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Islamic World News (11 Jan 2020 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Delhi: Shaheen Bagh Juniors Draw Attention to CAA







• Anti-CAA Protests: Delhi HC Dismisses Plea Seeking Removal Of Protesters, Police Barricades At Shaheen Bagh

• G25 Decries Laws against Apostasy, Saying a Muslim’s Decision to Leave Islam Is between That Person and God

• Trump: Killing Iran’s Soleimani Was Delivering ‘American Justice’

• All That Remains for Pakistan Now Is To Hope Gen Bajwa Doesn’t Turn Out To Be Gen Ayub Khan

• Blast during a Taliban Meeting in Pakistan Kills 30 Including ISI Members: Sources

• Saudi Policies Increasingly Hurt Muslim Causes Worldwide

• US Imitating Daesh in Threatening Iran's Cultural Sites: Zarif

• Tunisian Parliament Rejects Proposed New Government In A Confidence Vote

• Iran Will Be Further Mistrusted If It Does Not Investigate Crash Properly: German FM

 

India

• Delhi: Shaheen Bagh Juniors Draw Attention to CAA

• Anti-CAA Protests: Delhi HC Dismisses Plea Seeking Removal Of Protesters, Police Barricades At Shaheen Bagh

• BJP MLA Says Pakistan Should Also Bring CAA; Take Away India's Aggrieved Muslims

• Muslim Bodies Extend Support to Student Protests against CAA

• CAA, NRC: Muslim outfits demand judicial inquiry into police high-handedness

• Sultan Qaboos was a true friend to India, says PM Narendra Modi

• J&K admin revokes PSA against 26 people

• Army porter killed as Pakistan troops resort to unprovoked firing along LoC in J&K’s Poonch

• Fiance behind Pakistan Sikh Youth’s Murder, Held: Police

• ‘Will table private members bill in Parliament to check religious conversions,’ says Subramanian Swamy

• Civil society, Kashmiri migrants, Pak refugees narrate their woes to visiting foreign envoys

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Southeast Asia

• G25 Decries Laws against Apostasy, Saying a Muslim’s Decision to Leave Islam Is between That Person and God

• Malay Publisher Initiates ‘Reboot Malaysia’ Campaign To End Interracial Hate, Rebuild Ties

• Ignorance makes some equate talk about Islam with Islamisation, says Anwar

• PSM, NGOs call for end to military action against Iran

• G25 questions constitutional validity of Jakim, national Islamic council

• Hong Kong issues travel warning on Iran after escalation of US-Iran tensions

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North America

• Trump: Killing Iran’s Soleimani Was Delivering ‘American Justice’

• We Will Not Discuss Withdrawal of US Troops From Iraq: US State Department

• Trump says he believes Soleimani was targeting ‘four embassies’

• Canada demands ‘accountability’ after Iran plane admission

• Trump believes Iran was targeting four US embassies: Fox News

• Pompeo: US stands with Ukraine, ready to support investigation

• No more ‘teary eyes’ from Trudeau: Iranian-Canadians demand action on crash

• NATO chief backs assessment Iran missile downed plane

• US activist says Trump ‘bears some blame’ for Ukraine plane crash outside Tehran

• Trump administration imposes new sanctions on Iran

• US officials connected to Israel lobby pushed Trump to order Soleimani’s assassination: Analyst

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Pakistan

• All That Remains for Pakistan Now Is To Hope Gen Bajwa Doesn’t Turn Out To Be Gen Ayub Khan

• Illegal Pakistani Immigrants in Bosnia Refuse To Return, Senate Body Told

• Bomb Blast Claimed by ISIS Kills at Least 15 in Pakistan Mosque Used by Taliban

• Musharraf treason case was filed without cabinet’s approval, LHC told

• PM Imran demands 'immediate report' on Quetta blast, hails martyred DSP as 'brave and exemplary' officer

• Pakistan: Multan bar Association Bans Non-Muslim Lawyers from Contesting Council Elections

• FM to visit Tehran, Riyadh, Washington in bid to defuse regional tension

• Pakistan seeks immediate de-escalation of US-Iran tensions

• Pakistan, Russia to make joint efforts to restore regional peace

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South Asia

• Blast during a Taliban Meeting in Pakistan Kills 30 Including ISI Members: Sources

• Second largest Muslim Congregation in the world Bishwa Ijtema begins in Bangladesh

• Bangladeshi chef Saiful Islam fights deportation from UK

• Taliban: US, Iran tensions will not interrupt Afghan peace process

• Bangladeshis denounce US for assassinating Iran’s Soleimani

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Arab World

• Saudi Policies Increasingly Hurt Muslim Causes Worldwide

• Oman calls ruling family council to choose new sultan: State TV

• UN extends cross-border aid to Syria, but scaled back by Moscow

• Iraq files complaint on Iran at the UN Security Council: Document

• Several Hashd al-Sha’abi forces killed in Israeli raids on Syria: Report

• Under Russian pressure, UN approves scaled back aid for Syria

• Lebanese protesters close road; scuffles injure 14 soldiers

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Mideast

• US Imitating Daesh in Threatening Iran's Cultural Sites: Zarif

• Israeli Brutality Fails to Break Spirit of Jerusalem Neighbourhood

• Resistance Groups Likely to Start Imminent Missile Attack on US Positions in Region

• Senior Cleric: IRGC’s Missile Attacks on US Bases in Iraq Just Beginning of Revenge

• Soleimani’s daughter says Haniyeh, al-Assad capable of avenging her father

• Iranian President Vows Prosecution of Those Guilty in Ukrainian Plane Incident

• Iranian FM Apologizes for Human Error in Ukrainian Plane Accident

• Experts Praise Iranian Missiles Accuracy in Attacks on US Bases

• Ukraine airline chief says he never believed airline caused Iran crash

• US targeted Iranian official in Yemen in failed strike: Sources

• Israeli forces filmed kicking Palestinian worshiper in head at al-Aqsa Mosque

• Daesh terror group praises ‘allied’ US for assassinating Gen. Soleimani

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Africa

• Tunisian Parliament Rejects Proposed New Government In A Confidence Vote

• Libya’s Haftar Rejects Ankara, Moscow’s Call For Ceasefire

• Militant attack in Nigerian town kills 20 soldiers, displaces 1,000 residents

• Turks oppose sending troops to war-torn Libya, survey shows

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Europe

• Iran Will Be Further Mistrusted If It Does Not Investigate Crash Properly: German FM

• Tehran must ‘learn lessons’ from Ukraine plane disaster: Russia

• Sweden halts Iran Air flights between Stockholm and Tehran

• EU Ministers To Focus On Bringing Iran Back Into Nuclear Deal: Slovakia

• Ukraine president expects full investigation, compensation from Iran on plane crash

• Sanders, Warren criticized for joining conference call with pro-Iran lobby group

• France calls for ‘gesture’ from Iran over detained academics

• Ukraine demands official apology from Iran

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/delhi--shaheen-bagh-juniors-draw-attention-to-caa/d/120769

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Delhi: Shaheen Bagh Juniors Draw Attention To CAA

Jan 11, 2020

NEW DELHI: Australia’s raging wildfires, actor Deepika Padukone’s portraits, Spiderman and Disney’s princesses: these were the subjects of painting for the many children of Shaheen Bagh on Thursday. The kids, aged between 5 and 15, have been accompanying their mothers as they sit under a canopy on Kalindi Kunj road in south-east Delhi to protest against the new citizenship law.

The nearly half-a-kilometre stretch they occupy is blockaded by police at both ends, but the yellow barricades also bear signs of their protests. “No to NRC, no to CAA” have been spray-painted across the barricades in bold letters. Bedsheets have been painted with images of resistance and words from the Preamble and the tricolor are hoisted at several places.

The women’s fight against CAA started on December 16, a day after Jamia Milia Islamia students were attacked by Delhi police. They came out of their homes, shaken by the images of violence, determined that they would sit on a “dharna” until CAA was repealed. But the women did not occupy the road alone. Along with them came their children — infants, toddlers, pre-adolescents and teens.

In the initial days, the children sat with the mothers, unsure of the “civil disobedience movement” that had brought the neighbourhood to national limelight. But as days passed, the toddlers began to venture further away from their mothers’ laps, and the teens began to ask questions about what the law meant.

When TOI visited the neighbourhood, many children sat in a group, independent of their mothers. Most of them had the tricolor painted on both their cheeks, and they listened intently to the speakers on stage. They carried posters against CAA and lent their voices to Inquilab slogans. Some even took charge of the mike and chanted “Hum kagaz nahin dikhayenge”.

The children have made new friends and found new hobbies over the last few weeks, especially after Usama, a young Jamia research scholar set up a makeshift library opposite the protest site. Today, he is both a companion and teacher to these kids.

“I came here a week ago with a hundred books. But within two days, we expanded our collection because more people donated their books. The volunteers here also crowdsourced stationery and A4 drawing sheets for children,” Usama told TOI.

Siblings Alina, 9, and Aliza, 6, have been visiting the library daily. So has Deepika. The three have become best friends now. The library volunteers encourage them to draw and give them a theme every day. The best paintings are then displayed in the “open exhibition” space, said another volunteer Younus, who also conducts art workshops for the children. Younus is a graduate student in Jamia’s fine arts department.

The paintings on display depict the students’ limitless imagination. There were paintings depicting the Australian wildfires with the message, Shaheen Bagh prays for Australia. It was drawn by Class IV student Ishtiyaq Nabi. There also are paintings thanking Deepika Padukone for her solidarity with JNU and slogans against CAA. But most common are self-portraits of students holding the national flag.

Surekha, one of the volunteers who donated the art material and books to the library, said: “The idea was to give the children and other protesters breathing space. This space gives them a chance to pause, read and think.”

The students get their ideas from storytelling sessions held at the library. On Wednesday, artiste Himanshu Bajpai, who made a cameo appearance in Sacred Games 2, held a session for them. But the children have other sources of inspiration too. As Hasan, a nine-year-old said, they draw their tales from the grandmothers who sit on the stage at the dharna. The two women — 82-year-old Bilkis Begum and 80-year-old Noor-un-Nisa — are an endless source of stories for the children. The women, who have lived through the Freedom Struggle, instill ideas of “secularism and unity” in them.

“This is another fight for freedom. We cannot be mere witnesses while the country’s Constitution is under attack. We are here to defend the idea of this nation. Why should we prove that we our grandfathers were born here?” asked Bilkis.

Another face of the resistance is 50-year-old Mehrun Nisa, who is on a hunger strike for nine days. A resident of Wazirabad, she quit her job at Jama Masjid canteen and came to Shaheen Bagh. The women say their fight is for all the children of this country. “The children are fighting for India, and we are fighting for them. There would be no future without them,” said Mehrun.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/shaheen-bagh-juniors-draw-attention-to-caa/articleshow/73196513.cms

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Anti-CAA Protests: Delhi HC Dismisses Plea Seeking Removal Of Protesters, Police Barricades At Shaheen Bagh

Jan 10, 2020

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Friday refused to entertain a plea seeking directions for removal of demonstrators protesting the CAA at Shaheen Bagh here in order to clear road blockages that are causing traffic congestions at the DND route.

The application, in the form of a handwritten letter, was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar which declined to give any relief.

The letter, written by Tushar Sehdev and Raman Kalra, said the route from Delhi to UP, Delhi to Uttarakhand, Delhi to Noida hospitals, Ashram and Badarpur is unavailable due to this protest as the roads around Shaheen Bagh are blocked and vehicles are being diverted to the DND flyway.

Lakhs of people are suffering because of the road closure and it is also an issue for people facing emergencies, the letter said.

The protest, that began on December 14, 2019 and entered its 27th day on Thursday, is affecting several lakh vehicles which are forced to avoid the route, the plea said.

It claimed that protesters have put barricades and heavy stones on the sides of the roads and are not allowing even pedestrians to pass. The protesters have also damaged road dividers and other public properties installed on the roads which is also causing loss to the government exchequer, it said.

The plea sought that these protests should be done at authorised protesting areas without damaging any properties and urged the court to pass directions for removal of the road blockage and make the passage clear for public. Thousands of people, including women and children, are protesting at Shaheen Bagh and nearby Jamia Millia Islamia to oppose the CAA and the NRC.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/caa-protests-delhi-hc-dismisses-plea-seeking-removal-of-protestors-road-blockages-at-shaheen-bagh/articleshow/73184405.cms

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G25 Decries Laws against Apostasy, Saying a Muslim’s Decision to Leave Islam Is between That Person and God

January 11, 2020

PETALING JAYA: The G25 group of former senior civil servants has spoken out against apostasy laws, saying a Muslim’s decision to leave Islam is between that person and God.

In its report on “Administration of Matters Pertaining to Islam” released today, G25 said various state laws penalising apostasy, whether by fines, imprisonment or rehabilitation, were inconsistent with the Federal Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion.

“Article 11 (1) guarantees to every person in Malaysia, and not merely citizens or non-Muslims, three distinct rights, i.e., the right to profess, practise and propagate his religion,” the report released by Asiah Abu Samah, chairman of the report’s working committee, said.

“There is no constitutionally permitted ground to prohibit the mere profession of one’s religion.”

The group noted, however, that the right to practise is subject to general laws relating to public order, public health and morality.

Under the constitution, states are allowed to control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among Muslims.

From the Islamic perspective, G25 noted, no one can be coerced to believe in God. No one should therefore be coerced to remain in Islam, it said.

But it added: “Leaving Islam is something that is regrettable. A Muslim who wants to exercise that choice should be persuaded to remain within the fold.

“However, if he persists to forsake Islam, it is between him and God. There is no earthly punishment provided in the Quran.”

It said a democratic society would cease to exist if there was no respect for freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

It noted that Malaysia used to have clear laws to validate a person’s conversion out of Islam.

“These laws have now been repealed and replaced with vague legal provisions in most states” that allow Shariah High Courts to declare that a person is no longer a Muslim.

Only Negeri Sembilan, it said, had an elaborate process for renouncing Islam.

Also present at the launch of the report were Suhakam commissioner Madeline Berma, Parent Action Group for Education chairman Noor Azimah Rahim, prominent thinker Chandra Muzaffar and Muslim activist Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa.

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/01/11/g25-decries-laws-against-apostasy/

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Trump: Killing Iran’s Soleimani was delivering ‘American justice’

January 11, 2020

The US President, Donald Trump once again praised the last Friday’s drone strike by US forces on Baghdad’s airport, killing a top Iranian military leader, Major-General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds forces.

At the campaign rally in Toledo, Ohio, Trump spent a lengthy part of his stump speech defending his order to kill Suleimani and rejecting criticism from Democrats who say he overstepped his authority with the US military’s drone strike against the commander of Iran’s military al-Quds force at Baghdad airport a week ago, Guardian reported.

He accused Suleimani of organizing violent protests by Iran-backed groups at the US embassy in Baghdad earlier this month. Trump, who frequently trumpets his support of the US military, said that if he had not sent US troops to protect the embassy, the demonstrators might have broken in and killed Americans or taken them hostage, a repeat of the 2011 storming of a US diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, in which the US ambassador was killed.

“Last week the United States once again took the bold and decisive action to save American lives and deliver American justice,” he said.

Trump’s appearance at the arena in Toledo was his first campaign rally of the 2020 election year, a sign of how critical the state is to his winning a second four-year term in office next November. Trump won Ohio in 2016 by 8 percentage points, flipping a state that had gone for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Trump and his top advisers have said Suleimani was masterminding “imminent” attacks against American targets in the Middle East, but have drawn criticism for not providing more detail to back up the claim.

“Suleimani was actively planning new attacks and he was looking very seriously at our embassies, and not just the embassy in Baghdad, but we stopped him and we stopped him quickly and we stopped him cold,” Trump said.

Qassim Soleimani was a mastermind of Iran’s intelligence service who had established several Shiite militia groups and networks to fight for his country’s interest outside Iran’s border.

Following the death of Soleimani, Iran’s leaders warned the United States for an act of revenge.

Iran launched dozens of ballistic missiles on two military bases in Iraq, housing US forces on Wednesday morning; Iran immediately claimed they have killed at least 80 Americans, which was later refused by the US president, Donald Trump.

https://www.khaama.com/trump-killing-irans-soleimani-was-delivering-of-american-justice-987897575/

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All that remains for Pakistan now is to hope Gen Bajwa doesn’t turn out to be Gen Ayub Khan

HUSAIN HAQQANI

11 January, 2020

Only a few brave politicians and intellectuals objected to the overwhelming vote by Pakistan’s parliament to extend the tenure of Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for another three years. Little debate or discussion preceded the vote, as if parliament was rubber-stamping a decision rather than making one.

General Qamar Bajwa now has a free hand to run Pakistan, with a minimal civilian façade, backed by apparent parliamentary consensus and little opposition.

General Bajwa’s confidantes say he will concentrate on enacting reforms that Pakistan’s divided elite has failed to enact. He would like to use his position to create circumstances to end future military interventions.

Given Pakistan’s history, there remains a lot of scepticism. But the army’s de facto primacy in Pakistan has long been recognised and one wonders what difference, if any, would be made by providing it de jure sanction through nearly unanimous legislation. Opposition’s surrender

For the few supporters of civilian supremacy in Pakistan’s public square, the conduct of mainstream opposition parties – the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) headed by former president Asif Zardari – was disappointing.

Both parties have spoken in the past against the Pakistani military’s political role. But they conceded consolidation of power by the current military chief, ostensibly in return for having criminal proceedings that had kept their leaders in prison. Some politicians argued rather incredulously that by bringing the matter to parliament, the Pakistani military was conceding civilian supremacy.

A total of 315 legislators from various political parties in both houses of parliament effectively voted in favour of General Bajwa’s extension. This marks the end of the assumption that the military is content with ‘being on one page’ with the weak and ineffective prime minister, Imran Khan, and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The two major parties, PML-N and PPP, are expecting fresh elections and would probably be happy to be General Bajwa’s new political partners.

Failure of political class

The military has been the anchor for the ship of state in Pakistan since 1951. But after the collapse of the military regime headed by General Pervez Musharraf in 2008, people thought the generals had understood that soldiers alone cannot ensure a country’s progress. Instead of assuming power directly, they seemed willing to share responsibility with the elected politicians in running Pakistan.

Relations between Pakistan’s generals and politicians have never been smooth under dyarchy, or dual control. There was always deference to the military’s concerns in foreign policy and matters pertaining to national security. But the politicians’ performance was far from exemplary even in their own domain.

The politicians who pushed for greater control over policy-making in the last decade now seem to have accepted that they cannot have that control. Mainstream politics in Pakistan has become an arrangement for distribution of patronage, in which opposition to the military is voiced primarily when a leader or a political party faces allegations of corruption and bad governance.

Had Pakistan’s politicians been able to keep their hands relatively clean and abided by constitutional norms and democratic traditions, the gradual democratisation of Pakistan might have been easier.

Pakistan’s generals are rightly blamed for their part in the country’s difficulties. But the political class, too, has obstructed Pakistan’s transition along the lines of Indonesia or Chile, where sustained civilian rule has successfully followed military dictatorship.

Military’s image makeover

When General Qamar Bajwa became army chief in November 2016, he apparently decided that Pakistan could not afford to be pulled in different directions by the military and the civilians. There is considerable potential in stable civil-military relations and Gen Bajwa expressed a desire to make Pakistan a ‘normal country.’

Unlike General Raheel Sharif, Bajwa did not want a personality cult for himself, nor did he focus solely on getting an extension in his three-year tenure, as General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had preferred. After getting the three-year extension in tenure, Bajwa’s interest is now said to be in correcting the country’s course from General Headquarters (GHQ) through parliament and civilian institutions.

As is often the case with well laid out plans of absolute control, Pakistan’s current dispensation has had its share of setbacks. The Supreme Court’s outgoing Chief Justice, Asif Saeed Khosa, waited until the last few weeks of his tenure to deliver a series of judgments that challenged Bajwa’s plans. The extension of Bajwa’s tenure as army chief by three years was determined by the Court as not possible under existing laws.

The Supreme Court allowed a six-month extension to enable a legal fix, which has come in the form of the latest amendment in the Pakistan Army Act. Consensus among disparate parties in parliament to enable Bajwa’s extension was worked out to help recover the military’s image. That image had been somewhat dented by the Supreme Court’s challenge to Bajwa’s extension as well as another court sentencing former army chief General Musharraf to death for treason over his suspension of the Constitution in 2007.

Gen Bajwa vs Gen Ayub Khan

Having secured his extension with parliament’s blessing, General Bajwa would now like to focus on straightening out Pakistan’s economy, suppressing Jihadi terrorism, working out a peace deal in Afghanistan, finding a balance in ties with China and the US as well as between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and normalising relations with India without giving up on Pakistan’s claims on Kashmir.

That daunting agenda ahead might need more than a general’s sincerity and patriotism. Bajwa stands now at a point similar to where General Ayub Khan stood soon after taking over the reins of power in October 1958. Hardly anyone opposed Ayub Khan’s authority in his first few months as Pakistan’s absolute ruler.

As he progressed towards becoming Field Marshal, he found that his solutions to some problems generated new issues. Some of his decisions turned allies into critics and critics into virulent opponents.

Ayub Khan made the mistake of assuming that diverse opinions and policy prescriptions were damaging for Pakistan; that politicians and independent-thinking civilians were untrustworthy and lacking in national spirit; and that learning from the past meant determining whom to blame rather than figuring out what those mistakes might have been.

Can General Bajwa move past those assumptions?

Husain Haqqani, director for South and Central Asia at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C., was Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008-11. His books include ‘Pakistan Between Mosque and Military,’ ‘India v Pakistan: Why Can’t we be Friends’ and ‘Reimagining Pakistan’. Views are personal.

https://theprint.in/opinion/all-that-remains-for-pakistan-now-is-to-hope-gen-bajwa-doesnt-turn-out-to-be-gen-ayub-khan/347967/

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Blast during a Taliban meeting in Pakistan kills 30 including ISI members: Sources

10 Jan 2020

A powerful explosion ripped through a religious school during a Taliban meeting on Friday evening in Quetta, Pakistan claiming at least 30 dead including key Taliban and ISI members, a security source confirmed.

A reliable Afghan security source from the who did not want to be named in the report told Khaama Press that according to intelligence reports, the explosion took place when several key Taliban members including Sheikh Abdul Hakeem (Taliban’s supreme judge), Sheikh Abdul Hakim’ss brother, 3 Pakistan’s ISI members and some drug smugglers were sitting together on Friday evening in a religious school, besides a prayer mosque in Ishaqabad area, in Quetta of Pakistan.

“The explosion has occurred during an important meeting between the Taliban militants, ISI members, and drug smugglers”, the source said.

According to this Afghan security source, at least 30 people have been killed in this explosion including 3 ISI members, Sheikh Abdul Karim’s brother, Haji Mohammad Halim, Mawlavi Haji Ahmad Khan, Gul Agha Akhund, Mawlavi Amanullah and Haji Ahmad Khan, who were key Taliban members.

Sheikh Abdul Hakeem has been seriously injured, the source said.

The security source believes that the motive behind this explosion is due to the recent internal conflicts between the Taliban members.

But, according to Pakistan news agencies, the incident has taken place in a mosque during an evening prayer time, killing a senior police officer, 13 civilians and injuring 20 other worshippers.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Baluchistan’s chief minister, Jam Kamal Khan, condemned the attack. In a statement, Pakistan’s military said soldiers were at the scene of the attack to assist civil authorities.

The ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing, according to the SITE intelligence group.

https://www.khaama.com/blast-during-a-taliban-meeting-in-quetta-kills-30-including-isi-members-sources-8768754756/

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Saudi policies increasingly hurt Muslim causes worldwide

January 11, 2020

The custodians of Islam’s two holiest sites have conveniently distanced themselves from many issues affecting Muslims.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia claims to be the seat of Islam in great part because it oversees the maintenance of Mecca and Medina – where the two holiest mosques for Muslims are located — and hosts hajj, an annual pilgrimage.

Over the years, the Kingdom has faced criticism for not taking up the issues that affect Muslims worldwide, leaving an impression that its political ideology is more in sync with states like Israel and the US — both have waged pointless wars against Muslim-majority countries.

In its most recent move, the Saudi Kingdom reportedly made desperate attempts to jeopardise a summit in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, which focused on bringing together leaders of various countries and discussing the problems that trouble majority Muslim countries.

As Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan was scheduled to attend the summit, the Saudi Kingdom and its close ally the UAE allegedly mounted pressure on Khan, asking him to back off from the event.

Khan, who initially promoted the summit, eventually gave in and cancelled his trip to Malaysia at the last minute.

"Unfortunately, we see that Saudi Arabia pressures Pakistan. Now, there are promises that the country has given to Pakistan regarding the central bank (fund deposits). However, more than that, 4 million Pakistanis are working in Saudi Arabia. They [threaten that they] would send [Pakistanis] back," Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was one of the main engineers of the meeting, told reporters after the summit. 

From both material and political aspects, the Saudi Kingdom has immensely benefited from being the custodian of Mecca and Medina. More than two million Muslims visit the two holy sites each year to complete the hajj, an essential ritual in Islam, which brings together people from different colours, backgrounds and ethnicities.

Saudis and the OIC

The Kingdom gains political legitimacy from one of the key Islamic institutions, its Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which was founded in 1969 when the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third most sacred site, came under an attack from Israel.

With 57 members, the OIC became the second largest international body but its influence gradually decreased with time partly because of Riyadh and its allies’ passive political stances regarding Muslim causes, from Palestine to Kashmir.

Rather than seeking ways to strenghten the OIC to help liberate the Muslim communities from occupying forces, the Kingdom’s inexperienced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (known as MBS) forged friendships with controversial figures like Jared Kushner, a Jewish American supporter of the Zionist state, who is also the son-in-law of the US President Donald Trump.

MBS has come under intense criticism from the international community for his alleged role in orchestrating the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident and an international campaigner of Muslim causes, in the Kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

For decades, the Saudi military, which does not have a real war experience, has been trained and equipped by the US.

Anti-Muslim foreign policy

Saudis have also helped enable dictators like Abdel Fattah al Sisi, Egypt's general-turned-president, who ousted the country’s first democratically-elected president, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2013 in a military coup.

Both the UAE and Saudi monarchies perceive the Muslim Brotherhood, a religiously-minded movement, which exercises democracy and peaceful political activism rather than armed struggle against autocratic regimes, as an existential threat to their oppressive rule.

In Libya, like Egypt, the Kingdom also shows its authoritarian nature, backing a 75-year-old warlord Khalifa Haftar against the UN-recognised Tripoli government.

Riyadh has also been part of Yemen’s brutal civil war, bombing civilian areas occasionally and becoming one of the root causes of the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

The Kingdom has also given a muted response to India's aggressive military stance on Kashmir, a UN-mandated disputed territory, whose semi-autonomous status was recently violated by New Delhi. Instead of mounting pressure on India and holding the country accountable for growing human rights abuses in Kashmir, Riyadh and the UAE are more keen on building strong businessties with India's right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been accused of being complicit in the massacre of several thousand Muslims when he led the state of Gujarat.

https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/analysis-saudi-policies-increasingly-hurt-muslim-causes-worldwide-32851

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US imitating Daesh in threatening Iran's cultural sites: Zarif

10 January 2020

Iran's foreign minister says US threats to target landmarks important to the Iranian culture are an imitation of the Daesh terrorist group's razing of the regional countries' cultural heritage.

The US "seeks to emulate the war crimes of Daesh, menacing the cultural heritage of the millennia-old civilization of Iran," Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in a speech addressing a United Nations Security Council meeting of Thursday.

The remarks were read during the UN Security Council session by Iran's Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi after the US did not issue a visa in a clear violation of its international obligations for Zarif to attend the meeting.

Last week, US President Trump threatened to attack Iran's "cultural sites" in response to any Iranian retaliation of Washington's assassination of the Middle East's most prominent anti-terror commander General Qassem Soleimani last Friday.  

After Iran's missile strikes on two US bases in Iraq on Wednesday, Trump backed down on his threats and offered negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

'Dastardly attack killed anti-Daesh heroes'

Addressing the Security Council meeting on Thursday, Zarif described the attack on Gen. Soleimani and a number of his comrades as a "dastardly targeted assassination" of "heroes who were the nightmare of groups such as Daesh."

He said Iran's Wednesday response to the assassinations was "measured and proportionate" and within Iran's "right to self-defense in accordance with Article 51" of the UN Charter.

The Iranian foreign minister said the Trump administration has shown its utter disregard for the UN Charter, lobbing "more and more threats and attacks" against Iran and other sovereign nations.

Zarif highlighted Washington's attempts to derail the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, punishing "anyone who attempts to comply with UN Resolution 2231 which unequivocally endorses the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action."

The Iranian foreign minister also slammed Washington for what he described as its "damaging" unilateralism and "defiance of international norms and law."

"The world is at a crossroads. With the end of monopolies on power, one unhinged regime is frantically clamoring to turn back time," he said.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/10/615802/US-imitating-Daesh-in-threatening-Iran's-cultural-sites

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Tunisian parliament rejects proposed new government in a confidence vote

11 January 2020

Tunisia’s deeply fragmented parliament on Friday rejected a proposed new government in a confidence vote, meaning a complex coalition-building process will need to start again, with urgent economic reforms at stake.

Designated prime minister Habib Jemli urged parliament to support his proposed cabinet as the debate began on Friday morning, before a vote expected later in the day.

However, the only party in the deeply fragmented parliament to say it will back his government is the moderate Islamist Ennahda, which nominated Jemli as prime minister after coming first in the October 6 election with 53 of the 217 seats.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2020/01/11/Tunisian-parliament-rejects-proposed-new-government-in-a-confidence-vote.html

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Iran will be further mistrusted if it does not investigate crash properly: German FM

10 January 2020

Iran will be further mistrusted by the international community if the cause of the Ukrainian plane crash is not fully investigated, said Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Friday.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/10/Iran-will-be-further-mistrusted-if-it-does-not-investigate-crash-properly-German-FM.html

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India

 

BJP MLA Says Pakistan Should Also Bring CAA; Take Away India's Aggrieved Muslims

Kritika Bansal

January 10, 2020

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Vikram Saini made a controversial statement on Friday saying Pakistan should also introduce the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and take away India's persecuted Muslims to their country.

While speaking to reporters, the BJP MLA from Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh said, "Main toh kehta hun Pakistan ko bhi aisa kanoon (CAA) banana chahiye, jo yaha par peedit Muslim hai unko Pakistan main nagrikta deni chahiye. [I think Pakistan should also bring a law like this. The aggrieved Muslims living here should be given citizenship in Pakistan.]"

The BJP leader from UP also said India and Pakistan should exchange their persecuted minorities.

"Adla badli kar lo. Jo wahaan peedit hai vo Hindustan aa jane chahiye, jo yahan peedit hai vo Pakistan chale jayein. Kaun rok raha hai?... Bilkul, 100 per cent jaane chahiye." Vikram Saini said.

Watch the video here:

ANI UP

@ANINewsUP

#Watch Khatauli BJP MLA Vikram Saini says,"Pak ko bhi aisa kanoon banana chahiye jo muslim yahan par pidit hain unko Pak me nagarikta deni chahiye, adla badli kar lo,jo vahan pidit hain voh Hindustan aa jane chahiye, jo yahan pidit hain vo Pak chale jayen kaun rok raha hai." #CAA

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https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/bjp-mla-says-pakistan-should-also-bring-caa-take-away-india-aggrieved-muslims-1635740-2020-01-10

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Muslim bodies extend support to student protests against CAA

January 11, 2020

Terming the new citizenship law “unconstitutional”, Muslim organisations in a meeting on Friday extended “full moral support to the struggles launched by the Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University and other students and youths against these laws (CAA)”.

The meeting, attended by the Darul Uloom Deoband vice-chancellor, apart from representatives of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, Jamaat Islami Hind, Markazi Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees, All India Milli Council and All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, also condemned “in strongest possible terms the police attacks on the students of Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Hyderabad Central University”.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/muslim-bodies-extend-support-to-student-protests-against-caa-6210671/

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CAA, NRC: Muslim outfits demand judicial inquiry into police high-handedness

11th January 2020

NEW DELHI: Prominent Muslim organisations on Friday expressed concern over the “grim situation” in the country, particularly in BJP-ruled-states, over protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens.

Demanding revocation of the CAA, the groups sought judicial inquiry into police excesses and compensation for victims of “police firing” during protests against the controversial citizenship law.

The organisations, after a meeting, also voiced concerns over the proposed NRC and the National Population Registration, asserting that either NPR should be withdrawn or its additional clauses be removed.

The meeting of Muslim organisations, held under the chairmanship of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani, was attended by Darul Uloom Deoband vice -chancellor, representatives of Jamaat Islami Hind, Markazi Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees, All India Milli Council, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat, and prominent leaders from various parts of the country.

The meeting took stock of the situation prevailing in the country and deliberated upon the CAA, while reviewing the “ongoing movement and struggle” against the controversial law in detail, a statement issued by the Jamiat said.

Full report at:

https://www.newindianexpress.com/nation/2020/jan/11/muslim-outfits-demand-judicial-inquiry-into-police-high-handedness-2088103.html

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Sultan Qaboos was a true friend to India, says PM Narendra Modi

January 11, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday condoled the demise of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said. He said Qaboos’s strong leadership had built a vibrant strategic partnership between India and Oman and that he was a true “friend to India”.

Taking to Twitter, Modi said, “Sultan Qaboos was a true friend of India and provided strong leadership for developing a vibrant strategic partnership between India and Oman. I will always cherish the warmth and affection I received from him. May his soul rest in peace.”

Narendra Modi

@narendramodi

 • 4h

I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing away of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. He was a visionary leader and statesman who transformed Oman into a modern and prosperous nation. He was a beacon of peace for our region and the world.

View image on Twitter

Narendra Modi

@narendramodi

Sultan Qaboos was a true friend of India and provided strong leadership for developing a vibrant strategic partnership between India and Oman. I will always cherish the warmth and affection I received from him. May his soul rest in peace.

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In his nearly five decades in power, Qaboos, 79, transformed his Persian Gulf kingdom from an isolated enclave into a developed nation. He was known for brokering quiet talks between global foes.

Read this story in Malayalam

Internationally, as the longest-serving leader in the Arab world, he used Oman’s place in a turbulent region, next to one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, to become a discreet but essential diplomatic player.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sultan-qaboos-was-a-true-friend-to-india-says-pm-narendra-modi-6210930/

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J&K admin revokes PSA against 26 people

January 11, 2020

The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday revoked detention warrants issued under the Public Safety Act (PSA) for 26 individuals from different parts of the Valley.

Of the detainees, 11 hail from Baramulla, followed by Pulwama (seven), Kulgam (three), Anantnag (three) and one each from Shopian and Srinagar districts, according to an official statement.

Sources in the administration told The Indian Express that the move to withdraw PSA against these individuals was done “after a regular review by the competent authority”. They said 11 of the detainees were being held in Kashmir, and 15 were lodged in jails outside the Union Territory.

The revocation of the PSA comes days after a delegation of some former ministers and ex-legislators, mostly from PDP, had called on Lt Governor G C Murmu seeking, among other demands, a compassionate policy for PSA detainees who are citizens of J&K. They had said it would be a great confidence building measure if the cases of these PSA detainees were to be reviewed on compassionate and lenient grounds to facilitate their early release.

The list of detainees against whom the PSA was revoked Friday includes Nazir Ahmed Ronga (55), the former president of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association. Ronga, who has been under detention since August 5 at Central Jail Muradabad, was detained for being “very vocal against abolishing of Article 370 and 35 A of Constitution of India and also against bifurcation of erstwhile J&K state”.

Charges cited against him also included his leading “many protests marches in this behalf” which, the administration said, “created problems in public order within District Srinagar.Your capacity can be gauged from this fact that you were able to convince your electorate to come out and vote in huge numbers during poll boycotts”. Baramulla District Bar president Abdul Salam Rather is also included in the list.

The Jammu and Kashmir PSA is an Act that allows the government to detain a person without trial for a period of three to six months. The Act was promulgated in 1978 by the Sheikh Abdullah government as an administrative detention aimed to keep the timber smugglers “out of circulation”. However, over the past three-and-a-half decades, the government has frequently used it against its political opponents.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/jk-admin-revokes-psa-against-26-people-6210602/

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Army porter killed as Pakistan troops resort to unprovoked firing along LoC in J&K’s Poonch

by Arun Sharma

January 10, 2020

An army porter was killed and two others injured as Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked mortar shelling and small arms fire along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district Friday.

Sources said they were moving in Kasuliyan village when a Pakistani shell fell nearby injuring all the three. They were rushed to a local hospital where one of the succumbed.

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/army-porter-killed-as-pakistan-troops-resort-to-unprovoked-firing-along-loc-in-jks-poonch-6209832/

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Fiance behind Pakistan Sikh youth’s murder, held: Police

January 10, 2020

The murder of a member of the Sikh community in Peshawar was not a ‘targeted’ attack but was carried out by his fiance who had hired hitmen as she did not wish to marry him, The Express Tribune reported quoting police.

Quoting officials, the leading Pakistan daily said Ravinder Singh’s fiance Prem Kumari had promised the contract killers Rs 7,00,000 and that a part of the amount was already paid in advance. “She promised the hitmen Rs 7,00,000 for Ravinder’s murder. A part of the committed money was paid in advance, while the rest had to be paid after the murder,” the official was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

India had condemned the killing of Singh, who was shot dead by unknown assailants on Saturday. In a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi had asked Islamabad to “stop prevaricating” and protect its minorities.

According to the probe team, Ravinder was murdered in Mardan and his body was shifted to Peshawar by the hitmen. His fiance, Prem Kumari, was taken into custody at Mardan, an investigator told the newspaper.

“In Peshawar, the hitmen dumped the body at a deserted place and called the family from Ravinder’s phone to demand ransom or else they would kill him. All this was done to divert any investigations into the murder,” the officer said.

Singh, a resident of Shangla district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, was killed on Saturday night when he was out shopping for his marriage to be held six weeks later. He is the younger brother of Harmeet Singh, the “first Sikh TV anchor in Pakistan” who works with Public News in Pakistan.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/sikh-youth-killed-in-peshawar-pakistan-india-contract-killing-6209645/

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‘Will table private members bill in Parliament to check religious conversions,’ says Subramanian Swamy

January 11, 2020

In order to check the flow of overseas funds “meant for religious conversions in India” and to ensure that the “Hindu majority” remains intact, Subramanian Swamy, national executive member of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rajya Sabha MP, on Friday said he will table a private members bill in the Parliament to enable the government draft a pan-India freedom of religion bill that will make permission from district collectors mandatory for religious conversions.

“We are seeing that a lot of money is coming from foreign countries for religious conversions. In many regions, including Tamil Nadu and the South Indian states, they are very active,” said Swamy while interacting with mediapersons at Indus University. He said money was also coming into India to help people convert to Islam. “In order to preserve the country’s heritage and culture, it is important to see that India remains a Hindu majority country,” he said.

“I request the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) to bring in a national freedom of religion bill wherein the district administration conducts an investigation into applications (for conversions) before clearing it,” he said adding that persons found to be lured into conversions in return of money should not be allowed to convert.

He said this pan-India freedom of religion bill is already in place in several states, including Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh. “I am thinking that in the next Parliament session, after the Budget is presented, I will bring in a private members bill to request our government to pass an Act in this regard,” the MP added.

While addressing the students and faculty members at the Indus University on the outskirts of the Ahmedabad, Swamy said, despite having battled Islamic forces for the past 600 years and Christians for 200 years, Hindus form 82 per cent of the population. Narrating how the 100 per cent of population of Persia ruled by Zoroastrians were converted to Islam, Swamy said populations of Babylon and Mesopotamia which lie in modern day Iraq and Egypt were converted to Islam in 17 years and 21 years respectively. “The Christians converted 100 per cent of Europe in 50 years. But in this country, war was waged for 600 years with Islam and 200 years with Christians who were the British and yet we are 82 per cent Hindu. What does that mean?” he said.

“We have to recognise that we are under threat. The whole world wants us to believe that we are not the ancient Hindu civilisation and that we are a new country. We are a not a new country. We are a new Republic. Our national identity is the same and we are culturally one people…,” Swamy said.

Full report at:

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/subramanian-swamy-indus-university-freedom-of-religion-bill-religious-conversion-in-india-6210502/

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Civil society, Kashmiri migrants, Pak refugees narrate their woes to visiting foreign envoys

Jan 10, 2020

JAMMU: Members of civil society told 15 visiting foreign envoys that successive governments had adopted a casual attitude towards the “discriminatory” Article 370 and hoped for early restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, while Kashmiri migrants, refugees from Pakistan, Gorkhas and Valimkis also narrated their stories of woe.

The 15 envoys — Mohamed Maliki (Morocco), S Chris Eze (Nigeria), Goldwin David Pollard (Guyana), Daniel Chuburu (Argentina), S Ramon Bagatsing (Philippines), Hans Jocob Frdenlund (Norway), Aishath Mohamed Didi (Maldives), Yogesh Punija (Fiji), Kondi Mani (Togo), Pham Sanh Chau (Vietnam), Kenneth Juster (US); Bong-kil Shin (S. Korea), Ado Leko (Niger), Rokebul Haque (Bangladesh) and Maria Mercedes Gil Juscamaita (Peru) — are on a scheduled two-day visit to J&K to get first-hand reports on the ground situation after the nullification of Art 370.

When some of the envoys asked why they had remained silent for so many years if Art 370 was discriminatory, Labha Ram Gandhi, a refugee from Pakistan, claimed, “For over seven decades we have been struggling against this article but our voice was repeatedly gagged by the ruling elites through the state apparatus.”

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/civil-society-kashmiri-migrants-pak-refugees-narrate-their-woes-to-visiting-foreign-envoys/articleshow/73195505.cms

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Southeast Asia

 

Malay publisher initiates ‘reboot Malaysia’ campaign to end interracial hate, rebuild ties

10 Jan 2020

IPOH, Jan 10 — The managing director of Kumpulan Karangkraf Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub has started a campaign aimed at restoring interracial harmony in plural Malaysia amid growing divisiveness over communal rights.

In his opinion piece in Malay daily Sinar Harian today, published by the group, Hussamuddin called Malaysians to support his campaign called “Uninstall Hatred dan Reboot Malaysia”.

“We all have one similarity, which is to throw away the hatred in the community so that we can live harmoniously with other communities.

“I hope this will be a good start to unite all Muslims and the people of Malaysia. We have to stop talking about hot issues and the leaders should find solutions. Everything has a solution, it’s just whether we want to do it or not,” he wrote.

In his opinion piece, Hussamuddin said interracial and interreligious ties in Malaysia have been simmering for the past 20 years.

He alluded to the recent nationwide uproar over Chinese New Year decorations in a Puchong school, triggered by the vice-president of a fledgling Malay party Putra as an example of the deterioration of racial and religious harmony in the country.

He reminded the government that seemingly petty issues could potentially turn into powder kegs and destroy Malaysia’s multiculturalism if handled poorly.

When the tanglung decoration was protested at the school, seven ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Ismail had to go to the school to protect it.

“This action by the ministers is not productive. It will only cause Muslims who never hated tanglung to hate (it) now.

“This is because when the jawi issue was protested by Dong Zong and non-Malay leaders, the Malay leaders were quiet. This is what makes the Malays angry,” Hussamuddin wrote.

He said the previous government’s management of racial and religious matters was not good, but added that the current government was also handling it poorly.

“Our leaders have to stop this. Don’t let the Jawi and Dr Zakir Naik issues be prolonged. These are all small matters. I urge all leaders, public and the media to not exaggerate such issues.

“The non-Muslim leaders should explain to Dong Zong. Leaders from DAP and PKR have to understand the contents that were written in Jawi in the three pages of the primary school textbook.

“If the non-Malays can accept this, then the Malays may not be questioning tanglung decoration in schools or the issue of Chinese vernacular schools,” he added.

Hussamuddin stressed that even he would not accept any education policy where all subjects are made compulsory to be taught in jawi script.

“But right now it’s only three pages and it’s so difficult for us to accept it. If we want to live in harmony, we should be open to the introduction of jawi,” he said.

Hussamuddin also alluded to controversy surrounding Mumbai-born preacher, Dr Zakir Naik — popular with Muslim Malaysians but who is regarded as offensive by non-Muslims.

He said the preacher was only one person and played down concerns that he is to be feared, despite his widespread influence.

Hussamuddin called for speeches that are not beneficial and insulting others to be replaced with content that mirrors the Quran.

“I suggest that the religious minister and ustaz who teaches in schools to include the spirit of al-Quran on people instead of condemning people.

“Not only the Chinese and Indian should improve themselves, but also Muslims should also improve themselves. The leaders should be brave to take action in uniting everyone,” he wrote.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/01/10/malay-publisher-initiates-reboot-malaysia-campaign-to-end-interracial-hate/1826645

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Ignorance makes some equate talk about Islam with Islamisation, says Anwar

Sean Augustin

January 8, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim said “sheer ignorance” has led to some people thinking that any talk about Islam is tantamount to Islamisation or Arabisation.

The PKR president said this when recalling the dialogue on Islam and Confucianism held on Nov 30 in Penang, which was attended by 400 Muslim and 400 Chinese leaders.

Anwar said many of the Chinese leaders had told him that it was their first time attending such a talk.

“That is why, because of the sheer ignorance, there is so much prejudice to the extent that anything you talk about Islam becomes Islamisation or Arabisation,” he said when delivering his keynote address at the International Unity in Diversity Conference here.

However, Anwar did not deny that “there may be some elements” to it.

In the recent controversy sparked by the government’s decision to introduce khat (Jawi caligraphy) in vernacular schools, Chinese educationist group Dong Zong cited research by “some scholars and literary experts” that showed khat had been used as a medium to spread Islam.

The then education minister Maszlee Malik had denied that introducing khat was a form of Islamisation.

Also, late last month, the education ministry dismissed accusations that it was forcing Islamisation on students in public schools and universities, following the leak of a letter allowing a government religious foundation to carry out Islamic programmes there.

The ministry said the permission given to the government’s Islamic Propagation Foundation of Malaysia, or Yadim, was to only involve Muslim students.

On a related matter, Anwar said one could not defeat the purveyors of extremism or terror if one was completely ignorant of Islam.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/01/08/ignorance-makes-some-equate-talk-about-islam-with-islamisation-says-anwar/

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PSM, NGOs call for end to military action against Iran

10 Jan 2020

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 ― About 50 people representing non-governmental organisations staged a protest outside the United States’ embassy today, calling for an end to military action against Iran.

Led by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), the group managed to submit a memorandum to the embassy which stated five demands.

The five demands are ― to put an end to the belligerent actions and war-mongering rhetoric coming from the US; the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq; restraint on the part of both the Iran and the US to avoid another war happening in the Middle East region, end to sanctions on Iran and close down all US foreign military bases outside of its country.

The memorandum was undersigned by 47 NGOs which include Suarat Rakyat Malaysia, Aliran, Muslim Youth Movement Malaysia (Abim), G25, Kuala Lumpur-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth and Socialist Alliance (Australia), among others.

“Those who will die, like the soldiers are ordinary people, not those in high places sitting at the comfort of their offices.

“We want to urge everyone to speak up. Injustice is injustice, it doesn’t matter what race or religion. People of all races must come out otherwise these problems will continue to happen,” said party chairman Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj when met by reporters on Jalan Tun Razak.

“Like the war in Iraq, it will destabalise the regime and create very extreme groups.

“When you push, this will cause chaos. Especially when you back one militia against the other militia (arm the Sunni to fight the Shiah, arm the Shiah to fight the Sunni). These are the problems that will arise, and you cannot turn it off,” Dr Jeyakumar said.

He also pointed out that the whole Islamic State and extremism is caused by Americans and Britains, not due to the religion itself. 

“After 30 to 40 years of mishandling the issue, it takes a long time to negotiate peace.

“We are a global community, what happens there will affect us. Malaysians will also get pulled there and get radicalised,” he said. 

The protest today came after the US government’s assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani with a drone strike in Iraq last Friday.

The general was one of 10 individuals killed as he departed from his plane at the Baghdad International Airport, where he had just arrived from either Lebanon or Syria. Largely considered a national hero in his homeland, Qasem was alternately held by the US government to be a terrorist who assisted Iran’s allies in their attacks on American troops based in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, PSM central committee member S. Arutchelvan, who was also present at the protest ,said peace can only be achieved in the Middle East when US military bases are removed.

“If we want world peace, the US troops must leave the Middle Eastern countries.

“As long as they are there, problems in relation to Syria, Libya, and most recently Iran, will continue.

“For the first time to date, we see that the Iraq community is calling for the US troops to leave the country. This is a strong message indicating that the US troops are no longer welcomed in Iraq,” he said.

He added that there was no reason for the US military bases to be stationed in Iraq anymore.

“What’s the point of the US remaining there (Iraq). Just to sell their weapons?” he questioned.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2020/01/10/psm-ngos-call-for-end-of-military-action-against-iran/1826731

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G25 questions constitutional validity of Jakim, national Islamic council

January 11, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The G25 group of former top civil servants has alleged that the government took unconstitutional actions when it established the National Council for Islamic Affairs (NCIA) and the Islamic development corporation known as Jakim.

In a report on the “Administration of Matters Pertaining to Islam” released this morning, the group said there were no provisions in the constitution for the two bodies to be set up.

The NCIA was instituted to be the highest national authority for the coordination of Islamic administrative matters. Jakim serves as its secretariat.

“Matters pertaining to the Muslim religion and Malay customs are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the state legislatures and the state executive councils,” the report presented by Asiah Abu Samah, chairman of the report’s working committee, said.

It acknowledged that the people who drafted the Federal Constitution did propose allowing the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, in consultation with the Conference of Rulers, to set up a department to coordinate religious affairs at the federal level.

But it said this was never included in the final document.

The report noted that the powers of the Conference of Rulers, which are limited to those prescribed under Article 38 of the constitution, do not include establishing a federal agency such as the NCIA or Jakim.

“Be that as it may, we do appreciate that the intention of establishing the NCIA is to have a federal agency to coordinate and to promote uniformity in the administration of Islamic law among the states,” it said.

The constitution would need to be amended If there was a need for such an agency, it said.

But even if the NCIA were to be legally established, it added, its role would be confined to advising the states, which would not be obliged to heed its advice.

G25 noted that Jakim, on top of serving as the NCIA secretariat, had also been entrusted with such functions as the development of Islam and missionary activities.

“The substance of these functions, arguably, exceed the executive authority of the federation (exercisable by the Cabinet), given that the executive authority of the federation does not extend to the Muslim religion except for the Federal Territories only,” the report said.

The Cabinet’s entrusting of these specific functions to Jakim was therefore inconsistent with the constitution, it said.

The report said a legal challenge of the validity of these functions could provide greater clarity and would “be of great public interest, particularly given that much of the deliberations of the NCIA or Jakim do not seem to be openly available to the public”.

The report was launched at the Persatuan Alumni Universiti Malaya clubhouse in Kuala Lumpur.

Full report at:

https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2020/01/11/g25-questions-constitutional-validity-of-jakim-national-islamic-council/

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Hong Kong issues travel warning on Iran after escalation of US-Iran tensions

11 January 2020

Hong Kong warned its residents on Friday to avoid “non-essential” travel to Iran, days after Tehran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq in retaliation for a US drone strike that killed an Iranian commander.

Issuing a red alert, which implies a significant threat, on travel to Iran, Hong Kong’s Security Bureau said residents should avoid non-essential travel, including leisure travel.

“Those already there should monitor the situation, exercise caution, attend to personal safety and avoid protests and large gatherings of people,” it said in a statement.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/01/11/Hong-Kong-issues-travel-warning-on-Iran-after-escalation-of-US-Iran-tensions.html

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North America

 

We will not discuss withdrawal of US troops from Iraq: US State Department

10 January 2020

Any delegation the United States would send to Iraq would not discuss the withdrawal of US troops from the country, the US State Department said on Friday, saying the force presence there was “appropriate.”

“There does, however, need to be a conversation between the US and Iraqi governments not just regarding security, but about our financial, economic, and diplomatic partnership,” department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/01/10/We-will-not-discuss-withdrawal-of-US-troops-from-Iraq-US-State-Department.html

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Trump says he believes Soleimani was targeting ‘four embassies’

January 10, 2020

WASHINGTON: Confronted by persistent questions about his military action in the Middle East, President Donald Trump and his top officials offered a string of fresh explanations Friday, with Trump now contending Iranian militants had planned major attacks on four US embassies.

Just hours earlier, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said the US didn’t know when or where attacks might occur. Trump and other officials insisted anew that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani had posed an imminent threat to the US, but they rebuffed repeated attempts to explain what they meant by “imminent.”

Trump, meanwhile, announced additional sanctions against Iran, which he had promised after a barrage of missiles fired by the Islamic State against American bases in Iraq earlier this week.

Those Iranian missiles, which caused no casualties, were prompted in turn by the US drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week in Baghdad. That US assault set off a chain of events that may have included the downing of a Ukrainian jetliner, possibly by an Iranian missile, and calls by the Iraqi government to expel US troops from their country.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1611166/middle-east

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Canada demands ‘accountability’ after Iran plane admission

11 January 2020

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday that “closure, accountability” are needed after Iran admitted it had downed the Ukraine airliner, killing 176, 57 of whom are Canadians.

He also demanded “transparency and justice for the families and loved ones of the victims.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/11/Canada-s-Trudeau-says-closure-accountability-needed-after-Iran-plane-admission.html

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Trump believes Iran was targeting four US embassies: Fox News

11 January 2020

President Donald Trump said on Friday Iran probably had targeted the US embassy in Baghdad and was aiming to attack four US embassies when its top general, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in a US drone strike.

“We will tell you probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad,” Trump said in a clip of an interview on Fox News.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/11/Trump-believes-Iran-was-targeting-four-US-embassies-Fox-News.html

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Pompeo: US stands with Ukraine, ready to support investigation

10 January 2020

The US stands with Ukraine and is ready to support the ongoing investigation into the Ukrainian International Airlines plane which crashed in Iran, said US Secretary of State Pompeo on Twitter.

Pompeo added that he had spoken to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to express his condolences and signaled that the US would support the investigation into the causes of the crash.

Secretary Pompeo

@SecPompeo

Spoke with Ukrainian President @ZelenskyyUa to express my deepest condolences for the lives lost in the tragic crash of Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752. We stand with #Ukraine and are ready to offer our support and assistance in the ongoing investigation.

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7:06 PM - Jan 10, 2020

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The crash killed 176 people, including 11 Ukrainians.

President Zelenskiy said he had received important data from the US about the flight.

Western leaders have said that it is likely the plane was brought down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, which Iran denies.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/10/Iran-s-envoy-to-UK-denies-any-clearing-of-plane-crash-site-Report.html

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No more ‘teary eyes’ from Trudeau: Iranian-Canadians demand action on crash

11 January 2020

Friends and families of some of the 63 Canadians killed in a Ukrainian plane crash in Iran are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take a tougher stance after Ottawa accused Iran of having downed the plane, albeit probably by mistake.

But while Trudeau faces pressure at home to respond strongly, his options are few. Iran has said it will allow Canadian, US, and other international officials to participate in the investigation into Wednesday’s crash.

Trudeau said on Thursday that the airliner was likely brought down by an Iranian missile, a view echoed by the United States and Britain. Iran denied that the airliner had been hit by a missile, and asked Canada to supply proof.

The prime minister “completely misses the point” when he does not condemn the Iranian government, said Ali Ashtari, 39, a data scientist from Toronto who lost a friend in the crash.

Ashtari said Canada should designate the entire Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization and impose sanctions on them.

“This is the minimum that we want from the government,” Ashtari said at a vigil in Toronto. “Otherwise it’s just giving speech with teary eyes, it gives nothing.”

Trudeau said that Ottawa had demanded Canadian access to Iran to provide consular services, identify victims and participate in the crash investigation. Shooting down the plane may have been unintentional, he said, adding that he was “standing with” mourners.

The crash, which killed all 176 people on board, occurred as Iran was on alert for possible reprisals after it launched missiles to attack US troops in Iraq.

“We would just urge him (Trudeau) to use all his power to find out what really happened and hold the responsible accountable,” Amir Arsalani, who lost his sister Evin Arsalani, her husband Hiva Molani and their one-year-old daughter Kurdia Molani in the crash, told Reuters.

Canada broke off diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012, and trade is already limited by sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program. The government lists the Revolutionary Guards’ overseas arm, the Quds Force, as a terrorist group and has imposed sanctions on senior individuals and specific entities connected to the broader organization.

This means Trudeau has few ways to punish Iran in the short term.

“This cannot go without consequence,” said Edmonton engineering student Ali Azimi, 21, whose professor was killed. “If it is determined and proven that this was related to a missile launch, we need to make the government of Iran pay.”

Trudeau was asked this week whether the United States should be held at least partially responsible for the crash, given that tensions in the region ignited after a US drone killed Qassem Soleimani, the former leader of the Quds Force.

“It is too soon to be drawing conclusions or assigning blame or responsibility in whatever proportions,” he told reporters.

Asked whether he supported the US government's assertion that killing Soleimani prevented an imminent attack, he replied: “The Americans made a decision based on their threat assessment.”

Relations between Trudeau and US President Donald Trump are formal at best, with Trudeau last month caught on camera joking about the US president, and Trump calling him “two-faced.”

There was no benefit to the government “to make a big public statement” about the United States, further souring relations, said Stephanie Carvin, a former national security analyst and international relations professor at Carleton University in Ottawa.

“Canadians however are increasingly concerned that we are collateral damage in several campaigns by the United States in achieving its political objectives without any consultations whatsoever,” she said. “(This) is probably top of mind and that is not good for our long-term relationship.”

Canadian government officials including the prime minister’s office were not immediately available for comment.

Iran said on Friday it wanted to download black box recordings itself, and that a probe into the crash could take up to two years.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2020/01/11/No-more-teary-eyes-from-Trudeau-Iranian-Canadians-demand-action-on-crash.html

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NATO chief backs assessment Iran missile downed plane

10 January 2020

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Friday he had no reason to doubt reports from Western capitals suggesting an Iranian missile brought down a Ukrainian airliner, killing 176 people.

“I will not go into details about our intelligence but what I can say is we have no reason to not believe the reports we have seen from different NATO-allied capitals,” Stoltenberg said.

Canada and Britain have both said Iran shot down the plane outside Tehran, possibly mistakenly.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/01/10/NATO-chief-backs-assessment-Iran-missile-downed-plane.html

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US activist says Trump ‘bears some blame’ for Ukraine plane crash outside Tehran

11 January 2020

An American political activist says US President Donald Trump “bears some blame” for this week’s crash of a Ukrainian plane outside Tehran, which took place after Trump massively escalated tensions in the region by ordering the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani in Iraq.

Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of Code Pink, a women-led anti-war group, said on Twitter the crash was a “tragic collateral damage."

“Iranian military says it was at its highest level of alert amid the heightened tensions with the US and in the confusion, they accidentally shot down the plane,” Benjamin tweeted on Saturday.

“Trump bears some blame, don’t you think? Tragic collateral damage from his murder of Soleimani,” she added.

Medea Benjamin

@medeabenjamin

Iranian military says it was at its highest level of alert amid the heightened tensions with the US and in the confusion, they accidentally shot down the plane. Trump bears some blame, don’t you think? Tragic collateral damage from his murder of Soleimani. #NoWarWithIran

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10:16 AM - Jan 11, 2020

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Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, which was operating a Boeing 737-800, went down near Tehran on Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

Iran says the aircraft had flown close to a sensitive military site and been brought down due to human error "at a time of crisis caused by US adventurism."

In a statement issued on Saturday, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran said that at the time of the incident, the forces had been on the highest alert.

All 176 people on the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight died in the crash just after take-off from Tehran on a flight to Kiev.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered Iran's "profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations."

"A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster," he tweeted.

The US military carried out an airstrike on the direction of Trump at Baghdad’s international airport last Friday, assassinating Gen. Soleimani and the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other companions.

On Wednesday, Iran responded to the assassination, striking the American airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq and another in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called the assassination “provocative and disproportionate,” and other members of Congress said they were unconvinced after a closed-door intelligence briefing provided by administration officials.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/11/615886/US-activist-Medea-Benjamin-Trump-Ukrainian-plane-crash

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Trump administration imposes new sanctions on Iran

10 January 2020

The administration of US President Donald Trump has imposed new sanctions on Iran targeting the country’s metals sector and several senior government officials following Tehran’s retaliation for the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the new measures at a press conference at the White House on Friday.

The sanctions were initially promised by Trump on Wednesday after Iran launched more than a dozen missiles on two airbases in Iraq housing US troops.

The new sanctions targeted the Iranian construction, manufacturing, textiles, mining, aluminum, copper, iron and steel industries, Mnuchin said.

Washington also imposed bans on eight senior Iranian officials, saying they were involved in the missile strike on the bases housing American troops.

“We are announcing additional sanctions on the Iranian regime as a result of the attack on U.S. and allied troops,” Mnuchin said. “Today’s sanctions are part of our commitment to stop the Iranian regime’s global terrorist activities.”

“I think we have 100 percent confidence and we are consistent in our view that the economic sanctions are working,” he said. “That if we didn’t have these sanctions in place, literally Iran would have tens of billions of dollars. They would be using that for terrorist activities throughout the region and to enable them to do more bad things.”

The Trump administration’s latest baseless accusations against Iran come after the US military launched a terrorist strike on Iran’s most prominent anti-terror commander in Iraq on January 3.

The US military carried out an airstrike on the direction of Trump at Baghdad’s international airport early on Friday, assassinating General Soleimani and the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other companions.

Early on Wednesday, Iran responded to the assassination, striking the American airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq and another in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Iran’s missile attack on US bases in Iraq was in defiance of Trump's threats to Iran not to retaliate and presents him with the biggest crisis of his presidency to date, according to an editorial by CNN.

MSNBC

@MSNBC

52% of Americans believe Pres. Trump's behavior with Iran was 'reckless,' according to a USA Today/ Ipsos poll. https://on.msnbc.com/36ISiBv

Trump, GOP attempt to re-frame Democratic criticism

As the president now says he ordered the killing of Gen. Soleimani because he was plotting to blow up U.S. embassies, Trump and some GOP allies are trying to claim Dems who question the killing are...

msnbc.com

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9:43 PM - Jan 10, 2020

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The vast majority of Americans say the US assassination of Qassem Soleimani has made America less safe and shows that Trump's behavior with Iran is "reckless," according to a new poll.

The USA Today/Ipsos poll found that Americans, by 55%-24%, said they believe the killing has made the United States less safe, rejecting a fundamental argument the Trump administration has made.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/10/615844/Trump-administration-imposes-new-sanctions-on-Iran

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US officials connected to Israel lobby pushed Trump to order Soleimani’s assassination: Analyst

10 January 2020

Senior US officials in President Donald Trump’s administration who are "heavily connected" to the Israel lobby and US arms industry pressured Trump to order the assassination of Iranian Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, says a political analyst in Virginia.

“The reason he did that seems to have been due to the influence of his immediate circle of advisers,” said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.

“Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, these were the people who pushed the president towards carrying out the assassination,” Preston told Press TV on Wednesday.

“These are individuals that are heavily connected to the Israeli lobby in the United States; these are individuals that are heavily connected to the American military–industrial complex, which profits heavily from American sales of armaments to Israel and Saudi Arabia,” Preston added.

“More and more, the fingerprints of Israel, and to some degree Saudi Arabia, are on this particular action,” he added.

The US military carried out an airstrike on the direction of Trump at Baghdad’s international airport last Friday, assassinating Soleimani and the second-in-command of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, as well as eight other companions.

Early on Wednesday, Iran responded to the assassination, striking the American airbase of Ain al-Assad in Anbar province in western Iraq and another in Erbil, the capital of Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

The Trump administration claims it carried out the assassination to avert an "imminent attack," which is being faced with growing suspicion and skepticism in the US.

Dozens of countries attending a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday condemned the Trump administration for killing Soleimani, the Middle East's most prominent anti-terror commander.

A USA Today/Ipsos poll released Thursday found that Americans, by 55%-24%, said they believe the killing of General Soleimani has made the United States less safe, rejecting a fundamental argument the Trump administration has made that the assassination made the US safer.

The poll also found that a majority of those surveyed, by 52%-34%,  called Trump's behavior with Iran "reckless."

Similarly, a Reuters/Ipsos polling released on Tuesday found that 53 percent of adults in the US disapprove of Trump's handling of Iran, which is an increase of about 9 percentage points from a similar poll that ran in the middle of December.

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday to stop Trump from further military action against Iran, rebuking the president days after he ordered the killing of Soleimani and escalated tensions in the region.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/10/615814/US-Iran-Trump-Qassem-Soleimani-Keith-Preston

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Pakistan

 

Illegal Pakistani immigrants in Bosnia refuse to return, Senate body told

Jamal Shahid

January 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Around 3,000 illegal Pakistani immigrants detained in inhuman conditions in Bosnia have refused assistance from the government of Pakistan to return home.

Special Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aman Rashid told the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development that the Jungle Migrants Camp in Vucjak was located on the border with European Union (EU). These Pakistanis, mostly youngsters, are waiting for an opportunity to escape into EU in the hope of better jobs.

“Officials from the Pakistani mission in Bosnia have visited the detainees seven times and offered them a chance to be shifted to a detention centre with better facilities. But they declined the offer because the new camp is far from the border and minimises their chances of escaping into Europe,” he said.

Members of the committee had taken up the issue after some Pakistanis in the Jungle Migrants Camp sent messages to be rescued and repatriated.

Chairman of the committee Hilalur Rehman said he had watched disturbing videos of Pakistani immigrants locked up in the camp, and had been requesting the government to assist.

The official told the committee that governments deliberately created an unbearably inhospitable environment for migrants hoping that they would eventually return.

Immigrants also prefer miserable conditions hoping that someone would take notice of their conditions and release them, said Mr Rashid, adding the Pakistanis were not prisoners.Pakistanis mostly escape through Iran. The meeting was told that the border trade agreement between Iran and Pakistan was exploited. Under the agreement, settlements on both sides conduct trade.

“Most of the drug smuggling and human trafficking happen through that section of the border,” the special secretary said, explaining if the route was monitored illegal activities could be curbed significantly.

He said Greek and Italian ambassadors regularly registered complaints with Foreign Office regarding illegal immigration from Pakistan.

The official suggested that the government should fully exploit an offer from Japan to take in 350,000 skilled, semiskilled and unskilled workforce from all over the world.

Kashif Noor, an official from the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, told the committee that Japan had had to revisit its immigration policy as its population growth runs into negative figures.

“Japan needs manpower in the automobile, fisheries, agriculture, food service industry, construction, shipping and food and beverages. However, Japan will not compromise on language and skills, which are the two most important requirements to settle in Japan,” said the official.The committee also took up 400 cases of human trafficking referred by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The FIA told the meeting that out of the 400 cases, 40 pertained to cancellation of licences of travel agents and 63 were for action against illegal advertisements in newspapers. Another 87 cases related to legal action against agents and sub-agents.

The meeting was informed that an inquiry had been launched into 92 cases, another 68 cases were being verified, only two first information reports (FIR) had been registered and no evidence would be found in 28 cases.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1527569/illegal-pakistani-immigrants-in-bosnia-refuse-to-return-senate-body-told

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Bomb Blast Claimed by ISIS Kills at Least 15 in Pakistan Mosque Used by Taliban

By Salman Masood and Zia ur-Rehman

Jan. 10, 2020

LAHORE, Pakistan — A bomb blast inside a mosque in southwestern Pakistan, believed to be frequented by senior Taliban figures, killed at least 15 people on Friday and wounded at least 18 more, according to police officials.

Several of the wounded were in critical condition, and hospital authorities feared the death toll could climb further.

The blast tore through a mosque during evening prayers in Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan Province, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing, according to the SITE intelligence group.

A local leader of a religious political party in Pakistan, who is familiar with Taliban networks in the country and spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear for his safety, said that the mosque was sometimes used by a Taliban leader, Mawlawi Abdul Hakeem, but he was not present at the time of the attack.

The Taliban and the Islamic State have battled each other for control of territory in Afghanistan, and Afghan Taliban leaders have long used sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan. But Qari Muhammad Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, said that no Taliban leader was present and no meeting was taking place at the mosque when it was struck with the bombing.

The head cleric of the mosque and a police officer were among those killed.

Paramilitary troops reached the mosque soon after the bombing and cordoned off the area for further investigations.

Pakistani civil and military leaders condemned the bombing, calling it an act of terrorism.

“Those who targeted innocents in a mosque can never be true Muslim,” said Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Pakistan army chief, as quoted by a military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor.

Quetta has a history of sectarian and militant-related violence. Sunni militant groups there have in the past targeted the country’s minority Shiite Muslims. And a secessionist group, the Baluchistan Liberation Army, has waged a low-level insurgency for years. The secessionists are demanding more autonomy and a greater share in the region’s natural resources, such as gas and oil.

Full report at:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/10/world/asia/pakistan-mosque-bombing-isis-taliban.html

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Musharraf treason case was filed without cabinet’s approval, LHC told

January 11, 2020

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday posed questions regarding the legality of the treason case filed against former military strongman General (r) Pervez Musharraf and the formation of the special court that conducted the trial and handed death sentence to the retired general after finding him guilty.

A three-member bench, comprising Justice Syed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, Justice Mohammad Ameer Bhatti and Justice Chaudhry Masood Jahangir, was hearing a set of petitions filed by Musharraf challenging multiple actions against him, including his conviction for high treason, the establishment of the trial court and filing of the complaint by the government.

Barrister Ali Zafar, who has been appointed as the court’s amicus curiea in the case, said that the case against Musharraf seemed to have been filed on the behest of then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, as there is no record of the matter being on the agenda of any of the cabinet meetings held at the time.

“A case under Article 6 cannot be filed without the cabinet’s approval,” Barrister Zafar insisted. The court asked if the matter was on the agenda of any cabinet meeting, to which Zafar responded in the negative.

“None of the cabinet meetings were held on the matter,” Barrister Zafar said.

“This was history’s most important matter; can the cabinet discuss it without it being an agenda item?” the bench asked.

Justice Bhatti pointed out that during a recent case pertaining to the extension and reappointment of the army chief, the strength of the cabinet was discussed.

“But in Pervez Musharraf’s case, the cabinet’s approval or its role cannot be seen,” the judge said. Justice Bhatti was referring to a recent case pertaining to the tenure of the army chief heard by the Supreme Court, where the bench had inquired how many members of the federal cabinet had approved Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to extend the tenure of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

“On June 21, 2013, the attorney general sent a summary to the prime minister that a case be prepared against Pervez Musharraf under Article 6,” Barrister Zafar told the court. “The interior secretary was given the authority to file a complaint on December 29, 2013.”

“The case that was prepared was not in accordance with the law, neither was the formation of the special court in accordance with the law,” Zafar said.

“The complaint against Pervez Musharraf was not filed by the lawful authority; the law was violated here as well. According to the law, the cabinet has to nominate the relevant authority which would file the complaint.”

“When the formation of the court [that heard the case] is wrong and illegal then all its steps and decisions will be considered illegal.”

JUDGES’ APPOINTMENT TO SPECIAL COURT:

Justice Naqvi also inquired how the judges who heard the treason case were appointed.

“On what basis were the judges appointed to the special court?” he asked. “Was there a written communication regarding the appointment of judges to the special court or was everything [decided] over the telephone?”

“The Ministry of Law and Justice wrote a letter to the Supreme Court registrar [asking] for names of judges to form the special court [bench],” the counsel for the federal government told the court.

“When the formation of the court [that heard the case] is wrong and illegal then all its steps and decisions will be considered illegal,” Zafar said.

The court also discussed the charges levelled against Musharraf and the manner in which the trial was conducted.

“The federal government constituted the special court but did not decide how the criminal proceedings will be held,” Barrister Zafar said. “After the 18th Amendment [in] Article 6, it was imperative to amend the 1973 and 1976 laws pertaining to treason.”

Zafar said that though a new offence was added in Article 6, its manner of punishment was not decided.

“The charge sheet which was filed does not mention Article 6 at all,” Justice Naqvi noted.

“The special court indicted [Musharraf] on the first day the case was heard,” Zafar told the court. “The Supreme Court did not define the relation [of the action] with Article 6 but termed it as an unconstitutional step.”

Zafar further said that that the trial was conducted in Musharraf’s absence.

“If a person is not joining a trial, the court can, at most, declare him a proclaimed offender,” Justice Naqvi said and added: “Which law allows punishing a person without hearing them?”

Referring to the special court’s verdict, Justice Naqvi said: “Looking at the verdict, everyone who supported [Musharraf] at the time can be accused of abetting.”

Barrister Zafar insisted that “no one can commit an Article 6 offence alone”, saying that “it would be unconstitutional if proceedings are carried out against selected people.”

“Can the special court summon other suspects if the federal government does not name them [in the case]?” asked Justice Jahangir, to which Barrister Zafar responded in the negative.

GOVT DIRECTED TO SUBMIT COURT FORMATION SUMMARY:

The court asked the federal government to submit a summary of the formation of the special court and directed the state’s lawyer to present arguments on Monday. The hearing was adjourned until Monday.

A special court of Islamabad had on December 17 handed down the death penalty to Musharraf with a two to one majority after six years of hearing the treason case against him. The case was filed by the PML-N government in 2013.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/01/10/musharraf-treason-case-filed-without-cabinets-approval-lhc-told/

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PM Imran demands 'immediate report' on Quetta blast, hails martyred DSP as 'brave and exemplary' officer

January 11, 2020

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that he had directed authorities to submit an "immediate report on the condemnable, cowardly terrorist attack" in Quetta on Friday, which claimed the lives of 15 people including a senior police official.

In a tweet, the premier hailed the martyred deputy superintendent of police (DSP) as a "brave and exemplary officer". He added that he had asked the Balochistan government to ensure the injured victims are provided with medical facilities.

"I have demanded an immediate report on the condemnable cowardly terrorist attack in Quetta targeting a mosque and people at prayers. Have asked provincial govt to ensure all medical facilities are provided to the injured. Martyred DSP Haji Amanullah was a brave and exemplary officer," the prime minister tweeted.

A deadly blast had ripped through a mosque during evening prayers on Friday night in Quetta, killing 15 people, including DSP Amanullah. At least 19 people were reported to be injured in the attack, which authorities said was a suicide blast.

The injured and the deceased were shifted to Quetta's Civil Hospital while an emergency was imposed in all hospitals of the city.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1527680/pm-imran-demands-immediate-report-on-quetta-blast-hails-martyred-dsp-as-brave-and-exemplary-officer

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Pakistan: Multan Bar Association Bans Non-Muslim Lawyers From Contesting Council Elections

By Prachi Mankani

January 11, 2020

In another case of subjugation of minorities in Pakistan, the Multan Bar Association passed a resolution that has barred non-Muslim lawyers, including Ahmadis, to participate in the Bar Council elections. As per the local media, the resolution was presented by the lawyers of the District Bar Association of Multan which stated that the lawyers contesting bar elections will also need to submit an affidavit to prove their faith in Islam. Pakistan has also been condemned internationally for cracking down on its minorities.

Furthermore, it was also reported that Islamabad has been discriminating against its religious minorities. Various forms of targeted violence, mass murders, abduction, rapes, forced conversion to Islam among others, has made Pakistani Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Ahmadiyyas, and Shias one of the most persecuted minorities in the region.

The plight of minorities has deteriorated in Pakistan. They have always been mistreated and suffered injustices from fellow civilians and the administration. Akali Dal leader Manjinder Sirsa, in August, had shared a video of the grieving family telling how 18-year old Jagjit Kaur was allegedly abducted and converted to Islam in Pakistan. The family had alleged that she was converted by coercion and was threatened that her brothers and father would be shot if she did not convert to Islam.

Pakistani passport ranked 4th-worst in the world

As per the Henley Passport Index, the Pakistani passport has been placed at the 104th position out of the 107 passports listed making it the fourth-worst passport for international travel ahead of Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world's largest and most accurate database of travel information, enhanced by ongoing research.

Full report at:

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/pakistan-news/multan-bar-association-bans-non-muslim-lawyers.html

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FM to visit Tehran, Riyadh, Washington in bid to defuse regional tension

Baqir Sajjad Syed

January 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi is scheduled to open his regional trip on Sunday (tomorrow) with a visit to Iran for offering Pakistan’s help for defusing tensions prevailing in the Persian Gulf in the aftermath of the assassination of senior Iranian commander Gen Qassem Soleimani by the United States in an airstrike in Baghdad.

He would later on Jan 13 visit Riyadh and then travel to Washington on Jan 17, a senior diplomatic source said.

Mr Qureshi would tour the three capitals for meeting his counterparts to convey Pakistan’s desire to help in de-escalating the situation.

Mr Qureshi has made a number of telephonic contacts with his counterparts over the situation. More recently, he spoke to Russian and Iraqi foreign ministers.

The foreign minister, meanwhile, met the new Iranian ambassador in Islamabad Seyyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini on Friday at his chambers in the Parliament House.

Mr Qureshi told Amb Hosseini that Pakistan was determined to play its “positive role” for ending tensions in the region.

The Iranian ambassador said that Tehran was clear that it did not want escalation.

He, however, said that the countries counselling restraint need to, at least, first verbally condemn the incident.

Only afterwards can they ask the countries in the region and outside to de-escalate. He said those countries needed to stop treating the aggressor and the sufferer, the murderer and the slain, and terrorists and their victims equally, a diplomatic source revealed.

The foreign minister, on this occasion, recalled that the statement issued by the Foreign Office on Jan 3 had called for avoiding unilateral actions and use of force.

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1527604/fm-to-visit-tehran-riyadh-washington-in-bid-to-defuse-regional-tension

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Pakistan seeks immediate de-escalation of US-Iran tensions

BY MIAN ABRAR

January 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: In order to avoid getting entangled in international conflicts, Pakistan has decided against mediating between Iran and the United States but seeks immediate de-escalation of tensions between the two countries to prevent a war in the Middle East.

An informed source told Pakistan Today on the condition of anonymity that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi would depart on his diplomatic mission for Tehran on January 12.

“The Foreign Office (FO) is working on scheduling meetings of the foreign minister in Tehran, Riyadh and Washington over the next week. After Tehran, Qureshi would be visiting Riyadh on January 13. On January 16 and 17, the minister would be visiting Washington,” the source said.

When asked about the objective of the foreign minister’s visit to the Gulf region, the official said that the foreign minister was going with an open mind.

“He would listen to the ideas of friendly states in the thick of things and then would contemplate if we can help them come closer. But for the time being, mediation is a huge ask and we do not find ourselves fit for this task. You know even the peace deal brokered by P5 countries under United Nations (UN) had failed. So mediation is an inappropriate word for our effort,” the official clarified.

Asked why Pakistan was so eager to be the only country on earth to launch diplomatic efforts for a de-escalation between US and Iran, the official said that both Iran and US were friendly countries of Pakistan.

“We are partners in peace, not in conflicts. We do not thrive on wars. We are looking for efforts to develop and also to support regional development. Any conflict in the region would not only destabilise the region but also it would affect Pakistan,” the official said.

It merits mention here that FM Qureshi has contacted his counterparts from Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Qatar and other gulf states and he would be soon departing for a diplomatic overture to help calm down the situation.

When asked to elaborate, the official said that any conflict between Iran and US may affect the Afghan peace process.

“You know that the US and Iran are major stakeholders in Afghanistan. So any conflict between the two may have fallout in Afghanistan. We have made tangible progress in the Afghan peace process and we want to take the Afghan peace dialogue to a logical conclusion,” the official said.

The official also said that Iran enjoyed good influence in Afghanistan and even the Afghan Taliban had a strong relationship with the Iranian government.

“You know that the US troops are present in huge numbers. We also know that groups linked to Iran may target US troops in Afghanistan. Hence, any such incident may ignite a new war in Afghanistan. Pakistan would like to see peace talks progressing in Afghanistan,” the official added.

The official further said that a regional conflict may also shift world focus from Indian Occupied Jammu (IOK) that is closely being monitored by the UN and its allied organisations as Indian state terrorism continues there.

“Indian regime right now is in a thick soup. Today is the 160th day of state curfew imposed on Kashmiris in IOK. Though Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime staged a drama by taking some right-wing MPs from European Union (EU) to IOK but the EU distanced itself, calling it a private visit. Moreover, the visiting delegation was also not allowed to meet none of top Kashmiri leaders or the public at large and a select group of pro-regime people had met them,” the official said.

The source said that the media spotlight was also on the anti-Modi protests across India and police torture on peaceful protestors who are raising their voice against CAA and NRC laws. He said that the Modi regime was under huge domestic and international pressure right now and any regional conflict may shift the spotlight from the Indian state terrorism against its own people.

Moreover, the official said, any conflict may also have negative implications for Pakistan’s economy which was making fast progress after reforms introduced by the government.

“Any conflict in the gulf region may further raise oil prices which would badly impact our economic revival. Moreover, Pakistan has been graded as a number-one tourist destination as we are hoping for a huge number of tourists visiting Pakistan this year. Any conflict may have negative implications for tourism prospects,” he added.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/01/10/pakistan-seeks-immediate-de-escalation-of-us-iran-tensions/

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Pakistan, Russia to make joint efforts to restore regional peace

January 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Following the dramatic escalation in tensions between the United States and Iran over the killing of Qasem Soleimani, Pakistan and Russia have agreed to launch joint efforts to restore peace in the region.

In a phone call between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the two leaders discussed issues relating to the escalation of tensions in the Middle East as well as the overall situation in the region, the report added.

As Qureshi and Lavrov agreed to make joint efforts for regional peace, Pakistan’s foreign minister told his Russian counterpart that the increasing tensions could cause a “severe blow” to regional peace, adding that both sides have to show restraint in order to de-escalate the situation.

According to Radio Pakistan, Qureshi “made it clear that Pakistan will neither be a party to any new conflict in the region nor will its land be used against any regional or neighboring country”.

Meanwhile, Qureshi on Friday met with the newly appointed Iranian ambassador to Pakistan Syed Mohammad Ali Hosseini during which they discussed tensions between the US and Iran as well as the situation of peace and stability in the region.

On Wednesday, the United States and Iran came to the brink of war after Iran launched missile attacks on US-led forces in Iraq, in retaliation for the US drone strike on Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani whose killing has raised fears of a wider war in the Middle East.

The situation de-escalated after US President Donald Trump while delivering a televised address on Wednesday, extended an olive branch to the “people and leaders” of Iran to work together for “shared priorities”. In the same breathe, he announced more “punishing” economic sanctions against Tehran.

Following the escalating regional tensions, Prime Minister Imran Khan had instructed Qureshi to visit Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States and meet with respective foreign ministers, and the US secretary of state.

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa called upon all concerned parties in the dangerously escalating conflict between the US and Iran to “avoid rhetoric in favor of diplomatic engagement”.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2020/01/10/pakistan-russia-to-make-joint-efforts-to-restore-regional-peace/

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South Asia

 

Second largest Muslim Congregation in the world Bishwa Ijtema begins in Bangladesh

Jan 10, 2020

The first phase of the world’s second largest Muslim congregation after Haj began on the outskirts of Dhaka today. Thousands of devotees from Bangladesh and abroad are thronging the bank of river Turag at Tongi near Dhaka to participate in the congregation called Bishwa Ijtema. Noted scholars give religious sermon to the devotees on this occasion. The Ijtema began with the ‘aam bayan’ and will end on January 12 with the final prayers ‘Akheri Munajat’.

Police has made extensive security arrangement for the congregation. Large number of police personnel have been deployed near the venue which has been brought under CCTV surveillance.

The second phase of Bishwa Ijtem will take place between January 17-19.

Bishwa Ijtema has been taking place on the Turag riverbank in Tongi near Dhaka since 1967. In 2011, the congregation was split into two phases to ensure better management.

Bishwa Ijtema draws in Muslim devotees from about 150 countries. In 2010, 5 million people were estimated to take part in the Bishwa Ijtema. It  is a gathering that focuses on prayer and meditation and is not open for political discussions.

http://www.newsonair.com/News?title=Second-largest-Muslim-Congregation-in-the-world-Bishwa-Ijtema-begins-in-Bangladesh&id=377526

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Bangladeshi chef Saiful Islam fights deportation from UK

January 11, 2020

A chef from Bangladesh is fighting deportation from the UK after he was wrongfully labelled a sex offender.

Saiful Islam, 44, moved to the UK in January 2003 to work in a restaurant.

But his files were later mixed up with those of three other people, resulting in criminal convictions being wrongly attached to his name.

The Home Office has apologised to Mr Islam, who lives in Cardiff, for the mix-up - but he was still denied right to remain in December 2019.

According to a judicial review judgment, errors by the Home Office did not affect the decision to reject Mr Islam's application to stay in the UK, which was based on a 2008 application being refused as he did not have a work permit.

Along with wrongly attaching criminal convictions to his name, the errors included destroying part of his file and withholding it in a previous court case, and not providing relevant pages of his passport which proved he had entered the country legally - which Mr Islam maintains are the reasons he did not have a permit in 2008.

Judge Jackson ruled there had been "a number of errors" and "historic injustice" in the handling of Mr Islam's applications over a number of years, but documents "did not support" Mr Islam's claim that these directly led to his situation "nor was there any confirmation that he was still required in a particular employment".

Mr Islam said he planned to fight the decision. The matter has so far involved 18 court cases and a huge volume of correspondence with the Home Office.

While the Home Office said it could not comment on ongoing legal proceedings, it has confirmed to Mr Islam that three other profiles were mistakenly attached to his own.

It said all indefinite leave applications are considered on their individual merits in accordance with the immigration rules and when someone has no leave to remain in the UK, they are expected to leave voluntarily.

If they do not, their departure will be enforced.

Mr Islam has spent 16 years fighting to remain in the UK and, after a battle to obtain his file through the Information Commissioner, he discovered the errors and received a full apology in 2019.

'Innocence and courage'

Mr Islam, who has no convictions, said: "The Home Office has not treated me like a human being - they have treated me like a criminal.

"I have lost so many years, my health and money."

He said he had suffered depression as a result of his plight.

The trouble with Mr Islam's right to remain began in 2005 when he raised concerns about working conditions with his then employers, alerting the police and the Home Office. His permit was curtailed that year but he was not served with any notification.

But Judge Jackson ruled: "The historic injustice could not have had a material impact on the outcome of the specific decision under challenge."

Fizza Qureshi, chief executive of Migrants' Rights Network, said: "If Saiful had not persevered with his case for nearly 16 years, he would not have known that the Home Office had mixed up his file and wrongly labelled him a criminal.

Full report at:

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-51034041

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Taliban: US, Iran tensions will not interrupt Afghan peace process

10 Jan 2020

The Taliban leaders believe the recent tensions between the United States and Iran will not interrupt the Afghan peace process led by the United States.

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesperson to Taliban peace delegation said the talks between the Taliban and US peace delegation have reached at a concluding edge and close to signing off an agreement. He said the US-Iran tensions will not interrupt the talks, VOA reported.

“The developments will not have a negative impact on the peace process because the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement is finalized and only remains to be signed by the two sides,” Shaheen said.

This comes as the major issues on the recent discussions table were the US forces withdrawal, violence reduction, ceasefire, and Intra-Afghan talks.

The details are not out yet to know how these terms have been agreed between the Taliba and US delegations.

The recent regional tensions that arose following the death of a top Iranian military leader by a US drone strike in Iraq, have created concerns in reference to the Afghanistan peace process led by the United States.

Iran has an influence on one or several Taliban militant groups who are on the battlefield.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/taliban-us-iran-tensions-will-not-interrupt-afghan-peace-process-7865432/

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Bangladeshis denounce US for assassinating Iran’s Soleimani

10 January 2020

People in Bangladesh have protested the United States’ assassination of top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

The protesters held banners and chanted slogans against the US and its interventionist policies in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka on Friday.

“This America killed our beloved brother, top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad,” said Ashraful Haq, a protester. “I want to say to the people of Bangladesh that America and Israel are the enemy of Muslims.”

The demonstrators also praised Soleimani for his role in fighting the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which had once swept over large parts of Iraq and Syria but which lost the territories in operations under the command of Lt. Gen. Soleimani.

“Qassem Soleimani is the reason Daesh got destroyed in Iraq and Syria,” read a placard held by the demonstrators.

The US military launched a drone strike outside the Baghdad Airport last Friday, assassinating Soleimani, who led the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). The attack also killed a number of Soleimani’s Iranian and Iraqi comrades, notably Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was the deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).

The assassination of Soleimani and his comrades have led to major anti-American protests across Iraq and Iran. Smaller protests have also been held in countries across the region and other parts of the world.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/10/615835/Bangladesh-Iran-Qassem-Soleimani-US-assassination

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Arab World

 

Oman calls ruling family council to choose new sultan: State TV

11 January 2020

Oman's high military council on Saturday called on the country's ruling family council to convene in order to choose a new ruler following the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said, who died on Friday evening, state media said, carrying a statement from the military council.

Qaboos, who has ruled since 1970 when he deposed his father in a palace coup, had been ill for some time and had been believed to be suffering from colon cancer.

He left no apparent heir. He was unmarried and had no children or brothers.

It is not clear who will succeed Qaboos, whose country has a distinct method of choosing the next ruler.

According to the Omani constitution, the royal family shall, within three days of the throne falling vacant, determine the successor.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/01/11/Oman-calls-ruling-family-council-to-choose-new-sultan-State-TV.html

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UN extends cross-border aid to Syria, but scaled back by Moscow

11 January 2020

The UN Security Council voted Friday to extend cross border aid to Syria but under pressure from Russia drastically scaled back the program that has been helping the war-ravaged country since 2014.

The assistance is being prolonged for six months and deliveries will be made from only from two points along Syria’s border with Turkey.

After a series of concessions by Western countries since late December, a resolution extending the aid was passed by 11 votes in favor and four abstentions: Russia, China, the United States, and Britain.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/11/UN-extends-cross-border-aid-to-Syria-but-scaled-back-by-Moscow.html

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Iraq files complaint on Iran at the UN Security Council: Document

10 January 2020

Iraq has sent a letter to the UN Security Council, according to a document obtained by Al Arabiya on Friday, complaining about Iran.

In the letter addressed written by Iraq’s Permeant Representative to the United Nations Mohammed al-Uloom, Iraq said it considered the bombing of Iraqi lands under the pretext of Iran’s defense “is totally unacceptable and violates the principles of good neighborliness.”

The Iraqi complaint also denounced the UN Security Council of involving the country in regional or international conflicts.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi had confirmed earlier on Friday that his country rejected all operations that violate his country’s sovereignty, including the recent Iranian operation that targeted the Ain al-Assad base in Anbar and another in Erbil, pointing out that he is making constant efforts to contact all parties to prevent Iraq from turning into a battlefield.

Iraq's complaint letter to the UNSC on Iran:

Iraq letter UNSC.pdf

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards announced on Tuesday that it had carried out a missile attack on Ain al-Assad base in Anbar province in western Iraq, and another base in Erbil, both of which houses US forces.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/10/Iraq-files-complaint-on-Iran-at-the-UN-Security-Council-Document.html

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Several Hashd al-Sha’abi forces killed in Israeli raids on Syria: Report

10 January 2020

Israel has launched several airstrikes on eastern Syria near the Iraqi border, killing at least eight fighters of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a key player in the fight against Daesh and other Takfiri groups in the region.

The air raids struck trucks and weapons depots in Albu Kamal in eastern Syria early Friday, according to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

The group said “unidentified aircraft” targeted the area, but Lebanon's Al-Mayadeen news outlet said Israel was responsible for the strikes.

SOHR chief Rami Abdurrahman said the airstrikes killed at least eight forces of the PMU, better known by their Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, and wounded several others.

The Israeli regime has a long record for attacking forces fighting Daesh terrorists in Syria. The recent air raids were the latest in a series of attacks that have targeted positions of the Hashd al-Sha’abi forces across the region over the past months.

Last August, Israeli aircraft killed and wounded several PMU forces near the Syrian border. 

In July 2019, a drone dropped explosives onto a PMU base near the town of Amerli, in Salahuddin Province, killing at least one resistance fighter and injuring four others.

In June 2018, Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters came under attack in Syria’s border town of al-Hari, in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr, as they were chasing Daesh terrorists out of the area.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/10/615819/Israel-attack-syria-hashd

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Under Russian pressure, UN approves scaled back aid for Syria

January 11, 2020

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council voted Friday to renew cross-border aid to Syria but under pressure from Russia scaled back the program, which has been helping millions in the war-ravaged country since 2014.

The assistance is being prolonged for only six months, whereas it had been extended yearly previously.

And deliveries will now be made from only two points, which are along Syria’s border with Turkey, down from four.

After a series of concessions by Western countries since late December, the resolution extending the aid was passed by 11 votes in favor and four abstentions which came from Russia, China, the United States and Britain.

The existing mandate was to expire Friday.

Belgium and France expressed disappointment over the scaling back of the aid.

“Eleven million Syrians need humanitarian assistance,” said Belgian Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve.

The US ambassador, Kelly Craft, meanwhile said “Syrians will die with this resolution.”

Russia, a key backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad, saw international authorization of cross-border aid shipments as a “breach of sovereignty” a western diplomat said.

The diplomat said Russia wanted to force recognition that Damascus had largely retaken control of territory inside Syria a year ago, admitting that Moscow was in a “strong position” in the face-off with western countries.

The western concessions to Russia keep the program alive but on a reduced scale.

The aid is vital for almost three million Syrians living in the northern Idlib region, where fighting and bombardments have increased in recent weeks.

The resolution extends cross border aid until July 10. It does away with two entry points, one along the border with Turkey and the other on the frontier with Iraq. The latter helped 1.3 million people in northeast Syria.

At the insistence of Germany and Belgium, the council asked Secretary General Antonio Guterres to compile a report by the end of February on finding an alternative to the aid point on the Iraqi border, which is the town of Al Yarubiyah.

On December 20, Russia — backed by China — vetoed a proposal to extend aid for a year from three border spots: two along the border with Turkey and the Iraqi one.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the Russian and Chinese veto as “shameful” and told Moscow and Beijing “you have blood on your hands.”

Washington’s negotiating position had been less than subtle however, one diplomat told AFP, starting out with a demand for five crossing points that could be bargained down to its desired number of three, then two.

The United States also wrongly assessed that Moscow would not resort to a veto, which it did, the same source said.

The British ambassador to the UN, Karen Pierce, said the council’s vote Friday let down the people of Syria.

“It’s an inadequate response for the Syrian people. And it’s an inadequate response to what the UN have been asking for,” she said.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1611266/middle-east

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Lebanese protesters close road; scuffles injure 14 soldiers

January 10, 2020

BEIRUT: Protesters closed a major road in northern Lebanon, triggering scuffles with Lebanese troops that left more than a dozen soldiers injured, the Lebanese army said Friday.

The incident occurred late Thursday night when protesters closed the Biddawi road near the northern city of Tripoli. They were protesting electricity cuts that can last for hours each day. Lebanese troops detained some of the protesters who had blocked the road.

Later in the evening, more demonstrators came to the protest site to demand the detainees’ release. They then attacked troops with Molotov cocktails and hurled stones, injuring 14 soldiers, the army said, adding eight protesters were detained in those clashes.

Lebanon has seen increased electricity cuts as the country grapples with its worst economic and financial crisis in decades.

Protesters took to the streets in October over proposed new taxes. But the nationwide demonstrations quickly grew into calls for an end to the rule of the political elite that has run the country since the 1975-90 civil war ended.

The protesters blame the politicians for widespread corruption and mismanagement, which they say are the main reasons for the country’s financial crisis.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in late October, meeting a key demand of the protesters. However, that’s left the country without a government ever since, as politicians bicker over the shape of the new Cabinet.

Local banks have imposed unprecedented capital controls, putting limits on withdrawals and preventing transfers outside the country.

In Beirut, at least one person was injured Friday during protests calling for the resignation of Beirut’s mayor and governor over alleged corruption within the municipality. The protesters were attacked by men who support the two local officials.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1611116/middle-east

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Mideast

 

Israeli Brutality Fails to Break Spirit of Jerusalem Neighbourhood

January 11, 2020

AMMAN: Despite the fact that locals are arrested daily and that a number of houses have been demolished, residents of Issawiya, a small neighborhood in East Jerusalem, continue to defy Israeli attempts to break their spirit.

Over the past two months, Israeli police have detained an estimated 200 residents of Issawiya — many of them children — in defiance of international law. Orders to demolish three more homes in the neighborhood were also issued this week.

According to data from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), more than 600 residents have been arrested since the launch of regular police raids in Issawiya. About a third of those, according to residents and lawyers are minors.

The ACRI has written to the Israeli attorney general saying that the systematic over-policing directed at thousands of people — most of whom have never even thrown a stone in their life — along with intimidation, arrests, and the use of gas, stun grenades, and sponge-tipped bullets “are not legitimate means” for imposing law and order.

“This policy serves only to exacerbate and foment the confrontations, and in itself causes disturbances, while using means intended to punish, humiliate, and oppress an entire population that is mostly innocent of any crime,” the Israeli human rights organization wrote.

Since June the situation in Issawiya, as described by the ACRI, has been intolerable. “Day after day, night after night, Special Patrol Unit and Border Police forces enter the neighborhood, patrolling the streets, haranguing youths, invading homes, ordering shops to close, blocking roads, handing out incessant tickets, and conducting arrests, many of which prove to be spurious.”

Yaser Darwish, an activist in Issawiya, told Arab News that the daily attacks would not deter people from standing up for their rights. “They have been attacking Issawiya almost every night, and this week alone they have issued demolition orders for three homes in the center of town, claiming that they (were) built without a license,” he said.

Another Israeli human rights organization, Btselem, said that in 2019 alone Israel has demolished 169 homes in East Jerusalem — 18 of them in Issawiya — more than had previously been destroyed in the years since 2004, and that those demolitions “resulted in making 328 Palestinians, including 182 children, homeless.”

Former Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ziad AbuZayyad told Arab News, “(The Israelis) want to break their spirit and force them to kneel, but the people of Issawiya are stubborn and the entire town has stood up to the Israeli police and other Israeli officials’ efforts.”

Hanna Issa, head of the Islamic Christian Committee for Jerusalem, told Arab News that the constant attacks are a prelude to an attempt to displace this small neighborhood, which is close to Israeli institutions including the Hebrew University’s Mount Scopus Campus and the Hadassah Hospital.

“They want to knock off the head of anyone that dares raise his head so that Issawiya will be an example to other neighborhoods, and so that eventually they can move these areas while widening the borders of what they call their unified capital,” Issa said.

Micky Rosenfeld, spokesman for the Israel National Police, told Arab News that police carry out regular patrols in the neighborhood of Issawiya, and “have done so for years,” in order to prevent and respond to security-related incidents whether caused by criminals or terrorists.

“Police officers have been attacked when on patrol by masked residents with petrol bombs, and have had fireworks fired at them from close range, causing the officers to be in a life-threatening situation,” he claimed.

Rosenfeld added that Israeli police officials “are in contact with the leaders of the community to discuss the general situation and coordinate.”

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1611211/middle-east

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Resistance Groups Likely to Start Imminent Missile Attack on US Positions in Region

Jan 10, 2020

Sources close to the Resistance Front said the resistance  groups are preparing for pending response to the last night attack on Syria and other terrorist actions of the US government.

The local media reported on Thursday night that a strong explosion occurred near Iraq’s border with Syria in the town of al-Qaem. Reports said the blast came after the recent US airstrikes on Syria.

On Wednesday, the IRGC Aerospace Force launched heavy ballistic missile attacks on US Ein Al-Assad airbase in Southwestern Iraq near the border with Syria and a US operated airbase in Erbil in retaliation for the assassination of General Soleimani.

Ein Al-Assad is an airbase with a 4km runway at 188m altitude from sea levels, which is the main and the largest US airbase in Iraq. Early reports said the radar systems and missile defense shields in Ein Al-Assad had failed to operate and intercept the Iranian missiles. Unofficial reports said the US army's central radar systems at Ein Al-Assad had been jammed by electronic warfare.

Some 80 US army personnel were killed and nearly 200 more wounded in Iran's Wednesday missile attacks, informed sources said.

The second IRGC reprisal attack targeted a US military base near Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan Region in the second leg of "Martyr Soleimani" reprisal operation.

All flights were cancelled at Erbil airport.

Iraq said the attacks had not taken any toll from its army men stationed at these two bases. The US army had blocked entrance into Ein Al-Assad to everyone, including the Iraqi army.

It was the first direct attack on the US army ever since WWII.

IRGC officials said none of the missiles had been intercepted.

Following the attack, the IRGC issued a statement immediately after the attacks, declaring that it had fired tens of ground-to-ground missiles at "the airbase occupied by the terrorist and aggressive army of the United States known as Ein Al-Assad" in reprisal for the martyrdom of IRGC Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

The IRGC warned the US to avoid retaliating the Wednesday attack or else "it will face a more painful and crushing response".

The IRGC Statement also warned "all the US allied states where the terrorist army has a base, any territory that becomes the origin of any hostile and aggressive action against the Islamic Republic of Iran in any way will be targeted".

"We believe that the Zionist regime by no means stands aside from the criminal US regime in these crimes.”

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13981020000526

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Senior Cleric: IRGC’s Missile Attacks on US Bases in Iraq Just Beginning of Revenge

Jan 10, 2020

Addressing a large and fervent congregation of the people in Tehran on Friday, Hojjatoleslam Haj Ali Akbari said, “Iran’s promised ‘harsh revenge’ on the US over the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani has just started.”

He reiterated that from now on, US interests across the world will be posed to extensive threats, and said, “This US regime has numerous military bases; from now on, having too many bases, especially in this region, won't be an advantage for them.”

IRGC Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Soleimani was martyred in a targeted assassination attack by the US drones at Baghdad International Airport early on Friday morning.

The airstrike also martyred Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashad al-Shaabi. The two were martyred in an American airstrike that targeted their vehicle on the road to the airport.

Five Iranian and five Iraqi militaries were martyred by missiles fired by the US drone at Baghdad International Airport.

The attack came amid tensions that started by the US attack on PMF units that killed 28 Iraqi popular forces. A day later, Iraqi people attacked the US embassy in Baghdad.

The targeted assassination attack represents a dramatic escalation by the US toward Iran after months of tensions. The tensions take root in Trump’s decision in May 2018 to withdraw the US from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, struck under his predecessor.

On Wednesday, the IRGC Aerospace Force launched heavy ballistic missile attacks on US Ein Al-Assad airbase in Southwestern Iraq near the border with Syria and a US operated airbase in Erbil in retaliation for the assassination of General Soleimani.

Ein Al-Assad is an airbase with a 4km runway at 188m altitude from sea levels, which is the main and the largest US airbase in Iraq. Early reports said the radar systems and missile defense shields in Ein Al-Assad had failed to operate and intercept the Iranian missiles. Unofficial reports said the US army's central radar systems at Ein Al-Assad had been jammed by electronic warfare.

Some 80 US army personnel were killed and nearly 200 more wounded in Iran's Wednesday missile attacks, informed sources said.

The second IRGC reprisal attack targeted a US military base near Erbil airport in Iraqi Kurdistan Region in the second leg of "Martyr Soleimani" reprisal operation.

All flights were cancelled at Erbil airport.

Iraq said the attacks had not taken any toll from its army men stationed at these two bases. The US army had blocked entrance into Ein Al-Assad to everyone, including the Iraqi army.

It was the first direct attack on the US army ever since WWII.

IRGC officials said none of the missiles had been intercepted.

Following the attack, the IRGC issued a statement immediately after the attacks, declaring that it had fired tens of ground-to-ground missiles at "the airbase occupied by the terrorist and aggressive army of the United States known as Ein Al-Assad" in reprisal for the martyrdom of IRGC Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani.

The IRGC warned the US to avoid retaliating the Wednesday attack or else "it will face a more painful and crushing response".

The IRGC Statement also warned "all the US allied states where the terrorist army has a base, any territory that becomes the origin of any hostile and aggressive action against the Islamic Republic of Iran in any way will be targeted".

"We believe that the Zionist regime by no means stands aside from the criminal US regime in these crimes."

Full report at:

All Iranian underground missile towns were on alert.

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13981020000485

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Soleimani’s daughter says Haniyeh, al-Assad capable of avenging her father

10 January 2020

The daughter of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani said that others like Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and the Houthis’ Abdul-Malik al-Houthi were all capable of avenging the death of her father, according to a video of a speech she gave.

“Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah gave his message. Ismail Haniyeh, Ziyad al-Nakhalah, Bashar al-Assad, Abu al-Hassan al-Ameri, and Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, who are all, just like my father, capable of destroying the likes of you on their own, will [also] give their messages,” Zeinab Soleimani is heard saying in the video.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2020/01/10/Soleimani-s-daughter-says-Haniyah-al-Assad-capable-of-avenging-her-father.html

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Iranian President Vows Prosecution of Those Guilty in Ukrainian Plane Incident

Jan 11, 2020

"The Islamic Republic of Iran deeply regrets this disastrous mistake... My thoughts and prayers go to all the mourning families. I offer my sincerest condolences," Rouhani said in a statement on Saturday.

The president stressed that "the terrible catastrophe should be thoroughly investigated, and those responsible for this unforgivable mistake will definitely be identified and prosecuted".

The General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said in a statement on Saturday that the Ukrainian Boeing 737 Plane was shot down as a hostile object due to human error at a time of heightened US threats of war.

The statement said an expert investigation by the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces after the Ukrainian airline company's Boeing 737 incident has found that flight 752 of the Ukrainian airlines has been shot down as a hostile flying object that was approaching a sensitive IRGC center and was shot down due to human error few hours after Iran's missile attack on the US and as Iran's military was expecting attacks by the US army.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13981021000125

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Iranian FM Apologizes for Human Error in Ukrainian Plane Accident

Jan 11, 2020

"A sad day. Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster," Zarif wrote on his twitter page on Saturday.

"Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nation," he added.

The General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces said in a statement on Saturday that the Ukrainian Boeing 737 Plane was shot down as a hostile object due to human error at a time of heightened US threats of war.

The statement said an expert investigation by the General Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces after the Ukrainian airline company's Boeing 737 incident has found that flight 752 of the Ukrainian airlines has been shot down as a hostile flying object that was approaching a sensitive IRGC center and was shot down due to human error few hours after Iran's missile attack on the US and as Iran's military was expecting attacks by the US army.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13981021000151

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Experts Praise Iranian Missiles Accuracy in Attacks on US Bases

Jan 10, 2020

Iran fired more than a dozen missiles early Wednesday at two American military bases in Iraq in retaliation for Washington's assassination of Tehran's elite commander, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Qods Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, warning of further strikes against the Unted States.

US came to surprise everyone after it declared victory hours after Iran struck two American bases, with President Donald Trump claiming "no Americans" were harmed in Tehran's attack. While the American leader recently declared that the US would wipe out 52 Iranian state and cultural targets if Washington interests were attacked, he struck a more conciliatory tone in his speech on Wednesday, backing away from threatening further strikes against Tehran.

Tehran has stated that the country was not after killing anyone although "tens of US troops have likely been killed and wounded and were transfered to Israel and Jordan on 9 sorties of C-130 flights", rejecting Washington's speculation that Iran deliberately sought to avoid US military casualties in its missile strikes in Iraq, which some believe provides further evidence of the preciseness of Tehran’s missile systems.

Jeffrey Lewis, a US arms control expert, posted satellite images of destroyed buildings and structures at Ein Al-Assad Airbase in Southwestern Iraq on Twitter, stating that missiles produced by Iran enjoy high precision-striking power.

Jeffrey Lewis

@ArmsControlWonk

The Iranians did *not* miss. These buildings were hit quite precisely.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

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The weapons expert also mocked claims by Pentagon officials that Iran deliberately avoided human targets, saying that "this is insane but if that’s the lie we’re going to tell ourselves so that our fragile masculinity doesn’t drag us into war".

Lewis is director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program for the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. He has written two books on China's nuclear weapons, and numerous journal and magazine articles, blog posts, podcasts, and tweets on nonproliferation and related topics.

A nuclear expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vipin Narang, admired precision of ballistic missiles produced by Tehran used in recent attacks against US bases in Iraq, stating that "the accuracy revolution is real and no longer a monopoly of the US".

Vipin Narang

@NarangVipin

To me the most important takeaway from Iran’s strike is just how precise their SRBMs were. Have to think even Iran was surprised and relieved. The accuracy revolution is real and no longer a monopoly of the US. This has huge implications for modern conflict, and limited war. https://twitter.com/armscontrolwonk/status/1215009628842385409 …

Jeffrey Lewis

@ArmsControlWonk

The Iranians did *not* miss. These buildings were hit quite precisely.

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Narang is an Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT and a member of MIT’s Security Studies Program.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has called the Wednesday operation "only a slap across the face" of the United States, stating that "military moves like this are not enought. The Americans' corruption-stirring presence should come to an end".

Echoing remarks by the Iranian leader on necessity of American troops' pullout from the Middle East, IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh stated on Thursday Iran's missile strikes on US bases in Iraq triggered vast operations to expel American troops from the region.

"The missile strikes on one of the United States' most important bases within the framework of martyr Soleimani operation was the start of big operations which will continue in the entire region," General Hajizadeh told reporters on Thursday, briefing media on operational objective of recent missile attacks on US bases.

Fars News Agency

@EnglishFars

IRGC Aerospace Commander: Wednesday Missile Strikes Marks Start of Major Operations Across Regionhttp://fna.ir/ded743

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Tensions around Iran have been rising since Trump torpedoed the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sweeping sanctions targeting large swathes of Iran’s economy. Later, Washington raised the stakes in the standoff, sending additional military assets – including a carrier strike group, a bomber task force, and Patriot missiles – to countries bordering Iran. The conflict between Washington and Tehran hit record highs after an intruding American spy drone was shot down by the IRGC in Iranian sky.

Full report at:

https://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13981020000153

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Ukraine airline chief says he never believed airline caused Iran crash

11 January 2020

Ukraine International Airlines President Yevhenii Dykhne said on Saturday he never doubted that the airline had not caused the crash of its passenger plane in Iran.

Eleven Ukrainians, including nine crew members, died in the plane crash that killed 176 people on Wednesday, according to Ukrainian government figures. Dykhne wrote a statement on social media after Iran said it had mistakenly shot down the plane.

“We didn’t doubt for a second that our crew and our plane couldn’t be the cause for this horrible plane crash,” Dykhne said.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/11/Ukraine-airline-chief-says-he-never-believed-airline-caused-Iran-crash.html

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US targeted Iranian official in Yemen in failed strike: Sources

11 January 2020

The United States carried out a secret operation in Yemen that targeted, but failed to kill, an Iranian military official last week, two US officials told Reuters on Friday.

The strike was carried out on the same day that the United States killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The timing could suggest that the United States had sought to take out a broader swathe of the Iranian military leadership when it killed Soleimani, citing an imminent threat from him.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the failed strike in Yemen, first reported by the Washington Post.

“The Department of Defense does not discuss alleged operations in the region,” Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Rebecca Rebarich said.

One of the US officials named the Iranian who had been targeted as Abdul Reza Shahlai, a senior officer in the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds force, the unit in charge of foreign operations that had been headed by Soleimani.

The US Treasury Department says he was based in Yemen and accused him of “a long history of targeting Americans and US allies globally,” including killing US-led coalition forces in Iraq. It has offered a $15 million reward in connection with him under its “Rewards for Justice” program.

The United States has accused Shahlai of coordinating a failed 2011 plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States at a cafe in a posh neighborhood of the US capital.

“Shahlai approved financial allotments ... to help recruit other individuals for the plot, approving $5 million as payment for all of the operations discussed,” the Treasury Department said.

Soleimani carved out a sphere of Iranian influence running through Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen.

President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States killed Soleimani in part because “they were looking to blow up our embassy.” “And he had more than that particular embassy in mind,” Trump said.

It was unclear whether Shahlai may have been part of that broader plot.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2020/01/11/US-targeted-Iranian-official-in-Yemen-in-failed-strike-Sources.html

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Israeli forces filmed kicking Palestinian worshiper in head at al-Aqsa Mosque

11 January 2020

A new video has emerged showing Israeli forces kicking a Palestinian man in the head repeatedly during his arrest at the al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.

In the clip, Israeli forces can be seen pushing the man to the ground while trying to handcuff him. They then start kicking him as the victim tries to shield his head. Six other Palestinian worshipers were also arrested.

The incident happened near Bab al-Rahma (Gate of Mercy or Golden Gate) in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, where tensions have been mounting between the Palestinian worshipers and Israeli forces.

Witnesses said Israelis provoked and attacked the worshipers after storming into the prayer area with their boots on.

Israel closed Bab al-Rahma in 2003, alleging that it had turned into a place for political activities against the Tel Aviv regime.

In February 2019, for the first time in 16 years, the Islamic Waqf defied Israel’s ban and re-opened the gates to Palestinian worshipers.

Angered by the move, Israel has launched an arrest campaign against the Palestinians joining prayers in the premises of Bab al-Rahma.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint, highly respected by Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

Palestinians have long been wary of Israeli attempts to change the status quo of the al-Aqsa Mosque, where only Muslim prayers are allowed under the status quo reaffirmed in 1967.

The holy compound is administered by the Islamic Waqf endowment on behalf of Jordan and Palestine. Non-Muslims can visit the site, but cannot pray there.

The status quo also coincided with the chief rabbinate of Israel’s declaration in 1967 that Jews were not allowed to the compound as it would desecrate the site's holiness.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/11/615881/Israel-Palestine-al-Aqsa-Mosque-police-video-Jerusalem-al-Quds

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Daesh terror group praises ‘allied’ US for assassinating Gen. Soleimani

10 January 2020

The Daesh Takfiri terrorist group has hailed the recent assassination of Iran's top military commander, Lt. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, by its “allied” US forces in Iraq, describing the criminal act as a “divine intervention” made by direct order of American President Donald Trump.

In the early hours of January 3, a US drone strike assassinated Gen. Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of the Iraqi pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), near Baghdad International Airport.

Four other Iranians and four more Iraqis in their company were also martyred.

The Pentagon said in a statement that President Trump directly ordered the US military to assassinate the top Iranian commander.

The assassination prompted Iran to take revenge by pouring more than a dozen ballistic missiles on two military bases housing US troops in Iraq early on Wednesday. 

Both commanders were admired by Muslim nations for eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh terrorists in the region. General Soleimani, in particular, was an international figure who played a leading role in promoting peace and security in the region, particularly in Iraq and Syria.

In an editorial of the terror group’s weekly propaganda al-Naba publication on Thursday, Daesh praised the assassination of Gen. Soleimani and al-Muhandis, saying they “died” at the hands of its “allies” - a clear reference to the US.

Many believe that Washington created the Daesh terrorist group and helped it rise and commence its reign of terror and destruction in Syria and Iraq in 2014.

Back in January 3, 2016, Trump, then a US presidential candidate, said during a campaign stop in Biloxi, Mississippi, that Democratic presidential candidate “Hillary Clinton created” the Daesh Takfiri group “with [then president Barack] Obama”, stressing that “they created” the terror group.

Later, on August 10 of the same year, Trump reiterated what he had said several months ago, stressing that Obama was “the founder” of Daesh, whose co-founder “would be ‘Crooked’ Hillary Clinton.”

Furthermore, there are multiple reports of American aircraft airlifting Daesh commanders from various parts of Syria to safe places.

In November 2017, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency cited several eyewitnesses as saying that US aircraft had recently picked up Daesh commanders from the town of Mayadin, which was later liberated.

A month earlier, reports from a group affiliated with the Syrian opposition also alleged that the US military had several times airlifted Daesh Takfiri terrorists amid the Syrian army’s advances on Dayr al-Zawr province.

The US has long been accused of colluding with Daesh to provide safe passage and logistical support to its members in conflict zones.

The Syrian army troops, backed by Russian airstrikes, managed to remove Daesh from all of its urban strongholds in the country. In Iraq, the PMU forces, better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha'abi, did the same against the terror group, prompting former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi to announce the total defeat of Daesh in the Arab country in late 2017.

However, the remnants of the Takfiri group, which conduct terror sporadic attacks against Iraqi security forces and civilians alike with increasing regularity, attempt to regroup and wage a new era of its reign of terror and destruction in the region.

Following the assassination, US-led NATO suspended its training mission in Iraq over claimed security fears. Furthermore, some of the allied troops attached to the mission have been withdrawn from in the Arab country for their safety. 

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/10/615860/Iraq-Daesh-US-assassination-Iran-Soleimani-NATO

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Africa

 

Libya’s Haftar rejects Ankara, Moscow’s call for ceasefire

9 January 2020

Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar late Thursday rejected calls for a ceasefire by Turkey and Russia and announced a continuation of military operations against the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.

In a statement read by his spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari, Haftar claimed that a revival of the political process and the country’s stability could only be assured by the “eradication of terrorist groups” and the dissolution of militias controlling Tripoli.

The Libyan National Army in April launched an offensive against the capital, seat of the UN-recognized GNA.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin issued their call for a truce on Wednesday in Istanbul.

Haftar “hailed... President Vladimir Putin’s initiative” in his statement Thursday but stressed that the “efforts of the armed forces in the war against terrorists” would continue.

“These groups have seized the capital and received the support of some countries and governments who supply them with military equipment, ammunition... and drones,” he said.

“These countries also send terrorists all over the world to fight (Haftar’s) armed forces,” he added.

Haftar was referring to Turkey, which has recently sent some troops to shore up the GNA, while he also accused Ankara of sending pro-Turkish Syrian fighters to Libya.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/north-africa/2020/01/09/Libya-s-Haftar-rejects-Ankara-Moscow-s-call-for-ceasefire.html

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Militant attack in Nigerian town kills 20 soldiers, displaces 1,000 residents

09 January 2020

About 20 soldiers were killed and nearly 1,000 people made homeless in a militant attack on a town in northeastern Nigeria, two residents and a military source said on Wednesday.

The militants entered Monguno in Borno state posing as a convoy of soldiers on Tuesday evening, the sources said. They then attacked troops inside the town, destroying at least 750 homes in the process.

Resident Gumati Sadu said people fled into the bush for safety during the fighting and that three civilians were killed by stray bullets.

A military spokesman declined to comment.

The West Africa Province (ISWAP) claimed responsibility for the attack on its Amaq news agency.

It said that one of its militants detonated a car bomb in the town, killing at least 8 soldiers and destroying 3 armored vehicles.

The group also said it had seized a vehicle, weapons and ammunition before leaving the town.

ISWAP split from the extremist group Boko Haram in 2016 and has since staged its own frequent attacks in the region.

Boko Haram's decade-long insurgency campaign has killed thousands and displaced millions in northeastern Nigeria.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/01/09/615717/Nigeria-Boko-Haram-militants-residents-soldiers-Monguno

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Turks oppose sending troops to war-torn Libya, survey shows

January 11, 2020

ANKARA: Deployment of Turkish troops to war-torn Libya has a strikingly low rate of support among the country’s population, a recent survey suggests.

More than 1,500 people across 12 provinces took part in the poll, conducted by market research firm Istanbul Ekonomi Arastirma, with 58 percent of respondents saying they disapproved of any troop deployment to the war-torn country. Only 34 percent were in favor of the deployment.

Can Selcuki, general manager of Istanbul Ekonomi Arastirma, said that people fail to see any benefit in sending troops to Libya.

“In other military involvements, such as those in northern Syria, the threat was Syrian Kurdish YPG taking root along Turkey’s borders. Hence public support was above 75 percent for both the Euphrates Shield and Peace Spring operations.

“Military involvement in Libya may be well justified from a national benefit perspective, but the government has more convincing to do,” he told Arab News.

Libyan intervention also divides the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Only 61.8 percent of the AKP voters consider the deployment of forces to Libya as a necessity, while 45 percent of the MHP voters are against the military presence in Libya.

Opposition party supporters are principally against military deployment to the North African country, with 92.9 percent of pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party voters opposed to the move. In the newly formed Iyi Party, the rate is 88 percent, while in the main opposition Republican People’s Party the figure is 78 percent.

Turkish people are also reluctant for the government to become involved in every conflict in its neighborhood, with 75 percent of respondents suggesting Ankara should adopt an intermediatory role for regional conflicts rather than becoming involved.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1611226/middle-east

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Europe

 

Tehran must ‘learn lessons’ from Ukraine plane disaster: Russia

11 January 2020

Iran, which admitted on Saturday that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner killing 176 people, must “learn lessons” from the disaster, the chairman of the Russian parliament’s foreign affairs committee said.

“If decryption of the black boxes and the work of the investigation do not prove that the Iranian army did this intentionally, and there are no logical reasons for this, the incident must be closed.

“Hoping that lessons will be learned and action taken by all parties,” said Konstantin Kosachev, quoted by the Interfax news agency.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/11/Tehran-must-learn-lessons-from-Ukraine-plane-disaster-Russia.html

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Sweden halts Iran Air flights between Stockholm and Tehran

10 January 2020

Sweden’s Transport Agency said on Friday it had temporarily halted Iran Air flights between Sweden and Iran after the crash of a Ukrainian airliner near Tehran on Wednesday which killed all 176 people on board.

“The reason is the uncertainty around the accident and the security of civil aviation,” the agency said in a statement.

Sweden’s foreign ministry said on Friday that 7 Swedish citizens and a total of 17 people who lived in the Nordic country died in the crash.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/10/Sweden-halts-Iran-Air-flights-between-Stockholm-and-Tehran.html

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EU ministers to focus on bringing Iran back into nuclear deal: Slovakia

10 January 2020

Slovakia’s foreign minister said on Friday the Iran nuclear deal was not dead and that European Union foreign ministers would focus on finding ways on how to bring Tehran back into the accord after its decision to scrap enrichment limits.

“The steps they announced are reversible and verification by the IAEA [nuclear watchdog] is ongoing, but we are not happy with the step 5 that was announced,” Miroslav Lajcakbut told reporters on arrival at an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/01/10/EU-ministers-to-focus-on-bringing-Iran-back-into-nuclear-deal-Slovakia.html

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Ukraine president expects full investigation, compensation from Iran on plane crash

11 January 2020

Ukraine expects a full investigation, a full admission of guilt and compensation from Iran after the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a statement on Saturday.

Iran had earlier said it mistakenly shot down a plane killing all 176 people aboard and voiced its deep regret, after initially denying it brought down the aircraft in the tense aftermath of Iranian missile strikes on US targets in Iraq.

Zelenskiy said “Iran has pleaded guilty to crashing the Ukrainian plane. But we insist on a full admission of guilt.”

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/01/11/Ukraine-president-expects-full-investigation-compensation-from-Iran-on-plane-crash.html

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Sanders, Warren criticized for joining conference call with pro-Iran lobby group

11 January 2020

Democratic US presidential hopefuls Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are being criticized for taking part in a recorded conference call with an Iranian-American advocacy group that has been accused of actively lobbying on behalf of the Iranian regime.

The conference call hosted by MoveOn.org, another advocacy group, took place last Wednesday and included Jamal Abdi, the president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC).

NIAC is an advocacy group that claims to be a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization but has faced accusations of lobbying on behalf of the Iranian regime and against the interests of the Iranian diaspora in the US.

The group has a history of attempting to raise unsuccessful lawsuits against its critics. The council and its founder, Trita Parsi, have previously sued Iranian-American bloggers and intellectuals who published pieces that challenged its status as an independent nonprofit organization.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2020/01/11/Sanders-Warren-criticized-for-joining-conference-call-with-pro-Iran-lobby-group.html

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France calls for ‘gesture’ from Iran over detained academics

January 11, 2020

PARIS: France said on Friday that the imprisonment of two prominent French academics by Iran was unacceptable and that their release would represent a “significant gesture,” as tensions mount between Tehran and the West.

The plea for the release of Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marchal — imprisoned since June last year — comes as Iran is embroiled in an international crisis over its missile attacks on US troops in Iraq and a passenger plane crash near Tehran.

“These arrests and the fact that they are in prison today is totally unacceptable,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio. “It would be a significant gesture if Iran freed them as soon as possible,” he said.

France has repeatedly called for de-escalation in the latest intensification of the Iran-US standoff, sparked by the killing of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in an American drone strike which prompted Iran to attack bases in Iraq housing US troops.

France, Britain and Germany are scrambling to keep alive a 2015 deal that reined in Tehran’s nuclear program, which US President Donald Trump walked out of in 2018.

Iran has dropped espionage charges against Adelkhah but she still faces charges of spreading “propaganda against the political system” and “conspiracy against national security,” her lawyer said this week.

Iran does not recognize Adelkhah’s dual French-Iranian nationality and has lashed out at Paris for what it has described as “interference” in the cases of the academics, both from Sciences Po University in Paris.

Marchal is also accused of “collusion against national security,” according to his lawyer.

The two researchers are not the only foreign academics behind bars in Iran — Australian Kylie Moore-Gilbert of the University of Melbourne is serving a 10-year sentence on espionage charges.

Sciences Po said late last year that Adelkhah and Moore-Gilbert had begun a hunger strike. Moore-Gilbert has issued a plea to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to work for her release.

Full report at:

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1611221/middle-east

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Ukraine demands official apology from Iran

Elena Teslova  

11.01.2020

MOSCOW

Ukraine has demanded an official apology from Iran after Tehran admitted earlier on Saturday that it unintentionally downed a Ukrainian aircraft killing all passengers on board.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Facebook post: "This morning was not good, but it brought the truth. Even before the end of the work of the international investigative commission, Iran admitted its guilt. But we insist on a full admission. We expect from Iran's assurances to readiness for a full and open investigation, bring those responsible to justice, the return of the bodies of the victims, payment of compensation, an official apology through diplomatic channels."

Iran’s General Staff of the Armed Forces said Saturday that a Ukrainian aircraft was “accidentally” hit by an Iranian missile earlier this week.

The Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after takeoff from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport just hours after Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles targeting U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for last week’s killing of Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/middle-east/ukraine-demands-official-apology-from-iran-/1699459

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TOTAL COMMENTS:-   1


  • Anti-CAA/NRC/NPR Protests on the pattern of Shaheen Bagh have started in several parts of India.


    By GGS - 1/13/2020 12:06:36 AM



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