44 CRPF jawans killed in IED blast in Kashmir's Pulwama, Jaish claims attack.
Chief Shafi: Declare Qadianis as Non-Muslims
Arabia Celebrates Valentine’s Day without Hiccups
At Least 44 CRPF Jawans Were Killed and Dozens Injured In a Terror Attack In Jammu And Kashmir's Pulwama District
Pakistani Court Confirms Ban on Haram Valentine’s Day
Uighurs’ Kin Demand ‘Proof of Life’ Videos From China
At Least 41 Killed In Iran Bombing On Revolutionary Guard Personnel Bus
Seeks To Increase Pressure on Iran At Warsaw Conference
Will ‘Do What It Takes’ To Beat ISIS: Defense Minister
in Bangladesh Facing Fresh Threat from Radical Islam
militants injure dozens in attack on minority Muslims in Bangladesh
troops won’t engage militarily in Saudi Arabia
than 20 Taliban militants killed in Takhar and Faryab operations
proposes safe zone in Myanmar for Rohingya refugees
Ahmadiyyas injured in co-ordinated attack on the community in Pachagarh
want Haqqani’s son released ahead of talks
Taliban announce talks with US in Islamabad: spokesman
Heart Of Baghdad, Daesh War Museum Honours Fallen Militiamen
puts Saudi Arabia on ‘dirty money’ blacklist
Hezbollah condemns terror attack on IRGC forces
Arabia to lift travel warning for Lebanon
forces discover, destroy 11 Daesh cross-border tunnels into eastern Syria
presidential term set to be extended
At Least 44 CRPF Jawans Were Killed and Dozens Injured In a Terror Attack In Jammu And Kashmir's
Hizbul terrorists gunned down in J&K’s Budgam
trying to break Muslim majority status of J&K: Mehbooba Mufti
Myanmar nationals including Rohingya deported since August 2017: MHA
Taliban to Meet Khalilzad, Imran Khan in Islamabad On 18th
to seek preferential trade agreement with Riyadh
Speech: Crackdown on Social Media in the Offing
MoUs to be signed during visit of Saudi crown prince
has successfully overcome scourge of terrorism: Fawad
announces 'massive' social media crackdown
Arabia sends over 100 guards ahead of Crown Prince’s visit to Pakistan
did Alpantuni go? Instagram accused of removing gay Muslim comic strip
detainees in Cambodia well-treated by prison authorities, says Sng
to field youth member from PAS family for Semenyih by-election
Aziz ‘lied’ too to protect party secrets, son says to defend self
Blocks Planned UNSC Visit to Occupied Palestinian Territories
Rouhani blames US, Israel for attack on Revolutionary Guards
charges former air force intel agent with defecting to Iran
passes resolution to end US aid for Saudi war on Yemen
issues rallying cry to Arabs for 'war' with Iran
Hamas, Fatah movements denounce US 'deal of century' for Middle East
rounds up 52 Syrian Daesh suspects: state media
Taliban to hold peace talks in Pakistan’
Democrats forcing Trump to use veto powers?
weighs future of Afghan mission, seeks to support talks
House approves full American withdrawal from Yemen
Prepares No-Go Zones for Extremists
event discusses oppression of Uighur Muslims
police arrest former Syrian regime spy
arrests 2 ex-spies of Syrian regime
and France close to exchanging ambassadors
Assad regime torturers arrested in Germany and France
emerges as ‘impartial’ mediator of Palestinian disunity
Forces Raid Al-Qaeda Site In Libyan City Of Ubari
Boko Haram attacks NE state governor convoy
Bashir vows peace push for Sudan war zones
dead at election rally stampede in Nigeria days ahead of presidential election
professors arrested in Sudan ahead of sit-in protest’
by New Age Islam News Bureau
also demanded the Qadianis’ religious congregation be stopped
chief Shah Ahmed Shafi has demanded the Ahmadiyya Muslim community—also known
as Qadianis—be declared as non-Muslims, immediately.
Islamic hardliner also demanded the 3-day Ahmadiyya religious
congregation—scheduled to begin on February 22 in Panchagarh district—be
made the demand on Wednesday during a press briefing at Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul
Ulum Moinul Islam, also known as Hathazari Madrasa, in Chittagong.
speaking at the press briefing, Shafi said that they will be compelled to
undertake tougher responses, like a long march towards Panchagarh, if the
congregation is not stopped.
demand to declare the Ahmadiyyas as non-Muslims is part of protecting the
fundamental principles of Islam. Muslims [will] face various problems in their
social and religious life if the Ahmadiyyas are not identified and declared as
non-Muslims," said Shafi.
Red roses are no longer hidden in flower shop backrooms, and heart-shaped
chocolates are no longer sold under the counter on Valentine’s Day, due to
curbs placed in 2016 by the Saudi religious police.
2018, a Saudi religious figure endorsed Valentine’s Day celebrations for the
first time in the Kingdom.
Ahmed Qasim Al-Ghamdi, former president of the Commission for the Promotion of
Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Makkah, announced on TV that celebrating Valentine’s
Day does not contradict Islamic teachings, and that celebrating love is not
limited to non-Muslims.
Day is celebrated worldwide, much like Mother’s Day, as “a positive aspect of
the human being,” he said.
a result, Valentine’s Day is becoming very lucrative for businesses, especially
flower shops, restaurants, cafes, cosmetic clinics and beauty salons.
and gourmet food brands, such as Godiva, have prepared Valentine’s Day
Al-Noman, a high-end local chocolatier, is cooperating with the Rubaiyat
retailer and Fitaihi Jewelry to offer customers free chocolate boxes and
a well-known Saudi brand, is offering discounts on love bracelets and pendants
for what they have dubbed “a very special occasion.”
Attar, a jewelry designer and the face of Nadine Jewellery, has dedicated a
special line, “A Journey of Love,” for Valentine’s Day.
limited collection quotes verses from the Qur’an and famous Arab poets such as
Khalil Gibran and Al-Mutanabi.
decided to use colors and symbols of love, hence the heart-shaped ruby stone,
which is traditionally paired with white and yellow gold, but I chose rose gold
instead as rose and red colors created a modern combination, and they go very
well together in symbolizing the occasion,” Attar told Arab News. The
collection will be discontinued once its items run out.
is also targeting men, having produced red aluminum cuff links and aluminum
cuff bracelets tipped in red. She said she intends for her pieces to become
brand Nayomi has launched a campaign called #CelebrateRomanceWithNayomi, with
discounts of up to 25 percent on its romance collection, and free shipping on
all orders until Feb. 14.
centers such as ReFit Gym are offering discounts on new memberships, and
supermarkets such as Manuel and Al-Tamimi have special sales on products such
as chocolates, teddy bears and red roses.
Foursquare City Guide has listed 15 romantic spots in Jeddah for a Valentine’s
dinner. The list includes French restaurant Le Traiteur, Zodiac Lounge in
Al-Andalus, Italian restaurant Il Gabbiano on the Corniche, and Japanese
restaurant Nozomi in Al-Rawdah.
jawans of the Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) jawans were killed in an
improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.
attack was followed by gunshots. The attack took place in Goripora area of
Awantipora in district Pulwama.
organisation Jaish-e-Mohammad has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack.
will be taught unforgettable lesson: Arun Jaitley
minister without a portfolio Arun Jaitley said that the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)
terrorists will be taught an unforgettable lesson. "Attack on CRPF in
#Pulwama, J&K is a cowardice & condemnable act of terrorists. Nation
salutes martyred soldiers and we all stand united with families of martyrs. We
pray for speedy recovery of the injured. Terrorists will be given unforgettable
lesson for their heinous act," Arun Jaitley said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Pulwama tomorrow.
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
Adil Ahmad Dar identified as the suicide bomber
Ahmad Dar of the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) has been identified as the suicide
bomber who targetted the CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir. Adil Ahmad dar
belongs to Kakapora in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district. Read here.
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
is Modi govt defending our borders, asks Congress
Congress party attacked the Modi government over the Pulwama attack in Jammu
and Kashmir and asked where is the government exactly defending the borders.
"India is facing unprovoked terror attacks from Pak sponsored terrorism.
Modiji nation wants to know why do you want to compromise India’s security?
Everyday we receive the dead bodies of our martyrs, PM remains mum. PM is a
mute spectator even now. Pak terror attacks are checked. What is the solution
to stop terror attack on the Indian soil? Your government, Modiji, is the most
weak knee government in the history of India," Randeep Surjewala said.
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
have words to condemn the attack: Mehbooba Mufti
don't have enough words to condemn this attack. Border skirmishes and surgical
strikes are leading to nothing. NDA Govt and all political parties must come
together and reach a solution to end this bloodshed: Mehbooba Mufti
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
will 56-inch chest reply, asks Congress
spokesperson Randeep Surjewala attacked the Modi government and asked when will
the 56-inch chest reply. He said, "We strongly condemn this cowardly
attack, we extend condolences to the kin of the jawans who were martyred. This
is the 18th big terror attack in the last 5 years under this Modi Govt. When
will the 56-inch chest reply?"
across the country condemn Pulwama attack
across the country have condemned the Pulwama attack which left 20 CRPF jawans
dead and multiple injured. The injured have been shifted to a hospital. 18 of
them are reportedly in a critical condition. Former Madhya Pradesh Chief
MInister Shifraj Singh Chouhan, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Vice President
Venkaiah NaiduVijay Kumar Singh, BJP MP Vijay Kumar Singh and several others
condemned the terror attack.
deeply disturbed by the cowardly attack on a #CRPF convoy in J&K in which
10 of our brave men have been martyred and many others wounded. My condolences
to the families of our martyrs. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 14, 2019
Singh Chouhan condoled the deaths and said that the answer to the terror attack
will surely be given.
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
Satyapal Malik observed forces responsible for the insurgency in J&K are
desperate and frustrated and just want to prove presence. Visibly it seems to
be guided from across border as Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility:
J&K Raj Bhawan PRO on Pulwama attack
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
by dastardly terrorist attack: Venkaiah Naidu
by the dastardly terrorist attack in which CRPF personnel were martyred. My
heartfelt condolences to bereaved families and prayers for speedy recovery of
the injured: Venkaiah Naidu
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
briefs Home Minister Rajnath Singh
Minister Rajnath Singh spoke with DG CRPF RR Bhatnagar over the Pulwama attack
which killed 20 and injured multiple CRPF jawans.
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has urged all the Security Forces
Commanders to enhance surveillance on every front and directed the District and
Divisional Civil and Police Administration to immediately review the security
management of all important installations and establishments in view of the
Pulwama terror attack.
J&K Raj Bhawan PRO on Pulwama
attack:Governor Satyapal Malik observed forces responsible for the insurgency
in J&K are desperate& frustrated and just want to prove presence.
Visibly it seems to be guided from across border as Jaish-e-Mohammad has
claimed responsibility (file pic)
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
brags about surgical strike and that's why it happened: Sushil Kumar Shinde
leader Sushil Kumar Shinde slammed the Modi government over the Pulwama terror
attack and said, "It is a very sad news. We condemn this attack but I say
it again and again that BJP Govt/ Modi regime they cannot control Kashmir.
These people talk about surgical strikes, they tell to the world about it
because they can’t keep it a secret. And that's why this is happening."
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
20 CRPF jawans martyred
CRPF jawans have died in the Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district after
militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) and opened fire at the
convoy on the Srinagar-Jammu highway today. More than 40 have reportedly
injured and 18 are said to be critical. Senior officers have reached the spot
and the investigation is underway. There were 2500 personnel in the convoy.
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
were 50 vehicles in the convoy including 20 busses plus other trucks and SUVs.
Each bus/truck had 35 to 40 constables. The suicide was mounted to beat the
guards along the route. The SUV, which was used by the suicide bomber, was
laden with explosives. It rammed the targeted bus. The blast took place on
Srinagar-Jammu national Highway. The traffic on this highway was resumed on 13
Feb after 7 days of closure due to heavy snowfall.
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
that 13 CRPF jawans became martyrs today in Pulwama. We salute our brave jawans
and extend our solidarity and condolences to their families. Our prayers for
those injured. We wish them a speedy recovery: Mamata Banerjee
Saddened that 13 CRPF jawans became martyrs
today in Pulwama. We salute our brave jawans and extend our solidarity and
condolences to their families. Our prayers for those injured. We wish them a
PM - Feb 14, 2019
Ads info and privacy
people are talking about this
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
on our CRPF jawans is an act of supreme cowardice: Ahmed Patel
horrific attack on our CRPF jawans is an act of supreme cowardice. Perpetrators
of such terrorist acts are out to destabilise Jammu & Kashmir but sacrifice
of our brave jawans will not go in vain. India stands firmly behind their
families & loved ones in this hour of grief: Ahmed Patel
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
shifted to hospital, probe ordered: IG CRPF
Police has taken up the investigation. The injured shifted to hospital.
Post-blast analysis being done at the spot: Zulfiqar Hassan, IG
CRPF(Operations) on Pulwama blast.
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
bomber identified as Jaish-e-Mohammed's Adil Ahmad Dar
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
govt compromising national security: Congress
attacked the Modi government and said that it is compromising the national
security. Twelve were killed and more than 40 CRPF jawans were injured in the
Pulwama terror attack.
PM IST Posted by Chanchal Chauhan
of forces vehicles were destroyed in the attack, says JeM after attack
(JeM) has claimed responsibility of the fidayeen attack on CRPF convoy at
highway in which more than a dozen forces personnel were killed and several
injured. A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan in a statement said "dozens of
forces' vehicles were destroyed in the attack". The spokesperson identified
the driver (of JeM) who carried out the fidayeen attack as Aadil Ahmad alias
Waqas Commando of Gundi Bagh, Pulwama.
Islamabad High Court (IHC) in Muslim-majority Pakistan on Tuesday sustained its
decision to outlaw Valentine’s Day celebrations and the promotion of the
February 14 Christian holiday across the country, ordering authorities to take
action on revelers. A day before the holiday, top Pakistani court reportedly
ruled to prohibit Valentine’s Day celebrations in February 2017.
Tuesday, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported:
court ordered Islamabad chief commissioner to ensure implementation of court
directives while taking actions against the people who celebrate this day. The
order read that no arrangements could be made in any city of the country
regarding Valentine’s Day.
court also ordered Pakistan Electronic Media and Regulatory Authority to ensure
implementation of the decision on TV channels.
appears Pakistani film and TV stars have found a way around the ban —
celebrating “love, laughter, and togetherness ahead of Valentine’s Day,” the
Daily Times noted.
Day is named after a Christian saint who, legend has it, was martyred in the
name of love,” the Washington Post noted on February 13, 2017, the day the
Pakistani court issued the ban.
Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy law carries a punishment of life in prison
or death for those who insult Islam.
Post pointed out:
years, Valentine’s Day has drawn protests from a constellation of religious
organizations claiming Valentine’s Day violates Islamic sensibilities and
traditions. Pakistan is not alone. Each year, Iranian officials launch another
crackdown on Valentine’s Day to try to blunt its growing popularity among the
young. Cities across Indonesia also have sided with Islamic protests to take a
stand against the celebration.
a petition by a “mysterious” private citizen Abdul Waheed Khan prompted the IHC
to outlaw the holiday.
his plea to the court, Khan argued that Valentine’s Day is “against Islamic teachings”
and while purporting to promote love, it instead propagates “immorality,
nudity, and indecency.”
sitting Pakistani president in 2016, Mamnoon Hussain, joined the
anti-Valentine’s Day movement in the predominantly Muslim country, arguing that
the holiday “has no connection with our culture and it should be avoided,” the
a rebuke of Pakistan’s regional foe India, Hussain alleged that Western
traditions had “adversely affected one of our neighboring countries.”
Uighurs’ kin demand ‘proof of life’ videos from China
Ethnic Uighurs have launched a global campaign to press China for video proof
that their missing relatives are alive, turning the tables on Beijing’s use of
video to counter claims that a renowned Uighur had died in custody.
social media campaign was launched Tuesday under the hashtag #MeTooUyghur after
China released a video of a man who identified himself as Uighur poet and
musician Abdurehim Heyit saying he was alive and well.
video was made public after Turkey claimed that Heyit had died in a Chinese
prison in a statement in which Ankara condemned China for herding vast numbers
of Muslim minority Uighurs into “re-education” camps in the country’s remote
northwestern Xinjiang region.
authorities showed video as proof Mr Heyit is still alive. Now, we want to
know, where are millions of Uyghurs?” said Halmurat Harri, an activist in
Finland, who created the hashtag.
told AFP that his own parents had been previously detained, but were released
hashtag prompted posts from around the world, with Uighurs holding pictures of
missing mothers, fathers, sons, daughters or friends.
UN panel of experts says nearly one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking
minorities are being held in extrajudicial detention in camps in Xinjiang,
where most of China’s more than 10 million Uighurs live.
at first denied the allegation, but later said it has put people into
“vocational education centres”.
overseas Uighurs have not been able to contact relatives and friends in China
for years as phone calls and messaging platforms are under close Chinese
surveillance, said Rushan Abbas, a US-based rights activist.
is demanding authorities release a video of her sister, a physician, who she
says was “sent for vocational training”.
has long suffered from violent unrest, which China claims is orchestrated by an
organised “terrorist” movement that seeks the region’s independence. It has
implemented a massive, high-tech security crackdown in recent years.
many Uighurs and Xinjiang experts say the violent episodes stem largely from spontaneous
outbursts of anger at allegations of Chinese cultural repression of Uighurs,
and that Beijing plays up terrorism to justify tight control of the
say Uighurs in the camps are being brainwashed in a massive campaign to enforce
conformity with Chinese society and encourage them to abandon Islam.
Hidayat, son-in-law of prominent Uighur comedian Adil Mijit, posted a Facebook
video saying his father-in-law was missing and calling for a “proof of life
video” of Mijit and others “who have been locked up in Chinese concentration
Mukaddes said his cousin Erpat Ablekrem, a professional football player, has
been missing since last March and that if China responds by releasing further
videos it would prove they were “illegally holding people for months or years”
without charge. Xinjiang’s regional government, which according to state media
had released the original video of Heyit, did not respond to a request for
comment on the social media campaign.
Poon, a researcher at Amnesty International, said the movement gives worried
Uighurs a rare outlet while undercutting China’s terrorism assertions.
people are ordinary people. The Chinese government simply can’t claim that they
are all extremists or terrorists,” Poon said.
also adds pressure on the world community to speak out, he said.
Muslim world, in particular, has been conspicuously quiet, possibly to avoid
Chinese diplomatic or economic retaliation.
statement on Saturday was perhaps the strongest yet by any country, calling
China’s treatment of Uighurs “a great cause of shame for humanity”.
said it had learned that Heyit died serving an eight-year prison sentence “over
one of his songs”, but China rejected that on Monday, pointing to the video
released by Xinjiang and calling the Turkish statement “vile”.
At least 41 killed in Iran bombing on Revolutionary Guard personnel bus
suicide bombing targeting a bus carrying personnel of Iran’s elite paramilitary
Revolutionary Guard force killed at least 41 people, FARS Iranian news agency
statement released by the Revolutionary Guards late on Wednesday said the
attack left 27 of its fighters dead while 13 were wounded.
al-Adl group claimed responsibility for the roadside bomb attack, which came on
the day of a US-led conference in Warsaw that included discussions on what
America describes as Iran’s malign influence across the wider Mideast.
state-run IRNA news agency, citing what it described as an “informed source,”
also reported the attack on the Guard in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchistan province.
province, which lies on a major opium trafficking route, has seen occasional
clashes between Iranian forces and Baluch separatists, as well as drug
al-Adl, formed in 2012, is a successor to the extremist group Jundallah
(Soldiers of God), which has carried out a spate of attacks on Iranian security
forces in recent years in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan.
Guard is a major economic and military power in Iran, answerable only to the
country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran has been enmeshed in the wars engulfing Syria and neighboring Iraq, it
largely has avoided the bloodshed plaguing the region. In 2009, more than 40
people, including six Guard commanders, were killed in a suicide attack by extremists
in Sistan and Baluchistan province.
coordinated June 7, 2017 ISIS assault on Parliament and the shrine of Ayatollah
Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. At least 18
people were killed and more than 50 wounded.
most recently, an attack on a military parade in September in Iran’s oil-rich
southwest killed over 20 and wounded over 60.
seeks to increase pressure on Iran at Warsaw conference
ministers and senior officials from 60 nations gather in the Polish capital
Warsaw on Wednesday where the United States hopes to ratchet up pressure
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will be joined by US Vice President Mike
Pence in Warsaw, played down the absence of leading European ministers at the
event during a brief stop in the Slovak capital Bratislava on Tuesday, before
he headed to Warsaw.
countries are having their foreign ministers come. Other countries are not.
That’s their choice,” he told a news conference.
think we will make real progress. We think there’ll be dozens of nations there
seriously working towards a better, more stable Middle East, and I’m hoping by
the time we leave on Thursday we’ll have achieved that,” he added.
countries such as France, Germany and Britain have opened a new channel for
non-dollar trade with Iran to avert US sanctions and keep the nuclear deal afloat,
they have criticized Tehran’s ballistic missile program.
will be discussions about Iran’s influence in the Middle East, what we can do
to help get Iran on a more helpful footing that it has been, to collectively
push back on some of its malign behavior in the region,” a senior US official
said of the Warsaw agenda.
US sanctions, mainly targeted at cutting off revenue from Iran’s oil sector,
have largely succeeded in persuading European companies to abandon business
has threatened to pull out of the deal unless the European powers enable it to
receive economic benefits. The Europeans have promised to help companies do
business with Iran as long as it abides by the deal.
conference will also hear from White House adviser Jared Kushner, who is
Trump’s son-in-law, over plans by the United States for peace between
Palestinians and Israelis.
Kushner is not likely to divulge too many details of the plan, it will be one
of the first occasions he will publicly discuss the US efforts.
officials have said they will not attend the Warsaw conference because of
Washington’s decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will, however, attend, alongside several officials
from Gulf states. It was unclear which ministers would be attending since
organizers refused to release the list of participants ahead of Wednesday’s
the event is a chance for Poland’s conservative government to bolster its ties
with Washington at a time when it faces mounting isolation within the EU amid a
dispute over its adherence to rule of law standards.
Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said transatlantic cooperation was necessary
to resolve problems in the Middle East.
European Union alone does not, in my opinion, carry sufficient political weight
to try to really influence the situation in the Middle East,” he told reporters
working together with the United States, and broadly speaking the community of
democratic countries, can we have a positive influence and achieve peace and
the stabilization of the situation in the Middle East,” he added.
Baranowski, who heads the Warsaw office of the German Marshall Fund, said the
outcome of the conference could either showcase divisions or more agreement
proof is very much in the pudding whether this conference is something that
will show great consensus or whether it will show greater division,” he said.
will ‘do what it takes’ to beat ISIS: Defense minister
is ready to do “all that is required” to neutralize the threat from ISIS,
defense minister Gavin Williamson said Wednesday, after the US suggested
creating a new international mission in northeast Syria.
US defense secretary Patrick Shanahan said he would consult with allies at a
meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels about the “potential” for an
observer force in northeast Syria after American forces pull out.
forces are currently in the fifth day of a fierce battle to expel ISIS fighters
from their last holdout in eastern Syria -- the final remaining scrap of the
“caliphate” the extremist group declared in 2014.
the US is set to withdraw its 2,000 troops from the country, as announced by
President Donald Trump in December, in a move that shocked America’s allies and
raised security fears for the region.
if Britain would support an observer force with boots on the ground, Williamson
did not demur but pledged to carry on the fight against ISIS, also known as
recognize the fact the threat of Daesh is going to evolve and it’s going to
change and it’s going to disperse,” Williamson said as he arrived for the NATO
will continue to do all that is required to ensure that Britain and our allies
visited Baghdad on Tuesday to reassure Iraqi leaders after President Donald
Trump angered many by saying he wanted to maintain some troops at the Al-Asad
airbase, northwest of Baghdad, to keep an eye on Iran.
Shanahan said he would use the NATO meeting to discuss “where we can take
advantage of the opportunities there... in terms of the potential in northeast
Syria to establish an observer force” to ensure stability in the longer term.
international anti-ISIS coalition, which includes the US and many NATO
countries as well as Middle Eastern nations, could be an option for the
proposed force, Shanahan said.
in Bangladesh facing fresh threat from radical Islam
Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
Hefazat-e-Islam had already declared it would not allow the members of the
Ahmadiya community in Bangladesh in holding its annual religious congregation
in country’s Panchagarh district. A statement was issued on February 7, 2019 on
behalf of Ahmad Shah Shafi, kingpin of pro-Caliphate Hefazat-e-Islam stating,
“Deniers of Khatmey Nabuwat (last prophecy), feet-licking slave of the British,
nefarious enemy of the Muslim ummah, Golam Mohammad Kadiani had denied
acknowledging Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) as the last prophet. He [Golam Mohammad
Kadiani] proclaimed false prophethood with the agenda of deceiving Muslims,
being a lapdog of the British. Golam Mohammad was the agent of those British
imperialist traders who had ruled Indian subcontinent for 190 years, and had
falsely proclaimed himself as the prophet and had participated in anti-Islam
Shafi also had called upon Bangladesh government to “immediately declare
Ahmadiyyas” as “non-Muslims” and asked the government to “stop the Ahmadiyya
religious congregation” in Panchagarh district [in Bangladesh].
said, “Despite the fact of being non-Muslims, Qadiyanis are claiming themselves
as Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and has been booting the world’s prophet [prophet of
Islam]. If such things are not stopped forthwith, Hefazat e Islam by joining
‘Khatmey Nabuwat Movement’ will go into massive anti-Ahmadiyya movement in
Bangladesh. Ahmadiyyas should be declared non-Muslims and their naked
exposition of audacity [against Islam] should be immediately stopped.
Otherwise, any conspiracy will be foiled by the hundreds of millions of
towheedi janata [masses of faith]”.
Hefazat-e-Islam in particular and some other notoriously radical Islamic and
pro-Caliphate groups are becoming increasingly powerful in Bangladesh, mostly
because of being patronized by the mainstream political parties including the
ruling Awami League, on February 6, 2019 Panchagarh district’s deputy
commissioner Sabina Yasmin had to sit with the members of those radical Islamic
groups and give them assurances of government’s stance on not letting the
Ahmadiyas in holding their annual congregation in the district. But those
religious bigots and jihad-mongers were not satisfied with it. On February 12,
2019, thousands of members of Sammilito Khatme Nabuwat Shangrakkhan Parishad,
Iman Akida Rokkha Committee and Touhidi Janata, joined by teachers and students
of Qawmi madrassas went into mayhem on the members of Ahmadiya community in
Panchagarh – set fire on houses and business establishments, looted valuable
and molested girls and women. This horrific scene only would remind the ISIS
atrocities and notorieties in Iraq and Syria.
Rabwah Times in a report shows the mob as the members of the radical Islamic
and pro-Caliphate groups submitting memorandum with the Panchagarh deputy
commission Sabina Yasmin. Earlier, New Delhi-based The Eastern Herald also had
carried a report on this incident.
incident of attacks on the Ahmadiya community in Bangladesh is not only
unacceptable but it also is a matter of grave concern. It clearly proves the
evil nexus of radical Islamic groups and pro-Caliphate forces are increasingly
gaining strength mostly because of appeasement of the mainstream political
parties including the party in power. If these forces are not confronted
forthwith, it will ultimately emerge as a huge monster and would certainly pose
grave threat to regional and global security. Most importantly, Hefazat-e-Islam
has links with Al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS), while there are secret
connections between Jamaat-e-Islamic Bangladesh (JIB), Hefazat-e-Islam (HeI)
and Arakan-based Islamist militancy group named Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army
(ARSA). We are fully aware of ARSA receiving training and fund from Pakistan as
well as several Afro-Arab nations. This notorious group clearly is emerging
into another Al Qaeda or ISIS – if not even worst.
there is little hope of Bangladesh authorities taking any real steps in
combating these radical Islamic and pro-Caliphate forces, international
community, particularly policymakers in the US should immediately take this
matter into their consideration. I am making an appeal to President Donald
Trump and his administration to please come forward in saving the members of
Ahmadiya community in Bangladesh from persecution and exert pressure on
Bangladesh government in ensuring security as well as banning Hefazat-e-Islam
and all other religious extremist groups. Bangladesh government should –
instead of obstructing Ahmadiyas from performing their religious rituals and
holding congregations, needs to immediately stop Hefazat-e-Islam and those
radical Islamic extremists from continuing such extreme notoriety on this
peaceful religious minority group. I am also demanding immediate arrest of
those who were behind the orchestrated attacks on the Ahmadiya houses and
business establishments in Panchagarh district and the government must give
substantial compensation to the affected members of Ahmadiya community.
and terrorism under the disguise of ‘Khatmey Nabuwat’ should not be allowed in
a secular country like Bangladesh.
Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at hundreds of hard-line militants who
attacked minority Muslims in northern Bangladesh, leaving at least 25 people
injured, officials said Wednesday.
clashes erupted Tuesday night after days of tensions over a planned convention
of the Ahmadi Muslim minority community in the town of Ahmadnagar. Majority
Sunni Muslim groups demanded the event be canceled.
militants do not consider the Ahmadis to be Muslim and have called for them to
be banned. The 100,000 Ahmadis in Bangladesh have faced repeated attacks and
are often barred from establishing mosques. The group is banned in Pakistan.
said several Sunni groups have been holding protests against the Ahmadis’ local
convention, scheduled to start in just over a week.
700-800 men wielding sticks and batons marched toward Ahmadnagar and clashed
with the Ahmadis,” local police chief Abu Akkas said.
fired rubber bullets and tear gas to “maintain law and order,” he told AFP,
adding that at least 20 police and five Ahmadis were injured.
community spokesman Ahmad Tabshir Choudhury said at least seven of the Muslim
minority were injured, three critically.
last few decades have seen a number of attacks targeting Ahmadi Muslims in
1999, a bomb ripped through an Ahmadi mosque in the southern city of Khulna,
killing at least eight worshippers.
2015 a suicide blast by a suspected extremist at an Ahmadi mosque in the
northwestern town of Bagmara wounded three people.
troops will not engage militarily in any war on Saudi Arabia’s behalf, assures
Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque on the eve of signing of a defence deal by the
two Muslim-majority nations.
will, however, play an advisory role, take part in landmine-sweeping along the
Saudi-Yemen border, and civil construction under a memorandum of understanding
(MoU),” he said during a press conference organized at the ministry on
press conference was organized to brief reporters about Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina’s upcoming visits to Germany and the United Arab Emirates. Foreign
Minister AKA Momen, flanked by the secretary, shared different aspects of the
two visits and replied questions of the press.
Bangladesh embassy in Riyadh, in a statement on February 4, announced that
Dhaka will sign an MoU with Riyadh today, in an effort to enhance military
cooperation between the two countries.
the proposed agreement, some 1,800 Bangladeshi troops under two battalions will
be dispatched to Saudi Arabia to defuse and remove mines along the borders of
war-torn Yemen and construction of civilian infrastructure, officials involved
with the deal confirmed to the Dhaka Tribune, adding that this MoU will take
“military cooperation between the two countries to new heights.”
officials requested the Dhaka Tribune anonymity since they were not authorized
to speak to the media about this non-binding agreement.
contacted, an official of the Inter-Services Public Relation (ISPR) expressed
his lack of familiarity with this matter and referred to the Foreign Ministry,
which according to the official, is taking part in signing this deal.
high-level sources inside the Bangladesh government confirmed to the Dhaka
Tribune that the MoU signing will take place in Saudi Arabia and Principal
Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division Lt Gen Md Mahfuzur Rahman will sign
the instrument on Dhaka’s behalf.
content of this proposed deal was finalized during the Bangladesh Army chief
General Aziz Ahmed’s visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
a military arrangement’
notions that Dhaka may have shifted its defence policy regarding the kingdom
with this MoU, Shahidul Haque said: “In regard to Saudi Arabia, we are
following the policy laid out by the prime minister that Dhaka is only
interested in missions under the blue helmet (under the United Nations).”
sentiment was echoed by security analyst Major General (retd) Abdur Rashid as
contacted, he said: “I do not think Bangladesh will be involved in the Yemen
war in any way since it will be very risky for our country.”
is a member of Saudi Arabia-led 41-state Islamic Military Counter Terrorism
Coalition (IMCTC) to combat terrorism, which was formed in 2015.
the Islamic kingdom claims the coalition was formed “to protect the Islamic
nation from the evils of all terrorist groups and organizations whatever their
sect and name is, which wreak death and corruption on earth and aim to
terrorize the innocent,” critics say Saudi Arabia formed this league to counter
Iran’s growing influence in the Arabian peninsula and the Middle East region in
Iran is at odds with Sunni Saudi Arabia for influence in the Arab world for
decades and proxy conflicts between the two regional powers raged from Syria to
Yemen in recent years.
year, for the first time in history of the
Bangladesh Armed Forces, an 18-member Bangladesh Army delegation took
part in the much-hyped joint 21-nation state military exercise called the Gulf
Shield -1, hosted by the kingdom. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attended the
concluding ceremony of the exercise on an invitation by Saudi King Salman.
Arabia requested Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to involve our troops in
mine-sweeping and civilian constructions like making houses for the members of
their armed forces and the prime minister agreed to do so. This imitative is an
initiative being taken under that assurance,” Shahidul said, adding:
than twenty Taliban militants have been killed during the operations of the
Afghan armed forces in northern Faryab and northeastern Takhar provinces, the
Afghan Military said Wednesday.
to a statement released by 209th Shaheen Corps, a clash broke out between the
Afghan armed forces and Taliban militants in Dawlatabad district of Faryab
statement further added that 4 Taliban militants were killed and 3 others were
wounded during the clash.
separate clash also broke out between the militants and security forces at
around 10:20pm in Arkalik Village of Qaisar district in Faryab which left 3
militants dead and another one wounded, the 209th Shaheen Corps said adding
that an army soldier was also wounded in Dawlatabad clash.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has called on Russia, China and India to help
the country tackle the Rohingya refugee crisis.
an interview with Anadolu news agency on Sunday, Momen said his government has
proposed to establish a safe zone in Rakhine state in Myanmar from where the
refugees fled state persecution in late 2017.
a safe zone is created under the vigilance of China, Russia and India along
with the ASEAN states, Rohingya people will be encouraged to return to their
own land," he said.
stands for Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional bloc of 10
countries in Asia.
added that guaranteeing the refugees who return Myanmar's citizenship will be a
precondition of the proposal, which he said has been appreciated by India. He
hoped other countries would follow suit.
August 2017, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children,
have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a
crackdown on the Muslim-majority Rohingya community.
United Nations has also documented mass gang rapes, killings - including of
infants and young children - brutal beatings and disappearances committed by
Myanmar state forces.
authorities treat Rohingya as unlawful citizens or illegal Bengalis based on a
controversial 1982 Citizenship Law.
and Myanmar signed a repatriation deal in November 2017 with a two-year
timeframe to return the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.
repatriation has been postponed due to global concerns about the safety of
Rohingya in their home country.
said the main goal is to "repatriate them to their country of origin with
due dignity and safety", asking help from international actors.
are 1.2 million Rohingya now staying in Bangladesh. Although we are not a rich
country, we are one of the most densely populated countries in the world,"
Momen said, praising Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her
"benevolence" in giving the refuge.
He offered to send some refugees to friendly countries of Myanmar so
that the living conditions of the refugees improve and together these states
can put pressure on Myanmar to take back the refugees.
top diplomat termed Bangladesh's policy on Rohingya "a role model for
humanity", calling their persecution "the biggest genocide since
World War II".
least 43,000 Rohingya are missing and presumed dead, according to a March 2018
report (PDF) by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Parliamentarians for
UN fact-finding mission last year said Myanmar military's campaign, which
refugees say included mass killings and rape, was orchestrated with a
month, Yanghee Lee, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said
the military chief should be prosecuted for "genocide".
genocides since WWII include the one in Bosnia's Srebrenica, which killed over
8,000 in 1995, and the Rwandan genocide, which killed between 500,000 and a
million people in 1994.
said the influx of Rohingya refugees was triggered by Myanmar's policy and that
the country should be held accountable.
the question is how long we give them temporary shelter. They must go back to
their country of birth. The problem has been created by our friendly country
Myanmar, and they should resolve it."
warned that Rohingya refugees living in squalid makeshift settlements in the southern
part of the country are at a risk of radicalisation.
it lingers for a long period, our fear is that there could be a rise of
radicalism, instability and uncertainty. This may cause difficulties not only
for Myanmar and Bangladesh, but also for the whole region."
however, assured that the Bangladesh government is dealing with the crisis with
utmost sincerity and watchfulness, resulting in no report of radical activity
vandalized and torched the houses owned by Ahmadiyyas to protest the minority
group holding its annual 'jalsha,' a probe committee has been formed to
investigate the attack
50 people have been injured in co-ordinated attacks by hardline Islamist groups
on minority Ahmadiyyas in Panchagarh over holding of a "jalsha", despite
the local authorities cancelling the annual convention of the minority group.
attacks took place on Tuesday night on the streets of Ahmadnagar, the part of
town where members of the minority Muslim sect have their homes and businesses,
confirmed Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Panchagarh police station Abu Akkas.
incident occurred between 9pm and 11pm. The injured have been admitted to
Rangpur Medical College and Hospital.
district authorities on Tuesday cancelled the three-day “jalsha”, which was
scheduled to begin on February 22, amid protests from conservative Muslim
five-member probe committee has been formed to look into Tuesday's attack.
committee constituted with additional district magistrate Ehtesham Reza as its
head has been asked to submit its report within three days.
teams of the district administration and police administration visited the area
on Wednesday and talked to the followers of the community.
police and Border Guard Bangladesh members have been deployed in the area to
fend off further trouble.
Shah Ahmed Shafi, the de facto leader of the hardline Islamists in Bangladesh
and the inspirational leader of the umbrella organization Hefazat-e-Islam, has
demanded the Ahmadiyya Muslim community declared as non-Muslims, immediately.
also demanded the three-day Ahmadiyya religious congregation—scheduled to begin
on February 22 in Panchagarh district—be stopped.
do not consider the Ahmadiyyas- also known as Qadianis- to be Muslim and have
called for them to be banned. The 1,00,000 Ahmadiyyas in Bangladesh have faced
repeated attacks and are often barred from establishing mosques. The group is
banned in Pakistan.
Additional Divisional Commissioner Abdullah Sajjad, Pachagarh Deputy
Commissioner Sabina Yasmin, Superintendent of Police Md Ghiasuddin Ahmed, and
other officials inspected the scene of the incident and visited the injured.
gave assurances of bringing to book those involved with the attacks. Police and
BGB have been deployed in Ahmadnagar to keep the situation under control.
leaders protest attack
of the community protest the attack on their people, their houses and
businesses in Panchagarh.
of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Ahmed Tabshir Chowdhury, at a a press briefing in
Salana Jalsha field in Ahmed Nagar in the afternoon, claimed at least seven of
the Muslim minority were injured, three critically.
urged the government to take immediate action against the criminals who
organized and carried out the attacks.
others, Mawlan Abdul Awal Khan Chowdhury, in-charge of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat
Mollabek, Taher Jugal, president of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Panchagarh unit and
Shafiqul Islam, president of Panchagarh Press club also spoke at the programme.
the clashes began
8pm on Tuesday, followers of conservative groups under the banners of
Khatm-e-Nubuwwat Shongrokkhon Parishad, Iman Akida Raksha Committee, Islami
Jubo Samaj and local Towhidi Janata - all protesting the celebration of the
“jalsha” - started a procession.
the procession ended, the protesters blocked the Dhaka-Panchagarh highway near
Sher-e-Bangla Park intersection in Panchagarh town.
that time, traffic on both sides of the highway came to a halt. When the
protestors tried to march towards Ahmadnagar, police blocked their path on
the protestors started throwing brickbats at the police, who used rubber
bullets and teargas to calm the situation.
chase and counter-chase ensued between the protestors and the law enforcers
that lasted for one and a half hours, injuring people on both sides.
one point, a group of protestors broke away and advanced to Ahmadnagar, where
they vandalized and set fire to several houses of the Ahmadiyyas, injuring at
least 40 people of the minority group.
40 of our people have been injured," Ahmadnagar Muslim Convention
President Taher claimed. "Our women were forcibly brought out to the
streets and harassed. Our houses and furniture at the jalsha meeting site were
vandalized and torched."
in the area was disrupted from 9pm to 11pm, while local shops remain closed
fearing further violence.
last few decades have seen a number of attacks targeting Ahmadiyyas in
1999, a bomb ripped through an Ahmadiyya mosque in the southern city of Khulna,
killing at least eight worshippers.
2015, a suicide blast by a suspected Islamist extremist at an Ahmadiyya mosque
in Rajshahi’s Bagmara, wounded three people.
Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attack, but the authorities
blamed the home-grown militant group a faction of Jamayetul Mujahideen
Bangladesh (JMB), known as New JMB to the authorities, which is accused of
killing scores of religious minorities including Hindus, Christians, Sufi
Muslims and Shias.
despite cancellation of Jalsha
anti-Ahmadiyya group carried out the attacks on Ahmadnagar, despite assurances
from the local administration that the “jalsha” had been cancelled.
Ahmadiyya’s annual convention was slated to be held from February 22-24. On
February 4, Khatm-e-Nubuwwat Shongrokkhon Parishad held a press briefing at the
Panchagarh press club to place their demands for cancelling the “jalsha”.
8pm on Tuesday, leaders from Towhidhi Janata and other organizations met at the
deputy commissioner's office, where the decision to cancel the event was
that, a group of protesters went to Ahmadnagar and attacked Ahmadiyya houses
and the convention site, OC Abu Akkas said.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Md Golam Azam announced the cancellation
decision through a loudspeaker from Panchagarh Bazar mosque and requested everyone
to go back home around 11pm.
district administration decided to cancel the jalsha on Tuesday night,"
the OC said. "However, even before the announcement, followers of
conservative groups and locals started demonstrating on the streets.
fired rubber bullets and lobbed teargas shells to bring the situation under
control," the OC added. "But a portion of the protesters still went
to Ahmadnagar and attacked the minority group."
of Police Md Ghiasuddin Ahmed said the police are investigating the incident.
"A scattered group of the conservatives carried out the attacks. We are
looking into the matter and will take legal action against those
Commissioner Sabina Yasmin said: "The Sunnis demanded cancellation of the
convention. Even though we agreed to their demands and took the decision to
cancel the jalsha, they engaged in acts of violence. We will take steps against
Afghan Taliban said on Wednesday that their negotiators would meet US envoys
for talks this month in Islamabad, and also sit down with Prime Minister Imran
Khan to discuss Afghanistan.
announcement, not immediately confirmed by Washington or Islamabad, comes as
America's chief negotiator tours the globe shoring up support for a peace
process to end its longest war.
Khalilzad, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, held extensive talks with the
militants last month in Qatar, where the Taliban have an office. More talks are
slated for later in February.
a Taliban statement issued on Wednesday said separate meetings would be held
first on February 18 in Islamabad “by the formal invitation of the government
in Doha would follow a week later on February 25, the statement said.
is heading a large delegation on a tour of Belgium, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, Afghanistan
and Pakistan to boost the peace process and bring all Afghan parties to the
has expressed cautious hope for a deal before Afghan presidential elections
slated for July, but says the Taliban must come to the table with the Kabul
government, which the insurgents consider a US puppet.
Ashraf Ghani — who has expressed frustration at being sidelined from recent
talks — flew to Munich on Wednesday to attend an international security
conference, his office said.
Taliban also announced a meeting with Prime Minister Khan in Islamabad for
“comprehensive discussions” about bilateral affairs with Afghanistan.
reports last month had suggested that Islamabad was open to hosting the next
round of talks with the insurgents.
A few steps from Baghdad’s cultural heart and its famous book market on
Al-Mutanabi Street lies the Iraqi capital’s latest tourist attraction: a war
museum glorifying the sacrifices of thousands of mainly Shiite militiamen who
died fighting the Daesh group.
museum is meant to honor the fallen but it also underscores the Iran-backed
militias’ growing clout in the country. Their political and military might
soared after they helped the government defeat Daesh — so much so that they are
now accused by some of seeking to build a parallel state within Iraq.
inside Baghdad’s historic, Ottoman-era Al-Qishla building, the museum displays
rocket launchers, drones and cannons from the four-year fight with Daesh.
Visitors can browse through the war booty and other memorabilia from the front
lines, as well as personal belongings fighters left behind on battlefields
across the country.
feel the spirits of the martyrs floating around this space. I feel that Iraq
exists because of them. ... They are the pulse of Iraq,” said 55-year-old
teacher Umm Hassanin Al-Oukeily on a visit to the museum this week.
mainly Shiite militias — known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces,
or “Hashed Al-Shaabi” in Arabic — emerged following a call in June 2014 by
Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, for volunteers to
fight against Daesh. At the time, Daesh militants had overrun the northern city
of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest, and much of northern and western Iraq, coming
dangerously close to Baghdad and Shiite shrines farther south as Iraq’s
military and security forces collapsed in the face of the onslaught.
of thousands heeded the cleric’s call, enlisting in multiple militia factions,
many of which had existed for years and even fought American forces in Iraq.
Sanctioned by the Iraqi government, the militias played a key role in the war
made the Iran-backed militiamen an indirect ally to the American forces, who
returned to Iraq in 2014 at the invitation of the government to help battle
Daesh. A US-led coalition provided crucial air support as Iraqi forces
regrouped and drove Daesh out in a costly campaign.
militias lost about 7,000 fighters in the war. They included some Christian,
Yazidi, and Sunni militias but were dominated by Shiite groups with close ties
to Iran. They came out of the war with the image of an almost holy force
protecting Iraq’s Shiite Muslim majority.
kind of popular aura has helped enshrine the militias as a major political and
paramilitary player in post-Daesh Iraq. Militia factions are present in almost
every Iraqi province, in many cases deeply embedded in local governance and
rivaling state institutions. Posters of dead fighters adorn shop windows in
Baghdad and elsewhere.
are no words to describe my feelings right now,” said Al-Oukeily, the teacher,
tears in her eyes as she made her way around the museum with her daughter.
in the Al-Qishla garden, families were gathered to enjoy the sun as music
played in the background. Inside the building, somber military music
accompanied the exhibits.
2018 parliamentary elections — the first after the victory over Daesh — the
militias’ coalition won 48 seats, making it the second-largest bloc in
Parliament and guaranteeing the militias a say in formal politics. Under the new
budget, militiamen are for the first time being paid the same salaries as
mix of arms and political power is a dangerous dynamic for Iraq, a country with
a history of bloody sectarian strife. Iraq’s Sunni minority and also some in
the military and the government fear the Shiite militias will dominate Iraq the
way the powerful Revolutionary Guard does in Iran or the militant Hezbollah
group in Lebanon.
Shiite militias “are building economic empires, taking control of state
reconstruction companies and projects, and developing into economic
organizations,” said a Western diplomat in Baghdad who spoke on condition of
anonymity to discuss Iraqi politics.
more than 50 militias in Iraq have up to 140,000 fighters, according to some
estimates and the Popular Mobilization Forces itself. They are backed by tanks
and weapons, and have their own intelligence agency, operations rooms and court
an interview with The Associated Press last month, the leader of one of the
most powerful of the militias, Qais Al-Khazali, said their existence
compliments that of the Iraqi military and suggested that disbanding them was
not in the cards as long as there’s an ongoing military threat to Iraq.
the museum, images of the fallen militiamen hang down from the ceiling, printed
on light bulbs. Boots, watches and eyeglasses are displayed next to flowers
that honor the martyrs.
walk around life-size replicas of militia outposts, complete with real sniper
rifles, sandbags and camouflage nets from the field.
pose for photos next to two mannequins, one depicting a bearded militant in
Daesh black uniform, a knife protruding from his abdomen, lying on the ground.
The other, a militiaman towering over the body, has his boot pressed against
the militant’s head.
is the fate of every Daesh traitor in the land of the prophets in the great
Iraq,” reads the sign next to the exhibit, referring to Daesh by the group’s
manager Ali Al Shawky, who was a volunteer doctor with the militias during the
war against Daesh, said the idea behind the museum was to preserve the memory
of the fallen and “personify their heroic deeds.”
Ministry of Culture, he said, was at first hesitant to give up the landmark
Al-Qishla building and its gardens on the banks of the Tigris River — long a
hub where Baghdad’s intellectual and artists gathered — to the museum, but
later relented and gave them the top floor.
wanted to say something to the martyrs with this museum,” Al Shawky said. “We
will never forget you.”
European Commission has added Saudi Arabia, among others, to a blacklist of
countries with lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering,
sparking an angry reaction from the Riyadh regime.
Wednesday, the commission, the European Union's executive arm, updated its list
to 23 financial jurisdictions, up from the previous 16.
said that the 23 countries "have strategic deficiencies in their
anti-money laundering/ counter terrorist financing regimes. This includes 12
countries listed by the Financial Action Task Force and 11 additional
blacklist complicates financial ties with the EU and requires its banks and
other entities to apply increased checks (due diligence) on financial
operations involving customers and financial institutions from the high-risk
the 28 EU states have one month, which can be extended to two, to endorse the
Jourova, European commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality,
predicted that the EU countries would approve the list.
have established the strongest anti-money laundering standards in the world,
but we have to make sure that dirty money from other countries does not find
its way to our financial system," she told a news conference in the French
city of Strasbourg.
money is the lifeblood of organized crime and terrorism," she said,
calling on the blacklisted countries to "swiftly remedy their
Arabia has been widely criticized for allowing a flow of money to finance
Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc the region.
a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Thursday, Saudi Arabia
expressed "regret" over the European Commission's decision to add the
kingdom to the blacklist.
Arabia notes with regret the European Commission proposed revised list of 'high
risk' countries on money laundering and the financing of terrorism released on
13th February, 2019 that includes Saudi Arabia despite several measures of
reinforcement of its legal framework which has led to increased cooperation
with its counterparts," it said.
Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah has strongly denounced a deadly
terrorist attack on a group of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) forces in
southeastern Iran, accusing the US, the Israeli regime and their regional
allies of nurturing the Takfiri elements behind the Wednesday attack.
said in a statement the attack that killed 27 IRGC members and wounded 13
others portrayed the true image of the organized terrorism led by the US
government, which encourages other countries to follow suit.
by the Iranian nation’s huge turnout in the [Monday] rallies marking the 40th
anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, these criminal groups sought to send a
bloody message” by carrying out the suicide attack, the statement added.
crimes will not weaken the Iranian nation, and will rather increase their power
and motivation to continue the path of progress and prosperity,” it added.
Lebanese movement also pointed to the simultaneity of the terrorist attack and
an anti-Iran conference held by the US in Warsaw, Poland, describing it as a
sign of the US government’s harmony with criminals and murderers seeking to
destabilize Iran and harm its security.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had noted that it is not
coincidental that terrorists have attacked the IRGC on the same day that the
anti-Iran summit organized by the United States kicked off in Poland.
a tweet on Wednesday, Zarif raised suspicion about the deadly attack's possible
links to what he described as the "circus" in Warsaw.
it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that #WarsawCircus
begins? Especially when cohorts of same terrorists cheer it from Warsaw streets
& support it with twitter bots? US seems to always make the same wrong
choices, but expect different results," he wrote.
masterminded by foreign spy services’
a message, Iran’s First Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri said the crime has been
masterminded and implemented by the spy services of hegemonic powers and their
attack] will not only fail to undermine the nation’s determination to defend the
Islamic Revolution, but also will strengthen the national resolve for a
relentless fight against terrorism,” he added.
also immediately ordered the governor of Sistan and Baluchestan province to
identify and punish those behind the crime by using all the resources
one of the first international reactions to the attack, Pakistani Foreign
Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Faisal condemned the attack “in the strongest
terms” and offered “deepest sympathies” to the families of the victims of the
Lebanese Foreign Ministry also condemned the “terrorist attack”, expressed
solidarity with the Iranian nation and government, and offered condolences to
the families of the victims.
in a tweet, the Polish Foreign Ministry said the country “condemns terrorism in
all its forms”, and that its reaction to the attack on Iranian forces would be
IRGC personnel were traveling between the cities of Zahedan and Khash, in
Sistan and Baluchestan province on Wednesday, when their bus was targeted in a
car bomb attack.
IRGC's Qods Headquarters said in a statement that an explosives-laden car
rammed into the bus, which was taking the personnel back to their homes.
Arabia will lift its warning against citizens traveling to Lebanon, its
ambassador to Beirut says, as a visiting envoy from the kingdom met top
that the previous security reasons have ended and based on reassurances from
the Lebanese government to Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia then is lifting its
travel warning for its citizens," Waleed Bukhari said on al-Jadeed
has repeatedly issued warnings against travel to Lebanon since January 2011.
fall in visitors from Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf allies has hit
Lebanon's tourism industry, once a mainstay of the economy, adding to the Mediterranean
country's woes in recent years.
two countries have discussed setting up a joint committee to reinforce
bilateral relations, Bukhari said in a broadcast statement after the visiting
Saudi envoy, Nizar al-Aloula, met Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and other
border guards have uncovered and destroyed nearly a dozen long tunnels
apparently used by members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group to sneak
through the desert areas of the country’s western province of Anbar into Dayr
al-Zawr province in neighboring Syria.
military source, requesting not to be named, said on Wednesday that government
troops had found the tunnels over the past two weeks, adding that one of them
was nearly three kilometers long and allowed the extremists to pass through it
without having to crawl or bend, Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network
source added that Iraqi border forces also managed to thwart three attempts by
Daesh Takfiris as they were trying to infiltrate into the country, exchanging
heavy gunfire with the terrorists.
of the militants were killed and injured in the process.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior announced on Monday that it had dismantled the
biggest Daesh terror cell in Anbar province, and captured 186 militants who
were wanted for terrorist attacks across the country.
joint force busted the biggest Daesh cell in Anbar, which was responsible for
bomb attacks, planting roadside bombs and assassination of military personnel
on the international highway west of the country,” Brigadier General Saad Maan,
Spokesman for the Baghdad Operations Command, said in a joint press conference
with the head of Anbar's provincial council, Ahmed al-Alwani.
noted that the detained extremist militants have signed their confessions and
some of them have even been sentenced to death.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations
against Daesh in the country on December 9, 2017.
July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which
served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in Iraq.
the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd
al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of
fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.
Egypt’s Parliament began deliberations Wednesday over constitutional amendments
that could allow President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to stay in office till 2034 —
12 more years after his current, second term expires in 2022.
are set to vote on Thursday, after which the text of the amendments would be
finalized by a special legislative committee and sent back to the assembly for
a final decision within two months.
596-seat assembly, which is packed with El-Sisi’s supporters, has already given
its preliminary approval to the changes last week. The amendments are almost
certain to be overwhelmingly approved by the legislature, but will also need to
be put to a national referendum to become law.
referendum is likely to take place before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan,
which is expected to start in early May this year.
Speaker Ali Abdel-Al opened Wednesday’s session, telling lawmakers in the
packed chamber that there will be a “national dialogue” and that “all opinions
and trends will be included in the discussions.”
vote had initially been scheduled for next week, but was moved up. A coalition
of nearly a dozen opposition parties has come out against the amendments, but
on their own they will not be able to block them.
who previously held the office of military chief, led the military’s 2013
overthrow of the freely elected but divisive Islamist president, Muhammad
Mursi, after protests against his rule. El-Sisi was elected president the
following year and has since presided over an unprecedented crackdown on
was re-elected last year after all potentially serious challengers were jailed
or pressured to exit the race.
with extending a president’s term in office from four to six years, the
amendments include a special article that applies only to El-Sisi and allows
him to run for two more six-year terms after his current term expires in 2022.
amendments also envisage the office of one or two vice presidents, a revived
Senate, and a 25 percent quota for women in Parliament. They call for
“adequate” representation for workers, farmers, young people and people with
special needs in the legislature.
president would have the power to appoint top judges and bypass judiciary
oversight in vetting draft legislation before it is voted into law. The
amendments declare the country’s military “guardian and protector” of the
Egyptian state, democracy and the constitution, while also granting military
courts wider jurisdiction in trying civilians.
Two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists were gunned down in an anti-insurgency
operation in Wathoora Gopalpora area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district early
on Wednesday. In south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, 13 students of a private
school in Kakpora’s Narbal area were injured in a mysterious blast in the
on intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists, a joint team of Indian
Army and J&K Police personnel launched a search operation around 3 am in
Wathoora Gopalpora area. Holed-in terrorists opened fire at the security
forces, triggering a gunfight in which two terrorists were killed.
slain terrorists were identified as Hilal Ahmad Wani alias Abu Maaz and Shoaib
Mohammad Lone alias Mursi. Both Kulgam natives worked for Hizbul Mujahideen and
were wanted in several criminal cases, said cops.
had a long history of terror crimes who conspired and executed many terror attacks
on security establishments in the state. The longest-surviving terrorist
operating across the southern and central belts of Kashmir Valley, Hilal was
the main person responsible for recruiting terrorists ever since he took up
arms in 2015. Shoaib was also wanted for several such attacks and civilian
atrocities,” said police.
seized arms and ammunition and other incriminating evidence from the encounter
site. The terrorists’ bodies were later handed over to their families after
completion of medico-legal formalities, police said.
a mysterious blast inside Narbal’s Falahi-i-Milat school injured 13 Class X
students. The wounded students are currently hospitalised and in a stable
condition, said Pulwama SSP Chandan Kohli. Kakpora Police has registered an FIR
in this connection and an investigation is underway, he added.
governor Satya Pal Malik announced a compensation of Rs 50,000 for the injured
students. Following the blast, clashes erupted between youth and security
forces in the district. Forces used tear gas shells to disperse the mob.
president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on
Wednesday alleged that the Centre is trying to “break the Muslim majority
character” of the state and warned that such a move will have “dangerous consequences”.
(Centre) are trying to break the Muslim majority character of the state. We
will not let it happen. Its consequences would be very dangerous,” she said at
a press meet in Srinagar. “We want to tell, not only to the Governor but also
the Government of India, that you are playing with fire,” she said.
put her weight behind the people of Kargil and demanded that the divisional
headquarters in Ladakh should be based in Leh and Kargil on a rotational basis.
She also demanded separate divisions for Pir Panjal and Chenab valley in the
Jammu province. “Otherwise, it would mean that you have a hidden agenda,” she
want to disempower the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir; you want to divide them
into separate compartments, into Shia-Sunni, into Kashmiri-Punjabi, into Gujjar
and Pahari,” she said.
warned of agitation in the Pir Panjal and Chenab valley regions of Jammu if
they are not given divisional status.
former Chief Minister, who was flanked by senior party leaders Abdul Rehman Veeri,
Rafi Ahmad Mir, Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Khurshid Alam, accused Governor Satya
Pal Malik of “running the agenda of BJP”.
seems that the agenda that we (PDP) didn’t allow BJP to implement. that BJP
agenda is being implemented by the Governor,” she alleged.
priorities are wrong. The priority of Governor and Central government should be
that the nomads of Jammu who haven’t got any land rights even after so many
years of Independence get the rights. Whatever good work we did, they are
reversing it. They are creating a division in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.
said it has been a long-pending demand of the party that the mortal remains of
Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru be returned. “When he was not executed,
Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) sahib wrote to the President seeking pardon for him,”
she said. “After his execution, we have been asking for return of his mortal
many as 22 Myanmar nationals, including Rohingya, have been deported since
August 2017, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has informed the Rajya Sabha.
does not discriminate between foreign migrants on the basis of religion.
However, as per information available, 22 Myanmar nationals have been deported
since August 2017 after following due process,” MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju said in
reply to a query.
Home Ministry in August 2017 had come out with an advisory to identify and
deport illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar.
to government estimates, there are nearly 40,000 Rohingya Muslims across India
with the highest number in Jammu and Kashmir. They were forced to leave their
homes after a crackdown by the army in their home state of Rakhine in Myanmar.
the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, the MHA in another reply said
that 1,595 Pakistani and 391 Afghanistan nationals of all religions were
granted citizenship in the last three years. “Provision for capturing online
citizenship data of migrants from minority communities namely Hindu, Sikh,
Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christains was introduced in 2018. As per the
available data, 295 Hindus and Sikhs from Afghanistan and Pakistan have been
granted Indian citizenship since then,” MOS Rijiju said.
Taliban to meet Khalilzad, Imran Khan in Islamabad on 18th
Taliban Wednesday said their negotiation team will meet US special peace envoy
Zalmay Khalilzad and Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Feb 18.
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that a meeting is scheduled to
take place between the negotiation teams of the Taliban and United States on
Feb 18 in Islamabad on a formal invitation of the government of Pakistan.
had refused to meet the US envoy in Pakistan in January this year.
Pakistani official also confirmed the Taliban talks scheduled in Islamabad. “I
confirm it,” the official told Daily Times on the condition of anonymity.
Taliban spokesman said the negotiation team of the Taliban will hold
‘comprehensive discussions about Pak-Afghan relations and issues pertaining to
Afghan refugees and Afghan businessmen’ with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
talks come a week ahead of previously scheduled negotiations between the two
sides in Qatar on Feb 25. Mujahid said in the statement that the Qatar talks
will still take place as scheduled.
Taliban and Khalilzad had met in Qatar on Jan 21-26 and the Taliban political
officials said both sides had agreed to discuss the issues of the withdrawal of
the foreign forces and preventing Afghan soil from being used against the US
and other countries.
Taliban announcement to hold talks in Pakistan comes a day after the Taliban
announced a 14-member negotiation team that includes six members from the
powerful leadership council.
is due in Pakistan ahead of the Qatar talks as part of a six-country swing
through Europe and the Middle East as he tries to build support for efforts to
end America’s longest war.
had also facilitated the Taliban meeting with Khalilzad in the UAE in December
that led to tensions between the Taliban and the US envoy after the Taliban
refused to meet the representatives of the Afghan government.
the Taliban and the US have been involved in negotiations since July, the
challenge to encourage the Taliban start talks with the Afghan government
a major development, the Taliban political envoys met Afghan political leaders
including former president Hamid Karzai in Russia last week. Afghan government
had, however, barred officials of the High Peace Council from participation in
the Moscow meeting that was a major step towards the initiation of intra-Afghan
US side is expected to push hard for a ceasefire between Taliban and
foreign-backed Afghan forces before any agreement on the withdrawal of US-led
foreign troops. Taliban officials say they want all foreign troops out before a
ceasefire, but would still welcome non-military foreign help to re-build the
is also seeking more details on fresh assurances from the Taliban that it would
not allow Afghanistan to be used by groups such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State
to attack the United States and its allies, Western diplomats said. It is also
pushing hard for the Taliban to talk to the Afghan government, which it has so
far shut out of talks, branding it as a puppet of Washington.
President Donald Trump used his State of the Union address last week to say
progress in negotiations with the Taliban would allow a reduction in the
approximately 14,000 US troops currently in Afghanistan and a renewed ‘focus on
Pakistan will formally propose to Saudi Arabia for initiation of a dialogue on
preferential trade agreement (PTA) to promote bilateral trade and investment.
proposal will be raised among other issues during the Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammad bin Salman’s two-day visit to Pakistan.
crown prince will reach the country on February 16, accompanied by a
high-powered business delegation.
sources told Dawn that the preferential treaty will cover tariff and non-tariff
barriers (NTBs) which will help diversify Pakistan’s export basket to the
2006, there is a complete deadlock in negotiations on the proposed free trade
agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council. So far only two rounds of
negotiations have been held on it.
believe that this issue will be raised during the crown prince’s visit.
bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia has posted a consistent decline, dropping by
a half to $2.5 billion in 2016-17 from $5.08bn in 2013-14. One reason behind
this is the falling value of petroleum products which constitute 50pc of total
country’s exports to the kingdom are decreasing as well mainly due to a drop in
proceeds of rice, fruits, vegetable preparations, apparel and clothing and
made-up articles of textile material.
is one of the major export items to Saudi Arabia but now the commodity’s market
is being captured by other countries, particularly India.
an agreement is reached on PTA, Saudi Arabia will become the second country
after Iran with which Pakistan will have a bilateral preferential arrangement.
issues that will be discussed include easing of procedures for business visa
which currently involves multiple departments and takes at least six weeks.
Saudi Arabia has also increased the business visa fee to Rs74,000 per person
for attending any business activity in the kingdom and Pakistan will be looking
for a fee waiver .
Pak-Saudi Joint Business Council was formulated in 2000 to enhance interaction
between top chambers of the two countries. The body has met thrice in the last
18 years, which shows its seriousness in promoting trade.
is likely to raise the issue of removing ban on its shrimp exports to Saudi
Arabia as well as seeking licence for State Life Insurance to do business in
the kingdom, besides holding single-country exhibitions to promote market
access for its products.
areas for investment with Saudi Arabia include the halal food sector, cattle
farming, milk, fisheries and other agro industry projects.
speech: crackdown on social media in the offing
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry Wednesday revealed that the federal
government had decided to launch a ‘comprehensive crackdown’ on hate speech on
social media across country.
the closing ceremony of two-day workshop on ‘Strategic Communication and Media
Engagement in Crisis Situation’, the minister announced that the government has
formed a working group comprising representatives of the Federal Investigation
Agency (FIA) and other security agencies to keep a check on hate speech on all
social media platforms. “There must never be any tolerance for hate speech. We
will act indiscriminately against individuals who propagate any sort of
extremist views,” he added.
said the government has largely overcome the hate speech on formal media thanks
to the cooperation of media houses, adding that now steps were being taken to
check hate content on social media. He said recently some arrests were made for
promoting hate speech against the national institutions on social media and
added that crackdown would be carried out to control extremist narrative on
social media in days ahead.
minister said the government was set to constitute Pakistan Media Regulatory
Authority (PMRA) to tackle the issues of both formal and social media under one
roof including hate speech and spread of extremist narrative. He said that
extremism breeds the terrorism while dialogue and discussion can solve
problems. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right but not without restrictions
under the law of the land, he added.
minister said modern media comes with its own set of challenges, adding that
the pace at which informal digital media is taking over the formal media makes
it ‘essential’ for the government to regulate it. Explaining that the main
efforts would be to uproot threats of violence, the minister said the move
would hopefully encourage healthy debates that are not emotionally fueled.
“This week we have made some important arrests on the basis that they used
social media to issue fatwas and advance their extremist narratives and
threats. In the next few weeks, we will launch a strict crackdown. State will
not allow extremists to dictate their narrative by use of force,” he said.
will monitor social media activity and work to eliminate fake accounts. People
who violate Pakistan’s cyber laws will be prosecuted. We want to encourage
discourse and debate in society but this is not possible when you have people
threatening each other’s lives over differences of opinion,” he said. “The
State wants dialogue but it cannot happen if others do not let you do that,” he
said. “If you are told that ‘my opinion is final and if you disagree I will
shoot you or you should be hanged for saying this’ then you are using the
State’s powers. Only the State has the power to use force or violence. Any
individual cannot be allowed to the same,” the minister asserted.
said the government wanted to build a national and international counter
narrative against extremism. Mentioning Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the
minister claimed that it provides a massive opportunity to combat extremism.
Pakistan has managed to rid itself from an ‘irregular conflict’ which he said
is more complicated than ‘regular conflicts’ where at least the enemy’s identity
a heavy loss of lives, we managed to leave terror behind,” he said, adding,
“The next phase is to consolidate on this and not allow people to exhibit
hatred because the first stage of this process is extremism and the next is
terrorism.” He said dialogue is the basic principle of every democratic
society, adding that the people have complete right to stick to their opinions
and express themselves. “However, people do not have the right to curb others’
freedom. The extent of my freedom ends where others’ begin,” he maintained.
said Pakistan, which used to be a tolerant nation, was trapped in an irregular
and prolonged conflict in the neighborhood in 1980 which eventually flourished
the scourge of terrorism and extremism here. He said Pakistan is a resilient
nation which rendered monumental sacrifices against terrorism and extremism and
successfully overcome the menace.
minister said that Islam was spread through Sufis in the sub-continent and not
through the sword which was itself manifestation of the fact that there was no
concept of extremism and terrorism in our religion. The history of endurance
and tolerance of the people of the sub-continent, especially the Indus
civilization, is very old, he remarked.
said today the entire world is facing a serious challenge of extremism and
Pakistan also remains a victim of it. In India, extremism did increase after
Modi government came to power while various other communities of the world have
also suffered from extremism in some way, he added.
Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Wednesday said Pakistan and Saudi Arabia will
sign eight memorandums of understanding (MoUs) during the visit of Saudi Crown
Prince Muhammad bin Salman, turning their excellent bilateral relations into a
strong economic partnership.
the visit of Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are going to
witness an unprecedented level of closeness based on solid economic
integration,” the minister said at a press briefing regarding the upcoming
two-day visit of Saudi crown prince to Islamabad from February 16 to17.
MoUs to be inked during the visit relate to diverse sectors including
investment, finance, power, renewable energy, internal security, media, culture
Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood
and Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Haroon Sharif also joined the foreign
minister for a comprehensive briefing on the visit of Saudi dignitary, with
particular focus on its positive impact on economy. Qureshi said a high-powered
Saudi delegation including key ministers and over 20 businessmen from leading
companies would hold meetings with their counterparts in Pakistan and discuss
potential of bigger investment between the two countries. He said Pak-Saudi
Coordination Council would be set up following the visit where Prime Minister
Imran Khan would personally lead monitoring of the implementation of MoUs.
Chaudhry termed Saudi Arabia a strong and trusted friend of Pakistan and said
the Kingdom always helped the latter in testing times. He said this was for the
first time after former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that Pakistan had
attained immense success at the diplomatic front.
to Prime Minister Abdul Razak Dawood said Saudi Arabia had plans for $7 billion
investment in power sector for two years besides $2 billion in renewable energy
including solar and wind projects. On the Saudi interest to explore Pakistan’s
oil refinery sector, he said the feasibility study by their experts on
petrochemical complex and hydro cracking could take up to 12 to15 months. He
said Pakistan was in high need of refined oil products, for which Saudi Arabia
had shown willingness to meet the needs of local oil market with investment of
$2 billion for two years in addition to investment in Pakistan’s mining
sector.BoI Chairman Haroon Sharif said Saudi Arabia had comprehensive long-term
stakes in Pakistan. Following the visit of Saudi crown prince, the BoI would
remain in constant touch with their Saudi counterparts on the technical level,
he said. He said Saudi Arabia was planning to develop two new cities in the
Kingdom and the situation would encourage Pakistani workforce to be
accommodated in diverse jobs.
to a question that whether Pakistan would pay the price in return to Saudi
investment such as becoming part of military coalition against Yemen, Foreign
Minister Qureshi strongly dismissed the notion, saying, “I say it loud and
clear that there is no condition attached with Saudi investment.” He said
Commander of the Islamic Military Coalition General (r) Raheel Sharif during
his meeting with him the other day made it clear that the force was not
specific to any country or a particular sect and the suspicion in this regard
was not well-counted.
if Saudi investment could be termed as part of the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor project, he said though it was bilateral, however as Pakistan and
China had agreed upon setting up three Special Economic Zones, it could be
joined by other countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
red carpet welcome awaits Saudi crown prince upon arrival in Islamabad. Prime
Minister Imran Khan along with his cabinet members will receive the visiting
dignitary at the airport. A red carpet will be rolled out at the PM Office
where the crown prince would be presented a guard of honour.
his two-day stay, Prince Salman will call on President Dr Arif Alvi and will
also meet the prime minister and the chief of army staff, a Foreign Office
press release Wednesday said. A delegation of Senate will also call on the
crown prince to discuss ways to enhance parliamentary cooperation between the
the preparations have been put in place to accord royal welcome to the visiting
dignitary and his entourage. Prime minister may himself drive the special guest
to the Prime Minister House right from the airport, an official said.
fleet of around 300 SUVs has been arranged for the delegates for transportation
and protocol. However, vehicles for the crown prince will be coming from Saudi
Arabia. According to the plan, a fleet of JF-17 Thunder jets will escort plane
of the crown prince as soon as it enters Pakistan’s airspace.
much as 1,000 checkpoints will be established on roads and adjoining areas of
federal capital and Rawalpindi. All entry points of the federal capital will be
scrutinized through special arrangements during the two days of his presence in
the country. Most areas in the immediate vicinity of the Red Zone will remain
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday
said Pakistan was once trapped in an irregular and prolonged conflict in the
neighborhood during the 1980s but has eventually flourished the scourge of
terrorism and extremism.
the closing ceremony of a two-day workshop on “Strategic Communication and
Media Engagement in Crisis Situation”, he said Pakistan was a resilient nation
which rendered monumental sacrifices against terrorism and extremism to
successfully overcome the menace.
minister said that Islam was spread through Sufism in the subcontinent and not through
the sword which was itself a manifestation of the fact that there was no
concept of extremism and terrorism. “The history of endurance and tolerance of
the people of the sub-continent, especially the Indus Valley Civilisation, was
very old,” he remarked.
said that today the entire world was facing a serious challenge of extremism
and Pakistan also remained its victim. In India, extremism did increase after
Modi government came to power while various other communities of the world have
also suffered from extremism in some way, he added.
said the implementation of rules was the responsibility of the state and Imran
Khan’s government was fully committed to ensuring the enforcement of law from
the first day and no one will be allowed to promote hatred in the country.
said the government has largely overcome the hate speech on formal media,
thanks to the cooperation of media houses and now steps were being taken to
check hate content on social media.
said that recently some arrests were made for promoting hate speech against the
national institutions on social media and added crackdown would be carried out
to control the extremist narrative on social media in days ahead.
said that the government was set to constitute Pakistan Media Regulatory
Authority (PMRA) to tackle the issues of both formal and social media under
one-roof including hate speech and spread of extremist narrative.
said that extremism only breeds the terrorism, and dialogue and discussion can
solve problems. Freedom of expression was a fundamental right but not without
restrictions under the law of the land, he added.
appreciated the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Studies (PPC) for
organising the workshop on extremism which was currently a global problem.
Earlier, PPC Chief Executive Officer Shabbir Anwar shed light on the objectives
of the workshop.
Pakistani authorities on Wednesday vowed to carry out a "massive"
crackdown targeting hate speech and extremism on social media, as a minister
boasted arrests have already been made.
in Pakistan are frequently accused of muzzling the media and targeting
individuals critical of the country's powerful military establishment and have
blocked hundreds of websites and social media accounts over the years.
minister Fawad Chaudhry announced the government was setting up a new
enforcement arm to regulate social media during a speech in the capital
made some arrests last week and by the will of Allah we are launching a massive
crackdown against social media users spreading hate speech and violence,"
censorship in the South Asia nation is widely believed to be rife at
traditional news outlets.
problem is that digital media is over taking formal media so it is important
for us to regulate this," Chaudhry added, saying: "Informal media is
a greater problem than formal media."
announcement comes days after authorities arrested a journalist for allegedly
posting defamatory content on social media.
on Tuesday an opinion piece in the International New York Times criticising
Pakistan's powerful army was censored by its local publisher and replaced by a
and bloggers frequently report receiving warnings from Facebook and Twitter for
posting unlawful content.
media also complained about pressure in the run-up to a general election in
July to self-censor in favour of the eventual victor,
cricketer-turned-prime-minister Imran Khan.
Days ahead of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan, as
many as 123 Saudi Arabian Royal Guards arrived in Islamabad to ensure his
security in the country.
guards, according to official sources, who landed in Islamabad late on Tuesday
night, will be continuously on duty for the security of Mohammed bin Salman,
commonly known as MbS.
will arrive in Pakistan on a two-day visit on February 16, the Saudi ambassador
here said. The Crown Prince is expected to stay at the Prime Minister’s House,
where a gym has also been set up for him.
ensure foolproof security, security arrangements for the PM House and eight
private hotels in Islamabad have been handed over to the Saudi Royal Guards and
the Pakistan Army.
his planned trip, MbS will be accompanied by various other Saudi princes and
key members of the royal family. “The delegation will be using 300 cars in the
city, solely reserved for them, during the course of their visit,” reported Geo
News, a local TV station.
team of doctors and a delegation of Saudi media persons who will cover Mohammed
bin Salman’s tour have also reached Islamabad,” it added.
sources have informed that a trade deal worth $14 billion would be signed
between Pakistan and the Saudi Kingdom during the visit. The trade deal would
be the biggest foreign investment in the country’s history.
government and social media platform Instagram gave conflicting statements
regarding the shutdown of an Instagram account that posted a comic strip
depicting the struggles of a gay Muslim man living in a religiously
government claimed on Wednesday that the social media giant, which is highly
popular among Indonesians, had removed the account after an outcry from
Indonesian internet users, who have in the past few years been in the grip of a
moral panic about the LGBT community.
hours after the government made the announcement, Instagram issued a statement
denying such a claim.
did not remove this account. There are a number of other reasons why an account
may no longer be accessible, including, for example, if the account holder
deleted the account, deactivated the account or changed the account username,”
said an Instagram spokesperson.
account has stirred controversy in Indonesia, particularly ahead of the general
election in April as anti-LGBT sentiment is rising with politicians whipping up
homophobia to get votes.
comic strip tells the story of Alpantuni, a practicing Muslim who is also gay
and has to struggle with discrimination because of his sexual orientation.
Instagram account @alpantuni was created in November last year, but only gained
the attention of Indonesian netizens last week. As of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the
account was no longer accessible, according to a statement released by the
Communications and Information Ministry.
ministry claimed that the account was shut down based on its request to
Instagram, Antara reported.
account, it said, violated Article 27 paragraph 1 of the 2008 Electronic
Information and Transactions Law on the distribution of pornographic content.
ministry, however, stopped short of mentioning which part of the comic strip
was pornographic. The information is crucial as it is believed that the
government initially failed to provide legal grounds to request the account’s
removal because Indonesia does not criminalize homosexuality.
Instagram account has triggered a torrent of complaints from Indonesian
netizens who found the comic strip offensive.
relations are already forbidden by Islam but the account’s owner had the guts
to fill its feed with gay-themed content. I felt disappointed and wanted the
account to be removed,” social media user Anis Mirfaqoh said, who also tagged
the ministry’s official Instagram account in a comment beneath one comic strip
post to push the initiative.
the brouhaha, it is not clear who managed the Instagram account, which features
the comic strip in English and Indonesian and uses the hashtags #gayindonesia,
#gaymalaysia, #komikmalaysia and #gaymuslims.
suspected the owner was not even Indonesian, but actually Malaysian.
Jakarta Police said they were now investigating the case to find the person
behind the controversial social media account.
Saputri of the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) questioned
the ministry’s decision to request the account’s removal as she believed the
comic strip represented the “social reality” of the discrimination against the
[the comic strip is banned], that means the government condones the prevailing
discrimination against minority groups like the LGBT community,” Nabillah said.
MEANCHEY (Cambodia), Feb 13 — The 47 Malaysians who are being detained at the
Banteay Meanchey Provincial Prison are well-treated by the prison authorities,
said Julau MP Larry Sng Wei Shien.
said during his brief meeting with prison officials, he was informed that their
superior was even willing to use his pocket money to purchase halal food for
four Muslim detainees.
was informed that the 47 detainees are well taken care off, there is enough
food for them and the chief will buy halal food for the Muslims.”
was also told that the prison authorities were also concerned when some
detainees developed skin rashes. A medical officer who is with us on this visit
has supplied them with the necessary medicines,” he told Bernama News Channel
arrived at the prison with media personnel and two family members at about
10.30am local time after leaving for Siem Reap International Airport from Kuala
to Sng, so far only 25 families have met and contacted him to find out about
the detention of the victims aged between 19 and 44 years.
this brief visit, we brought along two family representatives. Family members
of detainees who are unable to join us have entrusted me to look into their
children’s condition and I will update them once I am back in Kuching, Sarawak,
added that should the detention be prolonged he would try to bring more family
Thursday, Sng in a press conference revealed that 47 Malaysians, believed to be
victims of trafficking syndicates were being held at a prison in the country.
Feb 13 — Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) today announced youth member 25-year-old
social activist Nik Aziz Afiq Abdul as its candidate for the Semenyih
campaign manager and central committee member S. Arutchelvan said Nik Aziz, who
hails from a family of PAS stalwarts, was initially supposed to run for the
assembly seat during the 14th general election.
to the delineation exercise that took place at that time, it was not possible.
But now there is finally an opportunity for Nik Aziz to represent Semenyih’s
constituents and bring up the issues facing them in the legislature,” he said
during a press conference in the constituency tonight.
said many think that socialists tend to be from the older generation, which is
in Malaysia, we see many youths becoming more and more socialist because they
do not agree with the current system.
will not engage in racism during the campaign trail, and we will declare our
assets to show the rakyat we have nothing to hide,” he said.
Aziz said the primary motivation for him to contest the by-election is the
worry that the Selangor state government under PKR may one day become too
comfortable with its position.
tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We are worried the
Selangor government will one day become corrupt.
the importance to have checks and balances within the state government. We
should ask ourselves: Do we want an Opposition mired in scandal and corruption,
or engages in racist rhetoric, or one which continues to struggle for the
people?” he said.
Aziz said this is a chance for the people of Semenyih to make a difference, and
support PSM in its aims of social justice and equal distribution of wealth,
have the opportunity to differentiate ourselves from Barisan Nasional and
Pakatan Harapan, whom I call upon to give us the chance to place a
representative in the state legislature come March 2,” he said.
strong support for PAS in his family — with his father having served as the
Selangor communications secretary from 1993 to 1995 as well as the state campaign
manager in the 1995 general election — Nik Aziz said he did not see a conflict
in being a PSM member.
have always believed that the party’s focus on struggling for the rakyat does
not run contrary to Islam’s teachings, as the faith has always upheld social
justice for those who cannot defend themselves.
fact, I consider (former PAS spiritual leader) Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat as
one of my idols, having been named after him. His constant reminder to always
provide for those less fortunate inspired me to engage in social activism to
begin with,” said Nik Aziz
of his social activism took place in Kelantan, where Nik Aziz pursued Islamic
studies at the Sultan Ismail Petra International Islamic College in Nilam Puri
from 2012 to 2015.
LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz has brought up his father’s
name in his self-defence of denying a controversial audio recording in which he
was said to have confessed that the Islamist party had received millions of
ringgit from rival Umno.
Pasir Mas MP was reported saying the late Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat had also
done a similar thing in the past in order to protect party secrets.
is a matter of secrecy and when we are in a major party, what more an Islamic
party, therefore the matter is something that is valid. There is lore regarding
this in religion. There are many examples,” he was quoted as saying by
Abduh gave the example of the “talaq bai’ah”, or the divorce oath among PAS
members that was previously a party secret, and was kept by Nik Aziz until the
“third talaq bai’ah” oath is allegedly a must for Kelantan PAS lawmakers before
accepting their posts and requires them to swear to divorce their wives with
the “third talaq” the moment they join a new party.
― or talak as it is spelled locally ― is a type of divorce in Islam which
provides the man with an avenue to initiate a divorce through simply
pronouncing the word; if the man pronounces a “third talaq”, he is then
prohibited from getting back with his wife again, unless he takes another woman
as his wife and then divorces her afterwards before remarrying the first woman.
the document [regarding the oath] was leaked, the late Nik Aziz was asked and
he categorically denied it.
means, it’s up to you if you want to call it a lie, but it was about secrecy.
He kept the secret of the oath’s existence, although it was leaked, up until
Abduh had earlier today admitted that party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi
Awang was the one who gave his “blessings” for him to deny the audio recording.
Abduh said he had initially wanted to admit the veracity of the recording in
which he was said to have confessed that the Islamist party had received
millions of ringgit from rival Umno, but realised that it would be used by
detractors to destroy PAS. Yesterday, Nik Abduh finally admitted that he was
the person in an audio recording critics claim was proof that the party
received money from Umno.
secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan was quoted as saying that Nik Abduh
had confessed to saying the things in the recording, but claimed the
conversation about the money in the audio was taken out of context.
man in the audio recording had purportedly discussed receiving RM2 million from
Umno, which Sarawak Report (SR) editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown produced as
evidence to back her allegation that PAS took RM90 million from then Umno
president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
blocks planned UNSC visit to occupied Palestinian territories
has refused to allow the UN Security Council (UNSC) to visit the occupied West
Bank for a close-up look at the situation on the ground after Tel Aviv decided
to expel an international observer mission tasked with safeguarding
Palestinians in the flashpoint city of al-Khalil (Hebron).
and Indonesia put forward the proposal for the visit to the West Bank during a
meeting last week after the US blocked a UNSC draft resolution condemning
Israel for expelling the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).
a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, Security Council President Anatolio Ndong
MbaMba briefed members on talks held with Israel and the Palestinians on the
Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour immediately responded, saying a council
visit would be viewed “in the most positive way.”
citing Ndong Mba, Kuwait’s UN Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi said “Israel
categorically refused the council visit.”
Kuwaiti envoy expressed regret over the Israeli opposition to the visit which
“has been raised many times by the council.”
want to continue our consultation,” he said. “Hopefully we reach a consensus,
because we said this issue has been on the council agenda for decades.”
want an official trip — this is what we asked for, not to go illegally or not
to be invited as tourists,” al-Otaibi said.
Guinea’s deputy ambassador Job Obiang Esono Mbengono said, “We’re still working
TIPH was deployed in al-Khalil following an agreement reached between Israel
and the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994, when an Israeli settler killed 29
Palestinian worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque, which is revered by Jews,
Christians and Muslims. The group did not start its work in the city until
1998, after the Israeli military refused to leave al-Khalil following the
establishment of an illegal Israeli settlement at the heart of the city.
mandate is renewed every six months. Its latest mandate ended on January 31.
have denounced Netanyahu’s decision to expel the monitoring group as
than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlements built since Israel’s
occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank in 1967. This is
while much of the international community considers the settler units illegal
and subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied
President Hassan Rouhani blamed the United States and its regional allies on
Thursday for a suicide bombing in southeastern Iran that killed 27 members of
the country’s elite Revolutionary Guards, Iranian state TV reported.
force said on Wednesday a suicide bomber driving a vehicle laden with
explosives had attacked a bus transporting members of the Guards in the
province of Sistan-Baluchestan.
militant Sunni Muslim group, Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which says it
seeks greater rights and better living conditions for the ethnic minority
Baluchis, has claimed responsibility for the attack, Iranian media have
crime will remain as a ‘dirty stain’ in the black record of the main supporters
of terrorism in the White House, Tel Aviv and their regional agents,” Rouhani
from Israel, Rouhani did not name the regional states he believed were to
blame. Mainly Shiite Muslim Iran does not recognize Israel, which is a key US
ally in the region and sees Tehran as posing an existential threat to its
the past, Tehran has accused its main regional rival Saudi Arabia of backing
Sunni militia groups who have carried out bloody attacks against Iranian
security forces. Riyadh has denied the charges.
warnings made by senior commanders of the Guards, Rouhani said Iran was
determined to bring justice to those responsible for one of the worst assaults
ever against the Revolutionary Guards in years.
assault, which wounded at least 13 people, took place in the province of
Sistan-Baluchestan, which has a large, mainly Sunni Muslim, ethnic Baluchi
community, which straddles the border with Pakistan.
al Adl has carried out attacks against the border guards from Pakistan since
its founding in 2012.
US Justice Department charged a former Air Force intelligence official
Wednesday with spying for Iran, saying she exposed a fellow US agent and helped
the Revolutionary Guard target her former colleagues with cyber-attacks.
officials said Monica Witt, who worked for years in US Air Force counterintelligence,
had an “ideological” turn against her country and defected in 2013, turning
over information on US intelligence operations against Tehran.
is a sad day for America when one of its citizens betrays our country,” said
Assistant Attorney General John Demers, announcing the indictment.
case underscores the dangers to our intelligence professionals and the lengths
our adversaries will go to identify them, expose them, target them, and, in a
few rare cases, ultimately turn them against the nation they swore to protect,”
US also indicted four Iranians working for the Revolutionary Guard who, using
information Witt provided them, targeted her former colleagues in US
intelligence with malware and other hacking tools in hopes of accessing their
Justice Department has issued arrest warrants for Witt and the four Iranians,
who all remain at large.
served in the US Air Force from 1997 to 2008, becoming a special agent in the
Air Force Office of Special Investigations, its counterintelligence unit.
leaving the Air Force, she worked as a defense and intelligence contractor, but
by 2012 her politics had begun to turn.
year she travelled to Iran to attend an anti-America conference sponsored by
the Revolutionary Guard-related New Horizon Organization.
returned to Iran the next year and began disclosing classified information to
Iranian officials, including on her former colleagues in the US intelligence
revealed to the Iranians a “highly classified intelligence collection program”
as well as the true identity of a US intelligence officer, Demers said.
to an undated FBI missing persons declaration regarding Witt, she had not been
in contact with anyone since 2013.
US House of Representatives on Wednesday adopted a resolution that obliges
President Donald Trump to end Washington’s military support for the Saudi-led
coalition’s war on Yemen, and withdraw almost all US forces engaged in the war
in less than a month.
resolution was passed 248-177, with one voting present.
resolution directs the president to remove any US armed forces that are
affecting the war with Yemen, with the exception of forces purportedly fighting
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, in less than 30 days after the resolution is
expected at some point that the Senate will take up the resolution, but it's
not clear when.
the overall issue of US military support for the war in Yemen, the
Republican-controlled Senate passed similar legislation in December, but it was
not taken up by the Republican-controlled House. Democrats, who now hold the
majority in the House, have made the legislation a priority.
say the US is not directly involved in the hostilities in Yemen, and the
resolution could be used to tie the government's hands in other hostile areas.
Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, argued
that US forces are not engaged in the hostilities in Yemen and the resolution
reinterprets US military assistance for Saudi Arabia as support for Riyadh's
actions in Yemen.
resolution is directing us to remove troops that simply... are not there,"
McCaul said on the floor.
Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, however, argues the resolution is
tailored specifically to address the situation in Yemen and would have no
effect on other conflicts.
is not a broad, blanket policy," he said on the House floor.
the US last year announced the end of its practice of aerial refueling of Saudi
and Emirati jets, it has continued to share intelligence with Saudis in their
brutal war against the impoverished nation.
top US military commander in the Middle East suggested earlier this month that
the US would continue to back its allies waging war in Yemen, despite new evidence
of arms deal violations recently uncovered.
report by CNN revealed last month that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab
Emirates had transferred US-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked militants,
extremist militias and other groups on the ground.
Arabia and its allies launched a brutal war, code-named Operation Decisive
Storm, against Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall former Yemeni
president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh, and crush the
offensive initially consisted of a bombing campaign but was later coupled with
a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen.
imposed war, however, has so far failed to achieve its goals, thanks to stiff
resistance from Yemeni troops and allied Houthi fighters.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel and Arab countries are sitting
down together in Poland to discuss "war with Iran," shortly after a
terrorist attack against members of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps
(IRGC) killed 27 people in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan.
is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because
there are many of those – is that this 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.” Netanyahu tweeted on
later backtracked on the comment and replaced it with the words "combating
Iran," after being hit by Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
to Netanyahu’s comments, Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, a member of the US Senate
Intelligence Committee, told MSNBC that the Israeli PM “knew what he meant” in
his original tweet.
is now in the Polish capital Warsaw to take part in a two-day US-led conference
called "Conference on Peace and Security in the Middle East" that
kicked off Wednesday.
in the day, Zarif raised suspicion about the Sistan and Baluchestan attack's
possible links to what he described as the "circus" in Warsaw.
so-called Jaish ul-Adl terrorist group reportedly claimed responsibility for
the suicide car bomb attack against the IRGC members.
Warsaw conference is considered as part of US attempts to heap pressure on Iran
withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal last year, the US administration has
steadily ratcheted up pressure on Tehran and vowed to increase it until Iran
halts what US officials describe as its “malign activities” throughout the
Middle East and elsewhere.
major Palestinian rival groups, the West Bank-based Fatah party and the
Gaza-based Hamas resistance movement, have expressed their strong opposition to
US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” on the so-called Middle East
strongly-worded statements were read by representatives of both sides on
Wednesday, the final day of the third edition of Russia-mediated
intra-Palestinian conference that commenced on Monday in the Russian capital
Moscow with the aim of unifying 12 different Palestinian movements and
organizations, including the Fatah movement led by Palestinian President
created the Palestinian state, in which we declared back in 1988. We stand for
the creation of the Palestinian state within the borders of the liberation of
territories captured in 1967 … with its capital in East Jerusalem al-Quds,”
said Azzam al-Ahmad, a senior member of Fatah's Central Committee.
would like to emphasize for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and
Trump. This is our and Qatar’s opinion. We will not allow America to use the
financial factor in order to tear us away from the Gaza Strip,” he added.
said that Washington had so far rejected “all of our peace-loving initiatives.”
late August last year, the US announced it would end all funding to the UN
agency for Palestinian refugees, known as UNRWA, a week after it cut over $200
million in aid for the West Bank and Gaza. Washington donated $355 million to
the UN agency in 2016, and was set to make a similar contribution last year.
a Persian Gulf littoral state, financially supports Hamas, a move that has time
and again irked Fatah.
Abu Marzouk, the deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, for his part, said
his respective movement also rejected “the American plan for solving the Middle
East problem, which is called the deal of the century.”
also stressed they would not “allow any foreign party to intervene and destroy
our aspiration [to bring peace],” accusing both the US and Israel of hatching
plots to separate the Gaza Strip from the Palestinian movement.
Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Trump’s “deal of
the century” would fail to fully guarantee a Palestinian state based on the
so-called deal, a backchannel plan to reach a peace settlement between Israelis
and Palestinians, was proposed by the US administration in late 2017. Although
the plan has not been released, leaks signal it will consist of the same
little is known about the controversial deal, leaks have suggested that it
entirely regards Jerusalem al-Quds as Israeli territory, whereas Palestinians
view the eastern sector of the occupied city as the capital of their future
state. Palestinians also believe that the US-drafted plan calls for keeping
borders and security under Israeli control, while it keeps Israeli settlements’
final borders to be discussed in later negotiations.
lays claim to entire Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views
the city’s eastern sector as an occupied territory.
Turkish authorities on Thursday detained 52 suspected Daesh extremists in
northwestern province of Bursa as part of a crackdown on the militants,
state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
launched raids at five addresses in the Osmangazi district to round up the
suspects who were all Syrian nationals, Anadolu said.
are blamed in Turkey for a spate of terror attacks, including a 2015 bombing on
a peace rally at a train station in the capital Ankara that claimed 100 lives.
has stepped up the fight against the extremists and allowed a US-led
international coalition to launch air raids on the group's bases in Syria from
Afghan Taliban militant group says it is to meet with American representatives
in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad next week for a new round of direct
negotiations, which have so far excluded the Afghan government itself.
militant group said on Wednesday that separate meetings would be held in
Islamabad and “by the formal invitation of the government of Pakistan” on
group also announced that its delegates would meet with Pakistani Prime
Minister Imran Khan for “comprehensive discussions about Pakistan-Afghanistan
did not immediately confirm the talks, and the US said it had not received a
formal invitation to the talks from Pakistani officials. Washington said,
however, that it had “noted” the announcement, which comes after weeks of
meetings between American and Taliban officials.
are not going to negotiate in public,” a US State Department spokesperson told
AFP. “This is the beginning of a long process, which we continue to work
through private diplomatic channels.”
developments come as US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad tours
the globe, attempting to shore up support for a peace process that could pave
the way for a political settlement to the 17-year war in the Asian country and
bring all Afghan parties to the table.
Afghans must sit across the table with each other and come to an agreement
about the future of their country,” Khalilzad said in Washington last week.
“Nothing is agreed until everything has been agreed to.”
spite of that public statement, the talks have so far been limited to the US
and the Taliban; and the militant group also recently held talks with
opposition Afghan politicians in the Russian capital of Moscow — all of which
signals the group’s deliberate attempt to snub Kabul.
government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani — excluded from the talks — has
complained about the matter and repeatedly stressed that any peace plan must
include the Afghan government.
this week, the Taliban dismissed President Ghani’s offer to open a political
office in Afghanistan, saying the offer was aimed at “harming the peace
Taliban’s five-year rule over at least three quarters of Afghanistan came to an
end with a US-led invasion in 2001; but 17 years on, the militant group
continues to be active on much of Afghan soil.
Kabul only controls 55 percent of the country’s territory, while the militants
have a grip on 12 percent of Afghan soil, according to a report by the US
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction published in October
last year. About a third of the country remains contested.
has also used the mayhem in Afghanistan to establish a foothold there.
President Donald Trump may have to use his veto powers to stop Democrats in
control of the US House of Representatives from passing a resolution against
his closest friend, Saudi Arabia.
are reportedly approving a resolution that would allegedly halt US military
support for the Saudi war on Yemen, where a humanitarian crisis is under way.
House measure is also expected to pass the upper chamber of Congress, although
the Republicans enjoy majority at the Senate.
the US president’s bromance with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which
has led to a $110 billion arms deal, Trump may have to use the power again
after more than two years and veto the measure.
also am hopeful the president may sign it. I know it’s uphill still,” said
California Democratic Representative Ro Khanna, the lead House sponsor, in a
phone interview with The Hill.
Republican president, who is making efforts to withdraw forces from Afghanistan
and Syria, is blamed for his double policies in regard to military pullbacks.
can’t be for withdrawal in Afghanistan and withdrawal in Syria and then say we
need to escalate the war in Yemen. It just doesn’t make sense.”
the Democrat suggested that the party does not “want to politicize the issue.”
issue is not to score points against the administration or make this a
Democratic or Republican issue,” he added. “The issue is: What can the United
States do to avert a famine that could affect 14 million people?”
for the wall has led to a budget impasse and an ongoing dispute over border
finally agreed on January 25 to end the shutdown without getting the $5.7
billion he had demanded for the wall, and instead, a three-week spending deal
was reached to temporarily end the impasse.
NATO defense ministers are discussing the future of the alliance’s operation in
Afghanistan and how best to use its military presence to support political
talks aimed at ending the conflict.
with America’s longest war, US President Donald Trump says he wants to pull out
troops, raising doubts about NATO’s training operation in the strife-torn
14,000 US troops are in Afghanistan, just over half with NATO and the rest
doing counter-terror and combat operations.
US troops to leave the NATO operation, some allies, like Germany, wouldn’t be
able to do their job as they rely on American air support.
an unprecedented move, the US House of Representatives approved on Wednesday a
resolution halting the US role in Yemen and directly challenging President
Donald Trump’s military leadership.
Republicans joined 235 Democrats in the House late on Wednesday in voting a
bill under the War Powers Act that effectively puts an end to US military role
in Yemen. The bill, endorsed by 248 out of 425 representatives, marks the first
time Congress seeks to block a President’s unchecked military powers. The
Senate is expected to vote in the coming weeks, where the resolution may pass
by a narrow margin. A parallel resolution was passed by the Senate late last
year in a 56-to-41 vote.
the resolution is not vetoed, it would effectively put an end to US military
role in Yemen. While there are no official numbers, the US is known to have
troops on the ground in the war-torn country, mainly to fight Al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). US troops have carried joint operations with the UAE
against the extremist group.
resolution, however, includes an amendment that allows US intelligence sharing
with Saudi Arabia despite it ending its military role. The Trump administration
stopped refuelling Saudi coalition planes last fall, but intelligence sharing
and other logistical support have been ongoing.
approved by the Senate, the resolution will still need Mr Trump’s signature to
become law. The US President threatened to veto such bill, also a first in
bill is seen as a reaction to the ongoing relationship between the US and Saudi
Arabia despite the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October.
Nicholas Heras, a senior fellow at the Center for New American Security, told
The National that the resolution is “meant to be a shot across the bow directed
against Mr Trump's relationship with Saudi Arabia.” “The House is trying to
assert dominance over the U.S.-Saudi relationship, and the war in Yemen is a
low-hanging fruit to fuel that effort” he said.
the bill’s potential impact on Yemen, Mr Heras argued that “this resolution
will accomplish nothing to end hostilities between Saudi Arabia and the
Houthis, and in fact, it may backfire.” The analyst said he feared that “it
will weaken efforts to get the Houthis to the negotiating table in the UN-led
peace process, and war may get worse because Saudi Arabia would then have no US
constraints on its air campaign.”
prepares no-go zones for extremists
who join the ranks of ISIS face up to ten years in prison under a new law aimed
at creating global no-go zones for extremists.
than 900 Britons have travelled to Syria but authorities have struggled to
convict returning fighters because of the difficulty of securing evidence.
new law is designed to deter extremists from travelling to designated warzones
and to prosecute them on their return if they flout the law.
new legislation – which was signed into law on Tuesday - comes as Britain seeks
to outsource the trials of two of its most notorious extremists - Alexanda
Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh – who are accused of being part of the ISIS
have been implicated in the murders of three US and two British citizens but UK
prosecutors said they were unlikely to secure a successful conviction because
of their treatment while being held in custody.
men, who have been stripped of their British nationality, are currently being
held by western-backed Kurdish forces in northern Syria but could go on trial
as early as the summer in the United States, according to media reports.
new law makes it illegal for a UK national or resident to enter or remain in an
area designated by the government and then agreed by parliament. It could
include entire countries, said the UK’s home office, which said the first areas
could be in place by April this year.
also does not apply retrospectively for anyone who travelled to fight in Iraq
stable door has in part closed since IS do not occupy much territory any more,”
said Alex Carlile, a former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation and
senior associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.
it’s to be expected that so-called Islamic State is likely to revert to
terrorism having lost their territory and will hold small pockets. I don’t
suppose there will be many cases where it will be used but those will be
legislation does not apply to people travelling to those countries for
funerals, to care for terminally-ill relatives, or for certain professions,
including UN and humanitarian workers, government staff and journalists.
and Australia have a similar offence which has been used to prosecute its
nationals returning from Iraq and Syria. An impact assessment by the government
said it anticipated “low” use of the legislation.
May, the prime minister, announced a review of the government’s
counter-terrorism strategy after the London Bridge attacks when a group of
extremists mowed down pedestrians in a van before embarking on a stabbing spree
which left eight dead.
attack was one of five targeting the UK in 2017 that left 36 people dead,
prompting demands for stricter rules to target British extremists, who have
travelled abroad to secure training and battle experience, and home-grown
legislation also tightens the rules around hate preachers who manage to remain
on the right side of the law despite inspiring their adherents to join banned
Choudary, the legally-trained former head of the banned organisation Al
Muhajiroun, avoided prosecution for years despite his propaganda motivating at
least 100 people to pursue terrorism. He was finally jailed for five-and-a-half
years in 2016 after urging support for ISIS.
legislation also updates counter-terrorism laws for the technological age,
making it an offence to view or stream terrorist content. Previous laws
required defendants to download the material before it became an offence.
minister Ben Wallace said the law would ensure that security officials had “the
powers they need to tackle the evolving threat posed to the UK by terrorism and
hostile state activity”.
conference held in London on Wednesday discussed the plight of China’s Uighur
Muslims and heard from a panel of scholars, journalists and thinkers on the
oppression they are facing from Chinese authorities.
conference was organized by the Cordoba Foundation and hosted speakers such as
Dr. Anas Altikriti, the foundation’s CEO and founder, Uighur activists and
scholars Rahime Mahmut, Mahmut Turdi and Aziz Isa Elkun, Labour MP Emily
Thornberry, Rodney Dixon QC, a human rights lawyer and Louise Payne-Jones, head
of research at the International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR).
the conference was Dr. Altikriti, who started off by saying that the event was
timely and important.
this evening, we will all hear from different perspectives in regards with this
particular issue that will highlight something that is seldom talked about --
in fact, for some reason, almost never talked about. So today, we will
highlight those perspectives.”
also spoke of his surprise at how many people, Muslims in particular, don’t
know of the Uighur Muslims who live in China and the decades of oppression they
have faced at the hands of the Communist Party.
oppression faced by the Uighurs, according to Altikriti, amounts to cultural
genocide and the Cordoba Foundation will be holding extensive and in-depth
sessions in the coming months and years aimed at raising awareness on the
plight of Uighurs.
addressing the conference was Uighur activist Rahime Mahmut.
the last 18 years, I was unable to return to see my family and beloved homeland
because of my involvement in speaking out against human rights violations
imposed on my people by the Chinese government,” she said.
said it has been over two years since she last spoke to her family, who live in
Xinjiang, also known as East Turkestan, and noted that her brother told her not
to contact the family anymore out of fear that Chinese security forces would
detain them in concentration camps for staying in contact with a Uighur human
leave us in God’s hands and we’ll leave you in God’s hands too,” Mahmut’s
brother told her in January 2017.
indirectly told me ‘not to contact us anymore’, and up till today, I don’t know
how they are, if they are safe, or if they are interned in these so-called
‘re-education camps,” she added.
Turdi, another Uighur activist living in exile, spoke of his experience being
detained and interrogated in his home town of Karamay two days after getting
married to his wife, who was also detained and interrogated without his
days after my marriage, I knew there were Chinese security forces behind us,
and they had taken me from my room to a local hotel and I didn’t know that they
had also taken my wife, and so I was interrogated for two days because of my
identity, and because I studied in the West, they were paranoid as to who I
associated with,” Turdi said.
returning to the UK in 2003, Turdi’s Chinese passport was cancelled and he was
banned from visiting his family in East Turkestan. As such, it has been 15
years since he last saw or spoke to his family, and he has no knowledge as to
how they are doing and whether or not they are free.
Dixon QC, the human rights lawyer, and Louise Payne-Jones, head of research at
IOHR, described how Xinjiang and its major cities and towns are turning into a
police state, with surveillance and intelligence gathering invading Uighur
people’s personal lives in an attempt to “sinicise” them and crush their
culture and religion.
explained how police stations and concentration camps are being built in alarming
numbers to control most aspects of Uighur people’s lives. This they argue,
along with the mass detainment and torture of Uighur Muslims in the so-called
‘re-education’ camps, is cultural genocide aimed at destroying Uighur Turkic
culture and assimilating them into the dominant Chinese Han culture.
such, Uighurs are prevented from practicing basic tenets of their faith such as
observing the daily prayers, reading the Quran and fasting during the month of
authorities have repeatedly stated that they are detaining people accused of
minor crimes and that they are being held in centers of re-education, where
they enjoy their time and are ‘grateful’ to be there. But personal accounts
from former detainees paint an Orwellian picture where Uighurs are prevented
from observing their religious duties.
to a report published by Human Rights Watch, the Chinese government has carried
out these repressive policies for many years against the Uighur people and the
mass detention of Uighur Muslims in concentration camps is the latest in a
campaign of oppression and repression.
police arrested a Syrian former spy on charges of crimes against humanity,
according to the Paris prosecutor's office Wednesday.
suspect in his 30s is accused of taking part in acts of violence against
civilians from 2011 until 2013 when he worked for Syria's intelligence service.
left Syria in 2013, the statement read.
German police arrested two Syrian former spies on charges of crimes against
humanity, torture, mistreatment and extra-judicial killings, the Federal
Prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.
R. and Eyad A. were arrested Tuesday, following police operations in the
southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate and Berlin, it added.
has only just begun to emerge from a devastating conflict that began in 2011
when the Bashar al-Assad regime cracked down on demonstrators with unexpected
of thousands of civilians have been killed or displaced in the conflict, mainly
by regime airstrikes targeting opposition-held areas.
police arrested two Syrian former spies on charges of crimes against humanity,
torture, mistreatment and extra-judicial killings, officials said Wednesday.
R. and Eyad A. were arrested Tuesday, following police operations in the
southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate and Berlin, the Federal Prosecutor’s
office said in a statement.
56-year-old Anwar R. was a senior official of Syria’s General Intelligence
Directorate until September 2012, and he was suspected of being responsible for
the systematic torture of hundreds of civilians at the Al-Khatib detention
facility in Damascus. The other suspect, 42-year-old Eyad A., was suspected of
killing two people, when he worked for the Syrian intelligence between July
2011 and January 2012. He was also accused of involvement in torture and
mistreatment of at least 2,000 detainees.
in fight against impunity
European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, a Berlin-based institution
assisting survivors of torture in Syria, welcomed the arrests as a milestone in
the fight against impunity.
could lead to a criminal trial in Germany, which would be the first trial
anywhere in the world examining the responsibility of senior members of the
Syrian intelligence agencies of President Bashar al-Assad for crimes of
torture,” the institution said in a statement.
and France are close to exchanging ambassadors the foreign ministry in Paris
has said, ending a year-long delay over claims intelligence officials from
Tehran had planned attacks in the French capital.
comments come as the US convenes a meeting in Warsaw with scores of officials
from around the world to discuss the Middle East, particularly Tehran’s
influence. France and Germany have not sent ministers to attend the
controversial summit and publically criticise US president Donald Trump’s
stance on Iran.
pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year, Mr Trump has ramped up
sanctions in a bid to pressure Tehran to end its ballistic missile program –
not covered by the 2015 JCOPA deal – and stop regional meddling.
though France and Germany have led efforts to maintain the nuclear deal,
rolling out an alternative trading mechanism that will be immune to US
sanctions, Paris has had its own issues with Iran.
well as criticising the Islamic Republic’s ballistic missile program and urging
dialogue to limit the scope, French authorities also uncovered Iranian plans to
assassinate opposition figures in Paris.
protested vigorously against an attempted attack that was stopped in the Paris
region which led us to suspend the nomination of our ambassador to Tehran and
Tehran responded reciprocally," Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told
parliament's foreign affairs committee.
we are close to reaching a conclusion on this situation as long as [Iran] keeps
to the 2015 [nuclear] deal."
in October said there was no doubt Iran's intelligence ministry was behind a
June plot to attack an exiled opposition group's rally outside Paris and it
seized assets belonging to Tehran's intelligence services and two Iranian
in Germany and France have detained three former members of Syria’s
intelligence service in the first arrests by western authorities of suspected
torturers from Bashar Al Assad’s regime.
which has taken in more than 600,000 Syrian refugees since the outbreak of the
conflict in the spring of 2011, has led efforts to collate evidence and launch
investigations that could one day trigger war crimes prosecutions against the
Syrian leadership for the systematic torture and killing of civilian opponents.
German Federal Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement on Tuesday saying the
arrests took place on Monday in Berlin, in the western German town of
Zweibrucken, and in France.
said Anwar R, 56, was accused of crimes against humanity for taking part in the
torture and mistreatment of prisoners in his capacity as a high-ranking member
of Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate between the end of April 2011 and
the start of September 2012.
A, 42, is suspected of assisting in the killing of two people and in the
torture and mistreatment of at least 2,000 people between early July 2011 and
mid-January 2012, the office said. Another member of the secret service who has
not been named was arrested in France by the Paris prosecutor’s office. The
arrests were co-ordinated and the suspects have been remanded in custody.
arrests are based on criminal complaints and harrowing testimony from former
prisoners of the Syrian regime who came to Germany as refugees. Their
statements were compiled by the Berlin-based European Centre for Constitutional
and Human Rights (ECCHR), which called the arrests a milestone.
could lead to a criminal trial in Germany, which would be the first trial
anywhere in the world examining the responsibility of senior members of the
Syrian intelligence agencies of President Bashar Al Assad for crimes of
torture,” ECCHR said.
group’s general secretary, Wolfgang Kaleck, said the witness statements given
by six survivors contributed to the arrest warrant and that they would join the
case as private parties.
arrest shows once again that Germany is taking the fight against impunity for
torture in Syria seriously,” Mr Kaleck said. “It sends a very important message
to survivors of Assad’s system of torture. Without justice, there will be no
lasting peace in Syria.”
intelligence service played an important role in suppressing the opposition
from April 2011 onwards and was tasked with using brutal force to nip the
uprising in the bud.
arrested men are alleged to have belonged to a section of the General
Intelligence Directorate that was responsible for security in the Damascus area.
R headed the so-called investigation department there which had a prison
attached to it,” the federal prosecutor’s office said. “Prisoners underwent
brutal and massive torture during their interrogation there. As head of the
investigation department Anwar R directed and commanded procedures in the
prison and the use of systematic and brutal torture.”
said Eyad A worked at a checkpoint near Damascus where he apprehended
deserters, demonstrators and other suspects. “200 to 300 people were checked a
day there. Around 100 were arrested per day, taken to the prison run by Anwar R
A is also suspected of taking part in raids on people’s homes, and in autumn
2011 pursued demonstrators fleeing from a protest that had been put down violently.
He had helped to arrest them and bring them to the prison for interrogation.
far, all international efforts to launch prosecutions against members of the
Assad regime have failed. The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague
cannot act because Syria is a not signatory, and China and Russia have vetoed
the UN's attempts to allow the ICC or a special tribunal to proceed.
is rigorously applying the principle of universal jurisdiction that allows
national prosecutors to pursue people accused of international crimes even if
they were committed in another country and neither the accused nor the victims
are German nationals.
is one of only three European countries, along with Sweden and Norway, applying
universal jurisdiction over war crimes and was one of the first to incorporate
universal jurisdiction — which is enshrined in the ICC’s statute — into its own
national criminal code in 2002.
set up a war crimes unit at the federal prosecutor’s office in 2010 and opened
up two general investigations into Syrian human rights abuses and ISIS in 2011.
from the former torture victims led to the issue of a German arrest warrant for
Jamil Hassan, head of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence, in June last year.
Other high-ranking officials named by victims include National Security Bureau
chief Ali Mamlouk and former defence minister Fahd Jasim Al Furayi.
Palestinian factions concluded three days of face to face negotiations in
Moscow on Wednesday, which while failing to produce concrete results were credited
by the delegates as an important step towards reconciliation. But the biggest
winner may have been Russia, which delegates said is bolstering its reputation
as a Middle East peace broker.
said it had invited the rival groups to Moscow so they could discuss “problems
that stand in the way of restoring unity in the Palestinian ranks.”
announcing three days of intra-Palestinian talks last week, Russia specifically
named the main Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas. The two have been at
loggerheads since 2007 when Hamas seized control of the isolated Gaza Strip.
The sides have since disagreed over who is responsible for paying civil
servants in Gaza. And Fatah insists that Hamas disband its military wing,
saying that only the Palestinian Authority, which it controls, is allowed to
though the Palestinian factions failed to agree on key points of a joint
statement following three days of negotiations, members of the main groups
Fatah and Hamas said the talks had paved the way new negotiations.
have subsided," said Azzam al-Ahmad, a representative of the Fatah
Mohammed Abu Marzook, a senior member of the Hamas delegation, said: “The
Moscow dialogues has allowed the groups to turn a new page.”
has become an increasingly important political force in the Middle East since
entering the Syrian war on the side of embattled president Bashar Assad in
the years since, the Kremlin has sought to showcase its ability to speak with
both sides of regional conflicts. Moscow has hosted the Taliban as part of
Afghanistan peace talks twice since November and President Vladimir Putin is
due to bring together leaders of Turkey and Iran in Sochi on Thursday to help
bring about a political solution to the war in Syria.
a highly publicised press conference in central Moscow, Dr Mustafa Barghouti,
who heads the Palestine National Initiative political party, told The National
that Russia was increasingly seen on the Palestinian side an impartial and
made a breakthrough in the sense that after a year of no talks, Fatah and Hamas
are sitting together with other parties in direct negotiations,” he said. “In
my opinion what Russia did was miraculous because it allowed us to break the
deadlock bringing all sides together.”
interest in playing peacemaker comes as Palestinians are increasingly outspoken
over what they say is US bias towards Israel. Since US President Donald Trump
came of office, he has recognised Jerusalem and Israel’s capital and cut
funding for Palestinian aid.
see Russia as being completely impartial from internal Palestinian
differences,” Mr Barghouti said. “The United States is totally biased.”
the talks, expectations were low that the two sides would make meaningful
progress on solving existential differences. Fatah has said it is committed to
dialogue with Israel to secure a future Palestinian state, while Hamas aims to
achieve its goals through military force.
biggest problem is philosophical and ideological,” says Hussein Ibish, Senior
Resident Scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
the current circumstances, you can be sure that any ‘reconciliation’ agreement
is short-term, tactical and essentially opportunistic on both sides,” he said.
“Especially on the part of Hamas if it won't give up its weapons, which it
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with the delegation on Tuesday afternoon.
During the meeting he said Russia would support agreements that the Palestinian
leaders adopted in Moscow and reiterated his support for a two-state solution
with Jerusalem as the shared capital.
Lavrov criticised Washington’s “unilateral” approach to resolving the conflict,
and said a new US peace plan did not include a future Palestinian state with
East Jerusalem as its capital.
United States is hosting a conference on Middle East security and stability in
Poland this week, with Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the agenda.
Jared Kushner, Mr Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, is expected to host
discussions on ending the decades-long impasse.
leaders have called on Arab states to boycott the conference in Warsaw, which
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki described “as a plot against the
negotiator Saeb Erekat confirmed on Twitter last week that Palestinian leaders
would not be attending, adding “we have not mandated anyone to talk on behalf
forces raid Al-Qaeda site in Libyan city of Ubari
Egypt: Joint US-Libyan forces raided an Al-Qaeda site in the Libyan city of
Ubari on Wednesday, according to a statement by a Libyan official.
spokesperson for Fayez Al-Sarraj, head of the Presidency Council of the
Tripoli-based Government of National Accord of Libya, said in a statement late
on Wednesday that a site with a number of Al-Qaeda members in Ubari was
“raided” but gave no details.
joint work between the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord
and the US Government coincided with the meeting of US Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo and Foreign Minister Mohamed Sayala at the Global Coalition To Defeat
Islamic State meeting last week,” spokesperson Mohamed El Sallak said in the
US Africa Command, which is responsible for American forces in that area, could
not immediately be reached for comment.
Haram insurgents attacked the campaign convoy of the governor of Nigeria's
northeast Borno State, security sources said Wednesday.
Wednesday the insurgents ambushed Governor Kashim Shettima’s convoy near the
border with Cameroon while campaigning ahead of Saturday’s presidential and
parliamentary elections in the volatile region.
governor was going to Gamboru from Dikwa to campaign when Boko Haram ambushed
and opened fired on the long convoy," a security source at the governor's
office told Anadolu Agency in Maiduguri, the provincial capital, on condition
of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.
people were feared dead, according to the source.
of the vehicles at the end of the convoy were targeted," an official said.
a dozen young soldiers supporting the military’s fight against Boko Haram were
also in the convoy targeted by the insurgents.
military declined to comment on the incident.
governor has yet to return to the capital after the incident. Due to the lack
of phones in the area, reports of the attack came to the capital this evening.
President Omar al-Bashir, who has faced weeks of protests against his
three-decade rule, pledged to promote peace in the country’s war zones in an
address to paramilitary units on Wednesday.
assure you that the year 2019 will be the year of peace in Sudan,” the
president told members of the Popular Defense Force (PDF), a paramilitary unit
that has been widely used to fight longstanding rebellions in Darfur and in
regions near the South Sudan border.
want to keep our guns completely silent,” said Bashir, wearing military
remarks came weeks after he extended ceasefires in Blue Nile and South Kordofan
states, where troops and paramilitaries have been battling rebels with
pre-independence links to South Sudan.
want you to go to the war zones, not for fighting but for building schools and
health centers,” Bashir said.
paramilitaries of the PDF are civilians, many of them young students. Before
South Sudan broke away in 2011, they played a major role in the brutal
decades-long civil war against the independence movement.
PDF has also fought in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, where ethnic minority
rebels took up arms in 2003, drawing a scorched response from the government
that prompted war crimes charges against Bashir from the International Criminal
president has repeatedly denied the charges, which also include genocide and
crime against humanity.
of thousands of people have been killed in the three conflicts and millions
displaced, despite the longstanding deployment of a UN-African Union
peacekeeping force in Darfur.
December, the 75-year-old Bashir has faced near-daily protests in the Sudanese
heartland calling for his resignation, that analysts say pose the greatest
challenge to his iron-fisted rule since he took power in an Islamist-backed
coup in 1989.
say 30 people have died in protest-related violence. Human Rights Watch has
said at least 51 people have been killed.
that had been mounting for years over growing economic hardship and
deteriorating living conditions has boiled over onto the streets, under the
slogan: “Freedom, peace, justice!”
people have been killed in a stampede at an election campaign rally held in
southern Nigeria in support of President Muhammadu Buhari, hospital officials
hospital spokesman in Rivers state said on Wednesday "a total of 15 bodies
were brought in" the day before. Twelve wounded people were also taken to
the hospital, he added.
earlier gave a toll of four dead and four wounded, while Buhari's office
announced the death of "several" people.
crush is the latest in similar incidents in Buhari’s campaign rallies. Last
Thursday, two people reportedly lost their lives during a crush at a rally in
the northeastern state of Taraba.
January 21, several people were wounded in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
after a platform collapsed during the president’s visit.
to local media, the stampede happened after Buhari’s campaign speech as the
crowd surged towards a partially-locked gate to follow the president.
from behind were pushing and putting pressure on those in front, leading to
some persons falling on the ground and being trampled upon," said a
journalist of the Vanguard newspaper.
state, famous for its oil and gas industry, is a major battlefield between the
ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP). There are already claims of vote-rigging attempts.
APC members were shot to death during clashes on Sunday with PDP followers near
the city of Warri, an oil hub in Delta state.
incidents come ahead of Saturday’s election in which current president Buhari
will seek another term.
security agents have reportedly arrested more than a dozen university
professors who were preparing to participate in a sit-in as part of a wave of
protests against President Omar al-Bashir’s government.
government forces, who were deployed near the University of Khartoum in the
Sudanese capital on Tuesday, detained “14 professors, eight from University of
Khartoum and six from other universities,” said university professor Mamdouh
said the professors were “on their way to take part in the sit-in when security
agents took them away.”
forces also closed the gates of a venue where protesters had gathered before
heading for the sit-in site, according to Hassan.
posted online in the day showed protesters holding banners that read “Freedom,
justice, and peace,” “No to torturing and killing protesters” and other
to witnesses, doctors had also rallied in Khartoum and other cities across the
Sudanese capital has been the scene of almost daily protests by union members,
students, doctors, and opposition activists since December last year against
price hikes and shortages of food and fuel.
to official figures, at least 30 people have died in protest-related violence
so far. Rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) put the death toll at 51.
HRW on Monday called on the United Nations Security Council to act on
“irrefutable evidence” of state violence in Sudan.
protests began in December 2018, security agents have regularly arrested
professors and other professionals in an attempt to crack down on protests.
Bashir, who accuses foreign powers of inciting the unrest, has so far remained
defiant. In an address to soldiers last month, he called the protesters “rats”
who must “go back to their holes.” Bashir also said that he would only move
aside for another army officer, or at the ballot box.
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