Muslims during the prayer in Edirne's Selimiye
mosque during the Laylat al-Raghaib (IHA Photo)
Nations, Including Europeans, Rap Saudi Arabia for 1st Time at UN Rights Body
Senior ISIL Commanders Riot against Al-Baghdadi in Eastern Syria
to Be Strengthened ‘Holistically’ To Develop Islamic Religious Teachers of Future
Citizens’ a Better Term Than ‘Kafir’, Says Mujahid
Jewish Community Celebrates Islam’s Night of Wishes, Laylat Al-Raghaib
Govt to Open Visa-Free Kartarpur Corridor in November
Urges Pakistan to Take 'Sustained and Irreversible' Actions against Terrorists
of Russia’s Population Will Be Muslim By 2034, Predicts Chief Mufti
Art and Culture in Iraq's Former Islamic State Stronghold
Rejects OPCW Report On Douma Chlorine Attack As ‘Distortion Of Facts’
of people still leaving Islamic State's last Syrian enclave
Lawmaker Reveals US Role in ISIL Offensive against Hashd Al-Shaabi
of ISIL Terrorists Surrender to Kurds in Eastern Syria
Militants Hoard Foodstuff Needed for Refugees in Rukban Camp
to Be Strengthened ‘Holistically’ To Develop Islamic Religious Teachers of
Won’t Work With ‘Traders of Islam’, Says PPBM In Dismissing PAS
Union to Enable Muslims to Return to Power - Hadi
Election Body Bars Arab Party from Knesset Elections
Cleric Appointed Head Of Iran's Judiciary
teen killed by Israeli fire during Gaza border clashes
merely seeks its own interests in purchasing Russian S-400 systems: VP
have ‘killed the Stockholm Agreement’: Yemeni official
Takes Control of Religious Schools in Continued Crackdown
Support for Militants Complicates Pakistan Crackdown
Seals Lahore Headquarters of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, Its Wing FIF
allows Pakistan to use F-16s as ‘deterrence against India’
appointed for three former JuD schools
charges dropped against Samiul Haq’s secretary
Passes 'Historic' Resolution Condemning Anti-Muslim Bigotry
trying to provoke US into attacking Iran: Academic
row erupts over anti-Semitism in US Democratic Party
House committee urges Saudi Arabia to release doctor
must hold Trump accountable on Khashoggi: report
commander: Daesh 'a serious generational problem'
Panel Discusses Future of Islam in Europe
UK bombs caused 1,000 civilian casualties in Yemen: Report
Far-Right Islamophobe to Face Contempt Proceedings
Greece seek to boost military cooperation
Rejects Adding Saudi Arabia to Money-Laundering List
lawyers file case against Assad regime at ICC
activist Tommy Robinson to face new contempt of court trial
interpreters win right to bring their families to Britain
to Modern Education – Maulana Azad National Urdu University Provides The
ban: Yasin Malik booked under PSA, shifted to Jammu prison
extends detention of two separatist leaders amid tensions in Kashmir
Front of India demands reservation for Muslims
terrorist killed in Jammu & Kashmir’s Kupwara district
Muslim youth take up Sanskrit studies in Agra
US Negotiators Struggling To Remove Differences
Praises Pakistan’s ‘Restraint’ Over Tensions
team in Bangladesh working on Rohingya report
killed, 22 wounded in Kabul mortar attack
Will Not Win On the Battlefield, Says NATO Secretary General
prominent Taliban leaders killed in Kunduz airstrikes
Taliban, ISIS-K militants in Special Forces operations, airstrikes: Sources
of the main architects of 215th Corps attack killed, 7 others arrested: NDS
on Hazara gathering in Afghan capital kills at least one
car bomb explosion hits Somali capital, leaves four dead
least 5 killed in Nigeria as van strikes Boko Haram mine
real reason terror group al-Shabaab banned plastic bags
by New Age Islam News Bureau
nations, including Europeans, rap Saudi Arabia for 1st time at UN rights body
many as 36 countries, including all 28 members of the European Union, have
taken Saudi Arabia to task for the first time at the United Nations Human
Rights Council over Riyadh’s glaring rights violations.
group of countries expressed concern about Riyadh’s rights records in a
statement issued on Thursday and read out by Iceland.
is a success for Europe to be united on this,” an envoy of an EU country told
United States, which considers Saudi Arabia to be one of its allies in the
Middle East and maintains strong economic and military cooperation with Riyadh,
however, opted out of signing the statement.
counter-terror law in focus
signatories to the statement expressed concern about the kingdom’s so-called
counter-terrorism law, which it has been sweepingly using against protesters
are particularly concerned about the use of the counter-terrorism law and other
national security provisions against individuals peacefully exercising their
rights and freedoms," the statement read.
Council’s members also called on Riyadh to release 10 prominent rights
joint statement named the activists as Loujain Al-Hathloul, Eman Al-Nafjan,
Aziza Al-Yousef, Nassima Al-Sadah, Samar Badawi, Nouf Abdelaziz, Hatoon
Al-Fassi, Mohammed Al-Bajadi, Amal Al-Harbi, and Shadan al-Anezi.
women activists subjected to torture
and rights groups accuse the kingdom of widely using torture against jailed
women activists, including those who campaigned for the right to drive, saying
they have been subjected to electric shocks, flogging, sexual assault and other
forms of torture.
al-Khawaja of the Beirut-based Persian Gulf Center for Human Rights independent
charity read out a litany of the instances of torture during a panel event
attended by UN experts on the sidelines of a Human Rights Council gathering in
Geneva on Monday.
highlight some of the torture methods that are being used in Saudi Arabia -
electrocution, flogging, sometimes whipping, on the thighs for example, sexual
assault where some women human rights defenders have been stripped, have been
groped, have been photographed naked, some while handcuffed, and others while
blindfolded," she said.
Council’s statement further condemned “in the strongest possible terms"
the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The prominent journalist was
killed and had his body dismembered after entering the Saudi consulate in
Istanbul last October.
circumstances of Mr. Khashoggi's death reaffirm the need to protect journalists
and to uphold the right to freedom of expression around the world," the
into the killing must be independent, impartial, and transparent," it
added, specifically calling for cooperation with an inquiry led by Agnes
Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions.
has shown that the killing was carried out by a hit squad with close links to
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Turkish officials have blamed Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of ordering the killing.
Arabic-language Baghdad al-Youm news website reported on Thursday that the
decision was made after hundreds of ISIL terrorists surrendered to the Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) upon Baghdadi's order, adding that there are deep
differences among the ISIL members and commanders in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
added that the 6 commanders wanted the ISIL militants to remain in the region
and fight against the Kurds.
of ISIL terrorists have left their last occupied positions in Eastern Euphrates
so far after an agreement between the US-led coalition and the SDF with the
London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) reported that a sum of
58,000 people, including 6,000 ISIL militants, have evacuated the last areas
under their control in Eastern Euphrates.
reports said on Wednesday that over 2,000 ISIL militants had left their last
base in Eastern Euphrates with the help of the US-led coalition and Syrian
Democratic Forces as Washington and the SDF were planning to declare the end of
the ISIL in Eastern Euphrates.
than two thousands ISIL terrorists who were stationed in al-Baqouz town in Eastern
Euphrates near Syria's borders with Iraq surrendered to the SDF on Monday after
they were given a safe corridor," the Kurdish-language Bas News website
the SOHR reported that a sum of 3,140 ISIL militants and their families left
the last areas under their control in Eastern Euphrates.
pro-militant Baldi news website also pointed to the presence of about 1,000
ISIL terrorists in Baqouz, and said that the surrendered ISIL militants will be
transferred to the US-controlled Omar oilfield.
sources close to the SDF said they would impose full control over the town of
Baqouz to declare the end of ISIL in Eastern Euphrates in coming days.
to be strengthened ‘holistically’ to develop Islamic religious teachers of
Madrasas will be strengthened “holistically” as they are key components of a
large blueprint to develop future-ready Islamic religious teachers or
asatizahs, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagaos Zulkifli said in
Parliament on Friday (Mar 8).
his Committee of Supply Muslim Affairs speech, Mr Masagos emphasised that
asatizahs today play a critical role in guiding the Singapore Muslim community.
aspiration is for them to reach the highest level of religious scholarship and
leadership, contributing to our community in Singapore and beyond – especially
in building up religious knowledge that is appropriate to guide a Muslim
community living in harmony with other communities and the wider society,” said
their grounding in both Islamic knowledge as well as secular subjects,
asatizah(s) are well-placed to serve in many adjacent fields, such as social
work, counselling, Islamic finance, law, and beyond,” he added.
support of the vision to strengthen the development of asatizahs, he said that
the first batch of 26 students from Madrasah Aljunied started on the
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) this year.
were selected based on their performance at the end of Secondary Two.
Aljunied is now an accredited IB-authorised school, and to meet the
requirements of the IBDP, MUIS said it has expanded the number of subjects
Masagos said MUIS has also “worked closely” with Madrasah Wak Tanjong on a
Comprehensive Assistance Package (CAP) to strengthen its administration and
education programmes with a new management board who will be able to contribute
multiple perspectives to guide the madrasah.
year, the school signed the S$7.5 million package with MUIS, which includes
funding for a 30-year lease for its current premises at Sims Avenue.
CONSULTATION EXERCISE TO DEVELOP FUTURE-READY ASATIZAH
Masagos also announced that a Committee on Future Asatizah (COFA) will be
which will be chaired by Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign
Affairs Maliki Osman, is a public consultation exercise to obtain the
community’s feedback on how MUIS can develop a future-ready asatizah workforce.
committee also comprises of community and religious leaders, asatizah and
individuals with relevant professional expertise.
will co-create our vision of the “Asatizah of the Future” together with the
community, and advance the thinking on the skills and competencies that our
asatizah will need to better serve the Singapore Muslim community in the
future,” said Mr Masagos.
'A CRITICAL STEP' IN DEVELOPING SINGAPORE ISLAMIC COLLEGE
Maliki said the committee's work is a "critical step" towards the
development of a Singapore Islamic College (SIC).
SIC is MUIS' vision for a local tertiary Islamic institute that will develop
Islamic leaders and scholars who are steeped in Islamic tradition, anchored in
Singapore’s multi-racial, multi-religious context, and attuned to the
contemporary, real-world concerns of the local Muslim community.
had earlier embarked on preliminary engagements with various stakeholders on
the idea of the college, and it will continue to engage stakeholders and the public
Maliki said that through COFA engagements, MUIS will be able to chart the
holistic development of its asatizah, from the Madrasas to the universities,
and into their employment.
will also be able to map out the skillsets that our asatizah will require to
serve our community effectively, and develop pathways for careers within and
beyond the religious sector. These findings will provide us with a strong
foundation for establishing the SIC in the future," he said.
Masagos also announced that the Postgraduate Certificate in Islam in
Contemporary Societies (PCICS) will be rolled out next year for all religious
graduates returning from overseas studies.
PCICS will replace the existing Islam in Context Programme today, and place greater
focus on helping participants acquire work-relevant skillsets, Mr Masagos said.
on the PCIS in his speech, Dr Maliki said the certificate will offer modules
that deepen Singapore's returning graduates’ understanding of the country's
geo-political and socio-religious context and how Islam can be practised
effectively in our multi-racial and multi religious society.
is important to prepare them for their role in providing religious guidance to
the community. The PCICS will also equip participants with work-relevant
knowledge and skillsets, such as in social work and counselling, digital
literacy as well as entrepreneurship, to open up more opportunities for
them," said Dr Maliki.
added that graduates of the PCICS will also be recognised under the Asatizah
Recognition Scheme (ARS), a scheme that recognises teachers and scholars who
meet the minimum standards of qualification to preach and teach Islamic
citizens’ a better term than ‘kafir’, says Mujahid
JAYA: Putrajaya’s top policy maker on religious matters has called for
scholarly discussions on the justness of using the word “kafir” when Malaysian
Muslims refer to their non-Muslim compatriots.
Yusof Rawa, the minister in charge of religious affairs, told FMT he believed
it would be appropriate for local ulamas to discuss the question in the context
of nation building.
said Amanah, the political party he belongs to, had held academic discussions
on the matter “and we think the term ‘fellow citizens’ would be an appropriate
one to use” by Muslim officials in reference to non-Muslims.
remarks followed a call by Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Islamic
organisation, to end the use of “kafir” in official discourse. The word is
usually translated as “infidel”.
Ulama, which has about 140 million members, proposed that the term “muwatin” be
used instead. “Muwatin” is Arabic for “citizen” in the legal sense of the term.
It implies the sharing of rights and responsibilities.
think it’s high time that we discuss the issue within the framework of
citizenship,” Mujahid said. “We should deliberate on this in the context of
appeared to be distancing himself from the Perak and Pahang muftis, who had
earlier told FMT there was nothing wrong with using “kafir” and that they
believed no other term was available to refer to non-Muslims.
activist Chandra Muzaffar lauded Nahdlatul Ulama’s call but said he doubted
that Malaysian ulamas would readily follow suit.
told FMT there was a need for public education to instil appreciation of the
“common citizenship” concept.
noted that “kafir” is often used in the Quran to refer to someone who is
ungrateful for the blessings of life.
group Sisters in Islam (SIS) also welcomed Nahdlatul Ulama’s call and lamented
that the “supremacist and exclusivist narratives” coming from political and
religious leaders had prevented a similar gesture in Malaysia.
call for the application of Rahmatan lil ‘Alamin (mercy to all creation) has
yet to resonate with our nation’s political and religious leaders,” said SIS
executive director Rozana Isa.
such, Malaysia lags behind the Indonesians in actively influencing an inclusive
and comprehensive discourse of harmony, unity and equality.
look forward to learning from constructive conversations of Indonesia’s
experiences and hope that these will inspire confidence for us here in Malaysia
to understand and appreciate what it means to have equality as Malaysian
citizens and as fellow human beings.”
and historian Faisal Tehrani said he would not support the use of “kafir” on
non-Muslims but would use the word on “those without morals, integrity and
biggest Jewish society, the Turkey Jewish Community, celebrated the Laylat
al-Raghaib on Thursday as Muslims around the world observed the holy day.
celebrate the Islamic world's holy Laylat al-Raghaib, and wish it will lead to
benevolence," the community said in a tweet.
sizable population of Jewish people have lived in Turkey and its predecessor
the Ottoman Empire for centuries.
being expelled from Spain via the Alhambra Decree and settling in then-Ottoman
territory Thessaloniki during the late 15th century, Jews have integrated more
and more into the Turkish society over the years, living in peace with Muslims,
Christians and people of all other faiths.
this day, Turkey's Jewry organizes iftar meals for Muslims during Ramadan.
al-Raghaib, also known as the "Night of Wishes," marks the first day
of the Islamic month Rajab.
this day, Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) used to pray to Allah even more often,
and it is believed that every wish will be fulfilled if asked for on that
The Pakistani government has announced to open the 4.7 kilometre-long visa-free
Kartarpur Corridor on the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak in
inaugurating the project in November 2018, Prime Minister Imran Khan stated,
“There have been mistakes on both sides [in the past], but we will not be able
to move forward until we break the chains of the past. The past is there only
to teach us, not for us to live in.”
year thousands of Sikh devotees come from India to Kartarpur to celebrate Baba
Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary. Kartarpur is located in Narowal district of
Pakistan’s Punjab province. About three kilometres away from the border with
India, Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara is located on the banks of River Ravi in
Pakistan and is the site where the founder of Sikhism, Baba Guru Nanak spent
his life’s last 18 years before dying in 1539.
Corridor will provide visa-free access to Indian Sikh pilgrims to visit
Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib (the final resting place of Baba Guru Nanak) in
Pakistan. Since 1947, when India and Pakistan gained independence from Britain,
this is the first time that Indian Sikh pilgrims would be able to travel to
Pakistan without a visa.
proposal was first put forward in 1998 when Pakistan and India agreed to
construct a corridor from Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan to Dera Baba Nanak in
India — but due to tense relations between the two neighbours, the project
could not be materialised.
urges Pakistan to take 'sustained and irreversible' actions against terrorists
The US has asked Pakistan to take "sustained and irreversible"
actions against terrorist groups operating from its territory, according to a
top state department official.
state department statement came as Pakistan, under global pressure after the
Pulwama terror attack and India's air strikes against a JeM terrorist camp in
Balakot on February 26, has started taking actions against some of the
terrorist outfits and their leaders over the past few days.
Islamabad, the interior ministry announced that a total of 121 members of the
proscribed groups have so far been taken into "preventive detention"
department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino told reporters at his biweekly
news conference on Thursday, "I would say that we, the United States notes
these steps and we continue to urge Pakistan to take sustained, irreversible
actions against terrorist groups that will prevent future attacks and promote
reiterate our call for Pakistan to abide by its United Nations Security Council
obligations to deny terrorists safe haven and block their entry to funds,"
to questions, Palladino refrained from giving a direct answer on the move in
New York to designate Jaish-eMohammed (JeM) leader Masood Azhar as a global
terrorist, but said that the US and its allies in the UN Security Council want to
update the UN list of terrorist organisations and leaders.
views on Masood Azhar and Jaish-e-Mohammed are well-known. Jaish-e-Mohammed is
a United Nations-designated terrorist group that has been responsible for
numerous terrorist attacks and is a threat to regional stability. Masood Azhar
is the founder and leader of JEM," he said.
on United Nations sanctions committee deliberations are confidential and as
such it is not something that the state department is going to be able to
comment on specific matters in that regard, he said.
we will continue to work with the sanctions committee to ensure that the list
is updated and that it is accurate," Palladino said.
the US Capitol, India's ambassador to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla met Kevin
McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives.
must stand strong against acts of terrorism and work together to improve trade
between our nations," the top Republican leader said after the meeting.
between India and Pakistan escalated after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based
terror group JeM killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama
district in February 14.
launched a counter-terror operation in Balakot. The next day, Pakistan Air
Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured its
pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.
of Russia’s population will be Muslim by 2034, predicts chief mufti
30% of the country’s population will be Muslim within 15 years, predicted Ravil
Gainutdin, the chairperson of Russia’s Council of Muftis.
Moscow Times website reported the grand mufti as telling the Muslim community
in Russia, “According to experts, Russia’s population will increase to 30
percent in a decade and a half.”
article wrote he said that North Caucasus and the republic of Tarastan which
are Russia’s Muslim-majority regions have the highest birth rates.
Muslim population of Russia lies between 14 million and 20 million people,
according to an estimate. The increasing population also means that new mosques
will need to be built in major cities, said Gainutdin at a forum on Monday.
won’t be any Russians left in 2050,” an official in Russia’s Orthodox Church,
Archpriest Dmitry Smirnov agreed with the mufti’s statement.
seated between the cushions of an elegant sofa in his vast house, Qais Ibrahim
Mustafa, 60, a sculptor since 1974, recalls the latest milestone of his life.
For more than two years, he had to live in Mosul under the Islamic State group
generalised repression against artists by members of IS, Qais had produced
dozens of sculptures in the basement of the house, alongside his son, until
their liberation by the Iraqi army in late 2016.
knew that one day the jihadists would leave," Mustafa told The New Arab.
not attract attention, each blow of the mallet was gently smoothed. Composed of
a wooden structure covered with metal nails, the sculptures remained abstract
to prevent the Islamic State from identifying 'any human representations' in
a radical interpretation of religious texts, the Islamic State argues that
human representation is contrary to Islam.
honour his commitment to preserving Mosul's artistic creation, Mustafa was the
first guest of the cultural TV show, Ebdaa was Hekaya, launched in January
and friends were happy to see me on TV," he said proudly.
voice of Iraqi artists
host of the programme, Abdulrahman Al Dulaimi, 23, stands nearby some destroy
buildings. Nicknamed 'Leonardo Da Vinci from Mosul' for his paintings, he
dreams to be the voice of Iraqi artists in the post-Islamic State era.
such a project is a source of fear for Al Dulaimi's family, still terrified by
the murder of his brother by the Islamic State in 2015.
am not afraid of them... they committed countless crimes that could not be
documented because there were no journalists or cameras," the young TV
poets, writers, painters, sculptors and singers flock to Ebdaa was Hekaya's
studio to publicly express their dream for a new Iraq, where culture goes hand
in hand with respect for traditions. Indeed, the programme raises awareness
about humanist values promoted by the cultural sector.
am happy and proud to see a young man contributing to the restoration of
art," smiles Natiq Azizz, the guest of the day.
the broadcast of the first episode, many Iraqis contacted Al Dulaimi to express
their satisfaction over seeing such an initiative to reappear quickly.
show is a powerful tool to present the creativity of our artists to the
world," he believes.
to Azizz, numerous artists in Iraq have expressed their willingness to revive
the artistic movement in Mosul after the fall of the Islamic State group.
71, the grey haired man has been an involuntary witness to four decades of
violence that has struck Iraq since the 1980s. Yet, it was the abuse committed
by the Islamic State group against artists that remains unforgettable to him.
were against all forms of art and destroyed many pieces to put an end to Iraqi
culture. This worthless group is a contagious disease," Azizz said.
the 'occupation', he hid his most precious creations under the mattress of his
bed to protect them from being destroyed.
its occupation of one-third of Iraqi territory in 2014, IS embarked on a
crusade against culture, destroying the Cultural Heritage of a country known as
the cradle of the world's oldest civilisations.
in December 2017, the Iraqi government claimed victory over IS in Iraq, just
months after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory against the
group in Mosul. The July 2017 defeat in Mosul came eight months after an
alliance of Iraqi armed forces, Shia militias and Kurdish fighters launched an
offensive to retake the city. It was considered one of the biggest defeats for
the Islamic State group, but the cost of this "liberation" has been
group Airwars estimated that between February and June 2017, as many as 5,805
Iraqi civilians were killed in Iraqi and coalition attacks. But many believe
the actual number is likely much higher, with rights group Amnesty
International saying at the time that the "true death toll of the battle
may never be known".
addition to the deaths, nearly a million people fled their homes during the
military operations and the fighting destroyed entire districts of the city,
with the scale of destruction unprecedented in Iraq's most recent conflict. The
UN estimated that the cost of repairing basic infrastructure is set to top more
than $1 billion, with rebuilding likely to take several years.
State ideology in Iraq
by nature, sculptor Qais Ibrahim Mustafa feels invested with a mission of
general interest to revive culture in Mosul after IS.
of a desire to send a symbolic message, he decided in late 2017 to place a
feminine artistic monument at the gates of Mosul's old city, the physical
representation of the cultural diversity that characterised Iraq.
this time, he got impeached to proceed by the Governor of Mosul, claiming that
a statue of this nature could hurt conservative citizens.
State's influences are still very much present in Iraq," Mustafa
concluded, aware that territorial defeat of the extremist group does not mean
that its ideology has necessarily disappeared from the minds of many Iraqis.
rejects OPCW report on Douma chlorine attack as ‘distortion of facts’
Syrian government says it "categorically rejects" a report by the
global chemical weapons watchdog that banned weapons were used in a Damascus
suburb last year, accusing the West of fabricating lies through its mercenaries
in the Arab country.
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced on March
1 that based on the findings of its inspectors, a “toxic chemical” containing
chlorine was used in clashes between the Syrian military and anti-government
militants in the town of Douma, near the capital Damascus on April 7, 2018.
Syrian Arab Republic categorically rejects the conclusions of the mission
team," the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state
news agency SANA. "(The report) was no different to previous reports from
the mission, which were full of blatant distortion of facts."
statement criticized the OPCW for ignoring eyewitness accounts that terrorist
groups had staged the chemical attack scenario with the help of the so-called
White Helmets aid group, which has known ties to Britain.
fact what attracts attention now is that the authors of the report ignored the
statements of witnesses who lived with that incident and described the
allegations of using chemical weapons in Douma as a play performed by armed
terrorist organizations,” it added.
statement blasted the US, the UK and France for using the alleged attack as a
pretext to conduct aerial and missile raids in Syria “that destroyed scientific
centers which include laboratories for peaceful purposes.”
ministry said Syria provided the OPCW mission with all the necessary facilities
hoping that it would make a logical and professional conclusion with giving in
to political pressure from Western countries.
calls on the member countries at the OPCW to uncover such fake reports which
don’t enjoy any credibility, and calls upon the technical secretariat of the
OPCW to appoint fact-finding mission members who are professional, fair and
neutral,” the spokesman said.
the time Douma was held by rebels but besieged by pro-government forces. It
came back under government control later that month after years of siege.
OPCW investigation did not assign blame and confirmed that it had found no
traces of banned chemicals but said the information gathered offered
"reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken
place on 7 April 2018."
toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine," the Hague-based organization
said, noting that it had found no evidence of the use of nerve agents in the
joint UN-OPCW team appointed to assign blame for alleged chemical attacks in
Syria found that Daesh terrorists had used sulfur mustard in their attacks from
2015 to 2017.
AL-ZOR PROVINCE, Syria (Reuters) - Thousands of people could still be left
inside Islamic State's last enclave in eastern Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) said, as the waves of evacuations from the tiny area
continued on Thursday.
SDF has said it wants to ensure all civilians have been evacuated before
launching a final assault on the besieged enclave of Baghouz. It is the last
shred of populated territory held by Islamic State, which once controlled
swathes of Iraq and Syria.
are still hearing about the presence of thousands inside Baghouz," SDF
spokesman Mustafa Bali told al-Hadath television.
expect a fierce battle later on after the end of the civilian evacuation, given
that those that will remain in Baghouz are the ones brimming with salafi jihadi
ideology and the ones for whom surrender is not an option," he said.
with its defeat at Baghouz looming large, Islamic State is still widely
assessed to represent a security threat, with a foothold in patches of remote
territory and the ability to mount guerrilla attacks.
thousands of people, many of them the families of Islamic State fighters, have
poured out of Baghouz over the last several weeks. Hundreds of Islamic State
militants have also surrendered, the SDF says.
of those men emerging from Baghouz, Abu Mujahid, told Reuters he came to Syria
in 2015 from China's far western region of Xinjiang, also referred to as east
Turkestan, which is home to a sizeable minority Muslim population.
came from China to here (Syria) because of unfairness. There is a lot of
injustice in China and we cannot live with it," he said.
man, Abu Ali Shishani, said he had come from the Russian region of Chechnya.
SDF announced it was launching a final battle for the enclave last month but
has slowed its attack to allow civilians to leave.
commander Adnan Afrin said on Thursday he hoped the evacuations would "be
Wednesday the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that monitors the war said
preparations were underway in eastern Syria to announce the end of Islamic
State there. But Colonel Sean Ryan, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition
backing the SDF, said the international force had "learned not to put any
timetables on the last battle".
State suffered its major military defeats in 2017 when it was driven from the
Iraqi city of Mosul and its Syrian headquarters at Raqqa by local forces
supported by a U.S.-led international coalition.
head of the U.S. military's Central Command, General Joseph Votel, said on
Thursday the reduction of Islamic State's territorial footprint was a
"monumental military accomplishment", but the fight was "far
we are seeing now is not the surrender of ISIS as an organisation," he
told a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee.
he said, it was the group's "calculated decision to preserve the safety of
their families and preservation of their capabilities by taking their chances
in camps for internally displaced persons and going to ground in remote areas
and waiting for the right time to resurge".
who oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East, said he was under no pressure to
withdraw forces from Syria by any specific date, after President Donald Trump
ordered the drawdown of most U.S. troops from Syria.
al-Aliwi, a representative of al-Bina coalition at the Iraqi parliament, was
quoted by the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh as saying that the US forces
provide the ISIL with intelligence about Hashd al-Shaabi and Iraqi security
forces' moves, noting that they want to induce the necessity for their
deployment under the pretext of fighting against the ISIL.
Arabic-language service of Sputnik quoted the Iraqi intelligence and security
bodies as reporting that during the terrorist attack against Hashd al-Shaabi on
Makhmour road in Mosul, 6 Hashd al-Shaabi forces were killed and 31 others were
senior Iraqi lawmaker had also disclosed last Monday that the US army troops
and warplanes were preventing Hashd al-Shaabi from getting close to the
country's borders with Syria.
US troops stationed along Iraq-Syria borders have blocked the access of Hashd
al-Shaabi forces from nearing that region through air and ground cover,"
Member of the Iraqi Parliament's Security Committee Ali Jabbar was quoted by
al-Maloumeh as saying. He underlined that the US considered Hashd al-Shaabi as a
big threat to its plots in Iraq, and said that the US army troops were exerting
pressure on the Iraqi government to prevent Hashd al-Shaabi from getting close
to the border with Syria or to prevent them from targeting the ISIL movements
in the Baghouz region.
Arabic-language al-Nashrah news website quoted a commander of the Syrian
Democratic Forces as saying that the SDF forces have detained over 400 ISIL
terrorists who were escaping from Baqouz region in Eastern Euphrates.
added that hundreds of other ISIL militants have also surrendered to the Kurds,
noting that a large number of ISIL members and their commanders are still at
large in the town of Baqouz in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
the SDF spokesman said that nearly 6,500 people, including ISIL terrorists,
have left Baqouz region in the past 24 hours.
than two thousands ISIL terrorists who were stationed in al-Baqouz town in
Eastern Euphrates near Syria's borders with Iraq surrendered to the SDF on
Monday after they were given a safe corridor," the Kurdish-language Bas
News website reported.
pro-militant Baladi news website also pointed to the presence of about 1,000
ISIL terrorists in Baqouz, and said that the surrendered ISIL militants will be
transferred to the US-controlled Omar oilfield.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted sources as saying on Thursday that
the terrorists who are supported by the US and are stationed in al-Tanf region,
specially Maqawir al-Thawra group, which controls al-Rukban, have threatened
the civilians with weapons to avoid leaving the camp for their villages.
added that the terrorists also force the civilians to pay huge amounts of money
to receive permission to leave the camp.
sources warned of the dire humanitarian situation in the camp, saying that the
terrorists in the region prevented the traffic of humanitarian aid cargos and
buses sent by the Syrian government to the camp to transfer the refugees to
other regions and have hoarded the foodstuff and other vital goods needed by
joint statement by the Russian and Syrian coordination centers said that the US
has blocked traffic of the sixth bus sent by the Damascus government to
transfer the refugees from al-Rukban to different parts of Syria.
and Syrian coordination centers have urged the US to set free the forcibly held
residents of Rukban camp and allow them to return to their homes, Major General
Viktor Kupchishin, chief of the Russian center for reconciliation of
conflicting sides in Syria, told reporters on Wednesday.
March 6, the interdepartmental coordination centers of the Russian Federation
and the Syrian Arab Republic came forward with a joint statement, which urges
the US to switch from populism to practical steps, which are to release
illegally held residents of the Rukban camp and to ensure their right to leave
freely for permanent residence places and to guarantee a safe passage of
humanitarian motor convoys through illegally seized area of al-Tanf," he
won’t work with ‘traders of Islam’, says PPBM in dismissing PAS
JAYA: PPBM today said it is not interested in working with the Abdul Hadi
Awang-led PAS, which it described as a “trader of Islam”.
statement comes a day after PAS chief Abdul Hadi Awang said his party wants to
unite all Malay parties, including Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s PPBM, which is part of
the ruling Pakatan Harapan.
chief strategist Rais Hussin said his party was committed to PH’s cause and
believed in “less politicking and more delivering”.
is more into politicking. They use religion as a trade. They are merchant
traders of Islam and they will do whatever they need to survive,” he told FMT.
announcing his party’s alliance with Umno, Hadi had said: “We need to unite the
Malay parties – PAS, Umno and PPBM. PKR is not a Malay party, Amanah is not a
said PAS had unfortunately turned into a “cult” and working with it would not
added that the same PAS leaders, who announced an alliance with Umno today, had
approached PPBM in 2015.
has never been consistent. The only thing consistent about them is being
inconsistent with their principles.
union to enable Muslims to return to power - Hadi
Hadi Awang said PAS' formalisation of ties with Umno is to facilitate Muslims returning to the seat of power in the
at a ceramah after a prayer event in Terengganu tonight, the PAS president said
Muslims must unite so that they could rule over the non-Muslims.
cited the situation in Medina during the Zaman Jahiliyah (Age of Ignorance)
when they were two warring factions before the advent of Islam.
when they were converted by the Prophet Muhammad, they became united and when
they were united, they became rulers.
the population of non-Muslims far outnumbered the Muslims then, the latter
still ruled for 1,300 years," he said.
then drew a comparison with the current political scenario in the country.
you can see, the (Pakatan Harapan) government is filled with non-Muslims. There
are 66 non-Muslim MPs in Parliament and only 58 Muslim MPs when the population
of the country is only 35 percent non-Muslims.
is similar to Indonesia where, despite having a majority Muslim population, the
economy, for instance, is controlled by the non-Muslims," said the Marang
is possible because Muslims are busy fighting with each other, he added.
must work towards being united and staying strong, come what may. There are
high tides and low tides ("zaman pasang dan zaman surut"). Our zaman
pasang will come but it will not be easy," he said, to shouts of
"Allahuakhbar" from those present.
also commented on the allegation that the party received RM90 million from Umno
in return for support prior to the last general election.
(Harapan) slandered us as having received money. We got the money from sources
that are halal. Our members now number a million plus, nationwide. If one
member donates RM100, that's RM100 million. What is RM90 million then? Even
RM900 million is not surprising," he said.
should matter are sincere contributions from those who believe in divine
rewards, he said.
this week, Umno and PAS announced the formalisation of their political ties
which acting Umno president Mohamad Hasan described as their "wedding ceremony."
said that their cooperation is founded on the agenda of uniting the ummah
has been under fire over allegations that it received RM90 million from Umno.
The party has denied this but the matter is still being investigated by the
election body bars Arab party from Knesset elections
election board has disqualified an Arab party, while approving far-right candidates
accused of racism, ahead of parliamentary elections due to be held early next
Central Elections Committee barred Balad from participating in April 9
elections for the 21st Knesset, voting 17-10 in favor of disqualifying the Arab
disqualification of Balad was approved in accordance with a petition filed by
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party and Otzma Yehudit, a
far-right and anti-Arab party. They say the Arab alliance wants to “eliminate”
Israel and supports Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements.
who support terrorism will not be in the Israeli Knesset!” Netanyahu wrote on
Twitter after the vote. The Israeli premier is now facing a corruption case and
a merger of centrist parties that could defeat him in the upcoming elections.
Balad describes itself as a movement opposed to Zionism and Israel’s occupation
of Palestinian territories. It now holds four seats as part of the 12-member
United Arab List, which represents
members of Israel’s Arab minority.
attorney general Avichai Mandelblit had recommended the committee members not
to vote against Balad, stressing that the evidence presented against the
alliance was old and a previous attempt to disqualify it had been overruled by
Thursday, United Arab List chair Mansour Abbas lambasted the decision and said
Balad would appeal.
undergo this travesty during every election campaign. In the end, the supreme
court voids the elections committee’s political, populist decisions,” he said.
in 2009, Israel's supreme court reinstated Balad after it was disqualified.
committee, made up of representatives of parties in parliament, also
disqualified Ofer Cassif, the only Jewish candidate representing the mainly
Arab Hadash party, under the same criteria.
to Israeli media, it is expected that all of the committee's rulings will be
challenged in petitions to be filed with the supreme court on Sunday.
committee on Wednesday also qualified two candidates from the extreme-right
Jewish Power party to run in the elections. Michael Ben-Ari, who has branded
Israeli Arabs as “treacherous and murderous”, and Itamar Ben-Gvir were given
the green light.
rulings against the two figures were issued after the committee struck down
motions by a liberal Jewish movement and center-left politicians against
Ben-Ari and Ben-Gvir.
Israeli attorney general had recommended Ben-Ari to be barred from the polls,
arguing that the politician’s comments amounted to “incitement to racism.”
has allied with an ultra-nationalist list that includes the Jewish Power party
to enhance his chances to win.
most of whom consider themselves as Palestinians, are descended from
Palestinians who remained on their occupied land after the creation of Israel
in 1948. They hold so-called Israeli
citizenship, making up 17.5 percent of Israel’s population.
cleric appointed head of Iran's judiciary
Mar 8 Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday appointed
ultra-conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, a one-time presidential hopeful, as
head of the judiciary, the leader's website said.
judge Raisi, who currently heads the holy shrine of Imam Reza, was the leading
rival to President Hassan Rouhani at Iran's 2017 election and has close ties to
the supreme leader.
said in a statement that he appointed Raisi to bring about a
"transformation (in the judiciary) in line with (its) needs, advancements
and challenges" on the 40th year of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
carrying out this crucial act, I have chosen you who have a long track record
in different levels of the judiciary and are in touch with its nuances,"
he said in the statement.
called on Raisi to be "with the people, the revolution and against
corruption" in his new role. Raisi takes over from Sadegh Amoli Larijani
who was in December appointed chairman of the powerful Expediency Council.
is a mainstay of the conservative establishment, having served as attorney
general, supervisor of state broadcaster IRIB and prosecutor in the Special
Court for Clerics.
bears the title of Hojjat al-Islam, which is a rank under Ayatollah in the
Shiite cleric hierarchy.
became deputy prosecutor at the Revolutionary Court of Tehran during the
1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
rights organisations, opposition members and dissidents have accused the
tribunal of overseeing the execution of political prisoners without due legal
process during his tenure.
was chosen by Khamenei in 2016 to head Iran's Imam Reza Shrine and lead its
huge business conglomerate, Astan Qods Razavi, with interests in everything
from IT and banking to construction and agriculture.
his 2017 campaign, Raisi took a tough line on Rouhani's "weak
efforts" in negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that
brought the Islamic republic sanctions relief in exchange for limiting its
Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli fire during renewed clashes along
the Gaza border overnight Thursday, the enclave’s health ministry said, with
Israel striking a Hamas position in response to the violence.
ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said Saif al-Deen Abu Zeid, 15, died “due to
wounds sustained east of Gaza (City) a few hours ago.”
teenager was shot during clashes along the border late Wednesday, Qudra told
Israeli army spokeswoman did not comment on the specific incident but said
hundreds of “rioters” had hurled rocks and explosive devices at troops along
responded according to “standard operating procedures,” she said.
fighter jets later struck several sites belonging to Hamas in the south of
Gaza, an army statement said.
military said the strikes were “in response to the balloons carrying explosive
devices and the projectile that were launched from the Gaza Strip at Israeli
territory earlier this evening.”
often refers to a rocket, but Israel’s military said it could provide no
Palestinian security source said a Hamas base was struck in southern Gaza,
causing damage but no injuries.
was the fifth such Israeli strike since Saturday, each in response to either
balloon-borne explosive devices floated across the border or explosive devices
hurled at the border fence.
uptick in violence has raised fears a fragile truce agreed in November between
Israel and Hamas could collapse, with both sides accusing the other of
breaching the terms of the informal agreement.
have controlled Gaza since 2007 and have fought three wars with Israel since.
Vice President Fuat Oktay says his country's decision to buy Russian-built
S-400 air defense missile systems is only based on its own interests, stressing
Ankara will not stop the purchase in the face of strong opposition from
Washington and warnings that it should not buy the anti-aircraft platform.
does what is necessary for its own interests regarding the S-400 missile defense
system, it takes own decision and choice,” Oktay told Turkey’s official Anadolu
news agency on Thursday. adding that Ankara will not renege on its agreement with Russia.
any case [about purchasing of S-400 defense system from Russia], we would do
what it requires, especially if we signed a deal,” the Turkish official
remarks came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would never
go back from a deal to buy the S-400 missile defense systems from Russia,
adding that Ankara may subsequently look into buying S-500 systems.
an interview with Turkish-language 24 television news network on Wednesday,
Erdogan also said the United States should not try to discipline Turkey through
trade measures, adding that Ankara had its own penalties prepared.
concluded the S-400 issue, signed a deal with the Russians and will start
co-production,” said Erdogan, who added, “Later, we may work with S-500s.”
State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino warned on Tuesday that
“acquisition of the S-400 will result in a reassessment of Turkey's
participation in the F-35 (fighter jet) program, and risk other potential
future arms transfers to Turkey.”
comments came on the same day that the head of the US European Command, General
Curtis Scaparrotti, told members of the Senate Committee on Armed Services that
the United States should not follow through with a multi-billion dollar weapons
sale of F-35 jets to Turkey, if Ankara takes delivery of Russian S-400 missile
best military advice would be that we don’t then follow through with the F-35,
flying it or working with allies that are working with Russian systems,
particularly air defense systems,” he said.
would hope that they [Turkey] would reconsider this one decision on the S-400,”
Scaparrotti added, noting that there could be potential consequences, namely no
future military sales between Washington and Ankara.
has reportedly proposed to deliver one US-made Patriot missile system to Ankara
by the end of 2019, on the condition that Turkey abandons the deal with Russia.
senior Turkish officials familiar with the talks, requesting anonymity, said on
March 1 that Turkey had rejected the offer as it didn't include a loan
agreement or a technology sharing pact.
and Ankara finalized an agreement on the delivery of the S-400 missile systems
in December 2017.
in April last year, Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said in
Ankara that they had agreed to expedite the delivery of the S-400 missile
systems. At the time, it was said that the delivery could be made between late
2019 and early 2020.
number of NATO member states have criticized Turkey for its planned purchase of
the S-400 from Russia, stating that the missile batteries are not compatible
with those of the military alliance.
also argue that the purchase could jeopardize Ankara's acquisition of F-35
fighter jets and possibly result in US sanctions.
S-400 is an advanced Russian missile system designed to detect, track, and
destroy planes, drones, or missiles as far as 402 kilometers away. It has
previously been sold only to China and India.
is striving to boost its air defense, particularly after Washington decided in
2015 to withdraw its Patriot surface-to-air missile system from Turkish border
with Syria, a move that weakened Turkey’s air defense.
gravitating towards Russia, the Turkish military reportedly walked out of a
$3.4 billion contract for a similar Chinese system. The withdrawal took place
under purported pressure from Washington.
ties with its Western allies in NATO have been strained over a range of issues.
has been critical of Washington for supporting Kurdish groups in Syria that he
says are responsible for terror attacks inside Turkey.
The Houthis have “killed the Stockholm Agreement” that they signed with the
Yemeni government in Sweden last December, the Yemeni army’s spokesman Brig.
Abdo Abdullah Majali said Wednesday.
added that the Houthis have failed to uphold clauses regarding the withdrawal
of troops from Hodeidah, and that anything “taken from the Yemeni government
will be recovered by force.”
army spokesman then asked how it was possible to trust the Houthis when they
are “carrying out acts of aggression against the Yemeni people, and
continuously targeting Yemeni army positions.”
Yemeni army “maintains its right to respond” to violations committed by the
Houthis who “do not understand the language of dialogue,” Majali told Asharq
Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and the Houthis in
December last year. The main components of the agreement are a prisoner
exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire
agreement on the city of Hodeidah and the ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Ras
governments of Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have accused the Houthis of
breaking the cease-fire in Yemen’s key port of Hodeidah and refusing to
withdraw their forces in accordance with the Stockholm Agreement.
ambassadors from the three countries urged the UN Security Council in a letter
circulated Tuesday to call on the Houthis to implement the agreement and to
condemn their continuing violations of the cease-fire.
the United Nations announced its Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths was
holding intensive talks with the warring parties in the Yemeni conflict in an
effort to implement the Stockholm Agreement, revive hope of redeployment from
Hodeidah and open humanitarian corridors.
takes control of religious schools in continued crackdown
Pakistani government has taken control of more than 180 purported religious
schools as part of a crackdown on militant organizations operating in the
governments have taken in their control management and administration of 182
seminaries (madaris),” Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said in a statement on
Thursday, using the Arabic word for the purported religious schools.
facilities are often funded by Saudi Arabia.
ministry added that other facilities and properties belonging to different
militant groups had been taken control of in the crackdown, which began this
week. Those facilities include 34 schools or colleges, 163 dispensaries, 184
ambulances, five hospitals, and eight offices of banned organizations.
law enforcement agencies also arrested 121 people, according to the ministry.
Tuesday, Pakistani security forces arrested dozens of militants in what was
described as a crackdown against “proscribed organizations” following last
month’s bombing attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
younger brother of the leader of a militant group — which claimed
responsibility for the deadly attack on an Indian security forces convoy in
Kashmir on February 14 — was among the detainees.
officials said the crackdown was part of a long-planned drive and not a
response to Indian anger over what New Delhi calls Islamabad’s failure to rein
in militant groups operating on Pakistani soil.
terrorist attack in Kashmir left at least 40 troops dead, sparking tensions
between the two nuclear-armed neighbors and spurring tit-for-tat cross-border
raids. The tensions reached a peak last Tuesday, when India said it had
conducted “preemptive” airstrikes against what it described as a militant
training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot.
confirmed and condemned the violation of its airspace but denied that the
purported target had been hit.
later, the Pakistani military captured an Indian pilot after shooting down his
MiG-21 fighter jet, which Islamabad said had violated Pakistani airspace.
flare-up between the two arch-foes appeared to be easing after Pakistan handed
back Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, whose return was meant to be a
goodwill gesture toward India.
the tensions continued.
a separate development on Thursday, a grenade explosion at a bus station in
Jammu City — the Hindu-majority region of Kashmir — killed one person and
wounded at least 29 others.
has been split between India and Pakistan since partition in 1947. Both
countries claim all of Kashmir and have fought three wars over the territory.
troops are in constant clashes with armed groups seeking Kashmir’s independence
or its merger with Pakistan. India regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and
training militants and allowing them across the restive frontier in an attempt
to launch attacks. Pakistan strongly denies the allegation.
support for militants complicates Pakistan crackdown
Pakistan: On the congested streets of Bahawalpur, a city in southern Pakistan's
jihadi heartland, emotions run high in favor of Jaish-e-Mohammad, a
U.N.-designated terror group that recently pushed nuclear-armed India and
Pakistan to the brink of war.
support complicates Prime Minister Imran Khan's latest crackdown on militant groups,
including Jaish-e-Mohammed. In recent days, Khan has ordered the takeover of
assets and property of dozens of banned militant organizations that operate in
Pakistan. Many of the groups are popular among the poor because they operate
networks of charities. Some groups have also enjoyed the support of the
military and intelligence services.
is not a terrorist group, they just want to spread Islam," said Tahir Zia,
a gray-bearded resident of Bahawalpur, a city whose 18th-century founders claim
to be direct descendants of Islam's Prophet Mohammad.
to Pakistan's counter-terrorism agency, the government has outlawed 68 militant
groups. This includes Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lahskar-e-Taiba and Harakat-ul
Mujahedeen — Pakistan-based groups that seek to wrest control of
Indian-controlled territory in the disputed Kashmir region.
is split between Pakistan and India and claimed by both in its entirety. The
region has been the flashpoint of two wars between the South Asian neighbors as
well as several lower-level face-offs.
latest confrontation began Feb. 14 when a suicide bombing in Indian Kashmir
killed 40 Indian soldiers. Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is based in Pakistan,
claimed responsibility, even though the attacker was identified as an Indian
Kashmiri militant. The bombing escalated tensions between India and Pakistan,
with India launching an airstrike against suspected militant training camps.
Journalists, who visited the site hours after the bombing, said the area was a
deserted forested hilltop.
pressure to rein in the militants, Pakistan took over mosques and religious
schools belonging to Jaish-e-Mohammad. Their students and teachers have been
barred from talking to the media. Police and paramilitary rangers armed with AK-47s,
now guard the group's buildings.
group's headquarters on the northern outskirts of Bahawalpur, a city of 2
million, are ringed by a 20-foot-high (6-meter) brick wall.
a recent morning, several bearded men and two Pakistani police officers armed
with automatic rifles turned away visitors approaching the compound's large
is located on the edge of Pakistan's Cholistan desert in the southern part of
Punjab province. In recent decades, the area has become a jihadi heartland
encouraged by state sponsorship and financial support from abroad, particularly
Saudi Arabia, and several Gulf States.
donors have financed a vast network of religious schools that cater to the
poorest residents, teaching a brand of Islam that promotes sectarianism, brands
Shiite Muslims as infidels and espouses jihad, according to the Brussels-based
International Crisis Group.
who adopted the role of peacemaker in the latest outbreak of hostilities
between Pakistan and India, returned a captured Indian pilot, offered peace
talks with his Indian counterpart, and launched a crackdown on militant groups
from which previous administrations shied away.
Tuesday, in a gesture aimed at mending relations on the subcontinent, Pakistan
announced it had arrested 44 suspected members of several militant
organizations, including Jaish-e-Mohammed. Among those arrested was Mufti Abdul
Rauf, the brother of Masood Azhar, the founder of the organization. Azhar's
whereabouts are unknown.
was also among those named by India in a dossier it gave to Pakistan after Khan
promised to investigate suspected links between Pakistani-based militants and
the February bombing.
Wednesday, more schools, hospitals and charities run by banned groups were
taken over by the government. Padlocks were put on some facilities.
a tweet Wednesday, Interior Minister Shahryar Afridi promised his government
would implement a widely cheered 2015 National Action Plan that calls for zero
tolerance of militant groups. Pakistan's previous government devised the
20-point plan to combat terrorism and extremism in Pakistan, only to ignore it.
the move by Khan's government is fraught with dangers in a country where
militant groups provide social services to poor residents ignored by the
government. The 2016 Crisis Group report called south Punjab "the poorest
region of the country's richest and most populous province."
Bahawalpur, Jaish-e-Mohammad and its leader enjoy considerable support.
Sajjad Ali called Azhar a "man of peace" and dismissed accusations
that he is a terrorist as Indian propaganda.
Muzamil, a fiery young man, railed against India's violent suppression of a
30-year insurgency in Kashmir __ India's only Muslim dominated state __ and
championed Jaish-e-Mohammad and Azhar as warriors for Islam. Crowds gathered as
he spoke, most nodding vigorously.
Naseemullah, an expert in international affairs at King's College in London,
warned of a short-term backlash against the crackdown.
if it takes an aggressive, no-tolerance stand against Lashkar-e-Taiba,
Jaish-e-Mohammed and Harakat ul-Mujahidin, will suffer a violent backlash
domestically," he said.
a zero-tolerance policy from the Pakistani state will over time shift the focus
back on Kashmir and the treatment of the Kashmiri people, which is in
Pakistan's long-term interest," he added.
human rights groups have accused India of widespread abuses as it seeks to
crush dissent in its part of Kashmir. "India's policy on Kashmir under
(Prime Minister Narendra) Modi is straightforwardly and violently
repressive," said Naseemullah.
Pakistan, the deadly mix of militant groups on its soil is a decades-old
problem with roots in the 1980s war in neighboring Afghanistan, when the United
States and Pakistan were allies against the former Soviet Union. Together they
nurtured an army of mujahedeen, or holy warriors, to oust the former Soviet
Union from Afghanistan. When the war ended with a Soviet withdrawal in 1989,
young Pakistani recruits to jihad were sent to the Indian half of disputed
Kashmir to fight for a united Kashmir under the Pakistani flag.
a history that analysts like Zahid Hussain, author of two books on militancy,
say haunts Pakistan.
At least 56 seminaries and facilities being run by Mumbai terror attack
mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa and its wing Falah-eInsaniat
Foundation in Pakistan's southern Sindh province have been taken over by
authorities since Islamabad launched a crackdown against banned outfits in the
Lahore headquarters of the two organisations have also been sealed.
Sindh government confirmed that it has taken control over 56 facilities being
run by these proscribed organisations.
Sindh government also decided to move against the proscribed organisations
after the crackdown started by the Centre,” advisor to the Sindh chief minister
on Information and Law, Barrister Murtaza Wahab said.
confiscation of properties of JuD and FIF comes after Pakistan formally placed
them in the list of banned organisations on Tuesday.
to Pakistan's National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) list, which was
updated on Tuesday, the JuD and FIF were among 70 organisations proscribed by
the Ministry of Interior under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997.
Federal government has declared both organisations as proscribed so we have
also taken over the welfare and educational facilities being run by the two
outfits in the province,” he said.
said the schools, medical facilities and seminaries being run by the JuD and
FIF will now be run by the provincial government.
advisor said the two banned outfits were running their seminaries, schools and
medical units in many parts of Sindh including Karachi, Matiari, Jamshoro,
Sanghar, Tando Allahyar, Badin, Naushero Feroz and Shahdadkot.
to officials, JuD's network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a
publishing house and ambulance service. The two groups have about 50,000
volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers.
JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible
for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It had been declared
as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
US Department of the Treasury has designated its chief Saeed as a Specially
Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10
million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. He was
released from house arrest in Pakistan in November 2017.
NACTA has so far declared 70 terrorist organisations as banned and a sizeable
number of these organisations are based in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan and
the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
government has arrested at least 44 individuals of various banned groups.
chief Masood Azhar's son and brother were among 44 members of the banned
militant outfits taken into "preventive detention", Pakistan said on
Tuesday, amid mounting pressure from the global community on it to rein in the
terror groups operating on its soil.
crackdown came amid tensions with India following a suicide attack in Jammu and
Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14 by Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group that
killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
The United States, while providing F-16 fighter jets to Islamabad, not only
acknowledged the aircraft’s “deterrence value” to Pakistan in a future conflict
with India but also noted that it could prevent a nuclear clash between the two
points are specifically mentioned in a message the then US ambassador in
Islamabad Anne Patterson sent to the State Department on April 24, 2008.
enhanced F-16 programme also has deterrence value by giving Pakistan time and
space to employ a conventional, rather than nuclear, reaction in the event of a
future conflict with India,” she wrote.
quote is from a 20-paragraph communique that Ambassador Patterson sent to
Washington in April 2008 and was disclosed by WikiLeaks.
package she was referring to included 500 AIM-120-C5 Advanced Medium Range
Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs), which India claims Pakistan used against the
Indian Air Force in last week’s combats over Kashmir.
March 18, 2009, Ambassador Patterson sent another long message to Washington,
which deals with Pakistan’s requests for more F-16s and India’s objections to
the proposed sale.
our goal is to press the Army to change strategy and redeploy forces from the
Indian border, punishing the Air Force by cancelling this sale will not help
us,” wrote the ambassador while responding to India’s request to cancel the
will emphasise that we favour maintaining Indian superiority at Pakistan’s
expense and feed anti-Americanism throughout the military.”
the same message she also explained why she believed the F-16s could avert a
nuclear conflict in South Asia.
overcome overwhelming Indian military superiority, Pakistan developed both its
nuclear/missile programme and its air power. F-16 aircraft, armed with AMRAAMS,
essentially buy time to delay Pakistan considering the nuclear option in a
conflict with India.” she wrote.
India’s overwhelming military superiority, this would only be a few days, but
these days would allow critical time to mediate and prevent nuclear conflict.”
Patterson reminded policy makers in Washington that in 2008 India already
enjoyed “an almost 2-1 advantage” over Pakistan in advanced multi-purpose
fighters, when New Delhi had 736 aircraft while Pakistan had 370 only.
shortfalls in training and tactics multiply India’s edge,” she added.
Patterson noted that Pakistan was also buying/jointly producing 150 JF-17
fighters from China, but it is unclear how they will pay for them.
plans to acquire 126 multi-purpose fighters (F-18 or equivalent) that will give
(New Delhi) significant new technologies and further expand its air superiority
over Pakistan,” she wrote.
Patterson explained the new aircraft and 500 AMRAAM missiles would give
Pakistan beyond visual range capability, but Pakistan will acquire the ability
to employ this capability with either the new buy or MLU aircraft.
argued that cancelling the proposed buy would only delay the process by 18
months while successful employment of this capability by the PAF would take 2-3
years and a significant revision of doctrine and tactics.
Indian Air Force already routinely trains on existing beyond visual range
tactics. (If) we do deny Pakistan requests for arms sales that could upset the
regional balance of power.”
a scene-setter for the former army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s Feb 19,
2009, visit to Washington, the US Embassy in Islamabad informed Washington that
he would raise the issue in his meetings with US officials.
The district administration on Thursday appointed separate administrators for
two seminaries and a school formerly run by the proscribed Jamaatud Dawa (JuD)
the ongoing crackdown on militant outfits across the country, the Darus Salaam
Model School and its affiliated Madressah Darus Salaam, located on Railway Road
in Chakwal City and the Madressah Khalid bin Waleed in Talagang, were also
taken over on Wednesday.
Thursday, the concerned authorities removed the JuD signboards from the three
institutions and put up new banners with the names of these institutions and
announcing that they are now operated by the Punjab government.
new banners also carry the monogram of the Punjab government.
Thursday, a letter was also issued by District Education Authority Chief
Executive Officer Sohail Azhar Khan for the appointment of the three
subject specialist teacher at Government Girls High School in Chak Baqir Shah
Village Riffat Sultana has been appointed the administrator of Darus Salaam
Model School, Assistant Education Officer Khalil Ullah Khan was appointed the
administrator of Madressah Darus Salaam and another assistant education
officer, Ishfaq Ahmed has been appointed administrator of Madressah Khalid bin
Salam is a middle school which was being run by JuD for the last decade.
are about 100 students in the schools and 15 and 18 students in the two
seminaries,” a source said.
district administration also confiscated two ambulances owned by JuD’s sister
organisation, Falah-i-Insaniyat Foundation and they were handed over to Rescue
Murder charges against Syed Ahmed Shah, secretary to late senator Maulana
Samiul Haq, were dropped by a judicial magistrate on Thursday after Haq’s sons
told the court that they were not accusing him of their father’s murder.
Shah was arrested for murder on Feb 28 by the Airport police and presented
before the court of a judicial magistrate for physical remand.
was remanded into police custody for four days, which was then extended for two
more days on Friday because the police said they wanted to interrogate him
further, as previous interrogations had not revealed anything they could use to
charge him with murder or to help find the real killer.
six-day remand ended on Thursday, when Mr Shah was produced before judicial
magistrate Zaib Shahzad Cheema.
sons Maulana Hamidul Haq and Hafiz Rashidul Haq also appeared in court, where
they submitted an affidavit stating that Mr Shah was not an accused in their
Hamidul Haq confirmed to Dawn that he appeared in court along with his brother.
prayed to the court that Ahmed Shah was not our accused as a superpower was
involved in the murder of our father, therefore, we do not want to charge any
innocent person with murder,” he said, adding that the magistrate dropped the
charges after their affidavit was submitted in the court.
added that the police have assured him the case has not been closed and
investigations into Haq’s murder will continue.
Police Officer Ahmed Ishaq Jhangeer told Dawn that Mr Shah’s arrest came about
after he failed a polygraph test and after he made inconsistent statements.
Shah had been staying with Haq when he was stabbed to death by unidentified
individuals in Bahria Town Safari II on Nov 2, 2018.
Shah had said in an earlier statement that he had left the house, locking the
gate from outside, to fetch water from a filtration plant. During this time
unidentified individuals entered the house, stabbed Haq and escaped.
passes 'historic' resolution condemning anti-Muslim bigotry
House passed a resolution on Thursday condemning anti-Semitism, discrimination
against Muslims and other bigotry against minorities.
407-23 vote Thursday was a bid to end dissension among Democrats over
congresswoman Ilhan Omar's latest remarks on Israel. Omar said the Jewish
state's allies pressure lawmakers to pledge "allegiance" to a foreign
lawmakers wanted Ms Omar implicitly rebuked with a measure condemning anti-Semitism.
But others said the resolution should condemn discrimination against Muslims,
Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Omar didn't intend the remark to be anti-Semitic.
have long been split over the US-Israeli relationship. But the developments
seem to highlight a divide that's as generational as it is ideological. The
dynamics on Israel have seeped into the party's fight over the 2020
not about her. It's about these forms of hatred," Speaker Nancy Pelosi
said before the vote.
resolution approved Thursday condemns anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim discrimination
and bigotry against minorities "as hateful expressions of
intolerance." Omar, a Somali-American, and fellow Muslims Rashida Tlaib of
Michigan and Andrew Carson of Indiana, issued a statement praising the
"historic" vote as the first resolution to condemn "anti-Muslim
Democrats complained that Omar's comments on Israel had ignited all this debate
while years of President Donald Trump's racially charged rhetoric had led to no
similar congressional action.
seven-page document details a history of recent attacks not only against Jews
in the United States but also Muslims, as it condemns all such discrimination
as contradictory to "the values and aspirations" of the people of the
United States. The vote was delayed for a time on Thursday to include mention
of Latinos to address concerns of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. It was
inserted under a section on white supremacists who "weaponise hate for
political gain" over a long list of "traditionally persecuted
earlier version focused more narrowly on anti-Semitism. The final resolution
did not mention Omar by name.
American writer and retired professor says Israel and its lobby in Washington,
DC are trying to provoke the United States into attacking Iran by fabricating
the notion that the Islamic Republic represents a threat.
Petras, a retired professor who has written dozens of books on international
issues with particular focus on Latin America, the Middle East and imperialism,
made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Thursday.
a Washington Post article on Tuesday, two US senators warned that the
administration of President Donald Trump “is barreling toward war with Iran,”
calling on Congress to act to prevent it.
Udall (D-NM) and Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said that Trump might wage a war on
Iran based on a wrong justification like the one the administration of former
President George W. Bush used to go to war with Iraq in 2003.
said the Trump administration claims that Iran has not abided by the nuclear
deal it reached with the world powers, an accusation Tehran has vehemently
rejected. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has several times
confirmed that Iran complies with the restrictions on its nuclear activities
under the 2015 deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
added that the president also accuses Iran of being partially responsible for
the rise of the Daesh terrorist group, another allegation that Iran has
dismissed as unfounded. Iran has, in fact, been actively providing the
governments of Iraq and Syria with military advice to push back against
foreign-backed militants who have been terrorizing both countries using support
from Western countries and their regional allies.
accusing Iran the crimes that it committed against Syrian people’
world opinion agrees that Iran has complied with all the conditions of the
nuclear agreement. All five countries except the United States signed off on
the agreement and continue to respect that only Trump discovered that his own
former president [Barack Obama] was false. I think this is a complete
fabrication by the extremists in the Trump government and Trump himself,”
Professor Petras said.
second accusation that Daesh was working with Iran is completely false. Iran
was very active in Syria in advising and supporting the elected government of
Syria and has fought consistently over the past two decades fighting Daesh
[Takfiri extremists] in every context. And I think the world opinion
understands that. Very few people except Israel make those accusations,” he
is really clear is that Washington was intimately involved in encouraging the
extremists in Syria and Daesh itself. So the US is accusing Iran of the crimes
that it committed against the Syrian people and the advisers from Iran,” he
very clear that the US Congress especially Senators Udall and Richard Durbin
have put a motion in Congress to reject the US military aggression. The only
influence in Washington that is pushing for an aggressive and militaristic
policy towards Iran is the pro-Israel lobby and the Netanyahu regime. They are
trying to provoke the United States into attacking Iran by fabricating the
notion that Iran represents a threat,” the analyst said.
furious row over anti-Semitism erupted in the US Democratic Party as its
leadership attempted to pass a resolution in the lower chamber of Congress to
condemn language used by a Muslim congresswoman.
House of Representatives Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told fellow Democrats at a
closed-door meeting on Wednesday that "a resolution opposing hate will be
voted" on Thursday.
Democrats wanted a statement to be adopted by the House condemning "the
dangerous consequences of perpetuating anti-Semitic stereotypes."
resolution was viewed as a direct rebuke of Ilhan Omar, a newly elected
Democrat Congresswoman from Minnesota who sparked a firestorm on Capitol Hill
over repeated criticisms of Israel and the powerful pro-Israel lobby in
Washington that exerts great influence in US politics.
there was a heated backlash from fellow Democrats who said Omar was being
unfairly singled out by the leadership.
dispute resembles the row over anti-Semitism raging in the British Labour
Party, which has seen members of Parliament split on the issue under Jeremy
who has already been once rebuked by Democratic leadership over her comments on
Israel in the two months she has been in office, triggered this new row with a
tweet: "I should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a
foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on
Democrats have expressed anger that Omar could be facing an implicit rebuke,
while racist statements by US President Donald Trump and other Republicans go
a party meeting on Wednesday, a number of Democrats, including members of the
Congressional Black Caucus, reportedly challenged the decision to pass a
resolution that condemns anti-Semitism and pushed to include resolution language
that decries anti-Muslim bias.
members argued that the move will single out Omar for a rebuke over her
comments, while comments from Republicans go unchallenged by the chamber.
need to have equity in our outrage... [including] the occupant of this White
House who is seeding every form of hate, emboldening it with racist rhetoric
and policies," congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, an ally of Omar, told the
Washington Post after the meeting. "That is who we all need to be focused
on, and this is a distraction."
have seized on the controversy, hoping to exploit divisions within the
Democratic Party and calling for Omar to be removed from the Foreign Relations
top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee called on
Saudi Arabia Thursday to release a Saudi-American who was reportedly detained
and tortured in prison.
are deeply concerned by reports that Dr. Walid Fitaihi, a dual U.S.-Saudi
citizen in Saudi custody, has been tortured," Chairman Eliot Engel and
Ranking Member Michael McCaul said in a joint statement.
and coercion of all prisoners must end. We call on Saudi Arabia to immediately
release Dr. Fitaihi and allow him to travel outside Saudi Arabia," they
New York Times reported last week that Fitaihi was detained in the Ritz-Carlton
hotel in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in November 2017. He told a friend that he
was dragged into a room at the hotel, where he was stripped and tortured with
electric shocks in a session that lasted about an hour, according to the Times.
54, is one of dozens of people who remain imprisoned under the pretext of what
the Saudi government calls a crackdown on corruption in the Kingdom. He has not
been charged, nor has he faced trial.
detention and torture took place amid deeply strained U.S.-Saudi ties over the
murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the ongoing Riyadh-led
air campaign in Yemen.
was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 last year. After
initially denying any role in his disappearance, Saudi Arabia eventually
acknowledged Khashoggi was killed in its diplomatic facility, blaming his death
on a rogue rendition operation that went awry.
Senate must push for accountability after U.S. President Donald Trump defied
Congress and did not report whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was
responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's death, according to The Washington Post.
newspaper’s editorial board said the Trump administration's failure caused an
outrage amongst senators, who have been calling for further action to hold the
crown prince responsible.
a U.S. resident and contributor for The Post, was brutally murdered inside the
Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last October shortly after he entered the
diplomatic facility. Riyadh initially denied any role in the killing but has
since sought to blame his death on a botched rendition operation carried out by
November, the CIA concluded with high confidence that bin Salman ordered
Khashoggi's killing, according to The Post.
and his administration, however, have shied away from placing any blame on bin
Senate’s view is already clear: It unanimously approved a resolution in
December holding the crown prince responsible," the editorial board wrote.
Monday, the administration held a hearing on Khashoggi before the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee. However, the information provided was not new and
did not say whether the White House was going to place the murder on bin
Lindsey Graham called is a "worthless" hearing.
only the question of justice for Khashoggi is at issue: The crime is part of a
pattern of reckless and destructive behavior by Mohammed bin Salman that ranges
from the bombing of civilians in Yemen to the imprisonment and torture of a number
of Saudi female activists, as well as a U.S. citizen," newspaper wrote.
Post's editorial board noted there are currently several pieces of legislation
addressing Khashoggi and the Yemen war that are pending in the Senate and House
territory originally held by Daesh has been largely reduced, the fight against
the terrorist group is "a serious generational problem," the top U.S.
commander for the Middle East said Thursday.
ISIS population being evacuated from the remaining vestiges of the caliphate
largely remains unrepentant, unbroken and radicalized," Gen. Joseph Votel
said using another name for Daesh. "We will need to maintain a vigilant
offensive against this now widely dispersed and disaggregated organization that
includes leaders, fighters, facilitators, resources and toxic ideology."
my view this is a serious generational problem that if not handled properly
will sow the seeds of future violent extremism," Votel said.
told the House Armed Services Committee while Daesh forces are being defeated, their
surrender is a strategy to go into camps for internally displaced persons or
remote areas "waiting for the right time for a resurgence."
offered a more levelheaded approach to the situation, as opposed to U.S.
President Donald Trump who used the reduction of Daesh's territory as
justification for pulling a large amount of troops from Syria.
of the physical caliphate is a monumental military accomplishment --- but the
fight against ISIS and violent extremism is far from over and our mission
remains the same," he added.
after its sudden appearance in mid-2014, the terror group overran vast swathes
of territory in northern Syria and northern and western Iraq.
panel discusses future of Islam in Europe
of Islam in Europe was discussed by academics at a conference in Istanbul's Ibn
Haldun University on Thursday.
Senturk, head of the Ibni Haldun University, said the university is setting up
a new research center dedicated to studies on Islam and its future.
this center, researchers will carry out studies to find answers to questions
like, “What is Islam’s future in Europe?” and “Can Muslims be able to protect
their cultures and languages?”
that Islamophobia is growing in Europe, he said it is a threat for the
continent, America and the whole humanity.
fail to show that Islam brings peace and prosperity to not only Muslims but to
non-Muslims too, Senturk said.
also said some Muslims have forgotten the teachings of Islam and act against
Ucar, professor from Germany's Osnabruck University, for his part, said history
of Christianity in Europe is not an ancient phenomenon.
we think about Europe we always assume it is Christian, non-Muslim. Same goes
for Africa and Asia, we think these places are largely Muslim.
this is wrong. Europe met Christianity later in the history. And for the
Islamic world, countries like Egypt, Syria and Turkey had a large non-Muslim
population until very recently,” he added.
at the conference, Professor Merdan Gunes said Muslims should work together to
solve today’s problems and set aside little differences and disagreements.
US-based human rights group has revealed that British and American have killed
and maimed nearly 1,000 civilians, including over 120 children, in the Saudi
war in Yemen, a new report has revealed.
to the report released on Wednesday by the US-based University Network for
Human Rights (UNHR), the airstrikes killed 203 people and injured at least 749.
At least 122 children and 56 women were also among the casualties.
investigators from the UNHR and Yemeni monitoring group Mwatana said they
obtained the figures from only 27 unlawful strikes launched in Yemen between
April 2015 and April 2018.
findings from the 128-page investigation have reignited the debate on the need
for the US and Britain to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies.
findings reinforce prior evidence demonstrating that the Saudi/UAE-led
Coalition is failing to fulfill its obligations under the laws of war and
repeatedly using US weapons in apparently disproportionate and indiscriminate
attacks that have resulted in widespread civilian casualties and other civilian
harm in Yemen,” the report said.
report stated that the air strikes could be unlawful under international law
and constitute potential war crimes.
of the attacks appeared to take place far from any potential military target,”
the report said. “Others caused harm to civilians that vastly outweighed any
likely military benefit. In no case did it appear that coalition forces took
adequate precautions to minimize harm to civilians, as required by
international humanitarian law.”
the Pentagon said in a statement on Wednesday the United States does not
investigate airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, but “we have consistently
discussed and reinforced procedures to limit civilian casualties.”
have repeatedly urged the Saudi-led coalition to address shortcomings in their
operations that have led to civilian casualties, and have worked with them to
develop procedures and oversight mechanisms to reduce such incidents,” said
Pentagon spokeswoman Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich.
Arabia and a number of its allies have been waging a war on Yemen for the past
five years to restore the former regime, which resigned and fled the country
amid popular discontent.
World Health Organization says some 10,000 people have been killed since the
coalition launched the war, but rights groups put the death toll at five times
far-right Islamophobe to face contempt proceedings
attorney general says Tommy Robinson, known as the most controversial
anti-Islam figure in Britain, should face contempt of court proceedings despite
efforts to have the long-running charges against him quashed.
Cox said on Thursday that the case of Robinson, whose real name is Stephen
Yaxley-Lennon, would be referred to Britain’s High Court as a matter of public
carefully considering the details of this case, I have concluded there are
strong grounds to bring fresh contempt of court proceedings against Stephen
Yaxley-Lennon,” said Cox, insisting that he was acting independently of
government and it position on Robinson.
has staged various demonstrations and campaigns against Muslims over the past
few years. Convicted several times for other charges, he was arrested last year
after staging a live video broadcast of a protest in front of a court in
notorious Islamophobe, who enjoys close relations to some senior politicians both
in his country and in the US, was later released with judges saying the
attorney general should decide whether to continue proceedings against him or
warned Robinson and allies that they should refrain from commenting on the case
while proceedings continue.
proceedings are now underway, it would not be appropriate to comment further
and I remind everyone that it is an offence to comment on live court cases,”
said the top government lawyer.
appealing against his initial sentence, Robinson managed to get onboard the
far-right UK Independence Party (UKIP) by becoming a high-ranking advisor to
the party’s leadership. The move sparked furious reactions, especially from
UKIP founder Nigel Farage who resigned following the appointment.
Defense Minister Mohamed Zaki welcomed his Greek counterpart Evangelos Apostolakis
on Thursday in Cairo to discuss military cooperation between their armies.
sides mutually agreed on issues related to national defense, security and
peace, said a statement from Egypt’s defense ministry.
sides have been collaborating on defining the territorial waters in the natural
gas rich eastern Mediterranean Sea, energy, sea transportation, security and
and Greece held a joint military drill last November.
rejects adding Saudi Arabia to money-laundering list
from the 28 EU member states rejected a proposal Thursday to add Saudi Arabia
to a list of countries suspected of money laundering and financing terror
Council of the EU rejected the list because it was unclear and contained
[The Council] cannot support the current proposal that was not established in a
transparent and resilient process that actively incentivizes affected countries
to take decisive action while also respecting their right to be heard," it
said in a statement.
emphasized the EU Commission will now have to propose a new draft of high-risk
third countries that will address members' concerns.
EU Commission submitted Feb. 13 a draft of a list 23 countries that were
inadequately combating money laundering.
objective is to protect the EU financial system from risks of money laundering
and terrorist financing coming from third countries, according to the
group of lawyers filed a case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against
Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, a statement said.
case is being brought against the top officials of the regime, including Bashar
al-Assad, on behalf of 28 victims who have been forced over the border from
Syria into Jordan, said the statement by the law firm Stoke White.
refugees are “currently staying in the Al Zaatari, Al Rajihi and Al Azraq
refugee camps on the border between Jordan and Syria,” according to the statement.
we are trying to do is to highlight the crimes committed against these people
in the right platform, that is the ICC,” Hakan Camuz, a representative of the
law firm said in a news conference.
said they have been investigating crimes against civilians in Syria for the
past two years and they have “submitted all evidence collected to the ICC
very people who actually committed these heinous crimes think they have somehow
impunity,” he added.
said these issues have never been raised in 9 years in a legal way and they
believe “this is an opportunity for justice to be served”.
that some of these people have been subjected to chemical attacks, rapes in
prison, Camuz said they included the names of the regime officials including
Assad and his brothers, as well as some of the generals of the regime forces.
statement said: “Syria is not a signatory to the ICC Statute so it has not
previously been possible to open a case against the Syrian regime.”
using the recent precedent before the ICC of Rohingya refugees who have been
forcefully deported from Myanmar to Bangladesh, the team of Lawyers, has argued
that the same legal principle applies to Syrian refugees who have been
forcefully deported into Jordan which is an ICC signatory,” it added.
case will also “focus on the wider pattern of attacks and crimes against the
civilian population in Syria including torture, rape, chemical attacks and
disappearances in order to establish the full breadth of the systematic
violations of which the deportations form a part”.
addition Stoke White represent 1,183 other Syrian refugees who have fled Syria
to other countries including Turkey,” according to the statement.
evidence will be relied upon to show the wider attack on the Syrian
population,” it added.
in London on Thursday, Rodney Dixon QC, the lead lawyer in the case, said: “The
ICC exists precisely to bring justice to the victims of these most brutal
devastating war in Syria has been going on for almost nine years now and no one
has yet been held accountable for the hundreds of thousands of violations
against civilians,” he said.
case represents a genuine breakthrough for the Syrian victims. There is a
jurisdictional gateway that has opened up finally for the ICC Prosecutor to
investigate the perpetrators who are most responsible,” he added.
news conference included voice recordings from victims.
of the victims from the Al Zaatari camps, who is not publicly identified,
recorded her testimony, which was included in the communication to the ICC.
saw a lot of people being shot at by the regime forces, people were being
randomly shot including my 18-year old nephew. Two other family members of mine
were kidnapped and we never heard from them again. In 2012, my neighbor’s house
was bombed and everyone living there died," one of the victims said.
I was living in Homs I was volunteering by providing medication and treatment
to injured people. I attended to a lot of women who had been raped and abused
by the regime forces. My volunteer work made me a target for the regime.
had to flee to a safer location, we went to Damascus. My eldest son was being
forced to join the regime forces but he refused. He was taken away and brought
back to our house a few days later, he was bruised all over and didn’t
recognise me. He was bleeding and his clothes were torn…. We knew we had to
of court proceedings will be brought against the British right-wing leader
Tommy Robinson, the Attorney General has announced.
also known as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was found to be in contempt of court last
year, after live streaming outside a trial for a mainly Pakistani gang later
found guilty of grooming young girls.
was found to be in violation of court reporting restrictions imposed by the
judge. Robinson was sentenced to 13 months in jail but successfully appealed
for the original finding to be quashed. The case was then referred to the
carefully considering the details of this case, I have concluded there are
strong grounds to bring fresh contempt of court proceedings against Stephen
Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson), said Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General.
proceedings are now underway, it would not be appropriate to comment further
and I remind everyone that it is an offence to comment on live court cases.”
has attracted widespread criticism for his often Islamophobic and
anti-immigration rhetoric, but still retains a small but dedicated following.
this week he turned up at the doorstop of a journalist who has written
extensively about the far-right with Robinson demanding to speak to him.
going to make a documentary that exposes every single one of you, every single detail
about every one of you. Where you live, where you work, everything about you is
going to be exposed,” Robinson had said to the journalist, Mike Stuchbery. He
was later moved on by police.
interpreters who risked their lives serving alongside British troops in the
fight against the Taliban in Helmand Province have won the right to bring their
families to the UK.
home secretary Sajid Javid said on Thursday that he was waiving current
immigration rules for the interpreters’ loved ones, which required the families
to have moved at the same time as the interpreters to qualify for relocation.
decision, which takes effect in April, means that partners and children of the
interpreters still in Afghanistan will be able to travel to Britain to be
reunited with their family members.
interpreters who served alongside British soldiers played a vital part in our
fight against the Taliban,” Mr Javid said.
owe these unsung heroes a huge debt of gratitude for their service. That is why
we are making it even easier for them to build their future here in the UK with
their loved ones.”
year, the Home Office announced it was scrapping a £2,398 fee for Afghan
interpreters applying for permanent settlement in the UK following pressure by
Sulha Network, a group working for interpreter’s rights, described Thursday’s
decision as “life changing” for the servicemen, some of whom they said were
suicidal with grief after being separated from their families.
were countless good reasons why wives could not immigrate with their husbands
which made the old policy extremely unfair,” the group, which was founded by
former British Army captain Ed Aitken, told the Daily Mail.
faith in the Home Office has been restored. The immigration minister Caroline
Nokes promised the Sulha Network last October to rectify this injustice. She
has been good to her word.
Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) is striving hard to facilitate
the entry of Madrasa pass outs into various streams of modern education. As
part of this effort, University has launched Bridge Courses two years ago.
However, the response from the Madrasa pass outs is lukewarm. Dr. Mohammad
Aslam Parvaiz, Vice-Chancellor, while delivering presidential address today in
the inaugural of two day National Seminar The Contribution of Madrasas in
Promotion of Indian Culture, Civilization, Science & Arts (With Reference
to Persian, Arabic and Urdu Literature)” shared these views.
asked the students of the Madrasas to avail this unique opportunity to fulfil
their dreams of pursuing modern education. The Madrasa pass outs are eligible
to join the undergraduate or post graduate courses directly in Urdu, Arabic,
Persian and Islamic Studies Departments. MANUU, in an attempt to implement its
mandate of reaching the unreached has introduced one year Bridge courses with a
personal push from the Vice-Chancellor. These courses will facilitate the
students to join B.Sc., B.Com., B.A. (Economic) or Polytechnic courses. He
asked the audience, mainly consisting of Madrasa pass outs & administrators
to equip themselves with the latest knowledge to face the contemporary
challenges. Madrasas has played an important role in nurturing the Urdu
language, he admitted.
of Persian, MANUU is organizing the seminar in collaboration with National
Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL), New Delhi.
Prof. Hasan Abbas, Director, Raza Library, Rampur in his keynote address
claimed that Madrasas in India have helped in preserving the legacy, literature
Scholar, Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani in his address said that Urdu
literature has grown up under the shadow of “Ulema” (Religious Scholars). The
value of Arabic translation work carried out in India is no less than the Arab
world itself, he asserted. Madrasas have burnt midnight oil to ensure the
survival of Urdu language, he added. The literature work rendered by the
scholars with Madrasa background, represents sweetness of Persian, grandeur of
Arabic and combination of Islamic teachings. He expressed the need to link the
Urdu language with Science enabling its readers to catch up with the rest.
Rizwana Zareen, Principal, Jamiatul Muminath, Hyderabad, Mr. Raheemuddin
Ansari, Chairman, Telangana Urdu Academy, Hujatul Islam Dr. Syed Nisar Hussain,
Member of Telangana Waqf Board also addressed. Dr. M. Rizwan, Director Seminar
welcomed the gathering. Prof. Shahid Naukhez, Head, Department conducted the
proceedings and Dr. Junaid Ahmed, coordinator proposed vote of thanks.
and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik, who was under
detention since February 22 and kept at the Kothibagh police station, was
booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and shifted to Jammu’s Kotbalwal jail
from Srinagar on Thursday.
Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for a shutdown on Friday against
the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami, arrests of its activists, and the invocation of PSA
JKLF spokesperson said Malik was informed on Thursday morning that he has been
booked under the PSA and is being shifted to Jammu. “JKLF strongly condemns
this arbitrary arrest and use of PSA against a political leader. It is a
glaring display of frustration by Indian rulers and their abettors in Jammu and
Kashmir,” the spokesman said.
sources said that Malik left with a police team for Jammu by road.
members said Malik was last booked under the PSA in 2008. “He was then also
shifted to Jammu jail. All these years, he has been detained and arrested by
police several times but he was lodged in Srinagar jails only. Today, after a
long time he has been shifted to Jammu jail,” said one of the JKLF members.
chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq condemned the move. “Strongly condemn slapping of
draconian PSA and shifting to #KotBalwalJail Jammu of #YasinMalik & others
by the authorities.These illegal & undemocratic tactics will not stop
people & leadership from demanding peaceful resolution of #KashmirDispute
in accordance with people’s will,” he tweeted.
authorities have extended the detention of two separatist leaders arrested days
after a car bomb killed dozens of paramilitary troops in the disputed Kashmir.
Malik, the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), and Zahid
Ali, a spokesman for the recently-banned Jamaat-e-Islami party, were being
moved to a jail in Jammu, police said.
were arraigned under a controversial law that allows for suspects to be held
for up to two years without charge. The order is part of a crackdown on
militancy and secessionist campaigns in Kashmir.
senior Indian government official said more than two dozen other separatist
leaders, most of them affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami, could be detained in
least 300 separatists, most of them from Jamaat-e-Islami, have been arrested in
the past three weeks.
to Malik's detention, a JKLF spokesman denounced the "arbitrary
arrest", calling it a "glaring display of frustration" of Indian
supporters called for a shutdown in parts of Kashmir's main city of Srinagar to
protest against his detention.
JKLF chairman renounced violence and declared a ceasefire in 1994, but he has
been imprisoned multiple times since then.
Umar Farooq, chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, denounced
"illegal and undemocratic tactics" used by Indian authorities. He and
other separatist leaders have called for a strike in Kashmir on Friday.
a separate development on Thursday, a grenade explosion at a bus station in
Jammu -- the Hindu-majority region of Kashmir -- killed one person and wounded
nearly 30 others.
suggested that the blast could have been aimed at fomenting tensions among
different communities in the city.
developments come amid rising tensions between India and Pakistan after 40
Indian troops were killed in a suicide bombing in Kashmir on February 14.
attack was claimed by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), a militant group based in
Pakistan. India has long accused Pakistan of supporting the insurgents, a
charge Islamabad denies.
bombing sparked tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, leading to
tit-for-tat cross-border raids.
tensions reached a peak on February 26, when India said it had conducted
“pre-emptive” airstrikes against what it described as a militant training camp
in Pakistan’s Balakot.
confirmed the attack and condemned the violation of its airspace but denied
that the purported target had been hit.
flare-up appeared to be easing after Pakistan handed back Wing Commander
Abhinandan Varthaman in a goodwill gesture toward India but the tensions have
troops are in constant clashes with armed groups seeking Kashmir’s independence
or its merger with Pakistan.
regularly accuses Pakistan of arming and training militants and allowing them
across the restive frontier in an attempt to launch attacks. Pakistan strongly
denies the allegation.
A Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorist was killed on Thursday in an encounter with
security forces at Badra Payeen area in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district,
officials said on Thursday.
body of the terrorist, who was killed after a brief gunfight on Wednesday
night, was recovered along with a pistol and a few grenades, an Army officer
said. He added that the Army’s 32 RR jawans were attacked when they were
setting up a cordon after receiving inputs about the presence of some
terrorists. The gunshots were retaliated, leading to an encounter in which the
terrorist was killed.
police spokesman said that from the materials recovered, it is understood that
the slain was a Pakistani national code named ‘Anwar’ and affiliated to JeM.
“Anwar, according to police records, was wanted by law for his involvement in a
series of terror crimes including attacks on security establishments and for
many other civilian atrocities. Several terror crime cases were registered
against him,” he added.
collateral damage took place during the exchange of fire, the spokesman said.
A large number of Muslim youth in Agra city is taking interest in learning
Sanskrit in their schools along with other religious books. According to an
inter-college survey carried out by India Today in the city, Muslim students
especially girls in large numbers are studying Sanskrit.
to the report, few Muslim girls also got a Bachelor’s degree in Sanskrit from
India’s universities. Hailing the efforts of the students, social activist
Yogesh Malhotra said, “This is very good that our Indian Muslim girls are
taking interest in learning Sanskrit with other holy books.”
US negotiators struggling to remove differences
Taliban and the US officials are struggling to remove differences on certain key
issues in the ongoing peace talks in Qatar as both sides have not yet reached
any deal despite their earlier claims of progress, people familiar with the
process said late Thursday.
sources told Daily Times that Abdul Manan Akhund, brother of Mullah Omar,
reached Qatar on Wednesday and joined the Taliban’s 14-member negotiation team.
Akhund’s participation has further strengthened the Taliban team with six
members from the powerful leadership council.
Taliban and the US are tight lipped about the difficulties in the talks and
both sides have agreed not to share anything about the parley underway at
Doha’s posh Sharq neighborhood. The Taliban political spokesman Suhail Shaheen
is even kept out of most of the meetings to avoid any leak, a Taliban
negotiator has said.
current round had started on Feb. 25 and the talks continued on 11th day on
Thursday, Taliban sources said. There was a two-day break in the current round
for internal discussions. The present round is the longest since the US special
envoy Zalmay Khalilzad opened talks with the Taliban in October.
sides had first sitting in July when US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State for South and Central Asia, Ambassador Alice Wells met with the Taliban
political envoys in Doha.
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said this week that the talks are focused on the
“withdrawal of occupying forces and preventing Afghanistan from being used
against others” and that the “talks are advancing on a step-by-step basis.”
say the Taliban insist on the announcement of a timeframe for the withdrawal of
all foreign troops, the US side wants all issues, including a ceasefire by the
Taliban and their agreement to start negotiations with the Kabul
a series of background interviews Daily Times understands the US is seemed
unwilling to strike a deal on the Taliban terms as it would give an impression
that they have surrendered to the Taliban. On their part, Taliban are reluctant
to show flexibility on their demand for the withdrawal of the foreign troops.
the question of the talks with the Afghan government, the Taliban argue that
they have already joined intra-Afghan dialogue with senior political leaders
and parties in Moscow last month. A second meeting of the Moscow’s intra-Afghan
dialogue is scheduled to be held in Qatar later this month, but lack of
progress in the ongoing US-Taliban talks could delay the Moscow’s negotiations.
the Taliban interaction with the Afghan politicians gained momentum, Khlalizad
is also now positive about Moscow led Afghan diaspora effort and he had
discussions on the process with Russian special envoy for Afghanistan Zamir
Kabulov in Istanbul last month. The US had earlier pursued solo flight, but now
it is now involved in consultations with all stakeholders.
sense in Islamabad is: there cannot be a further development without
involvement of the National Unity Government in Kabul and other Afghan groups.
The impression here is the US and Taliban have already achieved whatever they could
the other hand the Afghan gov’t has said it is in the process of the formation
of a negotiation team with Taliban and has requested the Afghan political
leaders to nominate members for the team. Presidential spokesman Haroon
Chakhansuri has said in Kabul that the team will be announced after the parties
share names of their representatives.
Afghan gov’t had announced a 12-member negotiation team for talks with the
Taliban in November last year. Taliban, however; refused to meet the team that
was headed by presidential chief of staff Salam Rahimi.
regional countries are showing interest in the peace process, Uzbekistan is
seen active to play important role in political process.
Foreign Minister Abdul Aziz Kamolov and Uzbekistan Special Envoy to Afghanistan
Ismatullah met the Taliban chief negotiator Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Qatar
Taliban spokesman later said the Uzbek delegation showed willing that they are
“ready to lend every type of assistance regarding peace in Afghanistan.”
March last year Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev had offered to host peace
negotiations between Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban.
praises Pakistan’s ‘restraint’ over tensions
China has praised Pakistan’s “restraint” and willingness to talk with India to
ease tensions between the two countries after a deadly bombing in India-held
Kashmir (IHK) last month. Visiting Pakistan on Wednesday, Chinese Vice Foreign
Minister Kong Xuanyou said Beijing and Islamabad were “all-weather” strategic
partners and that they always supported each other, China’s Foreign Ministry
said in a statement on Thursday.
main mission of Chinese vice foreign minister’s visit was to exchange views on
the situation between India and Pakistan and to commend Pakistan for exercising
restraint and calm and make efforts to ease the situation, Chinese foreign
ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said during his regular briefing.
has paid close attention to the present situation between Pakistan and India,
and appreciates Pakistan’s remaining calm and exercising restraint from the
beginning, and persisting in pushing to lower the temperature with India via
dialogue,” the ministry paraphrased Mr Kong as saying.
maintains that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries
should be respected and does not want to see “acts that violate the norms of
international relations”, Mr Kong added.
calls on Pakistan and India to refrain from taking actions that aggravate the
situation, show goodwill and flexibility, launch dialogue as soon as possible,
and work together to maintain regional peace and stability,” he said, adding
that China was willing to continue to play a constructive role in this regard.
to the foreign ministry spokesperson, Pakistan had also appreciated China’s
unbiased attitude and was willing to resolve the problem with India. It had
expressed the hope that China and other members of the international community
could play a constructive role in this process, he said.
pointed out that the vice foreign minister when in Pakistan held detailed talks
on the situation and tension between India and Pakistan and the major concern
was the security situation in this region.
spokesperson said that the Chinese side had stated its position that
sovereignty and territorial integrity should be upheld.
believe we should take positive measures to ease the tensions so as to maintain
peace and stability in this region,” he said.
team from the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's office is
visiting camps for the persecuted Rohingya in Bangladesh, the office confirmed
to Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
the purposes of the visit, an email statement from the ICC office said the team
will work in the context of its ongoing preliminary examinations concerning the
situation -- the Rohingya crisis -- in Bangladesh and neighboring Myanmar,
which the persecuted Muslim Rohingya fled.
preliminary examination is not an investigation,” said the statement. “Such
visits in the context of preliminary examinations are standard practice, and
the delegation will not engage in any evidence collection in relation to any
independent and impartial preliminary examination of the situation in
Bangladesh and Myanmar is ongoing and following its normal course, it said.
Myanmar’s military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims since Aug. 25, 2017, however,
an ICC preliminary report published last December said: “During the course of
these [military] operations more than 40 percent of all villages in northern
Rakhine State were reportedly partially or totally destroyed and it is
estimated that by September 2018, over 725,000 Rohingya had fled to the
neighbouring state of Bangladesh.”
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and
children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya:
The Untold Experience."
18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and
over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it
UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and
young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state
officials confirm that a gathering has came under mortar attack in West of
Kabul city this afternoon.
to reports, the incident has taken place close to a gathering which was
organized to mark the 24th death anniversary of Abdul Ali Mazari.
Ministry of Interior officials confirm that several explosions have been heard
in West of Kabul city.
Rahimi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior confirmed that the gathering
was targeted with mortar fires and one suspect has been arrested in connection
to the incident from a residential house.
the meantime, the Ministry of Public Health officials are saying that three
people have died and 22 others have sustained injuries in the attack.
are saying that 12 explosions have been heard so far together with sporadic
gunshots from the site of incident.
will not win on the battlefield, says NATO Secretary General
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that NATO has a presence in
Afghanistan to create conditions for peace and send a clear message to Taliban
that they will not win on the battlefield.
made the remarks during a press conference with the President of Poland on
support the peace efforts. We are there to create the conditions for peace. To
send a clear message to the Taliban that they will not win on the battlefield,
but they have to sit down at the negotiating table and reach a political
agreement,” he said. The NATO Secretary General further added that for any
peace to be sustainable, it will need to be built on the achievements that have
been made in recent years, including on human rights and the rights of women.
senior leaders of Taliban have been killed during the airstrikes which were
conducted in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan on Wednesday, the Afghan
military said Thursday.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North announced that the
airstrikes were carried out at around 10:20 am local time on Wednesday against
the hideouts and commander and control center of Qari Wali Mohammad and
Najeebullah alias Haroon. According to a statement released by 209th Shaheen
Corps, at least 6 Taliban militants including the leaders of the group were
killed and 3 others were wounded in the airstrikes.
statement further added that a fighting position, the command and control
center of Taliban, and another compound of Taliban were destroyed in the
209th Shaheen Corps also added that a clash also broke out between Taliban
militants and security forces at around 1:30 pm local time in Pesta and
Malraghai areas of Khanabad district, leaving 4 militants dead and 6 others
anti-government militants including ISIS Khurasan affiliates and Taliban
fighters were killed during separate operations of Special Forces and
airstrikes which were conducted in Nangarhar, Paktika, Wardak, Kandahar,
Helmand, and Khost provinces in the past 24 hours.
to the informed military sources, an air strike was carried out on 5th of March
in Gandomak of Nangarahr killed a Taliban District Shadow Governor for
Chaparhar district, Shaheen.
sources further added that the Afghan Special Forces destroyed 3 roadside
bombs, allowing civilians to travel without the thread of explosives.
Afghan Special Forces conducted a raid in Jaghatu district of Wardak province
killing 3 Taliban fighters and confiscating a small weapons cache, the sources
said adding that an air strike in Ghorak district of Kandahar killed 1 Taliban
fighter and wounded 2 others.
air strike was also carried out in Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand province
leaving one Taliban fighter while Afghan Special Forces repelled an attack near
the Jalalabad airfield yesterday killing 4 fighters and destroying 3 suicide
vests, 3 magnetic IEDs and 1 vehicle-borne IED, the sources added.
Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security (NDS) announced Thursday
that one of the main architects of the attack on 215th Maiwand Corps has been
killed during an operation of the NDS Special Forces.
National Directorate of Security in a statement said the operation was
conducted in the vicinity of Nawzad district of Helmand province.
statement further added that one of the architects of the attack was killed and
seven others were arrested during the operation.
to National Directorate of Security, the detained suspects have been identified
as Gul Agha son of Noor Mohammad, Mohammad Reza son of Gul Mohammad, Nemat son
of Majnoon Agha, Mohammad Sadiq son of Haji Amanullah, Abdul Basir son of
Nemat, Esmatulah son of Haji Mohammad Shah, and Khan Mohammad son of Lal
NDS Special Forces also confiscated some weapons during the same operation, the
National Directorate of Security said.
rockets were fired on Thursday at a gathering of members of the Shi’ite Hazara
minority in the Afghan capital, Kabul, killing at least one person and wounding
was no immediate claim of responsibility but over the years Hazaras have been
repeatedly attacked by the Taliban, al Qaeda and ISIS.
News, which had a camera crew reporting live from the commemoration, said that
at least 10 explosions were heard at the commemoration on the anniversary of a
Hazara leader’s death.
gathering is under attack. Rockets are being dropped on us from every
direction,” said Muhammad Mohaqiq, a lawmaker and leader of the main Hazara
political party from the stage in comments aired on television.
of people including top government officials such as Chief Executive Officer
Abdullah Abdullah and at least three candidates in a July presidential election
were at the commemoration.
could be seen scattering in all directions as the rockets fell. At least one
person was killed and 16 wounded, said Wahidullah Mayar, a spokesman for the
public health ministry.
spokesman for the interior ministry, Nasrat Rahimi, said one suspect had been
arrested, while several others had been surrounded by the security forces.
Presidential candidate Mohammad Hanif Atmar was unhurt, but eight of his
security guards were wounded. They were in stable condition, said Atmar’s
spokesman, Qader Shah.
gathering was for the anniversary of the death of Abdul Ali Mazari, a Hazara
leader who died in 1995 after being taken prisoner by the Taliban. A reporter
who was present at the gathering site said ambulances had rushed to the area to
deadly car bomb explosion claimed by al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants has
hit near the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital, security officials and
explosives-laden car went off near a restaurant near the presidential palace in
the heart of Mogadishu on Thursday morning, Somali police official Ibrahim
Mohamed told AFP.
blast occurred at a checkpoint close to the National Theatre, we don’t have the
details but there are casualties,” a security official said.
police said four people have been killed and nine others sustained injuries in
the powerful blast.
al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the bombing.
week, at least 36 people, mostly civilians, were killed and over 60 wounded
after a bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into the Hotel Maka al-Mukarama
and nearby buildings in Mogadishu.
claimed that attack as well and threatened more such assaults in the future.
militant outfit, which has long sought to topple Somalia’s Western-backed
government, was forced out of Mogadishu with the help of African Union forces
however, still wields control in large parts of the countryside, and every now
and then carries out deadly attacks against government, military, and civilian
targets in the capital as well as regional towns.
terrorist group has fought successive Somali governments as well as neighboring
governments in Kenya and Uganda.
Nigeria — A resident says at least five farmers are dead and dozens are wounded
in northeastern Nigeria after their vehicle struck a land mine buried by Boko
Zabarmari says the blast occurred Wednesday. He says the mine was planted as
the extremists fled after trying to attack Khaddamari town outside Maiduguri
city in Borno state on the eve of the Feb. 23 elections.
says the farmers defied soldiers’ warnings not to use the road because they
wanted to reach their cucumber farms.
says four died at the scene and a fifth died at a hospital. A security source
who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak
to reporters had estimated seven dead.
is no laughing matter. But the notorious Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab
managed to become the subject of derision in the news media when it declared
last year that it was banning plastic bags.
al-Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, claimed that plastic bags presented "a
serious threat to the well-being of humans and animals alike." Websites
from The Daily Caller to The Small Wars Journal tweeted their mockery about the
terrorist group's peculiar edict while a photojournalist for the magazine
National Geographic had to clarify his own tweet about the phenomenon as
remains far from the first associate of al-Qaeda to try tackling environmental
issues. Osama bin Laden spent several of his last days fretting over climate
change, and the reclusive leader of the Taliban encouraged Afghans to plant
more trees in a bizarre "special message" in 2017.
these commonalities, the Somali terrorist group has distinguished itself from
its foreign allies with a history of outlandish boycotts, outlawing staples of
modernity from bras and ringtones to the Internet, music, and television.
reach of these frequent bans remains a matter of debate, given that several
East African militaries—bolstered by American airstrikes—have expelled the
militants from much of Somalia. In response, al-Shabaab has retaliated against
the East African countries backing the central government in Somalia. The
militants attacked a hotel in Nairobi just this January.
is no longer in control of major cities in Somalia," said Hassan, a
researcher at the Somali Institute for Peace and Human Rights who asked LobeLog
to withhold his last name. "It has been pushed out of major towns by the
Somali government with support from the African Union."
defeats on the battlefield may explain why the Somali terrorist group felt the
need to implement a ban on plastic bags to begin with. As the militants have
lost territory, the income that they earned from controlling cities and ports
has dwindled. Al-Shabaab has had to find other ways to fill its war chest, such
as enforcing a tax on Somali businesses and even livestock.
websites such as Quartz framed the militants' boycott of plastic bags as the
Somali terrorist group's ill-conceived attempt at public relations, the move
likely had more to do with economics: plastic bags were killing the animals
that help al-Shabaab bankroll its operations.
only way that al-Shabaab can finance its activities in Somalia is via the
collection of taxes from businessmen and herders," Hassan told LobeLog.
"The majority of the Somali people are livestock herders…Right behind
droughts, plastic bags kill the second-greatest number of livestock in the
country. By losing animals to plastic bags, al-Shabaab felt that its only
source of income was being threatened and decided to ban them. The ban was also
meant to portray the group as one that cared for the economic and social
well-being of the Somali people."
Somali terrorist group's sudden embrace of environmentalism seems far less
aberrant in this context: al-Shabaab was acting out of self-interest, not
concern for the natural environment.
are expected to pay the tax in the form of animals," Mohamed Mukhtar
Ibrahim, executive director of the Somali Institute of Public Administration
and Management and a former Somali Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister,
told LobeLog. "It's not in al-Shabaab's interest to lose animals after
collecting them or to have less livestock to tax in the first place."
militants have shown their willingness to disregard and even exacerbate
environmental issues in the past if exploiting the natural environment earns
them a profit. This behavior is similar to other affiliates of al-Qaeda
involved in trafficking the horns of rhinos and the pelts of tigers throughout
of al-Shabaab's revenue comes from burning and cutting trees, another practice
that it once prohibited. The Somali terrorist group uses some of the trees to
produce charcoal that it then exports to black markets in the Persian Gulf. The
United Nations had to respond by banning charcoal from Somalia in a bid to curb
terrorism financing there. The militants also participate in the ivory trade,
from which the Somali terrorist group earned as much as $200,000 a month in
to anecdotal evidence, al-Shabaab will even break its own rules if necessary. A
journalist wrote on Twitter last year that the militants were using plastic
bags filled with explosives to intimidate residents of Mogadishu, where the
Somali terrorist group remains active.
doesn't even care about the environment," argued Hassan, noting
al-Shabaab's role in environmental issues. "Its activities have
contributed to deforestation and other problems."
if al-Shabaab's ban on plastic bags lacks sincerity, the environmental movement
has gained traction elsewhere in East Africa. Kenya, which has fought
al-Shabaab in Somalia and on its own soil for a decade, announced its own
prohibition on plastic bags a full year before the Somali terrorist group's
diktat. Uganda, which, like Kenya, has deployed soldiers to Somalia, followed
suit last year. Meanwhile, Rwanda, one of several countries that has trained
Somali soldiers, banned plastic bags in 2008.
Somalia, the region of Somaliland outdid Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda by
instituting a ban in 2005. Some Somalis have even turned recycling plastic into
figures such as the famous Somali-American environmentalist Fatima Jibrell have
further institutionalized the environmental movement in the country, and the
rise of the Somali Green Party indicates just how far environmentalism has
spread there. For their part, the UN Development and Environmental Programs are
likewise working to address environmental issues in Somalia.
environmentalists appear to have little need for the assistance of a radical
terrorist group better known for beheading s, kidnappings, and suicide attacks
than for its environmental policy.
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