Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 3 Issue: 46
PHILIPPINES ISSUES ALERT FOR AL-QAEDA OPERATIVES WITH INDIAN PASSPORTS
The Philippines’ Justice Department recently released a two-page memorandum for immigration supervisors, warning that al-Qaeda operatives may be attempting to infiltrate the country using forged Indian passports (Daily Tribune, November 25). The memorandum, drafted by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, orders immigration officials to “strictly monitor and conduct surveillance and profiling of all Pakistanis and Afghans, as well as Indians.” Moreover, the decree warns officials to scrutinize all visitors carrying Indian passports. According to Gonzalez, “Some Pakistanis and Afghans who are suspected emissaries of bin Laden also make use of this modus operandi by using fake Indian passports in entering the country.” Gonzalez directed officials to “secure all airline passengers’ manifests, which must be confirmed and cross-checked by the official BID encoded arrival list” (Manila Standard Today, November 25-26). The Philippines faces a number of threats from terrorist organizations, including those from Jemaah Islamiya.
SHIITES AND SUNNI ISLAMISTS WIN BIG IN BAHRAINI ELECTIONS
According to official results announced on November 26, the outcome of Bahrain’s parliamentary elections has resulted in an overwhelming victory for the Shiite Islamic National Accord Association, also known as al-Wefaq (Gulf News, November 27). The association won 16 of the 40 seats in Bahrain’s Council of Representatives. Run-off elections are scheduled for December 2, and it is possible that the Shiite party will receive even more seats pending the results. The Shiite community boycotted the 2002 elections, yet decided to turnout for the latest polls in order to avoid losing all political influence. While 70% of the population is Shiite, Bahrain is ruled by the Sunni al-Khalifa family; Sunnis also control the levers of power in the government, military and corporate sectors (Terrorism Focus, September 12). Also significant, conservative Sunni Islamists won a sizeable share of seats in parliament. Four seats were won by the Sunni al-Asala Society, and another four were won by their allies, the local Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islamic Menbar Society (Gulf Times, November 27). The victory of Shiite and conservative Sunni groups is evidence of the growing sectarian divide caused by the Iraq conflict that is polarizing the global Muslim community. Nevertheless, the new chamber will only have limited ability to make legislative changes since it will have to share powers with the upper chamber, which is appointed by King Hamad (Gulf News, November 27).