Morning Report: October 2, 2005

Terrorist bombing in Bali. As of this posting, 25 are confirmed dead and 100 wounded in the October 1 terrorist bombing in Bali, Indonesia. Washington Post: 'Suicide bombers targeted the Indonesian resort of Bali with coordinated attacks that devastated three crowded restaurants, killing at least 25 people. Two men linked to even deadlier blasts at the same resort in 2002 were suspected of masterminding the strikes, a top anti-terrorism official said Sunday. Maj. Gen. Ansyaad Mbai said the three attackers went into the packed restaurants on Saturday evening wearing explosive vests. The remains of their bodies were found at the scenes, he said. "I have seen them. All that is left is their head and feet," he told The Associated Press. "By the evidence we can conclude the bombers were carrying the explosives around their waists." Saturday's near-simultaneous blasts at two seafood cafes on Jimbaran beach and a three-story noodle and steakhouse in downtown Kuta came a month after Indonesia's president warned of possible terrorist attacks. Two Americans were among the 101 people wounded. ... "The modus operandi of Saturday's attacks is the same as the earlier ones," said Mbai, who identified the men as Azahari bin Husin and Noordin Mohamed Top. He said the two were not believed to be among the three suicide attackers, although the suicide bombers have not yet been identified. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said Saturday that terrorists were to blame and warned that more attacks were possible. ...' Counterterrorism Blog: 'Earlier this week, the former foreign minister of Australia, and current president of the highly respected International Crisis Group, Gareth Evans, gave a speech in Australia in which he stated that Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) had been eliminated and no longer posed a significant threat. He is eating humble pie this morning. While JI has not claimed responsibility for the attacks, they are the primary suspects. They are the only organization with the capability and will to conduct such attacks. The targeting of the western-oriented secotrs of the economy in an attempt to de-stabilize the regime has always been their trademark. Around 7:30 PM, Saturday, three bombs were simultaneously detonated in the Indonesian tourist island of Bali. A fourth bomb was confirmed defused. ...' CTB believes the twofold aim of targeting Bali is to strike at Indonesia's economy and to discourage the continuing influx of infidel westerners; the analysis ends with a warning that JI is pursuing a long-term agenda. Times of India: 'At least six people conspired to carry out the latest Bali blasts including the three suspected suicide bombers, Bali police chief Made Mangku Pastika said. "What is clear is they number more than three, at least there are three more people," he told a press conference.' Debka, October 1 bulletin: 'Indonesia on high terror alert after 3 suicide bombers detonated explosions that again rocked crowded Bali resorts of Jimbaran and Kuta Saturday, killing at least 26, injuring 120 wounded - many foreigners. Ten bodies still unidentified. The Indonesian counter-terror desk believes they detonated explosive vests simultaneously in three restaurants – two in Jimbaran, the 3rd in Kuta – according to the pattern of operation of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaa Islamiyah. Eighteen thousand police positioned outside foreign embassies.
A senior desk official reported that two Malaysian fugitives Azahari Bin Hosin and Noordin Mohamed Top are suspected masterminds of the attacks. They have been sought since Bali’s 2002 nightclub attacks in which 2002 people were killed, many of them Australian. JI has been recruiting new operatives to fill the ranks of members arrested and tried by Indonesian authorities. The Bali tourist industry had been painstakingly restored since then and this year the hotels were crowded.' (various)

Remember when we said we'd stop selling you oil? Well, forget we said that. Following a report in the Khaleej Times in which Iranian regime leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as threatening to cut off oil trade with the West, the IRI strongly denied that its president had made any such claim. However, news media report that Khaleej stands by its story. (Khaleej Times, ABC)

India government sides with US against Iran, faces opposition from domestic Left. India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh waxed mystical on Saturday, citing the Bhagavad-Gita in response to heavy criticism from the Indian left for his government's decision to vote against Iran by supporting the IAEA resolution on the IRI's nuclear program. Times of India: 'Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is under assault from the Left for India's vote against Iran, took recourse to the Hindu philosophy of karma on Saturday. The PM quoted the Gita to suggest that he had been unperturbed by the attack. "Nothing surprises me, the Gita says one must do one's duty unmindful of the consequences,"he said. Keeping up the pressure, Karat in Kolkata on Saturday charged that India was straining its relations with other countries under US "pressure"and asked the UPA government to spell out its stand on the voting on the Iran nuclear issue at the IAEA board meeting next month.' The government couched its support of the resolution in pro-Iranian language; New India Press: 'Seeking to allay apprehensions that India's decision to support the IAEA resolution on Iran's controversial nuclear programme was against Tehran's interests, Manmohan contended this was not the case and wanted diplomacy to be given some time to find a mutually-acceptable via-media. "What we have done is not against Iran. Give diplomacy time to find a via media which is mutually acceptable," he said.' (Times of India, New India Press)

Abu Azzam isn't dead. At least, not the Abu Azzam. Counterterrorism Blog: 'This week's "Terror Watch" column at "Newsweek" has confirmed what Evan Kohlman reported yesterday on The Counterterrorism Blog - that Abu Azzam was not truly al-Zarqawi's "#2" in Iraq. Reporters Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball dug deeper and interviewed senior counterterrorism officials. They quoted Evan: "“If I had a nickel for every No. 2 and No. 3 they’ve arrested or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’d be a millionaire...this guy was not the deputy commander of Al Qaeda.” And they confirmed his conclusions through their interviews ...' Full details at the link; check CTB for follow-ups. (CTB)

Neither is Khamenei. Rumors of Khamenei's death, which surfaced on this thread at Free Iran, proved to be greatly exaggerated. (Free Iran)