Imam of the All India Imam Organisation (Bharat) (AIIO) Dr Umer Ahmed Ilyasi
led a Friday prayer and delivered a “sermon” for peace of souls to jawans who
lost their lives in terrorist attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama
Imam of the All India Imam Organisation Prays For Peace to Souls of Jawans Who
Lost Their Life in Pulwama Attack
Threat in Jammu and Kashmir: Homegrown Suicide Bomber
Murdabad', 'Let Murdabad': Muslims in Maharashtra Protest against Pulwama
Tells Girls to Have Babies, Not Careers, Sparking Fury at UK Academy
ISIS Bride Unfazed by Severed Heads Has Stockholm Syndrome, Says Family
Kingdom, Muslim Nations Target of Disparaging Media Campaign
We Continue To Train, Advise and Assist Afghanistan Security Forces
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar Tells Trump 'You Have Trafficked In Hate Your Whole
Imam Prays For Peace to Souls of Jawans Who Lost Their Life in Pulwama Attack
Murdabad', 'Let Murdabad': Muslims In Maharashtra Protest Against Pulwama
Attack: Islamabad Denies Any Role, Reaction Mixed On Pak Social Media and TV
Is Jaish-e-Mohammad, Why India Calls For Global Ban on Masood Azhar
attack: 80 kg high-grade RDX used by Jaish terrorist, seven detained
attack: world condemns the terror act
to hold talks with US for ban on Jaish chief Masood Azhar
Pulwama attack, no change in China’s stance on Masood Azhar
bluntly tells Pakistan to end terrorism
govt moves SC to transfer LeT terrorist from Jammu to Tihar
backs India's right to self-defence over Kashmir attack - Indian government
Pulwama terror attack cast a shadow on Kartarpur corridor?
attack: Top Indian security officials suspect Masood Azhar’s nephew to be the
attack: AMU student suspended over ‘objectionable’ tweet, FIR registered
arms causing ‘significant civilian' deaths in Yemen: British lords say
seeks European presence in northeast Syria
for Europe Muslims': Turkish-Belgian politician
Pompeo meets EU's top diplomat after Mike Pence's Iran accusations
MP: Damascus Gov't to Sue White Helmets for Conducting False Flag Chemical
We Have Destroyed Daesh’s Capabilities, It Is No Longer Able To Detain
Truckers, Praying Paramedics: Mixed Bag On Last Daesh Front
Terrorists Killed in Iraqi Airstrikes on Militants' Positions in Syria
of Tens of US, ISIL Attacks Victims Found in Raqqa
Receive Severe Blow in Failed Attacks on Demilitarized Zone in Hama, Idlib
SDF About to Declare End of ISIL in Eastern Euphrates
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official: Home-made bomb explodes near mosque, 3 hurt
'Soviet Withdrawal Is Lesson to US'
Court Sentences Two to Death For Muslim Lawyer's Murder
continues in its critical role in developing Afghan national security forces:
airstrikes kill Taliban shadow judge in Laghman province
reiterates EU’s 5-point offer to support peace in Afghanistan
by the Israel-Palestine conflict, American Muslims and American Jews overlook
the need for domestic unity
promises announcement on eradication of ISIS within ‘24 hours’
Time to expand the international coalition against ISIS
‘may pull some 1,000 troops from Afghanistan’
vice president Mike Pence accuses Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism
Iran Sinks Financially, Iraqi Militias Generate Funds Via Protection Rackets
vows to carry Khashoggi case to intl. court
injures 20 Palestinians along Gaza fence
in Yemen can’t be secured by submission to Israel: Ansarullah
war on Gaza must be the last, former Israeli minister says
Houthis targeting aid warehouses, says Saudi relief aid chief
Palestinians hurt in border clashes, says Gaza ministry
Hidden In Corpse Kills Burkina Faso Army Doctor
military denies taking part in raid on al-Qaeda site in Libya
links deadly blasts to militant cell
killed in Nigeria's northwest ahead of polls
delays presidential election until Feb. 23 over unspecified ‘challenges’
Is Now A Matter Of Life And Death': Muhammadiyah Warns Against Deepening
Lumpur nabs six suspected militants in raids
detains alleged sponsor of Malaysian ISIS fighter
detains alleged sponsor of Malaysian IS fighter
will split Malay-Muslim votes in Sabah, says PBS
approach to Afghan peace has shaped international opinion: FM Qureshi
Court of Justice to take up Jadhav’s case on Feb 18
thanks PM Imran Khan over FETO fight
urges German investors to benefit from Pakistan’s pro-investor policies
gets ready to woo Saudi crown prince
crown prince’s visit delayed by day
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Imam of the All India Imam Organisation (Bharat) (AIIO) Dr Umer Ahmed Ilyasi
led a Friday prayer and delivered a “sermon” for peace of souls to jawans who
lost their lives in terrorist attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and
Kashmir, and for strength to their family members.
religious gathering at the Copernicus Mosque —headquarters of AIIO — was
well-attended by judicial officers among others.
his hour-long sermon, Dr Ilyasi issued an appeal to all the heads of the
mosques in Jammu and Kashmir, especially those affiliated to AIIO, to take the
lead to enlightening people of the state about the true message of Islam —
which he said is “peace, regeneration and service, among other transcendental
terrorists are trying to sully the image of Islam by indulging in barbarity,
death and destruction, and taking out lives which are against the tenets of the
religion, he said.
had sent Prophet Mohammad in this world with an over-arching message to spread
the values of peace,” he said.
of 486 major mosques in Jammu and Kashmir, 376 of them are affiliated to AIIO,
is especially incumbent upon the Imams based in the Valley to come on the front
foot and take up cudgels against terrorism and the ideologies of radicalism and
misapplication of the pious word ‘Jehad’ propagated by it.”
is a practice undertaken for catharsis, for self-purification, and resolve to
work for the universal values and humanity,” he said.
the terrorists are taking out lives of innocent people through bomb blasts and
utter barbarities,” Dr Ilyasi added.
appealed to spiritual leaders of all faiths in the country to join hands to
cautioned the terror organisations, especially ISIS, and the Jaish-e-Mohammad
and Lashkar-e-Toiba operating form Pakistan, to come out of their delusion of
garnering support of Indian Muslims.
me and the Indian Muslims, the country comes first,” he said amidst
appreciation by the congregation.
said he would soon visit Jammu and Kashmir and camp in the Valley to mobilise
spiritual leaders of Islam to build opinion against terrorism.
Chief Imam had hit headlines last Diwali when he responded to a challenge of
Laskhar-e-Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed by going to Wagah border and raising slogans
against him and Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar, and Pakistan for exporting
terrorism to India.
DELHI: The advent of the local ‘suicide bomber’ and return of vehicle-borne
IEDs in J&K are the two new concerns for the security establishment after
Thursday’s strike on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama.
to a former J&K DGP, Kashmiri Muslims traditionally did not become suicide
bombers. “Their religious orientation is different. There are two lines of
thought in Islam. The first is that committing suicide is ‘haraam’, and it is
this line Kashmiris have always subscribed to. As per the second line of
thought that first emerged West Asia, suicide committed in furtherance of jihad
is not ‘Haraam’ as the suicide attacker is a soldier of Islam,” he said. “This
ideology later spread to Syria, followed by Afghanistan and Pakistan. However,
if the same ideology gains ground among Kashmiris, it is a matter of concern.
This means the person who motivated the Pulwama attacker to turn suicide bomber
can do the same to other vulnerable Kashmiri youth,” the officer added.
the Badamibagh cantonment attack of 2000 involved a 17-year-old Kashmiri
blowing up an explosive-laden vehicle, it was technically not a suicide attack.
The boy, a former IPS officer said, was only meant to park the explosivesladen
car in the complex. However, when his car was being checked at the gate, he
panicked and tried to get out. At this point, his handler, watching from a
distance, triggered the car bomb remotely.
IED attacks, also reported in 2005, were discontinued thereafter. Hizbul
Mujahideen, too, has avoided using IEDs as they cause civilian casualties. “The
suicidebomber mode is favoured by JeM as the group is focused on carrying out high-impact
terror strikes. However, considering Kashmiris believe suicide is ‘haraam’,
Jaish would use foreign fighters who were sent across from Pakistan on the eve
of the fidayeen attack,” said an officer.
to the Pulwama attack, every suicide bombing, be it 2001 J&K assembly car
bombing or attacks on camps in Pathankot, Nagrota and Uri, was carried out by
Pakistani cadres. The local Kashmiri operatives’ role was restricted to
providing logistics, transportation,” another functionary said.
Jaish is now able to get Kashmiris for such tasks, there is a clear risk of
other locals getting brainwashed, helping Pakistan’s attempts to project terror
in J&K as homegrown,” the officer added.
is a fact that radicalisation has significantly increased among Kashmiri youths
in the past few years but if it has reached a level that Kashmiri boys have
been brainwashed to blow themselves up, then we need a whole new strategy,”
said a senior counter-terrorism official, requesting anonymity Sources said
that though there was no excuse for the intel failure in Pulwama, unless the
intelligence agencies were free from political dominance and their sleeper
cells made “so powerful” that they could assassinate terrorist leaders like Masood
Azhar, Hafiz Saeed and Syed Salahuddin inside Pakistan on the lines of Israeli defence
forces, these type of incidents would continue to haunt the forces.
Murdabad', 'LeT Murdabad': Muslims in Maharashtra protest against Pulwama
Thousands of Muslims on Friday hit the roads in south Mumbai's
minority-dominated Bhendi Bazaar area, spontaneous shutdowns were observed in
different parts of the city, and several groups and political parties protested
against Thursday's Pulwama terror attack which left close to 50 CRPF troopers
led by leaders of several NGOs took out a procession on Mohammed Ali Road --
south Mumbai's trading hub -- carrying the Indian Tricolour, banners, placards
and raising anti-Pakistan and anti-terror slogans this afternoon.
entire area observed a total shutdown and reverberated with slogans of
"Pakistan Murdabad", "LeT Murdabad", "Down with Masood
Azhar and Hafiz Saeed" and "JeM Murdabad" as thousands
peacefully staged protest marches in Saifee Jubilee Street, Handiwala Mosque
and Sunni Bilal Mosque here.
in the day, the Maharashtra government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh to
the families of two troopers from Maharashtra martyred in the Pulwama attacks.
have announced Rs 50 lakh for the kin of the martyred jawans and the
Maharashtra government will take responsibility of their rehabilitation. 125
crore Indians are their family members," Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis
said condemning the attack.
Janata Party (BJP) units in Mumbai led by Raj Purohit, Ram Kadam and other
leaders organised demonstrations in the city and suburbs against Pakistan and
flayed the terror strikes.
Congress President Ashok Chavan and Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam
organised a special condolence meeting at the party headquarters and other
cities in the state condemning Pakistan and demanded strict action against the
terror groups by India.
Chavan and Nirupam said the government must ensure that the sacrifices of the
troopers do not go in vain and added that as per Congress President Rahul
Gandhi's statement, the party would fully support all endeavours of the
government in this regard. The Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena
activists burnt Pakistan flags, the Nationalist Congress Party and others
organised similar protests and demonstrations at various locations in Mumbai
and other parts of the state.
Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray
demanded immediate retaliation and said the government should "hit back
with full force".
elections -- all this can continue, but don't spare Pakistan. Now a surgical
strike is needed inside Pakistan. The entire country is united to give a
befitting answer to the Jaish-e-Mohammed and teach a lesson to Pakistan it will
never forget," Thackeray said.
Sena has also demanded convening a special Parliament session to discuss the
Pulwama crisis and the future course of action.
Bharat Diamond Bourse, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council and Mumbai
Diamond Merchants Association organised a joint condolence meeting for the
martyred troopers at the BDB Complex in Bandra Kurla.
private and government offices arranged a two-minute silence to mourn the
victims, and protests were held at major railway stations on the Mumbai
suburban sector with lakhs of home-bound commuters joining to raise slogans in
solidarity with the CRPF troopers.
madrassa has had its contract terminated by Langley Academy in Slough after
lecturers told Muslim girls to have children rather than careers, prompting
backlash in the UK.
found the recording on social media which showed an IslamHood class with Shaykh
Shams ad-Duha Muhammad making the comments, where he told an audience of young
girls that "smart career women give it up to have children".
also told Slough and Eton School in early 2015 that working women should
"say sorry because you're not a mum, because you're delaying that one
thing that you would actually take fulfilment from." The video was
recently deleted from the organisation's YouTube page.
news on Al-Miftah Institute's 'IslamHood' Sunday school class follows
complaints made from the general public and National Secular Society that the
curriculum kept controversial views on homosexuality, in addition to calling
also hosted Yusuf Chambers, who in 2013 said that homosexuality was a
"sin" and Muslims "ponder that issue with the gay
Chambers spoke alongside Imram Ibn Mansur, or Dawah Man, at an event in 2015.
Mr. Mansur infamously posted a video to Facebook in 2017 calling YouTubers
without hijabs "sinful" and non-Muslims "pigs", as well as
"kafir" or "infidels".
Ad-Duha Muhammad, who also attended the 2015 event, called homosexuality
"a vice among vices" in 2013 and insinuated that the HIV and AIDS
epidemic were due to "general moral decline".
fully support the government's Prevent Strategy," a Langley Academy
have carried out an in-depth investigation and the lettings agreement with
Islamhood has been terminated with immediate effect."
Institute and IslamHood founder Moshin Ashraf said as quoted by the Telegraph
that his organisations supported freedom of speech "by and large".
But he slammed Langley Academy for not probing "the circumstances
surrounding how the speakers in question were invited" in depth.
number of inconsistent and malicious claims have been made against the speakers
invited by IslamHood and by extension, against IslamHood itself," he said.
Stephen Evans, CEO of the National Secular Society said in a press release that
he welcomed Langley Academy's decision to terminate Al-Miftah's contract,
adding that schools "shouldn't be providing a platform for groups seeking
to indoctrinate impressionable young minds with extremist ideology".
has a history of hosting lectures for young people with well-known extremist
speakers. In some of these lectures, speakers have said disbelievers and
Muslims who have non-Muslim friends will burn in Hell, criticised Muslims who
let their children go to university, and condemned the fundamental values of
liberty and equality.
is inappropriate and potentially harmful to allow a group that endorses these
messages to use an academy for hosting weekend classes for children," Mr.
added that schools working with third parties "must be aware that some
groups may have an agenda that contradicts the school's ethos, and develop a
strategy to prevent themselves from being exploited", adding that schools
needed support in resisting pressure from religious groups, and should uphold
"their own values and ethos".
19-year-old Islamic State bride Shamima Begum, who expresses no regret for
joining the terror group but wants to come back to the UK to have her baby, has
Stockholm syndrome, according to her family.
the story of the UK national jihadi who was found at a Syrian refugee camp and interviewed
by The Times, the family of Ms Begum has suggested she is suffering from a
psychological condition where she has adopted allegiances to her ‘captors’ as a
survival mechanism which they say may explain her total lack of remorse.
thought she had realised the error of her ways,” Mohammed Rahman, the husband
of the ISIS bride’s older sister Renu, told the newspaper of record.
will obviously have to change her views. You can’t do something that is in
conflict with the values of the place where you want to come home to, and not
show any remorse. I think that’s a fair expectation.”
has been there for so long, maybe the only way to make it through was to keep
supporting [the ideology]. I can’t imagine people get there and think, this is
nice, I’d like to stay. So it’s either [you] become depressed, or make
something of the situation you are in,” he added.
the lawyer for the Begum family has said that his client was a “victim of
Bethnal Green, London, resident left the UK of her own will in 2015 when she
was 15 years old to travel to Syria to marry a Dutch national jihadist, who is
currently being held by the Syrian Free Democratic Forces.
an interview with The Times, she said she did not regret joining the terror
group, and even apparently expressed some regret that the new Caliphate had
failed, at one point casually describing seeing a decapitated head in a bin and
saying, “it didn’t faze me at all.”
liberals have said that as a British citizen, she should be allowed to return
and be “rehabilitated” — including the former head of MI6 who said Begum should
be “given a chance” — security minister Ben Wallace said no Briton would be
sent to risk their lives to “look for terrorists or former terrorists in a
Secretary Sajid Javid told The Times that “if you have supported terrorist
organisations abroad” he would use his available powers to “prevent your
return,” with The Sun reporting its sources as saying that permanent exclusion
is being considered, with her parents being immigrants from Bangladesh opening
up the option of her being able to claim citizenship there, to avoid legal
challenges over making her a ‘stateless’ person.
other options being considered are prosecuting her in absentia for terrorism
offences or bringing her to the UK to face investigation.
reported on Friday, The Mirror revealed that the first female British citizen
found guilty of joining Islamic State has been released from prison last summer
— after serving less than three years of her six-year prison sentence.
Shakil, 29, was jailed in 2016 after taking her toddler son to Syria to join
Islamic State. The court was shown images of Ms Shakil brandishing firearms and
she said she wanted to “die as a martyr.”
the collapse of the Caliphate, the British government has been in a quandary
over what to do with its British passport holders who had travelled to the
Middle East warzone to fight for terror groups and who now want to return.
Telegraph reported on Friday that the U.S. is allegedly considering sending UK
national terrorists captured in Syria to the American military base Guantánamo
Bay, Cuba, after becoming tired of the ‘soft’ approach of the UK, with the
newspaper revealing that a number of returning Islamist guerrillas will not be
prosecuted but have been placed on “secretive” government rehabilitation
is believed that the U.S. government wants to prosecute two members of the
so-called ‘Beatles’ London-based terror cell, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee
Elsheikh, with one U.S. official telling the newspaper, “These guys have
American blood on their hands.”
Begum’s story broke, a 2018 petition to the government to ban “all ISIS members
from returning to UK” has surged from tens of thousands of signatories to
almost 160,000, with thousands more signatures being added every hour.
– Muslim countries in general and the Kingdom in particular are witnessing a
disparaging media campaign via satellite channels and websites these days,
Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais, Imam and Khateeb
of the Holy Mosque in Makkah, as saying in his Friday sermon here.
necessitates that all must unify their ranks and stand shoulder to shoulder in
the face of this wild media frenzy and repulse whoever tries to undermine the
Muslim countries or the security of the Two Holy Mosques, Al-Sudais asserted.
added: “The brilliant and prudent youth of the Muslim Ummah should not allow
themselves to be deceived by these media campaigns and tendentious rumors, as
their aim is nothing but to destroy society, cause its disintegration and
undermine its security and stability.”
the conclusion of the khutba, he supplicated to Allah Almighty to protect “the
country of the Two Holy Mosques” (Bilad Al-Haramain), its creed (Aqeedah),
leadership, security, and safety.
also prayed that Allah Almighty may safeguard the Ummah in general from the
machinations of the enemies lying in wait for it.
Al-Sudais said: “A person who contemplates on the history of the Ummah will notice
that most of the time Muslims are preoccupied by differences among themselves
in good times when peace prevails, a state of relaxation and profuse
intellectual creativity are replete.
these differences dwindle when the Ummah is faced by a looming danger or an
enemy lying in wait for them. They then resort to focusing on matters of top
priority and are keen to maintain and protect their internal unity to counter
the external enemy.”
the people cannot be the same due to the difference in their levels of
understanding and will. The difference among human beings can be positive and
leads to diversity. But what is undesirable is that diversity should not lead
to discord, partisanship, sectarianism, and animosity due to difference in
ideas or school of religious thought.
should be no war of words, being suspicious about one another or any
bloodletting. Whatever the differences, their main goal should be to obey Allah
Almighty and His Prophet (peace be upon him). They should treat one another
with compassion and fraternity. Harmony and cohesion should prevail among
them,” Sheikh Al-Sudais stressed.
criticized the prevailing indulgence in materialism in this era.
in his Friday sermon, Sheikh Abdulbari Al-Thubaiti, Imam and Khateeb of the
Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, focused on the concept of “Emarat Al-Masajid”
which encompasses building mosques and furnishing, maintaining, repairing,
cleaning and keeping them neat and tidy. -- SPA
two days NATO ministerial summit ended up with decisions including the revision
of NATO mission for Afghanistan.
Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO briefed the journalists on the
conclusion of the second day meeting that focused on NATO’s mission and
operations in Afghanistan.
situation in Afghanistan remains difficult. But we also see ongoing peace
process. Our Resolute Support Mission continues to train, advise and assist the
Afghan security forces, as they fight terrorism and create the conditions for
peace,” said Stoltenberg.
further expressed his satisfaction regarding the Afghan peace process
coordinations between Zalmay Kjhalilzad, US special envoy for Afghan peace and
the NATO allies.
envoy Ambassador Khalilzad has kept Allies closely updated of his efforts for a
peace settlement. We fully support those efforts. We continue to consult on the
implications of a possible peace deal,” he added.
role in Afghanistan changed to advisory training and providing of technical
assistance in the military operations since the start of 2015. In addition, the
NATO provides funding of the Afghan security forces.
Stoltenberg also disclosed that the alliance decided during their summit in
July last year to extend the funding of the armed Afghan forces until 2024.
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tells Trump 'you have trafficked in hate your whole
Congresswoman IIhan Omar has pushed back against President Trump's call for her
to resign due to comments she's made about the Israel lobby’s influence on
Capitol Hill, telling Trump “you have trafficked in hate your whole life.”
a Representative for Minnesota's 5th congressional district, made the comments
on Twitter on Wednesday. Along with Rashida Tlaib, she was one of the first two
Muslim women elected to the lower chamber of Congress and the first woman of
color elected from Minnesota.
lawmakers have been outspoken about their criticism of Israel’s crimes against
the people of Palestine.
have trafficked in hate your whole life—against Jews, Muslims, Indigenous,
immigrants, black people and more,” she told Trump on Twitter.
learned from people impacted by my words,” Omar added in her tweet at Trump.
“When will you?”
remarks followed Trump's call for her to resign and Vice President Mike Pence's
tweet that she should face consequences for her words, such as being removed
from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
37-year-old lawmaker was born to a family of Somali refugees and represents
Minneapolis, Minnesota, a district with a large Somali population.
apologized Monday after Democratic leadership condemned a series of
tweets—including one in which she wrote “It’s all about the
Benjamins”—suggesting that many fellow lawmakers are beholden to the pro-Israel
lobbying interests of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Omar also sent a message that she would not be cowed. “Listening and learning,
but standing strong,” Omar said in a tweet.
of Omar’s biggest allies in Congress, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,
a Democrat from New York,, jabbed at Trump following his call for Omar to
this President, Rep. @IlhanMN demonstrated a capacity to acknowledge pain &
apologize, use the opportunity to learn abt history of antisemitism,+grow from
it while clarifying her stance,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, reached out to Omar on Tuesday to offer his
support. “I talked to Ilhan last night to give her my personal support,”
Sanders was quoted as saying. “We will stand by our Muslim brothers and
progressive allies have perceived the attacks on her due to anti-Muslim
sentiments in Congress and have since thanked Sanders for reaching out.
is a vital, important new leader in Congress--and she’s been facing a slew of
Islamophobic attacks,” Ilya Sheyman, executive director of MoveOn Political
Action told The Daily Beast.
proud to have supported her in her primary and general election campaign. We’re
eager to continue supporting her strong, principled leadership on the House
Foreign Affairs Committee and across our shared priorities. She apologized for
her tweet, and these endless bad-faith attempts to attack and undermine the
only two Muslim women in the House need to stop,” Sheyman added.
attack: Islamabad denies any role, reaction mixed on Pak social media and TV
Pakistan has denied having any role in the suicide attack in Kashmir carried
out by Jaish-e-Muhammed, a terrorist organisation believed to be based on
Thursday’s attack in Pulwama, Islamabad rejected any allegation linking the
attack to Pakistan without any evidence.
however, strongly believes that the deadly suicide attack on it troops was the
handiwork of Pakistan. The presence of Jaish chief Maulana Masood Azhar,
reportedly in Bahawalpur region of Pakistan’s Punjab province, gives credence
to the Indian government and media’s claims that Pakistan has long given safe
haven to Jaish-e-Muhammed militants and accused it of having a “direct hand” in
the Pulwama attack that left 44 CRPF troops dead. India has demanded Masood
Azhar’s extradition a number of times but Islamabad has always refused citing
lack of evidence.
attack in Pulwama is a matter of grave concern. We have always condemned acts
of violence anywhere in the world,” Dr Muhammad Faisal, the Pakistan foreign
office spokesperson, said in a tweet on Friday. “We strongly reject any
insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link
the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” he asserted.
mixed sort of reaction was seen on social media and TV channels in Pakistan
regarding the attack in the Kashmir valley and the Indian government and
media’s response towards it.
terror attacks in Pakistan’s 2 neighbours (Iran and India) this week, 2 Pak based
militant outfits (jaish-ul-Adl & JeM) accepted responsibility for the
attacks. Isn’t the tail still wagging the dog? Who will believe Pak claims with
LeT, JeM & “good Taliban” operating unhindered? … (sic)” tweeted Afrasiab
Khattak, a prominent Pakistani politician, human rights activist and former senator.
Rehman, a Pakistani senator and former ambassador to the US, said Modi’s India
was escalating its response to a heinous terror attack in Kashmir by premising
Pakistan’s hand in it. “Yet Islamabad makes no gains from such an attack.
Instead of a political response to years of brutal repression in Kashmir,
hysteria is being amplified against Pakistan,” Rehman said in a tweet.
Is Jaish-e-Mohammad, Why India Calls For Global Ban On Masood Azhar
Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group was founded in the early 2000s by Maulana Masood
Azhar, a radical Islamist scholar and jihadist leader, who fought as a member
of Osama bin Laden's group in Somalia in the early 1990s against US troops. He
then used to be a leader of the terrorist group Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM).
against whom India has sought a global ban, was a founding member of bin
Laden’s International Islamic Front For Jihad against the Crusaders and the
Jewish People formed in 1998.
citizen of Pakistan, Azhar was arrested by police when he entered India in 1994
and was kept in custody in Jammu and Kashmir.
HuM attempted to free him several times but failed. The group finally succeeded
in December 1999 by hijacking an Indian Airlines plane carrying 155 passengers
to Kandahar. He was one of those released by India to secure the release of the
passengers hijacked by the HuM.
after his release, Azhar travelled to Afghanistan where he reportedly met with
Osama bin Laden. Laden, along with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence
(ISI), the Taliban, and several Islamist fundamentalist groups supported Azhar
in forming the JeM.
venture was also reportedly supported by the chiefs of three major religious
schools: Mufti Nizamuddin Shamzai of the Majlis-e-Tawan-e-Islami, Maulana Mufti
Rashid Ahmed of the Dar-ul Ifta-e-wal-Irshad, and Maulana Sher Ali of the
Sheikh-ul-Hadith Dar-ul Haqqania.
a religious congregation held at the Binori mosque in Karachi on February 4,
2000, Maulana Mohammad Yousuf Ludhianvi, who was subsequently assassinated, and
Mufti Shamzai, together announced the formation of the Jaish-e-Mohammad headed
by Azhar to fight against India and the US.
three-quarters of HuM’s membership joined Azhar in JeM, which reportedly led to
a violent rivalry between JeM and HuM.
Laden failed in his efforts to patch up the differences and switched his
support from the HuM to the JeM.
JeM quickly gained notoriety for its attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. It carried
out the first suicide attack in the history of Kashmir on April 19, 2000 when a
suicide car bomb exploded outside the Indian Army’s 15 Corp headquarters in
Badami Bagh. It was the first suicide terrorist attack in India. One person was
killed, and seven injured in the attack.
October 2001, the group bombed the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly
building, killing more than 30 people. On December 13, 2001, five heavily armed
Pakistani militants entered the Indian Parliament complex and opened fire,
killing nine people, including security personnel, and injuring 16 others. The
perpetrators belonged to the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The
attack led to a tense standoff between India and Pakistan.
the Indian Parliament attack, the US State Department added JeM to its foreign
terrorist organisation (FTO) list. Pakistani authorities arrested Masood Azhar
on December 29, 2001 for his involvement in the attack, but he was released a
year later after the Lahore High Court ruled his arrest unlawful. The then
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf outlawed JeM in 2002. Although the ban did
not end allegations that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) supported
jihadi terrorist groups like JeM, it signalled an official withdrawal of any
state support. The same year, JeM members gained international media attention
by kidnapping and later beheading American journalist Daniel Pearl. The
following year, the group attempted to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez
order to protect itself from the repercussions of being on the U.S. FTO list,
Azhar renamed the group Tehrik-ul-Furqan and reportedly distributed the
organisation’s financial resources to low-profile members for safekeeping. In
2003, shortly after the name change, Azhar expelled 12 leaders and the group
splintered into two offshoots: Khuddam ul-Islam (KuI) which was headed by
Azhar, and Jamaat ul-Furqan (JuF), led by Maulana Abdul Jabbar, which rejected
2015, JeM has been responsible for an increasing number of terrorist attacks in
India. It is regarded as having a more aggressive strategy than other terrorist
groups in the region. The group maintains close relations with the Taliban and
Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.
November 29, 2016, three members of the JeM sub-cell Afzal Guru Squad, attacked
and killed seven Indian army soldiers in Nagrota, Jammu Kashmir.
January 2, 2016, the JeM conducted an attack on the Indian Air Force base in
Pathankot, in Punjab. The attack left seven security personnel dead. The attack
was planned by senior JeM figure Rauf Asghar, the brother of Masood Azhar.
JeM's involvement in the attack was identified through forensic examination of
the site, including DNA testing of the assailants. Online chat information
indicated that a JeM handler was in contact with the assailants during their
attack on the airbase.
September 18, 2016 attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, was
also carried out by the Jaish. Four heavily armed militants carried out a
pre-dawn ambush on the brigade headquarters in Uri, near the Line of Control,
killing 17 security personnel. Jaish-e-Mohammad's (JeM) Kashif Jaan, Rauf Asgar
and Masood Azhar are believed to have masterminded the brazen attack.
August 26, 2017, JeM militants conducted a terror attack on police in Pulwama,
Jammu and Kashmir, which left eight security force members dead.
JeM publishes an online journal, al Qalam Weekly, which contains extremist
material and advocates terrorist attacks against India. The publication praises
JeM attacks against Indian security forces and includes contributions from
JeM held numerous rallies in early 2017, encouraging youths to conduct
terrorist attacks against India.
JeM adheres to a radical interpretation of Sunni Islam and supports the
establishment of Islamic rule not only in Jammu and Kashmir but beyond. The
group has called for attacks against all nations identified to have violated
the rights of Muslims, in particular, Israel and the United States.
Jammu and Kashmir, the group suffered a major blow when Noor Mohammad Tantray,
considered the brain behind the outfit's revival in the Valley, was killed in
an encounter at Samboora area in South Kashmir's Pulwama district on December
Thursday, February 14, in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and
Kashmir's three decades of militancy, a Jaish suicide bomber rammed an
explosives-laden vehicle into a CRPF bus in Pulwama district, killing at least
40 personnel and leaving many critically wounded.
call for listing Masood Azhar as a global terrorist has been continuously
thwarted by China, a close friend of Pakistan.
and Kashmir Police have detained seven persons from Pulwama district of South
Kashmir in connection with the deadly terror attack that left 40 CRPF personnel
dead near Awantipora, officials said on Friday.
youths were detained from Pulwama and Awantipora during the night on suspicion
of links with planning the suicide attack, the first of its kind in which a
terrorist of Jaish-e-Mohammed detonated an explosive-laden vehicle near a CRPF
overall planning is believed to be done by a Pakistani national, Kamran of JeM,
who has been operating and moving in the areas of Pulwama, Awantipora and Tral
of South Kashmir. The ‘fidayeen’ (suicide attacker) was identified as Adil
Ahmad from Kakapora in Pulwama. He had joined the JeM in 2018.
to initial investigations, the planning for the terror strike was done at
Midoora area of Tral in South Kashmir. Police are also looking for another
local JeM overground worker who was instrumental in arranging the explosive
RDX explosive, weighing about 80 kilogram, was used in the attack, officials
said on Friday.
attack in Pulwama has prompted CRPF to tweak standard operating procedures
(SOPs) for convoy movement in the future, by providing additional security
personnel in buses that transport troops to and from Kashmir valley. Home
minister Rajnath Singh had also said in Srinagar that civilian traffic movement
during plying of convoys will be restricted.
high-grade RDX used
said a post-blast investigation conducted by security agencies has found that
“high-grade RDX” of about 80 kg was detonated in the blast that was carried out
by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist after he rammed his explosive laden SUV
into the ill-fated bus--HR 49 F 0637--from the left side. The attack took place
at the 272nd milestone on National Highway near Latoomode in Pulwama at about
said the scattered remains of the bus, reduced to blackened bare frames due to
the impact, does not reflect that an improvised explosive device (IED) was used
to target it. The fatal damage can be wreaked by a better grade of explosive
like RDX, they said.
attacked bus was the fifth in the convoy of 78 vehicles which also included as
many as 16 bullet-proof protection bunker vehicles that had joined the convoy
an hour back from the last halt spot of Qazigund to guard troop movement. The
suicide attack was a novel way to ambush the convoy by ramming an explosives
laden vehicle, leaving little for the mobile contingent’s protection units to
do, the official said.
terrorist drove the vehicle on the highway from a link road on the
Kakapora-Lelhar side and was moving parallel to the bus belonging to the 76th
battalion, and the investigators suspect the explosion was triggered, killing
all 39 occupants.
Sub Inspector Mohan Lal, deployed on the highway as part of the road opening
party (ROP), also got trapped in the blast and was the 40th trooper to be
killed. The last such convoy had moved from Jammu to Kashmir on February 4 in
91 vehicles and had 2,871 personnel but all went well that day, they said. The
movement of convoys was shut for the last few days due to bad weather in the
nations, including the United States, Russia, and the United Nations, extend their
support to India in the fight against terrorism.
body United Nations and countries from across the globe, including the U.S.,
Russia, Australia, France, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, have
condemned the brutal Pulwama terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based terror
group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), and extended their support to India in the fight
Secretary General Antonio Guterres “strongly” condemned the terror attack and
called for those behind the attack to be brought to justice.
strongly condemn today’s attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district and
express our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives
and to the Government and people of India,” Mr. Guterres’s spokesperson
Stephane Dujarric said at the daily press briefing on Thursday.
to a question from PTI on the attack, he said, “We, of course, wish a speedy
recovery to those injured and call for those behind the attack to be brought to
asked about New Delhi’s appeal to the international community to support
India’s proposal to list terrorists, including JeM chief Masood Azhar, as a
designated terrorist under the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee and to
ban terrorist organisations operating from territories controlled by Pakistan,
he said the “issue of listing of terror organisations is one that is in the
hands of the Security Council”.
a statement, the U.S. State Department said it was resolutely committed to
working with the Indian government to combat terrorism in all its forms.
US condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attack today on an Indian
Central Reserve Police Force convoy in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir,”
State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said. He extended his
deepest condolences to the deceased personnel and their families.
UN designated, Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammad has claimed
responsibility for this heinous act. We call on all countries to uphold their
responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe haven
and support for terrorists,'' he said.
across party lines, over 50 Congressmen and Senators took to social media to
express their solidarity with people of India and called for strict action
against the JeM) and its state sponsors.
stressed need to combat such “inhuman acts” with a decisive and collective
response, without any double standards.
Russian Embassy in New Delhi condemned in the strongest terms the horrific
terror attack, which claimed the precious lives of CRPF personnel and left
numerous people injured.
statement from the embassy said, “We denounce terrorism in all its forms and
manifestations and reiterate the need to combat these inhuman acts with
decisive and collective response without any double standards.”
embassy conveyed its condolences to the grieving families and wished a speedy
recovery of those injured.
message to Kovind, PM
a message to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on
Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said: “Please accept the most sincere
condolences in connection with the loss of Indian law enforcement officers in
the terrorist act in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. We strongly condemn this
brutal crime. The perpetrators and sponsors of this attack, undoubtedly, should
be duly punished.
would like to reiterate the readiness for further strengthening
counterterrorist cooperation with Indian partners. In Russia, we share the
grief of friendly people of India and hope for speedy recovery of the injured.”
State Councilor and FM WangYi has written to External Affairs Minister Sushma
Swaraj condemning the Pulwama attack and expressed deep sympathy to families of
the victims and the injured, ANI quotes Chinese Envoy to India Luo Zhaohui as
saying. “They stressed that China resolutely opposes and strongly condemns all
forms of terrorism,“ Mr. Luo adds.
Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler reiterated that France would collaborate
with India in its fight against terrorism.
most firmly condemns the heinous attack perpetrated in Jammu and Kashmir. Our
thoughts go out to the families of the fallen soldiers. France has always been
and always will be by Indias side in the fight against terrorism in all its
forms,” he tweeted.
terror attack on a police convoy in the Indian State of #Jammu&Kashmir: at
least 40 police personnel reportedly killed, many injured. We condemn terrorism
in all its forms. Germany stands by its strategic partner #India,” German
foreign ministry wrote on the micro-blogging site.
High commissioner in India Nadir Patel condemned the cowardly terrorist attack.
“Our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of today’s cowardly
terrorist attack in #Pulwama. Canada strongly condemns this attack, and stands
with India in the fight against terrorism. #KashmirTerrorAttack #Pulwamaattack
@MEAIndia @IndianDiplomacy @CanadainIndia,” he tweeted.
Arabia on Friday said it stood with India in its fight against terrorism and
extremism and denounced the suicide attack as “cowardly” .
Saudi Foreign Ministry said Riyadh denounced the explosion that killed a number
of people and injured many others.
official Saudi Press Agency, quoting a Foreign Ministry source, stressed the
Kingdom rejects these “cowardly terrorist acts” and the Gulf Kingdom stood with
the “friendly Republic of India against terrorism and extremism.”
also offered condolences to the families of the victims, the Indian government
and the people and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab
Emirates said in a statement that the UAE “condemns this terrorist act”, and
reiterates the country’s “principled and unequivocal position rejecting all
forms of violence and terrorism“.
UAE stands in solidarity with the government and people of India in their fight
against violence and extremism,” the ministry said. The UAE also called on the
international community to unify efforts in confronting extremism and terrorism
that pose a threat to global security and stability.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote to his Indian counterpart, "To my
dear friend, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, we stand with you, the
security forces and the people of India following this heinous terrorist
attack. We send our condolences to the families of the victims."
Ambassador to India Ron Malka on Twitter: “Israel strongly condemns the terror
attack in #Pulwama and stands by our Indian friends during this difficult hour.
We send our deepest condolences to the CPRF and their families, the people of
India and the Indian government following the terrible.”
Czech Republic strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack perpetrated in Jammu
& Kashmir. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the families of the
victims. The Czech Republic will stand by Indias side in the fight against
terrorism in all its forms,” Czech Republic’s foreign ministry tweeted.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed her distress over the Pulwama attack,
adding that Dhaka remained committed to fighting terrorism and continue to
maintain a zero—tolerance policy against terrorist activities.
this sad moment, we stand by the people and government of India. We offer was
condolences to the members of the families who lost their dear ones. Our
thoughts and prayers are speedy recovery of those who got injured,” she said.
remains steadfast in its commitment against terrorism of all forms and
maintains a zero-tolerance policy against any kind of terrorist activities. We
would continue to work and cooperate with international community including
India to eradicate the menace of terrorism,” she added.
for Afghanistan’s interior ministry Sediq Seddiqi tweeted: “While strongly
condemning the heinous #KashmirTerrorAttack on CRPF personnel, we stand united
with India to combat terrorism in any form as we have done it as a nation in
the past 18 years.”
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih expressed his condolences and condemned the
strongly condemn the deadly terrorist attack in Kashmir today killing at least
40 people. We send our thoughts and prayers to those affected. The Maldives
will continue to work with India and the international community to combat
terrorism in our region and the world at large,” he tweeted.
Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Twitter, “I strongly condemn
the brutal terrorist attack in Kashmir’s Pulawama district — the worst-ever
terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since 1989. I express my condolences to
@narendramodi and the families of police officers who lost their lives”.
president and leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa also took to Twitter
to condemn the attack.
condemn the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir... I extend my heartfelt
condolences to the families of the deceased. The world should continue to
combat terrorism,” he said.
Dorji, Foreign Minister of Bhutan tweets: “Shocked and saddened to hear of the
dastardly terrorist attack in Kashmir, which has resulted in the loss of 30
precious human lives. We strongly condemn this heinous attack and express our
solidarity with the families of the victims, and the people and Government of
India. Hope the perpetrators will be brought to justice.”
Diplomatic Corps in India also expressed “deepest sympathy” to the government
as well as the families of this horrendous act.
firmly support the Government of India in their fight against terrorism,” Hans
Dannenberg Castellanos, the Ambassador of Dominican Republic and head of the
Diplomatic Corps said in a statement.
said the terrorist attack was “a matter of grave concern” even as it strongly
rejected Indian media and government’s allegations of the country’s link to the
strike “without” probe.
DELHI: Amid widespread anger over the Pulwama terror attack, India and the US
will 'very soon' hold another round of dialogue on terrorist designation
proposals. JeM chief Masood Azhar will figure prominently in the talks,
official sources here said, with Indian authorities likely to push the US to
bring another resolution for a UNSC ban on the terrorist who is an accused in
the Pathankot airbase attack and who continues to operate with impunity from
and the US had in 2017 launched a new consultation mechanism for domestic and
international terrorist designations, as announced in the 2017 joint statement
issued after PM Narendra Modi’s summit meet with President Donald Trump.
sees US support in terrorist designation as evidence of US commitment to end
terror in all its forms and manifestations.
China blocked a US backed proposal in 2017 to designate Azhar a global
terrorist by the UN Security Council, the US has been wary of bringing another
such proposal until the time it is assured of support from China. The US is
aware that another resolution, in the face of unrelenting Chinese opposition,
can at best be an exercise in occupying the moral high ground.
itself has been reluctant to push China on Azhar in the recent past, focusing
instead on improving ties with China after the Doklam standoff. While Beijing
did express sympathy Friday for the Pulwama victims and declared that it
strongly condemned all forms of terrorism, it remained non-committal to
supporting India’s demand for an international ban on Azhar. Inclusion of Azhar
in the UNSC sanctions list, as Indian officials have said in the past, would
result in freezing of Azhar’s financial assets, block supply of funds to JeM
and also expose Pakistan’s failure to check activities of terror groups
Pulwama attack though is certain to see India once again placing the Masood
Azhar issue on top of its agenda with Beijing.
India has been trying to convince all that improved Sino-Indian relationship
has been one of the highlights of its foreign policy in the past 12 months, the
fact is that this 'thaw' has seen practically no concession from China not just
on Azhar but also other issues like India's NSG membership bid and CPEC, the
flagship BRI project which passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region.
The dastardly attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama by Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM)
notwithstanding, China signalled on Friday that it would not change its stance
on Masood Azhar, head of the Pakistan-based terrorist organization.
a media briefing here, the Chinese foreign ministry made it clear that it would
not support India’s efforts to persuade the 1267 Committee of the UN Security
Council to list Azhar as a global terrorist. As a permanent member of the
Security Council, China has repeatedly blocked India’s bid to list Azhar as a
global terrorist, saying there is no consensus in the top group of the world
body on this issue.
could tell you that the 1267 Committee of the Security Council has a clear
stipulation on the listing and procedure of the terrorist organisations,”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, adding, “JeM has been
included in the Security Council terrorism sanctions list. China will continue
to handle the relevant sanctions issue in a constructive and responsible manner.”
has noted the reports of the suicide attack. We are deeply shocked by this
attack. We express deep condolences and sympathy to the injured and bereaved
families,” the spokesperson said, adding, “We firmly oppose and strongly
condemn all forms of terrorism.”
ministry chose its words carefully saying it is opposed to “all forms of
terrorism” instead of specifically condemning the attack in Pulwama.
Chinese response came only after questions were raised at the regular media
briefing of the foreign ministry. There was no specific response from Chinese
foreign minister Wang Yi as one would have expected after a series of friendly
meetings between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese president Xi Jinping
foreign ministry indirectly appealed to both India and Pakistan to avoid an
altercation on this issue. “We hope the relevant regional countries will
cooperate to cope with the threat of terrorism and jointly uphold regional
peace and stability,” Geng said.
was no sign of meetings between Indian diplomats and Chinese officials on the
The Trump White House on Friday bluntly asked Islamabad to “end immediately the
support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil”
following the Pulwama attack, going much beyond a more cautious state
department approach towards Islamabad.
the State Department also condemned the attack in the “strongest terms” and
said the “United States is resolutely committed to working with the Indian
government to combat terrorism in all its forms,” it lamely called on “all
countries to uphold their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council
resolutions to deny safe haven and support for terrorists,” — as if, given that
the statement was about the Pulwama attack, there was more than one country
playing host to UN-designated terrorists.
Trump’s office had no such equivocation as it implicitly accused Pakistan of
fostering and inflicting terrorism on the region.
it a “heinous” terrorist attack, the White House said “The United States calls
on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all
terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos,
violence, and terror in the region.”
attack only strengthens our resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation and
coordination between the United States and India,” the statement added, going
beyond the State Department’s formulation that “The United States is resolutely
committed to working with the Indian government to combat terrorism in all its
Trump has whittled down US aid to Pakistan to almost zero, a policy that does
not sit well with many State Department bureaucrats who believe Washington
should continue to lubricate a state closely identified with the use of terrorism
as a policy instrument.
not often that the White House and the State Department read from a different
page, but in this case, the White House unequivocally went beyond the rather
circumspect formulation in Foggy Bottom to call out Pakistan for its terrorism.
is not clear if this was the result of any direct intervention by Trump, who is
not known to pull punches in identifying adversaries, and who does not see
Pakistan in any considerate light given its long and transparent history of
DELHI: A day after the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were
martyred, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Friday moved the Supreme Court
seeking that Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Zahid Farooq be shifted from
Jammu jail to Tihar in the national capital, saying he is
"indoctrinating" Indian inmates.
bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and M R Shah, agreed to examine the plea and
issued notice to Centre and sought its response in four weeks.
was arrested by security forces while trying to cross border security fence on
May 19, 2016.
state government said that intelligence inputs received indicate that militants
belonging to terror outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammad and LeT are indoctrinating
the minds of other inmates lodged in the prison.
further said that it has been reliably learnt that the prisoner and other
similarly situated individuals have considerable local support and it cannot be
ruled out that they may be receiving information, resources as well as other
help to carry out terrorist related activities.
state also sought shifting of the trial to Delhi saying it apprehends that
transporting the militant to court and back to prison poses a threat to
escorting policemen and common public.
standing counsel Shoeb Alam cited an example of an attack on a police party
last year when policemen were killed and a Pakistani terrorist prisoner was
freed from custody while on a hospital visit.
petitioner State has received confidential intelligence inputs which show that
he poses a threat to national security in as much as his involvement in
planning and designing terror attacks against the citizens/residents in India
cannot be ruled out.
execute such nefarious schemes, it is understood that the prisoner and other
similarly situated individuals have been mobilising support within the jail
premises by influencing the minds and psyche of other inmates," the state
of Farooq from his current prison in Jammu & Kashmir to a high security
prison outside the state is in the interest of national security, it said.
prisoners like the private respondent are radicalising and brainwashing local
Kashmiri youth in prison. There is a concentration of prisoners with similar
backgrounds and linkages to terrorist organizations in local prisons in the
state of J&K," it said.
effect of such radicalisation is that the brainwashed local youth who are
inmates with these prisoners, are spreading the menace of terrorism and
creating sympathisers by influencing, mobilizing against the state, it said.
petitioner state has received intelligence inputs that some similarly situated
prisoners have affiliations with terror outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammad and
Lashkar-e-Taiba, who have received specialized training in indoctrinating the
minds of the other inmates lodged in the prison to turn against the State and
DELHI (Reuters) - The United States supports India’s right to self-defence
against cross-border attacks, India’s foreign ministry said on Saturday after a
deadly car bombing in disputed Kashmir raised tensions with rival neighbour
Minister Narendra Modi has promised a strong response after a Pakistan-based
militant group claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on a military
convoy on Thursday that killed 44 paramilitary policemen.
government said it had evidence the group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), had the
backing of Pakistan and demanded Islamabad take action. Pakistan has condemned
the attack and rejected India’s allegations.
National Security Adviser John Bolton spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit
Doval on Friday night, promising to help bring those behind the attack to
justice, the foreign ministry said in a readout of the phone call.
two NSAs vowed to work together to ensure that Pakistan cease to be a safe
haven for JeM and terrorist groups that target India, the U.S. and others in
the region,” the foreign ministry said.
resolved to hold Pakistan to account for its obligations under U.N.
resolutions,” it added.
has for years accused Muslim Pakistan of backing separatist militants in
divided Kashmir, which the neighbours both claim in full but rule in part.
denies that, saying it only offers political support to the Himalayan region’s
suppressed Muslim people.
who is facing an election in the next few months, has called a meeting of
political parties on Saturday to build support for action against Pakistan.
have poured onto social media to vent their fury over the suicide bombing in
Kashmir, with many of them calling for swift retribution against Pakistan as TV
news shows hosted jingoistic debates.
he swept to power at the head of a Hindu nationalist-led alliance in 2014, Modi
vowed to pursue a tough line with Pakistan. The two countries have gone to war
three times since independence from Britain in 1947, twice over Kashmir.
terror attack in Pulwama has raised doubts over its impact on the meeting
between officials of India and Pakistan on the Kartarpur corridor project.
two sides are scheduled to meet on March 14 to finalise the modalities of the
much-awaited corridor, particularly its coordinates. Though India withdrew the
“most favoured nation” status accorded to Pakistan and warned it of a “strong
response”, political leaders are hoping that tension stoked by the car bombing
incident does not cast a shadow on the meeting.
minister of state with independent charge of housing and urban affairs Hardeep
Singh Puri, who was in Amritsar for a party event, told reporters that in his
view, it cannot be business as usual after the attack. The minister said it was
the prerogative of the government to take measures and he has no doubt about
its determination to take appropriate steps.
to queries on the terror attack’s impact on Kartarpur corridor project and
Indo-Pak trade, he said there was no change in the deep state of Pakistan,
which was conspiring terror activities in India. “On the one hand, Pakistan
responded to (setting up) the corridor but on the other hand, it is supporting
terror groups from its soil against India. How long will this go (on)?” he
asked, reiterating his government’s commitment to the project.
chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who urged the Centre to “teach Pakistan a
lesson”, hoped the suicide attack will not impact the Kartarpur corridor
project. He said he was confident the corridor would be well protected, but
there was a need for a change in attitude on the part of Pakistan if peace
between the two counties was to be promoted.
Indian security and counter-intelligence officials said the mastermind behind
the horrific terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama is suspected to be
Mohammed Umair, the son of Athar Ibrahim, who is the elder brother of
Jaish-e-Mohammad founder and chief Masood Azhar.
the bomber, 22-year-old Adil Ahmad Dar, was killed, officials who spoke on the
condition of anonymity added that the bomb-maker is currently in Muzaffarabad
in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). They did not provide a name for the bomb-maker
and said he goes by several — all believed to be covers.
said that conditions of the blast area are hindering investigations.
snow and slush, they added, and the blast was so powerful that mangled human
remains and auto parts are all they have to work with. However, officials said
they have found what they believe are parts of the axle of the vehicle used in
the suicide bombing, and that they are hopeful that they can piece it together,
perhaps even use it to trace its provenance and ownership.
of the remains of the bomber, who drove a vehicle laden with explosives into a
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus, have been found either.
to the officials, Umair is currently operating in the Pulwama area, where Talha
Rasheed, son of Abdul Rasheed Kamran, Azhar’s brother-in-law, was killed in an
encounter with security forces on November 7, 2016.
said Umair was trained in terror operations in Afghanistan and moved into the
Pulwama area after the death of his brother Usman Haider in a police encounter
in Tral last October.
JeM, which is behind recent terror strikes in India, including the Uri
headquarters and Pathankot air base, is run in India by Rauf Asghar, the
younger brother of ailing Masood Azhar.
high-level National Security Guard’s bomb team visited the spot and initial
investigations suggest that the bomb was made of 100-150 kg of RDX.
Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) student was Friday booked by the Uttar Pradesh
Police over an objectionable tweet on the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF
personnel were killed yesterday. Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad
(JeM) has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Hilal, a resident of Kashmir, was booked under sections 153A (promoting enmity
between different groups) of the Indian Penal Code and section 67A of the
Information Technology Act. He has also been suspended by the varsity in this
have come to know of the highly objectionable tweet (posted by Hilal). Taking
immediate cognizance, he has been suspended by the university administration.
We won’t let the university be discredited. We have zero tolerance (towards
such acts),” Omar Saleem Peerzada, AMU Public Relations Officer, was quoted as
saying by ANI news agency. ,
is currently pursuing Bachelors of Science in Mathematics at AMU.
many as 40 CRPF personnel were killed after a suicide bomber rammed his Scorpio
SUV laden with explosives into a CRPF bus in south Kashmir. The bus, ferrying
over 40 soldiers, was part of a convoy of 78 vehicles with 2,547 CRPF
personnel, moving from Jammu to Srinagar. Most of the men were returning from
leave to join duty in Srinagar, said sources.
claimed responsibility for the attack and identified the bomber as a
20-year-old local resident from south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
arms sales to Saudi Arabia since the start of the Riyadh-led war on Yemen have
been causing “significant civilian casualties” in the country, a damning
parliamentary report says.
report, which was issued by the House of Lords International Relations
Committee on Saturday, calls on Prime Minister Theresa May to stop arms sales
to Riyadh “as a matter of urgency,” describing the situation in the
war-stricken country as “unconscionable.”
UK has licensed over £4.7 billion worth of arms exports, including missiles and
fighter jets, to Riyadh since the deadly conflict began in 2015. May has so far
faced down calls for a ban on the weapons sales despite the growing
has also been providing combat intelligence and target data to Saudi Arabia
over the course of the war, which has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians and
put millions more on the verge of famine.
do not agree with the government’s assertion that it is narrowly on the right
side of international humanitarian law in the case of licensing arms exports to
the Saudi-led coalition,” said Lord Howell, the committee’s Conservative
is narrowly on the wrong side: given the volume and type of arms being exported
to the Saudi-led coalition, we believe they are highly likely to be the cause
of significant civilian casualties in Yemen, risking the violation of
international humanitarian law.
government must address the root causes of the suffering – the conflict itself
– and be prepared to suspend some key export licenses to Saudi Arabia and
members of the coalition.”
brutal war is being led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the
kingdom's de facto ruler, who wishes to reinstate Yemen’s fugitive former
president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and destroy the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
of civilians have been killed, while thousands more have been injured.
Collapsed infrastructure coupled with a partial blockade has also deprived most
of the population of clean water and proper healthcare, while unleashing the
worst cholera outbreak in modern history.
Senator Lindsey Graham said Friday that President Donald Trump would ask
European countries to send troops to establish a buffer zone in northeast Syria
along Turkey’s southern border.
remarks came at the Munich Security Conference in Germany.
the plan as a post-caliphate strategy, he said U.S. authorities discussed the
issue in detail with Trump, who left the door open for leaving a certain number
of American soldiers in the war-ravaged country.
hoping that President Trump will be coming to some of you and asking for your
help and you’ll say ‘yes’, and in return, the capability we have that’s unique
to the U.S. will still be in the fight in Syria,” he said in remarks to the
pointed out that Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
would discuss with his counterparts about sending troops to Syria.
that Europe suffered from the Daesh threat, Graham said the post-Daesh strategy
should be different than the fight against Daesh.
we don’t have a game plan, Turkey will go into Syria and deal with the YPG
threat,” he said.
YPG Kurds in the eyes of Turkey are an offshoot of the PKK, and they will not
withstand the YPG on their border. We owe it to Turkey, an ally, to fix this
problem. We owe it to the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] not to leave and let
another war come that could destroy them. Who will help us in the future if we
do that? So we need a safe zone to deal with that problem. The troops in that
safe zone also need to watch for the reemergence of ISIS. If we don’t watch,
Iran will be the biggest winner of the West withdrawing from Syria,” he
U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, in his addresses to journalists during
NATO meetings in Brussels, said the U.S. would propose forming an observation
force in northern Syria.
Turkish-Belgian politician on Friday decried the difficulties of living as a
Muslim in Europe.
a Muslim in Europe is hard in terms of both religious belief and wearing a
headscarf, Mahinur Ozdemir, 36, a Belgian-born Muslim parliamentarian, told a
panel in Berlin.
a Muslim in Europe is hard but being a Muslim in appearance is harder,"
Ozdemir told the panel, organized by the Turkish think tank Foundation for
Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in Berlin.
said that as a Muslim woman she has faced difficulties in employment and
education as well as in practicing politics.
made history as the first headscarf-wearing lawmaker in both the Belgian
parliament and in Europe, and in 2015 she was expelled from the Humanist
Democratic Centre (CDH) party for refusing to recognize the so-called Armenian
who dress in Islamic garb get intense media attention and scrutiny, she said,
complaining: “You don't have the right to reply and you can be
said she is interested in helping Belgium through politics and despite the
difficulties, and is very happy to be a European Muslim.
rejects the allegations of an Armenian genocide, saying the deaths of Armenians
in eastern Anatolia in 1915 took place when some sided with invading Russians
and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians
resulted in numerous casualties.
rose with arrival of Syrians, Afghans
at the same event, Bulent Guven, a Turkish-German political scientist, said
that he faced similar troubles as a member of Germany’s Social Democratic Party
as his wife wears a headscarf.
has Islamophobia," Guven said, adding that this fear rose after more
Muslims started to come to the continent in the 1960s.
hit a new peak in 2015 when more Syrians and Afghans migrated to Europe, he
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the EU's top diplomat in Brussels on
Friday, a day after Vice President Mike Pence accused America's traditional
European allies of trying to undermine US sanctions against Iran.
meeting with Federica Mogherini, the EU's foreign policy chief, was scheduled
before Pence's rebuke of European powers during a Middle East peace conference
in Warsaw on Thursday, which Ms Mogherini skipped citing a scheduling conflict
Mogherini, who helped seal the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers,
greeted Mr Pompeo in front of a bank of cameras at the EU's headquarters in
Brussels before they headed into a conference room for the breakfast meeting,
which was scheduled to last about an hour.
Mogherini shook her head and waved off a question from the media about what she
thought of Mr Pence's speech in Warsaw on Thursday, where he accused the
European Union of trying to break the impact of US economic sanctions on Iran.
Pence's unusually tough words for allies Germany, France and Britain reflect
Washington's strategy to try to isolate Iran, in remarks that were likely to
further strain transatlantic relations.
Trump last year pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran deal, under which
Tehran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of
Thursday, speaking at NATO before Mr Pence's comments, Ms Mogherini said the
United States and the European Union had "different views" on the
Iran nuclear deal and said upholding it was critical to European security
because it prevented Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.
countries say they share Washington's concerns about Iran's involvement in wars
in Yemen and Syria but believe withdrawing from the nuclear deal was a mistake,
and have promised to try to salvage the deal as long as Iran continues to abide
by it. In practice, European companies have accepted new US sanctions on Iran
and abandoned plans to invest there.
Germany and Britain agreed in January to open a new channel for non-dollar
trade with Iran to avert US sanctions, through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV)
meant to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods.
Syrian government will sue all those groups participating in fake chemical
attacks in Syria after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in its recent
reports acknowledged the false nature of chemical attacks in Eastern
Ghouta," the Arabic-language Sputnik news agency quoted Jamal al-Za'abi,
member of Syrian Parliament's Defense Committee, as saying.
reiterated that the White Helmets are working for Britain's intelligence
pointed to the White Helmets' direct and continued involvement in false-flag
chemical attacks in Syria, and said that such behavior will bring about
negative consequences for the White Helmets.
senior Syrian legislator pointed to sanctions imposed on the Syrian government
on the pretext of alleged chemical attacks, and underlined, "Now that it
has become clear that the terrorists have carried out false flag chemical
attacks in Syria, the Damascus government will soon sue all sides that have
been involved in fake chemical attacks and will ask for punishing them and
paying compensation for what they have done."
said that the West will most probably continue fabrications on chemical attacks
comes as BBC has pointed to the false nature of a chemical attack in Syria's
Duma region on April 7, 2018, and said that the UK has been informed about it.
correspondent, Riam Dalati, has said that everything that has been said about
chemical attack by using sarin gas has been forged to put the most influence on
and Syria have on a multitude of occasions pointed out that the White Helmets
have staged a number of provocations in Syria involving the use of chemical
weapons in order to blame them on the Syrian government and provide Western countries
with justification for intervention in the Arab Republic.
notorious NGO has repeatedly been busted staging and filming false-flag
attacks. Last April, the group published footage featuring doctors in Douma
hospitals treating patients that had suffered from an alleged chemical attack
by the Syrian Arab Army.
of the purported use of chemical agents in Eastern Ghouta surfaced in April
2018 in some media, citing militants on the ground. A number of Western
countries, including France, the US and the UK, quickly picked up the claims,
and instantly accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of having dropped a
chlorine bomb on civilians.
vehemently denied the allegations, denouncing the attack as a staged
provocation to justify potential foreign intervention. Immediately after the
purported incident, Moscow dispatched its chemical corps commission to inspect
the site and determine whether there had been an actual chemical attack; the
expert group, however, found no traces of chemical agents in Ghouta.
a relevant development in late January, the Russian Foreign Ministry said at a
briefing that Moscow is concerned over the fact that terrorists have not
abandoned their attempts to stage chemical attacks against Syrian civilians.
White Helmets have deployed equipment in several hospitals in the Syrian
province of Idlib to film false flag chemical attacks and blame it on Damascus,
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova stated, Sputnik reported.
are also serious concerns about reports that terrorists are not abandoning
attempts to fake the use of chemical weapons against civilians. According to
available information, a group of activists, the notorious pseudo-humanitarian
organization, the White Helmets, have prepared the necessary equipment in
several hospitals of Idlib to film such provocations", Zakharova added.
spokeswoman elaborated that tensions were running high in the Idlib
de-escalation zone, saying that Tahrir al-Sham militants are carrying out daily
shelling of nearby settlements and actively building up their forces near the
contact line with Syrian government forces.
a relevant development on Tuesday, several Syrian Army troops were chemically
injured in terrorists' toxic gas attacks on their positions in Southern Idlib
in an incident that could push the war to another level.
Arabic-language service of Russian Sputnik news agency reported that the
terrorists attacked Sham al-Hava region in Southeastern Idlib with missiles
armed with toxic gases.
noted that two Syrian Army troops were injured in the chemical attack.
We have destroyed Daesh’s capabilities, it is no longer able to detain
Daesh's capabilities have been destroyed and it is no longer able to detain
civilians, Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Michael Shanahan said Friday
at the Munich Security Conference.
also said that the global coalition to defeat Daesh has “eliminated the group's
hold over 99 percent of the territory it once claimed as part of its so-called
caliphate." "We have ensured ISIS no longer holds the innocent people
of Syria or Iraq in its murderous iron fist."
has been defeated but has not disappeared and may take on a new form, the
Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Michael Shanahan added.
said he envisioned a "bigger and stronger" coalition to fight Daesh
globally. "We will continue to support our local partners' ability to stand
up to the remnants of ISIS."
truckers, praying paramedics: mixed bag on last Daesh front
BAGHOUZ: As destitute civilians stumble out of the Daesh group’s last enclave
in east Syria, a mixed bag of unlikely characters are pitching in to help get
them to safety.
include a team of medics led by an American veteran and his children as well as
a group of truckers from a remote Syrian town.
to 40,000 have fled Daesh’s last Euphrates Valley bastions into territory held
by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, in pitiful conditions after weeks of
bombardment and food shortages.
security concerns, global aid agencies have kept their distance from the town
of Baghouz where the jihadists are making a last stand and the SDF’s limited
humanitarian capacities cannot cope with the influx.
the Free Burma Rangers (FBR).
by a US veteran and passionate Christian, David Eubank, the team of around 25
volunteers — including his wife and three children — is camped out on a plateau
overlooking Baghouz that serves as the first stop for fleeing civilians.
not qualified to be here. I asked God, what would I do here?” Eubank told AFP,
dressed in military fatigues and a fishing hat, a pistol holstered on his hip.
felt God say: ‘Give up your own way. Just come help,’” he said.
the distance, about two dozen civilians could be seen shuffling toward the
plateau from Baghouz.
and another volunteer were the first to descend the sandy bank to meet them,
hoisting displaced women’s overstuffed bags over their shoulders and helping
children scramble up.
bearded volunteer tended to a thin boy’s chest wound, shouting for antibiotics
in English as the child stared at him in confusion.
established the FBR in Burma in 1997, with a slogan drawn from a Bible verse
calling on people to “preach good news to the poor” and “release the
Daesh swept across the region in 2014, the FBR expanded to Iraq, where Eubank,
his wife and their three children became local celebrities for rescuing a young
Iraqi girl after her mother was killed in fighting in Mosul.
brought them to Syria? Another message from God, said Eubank’s eldest daughter,
feel like God sent us here, otherwise we wouldn’t have wanted to come,” said
the 18-year-old blonde, who usually drives wounded people to the main civilian
point further on but was using a quiet afternoon to study Thai in the shade of
an armored personnel carrier.
they’re not treating civilians, the rest of the team spends their spare time
jogging through the Syrian plain, praying, and doing “camp stuff,” said
24-year-old volunteer Tyler Sheen.
from Colorado, said he felt he was in the right place to witness the end of IS.
the scourge, the most talked about evil in the world so I think it’s a great
place to be right now,” he told AFP.
volunteers inevitably strike an odd figure in the Syrian plain, surrounded by
gruff Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters with whom they can only communicate
the SDF’s spokesman visited their outpost recently, Eubank grabbed his hands to
lead him in prayer as a translator stood between them, as if presiding over a
if the Eubanks are inspired by goodwill, the truckers who form another key link
in the evacuation of civilians from Baghouz are motivated by financial rewards.
displaced families are taken to a larger collection point further away, they
are screened and guided onto the backs of cargo trucks to be driven about six
hours north to the Al-Hol displacement camp.
11 drivers are tribesmen from the town of Al-Shuhayl, hired by the SDF at a
rate of 75,000 Syrian pounds ($150) for each round-trip, which usually takes
there’s a trip we can earn from, we do it,” said one driver in his forties,
truckers said they rely on pills to stay awake through the 600-kilometer
(380-mile) round trip.
we get to Al-Hol at two or three in the morning, then we drive all the way back
to Shuhayl,” said Abu Hamud, a 54-year-old driver with a red-and-white scarf
draped over his head.
are used to shuttling cattle or farming equipment, so the dozens of veiled women
and children are an unusual — and fragile — load.
International Rescue Committee, which works in world crisis zones, said
Wednesday that 51 people, mostly newborn children, had died after arriving at
Al-Hol or during the “precarious journey.”
United Nations has called on authorities to provide more suitable
transportation like buses.
Iraqi choppers targeted ISIL's arms and ammunition depots in Syria near the
border with Iraq's al-Anbar province," a senior provincial official in
Iraq's al-Anbar province was quoted by the Arabic-language Al-Maloumeh news
website as saying.
official said that a number of ISIL terrorists were killed in the Iraqi
main goal of this attack was weakening the ISIL in a bid to prevent the
terrorist group from getting close to al-Anbar province," he added.
late December, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad allowed Iraqi fighter jets to
conduct airstrikes against the positions of the ISIL terrorist group in the
war-ravaged country without waiting to be granted formal authorization for the
authorities have on occasions stated that they work closely with the Syrian
government to monitor and target terrorist targets based on the efforts of
intelligence and information departments of the security coordination committee
formed between Baghdad, Damascus, Tehran and Moscow years ago.
dead bodies of at least 150 Syrian victims massacred by the ISIL were retrieved
from Fakhikheh mass grave South of Tale al-Ba'as Garrison in Raqqa City,"
the Kurdish-language Hawar News website quoted local sources as saying.
media activists said that the bodies of three civilians who had been killed in
the US airstrikes were also discovered from two buildings in al-Haramieh and
al-Taminat districts in Raqqa City.
a relevant development earlier this month, the corpses of over 30 people who
have been killed by the ISIL terrorists or in airstrikes by the US-led
coalition were found from mass-graves and rubble of buildings in Raqqa.
activists in Raqqa reported on Wednesday that the civil workers have discovered
the bodies of 28 people, including women and children, from a mass-grave near
the village of Fakhikheh.
added that corpses of 4 other civilians, including one child, killed in the US
airstrikes, have been found from under the debris of a building in al-Haramiyeh
and al-Badou districts in Raqqa.
one year of occupation of Raqqa by the US and the Syrian Democratic Forces
(SDF), the corpses of ISIL and US victims are everyday pulled out of the
mass-graves and ruins.
a relevant development late last month, tens of dead bodies of the victims of
the US-led airstrikes and the ISIL's crimes were discovered from the debris of
ruined buildings and mass graves in Raqqa, media sources said.
activists said the corpses of four civilians were retrieved from the debris of
buildings ruined in US airstrikes last year in al-Sokna district of Raqqa city.
four dead bodies of civilians were recovered from the buildings destroyed in US
air assaults in al-Bayatareh in Raqqa city, the activists added.
also said that the corpses of about 50 people, including women and children,
were discovered from a mass grave in al-Fakhikheh South of Raqqa city.
Damascus Army units targeted a group of Islamic Turkistani Party terrorists who
intended to penetrate to the government forces' military positions in
Northwestern Hama from the surrounding areas of al-Haviz and al-Havija towns
near Sahl al-Ghab region, killing a large number of terrorists and destroying
their military equipment as well as forcing the remaining militants to retreat.
large number of terrorists were forced to flee the scene after their comrades
were killed and wounded in the Syrian Army attacks.
Syrian Army troops also pounded and destroyed the military positions of Tahrir
al-Sham terrorists near the town of Khan Sheikhoun in Southern Idlib.
Syrian Army units also targeted and pounded the terrorists' military positions
in areas near the town of al-Sakik in Southeastern Idlib, inflicting heavy losses
a relevant development last Saturday, the Syrian Army's units in Northern Hama
launched heavy artillery and missile attacks on Jeish al-Izza terrorists in
regions near the town of Hasraya who intended to infiltrate into the
army-controlled regions, destroying militants' strongholds and killing and
wounding several of them.
the army troops stationed in areas near the village of Zalin in Northern Hama
targeted terrorists' positions in the town of al-Latamineh in response to their
attacks, inflicting heavy damages and casualties on them.
Syrian army forces also repelled an offensive by Tahrir al-Sham from al-Katibeh
al-Mahjoureh region against military points in Eastern Idlib, killing and
wounding several militants.
ISIL's foreign terrorists left the Eastern Euphrates and tens of them
surrendered, the SDF took control of the al-Khanafera and Sheikh Mohammad
regions in Baghouz town in Eastern part of Deir Ezzur," sources in Eastern
reiterated that the ISIL is only in control of several houses and a camp South
of the Baghouz town in an area covering less than 1 square kilometers.
London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), meantime, announced
that the US troops and the SDF will soon declare the end of ISIL's presence in
Eastern Euphrates as tens of non-Syrian and Western terrorists of the ISIL have
retreated from that region.
a relevant development last week, a senior source in the SDF said that the
ringleader of the ISIL terrorist group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "is being
protected by the Americans in Eastern Syria", adding that Washington plans
to play a Hollywood-like scenario to declare end of the ISIL caliphate.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency quoted the source as saying that
Baghdadi is at present being heavily protected by the American forces in a
secret place in Eastern Euphrates region.
added that the Americans are waiting for an opportunity to conduct heliborne
operations by their marine forces in Southeastern Deir Ezzur and declare the
capture of al-Baghdadi and end of ISIL on footage.
source insisted that the time for the "above-mentioned theater is
close", adding that the American forces have held SDF back from further
advances in the ISIL-occupied regions in Eastern Euphrates to play the
President Donald Trump said in early February that the country would likely
announce soon that the entire ISIL terrorist group caliphate had been retaken
in Syria and Iraq.
should be formally announced, sometime probably next week, that we'll have 100
percent of the caliphate," Trump stated during his remarks at a
ministerial meeting of the US-led coalition member-states.
the American president said during his second State of the Union address that
it was time to return US troops deployed in Syria back home.
December, Trump declared the ISIL terrorist group has defeated in Syria, and
announced the US troop pullout from the country but gave no timeline.
earlier, a senior US administration official told reporters that Syrias Al-Tanf
region would be the last place in the country that American troops leave as
they implemented a planned withdrawal.
have held rallies across the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom to mark their eighth
anniversary of the popular uprising against the ruling monarchy.
protesters in several cities, including the capital Manama, called for an end
to human rights violations and the release of rights activists.
urged the Al Khalifah regime to relinquish power and allow the establishment of
a just system representing all Bahrainis.
prominent Shia clerics including Sheikh Ali Salman and Sheikh Isa Qassim issued
statements highlighting the commitment of the Bahrainis to peacefully pursue
their demands for democracy.
Ali Salman lashed out at a summit in the Polish capital Warsaw in which some
Bahrain officials discussed the idea of normalizing relations between Bahrain
the sidelines of the US-organized summit, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin
Ahmed Al Khalifah told The Times of Israel on Thursday that Manama would
"eventually” normalize ties with Tel Aviv.
remark followed an earlier report by an Israeli news network that Bahrain
informed Israel more than two years ago that it was interested in normalizing
report said Bahrain’s foreign minister held a secret meeting with former
Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni on the sidelines of the 2017 Munich Security
Conference in Germany.
Qassim called for a new type of relationship between the government and the
people and urged the regime to realize peoples’ right to decide their fate.
cited lack of justice in political, economic, judicial and social areas the
main problem in Bahrain and said the only solution to the problem is the active
participation of people in those affairs.
February 14, 2011, Bahraini people have been holding peaceful protest rallies
on an almost daily basis. They are complaining about widespread discrimination
against the Shia minority in the kingdom.
An Egyptian security official says a home-made bomb has exploded near a mosque
in Cairo’s district of Giza, leaving three people wounded.
official says the blast took place during Friday prayers near Al-Istaqama
mosque in a busy square in the heart of Giza.
sealed off the entire district and diverted traffic as security forces searched
for the culprits.
Interior Ministry statement blamed members of the Muslim Brotherhood for the
attack, which it said targeted a security checkpoint. The Islamist group has
been banned in Egypt since 2013.
official says the wounded, including a policeman, were rushed to a nearby
hospital. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t
authorized to speak to the media.
'Soviet withdrawal is lesson to US'
should reconsider its strategy in Afghanistan, the Taliban said Friday, amid
the 30th anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the country.
an interview with Anadolu Agency, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Suhail Shaheen
said the U.S. should "let the Afghan people live peacefully and
independently and rebuild their own country".
that it had been Moscow itself that had come to the conclusion that Afghanistan
cannot be controlled or permanently occupied, Shaheen said this was one of the
pillars of the Afghan peace process.
further stressed that the logical conclusion of the current negotiations for a
political settlement to the Afghan issue was the "full withdrawal of all
foreign forces from Afghanistan and the establishment of an inclusive Islamic
was agreement that the Taliban's political office in Doha should be formally
opened and the blacklist of the Taliban members removed,” Shaheen said, adding
this along with the release of Taliban prisoners would accelerate the peace
process and create an atmosphere of trust.
this week, Russian Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov backed the
removal of sanctions on the Taliban in order to avoid placing obstacles on its
members traveling to the peace meetings.
on the upcoming presidential elections, Shaheen said the Taliban did not
believe in "electoral fairness under the occupation".
the nominees to work for peace, he said "it is up to them to decide which
role they will play. If negative, then the consequences will be matching. If it
is a constructive one, it will be appreciated and supported," he said.
Feb.15, 1989, the limited contingent of Soviet troops occupying Afghanistan for
a decade completely withdrew from the country after more than 15,000 servicemen
died over the past 10 years. The war was extremely unpopular in the USSR and is
considered one of the main reasons behind the collapse of the Soviet state.
court sentences two to death for Muslim lawyer's murder
Myanmar court Friday sentenced two people to death for the murder of a Muslim
lawyer and Aung San Suu Kyi advisor, after a drawn-out trial backlit by
allegations of impunity with a main suspect still at large.
Ni, whose work and faith made him a target of hate speech online by Buddhist
nationalists, was shot in the head at point blank range outside Yangon airport
in January 2017, while holding his infant grandson.
brazen, daytime murder shocked the country and came about eight months after
civilian leader Suu Kyi's administration entered office.
Ni was a legal advisor to her National League for Democracy and had been
working on plans to amend the 2008 military-drafted constitution, which gifts
the armed forces control of defence and a quarter of parliamentary seats.
have said the slow trial fell short of establishing a complete picture of what
led to the murder, pointing to the military backgrounds of two suspects on
trial and an elusive fugitive thought to be the mastermind.
Khin Maung Maung sentenced gunman Kyi Lin, who also shot and killed a taxi
driver while fleeing, "to death until he dies by hanging."
Myanmar has the death penalty it has not been carried out in at least 10 years,
according to Amnesty International.
shooter also received an extra 23 years and hard labour for weapons charges and
the death of taxi driver Nay Win, who chased him after Ko Ni was gunned down.
Aung Win Zaw, who was at the airport, was also sentenced to death.
other defendants Zeya Phyo and Aung Win Tun, who assisted at different stages
of the plot, received five years and three years imprisonment with hard labour
police, journalists and diplomats crowded the dilapidated courthouse in Insein,
on the outskirts of Yangon, awaiting the verdict.
was ruled by military-backed regimes for almost five decades. The 2008 charter
enshrines the military's political power by giving it an effective veto over
also bars presidential candidates with foreign spouses. The clause was believed
to be aimed at Suu Kyi, who had a family with a British academic.
she serves as state counsellor, a position that Ko Ni is said to have devised.
NLD formed a committee this month to discuss changes to the constitution, a
move opposed by military MPs.
Ni had been one of the few high-profile Muslims still involved in politics in
Buddhist-majority Myanmar, after the NLD failed to enlist any Muslim candidates
in its historic 2015 election run.
case is one of many that have marred the international legacy of former
dissident hero Suu Kyi, who was criticised for not going to his funeral.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan has said that the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO) continues in its critical in developing the Afghan
National Defense and Security Forces.
to reports at the end of a two-day NATO defense ministerial in Brussels on
Thursday, Shanahan said “NATO is coordinated and aligned. We are together. We
are helping to ensure a diplomatic settlement, with Ambassador Khalilzad in the
regards to the ongoing peace efforts, the Acting Secretary of Defense said “No
outcome is predetermined, but as President Trump said in the State of the
Union, after two decades of war, the hour has come to try for peace.”
both Afghanistan and Iraq, I was inspired by the devotion and teamwork of our
NATO troops, working alongside our Afghan and Iraq partners,” he said adding
that “We have young people from Barcelona, Warsaw and Pittsburgh who grew up
speaking different languages now serving beside each other and protecting each
other in common missions.”
response to a question regarding the U.S. pullout plans from Afghanistan,
Shanahan said “There will be no unilateral troop reduction. I mean, that was
one of the messages of the meeting today. We’ll be coordinated. We’re
shadow judge of the Taliban group was killed in airstrikes carried out by the
coalition forces in eastern Laghman province of Afghanistan.
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East in a statement said the
airstrikes were carried out in Mar Sangi area of Badpakh district on Friday.
statement further added that the shadow judge of Taliban Mawlavi Lal Mohammad
was killed along with four other militants in the airstrikes.
other militants who were killed in the airstrikes have been identified as
Taliban commander Mawlavi Fazaluddin, Abdul Ahmad, Mawlavi Nsir, and Abdullah.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the deaths of the group’s militants so far.
Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs
and Security Policy/Vice-President of European Commission, reiterated European
Union’s 5-point offer made in Geneva last year to support peace in Afghanistan.
to a statement released EU, Mogherini reiterated European Union’s offer during
a meeting with the Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani in the margins of the
Munich Security Conference on Friday.
Representative/Vice President Mogherini reiterated the European Union’s
concrete 5-point offer made in Geneva last November to support peace in
Afghanistan: helping to make the peace process more inclusive; promoting
reforms including in the security sector; supporting the reintegration of
ex-combatants; having the EU as a guarantor of the peace process; and
encouraging cross-border trade, infrastructure and regional connectivity. The
EU has been working during these months with the Afghan counterparts to
operationalise the five points,” the statement said.
statement also added “Federica Mogherini – who discussed the recent
developments in Afghanistan also with the US Secretary of State Michael R.
Pompeo this morning in Brussels – held with President Ghani an exchange of
views on the need for the creation of an inclusive Afghan negotiation platform,
representing Afghanistan’s diverse social and political spectrum.”
political tempest caused by Rep. Ilhan Omar’s tweets this week seemed to pit
Jews against Muslims: Republicans and Democrats alike demanded that Omar
(D-Minn.), one of the first two Muslim women in Congress, apologize for tweets
that employed common anti-Semitic tropes about Jews controlling the world
the same time, Muslim and Jewish Americans face heightened levels of violence
in our country. Hate crimes against Muslims and Jews alike are on the rise.
During the deadly Unite the Right rally in my city of Charlottesville,
neo-Nazis marched with machine guns chanting “Jews will not replace us.” A
recently thwarted plot aimed to slaughter children, women and men in the
peaceful New York enclave of Islamberg. Months ago, the single most deadly
attack on Jews in U.S. history transpired, the killing of 11 congregants at
Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue. And our government has instated an
unapologetic ban on immigration by some Muslims.
this hatred, debates about the U.S.-Israel alliance wrap Jewish and Muslim
Americans into an international conflict at the cost of domestic unity. And we
simply can’t afford that.
is no doubt that our sociopolitical landscape is shifting and that minorities
writ large face an expanded Overton Window — that is, greater tolerance of
racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim positions in
public discourse. And discourse is far from innocuous. Discourse underlies and
upholds violent acts. Beginning in 2015, the “alt-right” reinvigorated white
nationalism, bringing together groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis by
combining Internet trolling with public marches that incited violence such as
in Charlottesville. It is no wonder that Muslims and Jews feel increasingly
unsafe in America’s present and uncertain about America’s future.
yet, this week, Muslims and Jews have joined the fight over the meaning and
veracity of Omar’s claims about AIPAC, the lobbying group that aims to
strengthen U.S. support for Israel. Some have likened the severity of her
remarks to the donning of blackface by two of Virginia’s highest lawmakers,
with Republican Rep. Steve King (Iowa) requesting that Omar be removed from the
House Foreign Affairs Committee. Others insist that her stern critique of the
AIPAC lobby is justified and overdue, likening it to the National Rifle
we are to learn from the past, we must recognize that a “divide and conquer”
mentality pitting ethnic, racial and religious groups against one another has
always undermined democracy: from European colonialism to the Third Reich to
the pre-genocide period in Rwanda, from South Africa’s apartheid regime to
America’s era of Jim Crow.
groups across the United States have resisted division, instead building
alliances between Muslims and Jews based on shared daily realities. The
Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom, for instance, aims to connect Muslim and Jewish
women on a local level to collectively fight hate. Executive Director Sheryl
Olitzky quotes the Talmud: “ ‘Who is a hero?’ it asks. ‘One who makes one’s
enemy into a friend.’ ” Her co-founder, Atiya Aftab, says, “Muslim and Jewish
women share many similar challenges to our identity in America. . . . Together
we can learn from each other and also stand up against acts of hate and bigotry
together, especially in our recent political environment.”
organizations, including the Muslim-Jewish Interfaith Coalition and the
Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council, similarly unite these broad communities to
overcome prejudices while building solidarity in the face of shared social
challenges. When the Tree of Life congregants were attacked in Pittsburgh,
Muslims from the area offered protection of the building during services.
Following an anti-Islam rally in West Philadelphia last February, community
members from Kol Tzedek Synagogue stood outside the Masjid Al-Jamia holding
signs bearing words of support. Some major institutions are also taking a stand
for unity. Jewish organizations have condemned President Trump’s “Muslim ban.”
Muslim groups have raised money for Jewish victims of violence. The list,
thankfully, goes on and on.
such public alliances may come with a cost for individuals. Those advocating
sustained dialogue and even friendship face critique from within their own
communities. For instance, journalist Wajahat Ali’s invitation to the 2018
Islamic Society of North America Conference was rescinded after he partook in
the Muslim Leadership Initiative at the Shalom Hartman Institute and
interviewed Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Ali’s engagement with Zionists to
understand another side of the same tragic story came at a cost.
I departed from Israel, I was sent to an area for security screening at Ben
Gurion Airport reserved for the most suspect travelers. As an officer asked me
if I had any weapons during a thorough questioning and body search, I could not
help but surmise that as a Jewish American, my work with Muslims had landed me
in this select group (alongside, of course, many Muslims).
the words of the late Israeli author Amos Oz, “The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
has been a tragedy, a clash between one very powerful, very convincing, very
painful claim over this land and another no less powerful, no less convincing
claim.” This tragedy came to life for me on a dusty hill in Hebron, where I
stood in front of a single, ancient olive tree, a recent site of struggle
between local Palestinians and Jews. “Both had papers saying that the land
belongs to them,” said our tour guide, as he told the painfully ironic story of
blood shed over olive branches.
we — American Jews and American Muslims — are to debate about Israel, what
about also recognizing all that we share? Anyone who has walked through the
stone-scented streets of Old Jerusalem has encountered a place of unity that
cannot be ignored: the Dome of the Rock literally held up by the Wailing Wall,
beside lines of Muslims praying toward Mecca, above men and women weeping at
Judaism’s most holy site. On my trip to Israel, I also visited the graves of
our shared prophets in Hebron. On one side of the city’s divide, a shopkeeper
spoke of loss in the once-vibrant city shuk. “Do you hate Jews?” asked a man in
our tour group. “I don’t hate anyone,” he responded. “I just want to live with
dignity.” On the other side, I entered the Cave of the Patriarchs, burial place
of Abraham. Our tour guide shook his head. “I wonder how disappointed Abraham
would be in all of us,” he said.
Israel is not all that matters, and our fixation is blinding us from the
worrying domestic reality unfolding in front of our own eyes. The haunting
memory of violence in my city of Charlottesville reminds me that we — Jews,
Muslims and in fact all minorities — have common perils to face in the United
States today. In focusing on our divisions, we erode the opportunity to build
important alliances between Muslims and Jews in a precarious time for us all.
We diminish our own power when we break apart. I wonder what great change could
ensue, what new dreams may come, if we hold each other up instead of knock each
other down — if we extend an olive branch.
Becker-Topkara is a postdoctoral fellow on the Religion & Its Publics
project at UVA where she is also affiliated with the Institute for the Advanced
Study of Culture. She is working on two books: her academic manuscript,
“Unsettled Islam,” and a memoir on interfaith marriage, “On the Edge the
Worlds.” Her research centers on Islam in Europe and the United States as well
as interfaith alliances.
Donald Trump on Friday said the United States would be announcing the end of
the ISIS in Syria within the next day.
have a lot of great announcements having to do with Syria and our success with
the eradication of the caliphate and that will be announced over the next 24
hours,” Trump told reporters at the White House Friday.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have been closing in on holdout extremists
since September last year and a few hundred surviving ISIS members are now
boxed into an area of around one square kilometer (less than half a square
top Pentagon official said Friday he foresees a “bigger and stronger”
American-led international coalition combating ISIS extremist group globally as
the US withdraws its troops from Syria.
Shanahan, on his first trip abroad as the acting secretary of defense, made his
comment after meeting in Munich with representatives of the dozen or so
countries that provide troops in Iraq and Syria.
the time for US troops on the ground in northeast Syria winds down, the United
States remains committed to our coalition’s cause, the permanent defeat of
ISIS, both in the Middle East and beyond,” Shanahan said in remarks to
US has about 2,000 troops in Syria and about 5,200 in Iraq.
Donald Trump’s decision in December to pull out of Syria angered some allies,
confounded US military officials and prompted Jim Mattis to resign as defense
Joseph Votel, who as head of US Central Command is overseeing military
operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, said last week that he was not
consulted before Trump made his decision.
an interview with CNN on Friday, Votel went a step further, saying, “It would
not have been my military advice at that particular time ... I would not have
made that suggestion, frankly.”
quoted him further as saying ISIS “still has leaders, still has fighters, it
still has facilitators, it still has resources, so our continued military
pressure is necessary to continue to go after that network.”
is leaving his post shortly.
said the United States will “continue to support our local partners’ ability to
stand up to the remnants of ISIS,” but he did not explain how that will be
senior defense official, speaking later, said Shanahan did not discuss a
timetable for the US withdrawal from Syria, which other officials have said is
expected to be completed in April. The coalition partners did not take issue
with the US withdrawal, indicating they see it as an irreversible decision, the
official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the closed-door
focus of the meeting, on the topic of Syria, was how to avoid a security vacuum
once US troops are gone, the official said. No representatives committed to
keeping troops there after the US leaves, raising the possibility of clashes
between Turkey - a US NATO ally - and the US-backed Syrian fighters known as
the Syrian Democratic Forces, which suffered heavy casualties in fighting ISIS.
The Turks view the Kurdish members of the SDF as terrorists and a treat to
his public remarks, Shanahan said that in Syria, ISIS has lost most of its
leadership and resources - though he didn’t say it’s lost 100 percent of its
we have eliminated the group’s hold over 99 percent of the territory it once
claimed as part of its so-called caliphate,” he said. “We have ensured ISIS no
longer holds the innocent people of Syria or Iraq in its murderous iron fist.”
militants are holed up in the last sliver of land in eastern Syria as US-backed
forces are closing in.
ISIS retreats in Syria, some worry that substantial numbers of its fighters
could migrate beyond the Middle East, to Africa, for example.
Thomas Waldhauser, commander of US Africa Command, said in an interview with a
small group of reporters Friday that he is not yet seeing evidence of ISIS
movements into Africa, although he said this cannot be ruled out.
said he and his counterparts discussed the future of their coalition, which was
developed during the Barack Obama administration after US forces took on ISIS
directly in 2014 with a return of US troops to Iraq as advisers and the start
of a bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria.
for one, envision an even bigger and stronger coalition going forward - one
that has evolved to meet the global threat posed by ISIS’s offshoots and its
murderous ideology,” he said. It needs to look beyond Syria and Iraq to face
the militants’ broader threat in other parts of the world including Afghanistan
and the Philippines, he said.
senior defense official said Shanahan was not referring to increasing the
number of members in the coalition - now totaling 79 - but rather adding to the
quality of their contributions, including non-military offerings.
von der Leyen, the German defense minister and host of the Munich meeting, said
there was agreement among participants that the fight in Iraq and Syria is not
United States may reduce the number of American troops in Afghanistan by at
least 1,000, a US general says, attributing the decision to an efficiency drive
by a new commander of NATO forces in the Asian country.
Army General Joseph Votel, the head of the US military’s Central Command, said
the decision to cut some of the roughly 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan
would be part of an effort by Army General Scott Miller — who assumed command
of NATO forces in Afghanistan last September — to make better use of US resources.
is something that he (Miller) started as he got into the position here and was
looking at how we (can) be as efficient and as effective as we can be on the
ground,” Votel said in an interview with Reuters during a trip to Oman on
decision comes as the US has been holding talks with the Taliban militant group
aimed at putting an end to the war in Afghanistan, which began with the US-led
invasion in 2001.
Taliban have claimed the US has promised them to withdraw half of its troops
from Afghanistan, although the timing for that purported pullout has not been
to Votel, though, the decision about the 1,000 forces is not linked to the
talks with the Taliban.
this month, US President Donald Trump told Congress that he intended to bring
home US forces from Afghanistan as negotiators made progress in talks with the
did not give a specific estimate of exactly how many forces may be withdrawn,
but he answered a question of whether Miller would likely cut over 1,000 troops
from Afghanistan under the efficiency drive by saying, “He probably will.”
also said some forces could be moved “over the horizon,” supporting the war
effort from overseas.
Poland: US Vice President Mike Pence accused Iran on Friday of anti-Semitism
akin to the Nazis following his visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp in
Poland that had strengthened his resolve to act against Tehran.
have the regime in Tehran that's breathing out murderous threats, with the same
vile anti-Semitic hatred that animated the Nazis in Europe," Pence told
reporters on Air Force Two before landing in Munich.
said that being in Auschwitz had made him reflect to "strengthen the
resolve of the free world to oppose that kind of vile hatred and to confront
authoritarian threats of our time."
comments at the former Nazi concentration camp came a day after he said Iran
was the “greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East” at a
conference on the region taking place in Warsaw.
accused Washington's European allies of trying to break US sanctions against
Tehran and called on them to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative. In
fact, they have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions,"
added that his country will keep a strong presence in the Middle East, continue
to stand shoulder to shoulder with allies, and work with coalition partners to
defeat Daesh to make the region safe for peace and prosperity.
Iran sinks financially, Iraqi militias generate funds via protection rackets
areas rife with corruption, lawful behavior is often punished as the forces of
law enforcement do not work for the people but for the often malignant forces
wielding actual power.
parts of Iraq are becoming feudal kingdoms with selective law enforcement
designed to protect both the financial and the power interests of those locally
from Chicago, I am very familiar with this situation. The past of my city was
rife with violent gangs “owning” defined territories “protected” from rival
factions – “protected” at a cost to the businessman who pays and pays not to be
attacked by his protectors.
the ordinary police were in on the scheme and were well paid to look the other
way or even better paid to partake in the “protection” activities.
rackets can be very lucrative. Violence awaits those that question the local
ruling gang and there is no law enforcement neutral enough or powerful enough
to seriously entertain a complaint.
locals with money or position pay and pay the gangs because there is no
alternative. Either they pay for protection from the thugs or suffer violence
from them – often coupled with indifference (or even criminal cooperation) of
is quietly being divided into lucrative fiefdoms where those that wish to
thrive or do any business at all must pay. In the North, the Kurds and Masoud
Barzani are running their protection racket. It is more benign, less violent
but just as iron-clad and lucrative as the others.
the West, ISIS continues to exert undue influence and extorts monies from all
comers looking to do business there. In the South, Iran exerts its influence
through Iranian militias and other official and unofficial structures looking
to shake down businessmen.
of Iran’s ‘top earners’ (as they are called in the American Mafia) is Asa’ib
Ahl al-Haq (AAH). AAH is an Iranian-backed militia with its origins in Muqtada
Al Sadr’s Mahdi Amy.
Muqtada made a tentative peace with the formal Iraqi government (and the
Americans as well), AAH continued its attacks breaking-away from Al Sadr.
Ironically, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq translates to the “League of the Righteous.”
Iran sinks financially, the need for its militias in Iraq to generate their own
funds has acutely risen. The League of the Righteous is extorting and
“protecting” its way to financial independence.
Kuwaiti companies run by a daughter of the ruler Sabah IV of Kuwait paid a
heavy protection price to AAH to be able to invest in the new airport complex
in Diwaniyah Province. This was so open and notorious that it was actually
reported in the newspapers. Better to pay than be bombed, rocketed or just
Baghdad, sides are being drawn in less obvious ways. The political parties are
deeply involved in the protection rackets to control lucrative businesses and
a prominent Baghdad restauranteur was arrested by security forces with AAH
identification papers on him. This was reported by an equally prominent
television station run by Amir Hakim. Amir Hakim is not of AAH but is a former
leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) party when they were in
power in Iraq a few years ago – a rival party to AAH.
it was reported that an AAH identity card was found on the man, the Iranian
Party Bloc, al-Fateh, complained loudly that Hakim was using his media
prominence to purposely target AAH, Iranian interests and Iran’s newest
acquisition, the Popular Mobilization Forces (the PMF).
personage no less than the President of the Republic had to be ultimately
involved. He called for calm and for restraint because the two parties were on
the verge of open, armed conflict over the matter. Nothing less than his
involvement was required to stave off bloodshed.
upshot of this is that outside investment, already wary of the inconsistency of
the ordinary rule of law in Iraq, are completely scared off by this activity.
More than a few large, outside deals have utterly collapsed in the South
violent involvement in ordinary business activities in order to raise money has
made it a pariah in the South of Iraq. Because of their brutality, they are
also feared and, sadly, obeyed.
is twice burdened by its corruption and now lawless protection rackets. Both
plagues are a direct result of the lack of dependable and honest law
enforcement coupled with a court system that is independent and capable of
enforcing the law.
these deficiencies can be cured, outside investment will be scarce and internal
economic activity will be minimal. Iraq must free itself from these twin evils.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country is working to carry the case of
the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul to an
in an interview with the A-Haber television channel, Erdogan said Ankara
"is determined to bring this case before international justice," and
calls on the United States to weigh in this case.
are determined to take this matter to the international court. Our justice
ministry, foreign ministry and intelligence agency are working on this
October, a few weeks after the killing, four prominent rights groups - Human
Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists and
Reporters Without Borders - urged the Turkish government to ask the UN to probe
into the disappearance of the ill-fated journo.
further criticized the US for “casting aside” the case of Khashoggi due to its
bilateral ties with Saudi Arabia, urging Washington to “put its presence and
weight” behind the issue.
CIA has not yet put its full weight behind this issue. We have a lot of
expectations from the US on this matter. The US needs to put its presence, its
weight here,” he said.
also noted that Turkey has not yet revealed all the information it has
discovered about the killing of Khashoggi.
haven't given all the elements we have at our disposal," he noted.
weeks of denial, Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi had been killed on
October 2 after entering the consulate to obtain the paperwork necessary for
his upcoming marriage to Turkish woman Hatice Cengiz.
has said the journalist was killed by a team of 15 Saudis who strangled him,
and Ankara has repeatedly asked Riyadh to identify the local who allegedly
helped them dispose of the body, which has not been found.
has arrested a number of senior Saudi officials allegedly involved in the
murder. Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, was a fierce critic of Saudi
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who denies any involvement in the murder.
has already said that the order to slay Khashoggi had been issued from “the
highest levels” of the Saudi government, suggesting that the crown prince had
ordered such a gruesome murder.
least 20 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli fire while protesting in the
Gaza Strip to assert the right of displaced Palestinians to return to their
al-Qedra, the spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said in a Tweet that the
victims had been injured during anti-occupation protests held east of Gaza City
have been running high near the fence separating Gaza from the occupied
territories since March 30, which marked the start of the protests.
protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland by
clashes in Gaza reached their peak on May 14, the eve of the 70th anniversary
of Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, which coincided this year with
Washington’s relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Jerusalem
than 250 Palestinians have so far been killed and over 26,000 others wounded in
the renewed Gaza clashes, according to the latest figures released by the Gaza
spokesman for Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement says peace and stability in
the country cannot be established through submission to the Israeli regime,
condemning the participation of representatives loyal to former Yemeni
President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in a recent conference in Warsaw.
attendance of Khaled al-Yamani [the foreign minister of the former Yemeni
regime] in the ludicrous conference points to the abasement of traitors to
Yemen. The participation of the mercenary government in the event demonstrates
that it is completely indecisive and submissive. Such a presence amounts to a
national and religious crime,” Arabic-language al-Masirah television network
cited Mohammed Abdul-Salam as saying on Friday.
Houthi official was referring to the Warsaw Conference, an international
gathering organized by Washington in the Polish capital, which was held between
February 13 and 14. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had earlier claimed the
gathering would focus on “stability and peace, freedom and security” in the
establishment of an administration in exile has forced former Yemeni regime
officials to consent to normalization of ties with Israel, and follow in the
footsteps of Riyadh and Abu Dhabi,” Abdul-Salam said.
went on to say that the Warsaw Conference was aimed at weakening the
Palestinian cause. The official denounced as treachery the participation of
delegates from countries involved in the ongoing military aggression against
Yemen as well as Hadi loyalists.
in Yemen can’t be secured through capitulation to Israel,” the Ansarullah
then called on all Yemeni political factions to condemn the attendance of
pro-Hadi representatives in the Poland event, emphasizing that Yemenis have
always stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating campaign
against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing Hadi’s government back to
power and crushing Ansarullah.
to a report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a
nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed
the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.
Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure,
destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a
record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million
threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering
from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.
Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Avigdor Lieberman has repeated his
aggressive rhetoric against the Gaza Strip, saying the next war on Palestinian
resistance movements operating inside the besieged coastal enclave "must
be the last."
said on Thursday that a recent Israeli military intelligence assessment
indicated that the Israeli regime is likely to launch a major offensive against
Palestinians either in Gaza or the occupied West Bank within the next 12
asserted that the assessment “is completely consistent with my assessments over
the past year.”
question now is not 'Will there be another confrontation with Hamas in the Gaza
Strip?' but rather 'When will this happen?'" Lieberman said.
60-year-old leader of Yisrael Beiteinu political party also took jibes at the
Israeli regime, claiming that it is “strengthening” Palestinian resistance
groups through not launching a war on Gaza and easing sanctions against the
went on to say that the transfer of Qatari funds and fuel to Gaza in addition
to the expansion of its fishing area all serve to strengthen Ezzedine al-Qassam
Brigades, which is the military wing of Hamas resistance movement.
former Israeli minister of military affairs highlighted that public support for
Hamas is increasing both in Gaza and the West Bank.
next confrontation must be the last confrontation. We must strike a hard and
disproportionate blow on Hamas - completely break their willpower to continue
to fight against us and destroy their belief that they could ever defeat us,”
resigned from his post on November 14 last year, less than a day after Hamas
and other resistance factions agreed to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire with Israel
his decision in a news conference, the hawkish Israeli official described Gaza
truce as “a capitulation to terror.”
also vehemently objected to Israel's allowing Qatar to deliver $15 million to
the financially-crippled strip to pay the salaries of government workers and
civil servants last week.
is no secret that there were differences between the prime minister and
I," Lieberman said. "I did not agree to allow entry of Qatari money
[into Gaza], and I had to allow it only after the prime minister announced it."
Israeli military frequently bombs Gaza, with civilians being the main target of
has also launched several wars on the Palestinian coastal sliver, the last of
which began in early July 2014. The military aggression, which ended on August
26, 2014, killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians. Over 11,100 others were also
wounded in the war.
Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has
caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of
unemployment and unrelenting poverty.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid
and Relief Center (KSRelief) has condemned Houthi militias in Yemen for
preventing officials from the World Food Programme (WFP) from accessing WFP
grain stores in Hodeidah.
also listed a series of “heinous crimes” that he claimed had been committed by
the Houthis, including the recruitment of child soldiers, the bombing of
refugee camps, looting and confiscation of humanitarian aid, and
“indiscriminate setting of mines in civilian areas.”
called on the UN and other organizations to intervene and stop “the Houthis’
violations of human rights.”
Palestinian medical officials said that 20 Gazans were wounded on Friday by
Israeli fire during weekly clashes on the border, while Israeli police said one
officer was hurt by an explosive device.
injuries by the Israeli occupation forces with live ammunition,” the
Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement.
Israeli army said that 11,000 “rioters and demonstrators” gathered at several
points along the border barrier, with people throwing rocks at soldiers and the
fence, as well as “several explosive devices and grenades” aimed at the troops.
responded with riot dispersal means and fired in accordance with standard
operating procedures,” a military spokeswoman told AFP.
police said an officer operating at the border was lightly wounded by shrapnel
in his leg.
in Gaza have for nearly a year gathered at least weekly along the border for
often-violent protests, calling on Israel to end its decade-long blockade of
the enclave. At least 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since
then, the majority shot during clashes, though others have been hit by tank
fire or air strikes.
Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period.
says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop infiltrations and
attacks, which it accuses Hamas of seeking to orchestrate. Israel and
Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008.
troops on Jan. 25 fatally shot a Palestinian and wounded another as they threw
stones at Israeli motorists in the occupied West Bank, the army said.
“responded by firing at the suspects, who received medical treatment. One of
the suspects later died of his wounds and another was injured,” a statement
said. Residents of the dead youth’s village of Silwad, near Ramallah, named him
as Ayman Hamed, 17.
hidden in corpse kills Burkina Faso army doctor
bomb hidden in a corpse dressed in military uniform killed an army doctor and
wounded two police officers in northern Burkina Faso, a security official said
and police were sent to inspect the male body after it was discovered abandoned
on a road in the town of Djibo near the border with Mali, according to the
doctor "died in the explosion of a booby-trapped dead body containing an
improvised explosive device", he said.
bomb was detonated by an attempt to turn the body over, directly killing the
army doctor and wounding two other team members" on Tuesday, the official
medical source in Djibo said the two wounded police officers were receiving
treatment at a local clinic, with one in a critical condition.
Faso, in the heart of Africa's vast Sahel region, is struggling with a bloody
Islamist insurgency as well as bouts of social unrest.
week saw three attacks, one of which killed five members of the security forces
on the same day the president hosted a regional summit on the fight against
US military denied on Thursday taking part in a raid on an al-Qaeda site in the
Libyan city of Ubari, contradicting a statement by a Libyan official.
spokesperson for Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Presidency Council of the
Tripoli-based Government of National Accord of Libya, said in a statement late
on Wednesday that a site with a number of al-Qaeda members in Ubari was
“raided” by joint US-Libyan forces.
joint work between the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord
and the US Government coincided with the meeting of US Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo and Foreign Minister Mohamed Sayala at the Global Coalition to defeat
Islamic State (ISIS) meeting last week”, spokesperson Mohamed El Sallak said in
US Africa Command, which is responsible for American troops in the area, said
that although the United States supports what is describes as counterterrorism
efforts of the UN-recognized Libyan government, US forces were not involved in
Jordan said Friday that two deadly explosions which rocked the Salt region
northwest of the capital Amman were apparently linked to a militant cell.
security source had previously told AFP that old mines were behind Thursday's
blasts which killed a farmer and three members of the security forces.
analysis of the site found the blasts were caused by "homemade explosives
buried in the ground matching the type used by a terrorist cell in
Al-Fuhais" last August, government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat said.
was referring to an August 11 bomb attack on a security patrol in the nearby
town of Al-Fuhais that killed a police sergeant and wounded six others.
Salt region was the scene of heavy clashes between gunmen and security forces
after the attack which targeted a security patrol at a music festival.
the eve of Nigeria's general elections, at least 66 people are confirmed killed
in attacks across eight settlements in the country's northwest, officials said
Aruwan, spokesman for the state governor, said the violence occurred on
Thursday in Kajuru in the Kaduna state, an area long gripped by armed bandits
or religious zealotry.
agencies today reported the recovery of 66 bodies killed in attacks by criminal
elements on various dispersed hamlets in the Maro Gida and Iri axis of Kajuru,”
Aruwan said in a statement.
government condemns the attacks and commiserates with the families of the
victims. Security agencies have been deployed to the area and arrests have been
called for calm and urged residents to avoid reprisals, suggesting the violence
may be communal.
news medium Daily Trust, quoting local sources, said the victims include 22
children and 12 women.
Nigeria — The attack came in the middle of dinner, and suddenly a calm night
was filled with cries and Ruth Thama Gauji was fleeing again, her children
bundled haphazardly onto her back.
the decade since Boko Haram swept across northeastern Nigeria, she has lost
count of the attacks, and last week’s was much like ones in the past. One thing
is different this time for Gauji, who found shelter in the nearby city of Yola:
She wants to get back to her hometown of Shuwa as quickly as possible, even if
it’s risky. Only there will she be able to cast her vote in the country’s
presidential election, originally scheduled for Saturday but delayed until Feb.
will vote for new leaders again and again until someone can kill off Boko
Haram,” she said.
election was postponed early Saturday, just hours before polls were set to
open. The election commission cited unspecified “challenges” in its
announcement, amid reports that voting materials had not been delivered to all
parts of the country, the Associated Press reported.
current president, Muhammadu Buhari, won the last election on promises of
eliminating Boko Haram, a group that has since metastasized into two factions,
the larger of which pledges allegiance to the Islamic State. Buhari, a former
military general, succeeded in retaking most of the territory lost to the
militants during their peak power in 2015, but 2018 brought a sharp rise in
is Africa’s most populous country, and its most violence-stricken. More
civilians were killed in targeted attacks in Nigeria last year than in either
Yemen or Afghanistan, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data
Project. In addition to Boko Haram and the Islamic State’s West Africa
affiliate, which the U.S. military estimates have a combined 5,000 fighters,
thousands more have joined ethnic militias that compete over scarce land
coveted by both herding and farming communities. While Islamist militants
killed hundreds of Nigerian soldiers in just the past year, overrunning
barracks and capturing weapons, uniforms and vehicles, the ethnic militias
operate across a much broader swath of central Nigeria and are proving far
riot police secure an office in Port Harcourt on Feb. 14, the last day of
campaigning for Nigeria’s presidential candidates. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty
spiraling violence is a symptom of much more intractable challenges. The
country’s population is rapidly growing and is expected to overtake the United
States’ by 2050, though the United States is 11 times Nigeria’s geographic
size. Meanwhile, the average Nigerian is becoming poorer, and almost a quarter
of the labor force is unemployed. There were more people living in extreme
poverty in Nigeria than in India as of last year. Climate change and increased
water usage are turning fertile areas into deserts. More than 13 million
children do not regularly attend school. Millions more depend on humanitarian
aid to survive.
these challenges, Nigeria’s government has some of the lowest spending per
capita on health and education in the world. The country receives significant
support from international organizations, as well as the United States and
Britain, which held Nigeria as a colony until 1960. The U.S. government gave
Nigeria more than $450 million in 2018, mostly for humanitarian aid relating to
food and health.
yearn for swift change, but this year’s election pits Buhari, who has been in
politics for much longer than most of his constituents have been alive, against
the business tycoon Atiku Abubakar, also a former vice president. Between them
are nine previous runs for president. The average Nigerian is 18 years old, but
both Buhari and Abubakar are in their 70s; that gap fuels a sense of detachment
from politics that is expected to depress voter turnout.
life, each person has the potential to be a builder or a destroyer. But most of
us will be graduating without jobs. Thousands of us will be competing for just
one vacancy. The only option seems to be criminality,” said Musa Adamu Lawan, a
student government leader at Adamawa State Polytechnic university in Yola.
Neither of the candidates knows “what life is like for the youth now. They grew
up during better times.”
Muhammadu Buhari, center, won the last election on promises of eliminating Boko
Haram. (Ben Curtis/AP)
is banking on his relatively sound reputation for honesty in a country riddled
with political corruption, and on marginal successes in economic growth and the
fight against Boko Haram. His banners around Yola stress that his
administration is a “moving train” that should be allowed to gather momentum.
His opponents say he has anything but energy. An undisclosed illness kept
Buhari in London for almost half of 2017, and he has denied rumors that he uses
a body double.
widely referred to by his first name, Atiku, is riding the wave of public
impatience. He is promising to double the economy in one presidential term,
partly by privatizing divisions of Nigeria’s mammoth state oil company. Nigeria
is Africa’s top oil producer, and Abubakar made much of his fortune as a
businessman through Intels, his oil and gas logistics company. His
autobiography is titled “Making Money,” and many of his supporters hope he
will help them do just that.
is little by way of ideological difference between the candidates, and they are
both Muslims belonging to the Fulani ethnic group. Abubakar used to be part of
Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC), even allowing Buhari to use his
private jet during the 2015 presidential campaign, before defecting in late
2017. The race is expected to be tight.
election is about sentiment over substance all the way,” said Nnamdi Obasi, a
Nigeria analyst for the International Crisis Group. “Candidates move between
political parties looking for better deals as if they were football clubs.”
used to be an ally to Buhari, the incumbent president, before defecting to the
People’s Democratic Party. (Luis Tato/AFP/Getty Images)
record as vice president has come under intense scrutiny in Nigeria and the
United States. In 2006, he was accused of diverting $125 million in public
funds toward his business interests. And four years later, a U.S. Senate report
accused him of transferring $40 million in “suspect funds” to his American wife’s
bank account. He denies the allegations and has not been tried in court, and he
recently traveled to Washington to clear up doubts that he would be allowed to
enter the United States.
candidates seem to have no sense of the urgency of all Nigeria’s ticking time
bombs — corruption, the economy, insecurity. And you don’t need to use your
imagination to see what crises the future holds — they are already upon us,”
Obasi said. “Most of Nigeria is sinking.”
bright spot is a reduced chance of political violence in this year’s election.
Since Buhari and Atiku are both of the same religion and ethnic group, a sense
of competition among Nigeria’s diverse population is diminished. Nevertheless,
each candidate has accused the other of sabotage and incitement.
recent sacking of the country’s chief justice, who would play a crucial role in
resolving election disputes, prompted Abubakar to call Buhari an authoritarian.
Buhari maintains that the judge failed to declare his personal assets, but the
timing has struck many as politically motivated, and the United Nations joined
Abubakar in condemning the move.
election commission staffer separates ballot boxes ahead of the election.
(Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images)
party has also accused the independent election commission of failing to clean
up voter rolls, leaving up to a million “ghost voters” whose names could be
used in potential vote-rigging.
Yola, the capital of Abubakar’s home state of Adamawa, his money and success
seem distant. Boko Haram has emptied many of the rural areas, driving up food
prices. Three neat meals a day are unattainable for most.
Usman earns $40 a month as a day laborer, building richer people’s homes. He
has done masonry for a decade and still has not saved enough to complete his
own one-room house, which remains roofless.
want someone who loves the masses, not commands them,” said Idris, who was
undecided on who will get his vote.
had given up on the electoral process.
matter what, I am not voting. It is a pure waste of time. It is full of lies
and scams. In one word, it is wahala,” said Adama Suleiman, using a common
Nigerian term for trouble. Suleiman’s food stall was burned down amid violence
tied to the 2015 election. On a recent day, she sat in a friend’s restaurant,
cleaning stalks of waterleaf, a local vegetable.
is now a matter of life and death': Muhammadiyah warns against deepening
is exacerbating political divisions in the country as voters now view politics
as “a matter of life and death” and not a “worldly” issue in which differences
are accepted, the leader of the nation’s second-largest Islamic organization
his opening speech at a leadership meeting in Bengkulu on Friday, Muhammadiyah
chairman Haedar Nashir argued that religious absolutism seemed to have pervaded
politics and caused division among the people.
is now a matter of life and death that breeds political war and fanaticism
[...] Politics is no longer regarded as an issue of worldly affairs, which
allows room for differences. It is now associated with faith, which is
absolute,” he said.
two-day meeting, which was opened by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, aimed to
address rising concerns over the use of religion in politics, particularly
ahead of the 2019 legislative and presidential elections.
than 500 Muhammadiyah national and local executives attended the meeting. The
group, which runs thousands of schools and hundreds of hospitals, claims to
have about 40 million members across the country.
warned against what he called the “unenlightened implementation of Islam”,
which could lead to problems such as extremism, intolerance, misinformation,
the politicization of religion and also hate speech and hostility.
should be a blessing for all humanity.”
a visit to The Jakarta Post recently, Muhammadiyah secretary-general Abdul
Mu’ti said the meeting in Bengkulu would have as its theme “The Path of
Enlightenment in Religious Life”.
theme has been chosen because the group is concerned about the deepening
political polarization in the country, particularly in the presidential
election where the candidates are judged on how
Islamic they are perceived to be.
see deep polarization in 2019,” Mu’ti said. “Through the use of religious
symbols and forums for political interests, such religious polarization is very
is therefore calling on people to choose the path of moderation in religion,
also known as wasatiyyah, to ease tension during an election year.
promote the concept [of wasatiyyah] to prevent violence or extremism,”
Muhammadiyah executive Syafiq A. Mughni said, adding that Muslims should stop
mixing religion with politics and focus on assessing the programs of election
Muhammadiyah has remained politically neutral, although many of its members
have been involved in politics.
group is closely associated with the National Mandate Party (PAN), which is
backing Prabowo Subianto in the April election. However, its members or former
members are also active in other political parties, including the Indonesian
Solidarity Party (PSI), which backs Jokowi.
does not endorse any candidate-pair and, therefore, allows its followers the
freedom to make their own choices,” Syafiq said.
meeting in Bengkulu is expected to produce a set of recommendations.
his speech, President Jokowi expressed his concerns about the rise of fake news
and how he has been a victim of misinformation. He used the occasion to clarify
rumors that he was ever a member of the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party
the meeting, the President, who was born in 1961, displayed an edited photo of
him standing in front of PKI leader DN Aidit, who was giving a speech in 1955.
could it be possible for me to be there when I was born some years later in
1961?” he asked, adding that many still believed the falsehood and used it
against him politically.
his speech, the President also reminded his listeners that Indonesia was a
culturally and religiously diverse country, which was an asset that Indonesians
suspected militants, including a Singaporean businessman, have been arrested by
the Malaysian police following a series of anti-terror raids across the
men, aged 21 to 48, were nabbed in Johor, Selangor and Sabah between Dec 19
last year and Jan 28.
the first swoop, a 48-year-old Singaporean was arrested in Johor Baru on Dec 19
with the help of Singapore's Internal Security Department. The Singapore
authorities named him as Mohamed Kazali Salleh.
funded a Malaysian militant of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Wan
Mohd Aquil Wan Zainal Abidin, also known as Akel Zainal, and had been told to
recruit militants for an attack in Johor Baru.
on Dec 19, a Bangladeshi cleaner, 31, was arrested in Selangor's Klang. He is
believed to be an ISIS supporter and tasked with recruiting militants for the
police detained two Malaysians, both 38, in Sepang on Jan 10.
to their arrest, the duo - who worked as farm workers abroad - had been
deported to Malaysia after the country they were in found that they had pledged
their allegiance to ISIS.
of them even channelled funds to Malaysian militant Khairul Amizan Azmi, who is
in Syria," Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a
police also nabbed a 21-year-old Filipino man on Jan 19 in Sabah. The
authorities believe he is a member of the Abu Sayyaf militant group in the
suspect was arrested in Kota Kinabalu and had snuck into the country in March
last year. He has the expertise to operate an array of weapons, and he has
connections to Abu Sayyaf leader Furiji Indama," Tan Sri Fuzi said.
Abu Sayyaf has pledged allegiance to ISIS. Since 2017, the Malaysian
authorities have detained 39 Abu Sayyaf militants.
last man arrested was a 26-year-old South Asian. He was caught in Puchong on
Jan 28 for harbouring a fellow countryman who is listed on Interpol's Red
Notice for his involvement in terrorist activities.
2013, Malaysia has arrested more than 400 people for suspected links to
terrorism. The Muslim-majority country faces threats from self-radicalised ISIS
sympathisers at home and regional militant groups that seek funding and refuge
in South-east Asia.
Singaporean man who gave financial support to a Syria-based ISIS militant from
Malaysia has been detained under the city-state’s tough internal security laws,
authorities said Friday.
arrest highlights the continued influence of Southeast Asian militants fighting
with ISIS in Iraq and Syria in radicalizing people back home, even as the
militants face defeat in the Middle East.
businessman Mohamed Kazali bin Salleh, 48, is suspected of being a “close
associate” of Mohamad Aquil bin Wan Zainal Abidin, believed to be the most
senior Malaysian ISIS fighter in Syria, according to Singapore’s Ministry of
Home Affairs (MHA).
who had been living in the Malaysian state of Johor next to Singapore, paid for
the militant’s trip to Syria in late 2013 to fight with ISIS and continued to
support him financially, the ministry said.
return, Aquil “kept him updated on his exploits on the battlefield,” it said.
Kazali became increasingly radicalized over time and pledged allegiance to ISIS
chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
shared news of Aquil’s activities in Syria on social media to inspire others to
travel there and was also prepared to finance them.
December, he received instructions from Aquil to carry out an attack in Johor
but he did not follow through for fear of being arrested, MHA said.
was arrested by Malaysian authorities in December and deported to Singapore,
where he is being held under the Internal Security Act, which allows for
detention without trial for up to two years.
second person was also detained under the act -- Hazim Syahmi bin Mahfoot, a
28-year-old car exporter who was influenced by Kazali’s radical views and was
convinced by him to carry out attacks against ISIS’s perceived enemies.
Feb 15 (AFP) A Singaporean man who gave financial support to a Syria-based
Islamic State (IS) militant from Malaysia has been detained under the
city-state’s tough internal security laws, authorities said Friday.
arrest highlights the continued influence of Southeast Asian militants fighting
with IS in Iraq and Syria in radicalising people back home, even as the
jihadists face defeat in the Middle East.
businessman Mohamed Kazali bin Salleh, 48, is suspected of being a “close
associate” of Mohamad Aquil bin Wan Zainal Abidin, believed to be the most
senior Malaysian IS fighter in Syria, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Home
Affairs (MHA). Kazali, who had been living in the Malaysian state of Johor next
to Singapore, paid for the militant’s trip to Syria in late 2013 to fight with
IS and continued to support him financially, the ministry said.
return, Aquil “kept him updated on his exploits on the battlefield”, it said.
Kazali became increasingly radicalised over time and pledged allegiance to IS
chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
December, he received instructions from Aquil to carry out an attack in Johor
but he did not follow through for fear of being arrested, MHA said.
second person was also detained under the act — Hazim Syahmi bin Mahfoot, a
28-year-old car exporter who was influenced by Kazali’s radical views and was
convinced by him to carry out attacks against Islam’s perceived enemies.
KINABALU: Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president Maximus Ongkili said the entry of
the Dr Mahathir Mohamad-led PPBM to Sabah could further divide the votes of the
Malay-Muslim community in the state.
however, said opposition parties had no objection to Malayan-based parties
entering the state.
Bumiputera communities in the state are currently divided between Umno and
further emphasised that it’s always beneficial for the state to be run by local
parties. “I think it is better for Sabahans to unite and fight for their rights
if a local party is in charge.
impact is bigger if the people of Sabah take the lead through an existing party
like PBS. It will be easier for Sabah to achieve its development goals,” he
entry into Sabah has apparently not gone down well with Warisan.
has said the party’s entry into Sabah is aimed at stopping Sabah Umno leaders
from causing any damage to the ruling government.
Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan told FMT that
the former Sabah Umno leaders are likely to form a partnership with Gabungan
Bersatu Sabah (GBS).
GBS is a coalition of PBS, STAR and former Sabah Umno leaders who are in direct
opposition to the current state government.
if the former Sabah Umno leaders have become PPBM members, they will still be
part of GBS. Only Umno is not part of GBS,” he said.
admitted the situation would become a bit complicated as the former Sabah Umno
leaders would now be obliged to support the current Warisan-PH coalition
government in the state.
has reached out to former Sabah Umno secretary Masidi Manjun for comment.
group’s de facto leader Hajiji Noor left Sabah last night and is currently
performing his Umrah.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday said that Pakistan’s approach
for peace in Afghanistan had shaped the international community’s opinion to
give a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan a fair chance.
Qureshi said this during a panel discussion titled “Update on Afghanistan”
during the Munich Security Conference (NSC), on Friday. The panel also included
Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov, former US secretary of state John
Kerry and Afghan National Security Advisor (NSA) Hamdullah Mohib.
the MSC, FM Qureshi highlighted Pakistan’s strong support in breaking the
political stalemate in Afghanistan. He said that Pakistan had sincerely
responded to the US request for facilitating the peace and reconciliation
process in Afghanistan that led to direct US-Taliban talks in Abu Dhabi and
breakthroughs have been achieved by the two sides as more progress is expected
in the upcoming rounds of negotiations in Doha. Pakistan offered maximum
cooperation and facilitation to the US Special Representative on Afghan Peace
and Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in his mission, which has been
acknowledged by him and the Trump administration,” he said.
foreign minister briefed the audience about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s
long-standing vision for a peaceful settlement of Afghan conflict as opposed to
finding a military solution.
Qureshi added that Pakistan’s approach for peace in Afghanistan had shaped the
international community’s opinion to give a negotiated settlement in
Afghanistan a fair chance, through an inclusive peace and reconciliation
process that is fully led and owned by the Afghans themselves.
vision is practical and sync with the ground realities of Afghanistan and the
region. Pakistan has acted as an honest and reliable bridge between Afghanistan
and the international community to share its hard-earned experiences to set the
direction right for a peaceful resolution of the four decades old conflict,” he
foreign minister said that Pakistan has been supporting all peace and
reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan as part of its shared responsibility with
other regional countries and the international community. Pakistan desires to
see a genuine and inclusive peace and reconciliation process with full Afghan
ownership because such a process would provide the foundation for an intra-Afghan
dialogue that would be the key towards resolving sensitive and critical
national issues by the Afghans themselves, he added.
Qureshi further remarked that no country other than Pakistan would benefit more
from peace in Afghanistan, because after Afghanistan no other country has
suffered as much as Pakistan. It will, therefore, remain the torch bearer of
finding security, stability and economic development and progress of the whole
region could be ensured, he concluded.
As the International Court of Justice (ICJ) formally commences a public hearing
on the conviction of Indian spy commander Kulbhushan Jadhav from Feb 18,
Pakistan’s delegation for oral arguments departed for The Hague on Friday.
General Anwar Mansoor would lead the Pakistani delegation whereas Director
General South Asia Dr Mohammad Faisal would lead the Foreign Office side.
world court has set a timetable for public hearings from Feb 18 to 21 in The
Hague and Harish Salve, who represents New Delhi, is expected to argue first on
Feb 18. Then English Queen’s Counsel Khawar Qureshi will make submissions on
Feb 19 from Islamabad’s side.
India will reply on Feb 20 while Islamabad will make its closing submissions on
Feb 21. It is expected that the ICJ decision may be delivered by the summer of
are fully prepared with our strongest evidence being the valid Indian passport
recovered from Commander Jadhav with a Muslim name,” said the official, adding
that Pakistan was committed to implementing the decision, irrespective of what
decision came from the ICJ.
Jadhav was captured in Balochistan in March 2016 and later confessed to his
association with Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW)
and his involvement in espionage and fomenting terrorism in Pakistan.
May 18 last year, the ICJ through an interim order stayed Jadhav’s execution
after which the Foreign Office communicated to the world court that the
government of Pakistan had instructed relevant departments to give effect to
the ICJ order.
has already furnished two counter-memorials on the Indian claims, which brought
the case before the world court under the Vienna Convention on Consular
Relations 1963. India filed its reply on April 17, 2018, to which Pakistan
filed a detailed rejoinder on 17 July that year.
to a question about Iran, the official said the government was convinced that
Iran had no role in Jadhav’s episode though he remained there for some time.
“India wants to drag Iran into this dispute but we will not let it happen,” he
Delhi claimed that Jadhav was an innocent businessman who was kidnapped from
Iran and tortured to confess to being a RAW agent, but the official believes
that Indians had failed to prove the allegation despite repeated requests for
evidence that Jadhav was kidnapped.
Indians also failed to satisfy that Jadhav had retired from the Indian Navy and
New Delhi also failed to explain when and why he was retired since he was only
47 years old when arrested.
India needs to explain how Jadhav was in possession of an authentic Indian
passport issued under a false “cover” Muslim name — Hussain Mubarak Patel —
which he had used at least 17 times to enter/exit India.
had been asked this question many times, even by highly respected Indian senior
journalists such as Praveen Swami and Karan Thapar, but Indians declared this
as irrelevant or mischievous propaganda.
India argued that the passport was clearly a forgery, but refused to explain
why a highly credible independent UK expert was wrong when he said it was an
authentic Indian passport issued by the Indian authorities.
Delhi demands that the ICJ order Pakistan to return Jadhav to India, but the
international court had repeatedly explained that it was not a criminal court
of appeal. The world court has also clarified in its earlier decisions that
even if consular access was denied, the proper recourse would be an effective
review to be reconsidered by the local courts.
and his family, the official said, could invoke Article 199 of Pakistan’s
constitution by seeking the relief through the country’s high court, but India
launched proceedings in the ICJ, 14 months after Jadhav was arrested and a
month after he was convicted, to seek a stay order without a hearing.
is India asking for an order for the return of Jadhav in the face of the ICJ’s
decision and the independent expert evidence confirming Pakistan has effective
review and reconsideration before the high court and the Supreme Court,” the
official asked. India has also failed to explain why May 21, 2008, Agreement on
Consular Access between India and Pakistan, which was drafted by India and
provides Article VI for either state to be entitled to consider a request for
consular access about persons implicated in national security matters, does not
apply in this case.
has also failed to explain why highly respected UK-based military law experts
are wrong when they say that Pakistan’s high court and Supreme Court provide an
effective review and reconsideration of the military court process.
its detailed counter-memorial to the Indian claims, Pakistan has raised a
number of questions like the existence of the customary international law about
an “espionage exception” to consular access in view of obvious dangers of
allowing a state-sponsored spy/terrorist untrammelled communication with the
authorities of his sending state that despatched him to commit unlawful acts.
counter-memorial by Pakistan has also drawn attention to a bilateral agreement
on consular access between India and Pakistan that clearly qualifies consular
access in matters of national security.
Turkish parliamentarians have thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan in a letter
over the ban of schools affiliated with Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO),
a terror group which was behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.
welcomed the decision taken by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for the handing
over of the FETO-run schools in the country to the Maarif Foundation of Turkey
and listing FETO as a terrorist organisation,” read the letter sent to Imran
December 2018, the Supreme Court had ordered the government to declare FETO a
terror group and to ban its affiliated schools in the country.
top court also ordered the transfer of FETO’s “movable and immovable assets”
including schools, colleges, education centres and other similar entities to
Turkey’s Maarif Foundation.
education body immediately took over the FETO-linked schools in Pakistan, the
letter noted. “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Pakistani
authorities,” said the letter penned by the friendship group between the
parliaments of Turkey and Pakistan.
concrete steps of Pakistani government against FETO “confirmed yet again the
strong relations between our countries,” it underlined.
would like you to know that our country will continue to provide every support
to Pakistan, and, as in every other field, exert efforts for the purpose of
developing education together,” the letter added.
to Anadolu Agency on Friday, Ali Sahin, the head of parliamentary group, expressed
support for PM Imran’s decision.
the FETO threat in some foreign countries apart from Pakistan, Sahin said, “We
want Pakistan’s decision to serve as a model for the other countries.”
2016 coup bid, claiming 251 lives and injuring nearly 2,200 others, was
orchestrated by FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen.
Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi met German counterpart Heiko
Maas on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Friday.
two foreign ministers expressed satisfaction at the current level of bilateral
relations and agreed to translate the existing friendship and mutual goodwill
into a strong political and economic partnership.
foreign minister appreciated the trade and investment relations and welcomed
the entry of Volkswagen into the Pakistani market. He invited other German
companies to take advantage of Pakistan’s investor-friendly policies,
especially in the fields of energy, infrastructure development, agriculture,
food processing, energy, mining, manufacturing, water and waste management,
two foreign ministers discussed a wide range of regional and international
issues. Underscoring the importance of peace and stability in Afghanistan, the
FM Qureshi stated that Pakistan was facilitating the ongoing talks between the US
and the Taliban as a shared responsibility and in good faith. He hoped that the
talks would result in an intra-Afghan dialogue leading to lasting peace in the
country. He also highlighted the continued atrocities perpetrated by the
security forces in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
Pakistan was rescheduling flights, blocking-off luxury hotels, and- according
to one report Friday- collecting 3,500 pigeons and colourful balloons to
release during a welcome ceremony for Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin
is hoping to sign a raft of investment deals and other agreements during the
two-day visit, which begins Saturday and will include talks with Pakistan's
Prime Minister Imran Khan and the powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed
heralding the crown prince were already lining the streets of the capital
Friday, while the Express Tribune newspaper reported that authorities were
trying to catch so many pigeons for a welcome ceremony that they were forced to
collect birds from other cities.
the armed forces, and the Saudi Royal Guards will provide security, a senior
Islamabad police official told AFP.
capital's "red zone", which houses Parliament House and the
Presidency, was to be sealed off, while civil aviation authorities have been
told to reschedule flights during the prince's arrival and departure.
in the capital said two five-star hotels had been ordered to cancel all advance
bookings as the rooms will be reserved for the prince's entourage.
in the week local media reported that the crown prince's personal belongings-
including luxury vehicles and his own gym- were flown to Pakistan in two C130
visit came as regional tensions spiked after neighbouring India accused
Islamabad of harbouring militants behind a deadly attack in Indian-administered
least 41 paramilitary troops were killed in a suicide blast Thursday, with
Indian media reporting that the Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammed
had claimed responsibility.
crown prince, who is due to visit India after Pakistan, also continues to be
tarnished by his alleged links to the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal
Arabia is reportedly preparing to sign a record investment package with
Pakistan, including a $10-billion refinery and oil complex for the strategic
Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
foreign office spokesman said Islamabad is seeking to sign a number of other
deals, including one "combating organised crime".
has been courting its Gulf allies for months as he seeks to stave off an
ongoing balance of payments crisis and reduce the size of any potential bailout
from the International Monetary Fund.
Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
have together offered Islamabad some $30 billion in investment and loans.
Arabia and Pakistan are also participating in talks with the US and other
countries seeking to bring the Taliban to the table for peace negotiations with
Kabul after more than 17 years of war.
The arrival of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the federal capital on
his first two-day official visit to Pakistan has been delayed by a day for
the crown prince was due in Islamabad on Saturday (today) but, according to the
Foreign Office, a slight change has been made in his schedule and now he is
coming on Sunday.
visit: Everything you need to know
is describing the visit as a “historical one” which will help stabilise the
crippling economy of the country as over $21 billion Memorandums of Understanding
(MoUs) are likely to be inked between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia during the
only the government but the opposition has also hailed the visit of the crown
prince as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif and
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari have welcomed the
crown prince in their statements.
security measures are being taken for the visit of the crown prince as twin
cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi will be sealed for two days (on Sunday and
Monday) and mobile service will remain suspended there.
separate receptions will be held in the Presidency and Prime Minister House in
honour of the crown prince during which one-on-one meetings between Prince
Mohammad bin Salman and President Arif Alvi and the prince and Prime Minister
Imran Khan will take place. The crown prince will also meet Chief of the Army
Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
reports said the government had reserved several hotels for the big Saudi
delegation. As many as 750 rooms have been booked in eight Islamabad hotels for
the visiting delegation.
Minister Khan and the crown prince will co-chair meetings of various joint
working groups on trade, investment, energy, science, information and media.
prince will be accompanied by a delegation of royals, key ministers and leading
cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been put on high alert and Section 144
has been imposed in the capital with airspace shut down arrangements on Feb 17
and 18. According to police, 1,000 checkpoints have been set up across the twin
cities, five in the limits of each police station.
many as 300 Land Cruisers have been reserved for the visiting delegation and a
gym has been set up in PM House for the crown prince.
a time when the country is struggling with the dwindling foreign exchange
reserves, Pakistan expects a highest-ever investment announcement to the tune
of about $21 billion during the visit of the Saudi prince.
with the crown prince, about 35 top Saudi investors will also visit Pakistan.
The business delegation will have a business to business meeting with local
businessmen on Monday, according to Commerce Secretary Younus Dagha.
Saudi businessmen are interested in investment, particularly in
at a press conference on Friday, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and
Investment Razak Dawood said Saudi investments would be on commercial basis and
would have no government liabilities.
biggest investment, he said, would be on setting up an oil refinery in
Balochistan. However, he said it was unclear whether the products of the
refinery would be consumed in Pakistan or exported.
adviser said four MoUs would be signed between the governments of Pakistan and
Saudi Arabia. The MoUs relate to the establishment of an oil refinery and
petrochemical sector, renewable energy projects, mineral and mining sector and
financing arrangements through the Saudi Fund for Development.
Dawood said the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council had been
established which would be co-chaired by the Saudi crown prince and Prime
Minister Imran Khan. He said the council was aimed at uniting efforts and
raising level of coordination between the two countries to achieve the mutually
agreed political, economic and development objectives.
pillars -- the political and security pillar, the economic pillar and the
social and cultural pillar -- have been created and they would be managed by
their own steering committees,” he said.
adviser said that Saudi investors were interested in Halal food, hotels and
said that the visit of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman would show investors
and businessman around the world that Pakistan was the best investment and
president Shahbaz Sharif has welcomed the Saudi prince’s visit to Pakistan and
lauded his commitment to help the country in these most testing times.
said the prince had built further on the golden tradition of unshakeable
Pakistan-Saudi Arabia ties. He said the entire country would welcome the prince
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