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September 06, 2011 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-09-06

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 9A

Pakistani agents arrest top al-Qaida
leader said to work with bin-Laden

One of Jacques Chirac's lawyers Georges Kiejman gestures yesterday as he answers reporters at the Paris courthouse for
Chirac's trial. Former French president Jacques Chirac's corruption trial resumed yesterday.
Judge: Chirac is not required
to attend corruption trial

Capture shows
further weakening
of terrorist
tered al-Qaida suffered another
significant blow when Pakistani
agents working with the CIA
arrested a senior leader believed
to have been tasked by Osama bin
Laden with targeting American
economic interests around the
globe, Pakistan announced yes-
Younis al-Mauritani's arrest -
made public six days before the
tO-year anniversary of the 9/11
attacks - also points to improved
cooperation between two uneasy
anti-terror allies after the rancor
surrounding bin Laden's killing.
Al-Qaida has seen its senior
ranks thinned since bin Laden
was killed May 2 in a raid by U.S.
Navy SEALs in Pakistan without
the knowledge of local authori-
ties. Atiyah Abd al-Rahman,
the terror network's No. 2, was
killed in a CIA missile strike last
Pakistan's unusual public
announcement of close coop-
eration with the U.S. spy agency
appeared aimed at reversing
the widespread perception that
ties between the CIA and Paki-
stan's Inter-Services Intelligence
agency had been badly damaged
by bin Laden's death. The Paki-
stanis accused the Americans of
violating their sovereignty with

the raid, while Washington was
angry the terror leader had been
found in a house in a military
garrison town.
The Pakistani military said
the arrest of al-Mauritani and
two other Qaida operatives took
place near the Afghan border in
the southwestern city of Quetta,
long known as a base for mili-
tants. It did not say when. The
arrests were carried out in the
past two weeks, according to a
U.S. official speaking on con-
dition of anonymity to discuss
intelligence matters.
The capture of an al-Qaida
operative inside Pakistan has
become rare in recent years:
most targets of CIA operations
in the country have been killed
by drone aircraft in a relentless
series of operations that started
to increase in 2008. His capture
is likely to create chaos within
al-Qaida: even if he does not
reveal compromising informa-
tion, that possibility is almost
certain to force the network to
alter plans, move operatives and
make a variety of other sudden
changes, damaging its ability to
carry out attacks.
"This operation was planned
and conducted with technical
assistance of United State Intel-
ligence Agencies with whom
Inter-Services Intelligence has
a strong, historic intelligence
relationship. Both Pakistan and
United States Intelligence agen-
cies continue to work closely
together to enhance security of
their respective nations," the
military said in a written state-

Al-Qaida's center of operations
is believed to be in the lawless
tribal areas of northwest Paki-
stan, many hours from Quetta,
a large city that is home to both
the Taliban's ruling council and
a significant Pakistani military
The statement said al-Mauri-
tani was mainly responsible for
al-Qaida's international opera-
tions and was tasked by bin
Laden with hitting targets of eco-
nomiq importance in America,
Europe and Australia. It said he
was planning attacks on gas and
oil pipelines, power generating
dams and oil tankers that would
be hit by explosive-laden speed
boats in international waters.
It named the other two detain-
ees as Abdul-Ghaffar al-Shami
and Messara al-Shami. In its
statement, the Pakistani army
also described them as senior
"This action has dealt yet
another blow to al-Qaida and is
an example of the longstanding
partnership between the United
States and Pakistan in fighting
terrorism," White House spokes-
man Tommy Vietor said. "We
applaud the actions of Pakistan's
intelligence and 'security ser-
vices that led to the capture of a
senior al-Qaida operative who
was involved in planning attacks
against the interests of the United
States and many other countries."
The U.S. has said it doesn't
know of any specific al-Qaida
plot to attack the U.S. ahead of
Sept. 11.

Former French
president suffering
memory lapses
PARIS (AP) - Former French
President Jacques Chirac won't
have to attend his long-awaited
corruption trial, ajudge ruled yes-
terday, after Chirac's lawyers said
the 78-year-old is suffering from
severe memory lapses.
Judge Dominique Pauthe said
he took into account a written
appeal and four-page medical
report sent Friday by Chirac's
defense team, and decided that
the trial will be allowed to go
ahead without the ex-president in
"In light of the items received in
support of this letter, the personal
appearance will not be ordered,"
Pauthe said after deliberating
for less than an hour. "Jacques
Chirac will thus be judged in his
France's first trial involving a
former head of state since World
War II involves the alleged cre-

ation of more than two-dozen
fake City Hall jobs used to fund
Chirac's conservative party while
he was mayor of Paris from 1977
to 1995.
Chirac, who has repeatedly
denied any wrongdoing, enjoyed
immunity from prosecution dur-
ing his subsequent 12 years as
head of state.
The trial was suspended in
March shortly after it began to
allow consideration of an appeal
by one of his co-defendants. On
trial yesterday with Chirac were
two of his former chiefs of staff at
City Hall and seven others said to
have benefited improperly from
the graft.
Ahead of France's presiden-
tial election next year, the trial
is shaping up as a glimpse of the
unseemly underworld of kick-
backs, corruption and embezzle-
ment that has long roiled the
French political system.
Judge Pauthe yesterday read
from the defense letter, which
said Chirac wanted to be heard
because his testimony would be
"useful for our democracy" and

show that "all French people are
equal under the law."
Chirac's legal team issued a
statement Saturday arguing that
he no longer has the full capac-
ity to participate in court pro-
ceedings, and asking that he be
allowed to skip them.
The letter, Pauthe said, came
accompanied by four pages of
medical records, including a Chi-
rac brain scan in April and a medi-
cal report drawn up in July.
"It's my beliefthathe isn'tinany
condition to remember events that
date back 20 years," Chirac defense
lawyer Jean Veil told the court.
Veil said Chirac suffers from
"severe memory lapses" linked
to an "irreversible condition." He
said Chirac's condition was not a
sickness but a "symptom" possibly
linked to his 2005 stroke or "other
Jerome Karsenti, a lawyer for
the anti-corruption group Anti-
cor, urged an independent medi-
cal exam to make sure Chirac's
alleged medical trouble is not
just an "umpteenth delay" and an
attempt at "running away."

Libyan loyalists cross desert
border into neighboring Niger

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Witness: More than
12 trucks full of
troops entered city
NIAMEY, Niger (AP) - A
large convoy of Libyan soldiers
loyal to ousted leader Moam-
mar Gadhafi crossed the desert
border into Niger and rolled
into the frontier town of Aga-
dez late yesterday, a resident
who is the owner of a local
newspaper said.
The convoy consisted of more
than a dozen pickup trucks bris-
tling with well-armed Libyan
troops, said Abdoulaye Harou-
na, the owner of the Agadez
Info newspaper, who saw them
At the head of the convoy, he
said, was Tuareg rebel leader
Rissa ag Boula, a native of Niger
who led a failed war of inde-
pendence on behalf of ethnic
Tuareg nomads a decade ago.
He then sought refuge in Libya
and was believed to be fighting
on behalf of Gadhafi.
W It was not immediately clear

if the convoy included any mem-
bers of the Gadhafi family or
other high-level members of his
The toppled Libyan leader is
known to have used battalions
of Tuareg fighters who have
long-standing ties to Gadhafi.
His regime is believed to have
financed the Tuareg rebellion
in the north of Niger. African
nations where Tuaregs repre-
sent a significant slice of the
populationlike Niger, have been
among the last to recognize the
rebels that ousted Gadhafi.
Gadhafi remains especially
popular in towns like Agadez,
where a majority of the popu-
lation is Tuareg and where the
ex-ruler is remembered for his
largesse and for his assistance
to the Tuareg minority during
their fight for autonomy. The
Sahara Desert market town
is the largest city in northern
Harouna says the pro-Gadhafi
soldiers accompanying Boula
were coming from the direction
of Arlit. The desert that stretch-
es north of Arlit borders both

Libya and Algeria. Some mem-
bers of Gadhafi's family, includ-
ing his wife, his daughter and
two of his sons, recently sought
refuge in Algeria.
Moammar Gadhafi, who
ruled Libya for more than 40
years, has been on the run since
losing control of his capital,
Tripoli, last month, though the
rebels say at least two of his sons
had been in the town of Bani
Walid, one of the last remain-
ing pro-Gadhafi strongholds, in
recent days. Moussa Ibrahim,
Gadhafi's spokesman and one of
his key aides, was still believed
to be in the town, rebel officials
Thousands of rebel fighters
have surrounded Bani Walid,
but have held back on a final
assault in hopes of avoiding a
bloody battle for the desert town
some 90 miles (140 kilometers)
southeast of Tripoli. The rebels
say a small but heavily armed
force of pro-Gadhafi fighters
- at least some of them high-
ranking members of his ousted
regime - have taken up defen-
sive positions in the town.


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