Bin Laden was in Muslim Brotherhood, says al-Qaeda chief

27 September 2012, 16:47 (GMT+05:00)

Al-Qaeda’s late leader Osama bin Laden was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood before taking up arms against Soviets in Afghanistan, his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri said in a video message released Thursday, dpa reported.

“Sheikh Osama bin Laden was in the Muslim Brotherhood organization in the Arabian Peninsula. When the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan began (in 1979), he immediately went to Pakistan to meet the mujahideen and assist them,” al-Zawahiri added in the hour-long video reposted on Jihadology, a US-based website on extremist groups. Continue reading

American Warships Mass Off China

US Navy 040728-N-7631T-067 Out-going Commander...

US Navy 040728-N-7631T-067 Out-going Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Rear Adm. James M. Zortman, center, and incoming Rear Adm. H. Denby Starling, II, salute Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, Adm. William J (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

June 10, 2012: The U.S. announced that it will have 60 percent of its 270 warships in the Pacific by the end of the decade. Actually, this is just a continuation of a process that began when the Cold War ended in 1991. But these changes move slowly. Largely this is the result of political problems that arise when you try to transfer the home ports (where the ships are when not at sea and where the families of the crews live, and spend their money) from one coast to another. The politicians representing states on the east coast raise a major stink when the navy tries to move the home ports. It’s taken the navy a decade to muster the political clout to make the changes happen. Meanwhile, more and more ships based in east coast ports were serving temporarily in the Pacific or Middle East. Now the big shift has been taking place officially. There have been other indicators that this was happening.

For example, six years ago the U.S. Navy eliminated the Atlantic Fleet, after a century of existence. First established in 1906, the Atlantic Fleet was the first, world class, high seas, naval force from the Americas. At the time, there was fear that Germany’s ambitious warship building program might someday endanger the United States. The Atlantic Fleet did go to war with the Germans in 1917, and again in 1941.

After 1945, the Atlantic Fleet remained a mighty force, in preparation for a potential battle with the growing naval power of the Soviet Union. But when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, their fleet wasted away within a decade. So the American Atlantic Fleet no longer had a major opponent. Meanwhile, China, North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran provided plenty of work for the Pacific Fleet (which normally supplied ships for Middle East and South Asian emergencies.)

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From the archives: the fall of President Sadat

Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Pri...

Image via Wikipedia

Friday, 4th February 2011
From the archives: the fall of President Sadat
Jonathan Jones 5:59pm
With protesters in Egypt trying to force President Mubarak to resign, here is the piece that Roger Cooper wrote for The Spectator on the event that propelled him to power: the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981:
The legacy of Sadat, Roger Cooper, The Spectator, 10 Oct 1981
Rarely has a political assassination set off such divergent reactions as that of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat on Tuesday. President Reagan called it ‘outrageous and tragic’, the Pope praised him for ‘his noble vision of reconciliation’, and the Israeli prime minister, Menachem Begin, expressed deep regret at the death of ‘a great leader’. But there was jubilation in Syria, Libya and Iran, while the Soviet Union coldly ascribed the killing to ‘Egyptian opposition to Sadat’s policies’. The moderate Arab world, which has criticised him severely in the past, kept a diplomatic silence. Despite several claims of responsibility by Egyptian émigré groups, it is still far from clear who was behind the shooting. Continue reading