Members of hardline Muslim
groups protest against Jakarta's incumbent governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an
ethnic Chinese Christian running in the upcoming election, outside his office
in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 14, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside
‘Zakir Naik’s NGO Used Foreign Education Funds for
Al-Baghdadi’s Call to Attack Saudi Arabia Is a Joke:
Arab Coalition Spokesman
Terrorism Including ISIS Major Threat to Region,
Abdullah Tells SCO Summit
Religious Leaders Condemn Halloween Celebrations in
Probe ‘Bhopal Encounter’ As Per SC Rules, Demand
KPCC Flays Efforts to Repudiate Muslim Law
Uniform Civil Code: Muslim Outfit to Organise Seminar
on November 5
Pakistan's polity doesn't have capacity to sustain
normal ties with India: Shivshankar Menon
Chennai: Muslim outfit holds protest against SIMI
Bhopal Encounter: Villager Who Saw SIMI Men Did Not
See Any Weapon
Terrorists Use Chemical Weapons against Civilians in
Syrian Army Forces Capture More Regions near Khan
Army Seizes Chemical Weapons from Terrorists in
Fight to the end, IS boss Baghdadi urges Mosul
Pentagon claims Baghdadi losing control of troops
Tough Infighting Reported among US-Supported
Terrorists in Aleppo
Jeish Al-Fatah Sends More Forces to Western Aleppo
Saudi man gets 15 years for Shiite cleric support
Lebanon's Hariri named Prime Minister, wins speaker's
Belgian minister prefers to pay fine than granting
visas to Syrian family
Syria rebels renew Aleppo attack
Election body in Kuwait disqualifies 46 parliamentary
Saudi forces eliminate Houthi snipers on border
Saad Hariri named Lebanon’s new prime minister
NATO Airstrike Kills 30 Afghan Civilians, Officials
Two US Military Personnel, 16 Afghans Killed In Clash,
Islamists deny involvement in attack on Bangladesh
Hindus, blame administration
Bangladesh police arrest militants who supplied arms
for cafe attack
PM warns of tougher action against any mayhem like
Protest against B'baria attack continues
Myanmar arms non-Muslim civilians in Rakhine
TV reporter killed in an explosion in Helmand province
Russia to support Afghanistan in all sectors: Abdullah
Religious Leaders Condemn Halloween Celebrations in Punjab
Sindh to Monitor People Returning From Afghanistan, Iran
Unlike PTI, PPP won’t surrender in fight for
Nawaz blamed for delay in appointing new army chief
At UN, Pakistan reiterates call for Kashmir plebiscite
Qadri sees massive contradictions in PM’s statements
Indian diplomats accused of damaging Pak-China ties
PTI, JI want Panama inquiry start from Sharifs
Erdogan Accuses Germany Of ´Harbouring Terrorists´
Yemenis Protest UN Peace Plan 'That Legitimizes Coup'
Israel jails Palestinian minor for life for murder
Turkey says Iraqi border deployment a precaution,
urges calm from Baghdad
Syria's U.S.-backed SDF says no to Turkish role in
Turkish army chief holds 'constructive' talks with
Russia on Syria: statement
Palestinian tries to stab soldier in West Bank, shot
Turkish Helicopter Alights Officers, Unloads
Suspicious Boxes in Idlib
Mosul may be scene for Turkish-Iranian dispute
Turkish army chief's Moscow visit signals cooperation
on regional issues
At Least 110 Feared Dead In Migrant Shipwreck off
Nigeria Frees Muslims Accused Of Murder Over Blasphemy
Africa Should Brace for Influx of Islamic State
Muslim Hate In America: Islamic Centre Vandalized In
Florida Amid Divisive 2016 Campaign
Muslim-Americans rise to attention during the US
Fighting from above: the air war on IS
Killing of Saudi Student Shakes Wisconsin College Town
Arab News poll shows Middle East citizens hungry for
US policy change
Islam in France: Four Mosques Closed For 'Promoting
Radical Ideology,' French Interior Minister Says
Germany arrests 7 Afghans over Iranian teen rape
Games”: Russia-U.S. Tensions Escalate
'I'd rather see us united rather than divided':
Interfaith cooperation in action at Mount Isa's Good Shepherd Parish
Tens of Thousands of Muslims March In Indonesia
against City Governor
Ahmadiyah leaders demand government protection
Philippine Muslim rebel leader Nur Misuari meets
President Rodrigo Duterte
Two Syria-bound Malaysians arrested in Turkey: police
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Nov 4, 2016
The Union home ministry's move to debar Zakir Naik's
Islamic Research Foundation from receiving foreign funding follows the
detection of multiple violations of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act
(FCRA) by the NGO, including failure to declare nearly Rs 4.6 crore out of
total receipts of Rs 12.65 crore between 2009-10 and 2014-15. Also, IRF, though
registered for educational and social purposes and having received foreign
contributions for the same, utilized them for religious purposes in violation
of Section 8 of the FCRA.
Among the violations mentioned in a home ministry
report based on an inspection of its accounts in June 2014 are use of
International Islamic Conferences organised in Mumbai from 2007 to 2011 as a
platform to announce conversion of people to Islam to garner funds from abroad.
The report also refers to objectionable and pro-jihad speeches of Naik and the
denial of visa to him by UK and Canada in 2010 after he supported Al Qaeda on
Peace TV and stated that "if he, Osama Bin Laden, is fighting the enemies
of Islam, I am for him...Every Muslim should be a terrorist".
Also, in a programme at Chennai on January 17, 2009,
Naik proclaimed he was proud to be a fundamentalist and that Muslims were
terrorists as they were terrorising "anti-social elements" as
"ordered" by the Quran. At a meet in 2011 in Mumbai, he said if Islam
had been spread by sword, there would not have been 80% Hindus in Hindustan.
As per the home ministry's findings, IRF paid Rs 43.75
lakh to its employee Arshi Asif Qureshi, who was arrested recently by Kerala
Police for his alleged role in conversion of 19 persons who left the country to
join Islamic State in Afghanistan.
Stay updated on the go with Times of India News App.
Click here to download it for your device.
4 November 2016
JEDDAH: Daesh’s leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi’s call to
his followers to attack Saudi Arabia is a joke, said Arab coalition’s spokesman
Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri on Thursday.
Speaking to CNN, he said: “This terrorist
(Al-Baghdadi) tries to push the Islamic world toward a sectarian war, while his
group is kidnapping, torturing and beheading Muslims.”
Al-Assiri said it is of paramount importance for all
Muslims, Sunnis and Shiites, to unite in the fight against Daesh and other
terror groups that pose a threat to the future of Muslims around the world.
“Saudi Arabia is regarded as a leader of the Islamic
world by millions of Muslims. As such, it completely rejects Iran’s attempts to
fan sectarianism, which contradicts our goals to see a unified Islamic world,”
“We are victims of terrorism and have had our share of
their atrocious crimes, not least from Iranian criminals committing terrorist
acts against the country and innocent civilians in the Eastern Province” he
These terrorist groups, added Al-Assiri, target the
Kingdom, because they want to attack the heart of the Islamic world,
represented by the Kingdom, which hosts the Muslims’ holiest sites. “The
terrorists think that if Saudi Arabia collapses, the entire Islamic world will
collapse, and then they can further their agendas, which would be extremely
dangerous for the world’s security and stability,” he said.
Addressing the Syrian issue, he said: “From the
beginning of the crisis, we called on the international community to help
create a no-fly zone to end the misery of the displaced people in Syria.”
If you want to talk about the Syrian crisis “you have
to also talk about the Syrian regime and its forces’ brutality, the Iranian
militias who have been battering the Syrian people and the Russian intervention
as well,” Al-Assiri pointed out, adding that the Kingdom has been working
closely with the international community.
“It is for sure a very difficult and complicated
situation because we are late and have missed so many opportunities to defeat
the Syrian regime and the Iran-back militias. Now we have to find a solution
(in which) the Syrian people will eventually have an upper hand even if the
regime remains in power. The final word will be (that of) the people who have
already said no to the regime’s brutality,” Al-Assiri said.
Moving closer to home, Yemen, Al-Assiri rejected
claims that the Saudi-led coalition is indiscriminately bombing civilians
“Whenever there is a campaign, there are objectives,
and our campaign’s objective is to avoid civilian causalities. We have
initiated the campaign for the protection of the Yemeni people from the Houthi
militias who are implementing Iran’s agenda. Yet mistakes do happen and we have
the courage to admit when they happen,” he said, referring to the bombing of
the Great Hall in Sanaa, an incident into which Saudi Arabia ordered an
The outcome of the inquiry, made public, was that a
pilot conducted an airstrike based on a tipoff from the Yemeni Army, without
informing the coalition’s headquarters.
“There was a breach of engagement by someone in the
field. The investigating team issued three recommendations. First that the
Yemeni Army should investigate who tipped off the pilot with the coordinates of
the target. Second, the coalition should review and tighten rules of engagement
in order to avoid future similar incidents. And third, the victims of the
airstrike must be compensated,” he said.
Al-Assiri said the coalition is still waiting for the
results of the investigation conducted by the Yemeni Army, and once the results
are received, it will take the appropriate measures.
“We will not hide our mistakes. But we also want the
world to know that more than 26 million Yemenis have been hijacked against
their will by the Houthi militias.”
Terrorism including ISIS major threat to region,
Abdullah tells SCO summit
Nov 03 2016
The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said terrorism
including the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group poses
major threat to the region.
Speaking during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(SCO) summit in Bishkek, Abdulllah said “We are all fully aware that terrorism
and extremism, which involves ISIL or Daish, are major threats to our shared
peace and stability. Terrorism is the enemy of all humanity, and terrorists
belong to no particular ethnicity, region or religion, as they do not recognize
Emphasizing on joint fight to eliminate the menace of
terrorism, Abdullah said “There is no good and bad terrorist. We need to fight
them together, to assure their defeat.”
In other parts of his speech, Abdullah said
Afghanistan stands at a new and critical juncture as security and stability
continue to be major concerns for our people and the Afghan Government.
In regards to the government’s efforts to end the
ongoing violence through reconciliation process, Abdullah said “Our sincere
endeavors to engage the Taliban and nudge Pakistan to assist the peace process
have thus far yielded almost no concrete results.
He said different terrorist and militant groups, with
roots beyond Afghan borders, are engaged in a low-intensity conflict across
These groups have attempted to disrupt peace and
security by committing suicide attacks and killing innocent civilians, Abdullah
said, adding that their efforts have failed and they are facing stiff
resistance by our brave Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
In other parts of his speech, Abdullah pointed towards
the major Brussels conference on Afghanistan, “The recently held Brussels
Conference on Afghanistan was a great success. It was in fact a strong
reaffirmation of mutual commitments between the Afghan Government and the
Religious leaders condemn Halloween celebrations in
November 04, 2016
LAHORE: Religious leaders strongly condemned the
celebrations of medieval Christian festival of Halloween in majority of private
schools in the provincial metropolis, terming it a grave conspiracy to lead
astray the younger generations from the very objectives for which the country
was created through millions of sacrifices, and lamented that the rulers had
turned a blind eye to poisoning of the country’s values.
JI’s Secretary General Liaqat Baloch while talking to
The News said ignoring the Islamic values and celebrating Pagan and Christian
festivals in schools was an enemy conspiracy to poison the raw minds of young
children, so that they could be left unable to defend the country against
Baloch held the 18th Constitutional Amendment as the
key tools of implementing this conspiracy which relegated the education from
being a federal subject to the provincial subject, thus breaking the schools
away from government’s policy control and monitoring, and allowing them to
become an easy prey to the Western-funded NGOs pumping in money and incentives
Baloch said JI’s education committee was already
monitoring the organised moves to spread secularism in the country through
poisoning the minds of little schoolchildren by the chains of private schools
known for teaching foreign syllabi and would soon call a meeting to chalk out a
strategy to make the prime minister and Punjab chief minister realise their
constitutional duty towards this vital issue. He said history would never spare
the rulers for violating the Constitution, which bound them to promote Islamic
ideology and values in the country in every sphere of life.
JUP’s Vice-President Zawwar Bahadur said the country’s
education system was already broken down by the multi-tier education systems
for different social classes, while the organised conspiracies to secularise
the minds of schoolchildren amounted to adding insult to the injuries of the
He warned the rulers that they would have to be
answerable for ‘their criminal negligence’ towards the vital duty of bringing
up the generations in accordance with the Islamic ideology, which was their
constitutional obligation towards the nation. He lamented that the 18th
Constitutional Amendment paved the way for unbridled implementation of the
conspiracies to secularise the society by targeting even the minor schoolchildren
in order to digress them from their Islamic values of decency and justice.
JUI-F leader Maulana Amjad Khan said people needed to
raise strong voice against targeting the raw minds of schoolchildren to subject
them to systematic degeneration of their ideological values. He warned the
rulers that future would not spare them from being accountable for leaving the
country at the mercy of western funded NGOs.
Probe ‘Bhopal encounter’ as per SC rules, demand
Nov 04, 2016
Alleging that there were gaps in different versions
about how eight fugitive SIMI operatives were gunned down, a Muslim
organisation in Madhya Pradesh on Thursday demanded an independent probe into
the incident according to the Supreme Court guidelines for investigating police
Masood Ahmed Khan, secretary the Madhya Pradesh
Coordination Committee for Indian Muslims, said the top court’s guidelines
states that investigating of police encounters by should be conducted
independently following prescribed procedures.
“Agencies investigating an encounter should take into
account the guidelines listed by the Supreme Court,” he said.
“Until now, it appears that there are many unconnected
dots in the whole incident and to ensure a fair and transparent probe into the
alleged shootout, we have decided to file a petition in the Supreme Court and
want a sitting judge of the top court to investigate the incident.”
Pervez Alam, lawyer of the gunned down SIMI
operatives, said he was going through the Supreme Court guidelines to see if
they were not been followed. “I will file a petition in the high court soon
demanding a fair probe by a sitting judge of the high court,” he said.
“We will look into the aspects of the case and come up
with a detailed argument, which we will put before the court.”
In the 6-point guidelines for investigating encounters
by police, the top court states that an independent investigation has to be
conducted by the criminal investigation department or a police team from
another police station other than where the incident occurred and under the
supervision of a senior officer.
The guidelines also say that a magisterial inquiry
must be held in cases of death in police firing.
KPCC flays efforts to repudiate Muslim law
November 4, 2016
The Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) on
Thursday said it would resist any move to repudiate the Muslim Personal Law.
Briefing journalists here on Thursday on the
deliberations of the party’s political affairs committee, KPCC president V.M.
Sudheeran said the Sangh Parivar was using its virulent opposition to the
ancient law of “triple talaq”, the customary practice of divorce in traditional
Islam, as a “front” to infringe on the belief and tradition of Indian Muslims.
Full report at:
Uniform Civil Code: Muslim outfit to organise seminar
on November 5
November 3, 2016
With a raging debate going on over the implementation
of Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in the country, a national-level Muslim outfit on
Thursday said it would organise a seminar here on November 5 on why UCC was
against pluralism. The Popular Front of India said it would organise the
seminar, ‘Common Civil Code is against Pluralism’, on November 5 in Chennai.
PFI leaders, including Mohammed Sheikh Ansari, besides
the top functionaries of the SDPI, a pro-Tamil outfit, and a women’s forum
would participate in the seminar, the outfit said in a release. The meet,
scheduled to be held at the Reporters’ Guild, comes in the backdrop of staunch
opposition from several parties, including the main opposition in Tamil Nadu
Assembly, the DMK, and Muslim outfits, to UCC.
NEW YORK: Pakistan's polity does not have the capacity
to sustain a normal relationship with India, former foreign secretary and
national security advisor Shivshankar Menon has said as he characterized
relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors as "managed
"I would characterize (India-Pakistan relations)
today as managed hostility, which I hope it stays managed," Menon said in
response to a question on relations between the two nations at a panel
discussion organised by the 'South Asia centre at New York University' here on
On whether he sees any prospect for resolution of the
Kashmir issue, Menon, who has been India's high commissioner to Pakistan,
replied in the negative.
He said many of the issues relating to Kashmir have
been around for a long time and "we know the solutions" to many of
them but they seem to be "politically difficult" to serve.
"Today I don't think Pakistan's polity has the
capacity to sustain a normal relationship with India. I think there is a very
strong institutional interest there," he said.
Menon, who has authored the book 'Choices: Inside the
Making of Indian Foreign Policy', however added that his "fear" is
that if "it becomes a party political issue in India, which it has not
always been, then you have the same dynamic operating."
He emphasized that expectations in India on any
improved relations with Pakistan are "very very low" particularly
after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Bhopal encounter: Villager who saw SIMI men did not
see any weapon
by Dipankar Ghose , Milind Ghatwai
November 4, 2016
ON MONDAY, the day after Diwali, when Naresh Pal
stepped out of his house in Chandpur village at around 7 am, he saw eight men
navigating their way through the fields on the bank of a river about 500 metres
away. Pal, 24, who owns farmland and a store in Chandpur village, thought they
were fishermen, or villagers from the surrounding area. In the hours that followed,
his first instinct proved to be wrong. For Pal, unwittingly, became the first
witness in Khejradev panchayat to have spotted the eight SIMI activists who
were gunned down, barely three kilometres from Chandpur, hours after they
escaped from the Bhopal Central Jail on Monday.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Pal said after the
first sighting, he saw three of the men again, about half-an-hour later, at
much closer range. “Electricity supply here is intermittent… Since there was
electricity in the morning, I went to my fields, near the river, to water the
crop. I saw three of the men, on the opposite bank of the river that they had
waded through… All three had taken off their trousers and shoes, and were
carrying them in their hands… One of them had a bag… I did not see them
carrying any weapons. The other five men must have been in the river because I
didn’t see them… I raised my hand and said ‘Jai Shri Ram’, but nobody
responded,” said Pal.
It was only when he returned home at around 8 am, and
turned on the television, that Pal came to know about the jailbreak. “I got
suspicious… My phone was not working, so I borrowed a phone from another
farmer, Gyan Singh. He dialled 100 and got a policeman to speak to me. The
policeman asked if I saw the men changing clothes. He asked me to come to
Etkhedi, but I said I couldn’t,” said Pal.
Nov 03, 2016
Syrian state news agency, SANA, cited a medical source
in Aleppo's General Hospital saying that since the attacks by terrorists on
Menyan district in Western Aleppo early Thursday at least eight chemically wounded
people with suffocation symptoms have been brought to the hospital.
Five people were killed on Thursday and scores were
injured in attacks by terrorists with chemically-armed shells and mortar rounds
on government-held neighborhoods in Western Aleppo.
According to local reports, terrorists targeted the
neighborhoods of Halab al-Jadida, al-Moukambou, al-Masharqa and the surrounding
streets of the Literature Faculty in al-Furqan neighborhood with shells and
explosive bullets, killing five people and injuring 46 others including an
Al-Alam TV cameraman.
This is not the first time that terrorists in Aleppo
used toxic gases against the civilians as a senior Syrian army commander,
earlier this week, reported that the terrorists have launched chemical attacks
on the civilians in Aleppo.
The commander, Mohannad Haaj, of al-Mahavir Battalion
in the Syrian army said on Tuesday that the deployment of toxic gas in Aleppo
has the US green light adding that After the terrorists failed "in the
Great Epic Operation (Aleppo battle), the US allowed them to use toxic gases
against the civilians".
Noting that the terrorists have failed in all their
attempts, he said, "The so-called Great Epic Operation of terrorists has
scandalously failed since the Syrian army's strategy is to allow the terrorists
to enter a region first and then surround and annihilate them all."
Meantime, military sources revealed earlier on
Thursday that the Syrian army forces had captured a number of terrorists during
operations in a farm in Southern Hama, and seized weapons and ammunition
containing toxic gases from them.
The source disclosed that the toxic gas containers
seized from the terrorists included also a supply of aluminium, but declined to
reveal any further details, including the affiliation of the terrorists.
Northern Hama is the scene of heavy clashes between
the Syrian army and terrorists from nearly a dozen groups that mostly operate
under Jeish al-Fatah coalition. The umbrella group is mainly comprised of
al-Nusra Front (Fatah Al-Sham) terrorists as its backbone.
Back in September, Syria's Envoy to the UN Bashar
Al-Jafari warned that the terrorist groups were planning to launch a chemical
attack on the civilian population in Aleppo under a false-flag operation in
Syrian Army Forces Capture More Regions Near Khan
Nov 03, 2016
"The army and its allies started special
operations in the Western Ghouta of Damascus on Thursday morning and targeted
the terrorists' positions in the Northern farms of Khan al-Sheih region until
noon," a field source said.
"The army troops managed to liberate most of the
farms located in the Northern parts of Khan al-Sheih and inflicted heavy tolls
and damage on the militants," the source added.
According to the source, al-Taqi mosque and the nearby
districts in the Northern parts of Khan al-Sheih farms were among the regions
freed by the army and popular forces on Thursday.
Earlier today, the Syrian army troops continued
operations to reestablish security in regions near the capital city of Damascus
and seized back new regions in Western Ghouta.
"After heavy clashes with the terrorists which
killed and wounded dozens of them, the Syrian pro-government forces seized
control of more regions near Khan al-Sheih," a military source said on
"The army and its allies continued their
operations to liberate Khan al-Sheih and regained control over 3 sq/km of
nearby farms in al-Buwaizeh in the Southeastern parts of Damascus and tightened
the noose on the terrorists," he added.
Noting that the final stage of operations to free Khan
al-Sheih will start soon, the source said that the army soldiers could also
defuse the militants' attempts to break the siege, and destroyed a tank and
several military vehicles of the terrorists at the gates of Khan al-Sheih town.
Northern Hama is the scene of heavy clashes between the
Syrian army and terrorists from nearly a dozen groups that mostly operate under
Jeish al-Fatah coalition. The umbrella group is mainly comprised of al-Nusra
Front (Fatah Al-Sham) terrorists as its backbone.
Other reports from Southern Hama also said that the
Syrian fighter jets pounded Ahrar al-Sham terrorist group's positions in Hor
Benafseh town which killed and wounded dozens of terrorists and smashed their
military equipment and weapons.
Meantime, a military source in Northern Hama said that
the army units, backed by the air force, attacked Jeish al-Fatah terrorists'
positions in Taybat al-Imam, al-Buwaizeh, Tabarat al-Dabieh, Tal Huwair,
al-Masaseneh, al-Zalaqiyat, Hasraya, Tal al-Mantar and Mourek which killed a
large number of militants and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.
A senior Syrian army commander disclosed on Tuesday
that the terrorists have launched chemical attacks on the civilians in Aleppo
with the US permission.
"After the terrorists failed in the Great Epic
Operation (Aleppo battle), the US allowed them to use toxic gases against the
civilians," Mohannad Haaj, a member of the Syrian parliament and commander
of al-Mahavir Battalion of the Syrian army, said.
Jeish al-Fatah coalition of terrorist groups launched
chemical attack on residential areas under the control of the government troops
in Aleppo city on Saturday, inflicting casualties on the civilian population in
According to medical sources, Jeish al-Fatah fired
chemically armed shells at government positions and residential areas in the
Assad Military-Engineering Academy and 3,000-unit Housing Complex near the
academy in Southwestern Aleppo city three times in the last several hours,
leaving at least a civilian dead and 36 more vitally wounded.
"Heavy attacks of the militants have blocked ways
to transfer the poisoned and injured civilians to medical centers," the
"Based on evidence and the symptoms reported
about the affected population, Jeish al-Fatah has used Chlorine in its chemical
attacks this morning," the medical sources underlined.
Late in September, the Russian Defense Ministry said
that it had received information that terrorists were planning chemical attacks
against the Syrian army and residential areas in Aleppo.
November 03, 2016,
The reclusive leader of the Islamic State group broke
a nearly year-long silence as Iraqi forces closed in on Mosul Thursday, urging
his jihadists to hold their ground.
It was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's first statement since
Iraqi forces launched a massive offensive on October 17 to retake Mosul, where
the IS chief declared the group's "caliphate" two years ago.
"Do not retreat," Baghdadi said in a
purported message released by an IS-affiliated outlet. "Holding your
ground with honour is a thousand times easier than retreating in shame."In
June 2014, days after jihadist fighters swept across swathes of Iraq, he made a
rare public appearance in Mosul and announced the creation of an Islamic
"state" straddling Iraq and Syria.
The "caliphate" has been shrinking steadily
since last year and Iraqi forces earlier this week reached the outskirts of
Mosul, the jihadists' last major stronghold in Iraq.
If authentic, the recording entitled "This is
what God and his messenger have promised us", would be Baghdadi's first
since December 2015 and a rare sign of life.
Rumours have swirled about the Iraqi jihadist leader's
health and movements but his whereabouts are unclear.
IS has fallen back when massively outnumbered in
recent battles, giving up some of its emblematic bastions -- such as Fallujah
in Iraq and Dabiq in Syria -- without following its own apocalyptic ideology of
fighting to the bitter end.
Eastern edge of Mosul
In his latest message, which is undated but makes
reference to events that are at most a few weeks old, Baghdadi also calls for
attacks against Saudi Arabia -- a favourite target -- and Turkey.
Ankara has troops stationed at a base just outside
Mosul and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's escalating rhetoric has
raised fears of an expanded Turkish military intervention in Iraq.
Baghdadi also said that his followers who could not
travel to Syria or Iraq should aim for Libya and urged all IS fighters to
remain united in adversity.
He attempted to stir up sectarian resentment by
referring to religious flags and slogans of Shiite fighters among Iraqi forces
and by accusing other Sunni groups and politicians of treason.
4 November 2016
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is losing the ability
to control his troops as the battle for Mosul rages on, a US military official
said Thursday. The group earlier released an audio message purportedly of
Baghdadi urging his followers not to retreat as Iraqi security forces continue
their push toward the northern Iraqi city.
Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesman for the US-led
coalition attacking the ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said although the military had
not officially verified the recording’s authenticity, it was “clearly” an
effort for ISIS leaders to communicate with fighters. “One of the interesting
things that we have seen in the English translation of this is that Baghdadi is
saying, ‘Don’t fight amongst yourselves,’” he told reporters. “This is the type
of thing that a leader who is losing command and control and ability to keep
everybody on the same page says. We don’t believe it is going to work.”
Rumors have abounded about the ISIS leader’s health
and movements but his whereabouts are unclear. The coalition still doesn’t know
where Baghdadi is, Dorrian said. “If we knew where he was, he would be killed
at once. So we don’t know where he is.” The coalition has also seen a shrinking
of ISIS propaganda, the colonel added, with the group’s publications dwindling
from 700 in August 2015 to 200 this year.
Local sources reported clashes between Nour al-Din
Zanki and Fastaqam Kama Omert terrorist groups in militant-held regions of
Aleppo city, saying that the infighting killed and wounded 26 terrorists, among
them Ahmad Sabra, a Nour al-Din Zanki ringleader. Based on reports, the clashes
started last night after a field official of Nour al-Din Zanki named Abu Bashir
Ma'arah was arrested by a group affiliated to Fastaqam Kama Omert and
intensified with Nour al-Din Zanki's attacks. Also Ahmad Bashmarka, another
leader of Nour al-Din Zanki was captured by rival militants during the clashes.
Other reports from the region said that Nour al-Din
Zanki has sent a large cache of military equipment to its forces deployed near
the bases of Fastaqam Kama Omert in Babasqa village in the Northern parts of
Idlib. The terrorist group also arrested Ala Saqar, a ringleader of Fastaqam
Kama Omert, and imprisoned him.
Certain media activists affiliated to the Syrian
dissidents also said that Nour al-Din Zanki, Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as
al-Nusra) Front and Kata'eb Abu Amareh forced members of Jibhat al-Shamiyeh
terrorist group who had gathered to settle the differences to leave the region.
A Syrian military source was quoted by al-Masdar News
as saying that a large number of Jeish al-Fatah fighters have reached al-Menyan
and al-Assad regions in Western Aleppo.
Reports said that Jeish al-Fatah is preparing for a
heavy attack in Western Aleppo in coming days.
Meantime, the sources said that the Desert Hawks and
Tiger Force have also stationed several convoys of their forces in Western
Aleppo in recent days.
Also, a large convoy of the Palestinian Liwa al-Quds
force arrived in Aleppo on Thursday to help the Syrian army in its
anti-terrorism operations in the Western parts of the Northern province.
Media reports said that hundreds of Liwa al-Quds
forces have been deployed in Western Aleppo to participate in operations to
establish security in al-Menyan, Jam'iyat al-Zahra, Dhahiyeh al-Assad and Assad
Military-Engineering Academy regions.
The precise number of Liwa al-Quds forces stationed in
Western Aleppo has not been declared but certain media activists have estimated
the number to stand between 1,500 to 5,500.
Other field sources also said that almost 4,000
logistical forces have been sent to the Northern fronts of Aleppo.
Based on Thursday reports, fierce clashes erupted
between the Syrian army forces and the terrorist groups in Jam'iyat al-Zahra and
Assad Military-Engineering Academy regions.
The Syrian army also repelled the terrorists'
offensives in New Aleppo, Menyan and Dhahiyeh al-Assad, killing and wounding
tens of militants and destroying a number of tanks and military vehicles.
The army forces also blew up the terrorists' suicide
cars in the aforementioned regions before approaching their positions.
Also, severe clashes were reported near Housing
Project 1070 and 3,000-Unit Housing Complex between the militants and the army
but the terrorists failed to make a tangible advance in the region.
Also, a field source dismissed reports claiming that
the terrorists have occupied New Aleppo region.
Army sources said earlier this week that the Syrian
army troops and popular forces repelled over a dozen massive offensives of over
16,000 militants on their positions in Western and Southwestern parts of Aleppo
city in the last few days.
"Jeish al-Fatah has launched several rounds of
attacks, codenamed the Great Epic Operation, with over 16,000 militants to
break the army's siege of their comrades in the Eastern districts of Aleppo
city but failed to do so," the sources said on Monday.
"The Syrian government forces have fended off the
entire attacks of Jeish al-Fatah carried out from three flanks of Ramouseh,
Assad Military-Engineering Academy and Artillery Academy Building," the
RIYADH : A court in Riyadh has sentenced a Saudi
national to 15 years in prison for supporting executed Shiite cleric Nimr
al-Nimr, local media reported on Thursday.
Nimr and three other members of the kingdom's minority
Shiite community were among 47 people convicted of terrorism and executed on a
single day in January.
The executions provoked anger among Shiites and
concern in the West, and raised tensions between Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia
and Shiite Iran.
Nimr was a driving force behind protests among Shiites
that began in 2011.
later developed into a call for equality in the kingdom where Shiites, most of
whom live in the kingdom's east, complain of marginalisation.
Al-Riyadh newspaper did not name the convicted man,
who it said took part "in rallies and marches" in the
Shiite-dominated Gulf coast district of Qatif.
He was also convicted of "chanting anti-state
slogans and sympathising with the deceased Nimr", as well as helping to
block roads and burn tyres, it said.
BEIRUT - Lebanon's president asked Sunni Muslim leader
Saad al-Hariri to form a new government on Thursday after he won the support of
a majority of MPs and the endorsement of the influential parliament speaker.
Hariri's nomination is part of a political deal that
resulted in the election of Christian leader Michel Aoun, a close ally of the Iran-backed
group Hezbollah, as head of state on Monday, ending a 2-1/2 year long
A big concession on the part of Hariri, the deal has
underscored Shi'ite Muslim Hezbollah's dominant position in Lebanon and the
diminished role of Hariri's main regional backer, Saudi Arabia, which appears
more focused on confronting Iranian influence elsewhere in the region.
The quick formation of a new administration with
cross-party support will help revive government in a country where political
conflict has paralysed decision-making, economic development and basic
services, and raised fears for its stability.
The central bank governor said Aoun's election and the
formation of a government would boost confidence in the economy and attract
foreign aid: Lebanon is hosting some 1.
5 million refugees from the war in neighbouring Syria.
Hariri, 46, said he aimed for the quick formation of a
government of "national accord".
Speaking at the presidency, he said "we owe it to
the Lebanese to start working as soon as possible to protect our country from
the flames burning around it, to reinforce its immunity in the face of
Lebanon has been buffeted by instability from the war
in neighbouring Syria, where Hezbollah is fighting in support of President Bashar
Jihadists have mounted attacks in Lebanon targeting
Shi'ite areas and the army.
Underscoring Hezbollah's continued mistrust of Hariri,
who remains critical of its role in Syria, the group did not name him as prime
minister, though it is expected to take part in his cabinet.
BRUSSELS - Belgium's immigration minister has said he
is ready to sell off his office furniture to pay daily fines rather than honour
a court order to issue tourist visas to a Syrian family from war-battered
Theo Francken's antics on Facebook, where he posted a
photo of himself pretending to work in a bare attic after bailiffs delivered
the court order, have angered lawyers for the family, which wants to escape
Aleppo where fighting has grown intense.
"He is placing himself above the law," counsel
Thomas Mitevoy told DH newspaper on Thursday after the Flemish nationalist
politician joked he would let bailiffs empty his office rather than pay the
4,000 euros ($4,440) a day which his ministry was ordered to pay until it
issues the four visas.
ALEPPO - Syrian
rebels renewed their bid to break a government siege of eastern Aleppo on
Thursday, shelling regime-held parts of the city hours before a brief
Russian-declared ceasefire was due to begin.
State media said at least 12 people had been killed in
rebel rocket and gunfire on regime-controlled neighbourhoods, after an assault
that began with a double car bomb attack.
Rebels have been battling for nearly a week in a
desperate bid to break the three-month siege but have so far been unable to
push through government lines in western Aleppo.
The opposition forces on Thursday announced a new
phase in their assault on government forces in the city's western outskirts.
"We have started the second phase in our fight to
break the siege with heavy artillery fire" on several neighbourhoods,
rebel fighter Abu Hamza told AFP on the edges of Aleppo.
Thick black smoke billowed out of the Dahiyet al-Assad
district, where rebels had lit tyres to try to shield themselves from warplanes
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said
the "most intense fighting" was on the edges of Halab al-Jadida
The clashes on Aleppo's western outskirts could be
heard in the city's eastern districts, an AFP correspondent there said.
No aid has reached eastern Aleppo city's more than
250,000 residents since early July, and there are reports of shortages and
The Observatory said government forces were carrying
out air strikes in areas where clashes were underway, but that the rebel-held
neighbourhoods in the east of the city were largely quiet.
State news agency SANA said rebel fire on Thursday
killed at least 12 people and wounded more than 200.
The Observatory put the toll at 15 dead, saying four
children were among them, bringing to 69 the total number of civilians killed
in rebel fire since Friday, including 23 children.
State media also said eight people were being treated
for suffocation after "terrorists fired poisonous gases" at the
village of Minyan west of Aleppo.
Once Syria's economic powerhouse, Aleppo has been
divided since mid-2012 between government control in the west and rebels in the
A Russian-backed army offensive in September to
recapture the whole city killed hundreds of civilians and hit infrastructure
including the east's few remaining health facilities.
It provoked international recriminations, particularly
against Russia, with the EU accusing it of actions that "may amount to war
The Electoral Commission for National Assembly
Elections in Kuwait has disqualified 46 parliamentary candidates, sources in
Kuwait have revealed. Reports carried in the local media said the decision was
taken on Tuesday.
According to Kuwait’s Al-Jarida newspaper, the reasons
behind the disqualification include criminal cases, health condition, failure
to correct their status and loss of integrity.
Saudi Arabian forces have targeted and killed several
Houthi snipers who were positioned inside the Yemeni borders facing al-Doud
The Al-Mwasim region remained relatively calm since
last night as the Apache helicopters and Saudi artillery were able to repulse
in the afternoon an attack led by Houthi militias and Republican Guards as they
were trying to reach Saudi borders. They were targeted and dozens were killed
in the operation.
The Coalition aircraft also destroyed two boats
belonging to the Houthis. The boats had set off from the Mocha port in Yemen
toward international waters, threatening marine navigation.
According to the Coalition, verification was done on
the information regarding the existence of two Houthi surveillance boats
equipped with radars and a 12.7 caliber machine gun in front of the Mocha
coast. The two boats were spotted and targeted on Wednesday by the Apache
helicopter; a thermal missile was launched from the boats.
Meanwhile, it has also been revealed that the Houthi
militias on Wednesday performed the funeral of one of their important leaders,
Brigadier General Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Khalid, commander of the Second
Brigade of the border guards affiliated to the rebels.
Khalid was meeting with a number of field and military
leaders of the Houthi and Saleh militias in the Zaidiyyah security department
building when the Coalition aircraft targeted the building.
3 November 2016
Leading Sunni political figure Saad Hariri was named
as Lebanon's new prime minister on Thursday, the office of President Michel
"After the necessary parliamentary
consultations... the president has entrusted Saad Hariri with the formation of a
government," said a statement read by the president's chief of staff
The nomination comes days after Aoun was elected, with
Hariri's surprise support, ending a vacuum of more than two years.
Hariri was endorsed by 110 members of the 127-seat
parliament, with only the Shiite Hezbollah movement, the Syrian Social National
Party and the Lebanese Baath party -- all supporters of Syria's government --
declining to back him as prime minister.
But his return was assured as part of the deal he struck
to throw his support behind former general Michel Aoun, a Hezbollah ally.
NATO airstrike kills 30 Afghan civilians, officials
November 03, 2016
A NATO airstrike killed at least 30 Afghan civilians,
including women and children, on Thursday in the volatile northern province of
Kunduz, officials said, after a Taliban assault there left two American soldiers
The airstrike, which occurred early Thursday,
triggered emotionally-charged protests in the provincial capital, with the
victims' relatives rallying outside the governor's office while carrying the
bodies of dead children.
The carnage underscores worsening insecurity after the
Taliban last month overran Kunduz city for the second time in a year, as
NATO-backed Afghan forces struggle to beat back the insurgents."Afghan
forces and coalition troops conducted a joint operation against the Taliban insurgents,"
provincial spokesman Mahmood Danish told AFP. "In the bombardment 30
Afghan civilians were martyred and 25 others were wounded."
Police spokesman Mahmoodullah Akbari gave the same
toll to AFP, adding that the dead included infants aged as young as three
months and other children.
"They were asleep when their house came under
attack by coalition troops," Akbari said.
In a brief statement on Twitter, NATO conceded it was
behind the airstrike.
"Airstrikes were conducted in to defend friendly
forces under fire. All civilian casualty claims will be investigated," it
The strike occurred on the outskirts of the city after
a firefight killed two US soldiers and three Afghan special forces during an
anti-Taliban operation in Kunduz.
It was not immediately clear if the two incidents were
The firefight occurred as American soldiers were
assisting Afghan troops to clear a Taliban position and disrupt the group's
operations in Kunduz, US forces said in a separate statement.
"On behalf of all of US Forces - Afghanistan,
today's loss is heartbreaking and we offer our deepest condolences to the
families and friends of our service members who lost their lives today,"
said John Nicholson, the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan.
"Despite today's tragic event, we are steadfast
in our commitment to help our Afghan partners defend their nation," he
added, without disclosing the names of the dead soldiers.
The killings come just days before the US presidential
During three lengthy debates between presidential
candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Afghanistan got scarcely a passing
mention -- even though the situation there will be an urgent matter for the new
Either one of them will inherit America's longest war
with no end in sight.
The US military, which leads a NATO mission to train
and assist local forces after their combat mission ended in 2014, often gives
upbeat assessments about Afghan military performance.
But as Afghan military forces near the end of a second
year leading security operations without full NATO assistance, they are
sustaining heavy casualties.
The Taliban's apparent strategic goal in 2016 is to
seize another provincial capital like they briefly did in Kunduz last year, in
a stinging blow to Afghan forces.
They have launched multiple assaults in recent months
including in Kunduz, Lashkar Gar in poppy-growing Helmand province and
Tarinkot, the capital of Uruzgan province.
The worsening conflict has prompted US forces to step
up airstrikes to support their struggling Afghan counterparts, fuelling the
perception they are increasingly being drawn back into the conflict.
Two US military personnel, 16 Afghans killed in clash,
KUNDUZ: Two US service members were killed on Thursday
while helping Afghan security forces fighting the Taliban around the northern
city of Kunduz, the US military said, while Afghan officials reported at least
16 civilians were killed.
Although the US military gave no details, Afghan
officials said there had been heavy fighting about 5 km (3 miles) from the city
The Taliban said in a statement a US air strike had
destroyed many houses and killed women and children.
There were angry protests by civilians who brought the
bodies of at least 16 dead into Kunduz, Mafuzullah Akbari, a police spokesman
The deaths underline the precarious security situation
around Kunduz, which Taliban fighters managed to enter last month, a year after
they briefly captured the city in their biggest success in the 15-year long
The US military gave no details on the identity of the
two personnel who were killed or what units they served with and there was no
immediate detailed comment on the circumstances of their deaths.
The ‘Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat’, the Islamist
organisation whose Brahmanbarhia chapter organised a rally protesting an
alleged social media post insulting Islam, has denied being involved in the
hate attacks on the Hindus.
Hundreds of people ransacked 15 temples and looted and
vandalised more than a hundred houses of the religious minority group in
Nasirnagar Upazila on Sunday over a purported Facebook post by a 30-year-old
In a media briefing on Thursday, its coordinating
body’s Member Secretary Mosaheb Uddin Bakhtiar claimed they had held a
‘peaceful rally’ and no-one from that rally took part in the attacks.
“Local Awami League leaders, additional superintendent
of police, Upazila executive officer, Upazila chairman attended the rally. The
administration even thanked Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat for holding a peaceful
rally,” he told the press conference in Chittagong, known to be a strong-hold
of the outfit.
Bakhtiar claimed another rally was held under the
banner ‘Khanti (original) Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat’ in the area on that day,
whose organisers are loyal to Qawmi madrasa-based group Hifazat-e Islam.
This outfit had unleashed large-scale violence from
its 2013 rally in Dhaka's Motijheel.
“A peaceful rally was being held while a group of
people attacked Hindus,” Bakhtiar added.
He blamed the administration’s negligence for the
attack. “In spite of the tension, the administration did not take security
measures. They attended the rally. Why were they not there (where the attacks
took place)? ”
Bangladesh police arrest militants who supplied arms for
November 3, 2016
Bangladesh police on Thursday claimed to have arrested
four persons belonging to banned militant outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh
(JMB), who allegedly supplied arms for the Gulshan terror attack, media reports
Police spokesperson Masudur Rahman said the arrests
were made from the capital's Darus Salam area late on Wednesday and identified
them as Abu Taher, 37, Mizanur Rahman, 34, Selim Mia, 45 and Toufiqul Islam,
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today warned of tougher
actions against any attempt to create disorder in the name of politics under
orchestrated plots like that of the 2015 one, staged by BNP.
"It was the wrong decision on the part of Khaleda
Zia to boycott the general election in 2014. A political party must pay itself
for any wrong decision of its own," she said while addressing a discussion
organised by Bangladesh Awami League marking the jail killing day at Krishibid
Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Awami League,
said people of the country resisted them in 2015 when they tried to take
revenge of their wrong decision on people and "in future people will
resist any such attempt (as well)".
The premier said BNP and anti-liberation forces
thought of sending Awami League to oblivion through killing Bangabandhu, the
four national leaders and thousands of party leaders and workers in 1975 and
"But, they failed to do it as the root of Awami
League is in deep of the people of the country," she said.
"In the past many quarters tried to destroy Awami
League, but failed. They will not be successful in doing so in future as
well," she said.
On this day in 1975, four national leaders -
Bangladesh's first Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed, Syed Nazrul Islam, AHM
Kamruzzaman and Captain Monsur Ali, who led the War of Liberation in 1971, were
brutally killed in captivity inside the Dhaka Central Jail.
The meeting, chaired by Sheikh Hasina herself,
observed one-minute silence in memory of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his wife Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib, martyrs of August 15
and the four national leaders.
Sammilito Samajik Andolon (SSA) and Bangladesh
National Hindu Grand Alliance yesterday condemned the recent attack on the
Hindus in Brahmanbaria and demanded exemplary punishment of the attackers.
At separate human chains in the capital, they also
demanded an impartial probe into the incident.
At the human chain of SSA in the capital's Shahbagh,
Pankaj Bhattacharya, president of Oikya Nap, urged the government to stand
beside the victims for the sake of the spirit of the Liberation War.
Ziauddin Tariq Ali, SSA acting president, urged all to
come forward to resist such kind of attack.
Authorities in Myanmar say security forces have begun
arming and training non-Muslim residents in the north of Rakhine state to
counter an allegedly growing threat from fighters belonging to the ethnic
Rohingya minority group.
Human rights advocates say the move could lead to more
conflict and abuses against civilians in Rakhine.
Colonel Sein Lwin, Rakhine police chief, told Reuters
news agency on Wednesday that his force had started recruiting new
"regional police" from among Buddhist Rakhine and other non-Muslim ethnic
minorities in the border town of Maungdaw.
Candidates who did not meet the educational attainment
standards, or criteria such as minimum height, required for recruitment by the
regular police would be accepted for the scheme, he said.
"But they have to be the residents," said
Sein Lwin. "They will have to serve at their own places."
Min Aung, a minister in Rakhine parliament and a
member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, said only
citizens would be eligible to sign up for the police training, ruling out the
1.1 million Rohingya living in Rakhine, who are denied citizenship by the
Police will also start recruiting civilians in Sittwe,
Rakhine state's capital, next week.
Lin Lin Oo, a police official, said that initially 100
recruits aged between 18 and 35 would undergo an accelerated 16-week training
programme in Sittwe on November 7.
Authorities said the auxiliary recruits would not form
a new "people's militia", like those that fight in ethnic conflicts
elsewhere in Myanmar.
Such militias - which are often accused of abuses
against civilians - raise their own funds and are overseen by the army. The new
recruits in Rakhine will be paid and come under the control of the border
Human rights organisations and a leader of the
stateless Rohingya told Reuters that the move risked sharpening intercommunal
tensions in a region that has just seen its deadliest month since 2012, when
hundreds of people were killed in clashes between Muslims and ethnic Rakhine
Soldiers have poured into the northern region along
Myanmar's frontier with Bangladesh following attacks on three border posts on
October 9 in which nine police officers were killed.
Security forces have locked down the area - shutting out
aid workers and independent observers - and conducted sweeps of villages in
Maungdaw, where the vast majority are Rohingya.
Official reports say five soldiers and 33 alleged
fighters have been killed.
READ MORE: UN: Food aid for 80,000 Rohingya blocked by
The UN has called for an investigation into
allegations that security forces have killed, raped and arbitrarily detained
thousands of Rohingya civilians and razed their homes to the ground in a
crackdown following the October 9 attacks.
By GHANIZADA - Fri Nov 04 2016
A television reporter was killed in an explosion
triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in southern Helmand province
According to the local security officials, the
incident took place earlier today in Lashkargah city, the provincial capital of
The officials further added that the reporter was
killed after his vehicle struck the IED in the area where intense fighting
erupted last night.
The Ariana Television confirmed that one of its
reporter, Nematullah Zaheer, was killed in the line of duty, confirming that
the reporter was killed in a roadside bomb explosion.
“We lost a brave reporter, Nematullah Zaheer, in line
of duty. Zaheer was targeted by a roadside bomb in Helmand,” Ariana News said
in a Twitter post.
The Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah condemned the
killing of Zaheer, saying the death of Zahir is a major loss for the southern
provinces of the country.
The anti-governmetn armed militant groups have not
commented regarding the incident so far.
Nov 04 2016,
Russia has reaffirmed commitment to support
Afghanistan in all sectors as the the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah and the
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met on the sidelines of the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit to discuss the bilateral cooperation
between Kabul and Moscow.
The Office of the Chief Executive said the two sides
discussed regarding the SCO summit and bilateral cooperation between the two
Hailing Moscow’s efforts for maintaining peace and
stability, Abdullah said the SCO plays a key role for the regional peace and
fight agianst terrorism.
Pointing towards the improved relations between Kabul
and Moscow, Abdullah said Moscow has supported Afghanistan in fight agaisnt Al
Qaeda and terrorism before the Taliban regime was toppled but emphasized that
the relations have further improved in the past 15 years.
Abdullah further added that Afghanistan witnesses
developments in different sectors despite grappling with the fight against
Sindh to monitor people returning from Afghanistan,
Iran and Syria
HABIB KHAN GHORI
KARACHI: The apex committee has decided to launch a
crackdown on drug dealers and criminals involved in street crime besides
compiling a list of people, particularly seminary students, who have been to
Afghanistan, Iran and Syria in recent years.
In its 17th meeting held at CM House on Thursday, the
apex committee also decided that the names which had been put on fourth
schedule and those of 3,023 proclaimed offenders would be shared with federal
and provincial agencies to monitor their activities and arrest them.
The meeting, which was chaired by Chief Minister Syed
Murad Ali Shah, was attended by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad, Corps
Commander Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, advisers to CM Maula Bakhsh Chandio, Murtaza
Wahab, Chief Secretary Siddque Memon, Home Secretary Shakeel Mangnijo, DG
Rangers Maj Gen Bilal Akbar, Sindh IG A.D. Khawaja, Additional IG Mushtaq
Maher, CTD chief Sanaullah Abbasi, provincial heads of intelligence agencies
and Prosecutor General Shahadat Awan and others.
The chief minister gave a go-ahead for the upgrade of
1,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to 12 mega pixel and assured the
law enforcement agencies of his support to make Karachi one of the most
peaceful cities in the world.
Earlier, the chief minister said that the ongoing
operation against terrorists, hitmen, extortionists, and kidnappers for ransom
produced encouraging results. But it did not mean that the target had been
achieved for which “we have to formulate a strategy with collective wisdom.”
The committee was of the opinion that criminals
involved in street crime did not enjoy any group’s backing but they became
nursery for major criminal activities with the passage of time if they were not
It was said 1,400 criminals, who had been granted bail
in cases of heinous crimes due to lack of evidence, were found involved in
street crimes along with the drug mafia and traffickers and financing
terrorists gangs in the city.
Taking up the issue of the people whose names have
been put on the fourth schedule, the meeting decided that their security, if
given, would be withdrawn and their activities would also be monitored and if
some of them were in government service would be issued show-cause notices
before any action. It was also decided to share the lists of persons on fourth
schedule with other agencies, provinces and also with the federal government.
In the meeting it was also pointed out that there were
some 3,023 proclaimed offenders and Prosecutor General Shahadat Awan was asked
to share their list with the Rangers, police, intelligence agencies, federal
agencies and other provincial governments for their arrest.
The meeting also deliberated the serious issue of
illegal immigrants living in Sindh. It was decided that the federal government
would be requested to give powers to the police for registering an FIR against
illegal immigrants as at present only the FIA could proceed in this regard.
On the occasion, police IG A.D. Khowaja informed the
committee that selection of 8,000 policemen had been finalised through an exam
conducted by the NTS in which army officials were also inducted and being sent
to Risalpur for training.
The corps commander said he had made necessary
arrangements for proper training of newly recruited policemen. He added that he
was handing over six armoured personnel carriers and 500 weapons to the police.
The police chief said he needed 400-square-yard land
in the city to establish a forensic lab. The corps commander said he would talk
to the DHA and would try his best to arrange land for the purpose.
The apex body decided that the 93 seminaries, which
were reportedly supporting terrorists, would be put on alert to monitor their
activities, visitors and funding and the sub-national groups involved in
criminal activities and working for terrorists would also be taken to task by
launching a joint operation of the Rangers and police.
Maj Gen Bilal Akbar briefed the meeting on the
Rangers’ performance and targeted operations. He said the Rangers had
established well-equipped checkpoints at the Sassui Bridge on near Ghaggar and
on the Sindh-Punjab border at Kot Sabzal while a checkpoint at Hub was under
Governor Dr Ibad said the CCTV cameras installed all
over the city must be upgraded as that was the only way to monitor the entire
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto
Zardari on Thursday said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan may
have surrendered on the issue of Panama Papers but his party will keep fighting
for accountability of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Addressing party workers at a gathering in Rahim Yar
Khan, Bilawal said that Panama Papers were the world’s biggest corruption
scandal and Nawaz Sharif would be held accountable for it.
“Takht-e-Lahore (Lahore throne) does not care about
the poor but BB’s (Benazir Bhutto’s) son is here,” he said, referring to the
ruling party’s political bastion.
Bilawal again repeated his demand for the resignation
of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan over non-implementation of the National
Action Plan (NAP). He deplored that the NAP was being implemented arbitrarily
in the country, saying it seemed as if it was being implemented in Karachi
He also claimed that the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC) was a “gift” from former president Asif Ali Zardari to Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif.
WASHINGTON: Delay on part of Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif to announce the successor of Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif
does not bode well for the institution, said Shuja Nawaz, distinguished fellow
at Atlantic Council.
Talking to Daily Times, he said the announcement
should have been made by now giving ample time to the outgoing chief to start
the process of transfer of power to his successor.
"Very few people understand the importance of
farewell calls by the outgoing chief. This has been an old tradition in the
army. The outgoing chief visits different units. And the institution hosts a
big farewell for the chief," he explained.
He referred to the example of his late brother,
General Asif Nawaz, who had succeeded General Aslam Beg after rumours circulated
that Gen Beg would continue for another term.
Shuja Nawaz, a Pakistani-American scholar who travels
to his native country quite frequently and has access to top military command,
said the civil-military relations remains cold to the core despite apparent
"When they say both civil and military
leaderships are on the same page I tend to agree, only if the page exists in
two different books. The implementation of NAP (National Action Plan) in Punjab
has been a source of discontent between the two," he observed.
In his book "Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army,
and the Wars Within," the scholar narrated history of the army and its
relations with the civilian governments. The book was one of the authentic
reads to understand the nature of civil-military relationship in Pakistan.
In the same book, Shuja Nawaz narrated an incident
that how the Sharifs tried to woo the top military command in the past. He
asserted when Gen Asif Nawaz went to see Nawaz Sharif in Nathia Gali, he was
offered a new BMW car by the prime minister's father Mian Sharif. The general
refused to accept the gift. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan
extensively quoted that incident in his speeches.
Shuja Nawaz claimed the pattern of recruitment has
remarkably changed in the army. The past decades witnessed most of recruitments
within the army done from Northern Punjab.
"Now most of the recruits hail from the interior
and Southern Punjab. The cities like Jhang have many of their natives in the
army. Secondly, the recruitments from the urban areas multiplied over the
years. This may not be a good sign if army launches operation in those
areas," he elaborated.
UNITED NATIONS: A top Pakistani diplomat has fervently
called for settlement of the decades-old Kashmir dispute between India and
Pakistan for establishing lasting peace in the region, while denouncing
attempts by occupiers to conflate freedom struggles with terrorism.
Speaking at the General Assembly's committee,
Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said
the Kashmiri people's struggle for liberation from illegal occupation was
legitimate and they have the right to receive moral and political support from
the international community.
"Under international law and according to
declarations of the United Nations on Self-Determination, the Kashmiris have
the right to struggle for their right to self-determination 'by all means at
their disposal'," Maleeha told the 193-member assembly's Third Committee,
which deals with social, humanitarian and cultural questions.
Pakistan, she said, remained committed to a just
solution of the Jammu Kashmir issue, in accordance with the aspirations of the
Kashmiri people, and relevant Security Council resolutions that call for the
exercise of right to self-determination by the Kashmiri people through the
"Peace in South Asia cannot be achieved without a
just resolution of the Kashmir dispute," the Pakistani envoy said while
participating in a debate on the 'Right to Self-Determination'.
"Fulfilment of the long-held promise of self-determination to the Kashmiri
people is thus urgent as well as vital to establishing lasting peace in our
At the outset, Ambassador Lodhi recalled that the
right to self-determination was sanctified in foundations of the UN. Yet, for
countless people, the promise of freedom remained elusive. Every occupier used
the same narrative and means to justify oppression: equating freedom struggles
with terrorism, using brute force and blaming others.
However, she said, the spirit of a people could not be
broken by brutal repression. "Might does not make right," she said.
"It never did and never will." She expressed concern over the
situation of the people of Jammu Kashmir, who were waiting for their rights to
be realised despite numerous Security Council resolutions.
"Today, a new generation of Kashmiris has risen
to demand freedom from India's illegal occupation," Ambassador Lodhi said.
"This uprising is led mainly by Kashmiri youth, armed with nothing more
than a hunger of freedom in their hearts and a belief in the righteousness of
their cause," she said.
LAHORE: Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) Chairman Dr
Tahirul Qadri has said that massive contradictions between Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif’s statement in the Supreme Court, his speech to the nation and
proclamation on the floor of the parliament have now been exposed before the
The PAT chief was commenting on the Panama leaks issue
after consulting with senior party leaders via telephone on Thursday. The party
heads noted every point discussed in the SC hearing on the matter.
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Thursday officially announced
names of eight Indian diplomatic officials, who were earlier accused of
espionage and terrorism charges, pushing the already strained ties between the
two nuclear-armed neighbours to a new height.
Addressing a weekly news briefing here, Foreign Office
Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that the Indian diplomatic officials – who were
working undercover for the Research and Analysis Wing¬ and the Indian
Intelligence Bureau - included Commercial Counsellor Rajesh Kumar Agnihotri ,
first Commercial Secretary Anurag Singh, Visa Attache Amerdeep Singh Bhatti,
Dharmendra Sodhi, Staff Members Vijay Kumar Verma, Madhavan Nanda Kumar, 1st
Press and Information Secretary Balbir Singh and Assistant Personnel Welfare
Officer Jayabalan Senthil.
The spokesman said Surjeet Singh who was declared
persona non-grata a few days back was also an IB operative working under the
cover of Balbir Singh.
Zakaria said that the India diplomats were involved in
“subversive activities” in Pakistan under the garb of diplomatic assignments.
He said that their activities include “espionage, subversion and supporting
terrorist activities in Balochistan and Sindh especially Karachi, sabotaging
the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and fuel instability in the two provinces
and create unrest in Gilgit-Baltistan”.
He said the India diplomats were trying to spoil
Pak-China ties through their network.
He said that they were also involved in “damaging
Pakistan-Afghanistan relations with a variety of activities by infiltrating
Indian agents into social media and political circles for propaganda purposes
and activities detrimental to Pakistan’s interest”. The spokesman alleged that
they were also involved in handling factions of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan,
instigating religious minorities, fuelling sectarianism and maligning Pakistan
with propaganda on human rights issues.
He said Pakistan was disappointed that India had not
only been found involved in promoting terrorist activities and terror financing
as was disclosed by Kulbhushan Yadav but “India has also been using its
diplomatic mission for its nefarious designs”.
It was not immediately clear if the diplomatic staff
would be expelled by Pakistan or they will be withdrawn by India, which
condemned the disclosure of their names and images and urged Pakistan to ensure
their safety. India said it “completely rejected the unsubstantiated allegations”
against officials at its High Commission in Islamabad.
Last week, Pakistan and India expelled one diplomat
each, accusing them of spying for their respective countries. Zakaria also said
that Pakistan had withdrawn six diplomatic staff from its mission in India
after Indian media reported they had been involved in spying. The spokesman
said Pakistan had called back six members working in Indian High Commission
because they are unable to perform their duties after India levelled baseless
allegations on them.
He said that the case of Kulboshan Yadav was under
investigation. He said a dossier in this regard will be presented to the
international community and the UN Secretary General at an appropriate time.
Answering a question, he said that Indian forces
continue to kill defenceless Kashmiris with impunity. “They are desperate to hide their crimes
against humanity from the international community’s scrutiny,” he said adding,
“in desperation” they had turned their guns on “innocent civilians” on this
side of the Line of Control in Azad Jammu Kashmir and along the Working
ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the
Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) in their terms of reference (ToRs) have demanded a
detailed inquiry into the funding trail and the transfer of money to offshore
companies first from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his family before
expanding the scope of inquiry against other individuals.
A five-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief
Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali while hearing petitions in the Panama Leaks case
had asked the parties (PTI,JI and others) and the federal government to file
the ToRs on Thursday.
The PTI and the JI submitted their ToRs, which were
earlier agreed by the joint opposition parties. ToRs of both the parties stress
that the judicial commission first investigates the prime minister and his
family members in the scam before it proceeded to inquire from other
individuals for having offshore companies and properties.
The ToRs said that the commission should also look
whether any law has been infringed, and if so, then the court determined the
responsibility for such infringement.
Both the parties have also demanded to appoint a
committee of experts in the international forensic audit to carry out an
exhaustive investigation and audit the offshore companies and their accounts
owned by the PM and his family.
It said that whether any Pakistani staying abroad
under agreements between the government of Pakistan and another sovereign state
is not a state guest in the country on behalf of Pakistan. Whether any
property, gifts or amounts received by him during that period did not belong to
the state of Pakistan?
“The PM and his family members shall execute mandatory
authorizations by an irrevocable general power of attorney empowering the
experts’ committee to life all corporate veils, access all bank accounts,
offshore companies and their accounts,” the ToRs said.
“In case the PM and his family members omit to extend
the fullest cooperation to the committee or if they are unable to rebut the
presumption that the assets were not acquired through legitimate income then
the commission shall direct them to forthwith liquidate and bring those assets
and funds to Pakistan where the state shall forfeit them.”
The JI chief has also demanded that the proceedings of
the commission should be open and shall have the power to seek the assistance
of any federal and provincial governments’ agencies and other organisation like
NAB, FIA, IB, SBP and SECP.
“The commission may constitute an international joint
investigation team or teams and seek international cooperation from foreign
countries /agencies to provide information, documents, evidence and record from
abroad,” the JI ToRs further said.
Tariq Asad advocate said that the purpose of petitions
was not only to resolve the political dilemma between the political parties but
also to recover all the wealth from the alleged defaulters.
According to his ToRs, a comprehensive inquiry should
be carried out on the funding trail of how the money was transferred to the
offshore companies and its source of income through which the huge money was
deposited in the foreign banks and properties were purchased thereby.
“The inquiry should be made simultaneously about all
the persons whose names have been identified in Panama Papers for4 having
offshore companies, while the priority may be given chronologically complete
inquiries of matters pertaining to the prime minister and his family members.”
Erdogan accuses Germany of ´harbouring terrorists´
ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on
Thursday accused Germany of being one of the world´s worst countries for
harbouring "terrorists", saying Berlin had not responded to requests
to hand over suspects from the July 15 failed coup.
Erdogan said that he had handed German Chancellor
Angela Merkel around 4,000 dossiers about suspects in Germany but had received
With Merkel on Wednesday calling a media crackdown in
Turkey "highly alarming", Erdogan said Germany was more interested in
voicing concern for newspapers, which he said "support terror
Ankara accuses the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen
of being behind the coup, saying he leads a group called the Fethullah Terror
Group (FETO). Gulen denies the charges.
"You (Germany) are going to be remembered in
history for playing host to terror," Erdogan said in a speech at his
presidential palace in Ankara.
"We are worried that Germany is turning into
FETO´s back garden," he said, also accusing Germany of playing host to
members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the ultra-leftist
Revolutionary People´s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).
"Germany has become one of the most important
countries for hosting terrorists", he said, noting also that the country
had seen racist attacks against Turks living there.
Erdogan did not mention which suspects Ankara wanted
to see extradited from Germany over the coup but several figures, in particular
from the legal sector, are believed to have fled to Germany.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier
rejected the charge, saying he could "in no way follow Erdogan´s comments
on the security situation in Germany".
He said Germany wished for "close and
constructive relations" with Turkey but added that "this must not
lead us to stay silent on threats to freedom of the press and speech".
Relations between Ankara and Berlin have been strained
in the wake of the failed coup, with Germany repeatedly expressing concern over
the scope of the crackdown on suspects.
Merkel on Wednesday said it was "highly alarming
that freedom of the press and speech are being restricted again and again"
after the authorities on Monday detained 13 journalists from the opposition
They included the paper´s editor-in-chief Murat
Sabuncu and its prominent editorial advisor and columnist Kadri Gursel. The
paper´s former editor-in-chief Can Dundar, who was given a jail sentence in a
previous case and also hit with an arrest warrant, is currently in Germany.
The official Anadolu news agency said Wednesday that
Berlin had issued Dundar with a document allowing him to travel after his
Turkish passport was cancelled.
Yemenis protest UN peace plan 'that legitimizes coup'
3 November 2016
ADEN: Thousands of Yemenis protested Thursday against
a new UN plan to end the devastating conflict between Iran-backed Houthi rebels
and the internationally recognized government, saying it would legitimize the
insurgents’ power grab.
The demonstrations in the southern city of Aden and
other locations took place shortly before UN envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed
arrived in Sanaa for peace talks with the Houthis.
“We reject the plan of Ould Cheikh (Ahmed),” read one
of the banners carried by protesters in Aden — the government’s temporary base
— who responded to a call by authorities in the city to rally.
“No to an initiative that legitimizes the coup,” said
President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Saturday rejected
the envoy’s peace plan, saying it would reward the Houthis for seizing the
capital and “opens a door toward more suffering and war.”
Hadi has described the new proposal as an “explicit
departure” from the UN Security Council’s resolution 2216, which calls on
rebels to withdraw from territory they have captured since 2014.
JERUSALEM: - An Israeli military court on Wednesday
sentenced a Palestinian minor to life in prison for killing an Israeli woman,
the army said.
"The Judea military court sentenced the assassin
of Dafna Meir, who was killed by stabbing on January 17, 2016, to life in jail
and to fines of 750,000 shekels" (about $196,000/178,00 euros), the army
said in a statement.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY : Turkey's deputy prime minister said
on Wednesday a military build-up on the border with Iraq was a precaution, not
a threat, and urged the government in Baghdad to lower tensions after it warned
Turkey would pay for any incursion.
A convoy of Turkish tanks and other armored vehicles
are advancing toward the town of Silopi, near the Iraqi border, their
deployment coinciding with an Iraqi operation to drive Islamic State from the
northern city of Mosul.
Largely Sunni Muslim Turkey fears that Iraqi Shi'ite
militias involved in a related offensive west of Mosul could trigger sectarian
unrest, and is also concerned that Kurdish PKK militants are trying to establish
a foothold nearby.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi warned on Tuesday
that Baghdad would respond to any violation of its territory.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told the
broadcaster NTV: "I regard Abadi's words as overstepping the mark. Abadi
must make statements lowering the tension ...
"We are obliged to take measures to guard against
threats from across Turkey's border," he added. "It is more of a
precaution than a threat."
Abadi said his country did not want war or confrontation
and that the "door of diplomacy" was open, but added:
"If they enter, we are ready to face them ... Any
invasion of Iraq would lead to the dismantling of Turkey."
Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said on Tuesday
that the deployment was part of the fight against terrorism and that Turkey had
"no obligation" to wait behind its borders if PKK militants gained a
foothold in Iraq's Sinjar region, around 115 km (70 miles) south of Silopi.
Silopi is part of Sirnak province, one of the main
areas of conflict between Turkey and the PKK, whose main bases are in the
mountains of northeast Iraq. The PKK has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's
mostly Kurdish southeast for three decades, and is designated a terrorist group
by the United States and European Union.
AR-RAQQA, SYRIA : The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic
Forces (SDF) alliance of Kurdish and Arab armed groups said on Thursday it
would reject Turkish involvement in the operation to drive Islamic State from
its Syrian capital Raqqa.
U.S. officials have said they hope to start an
offensive against Islamic State in Raqqa within weeks, and have said that the
SDF will play a big role, but Washington's ally Turkey has also insisted that
it take part in the operation.
"The Syrian Democratic Forces are the only force
that will take part in the operation to liberate Raqqa and we informed the
(international U.S.-led) coalition forces that we reject any Turkish role in
the Raqqa liberation operation," SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters.
Turkey's military and allied Syrian rebel groups last
week fought against Kurdish forces allied to the SDF in northwest Syria, where
both sides are seeking to take territory from their mutual enemy Islamic State.
Ankara is dismayed at the prominent role in the SDF
played by the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as a front for the Kurdistan
Workers Party that has waged a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey.
ISTANBUL / MOSCOW : The head of the Turkish armed
forces, General Hulusi Akar, held "constructive" talks with his
Russian counterparts on the situation in Syria's Aleppo and the fight against
Islamic State, the Turkish military said in a statement on Wednesday.
Russia and Turkey, a NATO member, back opposing sides
in the Syrian conflict. In recent months they have been normalizing ties that
broke down a year ago when Turkey shot down a Russian warplane along its border
Akar visited Russia on Tuesday with Turkey's
intelligence chief to discuss military cooperation and regional developments.
"The subjects taken up in the talks were a
settlement to the clashes in Syria and normalization of the situation in Aleppo
as well as continuing to develop coordination between the two countries with
the aim of ... ending the threat from Daesh (Islamic State)," the Turkish
"The talks were held in a constructive atmosphere,"
it said, without giving further details.
Reuters reports Syria's U.S.-backed SDF says no to
Turkish role in Raqqa operation,
Since it was formed in early 2015, the SDF has seized
large swathes of territory along the Syria-Turkey border from Islamic State and
pushed the jihadist group back to within 30km (18 miles) of Raqqa.
An offensive by the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces,
backed by the U.S., started last month to reclaim Mosul, the largest city under
the control of the jihadist group, and one whose capture would leave Raqqa as
Islamic State's most important possession.
Reuters reports Turkey says Iraqi border deployment a
precaution, urges calm from Baghdad,
Largely Sunni Muslim Turkey fears that Iraqi Shi'ite
militias involved in a related offensive west of Mosul could trigger sectarian
unrest, and is also concerned that Kurdish PKK militants are trying to
establish a foothold nearby.
Abadi said his country did not want war or
confrontation and that the "door of diplomacy" was open, but added:
Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian who tried to
stab a soldier near a settlement in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, the
The soldier was attacked as he guarded a bus stop near
Ofra, the force said. "Responding to threat, forces at the scene shot the
assailant, resulting in his death," it added.
Over the past year, Palestinians, many acting alone
and often using rudimentary weapons and cars, have killed at least 35 Israelis
and two visiting Americans in similar attacks.
During the same period, at least 226 Palestinians have
died in violent incidents in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Of those, Israel has identified 154 as assailants, while others were killed
during clashes and protests.
"The helicopter was carrying a number of Turkish
officers and several boxes whose contents are not known, but sources said that
they were full of advanced weapons which were unloaded," Hado said.
Also, Kurdish sources reported that the Turkish army
fighter jets are now flying over the villages near al-Qahtaniyeh town in the
Northeastern parts of Hasaka and are firing flares over the entire region.
This is while the Turkish army forces on board
military vehicles have been deployed at Syria-Turkey bordering areas.
Reports said late last month that Ankara had sent
several trucks of ammunition to the Fatah al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra)
Front and Ahrar al-Sham terrorists stationed at a base near Atme border region.
The Turkish army sent 20 trucks loaded with ammunition
for the terrorist groups in Northern Syria.
Turkish-Iranian political relations have deteriorated
after the two countries pledged their support to rival groups in the Middle
East, especially after the Arab Spring led to deadly conflicts and wars in
Syria, Libya and Yemen. While Turkey has been staunchly rejecting the presidency
of Bashar Assad and backing the Free Syrian Army (FSA), Iran has been sending
thousands of militants to Syria to fight against Turkish-backed opposition
groups. The two countries have also disagreed on the conflict in Yemen as Iran
has pledged its support for the Shiite Houthi rebels whereas Turkey said Saudi
Arabia's military operation was legitimate.
Although the two countries do not have verbal clashes
like Saudi Arabia does with Iran, the battle in Mosul has risen the question of
whether Turkey and Iran will get into a proxy war in Iraq's north, since Turkey
has been giving military training to Kurdish peshmerga forces loyal to
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) President Massoud Barzani and certain Sunni
Arab tribes, called Hashd al-Nineveh. Iran has been backing Jalal Talabani,
Barzani's main opponent, and explicitly supporting Hashd al-Shaabi or Popular
Mobilization Forces (PMF), which is famous for its brutality against Sunni
civilians. While in Syria Turkey's priority is to clear its border from the
PKK's Syrian branch, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and Daesh, in the
post-battle time period in Mosul Ankara is aware of the fact that it will face
the threat posed by the PMF, since the militant groups' attacks on Sunni Arabs
and Turkmens will create a new refugee wave and help the PKK to be easily
located in the area. The PMF has committed several atrocities against civilians
after Amerli, Tikrit and several other Iraqi cities have been liberated from
Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar's return visit
to Russia to discuss regional issues with his counterpart Gen. Valery Gerasimov
and Turkey's expectation to receive an offer from Russia for long-range defense
missile systems has signaled more collaboration between the two countries in
terms of regional issues and military cooperation.
On Wednesday, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) published
in a statement about the top military chiefs' meeting, stating the two
discussed solutions for the Syrian crisis, the normalization of the situation
in Aleppo, increasing military coordination against terrorism and eliminating
the Daesh threat in the region.
"Increasing military cooperation between Turkey
and Russia is in an important phase towards forming a strategic alliance
between the two countries," Eşref Yalınkılıçlı said to Daily Sabah, a
freelance Eurasian analyst and journalist for TRT World. He went on to say
Russia has started to understand sensitiveness, and the halting of airstrikes
on Aleppo could be evaluated in this extent. Also, as Turkey knows that Russia
is the most important actor in Syria, it carries out intense diplomacy with
Russia regarding the Syrian crisis.
"Real politics is forcing the countries to
cooperate," he said.
On Sept. 15, Akar and Gerasimov also met in Turkey,
the highest-level military contact between the countries since the crisis in
relations last year. Gerasimov's presence in Ankara was seen as an important
sign in healing the ties between the two countries.
On the other hand, according to Sabah newspaper, a
high-level source said Turkey is expecting an offer from Moscow regarding the
purchase of a Russian S-400 missile system in what could be the culmination of
Ankara's long-awaited procurement process for the purchasing of a long-range
missile defense system.
Yalınkılıçlı said a lack of defense missile systems
has been one of Turkey's major weaknesses and the country should close this gap
as soon as possible.
"Turkey-China talks on the defense missile system
did not positively end up; on the other hand, Turkey also could not reach a
deal with the western countries, as they took no prisoners on transferring
technology. The country is open to threats from several countries including
Syria and Iraq. That is making possible a missile deal with Russia," he
Turkey's long-known desire to purchase a long-range
air missile defense system has been a hot topic since 2013 and speculations
that began to swirl among the defense industry followers when Turkey held talks
with the French-Italian consortium Eurosam regarding the SAMP/T Aster 30
missile defense system. This was mixed with surprise following a statement by
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, indicating that Russian President Vladimir
Putin and his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently
discussed the possible supplying of a Russian air defense system to Ankara on
Meanwhile, in an interview with Russian Rossiya 24 TV,
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday Turkey will never
forget Russian support during the failed July 15 coup attempt.
At least 110 feared dead in migrant shipwreck off
At least 110 people are feared drowned off Libya after
a migrant shipwreck and more may have died in another stricken vessel, the UN's
refugee agency said Thursday citing survivor testimony.
"A vessel with around 140 people on board
overturned Wednesday just a few hours after setting off from Libya, throwing everyone
into the water. Only 29 people survived," UNHCR spokesperson Carlotta Sami
The Norwegian Siem Pilot was first on the scene, some
20 nautical miles off Libya, and rescued the survivors -- all of whom were in
poor health after spending hours in the water -- as well as recovering 12
bodies from the water.
Those pulled to safety were transferred to the island
of Lampedusa by the Italian coast guard. They included two women who told the
UN agency they believed they were the only survivors from a shipwreck in which
some 125 people drowned.
"They told us they were on a faulty dinghy which
began to sank as soon as they set sail. They were the only survivors,"
But the Italian coast guard said it had no information
on a second reported rescue on Wednesday or the saving of two women.
At least two rescue operations were underway in the
Mediterranean on Thursday, with close to 180 people pulled to safety according
to an AFP photographer aboard the Topaz Responder, run by the Malta-based MOAS
(Migrant Offshore Aid Station).
The rescue situation is often chaotic, with people
confused, sick or exhausted after periods in crisis-hit Libya unable to specify
how many people were on board their dinghies at the outset or what vessel
pulled them from the water.
Over 4,000 migrants have died or are missing feared
drowned after attempting the perilous Mediterranean crossing this year.
Nigeria frees Muslims accused of murder over blasphemy
A court in northern Nigeria has freed five Muslim men
accused of killing an elderly Christian woman for allegedly blaspheming the
The court in the city of Kano discharged the five men
on Thursday on the legal advise of the prosecution.
"The legal advice presented to the court, dated
June 24, states that there is no case to answer as the suspects are all
innocent and orders the court to discharge all the suspects," the judge said
in his ruling.
The five men were accused, along with six others who
are on the run, of killing 74-year-old Bridget Abahime on June 2 after she
allegedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed.
The suspects had pleaded not guilty of the charge.
4 NOVEMBER 2016
By Ivan Bantu
African countries should be prepared for an influx of
jihadists if the so-called Islamic State (IS) is driven out of its prized
cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria.
Already, a line has been drawn in the sand. A
coalition of some 35,000 Iraqi armed forces, including about 5,000 paid
Peshmerga warriors, Sunni Arab tribesmen and Shia paramilitary forces backed by
the US and other forces, are taking on the war-hardened Islamic state fighters
in Mosul. Iron is mixing with blood in the sand.
IS burst onto the international scene in 2014 when it
seized large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. In June 2014, the group
formally declared the establishment of a "caliphate" - a state
governed in accordance with Islamic law, or Sharia, by God's deputy on Earth,
or caliph, to which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself one and urged all
Muslim from all four winds of the earth to pledge allegiance to him.
The group has become notorious for its cold and
clinical nature, including mass killings, abductions and beheadings. IS,
though, has attracted support elsewhere in the Muslim world. It is estimated
that about 8,000 Africans are amongst the ranks of IS fighters in Iraq and
Now under pressure, IS may lose its territorial
holdings in the Middle East, but like the proverbial Phoenix, it will rise from
the ashes, mutate and survive as they did after the Anbar awakening of 2007.
That is when IS's war machine was virtually decimated
but managed to reincarnate under Al-Baghdadi to become the most vociferous and
lethal jihadist group ever seen, with the ability to strike and instil fear in
any country around the world.
This is where Africa comes in. We learnt the
caliphate's plans for their next phase from a long-time IS operative speaking
through Internet-based audio services. In one interview, he is quoted as
"While we see our structures in Iraq and Syria
under attack, we have been able to expand and have shifted some of our command,
media and wealth structure to Africa.
"As we speak now, Sirte in Libya is the third
most important command post for IS after Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in
IS has managed to knit together a network that
stretches from Aleppo in Syria to Abuja, with Libyan borders as the perfect
launch pads for regional attacks. That IS is seeking sanctuary in Africa is not
a dream, it is a reality.
My crystal ball tells me that Africa will face no more
complex challenge in the near future and test its moral fibre and resilience
than when this Jihadist group starts building its African chapter on the body
parts of its African victims.
And soon we will start experiencing their cynical
carnage inside our countries as we used to see being done in their occupied
territories in the Arab world and some European countries like France and
This is not a Mayan prophesy and neither am I reading
a horoscope. It is a real doomsday scenario that is approaching us.
If we Africans have been thinking that we have
progressed beyond the old dangers of armed conflict, disease and hunger, we
haven't seen nothing yet.
Muslim Hate In America: Islamic Center Vandalized In
Florida Amid Divisive 2016 Campaign
Amid a national climate of tension and fear
surrounding Islam in the United States, vandals reportedly spray painted signs
outside of a Florida Islamic center Wednesday early morning with anti-Muslim
“F*** Islam,” the vandals wrote in all caps on the
Alamin Center in Palm Beach. “F*** ISIS.”
Officials told local news outlets that they were
investigating the incident and the Council on American-Islamic Relations noted
that there was a car that drove up to the signs shortly before 1 a.m. with
individuals who exited and spray painted the words.
“The hate speech and rhetoric that has come along this
presidential campaign is fueling this type of crime that endangers not only the
Muslim community but the Florida community in general,” Wilfred Amr Ruiz, the
communications manager for the Florida branch of CAIR, said. “It is not an isolated
incident. It needs to be taken very seriously. It is happening in the northern
part of the state and the southern part of the state. The Gulf coast and
Atlantic coast and the Orlando area. Unfortunately, our community is being held
captive of (anti-Islamic) rhetoric.”
Anti-Islamic sentiment has been on the rise recently
in the United States after devastating terrorist attacks in Orlando, San
Bernardino, California, and elsewhere have shaken the country and as Republican
presidential nominee Donald Trump has sought to villainize Muslim immigrants.
The U.S. has experienced the highest rates of hate
crimes recently going back to the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001
attacks. The elevated levels of hate crime have alarmed hate crime scholars and
law enforcement officials who have noted hundreds of instances of the attacks.
Attackers have lit mosques on fire, assaulted Muslims, shot Muslims and
threatened them. Experts say that the divisive language on the campaign trail,
including a call for a moratorium on Muslims entering the United States, has
played a big role in those crimes.
Muslim-Americans rise to attention during the US election
Muslim American activists are working hard to have an
impact on the next U.S. election.
Just over three million Muslims live in the United
States, only about one percent of the population. But activists say they can
make a difference in closely contested states like Virginia, Florida,
Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Terror attacks by radical Islamists around the world
have contributed to an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment in the United States.
Those who share this sentiment will point to last year’s San Bernardino
shootings carried out by a radicalized Muslim couple, or the Orlando nightclub
shooting in June.
Donald Trump’s call for a ban on all Muslim
immigration spurred many Muslim Americans into action to combat Islamophobia
and get voters registered,though Trump has since refined his position to say he
favors what he calls “extreme vetting” from nations, “compromised by
terrorism.” Trump’s attacks on the parents of a fallen Muslim American soldier
are also frequently cited as reason to get involved.
WASHINGTON - By Thomas WATKINS - The Iraqi security forces' seemingly
inexorable push toward Mosul saw fighting begin in the city itself this week,
but it is work taking place in the skies above that has enabled such dramatic
A relentless air operation using planes and drones
from a dozen or so members of a US-led coalition against the Islamic State
group has over more than two years conducted some 16,000 air strikes against
the jihadists in Iraq and Syria -- two-thirds of them in Iraq.
Mostly, coalition planes conducted
"deliberate" strikes, where they destroyed targets acquired through
intelligence or surveillance.
"Now, it's almost entirely dynamic strikes,"
a US military official told reporters during a recent visit to the Combined Air
Operations Center (CAOC), from where flights over Mosul and elsewhere are
Dynamic strikes occur when ground units need air
support on an unexpected target, such as an enemy fighting position or a car
bomb being driven across the desert.
"The operation in Mosul is the number one
priority right now," another US military official said.
Consider air activities in and around Mosul for just
On Wednesday, coalition planes destroyed an IS
headquarters building, five storage containers, two mortar systems, two
fighting positions, a bomb-making factory, a supply cache, a sniper position,
an observation post and a culvert.
The strikes also engaged two tactical units and
damaged two tunnels, a bridge and a supply route, according to the coalition.
Air support is given to Iraqi security forces and
Kurdish fighters, but not Shiite militiamen, and the Iraqi military has its own
Three bullet holes
The coalition has enjoyed total air superiority in its
While planes have come under sporadic small-arms fire,
the most significant damage was when a C-130 cargo plane took three bullets to
Officials worry jihadists might seize
"prestige" weapons such as surface-to-air missiles in the chaos that
is neighboring Syria, but so far this threat has not materialized.
Lacking military means, IS fighters use civilians
trapped in Mosul as human shields to prevent strikes.
IS has also experimented with rudimentary air attacks,
using hobby planes and toy drones to carry explosives.
A military official said the jihadists had
experimented with a drone carrying a bottle containing some sort of chemical.
Thanks to this air domination, coalition planes
constantly scout Iraqi and Syrian skies.
The cost of the operation to date is almost $10
At any given time, 15-20 coalition aircraft -- mostly
drones -- circle Mosul, creating a green "donut" on radar screens
that pinpoint each plane's location with a small icon.
Russian planes, which operate in the same air space
over Syria, are yellow.
AFP was among a small group of journalists allowed
into the CAOC, whose location can only be described as a "military base in
The center is the primary hub for anti-IS air
operations and coalition intel, and a never-ending stream of video from drones
is beamed across eight huge monitors covering most wall space in the cavernous
One feed shows a small white pickup truck somewhere in
The drone's eye follows the vehicle into a compound,
where a man loads something into the back.
By CHRISTINE HAUSER
NOV. 3, 2016
For nearly a week, the police in Menomonie, Wis., have
been at a loss to identify a suspect or a motive in the fatal beating of a
Saudi Arabian college student outside a pizza restaurant. Now, the city is
trying to change that by raising money for a reward. The tally so far? $20,000.
The student, Hussain Saeed Alnahdi, 24, who enrolled
at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 2015 and studied English and then
business administration, was attacked around 2 a.m. Sunday on Main Street East,
a stretch of road between the campus and the edge of Lake Menomin, the
Menomonie Police Department said.
He was taken to the hospital in Eau Claire, where he
died on Monday, the police said.
After his death, the Police Department said it did not
believe there was an “ongoing threat” to the community, though it said it had
no information about a possible motive. By Thursday, that apparently had not
However, a department commander, Todd W. Swartz, said
in an email that witnesses had described a possible suspect: a six-foot-tall
In the absence of information about whether there had
been a racial motive, the death of Mr. Alnahdi has shaken the small city in the
western part of the state and has shocked the university campus, where the
9,600 students include a tight-knit group of 142 from Saudi Arabia.
“There is more fear, especially because we don’t know
who the assailant is,” Michael Lee, an international student adviser, said in a
telephone interview on Thursday from the campus. “It was an extremely rare,
Mr. Lee said that the number of Saudi students had
grown in the past four years, attracted to the university’s engineering and
business curriculum. The Saudi kingdom sponsors about 80,000 to 100,000
students in the United States as a way to diversify its economy and future work
force, he said.
But that could change as a drop in oil prices hits
state coffers, and if the sponsorship program evolves under King Salman, who
ascended to the throne in January 2015.
Arab News, a Saudi newspaper, reported that the
university had extended condolences to Mr. Alnahdi’s family in Buraida, north
of Riyadh. The university chancellor, Bob Meyer, and the Menomonie police
chief, Eric Atkinson, also announced a $15,000 reward for information leading
to the arrest of a suspect. The money was raised through private donations and
a foundation affiliated with the university, they said.
“Many people are looking for ways to help the police
find the assailant, and we hope this fund will generate the information needed
to lead to an arrest and conviction,” Mr. Meyer said.
The Council of American-Islamic Relations, a national
civil rights organization, said it would add $5,000 to the fund, and sent its
Minnesota chapter executive director, Jaylani Hussein, to meet with students
and staff members at the university on Wednesday.
WASHINGTON: Following this week’s Arab News/YouGov
poll on how the average citizen in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
region views the US presidential race, leading experts weigh in on what the
numbers mean and say about American politics and policy.
The Arab News/YouGov US election MENA poll of 3,017
people, published on Thursday, found that most believe Hillary Clinton to be
the best choice for US president — but are aligned with Donald Trump on some of
his most controversial stances.
Clinton emerged as the most popular of the two
candidates, with 44 percent of Arab respondents saying they would vote for her,
and 78 percent saying she would be the best for the Arab world. But a
surprising 47 percent said they would snub both candidates — suggesting
widespread dissatisfaction with the election frontrunners.
Arab News discussed the results of the poll with key
scholars of US politics and the Middle East. Here is their take:
Arabs more anti-Trump than pro-Clinton
Randa Slim is a Director of the Track two Dialogue
initiative, at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC. She tweets at
I would argue that the support for Hillary Clinton is
more driven by the anti-Trump attitude than by any thorough knowledge of where
the former secretary of state stands on the issues. In that context, Trump’s
anti-Muslim stance is the main driver of the negative attitudes toward him.
What I found to be the most intriguing part of the poll is this 73 percent
support level for Clinton on US-Israel ties. My assumption is that this
reflects the respondents’ incorrect belief that Clinton will continue Obama’s approach
on this issue — Obama’s being tough on Israel pleased Arabs. The focus on
climate change is interesting and a welcome finding about the preoccupation of
the Arab youth (given the) sample is mostly young, with 50 percent in the 20-29
Immigration comments have sunk in
Malcolm Nance is a career counterterrorism and
intelligence officer. Author of five books on the Middle East. He tweets at
The most fascinating aspect I found out about the poll
was the fact that only 7 percent of respondents in the Middle East were above
the age of 50. This (age group) is perhaps the most savvy and well educated
group of respondents when it comes to the history of US involvement in the
Middle East. This may also explain the dynamics of why 48 percent of the
respondents never follow US elections or politics. In my 35 years in the Middle
East I find that almost unheard of. But it is believable for much younger
people. That support for Hillary Clinton is at 44 percent is a reflection of
the status quo and that they don’t believe US policy will change dramatically.
The 9 percent support for Donald Trump, and 71 percent dissatisfied or are
upset about his candidacy ... means that his comments on immigration have sunk
in, with extremely high negatives. I think that’s almost universal. Also
fascinating is that the region perceived Russia as America’s biggest problem
despite the fact we’ve been fighting wars there for over 15 years. It’s
interesting that they believe this is our chief concern. Fascinating in the
sense that they appear to be reflecting opinions based on priorities seen in
repeated viewings of the Western TV news media. Putin’s propaganda war and
ratcheting up of operations against the West as well as the DNC hackers are
accurately reflected in their media consumption.
Reagan Republicanism looms large
Noah Rothman is an assistant online editor at
Commentary Magazine, a 71-year-old journal based in New York. He tweets at
Islam In France: Four Mosques Closed For 'Promoting
Radical Ideology,' French Interior Minister Says
Four mosques in France have been closed after many
people who attended them reportedly joined extremist movements. The places of
worship, French officials said Wednesday, promoted violence and ideologies that
ran contrary to French values.
The closures were made via a national state of
emergency that was initiated following terrorist attacks, including one in
November of last year in Paris that killed 130 people plus the seven terrorist
“Under the guise of ritual ceremonies, these places
[harbored] meetings aimed at promoting radical ideology, [which is] contrary to
the values of the [French] Republic and may constitute a serious risk to
security and public order,” French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said. He
said that the mosques had spread “hatred and violence.”
The interior minister also reaffirmed the country’s
commitment to “allow the peaceful coexistence of all [places of] worship in
compliance with the laws of the Republic,” the Express Tribune reported.
France has been at the front of anti-Islamic sentiment
in the Western world following the attacks in Paris and elsewhere in the
country. Following those attacks, the country has seen fear and anger rise
between Muslims and members of a far-right political party that has called for
bans on immigrants and asylum seekers coming from Syria and war torn parts of
the Middle East.
The crackdown on the four mosques comes after a July
announcement that the government was considering a temporary ban on foreign
financing for mosques.
France has taken several measures recently that
encroach on the private lives of Muslims. This year, the country has made
headlines for an aggressive push back on so-called burkinis, which are a form
of swimming suit with a headscarf that covers most of the body. Women using
public transportation, walking the streets or using hospitals have also been
banned from wearing headscarves, a prominent part of Muslim women’s religious
BERLIN : German police arrested seven Afghan asylum
seekers in raids on refugee shelters Thursday on suspicion the men repeatedly
raped an Iranian teenager and filmed the sexual assault.
More than 30 police joined the raids on 10 rooms in
several accommodation facilities in the towns of Nagold and Wildberg in the
southwestern state of Baden-Wurttemberg, said police.
"The Afghan asylum seekers are suspected of
having raped a 17-year-old Iranian asylum seeker several times and of having
filmed the acts," police and prosecutors said in a brief joint statement.
Germany took in almost 900,000 asylum seekers last
year -- about half from conflict-torn Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan -- and put
them up in shelters countrywide, including hostels, shops, sports gyms and army
Tensions have at times flared in the often overcrowded
facilities, where refugees typically have little space or privacy and face the
frustration of months-long waits to have their cases heard.
“Dangerous Games”: Russia-U.S. Tensions Escalate
NOVEMBER 03, 2016
In October, Yevgeny Kiselyov, Moscow’s TV propaganda
hitman in chief, attacked U.S. policy over Syria, warning his audience that
American “impudence” could take on what he called “nuclear dimensions.” Russian warships were on their way to the
Syrian coast, Kiselyov noted, to counter potential U.S. air strikes against the
Syrian military. He pointedly reminded
his audience that the warships’ missiles came in “a nuclear version” as well as
with conventional warheads. Kiselyov’s
broadcast followed a warning from the Russian Defense Ministry regarding any
plans by Washington to launch strikes against Syrian forces: Russian personnel
were stationed on Syrian bases, and Russian air-defense systems would defend
them. Meanwhile, civil-defense exercises
were held across Russia, and Moscow unveiled a contingency plan that would put
local government and regional branches of federal ministries under the military
in the event of war. Russian
parliamentarians raised the question of reopening Soviet-era military bases in
Vietnam and Cuba, while the Kremlin reportedly “recommended” that state officials
bring home their children studying abroad and other relatives living outside
Russia. Western news media asked, “Is
Russia preparing for war?”
By mid-October, tensions between Moscow and
Washington, which had been escalating for some time over Syria, seemed to reach
a breaking point. Washington wants to
remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Moscow hopes to maintain an ally
in the Middle East. Russian forces are
helping the Syrian army against its armed opposition, while the U.S. supports
that opposition. Both sides claim to be
fighting terrorism. Russian-U.S.
military cooperation and a Syrian ceasefire broke down as Syrian forces, with
help from Russian air power, fought to seize the strategically important city
of Aleppo and break the back of Syrian opposition forces. The United States, her Western allies, and
U.N. officials charged Russia and her Syrian client with creating an
“humanitarian catastrophe” in the city by indiscriminately killing civilians,
including children, a charge Russian media redirected to Syrian opposition forces.
Against this backdrop, Russian President Vladimir
Putin canceled a scheduled trip to Paris.
French President François Hollande had accused Russian and Syrian forces
of war crimes, while his foreign minister announced that French prosecutors
would ask the International Criminal Court at The Hague to investigate those
alleged war crimes. According to French
sources, Putin, who had scheduled the Paris trip for October 19, ostensibly to
be at the opening of a Russian cultural center and to attend a Russian art
exhibition, pulled out when Hollande refused to discuss anything but Syria at a
proposed meeting with his Russian counterpart.
(“I asked myself the question . . . Is it useful? Is it necessary? Can it be a way of exerting pressure? Can we get him to stop what he is doing with
the Syrian regime?” M. Hollande said in a televised interview.)
Putin claimed it was the French who had canceled, and
Russian analysts began to wonder whether Putin and Russia were now being
treated as “rogues” by the West. Even at
the height of the Ukraine crisis, following a street revolution that overthrew
a pro-Russian government—a revolution, publicly supported by Western
politicians, against a government that those politicians’ governments had
recognized as legitimate—and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Putin had
frequently spoken by phone to Western leaders in Paris, Berlin, London, and
Washington. Now it appeared that Russia
was being treated as a “non grata” country, as political analyst Tatyana
Stanovaya put it. Russian Foreign
Secretary Sergey Lavrov was blunt in his assessment of the situation. He told Russian Channel 1 TV that the basis
for U.S. policy was an “aggressive Russophobia,” and that the U.S. was taking
steps that threaten Russian security.
Lavrov added that anti-Russian economic sanctions were a manifestation
of this hostility. Regarding Syria,
Lavrov said that there are people in Washington who want to move beyond
diplomacy to the use of force. Lavrov
also issued his own warning about any possible U.S. bombing of Syrian forces:
Cruise-missile strikes against the Syrian air force would be very risky. The Russian General Staff had already let it
be known that the U.S. should expect a reaction. Lavrov described Washington’s moves as
Regarding the desire of some in Washington to move
beyond diplomacy, Secretary of State John Kerry inadvertently let the cat out
of the bag in a leaked recording of a conversation he had at the United Nations
with a group that included anti-Assad Syrians.
Kerry said that “three or four” people in the Obama administration
favored using force, but there was a diplomatic problem that would be difficult
to finesse: The U.S. had no legal justification for attacking the Assad regime,
while Russian forces had been invited in by Damascus. Kerry lamented to his Syrian friends that
there was also an American domestic political problem to consider: “A lot of
Americans don’t believe we should be fighting and sending young Americans over
to die in another country.” But Kerry
offered some hope for the hawks: “there’s a different conversation taking
place,” he said, since the bombing of Aleppo had intensified and talks with
Russia had broken down. On Friday,
October 7, the week of the U.N. meeting during which Kerry had his conversation
with Syrian oppositionists, he called for an investigation of alleged war
crimes committed by Russian and Syrian forces.
It’s not too hard to imagine Secretary Kerry and others using the “war crimes”
accusation in justifying U.S. military action in Syria. And it’s also not difficult to imagine why,
with the Aleppo/war-crimes issue being raised by the French president, John
Kerry, and Hillary Clinton, Moscow has reacted as sharply as it has. Clinton has also called for a “no-fly zone”
in Syria, potentially setting up a direct clash between U.S. and Russian
A head-on U.S. military confrontation with a nuclear
power that already sees itself boxed in by the West is a real possibility.
By Hailey Renault and Harriet Tatham
A single beige demountable fitted with not much more
than an air conditioner, a few chairs, and a patchwork of woven mats turned to
face Mecca has become an outback symbol of religious hope.
The Good Shepherd Catholic church in the remote
Queensland mining town of Mount Isa has offered space in its parish building to
the local Islamic community for use as a prayer room.
Muslims and Catholics pray just metres apart.
"Over the years a number of people have asked 'Is
there a place or a space in Mount Isa for a prayer room?'" Father Mick
"A couple of the people who I know fairly well
approached me and sort of said 'Is it possible for us to use one of the
Father Lowcock said his decision to allow the Islamic
community to use the space did not come without contention.
"I suppose one for the issues was, do you make it
public?" he said.
"You don't want any backlash against them or
against us, and there have been some concerns raised by people — even someone
from out of town has rung me about it."
According to Father Lowcock, the questions stem from
misunderstanding and a fear of Islamic extremism and terrorism.
"The question in the back of everyone's mind [is]
'What's ISIS all about?'" he said.
"I think every time people mention the word
'Muslim' or 'Islam', they immediately think of ISIS.
Jahed Chowdhury is a local Muslim. He grew up in
Bangladesh but has been in Australia for the past 14 years.
Mr Chowdhury said, before the church opened its doors,
the Mount Isa Islamic community improvised locations for prayer.
"Before we got a room over here we used to go to
some other friend's place or any other place — we used to pray there," he
"So since we got this one, we come here all the
time so that's very fortunate for us.
"As Muslims we have to pray five times a day and
that's what we do — we gather here and pray to Allah, and we are all happy
because now we openly come any time, whenever we want to."
Mr Chowdhury was aware of negative stereotypes often
attached to his faith, and believed positive examples of religious harmony
helped dispel the myth that Islam was dangerous.
"We invite other people in [from] different
faiths, so … if they want they can come and join with us and they can see what
we do and how we practise, and what the real Muslims are."
"That's what we want to spread — across the world
— that Islam means peace," he said.
Father Lowcock said the relationship also spoke of the
true multiculturalism of outback Queensland.
Tens of thousands of Muslims march in Indonesia
against city governor
Tens of thousands of hardline Muslim protesters in
Indonesia marched on Friday to the presidential palace to demand the resignation
of the governor of the capital, Jakarta, who they said had insulted the Koran.
Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim country,
where many people follow a moderate form of Islam. While hardliners have
launched occasional agitation in the past, protests on such a large scale have
The atmosphere in Jakarta was tense and some companies
asked employees to work from home, access to business districts was restricted
and embassies urged caution.
Truck loads of soldiers and police, some equipped with
rifles, were on patrol and others secured shopping malls. A total of about
18,000 security personnel are expected to be deployed in the sprawling city of
10 million, police said.
The protesters, led by a group called the Islamic
Defenders Front, are calling for Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahja Purnama, a
Christian and the first ethnic Chinese in the job, to be jailed for blasphemy.
They say he insulted the Koran by dismissing a
political attack by an opponent who urged opposition to Purnama by citing a verse
from the Koran.
"He is not Muslim but he humiliated the
Koran," protester Muhammad Said told Reuters.
"Don't refer to anything in the Koran, especially
interpreting it incorrectly ... I call on God to jail him."
Purnama served as deputy to President Joko Widodo when
Widodo was city governor from 2012 to 2014, and has long been seen as an ally
of the president.
Widodo would work as usual on Friday, with plans to
visit a rail construction project at the capital's airport, presidential
spokesman Johan Budi told reporters.
Budi said Wiranto, the coordinating minister for
political, legal and security affairs, and state secretary Pratikno were
expected to meet representatives of the protesters.
Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla called for a
peaceful protest in a joint statement on Thursday, saying "everything and
everyone should continue to work as normal".
Police are investigating the case against Purnama, who
has apologized for the remarks. Widodo, a Muslim, has vowed not to interfere in
any legal proceedings against Purnama, according to the Indonesian Clerical
Many of the protesters wore white robes and Muslim
caps and gathered at the central Istiqlal Mosque, the biggest mosque in the
country, before they began moving towards the presidential palace, with their
numbers expected to swell.
Critics say Widodo's government has not done enough to
contain the religious and ethnic tension that is mounting ahead of a city
governor election in February.
Purnama, popularly known as "Ahok", has a
reputation as a tough reformer. He will compete for re-election against two
Muslims - Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, a son of former president Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono, and a former education minister, Anies Baswedan.
Ethnic Chinese make up just over one percent of
Indonesia's 250 million people, and they typically do not enter politics.
There has been opposition to the hardliners on social
media and some banners draped from an overpass called for respect of diversity.
"Your religion or ethnicity doesn't matter, as
long as you can do something good for everybody," said one banner.
Indonesia suffered a series of Islamist militant
attacks early in the last decade. In the most serious incident, 202 people were
killed in bombings of a nightclub on the island of Bali in 2002.
An attack in Jakarta early this year by supporters of
Islamic State raised fears of a new wave of violent militancy.
(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo and Johan Purnomo;
Additional reporting by Angie Teo and Wilda Asmarini; Writing by Eveline Danubrata;
Editing by Michael Perry, Robert Birsel)
October 31, 2016
Leaders of Ahmadiyah Muslim communities from Indonesia
and Malaysia are complaining about the absence of state protection for their
followers in the two countries.
Speaking at the 2016 International Peace Symposium
organized by the School of Social Sciences and Humanities of the State Islamic
University (UIN) Sunan Kalijaga in Yogyakarta on Saturday, the leaders revealed
how their followers were being oppressed in the two neighboring countries.
Jamaah Ahmadiyah Indonesia’s (JAI) ulema Mirajuddin
Sahid asked the government to obey the Constitution and protect the rights of
the Ahmadis in the country to worship according to their faith.
“Up to the present time the government has not been
serious about protecting Ahmadis,” Mirajuddin told The Jakarta Post after
speaking in the seminar, which ran smoothly despite recent bans and disruptions
by groups intolerant of seminars discussing sensitive political and religious
He said intolerant acts against the Ahmadis, who are
considered heretics, were still being committed in 12 different locations
across Indonesia, mostly in West Java.
He added the practices ranged from the closing of the
mosques to subdistrict officers who refused to issue ID cards for Ahmadis.
The worst, he said, was what happened to 119 Ahmadi
families in West Nusa Tenggara who years ago had been evicted from their homes
and are still forced to take shelter in the Wisma Transito building in Mataram.
“They have been staying there for the last 10 years
and the government still does nothing about it,” he said.
Another speaker at the symposium, the Malaysian
Ahmadiyah Muslim community’s leader, Maulana Ainul Yaqeen, said oppression also
prevailed against Ahmadis in Malaysia.
He said the Malaysian Ahmadis, also known as the
Qadiani community, have been labelled infidels. “In 1953 there was an edict
from the king saying that Ahmadiyah was outside of Islam,” said Maulana who was
once sent to prison for preaching his faith.
Wahid Institute senior researcher Ahmad Suaedy said
that historically oppression in Indonesia against minority groups like
Ahmadiyah had not been as serious as what has been happening in the last 15
An influential leader of the Philippines’ decades-long
Muslim separatist insurgency voiced support today for peace efforts after
rebellion charges against him were suspended and he held a surprise meeting
with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari was
flown on a government-commissioned plane more than 900 kilometres from his
southern jungle stronghold to Manila for the meeting with Duterte at the
“I came here to thank him for restoring my freedom, if
only partially,” Misuari said.“Should he need our cooperation in his campaign
for peace, you can count on us.”
Misuari, 77, had been in hiding since his forces
allegedly launched attacks on civilians in the southern city of Zamboanga in
2013, leading to a three-week battle against the military that claimed about
The government of Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno
Aquino, filed rebellion charges against Misuari, but he was able to remain on
his southern island stronghold of Jolo under the protection of his armed
Misuari, a charismatic scholar, founded the MNLF in
1972 to wage a guerrilla war for a separate Islamic
state in the south of mainly Catholic Philippines.
Most of the nation’s Muslim minority live in the southern region of Mindanao.
The conflict, which also involved other rebel groups,
is believed to have claimed more than 120,000 lives and contributed to Mindanao
remaining the nation’s poorest region.
Misuari signed a peace agreement with the government
in 1996 in return for the creation of a Muslim autonomous area of which he
However the conflict persisted as the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front, a splinter organisation with more than 10,000 armed
followers, continued the rebellion. The MILF in recent years also began
negotiating for peace.
Nov 4, 2016
Two Malaysians were arrested by Turkish authorities on
their way to Syria, where they were planning to join up with the Islamic State
militant group, Malaysian police said on Friday.
Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a
statement the two suspects, a factory technician and a welder, had been
recruited by Muhammad Wanndy Muhammad Jedi, a known Malaysian Islamic State
member in Syria.
"Muhammad Wanndy coordinated plans for the two
suspects to travel to Syria and contributed funds for their flight,"
Muhammad Wanndy had claimed responsibility for a
grenade attack on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur in June and issued death
threats against top Malaysian police and government officials.
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