Begum: Britain revoked her citizenship and Bangladesh, from where her family
hails, said it would not take her in.
Peace a Chance, Say Indian and Pakistani Expatriates in UAE In The Wake Of
Names Jaish Chief, To Mount Pressure for Arrest
If Pakistan and India Get Along, Says Trump
First, US' Sanders Picks Muslim To Lead Campaign
Is Enough,’ Egypt Tells Poor Families as Population Booms
Opposed To Ban on Masood Azhar, Anyone Involved In Terror Must Be Listed By UN:
Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister
Says It Will Engage With India on JeM Leader Issue
Bangladesh Washes Its Hands Of Shamima Begum
Questions India's Response to Pulwama Terror Attack
crown prince orders release of 850 Indian prisoners on PM Modi's request
Army, BSF convoys in J-K to move together after Pulwama attack
Attack: Govt Withdraws Security Of 18 Hurriyat Leaders, 155 Politicians In J-K
a victim of terrorism “sheltered and supported” from across the border: PM Modi
Asks Pakistan, China to Deny Safe Havens and Support to Terrorists
Omar is helping turn the tables in Congress and the US establishment is
group seeks congressional probe on terror watchlist
Blame Pakistan for Pulwama Attack, Says Saudi FM
Funding Has ‘New Face,’ Warns Saudi Arabia's Attorney General
extremism a ‘common concern’ with India: Saudi Arabia
Terrorists Transferred from Eastern Syria on US-Led Coalition Trucks
US Experts Working on Re-emergence of ISIL Terrorists
found after 12 people abducted in Iraq
rejects US claims about Hezbollah’s clout on Lebanon govt.
rebukes Pak envoy over Pulwama attack remarks
should apologise for '71 role
Special forces kill 5 Taliban commanders in Nangarhar province
to sign strategic partnership agreement with Turkmenistan
UK Teen Now Stateless After Government Revokes Her Citizenship
draft report on Turkey unacceptable: Ankara
actions in Lebanon pose biggest war threat: report
expels four Syrians over Turkish embassy attack
Groups Rap PAS Man over Comments on Underage Marriage
Mufti: Flat Earth conspiracy theory misguided, opposes irrefutable consensus
PAS willing to forget past wrongs, unite for Islam
Dr M consider Umno defectors for PPBM top posts in Sabah?
PAS used money allegedly given by Umno for GE14 deposits
Approves Construction Over 4,000 New Settler Units In Jerusalem Al-Quds
challengers to Netanyahu announce alliance for Israeli polls
president rejects tax money from Israel
FM Warns Israel about Its ‘Dangerous’ Adventurism
MPs call for expulsion of Israel envoy over al-Aqsa assault
government approves UN plan for redeployment in Hodeidah
Attack Highlights 'New Generation' Of Al-Shabaab Recruits
for mass rapes points to S. Sudan army: UN report
PM appeals for more aid as most Syrian refugees set to stay
struggling protest movement hopes to outlast Omar Al Bashir
‘high-profile’ terror suspects held in Karachi
released from Saudi prison on PM Imran’s request
by New Age Islam News Bureau
peace a chance, say Indian and Pakistani expatriates in UAE in the wake of
Give peace a chance.
is the message of Pakistani social worker and journalist Sehyr Mirza, who has
launched the #AntiHateChallenge challenge on social media, followed the venom
being spewed in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack in which 49 Indian
paramilitary forces were killed.
banned outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the attack which
has raised tensions between nuclear India and Pakistan. India blames Pakistan
for the attack while Pakistan denies its hand in it.
to Gulf News from Pakistan, Mirza explained why she decided to launch the
war-like situation after the Pulwama attack was extremely distressing because
of the silence. Peace supporters on both sides were facing a lot of backlash as
all sorts of negative and hateful comments were being shared on social media.
thought it was very important to break the silence to create a healing space
and the best way to do that was through giving out a message of love and
warmth. So, I initiated the #AntiHateChallenge to express solidarity with
friends across the border.”
has been contributing to the cause through interviews of intellectuals and
thinkers on India-Pakistan relations. She also works with the team of Aman ki
Asha (Wish for Peace) initiative. “Similar situations have arisen in the past
and I have participated in campaigns with like-minded friends to counter
her campaign is being received
said many like-minded friends from Pakistan have joined in the campaign. “I am
still expecting more people to accept the challenge. Hating is very easy and
it’s almost challenging in the current times to stand up for peace.” The post
is widely being shared and appreciated in India by peace supporters.
lot of love and positive messages are coming in. At the same time, I have faced
negative reaction from trolls from both countries. While Indians are calling
the photographs fake and disseminating the images with distorted photo-shopped
messages, several Pakistanis are responding by calling it an act of appeasement
towards the Indian establishment. “
said neither the images nor the spirit behind the campaign is fake. Mirza
argued that those considering it appeasement or acceptance of guilt, must
realise how Pakistanis are being attacked and labelled as terrorists.
was distressed and wanted to counter that by giving out a public message that
Pakistanis are against terrorism and Pakistanis and Indians stand together in
fighting the menace,” she added.
positive energy and love is the only way as both countries need to fight our
collective issues such as poverty, inequality, violence against women and lack
of education and health opportunities,” she said. And this, she said, would
work only through establishing regional peace instead of spending hefty amounts
on defence budgets.
and Pakistan expatriates in the UAE are calling for peace in the wake of the
tension between the neighbouring countries.
W. Malik, a Pakistani resident in Dubai
hate campaigns and hurling abuses at each other should stop. An act of
terrorism should be condemned. It should not create hatred amongst people.
Social media users should stop fighting online creating more tension and hatred
and instead promote peace. I often visit India and always get superb treatment
by Indians during my trips. Likewise, Indians visiting Pakistan get even better
treatment. People in Pakistan always warmly welcome their Indian guests in
Pakistan and it is very heart warming. Relations between the countries and the
people should not be spoiled because of some rogue elements who are trying to
play dirty games for vested interests.
often visit India and always get superb treatment by Indians during my trips.
Likewise, Indians visiting Pakistan get even better treatment.
Irfan W. Malik, a Pakistani resident in Dubai
in Pakistan always warmly welcome their Indian guests in Pakistan and it is
very heart warming. Relations between the countries and the people should not
be spoiled because of some rogue elements who are trying to play dirty games
for vested interests.
Iqbal Amjad, a Pakistani resident in Sharjah,
are is not a solution to Indo-Pak problems as it would only serve a political
agenda. Terrorist attacks are security issues and both Indian and Pakistan are
victims of this curse. We should let such incidents spoil our people to people
relations. The #AntiHateChallenge is a good way to tackle this issue. Holding a
dialogue is the only way to resolve our issues as war is merciless and
disastrous for people in both countries.
cordial relations and good friendship between Indians and Pakistani living in
the UAE is a clear example that we as a people don’t hate each other.
Amjad Iqbal Amjad, Pakistani resident
cordial relations and good friendship between Indians and Pakistani living in
the UAE is a clear example that we as a people don’t hate each other. Sanity
should prevail to avoid any war. People promoting warmongering should be
Tabish Zaidi, Pakistani resident in Dubai
have been holding literary and poetry programmes inviting intellectuals and
poets from both India and Pakistan to Dubai as I believe people from both the
countries do not hate one another. We as Pakistanis condemn the Pulwama attack
and the loss of lives. We feel equally sad about any such incident happening
either in India or Pakistan. People in Pakistan do not want killings. We should
have more interaction and people to people contact as it will help promote
peace. People should respect humanity and precious human life. Hate campaigns
should be curbed and we should not be a part of this.
as Pakistanis condemn the Pulwama attack and the loss of lives. We feel equally
sad about any such incident happening either in India or Pakistan.
Syed Tabish Zaidi, Pakistani resident in Dubai
should have more interaction and people to people contact as it will help
promote peace. People should respect humanity and precious human life. Hate
campaigns should be curbed and we should not be a part of this.
Ashraf, general secretary at the Pakistan Association in Dubai
is not a solution to resolve any conflict. We encourage and appreciate those
who have launched the #AntiHateChallenge and condemn those who are promoting
hatred on social media and television. A large number of my friends and
business partners in the UAE are Indians and we work together very well. We
have very cordial relations between Indian and Pakistan social clubs in Dubai.
I would say we should talk to each other to defuse the tension and discourage
people who are flaring it up on social media.
have very cordial relations between Indian and Pakistan social clubs in Dubai.
I would say we should talk to each other to defuse the tension.
Sohail Ashraf, general secretary at the Pakistan Association in Dubai
would say we should talk to each other to defuse the tension and discourage
people who are flaring it up on social media.
Bhargava, Indian resident in Dubai
start with, this has been a tragic and horrible incident where lives have been
lost. This is something that has to be universally condemned by people of
society, politicians and governments across the world. The solution lies in
resolving the matter which quite honestly has been inflated. The solution to
tackle terrorism is not violence, but educating people on how we can lead a
better life and create open spaces for dialogue. That will be the only way one
will give up violence, not indulge in such horrible ideologies and get
intoxicated with views to kill people. Educating the youth is equally important
so people don’t fall for false news or fake opinion. Open dialogue and
communication is the key.
solution to tackle terrorism is not violence, but educating people on how we
can lead a better life and create open spaces for dialogue.
Anoop Bhargava, Indian resident in Dubai
the youth is equally important so people don’t fall for false news or fake
opinion. Open dialogue and communication is the key.
Sameer H. Shaikh, an Indian resident in Dubai
sad turn of events in Pulwama and the massacre of Indian troops is yet another
painful stab in our back by non-state incendiaries. Yet, I am a believer in
positivity and harmonious co-existence is definitely a probability provided
there is a productive change in mindset of both our countries.
mongering is not the way forward. Dialogue is the call of the day. Media
interpretations should advocate caution and wanton statements by politicians on
both sides must be kept in check.
Dr. Sameer H. Shaikh, an Indian resident in Dubai
Khurshid, an Indian Instructor in Dubai
recent attacks in Pulwama have been encouraging ill feelings between India and
Pakistan. This is not how we should be responding to any act of terror. First
stop belittling the other country, its citizens and the governments involved.
Instead they must stand together and come to consensus with a dialogue. I
belong to Delhi and I have friends from Pakistan too. As someone who has been
living in the UAE for the last 30 years I have come to realise we cannot stop
living in a multi-cultural environment. We are living in peaceful coexistence
outside our country, why we can’t our government peacefully co-exist.
are living in peaceful coexistence outside our country, why we can’t our
government peacefully co-exist.
Sadaf Khurshid, Indian instructor in Dubai
someone who has been living in the UAE for the last 30 years I have come to
realise we cannot stop living in a multi-cultural environment. We are living in
peaceful coexistence outside our country, why we can’t our government
Mahadeva, Indian director with a law firm in Dubai
is very disturbing to see the countries battle this way. There has to be a
peaceful co-existence and dialogue is the only solution to everybody’s problem.
There is no way of tackling terrorism with violence and hatred. Education and
dialogue are imperative.
is no way of tackling terrorism with violence and hatred. Education and
dialogue are imperative.
Devanand Mahadeva, Indian, director with a law firm in Dubai
grows on social media
the hate and warmongering on Twitter after the #PulwamaAttack, some Pakistani
and Indian social media users are finally standing up to say #NoToWar. After
Pakistani journalist Sheyr Mirza launched the #AntiHateChallenge to speak out
against war and terrorism and hundreds of Twitter users from both sides of the
border joined her.
Indian poet and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, Pakistani Twitter user @Khalidgraphy,
highlighted that war will only bring destruction: “Whether blood is ours or
theirs. It’s the blood of humankind. War is a problem itself. Today it will
rain fire and blood... tomorrow, hunger and scarcity. I am a #Pakistani and I’m
against #terrorattacks anywhere in the world.”
tweep @AjaySawant11 posted: “#AntiHateChallenge: Respect to all the Pakistan
citizens who condemn these cowardly attacks. Citizens of both countries should
hold their government accountable... Only the common man dies, no corrupt
@Ranjish_ added: “It is usually the common people on both the sides of the
border with sane voices, while, people occupying ‘big’ offices are busy
peddling their agenda.”
tweeted: “Thank you for keeping the differences aside. Love and respect from
across the border. #AntiHateChallenge #NoToWar”
tweep @AnisanKhan added: “Stop creating more hate! Both countries need to stick
together. Don’t forget the partition in 1947... instead of killing more people,
find alternative solutions. #notowar”
using social media to fuel war, say expats
peace and tolerance, many Indian and Pakistani expats in the UAE shared the
same view. War is not the solution.
Indian expatriate Nitin Kumar said: “What is happening is pure politics. I
support the #AntiHateChallenge. The governments and people in power should
ensure that people do not use social media for hate messages and slander.
People are suffering at ground level, in both the countries and we cannot
30-year-old sales coordinator added: “We need to stop using social media to
fuel the fire. If there is proof about the attackers, they should openly share
it and punish the culprits. Political speeches of hatred will only escalate the
speeches of hatred will only escalate the situation.
Nitin Kumar, Indian expat in Dubai
to facts on social media
Devpura, a 23-year-old Rajasthani working as an analyst in Dubai, agreed:
“Fear-mongering speeches by politicians are not solving the issue, they are
just adding to people’s fury. Social media users need to control what they are
sharing and stick to facts and the truth. Their purpose should not be to boil
blood. We need to let go of the past and start a humane conversation.”
media users need to control what they are sharing and stick to facts and the
Sudeep Devpura, Indian expat in Dubai
a war against extremist ideologies
expat Sarika Jamkhedkar, a Mumbaiker, added: “The attack seems to have
aggravated the feeling of hatred between people in the two countries. What
people should understand is that the need of the hour is to fight terrorists
and extremist ideologies and to tackle the attackers.”
said: “This is not a fight between the people of the two countries, the
solution is not a physical war. It is a great thing that some Pakistanis have
taken to social media to condemn the attack, it’s a positive step. That being
said, condemning is not enough, they should urge their government to take
43-year-old Dubai homemaker feels, we need to, “focus on changing the mindset
of people involved in terrorism. Both countries need to ensure this.”
also feels people should use social media responsibly: “Rather than writing
messages of hatred or forwarding such messages we should focus on sharing posts
about the development in our own country or posts about empowerment and social
justice. The military should be left to strategise and solve serious border
than writing messages of hatred or forwarding such messages we should focus on
sharing... posts about empowerment and social justice
Sarika Jamkhedkar, Indian expat in Dubai
animosity between civilians
Sarmad, an inventory coordinator based in Dubai also feels that the issue
should be resolved at a government level and the general public does not need
to involved: “There is no animosity between any civilians. It’s completely a
political issue between two countries.”
Pakistani national also believes that media is to blame when it comes to
“pushing the agenda for war”.
on official statements by Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Imran Khan, the
40-year-old said: “Being a leader of a country, he [Khan] definitely has the
right to reply. India has the right to reply as well. That is how it goes.”
is no animosity between any civilians. It’s completely a political issue
between two countries.
Mohammad Sarmad, Pakistani expat in Dubai
Sarmad believes that “war is not an option” and “a discussion is needed”. He
added: “It’s 200 per cent important to not have a war. There should be a table
talk and the countries should come to a consensus without showing any grudges.
That’s an easy solution.”
on the consequences of the attack, Sarmad said: “If any solid proof is found,
we are open to an investigation and action should definitely be taken against
whoever is responsible.”
the repercussions of war
Pakistani living in the UAE, Rehan Khalid has similar sentiments regarding the
issue. “War is not the answer in this era, we have lessons from the past,” the
events manager said. The 37-year-old believes that most of the reactions are
prominent online, however, that is not the case in everyday life: “Kids are
typing things and pushing for revenge on social media without understanding the
consequences of war.”
on the consequences of a conflict, he said: “The repercussions of a potential
war can’t be estimated right now. People who are asking for revenge don’t
understand the results of it.” Khalid believes Pakistanis living in the UAE as
well in Pakistan “are not taking the threat of war seriously”.
are typing things and pushing for revenge on social media without understanding
the consequences of war.
Rehan Khalid, Pakistani expat in the UAE
names Jaish chief, to mount pressure for arrest
DELHI: Six days after the Pulwama suicide bombing, in which 40 CRPF jawans were
killed, the National Investigation Agency on Wednesday filed an FIR “naming
Maulana Masood Azhar-led Jaish-eMohammad” for the conspiracy.
said they already have sufficient primary evidence, including a video through
which Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility, pattern of vehicle-borne IED
(VBIED) attacks, names of people who executed the blast and details linking the
bomb to Pakistan and Jaish.
agency is planning to mount pressure on Pakistan through international agencies
like Interpol to arrest Azhar since red notices have been issued against him in
the past for attacks on the Pathankot IAF base, Parliament and J&K
assembly. Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency have so far refused to honour
matter, government officials said, would be raised with Interpol’s headquarters
since Pakistan is also a member of the international body, but has refused to
arrest any wanted designated terrorist against whom red notice has been issued
— be it Azhar, LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin,
Abdul Rauf Asghar or D company boss Dawood Ibrahim. In fact, these people roam
freely in the country along with security cover provided by the Pakistan
already have a dossier on Jaish-e-Mohammad, which includes its sympathisers,
overground workers, known hideouts of cadres, madrasas from where the outfit
gets support in Kashmir and other parts of the country.
said all those linked to the outfit are being located while some have already
been questioned in the last few days. A search is on for one of JeM’s local
recruits in the Valley — Muddassir Ahmad Khan — who played a key role in the
if Pakistan and India get along, says Trump
DC: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday described the Pulwama terrorist
attack, in which 40 Indian paramilitary personnel were killed, as a “horrible
situation” and said it would be “wonderful” if the two South Asian neighbours
have watched. I have got a lot of reports on it. We will have a comment (on it)
at an appropriate time. It would be wonderful if they (India and Pakistan) get
along,” Trump said in response to a question.
American president made these comments while addressing the media during an
Oval Office signing ceremony on Tuesday.
United States threw its support behind India on Tuesday and urged Islamabad to
punish those behind the February 14 suicide attack in occupied Kashmir.
have been in close communication with the government of India to express not
only our condolences but our strong support for India as it confronts this
terrorism,” said US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino.
urge Pakistan to fully cooperate with the investigation into the attack and to
punish anyone responsible,” he added, noting that Washington had also been in
contact with Islamabad over the attack.
day after the deadly car bombing the United States voiced support for India’s
right to self-defence against cross-border attacks.
National Security Adviser John Bolton spoke to his Indian counterpart Ajit
Doval on February 15, promising to help bring those behind the attack to
justice, the Indian foreign ministry said in a readout of the phone call.
ministry said the two NSAs vowed to work together against all regional and
global threats, and “resolved to hold Pakistan to account for its obligations
under UN resolutions”.
Tuesday, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Zahid Nasrullah said peace talks
between the United States and Afghan Taliban would be affected if India
resorted to violence against Pakistan.
representatives are due to meet US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in
Qatar on February 25 in the next round of talks to end America’s longest war.
US State Department’s comments come a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan – in
an address to the nation on Tuesday – offered India an olive branch and said
Islamabad was willing to act upon ‘actionable intelligence’.
his resolve for a peaceful neighbourhood, the premier said Islamabad had
nothing to gain from the attack and would act against any individual who used
Pakistani soil to plan or execute the attack.
would like to make the Indian government an offer, If you have actionable
evidence, share it with us. We will take action. Not because we are under
pressure, but because it is our policy,” he said.
reminded his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi that Pakistan has borne the brunt
of global terrorism and the country has sacrificed more than 70,000 lives in
order to achieve the peace and has been at the forefront of the global war on
is a country that has suffered the most from terrorism, and we are willing to
have a dialogue with India to eradicate terrorism in the region.”
first, US' Sanders picks Muslim to lead campaign
off announcing a new run at the presidency, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders has
named a prominent Muslim civil rights lawyer to lead his effort, in a first for
a major presidential bid.
Shakir, a Harvard University graduate and former national political director
for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), was named campaign manager on
Tuesday by the independent senator.
the ACLU, Shakir was a senior adviser to then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
and also advised Nancy Pelosi, the current House majority leader.
seven years at the Center for American Progress, a Washington-based liberal
think tank, he spearheaded an anti-Islamophobia campaign which produced a
report, "Fear, Inc.: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in
a strong spoiler ahead of Hillary Clinton’s Democratic nomination for president
in 2016, joins a crowded field of hopefuls for the 2020 Democratic nod.
an independent, progressive Sanders caucuses with the Democrats.
is enough,’ Egypt tells poor families as population booms
Ghanem is hoping for a fourth child even though her doctor says her body can’t
handle a pregnancy at the moment. She has three daughters and would like them
to have a brother.
the future he could support his father and the girls,” said Ghanem, 27, who
lives in a village in Sohag, an area with one of Egypt’s highest fertility
family depends on her husband’s income from a local cafe. “If I have a son
people, here in the village can say that he will carry on his father’s name,”
Egypt’s population heads toward 100 million, the government is trying to change
the minds of people like Ghanem.
Is Enough” is the government’s first family-planning campaign aiming to
challenge traditions of large families in rural Egypt. But Ghanem’s wish to
have a son shows how hard that could be.
main challenge is that we’re trying to change a way of thinking,” said Randa
Fares, coordinator of the campaign at the Social Solidarity Ministry. “To
change a way of thinking is difficult.”
population is growing by 2.6 million a year, a high rate for a country where
water and jobs are scarce and schools and hospitals overcrowded. President
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi says the two biggest threats to Egypt are terrorism and
population growth. “We are faced with scarcity in water resources ... scarcity
in jobs, job creation, and we need to really control this population growth so
that people can feel the benefits of development,” Minister of Social
Solidarity Ghada Wali told Reuters.
ago, Egypt had a family-planning program, supported by the United States. The
fertility rate fell from 5.6 children per woman in 1976 to 3.0 in 2008 while
the use of contraceptives went up from 18.8 percent to 60.3 percent. Large
amounts of contraceptives were made available and advertisements increased
demand for birth control.
for family planning from the Egyptian government and large sums from donors
helped make the program successful, said Duff Gillespie, who directed USAID’s
population office from 1986 to 1993.
Egypt was relying on donor support and when that assistance went away, family planning
was neglected. By 2014 the fertility rate had gone up to 3.5. The United States
is supporting family planning in Egypt again, providing more than $19 million
for a five-year project ending in 2022 and $4 million for a smaller private
sector project ending in 2020.
amounts are significantly lower than the $371 million the United States spent
on family planning in Egypt between 1976 and 2008.
Is Enough” is mainly financed by Egyptian money, with the Social Solidarity
Ministry spending 75 million Egyptian pounds ($4.27 million) and the UN
providing 10 million pounds, according to the ministry.
two-year campaign targets more than 1.1 million poor families with up to three
children. The Social Solidarity Ministry, with local NGOs, has trained
volunteers to make home visits and encourage people to have fewer children.
are invited to seminars with preachers who say that Islam allows family
planning, and doctors who answer questions. Billboards and TV ads promote
smaller families. The government aims to reduce the current fertility rate of
3.5 to 2.4 by 2030.
a session teaching volunteers how to speak to mothers and fathers about family
planning in a village in Giza, Asmaa Mohammad, a 25-year-old volunteer, told
Reuters she would rather have three children than two.
I was a child I knew I wanted three children,” said Mohammad who is unmarried
and doesn’t have children yet.
rooted traditions and lack of education explain why many Egyptians have big
families. Al-Azhar, Egypt’s top Sunni Muslim authority, endorses family
planning, but not all Egyptians agree.
view children as a future source of support. Others who only have girls keep
having more until they get a boy who can carry on the family name.
a visit from a campaign volunteer, Ghanem said her wish to have a boy was not
the main reason she wasn’t using contraceptives. She stopped using an IUD after
suffering from bleeding.
one in three Egyptian women stop using contraceptives within a year, often due
to misinformation about the side effects or lack of information about
alternatives, according to the United Nations Population Fund.
13 percent of married women of reproductive age in Egypt want to use
contraceptives but are unable to, according to official data from 2014.
the government has renovated clinics, added staff and provided more free
contraceptives. Under “Two is Enough” the goal is to have 70 new clinics up and
running in March.
when Reuters visited a clinic in Sohag last month, there were no contraceptives
left. Nema Mahmoud, who had travelled from her village, was told to come back
the next day.
one of Egypt’s poorest governorates, also has one of the highest fertility
rates at 4.3. The National Population Council said contraceptive use in Sohag
is the lowest among six governorates surveyed.
years Mahmoud, 33, didn’t use contraceptives consistently even though she
wanted a small family. Her mother-in-law kept her from travelling to the city
to get contraceptives when the local clinic was out, she said.
was only after her mother-in-law died that she started using contraceptives
properly. By then Mahmoud had three children and three miscarriages.
January, the government has limited cash assistance to poor families to two
children instead of three in an attempt to push them to have fewer kids.
Mahmoud will receive less cash every month. Her husband works only a few days a
month, making 45 Egyptian pounds ($2.60) a day, she said.
and her neighbor Sanaa Mohammad, a 38-year-old mother of three, said the change
should apply to new families, not women like them who already benefit from the
program and have more than two children.
not fair to give someone something and then take it away,” said Mohammad. The
government sees the population boom as a threat to its economic reform plans.
Every year, 800,000 young Egyptians enter the labor market, where unemployment
is officially 10 percent.
Egypt, population growth is around half the economic growth rate, but it should
be no more than a third - otherwise it will be difficult to invest in social
programs and improve living standards, said Magued Osman, chief executive of
Baseera, the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research.
say Egypt should target people before they have children and sex education
should be available in schools. “Two Is Enough is good, but by itself it will
not do the job,” said Abla Abdel Latif, executive director of the Egyptian
Center for Economic Studies.
Mohammad Amin, 36, a mother of four who works on “Two Is Enough”, got married
at 17 and had her first child a year later. Two of her children were
malnourished because she didn’t know how to breastfeed properly. She had to
postpone her education and couldn’t work for years.
are many things I know now that I wish I had known back then,” she said. “I
don’t want others to go through what I went through.”
opposed to ban on Masood Azhar, anyone involved in terror must be listed by UN:
Saudi Arabia foreign minister
DELHI: The Saudi Arabia-Pakistan joint statement calling for avoiding "politicisation"
of the UN listing regime was not directed at India's efforts to get JeM chief
Masood Azhar banned by the global body, Saudi Arabia foreign minister Adel bin
Ahmed Al-Jubeir said Wednesday, asserting that anyone involved in terror should
be proscribed and punished.
an exclusive interview to PTI, the Saudi Arabia foreign minister also said his
country will "consider playing a role" to mediate and de-escalate tension
between India and Pakistan if both countries want.
rejected suggestions that the Pak-Saudi Arabia statement during the visit of
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to Islamabad on Monday was against
India's push to get Azhar, chief of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad, which has
also claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack, listed as "global
person who is a terrorist should be designated. The idea was to ensure that
there is no politicisation so that people don't throw names of their political
opponents as terrorists. We should not be careless about throwing names of
those who are not terrorists," he said.
think people here assumed that the joint (Pakistan-Saudi Arabia) statement had
to do with one particular individual (Azhar). It did not. The intention was
that the process of designation is clear and not political," Al-Jubeir, who
is here with the Saudi Crown
minister said his country follows a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism
and that "anyone who supports and finances the menace must be designated
and must be punished".
about rising tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama attack,
he said Saudi Arabia believes that both countries can de-escalate and resolve
hope tension between India and Pakistan will not escalate. You have wise
leadership in both the countries represented by respective prime ministers. I
believe they will be able to find a way to de-escalate," he said.
whether Saudi Arabia will try to mediate between the two countries, he said
"We will not involve ourselves into the tensions between India and
Pakistan without being invited by both the countries."
further said,"we have good relations with both countries and if both want
us to play some kind of a role, we would consider it."
whether Saudi Arabia will intervene if India and Pakistan comes close to some
kind of military confrontation, the Saudi foreign minister said the whole world
will step-in in such a scenario.
wants to see armed conflict between two nuclear powers. Nobody benefits except
terrorists. I believe the leadership recognises it. It is our hope that issues
can be resolved peacefully," he said.
Pulwama attack, the Saudi Arabia foreign minister said it was important that
those who committed this terrible terrorist act be held accountable and brought
to justice. "It is what international community wants, this is what
Pakistan wants and this is what India wants."
what sense he received on the issue from Islamabad during the Saudi Crown
Prince's visit there, Al-Jubeir said Pakistan have said that they will
investigate and pursue the matter.
(Pakistan) will hold people behind this attack accountable and we will have to
see how it goes," he said.
felt the leadership in both Pakistan and India were sincere in improving ties
with each other.
believe Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to have better relations with India and
Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to have better relations with Pakistan, he
issue is how do you build trust and confidence between the two countries that
will allow them to move forward in a way that protects both countries and in a
way that defeats extremists groups and terrorists groups that may operate in
one country or the other," he added.
whether there was a need to put more pressure on Pakistan to crack down on terror
groups, the Saudi Arabia minister said all the countries need to do everything
they can to crackdown on terror groups and extremists.
you do not eliminate the mindset, you are not going to eliminate terrorists.
You have to go after terrorists, you have to go
their funding and go after the mindset and it has to be a robust, comprehensive
effort, and it has to be long-term," he said.
in the day, the Saudi Crown Prince and Modi held "extensive and
successful" talks, a day after the influential Arab leader concluded a
high profile visit to Islamabad.
why the Saudi Crown Prince did not condemn the Pulwama attack in his media
statement after talks with Modi, Al-Jubeir did not give a direct reply, and
said Saudi Arabia was the first country to condemn it.
condemned it very very strongly," he added.
whether India raised the issue of cross-border terrorism as well as Pulwama
attack during Wednesday's talks, he said," terrorism is an issue which is
important to the relationship between the two countries. We have security
cooperation, exchange of information, we have intelligence-sharing mechanism,
we have listed individuals, extradited individuals and we have foiled number of
attacks which could have harmed your people and our people," he said.
says it will engage with India on JeM leader issue
Following the latest escalation of tensions between Pakistan and India, China
on Wednesday called for restraint and said it would engage with India on the
issue of listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad leader Maulana Masood Azhar as a global
terrorist by the United Nations.
hopes that Pakistan and India can exercise restraint, engage in dialogues and
realise an early ‘soft landing’ of this issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman Geng Shuang said ahead of the next week’s trilateral foreign ministers’
meeting between China, India and Russia.
last week’s Pulwama attack, India has stepped up efforts for listing of JeM
chief Masood Azhar by the UN. The JeM claimed the Pulwama attack on Central
Police Reserve Force bus in which 44 security personnel were killed. China, it
should be recalled, has been maintaining a technical hold on Azhar’s listing.
has said that it will make a fresh bid at the UN for Azhar’s listing in a
couple of days. France had in 2017 moved a proposal with the US and UK backing
to get Azhar declared a global terrorist, but the move was blocked by China.
issue would be a major agenda point during a meeting between Chinese Foreign
Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on the sidelines of
the trilateral meeting.
Shuang said: “China will engage in relevant discussions in a constructive and
responsible manner, and keep close communication and coordination with India
and other parties concerned.”
his emphasis on “the relevant resolutions and the procedures of the 1267
Committee” showed that notwithstanding Beijing’s openness to discuss the matter
with Delhi, it was still not in a mood to review its position.
Bangladesh washes its hands of Shamima Begum
London teen who joined ISIS in on Wednesday faced the prospect of statelessness
after Britain revoked her citizenship and Bangladesh, from where her family
hails, said it would not take her in.
Begum travelled to Syria in 2015 aged just 15, but after giving birth in a
refugee camp last weekend, she wants to go home.
19, Ms Begum said she was “shocked” at the decision by Britain to revoke her
citizenship, a move announced in a letter to her family in Britain, their
was reported that she could be eligible for automatic citizenship in
Bangladesh, where her mother is believed to have been born, but the Foreign
Ministry in Dhaka rejected it.
is a British citizen by birth and has never applied for dual nationality with
Bangladesh,” it said.
may also be mentioned that she never visited Bangladesh in the past despite her
parental lineage. So there is no question of her being allowed to enter Bangladesh.”
to the BBC in the refugee camp in eastern Syria, where she arrived after
fleeing fighting between the ISIS and US-backed forces, Ms Begum said she was
have one citizenship and if you take that away from me, I don’t have anything.
I don’t think they are allowed to do that,” she said.
Begum earlier told ITV News that Britain’s decision was unjust, but that she
might consider applying for citizenship in the Netherlands.
husband, an ISIS fighter believed to be held by Kurdish forces in Syria, is
I can ask for citizenship in Holland,” Ms Begum said. “If he gets sent back to
prison in Holland I can just wait for him while he is in prison.”
Dutch authorities refused to comment but experts said she stood little chance
of being accepted because she would have to satisfy a stringent list of
family’s lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, said he was “considering all legal avenues to
challenge” Britain’s decision.
Begum’s fate has stirred controversy since she and two school friends fled east
London to join the terror network four years ago.
case highlights a dilemma facing many European countries, divided over whether
to allow fighters and ISIS sympathisers home to face prosecution or bar them
over security concerns.
Minister Sajid Javid told MPs on Wednesday that revoking citizenship was “a
powerful tool” not used lightly.
when someone turns their back on our fundamental values and supports terror,
they don’t have an automatic right to return to the UK,” Mr Javid said.
has said that more than 100 people have been deprived of their British
Javid said on Wednesday that international law meant Britain could only do this
if it did not leave the person stateless, if they were dual nationals or “in
some limited circumstances they have the right to citizenship elsewhere”.
hinted that Ms Begum’s newborn son – her third child, after a another son and a
daughter who recently died – could be treated differently.
should not suffer so if a parent does lose their British citizenship it does
not affect the rights of their child,” Mr Javid said.
Begum appealed to British authorities to show compassion by allowing her to
raise the baby in Britain.
she inflamed public opinion by saying in her first interview with The Times
last week that she had no regrets about joining ISIS.
her latest BBC interview, Ms Begum expressed more remorse.
was hoping Britain would understand I made a mistake, a very big mistake,
because I was young and naive,” she said.
Begum was born in Britain, has never had a Bangladeshi passport and is not a
dual citizen, Mr Akunjee said.
the BBC reported she might have automatic right to Bangladeshi citizenship
until she is 21, through a parent.
questions India's response to Pulwama terror attack
Their rekindled bonhomie notwithstanding, the Shiv Sena Thursday questioned the
BJP-led government's response to the Pulwama terror attack, asking it not to
wait "till the eve of polling (for Lok Sabha)" to act against
editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana also asked the Modi government not to
depend on the US and European countries to condemn the attack.
have to fight for ourselves instead of looking at America or the European
countries for support," the Sena said.
Sena said a war between India and Pakistan is underway on social media, adding
this marks the start of election campaigning. This social media war has to be
stopped, it said.
martyrdom of soldiers and terror attacks becomes a tool to win elections. How
will such a nation face enemies? There are rhetorics of teaching Pakistan a
lesson. First do it and then speak. We are only giving warnings since
Pathankot, Uri and now Pulwama (terror attacks)," the Sena said.
are busy patting our backs over what Donald Trump, France and Iran had to say
over the attacks," the party said.
BJP and the Shiv Sena had on Monday announced a seat-sharing pact for the
upcoming Lok Sabha and Maharashtra Assembly polls, overcoming their strained
ties and previous declarations of going solo.
Sena said Sri Lanka ended the menace of LTTE and the world commended the island
nation for it. The US killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan and the world
appreciated that country's courage, the party said.
we are patting our backs even after doing nothing. It is different for
countries like the US and France to condemn the terror attack in Pulwama and
another thing to openly say Kashmir is a part of India," it said.
Uddhav Thackeray-led party said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan asserted
that his country will retaliate if India takes action over the Pulwama terror
countries like the US and France tell Pakistan that it will be the loser (in
case of conflict with India), such nations can't be considered a true friend of
India, it said.
DELHI: Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday ordered the release
of 850 Indian prisoners lodged in his country's jails on Prime Minister
Narendra Modi's request as the two leaders held extensive talks here, according
to the ministry of external affairs.
the talks, it was also announced that India has decided to extend evisa
facility to Saudi nationals.
an important development, Saudi Arabia also joined the International Solar
Alliance, a move welcomed by the Prime Minister, MEA officials said.
sides noted the potential of cooperation in the renewable energy sector, not
only in investment but also in research and development, a joint statement
issued after the talks said.
the February 14 terror attack on a CRPF convoy which killed 40 personnel, the
CRPF, Army and BSF have decided to move their convoys in the Valley in a common
“window of time”, during which civilian traffic will remain suspended.
the Jammu-Srinagar convoy movement will be spread over two days, with more
stops in between, instead of the current one-day trip. The capacity of transit
camps which fall on the route, like Qazigund, is likely to be increased. The
timing of convoy movement is also being changed, as convoys are usually
targeted in the sensitive areas of Pulwama and Pampore during the afternoon.
the attack last week, the CRPF has held a series of meetings with the Army, BSF
and Jammu and Kashmir Police to work out a solution that minimises the threat
of vehicle-borne IEDs, while causing minimum disruption to normal traffic.
there are three different forces with massive presence in the Valley, there is
movement almost everyday, through the day. Stopping traffic for such disparate
movements can bring the whole Valley to a halt and also make us vulnerable. So
we have decided that the three forces will move together in a single window of
time. This will reduce both vulnerability and traffic disruption,” said a
senior officer who attended these meetings.
said that even if the security forces are unable to move together for various
reasons, the attempt would be to move the convoys one after another, within
short intervals of times. “In those intervals, civilian traffic can be
allowed,” he said.
real trouble starts after Qazigund and Banihal. There are stretches which are
vulnerable to attacks on convoys. We have seen that most of these attacks take
place in the afternoon. So we have decided to cross these stretches in the
mornings. Ideally, we should reach Srinagar from Qazigund in two-and-a-half
hours,” said another officer.
to sources, this means that the convoys would have to make a night halt. “We
have decided that our convoys will halt at Qazigund at night, and then leave
for Srinagar early morning the next day. For this, we are increasing the
holding capacity of our Qazigund camp which currently stands at 1,000 men,”
said a senior CRPF officer.
CRPF convoy that came under attack last week had left Jammu at 3.30 am and was
attacked in Pulwama at around 3 pm. It made a halt at Qazigund, where half the
personnel in the 78-vehicle convoy shifted to bulletproof vehicles. Probe finds
car bumper, remains of can in which explosives were packed
schedules are being worked out in such a way that the convoys are smaller, and
more men can get bulletproof vehicles. “We need to increase the capacity at
transit camps so that we can hold more personnel, for two-three days if
required, and are not forced to send them because of increasing numbers,” said
week, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had announced that no civilian vehicle would
be allowed during convoy movement. This was the practice followed earlier, but
was discontinued in mid-2000s. Sources said stopping civilian vehicles from
entering the Jammu-Srinagar highway requires massive logistics, as the highway
has several openings which need to be manned. Additionally, the J&K Police
will have to spare as many traffic policemen to regulate traffic in those
attack: Govt withdraws security of 18 Hurriyat leaders, 155 politicians in J-K
a major step today, Jammu and Kashmir Government on Wednesday evening
downgraded and withdrew the security of 18 Hurriyat leaders in the state.
to a spokesperson of the Home Department, it was felt that providing security
to these separatist leaders is a wastage of scarce state resources which could
be better utilised elsewhere.
the leaders whose security has been downgraded and withdrawn are SAS Geelani,
Aga Syed Mosvi, Maulvi Abbas Ansari,
Yaseen Malik, Saleem Geelani, Shahid ul Islam, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Nayeem
Ahmed Khan, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Farooq Ahmed Kichloo, Masroor Abbas Ansari, Aga
Syed Abul Hussain, Abdul Gani Shah and Mohd Musadiq Bhat. This is apart from
four people including Hurriyat leaders whose security was withdrawn on Sunday.
addition, the security of 155 political persons and activists, who did not
require the security provided to them based on their threat assessment and
their activities, was also withdrawn. This includes Shah Faesal, who resigned
from the IAS and Wahid Parray.
a veiled attack on Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India was a
victim of terrorism “sheltered and supported” from across the border, as he
demanded that all nations reject the use of terrorism against others, dismantle
the terror infrastructure and stop its financing.
an interview published in Wednesday’s editions of Arabic-language newspaper
‘Okaz’ and the English newspaper ‘Saudi Gazette’, Modi said India strongly
condemns extremism and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The
interview coincided with the maiden state visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed
bin Salman to India, days after the Pulwama terror attack carried out by
Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group. The attack, one of the worst in
Jammu and Kashmir, killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
has been a victim of terrorism sheltered and supported from across the border
for over decades, claiming thousands of innocent lives,” the prime minister
said, without mentioning Pakistan, a close ally of Saudi Arabia, by name. Modi
said the menace of extremism and terrorism threatens all nations and societies,
and reject any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to any particular
race, religion or culture.
also call on all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries;
dismantle terrorism infrastructures and stop its financing,” he said, adding
that India strongly condemns extremism and terrorism in all its forms and
manifestations, regardless of its motivations whenever, wherever and by
whosoever committed. Asked about the possibility of India-Saudi Arabia
cooperation in the area of counter-terrorism and in ensuring safety and
security of sea-lanes of communications and freedom of navigation, Modi said
bilateral cooperation in areas of counter-terrorism, security and defence has
intensified over the years.
two countries have close cooperation on a range of security issues,
particularly on maritime security, law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug
trafficking, human trafficking, illegal migration and other transnational
organised crimes. To further enhance our bilateral cooperation in the counter-terrorism
efforts, the two countries could initiate comprehensive security dialogue
mechanism at the level of the National Security Advisors who will interact at
regular intervals, the prime minister suggested.
also share the vision of peace and security in the Indian Ocean region,” Modi
said on the need to ensure safety and security of sea-lanes of communications,
safety and freedom of navigation in the shipping lanes and trade routes.
Commenting on the Indo-Saudi strategic ties, the prime minister said, “We
attach high priority to our friendly relations with the Kingdom of Saudi
Arabia.” He said the traditionally close ties are anchored in the shared
interests based on centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties and vibrant
leadership has been working closely with the Saudi leadership towards further
deepening our multifaceted ties for the common benefit of our two countries.
The political commitment at the leadership level has been reflected by the fact
that India has been identified as one of the eight strategic partners by Saudi
Arabia,” he said. Modi noted that the two countries were also progressing
towards establishing the India–Saudi Arabia ‘Strategic Partnership Council’
which focuses on consolidating bilateral cooperation in specific areas under
the Kingdom’s newly constituted Saudi Centre for International Strategic
and Saudi Arabia ties will be a factor for stability, peace and security in our
region and the world,” the prime minister said. Highlighting the areas of
cooperation Modi said energy security remains a key pillar of strategic
partnership. Through the established bilateral mechanism, India and Saudi
Arabia have been holding energy consultations for past few years to explore the
joint investment opportunities and cooperation between the two countries and
also to encourage the Saudi private sector companies to invest in oil and gas
sectors in India.
asks Pakistan, China to deny safe havens and support to terrorists
The Trump administration on Tuesday called on Pakistan and China to “uphold
their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe
havens and support for terrorists,” even as President Trump described the
Pulwama attack+ as a “horrible situation” and said “it would be wonderful if
they (India and Pakistan) get along."
US formulation about denying safe havens and support to terrorists expressed
through the state department was addressed to “all countries,” but it was
clearly directed at Islamabad and Beijing since Pakistan is host to
UN-designated terrorists and China has repeatedly aided Pakistan avoid global
censure on this matter using its veto.
week, the White House+ said it “supported India’s right to selfdefense against
cross-border terrorism” following the Pulwama attack that killed 44 Indian
soldiers in a suicide bombing that was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish e
Mohammed. The support, expressed by US National Security Advisor John Bolton in
telephone conversations with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval, appeared to
green light any punitive action India is likely to take following the terror
hosts and protects Jaish’s terrorist leader Masood Azhar and China helps its
ally by thwarting UN efforts to designate him a global terrorist, ostensibly to
protect Beijing’s economic investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor
and prevent greater extremist activity in Muslim-heavy Xinjiang province, but
also to harass New Delhi.
White House is expected to issue a more elaborate statement on the matter soon.
(the terrorist attack) was a horrible situation…I have watched… I have got a
lot of reports on it. We will have a comment at an appropriate time. It would
be wonderful if they (India and Pakistan) get along,” President Trump said in a
brief response in the White House when asked about the attack.
rising tension on the subcontinent has barely registered with the foreign
policy community in Washington and the administration itself (except for
regional experts) with its familiar focus on North Korea, China, and the Middle
East, combined with newer crises in the American neighborhood, including in
White House and State Department briefings a rarity these days, it has been
almost a week since the Pulwama attack that Foggy Bottom formally placed on
record “not only our condolences but our strong support” to India. “We urge
Pakistan to fully cooperate with the investigation into the attack and to
punish anyone responsible,” the Department’s Deputy Spokesperson Robert
Palladino said on Tuesday.
you know, we have a close, cooperative relationship with India, a security
relationship, and that includes counterterrorism operations. And so we’re
committed to working with India, the Indian government, and on these
counterterrorism efforts, both bilaterally and multilaterally, including at the
United Nations,” Palladino added.
New York, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi said she
met UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to brief him about latest
developments and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and “asked him to play a
role in helping to deescalate tensions.”
response, the Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said "The Secretary
General stresses the importance for both sides to exercise maximum restraint
and take immediate steps to de-escalation, and his good offices are always
available should both sides ask.”
keeps going to the United Nations for mediation despite the country being
censured by it for hosting terrorists and terror groups, with the organisation
assigning terrorist designation to Pakistan-based terror groups and
at the situation in general between India and Pakistan, we are deeply concerned
at the increasing tensions between the two countries in the wake of the attack
on Indian security personnel on February 14 in Pulwama," Dujarric added.
Indian and Pakistani partisans are duking it out on social media, using
everything from photos and videos Saudi Prince Salman’s visit to the two
countries to cricket memes to needle each other. Pakistanis gloated over the
fact that Salman did not directly condemn the Pulwama attack in Delhi and
Indians mocked Pakistani subservience to Saudi overlordship.
all Pakistanis – or Indians for that matter – were smitten with the Saudi
prince and his visit.
about anyone with a political opinion in the US agrees on one truth: there is
too much financial interference in American politics.
is noted in the regular demand, expressed more fervently with every election
cycle, to "take money out of politics", and the sobering comment,
when election results are announced, that we have "the best Congress money
cost of American election campaigns is indeed mind-boggling. The 2016
presidential and congressional elections cost a total of $6.5bn, according to
political watch group OpenSecrets.
need for apology
this context, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's tweet, that "Benjamins"
($100 bills) are behind politicians’ prioritising of Israeli interests over
American ones should have not created any ripples.
did not say anything a multitude of others had not said before. Indeed, many on
social media were quick to point out that New York Times columnist Thomas
Friedman had already observed, in 2011, that the standing ovation Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received in Congress had nothing to do with his
politics, but rather was "paid for by the Israel lobby".
career was never impacted by the comment, nor is he being criticized for it now
that it is circulating again, while the campaign to smear Omar - with calls for
her to resign - is raging.
fact that Omar was immediately and ferociously attacked and smeared for her
tweet, then, is indicative of something else.
don’t believe she should have had to apologise for her tweet, and I remain
grateful to her for insisting, in that same apology, that one needs to speak
out against the influence of powerful lobbies.
am even more grateful to her for having so unhinged the status quo that she is
causing a much needed, way overdue discussion of the difference between
anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
the fact remains that she did not get away with an observation many have made
before. This is because no one could credibly accuse Friedman of anti-Semitism,
precisely because he is an unabashed supporter of Israel.
however, personifies the racist stereotype in the American mainstream that
equates Brown and Muslim with anti-Semitism, as if that particular bias is a
multi-generational genetic disease that courses through the blood of
of course flies in the face of the historical record of pogroms and
disenfranchisement, culminating in the Holocaust, that were all undertaken
against Jews by white Europeans. And it is inconsistent with the fact that
Islam recognises Judaism as a germane religion, which praises the same God, and
views Jews, like it does Christians, as "people of the Book".
European Jews fleeing persecution in Europe had historically found refuge in
Muslim countries throughout North Africa, the Arab world, and the Ottoman
is time, then, to shift from the decades-old narrative which accuses anyone
critical of Israel and the Israel lobby of anti-Semitism, to a new
new conversation needs to examine the equation of anti-Zionism with
anti-Semitism as itself a manifestation of racism, because this latter
conflation is only lobbed at darker-skinned people: African American civil
rights icon and activist Angela Davis, African American public intellectual
Marc Lamont-Hill, Somali-American Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, as well as - of
course - all Arabs.
space for Palestinians
addition to denouncing AIPAC, Omar, just like Davis and Lamont-Hill, is
creating more space for a discussion of the cause of Palestinian suffering.
This is what the likes of Friedman and alt-right white supremacist leader
Richard Spencer don’t engage in.
Spencer speaks admiringly of Israel’s aspiration to become a homogeneous,
"mono-culture", he is focusing on those who benefit from it, with
zero mention of the dispossessed and besieged Palestinians.
Friedman states that Congresss gave Netanyahu standing ovations because they
were paid to do so, rather than for his policies, he does not discuss the
impact of those policies - a system of state-sanctioned apartheid recently
enshrined in the nation’s basic laws - on the Palestinians.
Davis, however, was initially stripped of a civil rights award for "not
denouncing violence", even though, of course, she does, but the violence
she denounces is that perpetrated by Israel against Palestinians.
Omar was urged to "acknowledge pain", which of course she does, but
the pain she is seeking to alleviate is that of the Palestinian people.
like so many pro-justice advocates, wants to highlight Palestinian suffering,
and work towards ending it. That requires holding Israel accountable for its
debate resulting from her political commitment joins a very similar one that
has been going on for years, namely about whether the boycott and sanctions
movement is anti-Semitic or not.
debate, like the one about the distinction between anti-Zionism and
anti-Semitism, should also never have happened, but has proven to be necessary
because of the same powerful lobby.
is indeed a known truth that AIPAC is behind S.1, also known as anti-BDS bill,
this year’s first senate bill, which seeks to criminalise BDS.
was behind earlier bills, so far all defeated at the deferral level, that would
have penalised Americans for boycotting Israeli products - an absurdity when
spelled out like that, as Americans certainly are free to boycott all other
products available to them, with no hint of a possible repercussion.
BDS, the focus of the national conversation has shifted from the actual
political context that gave rise to the call for global solidarity, to zoom in
instead on whether it is legal to criminalise it. This despite the fact that
the legal system has declared multiple times that boycotts are a form of
freedom of speech, and therefore protected by the first amendment.
the controversy over whether criticising AIPAC is anti-Semitic or not, the
debate has shifted from why the US is siding with the oppressor, to one about
the difference between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.
aspects of these vibrant national discussions are welcome. They are necessary.
But let us keep in mind at all times that this is not an academic, theoretical
matter. As we debate these issues, Israel is dispossessing more Palestinian
families, demolishing more Palestinian homes.
is incumbent on us, as we engage in these debates, to explain that our
opposition to Zionism is an opposition to a colonial ideology that has
relentlessly sought to dispossess the Palestinian people, displacing them,
appropriating their possessions, denying them justice and the right to
rights for all
are multiple good reasons why a person of integrity would be anti-Zionist: the
successful erasure of Israeli crimes and violations of international law, and
the denial of the human rights of the Palestinian people, makes it necessary to
is time we focused on anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism.
as many will state "I realise that anti-Semitism is on the rise, but my
criticism of Israel is based in my political opposition to that country’s
policies", we should now demand that those accusing us of anti-Semitism
also qualify their statements with "while it is true that anti-Arab,
Islamophobic racism is rampant, and on the rise, my criticism of such or such a
person is grounded in my opposition to their politics.”
then, maybe, they would be asked to name the politics: Are they opposed to the
demand for justice? Opposed to the implementation of international law? Opposed
to equal rights for all?
CHURCH, Va. – A Muslim civil rights group called for a congressional
investigation Wednesday after its lawsuit revealed that the U.S. government has
shared access to parts of its terrorist watchlist with more than 1,400 private
entities, including hospitals and universities.
Council on American-Islamic Relations said Congress should look into why the
FBI has given such wide access to the list, which CAIR believes is riddled with
errors. Broad dissemination of the names makes life more difficult for those
who are wrongly included, CAIR says. Many on the list are believed to be
is a wholesale profiling of a religious minority community," said CAIR
National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "To share private information of citizens
and non-citizens with corporations is illegal and outrageous."
FBI said in a statement Wednesday night that private groups only receive a
subset of the terrorist watchlist called the Known or Suspected Terrorist List.
It is unclear how significantly that narrows the list from the watchlist, which
is formally known as the Terrorist Screening Center Database and includes
hundreds of thousands of names.
Abbas, lawyer for CAIR, said there is no evidence that the list of Known or
Suspected Terrorists, or KST, is in any meaningful way less broad than the
overall watchlist. Indeed, the articulated standard for inclusion on the
watchlist is a reasonable suspicion of being a known or suspected terrorist.
FBI is using the complexity of the list to portray it as less nefarious than it
is," Abbas said.
FBI statement says that any private agency accessing the list "must comply
with agreements to ensure the security and confidentiality of the information.
A requestor can only ask for information about a specific individual and cannot
access all the data available in the KST File." Any private entity that
comes into a contact with a match from the list is instructed to contact the
FBI's Terrorist Screening Center for further instructions, the FBI said.
council filed a lawsuit in 2016 challenging the list's constitutionality and
saying those wrongly placed on it routinely face difficulties in travel,
financial transactions and their dealings with law enforcement.
response to the lawsuit, a federal official recently acknowledged in a court
filing that more than 1,400 private entities received access to the list.
years, the government had insisted that it did not generally share the list
with private organizations.
hearing is scheduled in federal court for Friday on CAIR's request that the
government now detail exactly which entities have received access to the names.
CAIR also wants to know what private organizations are doing with the watchlist
information — whether, for example, it is influencing universities' admissions
decisions or is being used by hospitals to screen would-be visitors.
depositions and in court hearings, government officials had denied until very
recently that the watchlist compiled by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center is
shared with private entities. At a hearing in September, government lawyer Dena
Roth told U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga that the Terrorist Screening
Center "does not work with private partners, and that watchlist status
itself ... is considered law enforcement sensitive information and is not
shared with the public."
that assurance, the judge ordered the government to be more specific about how
it disseminates the watchlist. Trenga said the plaintiffs are entitled to the
information to try to prove their case that inclusion on the list causes them
to suffer "real world consequences."
response to the judge's order, TSC Deputy Director of Operations Timothy Groh
filed a statement earlier this month acknowledging that 1,441 private entities
have received permission to access the watchlist.
said those entities must be in some way connected to the criminal justice
system. He cited police forces at private universities, hospital security staff
and private correctional facilities as examples.
said private groups are expected to abide by a detailed set of rules designed
to ensure the list is used properly. It is not clear what those restrictions
exact number of people on the list is kept secret by the government, but it
acknowledged in an earlier lawsuit that it adds hundreds of thousands of names
every year. It also emphasized that names are routinely removed.
Patel, a director at the New York University law school's Brennan Center for
Justice, said the government's willingness to share the list with private
organizations is problematic because the list has so many people who are
wrongly included in the database.
blame Pakistan for Pulwama attack, says Saudi FM
DELHI: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, in an
interview to an Indian media outlet on Wednesday, declined to hold Pakistan
responsible for Pulwama incident without prior evidence.
– who is a part of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s delegation presently in
India – dismissed the Indian allegations of Pakistan’s involvement in the
incident and said that “how can we blame them [Pakistan] if we do not have
sufficient evidence before us”.
asked about rising tension between Pakistan and India, he said that “terrorism
is a mutual threat [to India and Pakistan] and [we hope that] both the
countries will work together to eliminate it”.
his much-hyped visit to Pakistan, the Saudi prince is presently in India as
part of a comprehensive Asia tour which aims to open new economic doors to
lessen the Kingdom’s dependence on a crude oil-based economy.
between Pakistan and India have touched a new low after over 40 paramilitary
personnel were killed in Kashmir’s Pulwama district by a suicide bomber.
car bomb attack considered the worst ever on security personnel in the state,
was reportedly claimed by militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad and carried out by a
20-year-old Kashmiri man.
held Pakistan responsible for the bombing soon after the attack and withdrew
its ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status. Pakistan denies all the charges.
strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government
that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” Pakistan’s
Foreign Office said in a follow-up statement.
funding has ‘new face,’ warns Saudi Arabia's attorney general
The changing dynamics of terror financing and money laundering posed a growing
problem for countries and organizations seeking to halt their spread, a regional
conference in Cairo was warned.
Arabia's Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mua’jab told the first
Middle East and North Africa conference on countering terrorism that new forms
of transnational terror funding and money laundering demanded greater
cooperation between states and organizations.
conference, organized by the Egyptian Public Prosecution Office, aims to
bolster international unity in the face of the escalating threat of terrorist
financing and money laundering operations.
Arabia has spared no effort in combating these two crimes,” Al-Mua’jab said.
said money laundering and terror financing are at the “forefront of global
criminal phenomena,” and often complemented each other.
of the most important steps the world has taken through its international and
regional systems is to engage in initiatives and agreements to combat terrorism
financing and money laundering as the artery of the criminal body that strikes
the global economy,” he said.
Arabia is a key partner in the international coalition against the so-called
Daesh terrorist organization and leads, together with the US and Italy, the
Counter Daesh Finance Group. It has also implemented laws and procedures aimed
at combating money laundering and terrorist financing,” he said.
said the September 2018 report of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on
Saudi Arabia had praised the Kingdom’s commitment to the recommendations of the
Arabia has spared no effort in combating these two crimes,” he said. “It was
one of the first countries in the world to be affected by terrorist acts. Its
experience of combating the crimes has been exemplary.”
said measures taken by the Kingdom included the 2017 “Law of Combating Crime
and its Financing,” regulation of charities and the establishment of a standing
committee to investigate money laundering.
Kingdom’s Public Prosecution Office recently released a manual outlining steps
to counter money laundering, including measures for seizure and confiscation,
tracking of funds and details of international cooperation.
Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority has also issued a guidebook for Saudi banks to
combat money laundering.
Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in a joint statement issued during his
day-long visit to India on Wednesday described terrorism and extremism as a
‘common concern’ and said Riyadh is ready to share intelligence with New Delhi
to tackle these issues.
crown prince arrived in Delhi on Tuesday night, a day after wrapping up a
historical visit to Islamabad in which he signed $20 billion worth of
agreements in the ‘first phase’ of Saudi investment in Pakistan.
in the joint statement described the Pulwama attack as ‘a symbol of the
anti-humanitarian threat the world is facing’, Times of India reported. Modi,
without naming Pakistan, said “in order to deal effectively with this threat,
we agree that there is a need to increase all possible pressure on countries
supporting any type of terrorism.” “It is the need of the hour to take
appropriate action against the infrastructure of terrorism. It is very
important to punish the terrorists and all their supporters,” he added.
in his remarks at the media briefing referred to the attack on the Indian
soldiers and said that effective steps would be taken to punish the
perpetrators and their supporters without elaborating further. “Saudi Arabia
and India share views on increasing cooperation in counter-terrorism and
tackling cybercrimes,” he said. Modi also called for a strong action plan for
combating extremism so that powers spreading violence and terror cannot mislead
Muhammad, in the statement, said that terrorism and extremism are a common
threat to both Saudi Arabia and India, and that Riyadh would cooperate with
Delhi in every aspect, including intelligence sharing, The Indian Express
reported. “We would like to tell our friend India that we’ll cooperate on all
fronts, be it intelligence sharing,” he said, vowing to “work with everyone to
ensure a brighter future for our upcoming generations”.
said that he saw potential for $100 billion investment in energy, agriculture,
technology, culture and social services in India, and said the two countries
would evolve a strategy for mutual gains.
in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind received the crown prince at the
Presidential Palace in Delhi. The prince, who was accorded a ceremonial
reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, had said on the occasion that Riyadh
wishes to maintain and improve ties with Delhi ‘for the sake of both
countries’. “With the leadership of the president and the prime minister, I am
sure we can create good things for Saudi Arabia and India,” he said, according
to Asia News International. “I admire PM Modi. He is the elder brother and I am
his younger brother,” he added.
Indian people as ‘our friends’, the crown prince had said that Indians have
helped build Saudi Arabia for 70 years. “During this trip we will show few
examples of work Saudi people did in India,” he said.
the reception at the palace, the crown prince held a brief meeting with Indian
foreign minister Sushma Swaraj. He then had a meeting with Indian Prime
Minister Narendra Modi followed by delegation-level talks.
countries signed five agreements in the fields of investment, tourism,
cooperation in housing, a Framework Cooperation Programme to enhance bilateral
relations, and cooperation in broadcasting, according to India Today.
crown prince, known as MBS for short, arrived in India with an entourage of
ministers and businessmen on Tuesday night after visiting Pakistan. He was
welcomed at the airport by Modi, who embraced him in a characteristic bear hug.
between India and Saudi Arabia, where millions of Indians are employed as
migrant workers, have strengthened since Modi visited Riyadh in 2016 for the
signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation with
intelligence-gathering on money laundering and terrorism financing. The two
countries’ two-way trade totalled $27.5 billion last year. MBS said that Saudi
Arabia had invested $44 billion in India since 2016.
London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that over 50
covered trucks carrying ISIL militants and their family members left the farms
between Baqouz region and the Eastern banks of the Euphrates on Wednesday.
added that the trucks had entered the region on Tuesday in line with the secret
agreement between the US-led coalition and the ISIL, noting that the fate of
those ISIL militants who have rejected the agreement is not clear yet.
SOHR had reported on Tuesday that the US-led coalition had sent a large number
of trucks to Eastern Syria to transfer the ISIL terrorists from Deir Ezzur
province after reaching an agreement with the militants, media reports said.
50 to 60 US trucks arrived in farms located between al-Baghouz and banks of
Eastern Euphrates in Eastern Deir Ezzur to relocate the terrorists from the
region," the report said.
noted that the arrival of the trucks had taken place in line with taking out
the remnants of the ISIL and their families after a covert agreement was
reached between the US Army troops and the ISIL terrorists in the region.
US-led coalition forces are also expected to officially announced the end of
the ISIL in the last area under their control in Eastern Euphrates.
believe that Buka Prison in Iraq that was run by the US is the main center
where the ISIL has originated from, the Arabic-language Al-Ahd news website
are different stories about Buka Prison and many ISIL terrorists have nurtured
there as they have recalled their memories of the prison.
notorious terrorist commander named Abu Ahmad who came to know ISIL ringleader
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi there recalled how the Americans always treated
al-Baghdadi differently and behaved differently while dealing with him.
further said that the US intends to use its previous experience in Buka Prison
for nurturing new generations of terrorists in Syria.
noted that they want to use the experience in Southern Hasaka in Northeastern
Syria. Hasaka is a province that is under the control of the
predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Camp is now the center for instructing and training ISIL terrorists. Al-Houl
Camp has accommodated around 3,000 ISIL terrorists.
said there are also around some 5,000 boys aged between two and 11 years in
Al-Houl Camp, adding that a large number of ISIL members and their families
with Iraqi and Syrian nationalities have arrived in al-Houl Camp.
noted that some 170 ISIL families, including 75 Iraqi families, 65 Syrian
families and 30 from other countries, arrived in al-Houl Camp very recently.
noted that a sum of 580 ISIL families and 50 Kazakh terrorists who had
surrendered themselves to the SDF in al-Baghouz region have also been
transferred to this camp.
noted that the US army psychologists are monitoring ISIL families in al-Houl
Camp, and said the camp has been divided into workshops run by the ISIL families
under US psychologists' control.
sources said that books with contents on Takfirism are given to the ISIL
families in al-Houl Camp. One of the books is Mella Ebrahim by al-Moqaddasi
that had also been given to the ISIL terrorists in Buka Prison which
contributed a major share in the ideology that gave birth to a Takfiri
generation. The Buka prisoners were freed by the US Army troops in 2010 and
later became ISIL commanders.
pointed out that what is currently going on in Al-Houl is exactly similar to
what happened in the US prisons in Iraq and the US is reproducing a new
generation of Takfiri terrorists under new names.
noted that the age of the children of al-Houl Camp shows that some 7 to 10
years from now a new generation of Takfiri militants will emerge which shows
the US long-term plot for the Arab and Muslim worlds with Wahabbism
constituting the core of its ideology.
a relevant development earlier today, media reports said that the US-led
coalition has sent a large number of trucks to Eastern Syria to transfer the
ISIL terrorists from Deir Ezzur province after reaching an agreement with the
50 to 60 US trucks arrived in farms located between al-Baghouz and banks of
Eastern Euphrates in Eastern Deir Ezzur to relocate the terrorists from the
region," the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR)
noted that the arrival of the trucks has taken place in line with taking out
the remnants of the ISIL and their families after a covert agreement was
reached between the US Army troops and the ISIL terrorists in the region.
United States has sent tens of trucks with suspicious cargoes from Northern
Iraq to Eastern Syria as reports say Washington and its allied militants are
readying to declare the end of the ISIL's presence in Eastern Euphrates
territories, media reports said.
a relevant development on Tuesday, the SOHR reported that a military convoy
comprising 100 trucks of the US-led forces arrived in Syria's Hasaka province
from Amouda-Qamishli passageway in Northern Iraq.
SOHR noted that the military convoy consisted of 40 empty trucks, 50 covered
trucks with unidentified contents and 10 oil tankers.
was announced earlier this week that the ISIL terrorist group ended its
presence in Eastern Euphrates after an agreement with the US Army and its
allied militants to exit the region, media reports said.
Arabic-language al-Watan Online news website reported that the US Army has
relocated the last remnants of the ISIL terrorist group to an unknown place
from the farms in the countryside of al-Baghouz town in Southeastern Deir
SOHR, meantime, reported that about 440 ISIL terrorists left Eastern Euphrates
in two phases after agreeing with the Syrian Army and the US-led Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF).
reiterated that the US is going to officially declare the end of the ISIL's
presence in Eastern Euphrates.
a relevant development last Friday, media sources said that the SDF are going
to declare end of the ISIL in Eastern Euphrates after the latter retreated from
areas under its control in the region.
ISIL's foreign terrorists left the Eastern Euphrates and tens of them
surrendered, the SDF took control of the al-Khanafera and Sheikh Mohammad
regions in Baghouz town," sources in Eastern Euphrates said.
reiterated that the ISIL is only in control of several houses and a camp South
of the Baghouz town in an area covering less than 1 square kilometers.
SOHR, meantime, announced that the US troops and the SDF will soon declare the
end of ISIL's presence in Eastern Euphrates as tens of non-Syrian and Western
terrorists of the ISIL have retreated from that region.
a relevant development, a senior source in the SDF said that the ringleader of
the ISIL terrorist group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "is being protected by the
Americans in Eastern Syria", adding that Washington plans to play a
Hollywood-like scenario to declare end of the ISIL caliphate.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency quoted the source as saying that
Baghdadi is at present being heavily protected by the American forces in a
secret place in Eastern Euphrates region.
added that the Americans are waiting for an opportunity to conduct heliborne
operations by their marine forces in Southeastern Deir Ezzur and declare the
capture of al-Baghdadi and end of ISIL on footage.
source insisted that the time for the "above-mentioned theater is
close", adding that the American forces have held SDF back from further
advances in the ISIL-occupied regions in Eastern Euphrates to play the
President Donald Trump said in early February that the country would likely
announce soon that the entire ISIL terrorist group caliphate had been retaken
in Syria and Iraq.
should be formally announced, sometime probably next week, that we'll have 100
percent of the caliphate," Trump stated during his remarks at a
ministerial meeting of the US-led coalition member-states.
the American president said during his second State of the Union address that
it was time to return US troops deployed in Syria back home.
December, Trump declared the ISIL terrorist group has defeated in Syria, and
announced the US troop pullout from the country but gave no timeline.
earlier, a senior US administration official told reporters that Syria's
Al-Tanf region would be the last place in the country that American troops leave
as they implemented a planned withdrawal.
security forces on Tuesday found the bodies of six out of 12 people who were
abducted over the weekend southwest of Baghdad, an official said.
men on motorbikes” abducted the group on Sunday as they collected truffles in
the al-Nukhaib region in the desert between Najaf and al-Anbar provinces,
security forces said in a statement Monday evening.
governor of al-Hira district in southern Najaf province, Abdul Wahed
al-Fatlawi, told AFP on Tuesday that “the bodies of six people from the same
clan” had been found.
had been shot dead.
said the bodies had been taken to a forensic lab in Karbala province, and
accused ISIS of carrying out the murders.
declared victory over the extremist organization in late 2017 following a
punishing campaign to dismantle its self-declared “caliphate” covering a third
of the country.
President Michel Aoun has strongly dismissed latest allegations by the US
ambassador to the Arab country that the Hezbollah resistance movement is now
wielding more influence on the Beirut government.
is the US vision and it contradicts with reality. Hezbollah has maintained the
same political presence it had in the previous government, and it is not true
that its influence over Lebanon is increasing,” Aoun said on Wednesday evening.
added, “What some political circles say in this regard is mere bickering. At the
security level, they even say that Hezbollah has influence in the South and the
Bekaa (Valley). This is while there is no authority higher than that of the
army and security forces, which recently carried out major operations in the
region and beefed up security and stability.”
Tuesday, Ambassador Elizabeth Richard met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad
al-Hariri, and voiced Washington’s concern over Hezbollah’s “growing role in
“continues to make its own national security decisions - decisions that
endanger the rest of the country,” she claimed.
February 4, the Hezbollah secretary general flatly rejected allegations by
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his movement is in control of
the Lebanese government, stressing the new administration belongs to all
political factions participating in it.
Israeli premier is “provoking the United States, European countries and the
[Persian] Gulf states against the Lebanese government, claiming that it is
controlled by Hezbollah. Such false claims have serious international
repercussions,” Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via
a televised speech broadcast live from Beirut.
underscored that the new Lebanese government consists of various political
parties, and that Hezbollah is just one of them.
response to certain media reports that the new health minister is a member of
Hezbollah, Nasrallah pointed out that Jamil Jabak, who is a doctor by
profession, is solely close to the resistance movement, but not a member of it.
announced the formation of a government on January 31, ending over eight months
of wrangling amid fears of a major economic collapse.
has one of the largest public debt-to-gross domestic product (GDP) ratio in the
world. The figure stands at around 150 percent, and much of it has been
accumulated through the cost of servicing existing debt. The economy has
suffered from years of low growth.
Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil told Arabic-language al-Akhbar daily
newspaper last month that his ministry was “preparing a financial correction
plan including restructuring of public debt” which was needed to spare Lebanon
Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Pakistani ambassador on Wednesday
over his remarks that Afghan peace talks could be affected if India resorted to
violence after last week’s attack on Indian paramilitary police in
a statement issued after the meeting with Ambassador Zahid Nasrullah, the
Foreign Ministry said it deemed his comments to be “in contradiction with
Pakistan’s commitments with regards to realising peace in Afghanistan”.
said on Tuesday that any attack by India would “affect the stability of the
entire region and impact the momentum” of the Afghan peace effort.
the same time, a former deputy Afghan defence minister said on Tuesday that
Nasrullah’s remarks would anger local government officials, saying it played
into fears that the country’s long-running civil war is a proxy for rivalries
by regional powers.
Afghan statement said the government “once again calls on Pakistan to act upon
its commitments with regards to Afghanistan, particularly those in relation to
peace and refrain from making irrelevant statements that do not help solve any
deputy foreign minister, Idrees Zaman, earlier tweeted that Nasrullah had been
summoned and handed a diplomatic demarche.
standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan yesterday said Jamaat-e-Islami
should apologise to the nation for its anti-liberation role in the 1971
to reporters after placing a wreath at the grave of BNP founder Ziaur Rahman,
he also said their party wants the trial and punishment of all anti-liberation
apology by the Jamaat is now demanded by all. The Jamaat should be ashamed of
its anti-liberation war role and should apologise for it. It's a logical
demand," said Nazrul, also the coordinator of the BNP-led 20-party
further said those who destroyed democracy, “the greatest outcome of
independence”, should also apologise to the nation.
think those who committed any offence should offer apologies. We also should
apologise to people if we have been involved in any wrongdoing. Unfortunately,
such a culture is absent in our country," the BNP leader observed.
about the media report about Jamaat forming a committee to launch a new party,
Nazrul said it was the Jamaat's internal matter.
to another question, he said the Jamaat is still with the 20-party alliance.
"The Jamaat never told us that they don't want to be in the
BNP leader also said that the Jamaat, as a political party, has the right to
decide if they want to quit the alliance.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda's comment that the upcoming upazila
election will be a competitive one, he said people have no confidence in the
across the country consider him an incompetent person and they accuse him of
ruining the country's election system with his biased role in favour of a
party," he added.
least nine Taliban militants including five of their local commanders were
killed during an operation of the Afghan Intelligence Special Forces in eastern
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East in a statement said the
Special Forces of 02 Unit of National Directorate of Security (NDS) conducted a
night raid in Khogyani district on Tuesday night.
statement further added that 9 Taliban militants including five local
commanders of the group were killed in the operation.
Taliban commanders who were killed in the operation have been identified as
Ehsanullah Motmaeen, Loqman, Qari Salahuddin, and Zarqawi, the National
Directorate of Security said.
statement also added that a compound of the Taliban militants was also
destroyed during the operation.
anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding
the operation so far.
government of Afghanistan will sign a strategic partnership agreement with
Turkmenistan today, the Office of the President said late on Wednesday.
to a statement released by ARG Palace, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani will
sign the strategic partnership agreement with the President of Turkmenistan
Ghani on Wednesday left for Ashgabat the capital city of Turkmenistan leading a
delegation of high level government officials.
statement by ARG Palace also added that President Ghani will also deliver a
speech in the International Relations Institute of the Ministry of Foreign of
Affairs of Turkmenistan.
UK teen now stateless after government revokes her citizenship
British government has made a teenage UK national effectively stateless by
illegally revoking her citizenship because of previous affiliation to the Daesh
Takfiri terrorist group in Syria.
ITV news on Wednesday published a letter from the Home Office (UK interior
ministry) addressed to the family of Shamima Begum declaring that the
19-year-old British mother of one had been stripped of her UK citizenship.
decision by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, a prominent Conservative party member
of Pakistani origin, is expected to spark widespread controversy. Javid
reportedly made the decision after a significant portion of the media called on
him to block Begum’s plea to return to Britain because she appeared unrepentant
about what she had seen in Syria. The girl, whose family is of Bangladeshi
heritage, had also justified the May 2017 terror attack in Manchester, which
killed 22 people, saying it was a result of UK military’ intervention in the
family members said they would challenge the decision by Javid. Their lawyers
said the young woman, who is now in a camp in Syria with her newly-born child,
had become stateless as a result of the move, which is justifiable under the
British law but only in situations that the person whose citizenship is revoked
would “not” be rendered stateless.
opposition Labour Party slammed the decision, apparently meant to please the
voters increasingly frightened by terror threats.
the government is proposing to make Shamima Begum stateless it is not just a
breach of international human rights law but is a failure to meet our security
obligations to the international community,” said Diane Abbott, who serves as
Labour’s shadow home secretary.
of UK nationals joined Daesh and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria since
conflicts erupted in the two Arab countries several years ago. The Conservative
government has repeatedly been criticized for its lax controls that allowed
those nationals, many of them teenagers, to be radicalized and leave the
country to join the Takfiri terrorists.
European Parliament’s Committee for Foreign Affairs voted Wednesday to accept a
draft advisory report on Turkey, with Ankara calling the document "unacceptable".
report, which calls for suspending accession negotiations between Turkey and
the European Union, is expected to be voted on by the entire European
Parliament in mid-March.
call in the draft report -- which is not legally binding and bears only the
status of an advisory decision -- to officially suspend our country’s accession
negotiations with the EU is absolutely unacceptable," Turkish Foreign
Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said.
said the draft report exemplified the EU’s biased and prejudiced attitude
towards Turkey, adding Ankara would continue to push for its amendment.
expect the necessary changes to be made for a more realistic, unbiased and
encouraging final report which will be accepted in March at the European
Parliament’s general assembly," said Aksoy, stressing that Ankara would
only take such a document into account.
stressed that Turkey would continue to adopt reforms for accession into the
bloc and Ankara expected the European Parliament to honor its pledged obligations
applied for EU membership in 1987 and accession talks began in 2005.
efforts to upgrade Hezbollah’s missile arsenal in Lebanon represents the most
dangerous regional flashpoint that could trigger an Israeli counter-strike,
according to UK defence think-tank RUSI.
smuggling of precision-guided missile systems into Lebanon represents the most
“serious risk” of starting a major war with Iran that could involve the United
States, according to new research by the group published on Thursday.
report comes as the Iranian leadership said its relations with the United
States had rarely been so bad and the US warned against of Hezbollah’s growing
role in the new Lebanese cabinet.
its relatively weak financial and military standing, Iran’s continued
belligerence towards Israel threatens potential war through “miscalculation or
a deliberate choice”, said the research paper.
bid to add guidance systems onto Hezbollah’s missile arsenal poses a serious
threat to Israeli airfields and critical national infrastructure,” according to
the report “Iran’s objectives and capabilities: Deterrence and Subversion”.
this threat continues to expand, Israel may feel that it has no choice but to
strike. Such a conflict is far from inevitable but policymakers need to work to
reduce the risks of escalation.”
paper highlighted other potential flashpoints that could include clashes
between rival Iran and US-backed forces in Iraq, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and
report said Iran’s military strategy has been based on deterring attacks
against the clerical regime by building increasingly accurate rocket and
ballistic missile technology based in Iran and Lebanon.
the event of war, they would be used to attack US bases in the Gulf and
critical national infrastructure in Israel. In addition, forces backed by
Tehran in Iraq and its navy would be used to harry and delay the build-up of US
strategic objective of Iranian security policy is to make the cost of a war
with Iran so high that diplomacy will always appear preferable,” concluded the
report by RUSI research fellow Dr Jack Watling.
and Tehran have been entrenched foes since the 1979 revolution but tensions
have increased since President Donald Trump pulled out of a deal last year that
was aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
a sign of the growing animosity, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on
Wednesday that the sanctions re-imposed by the US and targeting its oil and
banking sectors amounted to a “terrorist act”.
struggle between Iran and America is currently at a maximum,” he was quoted as
saying in a cabinet meeting by state broadcaster IRIB. “America has employed
all its power against us.
Danish court handed jail terms on Wednesday to four Syrians who threw Molotov
cocktails at the Turkish embassy in Copenhagen and ruled they should be deported.
verdict, seen by AFP, said the quartet planned and carried out an attack
designed to cause “substantial” damage. All four are appealing their sentences.
of the four migrants were handed jail terms of one year and nine months. The
fourth received an 18-month sentence after he cooperated with investigators.
was injured in the March 2018 attack on the embassy, which caused slight
material damage a day after Turkish forces had taken the Kurdish enclave of
Afrin in northwestern Syria.
of the four men, all residing in Copenhagen’s Kurdish community and aged
between 19 and 24, were living in Denmark on temporary residence permits.
groups rap PAS man over comments on underage marriage
JAYA: Women’s rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS) has taken a PAS MP to task
for his views on teen pregnancy and underage marriage, calling them
“irresponsible” and “shortsighted”.
spokesman Majidah Hashim said as an MP, Che Abdullah Mat Nawi should be looking
after the interests of children.
added that his stand against raising the legal age for marriage and on marrying
off couples caught for khalwat or close proximity ran contrary to this goal.
allow and encourage child marriage means a failure to prioritise what is
important to children, which is education. This is quite irresponsible as it
jeopardises the child’s health and future,” she told FMT.
had said that unmarried couples caught for khalwat should be married off as
they would become more responsible after that.
also said getting married at a young age should not be seen as an obstacle for
men and women to further their studies.
Majidah said marrying off couples in that manner sent the wrong message that
their future was not important.
added that those who married off their children saying they could not afford to
raise them were only perpetuating the problem.
a good education, the children cannot get a good job. If they marry a partner
who is also uneducated or has minimal education, both husband and wife will be
unable to get proper, high-value jobs which would help them escape the cycle of
poverty.” Majidah also said underage girls lacked the mental and psychological
maturity to be responsible mothers, or to choose responsible partners who would
help them raise their children.
have a lot of cases where the children haven’t reached emotional maturity,” she
they grow up, their personalities and ambitions may change, and this frustrates
their partners, so a lot of these marriages don’t last.”
also cited a joint report from Unicef and Egypt’s Al-Azhar University which
said the preferred age for marriage is 18 years and above.
report also said that child marriage was a custom and not part of shariah.
Aid Organisation spokesman Melissa Mohd Akhir also criticised Abdullah, saying
he was “ignorant” of the realities and rights of children.
said the Kelantan government already had a policy on the welfare of children,
known as “Dasar Kanak-kanak Fitrah Kelantan” which puts the minimum age for
marriage at 18 based on the age of maturity or rusyd.
added that PAS senator Asmak Hussin had spoken on the policy in the Dewan
Negara just last August, even suggesting that emphasis be placed on the
couple’s maturity level and their readiness to face hardships in marriage.
agreed that poverty was a major factor in children being married off and
deprived of an education.
reality is, it’s almost impossible to find a child who manages to complete his
or her SPM examinations while also being a husband or wife.
recommend that MPs address the above realities instead of suggesting early
marriage, which is an ineffective, Band-Aid suggestion.”
issue of underage marriages has been widely debated in the media since June
last year when a 41-year-old Kelantan man took an 11-year-old girl as his
is pushing to increase the minimum age for marriage of girls from 16 to 18,
while Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has reportedly urged state governments
to raise the minimum age to 18 for both Muslims and non-Muslims.
previously criticised the Kelantan government for not supporting Mahathir’s
LUMPUR, Feb 18 — Federal Territories Mufti Datuk Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri has
chided flat Earth conspiracy theorists, saying there is incontrovertible
consensus by Islamic scholars and astronomers that our home planet is
office said it was inundated with queries about the issue, calling the false
belief that the Earth is flat as a “cancer” among the society.
stress here that the nature of Earth is round,” Zulkifli said in a statement
published on his website.
state that the denial of Earth’s round nature is a misguided opinion, what more
it is against indisputable Ijma’,” he added, using the Arabic term that roughly
mufti provided verse 39:5 of the Quran to back his argument, which said: “He
created the heavens and earth in truth. He wraps the night over the day and
wraps the day over the night and has subjected the sun and the moon, each
running [its course] for a specified term.”
also provided a lengthy list of Islamic scholars’ interpretation of why the
Earth is spherical, despite several Quranic verses that can be understood as
saying the Earth is flat in nature.
addition, the mufti also quoted Malaysia’s first astronaut or Angkasawan, Datuk
Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, who recently said that the Earth in
indeed spherical, although shaped more like an egg.
with the astronaut’s explanation, a sphere is the simplest model of the Earth’s
shape. The planet is not a perfect sphere with the radius varying between
6,353km and 6,384km. No perfect sphere can be found in nature.
singer Suhaimi Saad, known for conspiracy theories and getting into fiery
online debates, had recently demanded Dr Sheikh Muszaphar to swear an oath that
the Earth is not flat.
2016, Suhaimi had also proudly aligned himself with the anti-vaccination
movement and said that none of his four children had been immunised against
deadly diseases nor did they take clinical medicine.
those who buy into flat Earth conspiracy theory, the mufti’s office said
human’s understandings of nature are different, since humans are limited to
their own five senses.
president Abdul Hadi Awang said Muslims can become disunited in the pursuit of
material things such as wealth and positions.
a column in Harakah Online titled “Bersatu pertahankan kempimpinan Islam
(United to defend the Islamic leadership)” today, he cited several historical
examples of such divisions.
also paraphrased the words of a Muslim caliph, Al-Mu'tamid ibn Abbad, who said:
“It is better to herd camels for a Muslim who seized the throne than to herd
pigs when non-Muslims are in power.”
was an 11th century caliph in a part of al-Andalus in southern Spain and
had uttered the remark when rebuffing his son's advice not to call for aid from
the Berbers in North Africa to fight against the king of Castile.
said that despite Al-Mu'tamid uniting the Muslims, al-Andalus still fell after
"hundreds of years" due to in-fighting among Muslim rulers.
and his kingdom was deposed and conquered by the Berbers, just four years after
receiving their aid against Castile.
the domestic front, Hadi said Malaysia witnessed an intense campaign for the
prime minister's post without paying heed to Islamic hegemony and turning a
deaf ear to those emboldened to threaten the position of Islam and its leaders.
mentioning names, he said the campaign also involved those in foreign
Marang MP said while PAS refused to compromise its principles for the sake of
achieving power, it is willing to cooperate with others to defend Islam.
has been patient with regard to being in the opposition since its inception up
to the present and is willing to be united (with others) in order to defend
Islam and the nation's leadership despite different approaches.
is also willing to forget the wrongdoings towards the party, as well as to
correct its mistakes because of this most basic interest (to defend Islam)
while other issues can be postponed.
rejects the concept of the end justifies the means regardless of the sacrifices
which have to be made and the distance which must be travelled, even becoming a
candle which burns itself to illuminate others,” he added.
Friday, Hadi had met one of his fiercest critics, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir
Mohamad, together with PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan and Terengganu
Menteri Besar Ahmad Shamsuri Mokhtar in Kuala Lumpur.
this, Takiyuddin said PAS has pledged to support Mahathir if there is an
attempt within certain quarters in Pakatan Harapan to remove him as prime
minister through a vote of no confidence.
KINABALU, Feb 21 — When Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that
his party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), will be spreading its wings
to Sabah, among the first questions were who will be leading it.
in the peninsula, it is unlikely that the party will continue with its
understanding that no defecting lawmaker can hold a position in Sabah, given
that it is a new entity in the state after GE14.
that is true, most political observers say the obvious choice will be Sulaman
Assemblyman Datuk Hajiji Mohd Noor, who took over the Umno reigns when Tan Sri
Musa Aman left the State after the contentious polls.
Mahathir has said that the party will take in former Umno lawmakers provided
they remained independents for a certain duration and passed a “vetting”
is seen as the leader of the ex-Umno lawmakers who had quit en masse in
December following a loss of confidence in the party leadership. He led nine
assemblymen and five MPs out of the party.
Dr Mahathir changes the rules for Sabah in not allowing defecting lawmakers to
hold a post then Hajiji seems to be the natural choice — a senior and seasoned
Muslim leader in Sabah,” said political analyst Arnold Puyok.
will be looking for someone who can unite the Muslim community and is accepted
by other communities,” said Puyok.
this case, it seems like he is the right choice — he doesn’t have a lot of
political baggage, and has a cordial relationship with other parties. He is
okay with Shafie, okay with Bung, okay with PBS, okay with the federal leaders,
and an electable leader.
is no reason that the leadership won’t choose him to help build the party in
Sabah,” said another source within the former Umno group.
person said to be lobbying for the position is Parti Harapan Rakyat Sabah
president Datuk Lajim Ukin, a veteran politician formerly with Umno and then
PKR before setting up his own party.
I don’t think there should be distinction between Peninsula and Sabah when
considering defecting lawmakers for positions.
is not an opposition government, they are part of Pakatan Harapan, so there is
no danger of toppling the government. If you plan on taking over the
government, then the rule is more acceptable,” he said.
who has said that he would be dissolving his party to pave the way for 64,000
of its members to join PPBM, has not openly said he would like to helm the
Sabah branch of the party but that he would wait for the leadership to decide.
name thrown into the hat is Kimanis MP Datuk Anifah Aman, but by his own
admission, the former Foreign Minister said he would remain as an independent
MP for the time being and was not part of the group ready to join PPBM.
was the first MP from Sabah to quit Umno last year.
viral image of an alleged pro-tem committee has set tongues wagging if PPBM
were to abide by its rule of not allowing defecting lawmakers to hold posts.
image of a chart featured Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) leader Datuk Dasim
Ricky Jikah as Sabah PPBM chairman, Upko member Ceasar Mandela Malakun as
vice-chairman and independent Nabawan assemblyman Bobbey Suan, who left Upko in
November last year, as the committee’s secretary.
the information seems unlikely to be true, and is probably someone trying to
lobby and create confusion,” said a political analyst.
LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Whistleblower site Sarawak Report (SR) claimed today that
Islamist party PAS used funds from Umno to pay its candidates’ election
deposits in the May 9 polls last year.
article accused Umno of “secretly paying” PAS to contest several seats, which
later led to both parties’ cooperation right after the conclusion of the
general election which saw Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) defeated by Pakatan
Report has now received confirmation that this money paid to PAS was used to
pay for several of PAS’ record numbers of election deposits at GE14, together
with another million or so ringgit that was apparently later also deposited in
cash by Umno into PAS accounts around the same time in the same way,” the
said it has submitted further evidence in the previous defamation lawsuit
against its editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi
Awang, that an Umno proxy deposited a bag containing RM2.5 million into Bank
Islam before transferring the cash into PAS’ bank accounts.
has admitted receiving the money but denied it came from Umno.
SR did not publish any document backing its allegation.
also did not list the name or number of seats where the deposits were allegedly
paid using the money.
deposit of RM10,000 is required to contest a parliamentary seat and RM5,000 for
a state assembly seat.
contested 158 seats in GE14 but won only 18 — just over one in 10 of the total
up for contest.
Islamist party’s contest in those seats had caused at least three-way fights
with PH and BN.
approves construction over 4,000 new settler units in Jerusalem al-Quds
officials have approved plans for the construction of thousands of new housing
units in the occupied West Bank irrespective of the international outcry
against the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation and settlement expansion
policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Hebrew-language daily newspaper Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday that the
authorities have given the green light for 4,416 units to be built in Jerualem
al-Quds, adding that 23,576 square meters of land would be expropriated for
business projects and 4,253 for other purposes.
report further noted that 464 settler units will be constructed in Gilo
settlement, 180 units in Kiryat HaYovel, and 375 others in Kiryat Menahem
this month, Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO opposing Israel's settlement expansion
activities, published a new map, describing an “accelerated, intensifying chain
of new facts on the ground in the most historically contested and politically
sensitive part of Jerusalem [al-Quds]: the Old City and adjacent ring of
map pointed to a mounting number of Israeli regime-sponsored settlement
campaigns inside Palestinian neighborhoods, as well as “settler-initiated
evictions of Palestinians, takeovers of their homes, and the expansion of
settler compounds,” in addition the use of “touristic settlement sites” as “key
points along a ring of tightening Israeli control.”
Amim said tourism and supposed archaeology projects “assume a central role in
Israeli settlement policy.”
600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967
Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East
UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the
occupied territories in several resolutions.
than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations
Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to
“immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied
Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.
want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East
Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.
last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major
sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement
expansion on Palestinian territories.
backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” in 2017, saying
he would support any solution favored by both sides.
at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very
happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US
president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15, 2017.
two main challengers to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in April
polls announced an electoral alliance on Thursday in a bid to defeat him.
Gantz, a former military chief of staff, and centrist politician Yair Lapid
said in statements they would form a joint list for the April 9 elections and
rotate as prime minister if they won.
heads his recently launched centrist Israel Resilience party, while Lapid leads
Yesh Atid, which currently has 11 seats in parliament out of 120.
polls have shown the two as the main challengers to Netanyahu, who has been
expected to win despite corruption investigations into his affairs.
defense minister Moshe Yaalon had previously joined Israel Resilience and
another ex-military chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, will also join the new
alliance, their statements said.
of a sense of deep national responsibility, Benny Gantz, Yair Lapid and Moshe
Yaalon decided on the creation of a unified list which will serve as Israel’s
new party of government,” the statement from Yesh Atid said.
party will put forward a new leadership team which will guarantee the security
of Israel and will reunite the divided elements of Israeli society.”
Palestinian Authority (PA) will no longer accept tax revenues collected on its
behalf by Israel following its decision to trim the sum over the PA's financial
support of militants' families, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.
cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, an interim self-government body set up
following the 1993 Oslo peace accords, has suffered a series of financial blows
in the past year.
interim peace deals, Israel collects taxes in the Israeli-occupied West Bank
and in the Gaza Strip and makes monthly payments to the PA, which says it
receives around $222 million each month.
Israeli Finance Ministry said on Wednesday it collects about 700 million
shekels ($193 million) in Palestinian taxes and transfers around 600 million
shekels of that to the Palestinian Authority after deducting payments for
electricity, water, sewage and medical treatment services.
Sunday Israel said it would freeze about 5 percent of that against stipends the
Palestinian Authority pays to families of Palestinians killed or jailed by
remarks made late on Tuesday and broadcast on Palestinian radio on Wednesday,
Abbas said the PA would continue to pay out these stipends rather than accept a
partial transfer of the tax revenues from Israel.
reject the tax, we don't want it,” Abbas told visiting US congressmen.
“Frankly, if we are left with only 20 or 30 million shekels, which is the sum
paid to families of martyrs, then we will pay them to the families of martyrs,”
and the United States say the stipend policy fans Palestinian violence while
the Palestinians see the slain and jailed Palestinians as heroes of a national
United States last year passed legislation to sharply reduce aid to the
Palestinian Authority unless it stopped the pay-outs. The measure, known as the
Taylor Force Act, was named after a 29-year-old American military veteran
fatally stabbed by a Palestinian while visiting Israel in 2016.
month, the Palestinians declined some $60 million in US annual funding for
their security forces, worried about exposure to lawsuits under new US
has further slashed hundreds of millions of dollars to humanitarian
organizations and UN agencies which aid the Palestinians as it seeks to
pressure Abbas to enter peace negotiations with Israel. Peace talks have been
frozen since 2014.
FM warns Israel about its ‘dangerous’ adventurism
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has warned the Israeli regime that its “dangerous”
adventurism with its bombing campaign in Syria could result in a military
conflict in the region.
is adventurism on Israel’s side, and adventurism is always dangerous,” Zarif
said in an interview with the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper published on
is in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government, while Israel is
violating Lebanese and Syrian air space, as well as international law, Zarif
about the possibility of a military conflict between Iran and Israel, he said
he does not see that coming, adding, “but we cannot exclude the possibility.”
his earlier remarks at the Munich Security Conference, Zarif had accused Israel
of looking for war and warned that its actions and those of the United States
were increasing the chances of a clash in the region.
an interview with NBC News during his visit to Munich, Zarif also warned the US
and its allies that it would be "suicidal" to go to a war with Iran.
said the "same gang" behind the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 were
"at it again" in pushing for war with Iran.
not saying [US] President [Donald] Trump's administration, I'm saying people in
President Trump’s administration are trying to create the same eventually and I
believe they will fail," the Iranian foreign minister said.
I think at the end of the day, some sense will prevail and people will find out
that it's suicidal to engage in a war with Iran."
February 13, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a short video
recorded on the sidelines of an anti-Iran meeting in Warsaw, Poland, that the
event “is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries that
are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest
of war with Iran.”
month, Netanyahu had threatened that Tel Aviv complements the US’ economic
pressures on Iran with its own actions "at the military level.”
“is acting against Iran at the economic level and we here in Israel are acting
against Iran at the military level,” Netanyahu said in an address to Israeli
military actions, Netanyahu apparently meant airstrikes against what Israel
calls Iranian positions in Syria. Damascus says the attacks are part of
Israel's efforts to prop up terrorists in the face of army advances.
says the Tel Aviv regime’s forces have carried out hundreds of attacks in Syria
over the past several years and will ramp up its fight following the planned
withdrawal of US troops from the country.
comments came after Trump said in January Iran “can do what they want” in Syria
following his decision to withdraw US troops operating there, a move that
sparked consternation in Israel.
is no longer the same country,” Trump said. “Iran is pulling people out of
Syria. They can do what they want there, frankly, but they’re pulling people
out. They’re pulling people out of Yemen. Iran wants to survive now,” he
has been offering advisory military assistance to the Syrian government in its
counter-terrorism battle at the request of Damascus.
of the Jordanian parliament’s Palestine Committee have called for the expulsion
of Israel's ambassador from the country in response to Tel Aviv's latest
measures in Jerusalem al-Quds.
a statement read to Jordan's parliament Tuesday, the Palestine Parliamentary
Committee also called for the return of Jordan's ambassador from Tel Aviv.
call on the government to recall the Jordanian ambassador from Tel Aviv, and to
expel the Israeli ambassador in Amman," the statement read.
move came a day after the Israeli regime banned Muslims from entering the
al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem al-Quds. Tel Aviv also arrested several
worshipers inside the compound, and wounded a dozen Palestinians in an assault
worshipers were injured after Israeli military forces attacked them while
entering the mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam.
sources told the Arabic-language Palestine al-Aan news agency that 10
Palestinians sustained injuries after Israeli troops assaulted them at the
mosque's Bab al-Rahma (Gate of Mercy).
sources added that 15 other Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces inside
the mosque as well. A majority of those arrested were reportedly seminary
their statement, Jordanian lawmakers denounced Israel’s act as a violation of
human rights and international law.
measures] contradict the most basic human rights values and international
laws," the statement read.
lawmakers warned that such actions "represent a new and dangerous stage
that provokes millions of Muslims around the world" and entrenches
"racial and sectarian divides… and incites hate speech".
Ma'an News Agency reported on Monday that Israeli soldiers had sealed off Bab
al-Rahma with locks and iron chains a day earlier and prevented the Palestinian
worshipers from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
agency said the Israeli move sparked clashes between Palestinian youths and the
Tel Aviv regime forces, which resulted in the detention of five Palestinians,
including a woman.
al-Rahma gate is a big building that lays to the east of the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The building was sealed by Israeli authorities in 2003 as it was the
headquarters of the Islamic Heritage Committee. Israel claimed at the time that
the building was being used for political activities.
building was sealed by Israeli authorities in 2003 as it was the headquarters
of the Islamic Heritage Committee. Israel claimed at the time that the building
was being used for political activities.
2017, an Israeli court ordered that the building be closed until further
The Yemeni government said on Wednesday that it approved a UN plan for
redeployment in Hodeidah, Al Arabiya reported.
withdrawal from Hodeidah will be carried out under the supervision of UN
monitoring committee and will begin in the next 11 days.
Houthi militia will withdraw by 5 km, while the Yemeni government will withdraw
by 3.5 km south of the Red Sea Mills. This aims to secure the passage for
relief workers to the Red Sea Mills.
UN said it had been unable to access the Red Sea Mills - which has enough grain
to feed 3.7 million people for a month - in Hodeida since Sept. last year.
Griffiths and Michael Lollesgaard – who heads the monitoring mission – will
oversee the implementation of the Stockholm agreement.
assured the Yemeni government that the Houthis will withdraw 5 km away from
Al-Saleef and Ras Eisa ports within the next four days.
attack highlights 'new generation' of Al-Shabaab recruits
of key suspects in last month's terror attack in Nairobi point to the worrying
rise of a new generation of Kenyan jihadists, analysts say.
are hunting Ali Salim Gichunge, the suspected mastermind of the January 15 attack
on the Dusit hotel and office complex that left 21 dead, and Violet Kemunto
Omwoyo, described as a Christian convert to Islam.
background and ethnic origins are starkly different from that of typical Kenyan
members recruited in the past by Al-Shabaab.
Al-Qaeda affiliate has mainly used recruits from Kenya's ethnic Somali
community or coastal Muslim communities.
addition, Shabaab's major previous attacks in Kenya, against the Westgate
shopping mall in 2013, which left 67 dead, and the University of Garissa in
2015 in which 148 people died, were planned in Somalia.
previous attacks that had aspects of external planning and involvement, this
particular incident points to local planning," and includes converts from
Christianity, a senior police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.
believed to be aged about 23, is from central Isiolo and is the son of a Kenyan
soldier. His name is from the country's largest ethnic group, the Kikuyu.
aged in her late twenties, is believed to be from Kisii in western Kenya.
pair shared a home in Ruaka, northwest of the capital, where police say they
found guns stashed in a hole in one of the rooms.
found the hideout after Gichunge was identified as the owner of a vehicle which
transported the attackers to the hotel and office complex.
was initially thought to be among those killed.
it emerged both he and Omwoyo were on the run at the time of the operation, and
had put household items up for sale in the days before the attack.
there are still similarities with the Westgate and Garissa attacks.
five Dusit attackers were all killed during the attack, and at least three of
them were from Kenya's ethnic Somali community, one came from the coastal
region and another has yet to be identified.
weapons they used were transported from Somalia via Lamu county where the
Islamist group has long held a strong presence in the Boni forest, or via the
Mandera town border with Somalia, according to police sources.
say that Gichunge spent time training in Somalia.
remains the epicentre of the Shabaab movement," said Matt Bryden, an
analyst with the Sahan think-tank.
as Shabaab has spread into the region -- hitting five countries with terrorist
attacks -- it "has evolved a lot", said Bryden.
2015, Sahan warned that to escape scrutiny, the jihadists had shifted their
recruiting drive in Kenya away from the big cities of Nairobi and Mombasa to
new areas, including the Rift Valley and the west of the country.
report also noted the increasing recruitment of Christian converts, notably due
to the granting of bursaries for Islamic Studies, and of girls and young women.
this light, Bryden said the involvement of suspects such as Gichunge and Omwoyo
was not a surprise but rather a sign that Shabaab's recruitment strategy in
Kenya was paying off.
we have is a generation that is coming of age. They have just proved that they
are able to organise rather complex operations," he said.
jihadists were recruited by the Kenyan branch of Shabaab, known as Al-Hijra,
which the US State Department says has openly recruited in Kenya and
facilitated transport to Somalia for "terrorism purposes".
are people who know Kenya well, they know the language well, and they can move
around the country quite easily," as they do not look ethnically Somali, a
Kenyan human rights activist said on condition of anonymity.
Somali people mainly live in Somalia, but large populations also live in Kenya,
Ethiopia and Djibouti.
new jihadists are radicalised in "areas which are not closely
watched" and "they use hideouts in places where the police will not
expect them," the source said.
can do this because of what Human Rights Watch researcher Otsieno Namwaya said
is the "ethnic profiling" of jihadists in the country.
the minds of many Kenyans, Shabaab are necessarily from the Somali community.
The reason for this is they have been blinded by the anti-Somali rhetoric of
the government," said Nanwaya.
referred, among other things, to the government's efforts in 2016 to justify
closing the Dadaab refugee camp in the east of the country -- home mostly to
Somalis -- by claiming it was there the Westgate attack was planned.
not having the discussions we should have about the reasons that push some
Kenyans to radicalise, precisely because we're not asking the right
questions," said Namwaya.
investigators have identified perpetrators of pervasive rape and killings and
torture in secret safe houses in South Sudan, and believe oil revenues have
driven much of the violence in its civil war, a report said on Wednesday.
UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan recommended further investigation
of evidence that proceeds from South Sudan’s oil-based economy had been
channeled to government forces and militias linked to reported war crimes.
Commission said the army, national security, military intelligence, rebel
forces and affiliated armed groups had committed serious human rights breaches,
and it had drawn up a confidential list of suspects including army and
opposition commanders, two state governors and a county commissioner.
212-page report detailed people being held for years and tortured in secret,
vermin-ridden detention centers, children being run down by tanks, rape of
girls as young as seven, and babies being drowned, starved or smashed against
some stricken areas, 65 percent of females and 36 percent of males may have
been sexually abused, according to the report.
South Sudan’s main warring parties signed a peace deal in September, widespread
violence, especially rape, has continued.
member of the three-person commission, Andrew Clapham, said it was outraged by
reports of further fighting between government forces and the rebel National
Salvation Front, which was not part of the peace agreement, in the Yei River
are thousands of civilians who have been forcibly displaced following a
scorched-earth policy in which the parties to the conflict are attacking the
villages, torching the homes, killing civilians and raping women and girls,”
United States, Britain and Norway jointly expressed their alarm at the reports
of escalating violence in Yei. “These military actions, and the trading of
blame, must stop,” they said in a joint statement.
said that more than 5,000 refugees had reached neighboring Democratic Republic
of Congo and up to 20,000 people were expected to be displaced by the latest
report cited a close connection between oil and the conflict. A law ensuring
that South Sudan’s oil-producing regions and communities received two and three
percent of its oil revenue respectively had triggered a redrawing of provincial
boundaries and ethnic conflict.
feel the national security services are very much involved in the siphoning off
of oil money,” said Clapham.
Human Rights Council should get to the bottom of the sums involved and where
the money was going, he told reporters, noting that health and education
spending was “minuscule.”
you are involved in oil extraction in that area and you are asked to assist one
side or the other, you could be accused of complicity in war crimes. There are
Council members that we think have a responsibility to look more carefully at
Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar Al-Razzaz appealed on Wednesday to major donors to
continue multi-billion dollar funding for Syrian refugees in the kingdom,
saying most of those who had fled the eight-year conflict had no intention of
returning any time soon.
told representatives of major Western donors, UN agencies and NGOs that
relatively few refugees had gone back since Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s
army last summer regained control of southern Syria, where most had fled from.
number of refugees that so far returned voluntarily is low and most have no
intention of going back any time soon,” Razzaz told a meeting to launch a
UN-funded government plan that earmarks $2.4 billion in funding needs for 2019.
say only around 10,000 refugees out of a total estimated at 1.3 million had
left since the two countries opened the vital Nassib-Jaber border crossing last
echoed the UN view that unstable conditions inside Syria, where large-scale
destruction, fear of retribution and military conscription has made many
reluctant to return.
are now entering a new phase of the Syrian crisis, however the impact is still
ongoing. The conditions for their return are not present,” Razzaz added.
prime minister warned against donor fatigue in a protracted crisis where the
needs of refugees and vulnerable Jordanians were largely unchanged.
funding that covers education, health and crucial services for tens of
thousands of Syrian refugees and local communities was crucial to ease rising
pressures on the debt-burdened economy, he added.
helped Jordan in staying resilient in a difficult regional setting,” Razzaz
said, adding the refugee burden had strained meagre resources such as water and
electricity, with a donor shortfall covered from state finances.
is struggling to rein in record public debt of $40 billion, equivalent to 95
percent of gross domestic product, under a tough International Monetary Fund
(IMF) austerity plan.
donors say more than $6 billion had been extended to Jordan since 2015, which
economists credit for rejuvenating once sleepy northern border towns, while
refugee entrepreneurship brought a pool of cheap labor and new skills,
triggering a property boom and higher productivity.
kingdom received around $1.6 billion last year alone.
longtime ruler Omar Al Bashir has held on to power in the face of two months of
deadly street protests calling for him to step down, a stalemate that testifies
to the tenacity of both the 74-year-old Islamist leader and the resilience of
Afro-Arab nation that has for decades alternated between looking ready to come
unglued and determinedly tearing itself apart, Sudan’s current standoff has
plunged it into a political limbo, with Mr Al Bashir’s grip on power slowly
weakening while protesters are unable to land a knockout punch.
Al Bashir has ruled Sudan since leading a 1989 military coup that toppled a
freely elected but dysfunctional government. Under his watch, Sudan survived
one crisis after another, with him unable to bring peace or economic stability to
the ethnically and racially diverse nation.
earned an indictment by the International Criminal Court in 2010 for genocide
in Darfur, a western region where forces loyal to him crushed an uprising by
ethnic Africans seeking equality with the mostly Muslim and Arabised north. A
year later, the animist and Christian south of Sudan seceded under a peace
agreement that ended more than two decades of civil war, taking with it most of
the country’s oil wealth and sending the country’s economy into a downward
one of the longest serving rulers in the region, Mr Al Bashir has consistently
argued that political change in Sudan can only come through the ballot box. He
has repeatedly blamed the unrest on foreign plots designed to undermine what he
calls Sudan’s “Islamic experiment.”
involved in the protest movement say time is on their side and that the
Sudanese leader will eventually be pushed out of office, an assertion that is
questioned by analysts who argue that the protests have mostly attracted young
people, while failing to attract other segments of society.
one prominent analyst, Sudanese Othman Mirghani, believes the ongoing protests
have been the source of such serious alarm to authorities that the government
has continued to shut down universities and social media sites like Facebook
and WhatsApp since the unrest started.
protest movement is somewhat slow, but it will at the end deliver political
change,” Mr Mirghani predicted by telephone from Khartoum, the Sudanese
capital. He also cited what he described as the elaborate security precautions
in Khartoum on the days of protests as evidence of a government that sees the
demonstrations as a serious threat.
protests have deprived the regime of its political legitimacy,” said Hany
Raslan, an Egyptian expert on Sudan at Cairo’s Al Ahram Centre for Political
and Strategic Studies. “They have caused alarm inside the regime and eroded
some of its internal infrastructure,” he added, but warned that the protesters
have so far failed to mobilise in sufficient numbers in the streets to push Mr
Al Bashir out.
said one reason why Mr Al Bashir has survived until now is that he has for
years worked on gathering the country’s “political strings” in his hands. “He
is in control of the political balances inside the regime,” Mr Raslan said,
citing the Sudanese leader’s track record of playing allies and close aides off
against each other and banishing to the sidelines political figures strong
enough to challenge him. Since 2000, Mr Al Bashir has sidelined Hassan Al
Turabi, spiritual father of the Islamist movement in Sudan and the sponsor of
the 1989 coup, vice president and one-time heir apparent Ali Othman Taha, and
ruling party heavyweight Nafiaa Ali Nafiaa.
Abdou, a 25-year-old activist from Khartoum, shares the analysts’ cautious
optimism on the prospect of political change in Sudan.
movement is growing, but we don’t want people to exhaust themselves. We want
them to pace themselves. We want them to protest one day and go to work the
next day. We are mostly poor in Sudan, so we want them to continue to earn a
wage and put food on the table,” she said by telephone.
have no problem staying on the streets for another five months. Every march is
attracting more people than the previous one. We are conserving our energy for
‘zero hour’ when all the doors are open and everyone is out on the streets,”
Abdou and other activists acknowledge that the frequency and size of
demonstrations outside Khartoum have waned in recent weeks, something they
attribute to the use of excessive force there by police. “But the epicentre of
uprisings has always been in Khartoum,” Ms Abdou said.
independence in 1956, Sudan has seen two popular uprisings against military
rule, in 1964 and 1985. In both cases, democratically elected governments
followed, but they failed to improve the economy or end long-running civil wars
with the south. They were eventually toppled by the military in 1969 and 1989
behind the ongoing protests say they want Mr Al Bashir’s Islamist government to
be replaced with an interim administration of technocrats who would announce
dates for elections. But Mr Raslan, the Egyptian analyst, believes chaos would
prevail during the transitional period and the Islamists would likely reinvent
themselves to bounce back to power.
all of Sudan’s neighbours, Egypt is believed to be the most worried about
Muslim Brotherhood Islamists seizing power across its southern border. With
zero tolerance for any form of political Islam at home, Egypt has reservedly
offered Mr Al Bashir support despite his hallmark unpredictability.
the last few years, Mr Al Bashir caused alarm in Egypt by courting Cairo rivals
Qatar and Turkey and siding with Ethiopia in its dispute with Egypt over the
impact on Cairo’s share of the Nile waters of a giant, under-construction dam
Addis Ababa is building. He also has stoked a long-running but lately dormant
border dispute with Egypt.
in Karachi Wednesday claimed to have arrested two members of the banned
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) over charges of their involvement in the deadly Sehwan
blast, targeted killings of law enforcers, members of the Hazara and Christian
communities in Balochistan, incidents of kidnappings for ransom and the murder
of a senior official of a private firm in Karachi, a private TV channel
Police and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) carried out a joint action in
Gadap area and apprehended two LeJ suspects,” Deputy Inspector General (DIG)
East Amir Farooqi said at a press conference, and described the held suspects –
Furqan Bungalzai alias Azam and Ali Akbar alias Haji – as ‘dangerous
DIG disclosed that the suspects had also joined the global militant Islamic
State group. Bungalzai was commander of LeJ’s askari (militant) wing and was
involved in several terror acts in Balochistan and Sindh. During an initial
probe, he informed the investigators that Mufti Hidayatullah (now killed),
Noman and Maqbool had planned the deadly Sehwan blast, while he had carried out
reconnaissance of the shrine and passed on information to Mufti Hidayatullah.
After the reconnaissance, Maqbool and Noman brought the suicide bomber,
identified as Usman, to Sehwan, where he exploded himself on February 16, 2017,
resulting in the death of 82 people and injuries to 383 others.
the interrogation, Bungalzai also confirmed that Mufti Hidayatullah was killed
during an operation by security forces on July 20, 2018, in Kalat.
Subsequently, the group’s Shura decided to take revenge for Hidayatullah’s
killing and established the ‘Mufti force’ to this effect. Three days after the
killing of Hidayatullah, LeJ’s leader Molvi Khair directed Bungalzai and Noman
to target law enforcement agencies. “I dropped the suicide bomber near a polling
station at a bypass in Quetta,” Bungalzai told the investigators. The suicide
bomber blew himself up, targeting a parked police mobile on the day of the
general election, July 25, 2018, killing 32 people, including a policeman.
from bomb blasts, the LeJ militant, Bungalzai, was also involved in several
killings, mostly in Balochistan, targeting members of the Shia Hazara and
Christian communities as well as policemen.
suspect told the police that they gunned down around four or five Hazaras who
were travelling in a yellow cab near Pasni-Quetta road on Jun 4, 2018. He was
also involved in targeted killings of three policemen on Sariab Road in Quetta
on June 11, 2017. They also killed one tailor on Sariab Road and a member of
Shia community in the Quetta bazaar.
and his accomplices carried out attacks on shops in Hazara Town Quetta, killing
two shopkeepers there. “He also confessed to killing three members of Christian
community on Arbab Khan Road in Quetta on April 2, 2018,” revealed the DIG East
Farooqi, adding that the LeJ members also gunned down one religious scholar in
May 27, 2018, Bungalzai and his accomplices attacked traffic police on Sariab
Road in which two traffic policemen were martyred. In retaliatory firing by the
policemen, two attackers, namely Mehmood and Rashid, were gunned down, while
Furqan managed to escape.
the other held suspect, DIG East Ali Akbar pointed out that he was a member of
LeJ. His son-in-law, Salman Badeni, was killed by security forces in Quetta.
“Akbar Ali was involved in kidnapping for ransom to generate funds for LeJ,”
held suspect, along with his accomplices, had kidnapped a general manager of a
private firm, Abid Sohail, from the Tipu Sultan area in Karachi in Nov 2017 and
kept him at an underground place inside a home in the Manghopir area, where
they later killed him over non-payment of ransom money, recalled the DIG. They
had demanded Rs 350 million as ransom for the release of Abid Sohail. The
victim’s body was recovered by the Anti-Violent Crime Cell of the police later
held suspect along with his accomplices had also kidnapped one citizen, Raheel,
from Gulistan-i-Jauhar and released him after taking Rs 10 million as ransom.
The other accomplices had already been arrested in this case of kidnapping for
video of Pakistani prisoners being released from a jail in Saudi Arabia is
going viral on social media a few days after Saudi Crown Prince concluded his
visit to Islamabad.
of inmates can be seen leaving what has been described in the video as a jail
in Saudi city Jeddah.
is happy leaving for their homes. Kindly pray that brothers who are left behind
are also released soon,” a man is heard saying.
Prime Minister Imran Khan made a personal request to Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman to release Pakistani labourers who have been languishing in
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