Pilgrims sit in front of Kartarpur Gurdwara Sahib before the groundbreaking
ceremony of the Kartarpur
Tense Bilateral Ties, India and Pakistan Agree To Provide a Visa-Free Corridor
for Sikh Pilgrims
Give Peace a Chance, Pakistan Tells India
Jamaat, Shibir, Hefazat: US Congressman to Bangladesh
World League Chief Receives Egyptian Coptic Bishop
Secretary General Willing To Meet Saudi Crown Prince at G20 Summit
Character Is Not Minority but Democratic: Salman Khurshid
Two Hizbul militants killed in encounter in Awantipora
commander behind Shujaat Bukhari’s murder killed near Srinagar
slams Imran Khan for ‘politicising’ Kartarpur event by raking up Kashmir
Army chief’s handshake with pro-Khalistan leader at Kartarpur corridor event
in India can be tackled if Pakistan leadership works sincerely: Rajnath Singh
Fears Pakistan Will Use IMF Loans to Clear China Debt
hails opening of Kartarpur Corridor
against Rizvi’s detention dismissed as withdrawn
corridor to pave way for Indo-Pak talks, says Qureshi
corridor ‘a step towards peace’: COAS
foreign ministry releases statement after High Commission in Dhaka burgled
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Court Rejects Turkey’s Extradition Request for Top Gulenists
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of nuclear deal hinges on Europe’s efforts to ease US pressures: Iran
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by New Age Islam News Bureau
Asad Hashim & Zeenat Saberin
Delhi - Nestled in the verdant green rice fields of Pakistan's eastern Narowal
district, the white domes of the Sri Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara offer a striking
ago, it is said, Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, spent his final days in
this small village, farming the fields and formalising many of the practices of
what would become a religion followed by more than 25 million people around the
he died in 1539, the legend goes that he was so revered by both Hindus and
Muslims that there was a dispute over how his remains should be treated: Should
he be buried, in the Islamic tradition, or cremated, as Hindus wished?
at the Sikh gurdwara, or place of worship, built over his final resting place,
there is both a Muslim grave and a Hindu samadhi (shrine) marking his passing.
few kilometres away, Sikhs gather at a podium to view one of the most sacred
sites in their religion, lining up to pay tribute to Guru Nanak by viewing the
gurdwara through a set of binoculars.
are unable to access the site, just five kilometres away, because between the
two gurdwaras lies an obstacle that has been almost insurmountable for most:
The international border between India and Pakistan.
that, however, is about to change.
a new era
Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated a new visa-free
corridor between the gurdwara at Kartarpur and the Indian town of Dera Baba
Nanak, about six kilometres away.
pilgrims will be able to travel freely between the two holy sites without visas
for the first time since the border was established here in 1947 when India and
Pakistan gained independence from Britain.
inaugurating the project, which will see the construction of a new road and
bridge that would link the two sites, spoke of wanting to open a new era of
relations between India and Pakistan.
have been mistakes on both sides [in the past], but we will not be able to move
forward until we break the chains of the past," said Khan. "The past
is there only to teach us, not for us to live in."
present on the occasion were Indian federal ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and
Hardeep Singh Puri, and provincial Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
inauguration in Pakistan follows a similar event on the Indian side of the
border earlier this week, attended by the chief minister of India's Punjab
province and the country's vice president. The corridor will formally open next
year, in time for the 550th birth anniversary celebrations for Guru Nanak.
marks a rare moment of positivity in relations between the two South Asian
nations, who have fought three wars since gaining independence and between whom
dialogue has been stalled for years.
this year, India cancelled planned foreign minister-level talks on the
sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly following the killing of
Indian security forces personnel in the disputed region of Kashmir by armed
accuses Pakistan of supporting the armed separatist movement in Kashmir, which
both countries claim in full but administer separate portions of. Pakistan
denies the charge and alleges that India foments instability by supporting
separatists in Balochistan province.
the opening of the corridor - a long-standing demand of the Sikh community and
one which Pakistan proposed to be followed through with earlier this year - the
Pakistani government says it is showing that it is prepared to take concrete
steps to ease tensions.
story of Kartarpur is as old as the history of Pakistan and India's
independence itself," Fawad Chaudhry, Pakistan's information minister,
told Al Jazeera.
have groups on both sides of the border, some who are pro-peace, and many who
do not want [talks] to occur. It is for the government to decide who to
support. With this step, we have shown where we stand."
Sikhs in the area, the opening of the corridor is the culmination of a
have been asking for this for years," said Ramesh Singh Arora, a Sikh
community leader in Narowal who tends to the gurdwara. "It will make it a
lot easier for people to come from India and then return to their
the inaugurations this week, work will now begin on a fenced-off road between
the gurdwara at Kartarpur and the gurdwaras on the Indian side of the border,
which will allow Sikhs to access both sites without a visa.
Arora says, pilgrims were forced to cross the border at the Wagah/Attari
crossing, a journey of more than 200km that involved dealing with a restrictive
visa regime and travelling by road for hours.
a sense of homecoming. This is an emotional moment for the community,"
says Bhabishan Singh Goraya, 67, a Sikh resident of nearby Amritsar, in India's
Punjab province. "We have been demanding this for so long."
say the Indian government, led by right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was
pressured into opening the corridor due to domestic political pressures.
did play a factor, with general elections in India less than six months
away," Krishan Pratap Singh, a New-Delhi based analyst, told Al Jazeera.
"The Akali Dal, a coalition partner of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) government, is struggling in Punjab with internal strife and the
Kartarpur corridor is being seen as an attempt to provide them a much-needed
is a point that has been made in Pakistan, too.
reaction from Delhi [to the Kartarpur proposal] was always very negative,"
said Pakistani Information Minister Chaudhry. "But now that they have
elections in Punjab, so the Indian government has changed its position because
of that. Internal public pressure has changed it."
of the sources of opposition to the corridor within India has been security
concerns regarding the free movement of citizens between the two countries,
even in the controlled environment of the corridor.
are apprehensions that some left-over elements of the [Sikh separatist]
Khalistan movement still operate from Pakistani territory," said Sreeram
Chaulia, dean of New Delhi's Jindal School of International Affairs.
are still capable of appealing to vulnerable Sikh youth, recruiting and
mobilising them. India has no way of monitoring once they are inside Pakistani
separatists in India began agitating for a separate homeland in the 1970s, but
the movement petered out two decades later. India believes there has been an
attempt to revive separatist groups in the recent past.
analysts, too, warn that while the corridor may be a rare success story, the
prospect of any resumption of dialogue between the countries remains dim.
is a good move in a situation where there is little hope of any improvement in
the relations between the two countries," said Zahid Hussain, an
Islamabad-based security analyst.
I don't think it will change the overall atmosphere that prevails right now.
It's more for public consumption rather than a move that could change the
politics of the region," he added.
points out that the opening of the corridor could not have occurred without
backing from Pakistan's powerful military, which has ruled the country for
roughly half of its 71-year history.
Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa has publicly supported the project and
first discussed it with Indian legislator Sidhu at Prime Minister Khan's
inauguration in August. General Bajwa was also in attendance at the
ground-breaking on Wednesday.
government is planning further confidence-building measures, Information
Minister Chaudhry said, including the easing of visa restrictions on Indian
has shown a bigger heart," he said. "We had the attack on the Chinese
consulate [last week] and we still didn't stop this initiative [on Kartarpur] -
the Indian support for the Baloch Liberation Army is not a secret."
was referring to an attack on the Chinese diplomatic mission in the southern
Pakistani city of Karachi by Baloch separatists on Friday, which killed two
of the tension in the relationship between the states, the Sikh community
remains jubilant about the opening of the corridor.
are lots of relations on either side. When partition happened, most of our
relatives went to India from Pakistan," said Arora. "We decided to
stay. We are Pakistani, but we are one people."
give peace a chance, Pakistan tells India
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday performed the groundbreaking of a
four-kilometre-long Kartarpur corridor amid much fanfare in a ceremony attended
by a number of dignitaries, including Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed
Bajwa and Indian Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
corridor will connect Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, India, with Gurdwara
Kartarpur Darbar Sahib on the banks of River Ravi in Narowal district to allow
visa-free access to Sikh pilgrims for visiting their holy site.
Rangers contingent received the Indian delegation, comprising ministers, as
they crossed into Pakistan.
Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal described the ceremony as “emotional
moment” for her, while India’s Minister for Housing Hardeep S. Puri described
the visit as “the most momentous journey” in his life.
senior officials from both countries and a number of foreign diplomats were
also present at the occasion.
the ceremony that included a large number Sikh pilgrims, PM Khan welcomed all
“the guests, our Sikh brothers and sisters who have come from all around the
world” and renewed Pakistan’s peace offer to India.
will take two steps if India takes one toward peace,” he reiterated.
appreciated the joy on the faces of the pilgrims as he likened their Gurdwara
visits to Muslims’ pilgrimage to Makkah.
happiness I see in you today, if I were to explain to my Muslim brother and
sisters, is that imagine that you are standing 4km outside Madina and cannot go
in, and you are then given the chance to go. That is the happiness I see here.”
will keep improving Kartarpur corridor and next year you will see all
facilities will be available there,” he assured the pilgrims.
PM said that people from both sides want peace and leaderships of the two
countries should respect their wishes.
is not an option between nuclear-armed states,” the PM said, adding that all
issues, including that of Kashmir, can be resolved through “political will and
time to move on, else we will remain stuck in the past,” he said, adding that
both sides needed to “stop blaming each other as there had been mistakes on
both sides”. Instead of sulking about them, we need to learn from our mistakes,
he said, adding that if Germany and France could do it despite a number of
wars, then so can India and Pakistan.
PM ruled out the possibility of Pakistani Army’s disinclination to peace
overtures with India, saying: “I am saying today, that our political leaders,
our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move
forward, we want a civilised relationship. We have just one problem, Kashmir.
If man can walk on the moon, what problems are there that we cannot resolve?”
said he wanted better relations with India to overcome poverty by trade. “If we
want to end poverty borders should be opened.”
PM also mentioned Sidhu in his speech, who has visited Pakistan twice since
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) ascent to the top.
don’t know why Sidhu is being criticised for coming to Pakistan,” Imran
premier joked that Sidhu had accumulated such a large fan following in
Pakistan’s Punjab that if he ran in elections here, he would win. “I hope we
don’t wait for him to become the prime minister for there to be peace between
the two countries,” he hoped.
to Gen Bajwa, the Kartarpur corridor is a step towards peace which our region
and Gates are for legal peaceful visitors. So is the case for all our
neighbours,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted the army chief
Sidhu took the stage amid loud applause and cheering.
a speech delivered mostly in Punjabi, the cricketer-turned-politician said
there has been enough bad blood, it is time peace prevails.
Constitution says there will be no discrimination on the basis of caste or
creed. Baba Guru Nanak said this 549 years ago,” he said.
said that if the borders between both countries opened, it would be possible to
transport goods to different parts of Pakistan and even to others countries.
is my hope, this is my dream … While there is blood in my veins, I will
continue to thank both governments,” he said.
emotional Indian Minister for Food Harsimrat Kaur Badal said, “After 70 years,
the dream of devotees has come true. So close, yet so far. Millions of Sikhs
like me now have got an opportunity to be invited here to Gurdwara”.
is a historic day for Sikhs. History is being written. I had never imagined in
my life that I will be a part of this historic moment. Distances are being
erased today.” “If the Berlin wall can fall, then the wall of hate between
India and Pakistan can also be taken down,” Badal said.
Khan’s government did what didn’t happen for 70 years,” she said, adding that
the corridor will increase love between India and Pakistan.
TO GO TO YOUR TEMPLES’:
we are standing where Baba Guru Nanak spent the last 18 years of his life. Baba
Guru Nanak spread a message of love and peace and I don’t think it is
appropriate to associate him with any community or region,” said FM Qureshi in
are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your
mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may
belong to any religion, caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the
business of the state,” FM Qureshi quoted Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s August 11
a peaceful South Asia, we have to take more steps such as the Kartarpur
corridor. The whole world welcomed the decision to construct the corridor,” he
a briefing to the attendees about the facilities which would be provided at the
corridor, the government announced that it aimed to open the visa-free corridor
on Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary next year.
the first phase of the project, set to be completed before Nov 2019, a boarding
terminal will be set up near the border besides arrangement of accommodation
facilities for 10,000 pilgrims.
will be arranged to shuttle pilgrims possessing a special permit to the
Gurdwara. An 800-metre-long bridge will also be built across River Ravi for
and other accommodation facilities will be constructed to house pilgrims
arriving with visas in the second phase.
300-metre track starting from the border will be built for pilgrims carrying
special permits, after which a 4.5km road will also be constructed from the border
terminal to the Gurdwara.
receiving their permits, special transport will take the pilgrims to a parking
area near the Gurdwara. Security posts will be set up to ensure the safety of
the pilgrims reach the parking, biometric verification of their identities will
be conducted, and then they will be able to enter the Gurdwara premises and
worship freely within the specified time.
Sikhs will need to carry travel documents and identification in order to enter
the Gurdwara premises.
PROPOSAL BY PAKISTAN:
dormant due to the tense relations between the two countries since 1988, the
proposal to construct the corridor providing visa-free access to Sikh pilgrims
had been renewed by General Bajwa in August when Sidhu had visited Islamabad
for Imran’s swearing-in.
India agreed to open the corridor, Pakistan subsequently extended an invitation
to Sushma Swaraj and others. However, Swaraj refused to join the event due to
some “prior commitments”.
Nov 28 (UNB) - United States Congressman Jim Banks has placed a resolution in
the House of Representatives expressing concern about the threat posed to
democracy and the democratic process by theocratic groups operating in
resolution, placed on November 20, also called on the government of Bangladesh
to stop radical organizations, such as Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatra Shibir,
and Hefazat-e-Islam, who pose an ongoing threat to the country’s stability and
resolution submitted by Banks was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
January 3, 2017, Congressman Banks began representing Indiana’s Third
Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
currently serves on the House Armed Services; Veterans Affairs; and Education
and the Workforce Committees.
resolution called on the United States Agency for International Development and
the State Department to halt all partnerships and funding arrangements with
groups affiliated with Jamaat-e-Islami, Islami Chhatra Shibir, and
called on the government of Bangladesh to heed the Bangladesh Election
Commission’s request to ensure security for minorities and maintain communal
harmony for a peaceful election.
national election in Bangladesh will be held on December 30.
resolution acknowledged the victims of the 1971 War of Independence and the
spirit of secular democracy on which Bangladesh was founded.
mentioned that Bangladesh achieved independence in 1971 and established a
secular democratic state, which is home to over 163,000,000 Muslims, Hindus,
Buddhists, Christians, and atheists.
freedom was won at the cost of approximately 3,000,000 deaths, more than
10,000,000 displaced, and 200,000 women raped, many at the hands of Islamist
militants led by Jamaat-e-Islami, the resolution reads.
also mentioned that Bangladesh plays a critical role in the safe and voluntary
repatriation of over 800,000 Rohingya Muslims who have taken refuge in
Bangladesh from religious and political persecution in Myanmar.
resolution mentioned said religious minorities were targeted by the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Islami Chhatra Shibir, during previous
elections, as a result of which 495 Hindu homes were damaged, 585 shops were
attacked or looted, and 169 temples were vandalized between November 2013 and
January 2014, according to the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity
also mentioned that Jamaat-e-Islami activists have been involved in recent
attacks on religious minorities in Bangladesh.
extremists have also attacked Buddhists, Christians, and Ahmadi Muslims and the
extremist group Hefazat-e-Islam is organizing a movement to fundamentally
transform Bangladesh from a secular democracy into a totalitarian theocracy, it
said Jamaat-e-Islami, Hefazat-e-Islam, and other theocratic extremist groups
pose an immediate and ongoing threat to Bangladesh’s stability and secular
democracy, and religious minorities remain at grave risk of continuing
World League chief receives Egyptian Coptic bishop
The secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin
Abdulkarim Al-Issa, received in Riyadh on Wednesday Egypt’s Coptic Bishop
the meeting, the two sides discussed a number of issues of common interest.
meeting was attended by members of the Egyptian Embassy in Saudi Arabia.
Monday, Al-Issa received a Lebanese Druze delegation led by Sheikh Ghassan
sides discussed unifying Islamic efforts to confront conflicts and strife,
saying Muslim unity serves the interests of all parties, and consolidates the
values of tolerance and cooperation.
the MWL has condemned all attempts to target Saudi Arabia’s international and
Islamic leading position through suggesting economic sanctions, political
pressure, and false accusations.
league stressed that the Kingdom has a long history in international peace and
cooperation, confirming its leading position in many fields that serve
Supreme Council of the MWL also said that the Kingdom’s stability and security
are a red line for the Muslim world.
stressed that the MWL focuses on fostering understanding and a culture of
cooperation, tolerance and civilized communication.
Secretary General willing to meet Saudi crown prince at G20 summit
Secretary General Antonio Guterres is willing to meet with Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman when he attends the Group of 20 summit in Argentina,
Guterres said on Wednesday, as the UN chief seeks an end to the war in Yemen.
think we are close to (creating) the conditions for the possibility for (Yemen)
peace talks to start. And of course Saudi Arabia is absolutely crucial for that
purpose, and I’m ready to discuss it with the crown prince or with any other
Saudi officials because I believe it is a very important objective at the present
moment,” Guterres told reporters.
character is not minority but democratic: Salman Khurshid
character is more important than the minority status of AMU. The country has to
understand AMU’s character, which is not a minority character but a democratic
one. AMU has never discriminated on the lines of religion,” said senior Congress
leader Salman Khurshid on the occasion of Aligarh Muslim University’s Founder’s
Day, which was celebrated in the United Arab Emirates recently.
further on the issue of minority status to AMU, Khurshid said: “We have to
understand that these institutions were set up with the aim to help the
disadvantaged, and at that time the founder of the university set it up after
looking at the education system of British so as to provide the best education
to this disadvantaged lot. We have to respect that thought process because our
Constitution has given that right to the minority and minority has the right to
run its institute the way they want. No one can take away that right from them
and if it is taken away then it will not be as if we will take away something
from Muslims but we will let go of a very important part of the Constitution.”
function in Sharjah, UAE, was organised by AMU Alumni Forum UAE and saw an
attendance of around 900 former students. Khurshid was the chief Guest and Lt
Gen (retired) Zameer Uddin Shah, former Vice Chancellor of AMU, was the guest
of honour present among other dignitaries at the function.
militants from the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) outfit were killed in an encounter
with security forces in Khrew area of Awantipora in South Kashmir early on
Thursday morning. A Jammu and Kashmir police spokesperson, confirming the
encounter, said no collateral damage took place in the crossfire. The slain
militants have been identified as Adnan Ahmad Lone alias Uqaab and Adil Bilal
Bhat alias Umair Al Hizbi.
were affiliated with proscribed terror outfit HM. As per police records, Adnan
Lone was known as district commander of Pulwama for HM, ” the police said in a
on inputs, the police had launched a cordon and search operation at predawn
hours. “As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the
terrorists. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight, ” the police
to the police, Lone was a close associate of Hizbul Mujahideen’s operations
chief Riyaz Naikoo.
commander Naveed Jatt alias Abu Hanzulla, a prime suspect in the murder of
journalist Shujaat Bukhari, was killed in a gunfight in Chattergam village, on
the outskirts of Srinagar, on Wednesday morning. Jatt, who hailed from Multan
in Pakistan, had escaped from police custody in February this year.
his death, J&K Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh said they
would ask Pakistan to take back his body. “In this case (Bukhari’s killing), he
was a prime suspect… We will write to the Government of India to offer his body
to Pakistan, through its competent authority,” he said.
to J&K Police sources, Jatt, who was arrested in June 2014, had told his
interrogators that he had “seen Ajmal Kasab in a madrasa run by the LeT
sometime in 2006-2007”. A senior police officer said this was the first time
that a Pakistani militant had admitted to knowing Kasab, the lone terrorist
captured alive during the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
details of the operation on Wednesday, police said a joint team of J&K
Police, army and paramilitary forces cordoned off Chattergam village early in
the morning, following a tip-off on the presence of militants there. Three
security personnel were injured as the militants, who were hiding inside a
house, opened fire.
militants, including Jatt, were killed in the gunfight which lasted for several
hours. A third militant is reported to have escaped.
had named Jatt and two local militants, Azad Ahmad Malik and Muzaffar Ahmad, as
the prime suspects behind Bukhari murder’s on June 14 this year. Malik was
killed in a gunfight at Bijbehara on Friday.
at the LeT’s Muridke headquarters in Pakistan, Jatt is reported to have entered
Kashmir in 2012, through Kupwara sector. After spending some months in North
Kashmir, he shifted to South Kashmir, where he was said to be involved in a
string of militant attacks on security forces.
June 14, 2014, Jatt was arrested from a hideout in Sharmpora village of Kulgam
district. At the time of his arrest, police had said he was the Lashkar’s
district commander and a close associate of Abu Qasim and Abu Dujana — two of
the Lashkar’s chiefs in the Valley who were later killed.
February 6 this year, Jatt escaped from police custody during a militant attack
at the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, where he had been taken for a
check-up. Two policemen were killed in the attack.
Jatt was a Lashkar operative, his escape was reported to have been planned and
executed by the Hizbul Mujahideen, on the instructions of its chief Riyaz
Naikoo. After his escape, Jatt is reported to have made his way to South
Kashmir, where he took charge of the militant outfit. He worked in close
coordination with Hizbul Mujahideen militants, and would often be seen in
videos released by them.
would also often appear at funerals of militants. Since February, he is
reported to have escaped from the sites of gunfights at least six times.
police statement on Tuesday said Jatt was also “involved in the killing of an
ASI in Pulwama in May 2013, a series of grenade attacks on security forces, and
in killing of CRPF personnel at Awneera, Shopian in 2013”.
was also involved in conspiring and executing several bank robberies and terror
attacks in South Kashmir, including the attack in the court complex in Pulwama
in which two policemen were killed, the attack on a polling party in Shopian in
which a presiding officer was killed, the attack on police party at Bongam,
Shopian,” said the statement.
on Wednesday expressed its displeasure over Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan
raising the issue of Kashmir in his speech during the ground-breaking ceremony
for the development of the Kartarpur Corridor. Hitting out at Khan for
politicising the “pious occasion”, the Ministry of External Affairs said
Kashmir was an integral and inalienable part of India.
regrettable that Pakistan PM chose to politicise the pious occasion meant to
realise the long pending demand of Sikh community to develop Kartarpur Corridor
by making unwarranted reference to J&K, which is integral and inalienable
part of India,” ANI quoted the MEA as saying.
MEA further asked Pakistan to stop supporting cross-border terrorism and
letting its soil be used for cessationist activities. “Pakistan is reminded
that it must fulfil its international obligations and take effective and credible
action to stop providing shelter and all kind of support to cross-border
terrorism from territories under its control,” the ministry said.
laying the foundation stone for the corridor, will connect Darbar Sahib in
Kartarpur – the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev –
with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district, Khan said Pakistan
wanted a “strong” and “civilised” relationship with India and both the
countries could resolve all issues, including Kashmir, with determination.
am saying today, that our political leaders, our army, and all other
institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward, we want a civilised
relationship. We have just one problem, Kashmir. If a man can walk on the moon,
what problems are there that we cannot resolve?” Khan said at the ceremony that
was graced by Union ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Hardeep Singh Puri and
Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
that the two sides should not live in the past, Khan stressed the need for
determination at the leadership level to solve the issues between the two
nations. “I assure you that we can solve this problem. But determination and
big dreams are necessary. Imagine, once trade begins, once our relationship is
fixed, how much both nations could benefit,” he said.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar came down heavily on Sidhu for praising Khan,
saying at a time when Pakistan was indulging in terror activities, one required
to be cautious about the choice of words. “The most objectionable thing in
Sidhu’s Pakistan trip is that he referred to various domestic issues which are
not done in any diplomatic relations. He praised Imran Khan more than what was
due and praised him to the hilt,” ANI quoted Javadekar as saying.
Pakistan is indulging in all kinds of terror activities & cross-border
terrorism, one needs to be very cautious about it. It is not an enthusiasm or a
laughter challenge from Sidhu,” the minister said. Sidhu has also coughed up
criticism from BJP and SAD for “disobeying” Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder
Singh, who has said he had asked the former cricketer to reconsider his
decision on going to Pakistan.
on Wednesday justified its army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa greeting
pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla on the sidelines of the Kartarpur
corridor groundbreaking ceremony after a video emerged of the two men shaking
known to be one of the main propagators of the Sikh movement that seeks a
separate homeland for the community, has earlier stopped Indian diplomats from
visiting a gurudwara in Lahore. He is believed to have ties to terrorist Hafiz
Saeed, who is wanted in India.
spokesperson for the Pakistan army said Bajwa “met all guests at the venue
irrespective of identity”.
Twitter, the military’s media wing spokesperson, Major General Asif Ghafoor,
said: “Indian media taking a myopic view is selectively showing Mr Gopal Chawla
meeting COAS. Army Chief met all guests at the venue irrespective of identity.
A peace initiative should not be subjected to propaganda.”
is a senior leader of the Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (PSGPC),
and he was invited to all events involving the Sikh community, a Pakistani
official told news agency Press Trust of India.
groundbreaking ceremony in Pakistan’s Punjab province was attended by federal
and provincial ministers and foreign dignitaries.
Canada, the pro-Khalistan group, Sikhs for Justice (SFJ), has announced that it
plans to hold a convention to espouse the secessionist 2020 Referendum
campaign, announced in London in August this year, at Kartarpur Sahib in
Pakistan if the proposed corridor for Sikh pilgrims between India and Pakistan
is functional by then.
the original plan was to hold a major event at Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, SFJ’s legal advisor Gurpatwant Pannun told
Hindustan Times that the opening of the corridor will allow the group access to
a much larger number of pilgrims from India at Kartarpur Sahib than would be
possible at the more distant Nankana Sahib.
now they have given access, people will come to Kartarpur Sahib. They will not
be allowed to visit Nankana Sahib so we will have to do the convention at
Kartarpur Sahib,” Pannun said. In case the corridor is not open, SFJ will
revert to the original plan of holding the convention at Nanakana Sahib.
convention is being timed to coincide with the 550th birth anniversary
celebrations of Guru Nanak.
officials refused to formally comment on this latest provocative move by SFJ,
but said this was part of a game being played by Pakistan and rued that a
religious occasion of such significance was being “manipulated” for such a
office in Lahore will “coordinate” registration of “voters” for the non-binding
referendum on creating a separate nation of Khalistan. SFJ also plans to
sponsor and host 10,000 Sikhs from Punjab at the convention to “be educated and
informed about Sikhs’ right to self-determination under the UN Charter and
Conventions” and to serve as “ambassadors” for the separatist referendum.
home minister Rajnath Singh Wednesday criticised Pakistan for sponsoring
terrorism in India, saying the menace can be tackled if the leadership in that
country works sincerely towards it.
a ‘panna pramukh sammelan’, a meeting of BJP workers, in Himachal Pradesh’s
Mandi parliamentary constituency, Singh said Maoist in the country has reduced
from 90 districts to just nine.
incidents of terrorism have also confined to only three-four districts in the
country during the current BJP government at the Centre,” he said.
country is rapidly developing under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra
Modi, Singh said. He said, “Former prime minister Indira Gandhi had nationalised
the banks in the country saying it would bring banking services to the rural
public, but desired results were not received”.
present government at the Centre has brought banking services to the doorstep
of the people and 33 crore bank accounts of general public have been opened”.
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, Singh said he had brought many
Centre-aided schemes to the state.
eases fears Pakistan will use IMF loans to clear China debt
The US Treasury Department has informed Congress that Pakistan will pay off an
International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout before its loans from China become
think the maturity of the Chinese debt comes after the IMF would have been
repaid,” the Treasury’s undersecretary for international affairs, David
Malpass, told a US Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Tuesday.
the standpoint of IMF money being used to pay Chinese money,” that was not the
main US concern, he said. “A challenge is to find the programme that would
cause a substantial economic reform in Pakistan” and allow it to “survive the
financial terms” attached to it.
assurance from a senior US Treasury official eases concerns that Pakistan may
use the IMF loan to repay China and Chinese banks.
informing the panel that an IMF team had just returned from Pakistan after
talks on a possible bailout package, Malpass also gave a rare insight into the
of the things we are pushing hard for is full transparency of the debt,” he
said. “One of the challenges is that ... in many cases they haven’t disclosed
the terms of the debt — that means the interest rates, the maturity, and when
it would have to be repaid,” he said.
he said, was “pushing back on very hard” to change this practice and had raised
its concern at various international financial platforms. Pakistan is
negotiating with the IMF the terms of its second bailout since 2013, a loan
package valued at somewhere between $6 billion to $12 billion — according to
reports in the Pakistani and international media. Pakistan expects the deal to
be finalised by mid January.
Minister Asad Umar, however, told reporters on Wednesday that Pakistan was no
more in a rush to finalise the deal as it can now afford a two-month delay. “We
aren’t in hurry,” he said. “We are covered even if it delays for two months.”
Welcoming opening of Kartarpur Corridor, Awami National Party president
Asfandyar Wali Khan has said that Islamabad should show same gesture to the
Pakistan-Afghanistan border to end sense of deprivation among Pakhtuns.
a statement here on Wednesday, he said that opening of the corridor would not
only facilitate cross-border movement of Sikh community, but would also improve
bilateral trade and tourism in the region.
said that one person should not take credit for establishing corridor at
ANP leader said that former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif had
made efforts for setting up corridor on the eastern border to ease movement of
said that opening of the corridor at Kartarpur after seven decades would
improve strained relations between the two neighbours.
government should show same gesture to the Pak-Afghan border to facilitate
movement of the people living on the two sides of the border who have same
culture, tradition, language and religion,” said Mr Khan. He added that Pakhtuns
were being used as a fuel in the four decades long war.
said that soft border and opening of corridors would end sense of derivation
among Pakhtuns. He said that ANP supported the policy of soft border and
committed opening of 10 corridors to promote peace and improve trade activities
in the region.
ANP leader said that element of mistrust was major irritant in the Pak-Afghan
relations. Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan could not be improved
without confidence building measures, he said, adding that better ties between
Islamabad and Kabul were prerequisite for durable peace and economic progress
in the region.
The Lahore High Court on Wednesday dismissed as withdrawn a habeas corpus
petition challenging the detention of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief
Maulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi, his son Saad Rizvi and TLP patron-in-chief Pir
the court resumed hearing, a provincial law officer presented a notification
issued under Section 3 of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance 1960 for a
30-day detention of the TLP leaders.
Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi observed that the habeas corpus petition stood
infructuous in the presence of the government notification.
this, petitioner’s counsel Nabeel Javed Kahloon sought court’s permission to
withdraw the petition, which was duly granted.
judge dismissed the petition as withdrawn.
Kahloon told media persons that a fresh petition would be filed soon
challenging the notification issued by the government for the detention of the
Zafar Hussain Gilani, a member of the TLP, had assailed the detention of his
leaders in a habeas corpus petition. He contended that the police barged in the
houses of the TLP leaders, arrested them unlawfully and shifted them to
stated that the home department and the police, despite repeated requests, had
not issued any grounds for their detention nor informed about their
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday said the Kartarpur corridor is a
path to dialogue between India and Pakistan.
an interview with British TV channel ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony of
the Kartarpur corridor, the foreign minister said, “The corridor is a path for
dialogue, sitting together and for removing differences and distances between
India and Pakistan.”
that “there was no pressure on Pakistan to construct the Kartarpur corridor,”
FM Qureshi said, “From day one, it was Prime Minister Imran Khan’s desire that
there should be peace in our region.”
is his thinking that fine, we have conflicts with India, we have historical
conflicts but what is the solution? War is not a solution. Both the countries
are nuclear powers and war would be synonymous to suicide. There is no room for
war, so then what is the way forward?” Qureshi asserted.
foreign minister added, “The Kartarpur corridor is an extraordinary effort to
used to visit Pakistan through Wagah Border, it was a 400 kilometre route which
we are bringing to four kilometres so distances have been reduced,” he said.
“When distances are reduced and visits are frequent then relations will
improve,” FM Qureshi continued.
people-to-people contacts are increased then perceptions change. This region is
gripped by poverty and ignorance and we have to bring change,” he said while
adding that change comes through mindsets and attitudes.
the Kartarpur corridor decision is a change in mindset and thinking which
reduces distances and strengthens relationships while asking people to come sit
together,” the foreign minister said.
about the reaction of the Sikh community, FM Qureshi said, “Their reaction
proves that this decision is popular and fruitful”.
community in Pakistan, India and South Asia is extremely pleased with this
decision. They are celebrating like it is Eid,” he added.
corridor will bring a pleasing change and I believe that wise people live on
both sides of the border,” the foreign minister said.
that it is the priority of PM Imran’s government to strengthen the country
economically and financially and fighting corruption and governance, FM Qureshi
said, “This can only be achieved if there is peace and our eastern and western
borders are secure which is why we have been asking New Delhi and Kabul to talk
to resolve issues”.
SHOULDN’T POLITICISE KARTARPUR CORRIDOR’:
Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Indian Punjab Chief
Minister Amarinder Singh declining the invitation to attend the groundbreaking
ceremony, Qureshi said, “We invited but they could have been busy.”
Qureshi commented on the Indian Punjab chief minister’s statement and regretted
that “his attitude was not as it should have been”.
is easy to exchange harsh words but we do not want this matter to become
political,” he concluded.
foreign minister said to ensure security the corridor will be fenced from both
sides. “We want that whoever visits, enters and leaves safely,” he said.
will be no need for passports or visas and people will be granted permits upon
arrival after payment of a minimum fee,” FM Qureshi added.
of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa Wednesday termed the opening of
Kartarpur corridor a ‘step towards peace’, according to a statement issued by
the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
a step towards peace which our region needs,” he was quoted as saying by ISPR
Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor. “Barbed wire at borders is a measure by
a sovereign state to check or deny illegal crossings. Corridors and gates are
for legal peaceful visitors. So is the case for all our neighbours.”
Minister Imran Khan Wednesday laid the foundation stone of the corridor
connecting Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district with
Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district. Army Chief General Qamar Javed
Bajwa also attended the ceremony. The initiative, however, did not apparently
go down well with certain quarters of the Indian media. The DG ISPR shared
images of an Indian channel purporting a Khalistan activist meeting General
Bajwa at the groundbreaking ceremony. The channel flashed the images with
incendiary captions, “Pakistan provokes India at Kartarpur ceremony” and
“Khalistani extremist Gopal Chawla with Pakistan army chief.”
Following a burglary in the Pakistani High Commission in Dhaka, Pakistan’s
Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said it is the Bangladeshi government’s
responsibility to ensure the security of staff and items on the premises.
burglars broke into the consular section of the facility on Nov. 22, stealing
computers that contained “official records and sensitive data,” officials at
the commission said. The matter was reported to Bangladeshi police.
also informed Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry of the incident, and asked for
security to be tightened on the premises, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a
has been underscored that as a host, it is the responsibility of the Bangladesh
government to provide full security to the Pakistan High Commission premises,”
the statement read.
in Bangladesh have been requested to carry out a thorough investigation, share
a detailed report with us and bring the culprits to justice.”
Aurangzeb Haral, the commission’s press counselor, told Arab News that the
burglary occurred “just after the official closing, and the next two days were
public holidays in Dhaka, so we noticed the incident on Sunday morning when we
footage showed that soon after the incident, a cyclist informed police guards
on duty of the thief’s suspicious movements. “But they didn’t take any action.
What does this mean?” Haral said.
burglary, which took place in the highly sensitive diplomatic zone, was
“regrettable and a matter of grave concern for diplomatic missions,” he added:
“It wasn’t an ordinary incident.”
Wednesday, police arrested six people, three of them for direct involvement in
the burglary, and the others for involvement in trading the stolen goods.
law enforcers took the matter very seriously, and we recovered the stolen goods
within 48 hours of the case being filed,” Hayatul Islam Khan, deputy
commissioner of the diplomatic security division of the Bangladeshi police,
told Arab News.
‘one reason’ for US troops to remain in region: Trump
Donald Trump says US military forces will stay in the Middle East to ensure the
security of its close ally, Israel, days after he suggested that the occupying
entity will have to “leave” the region without Riyadh’s support.
have reached a point where we don’t have to stay in the Middle East. One reason
to stay is Israel,” Trump said in an exclusive interview with The Washington
Post published on Wednesday.
said that oil production was no longer a reason to stay in the region as lower
oil prices lead to reduced reliance on Saudi Arabia.
is becoming less and less of a reason because we’re producing more oil now than
we’ve ever produced. So, you know, all of a sudden it gets to a point where you
don’t have to stay there,” he explained.
week, Trump said the US would “remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to
ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the
stressed that the stability of Saudi Arabia benefits Tel Aviv, saying “Israel
would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia.”
what does that mean, Israel is going to leave? You want Israel to leave? We
have a very strong ally in Saudi Arabia,” Trump said after a Thanksgiving Day
telephone call with military personnel from his Mar-a-Lago resort home in
Florida on Thursday.
US president also said the Saudis were “tremendously helpful” in the region as
they also helped keep oil prices down.
comments came after he was harshly criticized for deciding not to punish the
kingdom for the assassination of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at
Riyadh’s consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul in early October.
US president has also been accused of ignoring human rights and giving Saudi
Arabia a pass for economic reasons, including its influence on the world oil
international calls for the US to put pressure on Riyadh, Trump said last week
that Washington intends “to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to
ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the
also suggested that Israel would be forced to leave the region without Saudi
you look at Israel, Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia,” Trump
said. “So what does that mean, Israel is going to leave? You want Israel to
leave? We have a very strong ally in Saudi Arabia,” Trump said.
has no diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, but the two sides are widely known to
have secret contacts and have recently stepped up their push towards
say Saudi Arabia’s flirtation with Israel would undermine global efforts to
isolate Tel Aviv and harm the Palestinian cause.
VA.—A Northern Virginia man pleaded guilty Wednesday to raping and killing a
Muslim teenager last year in a case that drew national attention for its
brutality on a young victim who had been walking with friends to early-morning
plea deal allows Darwin Martinez-Torres, 25, of Sterling to avoid a potential
death penalty for the June 2017 murder of 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen of Reston.
had been out with a group of friends eating a pre-dawn meal at a fast-food
restaurant ahead of Ramadan services. Martinez-Torres was driving by and got
into an altercation with the group.
plea deal will mean Martinez-Torres gets life without parole when he is
formally sentenced in March.
death attracted widespread attention, and thousands of mourners attended her
funeral. There were concerns that her slaying was motivated by anti-Muslim
sentiment, but police have said repeatedly they have no evidence of a hate
police called it an incident of road rage.
court Wednesday, prosecutor Casey Lingan said the attack began when
Martinez-Torres drove by and honked his horn at one of Nabra’s friends who had
been riding his bicycle in the road as they walked back to their mosque. The
friend yelled back at Martinez-Torres, who started chasing the group, first in
his car and then on foot.
said Nabra, who was wearing sandals, couldn’t run as fast the others, and
Martinez-Torres caught up with her, wielding a baseball bat. A friend of
Nabra’s described hearing a “thud and a metal ping” when she looked back. Some
friends started to go back to help Nabra, but Lingan said Martinez-Torres
scared them off with his bat.
a native of El Salvador who federal immigration authorities have said is in the
country illegally, was caught shortly after the attack. He initially denied
attacking Nabra but quickly confessed under questioning from detectives. He
told them that he “got out of control” and that after he first struck Nabra
with the bat he “just kept thinking ugly things.”
raped her while she lay unconscious and dumped her body in a pond.
County Commonwealth’s Attorney Raymond Morrogh brought capital murder charges
last year, and said he only agreed to take the death penalty off the table in
Wednesday’s plea after consulting with the family, which indicated it would be
satisfied with a life sentence.
lawyer, Joseph Flood, said his client has intellectual disabilities, and that
his IQ is below 68. Morrogh acknowledged that if evidence of a severe
intellectual disability were confirmed by an independent examiner,
Martinez-Torres may well have been ineligible for a death sentence.
plea deal carries an unusual provision that requires Martinez-Torres to answer
any questions posed of him by the victim’s family over the next year. Nabra’s
father, Mahmoud Hassanen, has been outspoken about his concerns that Nabra’s
death may have been a hate crime. Gadeir Abbas, a lawyer with the Council on
American-Islamic Relations, which provided legal assistance to the Hassanen
family, said the provision is in place to allow the family to ask
Martinez-Torres directly why he killed her.
said after the hearing that he has only rarely included such a provision in a
plea agreement, and he did so in this case because he understood the Hassanen
family’s bewilderment at what could motivate such a crime.
is just such a random crime on such a loving, young person practicing her
religion,” Morrogh said. “I hope something comes out of that part of the
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a
powerful force for stability in the Middle East.
comment came in an article he penned in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday, in
which he added that Saudi Arabia is working to “secure Iraq’s fragile democracy
and keep Baghdad tethered to the West’s interests, not Tehran’s.”
US Secretary of State emphasized the role of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East
and its stability, saying that Riyadh is helping manage the flood of refugees
fleeing Syria’s civil war by working with host countries, cooperating closely
with Egypt, and establishing stronger ties with Israel.
wrote that the Saudi kingdom also contributed millions of dollars to the US-led
effort to fight ISIS and other terrorist organizations.
oil prices and market stability, Pompeo said that Saudi oil production and
economic stability are key to regional prosperity and global energy security.
threat in the region
his article, the US Secretary of State also criticized those who are using “the
Khashoggi murder” for ulterior motives, saying: “Is it any coincidence that the
people using the Khashoggi murder as a cudgel against President Trump’s Saudi
Arabia policy are the same people who supported Barack Obama’s rapprochement
with Iran—a regime that has killed thousands world-wide, including hundreds of
Americans, and brutalizes its own people? Where was this echo chamber, where
were these avatars of human rights, when Mr. Obama gave the mullahs pallets of
cash to carry out their work as the world’s largest state sponsor of
for the “Khashoggi killing,” Pompeo confirmed the US administration stance
saying that 21 Saudi suspects have been deemed ineligible to enter the US, and
had their visas revoked. He adding that: “Trump administration will consider
further punitive measures if more facts about Khashoggi’s murder come to
also said that the US and Saudi Arabia recognize the immense threat of Iran.
wrote that: “ Modern-day Iran is, in Henry Kissinger’s term, a cause, not a
nation. Its objectives are to spread the Islamic revolution from Tehran to
Damascus, to destroy Israel, and to subjugate anyone who refuses to submit,
starting with the Iranian people. An emboldened Iran would spread even more
death and destruction in the Middle East, spark a regional nuclear-arms race,
threaten trade routes, and foment terrorism around the world.”
for the Yemeni crisis and Iranian meddling through its pro-militias, Pompeo
said: “One of Mohammed bin Salman’s first acts as Saudi crown prince was an
effort to root out Iran’s destabilizing influence in Yemen, where the
Tehran-backed Houthi rebels seized power in 2015.”
warned that: “Tehran is establishing a Hezbollah-like entity on the Arabian
Peninsula: a militant group with political power that can hold Saudi population
centers hostage, as Hezbollah’s missiles in southern Lebanon threaten Israel.”
added that: “Houthis have occupied Saudi territory, seized a major port, and,
with Iranian help, improved their ballistic-missile targeting so that they can
shoot at Riyadh’s international airport, through which tens of thousands of
Americans travel. Meanwhile, Tehran has shown no genuine interest in a
diplomatic solution to the Yemen conflict.”
administration pledging $131 mln to Yemen
revealed that the Trump administration has also taken many steps to mitigate
Yemen’s suffering from war, saying: “The US is pleased to announce it is
providing nearly $131 million in additional food assistance for Yemen, bringing
total humanitarian aid to more than $697 million over the past 14 months. The
funds are being provided to the World Food Program and other organizations
working to feed the Yemeni people.”
has no interest in easing Yemeni suffering; the mullahs don’t even care for
ordinary Iranians. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has invested billions to relieve
suffering in Yemen. Iran has invested zero,” he added.
wrote that: “Yemen is also an important front in the war on terror, and has
remained so across presidential administrations of both parties. The group now
known as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula launched its first major attack on
Americans in October 2000, when its operatives bombed the USS Cole while the
destroyer was berthed in Yemen’s Aden harbor. The attack left 17 sailors dead
and 39 wounded.”
added that: “AQAP has since attempted multiple attacks on the US homeland and
allied interests, from Nigerian terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s attempted
bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit on
Christmas 2009, to the 2015 massacre at Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris. ISIS
also maintains a presence in Yemen, from which it seeks to attack the US and
US Senate delivered a symbolic rebuff to the Trump administration on Wednesday,
voting to advance the debate on the War Powers Authorization Act that could
block the US role in the Yemen war in a later vote.
a 63 to 37 vote, senators agreed to support an open debate on the Yemen war and
procedural vote received more Republican support than had been expected after
the resolution, sponsored by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Independent
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, fell six votes short of passage earlier this
outcome showed a significant number of Republicans were willing to break with
President Donald Trump to express their deep dissatisfaction with Saudi Arabia
and with the US response to Khashoggi's brutal killing in Turkey last month.
vote came just a few hours after Secretaries of State and Defense, Mike Pompeo
and James Mattis, briefed the Senate in a closed session and urged them to
reject the bid.
Wednesday’s vote does not block the administration’s role in Yemen, it sets up
a debate about it and would require another vote to sanction it.
bill gained 19 more supporters since it was last introduced in March. All 49
Democrats voted to advance the debate while 14 Republicans agreed.
suffering in Yemen grieves me, but if the United States of America was not
involved in Yemen, it would be a hell of a lot worse. What would happen if the
US withdrew from the Yemen effort? Guess what: the war wouldn’t end," Mr
Pompeo told the Senate. US involvement in Yemen, he added, is central to the
Trump administration's broader goal of containing Iranian influence in the
defense chief Mr Mattis said: “Tragedies occur in war, we assess restraint and
improved tactical judgment by Arab coalition pilots has reduced the risk of
Mattis was also to make the case against a vote on a measure to invoke the War
Powers Resolution, an act that could end US involvement in Yemen, since
Washington's role in the war is not operational. The US stopped the refueling
of Arab Coalition planes last month.
US has urged the UN Security Council to put on hold a draft resolution
demanding an immediate truce in Yemen, in what is viewed as an attempt to
hinder international efforts aimed at ending the Washington-backed Saudi war on
the impoverished country.
a message sent to other council members on Tuesday, the US mission signaled
that it was reluctant to act on the UK-drafted resolution until after the talks
had taken place in Stockholm in early December.
look forward to offering more substantive comments to the draft once we have
more information on the outcomes of the upcoming consultations,” the message
circulated the draft text to the 15-member council a week ago and called on
parties involved in Yemen’s crisis to restart peace negotiations.
draft sets a two-week deadline for warring Yemeni parties to remove all
barriers to humanitarian aid, halt attacks on civilian areas and allow
unhindered access to the strategic port city of Hudaydah.
on the proposed resolution -- the first to be discussed by the council on Yemen
since 2015 -- began last week, but no decision has been made on when the draft
should be put to a vote.
truce would take effect on the day of the adoption of the resolution.
the Security Council has demanded that the warring sides in Yemen engage with
the UN special envoy for the impoverished country, Martin Griffiths.
diplomats said that Griffiths was hoping to bring the warring sides to Sweden
for negotiations that could begin as early as December 3.
diplomats, however, said they did not expect a vote this week on the measure
due to the US’s reluctance to put pressure on the Saudi-led coalition, which
has Washington’s firm support in the bloody war against Yemen.
United States made a surprise call for a truce in the war-ravaged country last
month and threw its weight behind the UN-led effort to hold peace talks.
call came as the war became the focus of attention amid international outrage
over the assassination of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at
Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, early in October.
was grappling with a domestic political conflict when the Saudi regime and its
allies intervened in March 2015 and unleashed the military campaign in favor of
the government of ex-president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a close Riyadh ally who
had earlier resigned and fled to the Saudi capital.
party to the conflict is Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement which has been
running state affairs from Sana’a in the absence of an effective government
besides defending the country against the Saudi aggression.
offensive initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with
a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen.
the past few months, Saudi-backed militiamen loyal to Hadi and foreign
mercenaries have been fighting Houthi Ansarullah for the control of the port
city of Hudaydah, a vital conduit and lifeline for the delivery of humanitarian
aid to millions of Yemeni people.
a meeting with Griffiths in Sana’a on Thursday, the leader of the Houthi
Ansarullah movement praised positive initiatives and practical steps, which
seek to ensure a political solution to the Yemeni conflict.
al-Houthi then demanded an immediate end to the Saudi-led aggression, the
removal of the blockade and humanitarian aid deliveries to war-stricken people.
week, the administration of Hadi announced that it would take part in the
proposed peace talks in Sweden, hours after the chairman of the Supreme
Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, said Ansarullah
fighters were halting their retaliatory attacks as a goodwill measure to speed
up the “peace” process.
says that he has received “firm assurances” that the warring Yemeni parties would
attend talks in the Swedish city of Stockholm.
Saudi-backed side has, however, stepped up the raids aimed at seizing Hudaydah
despite the peace efforts.
Arabia pledges $50 mln to UN Palestinian refugee agency
Arabia pledged $50 million in aid on Wednesday to the UN agency for Palestinian
refugees (UNRWA), which has been hit by the withdrawal of all US funding.
announcement was made at a news conference in the Saudi capital by the director
of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, Abdullah al-Rabeea.
commissioner general Pierre Krahenbuhl told the news conference that the agency
had succeeded in containing spending following the decision by the
administration of President Donald Trump in August to end all funding.
United States had been by far the biggest contributor to the UN Relief and
Works Agency for Palestine refugees and the move dealt a massive blow to its
already stretched finances.
said in Jordan last week that new funding pledges from Europe and other Gulf
Arab states had allowed the agency to dramatically reduce the resulting budget
shortfall, to just $21 million from $446 million at the start of the year.
than five million registered Palestinian refugees are eligible to receive
support from UNRWA, which was set up after Israe’s creation in 1948.
Trump administration has backed Israel in accusing the agency of perpetuating
the Middle East conflict by maintaining the idea that millions of Palestinians
are refugees with a right to return to homes in what is now Israel.
Palestinians severed all ties with the administration after Trump's decision
last December to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and declare the
disputed city Israel's capital in a break with a decades-old bipartisan policy.
Sumeriyah news quoted Farhan Mohammad al-Deilami, a member of Anbar province's
council, as reporting that the artillery units shelled ISIL's strongholds in
Syria that left a number of the terrorists dead.
went on to say that most of ISIL commanders that had already left Iraq to Syria
were killed in the attack.
told al-Sumeriyah that the artillery attack was done in coordination with the
Damascus government in order to prevent infiltration of ISIL from Syria to
this month, the Iraqi Air Force pounded a key base and a large arms depot of
the ISIL terrorists in Eastern Syria near the border, inflicting tens of casualties
on the terrorists.
Joint Operation Command said in a statement that the Iraqi F-16 fighter jets
targeted ISIL's bases on Syria's soil at the order of Iraq's General Command of
the Armed Forces and under the supervision of the Joint Operation Command.
statement said that the warplanes bombed an arms and ammunition depot of
ISIL-affiliated Fayalq al-Farouq in al-Souseh region in Southeastern Deir
Ezzur, adding that the depot contained a large number of missiles and
added that a sum of 10 terrorists were killed in the raid.
Arabic-language al-Araby al-Jadid daily quoted diplomatic Sudanese and Egyptian
sources as saying on Wednesday that the Sudanese officials have told their
Saudi counterparts that they are under the opposition's pressures to withdraw
their forces from Yemen, calling on Riyadh to find a way as soon as possible to
end the military operations and crisis in the war-torn country.
to the sources, the Saudi officials have expressed anger at Sudan's demands,
stressing the need for them to delay withdrawal of their forces from Yemen
until regional conditions improve.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies, including Sudan, 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.
UN figures say that more than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the
Saudi-led bombing campaign began in March 2015. But the Armed Conflict Location
& Event Data Project (ACLED) believes that at least 56,000 people have lost
their lives in the war. The violence has also left around two-thirds of Yemen’s
population of 27 million relying on aid amid an ongoing strict naval and aerial
blockade. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe
famine in more than 100 years.
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
is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis with more than 22 million people in
need and is seeing a spike in needs, fuelled by ongoing conflict, a collapsing
economy and diminished social services and livelihoods.
number of Western countries, the US, the UK, and France in particular, are
accused of being complicit in the ongoing aggression as they supply the Riyadh
regime with advanced weapons and military equipment as well as logistical and
Oxfam representative stated that the US, UK, and French governments are behind
millions of people starving in Yemen because they are “supporting this
have 14 million people starving,” Richard Stanforth, Oxfam UK’s regional policy
officer for the Middle East, told RT, adding that "British, French,
American governments are all behind this, they are all supporting this
sources reported that the army reopened Abu al-Dhohour corridor after heavy
fighting with Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the
Al-Nusra Front) on Tuesday to pave the ground for civilians' relocation from
militant-held regions in Idlib province to regions that are under the army's
the meantime, Russian sources said that reopening of the corridor has been
carried out in coordination between the Syrian and Russian forces, adding that
the corridor will be open till December 2nd.
further said that a large number of people have flocked to Southeastern Idlib
to leave the region via the corridor for safer regions under the army's
SANA reported that tens of families have exited Idlib via the corridor, adding
that the fleeing people will be resettled in their former residential regions
in Hama, Aleppo and Idlib.
went on to say that the Syrian authorities have provided the fleeing people
with food, medical care, suitable clothes and other necessary facilities.
terrorists' refusal to implement the Sochi Agreement to establish a
demilitarized zone is pushing the army to initiate its long-waited assault on
militants in Idlib that had been put on hold due to the Sochi Agreement.
Mar'ei Hamdan, a Syrian military expert, was quoted by the Arabic-language
website of Sputnik news agency as saying earlier this month that Tahrir al-Sham
is in control of nearly 70% of towns and villages in Idlib province and makes
provocative moves against the Syrian army, adding that the army's commitment to
decrease tensions is not lasting forever.
added that the Syrian army has so far repelled all attacks by terrorists
against its positions and inflicted heavy damages on them, noting that the army
is now necessitated to come out of the defensive mood to retake control of
said that Tahrir al-Sham will resort to a full-scale military operation against
the Syrian and Russian armies soon, after rejecting the Sochi agreement last
October, which leaves no room for ceasefire or disarmament anymore, and
underlined that the Syrian army's battle against Tahrir al-Sham is inevitable.
the Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sham and National Liberation Front (NLF) terrorist
groups has also dismissed the Russian-Turkish Sochi agreement and is preparing
for military operations against the army in Northern Syria, calling for a
coalition with Tahrir al-Sham.
al-Sham and other allied terrorist groups have not left the demilitarized zone
two months after the Sochi agreement and have instead reinvigorated their
strongholds and targeted the army positions every day.
reports said that the Turkey-backed NLF had put its gunmen on alert to launch a
heavy offensive against the Syrian army in the demilitarized zone in Idlib
UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria urged the Security Council on Wednesday to
press the Syrian government to provide information to families about the fate
of those missing or detained during the seven-year war.
a closed-door informal meeting with council members, the commission chairman
said it was crucial to push the government to give a full account after it
began in May to release death notifications.
issues of the detainees and the disappeared should not be dealt after peace,
but now is the time to consider this,” said Paulo Pinheiro, who heads the
commission set up to investigate human rights violations in the war.
May, the military police and army provided for the first time information to
government civil registry offices on the deceased, allowing families to finally
learn the fate of their loved ones.
state is beginning to put out that information, but little else,” said
commission member Hanny Megally. “The families have a right to know what
happened, where the bodies are, to get information about them.”
international independent body must be given access to all places of detention
to confirm who is still alive in detention, he added.
commission hopes council members including Russia, Syria's ally, can encourage
the Damascus government to take steps to address demands from the families of
lost or missing loved ones. Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people and
meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is scheduled in Russian
President Vladimir Putin’s agenda at the G20 summit in Argentina, the Kremlin
said on Wednesday.
Kremlin added that President Putin will discuss with Saudi Crown Prince the
Syria file and oil markets, at G20 summit in Argentina.
development of bilateral relations is a priority in the meeting between Putin
and Saudi Crown Prince, said the Kremlin.
the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin credited on Wednesday, Saudi
Crown Prince for the commitment of OPEC
and its allies to the oil production agreement.
President Donald Trump had also stated that he would be willing to meet with
the crown prince at the summit.
Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih had confirmed the news last week that the crown
prince will be attending the summit, and said that the participation of the
crown prince at the G20 summit is part of his foreign tour where he has already
visited the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Tunisia.
change, steel and migration have emerged as sticking points in the final
communique that world leaders will issue at the end of the Group of 20 summit
in Argentina later this month, an Argentine government official said earlier
Kremlin also said it still expects a meeting between President Vladimir Putin
and US President Donald Trump to go ahead as planned.
in an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, said he may cancel his
planned sit-down with Putin in Argentina following Russia's seizure of three
Ukrainian naval ships last weekend.
spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday that the meeting is on and
that Russia has not received “any other information from our US counterparts.”
11th round of talks on the Syria crisis has kicked off in the Kazakh capital,
with the presence of representatives from the Damascus government and
opposition as well as the three guarantor states of the Astana peace process.
discussions, which began on Wednesday, will mainly focus on the situation in
the de-escalation zone set up in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province and the
creation of a constitutional committee in the war-torn country.
issues such as confidence-building measures between Syria’s opposite sides,
fight against terrorist outfits and the return of Syrian refugees to their
homes would be raised during the two-day negotiations.
addition to representatives from the Syrian government and opposition groups,
delegations from Iran, Russia and Turkey, which are acting as the guarantors of
an all-Syria ceasefire, as well as international observers - the UN and Jordan
- will attend the talks.
Astana talks have so far resulted in the return of a succession of militant
bastions to the government fold, the establishment of safe zones across Syria
and the movement of civilians to those regions.
Syrian government’s delegation, headed by the country’s UN Ambassador Bashar
al-Ja'afari, arrived in the Kazakh capital on Tuesday for the Astana
Jaberi Ansari, senior assistant to the Iranian foreign minister on special
political affairs, Russian Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal will also lead the delegations of
the guarantor states to the talks.
Beck Tomatov, director of Asia and Africa department at the Kazakh Foreign
Ministry, said in a statement that bilateral and tripartite consultations will
be held in the first day of the Astana meeting and that the second day will
feature the general session.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Aybek Smadiyarov also said journalists from more
than 200 media outlets had been accredited to cover the event.
10th round of talks in the Astana format took place in the Russian Black Sea
resort of Sochi on July 30-31.
Tuesday UN statement said Staffan de Mistura, the international body's special
envoy for Syria, will join the 11th round of the Astana talks.
UN war crimes investigators called on Syria on Wednesday to tell families what
happened to their relatives who disappeared and provide the medical records and
remains of those who died or were executed in custody.
progress can be made toward a lasting peace to end the nearly eight-year-old
war without justice, the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said.
years of government silence, Syrian authorities this year released “thousands
or tens of thousands” of names of detainees alleged to have died, mostly
between 2011 and 2014, it said in a report released before delivery to the UN
custodial deaths are thought to have occurred in places of detention run by
Syrian intelligence or military agencies. The Commission has not documented any
instance, however, where bodies or personal belongings of the deceased were
returned,” it said.
nearly every case, death certificates for prisoners that were provided to
families recorded the cause of death as a “heart attack” or “stroke,” the
independent panel led by Paulo Pinheiro said.
individuals from the same geographic area share common death dates, possibly
indicating group executions,” it said.
most cases, the place of death was stated as Tishreen military hospital or
Mujtahid hospital, both near Damascus, but the place of detention was not
named, it said.
forces and primarily the Syrian state should reveal publicly the fates of those
detained, disappeared and/or missing without delay,” the report said, noting
this meant Syrian government forces, Russian forces and affiliated militia.
had the right to know the truth about their loved one’s deaths and be able to
retrieve their remains, it said.
a 2016 report, the panel found that the scale of deaths in prisons indicated
that the government of President Bashar Assad was responsible for
“extermination as a crime against humanity.”
Syria, a family member must register a death within a month after receiving a
death notification, the report said. Failure to do so results in a fine which
grows after a year.
given that there are millions of Syrian refugees abroad and internally
displaced, many are not in a position to meet deadlines, it said.
“Why is terrorism becoming more widespread and complex?” That was the question
posed by Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, the general director of Lebanese General
Security, to security experts from a dozen African nations during a conference
organized by the Lebanese General Security Directorate in Beirut early this
two-day event, titled “Defeat of Terrorism in the Region and its Impact on
Africa,” was attended by representatives of the security services in the Congo,
Burkina Faso, Zambia, Tunisia, Angola, Nigeria, Tanzania, Central Africa,
Cameroon, Togo, Niger and Benin, as well Lebanese officials and a number of
diplomats, including the ambassadors of Russia, Tunisia, Oman and Egypt.
are more than 40 terrorist organizations and groups” in Africa, according to
Brig. Gen. Riad Taha, the head of the conference’s organizing committee.
600,000 Lebanese are present in the African continent, and through our work in
the security services, we found out that there are terrorist networks in
Lebanon that have links with terrorist organizations in Africa,” he told Arab
News. “They are trying to infiltrate the communities of their countries, in
addition to the movement of armed terrorists to this continent in an attempt to
form a large arch linking the Middle East to the west coast of Africa through
the Horn of Africa in the east of the continent.”
at the conference discussed the direct and indirect causes of the development
of terrorism in the Middle East, the environment in which it incubates, the
circumstances surrounding the emergence of terrorist movements and their aims,
funding and directions. It also discussed the fall of Daesh and the fate of
members of terrorist movements.
international community is called upon to stop giving instructions remotely and
to move toward serious and equal engagement in the open battle which, if we do
not win, the whole world will lose, not just a single nation or a single
state,” said Maj. Gen. Ibrahim.
geographic location of the African countries helped transform their lands into
a backyard for many terrorist groups that have settled in northern Africa. As
they developed, they sought allies and followers in the east and west coast of
Africa. They transferred their ideas and tools to the whole continent until
terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram, Ansar Al-Din, Jihad and Tawhid,
Mujahideen Youth Movement, Ansar Al-Muslimeen, Ansar Al-Islam, and the Lord’s
Resistance Army, along with Daesh and Al-Qaeda, settled in it.”
said that the spread of terrorism on the African continent was due to “the
qualitative change in the nature of the activities of terrorist groups, which
have come to transcend the borders of countries and continents, and the success
of these terrorist movements in employing the electronic industry in the
service of its terrorist purposes at the levels of recruitment, media,
electronic piracy and training.”
Gen. Ibrahim said the spread of terrorist groups to Africa was not unconnected
to “factors of political and economic marginalization and tribal and ethnic
conflicts in many African countries, which allowed the formation of ‘hybrid
terrorism’ as a result of tribal hegemony with organized crime, and the
intermingling of religious violence with tribal extremism.”
said that “political will must be combined with the security administration to
combat terrorism,” and added: “Our information indicates that terrorism, though
weakened, has not faded and is still flexible. It is still capable of arming
itself, acquiring technologies, using electronic platforms to recruit fighters
and suicide bombers, planting extremist and violent ideas and launching attacks
with simple weapons that are easy to get, including vehicle-ramming or
individual attacks against commercial and tourist gatherings, to inflict the
largest number of casualties. These operations are known as ‘lone wolf’
called for “the adoption of unified procedures for the exchange of
intelligence, data, experiences and knowledge to achieve security and stability.”
academic Jinane El-Khoury focused on “the transformation of terrorism from
traditional terrorism to classic terrorism, then ballistic terrorism and
recently to cyberterrorism.” She drew a distinction between “those who carry
out terrorism and those who finance them; they are usually organized criminal
groups, and the funding for that is the proceeds of cross-border crimes.”
said “there is no single objective definition of terrorism” and talked about
“the adoption of terrorism as a way to solve disputes and political
differences.” She noted that “terrorism might also be financed in a legitimate
way” and that “the Boko Haram group is on Twitter now and is being followed by
also spoke about the use of “electronic means by terrorist groups, providing
them with recruitment platforms, identifying potential targets, postal
cooperation, collecting donations and destroying websites.”
Jean Fahed, the head of Lebanon’s Higher Judicial Council, discussed the
experiences of the Lebanese judiciary with terrorism and the development of
legislation to confront it since 1923.
acts were carried out by conventional means and developed into proactive
actions,” he said. Fahed revealed that 577 terrorism cases were presented to
the Lebanese judiciary in 2017, compared with 27 in 2007. He pointed out that
terrorists on trial refuse to hire lawyers to defend them, prolonging the legal
process in the hope of taking advantage of a general amnesty. He also stressed
that laws must be enacted to help protect witnesses.
Al-Asta, a Lebanese banker, explained the ways in which banks can help to
combat terrorism by preventing the spread of funding for terrorist acts and
money laundering. As a result, he said, “charities are classified by banks as
‘highly risky’ clients until proven otherwise.”
audience at the event raised many questions for the speakers. Some stressed the
need to strike a balance in protecting human rights while fighting terrorism,
while others asked about websites in the “deep web” which are not blocked
despite being very dangerous, while more public sites in the “surface web” are
pursued and blocked. The danger posed by the “dark web” was also stressed
because “no one knows what is in it.”
cohesion is a necessity to prevent the disintegration of states, said Masoud
Al-Dahir, a professor of history at the Lebanese University.
may have entered into the era of barbaric globalization, because the element of
power and domination is overwhelming,” he told Arab News. “There are countries
that are able to protect themselves, while other countries have their economies
and systems destroyed.
today’s world, there is no independent state or nation capable of confronting
huge financial monopolies. The middle class has declined all over the world,
except for internally cohesive countries.”
said there he is unaware of any example in history of anything similar to what
is happening now.
the past, the system of values ruled people,” he said. “Today, it is governed
by the law of the jungle. Production is no longer competing with production.
Where are the ideas of the French Revolution and sustainable development?
court rejects Turkey’s extradition request for top Gulenists
court in the United Kingdom has turned down a request by Turkish officials to
extradite two senior members of a movement led by US-based opposition cleric
Fethullah Gulen, whom the Ankara government accuses of having masterminded the
July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Wednesday, the Westminster Magistrates Court dismissed the plea against Turkish
businessman Hamdi Akin Ipek, religious scholar Talip Buyuk and banker Ali
court ruled that probation conditions for the defendants, including seizure of
their passports, will resume during the appeal period and they were ordered to
stay in London during the process.
most distinguished defendant of the trio is Akin Ipek, who once run a business
empire in Turkey. Buyuk was a high-ranking members of the Gulenist Terror Group
(FETO), and Celik was the director of the now-defunct Bank Asya.
was detained on May 23 after Turkey demanded his extradition.
issues arrest warrants for 27 over Gulen links
Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for more than two dozen people
on suspicion of affiliation to FETO.
Chief Prosecutor's Office in the capital Ankara issued the arrest warrants for
23 former and four on-duty civili servants for using the ByLock, an encrypted
mobile messaging application that was allegedly used by Gulen’s supporters for
communication. Among the suspects were
15 personnel of the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry, five personnel of the
Energy Ministry and eight personnel from other public institutions.
have rounded up 11 of the suspects so far in simultaneous operations in seven
provinces across Turkey.
the 2016 botched putsch, a faction of the Turkish military declared that it had
seized control of the country and the government of Erdogan was no more in
charge. The attempt was, however, suppressed a few hours later.
has since accused Gulen of having orchestrated the coup. The opposition figure
is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to topple the
government via infiltrating the country’s institutions, particularly the army,
police and the judiciary.
has denounced the “despicable putsch” and reiterated that he had no role in it.
against me related to the coup attempt are baseless and politically-motivated
slanders,” he said in a statement.
77-year-old cleric has also called on Ankara to end its “witch hunt” of his
followers, a move he says is aimed at “weeding out anyone it deems disloyal to
President Erdogan and his regime.”
officials have frequently called on their US counterparts to extradite Gulen,
but their demands have not been taken heed of.
has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups suspected to
have played a role in the failed coup.
of thousands of people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of having
links to Gulen and the failed coup. More than 110,000 others, including
military staff, civil servants and journalists, have been sacked or suspended
from work over the same accusations.
international community and rights groups have been highly critical of the
Turkish president over the massive dismissals and the crackdown.
— The German government is reaching out to the country’s 4.5 million Muslims by
sitting down with community leaders, experts and imams to talk about improving
their integration in the country.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer opened the “German Islam Conference” Wednesday
saying the dialogue with Germany’s Muslims will tackle their “beliefs, convictions
and traditions ... and how they can be put in line with the culture and values
rooted in German society.”
says training imams in Germany and ending financial support of mosques from
abroad are two important goals.
in the French newspaper ‘Le Figaro’, French author and historian Alexandre
Adler criticized the developments in the Jamal Khashoggi case.
French writer began his article by stating: “There is a Latin saying that reads
‘Audiatur et alterapars’ which means that ‘you have to always listen to the
opposing party’, yet this was not applied in the case of Khashoggi’s killing.
continued: “First and foremost, there is the problem of the ‘one witness is not
a useful one’. All the detailed information revealed about Khashoggi’s murder
within the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul came from a single source - the Turkish
are talking here about a security service that has been purged three times in
the recent past and is fully subjected to the instructions of its commander
Hakan Fidan. The latter was among those who organized the fake coup which led
in just one day to the arrest of hundreds.”
French journalist added: “It is evident that the credibility of the Turkish authorities’
immediate testimonies, and their deployment is an elaborate device that
operates outside and within the Saudi consulate.”
contrast, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chose not to further delay and
recognize the responsibility of the Saudi state in the killing of Khashoggi and
to publicly apologize to one of the victim’s brothers.
proceeded: ”It remains for us to see whether the Crown Prince, who is presented
by some media without any evidence as the mastermind behind the killing, although
it is irrational to order a crime to be committed by the State that would
permanently harm the image of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially at a time
when the fruits of the Kingdom’s strategy to isolate Qatar without violence are
ripe for the taking, including the beginning of Doha's retreat about terrorist
French writer recalls the scenario of Khashoggi’s case, skeptically stating:
“An improvisational style leading to the point of committing murder, without
even thinking of the horrific question about getting rid of the body - all of
it under Turkish Camera surveillance - and of course, the dramatic scenario of
dismembering the victim’s body.”
we know, Istanbul is a very busy and bustling city which makes it a potential
place to commit and conceal a murder either by poisoning or a hit-and-run, away
from the consulate, which leads to suspicions.
here points to a plot. We can even feel that that the real killing’s
perpetrators have searched for all the fake assassination methods in the
Islamic world to find the precedent in the 1966 case of the unfortunate Ibn
the movements of Khashoggi in Istanbul were known to Saudi Arabia as well as to
those who had every reason to seek revenge from Mohammed bin Salman like in an
Agatha Christie novel.
are not talking here about the leaders of Qatar, who have started to seriously
negotiate about a useful truce with Saudi Arabia.”
the Turks know more?
Adler added: “Everything happened as if Istanbul knew at least that something
was going to happen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.”
is not necessary to assume that the Turks knew more about the motivations that
led them to an intense vigilance in the three previous days.
top Iranian official says the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers
will be in danger if European countries fail to fulfill their pledge to ease
the US’ pressures and let Iran reap the economic benefits of the deal.
US’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May and its “illegal” move to
increase pressure on Tehran upset the balance between the Islamic Republic’s
commitments under the deal and the benefits it gained from it, Deputy Foreign
Minister for Political Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araqchi said on Wednesday.
such circumstances, the failure of Europeans and other parties to ease the
pressures, as they had promised to, has increased concerns about the future of
the nuclear deal, Araqchi said in a meeting with his Belgian counterpart in
Washington’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in
May and re-imposition of sanctions on Tehran in November, the Europeans have
reaffirmed their commitment to the JCPOA, as have Russia and China.
EU is trying to create a special payment mechanism, known as Special Vehicle
Purpose (SPV), in order to facilitate doing business with Tehran in the face of
the US sanctions. However, the process has taken too long and this has sparked
Iran’s protest. Araqchi on Wednesday urged the Europeans and other parties to
the nuclear deal to implement the mechanism as soon as possible in order to
guarantee Iran’s economic benefits under the deal.
his part, Belgian Deputy Foreign Minister Bruno van der Pluijm said the
Europeans are hopeful they would be able to develop the SPV soon.
are seeking to preserve the Iran nuclear deal and believe that the JCPOA must
remain intact irrespective of the US’ pullout… as there is no alternative to
the accord,” he noted.
also reaffirmed the permanent commitment of his country and other European
states to defending the nuclear deal and said the JCPOA plays a key role in
international peace and security.
in the day, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated the
bloc’s strong support for the JCPOA, highlighting its contribution to global
peace and security.
in an exclusive interview with Treffpunkt Europa, Juncker said the European
Union “is working – in close coordination with the member states and other
partners – on concrete measures to maintain cooperation with Iran in crucial
economic sectors.” “Reliability is what makes global stability. That is why
Europe has to adhere to its position even when the US unilaterally withdraws
from the Iran deal,” the top European official said.
deal may not be perfect but it was an important step toward peace in the region
and worldwide. As long as Iran is compliant, the European Union as one of the
architects of the agreement is devoted to this arrangement for the sake of
peace and security,” he added.
said the EU wants to maintain trade and economic relations with Iran which had
already normalized as a consequence of the agreement.
Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
Syrian refugee family has come under focus following reports of bullying and
racially aggravated assault of its members since they took refuge in the UK.
systematic bullying came to light after a video surfaced online showing one of
the family members -- a 15-year-old identified only as Jamal -- being racially
abused, grabbed, shoved to the ground and held down by the throat as water is
poured over his face at Almondbury Community School. It went viral this week as
millions of social media users shared it worldwide.
16-year-old youth has been interviewed and reported for summons for an offence
of assault that took place on Oct. 25, the West Yorkshire Police Department
said in a statement Wednesday.
identity of the assailant, who has shared far-right material on his social
media accounts on many occasions, has been largely circulated on social media,
but he is not being named for legal reasons.
sister bullied at same school
a new video appeared online late Wednesday showing a female student with a
headscarf also being bullied, racially abused and pushed to the ground by a
group of female students. Local media say she is Jamal’s sister.
local police force immediately launched an investigation and is appealing for
information on the incident.
have been made aware of a video showing a girl being assaulted at Almondbury
Community School [on Tuesday],” the West Yorkshire Police Department said.
incident had not previously been reported to the police, but we are now
liaising with the girl’s family, who we are continuing to support,” the
who cannot be fully identified for legal reasons, described how he has been
targeted by bullies for the past two years in an exclusive interview with ITV
was feeling unsafe everywhere - even to go to the shop," he said.
was feeling like I couldn't study or do my homework. I woke up at night and just
started crying because of this problem.
I saw everyone looking at this video, I felt ashamed of myself and why it
happened. I was really upset about that."
and his family had fled their war-torn town of Homs in 2016.
said the bullying and racism have been so bad since he came to the UK through a
UN refugee program that he didn’t want to go to school.
don't feel safe at school. Sometimes I say to my dad I don't want to go to
school anymore," he said.
was disappointed when I came to the UK because I was thinking my life is going
to be good, my future is going to be really good if I study at school. And I
didn't achieve any of that."
teenager also said he tried to report the never-ending bullying and racism to
local authorities, but he failed to make his voice heard by them.
for ITV News from Huddersfield, Ben Chapman, the reporter who interviewed
Jamal, said Jamal’s father told him the family feels “very vulnerable” at home
since all of this has come about.
reported the father as having told him that the family members have had threats
outside the school as well and all of it means that they don’t feel confident
to continue living in Huddersfield.
Akunjee a solicitor representing the family, said they were considering moving
away from the area and had received offers to be rehomed in Oxford, according
to The Guardian newspaper.
said the couple’s daughter, who attends the same school, had been bullied by
another group of pupils and last week someone forcibly removed her hijab.
said the family also contacted their local MP, Barry Sheerman, about a month
family had concerns about their children and the environment their children
were in at school. They weren’t sure how to engage assistance because of the
language barrier. We were so concerned about these children that we contacted
the school, council and the local police.”
latest incidents have received wide attention from millions of social media
users across the country and globe.
crowdfunding page set up online to assist the bullied teenager and his family
has raised more than £115,000 ($147,571) only 24 hours since it was launched.
Muslim Council of Britain reacted to the incident.
distressing video of a young Syrian refugee from a school in Huddersfield being
physically assaulted shows how far Islamophobia has manifested in society,” it
is promising to hear the perpetrator has been charged. Islamophobia must be
rooted out and dealt with in all cases.”
parliamentary group on British Muslims has published a report outlining the
definition of Islamophobia which has been endorsed by MPs, community activists
and inter-faith organizations.
report co-autored by MPs Dominic Grieve, Anna Soubry and Wes Streeting was
published on Tuesday in an event at the House of Lords.
reports says: “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that
targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness.”
group launched a project in April to define Islamophobia in a way acceptable to
all British Muslim communities and one that could “operate across governmental,
public, community and private sector organizations”.
data gathering, members collected accounts of many Islamophobic experiences
faced by Muslims.
included a fire cracker thrown in a family's letter box forcing them to move
out, verbal abuse of young Muslim girls for wearing hijab and a Muslim who was
spat at and had an egg thrown at.
report highlights that there has been no attempt made by the government to
adopt a definition of Islamophobia despite its recognition of the negative
impact on British Muslim communities.
detectable shift from overt to subtler or respectable, manifestations of
Islamophobia -- the normalization of the prejudice to the extent it is rendered
almost invisible to many -- warrants a definition that can arrest and reverse
its present trajectory,” the report added.
a separate article written in the Independent, Soubry said: “Islamophobia is a
form of racism -- like antisemitism it’s time it got its own definition”.
has become so normalized in our society yet we struggle to define it,” she
report also gives in-depth analysis on how Muslims living in the U.K. strongly
identify themselves as being British, show loyalty to the U.K., and believe
that Islam and its way of life is compatible to British values and way of life.
All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims was founded in 2017 and
co-chaired by Soubry and Streeting.
16-year-old teenager will be charged with assault over a “recorded” attack on a
Syrian refugee at a school in the U.K.'s Huddersfield town, British police said
the assault on a 15-year-old youth in Almondbury, which featured in a video
posted on social media yesterday and has been widely reported in the media, a
16-year-old youth has been interviewed and reported for summons, for an offence
of assault,” a statement from West Yorkshire Police said.
media focused on the incident after a video showing the assault in a playground
in Almondbury Community School went viral this week.
teenager accused of assaulting the 15-year-old Syrian “will appear at Youth
Court in due course," it added.
police said the incident took place last month and it “has been subject to
thorough investigation since it was reported to us the day after.”
measures have been put in place for the victim and his family, according to the
Community School head teacher Trevor Bowen sent a letter to parents and said
"the safety and welfare of students is our number one priority" and
that the school did not tolerate "unacceptable behaviour of any
can assure you that this situation is being taken extremely seriously," he
previous unconnected incident on 7 October, in which the victim suffered a
wrist injury, was also fully investigated at the time,” the police added,
confirming that the Syrian teenager took constant abuse.
youths were interviewed. There was no further police action and the matter was
referred to the school,” the police said.
is prepared to act as a guarantor of the Afghan peace process, the EU’s foreign
policy chief said on Wednesday at a two-day ministerial conference in
at the Geneva Conference on Afghanistan co-hosted by the Afghan government and
the United Nations, Federica Mogherini underlined that the time had come for
"concrete" peace talks to commence in the war-torn country.
the European Union, we are here to offer our concrete contribution, with all
our instruments, to accompany a meaningful peace process and a peace
deal," Mogherini said during the conference which hosted 70 countries.
highlighted that the amount pledged by the bloc for Afghanistan had reached
€13.6 billion, adding that the country was at a "critical moment in its
Syrian refugee in the UK who was caught on camera being bullied has received a
huge outpouring of support, with online campaigners raising more than £50,000 to
support his family.
video shows the 15-year-old boy – a student at Almondbury Community School in
Huddersfield - being held down and ‘waterboarded’ by a bully. The attacker
threatens to drown Jamal, before forcefully pouring water down his neck.
video of the incident, which reportedly took place on the 25th October, was
retweeted more than 65,000 times, with the bully receiving widespread
condemnation from an array of public figures.
victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said the bullying has kept him
awake at night and made him feel "unsafe".
I saw everyone looking at this video I felt ashamed of myself and why it
happened. I was really upset about that," he told ITV News.
also said he had tried to contact the authorities about his predicament.
"I was following the law, trying to be safe, and none of that
happened," he said.
was trying to call our council to help us, but they didn't. I was trying to
tell the police, they didn't listen to me either."
Yorkshire Police said a youth had been called to the police station on
suspicion of the attack. "A 16-year-old youth has been interviewed and
reported for summons, for an offence of assault. He will appear at Youth Court
in due course," a statement read.
had previously confirmed they were looking into the incident, a
racially-aggravated assault of a 15-year-old boy which occurred on playing
fields at Almondbury Community School at about 1pm on October 25.
public outcry attracted the attention of Mohammed Tahir, who set up a
crowdfunding account on the website GoFundMe. As of Wednesday morning, the
account has raised more than £50,000 from more than 3,000 donors.
Tahir said: "I’m overwhelmed by the support that we’ve received and I
can’t thank everyone enough for the generous donations they have made.
am working alongside GoFundMe so we can make sure every last penny gets to the
family and I want to thank them for their support.
hope we can improve the quality of their life and put a smile on their faces.
will not be tolerated, and I firmly stand against it. It has no place in our
society, our love will always overcome hate. We are far more united and have
far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”
indicate that Jamal arrived in Britain from Syria around two years ago.
MP Tobias Ellwood labelled the incident an “absolute disgrace”.
added, “This bully, his parents, the school where this occurs and the onlookers
who fail to step in, all have big questions to answer.
the Syrian refugee - I say sorry. It’s not the welcoming, friendly Britain we
are supposed to be.”
MP Barry Sherman said that the local council had informed him that the school
had taken strong action against the perpetrator.
of assault against one of my constituents absolutely shocking.
been supporting the family since it was first brought to my attention,” he
Arabia pledges $500 mln finance projects for Tunisia
Arabia will lend Tunisia $500 mln at a favorable interest rate and will finance
two projects worth $140 mln, two sources told Reuters on Wednesday, a day after
a visit from the Saudi crown prince to Tunisia.
Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was received by President Beji Caid Essebsi,
who awarded him the republic’s medal, the highest official award.
will announce in a few days important deals with Saudi, including a loan with
low interest rate, agreements on investment and other important details,”
Nourredine Ben Ticha, an advisor to the president, told state television.
Tunisian sources- an official and a source close to the discussions between
Prince Mohammed and Essebsi- told Reuters that the loan would be worth $500
mln. They said that the Saudi Development Fund will also finance two projects
worth about $140 mln, but did not give more details.
is struggling to cut its budget deficit, stabilize falling foreign currency
reserves and manage expectations of international lenders demanding reforms
such as trimming the public wage bill.
economy has been in turmoil since Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in a 2011
uprising sparked by anger at unemployment, poverty and record levels of
pressure from the International Monetary Fund, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed
has aimed to cut the budget deficit to about 4.9 percent of GDP this year from
6.2 percent last year.
crown prince told Tunisian state television that Saudi Arabia has long had good
relations with Tunisia: “I cannot come to North Africa without visiting
Tunisia...Tunisia’s president is like my father.”
39 soldiers killed in Boko Haram attacks
chief of army staff on Wednesday confirmed 39 were killed by recent Boko Haram
attacks in the country's northeast.
Buratai's remarks followed the calls of the local media -- which claimed over
100 soldiers had died -- for full disclosures on the incident.
a statement issued late Wednesday, Buratai said a total of 16 soldiers were
killed and 12 others were injured when the troops came under heavy militant
attacks between Nov. 2-17 in Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto and Gajiram -- all in the
restive Borno state where Boko Haram has been ultra-active.
army chief said Nigerian troops of the 157 Task Force battalion deployed for
the regional Multinational Joint Task Force in Metele were also attacked on
Nov. 18, leading to abrupt withdrawals and multiple deaths on their part.
23 personnel were killed in action and 31 personnel were wounded in action and
have been evacuated to several medical hospitals within Borno State,” according
to the statement, refuting claims that over 100 soldiers had been killed in the
Nigerian Army commiserates with the MNJTF [Multinational Joint Task Force] at
this difficult time and wishes to state that all necessary support will be
rendered to the MNJTF to reverse this resurgence of the Boko Haram Terrorists.”
also confirmed for the first time that Boko Haram now uses drones to launch
attacks against the troops.
added: “Since 2015, the Nigerian Army in cooperation with sister services and
other security agencies have systematically degraded the capabilities and
capacity of Boko Haram terrorists and many successes were achieved.
in the last two-three months, we have noticed daring moves by the terrorists,
increased use of drones against our defensive positions and infusion of foreign
fighters in their ranks. These potent threats require us to continually review
recent attacks have provoked intense criticism of the military top brass and
the ruling All Progressives Congress, with the parliament now set to probe
defense spendings before and since 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed
Omar S Mahmood
activities by Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), the Boko Haram faction that
replaced Abubakar Shekau as leader in 2016, have raised questions regarding its
position and whether it is becoming more hardened. A few key developments
regarding leadership and operations suggest such a shift in outlook for an
organisation that is becoming an increasing threat in the Lake Chad Basin
it hasn't been officially confirmed, it is generally accepted that Mamman Nur,
a key ISWA leader, was killed in August by his own commanders. Nur was
considered by many to be the real power in the faction, given his status as a
veteran jihadist with international connections.
explanation of Nur's assassination has been internal discontent with his
policies, including the release of about 100 schoolgirls kidnapped from Dapchi
earlier this year (the group still holds one Christian student).
Nigerian government claimed the release was part of ongoing negotiations with
the faction - negotiations that thus far have not demonstrated any other visible
signs of progress. In this sense, Nur may have been seen as relatively
moderate, or more willing to engage with the Nigerian government than others in
his movement were comfortable with.
is generally accepted that Mamman Nur, a key ISWA leader, was killed in August
by his own commanders
raises major questions as to the status of Abu Musab al-Barnawi, the Islamic
State-appointed governor of ISWA. It also leads to questions regarding ISWA's
relationship with Islamic State, given that this is the second major leader in
two years that group members have moved on from.
the Islamic State-ISWA linkages appear intact, at least regarding messaging.
ISWA messaging on Islamic State social media channels has actually increased
since around the time of Nur's reported death.
August, 23 attack claims from ISWA have been promoted by Islamic State
messaging outlets such as Amaq News. The contrast to messaging patterns before
in 2018 is striking, as only four similar attack claims were broadcast before
July. Messaging shifts in the past have preceded major changes within the
group, and the increased publicity of ISWA activities demonstrates at the least
that virtual relations with Islamic State appear uninterrupted by Nur's
attack claims have included a worrying string of incidents targeting Nigerian
military bases in northern Borno State. Many of the assaults have resulted in
the flight of security personnel, at least until the arrival of reinforcements
or use of airpower. These attacks show no signs of slowing, as is clear from
last week's assault in Metele and another in Kangarwa just days later.
attacks put ISWA on an increased offensive, allowing the militants to loot
weapons during raids. While the faction hasn't occupied any of the areas for
long, the ability to dictate the pace of the war is a worrying sign of their
capabilities in this part of Borno State. This suggests that the group is no
weaker in the wake of Nur's reported death.
has also demonstrated changes in its stance towards hostages. Previously,
ISWA's track record with high-profile kidnap victims generally resulted in
positive outcomes - a team of geologists abducted in July 2017 was released in
February, as were all but one of the Dapchi schoolgirls.
attacks put ISWA on an increased offensive, allowing the militants to loot
weapons during raids
however, ISWA has been less patient regarding hostage negotiations. In
mid-September 2018, ISWA executed one of three aid workers in its possession,
claiming the Nigerian government had ignored their demands. A 30-day deadline
to respond expired in mid-October, resulting in the execution of another.
justified these executions in a way they didn't with previous hostages. Both
executed aid workers were female Muslim civilians, but after their death the
narrative revolved around how they were considered apostates, as they had
abandoned Islam by working for an international organisation.
the Dapchi schoolgirls weren't condemned in this way, despite attending a
government-run school and being warned on their release not to continue this
education. The abducted geologists were also treated differently despite
working with the University of Maiduguri and travelling in a military-protected
convoy. They were even told they could resume their work after being released.
In this sense, ISWA's operational approach to hostage-taking has shown a shift
over the past few months, resulting in harsher outcomes.
the reported demise of Nur, the increased promotion of ISWA activities on
Islamic State messaging channels, the frequency of attacks on military outposts
in northern Borno State and the different hostage outcomes signal a more
hardline outlook for ISWA. Given the timing, this appears related to Nur's
insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin region has undergone some subtle shifts which
may portend a new stage
shifts also raise questions as to ISWA's relationship with the Shekau faction.
As ISWA has increased its frequency of attacks, the Shekau faction has done the
opposite - at least with its controversial suicide attacks on soft civilian
a hallmark of operations, the last successful attack came in mid-August (though
there have been reports of other attempts, and the Nigerian army arrested a
female bomber in November). Given the unpopularity of these attacks with ISWA,
the reduction could also be interpreted as a means of Shekau reaching out
during a time of internal turmoil.
sort of reconciliation would be difficult, however, given Barnawi's messaging
denouncing Shekau's ideology as recently as June. Yet the status of Barnawi
within his own faction is now unclear in the wake of Nur's reported demise. It
is possible that a new group of militants who retain linkages to Islamic State,
but differ from Nur's less confrontational approach and Shekau's excesses, will
Muhammadu Buhari urged troops to show more commitment in fighting Boko Haram
despite scores of losses in a recent assault as he visited the northeastern
city of Maiduguri on Wednesday.
visit came a day before Buhari heads to N'Djamena to hold talks on the Boko Haram
conflict with his counterparts from Niger and Chad, his office said.
delegates at an army conference in Maiduguri, the epicentre of the jihadist
insurgency, Buhari acknowledged the military had done a lot to secure the
has been a remarkable improvement in the security situation in the northeast
since 2015 when this administration came to power and you are part of it,"
defeating Boko Haram was "a must-win war," insisted the 75-year-old
retired general who will seek a second four-year term in February's elections.
troops must not be distracted. They should be committed to the task of
eliminating Boko Haram from the face of the earth."
conference had initially been due to take place in Benin City in the south, but
it was moved to Maiduguri to honour the soldiers that were killed 10 days ago
in an attack on a nearby military base, he said.
has been an upsurge in deadly attacks on both military and civilian targets in
recent months, despite government claims the jihadists are on the verge of
has reported at least 17 attempts to overrun army bases since July.
of the attacks have been claimed by the Islamic State West Africa Province
(ISWAP), a faction of Boko Haram.
the latest attack on November 18, at least 43 soldiers were killed in Metele,
although troops who survived put the death toll at more than 100.
praised the fallen soldiers for their "heroic sacrifices" and pledged
work with partners in the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJT) to end the
MNJT comprising Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Benin was set up to fight
the Islamists in Lake Chad.
Defence Minister Mansur Dan-Ali said he was in Chad and Niger this week for
talks with his counterparts on the Boko Haram issue.
recent visit to Niger and Chad... was to meet with their defence ministers on
how to strengthen the operational capabilities of the MNJT to achieve peace and
security of the countries in Lake Chad," he said in Maiduguri.
said the MNJT would address the circumstances that led to the attack in Metele
and come up with "new ideas and strategies" to prevent a recurrence.
analysts say there must be a change of tactics if the fight against the
jihadists is to succeed.
believe Nigeria's regional partners are not doing enough to secure their common
frontiers against the insurgents.
of three West African nations will meet in Chad on Thursday to discuss how to
tackle a recent increase in activity by Boko Haram jihadist fighters in the
region, the Chadian presidency told AFP.
President Muhammadu Buhari and Niger's Mahamadou Issoufou will meet behind
closed doors with their Chadian counterpart Idriss Deby for a "mini
summit" after which a statement will be issued.
armies of the three countries, along with Cameroon's, are operating in the Lake
Chad region in the Multinational Joint Task Force ( MNJTF) to counter the
Islamic State-affiliated Boko Haram,
than 27 000 people have died since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency,
which began in Nigeria's remote northeast in 2009. Some 1.8 million people are
still homeless after fleeing the violence.
increase in activities by Boko Haram elements in Nigeria and Niger in recent
days is a concern for the heads of state who must decide on a rigorous plan of
action," a Chadian diplomatic source said.
July there have been at least 17 attacks against military bases. almost all of
them in the region around Lake Chad, according to an AFP count.
civilians killed in battle with Taliban in Afghanistan
Afghan official said on Wednesday that at least 30 civilians have been killed,
along with 16 Taliban fighters, as government forces battled the insurgents in
Helmand province overnight.
Afghan, who heads the provincial council, said that most of the casualties-
including men, women and children - incurred in an airstrike that hit a house
on Tuesday night during military operations there.
statement from governor’s office in Helmand confirmed that 16 Taliban
insurgents were killed and said an investigation was underway to determine
says the militants had stockpiled ammunition in the area of the operation,
which could have caused civilian casualties. There was also a car packed with
explosives that ignited during the strike.
Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed all the victims were civilians.
the political level, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has formed a 12-strong
negotiating team to seek a peace agreement that would include the Taliban in a
democratic and inclusive society that respects the rights of women, he told a
UN conference on Wednesday.
At least 10 people were killed after a massive blast outside a British security
company´s compound in Kabul late Wednesday, officials said, with the attack
claimed by the Taliban in the latest violence to target the Afghan capital.
interior ministry and police both said the blast had been a car bomb targeting
a compound which houses G4S, a private British security company, in east Kabul.
can confirm that there has been an incident at one of our locations in Kabul.
The situation is ongoing and we are coordinating with the Afghan authorities to
bring it to a conclusion,” a G4S spokesman told AFP in London.
authorities also said they were conducting a clearing operation at the site.
dead, 19 wounded have been evacuated from site,” health ministry spokesman
Wahid Majroh told AFP, without giving the victims´ nationalities.
Ministry deputy spokesman Nasrat Rahimi confirmed the toll but warned it could
sources had said the blast was followed by gunfire. Rahimi said no gunfire had
been heard for some time, however.
to its website, G4S provides security for the UK Foreign Office in Kabul.
attack was claimed by the Taliban in a tweet.
came just hours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the formation of
a team for prospective peace talks with the militant group, as the United
Nations renewed calls for direct negotiations between Kabul and the insurgents.
Afghan government, Western diplomats and UN officials have in recent weeks
raised hopes of finally reaching a deal to end the 17-year war.
an international conference on Afghanistan in Geneva, Ghani said the 12-person
negotiating team includes both men and women and will be led by his chief of
staff Abdul Salam Rahimi.
a former humanitarian worker and ex-deputy Afghan finance minister, is
considered one of Ghani´s closest aides.
assault on G4S is the second high-profile attack claimed by the Taliban on
foreigners in as many days.
Tuesday, three US soldiers were killed in a blast near Ghazni city in central
Afghanistan that was also claimed by the militant group.
attacks follow a wave of bloody violence across the war-torn country in recent
weeks that has killed hundreds of people as militants step up their attacks.
Wednesday, NATO said it was investigating an airstrike in southeastern
Afghanistan that might have killed civilians, with unverified reports of women
and children among the dead.
November 20, at least 55 people were killed when a bomber blew himself up in
the middle of a banquet hall in one of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan
violence comes as the Taliban intensify pressure on Afghan security forces,
even as the international community ramps up efforts towards talks.
envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has expressed hopes that a peace deal to end the war
could be struck before the Afghan presidential election, scheduled for April.
forms 12-member team to negotiate with Taliban
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has formed a 12-strong team to negotiate peace
with the Taliban, but implementation of any deal will take at least five years,
he said on Wednesday.
was speaking at a UN conference on the 17-year-old war between Afghan security
forces and an increasingly confident Taliban, who are fighting to drive out
international forces and establish their version of Islamic law.
Taliban are not at the Geneva talks but will be closely monitoring the
gathering of Afghan leaders and international diplomats, which coincides with
efforts by US President Donald Trump’s administration to push for peace with
seek a peace agreement in which the Afghan Taliban would be included in a
democratic and inclusive society,” Mr Ghani said, adding that any deal must
fulfil certain conditions, including respecting the constitutional rights of
president, facing a war-weary public back home, called upon Afghans to back his
peace push in an election next April. “Presidential elections in the spring are
key to successful peace negotiations. The Afghan people need an elected
government with a mandate to obtain ratification [and] implement the peace
agreement and lead the societal reconciliation process,” he said.
will take a minimum of five years to reintegrate six million refugees and
internally displaced people,” he said.
two-day Geneva gathering is intended to help resolve the quagmire created by the
war, a development that would pave way for the withdrawal of foreign troops.
Ghani said his chief of staff would lead a negotiating team, including women as
well as men, and an advisory board, comprising nine diverse and representative
committees, would provide input into the negotiations.
Under Secretary of State David Hale urged the Taliban to commit to a ceasefire
and appoint their own negotiating team, but also warned that the presidential
election needed to be managed better than parliamentary elections last month.
and donors alike will watch to see if the technical flaws are corrected in next
year’s presidential election,” Hale said.
a number of ad hoc de-radicalization and rehabilitation programs have been
taken up by the law enforcement agencies and the government, many of them have
been discontinued due to a lack of coordination among agencies.
years ago, synchronized bomb blasts in 63 districts rocked the whole of
Bangladesh, waking the nation up to the menace of rampant radicalization.
series of detonations on August 17, 2005 targeted every district of the country
except Munshiganj, hit 513 places in total, and killed two people while
injuring over 200 more.
1,500 suspects were subsequently arrested in 273 cases filed over the blasts,
which were orchestrated by the banned outfit Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh
included a militant named Tariqul Islam Tariq, who served five years in prison
before being set free to strike again.
October 2015, Tariq was re-arrested for the murder of Khijir Khan - a former
chairman of the Power Development Board (PDB), a freedom fighter, and a
religious preacher in Dhaka.
interrogation, Tariq said he had become more radicalized in prison because he
was in the company of other radicalized people.
Inspector General (IG) of Prisons, Brig Gen Syed Iftekhar Uddin, said there
could be many more reoffenders like Tariq.
lack the manpower or expertise required for de-radicalizing militant suspects
in custody,” he said. “However, we do keep them separate from other general
inmates to keep them away from militant ideologies.”
to the rise in attacks, over 100,000 Islamic scholars, legal experts, and
clerics signed a fatwa against militancy in June 2016, declaring terrorism and
suicide attacks as “haram” – forbidden under Islamic law.
the pressing need to counter radicalization re-entered the limelight in the
wake of the Holey Artisan attack in July 2016, when five youths stormed a café
in the upmarket Gulshan area of Dhaka and murdered 20 hostages, mostly
foreigners, plus two police officers.
the attack - the worst in Bangladesh’s history - the government earned praise
at home and from abroad for its strong efforts to wipe out homegrown
militancy.According to Police Headquarters, as of October 2017 a total of 920
cases had been filed and 3,676 people arrested in connection with militancy,
while over 500 suspected militants have been released on bail.
they are out, however, these militants either go into hiding or reengage in
headquarter officials say that if this worrying trend continues, militancy
cannot be wiped out from Bangladesh.
is Bangladesh countering radicalization?
the militant groups mostly neutralized, the government is now focusing on
de-radicalization and rehabilitation schemes for previously convicted
while a number of ad hoc programs have been taken up by the law enforcement
agencies and the government, many of them have been discontinued due to a lack
of coordination among agencies.
initiatives include a 60-second anti-militant television commercial produced by
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which has not been broadcast for months after
receiving a lot of air-time initially.
April 2017 the elite force also published a book titled “Misinterpretation of
Verses by Militants and the Right Interpretation of the Qur'an and Hadith”.
Four thousand copies were distributed to different places including madrasas,
but the initiative was discontinued.
Islamic Foundation (BIF) worked with Imams of all mosques to ensure they
delivered a pre-sermon speech during Friday congregational prayers but this
practice, too, was abandoned.
are ongoing initiatives yielding positive results in the fight against radicalization.
Education Ministry has engaged educational institutions in building awareness
of extremism and terrorism among teachers, students, and parents. Madrasa
textbooks have been revised and the government has directed the ministry to
continue its scrutiny of the madrasa curriculum.
controlling extremism-related messaging on the internet, particularly on social
media, initiatives have been taken to further strengthen the National
Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC) to help it detect websites that
circulate radicalizing messages.
Religious Affairs Ministry in July took up a two-year project, with a a budget
of Tk46 crore, to create anti-militancy awareness by conducting nationwide
publicity campaigns using ICT.
part of new ways of integrating suspected militants into mainstream society,
the government is also planning to engage youths in sports, culture, and other
may hamper sustainability’
have said Bangladesh can still do more to combat the radicalization of its
Bashar, an associate research fellow at the International Centre for Political
Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR) at Nanyang Technological University,
Singapore, said the government’s efforts are being hindered by a disjointed
approach which focuses only on Dhaka.
response to countering violent extremism (CVE) initiatives remains weak in
Bangladesh because of lack of coordination and information sharing among the
various security agencies,” he said.
is) a lack of framework to assess the implementation and effectiveness of the
CVE programs, lack of detection and countering of extremist trends on social
media platforms, and lack of holistic plan to rehabilitate violent extremist
his paper titled “Countering Violent Extremism in Bangladesh”, Iftekharul said
militants due for release in the next few years will fail to reintegrate into
society and will continue to pose a security threat, unless they go through a
comprehensive rehabilitation program.
project in the pipeline
such program is being introduced by the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational
Crime Unit (CTTC) of police.
want to rehabilitate militants into mainstream society through a formal
de-radicalization program set to begin in January.
has been no formal government initiative for de-radicalizing militants in the
country, though many informal initiatives were taken earlier,” CTTC Chief and
Dhaka Metropolitan Police Additional Commissioner Monirul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune.
an official project has been approved and will be implemented from January.
There are several stakeholders and the government has already allotted some
funds to implement the plan.”
will help in the process by holding dialogues with affected youths about
de-radicalization, psychological disengagement and counter-radicalization.
the initiatives last?
rights activist Nur Khan Liton told the Dhaka Tribune that the effort to
suppress militants through operational drives remains high, with less
importance placed on de-radicalization schemes.
programs were undertaken for building awareness, but no follow-up initiative
was taken in line with their effectiveness,” he said.
Khan said that the de-radicalization program has to be run not only in prisons
but also at different levels of society, especially among youths.
college and madrasas have to be linked with this program to create social
awareness,” he said.
scholar Fariduddin Masud said militancy cannot be wiped out only through
arresting the suspects.
is more important is to convince them and help them return to a normal life,
which should begin from prisons,” he said.
militants can become more dangerous upon release or securing bail so there is a
need to work with them in prisons.
BNP has nominated 25 leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, a key component of the
20-party alliance, to contest the upcoming parliamentary polls.
has handed out nomination letters, signed by BNP Secretary General Mirza
Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, to Jamaat men. The letters attached to their nomination
papers were submitted to the offices of returning officers and assistant
returning officers, said insiders in both parties.
have received 25 nomination letters from the BNP,” Matiur Rahman Akand,
organising secretary of Jamaat, told The Daily Star yesterday.
the 25 Jamaat aspirants, Shamim Sayedee, second son of convicted war criminal
Delawar Hossain Sayedee, submitted nomination papers for Pirojpur-1.
October 29, the Election Commission scrapped the registration of Jamaat in line
with a High Court verdict that declared Jamaat's registration illegal.
EC's move made it clear that the party would not be able to contest the
upcoming national election.
Jamaat men were initially preparing to run as independents. If they participate
in the polls as independents, they may not get a common symbol, said party
to the electoral law, the Jamaat leaders vying for the parliamentary seats on
BNP tickets and with its symbol -- “sheaf of paddy”-- will be considered BNP
Nazibur Rahman, son of former Jamaat ameer and executed war criminal Motiur
Rahman Nizami, filed nomination papers for Pabna-1 as an independent.
EC has set December 2 for scrutinising nomination papers and December 9 as the
last date for withdrawing them.
government of independent Bangladesh in its first decision had banned five
communal outfits, including Jamaat, which not only opposed the nation's
independence but also actively helped Pakistan occupation forces commit
genocide and other war crimes.
parties were allowed to engage in politics during the rule of late president
Ziaur Rahman after the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in
to Jamaat, those who submitted nomination papers as BNP candidates are: Abdul
Hakim for Thakurgaon-2, Mohammad Hanif for Dinajpur-1, Mohammad Anwarul Islam
for Dinajpur-6, Moniruzzaman Montu for Nilphamary-2, Mohammad Azizul Islam for
Nilphamary-3, Prof Golam Rabbani for Rangpur-5, Majedur Rahman Sarker for
Gaibandha-1, Rafiqul Islam Khan for Sirajganj-4, Iqbal Hossain for Pabna-5,
Prof Motiur Rahman for Jhenidah-3, former MP Abu Sayed Mohammad Sahadat Hossain
for Jashore-2, Abdul Wadud for Bagerhat-3, Prof Abdul Alim for Bagerhat-4,
former MP Prof Mia Golam Parwar for Khulna-5, Abul Kalam Azad for Khulna-6,
Abdul Khaleque for Satkhira-2, Robiul Bashar for Satkhira-3, Gazi Nazrul Islam
for Satkhira-4, Shamim Sayedee for Pirojpur-1, Shafiqur Rahman for Dhaka-15,
former MP Farid Uddin Chowdhury for Sylhet-5, Habibur Rahman for Sylhet-6,
former MP Syed Abdullah Md Taher for Cumilla-11, former MP ANM Shamsul Islam
for Chattogram-15, and former MP Hamidur Rahman Azad for Cox's Bazar-2.
also kept back-up candidates in most of the seats where its leaders filed
nomination papers. The back-up candidates submitted nomination papers as
should raise Rohingya issue with Suu Kyi: Rights groups
Myanmar State Counsellor and Minister for Foreign Affairs Aung San Suu Kyi
commences her two-day Nepal visit today, the Nepalese government should draw
her attention to ensure safe return of the Rohingya Muslim minorities and have
a fair investigation into the alleged abuses, said human rights agencies.
than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims are taking refuge in different countries, mainly
in Bangladesh, having fled a brutal military crackdown that began in August
2017. UN reports said that during the campaign, Myanmar’s military burnt the
houses of the Muslim minorities in Rakhine State, carried out killings and gang
Kyi, a Nobel peace prize winner, holds a crucial portfolio in the present
government which has been accused of colluding with the military in repressing
the Muslim minorities. Her visit comes at a time when the repatriation process
has been halted in the lack of assurance from the Myanmar government for the
Rohingya’s safe return.
Ansari, spokesperson for the National Human Rights Commission, said the Nepali
authorities should clearly talk to Suu Kyi for the safe return of the displaced
people and fair investigation into the matter.
geo-political factors should not affect the human rights issue. The Nepal
government must present its clear position on the matter,” Ansari said. Suu
Kyi, who is here to attend ‘The Asia Pacific Summit 2018-Nepal’ taking place in
the Capital from November 30 to December 3, is scheduled to meet President
Bidya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Foreign Minister Pradeep
Gyawali among other leaders.
said it is important that Nepal raise the issue of the human rights violations
under its international obligation as it is a member of the UN Human Rights
Council at present. Nepal was elected as the member of the council for the
first time in October last year. Though a majority of Rohingya Muslims are
taking refuge in Bangladesh, hundreds have entered Nepal via India. There are
around 400 such refugees in Kathmandu’s Kapan area. Nirajan Thapaliya, director
at Amnesty International, said Nepali authorities should take up the issue with
should exert pressure on the Myanmar government through international
collaboration for the safe return of the oppressed,” he said. Thapaliya said
Suu Kyi colluded with the military crackdown and is reluctant in ensuring
justice to the victims.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met with the representatives of the private sector in
Geneva of Switzerland on Tuesday to brief the investors regarding the available
opportunities and capacities existing in Afghanistan.
Office of the President, ARG Palace, in a statement said President Ghani
briefed the participants of the meeting regarding the available opportunities
and capacities existing in mining, electricity, agriculture, water, and other
the private sector the government’s partner, President Ghani said the
government is prepared to provide the required facilities for partnership,
investment, and operations in Afghanistan.
Ghani further added that agriculture is the key for instability in Afghanistan
and emphasized on required assistance to farmers besides providing information
and training regarding the modern farming and agriculture.
Kyaw Ye Lynn
300 Rohingya Muslims, who attempted to flee Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state,
were temporarily detained and returned to refugee camps this month, according
to local media and local government officials.
boat carrying 93 Rohingya Muslims, who left camps in Rakhine state’s capital
Sittwe in hope of reaching Malaysia through the sea route, was seized by
Myanmar authorities near Dawei, a coastal town in southern Tanintharyi region
on Nov. 25, reported Radio Free Asia, a local online media.
is the third boat being seized in the sea by authorities,” Col. Sein Win of the
Tanintharyi Regional Police Force was quoted as saying on Monday.
the 93 people aboard, 33 are women and 32 are children under 15,” he said.
people left Rakhine state on Nov. 18, and had paid human traffickers around
$300 each to take them to Malaysia, according to the police officer.
navy ship has taken them back to Rakhine, he added.
authorities also rescued a boat with 106 Rohingya Muslims aboard near Yangon’s
Kyauk Tan Township on Nov. 16, as the boat got stuck at Adaman Sea after the
boat engine failed, a regional lawmaker said.
young girl died of fever on the boat, according to local police.
for improving situation in camps
Thet Mu, Kyauk Tan’s regional lawmaker, told Anadolu Agency that 31 women and
25 children were among those aboard.
the authorities need to stop this. They need to prevent these people from
leaving for the sea migration,” she said.
said they were leaving the camps because they can’t stand the situation there
anymore. So improving the situation is also vital to prevent such further
accidents,” she added.
was the first time that Rohingya attempted to reach Malaysia by boat since the
end of rainy season this year.
week, the authorities stopped a boat with 94 aboard, who were from a camp in
Sittwe, shortly after setting sail.
senior official at the Rakhine regional government, however, said six boats
were believed to be bound for Malaysia since last month when the monsoon began
days after the first accident, police went to a camp in Sittwe claimed to have
arrested alleged human traffickers. However it turned into a riot in the camp
in which four Rohingya men were shot and injured. Of them, police claimed, two
were human traffickers who charged 109 Rohingya around $300 each.
hope of getting better life'
to police investigation, at least 500 people already left the camps, and headed
for Malaysia by boat,” an officer, who asked not to be named due to the
sensitivity of the issue, told Anadolu Agency.
three boats apprehended by Myanmar authorities in the sea this month were among
six boats bound for Malaysia, he added.
admitted that the situation in the camps is not so good, but said that sailing
to Malaysia is a bad option.
are trying to crackdown the human traffickers to stop further departures,” he
said by phone on Monday.
of thousands of people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, have been sheltering in camps
since mid-2012 when communal violence erupted in the Rakhine state.
Rohingya man, identified as Maung Maung, was one of them. He and his family
members were placed in Narzi camp on the outskirts of Sittwe after their home
was torched during the communal violence in 2012.
told Anadolu Agency by phone that many of his friends already left for Malaysia
last year, and he is thinking to follow the route this year.
have no hope of getting better life staying in the camp,” he said on Wednesday,
adding he however don’t have enough money for the whole family.
didn’t joined his friends last year because he thought the growing
international pressure would bring some changes to them, but said he was wrong.
improves, and we have to do something ourselves,” he said.
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children
and women, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.
Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s
state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development
than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others
were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya:
The Untold Experience."
18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and
over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it
President Ashraf Ghani has formed a 12-strong team to negotiate peace with the
Taliban, but implementation of any deal will take at least five years, he said
was speaking at a UN conference on the 17-year-old war between Afghan security
forces and an increasingly confident Taliban, which is fighting to drive out
international forces and establish their version of strict Islamic law.
seek a peace agreement in which the Afghan Taliban would be included in a
democratic and inclusive society,” Ghani said, adding that any deal must fulfil
certain conditions, including respecting the constitutional rights of women.
facing a war-weary public back home, called on Afghans to back his peace push
in an election next April.
elections in the spring are key to successful peace negotiations. The Afghan
people need an elected government with a mandate to obtain ratification (and)
implement the peace agreement and lead the societal reconciliation process,” he
two-day Geneva gathering is intended to help resolve the quagmire created by
the war, a development that would pave way for the withdrawal of foreign
said his chief of staff would lead a negotiating team including women as well
as men, and an advisory board, comprising nine diverse and representative
committees, would provide input into the negotiations.
Under Secretary of State David Hale said he was encouraged by the plan for
peace talks and the formation of a negotiating team.
time has come to plan for an Afghanistan of peace,” Hale told the conference.
urged the Taliban to commit to a ceasefire and appoint their own negotiating
team, but also warned that the presidential election needed to be run better
than parliamentary elections last month.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov echoed the concerns about the elections and
called for a broad intra-Afghan dialogue, saying Russia was worried about the
worsening military and political situation.
should be closer cooperation against the Afghan wing of ISIS extremist group,
which threatened the whole region, Lavrov said.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said ISIS presence and radicalization of
local groups was a new challenge, but a foreign military presence always caused
instability and served as a recruiting ground for extremists.
warned that nobody would gain from introducing extremists into Afghanistan as
they had in Syria and Iraq.
horrific trend needs to be arrested before it reaches catastrophic
proportions,” Zarif said.
chief executive Abdullah Abdullah said the five-phased peace process would
start with an intra-Afghan dialogue, followed by discussions with Pakistan and
the United States, then regional actors, the Arab Islamic world and finally
NATO and non-NATO countries.
JAYA: All houses of worship must be revered; regardless of religion says Datuk
Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa
Minister (for Islamic affairs) in the Prime Minister's Department said,
"Even though I oversee the wellbeing of Islam, I also see myself
responsible to take care of principles in Islam. One of those is that all
houses of worship need to be revered.
matter if it is a mosque, temple, or church. They are holy places for
devotees," he said after visiting the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
here on Wednesday (Nov 28).
said Muslims respect the freedom of religion (for non-Muslims) and are also
responsible to maintain the reverence for their holy places.
incident that took place recently is against that principle.
came here to say that those actions did not represent any race, but it is a
small group of individuals who do not understand this principle and trespassed
and caused an uneasy situation," he said.
added that he met with the temple committee and heard of many unpleasant things
that occured that night.
said threatening the safety and lives of people praying in their houses of
worship is against the teachings of Islam.
hope there isn't a repetition of this incident in any place of worship.
responsible must be brought to justice in accordance with the laws in
place," he said.
also said that Pakatan Harapan will ensure such an incident doesn't happen
all provocation over temple fracas – FT mufti
LUMPUR: Federal Territory mufti, Datuk Seri Dr Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri has
called for an end to all forms of provocation over the rioting incident at the
Sri Maha Mariamman temple in USJ 25, Subang Jaya, on Monday as it could cause
said his office was following the developments of the case and expressed
sympathy for the victims in the incident.
said all parties should remain calm and not act in any way that could worsen
reminder to all not to ‘pour oil into the fire’ as this could cause much
greater damage. This issue needs to be handled very carefully.
Malaysians, we should not be willing to gamble our future together, over an
issue which could actually be resolved amicably,” he said in a statement, here,
said racial harmony could be enjoyed by holding strongly to the Rukun Negara
friends, the Indians, Chinese, Malays and others as Malaysians should be mature
enough in evaluating the temple incident which did not at all involve racial or
talks among the parties involved should commence immediately so that the
tension could be resolved amicably,” he added.
also congratulated the Royal Malaysian Police, Fire and Rescue Department and the
Selangor state government for their quick action in handling the incident.
also prayed for the recovery of fireman Muhammad Adib Muhammad Kassim, 24, who
was seriously injured in the incident.
the Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association (PPIM) also called on all parties to
be calm and stop spreading lies that could arouse racial sentiments over the
rioting incident at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple.
chief activist, Datuk Nadzim Johan said they should instead make safeguarding
harmony and respecting the beliefs and religious sensitivities of other
communities a priority.
who instigate have evil intentions and have managed to make some people act
irrationally,” he said in a statement.
said PPIM believed in the principle of solidarity in society and stressed that
no PPIM member was involved in the temple fracas.
touts Indonesia as moderate Muslim country
candidate Prabowo Subianto promoted Indonesia as a safe destination to the
Singaporean business community on Tuesday, claiming it is a moderate Muslim
nation despite recent developments that might suggest otherwise.
am sure the majority of Muslims in Indonesia are moderate,” Prabowo said in his
keynote speech at the World 2019 gala dinner organized by The Economist in
Singapore on Tuesday evening.
explained that a lot of ulema had been labeled radical even though most of them
condemn radicalism and teach peace.
are so tired of being accused of [being in a] radical political group, but this
should be the responsibility of the country’s leader: to educate the people and
embrace the ulema so they won’t turn radical,” said the Gerindra Party
I am optimistic because I saw a lot of religious leaders in Indonesia
condemning radicalism and Islamic teaching has emphasized this.”
suggested that a good leader was one who could eradicate all forms of
radicalism. One way to do that, according to the former military general, was
by creating jobs for young people.
young people lose hope and are frustrated, feeling pessimistic about their
future, then religious demagogues can easily influence them,” he said.
is known for his close ties to conservative Muslims. He has gained support from
Islamic parties, namely the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and National Mandate
Party (PAN), and also from the so-called 212 Alumni, an umbrella group for
participants of a series of rallies held to demand the prosecution of then
Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a Christian of Chinese descent,
for blasphemy in 2016. Ahok was eventually sentenced to two years in prison. He
is to be released early next year.
country’s struggle to rebuild its moderate image has been marred by other such
radical actions, like the bomb attacks against three Surabaya churches in East
Java in May, which were planned and carried out by radicalized Muslim families.
communications observer Hendri Satrio of Paramadina University in Jakarta said
Prabowo aimed to paint himself as a moderate leader while insinuating that the
current administration led by his rival President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo had
failed to maintain religious harmony.
wants to show that he is open to all Muslim groups, that he is different from
Jokowi because he will be able to embrace both conservative and moderate
Muslims,” he said.
has been using similar rhetoric, particularly in global forums, he said.
has emphasized moderation and pluralism all the time, probably trying to
embrace all Muslim groups. Whether he has succeeded is another question,”
expert Adi Prayitno of the Islamic State University (UIN) Syarif Hidayatullah
Jakarta said through his speech Prabowo wanted to show he is a moderate Muslim
and was not related to hard-line groups, as many of his critics suggest.
“Prabowo is widely supported by hard-line Muslim groups, so his remarks were a
paradox,” Adi said.
events also suggest that Prabowo has close ties with Rizieq Shihab, an
influential leader of the hard-line Islam Defenders Front (FPI), as well as
with ulema and activists grouped under the National Movement to Safeguard Ulama
(GNPF-Ulama). The GNPF-Ulama was actively involved in the anti-Ahok rallies.
Prabowo once met with Rizieq in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, where he now resides to
avoid prosecution in Indonesia after being charged with violating the 2008
Pornography Law in May 2017.
Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Clashes broke out among Hindus over the fate of
the Seafield temple Sri Maha Mariamman Temple in Subang Jaya, Selangor. The row
saw people beat and hurl insults at each other with cars torched.
between the two factions were made worse by the intervention of 50 Malay
Muslims sent to seize the temple. Following its intervention, police arrested
21 people, Malaysia’s Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said today.
over a century ago, the temple is at the centre of a dispute over ownership.
The case has pitted the temple administration and One City Development, a real
2014, the Shah Alam High Court ruled that the real estate developer was the
legal owner of the land. However, the eviction order that followed has not yet
been carried out because one faction in the Hindu community reject the ruling,
whilst another accepts it.
some failed negotiations, the company tried to take over the temple on 22
November, but had to give up due to presence of protesters at the site.
City Development then turned to police to evict protesters at 7 am Monday. When
agents arrived, they found that the company’s lawyers had paid 150,000 ringgits
(US$ 35,500) to 50 Muslim men to seize the temple ahead of time.
is more, the latter’s arrival had led to a confrontation with Hindu devotees,
which turned into clashes that saw 18 cars and two motorcycles torched. A
police patrol car was also damaged by stones and windows were broken at a
nearby shopping mall.
700 agents were deployed, including members of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU),
a riot control force and special response team.
ALAM: Selangor State Executive Councilor V Ganabatirau today apologised for
blaming a “Muslim group” over Monday’s attack on the Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
would like to apologise if I had offended anyone,” he told the Selangor State
Legislative Assembly today.
in condemning the attack had initially said it was the work of a “Muslim
group”, but later amended his statement by replacing the phrase with
“gangsters”, following advice from both sides of the political divide.
Kota Kemuning assemblyman said it must be made known that the violence which
erupted on Monday morning stemmed from these thugs.
state opposition leader Rizam Ismail welcomed the apology and expressed hope
that “such mistakes” would not be repeated.
is an isolated case, one between the developer and the temple committee, but
due to an oversight it led to chaos, one which saw damage to property and
people injured in the process,” the Sungai Air Tawar assemblyman told reporters
at the lobby of the state assembly.
urged the state government to ensure such incidents did not re-occur.
state government, he said, should play mediator to resolve such issues.
also hope the police will take action against the instigator.”
Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had revealed that police investigations showed
Monday’s attack on the temple was the work of “a group of Malays” hired by One
said police discovered that the lawyer for One City had paid the guards
RM150,000 to “control” the situation at the temple on Monday. Describing the
move as an “illegal and irresponsible act of intrusion”, he said this had
provoked the Hindus in the area, leading to chaos and destruction of property.
however, One City issued a statement denying it had any links to the
Monday, a group intruded into the temple, causing a disturbance in which
several people were injured. The temple was also damaged while a number of
vehicles were torched.
Tuesday morning, a protest to oppose the temple’s relocation turned unruly as
protesters set fire to vehicles and attacked a firefighter. The office of the
land developer was also vandalised.
temple is supposed to be relocated as part of a win-win court solution
involving the developer One City, the Selangor state government and two
claimants to the temple management, K Chellappa and M Nagaraju.
Chellappa and Nagaraju, who were involved in a separate suit over the control
of the temple management, agreed to hand back the land to One City after it
agreed to donate RM1.5 million to build a new temple on one of two plots of
land given to the temple by One City.
use civilians as human shields in Hodeidah — Yemen prime minister
Houthi militias are using civilians as human shields in Hodeidah, Prime
Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed told the UN humanitarian coordinator in Yemen
during their meeting on Tuesday.
Iranian-backed Houthi militia controls the city, takes civilians as human
shields, deprives them of humanitarian aid and sells it in the market for their
personal gain and to finance their wars,” the Yemeni prime minister said.
the meeting in the interim capital of Aden with Lise Grande, the prime minister
discussed the efforts and projects of the United Nations in Yemen during the
last period and the situation in Hodeidah.
urged the UN and international organizations to provide more assistance to
those affected in Yemen, suffering from the humanitarian crisis that has
resulted from the war being waged by the militia against Yemeni people.
prime minister urged aid organizations to open their offices in the Aden to
ensure delivery of projects and supplies to Yemenis affected by the war in all
Yemeni Minister of Endowments and Guidance, Ahmad Attiya said that reinstating
political leadership to the internationally recognized government and
liberating Hodeidah from the Houthis was inevitable.
Houthi militias do not believe in peace and co-existence because they are a
militia that receives its guidance from Iran and is trying to change the
identity of Yemen and extract it from its Arab surroundings,” he said at a
lecture given at the University of Saba in the Yemeni province of Marib.
claimed that the Houthi militias manipulate young people and recruit them into
their wars, violating international human rights laws.
reiterates commitment to Iran nuclear deal in talks with Zarif
Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met Iranian foreign minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif in Geneva on Wednesday and reiterated the bloc’s
determination to preserve the multilateral nuclear deal, an EU statement said.
underlined need for continued full and effective implementation of the Iran
nuclear deal by all parties, “including the economic benefits arising from it”,
and Zarif meeting came on the sidelines of a UN conference on Afghanistan held
Wednesday in Geneva.
November 19, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrived in Tehran for the
first time since taking office to hold talks with Iranian authorities on issues
including the future of the 2015 nuclear deal, Iranian media reported.
Information Minister Muammar al-Eryani confirmed that Al Masirah channel
belonging to the Houthi militias has been suspended from broadcasting on
Nilesat over accusations of running sectarian programming.
minister said that the suspension of the channel from broadcasting came after
the efforts exerted by the legitimate government represented by the Ministry of
Information and supported by the Arab coalition.
minister said in a statement to the Yemeni news agency SABA that the ministry
is also seeking to stop previously official channels that have been hijacked by
the Houthis militia in Sanaa, which include the Yemen, Aden and Sheba outlets.
“These are false copies of government channels that broadcast their sectarian
poison and incite violence and hatred among Yemeni society,” the ministry said.
information minister said that the world recognizes only one government and one
leadership of the Yemen people represented by President Abdurbo Mansour Hadi.
Yemeni government rejected the Houthi militias’ proposal of handing over the
supervision of the Hodeidah Port to the UN, adding that by doing this, the
Houthis only aim to mislead and re-position themselves.
Houthis have agreed to hand over supervision of the port to the UN under the
condition that the port’s revenues be handed over to the Central Bank in Sanaa,
controlled by the militias.
over the port of Hodeidah to anyone other than the legitimacy is a violation of
sovereignty,” the government said in a statement.
of State Mohammed al-Amiri said the Houthis have been looting the state’s
revenues through the port for four years and practiced piracy, threatened
international navigation, committed crimes and thwarted humanitarian aid.
over the Hodeidah Port came amid violent clashes in Al-Khamseen Street where
national army forces and Houthi militias exchanged artillery shelling.
Meanwhile, the coalition’s air force targeted Houthi posts and military
vehicles in several areas in Hodeidah.
Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid bin Salman has said
that only consistent pressure on the Iran-backed Houthi militias would
eventually lead to a political solution in Yemen.
stalling for months, the Houthis agreed to talk about handing some control of
Hodeidah port to the UN,” Prince Khalid tweeted on Tuesday.
Yemen’s internationally recognised government has called for a block on the
broadcast of a Houthi television channel from the country.
Minister Moammer Al-Eryani said the Houthi-run Al-Masirah television was
"generating poisonous sectarianism and inciting violence and hatred",
Saba news agency reported.
added that Arab satellite operator Nilesat - which is based in Cairo - had
stopped broadcasting the rebel outlet.
Houthi rebels condemned the calls.
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