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September 17, 2002 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-17

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NATION/WORLD

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 17, 2002 - 5

Pakistani al-Qaida suspects handed over to U.S.

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) - An alleged organizer of
the Sept. 11 attacks was handed over to U.S. authorities
yesterday along with four other al-Qaida suspects who
were arrested here last week in a major blow to the ter-
rorist network.
The five suspects - including Ramzi Binalshibh, a
Yemeni who allegedly wired money to the hijackers in the
United States and provided them logistical support - were
flown out of Pakistan, several senior Pakistani officials said.
The handover took place after a Pakistani official said
police were investigating whether some of those arrested
with Binalshibh were involved in the murder of Wall
Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was abducted
in Karachi in January.
If a link were established, it would be the first evi-
dence that al-Qaida may have been involved in Pearl's
abduction and killing.
President Bush said Binalshibh's arrest showed the war

on terrorism had not flagged.
"I had the feeling that after September the 1Ith, that
some around the world would grow weary and tired of
this effort," Bush said in Iowa. "But that's not how Amer-
ica feels. That's not how that fellow who's been picked up
in Pakistan feels, too."
German prosecutors believe the 30-year-old Binalshibh
was meant to be the fourth suicide pilot in the attacks on the
United States. After he was refused a U.S. visa, he instead
arranged payments to American flight schools and made
frequent organizational trips.
"After his exclusion as the fourth pilot, Binalshibh
became the most significant contact person inside the
network," chief German prosecutor Kay Nehm told
reporters in August.
Although U.S. officials say Binalshibh was a key figure
in the German-based cell that helped carry out the Sept. 11
attacks, they say he was not an overall leader in Osama bin

Laden's al-Qaida network.
The FBI believes he is a key aide to Khalid Shaikh
Mohammed, who is thought to have been a top planner of
the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and to
have plotted several al-Qaida attacks since.
The arrests of Binalshibh and the other militants
marked one of the biggest successes in the U.S.-led war
against terrorism since Abu Zubaydah, the third-ranking
official in the al-Qaida network, was captured in March
in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Binalshibh was seized in a raid on an apartment building
in a middle-class neighborhood Wednesday - the anniver-
sary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Around a dozen suspects were
arrested there and in a sweep the previous day.
Among those captured and since handed over to U.S. cus-
tody was Umar al-Gharib, a brother of al-Qaida leader Taw-
fiq Attash Khallad, a U.S. defense official in Washington
said on the condition of anonymity. Khallad is thought to be

one of the masterminds of the deadly October 2000 bomb-
ing of the USS Cole offYemen.
Though not a leader in al-Qaida, al-Gharib may have
valuable information nonetheless, the official said.
Binalshibh and the four other militants were handed over
to U.S. custody yesterday, chief government spokesman
Maj. Gen. Rashid Quereshi said.
Four other Pakistani officials, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said the five men were put on a flight out of
Pakistan, but did not say their destination. Zubaydah's final
destination has never been announced.
It was unclear whether the four militants handed over
with Binalshibh were the ones Pakistani police suspect
may be linked to Pearl's slaying. Pearl's dismembered
body was found in May in a shallow grave in Karachi.
Four Pakistani militants, including British-born
Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, were convicted in Pearl's
abduction.

Q atar to
consider
giving air
shelter
DOHA, Qatar (AP) - Qatar has an
Israeli trade office, a U.S. military base
- and a satellite television channel
that regularly criticizes the United
States and refers to Palestinian suicide
attacks against Israeli civilians as "mar-
tyrdom operations."
It's a tiny country packed with
contradictions and eager to assert
itself. It's also a place on which the
United States may have to rely if it
wages war on Iraq.
By the time Saudi Arabia hinted this
weekend it might let the United States
use it as a base for strikes on Iraq,
Qatar was already in line. Qatari For-
eign Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jassem
bin Jabor Al Thani said in Washington
last week that if the United States
asked to, use a U.S. air base to strike
Iraq, "we will consider it carefully."
The element of openness toward the
West, and America in particular, is evi-
dent on its streets and shopping malls,
with youngsters wearing Snoop Dogg
and Metallica T-shirts gathering at
McDonalds or Starbucks, or searching
for the latest Britney Spears CD at one
of Doha's new malls.
About 1,000 U.S. military personnel
are posted in Qatar, along with a few
thousand civilian Americans working
in the energy sector.
Abdullah, a Qatari civil servant
who gave only one name, said he
opposes U.S. and other foreign mili-
tary presence in the Persian Gulf, but
believes "the main reason they are
here is because of Arab disunity and
Iraq's adventures in Iran and Kuwait."
"In any case, I'm against attacking
Iraq because the main victim will be
the Iraqi people," he said.
Elsewhere in the Gulf, the U.S.
presence also is generally accepted.
But in Bahrain, where the U.S.
Navy's 5th Fleet has a base, anti-
Israel and anti-U.S. protests grew
violent earlier this year. Demonstra-
tors' Molotov cocktails set a satel-
lite dish and a sentry box afire
inside the U.S. Embassy compound
in the Bahraini capital.
Bahraini police guarding 'the
embassy fired tear gas and rubber
bullets. A protester who was hit in
the head by a rubber bullet died two
days later.
There have been no such protests
in Qatar.
The U.S. military presence in Saudi
Arabia is one of the grievances fueling
the anger of Saudi-born Osama bin
Laden, the accused terrorist master-
mind blamed for the Sept. 11 attacks.
Until a few years ago, Saudi Ara-
bia was the undisputed power in this
oil-rich region, devising foreign pol-
icy its much smaller neighbors
silently followed.
Qatar began to assert itself in the
mid-1990s, seeking its own role in
the Persian Gulf, Arab and interna-
tional scene.
Qatar allowed Israel to open a
trade office in Doha in 1996 and
staffers are believed still working
quietly there even though Qatar,
under pressure from Saudi Arabia
and Iran, officially suspended ties

with Israel last year to protest what
many Arabs saw as Israel's exces-
sive use of force against Palestinian
protesters.
Also in 1996, Qatar launched Al-
Jazeera, a satellite channel that has
angered many Arab governments as
well as the United States with its
bold, independent editorial policies.
Qatar's stance on Iraq is being
closely watched by other Arabs,

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