Tag Archives: Sudan

Implications of the Abyei Dispute in the Sudan

In May, the United Nations announced that although international peacekeepers would remain in the disputed Abyei region in the Sudan, troop numbers would decrease from about 4,800 to less than 4,500. The peacekeeping mission, known as the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNIFSA) was adopted in June of 2011 after the outbreak of violence in the border town between Sudan and South Sudan. The mission was originally meant to be short-term but instead has been extended into its seventh year by unanimous UN Security Council support.

Abyei is a small, strategically important region and a major source of conflict between Sudan and South Sudan. Simultaneous to South Sudan’s independence referendum in 2011, a second referendum for residents of Abyei was set to occur to decide on remaining with Sudan or joining South Sudan. Due to ongoing violence and the threat of civil war, the referendum never took place, and the UN set up a neutral administrative zone instead, patrolled by mostly Ethiopian soldiers.

The current conflict in Abyei is motivated by a combination of ethnic, religious, political, and economic issues. Abyei’s two main tribes, the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya tribe have long been embroiled in conflict. Frequently in the past, the Dinka, who are mostly Christian, have been subjected to violent raids and “Islamicization campaigns” from Misseriya and other militias at the direction of Sudan’s government in Khartoum.

After an invasion by Sudanese militias, including the Misseriya, in 2011, 110,000 Dinka civilians were displaced from their native lands. In 2013, Misseriya tribe members killed Dinka chief Kuol Deng Kuol, who was returning from a meeting with the Sudanese government as part of UN delegation.

Voting rights are another significant source of the conflict. The Misseriya are nomadic and have demanded to participate in the referendum for Abyei’s future. They travel freely to the region from the north due to its rich, arable grazing land. Because they spend so much time in Abyei, the Misseriya feel they deserve a right to vote in the referendum.

The Misseriya are an important constituency to the Sudanese government in the north, so leaders in Khartoum have pushed to include the Misseriya in any referendum. The Dinka have long desired to join South Sudan, though their attempts at holding a referendum accepted by all parties have been unsuccessful.

In addition to high-quality farming and grazing land, Abyei is also a source of oil. The secession of South Sudan in 2011 devastated Sudan’s economy when much of its oil revenue went to the South. This raises the importance of Abyei to both countries. Under the status quo, Sudan’s government in Khartoum profits from Abyei’s oil production. In the event of Abyei joining South Sudan, Sudan loses Abyei as a source of revenue unless the two make a deal to share oil profits.

Despite the two governments’ inability to reach a consensus over the disputed territory, the Dinka and Misseriya tribes signed a peace agreement in March of 2018. The peace agreement between these two tribes is an important step in attaining peace between Sudan and South Sudan. This agreement demonstrates the ability of the tribes to take up matters for themselves instead of relying on government action to negotiate peace.

Although an important step, the tribes’ peace deal is far from a permanent solution. Despite the tribal agreement, Misseriya tribesmen loyal to Sudan routinely harass Dinka families outside of the UN patrolled areas. If the UN leaves before a deal is struck between the two countries, there is a significant risk of Sudanese forces further encroaching into Abyei to force Dinka families out and prevent them from claiming the territory.

Ultimately, the situation in Abyei will not be resolved until both the Sudanese and South Sudanese governments reach an agreement over the territory. Taking control of Abyei would boost Sudan’s revenue and appease the Misseriya constituency by allowing them grazing access for their livestock.

For Sudan the current situation is just as beneficial as an actual resolution to the conflict because the Sudanese government is currently drawing revenues from Abyei’s oil and the Misseriya already enjoy unrestricted access to Abyei. The South Sudanese also want to gain revenue from the oil fields, but their biggest concern in Abyei is providing protection for the Dinka tribes, who ethnically identify with South Sudan and have long suffered at the hands of the Misseriya. Considering the ongoing civil war raging in South Sudan, a future resolution over this dispute seems unlikely.

For the U.S. and international community, it is clear the two governments will be unable to attain peace themselves anytime soon. The U.S. has already invested billions of dollars of aid to end the civil war in South Sudan and will continue to do so.

China is expected to play a big role in this affair too, though Chinese involvement in Sudan is more discreet. Like the U.S., China has supported South Sudan and desires to see a lasting, peaceful resolution, though Chinese officials haven’t publicly declared an agenda other than seeing an end to the conflict. Privately, China is interested in protecting its oil interests in South Sudan, using its business relationship as political leverage to end the conflict.

Fundamentally, each member of the UN Security Council agrees that the conflict must end on terms acceptable to locals, prompting the Council to work closely with the African Union, and especially with Sudan’s neighbor, Ethiopia. The Council will vote again in November whether to extend the UNIFSA mission. UNIFSA is expected to be extended with further troop reductions.

In recent days, the UN has taken additional steps to accelerate the peace process. If the two countries continue failing to resolve the dispute, the international community will have little choice but to take a more involved role in pushing both sides to the negotiating table. The UN’s reduction in peacekeeping forces indicates international readiness to see a consensus, but Sudan and South Sudan don’t appear to have reached that point.

Russian Fighter Jet Shot Down Over Syria

On February 3rd, in northeastern Idilb province, Syria, a Russian Sukhoi Su 25 fighter jet was shot down by the Al Qaeda-linked Syrian group Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham(HTS).

HTS used a surface to air missile in order to shoot down the jet.

The Russian pilot ejected after the plane was struck by the missile. The pilot reportedly survived ejection, and reportedly was killed after Al Nusra fighters attempted to capture him, according to the Russian ministry of defense.

HTS used a weapon known as MANPADS (Man Portable Air Defense System) in order to down the jet. This of course raised the question as to where HTS acquired this sort of a weapon.

In the past HTS had pleaded with their international backers to acquire this sort of a weapons system. HTS’s backers are not well known, and the US, Russia, and Iran all publicly oppose the group.

However, HTS has worked with Turkey and Qatar in the past.

In 2017 Turkey moved through the province of Idilb and headed toward Aleppo in an effort with Russia and Iran to de-escalate certain areas within Syria. Turkish forces coordinated with HTS as they went through Idilb.

HTS commander Muhammed al Julani sought to improve relations with Turkey, at least in part in order to have a regional backer who could protect HTS from facing a terrorism designation, and to position HTS as a partner in controlling Idilb. Despite warming HTS and Turkish ties there’s no direct evidence that Turkey has supplied MANPADS to HTS.

However, HTS’ other known backers in Qatar do have a history of supplying MANPADS that have fallen into jihadist hands.

Qatar reportedly delivered Chinese FN-6 MANPADS to Syrian rebel groups, some of which have also fallen into the hands of the Islamic State. These top of the line Chinese-made MANPADS were reportedly delivered to elements within the Free Syrian Army by sympathizers in Qatar. The weapons were most likely purchased from arms dealers in Sudan, which has a large stockpile of the FN-6s, purchased from China. Sudan is a major customer for Chinese manufactured arms.

Qatar’s ties to HTS have been part of a long standing disagreement between the small nation and its Gulf neighbors, who point to the Qatari decision to provide the Al Qaeda-linked group with millions of dollars as part of a “Ransom” payment scheme.

Qatar’s record on terrorism finance continues to be problematic for the U.S. which technically considers Qatar a close ally in the fight against terrorism. In 2009 Secretary of State Hilary Clinton signed a US cable that stated Qatar’s counterterrorism cooperation is the “worst in the region.”

It would be reasonable to believe that HTS received access to MANPADS through Qatari backers, with the weapons movements possibly facilitated by Turkey.

This would put the two supposed U.S. allies at odds with the U.S. own publicly stated position opposing the proliferation of MANPADS, which U.S. officials fear may fall into the hands of terrorist groups.

On February 3rd according to The Washington Post, the State Department denied allegations of supplying MANPAD weapon systems to groups in Syria, and denied that U.S. equipment was used to shoot down the Russian jet.

Russia retaliated by launching airstrikes. The Washington Post reported that the Russian Defense Ministry said they used “Precision guided weapons” without any further detail. It has been reported that 10 civilians were killed in the Russian response, while Russian sources report killing 30 fighters.

HTS downing of the Sukhoi Su 25 fighter jet, a highly sophisticated fighter jet, is no easy feat. The last time a Russian jet was downed in Syria was 2015 when a Turkish fighter jet fired at a Russian SU 24 fighter jet which reportedly crossed into Turkish airspace.

Obviously, the successful deployment of sophisticated MANPADs by Al Qaeda affiliated groups is deeply concerning. There has been very little public cooperation between the US and Russia on the MANPADs issue, despite concerns raised by both countries, a likely result both of differences over the Syrian situation in addition to wider tensions. Despite their probable contravention of U.S. efforts to prevent MANPADs proliferation it’s unlikely this recent incident will have a substantial effect on U.S-Turkish or U.S.-Qatari relations.

Removing U.S. Sanctions Placed on Sudan

Some of the economic and trade sanctions the U.S. placed on Sudan 20 years ago are to be lifted October 12th, in the belief that Sudan has improved human rights and made progress in fighting terrorism.

The U.S. State Department came to this decision after a 16-month long diplomatic effort with Sudan, claiming that Sudan maintained a cessation of hostilities in conflict areas, improved humanitarian access throughout Sudan, and maintained cooperation with the U.S. to address the threat of terrorism.

Although Sudan has made progress in these key areas, the U.S. is prepared to use targeted sanctions if Sudan fails to continue its progress or regresses on the progress it has already made.

The specific sanctions being revoked are Sections 1 and 2 of Executive Order 13067 from 1997, and also all of Executive Order 13412, from 2006 while Executive Order 13400 will remain in place.

The U.S. first imposed sanctions on Sudan in 1997 which included a trade embargo and blocking the government’s assets. The U.S. imposed these sanctions in response to Sudan’s continued support of international terrorism, and the prevalence of human rights violations, including slavery and the denial of religious freedom.

In 2006, sanctions were expanded through E.O. 13400 to target specific individuals in Sudan who were involved in the Darfur conflict. E.O. 13412 was created to prohibit transactions related to oil, gas, and the petro-chemical industries in Sudan.

In addition to Sudan’s reported cooperation with the U.S., it has made a commitment to the U.S. that it will not pursue arms deals with North Korea.

The decision to lift the sanctions on Sudan comes a month after the U.S. removed Sudan from the travel restrictions list in the belief that Sudan was cooperating fully with U.S. requirements.

Human rights activists warn that Sudan continues to maintain ties to terror groups, and Sudan remains one of only three U.S. designated state sponsors of terrorism, which prohibits Sudan from buying arms from the U.S. or receiving American aid. While most regional states have supported Sudan’s removal, others, most notably Libya, have recently complained Sudan remains part of a network intent on supporting terror within their borders.

There is concern from rights activists and some lawmakers about President Trump’s decision to permanently lift sanctions on Sudan because it has not made progress on human rights and that it will prolong Omar al-Bashir’s rule. These activists believe that by providing relief to Sudan, it legitimizes the Sudanese government’s crimes against humanity and war crimes. Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir remains wanted on international war crimes charges.

The progress that has been made by Sudan has been minimal, evidenced by Sudanese security forces firing on unarmed protesters at the Kalma refugee camp in South Darfur on September 22nd, killing at least 6 and wounding 28 others.

Targeted sanctions on specific individuals remains an option for the U.S. moving forward, but history shows sanctions from the past two decades were not very successful at improving the Sudanese government’s behavior, despite U.S. claims to the contrary.

Will lifting of Sudan sanctions destabilize the region?

On Friday 13th President Obama announced that after 180 days the U.S. would be lifting a 20 year-old embargo on Sudan provided Khartoum continues the “positive steps” it has already taken. However, the sanctions against individual Sudanese government officials were lifted immediately.

These “positives steps” are Sudan’s cooperation in fighting ISIS, not launching any offensives in Darfur since December, eased obstruction to humanitarian aid, and not shipping arms to South Sudan in six months.

Reports from Sudan tell a different story. Commander Abdelaziz Adam al Hilu, one of the leaders of Sudanese opposition, says that ISIS has setup shop in Khartoum. While Gen. Abakar Mahamat Abdallah, another opposition leader, reports that jihadists like Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram are trying to set up a network in Africa. Such claims are consistent with Khartoum’s historical behavior.

As for Sudan stopping its operations in Darfur, Gen. Abdallah also reported that the Sudanese army killed 11 people and wounded further 60 in Nertiti, Central Darfur on New Year’s Day. While on January 5th Sudanese forces killed 7 people in Geneina. So contrary to the Administration’s claims Sudan has not stopped its offensive in Darfur.

Despite what seems to be a pro-Khartoum lobby in Washington, Sudan has not made any tangible steps to improve its human rights record. Khartoum is still holding two Sudanese pastors and a Czech journalist in jail on espionage charges. In the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region the Sudanese army still maintains humanitarian embargos preventing any food aid to get in. These embargos have lasted for over five years and continue to cause widespread hunger and deprivation in the regions. The only humanitarian improvement was Sudan allowing aid agencies into Golo town to help refuges. However, President Al-Bashir still denies aid agencies access to countless other refugee camps in Darfur.

As for not sending any arms to South Sudan, lifting the sanctions in about 6 months could change that. Now that U.S. unfroze the assets of Sudanese government officials this could open up new sources of cash for members of the Al-Bashir government to fund their genocidal campaigns in South Sudan and Darfur. Senior Administration Officials have said that these asset freezes will still apply to Sudanese officials who were involved in the Darfur genocide. However, with Sudan’s government being one of the most corrupt in the world, it is possible that government officials not on the Darfur list could use their newly unfrozen bank accounts to funnel more money to the militias of South Sudan’s former Vice-President Riek Machar or the Islamic “Peace Forces” in Darfur.

Also, if the sanctions are lifted then Sudan will be able to resume agricultural and transportation trade with the U.S. This means that Khartoum will finally be able to sell its agricultural products and buy important farming equipment, like tractors, to help improve its ailing economy. There is no guarantee that food aid will reach those in the Nuba Mountains being starved to death from air raids over farmland and blockades of aid from the South.

The infusion of new cash and capital would help prop-up President Omar Al-Bashir’s failing regime. After South Sudan’s independence the country lost two thirds of its oil revenue. With its oil revenue stagnant Sudan is forced to rely on its agricultural sector, which makes up 80% of the economy. This makes the economy vulnerable to droughts especially in a desert country like Sudan. So despite the country’s annual GPD growth rate of 3.4% one bad drought could plunge Sudan into a deep crisis.

The Sudanese opposition could have used the country’s economic vulnerability to challenge Al-Bashir’s hold on power. The agricultural and transportation sanctions would have continued to weaken Sudan’s economy. A weak economy could have cost Al-Bashir support and strengthened the opposition.

With the sanctions lifted, Omar Al-Bashir could use the cash from the sale of crops to fill the country’s coffers and buy new farm equipment to make the agricultural sector more productive. This will only strengthen Sudan’s economy and in turn Al-Bashir’s hold on power.

So lifting the Sudanese embargo threatens to strengthen Al-Bashir and to further destabilize the region.


Turkey attacks Kurds; US Navy finally addresses Chinese agression; IS vies for influence over al Shabaab

Threat Information Office headlines 10-27-2015

Turkey attacks American allied Kurdish YPG forces

A crucial US ally in the fight against the Islamic State, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said that their positions in northern Syria were shelled by the Turkish Army yesterday.  Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed the strikes, saying that Ankara had warned the Syrian Kurds not to cross west of the Euphrates River. The YPG seized control of most of northern Syria from IS after fierce battles over the summer, but is regarded by Turkey as the Syrian branch of the PKK, an outlawed Kurdish terrorist group that has waged a separatist insurgency in Turkey for decades.

While Turkey accepts that the US backs the YPG in its fight against IS, it is adamant that the Kurds not be allowed to establish an autonomous regime in Syria similar to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq; hence its drawing of a red line at the Euphrates, which will prevent a contiguous zone of Kurdish control on the other side of the Turkish border.

Third Israeli victim of Palestinian terrorist attack on bus dies

An American school principal who was stabbed and shot in the head by Palestinian attackers approximately two weeks ago has died. Richard Lakin is the latest victim of the ‘knife intifada’ that has targeted Israeli civilians via knife, shootings, and car assaults. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised a swift and strong response to the attacks, and has pointed out that the Islamic Movement in Israel bears responsibility for the latest wave of violence.

Islamic Movement head Sheikh Raed Salah was sentenced yesterday to 11 months for his conviction on a incitement to violence charge dating back to 2007, when he gave a speech calling for ‘the defense of al-Aqsa against the Zionist aggression.” In court last week, he also stated that “in spirit and blood we will defend al-Aqsa.” The Islamic Movement is divided in two factions, with one participating in the Knesset and the other refusing engagement, having established links to Hamas since the first intifada in 1987.

China forcefully denounces US Navy patrol in South China Sea within 12-mile limit of artificial islands

After being stonewalled by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the state visit two weeks ago, President Obama authorized the US Navy to conduct patrols within the 12-nautical mile limit of the artificial islands China has constructed in the South China Sea. The destroyer USS Lassen sailed in international waters in the Spratly Archipelago, which China claims as its sovereign territory but is not recognized by any other nation or international maritime law.

In response, China has accused the US of a “deliberate provocation.” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that “China will firmly react” and cautioned that the US Navy patrol will only increase Beijing’s determination to speed up construction on the artificial islands.

Al-Shabaab determined to stop Islamic State expansion into East Africa

Signs of division are appearing in the Somalian al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabaab, as the Islamic State ramps up its recruiting efforts of low-level fighters. While some reports state that a faction has pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leadership is steadfast in its commitment to al-Qaeda and pledge to Ayman al-Zawahiri.

For the moment, Al-Shabaab continues its terror campaign in the Somalian countryside against the multi-national AMISOM forces along with plotting against neighboring Kenya.

Other stories we’re following:

Russia spending $ 4 mil/day to back Assad, half of what US spends daily to combat IS

IS claims Shia mosque bombing in Saudi Arabia

Saudi prince arrested in Beirut airport in connection with multi-million dollar drug bust

Russia considered abandoning INF nuclear treaty in 2007, former SecDef Gates says

Bangladesh police arrest 4 in connection with killing of Italian aid worker, deny IS link

China accuses West of promoting a ‘color revolution’ amongst its troops

NATO studying making maritime ballistic missile defense a routine training op for all members

Evangelical church demolished in Sudan, law prevents construction of new one

Financial Action Task Force removes Sudan from money-laundering list

Congo-Brazzaville announces voters approved third term for President Sassou

Three Seleka leaders kidnapped in C.A.R.

US reaching end of nuclear arms deterrent capability

NSA deputy director warns of cyber attacks by rogue states

Political rhetoric endangers law enforcement says FBI director

French pilots accused of drug trafficking in Dominican Republic escape, return home




Western Tech Firms Help Authoritarians Crack Down

An Italian company called “Hacking Team” has been caught selling surveillance systems to governments including cyber weapons to Sudan.  Information was stolen from the company, Hacking Team, by hackers.  The firm is Milan based and is listed on Reporters Without Border’s Enemies on the Internet list for its alleged sale of cyber tools to repressive regimes. They have also been stonewalling an investigation from the UN. The firm rejects the statements and says that it has never done business in Sudan. One of the leaked spreadsheets however, marks Russia and Sudan as “not officially” supported.

A July 2012 record shows a 480,000 euro invoice for selling surveillance software to Sudan. The UN arms embargo on Sudan bans the export of “arms and related material” to the country. In 2014, Citizen Lab, identified almost 21 countries that were potential clients of Hacking Team, the list included Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Sudan, Russia, and UAE.

The attack on Hacking Team was carried out by an unknown hackers, who released the 400GB of documents on file sharing website, defaced the company’s twitter account, and replaced the company’s logo to read “Hacked Team.” In the US, agencies using Hacking Team’s tools include the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Defense.

Earlier in the year, the Obama administration announced the decision to loosen certain sanctions on Sudan’s government. The decision drew criticism, with many stating that the newly allowed sale of communications hardware and software would allow Sudan to gain surveillance on citizens. Following the decision, the State Department released a statement saying that they “believed the tools [would] promote freedom of speech, help Sudanese communicate more easily with each other, and allow them to be more connected digitally to the global community.”

Back in February, Sudanese Foreign Minister, Ali Karti, traveled to the US on unofficial business while attending events in Washington. Around the same time, Ibrahim Ghandour also traveled stateside to meet with the US special envoy to Sudan. After noting that Karti traveled to Charlotte, it was assumed that he had gained a multi entry visa and had a broad range to enter the US. That is significant because before Karti was promoted to Prime Minister, he lead the Popular Defense Force, Sudan’s military which directed the genocides in Darfur, Blue Nile, and Nuba Mountains.  The Obama administration has softened toward Sudanese government since lawyer Ben Fisher, who is a campaign donor to both President Obama and Hilary Clinton, was hired to advise the Sudanese government. Many objected to the visits to the United States, stating that Karti’s presence here did not make sense as it was a reward and not a punishment for the ongoing violence.

Sudan’s arms and mercenary exports fueling conflict throughout Africa

Supporting civil war factions and jihadist insurgents in Africa is par for the course for the Sudanese president, indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir.  Weapons manufactured in Sudan have been found in the Central African Republic, where the Seleka militia is engaged in a brutal power struggle with local vigilantes and factions loyal to deposed president François Bozize. In a bid to obtain influence with a neighbor that has been mired in civil warfare for decades, the Khartoum regime has applied the same strategy from its own civil war: arming human rights violators and engaging in ethnic cleansing.

Reports by independent observers have documented Sudanese weapons in the hands of the Seleka.  These are made by the state-owned Military Industry Corp., which according to this report uses Iranian and Chinese technical advisors to manufacture its armaments.  A similar report states that Iran and Sudan signed a mutual defense pact in 2007 and details Iranian exports of small arms, RPG’s, land mines, mortars, and UAV drones to Sudan.

The Seleka also receives manpower in the form of Sudanese mercenaries.  Human Rights Watch has also documented Chadian troops providing escort to Seleka fighters.  The mercenaries, having obtained experience in the Libyan revolution against Qaddafi, have now moved on to the C.A.R to bolster the Seleka forces.

The reasoning behind Khartoum’s arming and reinforcing the Seleka is clear: to have direct influence on a new regional ally in the event the Seleka manages to seize power again, or at least a seat at the table if a power sharing agreement is signed.  Beyond that, the larger strategic aim is to prevent the lawless C.A.R. becoming a sanctuary for Sudanese opposition groups.  Finally, Sudanese business enterprises, with Chinese and/or Iranian backing, are likely angling for a piece of the mineral reserves of the C.A.R.

Clock Dad’s Party Pushes 9-11 Conspiracy Posts, Videos on Arabic Facebook Page

With the frenzy following his son Ahmed’s bringing a suspicious-looking modified clock to high school, Texas-based Islamic political activist Mohammed Elhassan Mohammed finally succeeded in creating something he’s sought for a long time: a national media event that can be used to shine the light on alleged crimes of the United States, from accusations of “Islamophobia” in Irving, Texas, to American complicity in the 9/11 attacks.

Al Qaeda’s attack on September 11, 2001 is recurring topic of discussion on Mohammed’s own Arabic-language National Reform Party Facebook page where—beside photos of his family enjoying their newfound fame—are posted articles, photos and videos featuring both implicit, and explicit claims that the 9/11 attacks were a US-sponsored hoax to launch a war against Islam and Muslims.

While still residing in his Dallas suburb, Mohammed has, nonetheless, repeatedly run for president of Sudan as a candidate identified with his own very small political party, “al-Islah al-Watani,” or National Reform. Until recently, the National Reform Facebook page displayed the same profile picture Mohammed Elhassan Mohammed’s used for his personal Facebook profile picture. Mohammed’s National Reform Party page continues to post the same pictures, videos and articles about Ahmed Mohammed, and the Clock saga, as does Mohammed ElHassan on his personal page.

On September 12th, 2015, his National Reform page shared a photo that featured the smoking World Trade Center towers above text in Arabic describing the events of September 11th as “an American media creation” and calling them, “terrorism American style.” It also blames the U.S. for the events of the Arab Spring, calling it a U.S. plan to “foment reprehensible chaos.”

Facebook Post 1

The text describes the attack on 9/11 as a “miracle” for the United States, because it provided justification for an attack on, “first an Islamic  government, while the second was a mighty Arab state in the Middle East.” The reference is clearly to the U.S. attack on Afghanistan (under the   Taliban) and Iraq.

While the text identified the author as one Asad al-Barari, it’s not immediately clearly why Mohammed Elhassan and his National Reform Party chose to share this image and the post on September 12th, but the posting contains no text attempting to rebut or criticize the post for its statements about America.

Nor is this the only questionable post. As recently as September 28th, the National Reform Party page shared an English language video, with Arabic subtitles, which presents conspiracy theory arguments about the September 2001 attack.


The fifteen-minute video—first posted in September 2013—claims to prove explosives were used in bringing down the World Trade Center, attacks Penn & Teller’s 2005 debunking of 9/11 ‘Truther’ conspiracy theories and, finally, blames “US military officials, television executives and some Israeli and British government officials” for the attacks.

Below is the full translation of the September 12, 2015 post from Facebook:

The Events of September 11th:

There is a saying, “The hater writes them; the fool publishes them; and the idiot believes them.” This applies to the rumors that people both spread and believe; it describes the creation of rumors in all their stages.

Yesterday [Friday, September 11, 2015] was the anniversary observed in the United States of America on what is called “September 11th.” This was the miracle that came to America in the form of terrorism—which offered her the invasion of Islamic countries (headed by Afghanistan and Iraq), which she saw as a great threat—on a golden plate. The first had an Islamic government, while the second was a mighty Arab state in the Middle East.

Without any doubt, the events of September 11th claimed thousands of innocent lives, and violated the basic belief of religions, that civilians should not be harmed in any war. Yet, for its sake, millions of blameless souls have perished—though one state has been spared. One state that exists only on the map.

The events of the Arab Spring, or the despicable chaos that is its true name, were a part of this “September [11th] Strategy,” that the U.S. pursued in sending her armies into Afghanistan and Iraq. The American army destroyed their regular armies, but found that it could not destroy their irregular forces. This is what drove her to foment that reprehensible chaos—an ancient plan to destroy states completely—which was carried out to the letter in all the lands of the Arab Spring. The result was not only thousands of refugees and deaths in every part of the world, but also the huge humiliations that have become the fundamental malaise of the Arabs in everything they do.

Thus [the events of September 11th] are but an American media creation, no matter how some may try to label them as “Islamic terrorism.” They were indeed terrorism, but terrorism American style—terrorism that sweeps away and annihilates whole countries, and not those few buildings in the midst of New York City.

Asad al-Barari

Sudan and Iran were involved in terror attack on USS Cole: Now Sudan must pay

Several law suits by families of victims in the 2000 al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in Yemen had until recently been held up by technicalities raised by Sudan’s lawyers regarding procedure.  A U.S. District Judge  in New York is now forcing banks in New York which hold Sudanese assets to pay up

The judge in the case of four brothers and the mother of Kevin Shawn Rux, who was an electronic warfare expert on board the USS Cole, found that Iran and Sudan were directly involved in setting up al Qaeda’s networks in Yemen going back to 1991.  The banks involved are Mashreqbank PSC, BNP Paribas SA and Credit Agricole SA.  Two of the three banks are South African.  South Africa is known for its close political and financial ties to both Sudan and Iran

Iran’s connections to al Qaeda and their governments role in supporting terrorists and killing Americans was not addressed in the recent deal cut by the American president to give Iran 150 billion dollars as part of an arrangement for Iran to slow it’s nuclear weapons program.  The actions by several U.S. federal judges regarding the USS  Cole attack gives credibility to a recent threat by Senator Ted Cruz that if Democrats lose the White House, those doing business with Iran must face both legal and overdue geo-political consequences of their state sponsorship of jihadist violence.

Greek Coast Guard Prevents Weapons Shipment

On September 2nd, the Greek coast guard seized a Bolivian-flagged ship named the Haddad 1, carrying an undeclared shipment of weapons. The freighter was travelling from Turkey to Libya. The crew of seven members was made up of Egyptian and Syrian sailors. During the inspection approximately 5,000 shotguns together with ammunition were found among other, mostly innocuous cargo.

A Turkish foreign ministry spokesman asserts that the cargo was destined for the Sudanese police force and that the shipment of weapons were fully documented. Additionally, the spokesman claimed that the vessel was carrying building materials intended for Libya.

Turkey is no stranger to shipping weapons, and has been accused by the Libyan government of attempting to arm Islamist militias and terrorist groups in the past. In May, the Libyan government bombed a Turkish vessel it accused of attempting to run the government’s blockade of the city of Derna, held by Islamic State and a collection of other jihadist groups.

In 2013 and 2014, the Turkish intelligence agency reportedly helped to deliver arms to Syria under Islamist rebel control. Additionally, Reuters reported that paramilitary police witnessed ammunition, rocket parts, and mortar shells on trucks headed into Syria, accompanied by Turkish state intelligence agency (MIT) operatives. Ankara denies these claims; though if this is indeed accurate, it’s reasonable to conclude that these weapons may have been destined for Islamic State fighters.

Over the past year Turkey, a member of NATO, has begun to participate in the international operation to fight IS. It has begun to arrest suspected individuals and parties with links to the organization, carry out air strikes, coordinate with the United States for military training, and allow American aircraft to use Turkish bases. However, some are hesitant to conclude that Turkey has honest intentions, especially when, for example, Cemil Bayik, senior leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) accuses Turkey of collusion:

“The Turkish claim they are fighting Islamic State…but in fact they are fighting the PKK…Ergogan’s aim is to stop the Kurdish advance against them, thus advancing his aim of Turkishness in Turkey…”

Meanwhile, in 2011, the United Nations has imposed an embargo on weapons shipments to Libya. Both Egypt and Libya have since requested that the embargo be lifted in order to provide the Libyan government with the resources to combat the Islamic State and end the civil war.