Globe Trot: Former Gitmo prisoner now heads al-Qaeda branch
by Mindy Belz
Posted 12/14/15, 03:05 pm
SUDAN: One of the freed Guantanamo Bay detainees has turned up in a new video claiming to be the new leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Ibrahim Qosi is a veteran jihadist rated as posing a “high” risk to the United States but was released and transferred to Sudan in 2012.
“And so the bottom line is that the strategic gains we make by closing Guantanamo will outweigh you know, those low-level individuals who, you know, have been released so far.”
Here’s the lexicon defined for discussing terrorism in the Obama era.
UNITED STATES: On the politics and Muslims front, Nate Silver’s number crunchers in surveys of Iowa voters are finding “negative views of Muslims among Republicans are not based on conservative Christian attitudes toward another religion; they’re based in Republican partisan identity.” Another poll suggests that in every political demographic—Republican, Democratic, and independent—voters have an “unfavorable opinion” of the Islamic faith, and by wide margins.
As David French observes:
“I wonder if the media is missing a powerful, largely-uncovered influence on America’s hearts and minds—the experience and testimony of the more than 2 million Americans who’ve served overseas since 9/11 and have experienced Islamic cultures up-close. … [Wars conducted] from within a culture that was shockingly broken.”
REFUGEES: Less than 1 percent of the world’s refugee population gets to apply to come to the United States, yet my column on refugees has generated some heat in my email inbox this morning. I’m grateful for the feedback—though I confess to bristling at the “naïve” label. My overarching point (to again risk over-generalizing) is that we have a lot more work to do to fight terror and secure borders than beat back Syrian refugees. Doing so will stigmatize and further harm millions among the 4 million Syrian refugees who have lost their homes, livelihoods, and relatives (most of whom will not end up in the United States, but need a home somewhere). The number of refugees has stood steady now for nearly two years—unless we’re politicizing the crisis, why are we in the church only now giving it serious attention?
EGYPT:The civil aviation ministry today said it found no evidence indicating the Russian charter plane that crashed in Sinai last month was brought down by a bomb. Russia disputed the report, and the findings now will be forwarded to an international team of experts.
SAUDI ARABIA: Voters elected 17 women to various offices in the first elections, held Dec. 12, to allow female participation. Wearing pink scarves, more than 8,000 women that same day broke a Guinness World Record by creating the largest human ribbon to raise breast cancer awareness.
MYANMAR: Aung San Suu Kyi’s newly elected officials took to the streets yesterday to begin cleaning up, literally, their country (also known as Burma).
RWANDA is scheduled to hold on Friday a referendum to revise its constitution, waiving presidential term limits to allow President Paul Kagame to run for a third term.