The Patrimony

In politics, everything is relatives

Tag: terrorism

The atrocity that will not be televised

by fpman

Fresh reports in from Nigeria, via allAfrica.com:

Boko Haram Killing ‘Wives’ to Prevent Marraige to ‘Unbelievers’

The reason why this will not be televised — or in other words widely known:

1. This is happening in Africa, not in the Middle East.

2. This is happening to Africans, not Westerners.

3. The Islamic State has just killed Western tourists in Tunisia in the meantime, and that would divert the attention on any day.

4. Wives of Boko Haram’s Islamist combatants are perceived at first sight by unsuspecting readers as part of the enemy, or, psychologically speaking, as part of an “outgroup.”

Two quotes from the article should make clear why this is as terrible a human tragedy as can be.

The Islamist fighters apparently told “their” wives before they killed them:

“We will not spare anyone of you because if unbelievers marry you, when we get to heaven, there is no way we can meet again.”

And the context to all of this shows that in all likelihood most of the women concerned have never really consented to being married to them in the first place.

“The insurgents had decided to flee to the nearby town of Gwoza (after fleeing the town of Bama earlier on, in the course of their retreat) before the troops’ arrival but they first decided to kill their wives so that nobody would remarry them.

Boko Haram forcibly married scores of women in Bama after seizing it in September. Nigeria’s military announced the recapture of the town on Monday.”

In other words, many or most of the women concerned were just given to their future killers as property, and before they were killed, they were offered the “consolation” that they could be with their killers forever and ever, thanks to being saved from the alternative.

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Beirut rules?

by fpman

The Islamic State is a puzzling phenomenon in many respects. One thing we just can’t make sense of is how an organization that often goes beyond previously imaginable extremes in its political and military tactics, can get seemingly genuinely very upset about stuff being done to them in return.

Such a moment came yesterday when one IS commander by the name of Abu Ali Shishani (his name tells us he has some connection to Chechnya, though he is a.k.a. Anas Sharkas by his kunya or nom de guerre) filled a video message with complaints about Lebanese authorities that seem to have rounded up wives and children of several IS leaders in the last few days. One of those detained may or may not be a former wife of caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s, a certain Saja al-Dulaimi, and if she is who she is thought to be, she is held there together with her daughter, plus some other wives, including a wife of Abu Ali Shishani’s. (It seems that Saja al-Dulaimi had been a subject of hostage exchange before, when she was held by Syrian government forces in the past along with two sons and a smaller brother.)

In this situation, Abu Ali Shishani called on Sunni Lebanese yesterday to blow up the house around them and let the roof fall on their head, basically. He said:

“I call on you, Sunnis, to rise up in unity. Our wives and men are in prisons. They took my wife and children and had no right to do so.”

Lebanon is a country where many people understand the basic rules of tit-for-tat kidnappings, and Sunni Islamists operating in and from Syrian territory have kidnapped many Lebanese soldiers up to now, not to mention they have even executed some of them. Lebanon is a country where a reluctance to be pragmatic may be punished fast. We would never discount the IS potential to break down the old order in places where they haven’t done it yet but Lebanon may be tough territory for them in this respect.

A Prime Minister’s brother, a football game, and the evolution of warfare

by fpman

This is special. Serbia hosted Albania yesterday for a Euro 2016 Group I qualifier. No away fans were permitted, to avoid some rather inevitable trouble. Trouble that thus had to find alternative expression and made its way onto the pitch in the shape of a drone… carrying an Albanian flag (this one). See the brawl that resulted from this.

The distraction was frustrating to the players of both teams, at the same time as the political message of the flag itself evoked strong emotions in many, among both the spectators and the players, given historical memories of conflict between the two countries, and even the recent memory of the Kosovo war between ethnic Albanians and Serbs. The brawl began as one of the Serb players (playing in white) managed to capture the flag. As you can see in the video eventually some fans ran onto the pitch to join the melee, too. It is small consolation that most of the players actually behaved rather gently towards each other, and at one point, when there was a threat that a tsunami of fans may charge the Albanian team, the Serb players, including those from the bench, escorted the Albanian players to the locker room tunnel’s entrance.

A drone, and its operator, started all this. This is pretty interesting in and of itself. Here we saw the unlawful application of a drone with political motives targeted at specific civilian groups in audience, distracting a public event. If the unlawful application of the drone would have included violence, this would have been an instance of terrorism. So in a sense we have seen history made yesterday. Take a closer look with this in mind:

And with this in mind it is an especially amazing turn of events that the police arrested one person in connection with the incident. As mentioned already, no away fans were permitted to come to the game, and so the police took the person in question from the VIP box. It was Olsi Rama, the brother of the current Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Wow. Just wow. We’ll update this post once it becomes clear(er) if Olsi Rama was really the person responsible for the incident. Not to say that that is the only aspect of this story that may make it interesting, as we indicated above…

Update (October 15, still): In a twist to the story, it turns out the police have not really “arrested” Olsi Rama. Rama also denies having flown the drone himself. Reports have nevertheless appeared in the Serb press visualizing the remote control in his hand at the time when he was supposedly detained, and there is also an allegation circulating that “European diplomats” helped Olsi Rama get through the security check. Bearing in mind that Olsi’s brother, Prime Minister Edi Rama, is set to go to Belgrade on October 22 (at least for the moment he still is), this is beginning to look like a consciously timed provocation by someone, well-suited to bring out some of the typical, silly nationalist phantasies attached to the coverage of what happened – such as the story of a Euro-Albanian conspiracy against Serbia by means of flag-flying at a football match.

Update (October 16): This is what happened to the drone. A fan wearing a mask took it somewhere. (Photo: AFP/Getty)

FanWithFlag

Update (October 17): besides describing the general mood in the stadium throughout most of the match before the drone’s arrival, this article also notes that: “Ivan Bogdanović, the Serb hooligan who led the 2010 Italy match riot, was seen invading the pitch. He served jail time in Serbia after the Italy incident, in which he burned an Albanian flag. That game had to be abandoned as well. Yesterday he led a group of masked supporters into the pitch before being kicked out by police.”

Given Bogdanović‘s past involvement in disrupting football matches, tolerated since years by Serbian police, one has even more of a reason now to believe that the flying of the drone was a strategically planned provocation. By the way, the guy who took the drone from the pitch happened to go onto the pitch together with Bogdanović. They were flying in close formation… See Bogdanović on the left and the guy who captured the drone in the middle, below (photo: Marko Drobnjaković, AP):

Serbia Albania Euro Soccer

In the meantime, President of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia, Milorad Dodik, has also voiced the view that the drone incident was an American-European-Albanian conspiracy to create a distraction just before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit. Because… because… because Putin’s visit was so totally distracted it went ahead with a proper military parade

Contrary to what Dodik is suggesting, the drone incident was most likely the perfect way to energize nationalists who traditionally favor a Russian rather than a European orientation for Serbia.

Mistakes get made

by fpman

“There will be a review into the way we verify photos downloaded from Facebook.”

That is what editor-in-chief of The Age, an Australian paper, promised when it became clear that along with the Sydney Morning Herald they both printed Thursday’s front pages with the photo of an innocent man whom they presented as the perpetrator behind the 2014 Endeavour Hills incident.

Sending a lynch mob to anybody’s address is pretty bad,” of course, regardless of whether it is the “right” or the “wrong” address. It is still the more frustrating that two papers with considerable readership mistook an innocent man for a violent person who attempted to kill two policemen with a knife. Even worse, the media, somehow unable to think reasonably, keeps referreing to said violent person, the one who actually stabbed two policemen and was shot eventually, as a “terror suspect.” How they cannot tell the difference between a suspect and a dead assailant who, once shot dead, was found to be in possession of an Islamic State flag, is as puzzling as the question of how they end up printing the wrong photo from Facebook to have something to put on their front pages.

But things get worse than this.

The innocent man happens to be a certain Abu Bakar Alam, no other than the 19-year old grandson of Hakim Taniwal, the former governor of first Khost and then Paktia province in Afghanistan (he was a government minister, as Minister of Mines, in between his two stints as governor). Hakim Taniwal was a brave Afghan-Australian who returned to his country after 2001 to take a position of responsibility there and was killed along with a nephew in 2006 by a teenage suicide bomber. Even his funeral was bombed by Islamist insurgents. You can read about him here, here and here.

Abu Bakar Alam is thus exactly the kind of guy from the kind of family whom you are not interested in alienating when a considerable part of the other person’s – the dead assailant’s – community reacts to the shooting of a person who stabbed two police officers in this way.

Dino Bouterse: Bad apple in the Big Apple?

by fpman

The following story reads like the script for a double episode of a crime show. Its 100% similarity with actual persons and events is the responsibility of those involved.

In the prequel: father serves in the Dutch Army, then goes home to the former Dutch colony of by-then-independent Suriname (1975). Takes part in a bloody coup d’état called the Sergeants’ Coup (1980). Leads a military regime for eleven years, handpicking nominal rulers of the country. While in power as leader of the junta, he is accused of having personally ordered or condoned some dreadful things, including the execution of his political opponents and revolting villagers. He heavily restricts political freedoms and even closes down the University of Suriname. To top this all off, he is, in 1999, sentenced to eleven years in abstentia in the Netherlands for involvement in the cocaine trade. An international arrest warrant is issued for him but he manages to avoid getting caught, and is, in 2010, elected as President of his sovereign country of Suriname.

That is Dési Bouterse’s story. End of Part One – to be continued.

Father has a son, and in the awesome second part we see son Dino get involved in the drugs trade himself, busted eventually in Panama after he offers US DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) agents, posing as Hezbollah operatives, assistance with setting up a training site for Hezbollah in Suriname, in return for $2 million. Even obtains a false Surinamese passport for one of the people who approach him, as eventually he himself admits in court in New York (two days ago).

DinoBouterseDino Bouterse, a former official of the Surinamese government as head of anti-terrorism, seemed to have an inclination to take “anti-terrorism” matters into his own hands (source of the photo, with context)

Father (and President) Dési, “shocked” to hear of his son’s arrest, now says “My son is responsible for his own actions.”

Dési_and_Dino_BouterseFather and son (photo: AP).

Curtains.