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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Interview with Syrian Minster of Information




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US arms drop ends in the hands of ISIS fighters near Kobane


An image grab taken from a video released on October 21, 2014, by Aamaq News, a Youtube channel which posts videos from the areas under the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group's control, purportedly shows an ISIS militant pointing towards a crate attached to a parachute near the town of Ain al-Arab, known by the Kurds as Kobane, on the Syria-Turkey border. (Photo: AFP / Aamaq News)
Published Wednesday, October 22, 2014
A US military airdrop of weapons meant for Kurdish fighters fell into the hands of their jihadist foes near the Syrian battleground town of Kobane, a monitor said Tuesday.
The American military could not confirm the account but said it was examining a video posted online that shows a masked gunman with what appears to be crates attached to a parachute.
US aircraft parachuted crates of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies on Sunday night to resupply Kurds defending the Syrian town of Kobane from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.
"One load was taken by ISIS and there are contradictory reports about a second" which was also reported to have gone astray, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Some sources said two consignments had landed in the hands of ISIS, but others said that warplanes from a US-led coalition destroyed one of them once the error was detected.
US Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Middle East, said Monday that only one of 27 bundles had gone astray and that American warplanes bombed it to prevent the supplies being snatched by ISIS.
In a video posted on the Internet, titled "Arms and ammunition dropped by US planes in an ISIS-held area of Kobane", a masked gunman shows off what appears to be one such bundle attached to a parachute.
"This is the American aid thrown to the infidels," he says, opening wooden boxes filled with rockets and grenades, as aircraft could be heard circling overhead.
"Praise be to God, this is booty for the Islamic warriors."
In Washington, Rear Admiral John Kirby could not confirm whether more than one bundle had drifted off course or if the bundle purportedly shown in the video was later bombed by American warplanes.
But he said analysts at Central Command and at the Pentagon were studying the video.
"We're still taking a look at it and assessing the validity of it," he told reporters.
"I do want to add, though, that we are very confident that the vast majority of the bundles did end up in the right hands."
The US military was highly skilled at conducting air drops and the method was an effective way to ferry supplies to forces on the ground, he added.
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Nasrallah: Takfiris have the choice to either die or retreat

An takfiri fighter overlooks the desolate surroundings in Syria's Qalamoun region which borders Lebanon. (Photo: Radwan Mortada)
Published Tuesday, October 21, 2014
The takfiris in Syria's Qalamoun region and on the outskirts of the northeastern town of Ersal in Lebanon are “incapable of invading the Bekaa Valley,” said Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Monday, October 20.
“We (Hezbollah) are fully prepared” for any possible scenario, Nasrallah said during the annual meeting of [Islamic] scholars on the eve of the holy month of Muharram.
Nasrallah said the region is in “desperate need” of unity, urging the public “to avoid provocation” and “portray the true and bright image of Islam unlike the one the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and its allies represent.”
He also called for “widespread participation” during Ashoura processions, asserting that the security situation “is under control” but if there is a security breach “it does not mean we have failed because even the most advanced countries in the world can not claim to be 100 percent secure.”
Moreover, Nasrallah spoke about his last visit to the Bekaa Valley, saying that he went there for “further reassurance” over the situation on the ground.
Nasrallah said he “walked on foot for several kilometers” during his visit to Hezbollah bases in Bekaa. “I assure you our position is very strong on the ground. Our preparations are very advanced, our strategies are well-planned and we are prepared for any attack,” he said.
Regarding the security breach that took place in Brital and Assal al-Ward earlier this month, he described what happened as a "minor mistake that has been resolved."
Nasrallah said the militants on the outskirts of Ersal and Qalamoun will either die or surrender. "The takfiris are incapable of invading the Bekaa Valley because they are surrounded and trapped,” Nasrallah asserted. “These militants only have two options: either to die from cold or leave in civilian clothing to Lebanon and Syria.”
Nasrallah said “with every passing day, we become more certain that our fighting in Syria is for the protection of Lebanon.”
“The Resistance axis is in a triumphant position today,” Nasrallah said, adding that “when you thwart the enemy's plans you triumph, knowing that it will be a long fight before the final victory.”
Nasrallah sees it as a “golden opportunity to end the takfiri’s project.”
According to Nasrallah, the war in Syria does not aim at toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but at redrawing the map of the region, stressing that ISIS serves the interests of the US and Turkey.
In this context, Nasrallah noted that the international coalition’s attacks against ISIS are “hemming in” the group by establishing red lines, near Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Erbil, that are not to be crossed, adding that all the US-led airstrikes on ISIS do not amount to even one day of airstrikes launched by Israel on Lebanon in 2006.
Nasrallah said the US is using ISIS to intimidate and manipulate the countries in the Middle East in order to impose its dominance on the region, especially in Syria and Iraq, adding that Turkey will not join the coalition or provide assistance for Syrian Kurds in Kobane unless it is granted substantial strategic or geographical gains that might include taking full control of Aleppo.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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Lebanese civil war still raging in the hearts and minds of the people


A woman cries in front of a protest banner that reads "No compromise without accountability" in regards to the amnesty delivered to the perpetrators of the Lebanese civil war. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)
Published Tuesday, October 21, 2014
The civil war was not a fleeting moment in the lives of the Lebanese people. Whether they have lived it or not, its repercussions continue to impact every aspect of their existence. It remains a major issue and is always mentioned when describing the events taking place today. In this context, the International Center for Transitional Justice conducted a study titled, “How People Talk About the Lebanon Wars.”
The Lebanese civil war did not end in 1990. Although the general amnesty and the Taif Accord may have put an end to the armed conflict between leaders, the door remained opened to war on the societal level amid the lack of a serious dialogue that established who was responsible, and the lack of a clear mechanism for transitional justice that would correct the wrongdoings. The leaders – the war criminals – are afraid of the dissemination of information, especially when it correlates with justice since this knowledge can then become criminal evidence.
On Monday, October 20, the International Center for Transitional Justice, in coordination with the European Union and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, published a study titled, “How People Talk About the Lebanon Wars: A Study of the Perceptions and Expectations of Residents in Greater Beirut” along with a series of recommendations titled, “Confronting the Legacy of the Past: An Agenda for Change.”
Between 1975 and 1990, over 700,000 people in Lebanon were displaced and many massacres were committed by the various conflicting militias, including the Karantina massacre of 1976, the Christian massacre in Damour, and the Tel al-Zaatar massacre.
The civil war had a dramatic impact on the Lebanese population. According to available statistics, about 2.7 percent of the Lebanese population was killed during the fighting, 4 percent were injured, and about a third of the population was displaced.
Researchers, professors and all those studying the war as a science seek figures and statistics, they search for stories to document the violations committed against conventional laws. But very few have asked how regular people talk about the war, how those who have lived the tragedy recount their everyday struggles, and how the war is still raging in the hearts of the parents of the forcibly disappeared, 20 years after the fighting ended.
Also, very few have listened to the generation born during the war, and up until today, we still do not want the generation born after it to learn what happened.
These people speak in a different manner; they do not resort to figures, eloquent language or carefully selected words. For example, Ahmed from Chiyah talked about the hardship of displacement, saying, “Displacement was the most difficult experience. Our house was right at the frontline on the old Saida road. We couldn’t live there for more than 15 years. The feeling that you can’t go back to your own house.”
Maha, an elderly Palestinian woman from Burj al-Barajneh Camp recounts, “The war of the camps hurt us the most, even more than the Sabra and Chatila massacre. They did not show any mercy to any child, woman, or man, they even burnt down the trees.”
For her part, Rose, an Ashrafieh native said, “The war between the Lebanese Forces and the Lebanese army was the worst. Brothers killed each other!” Meanwhile, Nader from Hamra said, “You are a man with your family, and then they bring you down from the car and they humiliate you, someone hurts your father or mother, you will carry this with you forever.”
People’s memories work in different ways, they reduce the war to individual events that took place on the familial level or within their surrounding without going any deeper. This memory will continue to be passed throughout generations as it is, regardless of its integrity, until the day comes when they will have to face the war’s legacy and everything becomes clearer.
The study launched yesterday documents how people from all segments of Lebanese society speak of issues related to the truth, memory, justice, accountability, reconciliation, and their expectations about the best way to deal with the legacy of political violence.
Although Lebanon has a relatively small population, the country is plagued by many disputes and sectarian and demographic conflicts.
“The war did not end yet, but the country entered a new phase of the conflict,” participants in the research agreed. In the past few years, violence escalated not only on the physical and security levels, but also within the economic and social spheres, suggesting that Lebanon is far from being in a real transitional period that would take the country from political violence to a lasting peace.
State initiatives have so far adopted a widespread amnesia induced policy, and reconciliation efforts have not included people from outside the political elite. The study also reveals some disparities among participants which vary according to generation, gender, and the amount of violence they were subjected to.
Interestingly, “people born after 1990 were most supportive of an unfettered large-scale truth-telling process,” however, older participants were worried about the large-scale processes that would deepen sectarian divisions.
The prevailing idea of justice was not restricted to criminal accountability, but also focused on equality before the law. The older participants called to hold political leaders exclusively accountable, while the younger generation advocated for broad accountability measures that target both leaders and combatants.
According to the report, “Victims of direct violence rejected outright the possibility of repairing and healing their losses; indirect victims instead advocated for an intergenerational approach to social reconciliation.” However, they all agreed about a lack of confidence in the country’s political leadership and the government mechanisms involved in consolidating transitional justice.
In virtue of the 1991 general amnesty, the leaders forgave each other for the crimes and massacres they committed, and they reconciled, but “the people” did not forgive nor did they reconcile. Those were the ones who bore the losses, who lost loved ones, property, and their future, while the leaders lost nothing; on the contrary, they further tightened their grip on power.
People remained trapped in the time of war because transitional justice did not run its course. No one asked the victims what they wanted and no one gave an accurate portrayal of the events.
The ICTJ listed a number of recommendations, mainly calling to solve the issue of the missing and forcibly disappeared persons by forming an independent commission that would conduct inclusive investigations and meet the needs of the victims of political violence.
On the legal level, it called to amend paragraph 9 of Article 53 in the constitution by adding a sentence stipulating that genocides, war crimes, and crimes against humanity are not covered by amnesty. The ICTJ also called to activate the constitutional council, establish a higher court to prosecute presidents and ministers, insure equality before the law, and to approve the Rome Statute.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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In case you missed it: Noam Chomsky exposes himself as a Zionist in an interview by Alison Weir





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U.S. Humanitarian Aid Going to ISIS


EXCLUSIVE
10.19.14

Not only are foodstuffs, medical supplies—even clinics—going to ISIS, the distribution networks are paying ISIS ‘taxes’ and putting ISIS people on their payrolls.

Jamie Dettmer
Jamie Dettmer
While U.S. warplanes strike at the militants of the so-called Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, truckloads of U.S. and Western aid has been flowing into territory controlled by the jihadists, assisting them to build their terror-inspiring “caliphate.”

The aid—mainly food and medical equipment—is meant for Syrians displaced from their hometowns, and for hungry civilians. It is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, European donors, and the United Nations. Whether it continues is now the subject of anguished debate among officials in Washington and European. The fear is that stopping aid would hurt innocent civilians and would be used for propaganda purposes by the militants, who would likely blame the West for added hardship.

The Bible says if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him something to drink—doing so will “heap burning coals” of shame on his head. But there is no evidence that the militants of the Islamic State, widely known as ISIS or ISIL, feel any sense of disgrace or indignity (and certainly not gratitude) receiving charity from their foes.

Quite the reverse, the aid convoys have to pay off ISIS emirs (leaders) for the convoys to enter the eastern Syrian extremist strongholds of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, providing yet another income stream for ISIS militants, who are funding themselves from oil smuggling, extortion, and the sale of whatever they can loot, including rare antiquities from museums and archaeological sites.

“The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: The bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs,” says an aid coordinator who spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition he not be identified in this article. The kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local nongovernmental organizations tasked with distributing the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it.

And there are fears the aid itself isn’t carefully monitored enough, with some sold off on the black market or used by ISIS to win hearts and minds by feeding its fighters and its subjects. At a minimum, the aid means ISIS doesn’t have to divert cash from its war budget to help feed the local population or the displaced persons, allowing it to focus its resources exclusively on fighters and war-making, say critics of the aid.

One of the striking differences between ISIS and terror groups of the past is its desire to portray the territory it has conquered as a well-organized and smoothly functioning state. “The soldiers of Allah do not liberate a village, town, or city, only to abandon its residents and ignore their needs,” declares the latest issue of Dabiq, the group’s slick online magazine. Elsewhere in the publication are pictures of slaughtered Kurdish soldiers and a gruesome photograph of American journalist Steven Sotloff’s severed head resting on top of his body. But this article shows ISIS restoring electricity in Raqqah, running a home for the elderly, a cancer-treatment facility in Ninawa, and cleaning streets in other towns.

Last year, a polio outbreak in Deir ez-Zor raised concerns throughout the region about the spread of an epidemic. The World Health Organization worked with the Syrian government and with opposition groups to try to carry out an immunization campaign. This has continued. In response to a query by The Daily Beast, a WHO spokesperson said, “Our information indicates that vaccination campaigns have been successfully carried out by local health workers in IS-controlled territory.”

“I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance,” says Jonathan Schanzer, a Mideast expert with the Washington D.C.-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.”

U.S. and Western relief agencies have been caught before in an aid dilemma when it comes to the war on terror. Last December, the Overseas Development Institute, an independent British think tank focusing on international development and humanitarian issues, reported that aid agencies in Somalia had been paying militants from the al Qaeda offshoot al-Shabab for access to areas under their control during the 2011 famine.

Al-Shabab demanded from the agencies what it described as “registration fees” of up to $10,000. And in many cases al-Shabab insisted on distributing the aid, keeping much of it for itself, according to ODI. The think tank cited al-Shabab’s diversion of food aid in the town of Baidoa, where it kept between half and two-thirds of the food for its own fighters. The researchers noted the al Qaeda affiliate developed a highly sophisticated system of monitoring and co-opting the aid agencies, even setting up a “Humanitarian Co-ordination Office.”

Something similar appears to be underway now in the Syrian provinces of Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.
Aid coordinators with NGOs partnering USAID and other Western government agencies, including Britain’s Department for International Development, say ISIS insist that the NGOs, foreign and local, employ people ISIS approves on their staffs inside Syria. “There is always at least one ISIS person on the payroll; they force people on us,” says an aid coordinator. “And when a convoy is being prepared, the negotiations go through them about whether the convoy can proceed. They contact their emirs and a price is worked out. We don’t have to wrangle with individual ISIS field commanders once approval is given to get the convoy in, as the militants are highly hierarchical.” He adds: “None of the fighters will dare touch it, if an emir has given permission.”

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100 Palestinians Detained in E. Jerusalem for Throwing Stones


Local Editor

Zionist occupation detains PalestiniansZionist occupation police detained more than 100 Palestinians in East Jerusalem since July for allegedly "throwing stones" at trains, it said in a statement Tuesday.
"More than 100 Palestinians had been arrested since July," it stated – when a Palestinian teenager was murdered by suspected Jewish settlers – for pelting passing trains with rocks.

In recent months, the occupation authorities claimed that light rail trains have become a frequent target of Palestinian "stone-throwers."

The Zionist Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch had earlier vowed to crack down on Palestinians caught throwing stones at trains in Jerusalem.

Source: Websites
22-10-2014 - 09:00 Last updated 22-10-2014 - 09:00

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German intelligence report on MH17

VIA THE SAKER

by Alexander Mercouris

It seems the German intelligence agency the BND has provided a Bundestag committee with a report that once again attributes the MH17 shoot down to the NAF.

The report has not been published but for me the single most interesting thing in it is that it apparently finally demolishes the theory that MH17 was shot down by a BUK system secretly transferred to the NAF by the Russians. We are back it seems to the theory that the NAF shot down MH17 with a BUK missile system it captured from the Ukrainians.

There are a number of points to make here:

1. At the time when MH17 was shot down the western media were in full flood that the Russians were responsible. All sorts of stories circulated about how a BUK missile system was supposedly secretly smuggled by Russia across the border and supplied to the NAF, which the NAF then used to shoot MH17 down. These stories played a key role in influencing western public opinion against Russia. The Germans forced other EU states to impose sectoral sanctions on Russia on the grounds it was responsible for the tragedy because it was arming the NAF. The stories of a BUK missile system being secretly smuggled back and forth across the border (and films supposedly culled from social media supposedly showing it doing just that) undoubtedly played a part in giving credence to these claims. The BND has now admitted that the Russians were not involved in the shooting down of MH17 and that MH17 was not shot down by a BUK missile system smuggled by the Russians across the border. It turns out therefore that all those stores that gained so much attention and which did Russia's image so much harm were untrue. I wonder whether sectoral sanctions would have been imposed on Russia if it had been known then that those stories were untrue.

2. By saying that MH17 was shot down by the NAF using a captured BUK missile system, the BND is contradicting what the junta said at the time and is still saying. The junta still denies that any of its BUK systems have been captured by the NAF. By contrast the BND now admits that what the Russians were saying in July - that they did not transfer a BUK system to the NAF and that they were not involved in the shooting down of MH17 - was true.

3. The BND has also apparently admitted that the "evidence" the junta produced supposedly culled from social media was fabricated or falsified. This is important because it is the first western admission of the fact that the junta has lied. Up to now no western government or agency has ever called into question anything the junta has ever said. Of course if the junta falsified or fabricated evidence about MH17 it might have done so about other matters (eg. the Kiev snipers or the Odessa fire).

4. There were some reports before the MH17 tragedy that the NAF had indeed captured a BUK missile system. It is difficult to say how credible those reports were. As I have previously said, given that the capture of such a system would have been a considerable coup, one might have expected the NAF to make more of the fact by publishing photographs of the BUK system they had captured. That however never happened. Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence but I would still like to see some convincing evidence that the NAF really did have a BUK missile system in its possession (and a crew able to operate it) before I accepted the fact. Uncorroborated claims denied then and since by the Ukrainians and made in the midst of an armed conflict when all sorts of exaggerated claims are made are not sufficient evidence and do not prove anything. In the absence of such evidence all I can do is note (1) that the NAF continues to deny that it had or was operating a BUK system when MH17 was shot down and (2) that no evidence exists or has been made public which refutes that denial. .

5. The media reports about the BND report say that the BND has shown such evidence to the Bundestag committee and that supposedly it includes satellite imagery. The evidence has not however been made public and again one has to ask why? It is scarcely believable that there is something so secret about the way this evidence was collected that prevents it from being made public. The Russians and the Chinese certainly know everything there is to know about how the western powers collect imagery and other intelligence from their satellites. It is not as if publishing this evidence is therefore going to compromise any intelligence source or capability. Why then the secrecy especially over an issue of such importance? Whether the western powers want to admit to the fact or not, their refusal to make their evidence public casts doubt on how much weight this evidence really has.

6. In the absence of publication of this evidence (which would allow it to be properly examined and tested) it remains impossible to accept any claims based on it. There have just been too many cases of western intelligence agencies assuring us on the basis of "evidence" kept secret of the truth of things that turned out to be false. Recent examples include the false claims made by all western intelligence agencies including the BND about Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, the wrong claims of massive Russian slush funds hidden away in Cyprus, which actually originated with the BND, and the denials last year made by all western intelligence agencies including the BND that the Syrian rebels have used sarin gas, which a UN report has since admitted they almost certainly have.

7. There is one point about MH17 I do however wish to make.

On balance and despite the fact that the body of one of the passengers was found wearing an oxygen mask, I still think the most likely explanation for the tragedy is that MH17 was shot down by a BUK missile. I realise others (eg, Petri Kohn) disagree. I am not technically qualified to decide the question.

I am however concerned that some people are trying to reduce this issue to a false binary of SU25=junta versus BUK=NAF. That is precisely what the BBC for example sought to do in a recent Panorama programme.

The attraction of insisting that MH17 was shot down by a SU25 is that in that case only the junta could have done it since no one says the NAF had an operational SU25 capable of shooting MH17 down. The danger of insisting that MH17 was shot down by an SU25 is that if it does turn out that MH17 was in fact actually shot down by a BUK missile, then some in the west will treat that as proof that it was the NAF that shot it down.

It is nothing of the sort. It cannot be said too strongly that as of now there is no proof that at the time when MH17 was shot down the NAF was in possession of either an operational SU25 aircraft or an operational BUK system, whereas there is conclusive proof that the junta was in possession of both. Until the BND or some other western intelligence makes evidence public that proves the contrary that remains the position.

Terrorist groups aim to create chaos in Tunisia ahead of the elections



Supporters of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda Party leader and founder Rached Ghannouchi wave both the national and the party's flag as Ghannouchi gives a speech during a campaign rally on October 15, 2014 in Bizerte, north-east of Tunis, ahead of the country's parliamentary elections. (Photo: AFP-Fethi Belaid)
Published Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Less than a week before the elections, Tunisian state agencies are preoccupied with possible terrorist threats despite officials boasting of accomplishments in the war against Ansar al-Sharia and its 2-year-old armed wing, the Uqba bin Nafe Battalion. The group Ansar al-Sharia is headed by Seifallah bin Hassine, also known as Abu Ayad al-Tunisi, and has been listed as a terrorist organization since 2013.
Tunis – The Tunisian government does not deny its fear of a terrorist attack targeting the elections in Tunisia. The fact that the country is only a few days away from parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday October 26 might prompt the Uqba bin Nafe Battalion to execute its threats by targeting security personnel and citizens as it promised earlier this month in a recording posted online.
In an interview with Al-Akhbar, the Interior Ministry spokesperson, Mohammed Ali Laroui, expressed fear that security incidents might disturb the electoral process. Laroui stressed that “security agencies have warned that terrorist operations might target the electoral process.” He said the warning is “based on security and intelligence information and a reading of the general landscape whereby Tunisia’s regional surroundings are plagued by terrorist operations,” in reference to the developments in Libya.
Laroui revealed that security agencies foiled a terrorist plan to use car bombs against a number of targets after dismantling a terrorist cell made up of seven individuals affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia and its armed wing fortified in Mount Chaambi in the Kasserine province (290 kilometers or 180 miles west of the capital). The cell was planning attacks and assassinations targeting political and security figures but Laroui did not provide the names of these figures.
However, a high-ranking government official who asked to remain anonymous told Al-Akhbar that investigations with the members of the takfiri group who were arrested in the past three weeks revealed that “the Uqba bin Nafe Battalion had planned to assassinate Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, Interior Minister Lutfi bin Jedou and Laroui” before the next parliamentary and presidential elections.


The government source pointed out that the terrorist groups’ targets are not restricted to these figures but includes some vital targets. He indicated that security agencies have placed the most prominent party leaders under tight security protection, monitoring their movements during the electoral campaign to prevent their targeting as part of a plan that also includes securing about 10,000 polling stations.
Informed security sources told Al-Akhbarthat “terrorist groups were planning to target the French ambassador in Tunisia, Francois Gouyette, by targeting his motorcade with a car bomb as it leaves his residence in al-Mursi suburb. This was confirmed by a statement from an embassy source,” which stated that “the Interior Ministry contacted them to inform them of a plan to target the ambassador and ask them to be on high security alert.”
These developments heightened fears that car bombs might be the leading weapon in the next phase of confrontations between military and security agencies on one hand and terrorist groups on the other. Agencies are growing more concerned every day, especially over individual assassinations and bombings of electoral campaign sites or popular meeting sites. This prompted the crisis cell to issue a booklet entitled “Security Guide for the Candidate” that includes security instructions and recommendations aimed at reducing potential risks.
These threats prompted security and military agencies to raise the level of alert and track smuggled weapons according to security sources who pointed out that the new recommendations call for monitoring Mount Chaambi’s surroundings to stop infiltration operations back and forth through rugged areas and valleys and cut off supply operations.
Efforts by the Tunisian government to secure the elections require it to encircle the terrorist groups fortified in Mount Chaambi and impose a tight siege on them to limit their movement. According to Laroui, the measures they adopted have largely succeeded, which prompted the Uqba bin Nafe Battalion to disseminate a recorded message by its leaders for the first time since its inception after the losses it sustained within its ranks that included capturing more than 50 members and seizing weapons and money.
What terrorist groups are counting on
The plan devised by terrorist groups to disrupt the electoral process relies not only on their strengths but on the weakness of their adversaries as well, which in this case is the Tunisian government. Terrorist groups believe that the government’s greatest weakness lies in its political elite. As soon as signs of a security crisis emerge, these elites will take it upon themselves to achieve half of the mission by targeting and confounding state agencies especially that Article 74 of the Tunisian constitution stipulates postponing the presidential elections and repeating all its procedures from nominations to setting a new date if one of the candidates dies or withdraws in the first round which begins next Saturday.


What terrorist groups are trying to do in Tunisia today is bring about a new phase that consecrates chaos in the country, either by altering the balance of political forces and their internal rules or the regional equations relevant to the area. The best tactical entryway they could use is ruining the elections to guarantee that the country would fall into their hands, paving the way for implementing the rest of their plan.
This plan was explicitly expressed in the confessions of detainees from terrorist groups associated with Ansar al-Sharia, a group loyal to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb which devised a plan to create instability starting with the elections. The group sought to do so for reasons other than ruling elections a form of disbelief and those who participate in any form of the democratic process to be disbelievers since “democracy is a religion of disbelief” as far as the group is concerned. This is derived from the reading provided by theorists of jihadi/terrorist groups of the situation in the countries that witnessed revolutions, including Tunisia, which is often mentioned in the context of discussing the “impossibility of coexistence between secularists and Islamists.”
Terrorist groups are planning to prevent the holding of parliamentary elections in Tunisia in order to create chaos. They are operating under the assumption that delaying or cancelling the elections will prompt in-fighting among the political forces, which will try to win the loyalty of security and military agencies. These agencies, the terrorist groups believe, will split into two sides if the country’s security and political stability are shaken.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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