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Fireworks explode over the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Friday, Aug. 13, 2004. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)


The BibleSearchers Reflections

Reflections on the Time of the End

By Robert Mock MD


Gleanings on Global News at the

Time of the End

August, 2004 Issue


America and the World of Terror2-month truce seems to be crumbling


The conflict between Theocracy and a Democracy


By all accounts, the second coming of the Messiah will herald an era of the return to a Theocracy under the rule by the ‘Son of Man’ identified in Revelation as Jesus son of Joseph (Yahshua ben Yosef).  We posed the question last month, is the world becoming prepared to live under an international one world order eventually led by the Anti-Christ in order to prepare the citizens of the world to live under the one world theocracy by the God of Israel?  If so, the forces of the adversary, Satan (haSatan), are raising a powerful theocratic substitute, the theocracy of Allah.


In the first week of August, two Muslims were arrested in Albany, N.Y. and charged with money laundering to purchase illegal weapons.  Within the criminal complaint posted against the two, a mosque leader and the other a mosque founder, they were reputed to have said to the undercover agent, “although he may be breaking American laws, he was not breaking Allah’s laws.”  To a good Muslim, the laws of Allah trump the laws of the United States.  Allah is the highest and ultimate authority. 


Yet this poses a different quandary to prophetic and apocalyptic minded Christians.  Though the laws of the United States are reputed to be descendant from the Laws of God, established first by the legal codes of the Israelites, the land of American has experienced a retraction upon the principles of justice by the God of Israel.  We have repudiated the acknowledgment that the laws of the United States were framed within the constitution that shadowed the ten commandments of Moses, the Decalogue.  We no longer take an oath upon the Bible and as such no longer acknowledge the Word of God as the guardian of morality and justice.  Over the past year, we also have seen the onslaught to remove any symbols of Divine Authority in our halls of justice.  Do the laws of America today reflect our National Motto, “In God We Trust?”  If someday in the future a national Sunday Worship Law is adopted, will Sabbath-keeping Christians and Jews also have to say, the laws of the God of Israel demand that I must violate the law of the United States? 


U.N. “Oil-for-Food” Corruption – Money for 9/11


Under the investigation headed by the former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, the scandal of the United Nations Oil for food bringing new evidence.  Upwards to $10 billions was skimmed from the “Oil-for-food” program by Saddam Hussein of which part is suspected to have been funneled to the terrorist network of Osama bin Laden.  The money trail appears to also be headed towards the attack against New York on September 11, 2001. The 9/11 Commission in its investigation laid a trail from the February 1998 fatwa by bin Laden against the United States as the “crusader-Zionist alliance” to the visit of two al Qaeda emissaries to Baghdad and the July, 1998 visit of an Iraqi delegation who went to Afghanistan to visit first with the Taliban and then bin Laden. The politicized commission failed to connect the dots between the death of 2,941 American deaths in New York and the inter-national communiqué between Iraq/Hussein and Taliban/bin Laden is not to be surprised.


The Porous Border of America against Terrorists


The porous southern border of America in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California is now being watched by increasing units of the U.S. counter intelligence as Middle Eastern aliens are being arresting in shockingly high numbers.  These arrests come with intelligence information of a web of plots against the U.S. from California to New York.  Yet even more direct , the Federal Government reached an agreement with Russia to allow the relocation of 7,000 Ahiska Muslims to a site near a Muslim Mosque in Philadelphia, Penn.  From all appearance, the Russians do not want them, the Turks also do not want them as they originally came from the Ottoman Empire. 


It appears that the Kerry nomination has cornered the personal vote of the fundamental Islamist from what is perceived as an indecisive Kerry struggling to gain control of the helm of international terrorism. Throughout it all we are reminded of the ancient prophecy against Babylon, which many prophetic scholars see as modern America.  In an ode of judgment against this world empire, the Lord speaking through the prophet Jeremiah said:


Jeremiah 51:14 –“Surely I will fill you with men, as with locusts, and they shall lift up a shout against you.” 


According to Reverend David Wilkerson of Times Square Church in New York City, the Hebrew word for “locusts” has the meaning, “Arab”.  With the shout of the al Qaeda, is this a shadow picture of the judgments against America as the end time Babylon?


The plots against America only became transparent as bin Laden began to fill the news with his threats against a multitude of financial institutions from New York City, Washington D.C. and Newark N.J.  In the past year private security investigators have revealed the intensive corrective and redundant security systems that have been put in place to assure that an attack against a financial institution like Wall Street would not collapse the entire financial system in America.  These same investigators also confess that in mock drills with the financial wizards on Wall Street,  these anti-terrorist ‘fire walls’ surrounding these institutions are not as secure as they would appear.  Yes, the banking system of the ‘harlot’ of Babylon presents an external veneer as though they are invulnerable.  Someday the angel of the Lord will announce with a voice that will resound around the earth, “Babylon is fallen!” 


Threat level raised in New York, D.C. – August 1, 2004

Washington (MSNBC)  - The federal government has raised the threat level for financial institutions in Washington, D.C., New York City and northern New Jersey, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said Sunday. 

Ridge announced the new alert status, based on "new and unusually specific information" at an afternoon news conference at his department's headquarters. It marked the first time the nation's threat-warning system, devised after the Sept. 11 attacks, has been used to denote threats against specific targets.


"Reports indicate that al-Qaida is targeting several specific buildings," Ridge said, specifically:

·                     the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington;

·                     the offices of Citigroup and the New York Stock Exchange in New York;

·                     the Prudential Plaza building in Newark, N.J.


"The preferred means of attack would be car or truck bombs," he added…


Senior intelligence officials told NBC News the threat assessment was based on "documentary evidence obtained by the CIA" as recently as Friday which corroborated other intelligence gathered over "several months from several sources." The intelligence was obtained by the CIA's clandestine service, the official said.  The intelligence, which revealed sophisticated "casings" had been done on the five facilities, contained unprecedented detail, officials told NBC, including: the location of security desks and guards; the flow of traffic and pedestrians; locations where it was possible to talk with employees who work in the buildings; specific construction vulnerabilities of the buildings, including the melting points of construction materials; and exit routes for building tenants…  One intelligence official told the AP he had not seen such extraordinary detail in his 24 years in intelligence work.


On Friday, Pakistan announced the capture of a top al-Qaida operative, Tanzanian-born Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, wanted by the United States in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa that killed 224 people.  A computer and several disks were seized when Ghailani and 13 others were seized last weekend southeast of Islamabad. (Read specifics of the terrorist alert and precautions going into the Republican National Convention)


Putin’s Sochi Residence Targeted by Hijacked Russian Plane – August 25, 2004

DEBKAfile Special and Exclusive Report - Forty-eight hours after two Russian Tupolev airliners took off from Moscow airport minutes apart and crashed, killing all 89 people aboard, al Qaeda has finally come forward with a claim of responsibility, published by the Islamic Minbar website associated with the Islamist organization. The statement, signed by the “Islambuli Brigades” (named for the killer of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat) claims two groups of five men each hijacked the planes and promises to circulate soon a video clip showing the “martyrs” reading out their last wills and testaments. The statement adds that the attacks were the first in a series and there are more operations to come…


Russian president Vladimir Putin was faced with a tough dilemma early Wednesday, August 25: to shut down all of Russia’s airports and air space, or clear only the skies over the main cities, like Moscow and St. Petersburg, to prevent a 9/11 type assault.

By morning it was apparent that the two airliners which crashed within minutes of each other after takeoff from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, one bound for Volgograd the second for the Black Sea resort of Sochi, had been hijacked by terrorists. None of the 89 people aboard survived. Among them were 5 members of Russia’s Federation of Jewish Communities. Both pilots had sent hijack distress signals before their craft disappeared from radar. Russian security service sources, in their first reaction over Russian TV Wednesday, characterized the disaster as typical of al Qaeda’s mode of operation.


DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources believe, in fact, that the Tupolev-154 which blew up in mid-flight near Rostov was destined for Sochi, further to the south, where Putin was vacationing at his holiday residence. The first doomed craft, a Tuopolev-134 that crashed near Bushelaki in the Tula province may also have been originally aimed at a Russian city and not made it. Putin finally opted to clear the airspace over Russia’s main cities, not the whole country, on the assumption that the two-plane assault was the end of the current terror offensive. He hoped that the announcement of tightened security at Moscow’s airports would put off any more terrorists who might be heading there for further air hijacks. Russian Air force fighters scrambled to patrol skies across the country, armed with unpublished orders to shoot down any identified aircraft, even if it was a passenger plane. In addition, Moscow quietly asked neighboring Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to go on counter-terror air alert…


Putin’s decision may turn out to have been a dangerous gamble. (Read Entire Report)  


Two Men Held in Pakistan Are Back Numbers – August 2, 2004

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror experts are skeptical about the sourcing of the intelligence which prompted the terror alert - declared Sunday at five financial bastions in New York, Washington and New Jersey - to Pakistan’s two newest al Qaeda captives, the Tanzanian Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, caught on July 25, and the Pakistani Muhammed Naeem Noor Khan, apprehended on July 13. US Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge made a point of thanking Pakistan for its intelligence assistance in forewarning against terror attacks, naming the IMS and World Bank in Washington DC, the New York Stock Exchange and Citicorp and Prudential in New Jersey at targets. But ascribing the “unusually specific information” to these two detainees in Pakistani custody poses questions.


Improbable hideaway for al Qaeda secrets


Ghailani fled to Afghanistan after the 1998 twin US embassy bombings in East Africa and reached Pakistan after US troops invaded Afghanistan in 2001. He remained in hiding among low-ranking al Qaeda adherents from then on without holding any important jobs in the organization. Khan is equally improbable as al Qaeda’s present communications manager. According to DEBKAfile’s terror experts, the use of coded Internet and e-mail messaging for transmitting signals and orders was more or less abandoned from mid-2001, months before the 9/11 attacks. Since then, messengers and personal couriers have carried most of al Qaeda’s coded messages, usually without knowing what was in them or even the identities of the recipients.


The two men are not of the usual a Qaeda caliber for preparing a complex, spectacular attack in the United States… The surveillance was integral to the organization’s preparations for the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. The financial centers may have been intended as additional targets or alternatives if the World Trade Center and Washington strikes failed…The organization is so compartmented that they would not have realized they were superseded. For the same reason, no single operative could conceivably be in control of updated intelligence on terrorist plots in the United State as well as Britain, as Khan is claimed to be…The Al Qaeda computers fallen into US intelligence hands until now have thrown out an abundance of data on terror plots and networks, most of which proved false or planted to mislead… Al Qaeda would not activate its entire network for suicide truck bomb attacks on buildings. Neither are its leaders inclined to copy their Iraq modus operandi in the United States. Counting possible sleepers, the fundamentalist organization does not maintain in North America even one tenth of its present strength in Iraq – around 1,500 today down from 4,500 in the first half of 2004. (Read entire Article for an understanding of the threats against the U.S. during the Presidential Elections and the Disinformation that comes with it )


BAGHDAD The radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr called Thursday for a national uprising against American and coalition forces as a two-month truce between Sadr and the United States military appeared to collapse.


As night fell, heavy fighting appeared to be confined mainly around Najaf, a Shiite holy city 160 kilometers, or 100 miles, south of Baghdad that is a stronghold for Sadr.


In Baghdad, the capital, and Basra, the largest city in southern Iraq, insurgents loyal to Sadr prepared for clashes with American and British troops. But fighting was sporadic and Baghdad was mostly quiet until 11:15 p.m., when three large explosions, probably from mortars, rocked the city's center.


One American soldier and several insurgents were killed in Najaf, according to an American military statement. At least a dozen more soldiers and dozens of insurgents were wounded in both Baghdad and Najaf, though exact casualty counts were unavailable late Thursday evening.


Sadr's call is the most serious challenge yet to the interim Iraqi government, whose head, Ayad Allawi, has struggled to assert his authority since being named prime minister in June. Unlike moderate Shiite political leaders such as Allawi, Sadr fiercely opposes the continuing American presence here and has tried twice since October to revolt against it.


Allawi is eager to show his independence from the United States and to prove that Iraqi security forces can stop the escalating violence here. But Thursday's clashes showed again that only American troops have the firepower to contain Sadr's guerrilla fighters, called the Mahdi Army, a well-armed militia that has fighters across the southern half of Iraq.


During the afternoon, American jets swooped over Baghdad and appeared to drop several bombs on Sadr City, a giant Shiite slum in northeast Baghdad. A military spokesman would not comment on whether bombs had been dropped.


An American Marine helicopter was shot down in Najaf on Thursday morning, although the crew was rescued, according to a military statement.


A spokesman for Allawi declined to comment on the fighting, which began at the central police station in Najaf early Thursday morning and spread after Sadr called on his followers to revolt. "Fight the blasphemous, fight the Americans," Sadr said in a statement issued from Najaf.


Each side blamed the other for the apparent breakdown of the truce, which comes less than two weeks before a national political conference that Sadr has said he will not attend. So far, it is uncertain whether Sadr's newest call for rebellion will provoke months of clashes nationwide, as it did in April, or quickly fizzle out, as it did last October.


There are no reliable estimates of the exact size of the Mahdi Army, but Sadr can unquestionably bring thousands of armed men into the streets.


In Sadr City, masked Mahdi Army guerrillas controlled intersections and checked cars. Iraqi police officers and American soldiers remained outside the area for most of the day. Iraqi police reported several firefights in Sadr City during the late afternoon, and a U.S. military spokesman told The Associated Press that seven soldiers had been wounded in two firefights in the area.


The truce between Sadr and the military has been unraveling for days. It first frayed on Sunday, when the police arrested a representative of Sadr in Karbala, near Najaf. On Monday, marines and Mahdi insurgents battled near a maternity hospital in Najaf, and several rebels died.


On Tuesday, American troops approached Sadr's house in Najaf, according to Salama al-Khafaji, a spokeswoman for a government-appointed council that mediates between Sadr and American authorities. Fighting intensified Wednesday night, when troops again approached Sadr's house, Khafaji said.


"The Americans escalated the whole situation by coming back with their armored vehicles and trespassing," Khafaji said.


But the American military blamed Sadr for the breakdown in the truce.


Marines were sent to Najaf's main police station at 3 a.m., after Sadr's forces attacked the station with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, according to a U.S. military statement. The Iraqi police and national guard troops defended the station, and the marines did not fire shots or take any casualties, according to the statement.


"The attack is an overt violation of the cease-fire agreement reached in June between coalition forces and Moktada Sadr," the statement said.


In addition, Mahdi Army insurgents have recently kidnapped six Iraqi police officers in Najaf, according to the statement. Five have been released, but one remains captive, it said.



Danish troops will stay


Denmark remains committed to keeping its troops in Iraq despite a swelling investigation into alleged prisoner abuse that prompted the recall of its commanders from Camp Eden near Basra, Reuters reported from Oksbol, Denmark.


Defense Minister Soren Gade promised Thursday to prosecute those guilty of abuse but said that Denmark, which has about 500 troops in Iraq and has been a steadfast supporter of the U.S.-$ led war, would stay the course.


Sufficient safety mechanisms in place in case of terror attack, Officials say financial system is protected – August 2, 2004

Washington (AP) - Officials believe there are sufficient safety mechanisms to ensure that any terrorist attack on the U.S. financial system can be weathered in much the same way the system handles hurricanes and other disruptions.  Millions of dollars have been spent to develop redundant systems that could take over after a terrorist attack to make sure that bank customers are able to continue to cash checks, make deposits and withdraw money from automatic teller machines.


Many of those systems have been put in place since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the heart of the financial district in New York City. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress recently that his agency, which oversees the country’s biggest banks, continues to upgrade systems to deal with the “fortunately low but still deeply disturbing possibility” of a new terrorist attack.  Those upgrades were getting extra scrutiny following the government’s warning Sunday about possible al-Qaida terrorist attacks against financial institutions in New York City, Washington and Newark N.J. The facilities listed included the New York Stock Exchange and financial giant Citigroup in New York, Prudential Financial in Newark and the headquarters of the 184-nation International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington. The list of potential targets did not include the Federal Reserve in Washington, the nation’s central bank and lynchpin of the financial system, or the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, supplier of the nation’s paper currency.  (Read about the Security Measures taken to protect the Financial Sector of the US economy)


Source: Berger took classified Mideast 'peace' docs – July 24, 2004 - Former Clinton adviser shaped policy some believe led to Intifada
WorldNetDaily - Former National Security Adviser Samuel Berger, who this week admitted to taking classified terrorism documents from the National Archives, also was found in possession of a small number of classified papers containing his handwritten notes from Middle East peace talks during the Clinton administration, according to a source familiar with the investigation. Although the Mideast notes are not the main focus of the current criminal probe, the source says their removal may shed further light on Berger's intentions. The Mideast notes were allegedly taken from the National Archives along with classified documents that officials say may paint the Clinton administration's handling of the al-Qaida threat in a negative way.


"Berger was heavily involved in several Israeli-Palestinian initiatives in the 1990s, and in Clinton's seeing Arafat and the Palestinians as negotiating partners, all leading to Camp David, which many now regard as a huge policy mistake that culminated in the violence still raging," said the source. Many American and Israeli political experts have in recent years blasted Clinton's approach to Mideast peacemaking, and some have openly blamed his administration's policies -- seeking major Israeli territorial concessions in exchange for promises of peace by the Palestinian Authority -- as factors in Arafat's decision to launch the Intifada. (Read Entire Article)


Breaking Silence over a Possible Imminent Threat – July 23, 2004

Pravda (Defense Watch) - A sobering and scary development is allegedly taking place along the southwest border of the United States.  In Arizona, in the area the many refer to as the Naco Strip, our international border with Mexico has become a primary route of illegal entry by significant numbers of Arab-speaking males. The porous frontier, harried U.S. government officials say, is beginning to look a lot like the left lane on a European Autobahn. It doesn’t take a master spy to conclude that we may be seeing a large-scale influx of al Qaeda terrorists into the country.


This stunning disclosure has been made by a small-town newspaper in Arizona, the Tombstone Tumbleweed, whose editor, Chris Simcox, posted an article on the paper’s website last week revealing the presence of Arab-speaking males amid the waves of illegals recently captured….But today we are at war with an ideology that poses a far deeper peril to our national security than the Mexican revolutionary ever did. The Islamo-fascists of al Qaeda seek to kill men, women and children without distinction and ultimately overcome and ultimately destroy the concept of American freedom itself.  The task of securing our borders from the porous history of the past is absolutely critical. And it is not happening. The influx of thousands of illegal aliens, including members of the infamous drug cartels, is bad enough. But others are slipping into the United States as well.


A Border Patrol spokesman has confirmed that since Oct. 1, 2003, 5,510 illegal aliens designated as "Other Than Mexican" (OTM) have been apprehended while crossing the rugged terrain in southern Arizona. The term actually means "other than Mexico or other central and South American countries…"  Three independent sources within the Border Patrol's uniformed division - agents who patrol the Arizona outback in the dark of night - told the Tombstone Tumbleweed newspaper that a significant amount of the OTMs are of Middle Eastern extraction


Recently, the border patrol has stepped up its enforcement in the southeast quadrant of Arizona, which includes the area of the Huachuca Mountains in Cochise County. The Cochise County seat is in Bisbee, an artsy copper mining town, with a colorful past, located just a few miles north of the America’s southern border with Mexico. 

Southeast Arizona has other high-visibility and potential high payoff targets, of profound terrorist relevance. At the foot of the Huachuca Mountains lies Fort Huachuca, the home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Command and school. Putting yourself in the mind of a terrorist, as a good intelligence analyst must do when seeking to establish a potential "symbolic target list" that a terrorist may covet, there exists no more desirable an objective than the Army’s Intelligence School. Fort Huachuca is a modern version of a 19th Century cavalry outpost that is nestled on the western edge of Sierra Vista Arizona. Also, it is only a short distance from the Mexican border… 


Is our nation’s failure to seal up the porous border with Mexico setting us up for another 9/11-type attack?  (Serious article about the vulnerable border of America)


While America wants to think that that we are a nation of peace yet we have the largest populations of prisoners in our criminal justice system than any country in the world.  The nation’s prison system is now privatized and large corporations are entrusted to the care of these prisoners in which an influx of new prisoners is center to the healthy profits of the prison system’s corporations.  Most prisoners are incarcerated for non violent crime predominately on drug related charges.  At the same time the drug cartels of the world thrive on an atmosphere of global war. Is it not surprising that while the nation’s crime rate is steady, the number of prisoners continue to rise. 


Record Number of Americans in 'Correctional Population' – July 28, 2004

The number of Americans under the control of the criminal justice system grew by 130,700 last year to reach a new high of nearly 6.9 million, according to a Justice Department report that is being released today. This is about 3.2 percent of the adult population in the United States, the report said, and the total includes people in jail and prison as well as those on probation and parole. The growth in what the report termed the "correctional population" comes at a time when the crime rate nationwide has been relatively stable for several years. It also comes when many states, faced with budget deficits, have passed new, less strict sentencing laws in an attempt to reduce the number of inmates.  (See Entire Article)


The holiest shrine of the Shiite, the Imam Ali Mosque, was the last stand of the rebel Islamic cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr as over 1000 of the Sadrist militia were dwelling in its interior rigged with explosives to destroy the mosque if any of the three  American battalions surround the mosque penetrate its exterior barriers. Meanwhile the coalition forces transferred the Iraqi military drive into the Imam Ali Mosque to the Najef Kurdish Special Forces 36th commando battalion.  If the mosque is blown up it will be against the Kurdish Special Ops forces. 


 Imam Ali Mosque


The Imam Ali Mosque is the holiest of the Shiite Mosques and the reputed burial of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of the Prophet Mohammad who became the fourth caliph after Mohammad’s death.  It was first built in 977 CE by Azoud ad Dowleh and the present structure was rebuilt for the second time about 1500 CE.  After the Gulf War in March 1991, Saddam Hussein ordered his Republican Guards to storm the building and massacred the members of the Shi’ite opposition living within its walls.


Many American media call the Islamic cleric Moqtada al-Sadr a fraud and not a cleric, failing to account that al-Sadr was the deputy cleric under the Iranian cleric, Kadhem al-Husseini al-Haeri, the leading cleric spokesperson for the Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Khakim.  This revolt is a deep seated revolution and the beginning prongs of a true declaration of war upon the United States by the Pasadran, the Governing council of Ayatollahs in Tehran to expel the United States from Iraq and impose Islamic rule and the Sharia Law over the Nation of Iraq. 


Moktada al-Sadr rebuffed on August 18 a peace delegation sent by the national conference in Baghdad.  They were sent to ask that al-Sadr give up control of the Imam Ali shrine and join the political process that was going on in the city of Baghdad.  The leader of the delegation was Ayatollah Hussein Hadi al-Sadr, a senior member of the Moqtada family  and distant cousin who flew in from London to meet with the rebelling cleric while the leading Shi’ite cleric in Iraq, Najef Ayatollah Ali Sistani was out of the country undergoing medical treatments. 


Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani and Muqtada al-Sadr negotiate Najaf Peace Deal in Najaf– August 26, 2004

Najaf, Iraq (Fox News) - An aide to Iraq's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani said Thursday that a peace deal was reached with rebel leader Muqtada al-Sadr. The deal ends three weeks of fighting in the holy city of Najaf.  The Iraqi government accepted the agreement brokered by Iraq's top Shiite cleric, according to State Minister Qassim Dawoud early Friday. The Iraqi government will not try to arrest al-Sadr, who was being sought for an alleged role in the slaying of a rival cleric last year, Dawoud said…


Shiite faithful gather to answer the call of Iraq’s most powerful Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al-Sistani to march to Najaf, at al-Albillah mosque in the southern Iraqi city of Basra.


The five-point plan called for Najaf and Kufa to be declared weapons-free cities, for all foreign forces to withdraw from Najaf, for police to be in charge of security, for the government to compensate those harmed by the fighting and for a census to be taken to prepare for elections expected in the country by January….The mosque attack in Kufa also wounded 63 on Thursday and came just hours before al-Sistani, 75, arrived in neighboring Najaf in an attempt to end the bloody fighting.


A 24-hour cease-fire, called for by Allawi, technically took effect in Najaf as al-Sistani held talks with firebrand cleric al-Sadr, whose militia had been holding U.S. and Iraqi forces at bay for weeks…The intervention by al-Sistani — the most widely respected cleric among Iraq's Shiite majority —had been the best hope so far to end the fighting between U.S.-Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army militia of the radical al-Sadr.  Al-Sistani arrived in a 30-vehicle convoy that drove in from Basra, cheered by thousands of supporters in towns along the way.  Urged by al-Sistani's aides to march for peace, thousands more came from their hometowns to Najaf and gathered on its outskirts, but witnesses said police barred them from entering the city. "The presence of his eminence al-Sistani will solve the crisis because he promised he would negotiate with the government and will persuade the Sadrist movement to reach ... a solution that will save (their) dignity," said Al-Sadr aide Ahmed al-Shaibany before the deal was made. "I'm optimistic…"


Al-Sistani - who had been in London undergoing medical treatment - has refused to get involved in previous crises and has stayed above the fray, supporting neither al-Sadr nor the U.S. troops and the pro-U.S. government.  He holds the loyalty of a far broader swath of Iraq's Shiite majority than al-Sadr. Al-Sadr's fiery anti-U.S. message has drawn many poorer, disillusioned Shiites but is seen by other Shiites as too radical…Al-Sistani's 30-vehicle convoy drove 220 miles from the southern city of Basra to Najaf, joined by at least a thousand cars from towns along the way, where supporters on the street cheered al-Sistani.

A close al-Sadr aide said the militants would listen to al-Sistani's peace plan. "We will listen to him and we hope to see the government listen to him as well," said Yusif al-Nasiri. "They should listen and obey what he is going to say."  (Finish Entire Article)


Cleric Rebuffs Iraqi Mediators; Battle in Najaf Continues – August 18, 2004

Moqtada al-Sadr


Najaf, Iraq (NY Times) - The rebel cleric Moktada al-Sadr refused to meet here on Tuesday with a peace delegation that traveled from a national conference in Baghdad, and fighting between American forces and his Shiite militia intensified. It is not yet clear whether Mr. Sadr's refusal to meet the delegates will scuttle the chance for talks between him and the interim Iraqi government. Members of the mission said they were not upset that Mr. Sadr had turned them away, and both sides said lower-level discussions had been cordial….Mr. Sadr blamed the fighting for his unwillingness to meet the eight delegates, saying his safety could not be assured, said his spokesman, Ahmed al-Shaibani. While Mr. Sadr stayed away, his aides met the delegation for almost three hours, as Mr. Sadr's supporters periodically chanted "Yes, yes, Moktada!" and demonstrated inside the shrine, which is sacred to Shiite Muslims. (Read Entire Article)


Radical cleric calls for uprising in Iraq – August 6, 2004
Baghdad (International Herald Tribune) - The radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr called Thursday for a national uprising against American and coalition forces as a two-month truce between Sadr and the United States military appeared to collapse. As night fell, heavy fighting appeared to be confined mainly around Najaf, a Shiite holy city 160 kilometers, or 100 miles, south of Baghdad that is a stronghold for Sadr. In Baghdad, the capital, and Basra, the largest city in southern Iraq, insurgents loyal to Sadr prepared for clashes with American and British troops. But fighting was sporadic and Baghdad was mostly quiet until 11:15 p.m., when three large explosions, probably from mortars, rocked the city's center…


U.S. Troops, Al-Sadr Militants Clash in Najaf


Sadr's call is the most serious challenge yet to the interim Iraqi government, whose head, Ayad Allawi, has struggled to assert his authority since being named prime minister in June. Unlike moderate Shiite political leaders such as Allawi, Sadr fiercely opposes the continuing American presence here and has tried twice since October to revolt against it. Allawi is eager to show his independence from the United States and to prove that Iraqi security forces can stop the escalating violence here. But Thursday's clashes showed again that only American troops have the firepower to contain Sadr's guerrilla fighters, called the Mahdi Army, a well-armed militia that has fighters across the southern half of Iraq…


There are no reliable estimates of the exact size of the Mahdi Army, but Sadr can unquestionably bring thousands of armed men into the streets.  (Read Entire article)


Islamic Group Warns of 'Bloodbaths' – August 16, 2004

Cairo, Egypt (Fox News) - An online statement purportedly from an Islamic militant group threatened the Netherlands and Italy with "bloodbaths" if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq. There was no way to verify the authenticity of the statement, which appeared late Sunday on a Web site known as a clearing house for militant-related material. The statement addressed all European countries that have sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, but also specifically mentioned the Netherlands and Italy.  "We advise you to withdraw the Dutch troops from Iraq, otherwise we will not be responsible for the retaliation which will not be through the Internet, but through our special means," warned the Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Islamiya group. "Wait for the hell which will turn your nights into bloodbaths."


The statement addressed Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi by name and said: "You have defied the soldiers of Islam so wait for the Islamic quake."

Italy has about 3,000 troops in Iraq.  The Dutch Foreign Ministry said Monday the Netherlands had no plans to withdraw its approximately 1,350 troops from Iraq… The online statement was signed by the Omar el-Mukhtar Brigade of the Jamaat al-Tawhid al-Islamiya, or Group of Islamic MonotheismOmar el-Mukhtar was a Libyan nationalist who fought against the Italian occupation and was hanged in 1931.On July 29, the little-known group posted a statement on an Islamic Web site warning Arab countries against participating in a Saudi-proposed Muslim force for Iraq.  It is unclear who the actual authors of threatening statements are. The numerous online claims and counterclaims make it difficult to determine the authenticity of Web threats or learn whether those who post them have any ability to carry them out.

(Read Article)  


Al-Qaeda threatens 'waterfalls of blood' in Europe – July 29, 2004

A statement purportedly by an al-Qaida-linked group has threatened to destroy European cities and "create waterfalls of blood" because the continent failed to respond to Osama bin Laden's truce offer. The statement dated Wednesday and posted on the Internet in the name of Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades condemns Europeans for not withdrawing their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan within three months, as bin Laden demanded April 15.


"Today, we have declared a bloody war against you. We will not stop our attacks until you have come to your senses," the statement said…The statement singled out Italy, to whom Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades addressed an earlier threat this week. The latest statement said Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi should "wait for us Berlusconi, you and your allies and supporters. Wait for our menace that we declared against you earlier, and are now declaring against all of Europe." "We will create waterfalls of blood that will drag you to their depths. You have condemned your people to that. The infidel Europe has done the same to its people by following America. We will destroy European cities, starting by you, Berlusconi," the statement said. "The cities will bleed until all of you, European leaders and people, come to your senses. Withdraw your deadly missions from Iraq."


In an audiotape on April 15, bin Laden said he was calling a truce for three months and urged European states to leave Iraq, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries within that period or risk a terror campaign.  (Entire Article)


Al Qaeda Blows up Iraq’s Churches on Way to Vatican – August 2, 2004

DEBKAfile (DEBKA-Net-Weekly - Al Qaeda’s assault on Iraq’s Christian churches – the first attack suffered by the Christian minority since the fall of Saddam Hussein – underlined the seriousness of the threat al Qaeda’s al Masri Brigades issued against Italy that very morning, Sunday, August 1 in the London Arabic publication, al Quds al-Araby. It also coincided with the heightened terror alert declared in New York, Washington DC and New Jersey, prompted by very specific intelligence that al Qaeda was plotting attacks on prime US financial institutions and companies, including Wall Street.


The coordinated car bombing attacks in Baghdad and the northern town of Mosul, quickly condemned by the Vatican, precisely targeted five of the mainstream Christian minorities’ places of worship – Armenian, Catholic and Chaldean. At least 15 were killed and many more injured in explosions that rocked the two Iraqi cities. The threat to Italy is addressed to prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and gives him 15 days to withdraw his troops from Iraq or endure attack. Operational squads were already roaming through Rome and other cities primed for action, according to the published warning. Other reckonings behind the Iraqi church offensive were less discernible: Al Qaeda is furious over what it sees as the treachery of its Iraqi Baath, Sunni Muslim allies, who are engaged in secret negotiations first revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly on July 23 as follows:


Since the first week of July, the Bush administration has been immersed in a secret, high-wire diplomatic exercise aimed at bringing down the level of Iraqi insurgent attacks on US troops, or perhaps halting the violence altogether, by coming to terms with the enemy. DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources report exclusively that the initiative is being carried forward by a prominent non-Iraq Arab figure as intermediary on behalf of the highest White House echelons. His identity is top secret for reasons of security. (Our editors have his name but promised to preserve his anonymity in return for this exclusive).


According to data gathered by our experts, from December 2002, three months before the US invasion of Iraq, al Qaeda began issuing a stream of fatwas designating its main operating theatres in Europe. Spain was on the list, but not the first.

1. Turkey was first. Islamic fundamentalists were constrained to recover the honor and glory of the Ottoman caliphates which were trampled by Christian forces in

1917 in the last days of World War I.

2. Spain followed. There, al Qaeda set Muslims the goal of recovering their lost kingdom in Andalusia.

3. Italy and its capital were third. Muslim fundamentalists view Rome as a world center of heresy because of the Vatican and the Pope.

4. Vienna came next because the advancing Muslim armies were defeated there in 1683 before they could engulf the heart of Europe.

Italy has been warned before and on Sunday, August 1 it was warned again, although it is not alone: the United States is constantly in al Qaeda’s sights.

(Important document on the potential future attacks of the Al-Qaeda against Christian Europe and the Vatican)


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