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Islamic World News (18 Aug 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



After Failed UNSC Bid, Pakistan Plays Victim Card With International Media








After Failed UNSC Bid, Pakistan Plays Victim Card With International Media

Jaishankar, Akbar Worked In Tandem to Defy Pak, China

Malaysia to Show India-Born Muslim Preacher The Door After Attacks On Chinese, Indians

Nigerian Movement Exposes Abuja’s Plot for Murdering Zakzaky in India

Senior MP: Fake Slogans of Human Rights Advocates Exposed after Silence on Zakzaky's Case

UNSC Moot Reaffirms Kashmiris Right To Self-Determination, Says PM Imran

Turkey Welcomes Consultations at UNSC over Occupied Kashmir

Brother of Afghan Taliban Chief Killed in Pakistan Mosque Bombing

63 Killed, 182 Wounded In Kabul Wedding Blast: Official

‘Islamophobic’ UKIP Head’s Call For Quran Ban Will Most Likely Incite Further Hate Crimes

‘Nightmare’ As Egypt Aided China to Detain Uighurs

 

India

After Failed UNSC Bid, Pakistan Plays Victim Card With International Media

Jaishankar, Akbar Worked In Tandem to Defy Pak, China

Kashmir Was Never Yours, Islamic Scholar, Imam Mohamad Tawhidi, to Pakistan

Indian soldier killed in Pak ceasefire violation in Nowshera

Kashmir landlines come alive, traffic starts moving

6 petitioners move SC challenging J&K Reorganisation Bill, Article 370 abrogation

PIL in SC against Law to Declare Individuals as Terrorists

Donald Trump reiterates importance of India, Pakistan ‘direct dialogue’

Army retaliates to jawan’s killing in Pakistan firing at LoC

Jammu and Kashmir: In security lockdown, lessons from 2016 Wani killing protests

CM Gehlot order reprobes into Pehlu Khan lynching

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Southeast Asia

Malaysia to Show India-Born Muslim Preacher The Door After Attacks On Chinese, Indians

Report: No go for Zakir Naik, family in Perlis Muslim ‘reverts camp’

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Africa

Nigerian Movement Exposes Abuja’s Plot for Murdering Zakzaky in India

Senior MP: Fake Slogans of Human Rights Advocates Exposed after Silence on Zakzaky's Case

Not only Christians are kidnapped in Kaduna — Muslim Council

Sudan Military Names Three Members For Sovereign Council, Says A Report

Al-Jubeir: Sudan agreement first building block to build secure state, economy

Libyan National Army launches 13 airstrikes on militia sites in Misrata

Libya intercepts boats with over 270 Europe-bound migrants

Sudan Power-Sharing Deal Blow To Saudi Arabia, UAE: Commentator

Turkey's support to Sudan will continue to grow: FM

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Pakistan

UNSC Moot Reaffirms Kashmiris Right To Self-Determination, Says PM Imran

Qureshi Criticises Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for His Remarks on Nuclear Weapons

65-year-old Pakistani Muslim tackled terrorist who wanted to attack Norwegian mosque

Army rescues three stranded mountaineers, airlifts body of another

Rajnath Singh’s Statement Is a Threat to Entire World: Firdous

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Mideast

Turkey Welcomes Consultations at UNSC over Occupied Kashmir

Three Palestinians martyred by Israeli troops at Gaza border

Yemeni Drones Target Saudi Oil Facilities near UAE Border

Iran holds meeting with Houthis and four European countries

IRGC navy chief: Presence of America and Britain in the region means insecurity

Israel’s Netanyahu dismisses Hezbollah warning

US court rules on Houthis actions, holds Iran accountable

Israel launches two raids on ‘Hamas underground infrastructure’ in Gaza

Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council withdraws from key positions in Aden

UN expert: Executions in Iran among the world’s highest

Leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement warns Saudi Arabia

Turkey-US center for Syria safe zone to start work next week: Turkish defense minister

Saudi Arabia issues advisory to citizens in Istanbul following attack

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South Asia

Brother of Afghan Taliban Chief Killed in Pakistan Mosque Bombing

63 Killed, 182 Wounded In Kabul Wedding Blast: Official

Militant Video and Arrests Put Bangladesh On Alert

Taliban Say Killing Of Leader’s Brother Will Not Derail US Talks

Bangladesh fire leaves '50,000 people homeless' after slum destroyed in capital of Dhaka

Special Forces target Taliban militants; destroy caches of weapons in Logar, Helmand

Helmand Security Council Meeting Focus On Peace, Presidential Elections

Special Forces arrest 3 Taliban sympathizers in Kabul

Special Forces kill Taliban’s chief of terror operations in Logar

Deadly explosion rips through civilian vehicle in Balkh province

U.S. forces pound Taliban hideout with guided rockets in Uruzgan province

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Europe

‘Islamophobic’ UKIP Head’s Call For Quran Ban Will Most Likely Incite Further Hate Crimes

Norway mosque terror, murder suspect 'admits' crimes: police

Norwegian police thank mosque attack 'heroes'

German police chief warns of far-right terror threat

Palestinian president speaks with British PM by phone

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Arab World

‘Nightmare’ As Egypt Aided China to Detain Uighurs

SDF’s Arab Militias Retreat from Military Points in Deir Ezzur after Wide Differences with Kurds

Ankara Attempting to Prevent Collapse of Khan Sheikhoun

Washington Playing with Turks, Kurds in Euphrates

Doha Bank, Qatari brothers sued for financing al-Nusra Front

US military forced to comply with orders to halt flights over Iraq

600+ Bahraini inmates now on hunger strike to protest rights abuses

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North America

Trump Meets Advisers on Afghan Peace Plan

US military forced to comply with orders to halt flights over Iraq

US Air Force launches surveillance flights in newly-built airfield in Niger

US hails power-sharing deal in Sudan

Israel allows US lawmaker to visit family in West Bank

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/after-failed-unsc-bid,-pakistan-plays-victim-card-with-international-media/d/119494

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After Failed UNSC Bid, Pakistan Plays Victim Card With International Media

Aug 18, 2019

NEW DELHI: It's been 12-days since India announced its decision to reorganise the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir, ever since then Pakistan has ramped up its rhetoric against New Delhi and is endlessly trying to internationalise the strictly internal Indian matter of Jammu and Kashmir. India's action has rattled Islamabad so much so that it hurriedly sent its foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to China to seek its help at the United Nations Security Council and use the Asian giant's bully pulpit in the region.

Pakistan has launched an all-out campaign from all its embassies against New Delhi and knocked every door for help. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has abandoned all domestic policy reforms that he promised at the time of elections to improve the dire condition of the country's economy and begun on virulent attacks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.

However, so far, Islamabad's panic calls have failed to mark its way to the international community. In an effort to bring the matter to United Nations Security Council, Pakistan wrote twice to the body, urging it to begin emergency meeting on the issue. After failing to do so, Pakistan sought China's help. Even at the UNSC, it had to bite dust.

At the end of the meeting on Friday, China and Pakistan stood isolated as member after member refused to endorse their position.

Moreover, international media has not taken Pakistan's media outreach seriously. Despite being flooded with updated photographs and dodgy video testimonies, by and large the international media is sceptical of Pakistan's charges of human rights violations by India in Jammu and Kashmir. Islamabad's own track road in human right violations in Baluchistan and the fact that it sponsors terrorism in Afghanistan and India is not a secret. Recently Imran Khan himself admitted in the US to a journalist that his country has 30,000-40,000 terrorists.

"The Pakistan army's own shabby treatment of journalists, opposition leaders and ethnic movements representing the minority Baluch and Pashtuns, makes it hard for Islamabad to argue that Kashmiris will be better off in Pakistan," wrote Journalist Sadanand Dhume in an article published in the Wall Street Journal.

Pakistan has a long-held policy to create unrest and tensions in neighbouring countries especially in India and Afghanistan by backing jihadist groups. Except China which has a transactional relationship with Pakistan, no country with significant clout has come forward to support Pakistan.

"Pakistan, which has long made Kashmir a central plank of its foreign policy, lacks the wherewithal to force India's hand. By backing jihadist groups in India and Afghanistan and neglecting its economy, Islamabad has ensured that it lacks the stature to make India take its views on board," Dhume added.

Similar sentiments were echoed in the New York Times by New York Times journalist Maria Abi-Habib.

"As Pakistan marks its independence day next week, it increasingly feels like a nation with its back against the wall, with few options to protect its existential interests. Its economy is teetering on the brink of collapse, and its international allies have either stayed silent over Kashmir or defected in support of India," Maria wrote.

Four out of five permanent members in the United Nations did not support the Pakistan contentions over India's decision. A recent example is Imran Khan failing to get the support of the United States despite his highly publicised visit last month to Washington DC where he supposedly struck a friendship with President Trump. During a phone conversation last week with Khan, Trump made it clear that Kashmir issue should be resolved through a bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan.

Russia became the first UNSC member to support India. It said India's action to remove Article 370 its internal matter and was under the constitutional framework.

"When Pakistan agreed after the September 11, 2001 attacks to help the United States fight terrorist groups, it asked for a favor in return — American help mediating on Kashmir and pressing India to make concessions. When the United States refused, Pakistan felt betrayed. Just last month Pakistanis felt more upbeat about their country's prospects. Mr. Khan had returned from a visit to the White House where he met with Mr. Trump, who promised to intervene on Kashmir. But India's swift action days later to strip Kashmir of its autonomy plunged Pakistan back into isolation," Maria wrote in an article.

Adding to its woes, Islamabad was not able to convince even the Muslim world to back it in raising the issue of Kashmir. Two of the OIC member states, Maldives and UAE said Kashmir is an internal matter of India

"The biggest blow came from the influential United Arab Emirates, which stated that Kashmir was an internal matter for India, withdrawing any support to raise the issue internationally," Maria added.

American diplomat Richard N. Mass is of the view that even after facing defeat in multiple forums Pakistan will continue to sponsor terrorism.

"There is a possibility that Pakistan will respond by renewing its support for terrorism, which could lead to another war between Pakistan and India, two nuclear-armed countries. Against this backdrop, the US would be unwise to turn to Pakistan as a strategic partner. Pakistan sees a friendly government in Kabul as vital to its security and competition with arch-rival India. There is little reason to believe that the military and intelligence services, which continue to run Pakistan, will rein in the Taliban or rule out terrorism," he wrote in Project Syndicate.

Ever since India announced its decision to do away with Article 370, Islamabad has escalated its virulent tactics against New Delhi and tried to involve the international community in the matter.

Pakistan has alleged that India's decision of revoking the provisions under Article 370 will not only threaten the regional peace but also the world peace. However other than a few op-ed articles in a few publications in London, international media is not buying into Islamabad's propagandist claims.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/after-failed-unsc-bid-pakistan-plays-victim-card-with-international-media/articleshow/70720858.cms

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Jaishankar, Akbar worked in tandem to defy Pak, China

Aug 18, 2019

Most Indian diplomats can be excessively restrained in their conduct, and measured in their responses to a fault, but India’s Permanent Representative to UN Syed Akbaruddin was anything but that when he turned the UN press stakeout into an almost gladiatorial contest with hostile journalists, many of them Pakistanis raring to have a go at him.

And yet, Akbaruddin emerged not just unscathed but also prevailed over all that was thrown at him with the same consummate ease with which he fielded questions from reporters in Shastri Bhawan as MEA spokesperson.

The video of his impromptu shaking of hands with Pakistani journalists threatened to break the Internet and he himself trended on Twitter well into Saturday. Akbaruddin’s performance is all the more astonishing considering, as sources said, he had not more than 10 minutes to prepare for it.

The decision to go and rebut the claims made by Akbaruddin’s Chinese and Pakistani counterparts, Zhang Jun and Maleeha Lodhi respectively, was triggered by his discussions with foreign minister S Jaishankar. It denoted, as a source put it, close coordination between the minister and officials. The two had to think on their feet once the Chinese ambassador started to speak. Jaishankar spoke to Akbaruddin after the Pakistan envoy spoke and briefed him about the content and trajectory to follow in his remarks.

The UNSC President and Poland’s envoy, Joanna Wronecka, could not speak on the deliberations in the informal meeting as the Chinese proposal for a statement was rejected by all members except UK. Zhang though took upon himself to brief the media and claimed that the member states had expressed "serious concern" about the "dangerous" situation in J&K. Lodhi spoke next accusing India of myriad violations in J&K.

Both Jaishankar and Akbaruddin then felt it was important to quickly rebuff the statements made by the two and a message was sent out to the journalists that the Indian ambassador too would be speaking. Sources said the decision to even take questions was taken as a natural corollary of being the representative of a democratic country. It also offered a stunning contrast to how the Chinese and Pakistani envoys refused to take any question from the press. Akbaruddin said he was going to take 5 questions. He ended up answering 7.

The decision to take questions from Pakistani journalists was meant to convey that India was not afraid of taking anybody on when it came to revocation of J&K special status. As a source said, it was also meant to reflect India’s confidence in its position and the support for it at the UN.

And to those wondering why he said "cut me some slack", it was probably his way of softening up the journalists before they let it rip. While Akbaruddin has served as MEA spokesperson, this was the first time he was effectively holding a press conference at the UN.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/jaishankar-akbar-worked-in-tandem-to-defy-pak-china/articleshow/70719300.cms

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Malaysia to show India-born Muslim preacher the door after attacks on Chinese, Indians

AUG 15, 2019

Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian government will seek to force controversial Muslim preacher Zakir Naik out of the country, after his incendiary attacks on minorities last week fuelled criticism of its refusal to deport the fugitive Indian televangelist.

The Straits Times understands that the Malaysian Cabinet agreed on Wednesday (Aug 14) that Dr Zakir - who was granted permanent residence by the ousted Barisan Nasional administration - should leave.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/malaysia-to-show-india-born-muslim-preacher-the-door-after-attacks-on-chinese-indians

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Nigerian Movement Exposes Abuja’s Plot for Murdering Zakzaky in India

Aug 17, 2019

Sheikh Zakzaky was, from the very beginning of his travel to India, bothered and pressed by the hostile decision of the Nigerian government, according to a Friday statement signed by Ibrahim Musa, the President of the Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The movement added in its statement that even upon returning from New Delhi, the top cleric was denied a chance to talk to reporters and journalists who had been waiting for his return at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport for hours.

The IMN condemned the move and added that it was intended to prevent Sheikh from revealing some realities about his difficulties in New Delhi, and to pave the way for spreading disinformation against him.

According to the statement, upon arriving in New Delhi, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife were separated from the doctors who accompanied him from Nigeria and were forcibly taken to a hospital which held no respect for the basic rights of patients.

Even a doctor who had flown from London to New Delhi was not allowed to meet with Sheikh Zakzaky.

It asserted that Nigerian agents’ insistence on not allowing Sheikh Zakzaky to meet with his doctors reassured the cleric and his wife that Abuja was planning to kill him in the Indian hospital with the help of their connections and operatives in the place.

Sheikh Zakzaky, a prominent Shiite leader, has been in detention along with his wife for close to four years despite the deterioration of his health conditions.

Last Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with FNA, Dr. Pourrahim Najafabadi, MD, said Sheikh Zakzaky needs to be cured by an experienced medical team of physicians in a specialized multi-specialty hospital outside Nigeria, since there is no such medical center in the African country.

"With the current physical condition of the Sheikh, especially the virulent lead poisoning, Sheikh’s life is seriously at risk by delayed treatment. Meanwhile, there is a need for special medical care even in case of complete medical treatment. There is serious risk to Sheikh’s life if he is kept under detention,” said Najafabadi, the founder and spokesperson of a group of expert physicians who have volunteered to treat Sheikh Zakzaky.

Also, last Sunday, a group of doctors from Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq in a letter to the Nigerian government pointed to Sheikh Zakzaky's physical conditions, and asked the Nigerian government to transfer him to a well-equipped hospital as soon as possible.

Among Zakzaky’s surviving children and supporters, concerns are mounting over his health. The 66-year-old cleric has lost vision in one eye and was in danger of “losing the second one,” his lawyer, Femi Falana, told reporters. Zakzaky and his wife still have “pellets of bullets in their bodies,” said Falana, which were sustained during their 2015 arrest.

The Shiite cleric was not present in court late in July for a bail hearing since his health was “very bad,” said Falana. “That is why we applied that he be excused from appearance in court and it was granted.”

On the occasion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second inauguration, Amnesty International has issued a report, Nigeria: Human Rights Agenda, a twenty-page indictment of human rights violations by "state and non-state actors," but with the emphasis on the state security services. It calls on the Buhari administration to address perennial human rights abuses and makes specific recommendations as to what needs to be done.

The report begins with a review of the extensive constitutional and legal protections of human rights in Nigeria and also of the international human rights instruments that Nigeria has ratified, but concludes that Nigeria is facing a worsening human rights crisis across the country.

Human rights activists are concerned that given the Nigerian government's dire human rights record, Sheikh Zakzaky's return to prison would equal to his death.

Here comes the full text of the statement:

As our leader Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky has landed safely at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport today, we wish to set the records straight in order to disabuse the minds of Nigerians from the false claims perpetrated in some sponsored stories and articles in the media concerning his aborted medical treatment in India.

However, before we do that, we vehemently condemn the way the security agents whisked him away upon arrival without allowing the multitude of journalists that were waiting for him for hours to have a chat with him. We urge the security agency holding him hostage to declare to the public where they are keeping him in the country.

It is a well-known fact that the Nigerian authorities had tried all their antics to see that the Sheikh wasn’t given a medical leave. Distrustful of the Nigerian government’s offer of a jet to take him to the destination, having survived its attempts to poison and kill him while in detention, our leader Sheikh Zakzaky declined the offer and chose to pay for his trip through the Emirates Airline.

Their ordeal started right here in Nigeria when they were schedule to board the plane to Dubai. After a 2 hours’ drive from Kaduna to Nnamdi Azikwe international Airport in Abuja, they were not given enough time to rest before boarding the plane. They endured an 8-hour flight to Dubai and another 3-hour flight to New Delhi. Under normal circumstances, as patients suffering life threatening ailments they shouldn’t have been subjected to such exhaustion. Nonetheless our leader and his wife endured the journey hoping that they will get good treatment when they reached New Delhi.

However, despite their need for rest, they were forcibly wheeled to a hospital on arrival without their personal physician that accompanied them from Nigeria. They were then subjected to physical examination in the absence of the doctors that initially examined them in Nigeria and when they requested for their presence, it was turned down. Another physician that came from London was also denied access to them despite his familiarity with the Sheikh's case from Nigeria. It was at this point that Sheikh Zakzaky lost confidence in the whole process and refused any further attempt to have him forcibly treated.

More so, the Hospital compromised its independence and medical ethics, treating without obtaining consent of the patients. The health workers were further more interested in taking selfie with the Sheikh and posting on social media, thereby violating their privacies. When the Sheikh noticed some physical assault in addition to the background circumstances, he lost complete confidence in the hospital and demanded to see his own doctors for a substitute arrangement. It is well within every patient’s right to decide whether or not to be treated and to also decide who attends to his health. It is called giving of consent, which every sane autonomous person with capacity is entitled to. Contrary to the Nigerian government’s press statement, that misinformed that it was against “medical ethics and standard practice,” it is in fact at the very essence of medical ethics, which every elementary medical person knows.

The interference of the government raised suspicion that it was planning to kill the Sheikh in India using its international connections. He insisted that if he would not be allowed to see the doctors that brought him to India he would rather come back to Nigeria and seek another destination for his treatment. This became clear because of the government’s stance insisting on other doctors than the ones that he was in India to meet. They finally decided to bring him back for refusing to succumb to be treated by their chosen doctors.

It is worth noting that the Kaduna high court allowed the Sheikh to go to India with the government only supervising, instead the federal government presented him to the Indian government as a dangerous suspect with an unknown ailment coming to India and demanded stringent security placed on him. There was even a report that the security agents in India subjected him to physical assault.

It is glaringly clear that the Nigerian government had an ULTERIOR MOTIVE it was nursing using its connections in India when it violated court order and interfered with the procedures of the Sheikh’s treatment. This can also be deduced from the way the security agents whisked him away to unknown destination after arrival at Abuja International airport, without allowing him to have audience with the journalists that were waiting for his arrival.

The Islamic Movement will however continue its struggle to ensure that our leader gets the appropriate medical treatment he deserves as ordered by the Kaduna High court. And as we continue with the struggle, we wish to reiterate our call for the federal government to comply with an earlier Abuja high court that has freed him since 2016. We believe obedience to this court order will finally solve the crisis that has been lingering since the Zaria genocide of December 2015.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980526000676

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Senior MP: Fake Slogans of Human Rights Advocates Exposed after Silence on Zakzaky's Case

Aug 17, 2019

"I believe that the abject silence of the so-called advocates of human rights exposes their fake nature," Khadijeh Nobari told FNA on Saturday.

She called on the Nigerian parliament to release Sheikh Zakzaky or account for its silence before the Muslim world's public opinion.

Nobari also said that nearly 1,000 Iranian physicians have declared preparedness to treat Sheikh Zakzaky.

Sheikh Zakzaky, a prominent Shiite leader, has been in detention along with his wife for close to four years despite the deterioration of his health conditions.

Last Tuesday, in an exclusive interview with FNA, Dr. Pourrahim Najafabadi, MD, said Sheikh Zakzaky needs to be cured by an experienced medical team of physicians in a specialized multi-specialty hospital outside Nigeria, since there is no such medical center in the African country.

"With the current physical condition of the Sheikh, especially the virulent lead poisoning, Sheikh’s life is seriously at risk by delayed treatment. Meanwhile, there is a need for special medical care even in case of complete medical treatment. There is serious risk to Sheikh’s life if he is kept under detention,” said Najafabadi, the founder and spokesperson of a group of expert physicians who have volunteered to treat Sheikh Zakzaky.

Also, last Sunday, a group of doctors from Pakistan, India, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq in a letter to the Nigerian government pointed to Sheikh Zakzaky's physical conditions, and asked the Nigerian government to transfer him to a well-equipped hospital as soon as possible.

Finally, the Nigerian government allowed Zakzaky to be treated in India but the senior cleric decided to return to Nigeria after being pressured in India.

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria, in an official statement, rejected the claims spread by state-sponsored media about the reason why Zakzaky cut his treatment visit to India short, revealing that the decision was made after it was found that Abuja was planning to murder the cleric in India.

Sheikh Zakzaky was, from the very beginning of his travel to India, bothered and pressed by the hostile decision of the Nigerian government, according to a Friday statement signed by Ibrahim Musa, the President of the Media Forum of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The movement added in its statement that even upon returning from New Delhi, the top cleric was denied a chance to talk to reporters and journalists who had been waiting for his return at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport for hours.

The IMN condemned the move, and added that it was intended to prevent Sheikh from revealing some realities about his difficulties in New Delhi, and to pave the way for spreading disinformation against him.

According to the statement, upon arriving in New Delhi, Sheikh Zakzaky and his wife were separated from the doctors who accompanied him from Nigeria and were forcibly taken to a hospital which held no respect for the basic rights of patients.

Even a doctor who had flown from London to New Delhi was not allowed to meet with Sheikh Zakzaky.

It asserted that Nigerian agents’ insistence on not allowing Sheikh Zakzaky to meet with his doctors reassured the cleric and his wife that Abuja was planning to kill him in the Indian hospital with the help of their connections and operatives in the place.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980526000923

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UNSC moot reaffirms Kashmiris right to self-determination, says PM Imran

Aug 18, 2019

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday welcomed the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on occupied Jammu and Kashmir held on Friday, saying the gathering was a reaffirmation of the council’s past resolutions advocating the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people.

Taking to Twitter, the premier noted that it was for the first time in over five decades that the “world’s highest diplomatic forum” had taken up the issue of occupied Kashmir and the serious situation prevailing there.

“There are 11 UNSC resolutions reiterating the Kashmiris right to self-determination. And the UNSC meeting was a reaffirmation of these resolutions,” the prime minister wrote.

He said it was, therefore, the responsibility of the Security Council to address the suffering of the Kashmiri people and ensure the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

Imran Khan

@ImranKhanPTI

I welcome the UNSC meeting to discuss the serious situation in Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. It is for the first time in over 50 yrs that the world’s highest diplomatic forum has taken up this issue. There are 11 UNSC resolutions reiterating the Kashmiris right to self determination.

43.6K

1:12 PM - Aug 17, 2019

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For the first time since 1965, the UNSC had on Friday held a meeting exclusively on occupied Jammu and Kashmir, nullifying India’s claim that this was an internal matter.

Although the council did not agree on a statement, China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun summed up the discussions, expressing serious concern over the situation.

“The UNSC members are concerned about the human rights situation there and they (want) the parties concerned to refrain from taking any unilateral action that might further aggravate the tension there since the situation is already very tense and very dangerous,” he said.

Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said the meeting brought the Kashmir dispute back to the world’s most influential panel and also highlighted the atrocities Indian troops are committing in the occupied region.

“The voice of the Kashmiri people resonated in the chambers of the world’s highest diplomatic forum today,” she said. “The whole world is discussing the occupied state. This is an international dispute.”

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/08/17/unsc-moot-reaffirms-kashmiris-right-to-self-determination-says-pm-imran/

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Turkey welcomes consultations at UNSC over Occupied Kashmir

Aug 18, 2019

ANKARA: Turkey on Sunday said that it is very optimistic and welcomes the consultations held at the UN Security Council on Indian held Kashmir on Friday under the title “India-Pakistan”, with an objective to de-escalate tension in the region and upholding diplomacy.

Turkey has asked several times that UN must indulge more actively to resolve this ongoing issue and help to ensure peace in the region, the Turkish Foreign Office said in a statement.

The statement further said that Turkey strongly believes that very soon, this issue will be resolved as per international law and both parties would come up with a solution through dialogue. During this course, India and Pakistan must adopt a reconciliatory approach and should not take any step which may endanger peace efforts.

Earlier, the premier took to Twitter and stated: “It is the responsibility of the international body to address the plight of Kashmiris.”

“I welcome the Security Council s meeting on Jammu and Kashmir […] it is the first time in five decades that the Kashmir dispute is being discussed at the highest diplomatic forum.”

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/08/18/turkey-welcomes-consultations-at-unsc-over-occupied-kashmir/

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Brother of Afghan Taliban Chief Killed in Pakistan Mosque Bombing

By Ayaz Gul

August 16, 2019

The younger brother of Afghan Taliban chief Hibatullah Akhundzada was said to be among at least four people killed in bomb blast at an Islamic seminary in a southwestern part of neighboring Pakistan.

Insurgent sources confirmed to VOA that the man, identified as Ahmadullah Akhundzada, was leading Friday afternoon prayer at the seminary’s mosque in the Kuchlak area near Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, when the bomb went off.

There were no immediate claims of responsibly for the attack in a Pakistani province, which has long served as a hiding place for Taliban leaders and fighters waging a deadly insurgency against U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan.

A senior Pakistani regional police officer, Abdul Razzaq Cheema, told reporters the blast wounded more than 24 worshipers. The improvised explosive device, he said, was planted under the chair of the prayer leader and a timed device was used to trigger the explosion.

The police officer, however, shared no further details about identities of the victims.

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, was not immediately available to comment on the reported death of the brother of Hibatullah, who himself also used to run an Islamic seminary, locally known as madrassa, in Kuchlak before becoming the chief of the insurgent group in 2016.

Hibatullah’s predecessor, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, was also killed in Baluchistan in 2016 in an American drone attack while he was returning from neighboring Iran and travelling through the Pakistani province.

The United States has long blamed Pakistan for not preventing insurgents from using its soil to plot attacks in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials maintain insurgents take shelter in areas hosting camps for millions of Afghan refugees in the country. 

The relationship between Washington and Islamabad, however, has improved in recent months mainly because Pakistan is credited for arranging ongoing U.S.-Taliban peace negotiations aimed at ending the 18-year-old Afghan war.

https://www.voanews.com/south-central-asia/brother-afghan-taliban-chief-killed-pakistan-mosque-bombing

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63 killed, 182 wounded in Kabul wedding blast: official

August 18, 2019

KABUL: At least 63 people were killed and 182 wounded in an explosion targeting a wedding in the Afghan capital, authorities said Sunday.

The blast, which took place late Saturday in west Kabul, came as Washington and the Taliban are in the final stages of a deal to reduce the US military presence in Afghanistan. The Taliban denied any involvement in the attack.

Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi provided the toll, which is the highest in Kabul in recent months.

"Among the wounded are women and children," Rahimi said.

Afghan weddings are epic and vibrant affairs, with hundreds or often thousands of guests celebrating inside industrial-scale wedding halls where the men are usually segregated from the women and children.

Mohammad Farhag, who had been at the wedding, told AFP he had been in the women’s section when he heard a huge blast in the men’s area.

"Everyone ran outside shouting and crying," he said.

"For about 20 minutes the hall was full of smoke. Almost everyone in the men’s section is either dead or wounded."

Two hours after the blast, he said bodies were still being removed from the hall.

Insurgents have periodically struck Afghan weddings, which are seen as easy targets because they frequently lack rigorous security precautions.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/513915-63-killed-182-wounded-in-kabul-wedding-blast-official

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‘Islamophobic’ UKIP Head’s Call For Quran Ban Will Most Likely Incite Further Hate Crimes

Aug 16, 2019

Leader of the ‘Islamophobic’ UKIP has suggested a ban on the Holy Quran, suggesting that the rise in UK violence is somehow connected to the peaceful religion of Islam. However, the call will only embolden the far-right to carry out more hate crimes.

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader, Richard Braine – popularly known as “Dick” Braine on social media – was quoted as saying Britain needed independence not only from the European Union but from other forces.

Braine said his call for a ban on the Holy Quran is because Islamic scripture encouraged people to be “violent and murderous”. He, however, failed to link hate speech, like his own, to a rise in aggression.

His remarks are the latest to come from a surge in far-right, as well as mainstream, Islamophobic views in British politics.

The Guardian this week unearthed a 2007 essay written by current PM Boris Johnson, which further incited Islamophobic attitudes. He said that Islam has caused the Muslim world to be “literally centuries behind” the West.

Moreover, last year Johnson compared Muslim women wearing burqas to bank robbers and letterboxes. (Dear Johnson, let’s respect the fact that your own great-grandfather Ali Kemal, a Turkish politician, had been a Muslim.)

Are these vitriolic comments simply a means to gain independence from the EU, as many politicians are saying? Do these Islamophobic attacks by prominent figures simply go unnoticed by the educated masses?

A report by an independent monitoring group found that the number of anti-Muslim hate crimes reported across Britain increased by 593% in the week after a white supremacist killed worshippers at two New Zealand mosques earlier this year.

The real figures are likely to be higher. Only some instances of hate crimes are reported, with victims often feeling there is no point complaining.

Islamophobia has become the driving force behind the rise of far-right movements in the UK, according to anti-racism charity, Hope Not Hate.

At the very least in present times, Islamophobic comments made by prominent figures are, according to them, a means of allowing the UK to end uncontrolled immigration.

UKIP was one of the main drivers of a referendum in 2016 that saw Britons vote for their country to leave the EU. And now Dick Braine is the eighth party leader since the Brexit referendum in 2018.

UKIP, as well as Conservative leaders, should do more to challenge the negative view of its voters.

Rather, in order to win more votes, these politicians, willy-nilly, spew their caustic observations on the desperate public, who are being faced with massive economic calamities from a possible no-deal Brexit. Their speeches spread chaos, not peace in society.

You cannot have world peace with individuals who are boiling from the inside and are ready to explode. Inner peace is the key to world peace.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/16/603687/UKIP-heads-call-for-Quran-ban-will-most-likely-incite-further-hate-crimes

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‘Nightmare’ As Egypt Aided China To Detain Uighurs

August 18, 2019

CAIRO: Abdulmalik Abdulaziz, an Uighur student, was arrested and handcuffed by Egyptian police and when they removed his blindfold he was surprised to see Chinese officials questioning him in custody.

He was picked up in broad daylight with friends, and taken to a Cairo police station where Chinese officials grilled him about what he was doing in Egypt.

The three officials spoke to him in Chinese, addressing him using his Chinese name, not his Uighur one.

“They never said their names or mentioned who they were exactly,” said Abdulaziz, 27, who spoke to AFP helping to uncover new details of the 2017 arrests of over 90 Uighurs from the mostly Muslim Turkic minority.

Abdulaziz, like most swept up in the three-day crackdown in the first week of July 2017, was an Islamic theology student at Al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world’s most prestigious educational institution.

“Egyptian policemen said ‘the Chinese government says that you are terrorists’. But we responded that we are only Al-Azhar students,” said Abdulaziz. AFP is using pseudonyms to protect the identities of those Uighurs interviewed.

China is one of Egypt’s biggest investors, pouring money into massive infrastructure projects such as the construction of a new administrative capital east of Cairo. Trade between the two countries reached a record high of US$13.8 billion last year.

Just three weeks before the raid, Egypt and China signed a security memorandum focusing on “combatting terrorism”.

After a few days of questioning in Police Station 2 in Nasr City, an upmarket suburb of Cairo, Abdulaziz was sent to Tora, one of Egypt’s most notorious jails.

Released after 60 days in detention, he escaped, seeking asylum in Turkey, a hub of Uighur immigration, in October 2017.

Same tactics

Shams Eddin Ahmed, 26, was arrested outside the Moussa Ibn Naseer mosque on 4 July, 2017 in Nasr City.

His father in Xinjiang, a region in northwest China, also disappeared that month.

Many Uighurs refer to Xinjiang as East Turkestan, including those AFP interviewed, but for Beijing, it has troubling connotations of independence and activism.

“I still don’t know if he’s dead or alive,” he recounted.

Unmarked black vans pulled up as afternoon prayers ended and around five policemen arrested several Uighur worshippers.

Ahmed was also transferred to Tora, the stifling carceral complex which houses many of Egypt’s high-profile political prisoners.

“I felt so afraid when I got there. It was extremely dark… I thought to myself how will we ever get out of here?” he said.

“I was afraid that they would hand us over to the Chinese authorities,” added Ahmed.

The Uighurs were split into two groups of 45 to 50 men each and languished in large cells for weeks.

Two weeks before their release, the Uighurs and other Chinese Muslims of different ethnic ancestry were divided into three groups and given colour codes.

Red, green or yellow determined if they would be deported, released or further questioned.

Ahmed said Egyptian prison guards handcuffed, blindfolded and then hauled many of the group into vans heading to Cairo police stations.

During 11 days in police custody, he claims three Chinese officials questioned him specifically about his father.

“Where is he and how does he send you money?” he told AFP.

Ahmed was in the green group, meaning he was eventually released. He fled to Istanbul in early October 2017.

Abdulweli Ayup, a Norway-based Uighur linguist who has researched the community in Egypt, confirmed hearing similar accounts from other detainees.

“It’s the same practice and tactic implemented in internment camps in China. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence,” he said, adding Chinese authorities use the same three colour codes for detained Uighurs.

Muslim brothers

Human rights groups say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are held in a network of internment camps in China where they endure political indoctrination.

Beijing says the “vocational education centres” are necessary to counter religious extremism.

Germany-based independent researcher Adrian Zenz, who has mapped out camps in Xinjiang, said “China’s new push to redefine human rights in terms of economic development… suits many of these nations.”

“A country giving the Chinese significant leeway can in return expect significant favours,” he added, referring to the Egyptian-Chinese security cooperation.

Egypt’s interior ministry and the Chinese embassy in Cairo did not respond to AFP’s repeated requests for comment.

“Those found to be overstaying contrary to the law, including Chinese citizens among other nationalities, are expelled”, said Ahmed Hafez, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman, when asked about the deportation of Uighurs in 2017. He did not answer AFP’s questions on the 60-day detention of the group that had been picked up by police.

Darren Byler, an anthropologist at Washington University, noted “similar attempts by Chinese officials in Thailand and elsewhere” to extradite diaspora Uighurs.

“The autonomy with which Chinese authorities were permitted to act in Egypt is unprecedented,” he told AFP.

Ayup, the linguist, explains the devastating effect of the 2017 raids that reduced a thriving community of around 6,000 people to about 50 families.

“For Uighurs, it’s a nightmare that your Muslim brother would invite Chinese officials to interrogate you. They have lost their belief and have become paranoid in the diaspora,” he said.

Abdulaziz considers himself fortunate, but the fate of other Uighurs expelled by Egypt preys on his mind.

“It has been years since we heard anything about those deported and our families. We just don’t know.”

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2019/08/18/nightmare-as-egypt-aided-china-to-detain-uighurs/

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India

 

Kashmir Was Never Yours, Islamic Scholar, Imam Mohamad Tawhidi, to Pakistan

August 13, 2019

Kashmir was never a part of Pakistan, or will be a part of it, a controversial Islamic scholar has told Pakistan, asking it to face the situation with "honesty".

"Kashmir was never part of Pakistan. Kashmir will never be part of Pakistan. Both Pakistan and Kashmir belong to India. Muslims converting from Hinduism to Islam... doesn't change the fact that the entire region is Hindu Land. India is older than Islam let alone Pakistan. Be honest..," Imam Mohamad Tawhidi said in a tweet.

Imam Mohamad Tawhidi

@Imamofpeace

Kashmir was never part of Pakistan. Kashmir will never be part of Pakistan.

Both Pakistan and Kashmir belong to India. Muslims converting from Hinduism to Islam doesn’t change the fact that the entire region is Hindu Land. India is older than Islam let alone Pakistan. Be honest..

62.1K

8:37 PM - Aug 11, 2019

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27.2K people are talking about this

Tawhidi, whose Twitter handle "@imam of peace", describes him as a "peace advocate", a "reformist imam", and "national bestselling author", who rejects extremists, and both the far-left/far-right", had even earlier said his position was consistent that Kashmir was "Hindu land" that never belonged to Pakistan, and he re-affirmed this during his last visit to India.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/kashmir-was-never-yours-islamic-scholar-pakistan-1580344-2019-08-13

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Indian soldier killed in Pak ceasefire violation in Nowshera

Aug 17, 2019

JAMMU/SRINAGAR: The Pakistan army violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control at 6.30 am on Saturday, using artillery and small arms to target Indian posts and troops in Nowshera. One Indian soldier was killed by Pakistani fire, while retaliatory action by Indian troops caused casualties among Pakistani troops.

The Pakistani artillery barrage, sources said, was to provide covering fire to the first infiltration attempt by terrorists into Indian territory after the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories.

“Lance Naik Sandeep Thapa (35), a resident of Dehradun, sustained fatal injuries in Pakistani firing in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district,” the Jammu-based defence spokesman, Lt Col Devender Anand, said. “Our troops responded strongly and effectively, inflicting heavy damage to Pakistan army posts and casualties among Pakistani soldiers,” Col Anand said.

Thapa belonged to Rajawala village in Sahaspur district, Dehradun, the defence spokesman said, adding that the soldier is survived by his wife, Nisha Thapa. “Lance Naik Sandeep Thapa was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty,” Col Anand said.

Sources said about half a dozen armed terrorists had tried to infiltrate and the Pakistan army had resorted to heavy shelling to help them. The infiltration attempt was repulsed, the sources said.

After the voiding of Article 370’s privileges for J&K, the Pakistan establishment and army have been planning to push in fresh terrorists from the Jaish-e-Muhammed, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen to step up terror attacks on government installations and security forces in the two newly formed Union Territories in the coming months. Pakistani terrorists already operating in the Kashmir valley also have been directed to recruit more local youth, a senior intelligence officer said.

He said he expected infiltration attempts by armed terrorists to occur frequently as Pakistan was feeling disenchanted with the world’s approach to the stripping of J&K’s special status and its bifurcation. The officer added that terrorists currently operating in the valley deliberately lie low to regroup or consolidate to attack government installations and the security forces.

The officer did not rule out the possibility of terrorists sneaking into Srinagar district too. “Though there are a few terrorists operating in Srinagar city nowadays, they are under tremendous pressure from the security forces,” he said.

The intelligence officer said they have inputs that indicate the Pakistan army and ISI have reactivated over two dozen launch pads on their side of the LoC for terrorist outfits like LeT, JeM and Hizbul Mujahideen.

“The movements of terrorists along the LoC have been observed in recent days, ready to make attempts at infiltration into J&K,” the officer said.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/indian-soldier-killed-in-pak-ceasefire-violation-in-nowshera/articleshow/70718873.cms

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Kashmir landlines come alive, traffic starts moving

Aug 17, 2019

SRINAGAR/JAMMU: The authorities lifted restrictions on the movement of people in 35 police station areas of the Valley on Saturday and made landline phones operational by resuming services at 17 out of 96 telephone exchanges. More than 23,000 landlines in the Valley were functional by the evening.

Shops and business establishments in Kashmir, however, remained closed on Saturday.

The authorities also restored mobile internet services, but at 2G speed, in five districts of Jammu region on Saturday, after almost a fortnight, while restrictions on movement were eased in Rajouri district during the day but would remain in force under CrPC Section 144 between 9pm and 5am, an official said in Jammu. The net-savvy started wishing each other on WhatsApp and Facebook as soon as the service was restored.

“Mobile internet service was restored at (Friday) midnight but with 2G speed,” an official said. The districts where mobile internet services have been restored are Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi, but they remain suspended in Poonch, Rajouri, Kishtwar, Doda and Ramban districts, official sources said.

Government spokesman Rohit Kansal said on Saturday that no untoward incident was reported from the Valley areas where restrictions were relaxed and the process of easing would continue on Sunday in these areas after the local authorities had assessed the situation. He added that the authorities were working on opening the remaining landlines by Sunday evening.

Kansal, who is principal secretary (planning and development), said the easing of restrictions resulted in people emerging from their homes and private vehicles plying on the roads. He reiterated that the government was planning to reopen primary schools in the Valley for which the necessary arrangements were being made. “Public transport is plying and we have encouraging reports of a lot of public movement,” Kansal said.

Restrictions on movement under CrPC Section 144 were also lifted from parts of old Srinagar city and the restoration of exchanges enabled landline services in Budgam, Sonamarg and Manigam areas of central Kashmir. In north Kashmir, landline services were restored in Gurez, Tangmarg, Uri, Keran, Karnah and Tangdhar areas; in south Kashmir, services were made operational in Qazigund and Pahalgam areas, the spokesman said.

On the return of Hajis from Sunday onwards, Kashmir divisional commissioner Baseer Ahmad Khan said a comprehensive plan was in place to take the Hajis to their homes. He said two flights carrying over 300 Hajis are scheduled to land in Srinagar on Sunday morning and 10 counters for 10 districts, manned by nodal officers, have been set up. He said the deputy commissioners had issued passes to facilitate the movement of the relatives of the Hajis.

Mobile internet services were snapped across Jammu region on August 4, a day before the Centre ended the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, and bifurcated the state into two Union territories. Schools and other educational institutions, and landline services were suspended in the early hours of August 5.

The authorities said mobile internet services had been restored at a low bandwidth as a preventive measure and to check rumour-mongering or objectionable content circulated on social media. “The decision to suspend mobile internet services was taken by the government only to prevent such elements that play spoilsport and create tension in society (sic),” sources said. They added that higher speeds would be restored soon.

The district administrations in all parts of J&K and Ladakh are closely monitoring the situation on the ground and on social media. “Anybody found flaring up the matter or posting unwanted content to disturb peace and harmony could be booked under the relevant sections,” sources said.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/restrictions-on-peoples-movement-landline-services-partially-restored-in-some-kashmir-areas-2g-mobile-internet-back-in-5-jammu-districts/articleshow/70718854.cms

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6 petitioners move SC challenging J&K Reorganisation Bill, Article 370 abrogation

Aug 17, 2019

NEW DELHI (India): Former Air Vice-Marshal Kapil Kak and Major General Ashok Mehta (retired) are among six petitioners who moved the Supreme Court on Saturday challenging the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Reorganisation Bill and the abrogation of Article 370.

The petitions claimed the amendments struck at the heart of the principles on which the State of Jammu and Kashmir integrated into India, especially as they had no affirmation or sanction from the people of Jammu and Kashmir which, according to the petition, is a constitutional imperative as far as the State of J&K is concerned.

The petitioners who moved the apex court also include Radha Kumar, a former member of the home ministry's Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir (2010-11) and Hindal Haidar Tyabji, a former IAS officer belonging to Jammu & Kashmir Cadre.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/6-petitioners-move-sc-challenging-jk-reorganisation-bill-article-370-abrogation/articleshow/70718017.cms

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PIL in SC against law to declare individuals as terrorists

Aug 17, 2018

A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to declare unconstitutional the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment (UAPA) Act, 2019 that confers power upon the Central government to designate an individual as a terrorist.

The PIL filed by a Delhi resident Sajal Awasthi also sought direction to declare the UAPA violative of fundamental rights as enshrined under Article 14 (Right to Equality), 19 (Right to Free Speech and Expression) and Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution of India.

The petition stated that the recent amendment allows notification of “individuals as terrorists” while under UAPA, 1967, only organisations could be so notified. The UAPA 2019 has modified Chapter VI of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 along with Section 35 and 36, it added.

Section 35 of UAPA 2019 does not specify detailed grounds or reasons based on which an individual can be termed as a terrorist, said the plea, adding that conferring of such an “arbitrary and unfettered power without any limits or bounds” amounts to the violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.

The petition stated: “The new or amended Section 35 of the UAPA Act, 1967 empowers the Central government to categorise any individual as a terrorist and add the name of such a person in Schedule 4 of the Act. Conferring of such a discretionary, unfettered and unbound powers upon the Central government is an antithesis to Article 14 of the Constitution of India.”

The amendments in UAPA, 2019 empower the ruling government, under the garb of curbing terrorism to impose an indirect restriction on the right of dissent, which is detrimental for our developing democratic society, the plea said.

It added that the UAPA, 2019 “does not afford an opportunity to an individual, being categorised as a terrorist, to present his/her case and let such individuals live on the whim and caprice of the society thereinafter.”

The amended Section 35 of the UAPA, 1967 “directly and adversely affects the fundamental right to free speech and expression” as enshrined under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India. Right of dissent is a part and parcel of fundamental right to free speech and expression and therefore, cannot be abridged in any circumstances except for mentioned in Article 19 (2), the plea added.

The petition also stated that UAPA, 2019 also violates the right to reputation -- an integral part of the right to life, by terming or tagging an individual as terrorist even before the commencement of trial.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pil-in-sc-against-law-to-declare-individuals-as-terrorists/story-9LtZHXmMn1Dp6XiuSeggIJ.html

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Donald Trump reiterates importance of India, Pakistan ‘direct dialogue’

Yashwant Raj

Aug 18, 2019

US President Donald Trump on Friday finally put to rest a controversy he had stirred himself by telling Prime Minister Imran Khan in a phone call that Pakistan and India should reduce tensions over Jammu and Kashmir through a “bilateral dialogue”. There was no reference to his earlier offer to mediate.

In response to a question from a reporter, President Trump had made the offer during Prime Minister Khan’s White House visit in July, saying even Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to mediate -- a claim that was swiftly and summarily denied by New Delhi, which also reiterated that the Kashmir dispute can only be resolved bilaterally, and only after Pakistan stopped supporting terrorism. Trump repeated the offer in response to a question from reporters a few days later.

Both the White House and the state department had sought to walk back that offer, but ever so delicately so as to not appear to be contradicting or reversing the president. So there was no change in the US position that the Kashmir dispute must be resolved through “direct dialogue” between India and Pakistan, and that the United States stood ready to assist.

Trump has reversed himself now.

“The President conveyed the importance of India and Pakistan reducing tensions through bilateral dialogue regarding the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley said in a statement on the phone call.

Earlier this month, India nullified Article 30 and Article 35 A of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and reserved benefits such as government employment and property ownership for people deemed to be permanent residents of the state. Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union territories -- J&K and Ladakh.

The two leaders also discussed “how they will continue to build on the growing relationship between the United States and Pakistan and the momentum created during their recent meeting at the White House”, he added.

There was no reference to the mediation offer in the readout, and it could not be immediately ascertained if the Pakistani leader had brought it up or not, because Khan has, in fact, sought to build on Trump’s earlier offer and has publicly called upon him to proceed on his suggestion.

Details of Khan’s conversation with Trump were first made public by Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who said, according to state-run Radio Pakistan, “Prime Minister Khan conveyed Pakistan’s concern on recent developments in Kashmir and the threat they pose to the regional peace.” Qureshi went on to say Khan had also called leaders of other United Nations Security Council (UNSC) permanent members.

The effort was clearly aimed at pushing Pakistan’s request to the UN and the UNSC, in letters from Qureshi, to call for an open and formal meeting of the Security Council to discuss Pakistan’s grievances on Kashmir developments. Pakistan had also sought to be allowed to address the body.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/trump-reiterates-importance-of-india-pakistan-direct-dialogue/story-Y0y0PHtolTX58CfxeXWnNL.html

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Army retaliates to jawan’s killing in Pakistan firing at LoC

Aug 18, 2019

An army soldier was killed when Pakistani troops violated ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) by firing shells in the Nowshera sector of Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district on Saturday, prompting strong response from the Indian Army which inflicted casualties and heavy damage to Pakistan Army posts, a defence spokesman said.

“Indian Army responded strongly and effectively. Heavy damage to Pakistan Army posts and casualties to Pakistan soldiers have been inflicted by our troops,” defence spokesperson Lt Col Devender Anand was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

The slain soldier has been identified as 35-year-old Lance Naik Sandeep Thapa, a resident of village Rajawala in Sahaspur district of Dehradun. He served in the Army for 15 years, Lt Col Anand said.

“He attained martyrdom today in Nowshera while defending the frontiers. He was a brave soldier and the nation will remain indebted to him for his dedication to duty and supreme sacrifice,” he said.

“Lance Naik Thapa, who is survived by his wife Nisha Thapa and a three-year-old son, was a brave, highly-motivated and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty.”

Pakistani troops opened fire with small arms and mortars in the Nowshera sector at around 6:30 am and Indian soldiers retaliated, he added.

The ceasefire violation came two days after India’s retaliatory fire in the KG sector of Poonch district had left four Pakistani soldiers dead.

Since the Indian government effectively revoked Article 370, which gave Jammu and Kashmir its special status, and carved out two union territories of Ladakh and J&K on August 5 and 6, Pakistani army troops have been regularly violating the ceasefire along the LoC and trying to push militants into J&K.

Army chief General Bipin Rawat has already warned Pakistan of a punitive response to any mischief on the borders.

Last month, two Army personnel and a 10-day-old baby were killed and several civilians injured in heavy Pakistani shelling and firing in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri in Jammu region.

Minister warns Pakistan of a befitting reply

The Union minister of law and justice Ravi Shankar Prasad asserted on Saturday that Pakistan will get a befitting reply if any act is committed by terrorists in the backdrop of the nullification of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to media persons in Nagpur, Prasad said India was well prepared over the security of its own territory and if Pakistan carried out any terror activity, it would be given a prompt and appropriate response.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/army-retaliates-to-jawan-s-killing-in-pakistan-firing-at-loc/story-8HmWswRauTgBNff7ZEVa1J.html

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Jammu and Kashmir: In security lockdown, lessons from 2016 Wani killing protests

by Deeptiman Tiwary

August 18, 2019

The current lockdown in Kashmir reflects lessons learnt during the massive violence that rocked the Valley in the days immediately following the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016, officials in the security establishment told The Sunday Express.

In the first 10 days after Wani’s killing in an encounter in Tral in South Kashmir on July 8, 2016, the Valley saw as many as 257 incidents of stone-pelting. In comparison, in the first 10 days following the removal of special status and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories, 166 incidents of stone-pelting were recorded.

Importantly, the incidents that followed Wani’s killing were much more deadly. Between July 8 and July 18, 2016, security forces suffered 1,369 injuries, and 185 of their vehicles were damaged.

In the 10-day period after the removal of Article 370 by contrast, only 45 security personnel were injured, and 18 vehicles were damaged.

As many as 42 civilians were killed in the protests in the first 10 days after Wani’s killing. Now, the death of only one civilian has been reported.

“The reason for the comparatively less violence this time is the near complete shutdown we effected in the first few days following the Article 370 decision. Unlike in 2016, all communication, including landlines, was cut. Except in medical emergencies, people were not allowed to move out of their neighbourhoods. This ensured there was never an assembly of people large enough to create significant trouble,” a senior security officer said.

After Wani’s killing, government did clamp down on communication for almost two months, but both landlines and postpaid mobile phones were working.

What has also helped, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs said, that separatist leaders, who often call bandhs and organise protests, were already in jail, thanks to arrests made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) over the past couple of years.

Almost all top separatists barring Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq are behind bars in connection with a case of terror funding. Yasin Malik, Shabbir Shah, Asiya Andrabi and Masarat Alam are among over a dozen leaders currently lodged in Tihar jail in Delhi.

“Preparations were made in advance, and people were taken into preventive custody before the announcement was made. Security forces had been deployed well in advance, and all key political leaders were put under house arrest. So all that we saw was a handful of people protesting or throwing stones in their neighbourhoods. More and bigger injuries occur when a thousand or more people gather at one place and throw stones,” the officer said.

The administration has begun to ease restrictions after 12 days of severe clampdown. Schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday, and the communication blackout is likely to be gradually removed. Some phone lines have begun working.

“You can’t impose severe restrictions for too long. It can lead to spontaneous protests that may be difficult to control,” the officer said.

According to government data, stone-pelting incidents, and resulting injuries, have been going down steadily since the abrogation of Article 370. While on the first day — August 6 — there were 45 incidents of stone-pelting, it fell to 30 on the following day. Subsequent days saw 15, 27, and 19 incidents respectively. Since then, the figures have been in single digits.

All vehicles were damaged in the first four days. Injuries to security forces personnel too, were reported the most on the first day — 21 personnel were injured. Since then, the figures have been in single digits.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jammu-and-kashmir-lockdown-restrictions-eased-in-valley-burhan-wani-killing-protests-2016-5913752/

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CM Gehlot order reprobes into Pehlu Khan lynching

August 17, 2019

After a court in Alwar acquitted all six men accused of lynching Pehlu Khan, the Rajasthan government, led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on August 16 ordered a fresh investigation into the case.

A Special Investigation Team under the supervision of state’s additional director-general of police (crime) was set up with a senior lawyer to guide the investigation.

As per the media sources, the decision was taken following a high-level review meeting chaired by the chief minister to check if the case was properly investigated and fix the responsibility for botched up investigation.

The SIT will submit its report within 15 days.

Court Acquit All Six

Earlier on 14th August, Wednesday, an Alwar court acquitted all the six accused of leading a mob in the lynching case on the benefit of the doubt.

The other three juveniles allegedly involved are in the case still facing enquiry by a Juvenile Justice Board.

What’s The Case

On April 1 in 2017, Khan, a 55-year-old dairy farmer from Haryana’s Nuh, was beaten up by self-styled cow vigilantes near Behror in Rajasthan on the Delhi-Alwar highway.

He succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital two days later.

Anti-Lynching Bill

Full report at:

https://www.siasat.com/cm-gehlot-order-fresh-probe-pehlu-khan-lynching-1585548/

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Southeast Asia

 

Report: No go for Zakir Naik, family in Perlis Muslim ‘reverts camp’

16 August 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 ― Dr Zakir Naik will not be allowed to speak publicly at a two-day Muslim camp in Perlis scheduled to start tomorrow, police said today.

The Star reported state police chief Senior Assistant Commissioner Noor Mushar Mohd saying that action will be taken against the divisive India-born preacher if he proceeds.

“Zakir can come to Perlis, but he can't talk and action will be taken against him if he does so,” the senior policeman was quoted telling a news conference in Kangar.

According to the report, a 10-day notice to the police is required for future talks featuring Dr Zakir, and must include the topic.

“We are a multi-racial country and the sensitivities of others have to be taken into consideration,” Noor Mushar Mohd was quoted saying further.

The Star also reported Perlis Mufti Datuk Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin saying he has written to the event organiser, Muhammad Zamri Vinoth Kalimuthu of Muslim evangelical group One Centre Malaysia, asking to “excuse” Dr Zakir and his family from the camp for Muslim converts.

“For the benefit of Zakir and his family, this department would like to advise you to excuse him and his family from the Malaysia Reverts Camp 2019.

“This is to ensure that he and his family are not disturbed due to issues raised by those with ill intentions,” Asri was quoted saying in his letter.

The camp called Malaysia Reverts Camp 2019 is to be held in a mosque in Kuala Perlis from tomorrow until Sunday.

Dr Zakir, his wife Farhat, son Fariq, and daughters Zikra and Rushda were scheduled to speak in gender segregated sessions at the camp.

Other speakers included the organiser Zamri Vinoth who is also Dr Zakir’s protege and was recently arrested for allegedly insulting Hindus in a religious lecture; Multiracial Reverted Muslims founder Firdaus Wong Wai Hung who recently caused charity group Who is Hussain? to receive death threats after he accused them of spreading Shiah teachings; and controversial columnist Ridhuan Tee Abdullah.

Dr Zakir is under investigation for provocation stemming from his remarks about Malaysia’s minority communities during an event in Kelantan last week.

Federal Criminal Investigation Department director Commissioner Datuk Huzir Mohamed confirmed the probe under Section 504 of the Penal Code for intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/08/16/report-no-go-for-zakir-naik-family-in-perlis-muslim-reverts-camp/1781271

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Africa

 

Not only Christians are kidnapped in Kaduna — Muslim Council

August 17, 2019

The Council of Imams and Ulama on Saturday said the claims that only Christians are being kidnapped in Kaduna State, were false.

The Muslim group warned that security matters must not be politicised.

They argued that politicising security matters would only set the stage for an ethno-religious crisis in the state.

The Secretary of the Council, Yusuf Arigasiyu, who addressed a press conference in Kaduna on Saturday, insisted that many Muslims had over the years been kidnapped as well.

According to him, it was divisive and false that claims that kidnappers only abduct Christians in Kaduna State.

Arigasiyu noted that kidnapping was a national security challenge,  adding that even the criminals as well as their victims cut across ethno-religious divides.

He said, “Along Birnin Gwari-Kaduna Road alone, between 22nd June and 30th July 2019, over 55 persons have been kidnapped and over 20 persons were killed, including five Nigerian Air Force and Army personnel, according to news reports.

“Majority of the citizens killed and kidnapped along Birnin Gwari, Giwa, Igabi and Abuja-Kaduna roads and the border towns with Niger, Katsina and Zamfara States have been Muslims.

“We never viewed the unfortunate situation from a religious angle. In fact, we have always condemned the act of criminality and have called on the State and Federal Governments to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians, irrespective of where they are or how they worship.”

https://punchng.com/not-only-christians-are-kidnapped-in-kaduna-muslim-council/

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Sudan military names three members for sovereign council, says a report

17 August 2019

Sudan’s sovereign council will include Transitional Military Council (TMC) head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo and Lieutenant General Yasser al-Atta, the TMC’s spokesperson said to Sky News Arabia.

Under a power-sharing agreement the sovereign council will include five members selected by the TMC, five picked by the main opposition coalition, and one agreed upon by both sides.

The military’s two remaining members will be named at a later time, Shams El Din Kabbashi said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/17/Sudan-military-names-three-members-for-sovereign-council-says-a-report.html

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Al-Jubeir: Sudan agreement first building block to build secure state, economy

17 August 2019

Sudan’s landmark transitional deal is the first “building block” that will contribute to building a secure state and economy, said Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, adding that the Kingdom supports the country’s security and stability.

“The Sudan agreement is the first building block that will contribute to building a capable, secure state and economy, and will contribute to achieving the aspirations of the brotherly Sudanese people,” al-Jubeir said in a tweet.

Sudan’s protest leaders formally signed a deal with the Transitional Military Council in Khartoum on Saturday, paving the way for a transition to a civilian-led government following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir in April.

“The Kingdom was and still is with everything that guarantees Sudan’s security and stability and its active contribution in reaching the partnership agreement signed between the Sudanese parties and it supports the efforts led by Ethiopia and the African Union as an extension of this approach.” al-Jubeir said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/17/Al-Jubeir-Sudan-agreement-first-building-block-to-build-secure-state-economy.html

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Libyan National Army launches 13 airstrikes on militia sites in Misrata

18 August 2019

The Libyan National Army (LNA) carried out 13 airstrikes targeting militia sites in Misrata late Saturday, including a warehouse for Turkish drones.

“We carried out 13 airstrikes on militia posts in the Misrata air base. The operation was precise and successful,” General Mohamed Manfour, the commander of the LNA’s air operations room, told Al Arabiya.

Manfour confirmed that the targeted sites included a warehouse for Turkish drones, a control room and transmitters that operate the drones, in addition to a warehouse of missiles used by the unmanned aerial vehicles.

Manfour added that the army’s combat aircraft returned to their bases after the success of the operation.

The Misrata Forces is among the militias targeted by the LNA in their campaign to retake Tripoli.

Libya has been mired in chaos as multiple militias vied for power after a NATO-backed uprising resulted in dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s death in 2011.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/08/18/Libyan-National-Army-launches-13-airstrikes-on-militia-sites-in-Misrata.html

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Libya intercepts boats with over 270 Europe-bound migrants

17 August 2019

Libya’s coast guard says it has intercepted four boats carrying 278 Europe-bound migrants off the country’s Mediterranean coast.

Saturday’s statement by spokesman Ayoub Gassim said the migrants, including 18 women and two children, were intercepted Tuesday in separate rescue operations off the coast near the capital, Tripoli.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2019/08/17/Libya-intercepts-boats-with-over-270-Europe-bound-migrants.html

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Sudan power-sharing deal blow to Saudi Arabia, UAE: Commentator

Aug 18, 2019

A New York-based author and commentator says the power-sharing agreement recently signed in Sudan shows that financial contributions to the Sudanese military by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have failed to compromise civilian participation in government.

Naseer al-Omari made the remarks to Press TV’s The Debate program on Saturday. The program had Abayomi Azikiwe, editor with Pan-African News Wire from Detroit, as its other guest.

Omari said the conclusion of the deal, which came on Saturday, showed that “the UAE and Saudi Arabia were not able to strengthen the hand of the military through donations.”

Hundreds of Sudanese converged on the capital, Khartoum, for the signing of the agreement brokered by the African Union and Ethiopia.

The military took over in April, after overthrowing long-time president Omar al-Bashir.

The Sudanese, who had been initially protesting against Bashir’s rule, then began calling for the inclusion of civilians in the country’s transitional administration. The ruling junta cracked down on a protest camp in June, killing dozens of demonstrators, escalating the protests and prompting international pressure on the military to listen to the people.

The Saturday deal ushered in a sovereign council consisting of six civilians and five generals, who will run the country until elections, which will be held three years from now.

Omari called the agreement a “very very significant” outcome that had defied expectations of further chaos in the country.

“However, you can never be certain that this could be a smooth transition towards democracy,” he said. “The same forces that killed so many demonstrators are still present in the military council.”

Azikiwe also said that the first head of the transitional council would be a military figure and that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi had pledged the military three billion dollars in financial assistance before the deal was signed.

He said it was important for the transitional authorities to bring about the economic opportunities and political freedom that people yearn for inside the country.

Another important question was whether the new authorities would be prepared to withdraw the Sudanese forces partaking in an ongoing Saudi-led war on Yemen.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/18/603827/Sudan-power-sharing-deal-Saudi-Arabia-United-Arab-Emirates

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Turkey's support to Sudan will continue to grow: FM

Ahmet Furkan Mercan  

17.08.2019

Ankara's support to Sudan and "brotherly" Sudanese people will continue to grow, Turkish foreign minister on Saturday said.

Since the beginning, Turkey has been in favor of peace and tranquility in Sudan, Mevlut Cavusoglu told reports in Sudanese capital Khartoum, where he attended the signing ceremony of a power-sharing deal between rival sides in the country.

Attending the ceremony on the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Cavusoglu said he conveyed Erdogan's message to the head of the Transition Military Council (TMC) Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Sudan's Acting Foreign Minister Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed.

Sudan has remained in turmoil since April 11, when the military establishment announced long-serving President Omar Bashir’s removal after months of popular protests against his 30-year rule.

Earlier in the day, Sudan’s ruling TMC and opposition Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) alliance signed a power-sharing deal on Saturday, paving the way for elections and civilian rule.

As a result of the deal between the rival sides in Sudan, there will be a 39-month transition before the elections.

"I hope peace and tranquility will be permanent," the Turkish foreign minister said.

He said the stability of Sudan is important for Turkey and for all Africa, but especially for the West Africa and the Middle East, where very negative developments are taking place.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the signing ceremony, Cavusoglu met with his Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/turkeys-support-to-sudan-will-continue-to-grow-fm/1558746

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Pakistan

 

Qureshi criticises defence minister Rajnath Singh for his remarks on nuclear weapons

Aug 17, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has criticised as "irresponsible" and "unfortunate" defence minister Rajnath Singh's remarks that India has always adhered to its "no first use” policy on nuclear weapons but “what happens in the future will depend on circumstances.”

Singh's remarks on nuclear weapons came after he visited Pokhran where India carried out the nuclear tests in 1998 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the prime minister.

"The substance and timing of Indian defence minister is highly unfortunate and shows India irresponsible and belligerent behaviour," Qureshi said.

"Pakistan will continue to maintain minimum credible deterrence," he said.

The statement of Indian defence ministers showed his "folly", he said.

Qureshi's remarks came amid tensions between India and Pakistan after New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The UN Security Council took up the issue of Kashmir in informal consultations. Pakistan has claimed it as big success.

The meeting on Kashmir by the Security Council ended without any outcome or statement from the powerful 15-nation UN organ, dealing a huge snub to Pakistan and its all-weather ally China to internationalise the issue, which an overwhelming majority stressed is a bilateral matter between New Delhi and Islamabad.

Qureshi said the UNSC meeting showed that the people of Kashmir were not alone.

He also rejected the idea of any conversation with Indian counterpart S Jaishankar.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/qureshi-criticises-defence-minister-rajnath-singh-for-his-remarks-on-nuclear-weapons/articleshow/70714721.cms

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65-year-old Pakistani Muslim tackled terrorist who wanted to attack Norwegian mosque

Aug 18, 2019

NORWAY: Mohammad Rafiq, a 65-year-old retired Pakistan Air Force officer, was the first of the three people who approached the terrorist who aimed to attack a Norwegian mosque, the administration said on Saturday.

Police in the area have said that Sunday’s attack al-Noor Islamic Centre is being investigated as a “possible act of terrorism”.

The terrorist at the al-Noor Islamic Centre near the Norwegian capital – a young, white male carrying several guns – had expressed far-right, anti-immigrant views online, assistant chief of police Rune Skjold told a news conference.

The terrorist had been apprehended after the attack, in which shots were fired but no one was hit, with Rafiq having overpowered him inside the mosque before police arrived.

Only three people were present in the mosque at the time of the attack, preparing for the next day’s celebration of Eidul Azha festival, mosque spokesman Waheed Ahmed told Reuters.

“These people showed great courage,” Skjold added.

“I suddenly heard shooting from outside,” Rafiq told Reuters via an interpreter, adding that a man then entered the building with guns and pistols.

“He started to fire towards the two other men,” Rafiq said, adding that he had then grabbed the terrorist, holding him down and wrestling the weapons off the attacker.

His eye red and one hand swollen, Rafiq, who has lived in Norway for the past two and a half years, said he was still recovering from the attack.

“He put his finger inside my eye, up to here; full finger inside my eye,” Rafiq added.

The terrorist, who has not been named by the authorities, was also suspected of killing one of his own family members, a young woman who was found dead at his home, police said earlier.

The mosque had implemented extra security measures this year after the massacre of more than 50 people at two New Zealand mosques by a right-wing terrorist.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said police had ramped up security on Sunday as thousands of Muslims gathered at mosques for the Eid celebration.

While the government continuously tries to combat hate speech, more must still be done, she added.

“We are trying to combat this, but it’s a challenge. I think it’s a word-wide challenge in a sense,” Solberg said.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/08/13/65-year-old-pakistani-muslim-tackled-terrorist-who-wanted-to-attack-norwegian-mosque/

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Army rescues three stranded mountaineers, airlifts body of another

Aug 18, 2019

GILGIT: Pakistan Army personnel on Saturday rescued three stranded mountaineers and airlifted the body of another.

The rescued mountaineers were stranded while scaling Mir peak in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Meanwhile, Army Aviation helicopters also airlifted the dead body of mountaineer Fida Hussain from Miyacher Glacier in Nagar.

Commander Force Command Northern Areas Maj General Ahsan Mehmood Khan attended the funeral of the deceased in Minapin, Nagar.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/08/17/army-rescues-three-stranded-mountaineers-airlifts-body-of-another/

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Rajnath Singh’s statement is a threat to entire world: Firdous

Aug 18, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Indian defence minister’s statement reflects the extremist ideology of RSS which can go to the extent of putting the world peace at stake to accomplish its nefarious designs, said Prime Minister’s Advisor on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan on Saturday.

She was referring to Rajnath Singh’s statement that India’s “no first use” nuclear policy may change.

The Indian defence minister’s statement came in the middle of a crisis in Occupied Kashmir where Indian forces have enforced a clampdown since earlier this month after depriving the Muslim majority region of its special status granted under article 370.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/08/17/rajnath-singhs-statement-is-a-threat-to-entire-world-firdous/

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Mideast

 

Three Palestinians martyred by Israeli troops at Gaza border

August 18, 2019

Gaza City: Three Palestinians were martyred by Israeli soldiers in the northern Gaza Strip, the Palestinian health ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said another Palestinian was hospitalised in the shooting that came after the Israeli army said an attack helicopter and tank had fired at "armed suspects" along the barrier that separates Israel from Gaza.

"We just identified a number of armed suspects from Gaza approaching the security fence with Israel. We fired towards them," the army said a statement posted on its Twitter account.

Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, ruled by  Hamas, have fought three wars since 2008.

And since March 2018, regular protests and clashes have erupted along the border of the blockaded coastal enclave.

At least 305 Palestinians have been martyred  by Israeli fire in Gaza or the border area since then, the majority during demonstrations and clashes.AFP-WEB DESK

https://www.thenews.com.pk/latest/513918-three-palestinians-martyred-by-israeli-troops-at-gaza-border

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Yemeni Drones Target Saudi Oil Facilities Near UAE Border

Aug 17, 2019

Oil facilities at Shaybah, which has the largest strategic oil reserve in Saudi Arabia near the UAE border and operated by state-oil company Saudi Aramco, were targeted by 10 Yemeni drones, the broadcaster reported on Saturday.

The facilities attacked included a refinery and oil storage, al-Masirah said, citing Yemen’s Armed Forces Spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Sare'e.

Sare'e stated that the operation was launched as part of "a legitimate deterrence for the aggression crimes and siege" against the Yemeni nation.

He renewed call on companies and civilians to stay away from all vital sites in Saudi Arabia, adding that Yemen's bank of targets inside the kingdom "expands daily" and that the future attacks would be more painful to the enemy.

"Forces of aggression have no choice but to stop the war and lift the siege on the Yemeni people," Sare'e noted.

Yemeni fighters regularly target positions inside Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the Saudi war.

In mid-May, Yemeni soldiers, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, launched a major operation against the strategic oil facility in Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the Riyadh regime’s devastating military aggression and siege of the impoverished country. Following the attack, Saudi Arabia stopped pumping crude oil on the major pipeline across the country. The retaliatory attack also led to the rise of oil prices and fall of stock markets in Persian Gulf Arab countries.

The attack bears extra significance at this stage of the war because the Yemeni forces could fly armed drones so far and carry out precision strikes and then fly them back while evading all Saudi defenses on the way. The long-range drones open unlimited possibilities for Yemeni resistance forces, which have already surpassed all expectations by surviving the massive Saudi onslaught and mounted a potent response with an arsenal of ballistic missiles.

Yemen's Ansarullah movement has also warned that its recent attack on a major Saudi oil facility was the start of operations against 300 vital targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Ansarullah said its drone attack on pumping stations of the Saudi state oil company Aramco was the start of operations against 300 vital targets. The group added that other planned targets include military headquarters and facilities in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Ansarullah movement.

Despite Riyadh's claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures. Weddings, funerals, schools and hospitals, as well as water and electricity plants, have been targeted, killing and wounding hundreds of thousands.

According to a December 2018 report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has claimed the lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.

Save the Children, a charity, has reported that more than 84,700 children under the age of five may have starved to death in Yemen since the Saudi regime and a coalition of its allies launched the brutal war on the already-impoverished nation.

France, the United States, the Uinted Kingdom and some other Western countries have faced criticisms over arms sales to the Saudi Arabia and the UAE, whose aggression against Yemen has affected 28 million people and caused what the United Nations calls “one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world". According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980526000766

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Iran holds meeting with Houthis and four European countries

17 August 2019

Iranian Foreign Ministry officials, representatives of four European countries and representatives of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia held a trilateral meeting on Saturday in Tehran, the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

The meeting - held at the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s building - was attended by Ali Asghar Khaji, a senior assistant to Iran’s Foreign Minister in special political affairs, a Houthi delegation headed by the movement’s spokesman Mohammad Abdul Salam, and the ambassadors of Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

The participating delegations expressed their governments’ views on the developments in Yemen, according to IRNA.

At the end of the meeting, they called for a political solution to the crisis in Yemen.

The Houthi delegation, headed by Mohammed Abdul Salam, has been in Tehran since last week, and has since met with top Iranian officials.

Abdul Salam met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday in Tehran.

On Tuesday, he met with the Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

The Houthis consider Khamenei’s leadership to be the continuation of that of the Prophet Muhammad and his son-in-law Ali, Abdul Salam said during the meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting comes amid heightened escalation between Iran and the West.

Last month, Iran seized the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero saying all 23 crew seized on the vessel will be moved to Bandar Abbas port and will remain on the vessel until the end of an investigation.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/17/Iran-holds-meeting-with-Houthis-and-four-European-countries-.html

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IRGC navy chief: Presence of America and Britain in the region means insecurity

18 August 2019

“The presence of America and Britain in the region means insecurity,” says Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps navy chief.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/18/IRGC-navy-chief-Presence-of-America-and-Britain-in-the-region-means-insecurity.html

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Israel’s Netanyahu dismisses Hezbollah warning

17 August 2019

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday he was “unimpressed” by a speech from Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in which the Lebanese Shiite leader warned of his movement’s military strength.

Nasrallah spoke in a TV broadcast on Friday marking the anniversary of a 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel.

A month of fighting killed more than 1,200 Lebanese, mostly civilians, and more than 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers.

Nasrallah said that the 2006 war had helped Hezbollah develop “a military system to defend our villages, towns and cities.”

“If (Israel) enters southern Lebanon... you will see a live broadcast of the destruction of Israeli brigades,” he warned.

Netanyahu responded on Saturday that “we are not impressed by Nasrallah’s threats.”

“He knows very well why he broadcasts them from the depths of his bunker,” he said in a statement on WhatsApp.

Nasrallah is rarely seen in public.

In a 2014 interview Lebanon’s Al-Akhbar newspaper, he said that he regularly switched sleeping places, particularly since the 2006 war, but denied that he lived in hiding.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/17/Israel-s-Netanyahu-dismisses-Hezbollah-warning-.html

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US court rules on Houthis actions, holds Iran accountable

17 August 2019

A US federal court in New York ruled that the Islamic Republic can be held accountable for the activities of the Houthi militia in Yemen that is backed by Iran both financially and on ideological grounds.

The federal court ruled that US citizens would be entitled to compensation for losses they had suffered as a result of operations carried out by the Houthis, also known as the Ansarullah militia.

This includes the families of two US citizens who were kidnapped by the Houthis in 2015, both of which are suing the Islamic Republic.

The two men were kidnapped from the airport in Yemen’s capital Sanaa in 2015 and allegedly tortured. One of them died under torture after 16 days. The other remained a hostage for six months until he was released.

The compensation will likely come from Iranian assets the US government has seized as part of its sanctions program against Iran.

The exact amount of compensation due will be ruled on at a later date.

It is the first time, a US federal court has held Iran accountable for Houthis’ actions, including kidnapping, murder, and torture, and has ruled that victims are entitled to compensation from blocked Iranian assets.

Prior to this, US courts have held Iran accountable for actions taken by Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Palestine’s Hamas and the Islamic Movement, and have accordingly blocked around $100 billion of Iranian assets in the United States. In these cases, the plaintiffs were able to acquire about $2 billion of blocked assets in compensation.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/17/US-court-rules-on-Houthis-actions-holds-Iran-accountable.html

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Israel launches two raids on ‘Hamas underground infrastructure’ in Gaza

17 August 2019

Israeli fighter jets launched two raids on Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, the Israel Defense Forces said, after a rocket was launched from the Strip at southern Israel on Friday night in what the army said was the first such attack in over a month.

On their official Twitter account, Israel's Defense Forces said they targeted “Hamas's underground infrastructure in Gaza.”

Israel Defense Forces

@IDF

A rocket was launched from Gaza at Israeli civilians earlier tonight. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome before it could reach its target:

Israeli civilians.

We just responded with strikes on Hamas’ underground infrastructure in Gaza. Israel's target:

Terror.

4,482

3:45 AM - Aug 17, 2019

Twitter Ads info and privacy

1,597 people are talking about this

A military statement said the projectile from Gaza was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system, after air raid sirens sounded in the southern town of Sderot and its surroundings.

An army spokesman said it was the first attack since July 12.

Earlier, the Palestinian health ministry said in a statement that 32 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli live fire along the Gaza border fence as part of weekly protests there.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/08/17/Israel-launches-two-raids-on-Hamas-underground-infrastructure-in-Gaza.html

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Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council withdraws from key positions in Aden

17 August 2019

Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council (STC) withdrew early Saturday from key positions it had seized in the city of Aden last week, the Arab Coalition said on Saturday.

The STC pulled out of the headquarters of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi's government, the supreme court and the central bank as well as Aden's main hospital, Muammar al-Iryani said on Twitter.

Sources told Al Arabiya that the seized positions were handed over to the Yemeni presidential brigades.

In a statement on Saturday, the Arab Coalition praised government and STC forces for adhering to their call for an immediate ceasefire, where they had urged all parties to withdraw from seized areas.

“(The coalition) praises the transitional council’s response to the call of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for a ceasefire… prioritizing the interests of the Yemeni people so as not to harm them or damage public and private property by beginning today to withdraw its troops and combat elements and return to their previous positions before recent events, and hand over Yemeni government headquarters under the supervision of the coalition,” the statement read.

It also commended the Yemeni government's “response to the call for restraint during the crisis, its prioritization of the interests of the Yemeni people and preservation of the gains of the coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen to restore the state and its institutions.”

Fighting between pro-government forces and separatists in Yemen’s second city Aden killed around 40 people and injured 260 others including civilians, the UN said Sunday.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/08/17/Yemen-s-Southern-Transitional-Council-withdraws-from-key-posts-in-Aden.html

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UN expert: Executions in Iran among the world’s highest

17 August 2019

The UN expert on human rights in Iran says last year saw increasing restrictions on the right to freedom of expression and continuing violations of the right to life, liberty and a fair trial in the Islamic Republic, including 253 reported executions of adults and children.

Javaid Rehman said in a report to the General Assembly circulated Friday that while the number of executions was the lowest since 2007, “the number of executions remains one of the highest in the world.”

The significant decline, he said, is attributed to enforcement of a 2017 amendment to Iran’s anti-narcotics law that saw the number of executions for drug-related offenses drop from 231 in 2017 to at least 24 in 2018.

Rehman expressed concern that Iran has more than 80 offenses punishable by the death penalty, including adultery, homosexuality, drug possession, “waging war against God, corruption on Earth, blasphemy and insult of the Prophet” Muhammad. He said many of the offenses are not considered serious crimes under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Among the seven child offenders reported to have been executed in 2018 were two 17-year-olds in April for alleged rape and robbery, Rehman said. “The two were reportedly forced to confess under torture.”

Rehman reiterated UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet’s statement that the execution of child offenders “is absolutely prohibited and must end immediately.”

He expressed deep concern at arbitrary arrest, detention, ill-treatment and denial of medical care for dual and foreign nationals, estimating there are at least 30 such cases, including Iranian-Austrian Kamran Ghaderi, who has been detained since January 2016 and is suffering “from a tumor in his leg.”

“There has been no progress made in the cases of arbitrarily detained foreign or dual nationals” aside from Iran’s release in June of Lebanese businessman Nizar Zakka, who has US residency, Rehman said.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has subjected these individuals to sham trials, which have failed to meet basic fair trial standards, and convicted them of offenses on the basis of fabricated evidence or, in some cases, no evidence at all, and has attempted to use them as diplomatic leverage,” he said.

He also said human rights defenders, members of minority communities, lawyers, journalists including from the BBC’s Persian service, labor and trade union activists and women protesting a law requiring them to wear veils know as a hijab “have continued to be intimidated, harassed, arrested and detained.”

Rehman, who is the UN special investigator on human rights in Iran, cited the case of human rights defender and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who was sentenced in March to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes “in relation to her work defending women charged for protesting against the compulsory hijab.”

He said Iranian authorities have also stepped up pressure on trade unionists, truck drivers, teachers, factory workers and others protesting for their labor rights. They have been intimidated, arrested and charged with offenses ranging from “spreading propaganda against the state” to “disrupting public order and peace by participating in illegal gatherings,” resulting in prison sentences and flogging, he said.

Rehman pointed to human rights abuses against ethnic and religious minorities, saying the estimated 350,000 Bahai’is, considered to be the largest non-Muslim and unrecognized religious minority in Iran, “have suffered from the most egregious forms of repression, persecution and victimization.”

He said the Sunni minority in Iran constitutes an estimated 10 percent of the population but the constitution bars them from holding senior religious positions, and they have reportedly been refused permission to construct a mosque in the capital of Tehran since 1979. He noted that Christian converts are considered “apostates” and therefore don’t have access to officially recognized churches and must gather clandestinely in informal “house churches.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2019/08/17/Iranian-American-US-Navy-captain-may-command-Arabian-Gulf-carrier-amid-tensions.html

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Leader of Yemen’s Ansarullah movement warns Saudi Arabia

Aug 18, 2019

Mohammed Al-Attab

Hours after launching wide-scale operations deep inside Saudi territories, the leader of the Houthi Ansarullah movement delivered a televised speech. Abdul-Malik al-Houthi said the attack sent a strong message to Saudi Arabia and the UAE not to be a tool in the hands of the US and its allies.

Houthi also urged the Saudi coalition to stop the devastating war on its southern neighbor or face the consequences.

Experts say that the Yemeni army is capable of reaching any targets in what they describe the invading countries.

The Saudi Oil Ministry admitted Saturday's drone attacks and accused Ansarullah fighters of attempting to disrupt the flow of international oil supply.

Since the beginning of the Saudi war on Yemen, most of the country's infrastructure has been leveled to the ground and tens of thousands of Yemenis, mostly civilians, have been killed in airstrikes and other attacks.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/18/603835/Yemen-Ansarullah-Movement--Leader-Saudi-Arabia

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Turkey-US center for Syria safe zone to start work next week: Turkish defense minister

Aug 17, 2019

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar says a Turkish-US operation center for a so-called safe zone in northeastern Syria, where US-sponsored Kurdish militants are operating, will be fully operational next week.

“The joint operation center will start working with full capacity next week,” Akar said during a visit to the southeastern province of Sanliurfa where he inspected troops chosen to participate in the plan.

He noted that Turkish and US officials had agreed that Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) should be removed from the border area, and their heavy weapons should be taken.

T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı

@tcsavunma

• Aug 16, 2019

TSK Komuta Kademesi ile birlikte Şanlıurfa’da bulunan Millî Savunma Bakanı Hulusi Akar, inceleme ve denetlemeler için 20’nci Zırhlı Tugay Komutanlığını ziyaret etti.https://www.msb.gov.tr/SlaytHaber/1682019-03355 …#MSB #HulusiAkar

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T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı

@tcsavunma

Bakan Akar ve TSK’nın Komuta Kademesi, Şanlıurfa’da bulunan Müşterek Harekât Merkezi’ne de geçerek brifing aldı. Bakan Akar burada terörle mücadele başta olmak üzere gündemdeki konulara ilişkin değerlendirmelerde bulundu.https://www.msb.gov.tr/SlaytHaber/1682019-03355 …#MSB #HulusiAkar

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“There has been certain progress. It marks a good start. There are still things to be done, the efforts will continue,” Akar said.

The Turkish defense chief further noted that Ankara and Washington had also reached a general agreement on the coordination and control of the region’s air space, and on numerous other matters.

On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his country would not tolerate any US delay in setting up a so-called safe zone in northern Syria.

“They (the Americans) first need to be sincere and need to understand that Turkey won’t tolerate delaying tactics,” Cavusoglu said during a press conference in the capital Ankara.

“What we say since the beginning is that a US stalling tactic will not work. Unfortunately, they employed such stalling on Manbij [a city in the northeastern part of Syria’s province of Aleppo]. They did not keep their promise,” he added.

The remarks came as an American military delegation has been at work in Sanliurfa since Monday.

On August 7, Turkey and the US reached an agreement on the establishment of a joint operation center in the northern part of Syria, in the wake of Ankara’s threats to launch an operation against YPG militants to push them away from the Turkish border.

Turkey views the YPG as the Syria branch of the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Turkey expects the creation of a 32-kilometer (20-mile) safe zone in northern Syria, and has stressed that it wants the YPG cleared from the region.

The US has been arming and training Kurdish militants under the banner of helping them fight the terrorist group of Daesh, but Syria and several other countries see ulterior motives behind the deployment.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/17/603781/TurkeyUS-center-for-Syria-safe-zone-to-start-work-next-week-Turkish-Defense-Minister

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Saudi Arabia issues advisory to citizens in Istanbul following attack

August 18, 2019

JEDDAH: The Kingdom’s embassy in Turkey has warned citizens in Istanbul to be vigilant after a shooting of a Saudi.

The armed robbery happened in the Sisli area of the city, prompting Saudi authorities to issue a warning to avoid that area, as well as Taksim, especially after sunset.

In 2017, a terror attack killed seven Saudis in the city on New Year’s Day.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1541521/saudi-arabia

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South Asia

 

Militant video and arrests put Bangladesh on alert

August 15, 2019

A video containing threats of imminent militant attacks against targets including foreigners has sparked renewed concern in Muslim-majority Bangladesh after a recent lethal rise in Islamic militancy.

Police are investigating the video of four jihadists covering their faces and speaking Bengali, the national language of Bangladesh, threatening to attack foreigners, religious minorities and politicians among others.

Amaq, the news agency of transnational jihadist outfit Islamic State (IS), posted the video online late on Aug. 9, according to SITE Intelligence, a U.S.-based group that monitors Islamic extremism online.

The men in the video pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of IS. Wearing suicide vests and carrying rifles, they threatened to attack members of Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League, U.S. citizens, minority Hindus and Buddhists, government offices and police stations.

The video came a day after police in Bangladeshi capital Dhaka arrested five suspected militants from the regrouped local extremist outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

It also came just two days before people in Bangladesh were getting ready to celebrate Eid-ul-Azha, the second holiest feast in Islam.

Police said the arrested suspects were part of a “wolf pack” of the banned JMB, which has attacked atheist bloggers, writers, publishers, liberal academics, religious minorities and foreigners.

In the worst attack, five Islamic militants killed 20 people, mostly foreign guests, at a cafe in the diplomatic zone of Dhaka on July 1, 2016.

Police are on alert and examining the video to avert any possible militant activities, said Saiful Islam, deputy commissioner of the Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime Unit of Bangladesh police.

“We have taken the video seriously, but we are also inspecting whether it is old or a new one, and where it was shot. We have successfully cracked down on militancy, and we are ready to avert any militant activity at any cost,” he told ucanews.com.

Security analysts pointed that the arrests and video might be signs of an IS attempt to regain ground in several countries after being defeated in its strongholds in Syria and Iraq in March.

On July 31, the United Nations Counter Terrorism Committee released a 24-page report that warned that IS could launch terrorist attacks in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Europe before the end of the year as it intends to “reinvest in the capacity to direct and facilitate complex international attacks.”

“IS has been defeated and driven out from their strongholds in Syria, so their soldiers have fled, spread out and many returned to their own countries. This is a danger for us,” M. Sakhawat Hossain, a Dhaka-based security analyst, told ucanews.com.

“You can eradicate militants by force but militant ideology takes a long time to rise and fall. Law enforcers must keep a keen eye constantly to tackle any possible re-emergence of militancy.”

https://www.ucanews.com/news/militant-video-and-arrests-put-bangladesh-on-alert/85873

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Taliban say killing of leader’s brother will not derail US talks

18 August 2019

Afghan Taliban officials said on Saturday the killing of the brother of their leader in a bomb attack would not derail talks with the United States aimed at securing the withdrawal of US troops after 18 years of war.

There was no claim of responsibility for the bomb that killed the younger brother of Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada near the Pakistani city of Quetta on Friday.

It came after both Taliban and US officials have reported progress in talks on an agreement centred on a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan in exchange for a Taliban security guarantee.

“If someone thinks martyring our leaders would stop us from our goal they’re living in a fool’s paradise,” a Taliban leader said by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“We are close to our goals,” he said, referring to the talks with the United States. He declined to be identified.

The militants have been fighting to expel foreign forces and set up an Islamic state since they were ousted in October 2001, weeks after the Sepember 11 attacks on the United States.

Both US negotiators and the Taliban have reported progress after eight rounds of talks since late last year but the violence has not eased.

The bomb at the mosque near Quetta killed four people, and wounded 20, Pakistani police said.

The Taliban leader’s brother, Hafiz Ahmadullah, was leading prayers when it exploded. One of the leader’s sons was wounded, Taliban officials said.

Pakistani police confirmed that one of the dead was identified as Hafiz Ahmadullah but said they could not confirm if he was a brother of the Taliban leader. Pakistan denies accusations that it supports the Taliban but many members live there.

In the Afghan capital, Kabul, a suicide bomber attacked a Saturday night wedding reception. An interior ministry spokesman said there were tens of casualties, both wounded and dead.

There was no claim of responsibility.

Hopes and fears

US President Donald Trump has made no secret of his desire for a US pullout from Afghanistan and an end to America’s longest war. Top US national security advisers briefed Trump on Friday on the negotiations.

There are deep concerns among Afghan officials and US national security aides about the talks led by US special representative to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who updated Trump.

A US pullout has raised fears Afghanistan could plunge into a new civil war that could see a return of Taliban rule and give international militants a sanctuary.

Under the expected deal, the Taliban, in exchange for a US commitment on a withdrawal, would guarantee Afghanistan would not be a sanctuary for militants to expand and plot new attacks,

both sides have said.

The Taliban are also expected to make a commitment to open power-sharing talks with the US-backed government and agree to a ceasefire.

Afghan presidential spokesman Sediq Seddiqi told a news briefing any deal had to include a ceasefire and a US withdrawal would be based on conditions.

A second Taliban official, speaking from Doha, where the Taliban have a political office and where the talks have been held, said preparations were being made for a meaningful final round.

“We’ve solved most issues,” said the official, who also declined to be identified.

No date has been set for more talks.

The Taliban were considering a ceasefire in places from which US forces withdraw, the second official said.

Some 14,000 US troops remain in Afghanistan, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counterinsurgency operations.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/08/18/Taliban-say-killing-of-leader-s-brother-will-not-derail-US-talks.html

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Bangladesh fire leaves '50,000 people homeless' after slum destroyed in capital of Dhaka

Aug 18, 2019

Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless in Bangladesh after fire tore through a slum in the capital of Dhaka.

About 15,000 homes were destroyed in the blaze, which hit the Mirpur area late on Friday and left 50,000 people homeless, according to the BBC.

Atiqul Islam, mayor of the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), has said victims of the fire will be looked after in temporary shelters until they can be rehoused.

“All basic needs for the homeless people will continue till their rehabilitation,” Mr Islam told the local newspaper Dhaka Tribune after visiting the scene.

He added that “permanent establishments” were being erected nearby to house the victims of the blaze, which raged for six hours.

Many residents were reportedly away from the city celebrating the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha at the time of the fire.

No deaths have been reported from the blaze so far, although several people were injured. 

The fire is thought to have spread quickly as many homes in the slum are made from wood or bamboo and have plastic roofs.

There is no information yet on the cause of the fire but an investigation has been launched, with a report expected within 15 working days.

Residents of the area affected are mostly low-wage earners, such as garment workers and day labourers, who moved to the city for work but sometimes leave for religious holidays.

On Saturday morning, some residents reportedly returned to their homes to see if there was anything from the ruins they could sell.

Although the BBC’s world news service has reported 15,000 homes were destroyed in the fire, earlier local news reports suggested a lower number of damaged homes.

Dhaka Tribune said more than 1,000 shanties were burned in the fire, quoting fire service officials and local people, on Friday.

Full report at:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/bangladesh-fire-slum-destroyed-homeless-blaze-dhaka-capital-a9063871.html

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Special Forces target Taliban militants; destroy caches of weapons in Logar, Helmand

17 Aug 2019

The Afghan Special Froces killed 3 Taliban militants and destroyed two caches of weapons during the operations in Logar and Helmand provinces.

The military officials said Saturday that the Special Forces killed 3 Taliban militants during an operation in Pul-e Alam district of Logar.

The officials further added that the Special Forces also destroyed a small cache of weapons during the same raid.

The Special Forces also destroyed a small cache of weapons during a similar operation which they conducted in Garm Ser district of Helmand.

https://www.khaama.com/special-forces-target-taliban-militants-destroy-caches-of-weapons-in-logar-helmand-03675/

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Helmand security council meeting focus on peace, presidential elections

17 Aug 2019

The senior government and security officials met in Helmand province to discuss the ongoing efforts for peace and upcoming presidential elections.

The officials met during a security shura (council) meeting and promised support towards peace in Afghanistan, by protecting the people of Helmand during the presidential election.

Afghan National Army 215th Corps Commander, BG Zabihulla, Helmand Provincial Governor MG Yasin, Helmand Police Chief Esahmuddin, NDS Chief Taous, and an IEC Representative met to discuss the safety and security of people and polling sites during the elections.

The officials discussed prospects for peace through security partnership across both Helmand and Nimroz Provinces.

215th Corps Commander Zabihulla said “The Afghan people have the right to determine the future and the leadership of the country. There is no place in Helmand we cannot go in order to protect the people.”

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/helmand-security-council-meeting-focus-on-peace-presidential-elections-03676/

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Special Forces arrest 3 Taliban sympathizers in Kabul

15 Aug 2019

The Afghan Special Forces arrested three Taliban sympathizers during an operation in Kabul, the Kabul Police said.

According to a statement released by Kabul Police Headquarters, the Special Forces arrested the operation in Bagrami district of Kabul.

The statement further added that the detained suspects were cooperating with the Taliban group.

Furthermore, the Kabul Police said the Special Forces also confiscated an Ak-47 assault rifle, a shotgun and some munition during the operation.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/special-forces-arrest-3-taliban-sympathizers-in-kabul-03634/

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Special Forces kill Taliban’s chief of terror operations in Logar

15 Aug 2019

The Afghan Special Forces killed the chief of terror operations of Taliban group during an operation in Logar province.

The Ministry of Defense said in a statement that the Special Forces conducted the operation in Patkhab Village located in the provincial capital of Logar.

The statement further added that the Special Forces killed Mawlavi Qudratullah, the chief of terror operations of Taliban for Logar.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Defense said Mawlavi Qudratullah was mainly involved in terrorist related activities on Highway No.2 of Logar besides having major role in overall terrorist related activities across Logar.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/special-forces-kill-talibans-chief-of-terror-operations-in-logar-03670/

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Deadly explosion rips through civilian vehicle in Balkh province

18 Aug 2019

A deadly explosion ripped through a civilian vehicle in northern Balkh province leaving at least 12 civilians dead.

A senior official in Dawlabad district confirmed that an improvised explosive device exploded in Barbar Qala area of the district targeting a civilian vehicle.

The official further added that the explosion killed at least 12 civilians including several women and children.

Meanwhile, the 209th Shaheen Corps said in a statement that the explosion took place at around 6:40 am local time.

The statement further added that the vehicle was on its way to Mazar-e Sharif city when it struck an improvised explosive device.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/deadly-explosion-rips-through-civilian-vehicle-in-balkh-province-03683/

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U.S. forces pound Taliban hideout with guided rockets in Uruzgan province

18 Aug 2019

The U.S. forces pounded a Taliban hideout with guided in rockets in southern Uruzgan province of Afghanistan.

The 205th Atal Corps said in a statement that the U.S. forces targeted the Taliban hideout in Charchino district of Uruzgan.

The statement further added that the strikes killed 7 Taliban militants and destroyed the hideout of the group.

Furthermore, the 205th Atal Corps said the strikes also destroyed some weapons, munitions and explosives of the Taliban group.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/u-s-forces-pound-taliban-hideout-with-guided-rockets-in-uruzgan-province-03682/

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Europe

 

Norway mosque terror, murder suspect 'admits' crimes: police

Aug 17, 2019

A Norwegian man suspected of killing his stepsister and opening fire in a mosque near Oslo last weekend has admitted to the crimes though he has not officially entered a plea, police said Friday.

Philip Manshaus, 21, was remanded in custody Monday, suspected of murder and a “terrorist act” that police say he filmed himself committing.

Answering police questions on Friday, “the suspect admits the facts but has not taken a formal position as to the charges,” Oslo police official Pal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby said in a statement.

Manshaus is suspected of murdering his 17-year-old step sister Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen, before entering the al-Noor mosque in an affluent Oslo suburb and opening fire before he was overpowered by a 65-year-old man.

Just three worshipers were in the mosque at the time, and there were no serious injuries.

Manshaus appeared in court this week with two black eyes and scrapes and bruises to his face, neck and hands.

Police have said he has “extreme right views” and “xenophobic positions” and that he had filmed the mosque attack with a camera mounted on a helmet.

He had initially denied the accusations.

The incident came amid a rise in white supremacy attacks around the world, including the recent El Paso massacre in the United States.

Norway witnessed one of the worst-ever attacks by a right-wing extremist in July 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik, who said he feared a “Muslim invasion”, killed 77 people in a truck bomb blast near government offices in Oslo and a shooting spree at a Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/17/603736/Norway-Oslo-mosque-terror-suspect-police-official-PalFredrik-Hjort-Kraby-Philip-Manshaus

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Norwegian police thank mosque attack 'heroes'

Atila Altuntas  

18.08.2019

STOCKHOLM

Norwegian police on Saturday thanked two senior Muslims who overpowered a suspected gunman planning to kill scores in an Afghan mosque in Baerum city.

Mohamed Rafiq (65) and Mohamed Iqbal Jave (70) prevented alleged assailant Philip Manshaus from firing upon worshipers Al-Noor Mosque on Aug. 10, west of the capital Oslo.

Local police and Major Lisbeth Hammer welcomed them at the police headquarters, flowers in hand.

Police chief Beate Gangas Krog thanked the two men for their bravery and said their heroic actions saved scores of lives.

According to local news, the 21-year-old alleged gunman targeted Al-Noor Mosque on Aug. 10. Unable to enter the building, he began firing near the building's back entrance.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/norwegian-police-thank-mosque-attack-heroes/1558779

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German police chief warns of far-right terror threat

Ayhan Simsek  

16.08.2019

BERLIN

Germany is facing growing danger from far-right extremists and terrorist groups, head of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) said on Friday.

In an interview with news portal t-online, Holger Muench warned that the number of violent far-right extremists and crimes committed by them have significantly increased in recent years.

“We are also aware of the risk that they could form new structures, even terrorist groups,” he said, referring to the neo-Nazi groups “Oldschool Society” and the “Gruppe Freital” which planned attacks against refugee centers and mosques.

Muench said German security agencies have recently adopted a new strategy to disrupt such structures as early as possible, before they transformed themselves into terrorist organizations.

Currently 41 far-right extremists were classified as potential terrorists and have been placed under surveillance, according to the BKA.

Another 112 extremists were considered as a direct threat by the BKA on suspicion that they were providing support to violent far-right groups.

Germany has witnessed growing xenophobia and anti-migrant hatred in recent years, fuelled by the propaganda of neo-Nazi groups and the Islamophobic AfD party.

The police recorded more than 19,000 far-right crimes in 2018, according to the latest government figures with extremists committing some 1,000 violent attacks against foreigners, immigrants or political rivals.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/german-police-chief-warns-of-far-right-terror-threat/1558150

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Palestinian president speaks with British PM by phone

Nilay Kar  

16.08.2019

JERUSALEM

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas spoke with Britain's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson by phone late Thursday on recent developments and bilateral relations, Palestine’s WAFA news agency reported.

The talks came after Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called for changing the status quo of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque to allow Jews to hold religious rituals there, which was condemned by the Palestinian presidency.

Johnson reiterated his country’s commitment to a two-state solution and condemned Israel's policy of home demolitions as a violation of international law, the agency said.

Abbas welcomed Johnson’s support for a two-state solution, expressing a readiness to move forward in achieving peace in accordance with UN resolutions, it said.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/palestinian-president-speaks-with-british-pm-by-phone/1557548

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Arab World

 

SDF’s Arab Militias Retreat from Military Points in Deir Ezzur after Wide Differences with Kurds

Aug 17, 2019

The Arabic-language Al-Alam news network reported widening rifts between Arab forces of the SDF and their commanders in Ab station of the town of al-Shahil in Southeastern Deir Ezzur which is regarded the main center of these militias.

It noted that the differences have emerged after the SDF exerted pressures on the residents of Hasaka and Deir Ezzur and also due to rising tensions between the two sides.

Al-Alam also said that the Arab forces of the SDF together with their weapons and military equipment have retreated from their military positions in Euphrates Bank.

Meantime, al-Khabour news website reported that the SDF has forced civilians in the city of Qameshli in Hasaka to join their ranks by exerting pressures on them and depriving them of public amenities and facilities.

In a relevant development earlier in August, a new US military convoy comprising hundreds of trucks carrying military equipment had arrived in areas under the control of the Kurdish militias in Eastern Syria.

The Arabic-language website of the Russian Sputnik news agency quoted Kurdish sources in Qameshli, Hasaka as saying that over 200 trucks carrying weapons, military and logistics equipment of the US-led coalition have entered Qameshli via Simalka crossing. The Kurdish sources said that the US military convoy was planned to be distributed among SDF militia in Eastern Syria.

The dispatch of new US military convoy for the SDF came as the Turkish Army had sent massive military equipment for imminent military operations against the Kurdish militias in Eastern Syria and behind Turkey's borders with Syria.

In a relevant development earlier this month, hundreds of trucks carrying US military equipment and logistical aids had been sent to the bases of the SDF in Hasaka province, pro-militant media outlets reported.

Pro-militant Smart News website reported that over 300 trucks carrying US military and logistical equipment from Iraq arrived in areas controlled by the SDF in Tal al-Bidar in Eastern Syria via Simalka border crossing.

It noted that the US trucks carried military equipment, logistical supplies, prefabricated cement walls, adding that dozens of trucks were carrying unidentified cargos as they were covered.

Smart website said that the military equipment and supplies will be distributed among SDF in Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir Ezzur.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980526000571

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Ankara Attempting to Prevent Collapse of Khan Sheikhoun

Aug 17, 2019

The Arabic-language Syrian Documentation Center quoted special sources as saying on Saturday that Ankara has dispatched thousands of militants from the occupied areas in Aleppo to Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib to block the Syrian army's advance and control over the region.

They added that over half of the terrorists are those who had earlier fought for Turkey under the 'Euphrates Shield' and 'Olive Brach' operations while 6,000 of them are members of Jund al-Aqsa militants, affiliated to the ISIL.

The sources said that Khan Sheikhoun battle is vital and decisive for the terrorist groups, adding that Ankara is making strenuous attempts to prevent its collapse.

They also said that the Syrian army has reached areas 2km away from Khan Sheikoun gates, noting that at present the army and the Syrian and Russian air force are targeting the terrorists' defense lines with heavy fire.

Relevant reports also said on Friday that the Turkey-backed elite terrorists had been dispatched to Hama and Idlib from Northern Aleppo to save their military bases against the Syrian army advances as other government troops continue their march in Southern Idlib.

The Syrian Army troops continued their clashes with Tahrir al-Sham al-Hay’at (the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) terrorists in Southern Idlib, and regained control of Mailis Farms and Kafar Tab, North of the town of Um Zeitouneh and West of Khan Sheikhoun after cleansing those region from terrorists.

The sources affiliated to terrorist groups quoted Abu Hatam Shaqra, commander of Ankara-backed Tajamo Ahrar al-Sharqieh, as saying that the third group of elite militants and military equipment have been sent from occupied territories in Aleppo to battlefronts in Hama and Idlib to confront the Syrian Army and prevent its military advances.

The Syrian Army is very close now to the strategic city of Khan Sheikhoun which is a key stronghold of the terrorists in Idlib province.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980526000885

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Washington Playing with Turks, Kurds in Euphrates

Aug 17, 2019

The Xeber24 news website affiliated to Kurds reported that the US assisted by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has kicked off setting up a helicopter base in Tal al-Arqam South of the city of Ra’as al-Ain in Northern Hasaka and near the borders with Turkey.

It noted that the US military experts are supervising the construction of a heliport in Hasaka.

Meantime, a massive military convoy comprising 14 military vehicles and 50 elite SDF militias have been dispatched to Northern part of the city of Solouk and over 100 of them have been sent to the town of Foylan East of Tal Abyazin Raqqa province near the border with Turkey.

These developments come as Turkish Defense Secretary Khlousi Akar announced on Friday that the joint operations room as agreed by Washington and Ankara will resume work next week to discuss establishing a safe zone in Northern Syria.

In a relevant development on Thursday, informed sources reported that the Kurdish militants are holding talks with Damascus on delivering control of certain parts of Eastern Euphrates region to the Syrian army after the US agreement with Ankara to set up a safe zone in Syria.

The Arabic-language Bas News affiliated to the Kurds quoted the Kurdish sources as saying on Wednesday that a delegation of the Kurdish forces headed by Chairman of the Syrian Democratic Council Ilham Ahmad has recently met with senior officials in Damascus and Russia's military base in Humeimim on the fate of Eastern Euphrates region.

He added that during the talks, Damascus has urged the Syrian Democratic Council to return the heavy weapons they had taken from the Syrian army, withdraw the SDF militants from the centers of Qamishli and Hasaka cities, and deliver their control to the Syrian government.

The source also referred to the Damascus' demand from the Kurdish forces to pave the ground for the Syrian army's deployment in Hasaka province, and said an agreement will soon be made between the two sides to give control of Raqqa and al-Tabaqah to the Syrian government.

He added that at present, the problem is the US opposition, noting that Washington intends to receive some advantages from Russia first.

Kurdish sources in Syria said on Wednesday that the US had initiated a rigid move in collaboration with Turkey to undermine the Kurdish militants and force them to leave parts of Northern Syria.

The sources were quoted by the Arabic-language website of Sputnik as saying that the Kurds had sent three separate delegations to Damascus, Moscow and Cairo to find a way out of the quagmire created by Washington for them.

They added that the US has worked out a scheme to aggravate enmities between Turkey and the Kurds and launched a coup against them, moving in line with Turkey in common plans in Eastern Euphrates region.

The sources said that the US used the Syrian tribes that are supported by certain Persian Gulf Arab states as a replacement for the Kurds as they could better advance Washington's goals without threatening Turkey's interests.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980526000663

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Doha Bank, Qatari brothers sued for financing al-Nusra Front

16 August 2019

Qatari state-controlled Doha Bank allowed the transfer of funds to extremist al-Nusra Front in Syria, a lawsuit issued at the UK High Court said.

Eight Syrians, who are now Europe residents and have been granted anonymity by the court, raised the case, saying that they were tortured and displaced by the al-Qaeda affiliate.

In the court document, Doha Bank is accused of failing to stop the transfers of money to the extremists by two Qatari businessmen who are originally Syrian.

“The Khayyat brothers financed and/or assisted in financing al-Nusra Front, including through accounts held by them and/or entities associated with them at Doha Bank,” the lawsuit alleges.

Moataz and Ramez al-Khayyat own a construction company called Urbacon, among other businesses in Qatar.

Also read: How is Qatar supporting the Muslim Brotherhood global network? Follow the money

British newspaper The Times has seen documents which state the claimants were subject to “severe physical and psychiatric injuries” by the extremists.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2019/08/16/Doha-Bank-Qatari-brothers-sued-for-financing-al-Nusra-Front.html

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US military forced to comply with orders to halt flights over Iraq

Aug 18, 2019

The US military has been forced to comply with Iraqi demands to halt flying planes, helicopters and drones over the country after its prime minister warned that violating aircraft would be targeted by Iraq’s air defense systems.

Senior US military commanders in Iraq met the nation’s defense minister this week to discuss a recent demand from Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to cease all military flights over the country’s airspace following an unexplained explosion at Camp al-Saqr just outside the capital of Baghdad, Military.com reported Friday.

"The US-led coalition immediately complied with all directions received from our Iraqi partners as they implemented the Prime Minister's order," said a statement issued by American military’s Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve that continues to operate in Iraq with the purported objective of conducting aerial strikes against already defeated Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in the war-torn country.

The decision by US military officials to abide by Abdul-Mahdi’s directive -- as "guests within Iraq's sovereign borders" -- came after he reportedly urged “Iraqi and non-Iraqi parties” to comply with the demand or risk being considered “an enemy flight.”

According to the report, the Iraqi premier further cautioned that unauthorized flight activity would be "dealt with from our air defenses immediately."

However, US commanders did not indicate for how long they had agreed to keep American aircraft out of the Iraqi skies.

This is while the investigation surrounding the blast at Camp Al-Saqr remains ongoing but expected to be completed within a week. It comes amid press reports that the Israeli regime is the main suspect for launching an air strike against the base, which hosted a weapons depot for Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) – credited with playing a key role in defeating the Daesh (ISIL) terrorists across the country.

Moreover, a PMF commander identified as Abu Alaa al-Walae described Abdul-Mahdi’s “decision to ban American drones in Iraqi airspace” as brave in a Twitter message cited in an AP report.

The report further cited an unnamed PMF official as saying that there is evidence of a drone attack causing the recent blast.

The Israeli regime forces have also been blamed for striking compounds of Syrian military forces battling foreign-backed terrorists still occupying parts of the terror-ravaged nation.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/18/603818/US-military-Iraq-airspace-Prime-Minister-Adel-AbdulMahdi-Camp-alSaqr-explosion

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600+ Bahraini inmates now on hunger strike to protest rights abuses

Aug 18, 2019

More than 600 Bahraini political prisoners are now on hunger strike to protest ill-treatment at Bahrain’s notorious Jaw prison.

Over 400 inmates started an open-ended hunger strike on Sunday morning, joining 196 others who had began refusing food a short while earlier on Friday.

They are also voicing solidarity with 15 political prisoners who are being held incommunicado at Jaw prison and who initiated the hunger strike campaign on Thursday.

Bahraini detainees complain about harassment during family visits, saying that they are prohibited from practicing their religious rituals in jail while being subjected to beatings, psychological pressure, and the confiscation of their belongings.

In a letter delivered to the Bahraini media, Hasan al-Ghsara, one of the 15 political inmates said that the group had decided to refuse food after spending two years in “systematic isolation” at Jaw prison.

He said that the prisoners were held under “harsh conditions,” and particularly faced “the denial of basic rights guaranteed in accordance with international and local laws.”

Bahraini authorities, he said, subject the prisoners to “psychological torture” and put them under a “monitoring process” in violation of their privacy.

“We have been placed under strict security restrictions in private rooms without being giving rational reasons for that; we suffer from clear discrimination,” read the letter. “We are not treated like the rest of the prisoners. We have been placed in rooms where we are prevented from freely practicing our religious rituals.”

Since February 2011, Bahraini people have been regularly holding peaceful protest rallies, demanding that the Al Khalifah family relinquish power and let a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

They have also been complaining against widespread discrimination against the country’s Shia majority.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/18/603833/Bahrain-Jaw-prison-hunger-strike

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North America

 

Trump meets advisers on Afghan peace plan

17 August 2019

US President Donald Trump met with top advisers on Friday to review negotiations with the Taliban on a US troop pullout from Afghanistan and the potential for a political settlement between the warring sides, a senior administration official said.

Trump, who is on a working vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, received an afternoon briefing from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other advisers on the talks, which have been handled by Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad.

Vice President Mike Pence and White House national security adviser John Bolton were among the attendees, an official said.

A US defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said significant differences remained between the United States and the Taliban after an eighth round of talks ended in Qatar on Monday.

Some 14,000 US troops remain engaged in America’s longest war, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counterinsurgency operations against militant groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS’s local affiliate.

The US military presence dates to 2001 when then-President George W. Bush invaded in pursuit of al-Qaeda and ousted the Taliban rulers who had given Osama bin Laden and his followers a safe haven in which they plotted the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Trump has been adamant that he would like to withdraw US forces, possibly ahead of the November 2020 election.

A pullout has raised deep concerns within the US military and among some lawmakers that Afghanistan could plunge into a new civil war that could see a return of Taliban rule and give al-Qaeda and other militants a sanctuary in which to expand and plot new attacks on US and allied targets.

US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said any deal should allow the United States to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan to pursue such groups.

“Any peace agreement which denies the US a robust counter-terrorism capability in Afghanistan is not a peace deal,” he said in a statement. “Instead, it is paving the way for another attack on the American homeland and attacks against American interests around the world.”

A senior administration official said a decision was not necessarily expected from the Bedminster meeting but Trump “has been pretty clear that he wants to bring the troops home.”

Both sides had raised expectations of being close to finalizing an agreement prior to convening the latest round of talks.

The US defense official, however, said differences remained over US demands that the insurgents publicly renounce ties to al-Qaeda and other militant groups and agree to a nationwide ceasefire, the official said.

Khalilzad also is seeking the Taliban’s agreement to hold direct negotiations on a political settlement with Kabul government officials who would be part of a delegation that included opposition leaders and civil society representatives. Taliban leaders to date have refused to hold official talks with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government, which they denounce as a US puppet.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/08/17/Trump-meets-advisers-on-Afghan-peace-plan.html

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US military forced to comply with orders to halt flights over Iraq

Aug 18, 2019

The US military has been forced to comply with Iraqi demands to halt flying planes, helicopters and drones over the country after its prime minister warned that violating aircraft would be targeted by Iraq’s air defense systems.

Senior US military commanders in Iraq met the nation’s defense minister this week to discuss a recent demand from Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to cease all military flights over the country’s airspace following an unexplained explosion at Camp al-Saqr just outside the capital of Baghdad, Military.com reported Friday.

"The US-led coalition immediately complied with all directions received from our Iraqi partners as they implemented the Prime Minister's order," said a statement issued by American military’s Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve that continues to operate in Iraq with the purported objective of conducting aerial strikes against already defeated Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in the war-torn country.

The decision by US military officials to abide by Abdul-Mahdi’s directive -- as "guests within Iraq's sovereign borders" -- came after he reportedly urged “Iraqi and non-Iraqi parties” to comply with the demand or risk being considered “an enemy flight.”

According to the report, the Iraqi premier further cautioned that unauthorized flight activity would be "dealt with from our air defenses immediately."

However, US commanders did not indicate for how long they had agreed to keep American aircraft out of the Iraqi skies.

This is while the investigation surrounding the blast at Camp Al-Saqr remains ongoing but expected to be completed within a week. It comes amid press reports that the Israeli regime is the main suspect for launching an air strike against the base, which hosted a weapons depot for Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) – credited with playing a key role in defeating the Daesh (ISIL) terrorists across the country.

Moreover, a PMF commander identified as Abu Alaa al-Walae described Abdul-Mahdi’s “decision to ban American drones in Iraqi airspace” as brave in a Twitter message cited in an AP report.

The report further cited an unnamed PMF official as saying that there is evidence of a drone attack causing the recent blast.

The Israeli regime forces have also been blamed for striking compounds of Syrian military forces battling foreign-backed terrorists still occupying parts of the terror-ravaged nation.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/18/603818/US-military-Iraq-airspace-Prime-Minister-Adel-AbdulMahdi-Camp-alSaqr-explosion

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US Air Force launches surveillance flights in newly-built airfield in Niger

Aug 17, 2019

US Air Force has launched flying operations from a recently constructed remote air base in the West African country of Niger in efforts to carry out intelligence gathering missions over the impoverished region.

"This joint-use runway allows for a better response to regional security requirements and provides strategic access and flexibility," said commander of US Air Forces in Europe-Air forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA), Gen. Jeff Harrigian in a statement as quoted Friday in a report by the US-based Stars and Stripes military news outlet.

"Air Base 201 gives Niger and the US incredible capability in a challenging region of the world," Harrigian added, referring to the 6,200-foot runway built by American forces in the southern Sahara Desert in Niger.

The USAFE-AFAFRICA commander further praised the American troops for completing the largest-ever, airmen-led construction project in Air Force history.

According to the report, Niger's government granted authority to the US military for conducting armed drone flights over the country back in 2018, shortly after the ambush killing of four American soldiers in the country by alleged ISIL-linked militants in October 2017.

Citing a USAFE-AFAFRICA spokesman, the report further noted that construction on Niger’s Air Base 201 is still continuing, with full flying operations expected to begin later this year.

Air Force C-130 cargo planes and other aircraft on resupply missions, in coordination with the Nigerien air force and the country's civil aviation authorities, began flying limited Visual Flight Rule (VFR) operations into and out of the air base on August 1, added a USAFE-AFAFRICA statement as cited in the report.

It further noted that VFR operations are conducted without instruments to assess an airfield before full flight operations begin, including drone missions.

The report also cited the US Air Force as saying that the $110-million airfield in Niger “is the most austere location from which the Air Force has attempted to operate,” noting that it was finished earlier this summer following delays caused by the challenges of working in a remote desert, “including sandstorms, locust swarms and difficulties in transporting supplies to the base in central Niger.”

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/08/17/603814/US-Air-Force-Niger-air-base-201-intelligence-gathering-missions-Gen-Jeff-Harrigian-drone-flights

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US hails power-sharing deal in Sudan

Ali Murat Alhas 

18.08.2019

The U.S. on Saturday congratulated Sudan's Transitional Military Council (TMC) and Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) for reaching a political agreement and signing a constitutional declaration.

"We are encouraged by this first step in the establishment of a civilian-led transitional government," State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in an official statement.

"The United States commends the mediators from the African Union and the Government of Ethiopia for their efforts to broker this landmark agreement," she added.

She underlined that Washington expected the inauguration of the sovereign council on Aug. 19 and the appointment of a prime minister by Aug. 20.

In an official ceremony Saturday, representatives of the TMC and FFC hammered out a power-sharing deal.

According to the deal, a sovereign council -- consisting of six civilians and five military personnel -- will run the country until the elections.

According to the agreement, a prime minister will be appointed with the approval of the council on Aug. 20, to be sworn in before the council and head of the Supreme Court on Aug. 21.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-hails-power-sharing-deal-in-sudan/1558780

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Israel allows US lawmaker to visit family in West Bank

Abdelraouf Arnaout 

16.08.2019

Israel on Friday approved U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib's request to visit her family in the occupied West Bank.

"Interior Minister Aryeh Deri decided on Friday to approve the request of U.S. Congressman Rashida Tlaib for a humanitarian visit to her 90-year-old grandmother," Israeli Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The approval comes following a request by Tlaib in which she pledged to "respect any restrictions and will not promote boycotts against Israel" during her visit.

Israeli government opted on Thursday to block Congresswomen Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting the country and the occupied West Bank, sparking widespread condemnation from many.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government was blocking the congresswomen due to their support for an international boycott movement of Israel.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/americas/israel-allows-us-lawmaker-to-visit-family-in-west-bank/1557826

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/after-failed-unsc-bid,-pakistan-plays-victim-card-with-international-media/d/119494

 

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