Current Events and the Psychology of Politics
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Feb 7th, 2011

Summary: Minnesota Somali gangs known in recent years for armed robberies, burglaries, and even killings of fellow East Africans have evolved into more lucrative criminal enterprises — including sex trafficking and credit card fraud — and are proliferating their crimes from Minneapolis to other parts of the United States. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on February 7, 2010, Aubrey Immelman featured the controversial “Focus on the Family” anti-abortion TV spot featuring football star Tim Tebow and his mother Pam, aired during the 2010 Super Bowl.


Dec 28th, 2010

Summary: Fuad Mohamed “Shongole” Qalaf, leader of al-Shabab, Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked Islamist insurgency, is threatening to attack America. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on December 28, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that in the midst of two unfinished wars — Afghanistan and Iraq — the United States had quietly opened a third, largely covert, war front against Al Qaeda in Yemen.


Aug 7th, 2010

Summary: The Justice Department has announced the indictment of 14 people — 12 of them Minnesota Somalis, many of them U.S. citizens — accused of funneling “money, personnel, and services” to the Shabab, the Islamist terrorist group fighting an insurgency in Somalia. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on August 7, 2009 Aubrey Immelman reported that a suicide car bomb devastated a Shiite mosque in northern Iraq, one of a series of attacks that killed at least 40 and wounded about 100 Iraqis. He also reported that Pakistan’s Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud had been killed in a CIA missile strike.


Jan 12th, 2010

Summary: Thousands of Somali boys and teenagers fleeing war and chaos at home are sailing to Yemen, where officials worry that the new arrivals could become the next generation of al-Qaida fighters. U.S. and Yemeni authorities also fear that Islamist fighters from Somalia could slip into the country among the throngs of refugees, deepening ties between al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen and the particularly hard-line al-Shabab militants of Somalia. … Massoud Ali Mohammadi, a nuclear physics professor who publicly backed Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the disputed June 2009 presidential election, was killed when a bomb-rigged motorcycle blew up outside his home in Tehran. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 12, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that security forces used tear gas and batons to repel anti-Israel protesters who tried to attack a U.S. consulate in Pakistan as tens of thousands of people demonstrated worldwide against Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip. He also reported that seven years after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan routed the Taliban regime, hard-line Islamic fighters who had scattered under massive bombardment to their villages and rear bases in Pakistan once again govern large swaths of Afghanistan and are dug in across regions that surround the capital Kabul, saying they welcome the U.S. military’s proposal to send as many as 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan by summer 2009 because it will give them more chances to kill “infidels.”


Jan 2nd, 2010

Summary: In the latest sign that Yemen — the country where Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the suspect in the attempted Christmas Day airliner bombing recently spent some time — is becoming a focus for both the West and extremists, Britain announced that it and the U.S. have agreed to fund a counterterrorism police unit there. Meanwhile, Somalia’s Islamist rebel group al-Shabab said it was ready to send reinforcements to al-Qaida in Yemen should the U.S. carry out retaliatory strikes, and urged other Muslims to follow suit. … One-year retrospective: One year ago today, on January 2, 2009, Aubrey Immelman reported that South African anti-apartheid icon Helen Suzman, one of the first white lawmakers to fight against the injustices of whites-only rule in that country, died on Thursday, January 1, 2009 at the age of 91.


Mar 12th, 2009

Summary: U.S. counterterrorism officials have raised concerns that an extremist group called al-Shabab is recruiting young men in Minnesota and elsewhere in the United States. Al-Shabab controls much of Somalia and wants to establish an Islamic state there. The FBI is investigating whether young Somali men are being radicalized in Minnesota and recruited to fight with terror groups in Somalia.


Jan 26th, 2009

Summary: Counterterrorism officials and the FBI are investigating whether al-Shabab or other Somali Islamic groups are actively recruiting in the United States. Officials say as many as 20 Somali-Americans between the ages of 17 and 27 have left their Minneapolis homes since 2007, apparently bound for Somalia.