premier and ruling party leaders have attacked the opposition in the bitter
campaign for Sunday’s general election.(Hindustan Times)
Bangladesh, a 47-Year-Old War Dominates Election Campaign Rhetoric
Denies Using Racial, Religious Sentiments to Regain Support
Kills 40 ‘Terrorists’ In Crackdown after Giza Attack
Ban, Iran's Ahwazi Students Dance To Arabic Song
Year Celebration: Is It Allowed In Islam?
Sends Recommendations to India For Visa-Free Travel Of Sikh Pilgrims Through
Jamaat-e-Islami Leader's Wife, Son Caught For Bribing Voters With Fake Notes
militants among 36 killed, wounded in Faryab operations
commander among 16 killed in Nangarhar operations
Special Forces storm Taliban’s military compound in Wardak leaving 10 dead
Taliban, ISIS-K militants killed in Afghan, coalition forces operations
dismiss Afghanistan’s peace talks offer
Separatists Suspected In New South Thailand Violence
Prof: PTPTN zakat payment from other investment revenues, not study loans
M Picked As Muslim Man Of The Year
in bomb and grenade attacks in Thailand's restive south
after Her Appointment, Iraqi Education Minister Quits Over Links with ISIS
Treated To Arab Classical Music At Dar Al-Hekma University
chief receives Islamic scholars from Iraq
Army Highly on Alert to Counter Turkish Troops' Possible Operation in Manbij
Syrian Army Preempts Terrorists' Offensive from Demilitarized Zone
SDF Sends Aid Convoy to ISIL Terrorists in Eastern Syria
army withdraws from military base in Syrian city of Hasakah
has revoked over 800 nationals of citizenship since 2012: Report
to Continue Backing Palestine, Zarif Says
government source denies Houthis’ withdrawal from Hodeidah
grandson warns: No guarantees Iranian regime will survive
Jewish Home party splits ahead of April election
Arabia destroys Houthi ballistic missile targeting Najran
IRGC: US pullout from Syria sign of defeat
troops arrested some 6,500 Palestinians throughout 2018: Rights group
State Flags in Srinagar Reflect Disillusionment That Is Popularising Radical
Alternatives In Kashmir
Private Firms In Sec 58 Give Space To Muslim Employees For Namaz
finalises 14-point agreement on Kartarpur corridor
tolerance policy towards militancy in Jammu and Kashmir to continue
refuse permission for Pak's Dawat-e-Islam event in Hyderabad
Jamia Masjid desecrated: Youth mounts pulpit, displays ISIS flag – Video goes
in a Kerala college campus: A radicalised state and why we aren’t surprised
launched after suspected militants exchanged fire with soldiers in Jammu
Sends Recommendations to India For Visa-Free Travel Of Sikh Pilgrims Through Kartarpur
oil facility likely to start in January, UAE’s could take longer
Qureshi discusses Afghan peace, regional situation during day-long visit to
not being done transparently: Nisar
Nisar defends judicial activism, terms it ‘constitutional responsibility’
calls on Sudan to investigate protest deaths
condemns terrorist attack in Burkina Faso
Haram: Residents flee as insurgents attack Buni Gari in Yobe
May Let Kurdish Militants to Keep Arms after Syria Pullout: Officials
Yemeni boy at centre of row over US travel ban dies
not drawing down military presence in Afghanistan: White House
Americans support US troop withdrawal from Syria: Poll
Russia Agree To Cooperate With Eye on US Withdrawal
police arrest Syrian man wanted in Dutch terror case
to halt arms sales to Saudis amid Yemen war
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Bangladesh, a 47-year-old war dominates election campaign rhetoric
premier and ruling party leaders have attacked the opposition in the bitter
campaign for Sunday’s general election by relying on references to the
country’s 1971 war for independence from Pakistan.
Minister Sheikh Hasina’s father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman won the country that
independence, and her Awami League party has run a campaign on reminding the
public of “war criminals”, “fake freedom fighters” and “collaborators”.
has also sought to paint the entire opposition as an “anti-liberation” front.
you want to vote for betrayers?” Hasina, who is seeking a third consecutive
term, said at a public speech this month, referring to Jamaat-e-Islami, an
Islamist group that opposed the independence movement and several of whose
members have been sentenced to death or life in prison for war crimes.
says the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is also culpable
due to its traditional ties with Jamaat.
the election, the BNP – in disarray following the jailing of its leader and
former prime minister Khaleda Zia for alleged corruption - has joined smaller
parties to form the National Unity Front alliance, headed by secular leader
Kamal Hossain. The BNP did not contest the 2014 election, saying it would not
have been fair.
an 82-year-old Oxford-educated international jurist and close ally of Hasina’s
father in freedom struggle, has not been spared the attacks.
a recent interview, Hasina’s political adviser H.T. Imam questioned Hossain’s
role in the independence struggle and said it would be an “exaggeration” to
call him a freedom fighter. He said he did not question Hossain’s patriotism,
but argued that “the way that he is portrayed as a significant freedom fighter
is very wrong.” Hasina has separately accused Hossain of “joining hands with war
criminals and terrorists.”
a country that won independence only 47 years ago, memories of the
nine-month-long Liberation War that claimed the lives of many thousands of
people are still fresh in the minds of the older generation, making it a
poignant campaign tool.
it is used so frequently that it has often dominated the campaign, taking the
spotlight away from civic issues, such as jobs, wages, and road safety, let
alone any discussion of alleged human rights abuses under the government.
freedom movement is a convenient excuse to peddle. It’s not just about whether
you are in league with the Jamaat or not,” said CR Abrar, a professor of
international relations at the University of Dhaka.
independence struggle was also about equality, justice, and human rights. Where
is the conversation on that?”
government has been accused of extrajudicial killings, rampant arrests of
critics and opposition workers, and curbs on the media – charges the government
denies. The opposition alliance has vowed to reduce controls and “restore
democracy” in Bangladesh, while also promising to retain a war crimes tribunal
set up under Hasina.
before elections, a tense ‘docudrama’ on Hasina’s life released in cinemas in
Bangladesh depicted how most of her family, including her father who is known
in the country as the Father of the Nation, was assassinated in 1975 in an army
coup while she was away with her sister in Germany. Hasina refers to the BNP as
thugs in the film.
the war rhetoric will work is yet to be seen. Millions of new voters - many
under 25 - are registered for Sunday’s polls, which will be the country’s first
fully competitive election in a decade. Some Awami League leaders said the
party’s campaign was also focused on educating that young generation about the
the younger generation is getting a sense of what the history is about,”
historian and writer Syed Badrul Ahsan said.
denies using racial, religious sentiments to regain support
JAYA: Umno today refuted PPBM’s claims that it has been playing up racial and
religious sentiments in order to gain support after losing in the 14th general
vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin said in a statement that the party had
always been “consistent” in its pro-Islam and Malay stand.
can check. Our stand is clear. There has never been any change. The Malay
agenda, Islam and the brightest future for a multiracial Malaysia, are the
three main pillars of Umno — before, now and forever,” he said, adding that the
party would not apologise for upholding their pro-Malay ideology.
said there had been “systematic threats” to the position of the Malay race and
Islam under the guise of freedom, saying that this might not be from PPBM but
from its allies in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
when PPBM are unable to do anything apart from playing deaf and bowing down to
the liberals in Pakatan Harapan, Umno would not turn a blind eye towards these
threats,” he said.
said Umno believed that the systematic threats would cause the downfall of the
Malays if they were allowed to continue.
his speech at the PPBM second general assembly, the party’s president Muhyiddin
Yassin slammed PAS and Umno for allegedly fanning racial sentiments and
inciting Malays to go against the PH government.
political capital today has not differed,” Muhyiddin said in his speech, adding
that the PH leadership had agreed to always support and respect the role of
Islam as the official religion of the state, as spelt out in the Federal
said Umno and PAS had been spreading lies about Muslims no longer being safe in
Malaysia and that the position of the Malay rulers as heads of Islam was under
also claimed that Umno and PAS were spreading lies that Jakim (Malaysian
Islamic Development Department) would be done away with, and laws to allow LGBT
culture and same-sex marriage would be passed in Parliament.
however, said that the threats towards Malays and Islam were not fictitious.
threats are no fairytales. How can an alliance, which harbours ill thoughts
towards each other and is inconsistent in their interpretations of the Federal
Constitution, protect the rights and the special position of the Malays?”
he acknowledged that some of Umno’s methods in upholding their ideology were
ineffective. “All of these will have to be improved and reviewed,” he said.
Khaled also refuted claims of any formal collaboration with PAS.
association with PAS only extends to aspects relating to Islam and the Malay
race, and issues that would have negative impacts towards the country. We are
not a coalition. This is simply a symbol of political maturity,” he said.
also pointed out that Umno has been around for 70 years and many PPBM members,
including Muhyiddin, would not be where they are if not for the party.
kills 40 ‘terrorists’ in crackdown after Giza attack
police killed 40 suspects in a crackdown on Saturday after a roadside bomb hit
a tour bus claiming the lives of three Vietnamese holidaymakers and an Egyptian
alleged “terrorists” were killed in separate raids in Giza governorate, home to
Egypt’s famed pyramids and the scene of Friday’s deadly bombing, while 10
others were killed in the restive North Sinai, the interior ministry said
without directly linking them to the attack.
said authorities had received information the suspects were preparing a spate
of attacks “targeting state institutions, particularly economic ones, as well
as tourism, armed forces, police and Christian places of worship.”
security source said the raids took place early Saturday morning, hours after
Friday evening’s roadside bombing which officials said hit a tour bus in the
Al-Haram district near the Giza pyramids killing the three Vietnamese
holidaymakers and their Egyptian guide.
other tourists from Vietnam and an Egyptian bus driver were wounded, the public
prosecutor’s office said.
Tourist, the company that organised the trip, said the tourists were “on their
way to a restaurant for dinner” when the bomb exploded.
officials were heading to Cairo on Saturday and plans were made to allow some
relatives of the victims to also fly to Egypt.
of them was Nguyen Nguyen Vu whose sister Nguyen Thuy Quynh, 56, died in the
bombing, while her husband, Le Duc Minh, was wounded.
couple, both aged 56, were in the seafood business, Quynh’s younger brother said.
were all very shocked… My sister and her husband travel quite a lot and they
are quite experienced in travelling abroad,” Vu told AFP.
said he was applying for a visa for Egypt and hoped to travel on Saturday. “Our
wish is that we could bring my sister back home.”
foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang thanked Egyptians who were caring
for the survivors. “Vietnam is very angry and strongly condemns the terrorist
act that killed and injured many innocent Vietnamese and has asked Egypt to
soon open an investigation, chase and give harsh punishment to those who
carried out these terrorist act,” she said in a statement.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, the first attack to
target tourists since 2017.
attack was the latest blow to Egypt’s vital tourism industry, which has been
reeling from turmoil set off by the 2011 uprising that forced veteran president
Hosni Mubarak from power.
tourism has picked up since 2011, the 8.2 million people who visited Egypt in
2017 are still a far cry from the 14.7 million who visited in the year before
attack undermines the Egyptian government’s very determined message that the
country is safe for tourists,” said Zack Gold, a US-based expert on Middle East
ban, Iran's Ahwazi students dance to Arabic song
they are not allowed to study in their mother tongue, a video of female Arab
students in Ahwaz dancing to an Arabic song at their school surfaced on social
media, which grabbed the attention of many as it was seen as a challenge to the
authorities who ban singing and dancing in public to begin with.
video had spread lately of the Arab girls in primary school dancing to a
well-known folkloric Arabic song called “Hamoudi Ze’al”.
the debate over preserving Arab heritage and the right to be educated in one's
mother language surfaced again.
Iranian authorities had prohibited non-Persian minority students from
officially learning their languages in schools, despite the fact that the
Constitution affirms this right.
on the exact time and place that the video was recorded remains unknown, but
many speculated that it was recorded in one of the primary schools in Ahwaz or
one of the neighboring Arab cities.
video shows a group of Arab Ahwazi girls dancing to a modern version of an old
Arabic song called “Hamoudi Ze’al”.
modern version, by the Ahwazi singer “Hamed al-Neisi”, amused the girls and
made them dance while the school headmaster danced with them as well.
original song is part of the Arab Ahwazi folkloric heritage and it is usually
played at wedding ceremonies, which made it close to the students’ identity and
made them dance enthusiastically.
the widely-spread video raised a movement on social media, asking the
authorities to apply Article 15 of the Iranian constitution, which states
allowing teaching different languages at schools in Iran.
video also highlighted the necessity to preserve the folklore of various
ethnicities in Iran, including that of the Arabs.
15 of the Iranian constitution states that: “The Official language and script
of Iran, the lingua franca of its people, is Persian. Official documents,
correspondence, and texts, as well as text-books, must be in this language and
script. However, the use of regional and tribal languages in the press and mass
media, as well as for teaching of their literature in schools, is allowed in
addition to Persian.”
New Year Celebration in Hyderabad is on the increase during the recent years.
Many youths are getting attracted to this tradition.
are many calendars in vogue in India but no other calendar enjoys the importance
as does 1st January of Gregorian calendar.
olden days, when the Muslims established their kingdoms, new-year day was never
used to be celebrated since it has no religious importance for them.
was reported that Nowruz celebrations used to be held in the Darbars of the
Moghals in accordance with the Iranian festivities of Nowruz which falls on
the decline of Moghal kingdom, the British conquered India. They started
celebrating New Year’s Day. There used to be the festivities of dine and dance
at the midnight of 31st December.
the independence of India, in all the official matters, Gregorian calendar
started playing important role. In the early days, these celebrations were
limited to the rich and the high class sections of the society. With the
increase of communication facilities, common Indians also started celebrating
New Year’s Day. In many cities, incidents of traffic jam occur on New Year’s
Sang Parivar is worried about the tradition of New Year’s Day celebrations
since they have apprehension about the danger of vanishing their culture.
Muslim scholars have advised the Muslim youths not to celebrate New Year’s Day
as it has no religious significance.
sends recommendations to India for visa-free travel of Sikh pilgrims through
Pakistan has sent recommendations to India for facilitating visa-free travel of
Indian Sikh pilgrims through the upcoming Kartarpur corridor, according to a
media report here on Saturday.
has given a 59-page document with 14 key recommendations to New Delhi, Express
News TV reported quoting Pakistani diplomatic officials.
recommendations call for Indian pilgrims to be given free entry and that
facilitation centres and security check-posts to be set up on both sides of the
pilgrims shall be allowed in groups of a minimum of 15 people and Pakistan
shall issue special permits to them.
countries will compile a record of visitors which will include their names,
travel records and other details, according to the recommendations.
Indian government shall provide a list of pilgrims to Pakistan three days in
advance and it will be mandatory for all visitors to bear a standard Indian
recommendations further say that all visitors shall be required to obtain a
security clearance certificate from Indian authorities.
shall issue permits to 500 visitors per day and local authorities shall reserve
rights to admission.
November 28, Prime Minister Imran Khan had laid the foundation stone for the
corridor on the Pakistani side that will connect Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in
Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak situated in Indian Punjab's Gurdaspur.
days earlier, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab chief minister
Amarinder Singh laid the foundation stone for the corridor on the Indian side
of the border.
has said it will complete and open the corridor before the 550th birth
anniversary of Guru Nanak in November, 2019.
A Jamaat-e-Islami leader's wife and son were among four people arrested for
allegedly trying to bribe voters using fake notes in Bangladesh, which is going
to crucial polls on Sunday The arrests were made after police on Friday raided
the house of Amir Shahadat, chief of Jamaat's west unit at Sadar Upazila after
getting tip-off about attempts to buy votes, bdnews reported.
Jamaat leader fled the scene, but his son Jaharul Islam, wife Hafiza Khatun and
two assistants were arrested. As many as 39 counterfeit notes of Tk 1,000
denomination was recovered from the house, said the police.
Election Commission last week allowed Jamaat-e-Islami, a crucial ally of jailed
former prime minister Khaleda Zia's Opposition BNP, to contest the general
elections, two months after it scraped the fundamentalist party's registration
The Jamaat is contesting from 25 seats in the parliamentary polls with 'sheaf
of paddy', the electoral symbol of the BNP.
least thirty six militants including foreign insurgents hailing from Uzbekistan
were killed or wounded during a series of operations in northern Faryab
province of Afghanistan.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North said at least fifteen
militants, including two Uzbekistanis were killed during the military
operations supported by airstrikes in Shash Tapa area of Shergin Tagab
statement further added that the airstrikes were carried out at around 6:00pm
local time on Friday and as a result at least sixteen militants also sustained
Afghan forces also discovered two improvised explosives during the operations
in Tapa-e-Qeshlaq area of Khwaja Sabspoz district, the 209th Shaheen Corps
least sixteen militants affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria
Khurasan (ISIS-K) have been killed during the latest operations of the Afghan
Special Forces in eastern Nangarhar province.
201st Silab Corps of the Afghan Military in the East said a commander of the
terror group was among those killed.
to a statement released by 201st Silab Corps, the operations were conducted by
02 Unit of the Afghan army in Chengi area of Achin district.
statement further added that the Air Forces also provided air support to the
Afghan forces during the operation.
security personnel involved in the operations and local residents have not
suffered casualties during the operations, the 201st Silab Corps added.
anti-government armed militant and terrorist groups including ISIS-K loyalists have
not commented regarding the operations so far.
Special Forces of the Afghan Intelligence, National Directorate of Security
(NDS), stormed a military compound of the Taliban group in central Maidan
Wardak province of Afghanistan.
Special Operations Corps of the Afghan Military said the raid was conducted in
Karo Khel Village in Syedabad district.
to a statement released by the Special Operations Corps, at least ten militants
were killed during the operation and the military compound used by Taliban has
NDS Special Forces also destroyed four vehicles, three motorcycles, and some
weapons which were used by the militants to carry out guerrilla attacks against
the security forces.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the operation so far.
Wardak is located in central parts of Afghanistan which is among the relatively
least twenty militants belonging to Taliban and ISIS Khurasan were killed in
separate operations conducted by the Afghan and coalition forces in the past 24
Afghan Military in the Southeast confirms that a raid conducted by the Afghan
Special Operations Forces in Sabari district of Khost of province left 1
Taliban fighter dead.
a coalition air strike left 1 Taliban fighter dead in Qaisar district of Faryab
Special Operations Forces conducted a raid in Tarin Kot district of Uruzgan
province, killing 8 Taliban fighters and destroying bomb making material, the
Afghan Military in South said.
the meantime, an Afghan Special Operations Forces raid killed 8 ISIS-K
militants in Achin district of Nangarhar province.
Taliban have rejected Kabul’s offer of talks next month in Saudi Arabia where
the militants, fighting to restore strict Islamic law in Afghanistan, will meet
US officials to further peace efforts, a Taliban leader said on Sunday.
from the Taliban, the United States and regional countries met this month in
the United Arab Emirates for talks to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.
the Taliban have refused to hold formal talks with the Western-backed Afghan
will meet the US officials in Saudi Arabia in January next year and we will
start our talks that remained incomplete in Abu Dhabi,” a member of the
Taliban’s decision-making Leadership Council told Reuters. “However, we have
made it clear to all the stakeholders that we will not talk to the Afghan
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also said the leaders of the group would not talk
to the Afghan government.
militants have insisted on first reaching an agreement with the United States,
which the group sees as the main force in Afghanistan since US-led forces
toppled the Taliban government in 2001.
efforts to resolve the conflict have intensified after Taliban representatives
started meeting US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad this year. Officials from the warring
sides have met at least three times to discuss the withdrawal of international
forces and a ceasefire in 2019.
the United States has insisted that any final settlement must be led by the
to data from the NATO-led Resolute Support mission published in November, the
government of President Ashraf Ghani has control or influence over 65 percent
of the population but only 55.5 percent of Afghanistan’s 407 districts, less
than at any time since 2001. The Taliban say they control 70 percent of the
close aide to Ghani said the government would keep trying to establish a direct
line of diplomatic communication with the Taliban.
should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned,” the aide said on condition of
anonymity. “It is important that the Taliban acknowledge this fact.”
separatists suspected in new south Thailand violence
YAI, Thailand: Four people have been wounded in southern Thailand by one of
several bombs suspected of being planted by Muslim separatists.
officials in Narathiwat province said Friday night's violence also included a
shootout between security forces and suspected insurgents who attacked a
defense outpost at a small rural village. The bombs mostly targeted utility
poles and caused a blackout in one village.
Songkhla province on Wednesday and Thursday nights experienced similar small
bombing attempts, including two that damaged well-known statues at a popular
beach but caused no casualties.
2004, Thailand's deep south has been wracked by a Muslim insurgency that has
left about 7,000 people dead.
LUMPUR, Dec 30 ― An academic today justified the decision made by the National
Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) to give out zakat or obligatory alms
in Islam despite the fund’s current struggle with financial survivability.
Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) associate professor Amir Shaharuddin explained that
PTPTN received two main sources of revenue through government grants and
investments from the public through SSPN-i and SSPN-i Plus products.
of these products are Islamic-compliant investments as the funds from the
public are invested in halal businesses.
the profit gained must be paid through zakat so that the income earned is
blessed,” he said in a statement.
recently announced that it will be making zakat payments to fulfill its
corporation said the sum paid was based on its profits and that it will not dip
into its study loans funding for zakat.
payment of zakat does not affect the loans that will be given to students, as
the payment of zakat is based on the net revenue of investments especially SSPN
deposits,” it said in a statement yesterday.
a two-page statement yesterday, PTPTN also said it started the practice of
issuing zakat payments to all states in Malaysia since 2016, and had continued
to do so for 2017.
also pointed out that it was impossible for PTPTN to use its zakat funds to
settle the debts of its borrowers reportedly at RM40 billion after certain
quarters had raised the issue.
majority of Islamic finance Shariah advisers believe that zakat issued by an
institution cannot benefit itself as it was a conflict of interest. In other
words, it cannot be used to pay off the debts.
is worrisome that the zakat will not be accepted by the public when it is channeled
for the ‘business’ interest of their own institutions,” he said.
also said the claims of mismanagement of zakat institutions who misuses zakat
funds for their own operational cost was baseless but admitted that there was
space for improvement.
institutions should generally take one eighth or 12.5 per cent of their zakat
collection to fund their operational cost including staff wages and building
M picked as Muslim Man of the Year
LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been picked as the Muslim Man of the Year
by The Muslim 500 for the year 2019.
its 2019 edition published in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the
publication, Dr Mahathir was ranked top, leading the list of the world's top
success in leading Pakatan Harapan to win the 14th General Election, then being
appointed as the second Prime Minister after his previous 22-year rule, was his
Mahathir is described as one in one million who pushed Malaysia towards
becoming the East Asian Economic Leader during the era of his previous rule.
quite extraordinary man has had a dynamic political career spanning 70 years
and yet at the same time been the author of 17 published books. Aside from two
memoirs, all of them are direct narratives responding to the immediate problems
confronting Malaysian governance and economy, a concern often extended to Asia
as a whole and the global economy and his plans for rectifying those problems.
bad for a 93 year old politician with a history of two heart attacks and one
bypass surgery," said Prof S Abdallah Schleifer in his writeup in the
on the list are King Abdullah II of Jordan, Indonesian President Joko Widodo
and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
for the most influential Muslim women, the Woman of the Year Muslim title was
given to Ahed Tamimi, 17, a Palestinian teenager known for her courage in
slapping Israeli troops in December 2017.
500 Most Influential Muslims is an annual publication published in 2009, which
recognizes the most influential Muslim individuals in the world.
are evaluated on the basis of the influence that particular Muslims have had
within the Muslim community and the manner in which their influence has
benefited the Muslim community, both within the Islamic world and in terms of
representing Islam to non-Muslims.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha decried "opportunists" on
Saturday (Dec 29) after a wave of coordinated bomb attacks by suspected
insurgents hit Thailand's Muslim-majority "deep south" in the lead-up
to the New Year holidays.
region bordering Malaysia has been in the grip of a low-level but bloody
insurgency for more than a decade as ethnic Malay militants battle the
Buddhist-majority state for greater autonomy.
2004, insurgents armed with homemade bombs and grenades have clashed with
Thailand's powerful military, killing nearly 7,000 people, mostly civilians, of
both Muslim and Buddhist faith.
2017 saw a record low of 235 people killed in clashes.
latest attacks occurred Friday night in a series of seven separate incidents in
three different districts of Narathiwat province, said police commander Major
General Dussadee Choosungkit.
bomb attacks occurred in Sri Sakhon district, four in Chanae district, and
militants "ambushed a base in Rangae district" using grenades, he
homemade bombs were "detonated by radio", he said, adding that no one
attacks prolong a bout of violence that began late Monday evening when a
policeman died in an explosion from a detonated roadside bomb hidden in a gas
nearby Songkhla province on Wednesday night, two bombs rocked popular tourist
site Simila beach, causing no fatalities but damaging to two seaside statues.
provincial police are still investigating the beach bombings, and no arrest has
been made, police told AFP Saturday.
General Dussadee said the Songkhla bombings were not connected to his
province's troubles -- which he said is payback for a Dec 12 raid on the
insurgents' camp in Narathiwat.
think the militants are retaliating at authorities after the raid on their camp
earlier this month," he told AFP.
prime minister has instructed officials to step up security measures after the
attacks, said government spokesman Buddhipongse Punakanta Saturday.
called them the works of ill-intentioned people and opportunists for staging
attacks during New Year holidays," said Buddhipongse, adding that the
junta head asked for locals to "tip off" authorities on any
three southernmost provinces - Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani - are predominantly
Muslim and have long chafed against Bangkok's rule, calling for greater
autonomy or independence.
latest attacks come as the Thai junta renews talks with an umbrella group
claiming to represent the rebels, with the aid of Malaysia as facilitator.
after her appointment, Iraqi education minister quits over links with ISIS
scandal and slew of accusations directed at Iraq’s Minister of Education Shaima
al-Hayali caused her to quit her post, after the head of the committee
defending victims of terrorism, Nafie al-Imara, said she was a supporter of
ISIS during their siege of Mosul, and that her nephew blew himself up near security
said that the documented information is public, adding that Hayali is the
sister of an ISIS leader named Laith al-Hayali.
had been nominated by the al-Banaa Coalition, which includes the Fatah Alliance
led by Hadi al-Ameri and the State of Law Coalition led by former Prime
Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
released a statement declaring her resignation, which is now with Prime
Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi. She admitted to the accusations against her, stating
that her brother’s association with ISIS was forced.
am an Iraqi woman, first and foremost, and independent. I never worked with any
party or political bloc,” she said in her statement, adding that her
appointment to the ministry of education was because she was an academic from
the University of Mosul, which is known for its high cadres.
added that ISIS forced them to work within the scope of civil jobs, as was the
case with many in the Nineveh province, pointing out that her brother's
continued work with the organization was because he was under threat. She added
that the threats continued even after Mosul was liberated.
also said that her brother “never carried arms nor kill or help kill any
Iraqi”, adding that the videos circulating of her brother are “cheap methods to
incite against her.” She said there is no concrete evidence proving that he
belonged to the organization on a military level.
concluded by saying that her resignation is “now in the hands of Prime Minister
Abdul Mahdi to make his decision once he is sure of any relation linking me
with the terrorist organization.”
Iraqi parliament had appointed the minister of education, as well as minister
of culture and minister of planning last Saturday to complete the cabinet of
Abdul Mahdi, whereas the posts for minister of interior, defense and justice
to security sources, Hayali also has two cousins who belong to ISIS.
video which circulated online showed that her brother, along with one of his
sons, had fled from Iraq to Turkey using false passports, after he lost two of
his sons during the suicide bombing operations against the Iraqi army.
treated to Arab classical music at Dar Al-Hekma University
A concert organized by the General Culture Authority (GCA) at Dar Al-Hekma
University on Friday attracted hundreds of visitors.
all-Saudi band headed by Dr. Mohammed Qari took the audience on a journey
through the history of classical Arabic music by renowned composers such as
Lebanon’s Philemon Wehbe and Egypt’s Mohammed Abdul Wahab. The band included
oud player Rayan Al-Saqqaf, pianist Ali Khafaji and two rhythmists.
told Arab News: “Without an encouraging response from the audience, a musician
fails to do his best in such a concert.”
said there are many skilled Saudi musicians and singers, adding: “If we had a
music institute, all these hidden treasures would come to the surface.” He said
he may set one up.
sister Zakia, who attended the concert, said her brother began playing music
when he was six years old.
interaction of the crowd with my brother’s performance made me want to go on
stage to hug and kiss him. He has long made his family proud,” she said.
BaFaqeeh, who attended with her husband, told Arab News: “The music pieces
performed were selected carefully to satisfy the audience’s different tastes.
musicians played classical pieces from different cultures in the region. They
were delightful pieces.”
A delegation of Islamic scholars from Iraq headed by the president of Iraqi
Jurisprudence Council, Sheikh Ahmed Hassan Al-Taha, called on the
secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul
Karim Al-Issa, in Makkah.
Iraqi scholars lauded the MWL for organizing the Islamic Unity Conference in
highlighted the importance of the conference and the role it played in
discussing ways of tackling extremist tendencies, dangers of exclusion and
promotion of national unity.
recently concluded conference brought together more than 1,200 Islamic scholars
and academics of different schools of thought from 127 countries.
Iraqi delegation stressed the need to forge unity among the ranks of Muslims
and to respect differences of opinion and cooperate to achieve common goals.
also said they would not allow any force to drive a wedge between Muslims or to
harm the sovereignty of any nation state.
sources said that the Damascus forces, deployed in Manbji, are on alert to
counter any attack by the Turkish soldiers and Ankara-backed militants.
sources went on to say that the Army Command has ordered Presidential Guard
Forces and other Damascus soldiers to give a crushing response to any military
operation by the Ankara forces in Manbij region.
further said that the Ankara forces have started preparing for a military
operation in Manbij after the Syrian Army's arrival in the region.
sources quoted Ziad Hajji Obeid, Commander of the militants of Turkey-backed
National Army, as saying that a sum of 15,000 militants from his group have
prepared to enter Manbij, adding that almost 25,000 gunmen of the Ankara-backed
Free Army have been preparing to enter the towns of Tal Abyadh and Ra'as
Syrian Armed Forces' Headquarters announced in a statement on Friday that the
Damascus forces entered Manbij in Aleppo province and hoisted the country's
national flag over the key town.
statement by the Syrian Armed Forces' Headquarters came after the Syrian
Democratic Forces asked for the deployment of the government troops.
Syrian Army entered Manbij town after the People's Protection Units asked the
Syrian Armed Forces to enter the strategic town.
Spokesman Ceyhan Ahmad also confirmed the Syrian Army's arrival in Manbij town.
local sources in Northern Syria announced that the Ankara-backed militants are
fortifying their positions around Manbij in a bid to attack the strategic town
concurrent with US troops' withdrawal from there.
is in a critical situation after US President Donald Trump declared US forces'
withdrawal from Manbij town.
relevant development on Thursday, residents of Manbij called on Damascus to
deploy army forces in the strategic town in Northeastern Aleppo.
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted Mojib al-Rahman al-Dandan, the
representative of Manbij in the Syrian parliament, as saying on Thursday that
as Damascus and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are holding talks on
deployment of army forces in the town, the residents are also strongly
pressuring the officials to this end.
added that after US President Donald Trump's declaration of withdrawal of
American forces from Syria, the US army retreated from Manbij to Tishrin dam,
noting that Manbij residents want immediate deployment of the Syrian army in
meantime, said that the SDF leaders are also involved in internal differences
as some intend to leave Syria for France and call for the establishment of a
no-fly zone and some others want talks with the Syrian government.
army's artillery units, deployed in the small town of Shaliout in Northern
Hama, pounded the movements of Jeish al-Izzah that tried to prevail over the
government forces' positions from al-Zakat region and preempted their attack
after inflicting major losses on the militants.
the meantime, the army's mortar units, deployed in regions near the village of
al-Masasana, opened heavy fire at terrorists' positions in the small town of
al-Latamina, killing and wounding a number of them.
terrorists' refusal to implement the Sochi Agreement to establish a
demilitarized zone is pushing the army to initiate its long-waited assault on
militants in Idlib that had been put on hold due to the Sochi Agreement.
Mar'ei Hamdan, a Syrian military expert, was quoted by the Arabic-language
website of Sputnik news agency as saying last month that Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at
(the Levant Liberation Board or the Al-Nusra Front) is in control of nearly 70%
of towns and villages in Idlib province and makes provocative moves against the
Syrian army, adding that the army's commitment to decrease tensions is not
added that the Syrian army has so far repelled all attacks by terrorists
against its positions and inflicted heavy damages on them, noting that the army
is now necessitated to come out of the defensive mood to retake control of
said that Tahrir al-Sham will resort to a full-scale military operation against
the Syrian and Russian armies soon, after rejecting the Sochi agreement last
October, which leaves no room for ceasefire or disarmament anymore, and
underlined that the Syrian army's battle against Tahrir al-Sham is inevitable.
the Turkey-backed Ahrar al-Sham and National Liberation Front (NLF) terrorist
groups has also dismissed the Russian-Turkish Sochi agreement and is preparing
for military operations against the army in Northern Syria, calling for a
coalition with Tahrir al-Sham.
al-Sham and other allied terrorist groups have not left the demilitarized zone
two months after the Sochi agreement and have instead reinvigorated their
strongholds and targeted the army positions every day.
sources reported that a number of SDF vehicles, carrying food stuff, were sent
to al-Sha'afah via al-Alalouni passageway in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
sources pointed to a possible agreement between the SDF and the ISIL over
sending the convoy in return for receiving a hefty amount of money by the
November, the Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumah news website quoted Ahamd
al-Sahrifi, an Iraqi security expert, as disclosing that the US intended to
heliborne ISIL terrorists from Syria-Iraq border to regions behind Iraqi
forces' positions near border with Syria.
further said that the US plan to heliborne ISIL to Iraq came after the Iraqi
forces deployed at border with Syria and close off any infiltration by
terrorists into Iraq.
US military withdrew from its base in the city of Hasakah in Syria, the first
base to be evacuated by US forces since US President Donald Trump’s
announcement of troops withdrawing from Syria, Turkish media reported.
years after the deployment of nearly 2,200 US troops inside Syria, the
withdrawal seems to have begun, Turkish media outlets reported.
to local residents, about 50 US soldiers have already left their positions in
the town of Al-Malikiya in Hasakah and have turned their armored vehicles into
sources say US troops are deployed in about 18 military bases, while US
officials said the withdrawal would take between two months and three months.
withdrawal in northern Syria comes in an area that Ankara, Moscow and Tehran
are racing control it, while Kurdish units seem closer to making a deal with
Russia away from Turkish intervention.
United States still has about 2,000 troops in Syria, many of them special
operations forces working closely with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias
known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF.
Al Khalifah regime in Bahrain has stripped more than 800 nationals of their
citizenship during the past six years, a human rights group says.
to a new report by the UK-based NGO, SALAM for Democracy and Human Rights,
cited by the Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website on Saturday, Manama
has revoked the citizenship of 804 nationals from the beginning of 2012, a year
after widespread anti-regime rallies began to rock the small Persian Gulf
which tries to preserve universal principles of dignity and respect by
shielding democracy and human rights, detailed by the year the number of
revocations per year: “2018 (298) - 2017 (156) - 2016 (90) - 2015 (208) - 2014
(21) - 2013 (0) - 2012 (31).”
also said that the highly controversial move of revoking citizenship with an
increasing rate is taken with the growing use of the judiciary for punishment
despite international convictions.
Thursday, the Supreme Court of Appeals stripped 25 Bahraini activists of their
citizenship, accusing them of involvement in a purported terror attack.
of anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost
daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the country in mid-February
are demanding that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just
system representing all Bahrainis to be established.
has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent. On March 14,
2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to
assist Bahrain in its crackdown.
of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others sustained injuries or
got arrested as a result of the Al Khalifah regime’s crackdown.
March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military
tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount
to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.
to continue backing Palestine, Zarif says
Islamic Republic of Iran will remain on the side of the Palestinian people and
will support the Palestinian cause,” Zarif said during a meeting with Ziad
al-Nakhala, the secretary general of the Islamic Jihad movement.
said it is one of the principles of Iran’s foreign policy to support Palestine.
his part, Nakhala said the resistance front has boosted its capacities to
counter the aggressors.
during a meeting with Mahmoud al-Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas and a member of
the Hamas leadership in Gaza, on December 23, Zarif said supporting Palestine
is a principled policy of Iran.
Palestine is one of the principled policies of the Islamic Republic and we hope
that certain Islamic governments which are dependent on the U.S. and Zionists’
support would return to the world of Islam and would realize that the Zionists
are not a trusted friend and partner,” he said.
also suggested that the Islamic world should support Palestine unitedly.
expressed hope that the Zionism project would end in failure through resistance
by the Palestinians and support by the Islamic world.
Yemeni government source denied reports that the pro-Iranian Houthi militia had
withdrawn from the port of Hodeidah.
source said that: “During a meeting on Friday, Retired Dutch general Patrick
Cammaert, the head of a United Nations advance team, handed over a memorandum
to the parties requesting that the two sides provide, on Tuesday, January 1,
2019, perspectives on the ceasefire and redeployment mechanisms.”
source added: “During the meeting, the government’s delegation told the Dutch
general Cammaert that they reject any measures or unilateral actions,
emphasizing that any decision must be made through formal means and by approval
from the UN redeployment committee.”
source confirmed that the Houthis’ statement on the redeployment in the port of
Hodeidah is a clear attempt to maneuver around Sweden peace deal regarding the
port which is not acceptable and is considered a violation that might lead to
the deal’s failure.
government submits formal complaint to UN
delegation of the Yemeni legitimate government submitted on Saturday a formal
complaint to the United Nations on the announcement of handing over Hodeidah
his part, the head of the UN team acknowledged that Houthis did not hand over
the Hodeidah port.
Al Arabiya's correspondent reported that the Yemeni government has not received
any notification about the withdrawal of the Houthis from the port of Hodeidah.
correspondent confirmed that the legitimacy observed redeployment and
repositioning of the Houthi militias in the province.
per the Sweden peace deal the Houthis must withdraw from the port and handover
control to local units of Yemeni coast guards who were in charge of protecting
ports before the war. These will be under UN supervision, according to Reuters.
Houthis’ withdrawal from the three ports of Hodeidah, Salif and Rass Issa is
intended to be the first step in the implementation of the agreement.
agreement, the first significant breakthrough in peace efforts in five years,
was part of confidence-building measures intended to pave the way for a wider
truce and a framework for political negotiations.
port is considered the entry point for most of Yemen’s commercial goods and aid
supplies, and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.
truce came into force on December 18.
the United Nations team - tasked with monitoring the ceasefire between the
Houthis and the legitimate government - announced that the Houthis started
withdrawing from the port of Hodeidah, under the Sweden peace deal, a UN
official said Saturday. The official, who requested anonymity, said that the
Houthis began to pull back from the Red Sea port at midnight Friday. (2100 GMT
Khomeini, the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini, the founder of the Iranian
regime, stressed that the satisfaction of the people is the foundation of any
society, warning Iranian officials to observe the principles of human behavior,
and stressing that otherwise "there’s no guarantees for them (Iranian
officials) to stay in power."
added that in the absence of adherence to the rules, the Iranian regime will
lose the support of the people.
to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Hassan Khomeini said in a speech on
Saturday in the Iranian capital Tehran: “The foundations of human behavior and
reasons for survival and fall must be understood in order to take them into
account. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that we will stay, and others will
leave, if you do not observe the rules, they will take the arena from you.”
you only see the formalities of society rather than the foundations of social
relations and the core problems, be aware that these will bring unpleasant
consequences for governments,” said Hassan.
stressed the need to win the support of the people, noting that “communities
are built on the basis of consensus. Dividing society constantly and spreading
hatred and hypocrisy constantly, forces individuals into dual personality,
pushing them away from honesty, all these indicate that unpleasant consequences
the need to appease the public, he pointed out that lack of interest or development
of talents is another reason for the collapse of governments.
religious-nationalist party in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s
coalition government split on Saturday, with its leaders saying they were
bolting to appeal to more secular constituents ahead of an April election.
Jewish Home party’s schism posed no immediate threat to Netanyahu, for whom
polls predict an easy win to a fifth term. But it suggested his fellow
rightists were interested in poaching votes from a center-left opposition
energized by the candidacy of an Israeli ex-general, Benny Gantz.
Jewish Home leader, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, told reporters that he
and his deputy, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, were leaving to form “a new
party, of religious and secular together ... in true partnership”.
party, “New Right”, would, like Jewish Home, pursue hawkish security policies
including opposition to a Palestinian state, Bennett said.
was not immediately clear whether Jewish Home was also continuing as a party.
Home, which has drawn on support from Israeli settlers in the occupied West
Bank, had eight of parliament’s 120 seats.
to Bennett’s announcement, polls had predicted the party would take around the
same number in the April 9 vote, trailing Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party
and at least three center-left parties.
has frequently locked horns with Netanyahu, accusing the prime minister of
being too restrained in Gaza fighting.
Saudi air defense forces on Saturday destroyed a ballistic missile fired by the
Houthi militias targeting Najran, sources told Al Arabiya. There has yet to be
a formal statement from the Arab Coalition on the incident.
missile is the second to be launched by the militias within 24 hours, targeting
launch of the Houthi missile towards the Kingdom comes in light of successive
violations by the militias of the Sweden agreement.
November 2, Najran was also targeted by a Houthi ballistic missile, but Arab
Coalition forces succeeded in intercepting it without any injuries caused.
spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki had stated that the Houthi militias
continuously attempt to threaten the security of the Kingdom, regional
security, as well as violate international humanitarian laws.
deputy commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says
President Donald Trump's decision to pull out US troops from Syria is a sign of
Washington's defeat in the region.
decision is an “obvious retreat and the defeat and burial of US policies and
strategies in the region,” Brigadier Hossein Salami said on Saturday.
spent $7 trillion in the region, and are leaving today without any
achievements,” said the general on the sidelines of a conference on "40
years of plots and 40 years of resistance" in Tehran.
was apparently referring to Trump's remarks during a sneak trip to Iraq on
Thursday and his acknowledgement of concerns about visiting Iraq.
sad when you spend $7 trillion in the Middle East, and going in has to be under
this massive cover with planes all over and all of the greatest equipment in
the world, and you do everything to get in safely,” the US president said.
decision to withdraw all US troops from Syria has shocked and angered many
American politicians who want to see the back of President Bashar al-Assad.
Friday, leading US Senator Lindsey Graham warned in a tweet about a “major
disaster” if Syrian Kurdish militants aligned with Assad following Trump's
reports accurate about Kurds aligning with Assad, major disaster in the
making,” he said.
remarks came after the Kurdish residents of Manbij asked the Syrian government
to retake the city following the US pledge to withdraw troops from the Arab
Syrian army said later it had entered the city as it pledged to guarantee
"full security for all Syrian citizens and others present in the
for Turkey and eventually Israel,” Graham said, adding that the withdrawal
would hand over a big win to Russia, Iran and the Syrian government.
has been giving military advisory support to Syria’s anti-terror operations at
military forces have reportedly arrested 6,489 Palestinians, including 140
women and 1,063 minors, during separate operations across the occupied West
Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip throughout the current year.
Commission for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoner Affairs, in a statement released on
Saturday, announced that six Palestinian lawmakers and 38 journalists were
rounded up in 2018.
statement added that Israeli authorities had issued 988 administrative
detention orders during the mentioned period.
commission highlighted that figures showed that the sweeping majority of
Palestinians arrested this year were from the West Bank, while only 5 percent
were from the Gaza Strip.
statement came on the same day that Israeli forces raided several homes in the
northern West Bank village of Faqqu'a, and detained a Palestinian man.
official news agency WAFA reported that Israeli soldiers arrested Yasser Jamil
Abu Khamis after violently ransacking his home.
troopers also stormed the homes of his brothers, Mohammad and Loay, as well as
of his father’s. There were no reports of detentions there.
than 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly held at Israeli jails. Hundreds of the
inmates have apparently been incarcerated under the practice of administrative
detention, a policy under which Palestinian inmates are kept in Israeli
detention facilities without trial or charge.
Palestinian prisoners have been held in administrative detention for up to
inmates regularly stage hunger strikes in protest at the administrative
detention policy and their harsh prison conditions in Israeli jails.
State flags in Srinagar reflect disillusionment that is popularising radical
alternatives in Kashmir
waving of Islamic State (IS) flags and the chanting of IS slogan 'daulat ul
Islam' from the pulpit of the Jamia mosque at the heart of Srinagar after
Friday prayers is a chilling reminder of how stridently some young Kashmiris
have imbibed the pan-Islamist ideas of IS.
of them climbed onto the pulpit, which is traditionally treated with
veneration, sat down where the Mirwaiz sits to deliver his sermons, took out a
black IS flag, and waved it.
promptly made him rise from the throne-like seat and others shouted loudly in
protest, but a few more boys waved those flags just below the pulpit. Each of
them had masked his face.
boys tend to fervently believe that rule by a caliph and the imposition of
Shariat law would bring a perfect world of justice and good governance. It is a
measure of their disappointment and disillusionment with the current set-up
that they turn to such radical alternatives.
is a general impression among them that the system is corrupt and unresponsive
to the core, and does not care about the deaths of young Kashmiris.
have even come around to the view — promoted vigorously in certain social media
discourses — that democracy is a Western conspiracy to impose unpopular and
often say that it is close to impossible to get a job in the state unless one
is recommended by someone in the network of power and influence — and that such
recommendations come at a price.
of them talk of having experienced the administrative set-up as not just
corrupt but a sort of organised extortion racket.
such unsettled situations, perceptions often matter more than the objectives of
those in authority. These various perceptions have tended, over the past few
years, to drive young people towards extremist movements.
there is little attempt to explain the realities of realpolitik to them. It is
easy to see how, particularly in a milieu of deep distress, they might assume
that any regime headed by one who is known as caliph, would necessarily act in
accordance with divine guidance.
a cursory look at the history of religion-based regimes, however, would show
how totalitarian, unresponsive, self-serving and corrupt such systems can
they have claimed legitimacy on the basis of being Christian or Muslim or
Buddhist or of any other religion, earthly regimes that claim a right to rule
as given by divine right often end up only restricting the people’s right to
question them. Generally, they do not actually provide the justice, selflessness,
and accountability that their respective religions teach.
Islamic scholars agree that the caliphate became unjust in various phases after
the first four caliphs, who ruled the Muslim people of the time for the first
thirty years after the Prophet’s death.
this light, very few citizens might actually be happy with the sort of coercive
political, administrative and social systems that IS imposed in areas of Iraq
and Syria that it ruled recently.
the first place, dress codes for both women and men might be experienced as
restrictive if they were actually to be enforced. The young man who clambered
onto the pulpit was dressed in fashionably faded jeans.
who implement the laws that would be put in place might turn out to be
tyrannical and unjust in their dealings with ordinary people with no access to
power and authority.
has already been the experience of many people in Kashmir at the hands of the
police in certain phases of the past couple of decades — and the Ikhwan bands
who played havoc with the lives of so many about two decades ago.
might experience injustice more acutely, if one goes by the narratives of
several women — particularly those from minority communities — in places where
IS actually ruled in recent years.
aspect of rule by such narrow-vision groups that does not match with Kashmir’s
inclusive ethos is their potential treatment of minorities, including groups
who claim to be Muslim but do not follow all the tenets that those in power
might insist upon.
private firms in Sec 58 give space to Muslim employees for namaz
the Noida police, through a directive, deterred Muslim workers from offering
Friday namaz at the Sector 58 public park on Friday, private firms stepped up,
and offered space to their employees for the day’s prayers.
firms in Sector 58 opened up their rooftops Friday to allow Muslim employees to
the raging namaz row, Friday saw majority of the Muslim workers in sector 58
head towards a tomb adjacent to a park in Sector 54 to offer prayers. However,
a few dozen employees found a space in their respective office spaces.
owner of a hosiery company in Sector 58, told HT, on condition of anonymity,
that he has been arranging a space for his Muslim employees on the rooftop to
offer Friday prayers for the past 12 years. He said he had also arranged for an
Imam who recites the Quran to the 35-40 Muslim employees working in his
noon saw 70-80 people offer namaz on the company’s office rooftop, with Imam
Mohammad Abbas reciting verses from Quran.
have been coming to the company every Friday for the past 12 years. It started
when the owner was looking for an Imam for his muslim employees. The owner has
also arranged for a priest for the Hindu employees of the company. It’s
incredible how the environment of mutual respect has been carried for more than
a decade,” Abbas, hailing from Saharanpur and living in Bhangel village of
Noida police had Monday had issued a notice to all companies in Sector 58
asking them to inform their Muslim employees not to offer namaz in the adjacent
park, and that companies would be held “liable” in case of any violations. The
park used to be frequented by hundreds of Muslim employees every Friday for the
past five years.
has finalised the draft of a 14-point agreement with India on the basis of
which Indian pilgrims will be allowed to enter the country to visit Gurdwara
Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur through a special corridor that is expected to be
operational by November 2019.
proposed agreement was to be sent to India, but was leaked to the Pakistani
media ahead of its dispatch.
to Pakistani officials quoted by local media, the draft document had been
readied, but it hadn’t been approved as yet and had not been shared with India.
has proposed steps including security clearance of Sikh pilgrims by Indian
authorities and possession of valid Indian passports for visiting the Gurdwara
in Kartarpur, Pakistan, where Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, died in 1539.
has also proposed that a maximum of 500 pilgrims from India should be able to
visit the holy site daily in groups of 15 between 8am and 5pm. It proposed
visa-free entry for Indian pilgrims, and the setting up of facilitation centres
and security checkposts within the planned corridor on both sides of the
shall issue a special permit to Sikh pilgrims ahead of their visit to Kartarpur
and the Indian government would share the list of pilgrims with Pakistan three
days in advance, according to the proposal. Both countries would compile
records of the visitors, which will include their names, travel details and
other relevant information.
has also suggested that local authorities will reserve the right to refuse
admission to any pilgrim.
officials in New Delhi said they had no knowledge of the proposed agreement.
November 28, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of
the Kartarpur corridor, which will connect Darbar Sahib Gurdwara in Pakistan’s
Narowal to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur.
president M Venkaiah Naidu laid the digital foundation stone of the project on
the Indian side on November 26.
Centre has decided to persist with its muscular “no tolerance” policy towards
militancy in Jammu and Kashmir even as violence in the Valley increases, a
senior government official said on Saturday, a day the security forces shot
dead four militants in Pulwama district.
the winter, counter-terror operations by the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps of the
Indian Army along with Central Reserve Police Force and Jammu and Kashmir
Police will continue unabated if not scaled up,” a senior ministry of home
affairs (MHA) official said on condition of anonymity. The decision to continue
with the no tolerance policy was taken after a review in New Delhi. “We believe
results will be visible soon...,” a second MHA official, who is not authorised
to speak to the media, said.
year, at least 180 young men from the Valley have joined terror groups like the
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e- Mohammed (JeM), among others, and around 240
suspected terrorists killed, the most since 2010. The slain militants include
12 top commanders of various militant groups. Gun battles have sometimes been
followed by civilian protests.
balance, however, is tipping in our favour after sustained counter-terror
operations from June 2018. Terror groups in the valley are leaderless, the
groups are directionless and most in their ranks lack training. With winter
coming in, it will be impossible for those (terrorists) in the Valley to hide
in the forests or head into mountains....,” a senior officer at Army
Headquarters said, explaining the Centre decision. “By March, the security
situation could change.”
after a sudden spike, of late, a smaller number of local men are joining terror
groups. “Only five local boys joined local terror groups last month after a
sudden peak in June, July and August”, a senior ministry of defence official
this year, the government suspended anti-terror operations during Ramazan in a
move described as “non-initiation of combat operations” in Kashmir . After
journalist Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir, and Indian army soldier
Aurangzeb were killed by militants, the initiative was called off.
police on Saturday refused to grant permission to a Pakistani organisation,
Dawat-e-Islami, to hold a public event in the Old Hyderabad.
to ANI over the phone, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) South Zone, Amber
Kishore Jha, said: "We have received a letter from Dawat-e-Islami seeking
permission for an event to be held today and tomorrow here in Hyderabad's old
the event, many local religious organisations like All India Ulaima Mashaik
Board, Quadria International, Sunni United Forum of India and Seerat un Nabi
and some others had earlier written to the DCP South Zone requesting him not to
grant permission for the event as it will pose a threat to the law and order
had received letters from many local religious organisations requesting us not
to allow Dawat-e-Islami organise the event in the old city. After evaluating
and examining the claims and counterclaims, we decided not to grant permission
to the organisation," the senior police official added.
A few masked youths desecrated historic Jamia Masjid of Srinagar after the
Friday prayer on 28th December. Separatist leaders and the management of Jamia
Masjid condemned the incident.
may be mentioned that after the Friday prayer, a few masked youths entered
Jamia Masjid and one of them mounted the pulpit wearing shoes, unfolded the
ISIS flag and also raised slogans.
companion videographed the incident. After the incident, the video clip went
viral on social media.
of the youths present at the masjid made an attempt to stop the masked youth
but failed. He was saying that they are desecrating the masjid.
Dec 30: A video of college students in Kerala carrying out a road show in
support of terror groups, Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State has been doing the
TV put out the visuals showing students of the Varkala C H Muhammad Koya
Memorial College holding a show in support of the terror groups by raising
visuals also showed Al-Qaeda flags being raised. Further writings on the walls
of the toilet colleges in support of the terror groups were also part of the
Kerala police has said that it has ordered a probe into the incident. The
college authorities say that this is an old video of seven months back. It was
part of the annual day, the authorities said while being quoted by various
visuals showed students dressed up as Al-Qaeda and ISIS activists, with their
faces covered and waving flags of the banned organisations. Sloganeering in
support of the the terror outfits were also part of the visuals. The radical
hub: Kerala has been a hub for Islamic radicalisation and this has been proven
in a number of cases that have been reported from the state over the past
decade. The politics of the state, the social fabric among a large section in
the Muslim community have made the state a happy hunting ground for jihadis. No
story on this subject would be complete unless one speaks about a terrorist
from Kerala who fought in Kashmir. This is important because this Kerala
resident was the first non-Pakistani, non-Kashmiri terrorist who fought in
Kashmir. While the state has over the years seen the influence of terror groups
such as the Students Islamic Movement of India, Indian Mujahideen, Base
Movement (Al-Qaeda's local chapter), today there seems to be more affiliation
towards the Islamic State. Over the past three years nearly 54 from Kerala went
off the radar one day and further investigations went on to suggest that they
had joined the Afghan chapter of the Islamic State.
the Indian Intelligence Bureau has always warned about the lurking danger of
radical groups, now a study in Pakistan too has identified Kerala as the state
which has the most affiliation towards the ISIS. A study titled 'Prospects of
Daesh's Expansion in South Asia,"conducted by Abdullah Khan, the managing
director of the Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies says that
Wilayat-e-Hind is the new chapter of the Daesh which is quickly attracting
educated youth in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. It says the Indian citizens,
especially from Kerala find the Islamic State more attractive than another
group. This observation comes in the wake of 54 people from Kerala joining the
ISIS in the past three years. The affiliation towards radical and terror groups
in Kerala stems out of several factors. This is the state where radical groups
such as the PFI and SDPI are extremely strong and enjoy a large amount of
political patronage. These groups have played a major role in radicalisation of
the youth, which in turn led to the major Wahhabi influx into the state from
1,000 Wahhabi preachers came into the state, spread their ideology, pumped in
money and then left. They funded the construction of new Mosques heavily, with
an intention of ensuring that the ideology was preached from these places of
worship. The newer Mosques that are coming up in Kerala are also constructed in
the manner in which they done in Saudi Arabia. This is just one small indicator
of how much people of the state are willing to follow the radical style
preached by the Wahabi scholars. Moreover the inflow of funds into Kerala from
Saudi is the highest when compared to any other part of the country. It was in
Kerala that one got to see posters mourning the death of Osama Bin Laden and
also a prayer for Ajmal Kasab after he was hanged. Intelligence Bureau
officials tell OneIndia that a large number of youth appear to be attracted to
this radical style of Islam, but also add that there are some elders who are
trying to oppose it. Several Muslim youth in Kerala got together and started an
outfit called the Ansar-ul-Khilafa KL. This was the feeder outfit for the ISIS
and its job was to identify people and send them to the ISIS.
grenade attack at Jammu bus stand on the intervening night on Friday and
Saturday, suspected militants opened fire at an army camp in Ratnuchak area of
Jammu on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday before fleeing from the
army has launched a massive search operation in the area.
Ratnuchak Military Station, a suspicious movement was noticed by the sentry on
duty around 0150 hours today (1.50 am on Sunday). The suspects were challenged
but they did not stop, thereafter warning shots were fired by the sentry. The
suspects fired back at the sentry and rushed out of sight. The search operation
is still on”, said Defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand.
grenade blast had rocked Jammu Bus Stand on the intervening night of Friday and
The deferred oil facility with Saudi Arabia should be complete and ready for
signature in January as a revised draft agreement has been sent to Riyadh, a
well-placed source in the finance ministry told Dawn on Saturday, while the
talks with the UAE on the same facility have not yet yielded a draft agreement.
have almost finalised the details of the agreement with Saudi Arabia at the
technical level,” the source said, adding that the remaining issues will be
sorted out by the second week of January.
the draft has been agreed at the technical level, it will be signed by the
ministers of both countries. The first meeting on the deal at the technical
level was held in Islamabad in October.
per proposed agreement, Pakistan will receive up to $3 billion worth of oil
with payment deferred for 365 days in the first year of the agreement in 2018.
The Saudi Fund for Development will act as a third party in the agreement.
the deal works
based refineries will place orders with Saudi Aramco — a government owned
company —for supplying crude oil. Pakistan has a long term contract with Aramco
for supplying 110,000 barrels per day (bpd). Of these, Pak Arab Refinery Ltd
(Parco) has a quota of 60,000bpd while the remaining quota of 50,000bpd is
allocated to National Refinery Limited (NRL).
Parco and NRL will place orders for import with Aramco. The Saudi Development
Fund will pay in dollars to Aramco. However, these refineries will deposit an
equivalent amount in Pak rupee with State Bank (SBP) here in Pakistan.
SBP will begin repayments to the Saudi Development Fund 12 months later, with
monthly payments. For example, the January 2019 payment will be made in January
arrangement will be in place for a period of three years, with oil imports
Arabia had earlier extended a similar special package to Pakistan soon after
the nuclear tests of 1998, following which the country faced international
sanctions. Between 1998 and 2002, Pakistan received $3.5bn (Rs190bn at the
exchange rate at that time) worth of oil from Saudi Arabia on deferred payment,
a major part of which was converted into grant and never repaid.
oil facility with UAE
to the source, talks with UAE government are in an advanced stage for a similar
agreement of up to $3bn. The conditions attached to deal will be similar to
those agreed with Saudi Arabia.
Pakistan based refineries are importing crude and petroleum products from Abu
Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) under a long-term contract. The quantum of
imports stands at 75,000bpd. However, in case of extra demand, Pakistan can
also import oil through open tender from UAE.
per the agreed contract, Parco imports 39,000bpd crude oil, followed by
29,000bpd by Pakistan Refinery Ltd and 6,500bpd by NRL.
to the source, the UAE government has not yet nominated a third party for the
payment to Adnoc.
it is expected to finalise such an arrangement next month, according to the
finance ministry official. At the moment, no formal agreement on deferred oil
facility with UAE has yet been exchanged, the official tells Dawn.
the year 2017-18, Pakistan’s fuel imports — both oil and LNG — reached to $16bn
despite fall in oil prices owing to rising consumption in the transport sector.
overall, liquid foreign currency reserves held by the country, including net
reserves held by banks other than the SBP, stood at $14,017.8 million. Net
reserves held by banks amounted to $6,560.5m.
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi met the Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin
Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign
Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani and other top officials during
a one-day trip to Doha on Sunday.
and the Qatari officials in their meetings discussed the overall regional
situation, as well as the Afghan peace process.
also discussed increasing cooperation between Qatar and Pakistan in different
fields, in addition to other regional and global issues.
arrival in Qatar, the foreign minister was received by top officials of the
Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Pakistan in Doha.
embarking on the trip, Qureshi had spoken about the relationship between
Pakistan and Qatar, where a large Pakistani community resides.
foreign minister, who last week wrapped up a whirlwind, three-day four-nation
tour of Kabul, Tehran, Beijing and Moscow in connection with the Afghan peace
process, had said that Pakistan had decided on "regional outreach"
and on taking important allies into confidence, as well as exchanging views
with them about the regional situation and the Afghan issue.
said that Doha had played a role in the peace and reconciliation process in the
past and it was therefore important to get their opinion on the matter.
has been hosting the Taliban’s political office since 2013, but Pakistan-backed
talks between US and Taliban were held in the UAE capital. This apparently was
done to accommodate Saudi Arabia and UAE in the process. Diplomatic observers
say the move did not go well with the Qatari leadership.
Terming it a campaign against opposition parties, former interior minister
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Saturday raised questions over the procedure of
accountability currently being carried out by different agencies in the
to media personnel here, he said that the fake accounts case was initiated by
the Supreme Court, but the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government while
trying to own it was making the whole accountability process controversial.
am not against accountability, but the accountability process currently going
on in the country is not transparent,” he said. Reservations being expressed
by the opposition parties on the current accountability process should be
addressed to make it transparent, otherwise it would simply be called political
victimisation, he added.
senior politician said that the country was facing a serious political crisis
and in this situation it was a better option to remain silent.
said the government should understand that it could not function properly
without an opposition. Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari were
not only faces of the opposition. They were, in fact, leaders of political
parties which played the role of an opposition, he added.
said the accountability process was being conducted by state institutions and
not by the government. But, he added, they both could be accountable for it if
it was not transparent. Furthermore, he said, the people would accept the
opposition parties’ narrative of political victimisation if the accountability
process was not transparent.
Khan broke his silence on the 2018 general election and raised questions over
its credibility and results. Expressing doubts over the results of his
constituency, he said how could it be possible that his votes in election for a
National Assembly seat were reduced while his votes in election for a
provincial assembly seat were increased.
former federal minister, however, did not answer the question why he had so far
not taken the oath of the Punjab Assembly seat he had won in the July election.
Nisar said that had the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership taken
his advice seriously the party would have been in power now, adding that he had
advised the party leadership against directly criticising the army and the
former federal minister criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for repeatedly
calling for resumption of Pakistan’s dialogue with India. He claimed that the
government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India was not interested in
holding talks with Pakistan. PM Khan’s repeated plea for resumption of dialogue
was contrary to the national honour, he added.
Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar on Saturday said it was the
“judiciary’s constitutional responsibility” to tackle the flaws of
Nisar, while addressing the convocation ceremony of Services Institute of
Medical Sciences (SIMS) in Lahore, said that ensuring the provision of proper
health services was neither his nor court’s job; however, curbing flaws of
institutions is the constitutional responsibility of the judiciary.
however, went on to defend his judicial activism. The judiciary is the
“guardian of the fundamental rights of the people of Pakistan” by the law and
thus it’s “bound to ensure that the rights of the people are protected”.
were flaws in hospital management systems and it was our responsibility to deal
with them,” he said, adding that judiciary did not interfere in the internal
matters of any institution.
top judge further said that private hospitals have become business centres and
are no longer academic institutes. He further said that Rs726 million were
recovered from the millions earned by private medical colleges as fee and were
returned to the students.
Justice Nisar talked about female doctors who abandon practice after getting
their degrees. “If you sit at home and become housewives [after receiving
medical education], you violate the oath that you swore today, which is to help
said that the constitution had ended the quota system where women were allotted
lesser seats than men, so that admissions are given on the basis of merit. It
is detrimental to society, he said, when female doctors abandon their
chief justice urged female students to convince their families to facilitate
them so they can serve as doctors and repay the resources provided to them by
Nisar, while recalling incidents from his childhood, said, “When I was eight
years old, I used to take my mother to the doctor in a horse carriage and we
used to spend hours at the clinic. My mother taught my brother and me to serve
humanity and prayed to God to protect us from all difficulties.”
who suffer greatly, understand the pain of others,” the top judge added. “I
began my mission with my mother’s teachings in mind,” he continued.
have spent my whole life working for the provision of justice. The purpose of
my life is to stay loyal to my profession,” he said, adding that moral
righteousness was his motto.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called on authorities in Sudan to
investigate deaths during violent protests in Khartoum and other cities.
least 19 people have been killed since December 19 during protests sparked by
Khartoum’s decision to hike the price of bread, according to the government.
“appeals for calm and restraint and calls on the authorities to conduct a
thorough investigation into the deaths and violence,” the UN spokesman said in
UN chief is “following with concern” developments in Sudan and “emphasizes the
need to safeguard freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”
police fired tear gas at worshippers who staged demonstrations after Friday
prayers in several cities, including Khartoum and its twin city of Omdurman on
the west bank of the Nile, witnesses said.
posted by activists on social media showed thick plumes of smoke rising from
neighborhoods in Khartoum as protesters burned garbage and tires.
groups have called for more anti-government rallies to be held over the next
is facing an acute foreign exchange crisis and soaring inflation, despite the
US decision to lift an economic embargo in October 2017.
on Friday condemned a terrorist attack that killed at least 10 people in
northwestern Burkina Faso.
are saddened by the terrorist attack against the security forces in Sourou
State in northwestern Burkina Faso, claiming many lives and leaving several
people injured,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
condemn this heinous attack and offer our condolences to the people and
Government of Burkina Faso,” the statement said.
Gari town in Gujba local government of Yobe State has been reportedly under
attack by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.
has it that, the gunmen came to the town in a convoy of trucks and started
shoot sporadically with residents fleeing for safety last night.
POST gathered that the assault seems to be a reprisal attack as last week after
two Boko Haram insurgents were reportedly killed by members of the vigilante.
town which is about 63 kilometers away from Damaturu, the Yobe State capital,
is the ancestral home to APC National secretary and Yobe APC gubernatorial
aspirant Mai Mala Buni.
may let Kurdish militants to keep arms after Syria pullout: Officials
officials say the Pentagon is considering recommending that Kurdish militants
be allowed to keep American-supplied weapons after the withdrawal of troops
on the condition of anonymity, three US officials told Reuters that the
recommendations were part of discussions at the Pentagon on a draft plan.
initiative, they added, would be presented to the White House in the coming
days with US President Donald Trump making the final decision.
this month, Trump ordered a quick withdrawal of all 2,000 US forces from Syria
claiming victory over the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the war-torn
media reports say the planned pullout has made anti-Damascus Kurdish militants,
who have long enjoyed American support, feel abandoned by Washington.
Friday, Kurdish YPG militants asked Damascus for protection after the
withdrawal of US troops. Units of the Syrian army entered Manbij later and
hoisted the national flag in the Kurdish-held city.
views the YPG as a terrorist group and an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK) and threatened to attack east of the Euphrates River in
northern Syria to drive out the militants.
about possible US recommendations for leaving behind weapons provided to
Kurdish militants, the Pentagon said it would be “inappropriate” and premature
to comment on what will happen with the arms.
is ongoing, and focused on executing a deliberate and controlled withdrawal of
forces while taking all measures possible to ensure our troops’ safety,” said
Pentagon spokesman Commander Sean Robertson.
of the American officials stressed that the US had vowed to arm the YPG until
the purported fight against Daesh was complete.
fight isn’t over. We can’t simply start asking for the weapons back,” he added.
one noted that it would be nearly impossible to locate all of the equipment
supplied to the Kurds, asking, “How are we going to get them back and who is
going to take them back?”
other US official said, “The idea that we’d be able to recover them is asinine.
So we leave them where they are.”
person familiar with the discussions of the US pullout plan said that the White
House and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan would oppose the proposal to allow
the YPG to retain its weapons.
recommendation “is a rejection of Trump’s policy to withdraw from Syria,” he
likely US plan to leave weapons at the hands of the Kurds is expected to
infuriate Ankara, which has repeatedly complained about Washington's close ties
with the militants.
US has given the Kurdish militants anti-tank missiles, armored vehicles and
mortars. Back in April, Erdogan said the US had sent 5,000 trucks loaded with
weapons to northern Syria.
Abdullah Hassan, whose Yemeni mother had been banned entrance to the United
States by the State Department for months to see him, has died.
died on Friday from a terminal genetic brain disease named hypomyelination in
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, California.
two-year-old Hassan, who was a US citizen, had been brought to the US for
treatment about three months ago by his father, Ali Hassan, who also bears US
mother, Shaima Swileh, had been barred from visiting her ailing son due to the
US travel ban imposed on several Muslim countries.
months, the US State Department, citing the presidential travel ban, had rejected
her visa request.
was eventually granted permission to enter the US days before Hassan’s death
and only after she sued the Trump administration over the travel ban.
are heartbroken. We had to say goodbye to our baby, the light of our lives,"
the father was quoted by media as telling reporters.
travel ban targets people from six Muslim-majority countries, namely, Iran,
Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad.
addition to the Muslim states, North Korea and Venezuela are also targeted in
the presidential ban.
the 2016 presidential race, Trump campaigned for "a total and complete
shutdown" of Muslims entering the US.
White House says President Donald Trump has not yet ordered the US military to
pull troops out of Afghanistan, amid reports that Trump is planning for the
withdrawal of thousands of troops from the country.
president has not made a determination to drawdown U.S. military presence in
Afghanistan and he has not directed the Department of Defense to begin the
process of withdrawing U.S. personnel from Afghanistan,” Garrett Marquis, a
spokesman for the National Security Council, said in an emailed statement to
Bloomberg on Friday.
official White House statement came after reports were published by Bloomberg
and various media outlets from unnamed American officials who claimed the
Pentagon was pulling out some 7,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan. The US has
a total of 14,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan.
United States -- under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency -- and its allies
invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on
terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more
than one and a half decades, the foreign troops are still deployed to the
becoming the president in 2008, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to
end the Afghan war -- one of the longest conflicts in US history – but he
failed to keep his promise.
Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and
following occupation of Afghanistan as "Obama's war".
Trump has also announced to deploy thousands of more troops to the war-torn
country, signaling a policy shift.
Taliban on Thursday warned the United States it would face the same fate as the
Soviet Union in the 1980s if it did not leave Afghanistan.
spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that US forces face
"humiliation" and could "learn a great deal" from the
experience of their Cold War foe.
majority of Americans have expressed support for pulling the US troops out of
Syria, according to a recent poll.
to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll published by The Hill on Saturday, the
majority of the participants in the survey supported US President Donald
Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria and reduce the country’s
military presence in Afghanistan.
announced that he had decided to withdraw the approximately 2,000 US troops in
Syria, and cut in half the roughly 14,000 US forces in Afghanistan.
results showed that 52% of respondents said they backed the withdrawals from Syria
contrast, 48 percent said they oppose the troop withdrawals and reductions, the
announcement of the US troop withdrawal was followed by the resignation of
Defense Secretary James Mattis and Brett McGurk, the US special envoy to the
so-called anti-Daesh coalition in Syria and Iraq.
criticized Mattis, saying he gave the former general a second chance after he
had been fired by former President Barack Obama.
Russia agree to cooperate with eye on US withdrawal
Russian and Turkish ministers have agreed to maintain cooperation in northern
Syria as US forces prepare to withdraw and Ankara threatens to launch a
military operation against the American-backed Kurdish forces controlling
nearly a third of the country.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said before the talks began that they would
focus on the situation in and around Idlib, as well as "what can and
should be done" when the US withdraws from Syria.
the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that much of
the discussion focused on the pending American withdrawal and that Russia and
Turkey managed to agree on coordinating their steps in Syria "to
ultimately eradicate the terrorist threat."
is a key ally of Damascus who have reportedly sent forces into northern Syrian
areas at the invitation of the Kurdish majority Syrian Democratic Forces –
until now a strong ally and partner of the US in the fight against ISIS. The
move by the Kurds is seen as an attempt to head off a Turkish military push
across the border by creating a buffer zone of Syrian government forces and
also as means of bolstering relations between the Kurds and the government
ahead of possible talks on the future of the region.
official Anadolu news agency said the meeting lasted an hour and a half.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Russia and Turkey have a
"shared will on cleaning Syria from all terror organizations," and
added Turkey would continue its "close cooperation" with Russia and
Iran in Syria and the region.
Syrian military said it entered the Kurdish stronghold of Manbij on Friday as
part of an apparent agreement between the two sides.
President Donald Trump's surprise decision to withdraw troops earlier this
month, Turkey announced it will hold off on a threatened offensive against
Kurdish militants that it considers terrorists. It has, however, continued
amassing troops at the border as it monitors the situation.
movements follow days of equipment transfers across the border into a
Turkish-held area of northern Syria near Manbij. Turkish-backed Syrian
opposition fighters said they have started moving along with Turkish troops to
front-line positions near the town as a show of readiness.
statement released by the rebels said they are ready to "begin military
operations to liberate the city in response to calls by our people in the city
news agency IHA showed video of at least 50 tanks arriving at a command post in
Sanliurfa province early on Saturday. The province borders Kurdish-held areas
east of the Euphrates river in Syria.
Russian side was represented in Saturday's talks by Mr Lavrov, Mr Shoigu, and
Kremlin foreign affairs aide Yuri Ushakov. The Turkish delegation includes Mr
Cavusoglu, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, intelligence chief Hakan Fidan
and Defence Minister Hulusi Akar.
spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on Saturday that, in addition
to the foreign and defence ministers of each country, the meeting was attended
by intelligence chiefs from both sides.
Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not attend the meeting. Mr Peskov
said the two would later schedule a separate meeting.
Syria, opposition activists said the head of a local council allied with the
Kurds was assassinated in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor. The Britain-based
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Marwan Fatih, head of the Deir Ezzor
Council, was shot dead in the province by unknown assailants. The activist
collective DeirEzzor24 said he was killed when a roadside bomb exploded on the
highway linking the cities of Ezzor and Hassakeh in the northeast.
police say they have arrested a Syrian man suspected of involvement in
preparations for a terror attack in the Netherlands.
said the 26-year-old was arrested Saturday in the western city of Mainz
following an extradition request from the Netherlands. They didn’t name him.
statement from police said the suspect has neither an official residence nor a
criminal record in Germany. The apartment where he was found was searched.
police said they couldn’t give further details, which they said are a matter
for the police in the Dutch city of Rotterdam who are leading the
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says his government wants to end arms sales to
Saudi Arabia due to war and atrocities in neighboring Yemen.
are not in favor of the sale of these weapons and so now it is only a question
of formalizing this position and acting accordingly,” Conte said at the prime
minister’s traditional end-of-the-year press conference on Friday while
responding to Italy’s continuing arms exports to the Persian Gulf kingdom.
move comes amid controversy over Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen and massive aerial
bombardment of Yemen’s residential areas and infrastructure there as well as
the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in
Conte’s decision goes ahead, Italy would join a growing list of countries
halting arms sales to the Saudis.
Finland, Germany and Norway have already decided to stop selling arms to Saudi
Arabia, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also expressed
interest in canceling his country’s $13 billion arms deal with Riyadh.
announced in October that Ottawa stands ready to halt its weapons deal with the
Saudis, claiming in a parliamentary address that "we strongly demand and
expect that Canadian exports are used in a way that fully respects human
Canadian branch of the US-based General Dynamic arms manufacturer has been
contracted to deliver 742 armored vehicles to the Saudi kingdom to support its
aggression against Yemen.
Trudeau’s pledge however, reports last week revealed that a consignment of the
military vehicles had already left Canada for Saudi Arabia.
leading daily The Globe and Mail reported last Sunday that a cargo ship loaded
with armored vehicles left the port of Saint John for Saudi Arabia a day after
protesters gathered to condemn the shipment.
report earlier this month further revealed that despite Germany’s claim of
halting its arms shipments to the Saudis over the murder of Khashoggi, Berlin
is covertly continuing its arms exports to the kingdom and is even planning to
resume overt weapons sales to Riyadh soon.
is while many more Western governments are continuing their arms deals with the
Saudis, including the US, France, and the UK.
United Nations calls Yemen the site of the worst humanitarian suffering in the
world as the Saudi war has left 14 million people facing starvation
Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 to reinstate former president Abd Rabbuh
Mansur Hadi, who had resigned amid popular discontent and fled to Riyadh.
aggression is estimated to have left 56,000 Yemenis dead.
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