Posts Tagged ‘Mokhtar Belmokhtar’

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Canada sanctions Signed-in-Blood Battalion

November 26, 2013

Canada has officially named al-Muwaqi’un Bil Dima, often translated as the Signed-in-Blood Battalion, as a terrorist group.  The Signed-in-Blood Battalion was created by Mokhtar Belmokhtar—an elusive terrorist, kidnapping mastermind, cigarette smuggler, and the former leader of Al Qaeda in North Africa (AQIM).  His group carried out the hostage-taking crisis at Amenas gas facility in Algeria that left nearly 40 captives dead in January, and suicide bombings in Niger that killed 20 in May.

The blog Mr. Watchlist, which focuses on sanctions listings, notes that, “This is pretty unusual for OSFI [Canada’s financial regulator]. In the 11 months Mr. Watchlist has been posting, this is the first time they’ve amended their list unilaterally – they usually just follow the changes to the UN sanctions programs.”

The rare independent decision by Canada indicates its concern about the return of Islamist Canadian citizens to Canada after participating in terrorism overseas.  At least three Canadians participated in the terror operation in Amenas, two of whom were killed during the raid, and one who returned to Canada.

The National Post reports that “Canadian authorities are also worried that citizens who have travelled to Syria to fight will return home to spread extremist ideology, recruit others and possibly conduct attacks on Canadian soil.”  The announcement about the Signed-in-Blood Battalion was accompanied by sanctions against the al-Nusra Front, in which Islamist Canadians have enlisted to carry out terrorist attacks in Syria.

The designation subjects members of the Signed-in-Blood Battalion and al-Nusra Front to Canadian criminal law, to asset seizures and forfeitures, and to penalties for doing business with or contributing to the operations of these groups.

Whether any other countries will follow suit by designating the Signed-in-Blood Battalion as a terrorist entity remains to be seen.

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Money jihad news: recommended reading

June 6, 2013
  • Al Qaeda and kidnapping kingpin Mokhtar Belmokhtar part ways.  Like most divorces, it’s about money… more>>
  • Ever noticed while doing Internet searches that several dubious entities yield page after page of strictly positive search results, with no negative coverage?  This isn’t just misleading—it’s a threat to the banking systemmore>>
  • Nidal Hasan has been paid $278,000 of your tax dollars since he killed 13 soldiers… more>>
  • Don’t want to help fuel the conflict in Syria? Then don’t buy Roman and Byzantine artifacts stolen from Syrian cemeteries and churches… more>>

 

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AP deems terrorist ransom demands “pragmatic”

January 27, 2013

In reference to the Algerian hostage standoff that left 37 captives dead, the Associated Press has painted an almost sympathetic portrait of Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the lead abductor.

Starting off with a headline claiming that Belmokhtar preferred making money to killing hostages, the AP further asserts that Belmokhtar was “known as the more pragmatic and less brutal of the commanders of an increasingly successful offshoot of al-Qaeda,” that “those who have dealt directly with him say his cell has never executed a captive,” and that Belmokhtar denounced actions that “caused many civilian casualties.”

Any exceptions to this history of Belmokhtar’s alleged benevolence, intimates the AP, may have involved friendly fire by security forces attempting to rescue hostages.  The AP inserts this whiff of suspicion about the rescuers twice in the article saying, “It’s unclear if the two died from friendly fire,” and later on, “It’s unclear how many were killed by friendly fire.”  Just once, couldn’t the AP have written, “It’s unclear how many were killed by Belmokhtar’s men”?

The AP does not even seem to consider that Belmokhtar may use the money from ransoms to purchase more arms, recruit and train more terrorist operatives, and carry out more abductions and terrorist attacks that kill people.  The AP appears to cast Belmokhtar’s motives as primarily financial without identifying his religious and ideological motivations.  Why didn’t Belmokhtar pursue a career as a businessman, or even as a crime boss, rather than as a terrorist, if his motives were mostly financial?

The one saving grace in this well-researched but sadly biased article comes in the dead last paragraph—the least important paragraph for journalists:

“Before he led this operation in Algeria, that was the sentiment I had, that Belmokhtar was less brutal,” [hostage negotiator Moustapha Chaffi] said by telephone on Friday. “Now I find myself thinking that they are all terrorists. That they all take hostages. That they are all fanatics. So to draw a difference between them is really, really relative. There’s in fact no difference anymore.”

That insight should have been the lead paragraph.