GOVERNMENTS and newspapers around the world attributed the horrific Christmas Day bombings of churches in Nigeria to "Boko Haram" - a shadowy group that is routinely described as an extremist Islamist organization based in the northeast corner of Nigeria. Indeed, since the May inauguration of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian from the Niger Delta in the country's south, Boko Haram has been blamed for virtually every outbreak of violence in Nigeria.
But the news media and American policy makers are chasing an elusive and ill-defined threat; there is no proof that a well-organized, ideologically coherent terrorist group called Boko Haram even exists today. Evidence suggests instead that, while the original core of the group remains active, criminal gangs have adopted the name Boko Haram to claim responsibility for attacks when it suits them.
MOSUL, Iraq — Yousef Ali peered through the scope of his Russian-made Dragunov sniper rifle. Through the small hole in the wall of an abandoned hotel, Ali saw the labyrinth of the Old City's narrow streets stretch before him.
Less than 300 yards away, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, prepared for another sneak attack, surrounded by civilian human shields. "The (ISIS fighters) are out there," said the 20-year-old Iraqi federal policeman, taking his eyes off the scope for a moment. "Just behind those buildings."
American journalist kidnapped in war-torn Syria by unknown gunmen six weeks ago still missing: family
From their New Hampshire home, the parents of a foreign journalist who has been missing in Syria since he was kidnapped more than a month ago appealed to his captors for compassion and any information about their son’s health and welfare.
Thirty-nine-year-old James Foley was kidnapped in northwest Syria by unknown gunmen on Nov. 22, his parents said Thursday. He was in the country contributing videos to Agence France-Press, which has vowed to help secure his release.
Foley’s parents, John and Diane Foley, decided to hold a news conference at their home to make a public plea to his captors because the Foleys haven’t received any information about their son in six weeks.
The Islamic State terror group killed one police officer and wounded four others in a foiled attack at St. Catherine's monastery in Sinai, Egypt, one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world.
What goes around comes around, it seems, even in newly “democratic” countries that suddenly find themselves with a repressive Islamist leadership trying to impose its will over the protests of a good portion of the country
On Sunday Mohammed Morsi, newly installed president of Egypt, was forced to admit as much when he finally reversed a decree giving him near-absolute power, just two weeks after it was put in place. In those three weeks, the man who was supposed to be the first leader of a new, more open and democratic Egypt, managed to return the country to near chaos, fill Cairo’s main square once again with angry protesters, bring tanks back to the streets and end any illusions that Islamic leaders were willing to run a country on any but strictly Islamist principles.
Morsi was elected as the front man for the Muslim Brotherhood, which – after years of repression under Hosni Mubarak’s military-backed government — insisted it could be trusted to protect the hard-won new rights secured via the overthrow of Mubarak in 2011. Hundreds of people died in that struggle, which ended when the military concluded it wasn’t worth fighting a civil war to keep Mubarak in place. Instead he was replaced by a temporary military council, which eventually gave way to an election that installed Morsi as a supposedly moderate Islamic president.
The Syrian foreign minister has set out conditions for any UN investigation into the deaths of dozens of people from a chemical agent on Tuesday. Walid Muallem told the BBC it would have to be non-political, involve "many countries" and "start from Damascus" before his government could accept.
DUBAI — Iran launched military drills across half the country on Monday, warning it would act against aggressors less than a week after Washington accused Iranian warplanes of firing on a U.S. drone.
The manoeuvres take place this week across 850,000 square kilometres of Iran’s northeast, east, and southeast regions, Iranian media reported.
About 8,000 elite and regular army troops will participate, backed by bombers and fighter planes, while missile, artillery and surveillance systems will be tested, they said.
Played out against a backdrop of high tension between the United States and Iran over Tehran’s nuclear program, the “Velayat-4″ manoeuvres will involve the biggest air drills the country has ever held, Iran’s English-language Press TV said.
A senior Syrian official on Monday issued a first direct warning that if attacked, his country would retaliate against Israel. Khalaf Muftah, a senior Baath Party official who used to serve as Syria’s assistant information minister, said in a radio interview that Damascus would consider Israel “behind the [Western] aggression and [it] will therefore come under fire.”
“We have strategic weapons and we’re capable of responding,” he said. “Normally the strategic weapons are aimed at Israel.”
Pictures show destruction across Syria as rebels kill 28 soldiers in attacks on military checkpoints
BEIRUT — Syrian rebels killed 28 soldiers in attacks on military checkpoints in northern Idlib province on Thursday, just hours after a wave of bombings hit Damascus and its outskirts, activists said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels attacked three military checkpoints near the town of Saraqeb, killing the troops. Five rebels also died in gun battles following the attacks, according to the Observatory, which relies on reports from activists on the ground.
Millions gathered in Tahrir Square erupted in cheers Wednesday as Egypt’s military ousted the nation’s first democratically elected president after just a year in power, installing a temporary civilian government, suspending the newly minted constitution and calling for new elections.
Mohammed Morsi said the measures “represent a full coup categorically rejected by all the free men of our nation,” according to his Twitter account.
Army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, said a government of technocrats will be appointed to run the country during a transition period he did not specify.
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Taliban behead two boys, 10 and 16, for spying after finding them searching trash for food: Afghan officials
The Taliban have beheaded two boys they accused of spying, according to authorities in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.
The youngest, aged 10, was known in the area for accepting food from police officers to feed his poverty-stricken family and was killed on Sunday.
The second boy was aged 16, according to details released by the governor of Kandahar, who condemned the killings as inhuman and un-Islamic.
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Now she tells us. My article in FrontPage this morning focuses on a largely overlooked aspect of Clinton's testimony yesterday:
After four years of pretending there is no jihad against the free world, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blurted out the truth during her testimony on the Benghazi jihad massacre Wednesday: “We now face a spreading jihadist threat,” she said, adding: “We have to recognize this is a global movement.”
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