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daily archive: 07/18/2005
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Come and enjoy a Jihad evening
Riyadh, 13 July (AKI) - An al-Qaeda suicide bomber who carried out an attack in the Saudi capital Riyadh, used to put on theatre performances in the Al-Zalfi province, using the events to draw people into the Jihad, or holy war, the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan reported on Wednesday. The claim was made in an article containing interviews with residents from the province, who had complained about the presence of numerous Islamic extremists there.

According to information gathered by the newspaper, accompanied by photos, the Al-Zalfi province organised a festival on 20 April 2002, which included a play presented by the suicide bomber Muhammad bin Shathaf Ali al-Makhzum al-Shahri. One year later he blew himself up in an attack on a residential complex which housed mostly foreigners in the east of the capital Riyadh.

The attack was one of three on one day, which signalled the start of a wave of violence which has swept the kingdom ever since. The attacks on 12 May 2003 killed some 35 people and injured almost two hundred more.

During the festival and play, al-Shahri is said to have given a Jihad-style speech in which he called for violence against the United States and Israel. The words used to open the evening were reportedly: "Good evening, Jihad evening. Good evening to Bush and Sharon, Allah curse America, Allah make America perish, Allah shake America, Oh Allah curse the enemies of religion. It is the right evening for all wars, an evening in which you will be offered some very beautiful poetry."

Shortly after, he read some poetry and traditional songs, in which he had changed some of the words. He read one patriotic poem in which he changed phrases originally referring to the King and the Saudi royal family. "How much sleep we have lost, but Islam has returned to the path of Allah, we walk and we have announced the Jihad, we with machine guns have come and now we lead the way."

In another article, published by Al-Watan on Tuesday, the citizens from the Al-Zalfi province said they had reported the presence of a group of Islamic fundamentalists who lived in a residential compound formed of 15 houses and used the local mosque and school to openly encourage people to join the Jihad.

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Beating the gay out of him
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Did they do what they could?
Gerald Verhaegh was there. Ten years ago, he was one of the 370 Dutch soldiers stationed at the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, Bosnia in an effort to protect it from the bloody grasp of the Bosnian Serbs. He was a member of the United Nations peace-keeping force that stood meekly by as Bosnian Serbs rounded up Muslims and transported them away. Later, he learned that the Dutch soldiers' passivity was a vital ingredient in what became the largest act of genocide in Europe since World War II. Since then, he has been branded a coward, both at home and abroad.

That, says Verhaegh, is unfair. He can't understand why the Dutch peacekeepers are still incriminated back home. "It's not right that we are reproached," he says. "We did what we could."
Dealing With Genocide: A Dutch Peacekeeper Remembers Srebrenica
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'I don’t have any sympathy for you'
From the trial of Mohammed Bouyeri, murderer of Theo Van Gogh:
With a Koran held in his hand, Mohammed Bouyeri turned his chair to look his victim’s mother straight in the eye and said to her "I don’t feel your pain. I don’t have any sympathy for you. I can’t feel for you because I think you’re an infidel." He praised Allah and the prophet Mohammed before admitting to the killing and explaining his motivation.
"I want you to know that I acted out of conviction and not that I took his life because he was Dutch or because I was Moroccan and felt insulted."

Wearing a long robe and a black and white checkered headscarf to express his solidarity with the Palestinian intifada, Mr. Bouyeri explained that he took "complete responsibility for [his] actions" and "acted purely in the name of [his] religion."

However, he insisted that he thought his action was right and assured the court that should the opportunity arise again, or should he be set free, he would "do exactly the same, exactly the same."

He seemed to hint that he was a martyr, expressing to police "I shot to kill and be killed. You cannot understand."
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French Tattling
French leak stirs fury in Britain
Britain's era of good will with Europe lasted 48 hours — all because of the French. After the July 7 terrorist attacks in London, Scotland Yard brought together law enforcement and intelligence officials from two dozen European countries and the United States, sharing crucial intelligence and pleading for help in tracking down the bombers. But the continentwide spirit of cooperation was shattered when Christophe Chaboud, France's new antiterrorism coordinator, broke the cardinal rule of the club. He leaked. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde that appeared on newsstands on July 11 — two days after the exceptionally open briefing — Chaboud announced that he knew ''the nature of the explosives'' used in the London bombings. It ''appears to be military, which is very worrisome,'' he said, adding: ''We're more used to cells making homemade explosives from chemical substances.''

But Chaboud did not stop with his assessment of the explosives and their origins, which, it turned out, were wrong. He plunged into politics, saying Europe was a more dangerous place because of the war in Iraq.
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The enemies of Islam are at it again
More than 100 sheikhs, imams, judges, Islamic scholars, university teachers, and several heads of Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice centres in Saudi Arabia have signed a statement warning against the dangers of allowing women to drive in the kingdom. The Saudi newspaper Arab News reports that teachers from the Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet's Mosque in Medina also signed the statement, which claims that "the enemies of Islam" are trying to destroy the great role women have been given in Islam by corrupting them and therefore also corrupting the Islamic world.

The campaign against allowing women to drive follows efforts by Shuria Council member Muhammad al-Zulfa to get the ban lifted. However, his proposal for the issue to be discussed by the Council in May was rejected and prompted calls for him to be kicked off the consultative council. The Saudi interior minister, Prince Najef, has also recently rejected calls for the ban to be lifted, saying the kingdom has other priorities.

The statement signed by those supporting the driving ban, which was published on the Internet, said that no Islamic scholar or "good figure in society" had called for women to drive. It dismissed anyone who did as being people who damage the image of Islamic women.

Those who talk of "injustice for women" and portray Muslim women as not having any rights, saying their homes are prisoners, their husbands mistreat them and their hijabs [the Muslim headscarf] are a sign of backwardness are enemies of Islam, according to the statement.

Arguments for women driving are also dismissed in the statement, which claims that hiring foreign drivers is less of an economic burden to Saudi Arabia, as having more than one driver in a family would lead to multiple car ownership and the government would also have to open up special female sections in all traffic departments. It also points to the ruling in Islam which says that if an act derives more misdeeds, then it is not permissible, though there is no explanation of what misdeeds women driving would cause.
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How are we doing on oil?
No doubt, the energy industry is in a precarious position. Two decades of falling prices in the 1980s and '90s discouraged investment. With many of the easy-to-find fields already on the map, big oil producers have been forced to look for new sources in ever-more-hostile environments: not just under thousands of feet of water but also across frozen tundra and in countries rocked by political unrest. As a result, production has risen sluggishly in recent years, while energy demand, particularly from the booming China and India, has exploded. Last year global oil consumption rose 3.4%, to 80.7 million barrels per day, the largest volume increase since 1976.

From that snapshot the oil situation doesn't look good. But there's little reason to assume that the next five years will simply see a continuation of current trends. Thanks to a combination of higher prices, increased exploration and production spending, and improved technology (page 32), oil supplies are poised to grow much faster than they have in recent years. Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), a respected energy consultant, sees 20 or more major new fields coming on line each year through 2010. Altogether those fields could boost worldwide production capacity 15%, from 87.9 million barrels per day to 101.5 million by the end of the decade, CERA estimates. As a result, supply should exceed demand by 7 million bbl. per day, a huge leap from the current cushion of 1 million bbl. That should take pressure off prices. "OPEC countries have the potential, and [most] are increasing production," says Peter Jackson, a CERA researcher. "Non-OPEC production has increased at quite a lick compared to the 1990s."
Is There Plenty Of Oil?
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'Light Years' of Difference
ADL polls: Americans back Israel, Europeans don't
Americans continue to stand solidly behind Israel in the conflict with the Palestinians, and overwhelmingly support the disengagement from Gaza as "a bold step for peace," according to an Anti-Defamation League survey released yesterday.

According to the survey of American attitudes toward Israel and the Middle East, 71 percent of those polled expressed support for the disengagement plan, 52 percent believed Israel was working harder for peace than the Palestinians, and 43 percent said they sympathized with Israel.

"It is apparent from the survey that Israel's bold initiatives to bring security and peace to its people resonate with the American people," said Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director, at a Jerusalem press conference.

"The consistency of the high level of support for Israel by Americans, and their improved views of the new Palestinian leadership, show them to be fair in their assessment and understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite ongoing propaganda campaigns and efforts to isolate and delegitimize the Jewish state," he added.

Support for Palestinians among Americans also increased: 68 percent said they thought Palestinians were serious about peace negotiations, up from 62 percent in the previous survey.

The nationwide telephone survey of 2,200 American adults was conducted by The Marttila Communications Group.

A parallel survey of European attitudes by the ADL produced different results, with Israel and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon receiving low rates of support.

The survey, carried out among a sample of 12 European countries, revealed a certain improvement in attitudes toward Israel and Sharon, compared to previous years. However, the rates of support for Palestinians were twice as high as for Israelis.

Foxman said yesterday that "light years" separate European and American public opinion in relation to Israel. Foxman estimated that if more terror attacks occur in Europe, the tendency to blame Israel indirectly for them will increase.

Among the 500 respondents in the 12 major states of the European Union, including Hungary and Poland, only 13 percent sympathized with the State of Israel, compared to 25 percent who sympathized with the Palestinians.

Only 19 percent of the respondents said they saw Ariel Sharon as a positive figure, compared to 39 percent who saw him as a negative figure.

In 2004, 8 percent saw him in a positive light, compared to 39 percent who viewed him negatively.
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