Mohammed (in red turban), a minister in Ashok Gehlot cabinet, performs puja at
Shiva temple in Pokhran in Jaisalmer district.(HT Photo )
al-Iftaa: A Muslim Should Belong Only to Nation
Muslim Minister Performs Puja at Jaisalmer Temples
against Muslims: China Closes Three Mosques
Bemoans Disjointed World, Praises Unity over Diversity
And Israel Exit UN Cultural Agency, Claiming Bias
Religious Tourism Witnesses Unprecedented Surge
Find Bangladesh Elections 'Peaceful and Organised'
al Ifta warns of spread of Daesh, Al Qaeda remnants in Syria, Iraq
Militants Continue Plundering Civilians' Assets in Northern Syria
rebels and extremists clash, killing 19
Lebanon must form govt after months of deadlock
supporters try to amend Egypt's constitution to let him remain in power
erupts between rival groups in Syria
Talaq Issue of Gender Equality, Sabarimala of Tradition’: Prime Minister
Talaq Bill another Economic Attack On Muslims: Mehbooba
Investigation Agency Hunts Source of Ammo Procured By ISIS Module
Strikes since 2009, Angry Over Bias: Key Accused In IS Plot
Two Years, There Will Be ‘No Burial Space’ Left For Muslims in Indian Capital
Kader Khan designed courses in Islamic studies
Malaysia Will Fail If It Follows Isma’s Islamic State Model
reconsiders ban on G25’s book advocating moderate Islam
Tun Razak PPBM defends division chief’s call at AGM
department to oversee religious schools in Melaka
underdog in Cameron Highlands race, says Kit Siang
Former Neo-Nazis and Islamists Fighting Extremism In The UK
bars German man from leaving country
Says Israel Is Arabs’ ‘Ally’ Against Iran
way for Palestinians to gain own rights is resistance: Rouhani
pursues 'clear, unchangeable' stance on Palestine: Qassemi
Israel pressing Honduras to moving embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds
Ansarullah movement slams WFP for “rotten” food aid
settlement activity appears to surge in Trump era
Will Fight Poverty, Illiteracy, Injustice, Corruption In 2019: PM
down Indian spy drone, claims Pak
paramilitary soldiers killed in clash with militants in Pakistan
security officials martyred in botched attack on FC centre
gas project in limbo: Pakistan wants Iran to interpret sanctions
Kill 21 Afghan Security Forces In Country’s North
powers call for probe into Bangladesh election irregularities, violence
neighbours fear refugee crisis if US pulls out
3,227 children will be born in Afghanistan on New Year’s Day: UNICEF
Forces Free 19 from Daesh Captivity Following Clashes
Men Kill 37 Civilians In Part of Mali Hit By Ethnic Violence
kills 7 Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia
Bashir orders probe into recent deadly protests in Sudan
Bashir forms panel to probe protest violence
will continue to work with Israel over Syria and Iran: Pompeo
players pressing for peace in Afghanistan: US commander
names square in capital Lima after Palestine, angering Israeli envoy
Manbij: Dispatch from the battle for Syria's future
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Al-Iftaa: A Muslim Should Belong Only To Nation
- 1 January 2019: The Egyptian Darul Iftaa on Tuesday said that a Muslim should
have his belonging only to his nation, homeland and society.
religious body, in a videotape issued to respond to allegations by terrorist
groups, added that a Muslim should not have any belonging to a group or an
added that the extremist groups have taken the meaning of religion out of its
genuine context in an effort to serve their own ideology.
religious body warned of division and called for unity and solidarity in the
face of extremist thought.
In a rare display of communal harmony, Rajasthan’s minorities Minister Shale
Mohammad performed ‘rudrabhishek’ at the Shiva temple at Sadolai in Pokhran on
Monday. Before that, the cabinet minister also worshipped at the famous
Ramdevra temple in the district.
the lone Muslim in the newly formed Ashok Gehlot’s council of ministers, is the
son of Gazi Fakir, a religious guru of Sindhi-Muslim community residing on both
sides of the Indo-Pak border in JaisalmerBarmer.
to TOI, Mohammad said that he prayed for peace, happiness, prosperity of the
state at both the temples. “My family and I have always had a deep faith in
Hindu temples. Whenever I get a chance, I always visit a temple,” the minister
the recently concluded assembly elections, BJP had fielded local Hindu priest
Maharaj Pratap Puri of Taratra Peeth against Mohammad, the Congress candidate
from Jaisalmer’s Pokhran assembly seat. In a fiercely contested election, both Mohammad
and Puri secured over 82,000 votes each but Mohammad managed to win by a
whisker of 872 votes.
is first time that an MLA from Jaisalmer district, which has just two assembly
seats in the 200-member house, has found a ministerial berth in the state
government. So far, no state government, be it of any party, chose an MLA from
the desert district to be a minister.
offered prayers at the Shiva temple and took part in ‘rudrabhishek’ (giving
holy bath to Shiv-linga) late Monday evening. Priest Madhusudan Changani
chanted Vedic matras, applied vermilion on Mohammad’s forehead and tied the auspicious
thread on his wrist. Mohammad had applied vermilion and wore a saffron turban
also during the ceremony while taking oath as a cabinet early minister last
Against Muslims: China Closes Three Mosques
Safaa Kasraoui -
– On Saturday, December 30, Chinese authorities closed three mosques in
southwestern where the Hui Muslims live.
China Morning Post said that the mosques were closed as they were “illegally
established and conducted illegal religious education.”
news outlet added that the shutdown of mosques in Weishan comes after several crackdowns against Muslims
against Muslims mosques in Ningxia and Gansu.
the year, Chinese authorities expanded
detention of Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang province.
justified the mass internment by saying that they were simply intended to bring
the Muslim Uighur people into a “modern, civilized” world.
a report that the submitted by the UN, over a million Uighurs are currently
detained in what the government calls “re-education camps.”
Chinese government also imposed legal penalties targeting Muslims in China, a
ban on both women wearing headscarves and the religious instruction of
government of the western Chinese province of Xinjiang said that tat any Muslims who think alcohol,
cigarettes or dancing are forbidden need to be arrested.
2018 report from the Humans Rights Watch
stated that the “ government restricts religious practice to five officially
recognized religions in officially approved religious premises, and the Chinese
government retain control over religious bodies’ personnel appointments,
publications, finances, and seminary applications.”
response, a group of Muslim Uighurs recorded a video to cry for help from
scholars, activists and journalists..
countries have economic and political interests, that is why official news
outlets pay no mind to this case. That is why scholars and organizations must
at least deliver this message to all muslims,” a man representing the community
said in the video.
bemoans disjointed world, praises unity over diversity
CITY: Pope Francis, in his first message of the New Year on Tuesday, bemoaned a
lack of unity across the world, and warned against a soulless hunt for profit
that benefits only a few.
much dispersion and solitude there is all around us. The world is completely
connected, yet seems increasingly disjointed,” the pope said in his traditional
New Year’s Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.
his homily, he paid homage to motherhood, saying a world that looked to the
future while forgetting “a mother’s gaze” was shortsighted.
may well increase its profits, but it will no longer see others as children. It
will make money, but not for everyone. We will all dwell in the same house, but
not as brothers and sisters,” he said.
New Year’s address followed a turbulent 2018 for the pope, whose Church was
battered by a torrent of sex scandals across the world that Francis has
repeatedly failed to contain. The sense of crisis was underscored on Monday
when the Vatican spokesman and his deputy abruptly and unexpectedly resigned
following disagreements on communications strategy.
and Israel exit UN cultural agency, claiming bias
United States and Israel have quit the UN’s educational, scientific and
cultural agency, arguing the organization fosters anti-Israel bias.
withdrawal took effect on the stroke of the New Year, after the Trump
administration and the Israeli prime minister announced their decision to leave
UNESCO in 2017.
it’s largely procedural, the moment marks a blow to the agency, which the US
co-founded after World War II to foster peace. The US suspended its funding to
UNESCO after it admitted Palestine as a member in 2011.
US has demanded “fundamental reform” in the agency that is best known for its
World Heritage program to protect cultural sites and traditions.
director general, Audrey Azoulay, has recently championed a Holocaust education
website and the UN’s first educational guidelines on fighting anti-Semitism.
religious tourism witnesses unprecedented surge
An unprecedented surge in religious tourism between Pakistan and Iran was
witnessed during the months of Muharram and Safar this Islamic year and over
75,000 pilgrims visited religious places in the neighbouring country owing to
the upgraded facilities and security arrangements undertaken at Pakistan House
on Taftan Border.
to documents submitted to the Interior Ministry, State Minister for Interior
Shehryar Khan Afridi, on special directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan,
ensured the provision of foolproof security to the pilgrims while modern and
state-of-the-art facilities have also been installed at Pakistan House.
security concerns, pilgrims used to face a lot of troubles pertaining to
immigration and amenities during their transit and stay at Taftan Border. In
order to address the administrative issues of the pilgrims, Afridi, along with
Taftan Rifles commandant, conducted back-to-back visits to Taftan on September 8 and October 24 in 2018.
these visits, the interior minister formed the Taftan Task Force that was
responsible to undertake certain development projects. The task force was
headed by Taftan Rifles commandant while 109 Wing commander, Taftan Rifles
assistant commissioner (customs), Taftan assistant commissioner and Federal
Investigation Agency (FIA) Taftan assistant director were its members.
minister had assigned the taskforce with the upgradation of facilities for
pilgrims visiting Iran and Iraq in a four months’ time.
task force had also been assigned to install 20 new immigration counters at
FIA’s newly constructed building for better facilitation of the travelers;
construction of dual sheltered lanes (exit and entry), including its fencing
from new FIA building to the international border, pavement of the parking area
around the new FIA office by the National Highway Authority (NHA), installation
of a large size national flag in front of the Pakistan gate, improvement of
facilities at Pakistan House i.e. canteen, cleanliness and provision of water;
and taking action against the contractor who used low quality material on the
outer stars of the new FIA building.
the past, the pilgrims had become victims of terrorist activities that resulted
in a prominent decline in number of people travelling to Iran for religious
tourism. The issue of pilgrims’ security was promptly taken up by the federal
and provincial governments as well as the army/FC simultaneously.
of now, security of Zaireen [pilgrims] while travelling from Quetta to Taftan
and back is being effectively managed,” the document reads.
newly constructed FIA Building has been made operational with effect from
November 5. Entry and exit lanes for visitors have been fenced to avoid
jumbling of pilgrims. Construction of dual sheltered lanes (exit and entry)
from the new FIA building to the international border has been completed and a
large size Pakistani flag has also been installed in front of the Pakistan gate
at Pakistan House have been improved and the provision of clean drinking water,
uninterrupted electricity, quality food at cafeterias and regular cleanliness
have been ensured at the site. An action has also been taken against the
contractor who carried out substandard work on the new FIA building.
contractor was pursued through the assistant commissioner (Customs) and
necessary improvements have been made,” the document states.
recent months, federal and provincial governments, along with Balochistan FC
(South), have also endeavoured to facilitate the pilgrims’ movement from
Pakistan to Iran and back.
find Bangladesh elections 'peaceful and organised'
Human Rights Foundation and the Election Monitoring Forum organised a press
briefing on Monday at the National Press Club to reveal what they saw during
the elections, which ruling the Awami League won landslide. The Jatiya Oikya
Front opposition alliance led by Dr Kamal Hossain has demanded fresh elections.
Election Monitoring Forum is an association of 31 organisations and 26 NGOs
registered under the Election Commission.
deployed 5,765 observers in 214 constituencies of 299 where the elections took
place. They visited 17,165 centres.
on their information, we can say it was a peaceful election and it’s been far
better than the previous elections,” Prof Mohammed Abed Ali, executive
director, Election Monitoring Forum, said.
described the violence which took place in different areas outside Dhaka as
“not unusual” considering the size of the population of 160 million.
asked the authorities to identify videos of previous elections violence
circulated in social media.
observer Tania Foster and Chally Foster, Former Nepalese minister Hakikullah
Muslim and MP Nazir Mia, Nepalese lawyer Advocate Mohammadin Ali, Former
President of Kolkata Press Club Kamal Bhattacharja, Lawyer Gautom Ghosh from
Kolkata, Mohammed Ehsan Iqbal from Sri Lanka, and SAARC Human Rights
Foundation’s director Masum Chowdhury were present during the press briefing.
international observers visited 24 centres in Dhaka divided into three groups.
some centres, they did not find polling agents of opposition BNP.
asked, the presiding officers told them that they can ensure access only when
the agents will turn up to the centre. “If the agents do not come, then how can
we bring them here,” one told them.
President of Kolkata Press Club Kamal Bhattacharja said he had observed
Bangladesh twice before as a reporter.
time I came as an observer and I asked questions to the people in the queue for
voting and nobody told me they faced any harassment or intimidation or threat
before coming to the polling centre.”
observer Foster said she was able to ask questions to the voters and election
expressed their confidence. It was a very peaceful and organised election,” she
- 1 January 2018: Dar al-Ifta observatory for Takfiti Fatwa (religious edicts)
has warned that the remnants of terrorist groups Daesh and Al Qaeda may seek to
spread chaos in Syria and Iraq.
a report Tuesday, the observatory said these organizations seek to cause
instability in Syria and Iraq despite the decline of the number of terrorist
operations in the two countries.
said that Afghanistan continues to top the list of countries witnessing
terrorist operations whose aim is always to spread chaos and disturb social
24 news website quoted local sources as reporting that the Ankara-backed
militants have stolen a large volume of Afrin residents' olive products and
further added that the militants have stolen almost 2,000 barrels of olive oil
along with one and a half million Syrian lira from the residents of the village
of Karku in Ma'abatli region in Northwestern Aleppo.
news website went on to say that over 30 members of the Ankara-backed National
Army have raided the village and looted the assets and agricultural products,
adding that the militants further transferred the stolen products to Turkey via
Rajou road. The Kurdish-language Hawar
news reported in October that governor of Turkey's Hatay called on
Ankara-backed militants in Afrin in Northwestern Aleppo to hand over the entire
olive crops to the Turkish province.
the meantime, Salah Ibo, the deputy head of Afrin Agriculture Department, said
that Ankara intended to steal $100 mln of Afrin residents' agricultural
Hawar news went on to say that terrorists of Ahrar al-Shamiyah and Tajamo'a
Adl, both affiliated to the Turkish army, have started fierce clashes in the
village of Qajomo in Jandaris region over distribution of looted olive
between extremists and rebels in northern Syria have killed at least 19 people,
a war monitor said Tuesday.
fighting, pitting Al-Qaeda-linked coalition Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) against
an alliance of rebel groups, flared in western Aleppo province, the Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights said.
had on Monday accused rebel group Nureddine al-Zinki of killing five of its
fighters, and launched an offensive against rebel positions close to the
country’s last opposition bastion in the northwestern province of Idlib.
Abdel Rahman, who heads the Britain-based Observatory, said 12 HTS fighters and
five from the Zinki group had been killed, along with two civilians. A further
35 people were wounded, he said.
al-Zinki is a major player in the National Liberation Front (NLF), a
Turkish-backed rebel alliance.
and other extremist groups dominate more than half of Idlib province, while the
NLF holds most of the rest.
two have regularly clashed over control of territory.
conflict flared with anti-government protests in 2011 that were brutally
repressed, sparking a complex multi-front civil war involving a myriad of
jihadist groups and foreign powers.
prime minister-designate, Saad Hariri, warned Tuesday a government needs to be
formed as the country faces a tough economic situation after months of
have fallen behind -- we must form the government”, he told reporters at the
presidential palace, after a long meeting with President Michel Aoun.
president and I are determined to meet again and finish this issue, because the
country cannot continue without a government,” Hariri said. He called for
political factions in the multi-confessional country to cooperate on reviving
the political process.
is governed by a complex system that guarantees a delicate balance between
religious communities and their political parties, so decisions are made by
consensus, making for protracted bargaining.
country’s parliamentary elections in May were the first for nine years but
lawmakers have since failed to form a government.
mid-November, Hariri accused his main political rival – the Hezbollah – of
obstructing the formation of a new cabinet. A month later, he promised that
Lebanon would have a government “by the end of the year”.
slow process has worried observers, as the economy is teetering on the brink of
disaster, hit hard by the fallout from the conflict that has ravaged
neighboring Syria since 2011.
economic situation is difficult, but this is not to say it is impossible,”
Hariri said Tuesday. The international community pledged up to $11.5 billion in
aid and loans for Lebanon at a conference in Paris in April.
of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi are calling for constitutional
changes so that the head of state can stay in power once his second term ends
came to power in June 2014 as the president, one year after he led the military
to oust the first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi in a coup. He
served as the defense minister in Morsi’s government before orchestrating the
April 2, 2018, the election commission said Sisi had won a total of 21.8
million votes in the March presidential election. His sole opponent, Moussa
Mostafa Moussa, a relatively unknown and a fervent Sisi supporter himself,
gained 656,534, less than the 1.8 million spoiled ballots.
turnout in the much-criticized election was 41 percent, lower than the 47
percent recorded in 2014 elections. That could be a potential setback for Sisi,
who sought to portray the vote as a plebiscite on his efforts to overhaul
Egypt’s economy over the past years and eliminate terrorism in Egypt.
vote was also marred by allegations that real contenders for the election
withdrew from the race because of an intimidation campaign by the government.
Serious opposition contenders halted their campaigns in January while
authorities arrested the main challenger whose campaign manager was also beaten
early June, 64-year-old Sisi was sworn in as the country’s president for a
second four-year term in office to have a hard time dealing with major economic
and security challenges in the North African country.
Sunday, Egypt’s state-owned and semi-official newspaper Al-Akhbar said in its
editorial that it hoped that 2019 would see “the start of a belated political
reform” to secure Sisi’s future in power.
editorial, written by the daily’s director Yasser Rizk, said that this would
“preserve all the people’s gains in terms of security, stability and economic
recovery over the past five years.”
in Tuesday, Mohammad Fuad, and lawmaker with the Wafd party, which is close to
the government, also said in an interview with AFP that “the whole of Egypt was
talking about (Rizk’s) article last night.”
issue has been under discussion everywhere in Egypt, not just in parliament,
for some time,” he added, noting that a potential parliamentary debate on the
issue had not been initiated yet by the government.
December 8, a number of Egyptian lawyers, including Ayman Abdel-Hakim Ramadan,
announced that they had filed a case with a Cairo court to force the parliament
to debate amending article 140 of the constitution that bars Sisi from running
for a third term in 2022.
late July, a petition demanding parliament to take due steps in allowing Sisi
to remain president beyond his second term was circulating within Egyptian
institutions and among pro-state figures.
in March, Sisi’s supporters called on the parliament to discuss repealing the
so-called article 140 of the constitution.
in November 2017, and even before Sisi was re-elected for his second term, he
told American news network CNBC that he would not seek a third term in office.
However, following his victory in March polls, the question has gradually
returned to public debate.
controversial proposal to maintain Sisi for at least a third consecutive term
has been strongly criticized by opponents and NGOs who took to social networks
to express their dissatisfaction.
the past few years, Sisi has faced growing criticism about his way of treating
dissidents, especially those linked to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement,
which Sisi outlawed right after taking office.
seven years after the January 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of dictator
Hosni Mubarak from power, Sisi has still two major challenges to tackle:
economic recovery and security, particularly in northern parts of the Sinai
Peninsula, where a terror group affiliated with the Daesh Takfiri terrorist
group is at large, killing government troops and civilians alike.
the other hand, human rights groups and activists have constantly accused Sisi
of violating public freedoms and suppressing opponents. Most of his opponents
and vocal members of civil society have also been arrested in the past few
BRASILIA: Clashes have broken out between two powerful insurgent groups in
northern Syria, leaving at least two people dead.
Al-Qaeda-linked Hayat Levant Liberation Committee and the Turkey-backed Nour
El-Din El-Zinki group blamed each other for triggering Tuesday’s fighting in
the northern province of Aleppo.
regime-controlled Syrian Central Military Media says the Al-Qaeda-linked
fighters captured the villages of Taqad, Saadiyah and Habata. It added that
fighting is ongoing in the town of Daret Azzeh.
Levant Liberation Committee said Nour El-Din El-Zinki militants shot dead five
people, including four of its fighters, last week.
clashes are the first between the two former allies since they reached a deal
to end similar fighting in October.
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says two civilians were
US and Israel vowed on Tuesday to continue cooperating over Syria and in
countering Iran in the Middle East, even as President Donald Trump’s plans to
withdraw US troops from Syria.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said before a meeting with US Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo in the Brazilian capital that he planned to discuss how to
intensify intelligence and operations cooperation in Syria and elsewhere to
block Iranian “aggression.”
his first public comments on Trump’s decision, Pompeo said it “in no way
changes anything that this administration is working on alongside Israel” and
that campaigns to counter Daesh and Iranian aggression would continue.
army has issued demobilization orders for a new round of men conscripted for
compulsory service in 2010, a year before the civil war started.
decision, announced by state media on Monday, ends the drawn-out deployment of
Syrians who enlisted for between 18 months and two years of mandatory military
service that year, but who ended up serving for more than eight years because
of the conflict.
army issued “an order to demobilize officers from Recruitment Class 103” and
recruits drafted in 2010.
order, which comes into effect on Wednesday, also demobilizes officers and
reservists enrolled before July 2012.
who wished to continue fighting in the army’s ranks could request to do so. It
is the latest order to let go conscripts as the war winds down and the Damascus
regime finds itself in control of almost two-thirds of the country.
DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denied any dichotomy in BJP's stand
favouring punishment for those practising triple Talaq even after it has been
outlawed, and opposing entry of women of a particular age into Sabrimala shrine
in disregard of an SC judgement.
are two separate things. You are not seeing this properly," the PM said in
an interview to ANI on Tuesday, asserting that while his government's move to
criminalise the persistence of triple talaq was influenced by considerations of
social justice, BJP's support for the status quo at Sabrimala shrine was
derived from its respect for tradition and was in consonance with the views of
SC judge Indu Malhotra who gave a dissenting judgement.
emphasised that many Islamic countries, Pakistan included, have banned triple
talaq and contended: "So it is an issue of gender equality, matter of
social justice. It is not an issue of faith. So keep the two separate."
his party's stand on Sabarimala, Modi said: “India is of one opinion that
everyone should get their due rights. There are some temples which have their
own traditions, where men cannot go. And men don't go... In this, Sabarimala, a
woman judge in the SC has made certain observations. It needs to be read
minutely. There is no need to attribute those to any political party. As a
woman too, she has made some suggestions. There should be a debate on that as
Talaq bill another economic attack on Muslims: Mehbooba
Former chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti lambasted
government at the centre for its efforts to criminalise instant divorce by
triple talaq among Muslims. She told this during a press conference at her
residence on Gupkar Road.
Reader quoted her as saying, “The Triple Talaq bill goes against Muslims. It
has the potential to create division among Muslims. Zia’s Pakistan won’t be
allowed to be created in Gandhi’s India.” She added, “By bringing the Triple
Talaq Bill, they (BJP) are entering our homes.”
claimed that the triple talaq bill will disturb the family life of Muslims and
there would be more problems for women and men economically.
Mufti said, Muslims have a strong family structure and the bill is an attack on
it. Slamming BJP for the move she said, “I, as a Muslim, and as a sufferer of a
broken marriage, believe it (the bill) is not in the spirit of Gandhi’s India.
BJP must refrain from such acts. It upholds the rulings of Supreme Court that
go in its favour, while disrespecting others. If the BJP does not refrain, we
warn them of serious repercussions.”
Investigation Agency hunts source of ammo procured by ISIS module
an effort to trace the source of arms and ammunition and explosive materials
procured by the 10 arrested alleged members of an ISIS-inspired module,
Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam (War for the cause of Islam), the National Investigation
Agency (NIA) is questioning dozens of people across two states -- Delhi and
Uttar Pradesh and conducting fresh searches.
agency wants to know how these men procured the huge amount of explosives and
seized items include 25 kg of explosive material, such as potassium nitrate,
ammonium nitrate, sulphur, sugar material paste, 12 pistols, 150 rounds of live
ammunition, 1 country- made rocket launcher, 112 alarm clocks, mobile phone
circuits, batteries, 51 pipes, remote control car triggering switch, wireless
digital doorbell for remote switch, steel containers, electric wires, 91 mobile
phones, 134 SIM cards, 3 laptops, a knife, a sword, ISIS-related literature and
a cash amount of Rs. 7.5 lakh approximately.
agency had arrested 10 Islamic State-inspired module members, including the
group head Mufti Suhail for planning terror attacks targeting important
personalities and security establishments as well as crowded places in the
National Capital Region.
arrested accused are NIA custody's for 12 days as the agency tries to unearth
arrested include Suhail (29), Anas Yunus (24), Rashid Zafar Raq (23), Saeed
(28), Saeed's brother Raees Ahmad, Zubair Malik (20), Zubair's brother Zaid
(22), Saqib Iftekar (26), Mohammed Irshad (in his 20s) and Mohammed Azam (35).
strikes since 2009, angry over bias: Key accused in IS plot
key accused in the alleged Islamic State module busted by NIA last week, Mufti
Suhail, has told interrogators that he was planning “jihadist activities” since
2009 due to what he called “persecution of Muslims in India” but did not have
the wherewithal to carry out attacks, sources said.
is significant given that the Islamic State, although first set up as an Al
Qaeda affiliate way back in 2006, hit international headlines only in 2014 when
it seized territories in Syria and Iraq.
29-year-old Islamic preacher, who was arrested by NIA last week from his home
in Jaffrabad, Delhi, told interrogators that he had been hurt by events such as
the Babri Masjid demolition and believed that Muslims were discriminated
against in the country. He has pointed this out as one of the reasons why
Muslims do not get jobs in the country, sources said.
is highly radicalised and justifies his actions. He said he had been motivated
because Muslims suffer injustice in the country. He was earlier attracted to Al
Qaeda and Taliban but could never approach any of them. With Islamic State
recruiting online, he found a handler who guided him through his latest
adventure,” an investigator said.
officer said that Suhail appeared to be the most “motivated” in the group. “He
alone was in touch with this online handler who guided him to carry out attacks
in India. He, in turn, gathered friends and acquaintances who are in the age
group of 20-30,” the officer said.
pointed out that this was unlike some other IS-affiliated groups busted by NIA
in the past few years. “Most of those arrested earlier had plans to go to Syria
or Iraq. Suhail’s concern, however, is largely India,” an investigator said.
to the NIA, a few months ago, Suhail assumed the online identity of Abu Basir
al Khurasani to trawl the Net for content related to Islamic State. He soon met
an online entity named Abu Malik Peshawari on Facebook. In due course, NIA
claimed, Peshawari convinced Suhail to carry out attacks in the name of the
Islamic State and also became his guide. This handler is suspected to be in
Afghanistan. Suhail hails from Amroha where his father was engaged in religious
studies but he has hardly lived there. Over the past one and a half months,
however, he began living in his ancestral home in the Moullan Mohalla of Amroha
town. NIA sources said he moved there primarily to build his group which has
several members from Amroha.
was looking to rent a place in the town to hold meetings and assemble bombs
since he could not have done it at his ancestral home which is a joint family
property,” the officer said.
graduating in religious studies, which included a brief stint at the Deoband
seminary, Suhail was teaching at various madrassas. He has told investigators
that he was attracted to pan-Islamic ideologies of various groups and believed
Muslims were persecuted across the globe.
grieving the loss of a loved one, relatives have to often undergo harrowing
times hunting a space for burial in New Delhi.
as the situation continues to worsen, shortage of space in New Delhi’s 113
graveyards continues to trouble Muslims.
recent study conducted by NGOs Human Development Society and Ullhas, at the
request of the Delhi Minority Commission, shows that in two years there will be
no burial space left for Muslims, who make up 13 per cent of Delhi’s
exclusively to Al Arabiya English, chairman of the Delhi Minority Commission
Zafarul Islam Khan said: “There are constant complaints about lack of space in
‘qabristans’ (graveyards), encroachments and illegal occupation.
study was conducted to see how genuine are these problems and the results are
more shocking than common knowledge. The study was based on field research says
that most of Delhi ‘qabristans’ have simply vanished due to illegal
study, a copy of which was made available to Al Arabiya English states:
“Although the Muslim population of the city has increased, very few graveyards
have been developed in the recent past, with only five graveyards being less
than 10 year old. Encroachment of graveyard land is a major challenge in the
city, as most of the 624 graveyards listed on the website of Delhi Waqf Board
(DWB), do not physically exist today.
in mind the number of approximate deaths in the Muslim community in a year,
i.e., 13000, and current level of total vacancies in graveyards (29370), there
may not be any vacancy in the graveyards of the city after about two to three
years from now.”
Islam Khan, who is also a journalist, added: “The study reveals that there are
only 131 graveyards out of 704 in Delhi today and even out of these 16 are
a result, no burial is taking place in these 16 qabristans. Many people and
government departments have occupied qabristan land over the years and the
major encroachers are Muslim individuals and organizations.”
asked about the intervention of Delhi Minority Commission (DMC) in offering
solutions to this problem, Khan said: “The DMC has brought this matter into
public knowledge and debate. It is talking to government departments to
evacuate the encroachers and occupiers and where this not possible, proper
monetary or land compensation should be given to the DWB so that new
‘qabristans’ are opened.
government is yet to respond, but we are pursuing the case. The study has also
recommended to Muslims of Delhi to use un-cemented or ‘kachchi’ graves so that
the same space may be used again after an interval of a few years of each
study recommended the following measures: Increasing the capacities of existing
graveyards by land filling, removal of encroachments, and priority handling of
litigations; the construction of new graveyards, retrieval of lost graveyards
and the re-use of graves after a few years.
Kader Khan Designed Courses In Islamic Studies
little-known facet of Kader Khan, the veteran Bollywood actor-writer-comedian
who passed in away Toronto early on Tuesday morning, was that he was a Quranic
scholar who designed a special academic syllabus in Islamic studies, besides
simplified Arabic and Urdu language courses, a family friend said.
deeply immersed in Bollywood, around early 1990s, he bowed before the wishes of
his aged father, the late Maulana Abdul Rahman Khan, to take forward his ideals
for propagating Islamic studies and help clear misconceptions among the minds
of people by using simplied language with their meanings," said Javed
Jamaluddin, a veteran Urdu journalist and close friend of the late actor.
hailing from Kabul, Afghanistan, Maulana Khan was a renowned Islamic scholar
who remained in India post-Partition and in the early 1950s, migrated to
Holland, where he set up the Arabic and Islamic Institute.
in the early 1990s, Kader Khan was summoned by his father who wanted him to
take over and carry forward his legacy, but the actor - then already a big name
in Bollywood - was reluctant, arguing he had acepractically no knowledge of
Islam or Arabic or Urdu.
the senior Maulana Khan explained to his son that although he had no knowledge
about story-writing or dialogue-writing, he learnt and made it big in
Bollywooda So, in a similar fashion, he could also learn about Islam, Arabic
and Urdu," said Jamaluddin, 55.
father's words hit Kader Khan like a sledge-hammer and he immediately enrolled
for and completed his MA in Islamic Studies & Arab Literature from Osmania University
to his father's wishes, he set up a team of experts in Mumbai and also at his
bungalow in Pune's posh Koregaon Park where he designed various Islamic courses
for students from nursery to post-graduate levels covering Islamic tenets,
Sharia laws and the like.
followed up by opening the KK Institute of Arabic Language & Islamic
Studies in Dubai and later in Canada to impart training in Arabic and Islamic
laws as preached in the Holy Quran, said Jamaluddin.
secret was simplifying and interpreting the Quran for the common masses,
creating an entire syllabus from nursery to post-graduation in Islamic studies
in an easy-to-understand format with their meanings, which could be understood
easily even by non-Muslims," he added.
his academic efforts were completed around 2005 and he felt very happy and
satisfied at having fulfilled his father's last desire, said Jamaluddin.
September 2014, an ailing Kader Khan went on a Haj pilgrimage accompanied by
some family members and aides, the videos of which went hugely viral on social
his life, he strove to bring the common Muslims into the educational mainstream
through his courses, wanted the Muslim youth to be academically and
vocationally qualified to become independent and help advance the community in
India," Jamaluddin said.
Malaysia will fail if it follows Isma’s Islamic state model
LUMPUR, Jan 2 ― Pro-moderation group G25 today raised alarm over right-wing
Muslim group Isma’s campaign for Malaysia to be declared an Islamic state.
a statement today, the progressive group comprising retired senior government
officials said that Isma’s campaign will ultimately cause Malaysia to become a
failed impoverished state.
view in G25 is that what Isma is advocating will lead the country to become a
failed state with poverty and misery for the masses.
should make it clear whether such a system of governing will make Malaysia a
progressive country with a strong economy to raise standards of living and give
confidence on the future of the country,” the statement read.
also said it was confident that the Bornean states of Sabah and Sarawak would
not accept such a far-right ideology.
month, Isma launched a campaign for Malaysia to be recognised as an Islamic
state, citing among others the position of Islam in the Federal Constitution
and influence of the religion here.
also employed the hand sign of the letter “C” to symbolise the crescent moon,
one of Islam’s symbols.
five-month campaign called “Malaysia Negara Islam” (Malay for “Malaysia an
Islamic State”) aims to gather one million signatures to support its claim, which
will then be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
thread on Isma’s Twitter account listed eight items on its agenda, most notably
the rejection of Malaysia as a secular country, and to stress that Malaysia is
“Tanah Melayu”, or “land of the Malays” with the Malays its native citizens.
addition, it called for stronger role for Islamic jurisprudence in the national
justice system. Currently, Shariah jurisprudence is under state jurisdiction
instead of federal.
pointed out that an Islamic state ultimately means an autocratic system where
religion dictates the laws of the country, with religious teachers having the
final authority on any legislation which the Parliament or Cabinet wishes to
added that Islamic preachers can also veto laws which they felt were not
may well get the one million signatures but mainstream Malaysia, which
represents the majority, will not subscribe to its Islamic agenda,” said G25.
of all races know that the country has a better chance to develop into a united
and successful nation under the democratic constitution that we have now than
under a divisive constitution based on religion.
has done well under the constitution which the leaders of our independence, representing
the three major races, created with the concurrence of the Malay Rulers, to be
the foundation of our new nation.”
LUMPUR, Jan 2 ― The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government is considering whether to
continue a ban on a book on Islam by pro-moderation group G25 instituted by the
previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, G25’s lawyer said today.
Ananth told reporters that his clients, who filed an application for judicial
review of the ban on Silence: Voices of Moderation ― Islam in a Constitutional
Democracy, made a representation last September for the new government to
reconsider the ban, in light of PH’s stance on freedom of expression.
the senior federal counsel told the court the government will take the
representation into consideration and will need some time. The court has fixed
31st January as new hearing date at 2.30pm,” said Surendra.
ban which was first gazetted in July 2017 by then Home Minister Datuk Seri
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is still in effect.
G25 members who filed for a judicial review against the ban were Datuk Noor
Farida Mohd Ariffin, Datuk Zainudden Abdul Bahari, Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd
Kassim, Datuk Latifah Osman Merican and Dr Asma Abdullah.
a previous supporting affidavit, Mohd Sheriff said the book which was published
in December 2015 by Singapore publisher Marshall Cavendish contained the
writings of 22 leading academics, lawyers and social activists, including
himself and Asma.
book aimed to promote discussions and dialogue on a moderate practice of Islam
and was to be part of G25's consultative process to address the excessive
politicisation of religion in Malaysia.
JAYA: The Bandar Tun Razak PPBM division has defended its chief who has come
under fire over his remarks at the party’s recent AGM, in which he reportedly
called for government resources to be used for party purposes.
a statement, its information chief Ahmad Bastari Muslim said Mohd Shahni
Ismail’s remarks were in line with the party’s sustainability.
said the comments by Shahni, who is also the Federal Territories PPBM
information chief, were also not opportunistic and involved the party’s
against Shahni, he said, also proved democracy was being nurtured.
build strength and understanding within our party, we are open to all views and
arguments, but we must look forward and look after our party’s reputation so
that it will progress,” Bastari said.
hoped there would be no more misunderstanding among party members over the
Melaka will set up a Department of Islamic Education by March, Chief Minister
Adly Zahari said today.
said the department would be placed under the Melaka Islamic Religious Council
(MAIM) and would supervise religious schools under the Melaka Islamic Religious
Department (JAIM), as well tahfiz, and public and private religious schools
registered under JAIM.
the Islamic education system is supervised by JAIM but, as we understand, JAIM
has many responsibilities or duties including supervising the various Islamic
institutions. The heavy burden can affect better and focused management.
the setting up of the department can reduce bureaucracy in the development of
Islamic education in the state,” he told reporters after visiting a school on
the first day of the new school year today.
LUMPUR, Jan 2 ― Pakatan Harapan (PH) has little chance of winning the Cameron
Highlands by-election as it did not get much support from Malay and Orang Asli
voters there in the last general election, DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said today.
DAP veteran leader said Cameron Highlands had always been one of Barisan
Nasional’s (BN) “fixed deposit” parliamentary seats in the past six decades.
won the majority support of the Chinese and Indian voters in the 14th general
election but secured only minority support from the Malay and Orang Asli
Pakatan Harapan’s challenge in the Cameron Highlands by-election is to maintain
the support of the Chinese and Indians voters
while increase the support of the Malay and Orang Asli voters,” he said
during a New Year’s Eve event at Kampung Orang Asli Semoi Lama in Pos Lenyang
in Cameron Highlands.
M. Manogaran narrowly lost Cameron Highlands by 597 votes to MIC vice president
Datuk C. Sivarraajh in the 14th general election, but Manogaran successfully
contested the results in court. A by-election for the federal seat in Pahang
will be held on January 26.
also reiterated that he was not anti-Malay or anti-Islam, pointing out that he
had an older sister who was given away to a Malay family in Batu Pahat, Johor,
before he was born.
former neo-Nazis and Islamists fighting extremism in the UK
wanted to change the world, I wanted to find an alternative to the problems I
saw,” recalls Hadiya Masieh.
by photos of her children, the 40-year-old remembers how she was drawn into the
Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir and its call for a caliphate.
being attracted to the organisation’s ideals as a teenager, she became a
full-time member and recruiter, marching and leafleting to spread its message
of fundamental conflict between Islam and the west.
the 7/7 bombings that left 52 victims dead in London in 2005 was a wake-up
call, showing where the Islamist ideology she had devoted herself to could
not that the group was violent, but young people go in with the idea of
creating peace and hope and a better life and it gets turned into something
else,” Ms Masieh told The Independent.
get used by these political groups for their own agenda.”
has spent more than a decade working to counter the ideas she once followed, as
part of a growing army of former extremists trying to turn the tide against a
surge of radicalisation on all fronts.
have warned that Britain may be struck by further terror attacks following the
atrocities that left 36 victims dead in 2017, and with plots becoming less
sophisticated and quicker to mount there are fears that not all can be stopped.
explosion in Islamist-inspired terrorism sparked by the rise of Isis has been
followed by an increase in far-right extremism, as the two ideologies “feed
each other” to fatal effect.
terror investigations hit a record number in the UK and security services run
“red hot” to combat emerging plots, efforts are mounting to cut off the threat
at its source.
Masieh works with young women and girls who are vulnerable to Islamist
radicalisation as part of the government’s Prevent counter-extremism programme
and a group called Women Without Borders.
says her own experience helps engage with teenagers who are attracted to Isis,
saying: “I think I had to be in it to understand it … if women have been sold a
utopia, an idea they can relate to, they will run with that and we’ve seen that
Masieh saw a spike in girls aged between 15 and 17 being referred for help from
2014 onwards, as Isis targeted potential “jihadi brides” with sophisticated
were attracted by their ability to offer a situation to the problems that they
were facing every day as young girls, whether that was Islamophobia or
non-acceptance,” she said.
were offered a package claiming this was a space where ‘you can be you, you’ll
have your identity and you can practice your faith without any harm coming to
many western commentators saw women’s role in the Islamic State as little more
than brutal servitude, Isis allowed women to recruit more female members
online, broadcast their activities on social media and even enforce its harsh
interpretation of sharia law in “morality police” units.
women, including some who took young children, were among around 900 people who
have left the UK for Syria since 2014. Several, including at least one of three
Bethnal Green schoolgirls who joined Isis together, have been killed.
Masieh said the destruction of Isis’s territories and much of its online propaganda
network had hit its recruitment capabilities, but that continuing grievances
have left fertile ground for a resurgence.
focus on giving young people an alternative, showing them the flaws in
extremist arguments and giving them the capacity to challenge them and hope
that there is another way forward,” she added.
education is important to teach them that they can have their identity as a
Muslim and carry on living as a British citizen.”
Masieh warned that rising Islamophobic hate crimes risked making more people
vulnerable to extremists’ arguments, but said rocketing hate crime and terror
attacks had strengthened resolve to counter hatred of all kinds.
have had enough and they want to find a way of addressing these issues,” she
added. “There is this air of coming together collectively.”
Prevent “intervention provider” Nigel Bromage, a former member of the neo-Nazi
group Combat 18, works with people taking on far-right ideas.
put extremism is a coin,” he said. “On the one side you’ve got Islamists and
the other side you’ve got far-right extremism. They both feed off each other
and a lot of the time they use the same grooming techniques to get involved,
but for a different cause.”
relationship has been played out in terror attacks and plots, with a man who
tried to behead an Asian dentist claiming he was avenging Lee Rigby, who was
murdered by Islamist extremists.
years later Darren Osborne, an unemployed father who consumed propaganda from
Tommy Robinson, Britain First and other far-right figures, cited the Manchester
bombing as a reason for ploughing a van into Muslims in Finsbury Park.
people are now the largest single ethnic group of terror suspects arrested in
the UK, and Prevent referrals for right-wing extremism have rocketed by 36 per
cent in a year.
the first time, the number of people receiving counter-radicalisation support
for Islamist and extreme right-wing views are on a level.
Bromage, 53, said he was drawn into the far-right because of his hatred of the
IRA, being drawn to his first meeting by a leaflet showing graphic images of a
spent 20 years in groups including the National Front, British Movement and
Combat 18 before becoming disillusioned and cutting ties in 1998.
realised at the end that I joined the far-right to stop terrorism, but at the
very end I was advocating direct action as the only way to achieve my beliefs
at the time,” Mr Bromage said.
became sickened with the violence and the message that was being portrayed. I
realised I was in the wrong place at the wrong time and just needed to leave.”
now mentors people receiving support through the Prevent scheme and runs a
charity called Small Steps that helps far-right extremists break away from their
beliefs and lifestyle.
predominantly have been working with people who are hardcore far-right neo-Nazi
activists but over the past six months it’s changed,” Mr Bromage said. “We’ve
got people from all sorts of organisations. Groups like Generation Identity,
Britain First, the English Defence League and more populist right-wing
warned that groups presenting themselves as non-violent can radicalise people
who later seek to take their own direct action, and that issues like terrorism and
grooming gangs can act as a “gateway” to extremism.
these people highlight real concerns and issues, these people never offer any
real answers and we need to highlight that,” Mr Bromage said.
find out why a person is angry, where they get their views from and we offer
Bromage said the far-right had not been taken seriously in the UK “for a long
time” but that the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox and rise of neo-Nazi National
Action had sparked new awareness.
a serious problem, people understand that and now we’re going the right way
where we’re tackling far-right extremism and it’s being done well,” he added.
everyone is so optimistic about Prevent, which has been attacked from all
political and ideological sides for being both draconian and ineffective,
invasive and inept.
as one of the four strands of the UK’s counterterror strategy – prevent,
pursue, protect and prepare – the government has so far rebuffed calls to
rebrand the programme or change its tactics.
refreshed strategy released in the summer characterises Prevent as a
“safeguarding” programme for vulnerable adults and children, adding: “There is
no single sociodemographic profile of a terrorist in the UK, and no single
pathway, or ‘conveyor belt’, leading to involvement in terrorism. Terrorists
come from a broad range of backgrounds and appear to become involved in
different ways and for differing reasons. Few of those who are drawn into
terrorism have a deep knowledge of faith.
no single factor will cause someone to become involved in terrorism, several
factors can converge to create the conditions under which radicalisation can
Police assistant commissioner Neil Basu recently told MPs that while security
services had until recently considered returning foreign fighters as the
greatest terror threat to the UK, “it wasn’t – the threat was already here”.
said that of a record 700 terror investigations currently running in Britain,
around 80 were looking into Islamist jihadis and 20 per cent “other”, including
a “significant proportion from the right wing”.
is the most important pillar of the strategy if long-term we want to see some
reduction in the threat,” Mr Basu told the Home Affairs Committee.
have got to challenge extremist behaviour even if it doesn’t cross the criminal
threshold because of the kind of intolerance it breeds.”
Bromage called on former extremists of all stripes to join the fight and become
role models, adding: “As long as society can be forgiving and accepts that
people can change, then more people will come forward and we will create a
foreign ministry said on Monday it was providing consular aid to a German man
barred from leaving Turkey after the authorities accused him of supporting a
terrorist organisation on social media.
media reported that Adnan Sutcu, 56, was detained shortly after arriving in
Ankara on December 27 to attend his mother's funeral.
to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and other outlets, the authorities
accused Mr Sutcu of writing Facebook posts calling for an independent
Kurdistan, which is illegal in Turkey. Mr Sutcu was questioned by police and
then released, but told to report to authorities daily and not to leave the
country before a court reviews his case next year, the reports said. "We
are aware of the case and the embassy is providing consular aid," a source
at the German foreign ministry said.
ministry source said 49 Germans are currently jailed in Turkey, including five
held for "apparently political reasons".
October Germany warned citizens visiting Turkey to be extra cautious about
their social media feeds in response to a spate of cases of Germans arrested
for online criticism of President Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
could not reach officials at the Turkish justice ministry for comment.
Sutcu, who has lived in Germany for decades, told the media outlets he had
never supported a terrorist organisation, and it was unclear which group he was
accused of backing.
to a summary of Mr Sutcu's interrogation, he told Turkish officials he could
not remember if he had posted the messages on Facebook and said he rejected
says Israel is Arabs’ ‘ally’ against Iran
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Arab countries viewed Israel as an
“indispensable ally” fighting Iran and ISIS extremist group.
evaluation, he told Brazil’s Globo TV during a visit to Rio, has caused “a
revolution in relations with the Arab world.”
comments came as Israel has stepped up air strikes on Iranian positions in
neighboring Syria, and as Israel digested an abrupt decision by President Donald
Trump to withdraw US troops from Syria.
has repeatedly warned that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons to destroy
he said, had shown itself to be active in battling “radical Islam, violent
Islam - either the one led by radical Shiites led by Iran, or the one led by
the radical Sunnis led by Daesh (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda.”
we have not made any advance with the Palestinians. Half of them are already
under the gun of Iran and of radical Islam,” Netanyahu added.
if he could ever contemplate sitting down with an Iranian leader to talk peace,
Netanyahu replied: “If Iran remains committed to our destruction the answer is
only way, he said, would be “if Iran undergoes a total transformation.”
was in Brazil to attend Tuesday’s inauguration of the Latin American country’s
new, pro-Israel president, Jair Bolsonaro.
the sidelines of the ceremony, Netanyahu was to hold talks with US Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo, who is also among the visiting dignitaries.
were expected to discuss the US troop pullout from Syria and Iranian activities
in the Middle East.
President Hassan Rouhani has described resistance against the Israeli regime as
the only way for the Palestinian nation to obtain its own rights, stressing
that all Muslims must support the Palestinians’ right of return and
establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem al-Quds as its
a meeting with Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance
movement Ziad al-Nakhala in Tehran on Tuesday evening, Rouhani said Iran has
been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian nation ever since the 1979
Revolution, led by late Imam Khomeini.
then praised the Palestinian nation’s 70-year-long steadfastness in the face of
Zionists’ expropriation, injustice and occupation, stating that their struggle
should continue until the Tel Aviv regime acknowledges their rights.
Zionist regime (of Israel), thanks to support from the new rulers of the White
House, is seeking to assert control over the entire (Middle East) region; and
Palestine is a part of such a complex plot,” the Iranian president noted.
for his part, briefed the Iranian president on the latest developments in the
occupied Palestinian lands, and the capabilities of Palestinian resistance
the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support and principled policies have played a
major role in thwarting attempts aimed at stripping the Palestinian nation of
their rights,” he pointed out.
also highlighted that the Palestinian nation, irrespective of ongoing pressures
and threats, will continue its resistance against the Israeli regime until all
its rights are recognized.
on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi warned against
plots hatched by the United States and the Israeli regime to isolate Palestine,
saying the Islamic Republic pursues a "clear, transparent and
unchangeable" stance on the Arab country.
have constant contacts with different Palestinian groups with sometimes
different viewpoints," he said.
added that the US and Israeli regime seek to create rift and division among
Muslim countries to distract them from the Palestinian issue as the top
priority in the Muslim world.
requires more unity in the Muslim world and all of us must make efforts to
solve this big global problem," the Iranian spokesperson said.
added that the occupying Israeli regime with an aggressive nature which is
killing and suppressing the Palestinian people would face an
has warned of plots hatched by the United States and the Israeli regime to
isolate Palestine, saying the Islamic Republic pursues a "clear,
transparent and unchangeable" stance on the Arab country.
have constant contacts with different Palestinian groups with sometimes
different viewpoints," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi
told the IRIB on Tuesday.
added that the US and Israeli regime seek to create rift and division among
Muslim countries to distract them from the Palestinian issue as the top
priority in the Muslim world.
emphasized that the Palestinian people would achieve a final victory over the
Tel Aviv regime through their resistance.
said the Palestinians can achieve their absolute rights and expressed hope that
they would establish an independent Palestinian state with al-Quds al-Sharif as
of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said on Monday that
Iran will never back away from supporting Palestine despite the heavy pressure
from the world’s arrogant powers.
long as there is resistance, the Zionist regime’s downfall and demise will
continue,” the Leader said in a meeting with Secretary General of the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance movement, Ziad al-Nakhala, in Tehran,
assuring Palestinians that their final victory was “imminent.”
meeting came a day after a senior Iranian security official lashed out at some
Arab countries for their overt and covert support for US President Donald
Trump's "deal of the century" plot against the Palestinians, saying
resistance groups and vigilant nations in the region will prevent the
implementation of such an "ominous" plan.
implementation of this plan will be a heavy blow to Palestine," Secretary
of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said in a meeting
with Nakhala in Tehran.
in a meeting with Mahmoud al-Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas and a member of the
Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad
Zarif once again reiterated the Islamic Republic's principled policy to support
Palestine, urging all countries in the Muslim world to boost their unity to
defend the Palestinian cause.
Brazil, Israel and the US have lobbied Honduras to follow in Washington’s
footsteps and relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied Palestinian
city of Jerusalem al-Quds.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met
with Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on the sidelines of the
inauguration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia on Tuesday.
“agreed to pursue a plan of action, which includes meetings in their three
respective capitals, to advance the process of the decision to open embassies
in both [the Honduran capital] Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem (al-Quds),” read a
joint statement released by the US State Department.
also agreed to “strengthen political relations and coordinate development
cooperation in Honduras,” the statement added.
held a separate meeting with Hernandez, but no information was released about
a poor Central American country, had earlier expressed keenness to transfer its
diplomatic mission to Jerusalem al-Quds in exchange for Tel Aviv opening an
embassy in Tegucigalpa as well as technology sharing.
last month, a Honduran delegation visited the occupied territories to discuss
developing bilateral relations and a possible embassy move, according to
Israel’s ministry of foreign affairs.
a highly controversial policy shift, US President Donald Trump recognized
Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel in December 2017 and moved the
American embassy to the ancient city months later.
contentious measure sparked angry reactions among Palestinians and drew massive
United nations General Assembly decisively backed a resolution calling on the
US to drop its recognition of Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s “capital.”
was quick to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds just two days after the
US. Paraguay also followed suit, but later a new government reversed the
Brazil’s right-wing president is expected to move the country’s diplomatic
mission to Jerusalem al-Quds.
said on Sunday that Bolsonaro had told him it was a question of “when, not if”
Brazil would move its embassy to Jerusalem al-Quds.
also in South America, has however adopted a different approach. Joining a
group of Latin American countries that recognized a “free and sovereign” state
of Palestine back in 2011, it has in recent days named a square in its capital
Lima after Palestine, arousing outrage among Israeli authorities.
lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community
views the city’s eastern sector as occupied territory.
Houthi Ansarullah movement has strongly dismissed recent allegations by the
World Food Programme (WFP) that the revolutionary forces are selling aid meant
for civilians, stating that the humanitarian organization is sending “rotten
food” to the conflict-plagued Arab country.
Ali al-Houthi, the Chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen,
condemned the accusations on Tuesday, and said the WFP was “fully responsible
for ... quantities of rotten food” it sent to Yemen.
added that Yemeni forces refused to allow this food supply into the country
because “it violates standards and regulations and is not suitable for human
said, however, that the Ansarullah movement “welcomed” an independent
investigation and called on the WFP to back up its accusations with proof. He
then accused UN organizations of bias.
work of these organizations is mostly politicized, and their position ...
confirms their work has shifted from independent to subordinate to the United
States and Britain,” he commented.
WFP alleged on Monday that food aid meant for starving Yemenis is being stolen
and sold in some areas controlled by the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
combat drone strikes Saudi mercenaries in Jizan
army soldiers, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have
reportedly launched an airstrike against a position of Saudi-sponsored militiamen
loyal to Yemen's former president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, in Saudi Arabia’s
western border region of Jizan.
Yemeni military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Yemeni
soldiers and their allies attacked Saudi mercenaries, using a domestically-designed
and –manufactured Qasif-1 (Striker-1) combat drone.
snipers shoot dead five Saudi troopers in Jizan
Yemeni soldiers and their allies have shot and killed five Saudi soldiers in
the kingdom’s Jizan region.
Yemeni military official, requesting not to be named, said Yemeni army soldiers
and Popular Committees fighters stormed a military camp east of Jahfan area,
and targeted the Saudi troopers.
Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating military
campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government
of Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah movement.
to a new 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.
With little resistance from a friendly White House, Israel has launched a new
settlement push in the West Bank since President Donald Trump took office,
laying the groundwork for what could be the largest construction binge in
years, according to data obtained by The Associated Press.
figures, gathered from official government sources by the anti-settlement
monitoring group Peace Now, show an increase in building in 2018 and a sharp
spike in planning for future construction.
trend, highlighted last week when an Israeli committee advanced plans for
thousands more settlement homes on war-won lands, has only deepened Palestinian
mistrust of the Trump administration as it says it is preparing to roll out a
Mideast peace plan. Each new settlement expansion further diminishes the
chances of setting up a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
supporters and opponents of settlements confirm a change in atmosphere since
early 2017, when Trump took over from Barack Obama, whose administration had
tried to rein in construction.
feeling of the (Israeli) government is everything is allowed, that the time to
do things is now because the (US) administration is the most pro-settlement you
can ever have,” said Hagit Ofran of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch program.
Now uses several measurements of settlement activity. These include “plans,” or
the early bureaucratic stages of preparing a project; “tenders,” when bids are
solicited from contractors to do the work; and “construction starts,” when the
building actually begins.
of these figures tells a different story. While construction starts give a snapshot
of the current level of settlement activity, they reflect decisions made years
ago. In contrast, the planning and tender stages are seen as forward-looking
indicators of a government’s intentions.
data compiled by Peace Now showed a drop in construction starts during Trump’s
first year in office, to 1,643 units in 2017 from 3,066 units the previous
year. This drop appears to reflect the lingering effect of reduced planning
during the final two years of the Obama administration.
the data for the first nine months of 2018 indicate the beginning of a Trump
effect, with construction starts 20 percent higher than the same period a year
trends are even more evident when looking at the planning process. In 2017,
plans were advanced to build 6,712 new settlement homes, roughly 2.5 times the
2018, plans for an additional 5,618 units were advanced, nearly half of which
were processed last week alone. Together, these numbers are the highest level
of planning seen since 2013. At that time, Israel pushed forward settlement
construction to counter criticism of its release of Palestinian prisoners as
part of then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace efforts.
biggest surge in settlement activity during the Trump era is in tenders—
projects that are ready to be launched.
2017, 3,154 tenders were issued, up from just 42 during Obama’s final year in
office. In 2018, that number rose to over 3,800, the highest number by far
since Peace Now started compiling the data in 2002. This sets the stage for a
huge jump in construction in the near future.
definitely a change of atmosphere. There’s definitely a change of winds,” said
Oded Revivi, mayor of Efrat, a major settlement near Jerusalem, and the chief
foreign envoy of the Yesha settlement council.
said that Obama pressured Israel into greatly curtailing settlement activity.
Now, he said, Israel is trying to make up for lost time.
what you’re seeing now is the statistics are trying to catch up to the needs that
were built up during the eight years of the Obama administration, when
everything was in a standstill,” Revivi said.
House Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt’s office declined comment, and State
Department officials were not immediately available for comment.
Palestinians and most of the international community consider Israeli
settlements to be illegal and obstacles to peace. Over 400,000 Israelis now
live in the West Bank, in addition to 200,000 in east Jerusalem. The
Palestinians seek both areas, captured by Israel in 1967, as parts of their
decades, a string of US presidents, both Republican and Democrat, condemned
quickly changed when Trump took office. Trump refused to condemn settlement
construction and surrounded himself with advisers — including his son-in-law
Jared Kushner and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman — who are Orthodox Jews
with close ties to settlements. Trump at times has asked Israel to show
restraint, but his administration has remained largely silent as Israel has
pressed ahead with its construction efforts over the past two years.
has been welcome news to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose outgoing
coalition is dominated by religious and nationalist settlement sympathizers.
Favored to win re-election in April, Netanyahu has said he expects his next
government to look very similar.
never annexed the West Bank, meaning the Israeli military remains the sovereign
there. Construction in the West Bank requires approval from COGAT, a Defense
Ministry body that oversees civilian affairs in the territory.
are submitted by the government to COGAT’s Higher Planning Council, which
decides if they meet legal criteria.
routinely portrays decisions on new settlement activity as a technical matter,
playing down the political impact. In a statement, COGAT said it acts in
accordance with planning and building laws in the West Bank.
say COGAT routinely promotes settlement expansion and development at the
expense of Palestinian communities in the 60 percent of the West Bank that is
under full Israeli control. Palestinians have varying degrees of autonomy,
including over building permits, in the remaining areas of the West Bank, where
most Palestinians live.
offices of Avigdor Lieberman, who served as defense minister in 2017 and 2018,
and his deputy, Eli Ben Dahan, did not respond to requests for comment. Both
are strong supporters of the settlements and settlers themselves.
settlement surge has added to the Palestinians’ distrust of the White House.
The Palestinians cut off ties with the administration over a year ago after
Trump recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. President Mahmoud
Abbas has said he will reject any peace plan the Trump team presents.
will fight poverty, illiteracy, injustice, corruption in 2019: PM
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday that his government’s resolve in the
new year was to wage jihad (struggle for a rightful cause) against the
country’s four ills: poverty, illiteracy, injustice and corruption.
New Year resolution is to wage Jihad against the 4 ills of our country:
poverty, illiteracy, injustice and corruption. InshaAllah 2019 is the beginning
of Pakistan’s golden era,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet – his first in
2019 – posted on his twitter handle.
the day on Tuesday, the PM met Ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Nawaf Saeed Al-Malki,
to discuss matters of bilateral interest.
Saeed Al-Malki conveyed the special message of Saudi Arabia’s leadership to PM
Imran during the meeting at PM’s office in Islamabad.
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), on November 19, had received the first tranche of
$1 billion under the balance of payment support from Saudi Arabia. According to
a SBP spokesperson, out of the promised $3bn Saudi assistance in foreign
currency support, the central bank has received $1bn dollar, while the
remaining amount of $2 billion is expected to reach in next few days.
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) chairman Air Marshal Arshad Mahmood Malik
apprised Prime Minister Imran Khan that 194 ghost employees, 73 cabin crew and
seven pilots possessing fake degrees were expelled from the organization in the
last two months. The PIA chairman briefed the prime minister about steps taken
to revive and run the national flag carrier.
prime minister, who presided over the high level meeting, was apprised that the
PIA had been incurring a total loss of Rs 414.3 billion, including Rs 247
billion loans, Rs 144.7 billion arrears and Rs 4 billion for payment of loans
on monthly installment basis, besides payment of Rs1.5 billion as monthly
meeting was attended by Finance Minister Asad Umar, Minister for Privatization
and Aviation Mohammad Mian Soomro, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal
Mujahid Anwar Khan, Senator Faisal Javed and other senior officials, PM Office
media wing in a press release said.
prime minister directed the PIA chairman to finalize a comprehensive and
complete business plan, so that its losses could be netted, by making the PIA a
profit-earning and financially stable organization. The prime minister was
further told that due to lack of attention on the profit earning and non-profit
earning routes in the past, the PIA was suffering a loss of Rs 500 million
alone on the seven international routes. Considering those losses, the current
management was reviewing the international routes. Moreover, it was also
separately running into losses on different inland non-profitable routes.
meeting also took stock of reforms being undertaken for the revival of the
national flag carrier, efforts for acquiring of new aeroplanes, simulators for training
of pilots, training of the cabin crew and other financial issues. The prime
minister was told that it was being ensured to pay salaries and pensions to the
lower grade employees of PIA, similarly, its resources were being retrieved
from those who had occupied them illegally, so that it could be spent
judiciously. In a meeting with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister, Dr Hisham
Inamullah Khan, the PM said that no hindrance in health reforms will be
tolerated in the province.
PM gave instructions to ensure quality healthcare for the general public with a
special focus on merged districts. He also ordered the doctors to visit all
hospitals in the province and inspect their facilities. Earlier this month, Dr
Inamullah said the government was working on providing district headquarters
hospitals with modern technology to minimise the burden on the provincial
The Pakistan army on Tuesday claimed that it shot down an Indian “spy drone” in
the Bagh sector along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir after it entered its
Army troops shot down Indian Spy Quadcopter in Bagh Sector along that Line of
Control (LoC),” Not even a quadcopter will be allowed to cross LOC, In Shaa
Allah (if Allah wills it)...(sic)” Pakistan army spokesperson Major General
Asif Ghafoor said in a tweet.
the will of God, we will never allow any Indian spy drone to cross the LoC,” he
March last year, Pakistan army had claimed that it had shot down four Indian
drones in one year.
on Tuesday, Pakistan lodged a protest with India against the “unprovoked
ceasefire violations” by summoning Indian deputy high commissioner to the
: Four Pakistani paramilitary soldiers were killed and two injured in a clash
with militants in the southwestern province of Balochistan on Monday, the
incident happened in Loralai district, around 262 kilometres (163 miles)
northeast of the provincial capital Quetta.
to a statement issued by the military, the militants tried to attack a
residential compound of the paramilitary troops when they were confronted at
the entry point.
exchange of fire led to the deaths of four soldiers and four attackers
including a suicide bomber.
group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Baloch separatist groups
and Islamist militants have attacked security forces in the province in the
in December, a Pakistani separatist wanted over an attack on the Chinese
consulate in Karachi in November was killed in a suicide blast in Afghanistan.
Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) claimed that assault, labelling Beijing an
"oppressor" and "making it clear that China's military expansionism
on Baloch soil will not be tolerated".
had warned the Chinese to leave or "be prepared for continued
BLA is just one of the militant outfits operating in Balochistan, Pakistan's
largest and poorest province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran and is rife
with ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies.
residents have long complained that it does not receive a fair share of the
profits made from its mineral wealth.
Pakistani military has been targeting insurgencies in the province since 2004,
and has been repeatedly accused by international rights groups of abuses there.
one of Pakistan's closest allies, has poured billions into the South Asian
country in recent years as part of the ChinaPakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),
a massive infrastructure project that seeks to connect its western province of
Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar in Balochistan.
sees the project as a "gamechanger", but it presents an enormous
challenge in a country plagued by weak institutions, endemic corruption and a
range of insurgencies in areas slated to host the corridor.
subject of economic dividends from CPEC is extremely sensitive in some of those
areas -- particularly in Balochistan.
security officials were martyred and two others were wounded while staving off
a terrorist attack on a training centre of a paramilitary force in central
Balochistan on Tuesday.
terrorists – including a suicide bomber – were also killed in the botched
attack on the Frontier Corps training centre in Loralai district.
heavily armed terrorists attempted to storm the residential/administration
compound at the training centre, according to the military’s media wing.
the terrorists were challenged at the entry point and denied entry into the
residential/administration compound, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)
said in a statement.
failing to achieve their primary target, the terrorists resorted to
indiscriminate fire and entered a compound adjacent to the check-post which was
immediately cordoned off by the security forces.
valiant and timely action of the security forces denied the terrorists entry
into the residential area which would have resulted in more casualties,” the
terrorists were pinned down in the check-post by the security forces in the
subsequent operation. “Four terrorists were shot down including one suicide
bomber who blew himself during the final stage of the clearance operation,” the
military’s media wing said.
Pakistan has urged Iran to explain in-writing its interpretation of sanctions
that resulted in a massive delay in completion of the mega Iran-Pakistan gas
government has taken up the issue in a recent meeting with the Iranian petroleum
ministry’s advisers held in Islamabad. During the meeting, we have asked them
to give us a detailed clarity over their interpretation of the sanctions under
which they claim that the restrictions don’t affect completion of the project,”
Inter State Gas System (ISGS) Managing Director Mr Mobeen Saulat told Dawn on
the last four years, the IP gas project, under which Pakistan was reportedly
supposed to receive as many as 750MMCF of natural gas from Iran daily through
an agreement, is off the table due to international sanctions - both
multilateral imposed by the United Nations and the unilateral clamped by the
United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the European Union.
unilateral sanctions imposed by the US were the most severe amongst all
international restrictions — Iran Sanctions Act 1996, Comprehensive Iran
Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act 2010 and National Defence
Authorisation Act-2012. The construction work on the Pakistani section of the
pipeline had been inaugurated in March, 2013 and it was planned to be completed
within 22 months.
far as we understand, we cannot move ahead on the project due to sanctions
imposed on Iran. But they (Iranian petroleum ministry advisers) have their own
interpretation of the sanctions. So we have engaged them in the process to
understand the [sanctions] interpretation of each other,” the ISGS official
is why we have told them that we need a detailed clarity in writing from them
in this regard, as we cannot go ahead with the project with their verbal
interpretation. They have agreed to provide us a detailed reply,” the MD added.
official said as soon as the government received explanation from Iran [over
sanctions’ regime] it would study and evaluate the same in depth. And if it
finds the same justified, it may be in a position to resolve the issue.
kill 21 Afghan security forces in country’s north
Taliban militants have killed at least 21 Afghan security forces and wounded
nearly two dozen others in a number of simultaneous attacks in the country’s
officials said on Tuesday that the casualties took place when the militants
carried out attacks on security outposts in Sayad district of the northern
province of Sar-e Pul.
Amani, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said at least 21 local forces,
including police and intelligence, were killed and another 23 wounded in the
raids, which he said were aimed at seizing control of several oil wells on the
outskirts of the provincial capital city of Sar-e Pul.
also said hundreds of militants were still outside Sar-e-Pul, warning that the
city was at risk of falling to the Taliban if reinforcements were not sent.
enemy is still amassing forces outside the city," he told AFP. "We
have deployed all the forces available in the city, but no reinforcements have
arrived from outside so far. The people inside the city are very worried. They
have attacked the city many times in the past, but this time the threat is more
Taliban confirmed the attacks on the northern Afghan province, claiming that
they had captured three checkpoints and killed or wounded 50 members of the
Taliban militants have in recent months stepped up attacks on security forces
across Afghanistan, killing a large number of police forces as well as
comes as representatives from the Taliban, the US, and regional countries met
for the fourth time earlier in December in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi for
talks to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan. The militant group’s
representatives, however, refused to talk to the Afghan negotiating team.
leaders also announced on Sunday that the group’s representatives would meet US
officials in the Saudi Arabian port city of Jeddah for the fifth round of talks
in January but not the representatives of the Afghan government.
Ashraf Ghani has said the talks should be “Afghan-led and Afghan-owned,”
insisting on continued efforts to establish a direct line of diplomatic
communication with the Taliban.
Taliban’s five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an
end with a US-led invasion in 2001; but 17 years on, the militant group
continues to be active on much of Afghan soil. The Taliban have strengthened
their grip over the past three years, with the government in Kabul controlling
just 56 percent of the country, down from 72 percent in 2015, a recent US
government report showed.
failed to end the militancy campaign, Washington has over the past months
stepped up its political efforts to secure a truce with Taliban.
Taliban and the Afghan government have previously said the presence of foreign
troops is the biggest obstacle to peace in Afghanistan.
militants have warned of stepping up their attacks until the US forces fully
withdraw from Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the withdrawal of some 7,000
troops from Afghanistan. The figure accounts for about half of the total number
of American boots on the ground in the country.
a later White House announcement has cast doubt on reports about Trump’s order.
Taliban have not formally responded to the partial US troop withdrawal. But a
senior commander recently told media outlets that the group was “more than
of refugee crisis amid US troop withdrawal
a report published on Tuesday, diplomats from Afghanistan’s neighbors told
Reuters that there were fears a US troop pullout could trigger hundreds of
thousands of refugees to flee into their countries.
this point, there is no clarity about the withdrawal, but we have to keep a
clear action plan ready,” a senior Asian diplomat based in Kabul told Reuters.
“The situation can turn from bad to worse very quickly.”
shares a border with Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and
China, and is the world’s second-biggest source of refugees, according to the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
from the countries told Reuters they would increase border preparations in
anticipation of refugees.
(Reuters) - Western powers on Tuesday condemned election day violence in
Bangladesh and described a range of other irregularities that marred a vote in
which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s alliance secured more than 90 percent of
strongly-worded assessments from the UK, European Union, and United States
could hit the image of Hasina, who won a third straight term to power following
opponents have rejected the election result, citing what they describe as
widespread rigging and voter intimidation. She has denied impropriety, calling
it a peaceful vote that saw enthusiastic participation from her supporters.
capital Dhaka was quiet on Tuesday, but the main opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) said its workers were being attacked in several areas
elsewhere in the country by activists of the Awami League - charges the party
has marred the election day, and significant obstacles to a level playing field
remained in place throughout the process and have tainted the electoral
campaign and the vote,” the EU said in a statement, calling for “a proper
examination of allegations of irregularities”.
United States, Bangladesh’s largest foreign investor, expressed concern about
“credible reports of harassment, intimidation, and violence in the pre-election
period that made it difficult for many opposition candidates and their
supporters to meet, hold rallies, and campaign freely.”
are also concerned that election-day irregularities prevented some people from
voting, which undermined faith in the electoral process,” it said.
UK’s Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field echoed the concerns,
saying he was “aware of credible accounts of obstacles, including arrests, that
constrained or prevented campaigning by opposition parties. “I urge a full,
credible and transparent resolution of all complaints related to the conduct of
the elections,” he said.
say at least 17 people were killed in election day clashes between supporters
and opponents of Hasina’s Awami League. The two sides, which have competed for
power often violently for decades, traded blame for the election day unrest.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam said he was collecting reports of
rigging to submit to the Election Commission to demand a fresh vote. The
commission already rejected that plea, but Islam said: “What is our
journalist was arrested and another was on the run after a local government
official filed a case against them for publishing “false information” about
election irregularities, under a new law journalists say could be used to
Hussain Mollah and Rashidul Islam published reports saying more votes had been
cast at one constituency in the southeastern Khulna region than the total
number of registered voters there.
were accused under the Digital Security Act enacted in September. Mollah was
picked up by police on Tuesday afternoon while Islam was on the run, police
is false information that was made intentionally to make the election result
look questionable and controversial,” a police report said.
deadly clashes on voting day marked the end of a violent campaign. The
opposition said its workers faced arbitrary arrests and candidates were
attacked by ruling party activists. The ruling party denied being behind any
have shared experiences of being physically assaulted and manhandled at polling
stations,” said Saad Hammadi, Amnesty International’s regional campaigner for
South Asia, calling for an impartial probe into incidents of violence.
Afghanistan’s neighbours, caught off-guard by reports of US plans to withdraw
thousands of troops, have begun preparing for the risk that a pullout could
send hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing across their borders, diplomats
by the possibility of a chaotic withdrawal, diplomats from neighbouring
countries who have been in talks with US officials in Kabul said they were
reassessing policies and would ramp up border preparations.
this point there is no clarity about the withdrawal, but we have to keep a
clear action plan ready,” said a senior Asian diplomat based in Kabul. “The
situation can turn from bad to worse very quickly.”
White House spokesman last week said US President Donald Trump had not issued
orders to the Pentagon to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. But the
administration has not denied reports that the United States plans to pull out
almost half of the 14,000-strong force currently deployed.
reports come amid an intensification of moves towards peace negotiations in Afghanistan.
US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad met Taliban representatives last month and
discussed issues around a future troop withdrawal as well as proposals for a
even among regional powers such as Iran, Pakistan or Russia that have long been
suspicious that the United States wants permanent military bases in South Asia,
there is no appetite for a sudden US withdrawal, say analysts.
the news of a potential US drawdown may be a reason for cautious optimism in
the region, they don’t want an abrupt withdrawal,” said Graeme Smith, a
consultant for the International Crisis Group.
sides recognise that a precipitous pullout could spark a new civil war that
destabilises the region. The neighbours do not enjoy surprises, and the
uncertain signals from Washington are causing anxiety.”
United States, which sent troops to Afghanistan in the wake of the Sept 11,
2001 attacks on New York and Washington and at the peak of the deployment had
more than 100,000 troops in the country, withdrew most of its forces in 2014,
but still keeps around 14,000 troops there as part of a Nato-led mission aiding
the Afghan security forces and hunting militants.
top US general in Afghanistan said 2019 was going to be an interesting year.
“The policy review is going on in multiple capitals, peace talks out there,
regional players pressing for peace, the Taliban talking about peace, the
Afghan government talking about peace,” said General Scott Miller, the US
commander of Afghanistan’s Nato-led force, at the Resolute Support mission
headquarters in Kabul.
which is already working to fence its 1,400km frontier with Afghanistan and
deploy a 50,000-strong paramilitary force along the border, is preparing for a
fresh influx of refugees in the event of disorder.
will be set up near the border to manage a fresh wave of Afghan refugees and
illegal migrants and Afghans will not be allowed to set up illegal homes in
Pakistan,” said an official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
which shares borders with Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan
and China, is already the world’s second biggest source of refugees, according
to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said an estimated 3,227 babies will
be born in Afghanistan on New Year’s Day.
to a statement released by UNICEF, Afghan babies will be part the estimated
395,072 babies to be born on New Year’s Day.
cities around the world, revelers will welcome not only the New Year with great
festivities but also their newest and tiniest residents. As the clock strikes
midnight, Sydney will greet an estimated 168 babies, followed by 310 in Tokyo,
605 in Beijing, 166 in Madrid and finally, 317 in New York,” the statement
to UNICEF, Fiji in the Pacific will most likely deliver 2019’s first baby while
the last baby will be born in United States.
total of 99,183 babies will be born in South Asia alone, representing one
quarter of all babies born, UNICEF said, adding that out of which 69944 babies
would born in India, 15112 babies in Pakistan, 8428 in Bangladesh, 1591 in
Nepal, 822 in Sri Lanka, 40 in Bhutan, and 19 n Maldives.
forces free 19 from Daesh captivity following clashes
The self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) says its forces have freed nearly 20
people who were kidnapped by Daesh militants during attacks in central Libya.
Ahmed Al-Mesmari said on Tuesday that clashes erupted late Monday between LNA
forces, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter, and Daesh militants in Ghadwua
village, 70 kilometers from the southern city of Sabha.
military official said at least 21 people were kidnapped from the towns of
Al-Fuqaha and Tazerbu last month; two of them managed to flee and reported the
locations of the others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because
he was not authorized to brief media.
said Daesh militants were holding the remaining 19 people in containers on
farmland and that clashes killed a soldier.
has been active in Libya in the turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi
in 2011. The group took control of the coastal city of Sirte in 2015 but lost
it late in 2016 to local forces backed by US airstrikes.
Minister in the Libyan Government of National Accord Fathi Bashaagha
acknowledged on Sunday financial corruption in his ministry in Tripoli, while also
calling for merging the militias that have been in the capital with the
security forces, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
Interior Ministry, he said, is the “backbone of the state, which is why we
would bring together all the armed groups under the ministry’s wing given the
circumstances the country is enduring.”
minister also said that he was preparing a plan to impose security in Tripoli
and its suburbs and which he hopes to apply for the first half of 2019.
men kill 37 civilians in part of Mali hit by ethnic violence
Thirty-seven civilians were killed when armed men believed to be traditional
Dogon hunters attacked a village of Fulani herders in central Mali Tuesday in
the latest clash between the warring communities, the government said.
attack on Koulogon village near Bankass in the Mopti region was carried out by
“armed men dressed like traditional dozo hunters” allied to the Dogon ethnic
group, said an official statement.
addition to the 37 recorded deaths, all civilians, the casualty toll includes
several wounded and many burned homes,” it added.
a security source and a man who said he had witnessed the attack also blamed
the Dogon, and put the number of dead at 33.
Yattara, a Fulani, told AFP: “Our village chief Moussa Diallo was killed in the
attack along with old women, (and) a girl, all members of his family.”
helped Malian forces stave off a terrorist insurgency that took control of
large parts of the troubled north in 2012, but since the death in November of
Fulani terrorist figure Amadou Koufa, inter-group conflict has increased.
violence is fueled by accusations of Fulani grazing cattle on Dogon land and
disputes over access to land and water.
UN recorded more than 500 civilian deaths in the area in 2018.
Defence Forces (KDF) say they have killed 7 Al-Shabaab militants and wounded an
unknown number in an operation in southern Somalia.
military seized 9 AK-47 rifles, 10 magazines, two rocket propelled grenade
launchers and three grenades from the militants.
at around 11am, KDF soldiers operating under AMISOM engaged Al-Shabaab
militants at a location along Tabda-Delahola supply route," said a
statement from KDF' public affairs office.
KDF soldiers sustained minor injuries during the intense gunfight on Tuesday,
January 1, 2019.
soldiers will remain vigilant and will continue to relentlessly pursue
terrorists, to ensure peace and security of our country Kenya, as well as
support AMISOM operations in order to stabilise Somalia," said KDF
Spokesman PM Njuguna.
President Omar al-Bashir has ordered an investigation into two weeks of violent
protests against the government's economic policies and his 29-year rule.
media said Bashir had ordered authorities on Tuesday to set up a fact-finding
committee to probe the violence.
Minister Mohammed Ahmed Salem has been tasked with leading the investigation
Omar al-Bashir has ordered the setting up of a fact-finding committee headed by
the justice minister to look into the incidents of the past few days,"
state news agency SUNA reported, quoting a presidential decree.
have been calls by human rights groups for authorities in Sudan to investigate
the use of lethal force by security forces against protesters.
Khartoum, authorities say 19 people have died. On the other hand, Amnesty
International says it has “credible reports” that 37 people died in the first
five days of protests.
Monday, Human Rights Watch said independent groups monitoring the situation in
Sudan had put the death toll at 40.
protests began on December 19 in the wake of a move by the government to triple
the price of a loaf of bread.
the initial days of the protests, several buildings and offices of Bashir's
ruling National Congress Party were torched by protesters. Riot police have
managed to disperse the rallies so far, and security agents have arrested
several opposition leaders and activists in a crackdown on suspected
public display of anger later escalated into calls for Bashir to go.
economy has stagnated for most of Bashir’s 29-year rule. He has also failed to
keep peace in the religiously and ethnically diverse country, losing three
quarters of Sudan’s oil wealth when South Sudan seceded in 2011 following a
Sudan’s President Omar Al-Bashir ordered authorities Tuesday to set up a
committee to investigate violence during anti-government protests, even as a
range of political groups called for a “new regime” in the country.
least 19 people have been killed and hundreds wounded in protests that erupted
in cities including the capital Khartoum on December 19, after a government
decision to hike the price of bread.
rights group Amnesty International has put the death toll at 37.
Omar Al-Bashir has ordered the setting up of a fact-finding committee headed by
the justice minister to look into the incidents of the past few days,” state
news agency SUNA reported, quoting a presidential decree.
government raised the price of a loaf of bread from one Sudanese pound to three
(about two to six US cents).
ensuing protests quickly evolved into anti-government rallies in Khartoum and
several other cities.
the initial days of the protests, several buildings and offices of Bashir’s
ruling National Congress Party were torched by protesters.
police have managed to disperse the rallies so far, while security agents have
arrested several opposition leaders and activists in a crackdown on suspected
is facing an acute foreign exchange crisis and soaring inflation despite
Washington lifting an economic embargo in October 2017.
foreign exchange crisis has steadily escalated since Sudan’s partition in 2011,
when South Sudan broke away, taking with it the bulk of oil revenues.
has hit 70 percent while shortages of bread and fuel have hit several cities.
Tuesday, 22 political groups, including some close to the government, called
for a “new regime” in the country.
current Bashir regime due to its political, economic, regional and
international isolation cannot overcome the crisis,” the group said in a joint
statement issued in English at a press conference in Khartoum.
can only be revised by establishing a new regime in the country that can regain
the confidence of the Sudanese people.”
groups, who had participated in a national dialogue process that Bashir
launched in 2014 to tackle the country’s social and economic problems, called
for a new “transitional government... that would hold elections for restoring
democracy and public freedoms.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that Washington will continue to work
closely with Israel over Syria and Iran, despite President Donald Trump’s
announcement of withdrawing American troops from Syria.
made the remarks as he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in
the Brazilian capital Brasilia on Tuesday.
top US diplomat said President Trump’s announcement of pulling out troops from
Syria “in no way changes anything that this administration is working on
counter-ISIS (Daesh) campaign continues, our efforts to counter Iranian
aggression continue and our commitment to Middle East stability and the
protection of Israel continues in the same way it did before that decision was
made,” he said.
announced his decision to withdraw the US troops from Syria on December 19,
saying that Daesh had been defeated. The next day Trump proclaimed that US
troops cannot stay in Syria "forever.”
senators on both sides of the aisle have accused Trump of making a hasty
decision, with one administration official saying "the President's
decision-by-tweet will recklessly put American and allied lives in danger
around the world."
several others, like Republican Senator Rand Paul and former congressman Dr.
Ron Paul, have defended Trump's decision to withdraw the American troops in
Syria, with Dr. Paul saying that the United States needs to "have a clean
cut" with military involvement in the Middle East.
speaking at the press conference in Brasilia on Tuesday, Netanyahu said, “We’re
going to be discussing our, the intense cooperation between Israel and the
United States which will also deal with the questions following the decision,
the American decision, on Syria and how to intensify even further our
intelligence and operational cooperation in Syria and elsewhere to block
Iranian aggression in the Middle East.”
added that Israel was very appreciative of the “strong ... unequivocal support”
Pompeo gave to Israel’s “efforts at self-defense against Syria” in the past few
United States, Israel, France, Britain and their regional allies such as Saudi
Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Qatar have been sponsoring
terrorists in Syria since 2011 which has left the Arab country in ruins.
most foreign allies in the war against Syria, particularly Israel and Saudi
Arabia, are opposing Trump’s plans of withdrawing US troops from Syria.
commander of US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan has pronounced the prospects of
peace with the Taliban while the Pentagon orders the deployment of fresh heavy-lift aviation forces to the
talks (are) out there, regional players pressing for peace, the Taliban talking
about peace, the Afghan government is talking about peace,” General Scott
Miller, who commands the US-led NATO Resolution Support (RS) mission in
Afghanistan, said during a New Year celebration at the RS headquarters in Kabul
Miller was apparently referring to Iran whose officials have recently expressed
their willingness to help establish peace in Afghanistan.
top US commander in Afghanistan emphasized that in order to end the 17-year war
in Afghanistan there needed to be a political settlement.
told the soldiers present at the session to be ready for either “positive
processes or negative consequences.”
(the RS) able to adapt? Are we able to adjust? Are we able to be in the right
place to support positive processes and negative consequences, that’s what I
ask you guys to think about in 2019,” Miller said.
peace talks between the US and the Taliban have gained momentum in past months.
the "positive processes" in the peace talks, there were some negative
developments in the processes.
was present at a meeting in October when the most important power broker in
southern Afghanistan, Kandahar police chief General Abdul Razeq, was shot dead
by the Taliban.
recent weeks, Pakistan also announced its plans to facilitate negotiations
between the Taliban and the United States.
army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor said during a news conference last
month that Islamabad supports Washington's outreach to the Taliban which want
US troops out of Afghanistan.
deploys heavy-lift aviation unit
President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the withdrawal of some 7,000
troops, half of the total number of American forces in the country, from
contrary news, a White House spokesman said last week that Trump had not issued
orders to withdraw the troops. The Trump administration, however, has not
denied the reports.
media reported a heavy-lift aviation unit operating large CH-47 Chinook
helicopters has been deployed for a year-long mission in Afghanistan.
Chinook, which is capable of lifting 12 tons, has been used by US forces to
move troops and heavy equipment for decades.
authorities have named a square in an upscale district of the capital Lima
after Palestine, triggering strong reaction from the Israeli ambassador to the
South American country.
Monday, Peruvian officials inaugurated the square in the San Borja district
during a ceremony hosted by Mayor Marco Antonio Alvarez Vargas.
Ambassador to Peru, Asaf Ichilevich, slammed the move in a post published on
his Facebook page.
am writing these lines to express my surprise at having learned of the
inauguration of Plaza Palestina in San Borja, just on the day that the term of
the district’s mayor expires,” he wrote.
added, “We hereby raise our objection to the presence of a square in our
district, which will serve as a platform for future acts of support to the ...
Palestinian Embassy in Peru, in return, roundly rejected the Israeli
regret that the Israeli embassy intends to affect the peaceful coexistence of
our communities by stoking hatred through such defamatory statements. We would
like to inform members of the public that there is a park called Ramat Gan
Israel in San Borja, and the Palestinian community has never sought to spoil
it. On the contrary, we respect the autonomy of Peruvian institutions and the
diversity of communities and cultures that coexist peacefully in the country,”
a statement released by the diplomatic mission read.
statement added that Palestinian diplomats will lodge a formal protest against
Ichilevich’s remarks with the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, and will ask the
ministry to take appropriate measures in this regard.
January 25, 2011, Peru recognized a “free and sovereign” Palestinian state,
joining a wave of Latin American countries.
the government communicated to the ambassador of Palestine in Lima recognition
of the Palestinian state as free and sovereign,” former Peruvian Foreign
Minister Jose Antonio Belaunde said at the time.
faded yellow posters of Kurdish and Arab fighters killed in the battles against
ISIS stand at the entrance of the Sabaa Al Bahrat square in Manbij, a
flash-point Kurdish-held city in Syria that’s located 32 kilometres south of
the Turkish border.
the city’s northern flanks, coalition forces continue to conduct patrols. Inside
its quarters, the civilian-run Manbij Military council (MMC) is still in
inside Manbij this week was nearly the same as it had been since the US-backed
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) drove
ISIS from the area in the summer of 2016. The markets are crowded and store
owners are going about their usual business.
this month’s announcement of a planned US exit from Syria has exposed the YPG
and the SDF- Washington’s primary partners in the battle against ISIS- to
attacks from Turkey and has raised questions over who will assume control over
Kurdish-held parts of Syria once the US withdraws.
it appears, is at the heart of this conundrum with both the Syrian government
and Ankara racing to reclaim a city which once served as a launching pad for
US-backed operations against ISIS.
the potential loss of US protection, inhabitants fear an attack that could
upend two years of relative stability.
predominantly Arab city with a pre-war population of around 100,000, Manbij has
changed hands many times throughout the course of the eight-year-long conflict.
rebels ousted the government from the city in 2012, a year after the start of
mass uprisings against the regime of Bashar Al Assad, but would eventually lose
ground to ISIS some two years later. In 2016, the SDF would defeat ISIS and
establish the MMC – a body comprised of both Arab and Kurds – to administer the
area, with backing from the US-led coalition against ISIS.
after more than two years of Kurdish control, the city looks poised to change
hands again as US forces prepare to pull-out following President Donald Trump’s
surprise announcement on December 19.
has been threatening an imminent military incursion into Manbij, to clear the
area of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian Kurdish group that is
part of the SDF but is designated by Ankara as a terrorist entity.
Mr Trump’s announcement, US officials warned Turkey – a key ally and Nato
member –against taking action as it would endanger the lives of American
last week, Ankara-backed rebels started amassing north of the city in
preparation for a potential offensive. Turkish soldiers were also seen
gathering on their side of the border and in parts of Syria where they have
response to threats from rebels, the YPG on Friday invited the Syrian army “to
assert control over the areas our forces have withdrawn from, in particularly
Manbij, and to protect these areas against a Turkish invasion.”
life continues in the city, people aren’t immune to the uncertain future.
are afraid,” says Adam, a young man working in his father’s convenience shop.
“[Afraid] of the [Turkey-backed] Free Syrian Army, but also of the regime.”
remains to be seen whether the Syrian government or Turkey and its army of
Syrian rebels will assume control of the contested area.
between what they see as an impending foreign invasion from the north and west
and the return of an unwelcome regime from the south, the Kurdish leadership
have a tough choice. “If the [Turkish-backed] rebels enter the city, half the
city will flee. If the Syrian Army enters, a quarter will flee,” Sharvan
Derwish, the MMC spokesperson, tells The National.
Syrian army on Friday said that its troops had entered the city but US-led
coalition said it had “seen no indication” to support the claims. As of Monday,
they were nowhere to be found inside Manbij.
with the Syrian Democratic Council – the political wing of the SDF – tell The
National that negotiations are ongoing with Damascus over what arrangement
would govern their entrance and how that could protect the area from a Turkish
say no deal had been reached yet, but negotiations began with the baseline agreement
that Ankara-backed rebels should not be allowed to enter the city.
groups fear that the fate of Manbij will follow that of Afrin, located some 120
kilometres to the west.
this year, Turkey, with the support of rebels, launched operation ‘Olive
Branch’ which resulted in the capture of Afrin from YPG forces.
area is now controlled by a number of rebel groups who often compete for power
and influence over the town, which is struggling with lax security and
consistent terrorist attacks, the most recent of which targeted a crowded
market earlier this month.
best option, residents say, is for US-backed Kurdish forces to remain.
SDF and MMC, “brought us stability and brought us democracy,” says Abu Adel, a
resident of Manbij. “They destroyed ISIS for us. The situation is really very
in Manbij were just acclimating to the security and freedom, he says. Shops
were reopening and people could gather outside at night. But once again, people
say that danger looms.
[Turkey-backed rebels] will kill all the Kurds in Manbij. Even us [Arabs], they
will say we are infidels, traitors, PKK, anything,” says Abu Adel, referring
the Turkish based Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that Ankara and other
countries designate a terrorist group.
a middle-aged mechanic who owns the tire repair shop, thought it might be good
if the regime forces entered the city. “Maybe it will be a new step for
stability,” he says.
have never had any problem with the Americans. We want them to stay. But the
regime soldiers are Syrians, the closest thing to the [Manbij] Military
Council,” he explains. “I will give all my sons to the [Syrian] army for the
sake of our safety.”
effusive, his opinion wasn’t shared by others in the shop. Many young men in
Manbij say they fear conscription into the Syrian Army and many are still
wanted for what the government describes as crimes against the state.
whole generation fled [military] conscription,” Hussein, 29, explains as he
sips coffee on a downtown street corner. “Most young men in this city are
wanted by the regime. If it comes back now, we will never get out of the army.
first they’ll be nice to the people, but after that, they’ll go back to their
old ways,” he said.
often hard to verify, in numerous areas recaptured or returned to the state in
ceasefire deals, Damascus has arrested people for protesting against the
government in 2011, not serving in the military or a litany of other offences –
even when agreements include an amnesty.
who came from a nearby town currently under regime control, says he fled to
Manbij when the war broke out. He adds that he’ll flee again if the regime
forces enter Manbij.
describes calling a nearby regime police office a few days ago. “They told me I
have eleven criminal charges against me. Financing terrorism, taking up arms
against the government, and so on”, he says.
two years of Kurdish control, the city looks poised to change hands again as US
forces withdraw from Syria
the city’s northern flanks, coalition forces continue to conduct patrols.
Inside its quarters, the civilian-run Manbij Military council (MMC) is still in
say no deal had been reached yet, but negotiations began with the baseline
agreement that Ankara-backed rebels should not be allowed to enter the city.
asked if he had ever taken part in anti-government activities, he says,
not his real name, said he left the Syrian Army nine years ago, and “hasn’t
picked up a weapon since.”
the local autonomous administration headquarters in Manbij, the first women’s
council conference convened last week. The session – originally meant to
address women’s’ participation in local civil life – quickly became an arena
for debate and discussion over city’s future.
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