Friday, May 25, 2007

Cpl. Matthew McCully

Cpl. Matthew McCully, the Canadian soldier killed Friday by an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan, died alongside the Afghan soldiers he helped mentor.

He was a member of Canada's Operational Mentor and Liaison Team, which trains Afghans how to fight as organized units.

McCully, who was based in CFB Petawawa, was killed while taking part in Operation Hoover -- a large offensive launched against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan.
Full article.

Other News:
+ Troops kill 18 militants in Afghanistan
+ New Taliban commander threatens bombings
+ PM hints Canada may stay in Afghanistan past 2009
+ Afghanistan wants Canada's help, Harper says

Thursday, May 24, 2007

2 Ontario Men Lose Citizenship For Lying About Nazi Pasts

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (North): The Canadian government stripped two Ontario men of their citizenship Thursday, saying they lied about their Nazi ties when they came to Canada after the Second World War.

"These cases have been under consideration for a very long time," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said in a statement. "Due process was followed according to the laws of Canada. It's time to move forward."

Both men — Helmut Oberlander of Kitchener and Jacob Fast of St. Catharines — can have the government's decision reviewed by the Federal Court. The decision puts them at risk for deportation. Immigration Minister Diane Finley has the final say on whether they are deported or not. Both men have been involved in lengthy citizenship battles.

In 2000, the Federal Court ruled that Oberlander didn't reveal his involvement with a notorious mobile Nazi police unit when he immigrated to Canada from Ukraine in 1954. The mobile unit, called the Einsatzkommando, allegedly killed more than a million people, mostly Jews, in the former Soviet Union. The court found that Oberlander, a retired developer who is in his 80s, was not personally involved in the executions but worked as a translator for the Einsatzkommando.

Fast's case landed in the Federal Court in 2003. The court concluded that when the retired General Motors employee immigrated to Canada in 1947, he lied about his German citizenship and his involvement with a German security police force attached to the notorious Schutzstaffel, or SS. The court didn't find any evidence suggesting Fast, who is now in his 90s, committed war crimes.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

"Today in Israel, we have had enough"

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel pounded Hamas targets with air strikes Thursday, killing at least six people and wounding dozens. It had stepped into intense fighting between the Islamic militants and the rival Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Israeli attacks followed Hamas rocket barrages on southern Israel...

Israel unleashed the air campaign — a hit on a Hamas command centre, on a trailer housing bodyguards and two vehicles — after Gaza militants fired more than 50 rockets on the Israeli border town of Sderot in three days. “Today in Israel, we have had enough. Israel will take every defensive measure to stop these rocket attacks. We will defend our citizens against the rockets, against the weapons, against the Iranian-backed Hamas who are attacking Israel,” said Israeli government spokeswoman Miri Eisen.

Other news:
US forces kill 6 insurgents in Iraq
Syria urges Hamas and Fatah to halt fighting
Taliban ambush: ‘Get us out of here'

Wolfowitz to Delegate Authority to Senior Officials (Update2)
Blast, clashes in India kill 13; alert is issued
European Union to Russia: "Don't try to divide us,"
Canadians favour role in ending Darfur violence, poll

Monday, May 14, 2007

Hunt On For Missing U.S. Troops in Iraq

Associated Press, BAGHDAD ~ Massive air, house-to-house hunt for 3 soldiers after Al Qaeda group in Iraq says it captured the Americans. An Al Qaeda front group announced yesterday it had captured American soldiers in a deadly weekend attack, as thousands of U.S. troops searched insurgent areas south of Baghdad for their three missing comrades.

The statement from the group came on one of the deadliest days in Iraq in recent weeks, with at least 126 people killed or found dead. A suicide truck bomb tore through the offices of a Kurdish political party in northern Iraq, killing 50 people, and a car bombing in a Baghdad market killed another 17.
U.S. Maj.-Gen. William Caldwell said 4,000 U.S. troops backed by aircraft and intelligence units were scouring the farming area as the military made "every effort available to find our missing soldiers. Full story.

+ Gunfight breaks out at meeting involving U.S., Afghan and Pakistani soldiers in Pakistan on Monday, and a number of soldiers were killed and wounded

+ Making a Case for Iraqi Progress, in the U.S.
+ Hicks Pleads Guilty to Supporting Terrorism
+ Wounded Iraqi Forces Get Little or No Aid
+ Rift Appears Among Iraq Insurgent Groups
+ Is the Iraq Surge Strategy Working?

+ Strike paralyses Karachi, Pakistan
+ Afghans, Pakistanis skirmish
+ Bomb hits NATO vehicle in Afghanistan
+ Spain to send 14 officers to Afghanistan police mission

+ Canadian Muslim was on suicide mission: Afghanistan
+ 55 Taliban militants killed in E Afghanistan

Camp Nathan Smith, Kandahar ~ A member of the Royal 22e Régiment, presently deployed as the Force Protection (FP) Company for the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team (KPRT), provides security in a village outside of Kandahar City, Afghanistan. The FP Company provides a security perimeter so members of the Civil Military Co-operation (CIMIC) team can work to assess a village’s needs.

The KPRT is an integral part of the Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-AFG), which is Canada’s military contribution to Afghanistan. Canadian operations will focus on working with Afghan authorities to improve security, governance and economic development. About 2500 members of the Canadian Forces (CF) are currently serving as part of TF-AFG. They play a key role in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force mission whose goal is to improve the security situation in Afghanistan and assist in rebuilding the country. Photo by Sgt Roxanne Clowe, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Taliban Commander Dadullah Killed

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Mullah Dadullah, the Taliban's top operational commander in southern Afghanistan, was killed during a clash with Western and Afghan forces in Helmand province, officials said on Sunday.

The death of Dadullah represents the biggest setback to the Taliban command since the insurgency began, after its Islamic militia government was toppled by U.S. backed forces in 2001.

"He was killed last night and right now I have his body before me," Assadullah Khalid, governor of neighboring Kandahar province, told Reuters. Full article.

1 Million Turks: "No To Sharia"

Paul De Bendern, The Australian: At least 1 million Turks took to the streets of Izmir today to demand their country remain a secular state, stepping up pressure on the Islamist-rooted government before July elections.

Organisers hoped the fourth major anti-government protest in a month would unite the Opposition ahead of the poll. People flocked to Izmir from across Turkey, undeterred by a bombing in the port city that killed one man and injured 14 yesterday. It was not clear who was behind the market attack. Streets and buildings in Turkey's third largest city, including army barracks, were covered in a sea of red Turkish flags and portraits of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the revered founder of modern Turkey.

“Turkey is secular and will remain secular,” the protesters, predominantly middle class youths at this festive rally, chanted. “No to sharia (Islamic law).” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's reformist AK Party Government has been forced to call a parliamentary election months ahead of schedule to defuse a deep conflict with Turkey's secularists over a presidential vote.
Turkey's secular elite, including opposition parties, top judges and army generals, successfully blocked Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's election. They feared the ex-Islamist might try to undermine Turkey's separation of state and religion, a claim Gul and his AK Party strongly deny.

“The AK Party will most likely win the elections but they will have to take into account these demonstrations and what people are saying. They can't remain arrogant any more,” said Haluk Berk, a doctor who also teaches at an Izmir university. “The silent majority is finally coming out,” he said, standing alongside his son. Turkey's main opposition centre-left Republican People's Party (CHP) and the smaller leftist Democratic Left Party (DSP) - which are in talks to form an alliance - hope to use the rally to build momentum ahead of the July 22 election.
Police told Reuters at least 1 million people attended the seaside rally, with no major incidents reported. Organisers, mainly left wing groups, had hoped to attract 2 million people. The protest began to wind down by late afternoon.

The success in derailing the AK Party's plans to have Gul elected president has given opposition parties new confidence, analysts say, but added that they were racing against time to come up with a credible election manifesto. The political crisis has brought about mergers between opposition parties in the hope that in July they can win more than the 10 per cent of votes needed to enter Parliament.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Afghanistan: 70 Taleban Killed

VOA News: An Afghan security official says Afghan and international troops have killed more than 70 Taleban insurgents during a week-long operation in southern Helmand province.

The official, who spoke anonymously, said five Taleban commanders are among the dead in Nahri Saraj district. He said troops have re-taken control of the area, and he added that Nahri Saraj is now "cleared" of Taleban fighters.
NATO and the U.S.-led coalition were not able to immediately confirm the Afghan official's statement. Troubled Helmand province is a hotbed of insurgent activity. It is the hub of Afghanistan's booming illegal drug industry.
Elsewhere in the south, authorities say eight police officers were killed when a roadside bomb tore through their vehicle in Kandahar province.

+ Violence Leaves 27 Dead in Pakistan as Political Crises Worsens

+ Venice Meeting Seeks Ways to Combat Islamic Terrorists

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Car Bomb Kills 16 in S. Iraq

+ National Post: British police arrested the widow of one of the London suicide bombers of July 7, 2005, along with three other suspects on Wednesday, a source familiar with the operation said

+ CAMDEN, New Jersey (Reuters) - Six suspected Islamic radicals were detained on Tuesday on charges of plotting to attack the U.S. army base at Fort Dix in New Jersey with rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons. The group, which is not believed to have links to any foreign organisations, had amassed semi-automatic assault rifles, shotguns and handguns while trying to acquire the more sophisticated weaponry, federal authorities said.

+ US air strikes kill 21 civilians in Afghanistan: official

+ Fort Dix trained military for 90 years

+ The miracle of Belfast

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Iraqi Sunni Backlash Against al Qaeda

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN):...reports have emerged this year of tensions between Sunni fighters and the Sunni-dominated al Qaeda in Iraq, particularly from Anbar province, long a favored turf for indigenous Sunni insurgents and foreign fighters infiltrating Iraq from Syria.
The unconfirmed reports from tribal leaders to Iraqi government officials indicate that Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed Tuesday in fighting between al Qaeda militants and Sunni tribal fighters from Abu Ghraib and Falluja...

Sunni insurgents and the so-called Sunni resistance are still forces that must be reckoned with, as well," Petraeus said. "However, while we continue to battle a number of such groups, we are seeing some others joining Sunni Arab tribes in turning against al Qaeda in Iraq and helping transform Anbar province and other areas from being assessed as lost as little as six months ago to being relatively heartening."

Petraeus said the United States "will continue to engage with Sunni tribal sheikhs and former insurgent leaders to support the newfound opposition of some to al Qaeda, ensuring that their fighters join legitimate Iraqi security force elements to become part of the fight against extremists." He said it is part of the effort to "reach out to moderate members of all sects and ethnic groups to try to drive a wedge between the irreconcilables and the reconcilables, and help the latter become part of the solution instead of part of the problem."

...One Iraqi villager, Abu Miriam, told CNN that locals have tired of al Qaeda. He says his people began fighting U.S. forces, but foreigners infiltrated their ranks. "If you talk against them, they let you go at first, then come back and behead you later," he said. Asked what would become of him if al Qaeda knew he was talking, Abu Miriam replied, "I will be killed. In fact, slaughtered, slaughtered with a knife." These tensions provoke the tribes' Salvation Council to work alongside U.S. Marines and soldiers. Full story.

+ The escalating tensions between al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni groups.

+ Against the Odds, Army Meets Recruiting Goals

+ Special Forces soldier receives German medal

+ Young Australian Muslim women will be targeted to join the Army Reserve and prove they are part of the national security "solution"

Above: UK 1st Battalion Royal Highland Fusiliers (1RHF) annual exercise, Band of Sisters. Held at Episkopi, Cyprus.

Above: The first major combat operation of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) in Afghanistan, El Dorado, coincided with the last in the ULYSSES-series missions.

Iraq: Spanish forces prepare to board a ship.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Turkish Court: Islamic-leaning Presidential Vote Invalid

By Hidir Goktas ~ ANKARA (Reuters): Turkey's top court ruled the first round of presidential elections invalid on Tuesday, raising the possibility of early national elections. The government said another round of presidential polls would be held in parliament on Wednesday. The Constitutional Court upheld an appeal from the secularist opposition that wants to stop the ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party's candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, becoming head of state. "

A decision was taken to stop the process," Hasim Kilic, deputy head of the top court, told a news conference. The Constitutional Court ruled 367 members of parliament had to be present during voting for it to be valid. A total of 361 deputies voted in last Friday's ballot, 357 of them for Gul, the sole candidate. The court ruling was binding. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan could now propose a different candidate for the top job. Turkey has been rocked by the presidential poll standoff, an army threat to intervene and an anti-government rally of up to one million people.

The army, which sees itself as the final guarantor of the secular state, has ousted four governments in the last 50 years, most recently in 1997 when it acted against a cabinet in which Gul served. Turkish financial markets recorded their biggest falls in a year on Monday and the currency lost more ground on Tuesday. The lira recovered some ground on the news late in trade. Economy Minister Ali Babacan said the economy was ready for early elections, a comment seen as an attempt to calm markets. The secularist establishment fears if the AK Party secures control of the presidency it will chip away at Turkey's secular system. The party denies the charge. Parliament, in which the AK Party has a big majority, elects the president for a seven-year term in predominantly Muslim Turkey. Analysts say early national polls are the only way to defuse the standoff.

+ Photo: Taliban condemned for using boy, 12, to conduct video beheading

+ Bush issues veto in historic showdown

+ Insurgents reported to have killed al-Qa'ida commander
+ CIA Retirees Denounce Tenet's Account of War

+ SULTAN, in order to spite his wife Shahidabanu, who had recently separated from him, along with his friend raped and murdered his two-year-old daughter at Sayla town in Khambhalia taluka of Jamnagar district.

+ Suicide bomber kills 32 at Iraq funeral

+ A US lieutenant colonel accused of the capital offense of "aiding the enemy" let detainees use his cell phone to make unmonitored calls and approved buying Cuban cigars for Saddam Hussein, witnesses testified Tuesday.

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