6A - Wednesday, February 5, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
More information revealed
by U.S. on Iraqi militant
J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE/AP
Rep. Norman "Doc" Hastings, R-Wash., center, discusses a new report that proposes alterations to the 40-year-old
Endangered Species Act.
Republicans propose changes
to Endangered Species Act
ew reforms seek litigation from wildlife advocates
that has resulted in protections
to grant states for some species. And they want
to give states more authority over
more power imperiled species that fall within
LINGS, Mont. (AP) - Also among the recommen-
blicans in Congress on dations from the group are
lay called for an overhaul increased scientific transpar-
Endangered Species Act ency, more accurate economic
artail environmentalists' impact studies and safeguards
its and give more power for private landowners.
tes, but experts say broad "The biggest problem is that
es to one of the nation's the Endangered Species Act is
rstone environmental not recovering species," said
are unlikely given the Hastings. "The way the act was
sive partisan divide in written, there is more of an effort
ington, D.C. to list (species as endangered or
roup of 13 GOP lawmakers threatened) than to delist."
tenting states across the Signed into law by President
eleased a report proposing Richard Nixon in December 1973,
ted reforms" for the the act has resulted in additional
ar-old federal law, which protections for more than 1,500
ts imperiled plants and plants, insects, mammals, birds,
Is. reptiles and other creatures,
ponents credit the law according to the U.S. Fish and
staving off extinction for Wildlife Service.
eds of species - from Republicans have seized on
ald eagle and American the fact that only 2 percent of
or to the gray whale. But protected species have been
contend the law has been declared recovered - despite
d by environmental groups billions of dollars in federal and
cg to restrict development state spending.
nameofspecies protection. Noah Greenwald, a wildlife
IbyRep.CynthiaLummisof advocate with the Center for Bio-
ing and Rep. Doc Hastings logical Diversity, disputed the 2
shington state, who chairs percent figure as a "gross manip-
louse Natural Resources ulation of facts" that ignores the
nittee, the Republicans hundreds of protected species
to amend the law to limit now on the path to recovery.
The political hurdles for an
overhaul of the law are consid-
erable. The Endangered Spe-
cies Act enjoys fervent support
among many environmental-
ists, whose Democratic allies on
Capitol Hill have thwarted past
proposals for change.
Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio,
the ranking Democrat on the
Natural Resources Committee,
suggested Tuesday that
Republicans appeared intent on
gutting the law. He predicted the
changes being sought would go
nowhere in the Senate.
"There is no appetite to over-
turn the (Endangered Species
Act)," DeFazio said.
Federal wildlife officials said
they would not comment on
Tuesday's report until they have
a chance to review it.
Throughout its history, the
law has faced criticism from
business interests, Republicans
and others. They argue actions
taken to shield at-risk species
such as the northern spotted
owl have severely hampered
logging and other economic
Those complaints grew
louder in recent months after
federal wildlife officials
agreed to consider protections
for more than 250 additional
species under settlement
terms in lawsuits brought by
DUBAI, United Arab Emir-
ates (AP) - He has commanded
a relentless bombing campaign
against Iraqi civilians, orches-
trated audacious jailbreaks of
fellow militants and expanded
his hard-line Islamist organiza-
tion's reach deep into neighbor-
While his may not be a
household name, the shadowy
figure known as Abu Bakr
al-Baghdadi has emerged as
one of the world's most lethal
terrorist leaders. He is a
renegade within al-Qaida whose
maverick streak eventually
led its central command to
sever ties, deepening a rivalry
between his organization and
the global terror network.
Al-Baghdadi's Islamic State
of Iraq and the Levant is the
main driver of destabilizing vio-
lence in Iraq and until recently
was the main al-Qaida affiliate
there. A-Qaida's general com-
mand formally disavowed the
group this week, saying it "is not
responsible for its actions."
Al-Baghdadi took over lead-
ership of al-Qaida's main Iraq
franchise following a joint U.S.-
Iraqi raid in April 2010 that
killed the terror group's two top
figures inside Iraq at their safe
house near Tikrit, once Sad-
dam Hussein's hometown. Vice
President Joe Biden at the time
called the killings of Abu Omar
al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-
Masri a "potentially devastating
blow" to al-Qaida in Iraq.
But as in the past, al-Qaida in
Iraq has proved resilient. Under
al-Baghdadi's leadership, it has
come roaring back stronger
than it was before he took over.
The man now known as
al-Baghdadi was born in
Samarra, about 95 kilometers
(60 miles) north of Baghdad,
in 1971, according to a United
Nations sanctions list. That
would make him 42 or 43
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Al-Baghdadi is a nom de
guerre for a man identified as
Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali
al-Badri al-Samarrai. The U.S.
is offering a $10 million reward
for information leading to his
death or capture.
He is believed to have been
operating from inside Syria
in recent months, though his
current whereabouts aren't
known. Iraqi Interior Ministry
spokesman Saad Maan Ibrahim
said authorities believe he was
in Iraq's Salahuddin province,
north of Baghdad, as recently as
three weeks ago, but he moves
around frequently so as not to
What little else that is known
publicly about al-Baghdadi
comes from a brief biography
posted in Julyto online jihadist
forums. Its claims could not be
According to that account,
al-Baghdadi is a married
preacher who earned a
doctorate from Baghdad's
Islamic University, the Iraqi
capital's main center for Sunni
clerical scholarship. The
biography linked him to several
prominent tribes and said he
comes from a religious family,
according to a translation by the
SITE Intelligence Group, which
monitors extremist sites.
He rose to prominence as a
proponent of the Salafi jihadi
movement, which advocates
"holy war" to bring about a
strict, uncompromising version
of Shariah law, in Samarra and
the nearby Diyala province.
The biography linked him
to Samarra's mosque of Imam
Ahmed bin Hanbal, which
according to one resident,
speaking anonymously for fear
of retribution, was a key hub
for al-Qaida decision-making in
2005 and 2006.
Samarra, like Diyala a hotbed
for al-Qaida activity, was the
scene of the 2006 bombing of
the Shiite al-Askari shrine. That
attack was blamed on al-Qaida
and set off years of retaliatory
bloodshed between Sunni and
Al-Baghdadi's leadership of
the Iraqi al-Qaida operation
coincided with the final year
and a half of the American
military presence in Iraq. The
U.S. withdrawal in December
2011 left Iraq with a precarious
security vacuum that he was
able to exploit.
"Al-Baghdadi has managed
a remarkable recovery and
re-growth inIraqand expansion
into Syria. In so doing, Baghdadi
has become somewhat of a
celebrity figure within the
global jihadist community," said
Charles Lister, an analyst at the
Brookings Doha Center.
The group has kept up pres-
sure on the Shiite-led govern-
ment in Baghdad with frequent
and coordinated barrages of car
bombs and suicide bombs, push-
ing the country's violent death
toll last year to the highest level
since 2007, when the worst of
Iraq's sectarian bloodletting
began to subside.
A series of prison breaks,
including a complex, military-
style assault on two Baghdad-
area prisons in July that freed
more than 500 inmates, has
bolstered his group's ranks and
raised its clout among jihadist
That notoriety only grew
when his fighters seized control
of the city of Fallujah and other
parts of the vast western Anbar
province in recent weeks.
His push into Syria has won
him large numbers of foreign
recruits , and is helped by "a
slick and effective propaganda
machine, which has had a truly
global reach," according to
Lister. Last year, he added "and
the Levant" to the end of his
group'soname to reflect its cross-
But its muscling in on other
Syrian rebel groups' territory
has created divisions among
the militant ranks. The Nusra
Front, an al-Qaida-linked rebel
group in Syria, bristled at the
Islamic State of Iraq and the
Levant's unilateral announce-
ment of a merger - effectively a
hostile takeover --last year.
Abu Qatada, a radical
preacher who was deported
from Britain and faces terrorism
charges in his native Jordan,
is among those who have
criticized ISIL's role in Syria.
Syria barrel bomb
kills 11, injures more
RELEASE DATE- Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Los Angeles Times Daily Crossword Puzzle
Edited by Rich Norris and Joyce Nichols Lewis
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BREAKFAST VOTE TODAYt
BEST OF ANN ARBOR 2014
on the c
to try t
Jlosions in The videowas consistent
iols and with what reporting by The
.q Associated Press found.
jure children A cameraman films from
inside a vehicle as it speeds
in Aleppo toward a place where dust is
drifting into a clear blue sky.
UT (AP) - Men pull a The camera swivels to men and
m the rubble and haul boys running around a building
o a dirty sheet of plastic, that has been torn in half by an
nother child, coated in explosion.
ust save for a red streak "Are there martyrs?" the
I from his nose, lies with narrator asks. His camera
shed leg dangling off a focuses on a lump of red flesh in
- the grisly aftermath a vehicle.
he dropping of a crude It is the beginning of a grim
bomb" by Syrian forces litany of death, as seen from the
ity of Aleppo. jerking camera.
bombing - one of at A child, his legs missing,
even such attacks in lies on the ground, partially
on Tuesday - struck covered by a blanket.
ue that was being used "Are there anybody's
hool, killing at least 11 children here?" cries one man.
activists said. A video "Bashar, you lowlife!" cries
d by activists contained another, referring to the Syrian
of the carnage. ruler, raising his hands angrily
as the latest example of to the sky. Another man shakes
ightened use of barrel a blackened body inside a
devices packed with vehicle.
plosives and scrap metal A man carries a lifeless
e hurled from helicop- boy, lifting him partly by his
en indiscriminately. clothes, and leaves him on
e Thursday, around 80 the sidewalk near two other
have been killed by mangled corpses. An older man
bombs used by Syrian with a bloodied face stumbles
nt BasharAssad's forces toward the child, weeping, "Oh,
o dislodge rebels from God, your grace, oh, God."
, according to figures The cameraman also
rd by the Britain- captures scenes of the boy with
Syrian Observatory for the crushed leg and the girl
Rights, which relies on pulled from the ruins.
ork of activists on the Far from the battlegrounds
. in Syria, Assad's chief ally, Rus-
video uploaded from the sia, expressed confidence that
eld Masaken Hanano the government would return
showed the aftermath to the U.N.-hosted peace talks
explosion at or near the in Geneva that began in Janu-
n Bin Affan mosque, ary after three years of war.
adults were teaching Assad's government has not
n the Quran, said committed to attending the
Hassoun Abu Faisal of next round of talks, expected
ppo Media Center. on Feb. 10.