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Taliban Release Audio Recording Said to Be From Leader

Agen Sabung Ayam

KABUL—The Taliban on Saturday introduced an audio concept purportedly from its leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, to dispute the Afghan government’s declare that he experienced been wounded or killed in a gunfight among members of the team.

“My name has [been] talked about [in media reports stating] that I was useless. This is not true. This is enemy propaganda,” a individual declaring to be Mullah Mansour says in the message. “I have not observed Kuchlagh in years.”

The Wall Street Journal couldn’t right away verify the authenticity of the information, which refers immediately to Kuchlagh, the area in Pakistan exactly where the firefight allegedly took area.

Speculation in excess of Mullah Mansour’s fate has intensified considering that the Afghan government’s announcement about him in recent days, and some officers in Kabul have mentioned 1 of his deputies has already been chosen to direct the team until finally a successor is appointed.

Afghan officials weren’t instantly available for comment late Saturday.

It was not quickly clear whether the audio information would be sufficient to quell doubts. Earlier, the Taliban retained the dying of previous leader Mullah Mohammad Omar concealed for much more than two years until finally it was in the same way announced by the Afghan authorities.

Mullah Mansour was between a handful of Taliban figures who knew of Mullah Omar’s death, foremost the team in his name and even releasing messages on his behalf.

Reviews of Mullah Mansour’s demise considerably less than 5 months following formally using over the Taliban management have fueled speculation about a additional splintering of the group. Factions broke absent beneath his management earlier this calendar year and some factors pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

The firefight allegedly took place at a meeting of Taliban leaders, supposedly reflecting developing discord inside the team. The audio message said interior disagreements ended up nothing at all to be involved about.

“We really do not have disagreements which would lead us to get rid of every other. We have some disagreements on coverage. I assure men and women not to be nervous about the rumors,” the voice says.


WSJ.com: Globe News

Terror Network in Paris Attacks Said to Have U.K. Links

Agen Sabung Ayam

Western officers believe the terror network behind last month’s massacre in Paris has backlinks to individuals in the U.K., fueling issues about the danger confronted in Europe.

Many folks suspected of having connections to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Islamic State operative and alleged ringleader of the Nov. 13 assaults, are primarily based in the U.K., according to two Western officers. The officials explained individuals folks, such as some of Moroccan heritage, are based mostly in the Birmingham area, about a hundred and twenty miles northwest of London.

At least 1 man or woman linked to the attacks is believed to have traveled to the U.K. before the shootings, the officers mentioned.

London’s Metropolitan Police, the lead provider on counterterror concerns in the U.K., declined to comment. Metropolitan Law enforcement officers stationed in Paris are aiding with the French investigation.

Mr. Abaaoud, a Belgian national of Moroccan descent, died during a raid by French police times after the assaults, in which one hundred thirty individuals at a concert hall, restaurants and a soccer stadium ended up killed by attackers armed with guns and explosives.

The U.K.’s 2nd-greatest city has some identified ties to Islamist extremism. Junaid Hussain, a Birmingham indigenous, went to Syria and grew to become a major hacker for Islamic Condition. He was killed by a U.S. drone strike in August while he was in a automobile in Raqqa, Syria.

Several Islamist terrorist cells of North African origin have been linked with the city and the bordering location. That consists of a Birmingham resident of Algerian origin, Rabah Tahari, who was named by U.K. lawmakers as the chief of a team preventing in Syria known as Kateeba al-Kawthar.

The U.K.’s most senior counterterror officer Mark Rowley, throughout testimony to a panel of lawmakers on Nov. 24, mentioned the Paris assaults were proof of a community decided to assault in Europe.

“You would be anticipating us and the safety services to be operating flat out to search for any feasible links and connections of that network to anything at all in the U.K.,” Mr. Rowley stated. “I can give you a hundred% assurance we are doing that but it would be wrong to discuss the depth of what we are or are not locating.”

Belgian officials mentioned Friday they had been now looking for 4 suspects in link with the Paris assaults, up from two. The two new suspects ended up using fake Belgian identification documents with the names Samir Bouzid and Soufiane Kayal, the federal prosecutors’ workplace explained.

Authorities continue to find Salah Abdeslam, who investigators say fled back again to Belgium following very likely dumping a suicide vest he unsuccessful to detonate in the assault, and Mohamed Abrini, who is suspected of possessing driven Mr. Abdeslam to Paris.

The U.K.’s terror inform has been because last calendar year at the 2nd-greatest level, “severe,” which indicates an attack is highly very likely. It is the 2nd-highest rating right after “critical,” which means an attack is envisioned imminently.

The government experienced explained the heightened notify stage was relevant to the growth of Islamic Point out in Syria and Iraq, like from foreign fighters who experienced traveled from the U.K. and in other places in Europe. Some 800 folks have traveled from the U.K. to be part of the conflict, according to the U.K. authorities.

Primary Minister David Cameron has argued in modern days that the U.K. needed to join U.S.-led airstrikes in opposition to Islamic Point out in Syria simply because the team posed a direct menace to the U.K.

The Paris attacks “could just as nicely have been in London as in Paris,” Mr. Cameron stated Nov. 26. This previous 7 days, Britain extended its bombing marketing campaign towards the militant group to Syria from Iraq, after lawmakers accredited the shift.

“Many nations around the world in Europe, such as the U.K., are justifiably worried about the probability of adhere to-on terror attacks after the tragedy in Paris and remain on high-alert,” a U.S. formal said. “This is heightened by the simple fact that regulation enforcement and safety organizations are nonetheless searching for to identify and roll-up terrorist networks that may possibly be connected” to Islamic State plotting.

British authorities have stepped up stability, including rising the law enforcement existence at some places and intensifying their approach in huge metropolitan areas. It also tightened border checks on men and women, vehicles and merchandise getting into the U.K.

In addition, the U.K. is examining its reaction to firearm assaults to guarantee that any lessons from Paris are discovered, the federal government stated.

Mr. Rowley, for the duration of his testimony, stated the U.K.’s counterterror method usually concerned casting a extensive net. That implies “going for people included in plotting but also people on the periphery, and continually attempting to disrupt them, doing everything we can do to keep them on the back again foot, which tends to make it tough for them to uncover their toes and strategy the form of acts that we noticed in Paris.”

British intelligence brokers have on their radar many thousand men and women allegedly linked to violent extremism in the U.K., even though only a modest portion are underneath heavy surveillance at any a single time, government officers say.

Create to Alexis Flynn at alexis.flynn@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications:
Birmingham is about 120 miles northwest of London. An previously variation of this write-up incorrectly mentioned it was northeast. (Dec. 4, 2015)


WSJ.com: Globe News

New statement said to identify gunmen in Mali attack

Bandar Sabung Ayam

By BABA AHMED AND ROBBIE COREY-BOULET, Related Press

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — Mali started a 3-day mourning time period with flags flying at 50 percent-personnel on Monday for victims of the assault on a luxury resort complete of foreigners, a day soon after a dueling assert of accountability emerged.

The Islamic extremist team, Al-Mourabitoun, that first claimed obligation for Friday’s assault issued a new audio recording figuring out the two gunmen, in accordance to a Mauritanian information website that frequently receives messages from Malian extremists.

The team stated the two ended up the only assailants in the attack that killed 19 people. First reviews from witnesses and officers recommended there could have been as many as 10 gunmen. The bodies of only two gunmen were recovered from the scene.

The recording from the Al-Mourabitoun (The Sentinels) team named the gunmen as Abdel Hakim Al-Ansari and Moadh Al-Ansari, Al-Akhbar explained in an report posted on-line Sunday. No nationalities had been offered, however the name “Al-Ansari” indicates they were the two Malian.

Meanwhile, a distinct extremist team that emerged only this calendar year also issued a assert of responsibility for the assault. The claim, reported Sunday by French media, underscores the shifting alliances and memberships of the extremist teams operating in Mali and nearby countries.

The new team, the Macina Liberation Front, is energetic in central Mali and mentioned it experienced worked with however yet another militant team, Ansar Dine. The declare mentioned the attack was in retaliation for Procedure Barkhane, the regional French fight towards Islamic extremists, according to Radio France Internationale.

Officials in this former French colony have said they are seeking for more than a few suspects who may possibly have been included in the attack on the Radisson Blu resort in Mali’s capital, however they have offered no other details on the achievable prospects.

In the absence of obvious info, analysts have speculated on other feasible motives, which includes a desire to disrupt Mali’s fragile regional peace method or a desire by al-Qaida to display its relevance amid high-profile assaults by its rival, the Islamic Condition group.

Al-Mourabitoun has backlinks to al-Qaida and the group’s first statement on Friday described collaboration with al-Qaida’s “Sahara Emirate.”

On Monday early morning, the national flag outside Prime Minister Modibo Keita’s business office was decreased to 50 %-employees just after sunrise.

“We are aware that the nation is in crisis and we have to stand with the victim’s families,” stated Makan Kone, a spokesman for Keita, including that the ceremony was “to demonstrate our discomfort for the demise of 19 men and women.”

____

Corey-Boulet described from Abidjan, Ivory Coastline.

Copyright 2015 The Related Press. All rights reserved. This content might not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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U.S. Information – Information

Jason Rezaian of Washington Post Said to Be Sentenced to Prison

A spokesman for the Iranian judiciary declared on Sunday that the jailed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian had been sentenced to jail, an Iranian information agency noted.

The announcement, as with much the Iranian authorities have explained about Mr. Rezaian’s circumstance since his arrest final year, was obscure, and it contained no info about the duration of his jail phrase.

“I cannot disclose the specifics of the sentence. I will say in short that he has been sentenced to imprisonment,” Gholam Hossein Mohseni-Ejei, the judiciary spokesman, mentioned in the course of a news convention, according to the Iranian Learners Information Company. He included that the verdict was not last, evidently referring to the possibility of an attractiveness.

Mr. Rezaian’s law firm, Leila Ahsan, instructed The Related Push that she experienced not been presented any data about the sentencing — or even the verdict.

“My brother is an harmless man and a nicely-respected journalist,” Ali Rezaian, the journalist’s brother, mentioned in a statement on Sunday. “As our family members gathers for Thanksgiving, we remain hopeful that Jason will soon be reunited with us.”

Jason Rezaian, 39, a California native and twin citizen of the United States and Iran, was The Post’s bureau chief in Tehran in July 2014 when the authorities raided his condominium and arrested him. He was charged with spying on Iran’s nuclear software and accumulating details about violations of global sanctions from Iran.

“He began to identify men and women and businesses that violated sanctions and were cooperating with Iran,” an Iranian television station said on its site. “The information that Rezaian gave to the Americans had led many Iranian and worldwide businessmen and firms to be integrated in America’s sanctions checklist.”

He was convicted in October following a demo that was closed to the public.

Mr. Rezaian has been held at Evin Jail in Tehran. Previous December, Ali Rezaian explained that his brother experienced had well being issues while in custody, like large blood force, an eye an infection and back ache.

In a Twitter publish on Sunday, Martin Baron, The Post’s govt editor, wrote: “No information. Law firm told practically nothing. Opaque technique persists in its cruelty.”

In a statement introduced before on Sunday, the newspaper explained that it was “aware of the reports” but realized nothing at all a lot more. “Every working day that Jason is in prison is an injustice. He has accomplished practically nothing improper,” the newspaper’s international editor, Douglas Jehl, said in the assertion. “Even after keeping Jason in jail 487 days so significantly, Iran has developed no proof of wrongdoing. His trial and sentence are a sham, and he need to be unveiled instantly.”

In New York, Sherif Mansour, the Middle East and North Africa software coordinator of the Committee to Safeguard Journalists, wrote, “By withholding details about the verdict and sentence, the Iranian federal government displays that its pursuit of Jason Rezaian on bogus espionage costs is nothing but a facade to extend his unjust imprisonment.”

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Bandar Sabung Ayam

News Analysis: For France, an Alliance Against ISIS May Be Easier Said Than Done Agen Sabung Ayam

Agen Sabung Ayam

Photo

President François Hollande of France, center, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Wednesday. Mr. Hollande is trying to show diplomatic initiative although he under pressure at home to act strongly against the Islamic State. Credit Charles Platiau/Reuters

PARIS — By attacking civilian targets well beyond its territory, the Islamic State has seemingly accomplished what diplomats had failed to do. Suddenly, the international order has been scrambled, drawing the United States, Russia and France together in a possible alliance against the terrorist group.

Each of the three longtime powers now has its own reasons for wanting to destroy the Islamic State after the pitiless attacks on civilians in Paris and the downing of a Russian passenger jet carrying vacationers. President Obama has provided intelligence to facilitate French airstrikes and suggested he was open to more cooperation with Russia.

But so far, that alliance remains largely theoretical. Even as President François Hollande of France takes on the role of bridge builder with back-to-back trips next week to Washington and Moscow, powerful centrifugal forces are still pulling the would-be partners apart as competing national interests challenge efforts to translate that newly shared aspiration into a sustained collaboration over time.

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Graphic: Untangling the Overlapping Conflicts in the Syrian War

Mr. Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin harbor fundamental disagreements over a host of issues that have not been dissolved by the Paris attacks. Dividing them are the Russian annexation of Crimea and its meddling in eastern Ukraine, Moscow’s efforts to demonize Washington and undermine confidence in NATO’s commitment to collective defense, and the Kremlin’s support of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria.

“It’s certainly a good thing for us and a good thing for France if we have a more coordinated approach toward these airstrikes in Syria,” said Karen Donfried, a former White House adviser to Mr. Obama who is now the president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “But how committed Russia really is about taking on the Islamic State, I don’t think any of us really knows. I remain really skeptical that our interests converge here.”

Strobe Talbott, the president of the Brookings Institution and a former deputy secretary of state, said any real alliance would require a seismic change in the Russians’ approach toward Syria, where they say they are trying to fight terrorism but appear more bent on preserving Mr. Assad.

Photo

President Obama and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia met at the United Nations General Assembly in September. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

“Maybe it’s getting through to them,” Mr. Talbott said. “They keep talking about being part of a solution. But they talk the talk of being part of the solution and they walk the walk of being part of the problem.”

Just how complicated assembling such a coalition would be was underscored Wednesday when French diplomats at the United Nations began discussions with colleagues on the Security Council on a draft measure authorizing force against the Islamic State. The French ambassador, François Delattre, described it as “short, strong and focused on the fight against our common enemy.”

But just as France prepared to share its measure with council diplomats, Russia floated a proposal of its own, resurrecting a draft resolution that went nowhere earlier this fall because it insisted on cooperating with the government of countries affected by terrorism — in Syria’s case, with Mr. Assad. Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador, said failing to work with the government “is definitely weakening the possibility of a joint fight against terrorists.”

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Aides said privately that Mr. Obama was skeptical, but in meetings in Turkey, the Philippines, Austria and Paris over the last few days, he and his secretary of state, John Kerry, have held their reservations and broached the possibility of Russia and the United States working together to defeat the Islamic State.

After meeting with Mr. Putin last weekend in Turkey, Mr. Obama said in Manila on Wednesday that Russia had been “a constructive partner” in talks in Vienna seeking a road map for a cease-fire in the Syrian civil war that has given rise to the Islamic State. But for further cooperation, he said, Mr. Putin must direct less at the Syrian rebels supported by the United States and more at the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“The problem has been in their initial military incursion into Syria, they have been more focused on propping up President Assad,” Mr. Obama said. If Mr. Putin “shifts his focus and the focus of his military to what is the principal threat, which is ISIL, then that is what we want to see.”

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Graphic

At least a dozen countries have had attacks since the Islamic State, or ISIS, began to pursue a global strategy in the summer of 2014.

Mr. Hollande, under enormous pressure at home after the attacks, is trying to take the diplomatic initiative. Sensing a chance for rapprochement, he plans to travel to Washington on Tuesday to meet with Mr. Obama, and then to Moscow to meet with Mr. Putin. Mr. Hollande said on Wednesday that he wants to forge “a large coalition” to act “decisively” against the Islamic State.

In pursuing such a coalition, Mr. Hollande was careful not to ask the NATO alliance to come to France’s defense under Article 5, which obligates members to aid one another in case of attack. That article has been invoked only once, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Given Mr. Obama’s adamant resistance to putting large numbers of American ground forces in Syria or Iraq, a French diplomat said on Wednesday that Paris was unwilling to embarrass Mr. Obama by “asking for the impossible.”

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How ISIS Expanded Its Threat

Instead, to broaden France’s diplomatic support, Mr. Hollande invoked an unusual article in the Lisbon Treaty governing the European Union. Article 42.7 states that if a member is subject to “armed aggression on its territory” other members have an “obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power” consistent with their obligations to NATO.

Asked on Twitter why France invoked the European Union treaty and not the NATO charter, Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to Washington, wrote that one reason was “the dialogue with Russia.” The implication was that Russia is hostile toward NATO and therefore invoking the alliance’s aid might be provocative toward Moscow.

The European Union countries voted unanimously to support France, but the treaty does not commit them to military action and intelligence sharing is already well developed. No other European country has been willing to confront Islamic radicalism as the French have, at home and in Mali, Iraq and Syria.

Even Britain, still bruised from its participation in the Iraq invasion of 2003, has not been willing to strike inside Syria. Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to seek approval from Parliament before action in Syria and to proceed only if he has “a clear majority.” The election of Jeremy Corbyn, the new hard-left Labour Party leader, has not made that easier.

The United States, Europe and Russia have had moments since the Cold War when their interests converged. Walter Slocombe, a former under secretary of defense, recalled that the American and Russian militaries worked together in Bosnia and Kosovo. In Bosnia, he said, “it worked out O.K., but that was a different Russia and an almost totally benign environment.”

The Obama administration is suspicious that beyond bolstering Mr. Assad, Russia’s real goal in Syria is taking attention off Ukraine — in effect, trading the status quo for collaboration in the Middle East. “Are we willing to give up on Ukraine?” asked Ivo H. Daalder, Mr. Obama’s former ambassador to NATO and now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “I’m worried that we fall in this trap.”

Beyond the United States, Russia and Europe, there are other players in Syria, particularly Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Mr. Kerry has worked to forge a consensus among them. But as Mr. Daalder said, “except for France and the United States, at this point no one thinks going after ISIS is the first priority.”

Without that, he said, “I don’t see this as a new coalition.”

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