09-18-2020  9:48 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black and Jewish Community Join to Revive Historic Partnership

United in Spirit Oregon brings together members of the NAACP, Jewish Federation of Oregon, others to serve as peacemakers 

Feds Explored Possibly Charging Portland Officials in Unrest

Federal officials were told that Portland police officers were explicitly told not to respond to the federal courthouse

Latest: Report: Downed Power Lines Sparked 13 Oregon Fires

As wildfires continue to burn in Oregon and the west, here are today's updates.

Fires Raise Fight Over Climate Change Before Trump's Visit

The Democratic governors say the fires are a consequence of climate change, while the Trump administration has blamed poor forest management

NEWS BRIEFS

Free Masks and Gloves Now Available for Small Businesses

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are headquartered in Oregon with principal operations in Oregon are eligible. ...

Forest Service Explains 'Containment'

US Forest Service, Riverside Fire provides a special update to explain how they achieve wildfire containment. ...

Oregon Receives Approval of Federal Disaster Declaration for Wildfires

Decision will enable federal aid to begin flowing, as unprecedented wildfires ravage state and force evacuation of thousands ...

National Black Farmers' Association President Calls for Boycott of John Deere

Year after year, John Deere has declined NBFA's invitation to display its equipment at the 116,000-member organization's annual...

City of Vancouver Welcomes New Fire Chief

Brennan Blue is replacing Vancouver Fire Chief Joe Molina, who is retiring after 28 years. ...

Storms in Oregon cause thousands to lose power

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several thousand people were without power early Friday as thunderstorms moved through the areaKOIN reports that asbout 5,000 had no power in Linn County at about 4:30 a.m.Most of the outages are around Lebanon and Albany, but there is a number in Corvallis and Monmouth as...

Man sentenced to repay millions in marijuana lab explosion

MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — A man has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison and ordered to repay millions of dollars for his role in a marijuana lab explosion that caused a wildfire in which a firefighter got hurt. The Mail Tribune reports 24-year-old Michael Cashmareck was sentenced in...

AP Top 25 Reality Check: When streaks end, but not really

For the first time since the end of the 2011 season, Ohio State is not ranked in the AP Top 25.The Buckeyes' streak of 132 straight poll appearances is the second-longest active streak in the country, behind Alabama's 198.Of course, in this strange season of COVID-19, Ohio State's streak was...

Potential impact transfers this season aren't limited to QBs

While most of the offseason chatter surrounding college football transfers inevitably focuses on quarterbacks, plenty of notable players at other positions also switched teams and could make major impacts for their new schools this fall.Miami may offer the clearest example of this.Quarterback...

OPINION

One Huge Lie Crystallized

The Democrats have cast the President as a failed leader, but Trump’s supporters painted him as a success and the last line of defense against radical socialism. ...

“Losers”???!!!

I am hoping that millions of us will teach Trump what it means to be a loser on November 3rd. ...

Letter to the Editor: Regarding 'Initially Supportive Some Community Leaders Criticize Move to Decriminalize Drugs'

I was surprised to see your article with the headline indicating Community Leaders' criticism of Oregon Measure 110. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Princeton faces federal inquiry after acknowledging racism

The Trump administration has opened an investigation into racial bias at Princeton University, saying that the school's recent acknowledgment of racism on campus amounts to a “shocking” and “serious” admission of discrimination.In a letter to the university on Wednesday,...

New Jersey law seeks to stem pollution in minority areas

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Friday a measure giving state regulators power to deny development permits to businesses whose operations pollute predominantly Black and other minority communities.Murphy, a Democrat, cast the legislation in sweeping terms, calling it...

Drug shows promise in 1st largely minority COVID-19 study

A drug company said Friday that a medicine it sells to tamp down inflammation has helped prevent the need for breathing machines in hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the first large study that primarily enrolled Hispanics and Blacks.Switzerland-based Roche reported the results for tocilizumab, sold...

ENTERTAINMENT

'The Vanishing Half' nominated for National Book Award

NEW YORK (AP) — Two of the summer's most talked about novels, Brit Bennett's “The Vanishing Half” and Megha Majumdar's “A Burning,” are on the National Book Awards fiction longlist. Judges also nominated the story collection “If I Had Two Wings,” by ...

Woody Allen's 'A Rainy Day in New York' to get U.S. release

NEW YORK (AP) — After being shelved for two years, Woody Allen's “A Rainy Day in New York" will finally land in U.S. theaters next month.MPI Media Group and Signature Entertainment announced Thursday that the companies will release “A Rainy Day in New York” in North...

With picnic baskets, Christian Siriano puts on backyard show

WESTPORT, Conn. (AP) — Christian Siriano, who turned his atelier into a mask-making machine, took to his Connecticut backyard Thursday for a cozy fashion show complete with picnic baskets for his small in-person crowd, masks on the faces of his models and a dip in his pool for pregnant muse...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

VIRUS DIARY: Always learning from 'happy little accidents'

PHOENIX (AP) — I'm not alone in confessing that I have always enjoyed those Bob Ross instructional painting...

Disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein stripped of UK honor

LONDON (AP) — Britain on Friday stripped disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of an honor recognizing his...

Pope seeks to 'liberate' Virgin Mary from the Mafia

ROME (AP) — Pope Francis is giving his blessing to a new Vatican think tank that is seeking to prevent the...

Amal Clooney quits UK role over 'lamentable' Brexit plan

LONDON (AP) — Amal Clooney has become the highest profile lawyer to quit an official job over her...

Assange lawyer says Trump offered indirect offer of pardon

LONDON (AP) — A lawyer for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has told a London court that her client was...

Flooding affects more than 1 million across East Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Flooding has affected well over a million people across East Africa, another calamity...

Don't Call the Police for domestic disturbances
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Joe Sterling CNN

(CNN) -- The deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi underscores the gaping power vacuum across Libya since the toppling of Moammar Gadhafi's regime last year.

Fighting groups that battled Gadhafi have stepped in to maintain law and order after the fall of the regime, an expert on post-Gadhafi Libya told CNN.



Most of the groups are simply neighborhood watch entities. But some include hard-line Muslim Salafis and have "a very Islamist orientation," said Frederic Wehrey, a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

The group accused of being behind the consulate assault, the Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades, is said to be pro-al Qaeda.

"The problem is that the Libyan army and the Libya police forces effectively disintegrated," Wehrey said. "These groups are basically running the show" throughout much of Libya.

Wehrey, in speaking to CNN, cited two of his recent essays about security in Libya. One was in Foreign Affairs in July and the other appeared Wednesday on the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace website.

He said the fledgling government is in a bind.

Officials are trying to demobilize and reintegrate the militias and bring these groups into the government security forces, he said.

But the militia members across Libya remain loyal to their groups and distrust the new government's authority, in part because of the "taint" of a link to the Gadhafi regime, Wehrey said.

The government has used militia commanders to quell tribal fighting, subcontracted border control and defense of oil installations to small brigades, and used armed groups to provide security during elections.

In Benghazi, he said, ballots for an election were stored and counted at the headquarters of the city's strongest militia.

"The strategy of trying to dismantle the regional militias while simultaneously making use of them as hired guns might be sowing the seeds for the country's descent into warlordism," he warned.

"It has also given local brigades and their political patrons leverage over the central government. Emboldened by the writ of state authority, brigade commanders have been free to carry out vendettas against rival towns and tribes, particularly those favored by ... Gadhafi," Wehrey said.

Violence between warring militias and attacks against Western and moderate Sufi Muslim targets erupted in recent months, Wehrey said. In Benghazi, there was a "rapid deterioration" of security before the U.S. Consulate attack.

A strike on a British consulate vehicle in Benghazi in June wounded a diplomat.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said its workers endured attacks at least five times in less than three month in Benghazi and Misrata. The group announced the suspension of its activities in August.

The Imprisoned Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades, in fact, first surfaced in May when it claimed responsibility for an attack on the ICRC office in Benghazi. The next month it claimed responsibility for detonating a blast outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. It also released a video of the attack.

Sufi mosques and tombs were among the sites targeted. Sufism is considered a more moderate form of Islam.

Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A'al was quoted by Human Rights Watch as calling the attackers "groups that have a strict Islamic ideology where they believe that graves and shrines must be desecrated."

That comment, Human Rights Watch said, refers to Salafists, the name for those Muslims who want a "return to Islam as they believe it was practiced in the days of the Prophet Mohammed."

Salafists have increasingly asserted themselves in eastern Libya. In June, hundreds of fighters wielding AK-47s and black Islamist banners converged on Benghazi to call for the imposition of sharia law.

This spring, an associate of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri addressed a large gathering in the town square of Derna, in eastern Libya. An online video of his address has been seen by CNN.

"Salafi militias have reportedly carried out assassinations of Gadhafi-era officials, taken over radio stations and shut down beauty parlors," Wehrey said.

Derna has for years been a recruiting ground for al Qaeda.

A 2008 diplomatic cable from Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was slain in the consulate attack, described the area as "a wellspring of Libyan foreign fighters" for al Qaeda in Iraq.

In some cases, Wehrey said, the revolutionary brigades have become "very sophisticated." They have checkpoints, security headquarters, ID cards, and their own payroll. Some militia coalitions have made handshake deals to police areas.

"These are militias that operate openly," and operate blogs and Facebook pages.

With that Salafi foothold in eastern Libya, Wehrey said, it wouldn't be hard for armed militia members to "converge on a target" in Benghazi with an hour's notice.

Was al Qaeda involved? Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the AQ branch that operates in Africa, would have connections in the country's far south, if it indeed has any network in Libya, Wehrey said.

But as for the network's actual involvement in the consulate attack, Wehrey said he thinks the strike "was a much more local affair" -- "the latest in a series of attacks by the country's increasingly active Salafis."

"Libyans' public reaction to such strong-arm tactics has been vociferous and damning," Wehrey said. "Tribes, women's groups, and civil society -- as well as the country's increasingly active social media community -- have all mobilized to condemn the recent attacks on Sufis, while mounting demonstrations of their own against the Salafis' shows of force."

Wehrey said "much of the violence suggests a movement in search of a cause."

Salafis "are now grasping at foreign causes they believe will excite Libyans' emotions," such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Syria, and anti-Americanism, he said. Meanwhile, the country's provisional government has had to deputize revolutionary brigades for security work.

"Invariably, these poorly trained bodies contain a number of Salafi militias who have used their warrant from the government to enforce draconian social mores, conduct vendettas against Gadhafi-era intelligence officers, and attack Sufis," Wehrey said.

Citizens have voiced outrage over Salafi shows of force and have mobilized against their "strong-arm tactics against, for example, the Sufis."

"For the citizens of Tripoli, Benghazi and other cities, all this is a stark and tragic reminder of the perennial problems of poor governance and the security vacuum," Wehrey said.

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