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Friday, August 21, 2009

Noordin M Top Terrorist?!

JAKARTA - A Malaysian extremist wanted for a string of terror attacks was named Saturday as the man most likely behind twin suicide bombings at luxury hotels in Indonesia which killed at least 9 people.

Police were studying explosives found in the suspects' "control centre" in room 1808 of the Jakarta Marriott hotel, which was bombed along with its nearby sister hotel the Ritz-Carlton on Friday as guests were having breakfast.

DNA evidence, including a severed head from the remains of two suicide bombers, was also being examined as security was tightened across Indonesia and the Philippines amid warnings of follow-up attacks.

No group has claimed responsibility for the bombings, but the security ministry's anti-terror desk chief, Ansyaad Mbai, told AFP there was evidence that Malaysian-born extremist Noordin Mohammed Top was behind the attacks.

"There are strong indications that Noordin Top's group is behind the attacks because the bombs were hand-made and the tactic was suicide bombings," he said.

It is the fourth attack in Indonesia allegedly masterminded by Noordin after bombings at the Jakarta Marriott in 2003, the Australian embassy in 2004 and Bali restaurants in 2005 which have killed more than 40 people.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Satu lagi kejutan menggegarkan industri hiburan tanahair apabila penyanyi utama kumpulan nasyid Rabbani, Ustaz Mohd Asri Ibrahim, 40, disahkan meninggal dunia kira-kira jam 11 pagi tadi akibat serangan jantung di Pusat Perubatan Pantai, Kuala Lumpur.Arwah dikatakan meninggal dunia selepas jatuh pengsan semasa sidang media di Angkasapuri, Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) kira-kira 10.30 pagi tadi. Paknil amat menyanjung budi pekerti Arwah yang sentiasa tersenyum dan tidak pernah menilai seseorang dari luaran. Sememangnya Arwah juga adalah sebab mengapa irama nasyid terus bertahan sehingga kini kerana tidak pernah rasa lelah walaupun satu demi satu kumpulan nasyid terkubur. Semestinya kita akan merasa kehilangannya dan suara merdu Allahyarham Ustaz Asri akan tiada penggantinya. Semoga roh Allahyarham diletakkan bersama-sama umat yang soleh di sisi Nya. Amin.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

OFAC Grants Permission to Iranian American Organization to Open Office in Tehran

In a significant departure from previous policy, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the Department of Treasury, has granted permission to the American Iranian Council (AIC) to open an office in Tehran. AIC says it does not receive funds from either the government of Iran or the U.S. AIC hopes to establish the office to promote better understanding and exchange between the U.S. and Iran. The Iranian government has not yet approved of the AIC office in Tehran. A spokesman for the State Department told the BBC that the move did not signal any change in policy. However, it has been extremely difficult for American non-governmental organizations to obtain licenses to operate in Iran. Even following the Bam 6.6 earthquake in 2002, the humanitarian organization Mercy Corps was unable to renew its OFAC license after the first year of its relief efforts and was forced to pack up and leave despite much work to be done. One Iran expert tells me that the approval may be a feeler before the U.S. moves towards opening an Iranian interests section in Tehran.Many non-governmental organizations, including the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, have been advocating for the last several years that the Bush administration should repeal Office of Foreign Assets Control restrictions that prohibit US non-governmental organizations from obtaining licenses to work inside Iran as a confidence building measure to demonstrate diplomatic sincerity. Hopefully, OFAC will grant licenses to additional non-governmental organizations in order increase civil society ties between the U.S. and Iran, and not just stop with one license to AIC. There are many organizations worthy of such a license.