Worldwide Warning for Muslim “Night of Power”

Worldwide Warning for Muslim “Night of Power”

The State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert because of the threat of terrorist attacks from al-Qaida and affiliated organizations, it said Friday.  It cited the potential for terrorist attacks in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arabian Peninsula. Sunday is a normal workday in Muslim countries and Israel.

On Thursday, the State Department said it would close at 18 diplomatic posts in the Middle East and surrounding areas because of the threats. On Friday, it raised the number of post closings in the region to 21. 

The embassies and consulates due to close Sunday include, according to NBC News: Algiers, Algeria, Sana’a, Yemen; Tel Aviv, Israel; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Ankara, Turkey; Muscat, Oman; Doha, Qatar; Cairo, Egypt; Kabul, Afghanistan; Baghdad, Iraq; Amman, Jordan; Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Manama, Bahrain; Tripoli, Libya; Nouakchott, Mauritania; and Doha, Qatar.

“The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula,” it said.

“Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.  This Travel Alert expires on Aug. 31, 2013.”

Deputy State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf confirmed in the Aug. 1st Daily Press Briefing that the threat was for a specific date – Sunday, Aug. 4th.  Following is the exchange, as it pertained to the Worldwide Travel Caution, which was actually issued in February 2013:

QUESTION: There are some, I guess you could call them, rumors that I was hoping you could address that some U.S. embassies may be closing or closed?

MS. HARF: Yes, just one second. So the Department of State has instructed certain U.S. embassies and consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4th. The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations that indicates we should institute these precautionary steps. The Department, when conditions warrant, takes steps like this to balance our continued operations with security and safety.

QUESTION: Which embassies and —

MS. HARF: I don’t have a full list of that in front of me. I can endeavor to get that.

QUESTION: Well, do you have a partial list?

MS. HARF: I don’t have a list in front of me.

QUESTION: So, well, do you know who they – which ones

MS. HARF: I want to – I believe I do, Arshad, but I want to make sure I have a complete list about which ones fall under this.

QUESTION: Do you have a geographic region?

MS. HARF: I don’t. I don’t, no.

QUESTION: And did you say how many?

MS. HARF: I said certain. I didn’t say how many. Again, this is something that is just happening. I can endeavor to get some more details for you, and if I can share them, we’ll provide that.

QUESTION: And is the —

QUESTION: And is that a potential terrorist attack?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to go into any more detail about specific threat information or security considerations, obviously. I would also point you to the Worldwide Caution that we put out in February of 2013 which speaks to potential terrorist threats in different places around the world to speak to some of the steps we recommend people taking and some things they take into consideration when situations like this arise.

QUESTION: What’s happening on August 4th?

QUESTION: Under the no double – under the – yeah, well, two things. One, is it threats and security? Is it correct to, from your last statement, to understand that it is indeed threats and/or security considerations that have led you to make this decision?

MS. HARF: I wouldn’t want to use a specific term except to say security considerations have led us to take this precautionary step, as we do from time to time, as you all know.

QUESTION: And – yeah, but under the no double standard rule, are you not obliged to tell the American public of steps – specific steps that you’re taking to protect your own officials at embassies?

MS. HARF: Yes, and if that applies in this case, those steps will, of course, be taken.

QUESTION: Why wouldn’t it apply in this case?

MS. HARF: I don’t have that detail in front of me. I know that was a discussion as I came down here about whether it would. But I am assuming it does. Again, and I’ll get you updates as I get them. But if it does, we would, of course, take the necessary steps.

QUESTION: Just because, presumably, if a U.S. citizen needs to go to an embassy and you’re not willing to disclose that the embassy is closed, and then they show up and the embassy blows up —

MS. HARF: Right, and of course, we would —

QUESTION: — that doesn’t seem very fair.

MS. HARF: Well, of course, we will – are working to disclose all of the embassies to the people that either would be coming there or that have meetings there. That process will be ongoing throughout the rest of today. As you know, Sunday in many places is not a workday to begin with. In some places, of course, it is. So as I get more information, I’m happy to pass it along.

QUESTION: So this is specifically Sunday, August 4th —

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: — or is there a potential for extension or —

MS. HARF: It’s specifically August 4th. It is possible we may have additional days of closing as well. Of course, depending on our analysis, individual U.S. embassies and consulates will announce whether or not they are open and whether they are implementing restrictions or other measures.

QUESTION: And is there any significance – we know around 9/11, embassies undergo review beforehand and there are steps put in place. Is there any significance attached to August 4th?

MS. HARF: I don’t have any further details on specific threat information or anything of that nature. I would caution people, as I think we always do, from making any assumptions or drawing conclusions before there are more facts available.

QUESTION: And is there – you said that this happens from time to time.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I’m paraphrasing your words, but you said that this is something that has happened before. When was the last time that something like this happened?

MS. HARF: I can get specific information for you. I don’t have it in front of me. As different embassies or consulates around the world receive different information, I know we adjust our security posture accordingly. I can get some more specifics for you on when in the past this has happened as well. I just don’t have that in front of me.

QUESTION: Thank you.

On its website, the DOS reports:

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.  Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August.  This Travel Alert expires on Aug. 31, 2013.

Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.  Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.  U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.

We continue to work closely with other nations on the threat from international terrorism, including from al-Qa’ida.  Information is routinely shared between the U.S. and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.

The State Department recently issued three specific Travel Warnings for Saudi Arabia, Mali, Yemen, and Egypt, with more detailed information on why the warnings were being issue:

July 25 – Saudi Arabia:

Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia. As the Aug. 26, 2012, arrest of two terrorist cells by Saudi security authorities indicates, there remains an ongoing security threat due to the continued presence of terrorist groups, some affiliated with al-Qaida, who may target Western interests, housing compounds, hotels, shopping areas, and other facilities where Westerners congregate. These terrorist groups may employ a wide variety of tactics, including small-scale attacks, and may target Saudi government facilities and economic/commercial targets within the Kingdom. This replaces the Travel Warning issued May 18, 2012, to update information on the current security situation in Saudi Arabia and the continuing threat posed by terrorism, and to reiterate recommendations on security awareness.

While the Saudi government has greatly improved the security environment throughout the Kingdom since the major terrorist attack against foreign nationals in 2007, it is important to note that an ongoing security threat remains. U.S. citizens who visit Saudi Arabia are strongly encouraged to carefully select hotels or housing compounds with security measures in place that meet their particular needs. This is a personal and individual decision for the traveler and/or sponsor. In addition, given that terrorists may seek predictable targets, U.S. citizens should always be aware of their surroundings when traveling or visiting commercial establishments frequented by Westerners. U.S. citizens are also advised to keep a low profile, vary times and routes of travel, exercise caution while driving, entering or exiting vehicles, and ensure that travel documents and visas are current and valid.

July 18 – Mali

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Mali because of ongoing conflict in northern Mali, fluid political conditions, and continuing threats of attacks and kidnappings of westerners. While the security situation in Bamako remains relatively stable, there are ongoing security concerns and military operations taking place in the northern and western parts of the country. Mali continues to face challenges including food shortages, internally displaced persons, and the presence in northern Mali of extremist and militant factions. This Travel Warning replaces the Travel Warning for Mali dated March 22, 2013.

Public demonstrations in Mali were banned during the “state of emergency” in effect from Jan. 12 through July 6, following a Jan. 10 terrorist offensive and a Jan. 11 military intervention by French forces. The “state of emergency” enabled the government to take extraordinary measures to deal with the crisis in the north. The state of emergency expired on July 6. Groups may once again congregate in open, public locations, and campaigning has begun for the presidential election scheduled to take place on July 28, with a second round, if necessary, to be held on August 11.

As a result of safety and security concerns following the Spring 2012 coup and counter coup, some organizations, including foreign companies, NGOs, and private aid organizations temporarily suspended operations in Mali or withdrew some family members and/or staff. Many of these organizations have now recommenced operations and started to allow family members and staff to return. The U.S. Embassy continues to operate normally and will continue to monitor the situation closely and update U.S. citizens via Security or Emergency Messages for U.S. Citizens which it will post on the Embassy’s website.

The U.S. Embassy has instructed embassy employees and their dependents to be cautious when traveling within Bamako. It encourages U.S. citizens to exercise caution, remain vigilant, maintain situational awareness at all times, and take appropriate security precautions to ensure personal safety. U.S. citizens throughout Mali should develop personal contingency plans, avoid all unnecessary travel, and travel on main roads. Malian security forces are regularly updating security safeguards, including checkpoints and other controls on movement in Bamako and around the country. A United Nations peacekeeping mission has also been deployed in Mali. On July 1, the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) transferred its authority to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). When fully deployed, MINUSMA is expected to have more than 12,000 personnel in Mali.

The Government of Mali may periodically impose or lift curfews as security needs may dictate. U.S. citizens should be mindful of such potential measures, stay attuned to local news announcing such curfews, and comply with such locally imposed curfews. For internal safety and security reasons, the U.S. Embassy may also, without advance notice, periodically impose a temporary curfew on U.S. Embassy employees should the need arise. Whenever possible, such restrictions will be shared with the private U.S. citizen community and posted on the Embassy’s website. U.S. citizens should carefully consider adopting similar safety measures by limiting any unnecessary travel or movements during such periods of heightened tension.

July 16 – Yemen

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the high security threat level in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest. The Department urges U.S. citizens not to travel to Yemen.

U.S. citizens currently in Yemen should depart. The U.S. Embassy in Sana’a remains a restricted staffing post. As staff levels at the Embassy are restricted, our ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency and provide routine consular services remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation. This supersedes the Travel Warning for Yemen issued on Nov. 19, 2012.    

The security threat level in Yemen is extremely high. In September 2012, a mob attacked the U.S. Embassy compound.  Demonstrations continue to take place in various parts of the country and may quickly escalate and turn violent. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations, and to exercise extreme caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.

Terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), continue to be active throughout Yemen. The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks on U.S. citizens (whether visiting or residing in Yemen), and U.S. facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests.  A U.S. citizen was attacked and killed in Taiz on March 18, 2012 and the press reported that AQAP claimed responsibility. An ongoing risk of kidnapping exists throughout Yemen.  In the last year, international and local media have reported several kidnappings of Westerners. Violent crime is also a growing problem; local media reported the murder of two U.S. citizens in Taiz and Aden in 2013. In addition, piracy in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean is a security threat to maritime activities in the region.

U.S. government-facilitated evacuations occur only when no safe commercial alternatives exist. Evacuation assistance is provided on a cost-recovery basis, which means the traveler must reimburse the U.S. government for travel costs. The lack of a valid U.S. passport may hinder U.S. citizens’ ability to depart the country and may slow the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide assistance. U.S. citizens in Yemen should ensure that they have proper and current documentation at all times. Evacuation options from Yemen are extremely limited due to the lack of infrastructure, geographic constraints, and other security concerns. The U.S. government typically evacuates U.S. citizens to a safe haven, and travelers are responsible for making their own onward travel plans. Travelers should not expect to be evacuated to the United States.

U.S. citizens remaining in Yemen despite this Travel Warning should limit nonessential travel within the country, be aware of their surroundings whether in their residences or moving about, make their own contingency emergency plans.

July 3 – Egypt

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Egypt and U.S. citizens living in Egypt to depart at this time because of the continuing political and social unrest. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued on June 28, 2013.   

On July 3, 2013, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members from Egypt due to the ongoing political and social unrest. 

Political unrest, which intensified prior to the constitutional referendum in December 2012 and the anniversary in 2013 of Egypt’s 25th January Revolution, is likely to worsen in the near future due to unrest focused on the first anniversary of the President’s assumption of office. Demonstrations have, on occasion, degenerated into violent clashes between police and protesters, and between protesters supporting different factions, resulting in deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage. Participants have thrown rocks and Molotov cocktails and security forces have used tear gas and other crowd control measures against demonstrators. There are numerous reports of the use of firearms as well. While violent protests have occurred in major metropolitan areas, including downtown Cairo, Alexandria, and Port Said, the security situation in most tourist centers, including Luxor, Aswan, and Red Sea resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh, continues to be calm. Of specific concern is a rise in gender-based violence in and around protest areas where women have been the specific targets of sexual assault.

On June 28, a U.S. citizen was killed during a demonstration in Alexandria. On May 9, a private U.S. citizen was attacked with a knife outside of the U.S. Embassy after being asked whether he was an American.  Additionally, Westerners and U.S. citizens have occasionally been caught in the middle of clashes and demonstrations. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security by knowing the locations of police and fire stations, hospitals, and the U.S. Embassy.

If you wish to depart Egypt, you should make plans and depart as soon as possible. The airport is open and commercial flights are still operating, although cancellations may occur. Travelers should check with their airlines prior to their planned travel to verify the flight schedule. There are no plans for charter flights or other U.S. government-sponsored evacuations. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Egypt are responsible for making their own travel arrangements.

The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations in Egypt, as even peaceful ones can quickly become violent, and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. Because of the proximity of the U.S. Embassy to Tahrir Square in Cairo, the U.S. Embassy has sometimes been closed to the public on short notice due to violent protests. The Embassy will notify U.S. citizens as quickly as possible of any closing and the types of emergency consular services that will be available. Should security forces block off the area around the U.S. Embassy during demonstrations, U.S. citizens should contact the American Citizens Services section before attempting to come to the U.S. Embassy during that time. U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to carry identification and, if moving about alone, a cell phone or other means of communication that works in Egypt.

On Feb. 19, 2013, the State Department issued this Worldwide Caution:

The Department of State has issued this Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world.  U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.  This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated July 18, 2012, to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.     

The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas.  Current information suggests that al-Qaida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.   

Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests.  Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays. 

U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure.  Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services.  In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City.

EUROPE:  Current information suggests that al-Qaida, its affiliated organizations, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe.  Additionally, there is a continuing threat in Europe from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.  On Feb. 1, 2013, an individual detonated a bomb at a side entrance to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, killing one Embassy guard and injuring others.  The Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi/Cephesi or DHKP/C) claimed responsibility for the attack on its website.  The DHKP/C has stated its intention to commit further attacks against the United States, NATO, and Turkey.  European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions.  In the past several years, attacks have been planned or carried out in various European countries.  On Feb. 5, the Bulgarian government announced its judgment that Hizbollah was responsible for a July 2012 terrorist attack in Burgas which resulted in the deaths of five tourists and a bus driver. 

MIDDLE EAST and NORTH AFRICA:  Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa.  The U.S. government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived U.S. and Western interests.  Terrorist organizations continue to be active in Yemen, including al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).  Security threat levels remain high in Yemen due to terrorist activities and civil unrest.  In September 2012, a mob of Yemeni protestors attacked the U.S. Embassy compound.  U.S. citizens have also been the targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past (though none recently) and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity continues to exist there.  There are a number of extremist groups operating in Lebanon, including Hizballah, a group designated by the U.S. government as a terrorist organization.  Iraq remains dangerous and unpredictable.  U.S. military forces departed as of Dec. 31, 2011, but the threat of attacks against U.S. citizens, including kidnapping and terrorist violence, continues.  In Algeria, Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is active and operates throughout the country.  Terrorists sporadically attack westerners and Algerian targets, particularly in the Kabylie region, and near Algeria’s borders with Libya and Mali.  In January, terrorists attacked a natural gas facility at In Amenas resulting in the deaths of dozens, including three U.S. citizens.  Terrorists have also targeted oil processing plants in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.   Some elements in Iran remain hostile to the United States.  U.S. citizens should remain cautious and be aware that there may be a more aggressive focus by the Iranian government on terrorist activity against U.S citizens No part of Syria should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for unpredictable and hostile acts, including kidnappings, sniper assaults, large and small-scale bombings, as well as arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture. The conflict in Syria has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths with many thousands wounded and over one million displaced persons. 

 In September 2012, civil unrest, large scale protests and demonstrations as well as violent attacks – some of which were in reaction to an anti-Islamic video and cartoons – targeted U.S. missions and schools overseas including in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Sudan, and Yemen.  U.S. citizens are warned that demonstrations intended to be peaceful can escalate into violent clashes.  U.S. citizens are also reminded that demonstrations and riots can occur with little or no warning.  U.S. citizens are urged to avoid areas of demonstrations if possible and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of a demonstration.

AFRICA:  A number of al-Qaida operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around Africa.  In February 2012, the emir of U.S-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab and al-Qaida’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, announced the alliance of the two organizations.  Al-Shabaab assassinations, suicide bombings, and indiscriminate attacks in civilian-populated areas are frequent in Somalia.  Terrorist operatives and armed groups in Somalia have demonstrated their intent to attack Somali authorities, African Union Missions in Somalia and non-military targets.  Additionally, the terrorist group al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (an area that stretches across the African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea to include Senegal, Mali, Algeria, Niger, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea).  It has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners throughout the region, including southern Algeria.  The loosely organized group of factions known as Boko Haram continues to carry out significant improvised explosive device and suicide bombings in northern Nigeria, mainly targeting government forces and innocent civilians; attacks have increased since their attack on the UN building in the capital of Abuja last year.  The president of Nigeria declared a state of emergency in certain areas in response to activities of extremist groups.  AQIM and related extremist groups have threatened to attack and kidnap Westerners in Mali and the region in response to the U.S.-supported French intervention in Northern and Central Mali, where the political conditions remain fluid, and the Malian government has yet to reassert control over its northern provinces.  

U.S. citizens considering travel by sea near the Horn of Africa or in the southern Red Sea should exercise extreme caution, as there have been armed attacks, robberies, and kidnappings for ransom by pirates.  Merchant vessels continue to be hijacked in Somali territorial waters, while others have been hijacked as far as 1,000 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia, Yemen, and Kenya in international waters.

U.S. government maritime authorities advise mariners to avoid the port of Mogadishu and to remain at least 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.  In addition, when transiting around the Horn of Africa or in the Red Sea, it is strongly recommended that vessels travel in convoys and maintain good communications at all times.  U.S. citizens traveling on commercial passenger vessels should consult with the shipping or cruise ship company regarding precautions that will be taken to avoid hijacking incidents.  Commercial vessels should review the Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s Horn of Africa Piracy page for information on maritime advisories, self-protection measures, and naval forces in the region.  Review our International Maritime Piracy Fact Sheet for information on piracy in the southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean. 

SOUTH ASIA:  The U.S. government continues to receive information that terrorist groups in South Asia may also be planning attacks in the region, possibly against U.S. government facilities, U.S. citizens, or U.S. interests.  The presence of al-Qaida, Taliban elements, Lashkar-e-Taiba, indigenous sectarian groups, and other terror organizations, many of which are on the U.S. government’s list of Foreign Terror Organizations (FTOs), poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens in the region.  Terrorists and their sympathizers have demonstrated their willingness and ability to attack targets where U.S. citizens or Westerners are known to congregate or visit.  Their
actions may include, but are not limited to, vehicle-born explosive attacks, improvised explosive device attacks, assassinations, carjackings, rocket attacks, assaults, or kidnappings.

Such attacks have occurred in a number of South Asian states, including Pakistan, where a number of extremist groups continue to target U.S. and other Western citizens and interests, and Pakistani government and military/law enforcement personnel.  Suicide bombing attacks continue to occur throughout the country on a regular basis, often targeting government authorities such as police checkpoints and military installations, as well as public areas such as mosques, and shopping areas.  Kidnappings of U.S. citizens are also on the increase.  No part of Afghanistan should be considered immune from violence, and the potential exists throughout the country for hostile acts, either targeted or random, against U.S. and other Western nationals at any time.  Elements of the Taliban and the al-Qaida terrorist network, as well as other groups hostile to International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) military operations, remain active.  There is an ongoing threat of kidnapping and assassination of U.S. citizens and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) workers throughout the country.  India has experienced terrorist and insurgent activities which may affect U.S. citizens directly or indirectly.  Anti-Western terrorist groups, some on the U.S. government’s list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, have been active in India, including Islamist extremist groups such as Harkat-ul-Jihad-i-Islami, Harakat ul-Mujahidin, Indian Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammed, and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e Tayyiba.  Terrorists have targeted public places in India frequented by Westerners, including luxury and other hotels, trains, train stations, markets, cinemas, mosques, and restaurants in large urban areas.

Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and other countries experienced civil unrest, large scale protests and demonstrations following the release of anti-Islamic videos and cartoons in September 2012. 

CENTRAL ASIA:  Supporters of terrorist groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement remain active in Central Asia.  These groups have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. government interests.   

During the summer of 2001, there were numerous, albeit unspecific warnings of attacks by Al Qaeda.  The last attack on U.S. soil had been the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York.  Eight years had passed since that attack and America had grown complacent.  There were plenty of attacks on American facilities overseas, most notably the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000.  Aug. 4th is, of course, Obama’s birthday.  Those who don’t like Obama and his policies, in fact, hate and despise him, shouldn’t count on such a catastrophe being a boon to America.  It would be an assassination of an elected (however unwisely) leader.  Amidst the heightened racial tensions after the not-guilty verdict of George Zimmerman, Obama’s murder would be a disaster.  We should never wish such a thing on anyone, not even a Communist anarchist who’s intention in studying the U.S. Constitution was how to dismantle it.  His assassination would be a disaster.

Aug. 4th was also the birth date of the recently-departed White House reporter Helen Thomas.

1578 Battle of Alcazarquivir, Morrocans defeat Portuguese

1830 Plans for the city of Chicago laid out

1914 Germany declares war on Belgium; Britain declares war on Germany

1964 Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman & James Chaney found buried inside an earthen dam in Mississippi

1977 Pres. Carter establishes Dept. of Energy

1990 European community proposes a boycott of Iraq

Those are very interesting Western dates of note for Aug. 4.  But for the Muslims, their holiday Laylat al-Qadr, which is Arabic for “The Night of Power”, happens to fall on Aug. 4 of this year.  That would be the most likely reason for such a specific date.   It falls on one of the last ten days of Ramadan, usually (but not necessarily) on an odd numbered day. It is considered the holiest night of the year, since it is the night in which the Qur’an was first revealed. It is also considered better than a thousand months [Quran 97:1–3]. It is said that if a person performs voluntary worship on this night, that worship is equal to a thousand months or approximately 80 years.

 

 

 

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Published in: on August 2, 2013 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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