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A blog on terrorism, democracy and international politics
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Any American readers of the blog interested in organising a meeting can view my itinerary online
I will periodically check my e-mail at the firstname.lastname@example.org address.
In my original post, I quoted from a long-forgotten 1997 interview with Krekar published in Nida'ul Islam, demonstrating that Krekar was firmly in the Jihadi-Salafi mould - he even named his children after Islamic radicals and their books.
Recently, while reading an excellent article in the Atlantic Monthly, Inside al-Qaeda's Hard Drive (Alan Cullison), I saw something that caught my attention.
The article revealed a treasure trove of documents found on a computer hard drive abandoned by al-Qaeda leaders as they fled their Kabul office before advancing Northern Alliance troops. Amongst the article's illustrations was a passport featuring an unmistakable photograph of Mullah Krekar. The name on the passport was one of Krekar's aliases. The caption revealed only that Krekar was a Kurdish militant.
I have now written and uploaded a biographical profile of Krekar, the enigmatic Norwegian Islamic terrorist.
[ Update: Since writing the above, further information has come to light. The identity document is not a passport, but a membership card for the (now defunct) Islamic Movement for Kurdistan (IMK) issued in 1999. The name on the card, Aso Muhamad Hasan, is also not a known alias of Krekar, but is very similar to an alias of another Ansar al-Islam figure, Aso Hawleri ('of Irbil') who was arrested in Iraq last year. However, two Kurdish sources (including intelligence sources in Sulimaniya) have now said that the picture is Krekar. I am updating my Krekar bio as information comes to hand. Thanks to Kurdo, Michael Rubin and Bjørn Stærk blog for assistance. 19/04/2005 ]
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
One takes a risk when attempting to identify an historical trend. It can turn out that the events described were simply a blip, and the trend can be proven illusory by subsequent developments. If, however, major historical developments take place that follow the identified trend, this is an indication that one may just be onto something.
One country I left out of my Winds of Change: Democracy and Security Outlook in the Middle East article was Egypt - because nothing in particular had changed. Since the Free Officers' Coup of 1952, all Opposition political parties have been banned, and although elections take place, only the (until now mis-named) National Democratic Party can run.
However, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak recently announced democratic reforms for Egypt (article), involving a referendum to change the constitution so that multiple parties could stand in the upcoming Presidential Election, which had hitherto been expected to serve merely as a rubber stamp.
A number of caveats must be provided here.
Despite the above caveats, it must be reiterated that this is an historic move. Mubarak specifically stated that this reform was conducted in keeping with the times. Let's hope that other countries - such as Syria and Iran - give way to the current of history in the Middle East, so that we can have a happier, freer and ultimately a safer world.
(Originally via Jan Haugland, who is now reporting on calls for democracy in the UAE)