Obama: US Combat mission in Iraq over

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Aug 312010
Authors: By Margaret Talev and Warren P. Strobel McClatchy-Tribune

WASHINGTON — After more than seven years of war, President Barack Obama declared the combat mission in Iraq over on Tuesday night, saying it’s in the best interests of both Iraqis and
Americans and that ending combat will help the United States focus on new priorities, especially restoring the economy.

In excerpts released by the White House ahead of a prime-time Oval Office address to mark the formal transition of security authority in Iraq, Obama said that “now, it is time to turn the page.”

Turning his attention to the issue dominant in the American public’s mind two months before
November’s elections, the president said that “today, our most urgent task is to restore our economy and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work.” He added that “in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as president.”

On Iraq, he said that the U.S. has paid “a huge price” in human and dollar costs since President George W. Bush’s invasion in 2003.

“We have persevered because of a belief we share with the Iraqi people, a belief that out of the ashes of war, a new beginning could be born in this cradle of civilization.”

Now, “We have met our responsibility,” Obama said, according to the excerpts.

For weeks, the president and his advisers have been highlighting the transition date as a promise fulfilled. At the same time, Obama and his team insist they are well aware of the difficulties that remain in a country where insurgents pose a serious threat and the elections six months ago have yet to yield an agreement on a government. Violence exploded last week with insurgent attacks and car and suicide bombings in 14 cities.

Despite the transition to Iraqi security forces, roughly 50,000 U.S. troops remain in Iraq for counterterrorism, training and protection of U.S. personnel. They are expected to stay at least through the end of 2011 under an agreement with the Iraqis.

Republicans on Tuesday emphasized the possibility that Iraq may not be stable enough even by then to succeed without U.S. forces present.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Iraqis and Americans “deserve to know what America is prepared to do if the cause for which our troops sacrificed their lives in Iraq is threatened.”

Boehner said that in recent months “we’ve often heard about ending the war in Iraq, but not much about winning the war in Iraq. If we honor what our men and women fought for, we cannot turn our backs now on what they have achieved.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that Obama “could very well find himself negotiating a new security agreement next year.”

Just as the end of the combat mission marks a milestone for the nation, it is also a bookend for
Obama, who opposed the preemptive war from the start and campaigned on that opposition but
has had to oversee the war as commander-in-chief for a year and a half.

Before his speech Tuesday, Obama flew to the Army base at Fort Bliss, Texas, where thousands
of U.S. soldiers deployed to and returned from combat in Iraq.

He called Bush from Air Force One, though aides declined to release any detail about the call.

At Fort Bliss, Obama told soldiers that “what I’d like to do is just to come around and shake all of your hands personally, to say thank you to all of you, to say thank you for a job well done, and to know that you are welcome home with open arms from every corner of this country. People could not be prouder of you, and we are grateful.”

A day earlier, he visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and honored 11 soldiers with the Purple Heart. Vice President Joe Biden is in Iraq for a formal ceremony to hand responsibility from Gen. Raymond T. Odierno to Gen. Lloyd Austin.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, addressing the American Legion National Convention in
Milwaukee on Tuesday, said, “I am not saying that all is, or necessarily will be, well in Iraq,”
Gates said. His voiced quivered as he read the number of troops killed in Iraq, 4,427.

A USA Today/Gallup poll last week found that 34 percent of Americans now say it was worth going to war in Iraq.

Americans are divided over whether the U.S. is any safer from terrorism because of the war. As for the elephant in the room — whether the U.S. should renew a combat mission if Iraqi forces can’t maintain security — Americans say no by about a 2-to-1 ratio.

The poll of 1,003 adults had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Even before Obama spoke, Republicans were branding the president as a hypocrite. They said more credit was due to Bush, for backing Gen. David Petraeus’ troop surge that was credited with helping to stabilize the situation enough to turn governance over to the Iraqis.

McConnell recalled that “the surge wasn’t very popular when it was announced” and that “one of its biggest critics was the current president.”

 Posted by at 4:13 pm

Killings spread panic in Iraq

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Aug 312010
Authors: By Usama Redha and Ned Parker McClatchy-Tribune

BAGHDAD — It has been a month now and still there are no answers. There is just a father gripping the photographs of his son.

In one, 21-year-old Ali Mohammed Fakher is in Japan, dressed in his white judo robe; in another, he’s on a boat in Turkey with his coach and teammates. Fakher had gone further than any of his family imagined, rising from the rough streets of west Baghdad to become the star player on Iraq’s national judo team.

On the day before he was to leave Iraq to train for tournaments, he was shot to death as he walked down the main street of his neighborhood. State television broadcast video of his family and supporters weeping as they carried his coffin.

“The hero is gone!” one mourner cried in the street. “The bad men have killed him.”

But like other killings and assassinations in a wave of violence that has crept up on Iraq during an unnerving political stalemate, no one really knows who the “bad men” are. Was Fakher killed by a Sunni Arab insurgent group like al-Qaida in Iraq, or a Shiite Muslim militia like the one that once controlled the neighborhood, or did the attack stem from a personal feud?

Iraqis are left muttering one word, vague yet ominous: Terrorists, the television announcer intoned about Fakher’s killers. Terrorism, police recorded in their books. It was terrorists, his parents say.

Fakher’s killing is a chilling echo of the early years after the U.S.-led invasion, a time when people were gunned down without explanation or logic and killers faded into the woodwork. The stealthy decimation of communities caused a ripple effect, sowing dissension and discrediting the workings of the new state and the U.S military, until the deluge of sectarian bombings and killings tipped the country into civil war.

U.S. military and civilian officials have hailed Iraq’s step back from the abyss since 2008 and the tentative return of normality, with a capable army and police force and a major drop in violence.

But as the U.S. ends combat operations in the country and politicians seem unable to break a deadlock over forming a new government nearly six months after national elections, every attack rattles the general population and fans the panic that the “bad men,” the “terrorists,” are back.

Dozens of security officers, ministry officials, judges and clerics have been killed or wounded this year. From March through the end of June, at least 354 people across Iraq died from explosives planted on their cars.

“2010 is worse than 2008 and 2009. We hope and pray to God that security will improve,” said Ghazi Abdul Aziz Essa, director-general of Baghdad’s main power plant.

He bristles at the notion that he and others in his ministry aren’t in danger. “Of course there is a threat,” he said, adding he has again taken to switching cars to throw off would-be hit men.

Some Iraqis whisper that anyone can be killed now because no one is in charge, no questions will be asked, the evidence will be long gone by the time a government is finally in place. People can use the cover of political deadlock to make power plays and settle personal scores.

“Of course this situation is because the government has not been formed,” said Kamil Kanjar, head of the local council in Baghdad’s Sadr City district. “Probably the security forces are not obeying instructions and orders in a proper way because they feel there is no government.”

U.S. military officers suspect at least a portion of the violence is tied to efforts to influence the shape of the next government. They caution that the targeted killings and assassinations are driven by factors that transcend strict sectarian hatreds.

“It’s very hard to attribute some of those assassinations,” said Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Mangum, one of the deputy commanding generals for Baghdad. “It could be political, could be tribal, could be economic; it could be criminal.”

Fear grips officials and rank-and-file state employees in Iraq, where every day brings news of a new death or botched attack. Last week, a member of the Sadr City council opened his door and was shot dead by two men just 100 yards from parked Iraqi army Humvees and 200 yards from a police checkpoint.

Each killing and ambush resonates, spreading panic and destroying people’s faith that the future will be better.

Ali Fakher’s father, Mohammed, weeps readily. He remembers how his son was always gifted. He started judo when he was 11, shortly after the family moved to Shula, a Shiite neighborhood in west Baghdad. Agile and clever, he could always tackle the bigger boys wrestling on the street. His older brother often ended up crying to his parents after Ali, three years younger, routinely pinned him.

Mohammed recalls his son’s last day alive. Ali said he might stay overnight by the sports club because his team was leaving early the next day, and Mohammed wished him a safe trip, like he always did.

His son was walking down the street when a man, his face covered by a head scarf, rode up on a motorcycle and fired at Ali’s head and chest. The young man lifted his hand to ward off the bullets, and three went through it.

“Ali became well known,” his father said, lingering over his son’s image. “For that he was killed.”

His family said Ali had recently talked about buying a gun because he was worried he might be targeted. His mother, Umm Ali, began crying, saying some people might have been jealous. But asked who would have done it, both parents had the same answer: terrorists.

“Nowadays there is no stability in this country,” Mohammed said. “If the government was formed, it would provide security and generally this would not have happened.”

He worries for his three remaining sons. “I don’t want my sons to go out,” he says. “If I had money, I would send them abroad. But I don’t have the means.”

Outside, a few boys run near where Ali Fakher slumped to the ground. Laughing, they play with water guns, pointing them at one another’s heads in their own miniature version of Baghdad’s turbulent season.

 Posted by at 4:11 pm

Time management: A student’s worst enemy

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Aug 312010
Authors: Kari Pills

How to balance school, jobs and a social life in college is a demanding task many students haven’t been able to grasp.

In fact, among the vast array of classes and majors, figuring out time management may be the most daunting of all tasks.

Here are some tips on how to balance a busy schedule from Heather Landers, learning program director for The Institute for Learning and Teaching, or TILT.

Staff writer Kari Pills can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Attend the Workshop

  • Every week Landers and a team of graduate students hold academic skills workshops on different ways to have a successful school year.
  • Where: TILT Building, Rm. 105
  • When:
    * Mondays at 7 p.m.,
    * Tuesday at 2 p.m., and
    * Wednesdays at 4 p.m.
    For more information contact Heather Landers at 970-491-1324.

This interactive workshop will give students:

  • Strategies for time management, with a focus on setting personal priorities and thinking about how to tackle tasks based on larger goals
  • Tools they can use for academic, career and personal planning.
 Posted by at 3:42 pm

Daily Record

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Aug 312010
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

Monday Arrests

  • There were no arrest affidavits available at time of pick up.

*Other Notable Items


  • 12:26 a.m.: DUI at the 1900 block of Prospect Road.
  • 2:12 a.m.: Weapons at the 1000 block of South Drive.
  • 11:32 a.m.: Burglary at Corbett Hall, 801 W. Laurel Street.
  • 1:27 p.m.: Theft at Lory Student Center, 1101 Center Ave.
  • 11:02 p.m.: Theft at the 1000 Block of South Drive.


  • 8:11 p.m.: Vehicle theft at the 900 block of South Drive.
  • 9:06 p.m.: Theft at the 700 block of South Drive.

The Daily Record will be published in the_ Collegian Tuesday through Friday. It is compiled by the staff of the _Collegian from arrest affidavits and a daily incident record provided by the CSUPD. The Daily Record is also available daily online at Collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:09 pm


 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Ramtalk
Aug 312010
Authors: Alexandra Sieh
  • To the girl having her way with the medicine ball at the Rec Center on Monday: I don’t think push ups are done that way. Glad to see decency is gone.
  • Today I learned that God punishes you for taking shortcuts by turning on the sprinklers.
  • For those freshmen in need of condoms: Safety first. Then teamwork.
  • Nothing says it’s 11 a.m. on a Tuesday like a girl walking to class, red cup in hand.
  • When will CSU learn that the sidewalks don’t need to be watered in order to keep their color?
 Posted by at 3:04 pm

Merger of Tea Parties, Republicans makes noxious brew

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Aug 312010
Authors: Ian Bezek

Last weekend’s gigantic rally at the Lincoln Memorial showed that the Tea Party movement has grown far beyond its humble economic roots, and it has turned itself into a full-fledged
reinvention of American conservatism.

But change isn’t always good. Though I’m not usually prone to nostalgia, after seeing a bit of last weekend’s rally, I was left thinking, “I want the old Tea Parties back.”

The Tea Party movement began in 2008 as a reaction to President Bush’s ill-planned bailout and general anger regarding the government’s utter incompetence in regulating the financial system.

Drawing inspiration from the original Tea Party in Boston’s harbor more than two centuries ago, protestors levied valid complaints against our financial system.

In the past few years, numerous problems plagued our economy. Mortgage fraud sprouted up almost as rapidly as suburban sprawl, banks engaged in numerous deceptive and unethical practices and thoroughly ordinary business executives received outlandish bonuses.

In this environment, it’s unsurprising that a popular movement rose up to protest the excesses of the financial system. Once the government decided to shower taxpayer money on these out-of-control financial institutions, populist rage was unavoidable.

The Tea Parties started with a just cause. It’s too bad that the Tea Parties did not keep their focus on the problems with our financial system, as the recent reforms passed by the Obama administration were greatly shaped by lobbyists and as such do little to prevent another economic calamity in the future.

For example, efforts to regulate the credit card industry last year have already run aground as banks have just started offering “professional” credit cards –– cards traditionally targeted to savvy businessmen ­­­­–– to ordinary Americans. These cards are exempt from last year’s credit card
law; a financial law is never passed without a loophole.

But the Tea Parties moved away from their original focus of offering needed criticism about our financial system.

By the middle of 2009, conservative spokespersons seized control of the Tea Parties and re-directed them toward anger over a range of more traditional conservative issues. When Sarah
Palin was anointed as de facto leader of the Tea Party movement, I figured the movement was on its way to irrelevancy.

But I was wrong. Instead of fading away, the Tea Parties managed to merge with a socially conservative and often xenophobic wing of the Republican Party in an unholy alliance that continues to gain strength.

As I documented in my column on the tax day rally in Fort Collins this April, as many of the protestors seemed as interested in conspiracies about President Obama’s birth certificate or his religious practices as they were in his economic policies.

But still, the flame of anger about economic abuses smoldered on. Saturday, however, “Reverend” Glenn Beck extinguished those embers with his absurd monologue.

Ross Douthat of the New York Times described Beck’s speech perfectly, saying, “This was a tent revival crossed with a pep rally intertwined with a history lecture married to a U.S.O. telethon — and that was just in the first hour.”

Beck kept hammering on the idea that America was returning to God, and that we, America’s patriots, must be ready to do God’s work.

No longer is the point restoring our economy or fighting economic corruption, now Beck wants us to focus on “Restoring Honor.” Here’s one idea, Mr. Beck, perhaps your Republican Party could stop launching optional wars against innocent countries 5,000 miles from home? It’s hard to restore honor while you are busy killing off civilians across the world.

Combine Beck’s religious nationalism with Ms. Palin’s nonsensical babbling about patriotism, and it’s obvious that the Tea Parties of 2010 are all about launching a revival within the religious wing of the Republican Party.

Now the Tea Parties serve as an inspiration to narrow-minded white Americans to be proud of their obliviousness. It’s a shame Beck chose to have the rally on the anniversary of the day that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Talk about spitting on someone’s grave.

Once a noble cause, the Tea Party brand is now little more than a front for far-right activism. I want the old Tea Parties back.

Ian Bezek is a senior economics major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:00 pm

Apathy – How to give a meh

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Aug 312010
Authors: Jonathan Kastner

College, as we all know, is about getting an education.

Potential employers are eager for the droplets of wisdom that will dribble out of our mouths like the spilled side-beer from the mouths of free young men and women around the world. This, dear fellows, is what our future employers expect of us.

Yet it may surprise you to know that some people try to do more with their college. No, not attending class. No one does that after the first day –– go to class and see for yourself. Some people try to get involved in the actual college-experience part of college.

Drinking and regret would be your natural next guess as to what I am talking about, but again, no.

Liquid entertainment is a part of it for a good deal of students, and in moderation and at the legal age (all of you are going to wait, right?) there’s nothing wrong with this aspect of college.
But this also is not the college experience.

Defining the college experience is not simple, and any definition will ultimately be arbitrary. However, thanks to my Bachelor of Arts in English, I am fully qualified to select an arbitrary definition, declare it to be utterly true and defend that definition to the death of my pen. My personal definition, and hence truth, is that the college experience involves doing this in addition to being educated.

A lot of people are going to graduate with a degree. A Bachelor of Arts or Sciences puts you ahead automatically, but take a look around one of those classrooms. If it was the first day, it would be really, really crowded. You need to stand out.

Getting involved would make you stand out, in a student organization or otherwise worthwhile hobby or part-time job. And that, dear readers, is exactly what you must not do.
Standing out would mean being different, and different people are weird and horrible. In order to have any chance at all at employment, blend in. Be incredibly, overwhelming average.

Follow the example of the magnificent wallflower, nature’s most determined blossom. Even in shady, indoor environments, perhaps over by a punch bowl or at the back of a classroom blissfully at rest, the mighty wallflower knows that to stand out, one would have to risk consequence.

Let me illustrate my point. What do you wear to a job interview? A plain suit that makes you look just like everyone else. Do you wear bright, unique colors? Do you have enormous, neon-colored hair? Do you have a puffy red nose? Not unless you are applying to be a clown or a serial killer you don’t.

When you apply to a job, your resume goes into a pile with dozens of other resumes at best and thousands at worst. Anyone that stands out in that crowd is going to be, by definition, an abnormal person. The last thing you want is a potential employer thinking you are not entirely

To avoid the college experience, then, and remain safely normal, just take a few simple steps. Do not, under any circumstances, get involved with a student-run organization. Not only are you immediately in the minority of students who do such things, your specific club will inevitably make you even more abnormal.

A quick word of warning –– the Student Involvement Expo is out on the Lory Student Center Plaza right now (unless it rained, snowed, hailed or death-hailed). If you go out right now and find something you enjoy, you run a risk of gaining an employer’s attention as a non-typical candidate.

So, stay inside, be normal, maybe watch some TV, and I wish you all a bland and uninteresting rest of the school year.

Johnathan Kastner is in his second year of his second bachelor degree, majoring in computer science. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:47 pm

Between Iraq, a hard place

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Aug 312010

President Barack Obama sat in the Oval Office Tuesday night and declared an official end to the U.S. combat missions in Iraq.

But as the Washington Post put it: “There was no dancing in the streets, no celebratory gunfire and no sense that a milestone had been reached.”

You see: Turmoil still festers in this Middle Eastern state.

As the transcript from Obama’s address reads, “Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country.”

But are they ready for us to leave?

Six months after Iraqi national elections, a stable government has yet to be formed.

“How can the Americans leave when we don’t have a government, don’t have a state?” Hafedh Zubaidi, a Baghdad resident, asked the Los Angeles Times.

Yes, the U.S. will keep 50,000 troops in Iraq in an advisory role, and bringing home our soldiers is an incredible breath of air for many American families and friends.

But in what condition are we leaving the Iraqi people –– the countless Iraqi families who’ve suffered just as many or more tragedies than those in the U.S.

This retreat was inevitable, but caution must be taken to help Iraq create a stable government before we leave.

We started this rodeo. We need to keep riding until Iraq’s ready to hold the reigns.

 Posted by at 2:44 pm

Religious sorority sets up camp at CSU

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Aug 312010
Authors: Allison Sylte

Jenna Willis wanted to give women a place to feel comfortable with their morals.

So she started Alpha Delta Chi, a national multi-denominational Christian sorority. Willis, a freshman human development and family studies major, was inspired by her older sister’s involvement in the same sorority at CU-Boulder.

“I always wanted to be part of a sorority, and Christianity is very important to me. Alpha Delta Chi appealed to me because it combined both,” Willis said.

The sorority currently has 13 members.

To find other members, Willis and two advisors from the Boulder chapter, peppered the campus with fliers. Her idea caught the eye of Mandy Achterberg, a senior health and exercise sciences major.

“I wanted a feeling of fellowship that I wasn’t getting from other campus ministries,” Achterberg said.

Alpha Delta Chi has 13 requirements for membership, including active participation in Christian services, a willingness to abstain from sex until marriage, and a ban from smoking and drinking.

The meetings combine the to-do list of a normal sorority meeting –– community events and house activities –– with bible study and devotional practices.

“We’re the only sorority that’s completely Christian-based on campus,” Achterberg said. “We hope to serve as an outreach for Christian women to get involved in a place where their morals are not challenged.”

Alpha Delta Chi is closely involved with their brother fraternity, Alpha Gamma Omega, and intends to hold a spring semester rush.

No philanthropies have been planned as of yet, but Willis said, they will be put underway once the sorority has entirely found its footing on campus.

“Every other sorority at CSU has been very welcoming, and we’re looking forward to getting involved in the Greek community,” said Leanne Garber, a freshman human development major and Alpha Delta Chi member.

Staff writer Allison Sylte can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:24 pm

US: Don’t assume plane terror plans

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Aug 312010
Authors: By Niraj Warikoo, Ellen Creager and Matt Helms McClatchy-Tribune

DETROIT — Fears that two Yemeni men with Detroit area ties were making a terrorist dry run before being arrested off a flight in Amsterdam are slowly easing.

A senior Yemeni official told the Detroit Free Press Monday that the two men arrested Monday in connection with suspicious items in the luggage of one of the men are not terrorists.

Meanwhile, a Department of Homeland Security statement Monday appeared to downplay earlier federal assertions that it may have been linked to terrorism.

“I do not think they had any intentions” of committing terrorism, Yemen’s consul general in Detroit, Abdul-Hakim Al-Sadah, told the Free Press.

The U.S. does not expect to charge Ahmed Moihamed Nasser al-Soofi, 48, a Yemeni who has permanent resident status in the U.S., and Hezem Abdullah Thabi al-Murisi, 37, a Yemeni who
traveled to the U.S. on a visitor’s visa, a U.S. official has told the Associated Press.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Monday, “This matter is under investigation but as of right now, these two passengers have not been charged with any crime in the United States and we caution you against jumping to any conclusions.

“This incident illustrates how airport security protocols, law enforcement cooperation, and prompt international information sharing allows us to respond quickly to potential threats. In this instance, sound judgment led to suspicious items being identified, which triggered automatic security responses by U.S. security personnel. Appropriate security screening measures took place to ensure the safety of all passengers, including the proper screening, handling and matching of all checked luggage. Federal Air Marshals already on board the flight were notified.”

Al-Murisi’s Dutch lawyer, Klaas-Arjen Krikke, said later Monday that he could not comment on specifics about his client or the incident and questioned why so much information about the case had been made public but not provided to defense lawyers.

“He denies the charges adamantly,” Krikke told the Free Press. “Unfortunately, that’s all I can tell you at the moment.”

Both of the detained men missed flights to Dulles International Airport from Chicago, and United Airlines booked them on the same flight to Amsterdam, the U.S. government official said. The men were sitting near each other on the flight, but were not together. They were not on any U.S. terror watch lists, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNN Monday.

Mike Trevino, a spokesman for Chicago-based United Airlines, declined comment. He said the company is referring questions about the investigation to Homeland Security.

An FBI probe has determined that the pair were probably not on a test run for a future terror
attack, the official said. The pair were detained in connection with items found in the luggage of al-Soofi – which was sent on a separate flight from Chicago bound for Dubai via Washington.

The aircraft was called back to the gate in Washington after it was determined al-Soofi was not on the flight with his luggage and was instead on the United flight from Chicago with al-Murisi that landed in Amsterdam.

Among the suspicious items found on the flight was a cell phone taped to a Pepto Bismol bottle and wristwatches taped together.

Al-Soofi lived in the Detroit area until a few years ago. He most recently lived in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where he worked at a convenience store at a Texaco station. Al-Murisi reportedly lived in Memphis.

Tuscaloosa County, Ala., Sheriff Ted Sexton said the FBI contacted his office Monday night as part of its investigation. Sexton said Monday morning that al-Soofi had lived in Tuscaloosa and worked at a gas station there.

“Apparently he’s been here for about six months,” Sexton said. “I’m not aware of anything that has brought him forward on our radar screen.”

Sexton declined further comment, saying the FBI is leading the investigation.
Al-Sadah said that suspicions may have been aroused because he said Yemenis are currently under “the microscope.”

Al-Sadah said that it’s common for Yemeni-Americans to travel with such items when traveling to visit family members because they are often gifts.

He also said the men “did not ship the luggage themselves.”

The law enforcement official cited by the Associated Press said the arrests resulted from heightened alert less than two weeks before the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. FBI agents were chasing down leads in Detroit, Birmingham, Ala.; and Memphis, Tenn., a law enforcement official said.

 Posted by at 2:19 pm