!

Recommend12.
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D

2 hours ago

Reply



Oh my God. poor family was already suffering.

Recommend16.
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Chacha

2 hours ago

Reply



If this is true then it implies that murders of Taseer and Bhatti and the extremism and intolerance that such acts displayed were not isolated incidents, extremism is now part of mainstream Pakistan.

Recommend34.
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basharat

2 hours ago

Reply



May God he remains safe and joins his family unharmed.

Recommend9.
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Tanzeel

2 hours ago

Reply



So far no notable development taken place in Salman Taseer’s murder, now his son abducted. it will be interesting to see how Punjab Govt esp Rana Sanaullah responds to this case, not to mention they have recovered American National in just 3-4 days from Khushaab. Resources are there, eye witnesses are there what we they need is WILL.

Recommend7.
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M. A. Changezi

2 hours ago

Reply



“Late Governor” not “Later Governor”. Correction please. :)

Recommend1.
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MS - Mariya

2 hours ago

Reply



sad :-((

Recommend6.
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SharifL

2 hours ago

Reply



It appears the surest way to live in Pakistan is: praise the lord and follow the faith blindly and 100%.
Shame really.

Recommend21.
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Sana Baig

2 hours ago

Reply



Give vote to PML(N), PTI and we all will see how these extremist element will nurture further. End to Drone attacks will make this country a talibanistan for sure. May these hypocrites burn in fire of H3ll and their political career slither in oblivion forever

Recommend20.
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Noman Ansari

2 hours ago

Reply



This is so terrible! :(

Recommend5.
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Sana Baig

2 hours ago

Reply



Put End to this PML(N), taliban party !!

Recommend21.
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Arindom

2 hours ago

Reply



Situation getting sadder and more pathetic by the day….
….But we still want Kashmir!! LOL!

Recommend14.
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Yasin Ali

2 hours ago

Reply



Rana Sanaullah and CM Shahbaz: why did you withdraw security from Taseer Family?Recommend11.
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Imran

2 hours ago

Reply



Completely unacceptable. Now the ransom demand to release Salman’s killer will come!! Ridiculous!

Recommend8.
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Abdul Rehman Gilani

2 hours ago

Reply



Awww, seculars and liberals start crying again…..
start chanting against the state of Pakistan and call it a failed one,
start speaking about so-called extremism in Pakistan. demonizing the role of clerics, and giving a “fatwaa” that Pakistan was meant to be a secular state …..
start lamenting about the apparent in vain death of salman taseer( who is NOT a martyr but was an open drinker)
and finally repeat the same drama of dreaming that Pakistan becomes liberal…..

Honestly, this self-centred, self-pitiful attitude of seculars/liberals is disgusting, they dont deserve any sympathy.( I will be dubbed as an extremist for this frank, curt and truthful opinion)

Judging by the media hype and pressure, I can guarantee safely that shahbaz will be freed in a few days.

Recommend22.
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Atif Anjum

2 hours ago

Reply



@Chacha:
Please stop propaganda and conspiracy theory against Pakistan and Pakistani and Islam. Let some useful information come to media, who kidnapped him and why.

Recommend9.
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Atif Anjum

2 hours ago

Reply



@Chacha:
btw, did you type at least one comments on the news when a christian extremist killed 94 People in Norway?

Recommend15.
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A Rehman

2 hours ago

Reply



Very sad. Punjab government sleeping.Recommend5.
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Atif Anjum

2 hours ago

Reply



@Sana Baig:
How you claim, he has been kidnapped by any banned group, when no report has been come yet, actual extremist is in you, who always think on one way

Recommend5.
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Yasin Ali

2 hours ago

Reply



Even Punjab Government is Impotent …. They can hardly avert any crisis . Just when Mowlana Chisti left country due to insecurity … how on earth they couldnt got serious about Shaheed Salman Taseer Family .

Recommend3.
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maestro

2 hours ago

Reply



@Abdul Rehman Gilani:
So he was an open drinker! So what???? At least he wasn’t drinking anyone’s blood! We answer to God only!! May Allah have mercy on the Taseer family and may Qadri and all kafir monsters like him burn in hell!Recommend31.
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Atif Anjum

2 hours ago

Reply



@Abdul Rehman Gilani:
100% right brother …

Recommend11.
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poppy

an hour ago

Reply



this is not sad, its more than that, its horrible, terrible,…..
stop praying and do something.

Recommend8.
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teng chu

an hour ago

Reply



foreign hand should not be ruled out

Recommend1.
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ZM

an hour ago

Reply



The Taseers are paying a price for ‘OUR STUPID SILENCE’. We all know what is happening in Pakistan and the world over. Why are we doing nothing about it? What is this stupid act of self preservation that will eventually lead to a holocaust in this region. I’m telling you all… the fundos will kill us all one by one if we don’t stop this madness. We need a guerrilla strategy now to deal with supporters and condoners of extremism and mob culture. Laaton kay bhoot baaton say nahin maantay. Religious sermons, congregations, Daras etc should all be banned ‘UNTIL’ a clear ‘peace and freedom for all’ agenda is promised and exercised in all mosques and private sermons, indiscriminately, because we are also attacked and targeted the same way too.

Recommend12.
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Arindom

an hour ago

Reply



@MS – Mariya:

funny you feel sorry – or is that what is known as ‘crocodile tears’ ? Only the other day you were a tigress defending the forces of obscurantism and fanatism?

Recommend3.
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loose dhoti

an hour ago

Reply



@Arindom: its about a guy being kidnapped, you want us to give you kashmir for that.

Recommend4.
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Uncle J

an hour ago

Reply



@Abdul Rehman Ghani and Atif Anjum:

Wtf is wrong with you? Why would we Pakistanis care what’s happening in Norway? Apnay mulk main maslay kam hain? Shahbaz Taseer was abducted in Pakistan by Pakistanis. Are you telling me his abductors are not terrorists? Are you telling me the death of a man means nothing to you? is this what Islam has taught you?

You have twisted, warped and completely torn apart Islam with your moribund idiosyncracies. Shame on you and all those like you. A man’s father was murdered. Later he is kidnapped. And you want us to focus of Norway?

Shame on you. Just shame on you.

Recommend36.
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khan

an hour ago

Reply



@Abdul Rehman Gilani
re: NOT a martyr but was an open drinker

According to your opinion drinking of alcohol cancels shahadats.

This blinkered logic would suggest that the Hazrat Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib does not deserve to be called a martyr after courageously sacrificing his life for Islam in the Battle of Uhud?

What kind of Muslim are you?

Recommend15.
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MS - Mariya

an hour ago

Reply



@Abdul Rehman Gilani:
secular and liberal crying? Every pakistani should cry when an indivdual gets kidnapped. Every Pakistani should cry when a human being gets killed for his personal opinion in this country.

No this country is not a failed state but people like you has messed my country.

‘open drinker’..well our founding father Jinnah was an open drinker. What are you doing in his country?

Recommend37.
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Adil

an hour ago

Reply



Sad. No one would have had the audacity to even think of perpetrating such an act had his dad been alive. How times change….

Recommend3.
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Rubab A. Zaidi

an hour ago

Reply



May God he remains safe and joins his family unharmed

Recommend2.
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Atif Anjum

an hour ago

Reply



@All
Amazing, How people are commenting on kidnapping of a rich guy, while no report came yet who kidnapped him, and why. It may by possible his ex-girl friend may be involved or wat else. But not one commenting on the cruelty on “Rights violation: Over 2,000 found buried in Kashmir’s unmarked graves” , instead indian are supporting their army for this animal act.

Recommend6.
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Annum

an hour ago

Reply



@Abdul Rehman Gillani
If your accusing “liberals and secular” of demonizing, than please realize you’re falling trap to your own criticism. Why is there a need to hate and reduce other people’s beliefs all the time.

Recommend9.
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Uncle Sam

an hour ago

Reply



Another kidnapping. Hmmm…

A great man said


Death of one is a tragedy. Death of many is a statistics.

Recommend2.
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Adeel759

an hour ago

Reply



@Gilani. “Liberals font deserve sympathy”. Why do you gave to state thah, extremist like you are proving that. But know this Mr Gilani, thanks to you and your brother Qadri The Killer Pakistan has become what it is today. Liberals may not deserve sympathy, people like you font deserve a place in this country. You better move to Afghanistan Or Saudi Arabia, so you could practice your beloved religion openly, with your hands cut.Recommend11.
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MS - Mariya

an hour ago

Reply



@khan:
@Uncle J:
excellent reply to crazy Gilani.

Recommend4.
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Atif Anjum

an hour ago

Reply



@Uncle J:
from what sources you claim that Shahbaz Taseer was abducted by Pakistanis or by pakistani muslims? and why you involve islam in his abduction? Shame on you who always blame Islam on each issue without any facts n figures

Recommend3.
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Loneliberal PK

an hour ago

Reply



Abdul Rehman Gilani,
At this point it is only the ignorant and the moronic who are smiling. This is bigger than seculars and Islamists. Atrocities like these adversely affect the future of this country, which is a loss for both sides.

Recommend14.
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Abbas

an hour ago

Reply



Pakistan was made to break the so called super powers, so they don’t want us to live in peace.
May Allah bring home safe, enshAllah.

Recommend1.
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Me

an hour ago

Reply



Terrible news, may they recover him alive and well Inshallah. My prayers are with the Taseers.

Recommend2.
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Arindom

an hour ago

Reply



@loose dhoti: read Atif Anjum’s comment and you’ll what I meant! LOL!
@Atif Anjum: exactly…….you are going down the drain…..but still want Kashmir!!

Recommend2.
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ju

an hour ago

Reply



@MS – Mariya:
yah :/ :P hahahahahahhahhahahahahah

Recommend1.
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epicurus

an hour ago

Reply



@Abdul Rehman Gilani:
bhaisaab, why will the seculars and the liberals not cry?????
salmaan tasser’s another son aatish tasser is a renowned writer traveeling across india, without any isues, where his father is known as a late minister to india’s enemy no 1, and here in pakistan, where his father was a late minister, his son is kidnapped in public…tch tch….the religiously pious have a lot to answwer,,,,,,,,

Recommend1.
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usman

an hour ago

Reply



One thing has clearly been established: Abdul Rehman Gilani is not the smartest tool in the shed

Recommend11

Bedouns suffer uncertain fate in Kuwait


23 Aug 2011 10:00

Source: alertnet // Reuters


Bedoun activist Mohamed Alenezi pictured in Regent’s Park, London where he now lives. Photo by Emma Batha

This story is part of an AlertNet special report on statelessness

By Emma Batha

LONDON, Aug 23 (AlertNet) - For years after he left his native Kuwait, Mohamed Alenezi had nightmares about checkpoints and would wake up terrified the police were chasing him.

A religious man, Alenezi had not broken any law. His crime was of being an illegal immigrant in the land of his forebears. He was stateless.

On Thursday, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR will launch an international campaign to highlight the plight of millions of people not considered nationals by any country.

Being stateless is like being "between the earth and the sky", said Alenezi, 42, now a British citizen.

"You are here and not here," he said in London, where he lives with his wife and seven children and works as an Arabic teacher.

"You are here as a human being, but you don't have an identity. Without an identity, without a nationality you cannot do anything. No one will respect you or deal with you."

Alenezi's family are bedouns, from the Arabic "bedoun jinsiyya" meaning "without nationality". Like many bedouns, they are descendants of nomadic Bedouin tribes which had for centuries roamed freely with their animals across what is now Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan and Iraq.

Many bedouns fell through the cracks when Kuwait became independent in 1961. Some did not apply for citizenship because they did not know how important it would become. Others were illiterate or could not produce documents.

"After independence my tribe stayed in the desert in Kuwait. The government offered them nationality but they did not understand the meaning of nationality because they knew each other by tribes and families," he told AlertNet, a humanitarian news site run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"They weren't used to carrying papers and documents or ID cards. All they carried was their clothes."

RIGHTS STRIPPED

No one knows how many Kuwaiti bedouns there are but estimates range from 93,000 to 180,000 inside the country and possibly 100,000 outside.

Until the mid-1980s the bedouns were treated as citizens, Alenezi said. But by the time he left school in 1986, the government had started stripping them of basic rights. He was not allowed to go to university to study medicine, and he was turned down for jobs in the military, police and media.

"They told me they couldn't take me because I was a bedoun," he said. "I was accepted by universities in Jordan and the UAE, but Kuwait wouldn't give me a passport."

Rights groups say the fact the bedouns were included in the 1965 census indicates Kuwait considered them citizens at that time.

"In the beginning when we were Bedouin they used to call us 'Kuwaiti'," Alenezi said.

"Then they changed it to 'Kuwaiti from the Desert', then 'Bedoun'. After the Gulf War they changed it to 'Unspecific Nationality' and since '96 they have called us 'Illegal Residents'."

The Kuwait government says the bedouns are nationals of other countries. But rights groups say the vast majority are not considered nationals by any other state.

GULF WAR

Many bedouns have served in Kuwait's armed forces. When Iraq invaded in 1990, Alenezi's brother, who was in the Navy, was captured as a prisoner of war.

But there was no hero's welcome when he returned home after Kuwait's liberation in 1991. Like other bedouns he was sacked from the military.

Many people, bedouns and Kuwaitis alike, fled the country during Iraq's occupation but the bedouns were barred from returning after the war. Alenezi's parents were among those who ended up stranded behind the Iraqi border.

Alenezi left Kuwait to join his parents and later moved to Jordan. With no passport of his own he resorted to buying a false Yemeni passport to travel to Europe.

'KUWAITI UNTIL DEATH'

Alenezi never intended to become a champion for his people. But he set up the Kuwaiti Bidoons Movement in 2005 after a London-based Arabic TV station asked him to speak about their plight and the emails started flooding in.

"The letters didn't just shock me, they turned my hair white because of the suffering. People didn't have food. When they were sick they had no treatment. They were dying," he said.

Alenezi said people with cancer are refused treatment and some bedouns resort to selling their blood for cash. The ban on schooling has rendered a generation illiterate and many children work.

"They sell food or tissues on the street. They don't have school, they come from big families where no one is allowed to work and they need to pay for rent and food," he added.

Kuwait is a rich country. An average salary is around 1,000 dinar ($3,650) a month. But Alenezi says bedouns able to find work earn 120-150 dinar, which has to go round 15 to 20 people.

Alenezi has taken his campaign to the United Nations where he hopes someone will champion the cause. He says the revolutions sweeping the Arab world should help the bedouns seek their rights.

"We are not looking to change the regime, we just think it is a good chance to highlight the issue," he said. "The eyes of the world are on the Middle East."

The government promised limited reforms earlier this year, but Alenezi says he will not rest until all bedouns have full citizenship. "This issue is my day and my night," he said.

The day he received British citizenship was a bittersweet one.

"When the official said you now have all the rights of a British citizen I was thinking of Kuwait. Here I have all the rights, even to be a prime minister," he said. "It made me feel quite sad about my country."

Alenezi is grateful to the United Kingdom for providing his children with a future, but he will never feel it is his real home. Kuwait may have disowned him, but that won't change how he sees himself.

"I'm Kuwaiti until death; in my blood, in my feelings, in my dreams," he said. "Even if they won't let me be a Kuwaiti citizen."

(Reporting By Emma Batha; Editing by Katie Nguyen and Sonya Hepinstall)

How much longer can Kadhafi hold out?.

Adnan Darwash

Group: Guests

Posted 05 September 2011 - 10:54 AM

The US and most European governments, didn’t practice what they preached or what they had been announcing to their respective people; at least not when it comes to matters concerning Libya or the Geddafi regime. The documents uncovered in Libya so far have exposed many secret dealings and illegal activities in helping Geddafi punish his opponen while at the same revealing names of high US, French and British officials (e.g. Sir Mark Allen). Furthermore, it has shown that State Department and Pentagon officials visited Libya few months ago rendering advice in order to save Geddafi regime from further NATO attacks. As a result of such consultation, Libyan diplomats travelled to Israel to normalise relations with the National Zionist (NAZI) State as it is called by JEWWATCH.com.

The Americans were right in being concerned as the collapse of Geddafi regime will lead to some embarassing exposures. Besides their part in the rendition and torture of terror suspects (e.g. Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the current military commander in Tripoli) there is a risk that the significant payments made to Tony Blair, to Sir. Mark Allen, to US officials and to Nikolas Sarkozi will be made public. In addition, the Israelis were unhappy to see Geddafi gone since many believe that he has a Jewish blood and wanted to compensate Jews with $US billions for the properties left behind when they immigrated out of the country in 1967, following the Israeli attack on Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

So what has made the West rush to bombard Libya and to risk loosing Geddafi and the ensuing consequences?

Squeezed between revolutions in Tunisa and Egypt, the US, UK, and France were aware that the Islamists will eventually take control of Libya and convert the North African state into another Iran.

The present chaos in Libya is expected to continue long after Geddafi had left the scene. There is a Libyan saying, one doesn|t have to go out to know it is winter.The Islamist commander in Benghazi has already called on the head of the NTC (National Transitional Council) to resign for being too close to Geddafi in the past and for being too cosy with NATO. The same commander was involved in the killing of Rebel General Abdul Fattah Younis and the burning of his remains near Benghazi. While the Islamist commander of Tripoli has called on the US and the UK to apologise for helping Geddafi in kidnapping and torturing him at the notorious Bu Slim prison where he was held for seven years. One can say that Libya is not Iraq, but the US-led NATO chaos is familiar.

Posted 05 September 2011 - 06:45 PM

Money in the hands of the crooks will not result in stable, secure or prosperous Libya. So far the US had spent over $two trillion on Iraq and Afghanistan. There are still $7 billion un accounted for in Iraq. Mr Paul Bremer, US-appointed first ruler of occupied Iraq, was accused of pocketing $300 million. The infrastrucre and services in Iraq are one million times worse than when criminal Saddam was in charge.



Adnan Darwash, Iraq Occupation Times



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

من AFP news agency (Agence France-Presse)‏ في 25 أغسطس، 2011‏، الساعة 06:05 مساءً‏‏
.



Rebel commanders said that while they control most of Tripoli, hot spots remain where sniper fire, rocket explosions and heavy weaponry make life dangerous.



A picture released by a Libyan opposition group. AFP PHOTO/AL-MANARA MEDIA/HO



Libyan rebels ready Kadhafi knockout punch



by Dominique Soguel and Marc Bastian



TRIPOLI, Aug 25, 2011 (AFP) - Hardened rebel fighters streamed into Tripoli Thursday seeking to deliver a knockout punch to Moamer Kadhafi's diehards and to flush out the elusive strongman, who has a $1.7 million price on his head.



As the six-month rebellion against the former colonel appeared to be drawing to an end, rebel chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil said it had "resulted in more than 20,000 dead."


He also said countries that had helped the rebel cause would be rewarded accordingly.



"We promise to favour the countries which helped us, especially in the development of Libya. We will deal with them according to the support which they gave us," he told a news conference in the eastern city of Benghazi.



Beyond Tripoli, rebel commanders said they were also readying a new advance against forces defending Kadhafi's hometown Sirte, 360 kilometres (225 miles) east of Tripoli and seeking to break a siege of Zuwarah, a town to the

west.



British Defence Minister Liam Fox said NATO was helping the rebels with intelligence and reconnaissance to find Kadhafi, but the Western alliance denied his claim.



However, an AFP reporter discovered that French and British operatives are working with rebels as they press towards Sirte, amid unconfirmed reports British special forces SAS members were sent to Libya several weeks ago.



Leading the army of reinforcements into Tripoli were seasoned combatants from Misrata, whose fellow fighters spearheaded the weekend assault that saw the capital swiftly overrun and Kadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound

captured.



Rebel commanders said that while they control most of Tripoli, hot spots remain where sniper fire, rocket explosions and heavy weaponry make life dangerous.



In an example of that, Tripoli's Corinthia Bab Africa Hotel, where numerous foreign journalists are based, came under attack on Thursday, apparently by Kadhafi snipers, but there were no reports of casualties.



"Heavy shooting is going on in central Tripoli just at the doorstep of our hotel. Street battle. Sniper fire. Hotel under gunfire attack," an AFP correspondent reported of the firefight, which last about 40 minutes.



The Corinthia is located a few hundred metres (yards) from the centre of Tripoli's Old City, near the sea.



The rebels are also hell-bent on finding Kadhafi, so they can proclaim final victory in an uprising that began six months ago and was all but crushed by Kadhafi's forces before NATO warplanes gave crucial air support to the rebels.



Rebel leaders say they want to put Kadhafi on trial even though he also faces charges of crimes against humanity along with his son Seif al-Islam and spymaster Abdullah al-Senussi at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.



On Wednesday, the rebel National Transitional Council (NTC) offered a $1.7 million reward for the capture of Kadhafi, dead or alive, and amnesty to any members of his inner circle who kill or capture him.



The 69-year-old Kadhafi has not been seen in public for weeks. But despite losing control of the oil-rich North African country he ruled with an iron first for 42 years, he is still managing to broadcast messages urging Libyans to drive out the "rats" -- as he disparagingly calls the rebels.




Britain's Defence Minister Liam Fox told Sky news that
NATO is providing "intelligence and reconnaissance assets to the NTC to help them track down Colonel Kadhafi and other remnants of the regime."



NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu denied that.



"No specific individual is a target as an individual, whether it's Kadhafi or anybody else," she told AFP in Brussels.



The alliance has repeatedly denied targeting Kadhafi since NATO-led warplanes began bombing regime forces in March and has always rejected claims that it was serving as the rebels' proxy air force.



"There is no military coordination with the rebels," Lungescu said.


Meanwhile, Fox declined to comment on reports that Britain's SAS special forces were working with the rebels to track down Kadhafi.



The Daily Telegraph newspaper, quoting defence sources, said SAS members were sent to Libya several weeks ago and played a key role in coordinating the battle for Tripoli, which fell into rebel hands on Sunday.



In the oil refinery town of Zuwaytina, the new eastern front about 150 kilometres (93 miles) southwest of the opposition bastion Benghazi, an AFP reporter saw French and British operatives working with Libyan rebels



They are equipped with telecommunications equipment and housed in two shipping containers, within walking distance of the headquarters of Fawzi Bukatif, commander of the eastern front.
.



In Tripoli's Souk Al-Jumaa, the arrival of at least 60 Misrata rebels on Wednesday sparked joy among residents.



"We are very happy. Misrata's soldiers can win anything," said Taha Abu Zeid. "They could even win Afghanistan."



They were joined by rebels from the western Nafusa mountains and as far east as Benghazi, as field commanders vowed to bring the capital under full rebel control.



Fighting is concentrated along the perimeters of Bab al-Aziziya and the neighbouring Abu Slim district, where Kadhafi reportedly released, armed and paid former prisoners to fight for his regime.



The streets were quiet there Thursday after heavy fighting in the area the previous day.



Rebel commanders said Kadhafi forces were pounding insurgents holding the centre of Zuwarah, west of Tripoli, adding that they needed reinforcements to help them break the siege.



Rebels advancing towards Sirte were also blocked Wednesday in the town of Bin Jawad as loyalists kept up stiff resistance.



"Kadhafi's forces are still fighting, we are surprised. We thought they would surrender with the fall of Tripoli," rebel commander Fawzi Bukatif said.



Meanwhile, at a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in Milan, NTC number two Mahmud Jibril repeated calls for urgent financial help.



"This is an urgent call upon our friends," Jibril said, adding that the "biggest disabling element" for the NTC "would be the failure to deliver services and salaries" in the post-Kadhafi period.



On Wednesday, the NTC sought $5 billion in emergency aid from frozen assets at a meeting with foreign representatives from the Libya contact group in Qatar, a sum twice that announced by Jibril on Tuesday.



But at the United Nations South Africa refused to lift a block on the United States unfreezing $1.5 billion of Libyan assets to buy humanitarian aid, setting up a diplomatic showdown at the Security Council.



In Milan, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Rome would release next week 350 million euros ($504 million) in assets frozen in Italian banks.



Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged the United Nations to take action to unlock the assets, at the start of a Libya Contact Group meeting of senior diplomats in Istanbul.



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

REFILE-Slain Libyan commander's tribe warns rebels over probe

03 Aug 2011 01:37
Source: Reuters // Reuters

(Revises wording of 4th para)

* Tribal justice looms, barring full rebel investigation

* Younes tribe complains rebel leadership dragging feet

* Killing smacks of internal betrayal -- Younes son

By Rania El Gamal

BENGHAZI, Libya Aug 2 (Reuters) - The powerful tribe of the Libyan rebels' slain military commander vowed on Tuesday to find justice themselves for his suspicious killing last week if rebel leaders failed to investigate it fully.

General Abdel Fattah Younes's death, apparently while in the custody of fellow rebels bringing him back from the front line for unspecified questioning, raised fears of deep divisions in the rebel camp, something the tribal ultimatum only underlined.

"The way he was killed looks like a betrayal, so until now we are trying to calm and control the youth of the tribe, but we don't know what could happen," one of Younes's sons told foreign reporters when asked if rifts could turn violent.

He declined to be named but spoke on behalf of the family gathered around him, following a crisis summit of leaders of some 90 tribes led by Younes's Ubaideyat tribe, one of Libya's biggest, at the family ranch in the rebel stronghold Benghazi.

After two days of confusion, rebel leaders said on Saturday the assailants were militiamen allied to the rebels in their struggle to overthrow Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Few details have been revealed -- even, the family says, to them.

"They (the tribal committee) will investigate who issued the arrest warrant and who sent whom to arrest him, how was he lost. They said he was dead but they couldn't find the body, so how did they know he was dead if there was no body?" the son said.

The family complained to Reuters on Monday that the rebel leadership was dragging its feet over its own investigation into the murder, which they said smacked of conspiracy and treason.

They said they would if needed turn for help to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which has issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi over alleged crimes against humanity.


"A HAND IN IT"

Younes was shot dead with two aides at some point after he was summoned to Benghazi by the Transitional National Council (TNC), the rebel leadership now recognised diplomatically by many Western states.

"If the council (TNC) doesn't bring us justice, and if the (international) judiciary don't bring us justice, then we will leave it to the tribe to bring us justice," the son said.

Tribes have a huge influence in Libyan society. Younes's tribe, from the rebel-held east, numbers about 400,000.

Family members say the TNC has not yet formed its announced investigation committee nor named any of its members.

On Tuesday the son said the tribe had refused to let TNC officials attend mourning days where people pay condolences to the family "because the tribe was upset, they feel that either the council had a hand in it or they are neglecting it".

For years Younes was in Gaddafi's inner circle before defecting in February at the start of the rebels' uprising to become their military chief.

Muatsem Abdel Fattah Younes, one of his sons, said on Monday he only found out his father was dead from watching television.

He said he had talked to Younes on Thursday at 2 a.m. after he heard that armed men had surrounded his father's headquarters in the town of Ajdabiya.

INTENT TO BETRAY

Bodyguards who accompanied him on the way to Benghazi were stopped by armed men and stripped of their weapons. Younes's body was found on Friday in the suburbs of Benghazi, burnt and with gunshot wounds. Two officers with him were also killed.

Officials say a militiaman was arrested and confessed his subordinates had killed them, but have not given details.

Younes's nephew said on Monday it seemed there had never been any plan to question him in Benghazi.

"If there was an intention to investigate him, they could have called him and he would have followed orders, but there was no intention of that," Mohammed Hamed Younes told Reuters.

"From the start, there was an intention of betrayal and treason."

(Reporting by Rania El Gamal, writing by Richard Meares; editing by Mark Heinrich)

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



Gaddafi loyalists put up tough fight in Sirte

27 Sep 2011 22:44
Source: Reuters // Reuters

By Sherine El Madany

SIRTE, Libya, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Intense sniper and artillery fire from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi holed up in Sirte kept fighters with Libya's new rulers at bay in the deposed leader's hometown on Wednesday.

Sirte, one of the last two bastions of support for Gaddafi, is encircled by forces with the interim National Transitional Council (NTC) and under aerial attack from NATO.

NTC fighters have been meeting stiff resistance from Gaddafi loyalists, who have managed to hang on to much of Sirte more than a month after the fall of the Libyan leader's regime.

Lack of coordination and divisions at the front have been hampering their attempts to capture Sirte and Bani Walid, which lies 180 km (110 miles) south of Tripoli.

A commander leading the attack on Sirte said on Tuesday he was in talks with elders inside the city about a truce, but the head of another anti-Gaddafi unit rejected negotiations.

There were clashes at a roundabout 2 km (1.5 miles) east of the centre of Sirte, where anti-Gaddafi fighters were pinned down for a second day by sniper and artillery fire.

Forces with the new government brought in two tanks and trucks carrying infantry to try to break through.

Snipers, though, held up the advance, forcing the attackers to take cover behind metal shipping containers.

Medical workers at a hospital in Ras Lanuf, which lies 220 km (137 miles) east of Sirte, said they had received the bodies of six NTC fighters killed in fighting on the city's eastern front. Some 45 fighters were wounded, many from sniper fire.

While the fighting continues, humanitarian organisations have expressed alarm at the worsening situation in Sirte.

"Our main worry is the people being displaced because of the fighting," said Jafar Vishtawi, a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), near Sirte.

GADDAFIS STILL MAKING WAVES

Taking Sirte, 450 km east of Tripoli, would bring Libya's new rulers closer to gaining control of the whole country, something still eluding them more than a month after their fighters seized the capital.

It is likely some members of Gaddafi's family are in Sirte but there is no information about the location of the former ruler himself. He is the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant.

A Syria-based television station that has been broadcasting audio speeches by Gaddafi, reported on Tuesday that the toppled leader had addressed his supporters and urged them to fight in a speech broadcast on a local radio station in Bani Walid.

The report by Arrai television could not be independently verfied.

Arrai also broadcast footage of what it said was Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, dated Sept. 20, rallying his forces at an unidentified location.

"This land is the land of your forefathers. Don't hand it over," Saif al-Islam, shouted to a crowd of followers.

In neighhouring Algeria, the government ordered members of Gaddafi's family in exile there to stay out of politics after Gaddafi's daughter Aisha angered the NTC by telling the media her father was still fighting to hold on to power.

Aisha Gaddafi, her brothers Hannibal and Mohammed, their mother Safia and several other family members fled in August.

In a separate development, a Tunisian court of appeal freed Gaddafi's former Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, who was sentenced to six months in jail last week after he was arrested near the North African country's border with Algeria.

Shortly after the ruling, a source at the Justice Ministry told Reuters that Tunisia had not received any request from the NTC to extradite al-Mahmoudi.

Libya's new rulers received an important boost when exports of crude oil -- the country's only major source of revenue -- resumed for the first time in months.

The head of Libya's port authority said a cargo of crude oil had sailed on Sept. 25 from the port of Marsa el Hariga, bound for Italy. It was only the third cargo to leave Libya since the rebellion against Gaddafi's rule began in February.

"We are working hard to make everything run normally at the ports," Capt. Ramadan Boumadyan said in an interview. "I think everything will be back to normal in a month's time." (Additional reporting by William MacLean and Joseph Logan in Tripoli, Emad Omar in Benghazi, Jonathan Saul and Paul Hoskins in London, Tarek Amara in Tunis, Christian Lowe and Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers and Ali Abdelatti and Sami Aboudi in Cairo; Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Robert Woodward)

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


Gaddafi loyalists "ask for truce" in besieged city

27 Sep 2011 19:13
Source: Reuters // Reuters


Families flee from Sirte amid fighting between anti-Gaddafi fighters and pro-Gaddafi forces, around 6 km (4 miles) east of Sirte, September 26, 2011. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

(Adds TV footage shown of Gaddafi's son)

By Sherine El Madany

SIRTE, Libya, Sept 27 (Reuters) - A Libyan commander leading the attack on Muammar Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte said on Tuesday he was in talks with elders inside the city about a truce, but the head of another anti-Gaddafi unit rejected negotiations.

Sirte, one of the last bastions of support for the deposed Libyan leader, is encircled by forces with the interim government and under bombardment from NATO warplanes.

Touhami Zayani, commander of the El-Farouk brigade on the western edge of Sirte, told Reuters an elder from Gaddafi's tribe, whom he did not identify, had contacted him on his satellite phone from inside Sirte.

"He called me and said we are looking for a safe passage for the families and for the militia to leave the city," he said.

Zayani said he had given his agreement for families from Gaddafi's tribe, who make up the majority of Sirte's population, to be allowed to leave and was still negotiating terms for armed Gaddafi loyalists to surrender.

"We didn't really get into details and we didn't talk much about how they will leave but I think the scenario will be that they have to give up their weapons," Zayani said.


Reflecting the lack of coordination that has dogged the Libyan government's efforts to establish its authority, units in the east of Sirte fought on, even as their allies in the west of Sirte ceased fire to await the outcome of truce talks.

Asked about the prospect of a truce with pro-Gaddafi fighters, Omar Al-Qatrany, an anti-Gaddafi commander on the eastern front line, said: "Those people don't want to negotiate and we don't care about them any more.

"Our main concern is to evacuate families out of Sirte and then we will bomb the city," he said.

Libya's new rulers received an important boost when exports of crude oil -- the country's only major source of revenue -- resumed for the first time in months.

There were clashes at a roundabout 2 km (1.5 miles) east of the centre of Sirte, where anti-Gaddafi fighters were pinned down for a second day by intense sniper and artillery fire.

A Reuters reporter nearby said forces with the new government, the National Transitional Council (NTC), brought up reinforcements to the roundabout to try to break through, including two tanks and about a dozen trucks carrying infantry.

Snipers, though, held up the advance, forcing the attackers to take cover behind metal shipping containers.

Medical workers at a hospital in Ras Lanuf, which lies 220 km (137 miles) east of Sirte, said they had received the bodies of six NTC fighters killed in fighting on the city's eastern front. Some 45 fighters were wounded, many from sniper fire.

While the fighting continues, humanitarian organisations have been expressing alarm at the worsening situation in Sirte.

"Our main worry is the people being displaced because of the fighting," said Jafar Vishtawi, a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), near Sirte.

SYMBOLIC VICTORY

Taking Sirte, 450 km east of Tripoli, would bring Libya's new rulers closer to gaining control of the whole country, something still eluding them more than a month after their fighters seized the capital.

It is likely some members of Gaddafi's family are in Sirte but there is no information about the location of the former ruler himself. He is the subject of an Interpol arrest warrant.

A Syria-based television station broadcast footage on Tuesday of what it said was Gaddafi's son Saif al-Islam, dated Sept. 20, rallying his forces at an unidentified location.

"This land is the land of your forefathers. Don't hand it over," Saif al-Islam, shouted to a crowd of followers, according to the footage broadcast by Arrai TV.

In neighhouring Algeria, the government ordered members of Gaddafi's family in exile there to stay out of politics after Gaddafi's daughter Aisha angered the NTC by telling the media her father was still fighting to hold on to power.

"It is clear that the message has been passed on to Aisha and the other members of the family that they should, from now on, respect their status as guests in Algeria and remove themselves completely from any political action," Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci was quoted as saying by the official APS news agency.

Aisha Gaddafi, her brothers Hannibal and Mohammed, their mother Safia and several other family members fled in August.

In a separate development, a Tunisian court of appeal freed Gaddafi's former Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, who was sentenced to six months in jail last week after he was arrested near the North African country's border with Algeria.

Shortly after the ruling, a source at the Justice Ministry told Reuters that Tunisia had not received any request from the NTC to extradite al-Mahmoudi.

"Tunisia has not received any official request to extradite Mahmoudi," the source said. "And after the court's decision to free him, he is a free man." A Tunisian court last week jailed Mahmoudi for illegally entering the country.

OIL EXPORTS

The head of Libya's port authority said a cargo of crude oil had sailed on Sept. 25 from the port of Marsa el Hariga, bound for Italy. It was only the third cargo to leave Libya since the rebellion against Gaddafi's rule began in February.

"We are working hard to make everything run normally at the ports," Capt. Ramadan Boumadyan said in an interview. "I think everything will be back to normal in a month's time."

Foreign companies are jockeying for a share of oil contracts and the billions of dollars in reconstruction contracts the new Libyan government is expected to hand out once revenue from oil sales starts flowing in.

Firms from Britain and France, which led the NATO bombing campaign against Gaddafi's forces, are in the forefront of the race for business.

"They (the Libyans) are not naïve, they expect it to be profitable to us, but they're not going to do us any favours. It will be competitive," Stephen Green, Britain's trade and investment minister, told a meeting of British executives in London.

The biggest risk to Libya's stability now is a power vacuum. The NTC exercises only tenuous control while real power lies in the hands of armed militias that ousted Gaddafi.

NTC officials on Tuesday asked fighters who flooded into Tripoli from other regions to leave, warning their presence could destabilise the country. (Additional reporting by William MacLean and Joseph Logan in Tripoli, Emad Omar in Benghazi, Jonathan Saul and Paul Hoskins in London, Tarek Amara in Tunis, Christian Lowe and Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers and Ali Abdelatti and Sami Aboudi in Cairo; Writing by Joseph Nasr and Christian Lowe; Editing by Robert Woodward)


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


Gaddafi urges supporters to come out
By Areeb Hasni - Oct 7th, 2011 (No Comment)
2
Sirte: Libyan ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi has called on his supporters to come on to the streets to resist the nation’s interim leaders.
In an audio message broadcast on Syrian-based Arrai television on Thursday, he said conditions in Libya have become “unbearable”.
The message comes as heavy fighting continued between the anti-Gaddafi forces and loyalists for the city of Sirte.
The whereabouts of Col Gaddafi remain unknown.
Gaddadi in his recorded speech says, “I call on the Libyan people, men and women, to go out into the squares and the streets in all the cities in their millions.
“Go peacefully… be courageous, rise up, go to the streets, raise our green flags to the skies.
“Don’t be afraid of anyone. You are the people. You have right on your side. You are the rightful people of this land.”
NTC troops around Bani Walid, file pic NTC troops around Bani Walid are said to be getting reinforcements soon
Col Gaddafi questioned the right of the NTC to govern, asking: “How did it get its legitimacy? Did the Libyan people elect them? Did the Libyan people appoint them?”
He adds, “To those who recognise this council, be ready for the creation of transitional councils imposed by the power of fleets [Western powers] to replace you one by one from now on.”
Gaddafi has eluded capture since the fall of the capital and despite speculation of his presence in Bani Walid, Sirte, Sabha and other areas further south, there has been no confirmation of his whereabouts.
Intense fighting is meanwhile continuing for Sirte, 360km (225 miles) east of Tripoli and one of the last loyalist strongholds.
NTC commander, Nasser el-Mgasibi, told AFP news agency, “Today we carried out a pincer movement to try to cut off the Mauritanian Quarter, where there are a number of [loyalist] fighters, and to cut off their rear.”
Thousands of civilians have fled Sirte but the NTC believes hundreds are still there.
Some of those who have escaped have complained of indiscriminate NATO and NTC bomb and artillery fire.
NATO insisted that it has not struck Sirte since the weekend and “is siding with none of the forces on the ground”, AFP reports.
There were also reports that a 1,000-strong NTC brigade was being sent to the other major loyalist bastion, Bani Walid, to try to break an impasse there.
Meanwhile, NATO defence ministers were meeting in Naples to discuss the Libya campaign.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, who is meeting military commanders of the campaign, said it had been a “remarkable achievement”.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “We are determined to pursue our operation as long as threats persist, but to end it as soon as conditions permit.”


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

Gaddafi warns developing world leaders of similar fate

06 Oct 2011 16:46
Source: Reuters // Reuters

* Gaddafi calls on Libyans to protest

* Says NTC not legitimate (Adds quotes, background)

BEIRUT, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi said leaders of the developing world who recognised Libya's National Transitional Council(NTC) that ousted him with the aid of NATO firepower would suffer a similar fate.

"If the power of (international) fleets give legitimacy, then let the rulers in the Third World be ready," he said in an apparent reference to NATO's military support for NTC forces.

He made the comments in an audio recording obtained by Reuters on Thursday from Syria-based Arrai television. It was not clear when the message was recorded.

"To those who recognize this council, be ready for the creation of transitional councils imposed by the power of fleets to replace you one by one from now on," he said.

Gaddafi also called on Libyans to take to the streets, saying conditions in Libya were "unbearable".

"I urge all Libyan people to go out and march in their millions in all the squares, in all the cities and villages and oases," Gaddafi said.

"Go peacefully ... be courageous, rise up, go to the streets, raise our green flags to the skies," he added.

Gaddafi has been on the run since NTC forces captured the Libyan capital Tripoli on Aug. 23. Despite several leads as to his whereabouts, he has eluded capture, along with two prominent sons.

The NTC has mounted a manhunt to find Gaddafi that is focussing on the Sahara desert near the borders with Niger and Algeria.

Gaddafi said the NTC was illegitimate. "How did it get its legitimacy? Did the Libyan people elect them? Did the Libyan people appoint them?"

Arrai TV broadcast Gaddafi's last speech on Sept. 20.

(Reporting by Lutfi abu Oun and Oliver Holmes; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

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


Gaddafi warns developing world leaders of similar fate

06 Oct 2011 16:46
Source: Reuters // Reuters

* Gaddafi calls on Libyans to protest

* Says NTC not legitimate (Adds quotes, background)

BEIRUT, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi said leaders of the developing world who recognised Libya's National Transitional Council(NTC) that ousted him with the aid of NATO firepower would suffer a similar fate.

"If the power of (international) fleets give legitimacy, then let the rulers in the Third World be ready," he said in an apparent reference to NATO's military support for NTC forces.

He made the comments in an audio recording obtained by Reuters on Thursday from Syria-based Arrai television. It was not clear when the message was recorded.

"To those who recognize this council, be ready for the creation of transitional councils imposed by the power of fleets to replace you one by one from now on," he said.

Gaddafi also called on Libyans to take to the streets, saying conditions in Libya were "unbearable".

"I urge all Libyan people to go out and march in their millions in all the squares, in all the cities and villages and oases," Gaddafi said.

"Go peacefully ... be courageous, rise up, go to the streets, raise our green flags to the skies," he added.

Gaddafi has been on the run since NTC forces captured the Libyan capital Tripoli on Aug. 23. Despite several leads as to his whereabouts, he has eluded capture, along with two prominent sons.

The NTC has mounted a manhunt to find Gaddafi that is focussing on the Sahara desert near the borders with Niger and Algeria.

Gaddafi said the NTC was illegitimate. "How did it get its legitimacy? Did the Libyan people elect them? Did the Libyan people appoint them?"

Arrai TV broadcast Gaddafi's last speech on Sept. 20.

(Reporting by Lutfi abu Oun and Oliver Holmes; Editing by Janet Lawrence)


===


American fighter makes Libya's war his own

07 Oct 2011 23:28
Source: Reuters // Reuters


A bullet-riddled picture of Muammar Gaddafi hangs on the wall of a cafetaria at a gas station in Bou Hadi town, October 3, 2011. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

* Man from Maryland fighting to capture Gaddafi hometown

* Gaddafi forces jailed him soon after he arrived in Libya

* Says he will stay on until Libya is free

By Rania El Gamal

SIRTE, Libya, Oct 8 (Reuters) - For seven months, Matthew Van Dyke has been fighting a war that is not his.

A U.S. citizen, from Maryland, he left home to come to Libya in March to fight Muammar Gaddafi's forces, spent 165 days in prison and when he was released returned to the front line.

"I am here to fight Gaddafi ... I will leave when it is finished ... when Libya is free," he said, on the outskirts of the coastal city of Sirte, where heavy fighting between forces of the National Transitional Council (NTC) and Gaddafi loyalists has been going on for weeks.

Van Dyke is a familiar face among NTC fighters and journalists on the front line in Sirte.

When he is not fighting, he is taking journalists covering the war on battlefield tours to where fierce combat is taking place.

Dressed in a camouflage outfit, brown headdress and sunglasses, he carries a small video camera on which he tapes the battles between NTC fighters and Gaddafi loyalists for control of Sirte, one of the last bastions of pro-Gaddafi resistance.

He is also in charge of a Russian-designed Dushka heavy machine gun mounted on the back of an open-top four-wheel drive vehicle.

His Libyan friend Nouri Founas, whom he met in 2007 in Mauritania while both were touring the Middle East and Africa, is always behind the wheel.

"He is now from Libya's revolutionaries. Our revolution is now an international one, not just local," said Founas.



FRIENDS IN NEED

The American NTC fighter said he had no combat experience before he came to Libya, apart from what little he picked when he was embedded with the U.S. army as a journalist in Iraq.

He said he first visited Libya in 2008, on a motorcycle tour through the Middle East. While there, he said he made many friends and it was the quality of those friendships that brought him back when the conflict started.

"I had friends in Libya. There were people here that I cared about. Somebody was killing my friends ... I can't sit back and watch that happening. So I came over to help fight Gaddafi," he said.

"This is personal. I wasn't here to do any work other than pick up a gun and help to free Libya."

He flew from the United States to Egypt and drove to Benghazi, in eastern Libya, where Founas was waiting for him, he said.

"I showed up in black jacket and military clothes and I said 'I'm here to fight Gaddafi, give me an AK47'," he said.

While on the battlefield in the eastern Libyan oil town of Brega, Van Dyke said he was captured in an ambush by pro-Gaddafi forces, who at the time controlled most of the country, including the capital, Tripoli.

He was imprisoned in the notorious Abu Salim jail in Tripoli. Of the 165 days he spent in detention, he said most was spent in solitary confinement. He turned 32 in prison.

"I was hit during the ambush ... Next thing I know I woke up with a guy being tortured in another cell above me," said Van Dyke.

He was sometimes kicked by angry guards but was not tortured during his time in prison, he said. But it was the stress and not knowing what would happen to him next that took the toll on him.

"The Libyan government denied that they had me for months," he said, adding he thought the government would either leave him in prison for years or execute him.

He did not tell his guards he knew some Arabic and he was able to listen sometimes to the television and hear what others said about him. Some thought he was a spy for the CIA or Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service.

He escaped the prison in late August, when NTC forces took control of the capital. At that point, he was free to go back home. Instead, he decided to meet up again with his friend, Founas, and rejoin the fighting.

Now he has a badge bearing his name and picture that testifies to his status as a fighter in the Ali Hassan Jaber brigade.

He says his Libyan colleagues want him to stay on once the conflict is over and find a Libyan wife. He said he has a girlfriend back home, and would stay just long enough to see Gaddafi's forces finally defeated.

"I told them (my family) when I came over here that I would leave when Libya is free and my family raised me to honour my commitments," he said. (Editing by Christian Lowe)

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Youth vs Experience in Libya- we fought the war, now you rule the country?
Posted on March 15, 2012 by Zara Rahman| Leave a comment

Yesterday was the last day of the British Council led “Paving the Future Youth Forum”, which has involved 100 incredibly smart young Libyans, and around 15 more from around the MENA region, and provided me with a great reason to come back here, as a facilitator on the journalism corner. As my last trip here in December 2011 was also for a workshop type event, “Libya’s Oil and Finance Future”, I’ve found it hard not to compare the two.

The participants at each workshop were very different; the December event involved people already interested in oil and transparency, from oil companies, relevant ministries of the interim government, media outlets looking to cover the subject, and members of civil society. Participants at the current event were chosen with very different criteria in mind; aged between 18-27 years old, and having achieved something or shown potential during the last year of revolution in the country.

Stories from people I’ve met here have been overwhelming; a young woman who appeared as a presenter on a TV show during the revolution and received so many death threats she had to flee the country; a girl of 18 whose teacher brought in Gaddafi forces into their classroom to threaten to rape and kill them if they carried on this ‘rubbish’ during the early days of the revolution; a young man who flew out of the country twice during the war to fight his way back in and, because a sniper was the first weapon he found, became a sniper throughout the war until September, to name just a few.

But while the overall mood at the December conference, with its older, more experienced crowd, was on the whole fairly pessimistic, the atmosphere here has been utterly electric. Optimism and hope for the future can be seen in everything that is said and all of the work that has been produced, including songs, posters, articles, and videos.

Speaking to the participants at the first day of this week’s workshop, Dr. Mahmoud Jibril, former acting Prime Minister of Libya during the interim period, said: “Frankly speaking, we can split Libya up into two generations. My generation- the generation that failed, and your generation; the generation of victory.”

He recognised, as most do, that the Libyan revolution was sparked and carried out by the younger generation. I would guess that a large proportion of the young men here fought in the war, and I’m sure that everyone here knows multiple people who died for the cause. As a result, many of the young people here feel like they deserve to have a say in what happens next.

But when does, or should, being young, naïve and enthusiastic, give way to older, more experienced people? Libyan youth played a huge, deciding part in overthrowing Gaddafi, but now, it seems, it’s time for them to give way to the ‘grown ups’.

Those who have already learned how to play the game- educated expats who have been professors of political science, or economics, or similar, are now taking over the driving seat. Is this necessary? In a way, I think it is. Being young and idealistic is great, but it doesn’t bring much practical experience of coming up with a strong constitution for a newly rebuilt country.

However, the older generation here in Libya have, according to some people, let the country down. I spoke to someone today who had concrete evidence that members of the NTC practised nepotism and favouritism in a startlingly obvious way. Is this because they are used to that kind of behaviour, having lived all of their adult life in a corrupt, autocratic society over the past 42 years?

Because if so, then maybe the young people do need to step in, and show them how it’s done. Thanks to the internet, the younger generation of the 21st century have been increasingly exposed to the outside world, and this has been something that contrasts greatly with the isolation that previous generations experienced thanks to Gaddafi’s policies. Now, it’s so easy for them to communicate with other cultures and countries that comparisons between life in Libya and life in other countries are inevitable, and people here have higher expectations as a result.

I was speaking to one of the international experts earlier about this, and she mentioned an interesting example of a situation which had arisen in Benghazi- a democratic union, established by older people, which had elected a 25 year old as the union leader, and decided that the leadership should be decided by youth but with older people taking a back seat and providing guidance and advice when asked.

This situation seems like a great example of how youth and experience can complement each other in a healthy, positive and helpful way. With the project ideas that arose from the Paving the Future forum, it seems like youth empowerment at this crucial time is a hot topic which will, hopefully, result in more similar projects springing up.

========

Rockets fired in clash between rival Libya militias

04 Apr 2012 12:59

Source: reuters // Reuters

National Libyan Army forces arrive at Zuwara to stop the clashes between rival militias, 120 km (75 miles) west of Tripoli April 3, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

* Fighting in west of Libya now in fourth day

* Grad rockets, sporadic gunfire can be heard

* Fighting highlights weak government authority

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian

ZUWARA, Libya, April 4 (Reuters) - Fighters near the western Libyan town of Zuwara were firing rockets and large-calibre weapons on Wednesday, Reuters reporters at the scene said, in the fourth day of a conflict between rival militias.

The fighting has exposed how volatile Libya remains, six months after a revolt last year ended Muammar Gaddafi's rule, and how the new leadership is struggling to impose its authority on the country.

Local people told a Reuters team which entered Zuwara, about 120 km (75 miles) west of the capital, that the fighting was less intense than a day earlier. The Libyan government said on Tuesday 14 people had been killed and hundreds wounded.

But in the distance, the sound of Russian-made Grad rockets could be heard occasionally, as well as reports from rifles and anti-aircraft guns which the fighters have adapted to fire at targets on the ground.

Officials in the capital, Tripoli, said they were sending a force to restore order in Zuwara. Local people said some of that force had arrived, but the only visible sign of a government security presence was an air force plane flying over the town.

"It's quietened down but we don't know what will happen," said Younis Elfounes, a surgeon at Zuwara hospital. "It (the fighting) was all day yesterday, from 8 in the morning until late at night," he said.

He said over the past few days his hospital had treated 125 people injured in the fighting, and recorded eight deaths. Other casualties were treated elsewhere.

"As a doctor, and from what I can see from the patients coming in, it's been intense," Elfounes said of the fighting.



NO CEASEFIRE

The fighting was between militias from Zuwara and rival fighters from the settlements of Al-Jumail and Regdalin, a short distance to the south.

Zuwara's population is made up largely of members of the Berber ethnic group, and they opposed Gaddafi during last year's rebellion. Their neighbours to the south are mainly Arabs who had been loyal to Gaddafi.

"Today is relatively calm but there is no ceasefire," said Ismail Iftiss, a Zuwara field commander whose unit was close to the frontline southwest of the town. Sporadic shooting could be heard as he spoke.

"Maybe it is the calm before the storm," he said.


The fighting around Zuwara, on the Mediterranean coast near the border with Tunisia, is typical of the kind of tribal and ethnic conflicts that have flared up since Gaddafi's fall.

In most cases the violence is the result of a toxic mix of vendettas that have been simmering for generations, the huge quantity of weapons in circulation since the revolt, and the lack of a strong central authority.

An Interior Ministry official told Reuters the confrontation had started on Sunday when a group of Zuwara men hunting for game accidentally shot someone from Al-Jumail. They were briefly detained, angering people in Zuwara.

In another confrontation that has underlined Libya's fragility, about 150 people were killed in clashes over the past week between rival tribes in the southern city of Sabha
. (Additional reporting by Taha Zargoun; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Alison Williams)
==========

Friday, August 19, 2011

TWO EXPLOSIONS NEAR BRITISH DIPLOMATIC OFFICES - NATO SPOKESMAN: 50 Dead Peshawar to Kabul

TWO EXPLOSIONS NEAR BRITISH DIPLOMATIC OFFICES - NATO SPOKESMAN
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Taliban attack on British office in Kabul kills at least nine
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Police remove the body of a colleague at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul Reuters – Police remove the body of a colleague at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul August 19, 2011. REUTERS/Omar …

Five months on the street for Afghans refugees in Paris Play Video Afghanistan Video:Five months on the street for Afghans refugees in Paris AFP
Security forces outside attacked UK Kabul compound Play Video Afghanistan Video:Security forces outside attacked UK Kabul compound AFP
Taliban claims Kabul attacks Play Video Afghanistan Video:Taliban claims Kabul attacks Reuters

By Mirwais Harooni – 1 hr 33 mins ago

KABUL (Reuters) – Five Taliban attackers laid siege to a British cultural center in the Afghan capital Friday, killing at least nine people during an hours-long assault on the 92nd anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from British rule.

A suicide bomber in car blew himself up in front of the gate of the British Council in Kabul before dawn, and another car packed with explosives detonated moments later while four attackers, three of them men clad in the burqa headcovering worn by Afghan women, stormed the compound, police said.

Scores of Afghan and NATO troops surrounded a compound strewn with wooden and metal debris while two helicopters hovered on watch above as the fighting progressed over at least eight hours, interspersed by a total of eight blasts.

Toward the end, the last of the four attackers who fought into the compound holed himself up in the bulletproof basement of the shattered building. There was only one option left to get him out, authorities said: blow him up.

A Reuters witness heard two big blasts in close succession near the siege's end, around 1 p.m. Kabul time (4:30 a.m. EDT).

"Eight members of the Afghan national police and one foreign soldier were killed," Mohammad Zahir, head of criminal investigations for the Kabul police, told Reuters. He said he was not able to confirm the nationality of the foreign soldier.

A ministry of interior spokesman said at least 16 people were wounded in the attack on the British Council, a state-funded agency running mainly cultural programs. It is not part of the main British embassy in Kabul's diplomatic zone.

Two British nationals and one South African were inside the compound during the attack, but were later rescued by an elite Afghan unit, British Ambassador to Afghanistan Sir William Patey told a press conference.

"This was a dastardly(owardly), cowardly attack designed to attack British interests, but ultimately ending in the deaths of many Afghans and we regret the death of the Afghans," Patey said, adding that the attack was over.

Kabul police chief Mohammad Ayob Salongi said four Afghan police, three Nepalese British Council guards and one Afghan street cleaner were killed. He too had no details on the nationality of the foreign soldier.

WARNING TO LONDON

A Reuters photograph taken at the scene showed what appeared to be a white male being lifted onto a stretcher with blood across his back and wound to the back of his head. A second photo showed a Union Jack insignia on his left shoulder, and a different uniform than those warn by council's guards.

"There's no confirmation on whether the foreign soldier who was wounded was killed," Patey said, also declining to reveal the nationality.

The Taliban said they were sending two messages: "One to the Afghan government and one to the British," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters by phone.

"We are now reminding them that we will become independent again from all foreigners, especially from the British," Mujahid said, referring to Afghanistan's independence from British rule 92 years ago, which the country was marking on Friday amid heightened security.


After the United States, Britain has the second-largest force in the NATO-led war against the Taliban, with around 9,500 troops.

Mujahid declined to say how many bombers the Islamist group used for the attacks, which come a month after NATO handed over security responsibilities to the Afghans in several areas across the country, as part of a gradual transition process to be completed by the end of 2014.

Afghan forces have been given responsibility for the city of Kabul since 2008, when NATO handed over security control, but in reality NATO forces still police the area heavily.

There is growing unease in the United States and Europe about the costly and increasingly violent war that has dragged on for 10 years, causing U.S. lawmakers to question whether bringing home all combat troops by 2014 is fast enough.

NATO and the United States earlier this year reluctantly backed Kabul's peace plan, which involves reconciliation with some members of the Taliban. The Taliban have repeatedly said they will not negotiate with the Afghan government until all foreign forces have stopped fighting in their country.

(Additional reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Writing by Bryson Hull)

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Pakistan mosque suicide blast kills 40

Fida Khattak ----> Aug 19th, 2011 // No Comment
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Peshawar: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque in Khyber Agency, killing at least 40 people and injuring over 100 on Friday.

According to sources, the blast took place in a mosque in Ghondi area of Tehseel Jamrud in Kyber Agency when Namazis were coming out of the mosque after offering Friday prayer.

An eye witness told The News Tribe that the bomber was clad in black outfit and detonated explosives strapped to his body when over 400 people were offering prayer .

The sources said that roof top of the mosque collapsed following the blast.They said that several people were trapped under the debris and locals were trying to recover them.

The dead and injured were being shifted to Peshawar for medical treatment as ample facilities were not available in a local hospital. 12 bodies and 50 injured were taken to Hayat Abad Medical Complex while four injured were shifted to Lady Reading Hospital.

The sources added that some of the injured were in critical condition.

Heavy contingent of security forces rushed to the spot and cordoned off the area.

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By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press – 20 mins ago

PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A suicide bomber struck a mosque in a Pakistani tribal region during Friday prayers, officials said, killing at least 40 people and wounding 85 others in the deadliest attack in the country in recent weeks.

The attack came during the holy month of Ramadan, a time of fasting, sharing and heightened community spirit for Muslims.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but the Taliban and other Islamist militants have previously targeted mosques, especially if they believe enemies — such as army soldiers or anti-militant tribesmen — are using the facilities.

The mosque hit Friday is in Ghundi, a village in the Khyber tribal region, a part of Pakistan's tribal belt. Khyber has long been a base for Islamist militants, and the Pakistani army has waged multiple operations aimed at pacifying the region but with limited success.

Khyber also is a key region for the U.S. and NATO, because a large portion of non-lethal supplies heading to U.S. forces in Afghanistan passes through it.

Some 300 people had gathered for prayers Friday afternoon in the Sunni mosque, and many were on their way out when the explosion occurred, local administrator Iqbal Khan said.

"All the evidence we have gathered confirms that it is a suicide attack," said Fazal Khan, another local official who also confirmed the casualty figures. He said witnesses alleged the bomber was a young man.

Saleem Khan, 21, said people panicked after the blast, and that amid the smoke, cries and blood, several ran over him when he fell.

"Whoever did it in the holy month of Ramadan cannot be a Muslim," he said from a hospital bed in the main northwest city of Peshawar. "It is the cruelest thing any Muslim would do."

TV footage from the scene showed a heavily damaged building. Prayer caps, shoes and green prayer mats were scattered across a blood-splattered floor, while ceiling fans were twisted and walls blackened. Men comforted a young boy who wept as he held his hand to his heart.

The attack appeared to be the deadliest since twin bombings in mid-June killed around 40 people in Peshawar. That attack was believed to be part of a wave of bombings staged by militants to retaliate over the U.S. killing of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in May.

The Pakistani Taliban and their affiliates stage attacks in Pakistan because they oppose Islamabad's alliance with the United States.

Also Friday, two U.S. missiles struck a house in a tribal region that was once a Pakistani Taliban stronghold, killing four people, intelligence officials said.

The strike came as Pakistani-U.S. relations are struggling since the unilateral American raid that killed bin Laden in the northwest Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad. The continued missile attacks, which Pakistan officially opposes, suggests Washington considers the tactic too valuable to give up.

Though Pakistan objects to the covert, CIA-run missile program, it is believed to have aided it at times. The U.S. rarely acknowledges the program.

The two missiles hit a house Friday in Sheen Warsak village in the South Waziristan tribal area, according to two Pakistani intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

The identities of the dead were not immediately clear. Although U.S. officials insist the vast majority of victims in the strikes are militants, Pakistanis and some human rights activists have said civilians are often caught up in the attacks.

South Waziristan is a lawless stretch of rugged territory that was largely under the control of the Pakistani Taliban until October 2009, when the country's army launched an operation against the insurgents. However, militant activity is still occasionally reported in the region.

It is nearly impossible to independently verify the information from the region because access is heavily restricted.

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Associated Press writers Asif Shahzad and Rasool Dawar contributed to this report from Islamabad.
====================

Up to 60 Afghan Taliban killed in NATO base attack

09 Nov 2011 08:22
Source: Reuters // Reuters

* Provincial government reports heavy Taliban losses

* NATO force confirms attack on base in southeast

* No reports of coalition, civilian casualties (Adds background)

KABUL, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Afghan and NATO-led troops killed 50 to 60 Taliban fighters during an attack by insurgents on a base in a volatile southeastern Afghan province near the border with Pakistan, a provincial government spokesman said on Wednesday.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) confirmed there had been an attack on a base in the Barmal district of southeastern Paktika province late on Tuesday.

Mukhlis Afghan, a spokesman for the Paktika governor, put the number of Taliban fighters killed at between 50 and 60.

An ISAF spokesman said a large group of insurgents attacked the ISAF base using small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. ISAF troops fought back, causing "significant" casualties among the insurgents.

He said two buildings used by insurgents were destroyed in the fighting, which included ISAF air strikes, but said there had been no reports of civilian or coalition casualties.

Paktika province lies on the border with the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan, where the Taliban and allied insurgents like the Haqqani network have safe havens from which they launch attacks into Afghanistan.

Paktika and neighbouring Paktia ands Zabul have been hit by a number of attacks this year.

ISAF troops and Afghan special forces killed more than 50 insurgents in Paktika during an operation in July to clear a training camp that ISAF said the Haqqanis had been using as a base for foreign fighters.

In September, a bomb killed six civilians in Paktika. The Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack there in March when three suicide bombers killed 24 construction workers.

Despite the presence of about 130,000 foreign troops, violence across Afghanistan remains at its worst levels since the Taliban were toppled by U.S.-backed Afghan forces 10 years ago, according to the United Nations.

On Sunday, at least seven civilians were killed and 15 wounded by a suicide bomber in an attack on a mosque in northern Baghlan province soon after prayers for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

ISAF says there has been a fall in the number of attacks by insurgents recently, but that data excludes attacks that kill only civilians, and attacks on Afghan security forces operating without international troops. (Reporting by Mirwais Harooni, Jan Harvey, Elyas Wahdat and Christine Kearney; Writing by Jan Harvey; Editing by Paul Tait)

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

Four killed as governor’s office attacked in Afghanistan
By Nasir Khan - Nov 11th, 2011 (No Comment)
3
Kabul: Suicide bombers targeted the office of a governor in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Paktia, killing at least four security personnel were dead on Thursday.
A group of suicide attackers, equipped with modern weapons and bombs stormed the offices in the Samkani district of Paktia.
Afghan officials said all of the attackers were killed in the clash.
A meeting between government and Nato officials was ongoing at the time of the attack.
One eyewitness, tribal elder Haji Mohammad Essa, told the BBC: ”I was sitting with the district governor when I heard a loud explosion.
“Some elders had come to ask the district governor and officials for security because some of them are nominated to come to Loya Jirga [tribal council].”
Two of the attackers detonated their explosive vests once inside the walls of the headquarters while the other two became involved in a firefight with police officers during which at least three security officers were killed.
Afghan officials said a bodyguard was among those killed in the attack.
The US military in Afghanistan said two coalition soldiers were wounded in the attack.
A mosque was also destroyed I a missile attack of coalition forces.
Paktia’s deputy governor allowed the forces to fire at the mosque from where the attackers were allegedly firing at the office.
A Taliban group has claimed the responsibility of the attack on the governor’s offices.
Many of those present were due to attend the Loya Jirga – being held in Kabul next week – and the Taliban had pledged to target anyone involved in the meeting.
The meeting is to discuss a strategy for making peace with the Taliban and the country’s relationship with the US.
Meanwhile, in the south of the country, Afghan police said a remote-controlled car bomb exploded near a Nato convoy, killing two Afghan men and wounding a young girl, AP reported.