Muslims Pray Peacefully At Al-Aqsa Mosque on First Friday of Ramadan
Islamic School Reforms Aim to Curb Extremism
Stepped Up As Chinese Reject Forced Prostitution Claims
Breaks Ramzan Fast to Donate Blood to His Roommate Tapash Bhagawati
Naik Says ED Lying, Asks If Agency Is Under 'Pressure'
Lanka Sets Up Hotline to Report Increasing Anti-Muslim Harassment in the Wake
of Easter Sunday Attacks
Refugees Now Feel Safer In Non-Muslim Countries, Says Dr M
Keen to Showcase Depth of Islamic Culture, Says Chief
Looks To Haftar to End Slave Trade in Libya
Arabia's Military Invites British Soldiers To Make Pilgrimage In 'Blessed
Muslims Pray Peacefully At Al-Aqsa Mosque on First Friday Of Ramadan
Cleric Says US ‘Fleet Can Be Destroyed With One Missile’
reduces commitment to the nuclear deal amid increased U.S. pressure
blasts US over new Iran mining sanctions
rebels are holding a ‘floating bomb’ oil tanker hostage off Yemen’s coast
Trump invite, Iran commander says: No talks with US
killed by Israeli fire in Gaza border clashes: ministry
envoy slams UN over ‘tired talking points’ on Israel
announce redeployment from Yemen ports amid doubts by legitimate govt
death in Turkish prison raises questions on torture
says Yemen’s Houthis agreed to begin Hudaydah withdrawal
toll rises to 12 in Lahore Sufi shrine suicide attack
govt, opposition in rare unison over Fata bill
assures people tough times will be over soon
From group inspired by ISIS Killed
terrorist killed in Jammu and Kashmir encounter, arms stash recovered
UK vow to boost cooperation in maritime security, counter-terrorism
Open New Front against Aid Workers While Talking Peace
round of Taliban-U.S. peace talks end
security forces, 34 militants killed in N. Afghanistan
allow mosques to promote hatred; submit recordings of sermons: Sri Lanka govt
Lankan court orders DNA test to verify death of Easter bombings mastermind
Bangladesh would gain from normalizing relations with Israel?
militant leader in-charge of ‘Kangaroo Court’ of Taliban killed in Ghor
militants killed in a ‘kinetic airstrike’ carried out in support of Afghan
soldiers in Kandahar
children killed, 5 wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in Faryab
Taliban violence casts a pall over ‘slow’ Afghan talks
Temple Provides Free Iftar Meals for Low-Income People in West Jakarta
sec-gen says past with PAS irrelevant, party is now without Dr M
Says He'll Have More Leeway in Second Term Without Re-Election Concerns
children of dead ISIS parents reunited with Swedish grandfather in Erbil
Trump can save Syria’s Idlib, but time is running out
militants attack house, kill 8 persons in right coast of Mosul
State claims responsibility for Baghdad blast: statement
not keeping up with evolving ISIS: US Defense Department
return to Lebanon as government discusses austerity
And Mossad Conflating Intelligence to Push US into Military Conflict with Iran:
Says US Doesn't Want War with Iran But Warns Of 'Swift' Response If Provoked
Considers Them Terrorists, but Some Are Allies
America keen on Islam: Argentinian Muslim scholar
sanction on Iran not serving peace: Turkish official
Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE ‘Evident Hypocrisy’: Ansarullah
Convicted Of Terrorism for Arson of Australian Mosque
to Germany threatens companies with U.S. ban over Iran
French soldiers killed in hostage rescue mission in Benin
says talks continue with Iran on INSTEX
Al-Shabaab Stages Attack On a Town Under Somali Troops
Haram militia frees 900 children in Nigeria: UN
Air Strike Kills 13 Islamic State Fighters in Somalia: U.S. Military
of migrants drown off Tunisia coast after leaving Libya
of refugees drown off Tunisia coast after leaving Libya
busts UAE-linked spy network, arrests agents: Report
Boko Haram terrorists killed in northeast Nigeria
protesters press demands on 1st Friday of Ramadan
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Muslims pray peacefully at Al-Aqsa Mosque on first Friday of Ramadan
of thousands of Muslims, including many from the West Bank, prayed peacefully
at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Friday, the first in Islam’s holiest
month of Ramadan, officials said.
Jerusalem Islamic Waqf organization which administers the site estimated that
there were 180,000 worshipers, some 50 percent higher than last year, when
around 120,000 people attended the first Friday prayers. Israeli estimates
varied between 135,000 and 180,000.
al-Khatib, director general of Waqf, said the crowds reached the site “despite
checkpoints and a large security presence.” The prayers ended without any major
incident, he told AFP
Police said that they had deployed hundreds of officers and Border Police “to
ensure that tens of thousands of worshipers could reach the site and at the
same time prevent any incidents throughout the day.”
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and sits atop the Temple
Mount, the most sacred site in Judaism and revered as the home of the ancient
Jewish Temples. It is often a major flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian
AFP photographer at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West
Bank saw thousands of Palestinians — including elderly people in wheelchairs —
queuing to enter the city early Friday morning.
between Palestinian and Israeli authorities had improved at the checkpoint this
year, the photographer said, making access to Jerusalem easier.
was largely due to Israel opening a new crossing at the site in February that
is designed to reduce friction at one of the largest crossing points between
the West Bank and Jerusalem.
IDF said some 75,000 people from the West Bank crossed into Israel for the
restrictions on Palestinians from the West Bank are eased during the month of
Ramadan, which began on Monday.
over the age of 40 and children under 12 will be allowed to enter the city on
Fridays during Ramadan, while there are no restrictions on women, the Israeli
views the whole of Jerusalem as its capital while the Palestinians see the
eastern part as the capital of their future state.
in Pakistan say Islamic organizations have agreed to put some 30,000 madrassas,
or seminaries, under the supervision of the Ministry of Education as part of
the government's efforts to curb violent extremism in the country.
blame madrassas for the rising radicalization of Pakistan's youth and for
serving as breeding grounds for transnational terrorist networks. The Pakistani
military also has long been accused of covertly supporting some of these
madrassas to train and send fighters to fuel conflicts in Afghanistan and a
Muslim insurgency in the India-ruled portion of the disputed Kashmir region.
agreement has outlined rules and regulations for all madrassas in Pakistan to
be registered with the education ministry and those who oppose the process will
not be allowed to work,” Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood told the local Geo
News channel. Under the deal, the government will assist madrassa operators in
opening their bank accounts and processing visas for foreign students seeking
admission in Pakistani seminaries, the minister explained.
say the measure will enable the government to audit finances being provided to
the seminaries in the name of donations and charities to deter
terrorism-related transactions, and monitor activities of foreign students
attending the institutions.
rare understanding comes days after the chief military spokesman Major General
Asif Ghafoor, in an unusual move, unveiled government plans to bring
much-sought reforms to madrassas to put them under state control.
say the military's lead to announce the plan was apparently aimed at deterring
any possible backlash from Islamic organizations and at sending a strong
message to these entities that the state is determined to press ahead with its
seminaries are largely ill-equipped. Children spend most of the time memorizing
the Holy Quran, with almost no access to modern subjects. They can only get the
job of a prayer leader at a mosque after finishing the madrassa education.
of the madrassa system say they are offering free education to around 2.5
million children of poverty-stricken families in Pakistan, where an estimated
25-million children are unable to receive any education.
says government scrutiny of all the seminaries has determined "less than
100” are suspected of involvement in promoting “violent extremism and
Islamic education will continue to be provided, but there will be no hate
speech,” the army spokesman said while announcing the reform program about two
weeks ago. “We want to end violent extremism in Pakistan and that will only
happen when our children have the same education and opportunities,” he
by past Pakistani governments to mainstream the madrassa education system have
faced strong resistance and threats of street agitation from religious groups
for what they denounced as anti-Islam Western plot.
Amir Rana of the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS)
explained the reason for the military to take the lead and announce the
madrassa reform program.
is quite a sensitive and critical issue and there is this thinking among the
security institutions that no civilian government can handle it all alone and
they need some harder perusal approach to implement the madrassa reforms,” Rana
Minister Imran Khan, who took office last August, has vowed his government
would not tolerate extremist or militant outfits operating on its territory.
noted that there has been no retaliation, so far, from Islamic groups to
madrassa reforms because the announcement has come from the military, the
institution long suspected of creating and patronizing some of the seminaries.
think this may be one of the factors behind this new approach by the security
institutions that they always have been blamed for supporting these kind of
extremist elements in the country whatever the purpose was, whatever the
complicated history we have. But now they have decided to deal with it by
themselves,” Rana noted.
senior Pakistani official told VOA that Islamic leaders and clerics from all
schools of thought will be barred from delivering sermons or speeches in their
respective seminaries that fuel sectarianism among various Sunni sects and the
rival minority Shi’ite Muslim community. The official requested anonymity
because he was not authorized to speak to media on the subject.
noted the government has allocated an initial amount of $3.8 million (2.7
billion rupees) for the reform program. The process of hiring 100,000 new teachers
to teach contemporary subjects at madrassas has started. Regional government
officials will be appointed to support and coordinate with madrassa operators
in mainstreaming the schools.
any madrassa are found involved in activities beyond their stated mandate the
responsibility will rest with the religious leader running them,” the official
authorities in recent weeks have also taken control of hundreds of hospitals,
seminaries and other facilities linked to banned organizations, including those
designated as global terrorists by the United Nations.
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) militant groups were also among
them. Indian officials blamed JeM for orchestrating a deadly suicide car
bombing in February that killed 40 paramilitary forces in India-ruled portion
of the disputed Kashmir region.
move comes at a time of increased pressure on the country to act against
Islamist groups that continue to operate religious seminaries and other
facilities despite being designated as global terrorists by the United Nations.
is widely believed that Pakistan’s steps against Islamist groups and entities
stem from pressure the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is
putting on Islamabad to take effective steps against money laundering and
FATF identifies jurisdictions with weak measure to combat money laundering and
terrorist financing. Countries with inadequate controls for curbing money
laundering and terrorism financing appear on the watchdog's "grey
list." The group's "blacklist" is reserved for countries that
fail to meet international standards in stopping financial crimes.
watchdog is due to meet next month to review Pakistani measures before a
critical meeting in September where a final decision will be taken to either
remove the country from FATF's grey list or to place it in its blacklist. In
the event of being blacklisted, analysts say, Pakistan’s economic woes will
worsen because international financial dealings and trade will face
stepped up as Chinese reject forced prostitution claims
/ ISLAMABAD: As the FIA stopped two Chinese men and three Pakistani women from
boarding a flight to China at the Islamabad Airport on Friday for their alleged
involvement in bride trafficking, the Chinese Embassy said a joint Pak-China
probe had found no evidence to claims that the women married to Chinese men
were being forced into prostitution or organ sale.
Federal Investigation Agency’s immigration staff took into custody the two
couples and a single woman on charges of bride trafficking and shifted them to
the FIA’s anti-human trafficking cell for interrogation.
to sources, Chinese authorities had held two meetings with Minister for
Interior retired Brig Ijaz Ahmad Shah — one on Thursday and the other on Friday
— and expressed their displeasure over publicising the arrest of Chinese
nationals in connection with the alleged bride trafficking.
Chinese authorities made it clear to the minister that if someone individually
had done anything wrong that should not be publicised by holding press
conferences, because that is giving a bad name to their country.
the Chinese Embassy in a statement issued on Friday said that Chinese
authorities had jointly investigated with their Pakistani counterparts the
allegations of Pakistani women married off to Chinese men being forced into
prostitution or organ sale, but found no evidence.
Ministry of Public Security of China sent a task force to Pakistan to carry out
law enforcement cooperation with the Pakistani side,” the embassy said, adding
the Chinese ministry found that there was “no forced prostitution or sale of
human organs for those Pakistani women who stay in China after marriage with
findings cited by the embassy appear to be at odds with an FIA press statement,
which had detailed how Pakistani women were fraudulently married off to the
Chinese and later trafficked into prostitution in China.
Chinese investigations, however, appear to be ongoing as the embassy noted:
“Relevant cases are now under investigation”.
sources said that all the detained Chinese nationals had been visiting Pakistan
on “business visas on arrival” and therefore none of them was illegal
immigrant. After arriving here, they contact locals to allegedly lure young
Pakistani girls into marriages.
pointed out that if anyone from South Asian countries is arrested in China, the
authorities there don’t publicise his/her nationality. They only mention that a
South Asian has been arrested.
to sources, after the Chinese authorities expressed their displeasure over
publicising the arrest of Chinese nationals, the FIA has been verbally asked to
slow down the crackdown and avoid arrests unless any girl came to them to lodge
Friday, the FIA staff held two couples and one Pakistani woman while they were
passing through the immigration process at the Islamabad airport for travelling
to China through Air China flight CZ6008.
Zhili along with Samreen Fatima, a resident of Lahore, and Guo Wenchao along
with Rabia, a resident of Rawalpindi, and Masooma Kalsoom, a resident of Lahore
were detained after they failed to satisfy the FIA for the purpose of
travelling to China.
Kalsoom said in her statement recorded with the FIA that she was travelling to
China to join her husband there.
embassy statement issued on Friday — a second by the embassy in nearly a month
— was issued amid growing media reports of Pakistani women being duped into
marriages with the Chinese and the law enforcement action by Pakistani
authorities against people and marriage bureaus involved in contracting such
a latest report, the FIA arrested three Chinese and their Pakistani accomplices
on charges of fake marriages. Nearly two dozen Chinese have been arrested so
far in different Pakistani cities.
last statement was issued on April 13 in which the Chinese embassy had
acknowledged that some “unlawful matchmaking centres” were deceiving Pakistani
and Chinese youth by brokering cross-national marriages for “illegal profits”.
latest statement backed Pakistani law enforcement action against the marriage
bureaus concerned. “If any organisation or individual commits a crime in
Pakistan under the banner of the cross-border marriage, China supports the
Pakistani side to crack down on it according to Pakistani laws,” it said.
embassy pledged to continue cooperation with Pakistan on the issue. “China will
further strengthen cooperation with the law enforcement agencies in Pakistan,
to effectively combat crime, so as to protect the legitimate rights and
interests of the two peoples, and jointly safeguard China-Pakistan friendly
relations,” it said, adding that “a few criminals” cannot be allowed to
undermine the friendship between the two countries and “hurt the friendly
feelings between two peoples”.
embassy asked the media to be “objective and fair” in reporting on the issue
and asked the people to reject rumours.
year old Md. Panaulla Ahmed was resting after his ‘sehri’ (pre-dawn meal) on
Wednesday morning, the second day of the month-long Ramzan fast, when he
noticed his roommate Tapash Bhagawati was upset.
active member of Team Humanity, a group of voluntary blood donors, Tapash had
got a call the previous night about a patient needing two units of O positive
blood which the latter’s family had tried hard to procure but with no success.
asked him what the problem was and immediately offered to donate my blood,”
said Ahmed, a ward boy at a private hospital in Guwahati.
who works as operation theatre technician at the same hospital, wasn’t sure
whether Ahmed could help since the latter was fasting for Ramzan and could
weaken after donating blood.
had got negative responses from many before Ahmed offered. I was happy, but
didn’t want him to break his fast. But he was adamant,” said Tapash.
two friends rushed to another hospital in the city where Ranjan Gogoi, a
50-year-old businessman from Dhemaji in upper Assam, was about to be operated
for the removal of two tumours in his stomach.
consulted some ‘maulvis’ (Muslim religious scholar) who encouraged me to go
ahead with my plan but advised not to continue with the fast if I felt weak,”
said Ahmed, whose blood group is B positive.
donated one unit of blood, which the hospital kept in their blood bank and they
released a unit of O positive blood for the patient. Once I was done, I had to
break my fast and eat something,” he added.
removed both the tumours in Gogoi’s stomach and will test them for cancer. The
patient is recuperating in hospital while Ahmed has resumed his Ramzan fast.
are very thankful for Ahmed’s gesture. I was very surprised to learn that he
broke his ‘roza’ (fast) to donate blood. I was even more surprised when he
refused to accept anything from us in return,” said Gogoi’s brother-in-law,
Naik says ED lying, asks if agency is under 'pressure'
Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on Friday termed a lie the
Enforcement Directorate's claim that he transferred over Rs 49 crore to his
bank accounts in India over a period of six years despite not having any
"known source of income".
agency had, on May 2, filed a prosecution complaint before a special court here
against Naik charging him with laundering criminal money to the tune of Rs 193
crore and allegedly creating illegal real estate assets worth crores in India
ED had stated that Naik did not have any "known source of income" but
still managed to transfer more than Rs 49 crore to bank accounts in India.
a detailed statement released to media by his PR team, Naik said, "Why is
ED lying? When everyone - including all the government agencies - know that I
have multiple businesses and revenue streams and my earnings have always
reflected in the tax returns I've filed, why is ED lying about it?"
further questioned if the "pressure was so huge" that they (ED) need
to lie to achieve the goal set out by their political bosses?
claimed to be an NRI since 2010, living and earning outside India.
earn over a crore a month, and I send money back to India as and when required.
I send it from my Dubai account to my India account, and every penny is then
accounted for in my tax returns, the papers for which are with the Indian
agencies," he said.
2010 and 2016 - in the six year period - I must have sent 49 crore to India.
How is sending 65 lakh per month a problem? For a country that receives more
than Rs 6,000 crores every month from UAE-based Indians, how is my Rs 65 lakh a
problem?" he asked.
a full time preacher and part-time businessman. I don't charge for my lectures
nor do I earn from Peace TV, so I do need another revenue stream to survive,
which I have. Implying that I could survive outside India without earning
anything is not just illogical, it's childish," he added.
ED has so far arrested two of Naik's aides, Amir Gazdar and Najamuddin Sathak,
while Naik himself is absconding and is reportedly in Malaysia.
was booked by the ED in 2016 based on a National Investigation Agency (NIA) FIR
that was registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
NIA in the past has said the Islamic preacher "deliberately and
maliciously insulted the religious beliefs of Hindus, Christians and non-Wahabi
Muslims, particularly Shias, Sufis and the Barelvis, with the intention of
outraging their religious feelings."
had said Naik's organisation, IRF and Ms Harmony Media, "have been
instrumental in the maximum circulation of such incriminating speeches".
Lanka sets up hotline to report increasing anti-Muslim harassment in the wake
of Easter Sunday attacks
Sri Lankan government has set up a police hotline to report for Muslims to
report harassment, as the community comes under increasing attack in the wake
of the Isil-linked Easter Sunday bombings.
suicide attacks targeted churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday, leaving
258 people dead, including 42 foreign nationals. The attackers later released a
video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Lankan authorities on Friday said investigators were still trying to establish
how deep those contacts were.
Islamic Affairs ministry spokesman told The Telegraph that there have been
“hundreds of calls every day” reporting incidents of hate and violence against
Muslims since the attacks, especially against women wearing headscarves, or the
the Muslim community is being harassed and targeted for actions committed by
few individuals,” said Mufti Mohamed Rizwe, president of All Ceylon Jamiathul
Ulema (ACJU), a governing Muslim body.
spokesman of ACJU told The Telegraph that “a serious anti-Muslim oppression is
going on now.”
are some 2 million Muslims in Sri Lanka, around 10 per cent of the mostly
one incident, parents at a school in Puwakpitiya, some 50 kilometres west of
Colombo, reportedly barred entry and threatened Muslim teachers wearing
are gripped with fear,” Fathima Rahma, an accountant wearing a headscarf told
The Telegraph. “I’m afraid to step into supermarkets or banks because I’ve had
bad experiences with security guards and staff shouting at me. Uber drivers
cancel on me, trishaws don’t stop for me anymore.”
Uber drivers and businesses are also reporting decline in rides and sales.
ban on face-covering veils and sweeping house-to-house searches by police and
military have also added to the tension.
the past week, many Muslims have been arrested for owning toy drones, toy
walkie-talkies and in one case a set of “Hadith” books - on the lifestyle of Prophet Muhammed.
of Higher Education Rauf Hakeem said there was a “hidden hand” behind the
Easter terror, bent on destabilizing the country.
refugees now feel safer in non-Muslim countries, says Dr M
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed disappointment with Muslim
countries which, he argued, have “failed” as Muslim refugees now feel safer
seeking asylum in non-Muslim countries.
feel sad looking at Muslims (abroad). Muslim countries have failed and they
(their citizens) have to save themselves by going to non-Muslim countries.
should actually go to other Muslim countries. But most of the Muslim countries
are not safe and are not willing to accept refugees,” he said at a breaking of
fast event organised by the Malaysian Islamic Welfare Association (Perkim) here
said millions of refugees had migrated to European countries in their search
for safety and protection.
is not because of Islam as a religion itself but because the Muslims push aside
the teachings of Islam, even though they often preach in God’s name,” he said.
said Malaysians often forget to be thankful that they live in a peaceful
Malaysia, we can have our breaking of fast gathering peacefully and safely.
This is not something that is seen as common (in some other Muslim countries).”
said people in many Muslim countries face occurrences that are “against Islam”.
see many people dying from hunger or being hit by bombs and rockets in the wars
that are happening.
lot of governments also oppress their
citizens. Even though they are Muslim, they do not abide by the religious
teachings,” he said.
he said that differences within the Muslim community in Malaysia are mainly due
to different individual interests.
of different interests, political interests for example, we are divided and
have become weak,” he said.
after the breaking of fast, Mahathir told reporters the government needed more
time to fulfil the remaining promises in its manifesto.
will put in effort (going forward) but one year is not enough to do anything,”
maintained that the government has “achieved a lot”, noting that 39.01% of the
464 initiatives in the PH manifesto have been fulfilled in its first year in
a lot of the other promises will take more time,” he said.
Keen To Showcase Depth Of Islamic Culture, Says Chief
Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation (OIC), commended the efforts of the Islamic Educational, Scientific
and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) during the third extraordinary session of
ISESCO’s general conference at King Abdullah Economic City, in Rabigh.
thanked the Saudi government for supporting the OIC, noting that “ISESCO has
assisted the OIC’s member states in the promotion of culture, science,
education and communications according to Islamic values and ideals.”
General Secretariat looks forward to further consulting with the ISESCO to
establish joint programs that pave the way for a genuine partnership with
member states in order to showcase the depth of Islamic culture,” he said.
of Education Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh highlighted the ISESCO’s
achievements and its efforts to attain the highest goals. He hoped that the
programs, projects and strategies would build beacons of teaching, learning and
culture, promoting the true spirit of Islam away from stereotyping or
wished success for the new director general of the ISESCO, Dr. Salim bin
Mohammed Al-Malik. He also honored the former director general of the ISESCO,
Dr. Abdul Aziz bin Osman Al-Tuwaijiri, who held the post from 1991.
looks to Haftar to end slave trade in Libya
President Donald Trump’s continued support for Libyan Field Marshall Khalifa
Haftar is based on a promise by the military commander to clamp down on the
slave trade in Libya and bring soldiers found guilty of human rights abuses to
justice, says a former official in the US Department of Defense.
US backs Haftar because he is seen in Washington as anti-extremist and
anti-slavery,” said Rudolph Atallah, a former counter-terrorism director for
the office of the US Secretary of Defense and CEO of White Mountain Research in
Virginia, noting that National Security Advisor John Bolton has been acting as
an intermediary between the US Administration and Haftar.
has promised to stamp down on the slave-trade of illegal migrants in Libya,
which the Government of National Accord (GNA) has been unable to stem and which
has outraged the world,” said Atallah.
has gone down very well in Washington along with his promises to deal with
human rights abuses and with Islamic extremists of all hues. This all bodes
well for the Libyan National Army (LNA),” he added.
is also linking the increasing number of ISIS attacks on the LNA to the
possible military purpose of dragging LNA units away from Tripoli, according to
a US intelligence assessment seen by Al Arabiya English.
Serraj, Prime Minister of the GNA in Tripoli, has been touring European
capitals seeking help in his battle against Haftar, as well as threatening
European companies with contract terminations. However, the on-ground reality
in Libya and the growing certainty of US support for Haftar have been forcing a
already controls southern and eastern Libya and has now besieged the capital
Tripoli in the north of the country with fierce fighting ongoing in its
Tripoli would give Haftar control of Libya’s immigration routes, worth hundreds
of millions of dollars a year to smugglers, with migrants systematically
treated inhumanely and sold in what the International Organization of Migration
(IOM) has called “slave markets.”
possibility of closing down the migrant slave gangs is said to have been a key
consideration behind the Trump Administration’s blocking of a draft UN Security
Resolution condemning Haftar’s assault on Tripoli and calling for a ceasefire.
of thousands of desperate migrants come from war-torn and hostile parts of
Sub-Saharan Africa and the Sahel region to northern coast around Tripoli, where
they aim to start their journey across the Mediterranean to Europe, as promised
International Organization for Migration (IOM) documented how thousands of
smuggled migrants, including women and children, have perished during arduous
sea crossings, frequently after having been beaten, raped, tortured, and robbed
on their way through Libya.
far this year, 17,000 people entered Europe by sea from Libya, with 493 deaths.
This week, the IOM reported that a vessel which left Zuwara city, on the
north-western coast of Libya, capsized with at least 50 deaths.
taking Tripoli, Haftar will have the power and military ability to shut down
the sea routes used by the smuggler gangs to send migrants to Europe, and
target their associates who run the southern routes into the country,” said
exposure of the illegal trade of migrants in Libya, including undercover
footage shown on CNN of African migrants being auctioned in a market, has
caused international revulsion.
is among the countries that suffered the worst impacts of migrants influx, and
it had previously supported the GNA in Tripoli in countering illegal migration.
However, with the LNA’s advances and the US’ political support for Haftar,
Italy has developed a more diplomatic stance.
London, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt met with Prime Minister of the
GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, on Thursday and called on “all sides” to commit to a
ceasefire, in comments that lack direct condemnation of the LNA.
UK Foreign Office has been reviewing its policy towards Haftar while
maintaining its focus on improving human rights and support for the UN
political process in Libya, a British diplomatic source said on condition of
GNA asked 40 foreign firms including French oil major Total to renew their licenses
or have their operations suspended, pressuring Europe to stop the Haftar’s
military offensive against Tripoli and choose sides.
which has invested millions of euros in recent months in Libya’s development
and in support of GNA efforts, remains unconvinced by Haftar as a force for
peace and human rights.
ignored a call by the head of the UN Support Mission in Libya for a ceasefire
during Ramadan and called for an intensification of his assault on Tripoli
Arabia's military invites British soldiers to make pilgrimage in 'blessed
will be particularly special for nine British soldiers this year, as they make
Umrah to Makkah at the invitation of Saudi Arabia.
team of ten Brits has arrived in Jeddah from the UK and are being hosted by the
Saudi Arabian army’s religious directorate, along with soldiers from armed
forces from around the world. One of the army’s civilian chaplains and an
officer were chosen alongside eight soldiers selected via a lottery system to
Sohail Ifraz recounted he was “a bit shell shocked” to hear his name had been
felt so privileged to kind of get the opportunity to go to the blessed lands of
Saudi Arabia. Spiritually it's a place that every Muslim across the world have
a connection to. It doesn't matter where you are in the world, you have a
connection to that one place because you know, everyone prays to that location,
towards that direction everyday.”
party left the UK on May 2 and are due to return on this week after visiting
Makkah and Madinah to complete the pilgrimage.
trip is running over Ramadan, making it extra special, the soldiers say.
opportunity to observe a part of the month of Ramadan in the holy lands, you
couldn't ask for a better Ramadan,” said Cpl Ifraz.
only is the trip an opportunity for the armed forces personnel to deepen their
connection to their faith, it brings opportunities to share information about
Islam with their non-Muslim colleagues.
army Umrah has sparked curiosity among the men’s units, prompting questions not
just about the journey but about halal meals, Ramadan and other Muslim
Ifraz, who was awarded an MBE in 2018, says his seniors have asked him to
explain different elements of his faith to further their understanding.
sort of constantly asking questions, like ‘why do you pray towards that one
location?’ Something that's as simple as that.”
kind of go through all the motions and tell people that this is what we do, why
we do it. And I think that kind of, it starts at that level. One soldier tells
four or five other soldiers and then it kind of branches from there. That's how
everyone would get a better understanding of not just our faith but all
are still underrepresented in the armed forces, making up just 0.4 per cent of
the UK regular forces, compared to just under 5 per cent of the British
population, according to April 2017 Ministry of Defence figures.
army has made efforts to attract recruits from Muslim communities, including a
£1.6m campaign on belonging that featured Cpl Ifraz.
is important for youngsters considering the army of all backgrounds to see that
it offers myriad opportunities as well as allowing you to practice your faith
or be a member of a political party, Sgt Dorian John says .
just have to understand that and it's people like us doing these things that
can tell people what it is that the army offers and why they can see the army
as a career or even just an adventure,” he said.
John was born on the island of Dominica and joined the forces in 2003. He has
been deployed to Afghanistan twice and Iraq once, and worked for a variety of
army units. He says being a Muslim in the army has improved over the years,
particularly with the publication of official guidance on Ramadan in 2010 to
help his colleagues and superiors understand the fasting period and give
instructions on how to treat soldiers partaking in Ramadan.
include exempting soldiers from arduous physical activities, making time for
prayer and access to one of the two army Imams for theological guidance.
Abubakarr Mahmoud is the first reservist to ever go on the pilgrimage trip,
which has been running twice a year since 2016, covering both Hajj and Umrah.
He praises the army's commitment to ensuring he can practice his faith, from
pastoral support to a wide variety of halal meals provided to army bases across
you are a Muslim and you go on tour, a helicopter brings in the food I have to
eat,” he says.
the Imam is available. If I need any help or spiritual support, I can talk to
him and he'll guide me through.”
halal rations among those taking the Umrah journey include vegetarian tikka
masala and lamb tagine, which are apparently so delicious that non-Muslim
colleagues are trying to get hold of them.
still have a way to go in terms of the journey that we're on in terms of
diversity and inclusion,” said Major Naveed Muhammad MBE, who is organising the
we're in a good place and, and hopefully with events like this and the guidance
that we have, we're continuing on the correct trajectory.”
cleric says US ‘fleet can be destroyed with one missile’
senior Iranian cleric said in a Friday prayers sermon that the United States’
navy fleet could be “destroyed with one missile,” as a US aircraft carrier
headed to the Gulf, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported.
carrier Abraham Lincoln, deployed by US President Donald Trump’s administration
to the Middle East as a warning to Iran, passed through Egypt’s Suez Canal on
Thursday, the Suez Canal Authority said.
Yousef Tabatabai-Nejad,... referring to the Abraham Lincoln warship heading to
the Gulf, said: ‘Their billion (-dollar) fleet can be destroyed with one
missile,’” ISNA reported from the central city of Isfahan.
Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened a “swift and decisive” US
response to any attack by Iran, in the latest of a series of escalating
statements and actions.
regime in Tehran should understand that any attacks by them or their proxies of
any identity against US interests or citizens will be answered with a swift and
decisive US response,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Wednesday, one year after the U.S. announcement of withdrawal from the 2015
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the resumption of sanctions,
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran would reduce its
commitments but would not withdraw from the nuclear deal.
response was carefully calibrated and demonstrated considerable restraint.
Highlighting Iran’s continued commitment to the deal, Rouhani stated that Iran
would give remaining parties to the deal 60 days to uphold their end of the
bargain before Iran would be forced to walk away. The president’s statement was
reiterated in a letter sent by the Supreme National Security Council — a body
that makes decisions based on consensus within the diplomatic and security
circles — to the other states party to the nuclear deal.
Iran was boxed in
move was a response to a year of increasing struggles with renewed sanctions, a
new set of U.S. sanctions and several provocative U.S. threats.
April 8, President Trump designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as
a foreign terrorist organization, increasing the risk of potential
confrontation between U.S. troops and Iranian forces or proxies in the region.
On April 21, the administration announced an end to waivers that allowed eight
countries to purchase Iranian oil and funnel the money into escrow accounts to
be used for the purchase of humanitarian goods. While countries may still be
determining how to respond to this, Iran’s oil shipments have tumbled. And each
successive measure was accompanied by tough rhetoric and threats, calling on
Iran to cease its nefarious activities and give in to Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo’s 12 demands. Importantly, last week, the administration framed a
routine deployment of aircraft carriers, announced last month, to the Persian
Gulf as intended to ‘send a clear and unmistakable message’ to Iran. This only
serves to heighten tensions.
May 3, the Trump administration revoked two waivers allowing Iran to ship
excess heavy water to Oman and trade excess enriched uranium for low enriched
uranium with other countries. This effectively limits Iran’s ability to
continue implementing its commitments under the deal. It also announced that
waivers to continue the conversion of three Iranian facilities — Bushehr nuclear
power plant, the Arak heavy water reactor, and the Fordow enrichment plant —
would be renewed, for 90 days.
withdrawal from the nuclear deal and the ratcheting up of pressure made
implementation of the deal difficult for the countries which remained committed
to the JCPOA. They feared the United States would directly impose sanctions on
anyone who dealt with Iran. This made them dependent on U.S. waivers allowing
them to buy Iranian oil or continue working on the conversion of Iran’s nuclear
program, as per the terms of the deal. But over the past few weeks, Trump has
progressively closed off all these avenues.
had limited options
had few options. Going back to the U.N. Security Council would run the risk of
invoking ‘snapback’ sanctions, which would be universally applied and thus more
effective and harmful than unilateral U.S. sanctions. It also did not want to
simply walk away from the deal: Iranians and their officials suffer from
nuclear fatigue, and few want to rehash this issue over and over again.
Rouhani administration does not want to risk losing international support for
their continued implementation of the deal. Iran has been highly pragmatic and
strategic in its approach to keeping the deal alive. It understood that certain
measures would immediately be viewed as ‘significant violations’ of the deal,
inviting further sanctions, such as restricting access to their facilities by
IAEA inspectors or resuming enrichment at the Fordow underground facility.
it also couldn’t sit by and continue to uphold its commitments under the deal,
while the United States increased its effort to punish Iran. As a result, Iran
reacted in a limited manner, and in direct reaction to the Trump
administration’s announcement that some nuclear waivers would not be renewed.
announcement was a direct reaction to these new restrictions. Headlines
suggesting that Iran had left the nuclear agreement were misguided. Rouhani
said that Iran would no longer ship its excess low enriched uranium and heavy
water abroad. This bought Iran some time — several months in fact — given that
the February IAEA report stated that Iran had 124.8 metric tons of heavy water,
well below the 130-ton cap, and 163.8 kilogram of uranium equivalent, also well
below the 202.8 kg (equivalent to the 300 kg cap for low enriched uranium).
gave other states party to the deal 60 days to facilitate the promised economic
dividends of the deal for Iran, after which Tehran threatened to resume
enrichment beyond 3.67 percent and construction at Arak. Iran chose the 60-day
deadline because article 36 of the Iran deal states that the snapback mechanism
and resumption of UN Security Council resolutions occur after 65 days, giving
Iran an additional five days to consider whether to enact their threats should
their terms not be met.
both these measures are reversible and sit in the gray area of the Iran deal.
As such, Tehran is not in breach of the deal. Rouhani was at pains to highlight
this in his remarks, stating that Iran was ‘diminishing its commitments’ and
not withdrawing from the deal. Neither measure puts Iran on the path to a
nuclear weapon, but they slowly chip away at the constraints established by the
2015 nuclear deal. Iran also outlined a general road map to avoid a worsening
of the situation in a letter to its European counterparts, which Secretary
Pompeo referred to as ‘intentionally ambiguous’. Tehran called on the remaining
five countries party to the deal to help protect Iran’s interests in oil and
announcement on scaling back its commitments isn’t surprising. What is
surprising is that it took Iran this long to announce it. Iran had been
implementing the nuclear deal for the past year, but it continued to face increasing
pressure from the United States. The Trump administration’s ‘maximum pressure’
campaign denied — and continued to deny — Iran any benefits from the deal. That
is what drove the leadership in Tehran to take these retaliatory steps.
parliamentary bloc of Lebanese terror group Hezbollah has blasted the United
States over new sanctions it imposed on Iran, describing them as “unjustified.”
bloc said in a statement Thursday that the US move against Iran shows the Trump
administration’s “tyrannical and dictatorial trend.”
which is backed and armed by Iran and sees the destruction of Israel as its
main mission, is represented in Lebanon’s cabinet and parliament and has been
under US sanctions for many years.
group said in a statement Thursday that America’s unilateral sanctions do not
respect international laws, and that Washington “behaves in accordance with the
law of the jungle.”
added that Iran had the power to defend itself.
comments came a day after US President Donald Trump tightened the screws
further on Iran with sanctions on its mining industry in response to a
frustrated Tehran, which said it would suspend some promises it made under a
2015 nuclear deal rejected by Washington.
Wednesday, Iran said it would immediately stop implementing some restrictions
on its nuclear program set down in the 2015 deal — a move aimed largely at
pressing Washington’s European allies to step up to preserve the agreement.
said it would abandon even more restrictions if the remaining parties to the
agreement — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — failed to start
delivering on their commitments to sanctions relief within 60 days.
Hassan Rouhani said the ultimatum was intended to rescue the nuclear deal from
Trump, whose sanctions have caused severe pain in Iran — which had anticipated
an economic boon from the agreement negotiated under then-US president Barack
denounced European countries for seeing the US as the world’s “sheriff” and
said their view kept them from making “firm decisions for their own national
quickly fired back, imposing sanctions that would punish anyone who buys or
trades the country’s iron, steel, aluminum and copper.
White House had already acted forcefully to prevent all countries from buying
Iran’s oil — its crucial money-maker — and said that the steel and mining
sector was the country’s second largest source of foreign revenue, accounting
for 10 percent of exports.
can expect further actions unless it fundamentally alters its conduct,” Trump
said in a statement Wednesday.
tensions come on the anniversary of Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 accord he
denounced as “horrible,” and were highlighted earlier this week when the White
House ordered an aircraft carrier strike group and nuclear-capable bombers to
the region and accused Iran of planning “imminent” attacks against US forces.
Thursday, the US Navy’s aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, which leads the
strike group, traversed the Suez Canal on its way to the Persian Gulf.
rebels are blocking UN access to an unmaintained oil tanker described as a
"floating bomb" off of Yemen’s Red Sea coast, which officials say is
an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.
chief of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels is demanding a share of revenue from the
sale of about one million barrels of oil aboard the FSO Safer.
UN warned almost a month ago that the ship was at risk of exploding, possibly
causing a disastrous oilspill in one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
is a dangerous bargaining chip worth tens of millions of dollars.
Safer, once Yemen’s main oil export facility, is a floating storage and
offloading vessel moored about 50 kilometres north-west of Yemen’s port city of
Hodeidah, the entry point for most of the war-racked country’s humanitarian aid
Safer has had no maintenance since it fell under Houthi control in 2015,
allowing explosive gases to build up in its storage tanks.
and Yemeni ministers have been warning for more than a year that the vessel
needs urgent maintenance, with a report by the US think tank the Atlantic
Council calling it a floating bomb.
rupture could unleash a catastrophe four times larger than the 1989 Exxon
Valdez oilspill that poured 260,000 barrels of crude into Prince William Sound
maintenance, we fear that it will rupture or even explode, unleashing an
environmental disaster,” the UN’s humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told the
Security Council on April 15.
Lowcock said that Houthi approval to carry out an assessment of the vessel have
been pending since last September.
1988, Yemen’s national Safer Exploration and Production Operations Company
(Sepoc) moored a former Japanese oil tanker 9km off the coast at Ras Isa, a Red
Sea port, linking it by pipeline to the Marib oil field in central Yemen.
Described by the company that installed it as the largest FSO system in the
world, the Safer has a capacity of three million barrels of oil and until 2015
served as Yemen’s main export route for light crude.
ageing vessel is susceptible to corrosion and needs about $10 million (Dh3.6m)
in annual maintenance.
gas must be regularly injected into the storage tanks to prevent the
accumulation of explosive gases. Without fuel to run its generators, this has
not happened in years.
stray spark, collision or sabotage attack could cause the vessel to explode.
March last year, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abdulmalik Al Mekhlafi wrote to UN
Secretary General Antonio Guterres, warning that the Safer was in a “bad and
deteriorating situation” that threatened an “imminent environmental and
April 29, Col Turki Al Malki, spokesman for the Arab Coalition against the
Houthis, warned that the Safer posed a serious risk of oilspill to the Red Sea.
Houthis agree the vessel poses a threat but they have asked the UN to arrange
the sale of oil so they can use the revenues to pay for fuel imports and public
head of the Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Al Houthi,
warned on Twitter on April 22 of the risk to the environment and marine
transport posed by the Safer.
April 30, he wrote: “We call on the UN and the Security Council to put in place
a mechanism to sell Yemeni crude oil, including the oil in the Safer.”
a Yemeni oil expert told The National that the condition of the vessel meant it
was now unlikely that it could safely offload the oil from where it is moored.
solution is to tow the Safer to Bahrain” where the vessel can be safely
repaired, Yemeni economist Abdulwahed Al Obaly said.
Houthi and government areas of Yemen are suffering from a lack of fuel and
cash, with 24.1 million Yemenis in need of aid and 13 million on the brink of
fuel aboard could be worth $80m at current prices.
shortages in Yemen continue to add to the appalling humanitarian cost of the
conflict,” said Doug Weir, a director at the Conflict and Environment
Observatory, which wrote a report into the environmental risks of the Safer.
the use of the FSO Safer as a bargaining chip carries with it a serious risk of
of the indications suggest that it poses a grave and imminent threat to the
marine environment, and it is critical for parties to the conflict to reach
agreement on an independent UN-led assessment as a first step in mitigating the
risks that it poses.
UN contracted a company to carry out an initial technical assessment of the
vessel last August, but this work is yet to be done. The UN did not respond to
repeated requests for comment.
the company contracted to carry out the assessment, Asia Offshore Solutions,
said it hoped to begin work shortly.
been waiting for the Hodeidah area to be safe enough for our people to go in,”
Petter Nilsen, the company’s managing director, told The National.
delays preventing the UN from accessing the ship also threaten to undermine the
Hodeidah agreement, reached in Stockholm in December between the Yemeni
government and the Houthis.
two agreed to “a strengthened UN presence in the city of Hodeidah and Ports of
Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Issa” and “committed to facilitate and support the work
of the UN”.
oil aboard belongs to Yemen’s Ministry of Oil. Even after an assessment is
carried out, all parties would need to agree to a salvage operation.
legal, technical, and business obstacles,” Mr Al Obaly said. “They all need to
agree on managing the insurance, what to do with the vessel and the oil, and
they need to pay the company that would carry it out.”
a spill would cause untold environmental damage and the need for a clean-up
that could cost $1 billion.
must empty the vessel as soon as possible," Mr Al Obaly said. "It
could explode any time just because of the weather and the circumstances.
Iran (AP) — A top commander in Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard said Friday
that Tehran will not talk with the United States, an Iranian news agency
reported — a day after President Donald Trump said he’d like Iranian leaders to
semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Gen. Yadollah Javani as saying that
“there will be no negotiations with America.”
Iranian commander also claimed the U.S. would not dare take military action
against Iran but did not elaborate.
verbal exchange comes as tensions escalate between Washington and Tehran. The
Trump administration sent the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and a bomber
squadron to the region in response to unspecified threats by Iran against
American interests. And on Wednesday, Iran threatened to renew some nuclear
enrichment that had been halted under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers —
a year after Trump pulled America from the accord, saying it does nothing to
stop Iran from developing missiles or destabilizing the Middle East.
in a softer approach, Trump told reporters on Thursday at the White House:
“What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me.”
after Trump spoke, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a written statement
that reinforced Trump’s tone. After repeating the administration’s complaints
about Iran, including what he called “40 years of killing American soldiers,
attacking American facilities and taking American hostages,” Pompeo appealed to
“those in Tehran who see a path to a prosperous future” through modifying their
President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday gave European leaders a 60-day deadline
to find a way to shield Iran from U.S. sanctions targeting its economy and oil
industry. Otherwise, he said Tehran would begin to enrich uranium at levels
closer to weapons-grade levels.
following day, the European Union urged Iran to respect the international
agreement curbing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions, and added that the
bloc aims to continue trading with the country despite U.S. sanctions.
Europeans insist the pact is an important pillar of regional and global
security but have struggled to preserve the increasingly unravelling accord.
National Security Council spokesman Keyvan Khosravi was quoted Friday as saying
that Iran stands firm to withdraw from the deal unless a beneficial agreement
can be reached with the EU.
of Iranians rallied after Friday prayers in support of Iran’s ultimatum, many
chanting traditional anti-U.S. slogans of “Death to America” and “Death to
demonstrators burned U.S. flags and some threw fake punches at a protester
wearing a Trump costume mask.
Trump administration has not offered specific details of the threat allegedly
presented by Iran that prompted the U.S. to dispatch the aircraft carrier and
B-52 bombers to the Mideast.
B-52 bombers arrived at an American air base in Qatar, the U.S. Air Force
acknowledged Friday. Images released by the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command
show B-52H Stratofortress bombers arriving at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar on
landed at an undisclosed location Wednesday in “southwest Asia,” the Air Force
said. The U.S. military in the past has described its presence at both the Al
Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates and Al Udeid as “southwest Asia.”
Air Force identified the aircraft as coming from the 20th Bomb Squadron of
Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.
Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire in new clashes on the Gaza border on
Friday, the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled enclave said.
Abd al-Aal, 24, was shot in the stomach on the border east of Rafah in the
southern Gaza Strip, a ministry spokesman said, in the first protests there
since a deadly flare-up last weekend.
around 180,000 Muslims prayed at east Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the
first in the Friday during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, a body
responsible for the site said.
figure from the Waqf organization is 50 percent higher than last year, when
around 120,000 people attended the first Friday prayers.
al-Khatib, director general of Waqf, said the crowds reached the site “despite
checkpoints and a large security presence”.
prayers ended without any major incident, he told AFP.
site in Israeli-controlled east Jerusalem is the third holiest in Islam and has
proved a flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
AFP photographer at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank
saw thousands of Palestinians -- including elderly people in wheelchairs --
queueing to enter the city early Friday morning.
restrictions on Palestinians from the occupied West Bank are eased during the
month of Ramadan, which began on Monday.
Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy berated the UN Security Council on Thursday
for “rehashing tired talking points” criticizing Israeli settlements and said
an upcoming US peace plan would provide a fresh approach.
Greenblatt told a council meeting that the United Nations was biased against
Israel, choosing “the comfort of 700 paper resolutions” condemning Israel
instead of confronting the “700 rockets” fired by Palestinian militants.
is time for a new approach,” said Greenblatt, who is working with Trump’s
son-in-law Jared Kushner on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan that is expected
to be unveiled soon.
council met for an informal meeting organized by Indonesia, a strong
Palestinian supporter, about the expansion of Israeli settlements on occupied
Palestinian land, which the United Nations considers illegal.
Trump administration is expected to roll out the long-awaited plan, possibly as
early as next month, but the Palestinians have already rejected it as heavily
biased in favor of Israel.
the council, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki again voiced
opposition to the US plan, which is expected to include economic development as
a key component.
is not a peace plan but rather conditions for surrender and there is no amount
of money that can make it acceptable,” said Maliki.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi described settlement construction as
“unacceptable” and urged the council to take a firmer stance against Israel.
“Inaction is not an option”, she said.
Greenblatt dismissed the view that the expansion of Jewish settlements was an
impediment to Israeli-Palestinian peace and illegal under international law.
stop pretending that settlements are what is keeping the sides from a
negotiated peaceful solution,” said Greenblatt. “This farce and obsessive focus
on one aspect of this complicated conflict helps no one.”
criticized the council for taking aim at Israel over the expansion of
settlements but failing to condemn the Hamas movement and Islamic Jihad for
firing rockets into Israel.
of seeking accountability for Hamas and Islamic Jihad... we are rehashing tired
talking points, some 20 years old,” he argued.
soon-to-be-released peace plan “will be realistic and implementable”, said
Greenblatt, describing it as “the right package of compromises for both sides”.
Houthi militia will on Saturday start to unilaterally redeploy forces out of
three key ports, the United Nations and a Houthi spokesman said, a move labeled
as misleading by the Yemeni government, who accuse the militia of violating and
stalling a ceasefire agreement.
statement from the UN’s Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) said the
Houthis would make an “initial unilateral redeployment” between May 11 and May
14 from the ports of Saleef, which is used for grain, and Ras Isa, used for
oil, as well as the country’s main port of Hodeidah.
withdrawal would begin on May 11 at 10 a.m. (0700 GMT), the head of the
Houthis’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, said on
Twitter on Saturday.
RCC committee, led by Danish Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, head of the
UN observer team in Hodeidah, drew up the redeployment plans under a pact
agreed last December in Stockholm, Sweden, the first major breakthrough in
Stockholm, it was hoped the redeployment would happen in January, but its
implementation has repeatedly stalled on a lack of trust between both sides.
Houthis have been accused of violating the ceasefire in the port city of
Hodeidah 970 times since it came into force on December 18.
UN mission will monitor the redeployment, a first step towards concluding the
peace agreement, the UN statement said, adding that it must be followed by “the
committed, transparent and sustained actions of the parties to fully deliver on
redeployment should allow the United Nations to take “a leading role in
supporting the Red Sea Ports Corporation in managing the ports” and to enhance
UN checks on cargoes.
spokesman for the Yemeni government’s delegation to the RCC, Sadiq Dweid, said
on Twitter that a Houthi withdrawal is “the first step of the first stage. We
support the implementation of the agreement.”
Information Minister Moammar al-Eryani criticized the Houthi offer to redeploy
on Twitter, calling it “misleading” and unacceptable if it did not allow for
“joint monitoring and verification” as stipulated by the December pact.
Arab Coalition has reported that the Houthis use the ports to smuggle weapons.
The Iran-aligned Houthis say the government would try to choke them off if it
government representative Dweid said his side would hold the United Nations
responsible for implementing the December pact “as agreed in terms of
verification, monitoring, and the removal of mines, obstacles and military
recent death of Zaki Mubarak, a Palestinian man who died under suspicious
conditions while in detention on espionage charges, has raised questions on
others cases of torture and abuse, according to international reports.
Mubarak was arrested alongside another Palestinian in Turkey on charges of
alleged espionage. 10 days after announcing his arrest, Turkish authorities
announced that he had died from an apparent suicide.
family said they were skeptical of the suicide claims and called for an
investigation into the matter.
sister told Al Arabiya that the family believes Turkish authorities are
delaying the process of repatriating the body in order to conceal any traces of
torture that may prove his murder.
to several international organizations, Turkey is among the top countries
accused of systematically failing to investigate allegations of torture in
October 2016, Human Rights Watch published a report on Turkey’s state of
emergency, which was enacted that year after a failed coup attempt against the
government, and how it removed protection against torture and ill-treatment of
people under police custody.
the failed coup in 2016, the Turkish government has launched a crackdown
against dissent and opposition members by firing more than 150,000 civil
servants and arresting more than 50,000 civilians. At least 600,000 citizens
have been investigated on terror-linked charges since then.
Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), an advocacy organization that promotes the
rule of law, democracy, and fundamental rights and freedoms with a special
focus on Turkey, says that the true number of deaths under the extended
emergency rule since July 2016 in Turkey is still unknown. However, it has
documented at least 126 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides since 2016.
most recent documented case was that of İbrahim Özyavuz, a young doctor who
died in prison on the first day of 2018 from an apparent suicide. His family
allege that he lost his life after he had been heavily tortured by police
officers in pre-trial detention at the notorious Silivri Prison. The Özyavuz
family said that they saw traces of heavy torture on their son’s body when they
also died at the same prison.
to a 2017 report from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR) on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in
Turkey, a number of police officers who refused to participate in arbitrary
arrests, torture, and other repressive acts were dismissed and/or arrested on
charges of supporting terrorism.
number of people in Turkish prisons have increased annually since the failed
coup in 2016. That number increased by 15.7 percent in 2017, up to 232,000
compared to the previous year.
of September 15, 2018, there were 246,426 prisoners in 449 prisons across the
country with a capacity that can only hold up to 211,274 inmates, according to
a report sent by Turkey’s Justice Ministry to the Turkish Parliament.
prisoners share a 12-person ward. Due to inadequate beds, detainees take turns
sleeping. In some jails, there are beds on the floor in front of the bathroom
entrance. The overcrowding is a significant issue in going out for social
activities, meeting with psychologists, and for exercising one’s rights,”
Berivan Korkut, an executive board member of Civil Society Association for Law
Enforcement Systems (CISST) group told SCF.
has also been accused of arbitrarily arresting journalists in recent years.
Advocacy group Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey 157th out of 180
countries in its 2018 press freedom index.
for Foreign Policy, Nate Schenkkan, the project director of the Nations in
Transit publication at Freedom House, called the arrests of foreign journalists
“hostage-taking” and “Turkey’s new foreign policy.”
United Nations says Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has agreed to
unilaterally pull out its forces from three key ports over the next four days,
a necessary step for the implementation of a ceasefire deal the warring sides
reached in Sweden in December.
Gen. Michael Lollesgaard, who heads the Redeployment Coordination Committee
(RCC), a UN mission to monitor the deal, said in a statement on Friday that the
movement would make an “initial unilateral redeployment” of its forces from
Yemen’s three key ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Isa between May 11 and May
movement, which has been significantly helping the Yemeni army against a
Saudi-led military coalition for the past four years, and the country’s former
Saudi-backed government, led by ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, signed a
UN-brokered truce deal in Stockholm on December 13.
than 70 percent of Yemen’s imports used to pass through the docks of Hudaydah,
a lifeline for the war-ravaged country's crippled economy. However, since June
last year, forces of the United Arab Emirates, a significant ally of Saudi
Arabia in its war against Yemen, and Hadi’s militia have laid a tight siege to
the city, which is under the control of Houthi fighters.
redeployment of forces from the three port cities is a critical part of the
ceasefire deal, aimed at averting a full-scale assault on Hudaydah, but has so
far failed to materialize on the ground.
statement said the redeployment must be followed by “the committed, transparent
and sustained actions of the parties to fully deliver on their obligations.”
also stressed that the redeployment of forces should allow the UN to take “a
leading role in supporting the Red Sea Ports Corporation in managing the ports”
and to increase UN checks on cargoes.
the UN statement, the ex-president's information minister said in a twitter
post that the report on the Houthis' redeployment offer “is inaccurate and
claimed that the reported redeployment offer was “unacceptable” because a
required joint monitoring and verification mechanism as stipulated in the
December pact was not foreseen in the UN's Friday arrangement.
response has been released yet either from the RCC or the Houthi Ansarullah
movement, which has repeatedly complained about Saudi Arabia’s repeated
violation of the ceasefire in Hudaydah.
a coalition of its allies, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 in an
attempt to reinstall Hadi, who had resigned amid popular discontent and fled to
Riyadh, and to crush the Houthis.
imposed war initially consisted of an aerial campaign, but was later coupled
with a naval blockade and the deployment of ground mercenaries to Yemen.
Furthermore, armed militia forces loyal to Hadi, in line with invaders, launch
frequent attacks against Yemeni people in regions held by Houthis.
aggression is estimated to have left 56,000 Yemenis dead.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has said that a record
22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened
by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most
severe famine in more than 100 years.
The death toll in the suicide attack targeting one of Pakistan's oldest and
most revered Sufi shrines in Lahore rose to 12 on Friday as a police commando
succumbed to his injures.
people, including five police personnel, were killed when a suicide bomber blew
himself up outside the Data Darbar shrine, the largest Sufi shrine in South
Asia on Wednesday morning as the country marks the fasting month of Ramzan.
force personnel Saddam Hussain succumbed to his injuries at the Mayo Hospital
on Friday. Other three critically injured cops are battling for their lives at
the Intensive Care Unit of Mayo Hospital, Lahore police spokesman Syed Mubashir
said on Friday.
CCTV footage showed a teenage boy wearing black shalwar kameez and a suicide
vest coming closer to the vehicle of elite force beforing blowing himself up.
Inspector General of Police Arif Nawaz said it was a suicide attack as the
target was the vehicle of the elite force that was stationed outside the shrine
of Sufi saint Ali Hajvari commonly known as Data Darbar.
was the target. 100 per cent," he said.
said the police have arrested four suspects with the help of CCTV cameras in
rickshaw used to transport the suicide bomber to the shrine has been
identified, he added.
CCTV footage shows the rickshaw driver approached the bomber as the latter
emerged from Garhi Shahu area, some seven kilometres from the shrine.
Minister Imran Khan condemned the attack which came on the second day of Muslim
holy month of Ramazan and has directed the Punjab government to provide all
assistance to the injured and families of victims.
Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has ordered an inquiry into the attack.
shrine is visited by hundreds of thousands of people each year. In 2010, the
heavily-guarded shrine was targeted in a suicide attack that killed more than
also confirmed that Hizbul Ahrar had claimed responsibility for sending the
teenage suicide bomber to the shrine.
Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) of Punjab has examined the records of three
terror groups, including the Ghazi Force and Jamaatul Ahrar.
Ahrar is a splinter group of Jamaatul Ahrar headed by Muqarram Shah from
Afghanistan. It separated from Jamaatul Ahrar due to internal rifts.
started operating separately to target primarily the law enforcement agencies
in various parts of Pakistan, the police said, adding the CTD is also following
other leads, like the possibility of the involvement of Islamic State terror
The government and the opposition on Friday reached a consensus for the passage
of 26th Constitutional Amendment Bill seeking an increase in the number of
seats for the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) in the
National Assembly and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.
on treasury and opposition benches agreed to pass the bill with a two-thirds
majority in the NA session which will also be attended by Prime Minister Imran
exchange of some harsh words, treasury and opposition members supported the
bill during a debate asking each other to show unity to resolve this and other
by lawmaker Mohsin Dawar from erstwhile Fata on Thursday, the bill was not
passed the same day when the opposition refused to vote without having a
thorough debate on it.
Friday, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak’s remarks sparked a controversy when he
called NA Speaker Asad Qaisar “our speaker” and said “when you [the opposition]
will create a hue and cry on the speaker’s dais, members of treasury benches
could come to the rescue of the speaker and that may cause a physical clash”.
However, the speaker later expunged the words “our speaker” on the concerns
shown by Pakistan Peoples Party leader and ex-prime minister Raja Pervaiz
Ashraf and said: “I am speaker of the house and do not belong to only those on
olive branch to the opposition, Mr Khattak in his initial part of speech said
the opposition gave a “good” response to the constitutional amendment bill.
“Let us sit together to work jointly for better future of people of Pakistan,”
minister said the government wanted to end a sense of deprivation prevailing
among the people of erstwhile Fata by providing them basic facilities of
health, education, banks and courts.
said some Rs100 billion would be spent on erstwhile Fata each year for 10
years. “Of Rs100 billion, a sum of Rs30 billion will be given to the elected
representatives under local government system so that they could spend funds at
village level,” he added.
defence minister said people of the erstwhile Fata who had protected the
country’s borders in the past would be able to take part in Pakistan’s growth
as well after Fata’s merger.
Khattak said Fata had 12 seats in the National Assembly and 16 in the
provincial assembly of KP before the merger. “The NA seats for Fata members
will remain same (12) and in provincial they will be increased from 16 to 24
under the bill,” he added.
expressed the hope that treasury and opposition members would pass the bill
with a two-thirds majority on Monday, giving a clear message to the people of
tribal districts that nobody would be allowed to deprive them of their due
Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) also recently issued a schedule for
polling in Fata on KP Assembly seats on July 2. By the end of May, the ECP will
issue election symbols to candidates.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif in an emotional speech
suggested to the house to resolve some other important issues as well besides
Fata reforms through consensus.
the problems being faced by people of the tribal areas, he said the people of
Fata had suffered the impact of being on the frontlines of the 18-year-long
Afghan war against terrorism. “After 2000, the Afghan war was not Pakistan’s
war and even after 18 years of war in Afghanistan, the US has not been able to
win it,” he added.
Asif indirectly criticised former president Gen Pervez Musharraf’s policies and
said: “An individual sold country’s freedom for the sake of his own rule.”
former defence minister said the people of Fata were fighting terrorism on the
one hand and were hit by drone strikes on the other. Even their weddings and
funerals were hit, he said.
said the people of erstwhile Fata be granted special privileges till the
completion of work on the 10-year development plan in their areas. He said the
country owed a lot to the people of Fata and they must be provided the same
rights and facilities which were enjoyed by the people in other parts of the
the US drone attacks in tribal areas in the past, Mr Asif said: “This house
will have to make sure that we are not the tools of some super power.”
for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri said the bill had been finalised after
consultation with all political parties in parliament.
said the number of seats of Fata members in KP assembly would be increased from
16 to 24 according to the bill. He thanked the leadership of the Pakistan
Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and other opposition parties for
supporting the bill. “We are all on the same page,” he claimed.
for States and Frontier Regions (Safron) Shehryar Afridi said the maturity
exhibited by the opposition and treasury benchers on the bill would be
remembered for a long time. He expressed the hope that no federating unit would
oppose any facility being extended to the people of erstwhile Fata.
Bakhsh Meher demanded that the number of seats of public representatives
promised under the bill in National Assembly and provincial assembly of the KP
should be increased after census in the tribal areas.
of the tribal districts hailed the opposition and treasury lawmakers for their
support and expressed confidence that the problems and hardships being faced by
the people of tribal districts would be addressed on a priority basis.
Ali Wazir said security operations conducted in Fata and from Afghanistan had
adversely hit the people of erstwhile Fata. “People of Fata have been suffering
from wars since colonial rule till today,” he added.
lawmaker Sajid Mohmand expressed the hope that like the opposition-government
agreement on the passage of the bill, the opposition would not oppose provision
of funds to erstwhile Fata under National Finance Commission (NFC) award.
While admitting that people are faced with high inflation and increased power
and gas tariffs in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday held ‘wrong
economic policies’ of the past governments responsible for the situation.
tough times would be over soon as the government was fixing the entire system,
Mr Khan assured the nation while addressing a ceremony to re-launch Mother and
Child Hospital and Nursing Training Centre.
PM explained that the government had to increase the gas and electricity
tariffs to manage things. “Why do prices rise, I want to explain this to you.
It is because power and gas sectors are indebted,” he said, adding that there
were only two ways to tackle the debt: either to take more loans or increase
the price of commodities.
Khan said nations experienced ups and downs in their journeys. “Once the system
is rectified, you will realise how blessed your country is. Be assured, tough
days will be over... Pakistan will sail through difficult times and will emerge
as a great nation,” he reiterated.
asked the people to wait for some time as the government was working to improve
the economic condition. Provision of basic facilities and resolving common
people’s problems were the fundamental responsibility of the government, he
Khan said the government was working to improve existing health facilities and
establish new hospitals where needed. He said the government was committed to
giving better healthcare facilities to the less privileged.
the dedication of federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, PM Khan said
work on the construction of the Mother and Child Hospital had been pending
since 2005 and his railways minister got the work resumed.
PM recalled the government had launched health insurance plan under which a
family would get medical treatment at private or government hospitals for up to
Rs720,000 charges. He said the government also started Ehsas programme to
provide shelter homes to those without shelter.
Khan said the government would start extending loan facility to the youth to
encourage them to run their own businesses. He said goats, hens and cattle
would be provided to poor families in villages.
said the government was working on Naya Pakistan housing scheme to provide
affordable living to the people. He said that a survey was being conducted to
find the people who could not afford to construct house for themselves.
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar said Rs157 billion had been provided for 473
development projects in Rawalpindi division. He said Sehat Insaf Card scheme
would also be introduced in Rawalpindi soon. He explained that a health card
scheme had been launched in 18 districts of Punjab benefiting around 35 million
PTI government has the honour to introduce state-of-the-art projects including
the gynae hospital under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he said.
said the cabinet had accorded approval to upgrade the Rawalpindi Institute of
Cardiology as a cardiac and vascular diseases centre. Patients suffering from
cardiac as well as paralysis diseases would benefit from the latest treatment
facilities, he explained.
said a ring road and a signal-free expressway would be constructed in
Rawalpindi at the cost of Rs45billion and Rs70 billion, respectively. Besides,
the Parks and Horticulture Authority was working on different projects to
restore the original grandeur of Rawalpindi, he added.
militant from an Islamic State-inspired group was killed in a gun battle with
security forces in south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday, police officials
slain militant, identified as Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi alias Umar, belonged to the Islamic
State of Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK), police claimed.
far, the central government and security agencies have maintained that there is
no connection between ISJK and the terror outfit, Islamic State that operates
in Iraq and Syria. In February, Union minister, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, had said
in a written reply in Lok Sabha that “seven local youths have joined ISJK
through “self-proclamation”. Of these, four terrorists were killed on June 22,
2018 at Anantnag, two were held and one is currently active in the Valley”.
[Sofi] died as a member of ISJK. We can’t say [whether] he was the last member
of the group [or not],” said Atul Kumar Goel, deputy inspector general of
police, south Kashmir.
gun battle took place at Ram Nagri area of Herpora in south Kashmir’s Shopian,
police said. Incriminating material, including arms and ammunition, was
recovered from Sofi. A resident of Sopore, Sofi was trapped in a hideout in Ram
Nagri after security forces launched an operation based on intelligence input.
“During the search operation, the terrorists...fired on the search party. It
was retaliated... the terrorist was killed,” said a police spokesman.
Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi, a top commander of Islamic State Jammu and Kashmir (ISJK) —
an IS-inspired module in Kashmir Valley — was killed during an anti-insurgency
operation in Amshipura area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district early on Friday.
Security forces recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition and other
incriminating evidence stashed in his hideout.
on intelligence inputs, security forces had launched a cordon-and-search
operation at Ram Nagri area of Shopian’s Herpora region when holed-in
terrorists opened fire at the search party. Sofi was killed in the ensuing
gunfight. His body was recovered from the scene of the encounter.
resident of Sopore in Baramulla district, Sofi was a wanted terrorist and
involved in the Safa Kadal and Soura grenade attacks in Srinagar, police said.
had a long history of crime records and was initially affiliated with
proscribed terror outfit Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. He and his associates carried
out a series of crimes including grenade attacks on CRPF bunkers at Safa Kadal,
Soura and the Khanyar police station. He was also involved in multiple attacks
on security establishments in the area and civilian atrocities,” said a police
per police records, Sofi was arrested earlier and released on bail after
getting recycled. However, he joined militancy again in 2018 and went back to
planning and executing attacks, said the spokesperson.
spontaneous shutdown was observed by “sympathisers” in several parts of Sopore
in protest against Sofi’s killing. Shops and other business establishments
remained closed, while public transport was off the roads.
DELHI: India and the UK on Friday resolved to step up cooperation in the key
areas of maritime security, counter-terrorism and climate change as the two
countries held their foreign office consultations to review the entire range of
secretary Vijay Gokhale represented the Indian side, while the UK side was
headed by Sir Simon McDonald, Permanent Under Secretary, Foreign and
Commonwealth Office of the UK government.
consultations provided an opportunity to review the entire range of bilateral
relations, including political, economic, commercial, scientific, regional and
international cooperation, including in the Commonwealth, the Ministry of
External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
expressed satisfaction on the level of political exchanges and decided to further
intensify them in the coming months.
sides agreed to increase their collaboration in the fields of Indo-Pacific,
disaster resilience, climate change and development in third countries, amongst
instrument of ratification of the UK joining the International Solar Alliance
was formally handed over during the consultations.
the past year, the two countries have identified specific areas to work
together as a force for good, for example on a global coalition on climate
resilience, disaster relief and development, the British High Commission said
in a statement.
trade has grown by 14 per cent, and visas for Indian students have increased by
35 per cent, it said.
UK-India relationship is focused on the future: whether it be through the
technology partnership, security collaboration or economic ties, our bilateral
cooperation is designed to build shared prosperity and tackle future
challenges. It has been 12 months of impressive progress since the Commonwealth
Summit," Simon said.
said over the next decade, the UK and India will be ever more central players
in global debates on security, development and protecting the planet.
delighted that, together, we are tackling these issues head on as partners --
reinforcing our two prime ministers' desire to act as a joint 'Force for Good'
in the world," he said.
FCO consultations also covered bilateral cooperation on cyber and maritime
security, counter-terrorism, and other regional challenges, the British High
Open New Front Against Aid Workers While Talking Peace
Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Rod Nordland
Afghanistan — As the Taliban opened a new front this week in the Afghan war by
attacking American-backed aid organizations in Kabul, negotiators for the group
and the United States were meeting in the latest round of talks on ending the
Taliban has struck aid organizations sparingly in the past, making the attacks
on Wednesday at the offices of CARE and Counterpart International even more
stark. At least nine people were killed and 20 others wounded, Afghan officials
confirmed. The death toll was nearly double initial reports.
Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, was quick to claim responsibility for
the attack and to offer an explanation on Twitter: Counterpart International,
which works largely on civic engagement projects, is American led and is
financed primarily by the United States Agency for International Development.
neither Taliban nor American negotiators commented on the inherent
contradiction in talking peace while attacking civilian targets. The Taliban
had rejected pleas by the Afghan government and the Americans for a cease-fire
during Ramadan, but they had promised to avoid civilian targets during the holy
blast on Wednesday from a vehicle packed with explosives ripped off the gate of
Counterpart’s compound and scarred much of the city block. Among the dead were
three Afghans who worked in the nearby offices of the American aid group CARE,
which first established a presence in Afghanistan in 1961 and is one of the
oldest humanitarian organizations in the country.
groups, the Afghan government and the American ambassador in Kabul, John R.
Bass, criticized the attack, but the lead American negotiator, Zalmay
Khalilzad, has remained silent. The most recent post on his Twitter feed, on Tuesday, described
the food he had eaten on a recent trip to India. He did not mention the talks
or the bombing.
spokesman for the Taliban’s negotiating team, Suhail Shaheen, said Mr.
Khalilzad returned Monday to Doha, Qatar, where a sixth round of talks
concluded on Thursday.
Taliban was unusually harsh in its rhetoric toward the main target of the
attack, Counterpart International. The Taliban spokesman, Mr. Mujahid, said the
group employed foreign advisers who engaged in “various aspects of brutality,
oppression, terror, anti-Islamic ideology and promotion of Western culture.” It
also criticized the group for allowing male and female staff to intermingle.
the car bomb breached the outer wall and gate of Counterpart’s compound and
four attackers entered its buildings, none of its staff were killed, the group
said; many had taken refuge in safe rooms. The attackers were killed by Afghan
security forces; an elite police officer was among the dead.
Counterpart employee, who declined to give his name, said that the attackers at
one point appeared to try to talk the employees into opening a safe room door.
“We didn’t because when there is a big attack you can’t trust people, you don’t
know who is friend and who is enemy,” he said.
logistics company across the street, RBT, was also damaged by the blast, and
its guard outside was killed, according to an employee, Masihullah Malikzai.
Nine others there were wounded. “I feel so hopeless,” Mr. Malikzai said.
“Everyone leaves Afghanistan because they feel the government can’t protect
initial blast killed three CARE employees at their offices, including a
security guard, Safiullah Ebadi; a driver, Mohammad Waqif; and a technical
adviser on education, Mohammad Asif Frotan, CARE said in a statement released
late Wednesday from Atlanta, its American headquarters.
Ebadi had just bought land for his family, with hopes to build a house. Mr.
Waqif had worked for CARE for 22 years. Mr. Frotan left behind six children.
attack reflects the increasing dangers of humanitarian work in
conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan and the unfortunate daily
reality of violence for many Afghan families,” the organization said.
American and Taliban negotiators have reached a preliminary agreement on the
withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in exchange for a Taliban
promise to end its alliance with extremist groups like Al Qaeda, but Mr.
Khalilzad has been unable to persuade the group to accept a cease-fire or talks
with the Afghan government.
Taliban has refused to talk with the Afghan government, dismissing it as a
puppet regime controlled by the Americans.
(Reuters) - U.S. and Taliban negotiators wrapped up their sixth round of peace
talks on Thursday with “some progress” made on a draft agreement for when
foreign troops might withdraw from Afghanistan, a Taliban official said.
talks, in which the United States has also sought assurances the Taliban will
not allow militant groups to use Afghanistan to stage attacks, began on April
30 in Qatar’s capital Doha.
17,000 foreign troops are based in Afghanistan as part of a U.S.-led NATO
mission to help local forces.
United States has been pushing the Taliban to agree to a ceasefire and to talk
with Afghanistan’s government, which the militant group considers a U.S. puppet
6th round of talks ... ended, with some progress made on the draft agreement
prepared in the last round of talks,” tweeted Muhammad Sohail Shaheen,
spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha
general, this round was positive and constructive. Both sides listened to each
other with care and patience,” he added.
negotiations included the Taliban’s political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar
and a U.S. team led by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
an Afghan-born veteran U.S. diplomat, had suggested that the warring sides
should declare a ceasefire as part of an effort to end the nearly 18-year war.
the Taliban rejected Khalilzad’s offer and have continued attacks on government
buildings and offices of foreign organizations.
Wednesday, a Taliban attack on a U.S.-based aid group in Kabul killed at least
nine people as members of the hardline Islamist group set off a huge explosion
and battled security forces for over six hours.
Afghanistan, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Seven government security forces and 34 Taliban
militants have been killed and 31 militants wounded in clashes in Afghanistan's
northern province of Jawzjan since early Tuesday, an official said Thursday.
one incident, the Taliban attacked a security checkpoint in Aqcha district of
the province, but the clashes left 27 members of the group dead and 20 others
wounded, Fraidoon Aniq, the provincial government spokesman, told Xinhua.
among the killed was Khairullah, the Taliban deputy shadow governor for
Jawzjan, he said.
the neighboring Qush Tepa district, seven Taliban militants have been reported
dead and 11 others wounded during a clash between the militants and security
forces, said the spokesman.
source also confirmed the death of seven security force members during the
has long been the scene of heavy clashes between Taliban and security forces.
The Sri Lankan government on Friday said the trustees of all the mosques in the
country should not engage in or allow any gathering to promote or propagate
hatred and also directed them to send the audio recordings of the sermons to
government's move came after security forces recovered swords and other weapons
from mosques during search operations following the April 21 bomb blasts in
which over 250 people, including 44 foreigners 10 of whom were Indians, were
killed and 500 others injured.
trustees of Mosques should not engage in or permit any gathering to promote or
propagate hatred or extremism in any form, doing so will result in the Board of
Trustees being held fully responsible under may laws including the Penal Code,
according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Muslim Religious Affairs.
view of the prevailing situation in the country, the Trustees are directed
hereby to send audio records all sermons of Jumma (Friday) or otherwise on
their Masjids and to forward them to the ministry," said the statement
signed by Muslim religious affairs minister M H A Haleem.
theologists and civil society organizations have warned radicalisation of
Muslims with support from mosques in some places, particularly in the island
nation's eastern province.
suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through
three churches and as many luxury hotels on April 21.
ISIS terror group claimed the attacks, but the government blamed the local
Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) for the bombings. The
victims included over 40 foreigners, 10 of whom were Indians.
Cassim Zahran, the mastermind of the blasts and NTJ leader, was running his own
mosque in the eastern Kathankudi region, police said, adding that his extreme
religious sermons had attracted followers.
weeks ago, Zahran's family members committed suicide by triggering a blast at a
safe house in Sainthamuruthu area of Kathankudi following a gun-battle with the
A Sri Lankan court has ordered a DNA test before May 15 to verify the death of
Mohamed Cassim Zahran, the ring leader of the local Islamist extremist group
NTJ which the government blamed carried out the devastating Easter Sunday
bombings killing over 250 people.
the mastermind behind the Easter blasts, led the attack on the Shangri-La hotel
and was accompanied by a second bomber identified as Ilham Ahmed Ibrahim. He
was killed inside the hotel where he blew himself up.
Colombo Fort Magistrate also ordered the Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid (DNA)
verification of Ibrahim, the second bomber.
suicide bombers carried out a series of devastating blasts that tore through
three churches and as many luxury hotels on April 21, killing more than 250
people and injuring 500 others.
Islamic state terror group claimed the attacks, but the government blamed the
local Islamist extremist group National Thawheed Jammath (NTJ) for the
bombings. The victims included over 40 foreigners, 10 of whom were Indians.
court gave the order under which Zahran's sister Madaniya would be subjected to
a DNA verification, the police said.
is currently in custody at the eastern town of Batticaloa prison.
test will be performed before May 15, according to the magisterial order.
was one of the two suicide bombers at the Shangri La Hotel where 36 people
including 12 foreigners died.
hotel's CCTV footage showed two bombers with heavy back packs arriving at the
hotel's restaurant on the third floor.
court has also ordered Government Analyst's reports on seven vehicles believed
to have been used by the ISIS linked group to carry out the deadly attacks
which killed 258 and injured nearly 500.
booking at the Shangri La hotel for the two bombers was done by Insaf Ibrahim,
the brother of Ilham. Insaf himself was the suicide bomber at the Cinnamon
police said that at least three police officers have been questioned on the
arrest and the subsequent release on bail of at least nine employees of
worked in the copper factory owned by Insaf.
police said that an investigation was launched to ascertain if any mistakes
were committed by the police in filing charges against them, leading to the
magistrate to grant bail to the employees.
suspects held under the tough Prevention of Terrorism Act, no bail is given.
government invoked counter-terrorism regulations under the state of emergency,
enabling the law enforcement to carry out investigations into the suicide
bombings and the Jihadist group's activities including its ISIS connections.
100 people are already in custody in connection with the bombings.
decades of Israel-bashing, which actually is a regular habit and tendency of
terror-patron Iran, a number of moderate Muslim nations now coming to their
sense? Recently, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has signaled of
normalizing relations with the Jewish State and he even went further saying, it
is Palestinian Arabs who are actually trying to obstruct the process of peace
in that part of the world. Reason behind Palestinian Arab’s tendency of keeping
hostility alive is, the leaders from Hamas and Fatah actually are enjoying
personal luxuries at the cost of their people. But, they also are blackmailing
the Arab and Muslim nations with the false slogan of Muslim solidarity by
imposing Israel-bashing on most of those nations. This is what exactly a
terror-patron Iran wants. There even is possibility that Iran actually is
providing fund and other “logistics” to few of the top brasses in Hamas and
Fatah in keeping the Muslim nations into their anti-Israel bloc.
Rami Dabbas, a Jordanian-born journalist in an article wrote, “As an Arab
activist and writer, I call on the Arab world to normalize relations with
Israel, a move that would be almost entirely to our benefit alone. Israel will
gain very little from this in practical terms, while Arabs stand to gain
tremendously. The state of Israel is stronger and more stable than the Arab
states on almost all fronts. If all borders were wide open in Arab states, few
if any Israelis at all would flee Tel Aviv for Arab cities, but you would
certainly see a flow of people in the opposite direction for the very same reason
that multitudes of Arabs seek to emigrate to Europe”.
the State of Palestine, Mr. Dabbas wrote, “The Arabs are the original
occupiers, and have no right to deny the return of the Jewish nation. And that
is why I call for normalization: for the recognition of the right of the Jews
to exercise sovereignty in their ancestral lands. We Arabs came from the Hijaz,
Najd and Yemen. We occupied this land and made it Arab. Some of the Syriac and
Aramaic words we still use today, as well as the recorded names of settlements
uncovered in archaeological digs. This demonstrates the proof that we are not
the original inhabitants here. It is time to solve this conflict, and that
begins with us, the Arabs, accepting the Jewish people’s true historical
connection to this land. We have everything to gain from so doing”.
do agree with Rami Dabbas who said, the main reason Arab countries resist
normalization with Israel is their mindset of rejecting Western civilization.
The Jewish State is a civilized and democratic country like those Western
nations – even in some cases more so. Arabs have been raised to detest such
brand of civilization. If we closely look into the Muslim nations, both Arab
and non-Arab, who are either engaged into Israel-bashing or considering the Jewish
State as an “enemy nation” often to not truly understand what they actually are
protesting or doing. On the one hand, they want to be benefited from the
Westerners and even Israeli civilization but then reject the existence of the
State of Israel.
is globally accepted that the Israeli scientific research is often ahead of
what’s coming out of Europe and America. Should there be relations between
Dhaka and Jerusalem, Bangladesh will immensely benefit in boosting its agro
productions by using Israeli agro-tech. At the same time, Bangladesh also can
resolve the existing electricity shortage by joining hands with Israeli
is one of 29 UN member states that does not recognize the state of Israel. It
is one of several countries that officially bans its citizens from traveling to
Israel and does not accept Israeli passports. In November 2003, Bangladeshi
journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury was arrested for attempting to fly to
Tel Aviv, arraigned for “sedition, treason, and blasphemy”, and sentenced to a
seven-year prison term. Bangladesh officially supports a sovereign Palestinian
state and an end to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine.
a September 2011 statement published in the Jerusalem Post, an Israeli
government spokesperson said, “We have no conflict with Bangladesh. We want
dialogue. We want people-to-people relations. We welcome the religious-minded
people of Bangladesh to visit the holy land of Jerusalem”. Israel fruitlessly
“sought a relationship with Bangladesh” after they had established “full
diplomatic relations with China and India in 1992”.
maintains a ban on trade with Israel even though both countries are members of
the World Trade Organization. In 2014, it was found from the official statistics
of the Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau that Bangladesh had exported a small
amount of merchandise goods worth about US$2,577 to Israel in 2013–14 fiscal
year. In recent years however, it is found that Bangladeshi products are
exported to Israel through USA or European Union or other third countries.
according to Dhaka’s largest vernacular daily the Prothom Alo, Export Promotion
Bureau of Bangladesh (EPB) data shows that in FY12-13 Bangladesh has exported
goods worth about $ 22,435 to Israel while in FY11-12 the amount was $ 8,364.
The maximum amount of exports took place in FY11 when export earning fetched $
30,545. And in FY9-10, the amount was US $17,861.
these years under review, Bangladesh mainly exported apparel, knit and textile
products to Israel. Besides garments items some ceramic items were also
foreign trade official statistics also showed that the country is importing
goods from Bangladesh. According to the respective website, the country has
imported $ 17,571 and $ 26,558 in 2012 and 2013 respectively.
officials said that there are two ways to export goods to Israel. One is few
individual’s direct export. Other way is, by notifying party.
official of the EPB tried to explain it in following way: a Bangladeshi is exporting to UK. The UK
importer is the consignee. The consignee asked the exporter to make shipment of
partial goods to a firm or individual in Israel. The Israeli party becomes a
notifying party. And goods send to Israel turn it an export to the country.
to business analysts, the volume of export of Bangladeshi goods to Israel would
increase many folds once there are economic relations between the two
countries. In this case, analysts are suggesting Dhaka of adopting the same
policy it had earlier adopted for opening economic cooperation between
Bangladesh and Taiwan.
of Israeli medical science:
Israeli scientists have invented medicines for cancer, blood pressure and
diabetes, which would be of great interest to the people of Bangladesh.
Particularly the invention of oral insulin by an Israeli company which would
substitute the injection insulin of the diabetes patients would not only help
the patients from getting rid of daily physical pains, but it also will help
Bangladesh in saving millions of dollars each month. According to statistics,
more 35 million Bangladeshis currently are suffering from diabetes and a large
segment of these patients are dependant of injection insulin. Israeli
biomedical scientists also have invented 3D heart with human tissue.
is the first time anyone anywhere has successfully engineered and printed an
entire heart replete with cells, blood vessels, ventricles and chambers,” said
Prof. Tal Dvir of TAU’s School of Molecular Cell Biology and Biotechnology,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the Center for Nanoscience
and Nanotechnology, and the Sagol Center for Regenerative Biotechnology, who
was the lead researcher for the study.
disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the United
States. In Israel, it is the second largest cause of death (after cancer).
transplantation is often the only treatment available to patients with
end-stage heart failure. The waiting list for patients in the US can be as much
as six months or more. In Israel and the US, many patients die while on the
waiting list, hoping for a chance at survival.
heart is made from human cells and patient-specific biological materials. In
our process, these materials serve as the bio-inks, substances made of sugars
and proteins that can be used for 3-D printing of complex tissue models,” Dvir
next step, they said, is to teach the hearts to behave like human hearts.
First, they will transplant them into animals and eventually into humans. The
hope is that within “10 years, there will be organ printers in the finest
hospitals around the world, and these procedures will be conducted routinely,”
Afghan Special Forces have killed a senior Taliban leader who in charge of the
‘Kangaroo Court’ of the group in North-western Ghor province.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) issued a statement earlier today confirming that a
senior Taliban leader who was in-charge of the Kangaroo Court of the group in
Ghor province was killed in a joint operation of the Special Forces of Afghan
National Police and Special Air Brigade.
statement further added that the operation was conducted late last night in the
vicinity of Ghalmin Village located in the outskirts of the provincial capital
Afghan forces also confiscated two weapons, munitions, and some important
documents of Taliban group were also confiscated along with six motorcycles
during the operation, the Ministry of Interior added.
least 21 Taliban militants were killed in a kinetic airstrike which was carried
out in support of the Afghan army soldiers in southern Kandahar province of
military sources said Friday “In defense of Afghan National Army soldiers, a
kinetic strike was conducted in Khakrez district killing 21 Taliban fighters
and wounding 1 other.”
sources further added that an airstrike was also conducted in Nahr-e Saraj
district of Helmand province killing 3 Taliban fighters.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the airstrikes so far.
least four children were killed and five others were wounded in an explosion
triggered by an improvised explosive device in northern Faryab province.
spokesman for Faryab Police Abdul Karim Yurish said the incident took place
late on Thursday afternoon in the vicinity of Dawlatabad district.
further added that the children were busy herding their livestock when they
struck an improvised explosive device in Chaharshangho Village.
also added that the IED was planted by Taliban militants to target the security
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the incident so far.
Talks with the Taliban on ending Afghanistan’s war are making steady but slow
progress, the chief US envoy involved in the negotiations said on Friday while
signalling growing frustration with relentless militant violence.
sixth round of talks ended on Thursday in Qatar with “some progress” on a draft
agreement on the withdrawal of foreign troops, a Taliban official said. The
United States is seeking a Taliban guarantee they won’t let militants use
Afghanistan to stage attacks.
talks, the most sustained effort to end the 18-year conflict — America’s
longest war — began last year.
sixth round got going on April 30 in Qatar’s capital, Doha, but wound up early
in response to a Taliban attack on an aid group in the capital, Kabul, on
Wednesday, a senior official with knowledge of the talks said.
chief US envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, did not say if the talks had ended early, in
comments he posted on Twitter, but expressed frustration with Taliban violence
that has shown no sign of easing.
made steady but slow progress on aspects of the framework for ending the Afghan
war. We are getting into the ‘nitty gritty.’ The devil is always in the
details,” Khalilzad said.
the current pace of talks isn’t sufficient when so much conflict rages and
innocent people die. We need more and faster progress. Our proposal for all
sides to reduce violence also remains on the table.”
people were killed and at least 20 were wounded when Taliban fighters set off a
big bomb at the gate of the Counterpart International aid group’s office in
Kabul, and then battled Afghan security forces for seven hours.
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said his fighters attacked the group because it
promoted “Western culture,” including the mixing of the genders.
from the aid group were not available for comment.
attack in Kabul triggered a sense of unease between the US and Taliban
negotiators in Qatar, three senior officials said.
original plan was to continue the talks,” said one of the officials, who
declined to be identified. “It ended abruptly due to the attack.”
year, US President Donald Trump’s administration accelerated efforts to find a
political settlement in Afghanistan and reduce the US troop presence there.
17,000 foreign troops are based in Afghanistan — most of them American — as
part of a US-led NATO mission to train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some
US forces carry out counter-terrorism operations.
the Taliban have repeatedly rejected calls for a cease-fire, and they also
refuse to talk to the US-backed Afghan government, and have instead stepped up
are clearly giving a message that they can continue war and peace talks at the
same time and are engaged in negotiations from a position of strength,” said a
Western diplomat in Kabul.
the level of violence was putting pressure on the US side to come up with a
plan to end it, the diplomat said.
is no time left for fake bonhomie when people were dying every hour.”
aide to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani questioned the entire process, given the
Taliban rejection of a cease-fire.
Muslims break the fast at an event hosted by the Kim Tek Le Vihara Foundation
at Petak Sembilan, Jakarta, on Wednesday. The foundation prepared 200 food
packages for low-income people living around the vihara.(JP/Wendra
Ajistyatama)The sight of worshipers shuffling about and praying, surrounded by
the red candles, aromatic incense and lanterns that adorn the iconic Dharma
Bakti temple in Tamansari, West Jakarta, is a common one.However, the scene at
the famous Buddhist temple and popular tourist destination transforms
completely on every afternoon during Ramadan, when dozens of people gather at
its front yard to prepare iftar (breaking of the fast meals).As the adzan (call
to prayer) was heard on a rainy Thursday afternoon, worshipers and temple
employees and volunteers quickly distributed takjil (breaking of the fast
snacks) consisting of water, dates, kolak (sweet dess...
Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
LUMPUR, May 11 — Past stories on the spat between Umno and PAS are irrelevant
as the two parties have changed their leadership, approach, policies, and have
a different political view, Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa said.
an interview with Utusan Malaysia, Annuar said the move was seen as an attempt
to lessen the unity within the Malay Muslim community.
that time, PAS was the Opposition and Umno was the government under Dr
Mahathir’s leadership now he is ‘on the other side’. The present Umno is
without Mahathir, therefore the old tales are no longer relevant.
previously, the issuance of the fatwa to say [Umno was] kafir was under the
context of the reaction towards what Umno had done at the time. Let’s just say
perhaps at that time PAS was oppressed, mistreated, denied their rights, so you
get what you get for what had happened,” Annuar told the Malay daily in the
interview published today.
was in response to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remarks last
Thursday that PAS, especially its incumbent president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi
Awang had labelled the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) government of the past of
being a kafir administration for cooperating with infidels.
his controversial Amanat Hadi then, the Marang MP also claimed those who
opposed the Umno government would die as martyrs. Dr Mahathir was the BN PM
from 1981 to 2003 before becoming the seventh prime minister after Pakatan
Harapan won the 14th general election last year.
also said Umno will hold a closed-door meeting in commemoration of its 73rd
anniversary this year, adding that its celebration this time around will be
Keterah MP said there were two main items on its agenda for the meeting:
amendments to the party’s constitution as well as its new cooperation with PAS.
agenda, however, will be done behind closed doors as we are still at the
internal discussion stage and there’s nothing to be announced in the near
future,” he said, adding that there will be buka puasa followed by tarawih
prayers at night.
said four main scopes will be amended in the party constitution, which will be
discussed in a special annual general meeting before the Umno General Assembly
2019, scheduled in October.
said the four focus areas include improving party policies, empowering the Umno
wings, expanding its influence, and returning the party policy to its original
is not to say the past struggles in no longer relevant as it is still accepted
by the people. But after seven decades going through the process, there would
be new challenges that the party faces.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo said on Thursday that he would be able
to give his best for the country during his second term, as he would no longer
be burdened by having to consider re-election.
president therefore called on all bureaucrats to stop applying old work
routines, patterns and traditions, because he would focus on making the
bureaucracy simpler and more efficient, in preparation for Indonesia likely
becoming the fifth- or even fourth-largest economic power in the world by 2045.
statement is his second implicit claim of victory in the April 17 presidential
election, in which he ran against former Army general Prabowo Subianto. His
first victory statement was on election night, after several reliable pollsters
released their quick-count results, all in favor of Jokowi and his running
mate, Ma'ruf Amin. His latest statement was recorded in a video published by
the Cabinet Secretariat.
out, don't continue old routines, patterns, traditions. Stop it. We must stop
it. In the next five years, excuse me, I won't be burdened, because I cannot be
nominated [as a presidential candidate again]," Jokowi said during a
meeting in Jakarta to discuss national planning programs.
I will do whatever is best for the country," he said, amid applause from
the audience, which included top government leaders from across the country.
plans to soon disband any government institutions deemed unnecessary,
inefficient or not contributing to the state on the central and regional
also plans to continue developing infrastructure, as it is necessary if
Indonesia wants to become one of the world's largest economic powers.
a group of prominent figures, all members of the Agency for the Implementation
of the State Ideology of Pancasila (BPIP) and led by former President Megawati
Sukarnoputri, met with Jokowi to congratulate him on his second term as head of
state. "We congratulated him, because based on the quick counts, he and Mr.
Ma'ruf Amin had a [good] result, which would allow him to be inaugurated again
as president," Megawati said, as quoted by Kompas.com.
she urged the public to wait for the official announcement by the General
Elections Commission (KPU) on May 22.
prominent figures included Said Aqil Siraj, chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama,
Indonesia's largest independent Islamic organization; Mahfud M.D., a former
Constitutional Court chief justice; Benny Susetyo, a Catholic priest and social
observer; Syafei Ma'rif, former chairman of Muhammadiyah, the country's
second-largest Islamic organization; and Tri Sutrisno, a former vice president.
(Kurdistan 24) – Seven orphaned children whose parents were members of the
Islamic State have been reunited with their grandfather in Erbil following
their recent handover from Syrian Kurdish authorities to a Swedish delegation
at the border between Syria and Iraq's Kurdistan Region.
Swedish team met with Syrian Kurdish officials recently after an agreement was
struck to return the children, who were found after their parents had been
killed in the town of Baghouz, the Islamic State's final former territory in
the collapse of Baghouz, many of those who fled and were captured by the
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and have been settled in the
sprawling al-Hol camp.
camp’s residents are living in harsh conditions as those placed there number
far above the facility's capacity. It currently houses around 70,000 people,
many of them women accused of Islamic State membership and their children. The
seven children, Swedish nationals, were among these.
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström in April said his government was “working
intensively so that children with a connection to Sweden who are in Syria get
the help they need.”
Galvez, the grandfather of the children, along with the Swedish delegation
expects to repatriate them back to their home country, affirming Stockholm’s
commitment to facilitate the return of the offspring of their citizens who left
to join the Islamic State following its emergence in 2014.
with Kurdistan 24, Galvez retold the story of his family. His daughter, he
explained “had become a Muslim in 2008 and married a guy” with whom she went on
to “have four kids.” “They didn’t tell me anything and three months after they
had joined ISIS, they called [and told] me.”
grandfather claimed he had told his daughter and son-in-law to turn themselves
over to the SDF but that they had refused to listen. In March, both would die
during the SDF's last siege and eventual offensive on Baghouz.
two Islamic State members’ children are currently residing in the Kurdistan
Region. Four of them have Swedish passports but the other three were born in
Syria and have no travel documentation or IDs, a common problem for children
born of the extremist group's members.
the children are with me and I am making the preparations to take them back to
is little that can stop the brutal assault underway in northwest Syria, where
Russian, Iranian and Assad regime forces have launched a major military
offensive as millions of civilians flee for their lives. But the record shows
that if President Trump acts to try to halt the slaughter, it will have real
impact on the ground. Even a presidential tweet could save lives. Time is of
a lot going on right now in U.S. foreign policy. The Trump administration
is dealing with an escalating Iran crisis, North Korea missile firings, a shaky
China trade negotiation and an attempt to oust the Venezuelan regime. It’s no
mere coincidence that Bashar al-Assad and Moscow chose this moment to retake
the last rebel-held area of Syria using scorched-earth tactics, committing
atrocities along the way.
region of Idlib holds about 3 million civilians, including 1 million children,
who were moved there from across the country because they would not submit to
the Assad regime. And now there is deafening silence from the international
community about their brutal slaughter.
F. Jeffrey, the State Department’s special envoy for Syria, told me the U.S.
government sees a “major escalation” by the regime and its allies in Idlib and
is working diplomatic channels to de-escalate the fighting.
are raising this at every level with the Russians,” he said. “Any major
operation into Idlib would be a reckless escalation of the conflict.”
is dependent on Russian air power, and Moscow has committed a lot of it to the
assault, Jeffrey said. That means Moscow is flagrantly violating the cease-fire
and de-escalation agreement it signed with Turkey last year in Sochi, Russia.
far, Moscow is ignoring Jeffrey’s warnings. The Turkish government, which saw
its outpost in Idlib shelled, seems unable or unwilling to stop the onslaught.
But history shows that when Trump decides to intervene in Syria to protect
civilians, Moscow listens.
April 2017, when Trump first launched missiles at the Syrian regime, he was
responding to a chemical weapons attack in Idlib that looked to be the
beginning of the very offensive we are seeing now. Trump’s actions persuaded
Assad and Russia to back down.
a Syrian activist told Trump at a fundraiser that the assault on Idlib was
beginning again, the president tweeted last September that Assad “must not
recklessly attack Idlib” and that Russia and Iran must not support a “potential
human tragedy.” The tweet worked.
stopped. You saw that. And nobody’s going to give me credit, but that’s okay,”
Trump said at the time. “Millions of people would have been killed. And that
would have been a shame,” he said.
Moscow is testing Trump again. So far, the president is silent. That has a
cascading effect inside the U.S. national security system. Several people who
work with U.S. government agencies on the ground in Syria told me that U.S.
officials throughout the bureaucracy are waiting on Trump to signal his intent
before they move to engage in Idlib.
Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) understands the importance of Trump’s verbal cues.
He tweeted at the president this week asking him to speak up and protect Idlib.
Putin surely also understands that in the United States’ Syria policy, only
Trump’s words really matter. Trump and Putin spoke for about an hour last week,
but it is unknown what, if anything, they discussed about Syria.
Russian planes are targeting residential areas and hospitals and then killing
aid workers responding to those attacks, said Raed Al Saleh, founder of the
Syria Civil Defense, a civilian rescue organization better known as the White
Helmets. In Idlib, he said, the regime has resumed the use of barrel bombs and
white phosphorus, weapons of mass atrocity and mass displacement.
estimates of 150,000 newly displaced people are just the beginning, said Saleh.
Millions of people are preparing to “form caravans like in El Salvador” to head
for Europe. “These people see the international community is not willing to do
anything to keep them safe in their homes,” he said.
schools in Idlib supported by U.S. aid organizations are now at grave risk.
Thirty of those organizations wrote to Trump asking him to give the signal so
the U.S. government can snap into action.
you are able to direct our government to use every tool and resource at our
disposal for the protection of civilians in Idlib Province,” they wrote.
will remember that the world abandoned them in their time of most dire need.
The fresh atrocities will fuel more extremism. The new refugee crisis will
further destabilize Turkey, the Middle East and Europe.
by Loaa Adel
(IraqiNews) A security source informed, on Thursday, that eight persons were
slaughtered by militants from the Islamic State group, when the latter attacked
their house in the right coast of Mosul.
source said in a press statement that militants from the Islamic State group
stormed the house of the elder of Kawar area, located in the right coast of the
city of Mosul, while pointed out that the militants slaughtered the elder, his
wife and his six sons.
forces cordoned off the area, and transferred the bodies to the forensic
medicine department, he further added.
(Reuters) - Islamic State claimed responsibility on Thursday for a blast in
Baghdad, saying a suicide bomber had detonated an explosive vest in the
northeastern Sadr City district of the Iraqi capital and killed eight people.
thanks to God almighty, entered into a gathering of infidels ... and detonated
his vest, killing eight and wounding more than 10 others,” the group said in a
Kurdistan Region – Police in Nineveh arrested five alleged members of the
Islamic State (ISIS), accused of working for the group when it controlled the
city of Mosul, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced Wednesday night. Recent
analysis of ISIS activities after the group was territorially defeated in Iraq
and Syria reveals the militants have adapted to their change of circumstances,
but Iraq’s security establishment has not similarly evolved its tactics in
order to capably counter the group.
police acted on warrants for the five suspects, three of whom were allegedly
members of ISIS’ judicial branch and the other two are accused of being members
of the religious police known as Hisbah, Interior Ministry spokesperson Saad
was declared defeated in Iraq in December 2017, but the group remains a serious
security threat. The militants have returned to their underground insurgency
roots, but with more sophistication as they seek to take advantage of divisions
in Iraqi society.
State (ISIS) militants in Iraq spent the first three months of the year focused
on “reconstitution and recruitment,” according to a US Defense Department
report released on May 7.
are daily reports of ISIS militants carrying out hit-and-run attacks on
security personnel and infrastructure, and kidnapping and killing local
officials and civilians in areas where massive security gaps exist – primarily
in the desert regions of Anbar near the border with Syria and in the disputed
areas where there are gaps between Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
addition, ISIS focused on exploiting weaknesses and failure of the Iraqi
government, which has struggled to rebuild areas liberated from ISIS and
provide basic services and economic opportunities to millions of Iraqis,
particularly in Sunni areas where ISIS recruiting efforts are strongest,” the
Defense report stated.
the disputed area around Makhmour, ISIS militants are essentially operating
freely, even in daylight hours, and are making efforts to forge friendly ties
with Sunni locals. Residents in Mosul, who say they receive minimal support
from Baghdad for reconstruction of the war-ravaged city, believe government
corruption has done more damage to their city than ISIS.
and Peshmerga forces, backed by the global coalition against ISIS, have
conducted scores of clearing operations against ISIS. This week, a mishmash of
Iraqi forces conducted an operation in the desert of Anbar.
army units, border forces, tribal forces, security agencies, and Anbar police,
backed by the coalition and air support carried out the operation that ranged
from south of Rutba towards the border with Saudi Arabia, Col. Musa Mohammed,
commander in the Euphrates area, told Arab24.
operation resulted in destroying three vehicles and three tents that were left
by ISIS,” said Mohammed, describing it as an “excellent pre-emptive operation.”
US says that clearance operations like this have seen only limited success.
They have only “marginally diminished ISIS’s ability to operate, mainly by
restricting its freedom of movement,” read the Defense report.
major challenge for Iraqi forces comes from failures in its intelligence
structures. Lack of training and financial investment, poor ability to process
and exploit information, and then failures to share relevant information within
the wider security apparatus are hampering intelligence efforts, the Defense
Peshmerga commander in a disputed area says that Iraqi forces need a stronger,
permanent presence on the ground if it really wants to counter ISIS.
solution is that the Iraqi army should be returning to this area, not just
carry out an operation and leave,” Sirwan Barzani, commander on the Peshmerga’s
Makhmour front, told Rudaw on May 1.
Peshmerga have a base on the top of Mount Qarachogh and Barzani said they could
clear ISIS from the mountain within days, “but there is no guarantee that they
will not come back" in the absence of armed forces.
armed forces melted away in the face of ISIS' advance in 2014. International
allies of the global coalition to defeat ISIS have worked to rebuild Iraq's
security forces with extensive training and equipping.
coalition has now focused its training efforts on filling the gaps that exist
in their ability to counter ISIS, the Defense report stated. The coalition
"will now focus on counter-ISIS capability shortfalls that can be
addressed by September 2020, ... other capabilities that cannot be addressed in
that timeframe will require longer-term international assistance."
of Lebanese military and security veterans are protesting for the second time
in two weeks against proposed cuts to their pensions and benefits, as the
government discusses a budget bill that aims to cut public spending and usher
in austerity measures.
protesters gathered Friday in downtown Beirut outside the government offices to
denounce what they called “painful” and “unpopular” measures.
asked the government to address corruption and retrieve lost funds instead of
slashing their benefits.
in the state-owned Lebanese University also protested Friday potential cuts to
and Mossad conflating intelligence to push US into military conflict with Iran:
CIA and Israel’s Mossad are conflating and distorting intelligence to push the
United States into a military conflict with Iran, according to Scott Bennett, a
former US military psychological warfare officer and political commentator.
made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Thursday while commenting on
a statement by American Muslim Representative Ilhan Omar who has accused the
Donald Trump administration of preparing the ground for direct confrontation
with Iran using inflated intelligence data.
lawmaker said on Wednesday that the US intelligence community was making up
excuses to justify hostile anti-Iran policies just as it did before the
invasion of Iraq in 2003.
told Press TV that “the recent developments between Iran and the United States
and Israel are sadly coming to a very potential boiling point and it’s
problematic, and ironically one of the few people who have pointed out truth of
this is Representative Ilhan Omar.”
I think she is very right on and she is accurate when she says certain people
are producing false intelligence and manipulating the president into a
misdirected, misunderstood confrontation with Iran,” he stated.
I think she speaks from the vast majority of Americans who share the same
sentiments, who may not agree with her politically, philosophically or
religiously, however, the American people sense in their heart that what Ilhan
Omar is saying is absolutely true, and that is certain people, certain
industry, specifically the military-industrial complex and certain war
mongering Zionists, and other parties including Benjamin Netanyahu, and members
of the [US] intelligence community and Mossad, and Israel and Britain, MI6, and
the United States’ CIA all have been conflating and distorting intelligence and
manipulating it to President Trump’s mind and sadly pushing him into a
potential conflict by overreaction and other accelerating provocative counter measures to Iran’s very
understandable and justifiable response to its natural resources being cut off,
and economic sanctions strangling them, to the point of a very similar scenario
between the United States and Japan in 1940,” he pointed out.
remember that the Japanese WWII conflict erupted after the United States cut
off oil supplies and rubber supplies from Japan and that reacted in Japan a
life-and-death situation, responding with a counterattack in Pearl Harbor. And
I think the same military mindsets are looking to set up a similar scenario in
the Strait of Hormuz, with a false flag gulf of Tonkin attack repeat or an
American ship is falsely attacked by what seemed to be Iranian military sailors
or other military units which will be provocative and will facilitate the
United States military’s response,” he said.
I think Ilhan Omar is pointing to these possibilities. So the American people
have seen them. They have sadly suffered under them, from both of the Gulf of
Tonkin and New York 9/11 attacks. And this is something people are waking up
to,” the analyst said.
maybe doing this as a deal-making mechanism’
is also the reason that Donald Trump maybe doing a lot of these actions as a
deal-making mechanism. There is a very strong possibility of it and many in the
Conservative circles rest upon the conviction that Donald Trump does not want
to go to war and this is all posturing for negotiating position so that the
Iranian, American JCPOA and other agreements, maybe to negotiate from a
position of strength, from Donald Trump’s position,” he said.
this is a very distant way, a very positive way of looking at this because it
intimates that Donald Trump is in fact separating from John Bolton, distancing
himself from him, and blaming John Bolton for the bogged down Venezuela coup,
and most likely will be looking towards others in the intelligence community to
blame for the Iranian problem,” he added.
Ilhan Omar is pointing something that all Americans agree to it that the
intelligence Israel has provided about Iranian threats is complete false,
propaganda campaign, and Donald Trump unfortunately has been manipulated into
overreacting to that. But I think the American people and American Congress are
going to stand up to and give Donald Trump a very clear warning that if you
wage war on Iran you will not be elected to a second term and worst you may be
impeached for violating the war powers’ act,” the expert said.
says US doesn't want war with Iran but warns of 'swift' response if provoked
(CNN)The Trump administration doesn't want war with Iran, Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo said Wednesday, but he warned Tehran of a "swift and
decisive" US response to any attack.
"has engaged in an escalating series of threatening actions and statements
in recent weeks," Pompeo said in a statement, echoing Pentagon and unnamed
US officials. He provided no specifics about the nature or scope of that
threat, but other US officials have said that they've observed Iranian forces
moving missiles around on boats.
regime in Tehran should understand that any attacks by them or their proxies of
any identity against US interests or citizens will be answered with a swift and
decisive US response," said the top diplomat, who cut short overseas
travel to fly back to Washington Wednesday for urgent meetings on the situation
with Iran and North Korea.
warned Tehran not to mistake Washington's "restraint" for "a
lack of resolve" and closed by repeating an offer from President Donald
President Trump stated yesterday, he 'looks forward to someday meeting with
leaders of Iran in order to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking
steps to give Iran the future it deserves,'" Pompeo said.
issued his statement after the US sent a Navy strike group and bomber into the
Persian Gulf, citing "specific and credible" threats against US
forces. Iranian officials, however, including President Hassan Rouhani, have
said they have no interest in a conflict that analysts say the country can ill
afford. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said Tehran believes some US officials
are trying to provoke Iran into a conflict, portraying it as a trap Tehran
means to avoid.
in New York on April 23 as tensions rose, Zarif said "It is not a crisis
yet, but it is a dangerous situation. Accidents, plotted accidents, are
possible." Referring to a group of foreign and domestic officials that
includes national security adviser John Bolton, the Iranian official added that
he "wouldn't discount the B team plotting an accident anywhere in the
release from Pompeo comes a day after Iran declared it would ease its adherence
to the international nuclear pact that constrains its nuclear program in
exchange for sanctions relief. The Trump administration, which abandoned the
deal a year ago, has made it nearly impossible for Iran to access the financial
benefits of the deal.
path we have chosen today is not the path of war, it is the path of
diplomacy," Rouhani said when he made the announcement in a nationally
televised address. "But diplomacy with a new language and a new
US has also taken recent measures that could make it impossible for Iran to
adhere to the pact, ending non-proliferation related waivers that allowed Iran
to export heavy water and low-enriched uranium to stay below levels mandated in
the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear deal is formally
issued his statement as a US official with direct knowledge of the situation
told CNN that the latest intelligence indicates there's no sign of a
"decrease in Iran's posture" or the signals that prompted the US to
move a Navy strike group and B-52 bombers to the region, according to a US
official with direct knowledge of the latest intelligence.
is no intelligence to indicate a decrease in Iran's posture or
intentions," the official said.
commanders have not issued a "wave-off" to Iranian-backed militias
and Revolutionary Guard Corps elements to stop planning for possible attacks
against US forces in the region, the official added. "We are looking for
anything to reflect a change in their behavior and are not seeing it," the
has reported US officials' claims that intelligence shows Iran is likely moving
short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles aboard boats in the Persian
Gulf. The US military believes that cruise missiles could be launched from the
small Iranian boats known as dhows. Officials have now clarified that those
boats are IRGC-naval assets, not regular Iranian navy boats.
addition to the threat of attack against US navy ships, these officials say
Iran continues to pose a threat to US military bases and airfields in the
officials tell CNN it is not clear that the central Iranian government has given
orders to the militias giving them permission to attack. The US has monitored
"chatter" on several different levels among Iranian players.
official told CNN that the intelligence community is still trying to assess
exactly what is happening and whether it's possible that the Iranians are
simply raising tensions against the Americans, but not taking the final step to
control specialists said Iranian missile movements would not contravene UN
resolutions, while analysts said deterrence moves from Tehran were to be
expected, particularly given an Iranian security official's comments that
Iran's armed forces had detected the American aircraft carrier when it entered
the Mediterranean Sea more than three weeks ago.
the circumstances, Iran would naturally be making preparations as well as a
show of deterrence, said Alex Vatanka, a senior fellow at the Middle East
might have forces getting ready in case we enter a hot war -- you see the
latest information from the Pentagon about missile parts on boats -- but if the
Iranians are serious, they're going to have to think about a potential war,
think about ways to retaliate or deter the US and that includes US allies, as
well," Vatanka said.
said, Vatanka, who has been following Iran for 20 years, says he believes its
leaders do not want to provoke a conflict.
it is true they want to create leverage for themselves in the theater, as a way
of shaping America's next moves -- maybe some limited maneuverings are
happening just to make Americans wonder what Iran will do next -- but overall,
on a strategic level, Iranian leaders believe that provoking the US into open
hostility would risk the Islamic Republic's grip on power," Vatanka said.
the boat movements, the Iranians are signaling their ability to push back.
"They're trying to shape everybody's calculations as this thing is
escalating," Vatanka said.
Davenport from the Arms Control Association in Washington said she sees no
violation of UN resolutions if Iran is moving missiles by boat, but added that
she didn't know how common it was for them transport them that way.
also noted that Iran has the capability to target US assets without moving
short-range ballistic missiles to sea. Its medium-range ballistic missiles have
a range of 2,000 kilometers, meaning that threat is already established.
State Department official Robert Einhorn, now with the Brookings Institution,
said "ballistic missiles, unlike cruise missiles, are not typically
launched from surface ships. Perhaps the missiles in question are simply being
US Maritime Administration is expected to issue an advisory to regional
shipping warning them of the tensions.
CNN has learned that Bolton held an unusual briefing for the national security
council principals at CIA headquarters on April 29, according to two US
these meetings take place at White House. The meeting was first reported by
David D. Kirkpatrick
— In Kuwait, the Muslim Brotherhood is vocally pro-American.
Iraq, the Brotherhood’s political party has steadfastly supported the
American-backed political process and still forms part of the governing
in Yemen, the Brotherhood-linked party is cooperating with some of America’s
closest Arab allies in a war against a faction backed by Iran.
Trump’s proposal to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist
organization raises the difficult question of just whom he intends to target.
The original Islamist organization, founded in Egypt in 1928, has spun off or
inspired thousands of independent social or political groups around the world,
and they are far from monolithic.
include mainstream associations and advocacy groups in Europe and North
America, as well as recognized political parties in United States allies from
Morocco to Indonesia. Although most of the Brotherhood-linked parties are
sharply critical of United States foreign policy, at least a few — like those
in Kuwait, Iraq and Yemen — have sometimes also supported American goals.
push to penalize the Brotherhood has come from one set of American allies:
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who see the Brotherhood and
its calls for elections as a threat to their stability.
Munir, 82, the Muslim Brotherhood’s acting leader, in his office in London. The
Brotherhood is not an organization as much as it is an idea, Mr. Munir argued.
the same step risks alienating another set of partners, including Turkey, Qatar
and Jordan, which have either aligned themselves with the Brotherhood or
integrated Brotherhood spinoffs into their political systems.
aside the question of whether the Brotherhood or these spinoffs meet the legal
criteria for designation as terrorists, experts say, the proposal risks drawing
the United States into a feud that Washington has no stake in.
is the new cold war in the region, and there is not a good side and a bad side
from the U.S. perspective,” said Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a scholar at the
Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. “All these countries are
close American partners, and letting ourselves get forced to take sides will
just harm U.S. interests.”
the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization would block its
members from entering the United States and bar anyone in the country from
supporting or even consulting with them.
the far-flung international movement can hardly be described as a single
the only connection among the Brotherhood’s many offshoots may lie in a sleepy
two-story office above a defunct takeout pizza restaurant in a suburb northwest
of London. Because of a ferocious government crackdown against the Muslim
Brotherhood at home in Egypt, this is now the headquarters of the Egyptian
Brotherhood’s acting leader, Ibrahim Munir, a frail 82-year-old lawyer.
ceremony in Gaza last year marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas’s founding.
truth, Mr. Munir said, he has no authority over or much contact with the many
independent Brotherhood-linked organizations around the world.
try to coordinate,” he said, “but it is not a management structure.”
he argued, the Brotherhood is not an organization as much as an idea —
unconstrained by borders, subject to widely varying applications and almost
impossible to expunge.
thinks he is treating the Muslim Brotherhood like that wall he wants to build
with Mexico, but you can’t build up a wall against an idea,” he said.
vagueness of that idea — essentially that a bottom-up Islamic religious revival
will unlock social progress — has opened it to many interpretations followed by
the Brotherhood’s atomization is only one obstacle to its designation as
United States law, the designation can be applied only to organizations that
direct violence against American interests, and there is no publicly available
evidence that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has done that.
al-Banna, an Egyptian schoolteacher, founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928.
few Brotherhood spinoffs may qualify — notably Hamas, the Palestinian militant
group. But the United States has already sanctioned them.
staff working for the Pentagon, State Department and the National Security
Council have argued against Mr. Trump’s proposal in part for those legal
would also be the first time the United States has applied the terrorist label
to a popular mass movement, one with millions of followers across the Muslim
world, not a small and secretive organization on the model of Al Qaeda.
American allies, the ruling party in Turkey is an ideological cousin; in
Jordan, King Abdullah has long relied on a Brotherhood-linked party to provide
an outlet for limited and nonviolent political opposition; and Qatar has sought
to expand its influence by aligning with the Brotherhood-style Islamists.
American-allied governments of Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia, Malaysia
and Kenya also all recognize political parties rooted in the ideology of the
at a mosque in Cairo in 2013 mourned the death of a Morsi supporter killed
parties and governments have so far stayed quiet about Mr. Trump’s proposal,
possibly for fear of picking a fight with the White House while the chances of
any action remain uncertain. Still, the tension is clear.
Turkey, Yasin Aktay, a politician close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
argued in a recent newspaper column that the proposed sanction against the
Brotherhood would “deliver a new blow to the U.S.’s own credibility” and
“carries the risk of being perceived as a total declaration of war against not
only this organization but Islam.”
Jordan, where a political party that grew out of the movement holds 16 seats in
Parliament, King Abdullah has resisted demands from Saudi Arabia and the United
Arab Emirates to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
Americans’ doing so “will put Jordan in a direct confrontation with the U.S.,”
said Amer Sabaileh, a political analyst and columnist in Amman.
Kuwait, the Brotherhood party’s positive attitude toward Washington dates to
the role that the United States played in rolling back an invasion by Iraq
nearly three decades ago.
Muslim Brotherhood demonstration last month in Jordan in support of the king.
Iraq, the Sunni-dominated Brotherhood party has formed cross-sectarian
partnerships with Shiite-dominated parties in successive coalition governments,
even at the price of losing some Sunni political support.
Yemen, the party associated with the Brotherhood has formed a
strange-bedfellows alliance with Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. to battle a common
enemy, the Iranian-backed Houthis.
in Bahrain, the home of a major American naval base, the Brotherhood-linked
party is a pillar of support for the Sunni monarchy, which has struggled
against opposition from the country’s Shiite majority.
the Palestinian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has been designated a
terrorist organization for more than two decades, and its supporters argued
this week that their organization could benefit if Mr. Trump sanctioned the
larger Brotherhood movement. It would diminish the cost to Brotherhood
supporters of backing their Palestinian cousins.
they are considered terrorists anyway, why not support Hamas?” asked Basem
Naim, a former Palestinian health minister and prominent Hamas member. “They
have got nothing to lose.”
ransacking the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo in 2013.
experts in Washington noted that, aside from Hamas, Brotherhood-inspired
parties had engaged in the kind of nonviolent parliamentary politics that
American officials usually encourage. Calling the Brotherhood a terrorist
organization could thus send a troubling message to young people in a region
with few viable paths to improve their lives, argued Michele Dunne, a scholar
at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
can’t think of anything more counterproductive if what we want to do is
encourage young people to take peaceful routes instead of violence,” she said.
its 90-year history, the organization has frequently come under pressure from
the Egyptian police state.
Munir joined the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt at 14 and spent 16 years in prison
for it during a crackdown by President Gamal Abdel Nasser.
the Egyptian Brotherhood has all but receded from active political opposition,
retreating in the face of an equally sweeping crackdown by President Abdel
Fattah el-Sisi. After carrying out a military takeover in 2013 that removed an
elected president who had come from the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. el-Sisi has
overseen the killing of thousands and the imprisonment of tens of thousands of
the former president’s Brotherhood supporters.
group’s primary function now, Mr. Munir said, was to provide support for the
families of those killed or jailed.
seven years ago, he said, a senior Brotherhood official spent 40 minutes in the
Oval Office with President Barack Obama talking about a democratic future for
official, Essam Haddad, was the national security adviser to the Egyptian
leader Mohammed Morsi, another Brotherhood leader and Egypt’s first
democratically elected president.
Haddad has now been in prison for nearly six years on politicized charges.
Munir said he was stunned by the silence of the American officials who had
known Mr. Haddad during Mr. Morsi’s year in office.
is a shock, really,” Mr. Munir said. “When Essam Haddad went to the
administration for a dialogue, was it just a game?”
is a growing interest in Islam in Latin America, Anibal Bachir Bakir, head of
the Islamic Center of the Republic of Argentina (CIRA), said Friday.
an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Bakir explained that CIRA was
established in 1926 with the aim of promoting Muslim culture and the teachings
to Bakir, CIRA also provides services to local Muslim communities, including
courses in Arabic language and history, lectures on the Muslim faith, and
Islamic marriages and funerals.
400 students are currently enrolled in the Omar bin Khattab School in Buenos
Aires, which was originally founded by CIRA, Bakir said.
went on to point out that CIRA frequently works in tandem with the Turkish
Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).
first arrived in Latin America after fleeing the [Spanish] inquisition,” Bakir
told Anadolu Agency.
400,000 Muslims now living in Argentina arrived from Syria and Lebanon in the
mass migrations of the 1900s,” he added.
Argentina’s history,” Bakir said, “Christians, Muslims and Jews have always
sanctions on Iranian oil exports do not serve peace in the region, a spokesman
for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party said Friday.
state that such sanctions are only punishing people, and that it is not
possible to reach the goals written in any way,” Omer Celik told a wide-ranging
news conference at the party headquarters.
once again clearly state that we are against these sanctions, and that these
sanctions will not yield the right results,” Celik added.
President Donald Trump's administration reimposed sanctions on Iranian oil
exports in November after he pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal between
Tehran, Washington and five world powers.
announced last month that it would end sanctions waivers granted to countries
that were still buying Iranian oil.
moves are a part of Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign to curb sales
of Iranian oil, denying what Washington said was the country’s main source of
Cypriot and actions on natural resources
said the Greek Cypriot administration and Greece governments have made
“aggressive” statements attacking Turkey’s natural resources exploration in the
areas where Turkish Cypriot bequeathed its license to Turkish Petroleum (TP).
know best that these aggressive statements will not alter our attitude of
protecting Turkey’s rights and interests,” he said.
supports distributing natural resources to Greek and Turkish Cypriots equally,
according to Celik. “But the Greek Cypriot administration doesn’t give consent
in any circumstances.”
has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral
drilling in the Eastern Mediterranean, citing Turkish Cypriots also have rights
to the resources in the area.
did not hold any punches when he talked about Greek Cypriot leader Nicos
Anastasiadis' comparison of Turkey’s seismic vessels Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa
and Fatih to the Cyprus Peace Operation in 1974.
calls 1974 operation an invasion. But we call it protection of the Turkish
Cypriot's life, rights and interests,” said Celik. “Turkey, today as in the
past, is in full commitment to protect the interests of the Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus [TRNC].”
has been divided since 1974 when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence
against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
first seismic vessel, the Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa, bought from Norway in 2013,
has been doing exploration in the Mediterranean since April 2017.
of S-400 air missile system
said Turkey maintains its position on purchasing the Russian S-400 advanced
surface to-air missile system and F-35 fighter jets.
said it’s impossible for any Western country to cope alone against terror
attacks. “The spirit of solidarity and alliance will become more important and
Turkey is a key country in the NATO alliance,” he said.
emphasize once again that we want to hear more common sense, closer to
cooperation than our allies,” he added.
between the U.S. and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with
Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
said the move will jeopardize Turkey's role in the F-35 fighter jet program and
could trigger congressional sanctions.
arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE ‘evident hypocrisy’: Ansarullah
spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement has fiercely criticized the
French government for supplying Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
weapons that have been used in their war on Yemen, describing the move “a clear
hypocrisy to evade crimes.”
persistence of French President (Emmanuel Macron) on selling arms to Saudi
Arabia on the pretext that they are not used against (Yemeni) civilians is a
clear hypocrisy to evade crimes,” Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television
network cited Mohammed Abdul-Salam as writing on his official Twitter page on
Houthi official then called on France and other countries to stop selling
weapons to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have been involved in an atrocious
military aggression against Yemen for more than four years.
move is an attempt by France to evade responsibility for the crimes being
committed against Yemeni people,” Abdul-Salam noted.
ship leaves France without arms cargo
a Saudi cargo ship that had been expected to pick up a hugely controversial
shipment of French arms from Le Havre port in the Normandy region of
northwestern France has not docked there and left without its arms cargo.
to ship tracking data and comments from a local French official to Reuters, the
Bahri Yanbu is now sailing towards Santander in Spain.
Thursday, two French human rights groups had sought to block the loading of
weapons onto the Saudi vessel.
came weeks after investigative website Disclose published leaked documents,
showing Saudi Arabia was using French weapons, including tanks and laser-guided
missile systems, against civilians in Yemen's war.
with strong criticism, Macron admitted that the weapons were indeed being used
in the war; but only within Saudi Arabia's border.
would like to say here that what we reiterated was the guarantee for them (the
arms) not be used against civilian populations," he asserted.
in March 2018, French law firm Ancile Avocat said France's arms exports to
Saudi Arabia and the UAE could be in contravention of its international
commitments – primarily the Arms Trade Treaty, which Paris ratified in 2014.
French government has authorized exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia
and the UAE in circumstances where these weapons can be used in the conflict in
Yemen and could be used to carry out war crimes,” it said in a report.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former
president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi
to a December 2018 report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project
(ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has
claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying
hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN said in a report in December 2018
that over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10
million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.
convicted of terrorism for arson of Australian mosque
Australia – Three Sunni Muslim men have been convicted of engaging in a terror
act by burning down a Shiite mosque in the Australian city of Melbourne three
Victoria state Supreme Court jury on Thursday convicted Abdullah Chaarani,
Ahmed Mohamed and Hatim Moukhaiber over the firebombing of the Imam Ali Islamic
Center on Dec. 11, 2016. No one was injured in the blaze.
and Moukhaiber had both denied any involvement. Chaarani conceded that he was
there, but argued he had been part of an act of protest, advocacy or dissent,
but not terrorism.
Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell warned companies that they could be
blocked from the U.S. market if they do business with Iran.
can do as much business as you want in Iran, but we have a say with regards to
your visa,” Grenell, who has a history of exasperating his Berlin hosts, told
Bild newspaper in an interview. “Because if you do something, we’re not going
to agree to let you enter our country.”
Trump administration doubled down this week on its hard-line stance against
Iran, slapping a new round of sanctions on its steel, iron, aluminum and copper
sectors and deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the
region as Tehran declared it would curtail its cooperation with a landmark 2015
former Fox News contributor who emerged as a vocal Trump loyalist, Grenell has
often criticized the German government over remarks on Iran, military spending
and a gas pipeline from Russia. He reportedly threatened to limit intelligence
sharing with Germany in March if Berlin allowed equipment from China’s Huawei
Technologies Co. into the country’s fifth-generation mobile networks.
also criticized German politicians who have rejected the U.S. demand for the
country and other NATO allies to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on
someone says you need to reform NATO, but not strive for the 2%, I find
hypocritical,” Grenell told Bild. “Another thing that surprised me a lot is how
many German politicians try to pretend the 2% goal is only a target and not a
also expressed surprise at Germany’s apparent restraint within the European
Union given that it has the most powerful economy in the bloc.
French soldiers have been killed during an operation to free four hostages held
by a militant group in northern Burkina Faso, France has announced.
French Presidency said on Friday that French special forces had freed two
French hostages — as well as an American and a South Korean who had also been
held hostage — during an overnight covert military raid in Burkina Faso.
two French hostages had disappeared during a safari in the Pendjari National
Park in Benin near Burkina Faso’s border on May 1. The body of their wildlife
guide and their abandoned vehicle were found back then. They had been taken
across the border into Burkina Faso.
terrorists have overrun parts of Burkina Faso’s north and east and stepped up
attacks in the country in recent months.
a separate statement, French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly thanked
Beninese and Burkinabe authorities as well as the United States for their
“precious support” in the operation. It was not clear what kind of support they
major powers are working intensely to operationalize the alternative payment
channel INSTEX to facilitate legitimate trade with Iran, German officials said
at a news conference in Berlin, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr
reaffirmed Germany’s commitment to the nuclear deal with Iran, and urged Tehran
to continue fully implementing the agreement.
are working intensely to operationalize the INSTEX,” she said, referring to the
mechanism set up by Germany, France and the U.K. in January, to continue trade
with Iran despite sanctions imposed by the U.S.
argued that the mechanism could not be realized yet due to the very complex
nature of the problem and due to some expectations from the Iranian side.
you know INSTEX also needs a mirror structure in Iran, which must be realized
by the Iranian side,” she added.
underlined that both structures should ensure international standards with
regards to anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.
continue our talks with the Iranian side on this,” she said.
March, a group of Iranian state and private banks registered a mirror company
named as Special Trade and Finance Institute (STFI) to match INSTEX.
delay in the operationalization of the alternative payment channel has led to
sharp criticism of Iran, with Tehran announcing on Wednesday that it may
abandon parts of the nuclear deal because of unfulfilled promises.
powers had agreed in 2015 to lift economic sanctions imposed on Iran in return
for Tehran agreeing to limit its nuclear activity to peaceful and civilian
agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was
signed between Iran and Russia, China, France, the U.K., and the U.S., plus
armed Al-Shabab militants were reported to have launched a daring assault on a
military base belonging to Somali government forces stationed in Barire town,
located in Lower Shabelle.
fighters encountered a fierce resistance they tried to storm the army outpost,
which was recently recaptured by Somali government troops backed by AU
soldiers. The attack occurred Wednesday evening.
local resident confirmed to Radio Shabelle that the Al-Shabaab combatants
attacked the village from different directions the onset of the night as people
gather in their homes to breaking their fasting.
commanders of the troops in the area say they have beefed up security following
the take-over and vowed to continue flushing out Al-Shabab from its remaining
strongholds in Lower Shabelle region.
900 children held by a pro-government militia force fighting Boko Haram
insurgents in northeastern Nigeria were freed on Friday, the UN said.
894 children, including 106 girls, had been in the ranks of the
government-backed Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), a local militia which
supports regular soldiers battling the extremists.
a ceremony in the north-eastern town of Maiduguri, they were released as part
of the CJTF's "commitment to end and prevent the recruitment and use of
children," the UN children's agency (Unicef) said.
of north-east Nigeria have borne the brunt of this conflict," said Mohamed
Fall, the Unicef chief in Nigeria.
have been used by armed groups in combatant and non-combatant roles and
witnessed death, killing and violence."
CJTF militia formed in 2013 to protect communities from attack, but it has also
recruited hundreds of children.
2017, the militia signed a promise to stop recruiting child soldiers and
release the ones they hold.
children freed on Friday bring the total released since then to 1,727 children,
was not clear how many children remain in its ranks, but the UN welcomed the
news on Friday.
commitment for children that is matched with action is a step in the right
direction for the protection of children's rights, and must be recognised and
encouraged," Mr Fall said.
freed children will be enrolled into a reintegration programme with education
and training to help them return to civilian life.
Haram's uprising to establish a hardline Islamic state in Nigeria's north-east
has spilled into neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
extremists have also recruited thousands of children to fight in their ranks.
— A U.S. air strike killed 13 Islamic State fighters in Somalia's
semi-autonomous Puntland region on Wednesday, the U.S. military said, days
after another strike killed three.
U.S. military has stepped up its campaign of air strikes in Somalia since
President Donald Trump took office, saying it has killed more than 800
militants in two years.
State, also known as ISIS, has gathered recruits in Puntland, although experts
say the scale of its force is unclear and it remains a small player compared al
Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group that once controlled much of Somalia.
Africa Command (AFRICOM) said late on Thursday the latest strike targeted an
ISIS-Somalia camp in Golis Mountains.
this time, it is assessed the air strike on May 8 killed 13 terrorists,"
said in April it had killed Abdulhakim Dhuqub, identifying him as Islamic
State's deputy leader in Somalia.
has been mired in civil war and an Islamist insurgency since 1991 when clan
warlords overthrew a dictator and then turned on each other.
least 65 migrants drowned on Friday when their boat capsized in the
Mediterranean Sea off the Tunisian coast after they had left Libya hoping to
reach Europe, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said.
state-run Tunis Afrique Presse agency gave a death toll of at least 70 people.
It was one the deadliest shipwrecks involving migrants trying to reach Europe
is a tragic and terrible reminder of the risks still faced by those who attempt
to cross the Mediterranean,” UNHCR Special Envoy for the Mediterranean Vincent
Cochetel said in a statement.
the first four months of 2019, 164 people are known to have died on the route,
a smaller number but higher death rate than in previous years, with one dying
for every three who reach European shores, UNHCR said.
said the sunken boat had taken to the sea on Thursday from neighboring Libya,
where renewed warfare between rival factions has gripped the capital Tripoli in
the past five weeks.
Tunisian navy brought 16 survivors to the coast at Zarzis, where one was
immediately taken to hospital and the others awaited permission to disembark,
Tunisian agency said the boat had sunk 40 miles off the coast of Sfax, south of
the capital Tunis and that fishing boats had rescued the survivors.
least 50 refugees drowned on Friday when their boat capsized in the
Mediterranean Sea off the Tunisian coast after they had left Libya hoping to
reach Europe, the United Nations migration agency said.
state-run Tunis Afrique Presse agency gave a death toll of at least 70 people.
was one of the deadliest shipwrecks involving refugees trying to reach Europe
illegally this year.
UN's International Organization for Migration said the sunken boat took to the
sea from neighboring Libya, where renewed warfare between rival factions has
gripped the capital, Tripoli, in the past five weeks. It put the number of
victims at 50, with 16 survivors.
boat sank 40 miles off the coast of Sfax, south of the capital, Tunis, the
Tunisian agency said. Fishing boats rescued the survivors, it said.
Tunisian Defense Ministry said the boat had left from the Libyan port of Zouara
on Thursday aiming to reach Italy.
units have recovered only three bodies so far, it said in a statement.
tragedy in the Mediterranean," the IOM said.
western coast is a main departure point for refugees from across Africa hoping
to reach Europe by paying human traffickers, though numbers have dropped due to
an Italian-led effort to disrupt smuggling networks and support the Libyan
on Friday, UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said the United Nations had repeatedly
voiced its concerns about the lack of boats to pick up migrants and refugees
fleeing from "the horrendous and horrible situation" in Libya. It
called on governments to step in.
the fighting in Libya has made the situation more difficult for
people-trafficking rackets, international aid officials have warned that it
could also prompt more Libyans to flee their country.
was not immediately known from which countries the refugees involved in
Friday's tragedy were.
to the IOM, 2,297 refugees died or went missing in the Mediterranean last year.
authorities have reportedly arrested a spy network working for the United Arab
semi-official and Arabic-language al-Raya daily newspaper, citing a local
intelligence source, reported on Thursday that Somali security forces have
busted a UAE-linked espionage network, arresting a number of people.
between Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi have been sour since June 2017, after the
former resisted UAE and Saudi pressure and announced it would not cut off ties
with Qatar following a dispute between the Persian Gulf neighbors. Somalia said
it was neutral in the diplomatic spat.
April 9, 2018, Somali security forces seized some $9.6 million from an Emirati
private plane, which had landed from Abu Dhabi, at Aden Adde International
Airport, formerly known as Mogadishu International Airport.
Somali interior ministry then said the money was found in three unmarked bags
on a Royal Jet plane. The airline is based in Abu Dhabi, servicing the luxury
market between the UAE and Europe.
UAE Foreign Ministry condemned Somali authorities for seizing the aircraft,
which had some 47 Emirati officers on board at the time of the incident.
ministry said the funds were needed for a military training program for Somali
troops; however Somalia officials suspected the money was meant to buy power in
the Horn of Africa country.
investigation was presumably launched to locate, where the funds came from and
their intended use.
month earlier, the UAE had concluded an agreement to train security forces in
the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.
Dhabi also signed with Somaliland a 30-year concession to manage Berbera Port
in the semi-autonomous region. It started building a military base in the port
city as well.
rejected the deal between the UAE and the breakaway northern Somali region as
"non-existent, null and void" and called on the United Nations to
at the UN Security Council, Abukar Osman, Somalia's Ambassador to the UN, said
the agreement between Somaliland and the UAE to establish the base in Berbera
is a “clear violation of international law.”
least seven Boko Haram militants were killed late Friday in a shootout with the
army and a local vigilante group.
spokesman Col. Sagir Musa said in a statement that troops and vigilantes on a
joint patrol engaged the terrorists for hours in the Gulwa area of Borno State.
terrorists were killed, while several escaped with gunshot injuries and are
being hunted by the troops," the statement said.
of protesters continued to stage demonstrations on the first Friday of Ramadan
outside army headquarters in Khartoum to demand that Sudan’s ruling Military
Transitional Council (MTC) hand over power to a civilian authority.
a Friday sermon delivered near the protest, Abdul-Rahman Hassan, a prominent
preacher, urged the MTC to prosecute figures close to ousted President Omar
al-Bashir for their alleged role in violence against protesters.
have already tried military rule, under which we saw only oppression and
corruption,” Hassan said.
Friday prayers, protesters chanted slogans demanding “freedom, peace, justice
and a government chosen by the people”.
April 11, the Sudanese army announced the “removal” of al-Bashir following
months of popular protest against his 30-year rule.
MTC is now overseeing a two-year “transitional period” during which it has
pledged to hold presidential elections.
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