Masjid-Ayodhya: Lucknow News - Times of India
The Aftermath of the Babri Demolition on December 6, There Were Shining
Examples of Hindus Risking Their Lives to Protect Their Muslim Neighbours
ISI Desperately Looking For Victory of BNP-Jamaat
Refuses Top Human Rights Official Access To Uighur Muslim’re-Education' Camps
Muslim Brotherhood Using Sean Penn Again, This Time on a Khashoggi Film?
Seeks ‘Formal Apology’ From Myanmar over ‘Anti-Muslim’ Comment
You Execute Me, I Will Become A Shaheed, Says Zakir Naik
Quietly Deporting IS Sympathisers of Indian Origin
Police reviews security, holds peace meets ahead of Babri mosque demolition
Paris attack: French police team in Kerala to quiz man with ‘IS links’
Govt Hits Islamist Group with Sedition, Terrorism Charges
meets Pak PM Imran, seeks assistance to end Afghan conflict
will have uniform syllabus by 2020: minister
Tariq Jamil all praise for PM Imran Khan
adjourns TLP funding case till Jan 2
Imran vows Pakistan’s full support to Afghan peace
Muslim Voices Drowned Out In Indonesia
and Opposition Play Race Card Against The Government In Kuala Lumpur
challenge to fatwa ruling to be heard in March
of Muslim Minorities in Xinjiang Severe Human Rights Crisis: US
Muslim Brotherhood Using Sean Penn Again, This Time On A Khashoggi Film?
Terrorists Executing Local Residents in Syria's Dayr Al-Zawr, Top UN Official
hands Muslim Brotherhood leader another life sentence
Civilians Killed, Injured in US Raids, Artillery Attacks in Eastern Syria
in Aleppo Chemical Attack Armed by French Experts
of ISIL Terrorists Killed in Syrian Army's Ambush in Depth of Homs Desert
Least 40 Pakistani Taliban Killed In Ghazni Operations
closes Rohingya camps but 'entrenches segregation'
govt, Taliban ready for talks
commander and his comrades killed in Faryab province
Urges UN to Condemn Iran Missile Test
Leader in Texas Says He Is Getting Ousted For Being A Muslim
Nabs Huawei CFO for ‘Breaking’ US Bans on Iran
shaping new ‘liberal’ order to block Russia, China, Iran — Pompeo
doubt' prince tied to Khashoggi murder: US senator
pressuring Arab allies to back anti-Hamas resolution at UN
renews diplomatic presence in Somalia after almost three decades
Brexit Quits Party Over Anti-Muslim Fixation
Analyst Hails Farage For Leaving ‘Islamophobic’ UKIP
rights group blasts arms sale to Saudi Arabia
Justice Ministry official in London dismissed
Moves Closer To Adopting Law against Funding Terrorism
Files Arrest Warrants for Saudi Crown Prince Allies Over Khashoggi Murder
government team heads to crunch peace talks with rebels
Erdogan is cosying up with Doha for funds to offer sops before local polls?
detain 12 nuns volunteering in a Hodeidah hospital
friendly fire kills, injures several mercenaries in Yemen
Yemeni delegates head to Sweden for peace talks
Judge Throws Out Rioting Charges against Shiites
Call For Criminal Probe Into Migrant Deaths Off Libya
Haram attacks kill 8 soldiers in NE Nigeria
officials report deadly US-backed raid on al-Shabaab
Haram raids kill soldier in NE Nigeria as attacks intensify
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Amid the heightened communal tension and killings in Ayodhya in the aftermath
of the Babri mosque demolition on December 6, 1992, there were also shining
examples in the temple town of Hindus risking their lives to protect their
residents recall several heartwarming stories of Hindu community elders sending
violent karsewaks away from several neighbourhoods and priests giving shelter
to vulnerable Muslims in temples.
town had some 4,500 Muslim residents at that time.
were some 50-60 houses of Muslims in the Godiana locality near Raiganj in
Ayodhya, where I live,” says writer Anurag Shukla.
still remember when a mob came asking about the houses where Muslims stayed,
senior residents of the locality such as Ram Chandra Mishra, Ram Shankar Shukla
and K C Shrivastava stopped them.”
seniors insisted that their relations with Muslims of the area went back many
generations and that they wouldn’t allow anyone to be harmed. The elders
refused to be swayed by threats, forcing the karsewaks to beat a retreat,” says
Ali, president of Ayodhya Muslim Welfare Society, recalls how mahants and
sadhus of the Hanumangarhi temple protected Muslims. “Many Muslims took shelter
in temples and local mahants protected them till peace returned to Ayodhya,” says
Parag Lal Yadav, a gardener who lives in Rajghat locality of the town, “After
the mosque’s demolition, a mob started attacking Muslim homes in Rajghat,
Mirapur Bulandi and Dorahi Kuan. Many families came to our house for shelter.
We formed a human shield to keep them safe. One rioter hit my head thinking I
was Muslim but we succeeded in saving many lives.”
son Ajay says their neighbour Ramzaan Ali and his wife were chased by rioters
but managed to escape to their house.
running they dropped their infant child. The mob was about to throw the baby
into a fire, but I claimed him as my son and managed to save him,” he says.
ISI desperately looking for victory of BNP-Jamaat
is scheduled to hold the next general election on December 30. This election
particularly is seen as a battle between secularist Awami League and radical
Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its political and ideological
darling, Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh (JIB). Despite this fact, India unfortunately
has been maintaining total silence while Pakistani spy agency Inter Service
Intelligence (ISI) has become extremely active in ensuring victory of its
long-time ally JIB and BNP. Pakistan wants to see an anti-Indian political
force in power in Bangladesh.
game of Pakistani ISI:
spy agency – Inter Service Intelligence has become active in seeing Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat e Islami Bangladesh (JIB) form the next
government in Bangladesh following December 30 general election. According to
credible sources, ISI is seeing the upcoming election as a battle between
Islamabad and New Delhi and are willing to see an anti-Indian BNP and Jamaat
win a landslide victory. With this goal, ISI officials had already held meeting
with BNP’s fugitive leader Tarique Rahman in London as well JIB leader
barrister Abdur Razzak promising all possible cooperation in attaining this
also has been using its contacts in the US Capitol, including the US Senate and
Congress with the agenda of getting Washington’s support towards BNP and
is a global terror outfit:
to several counterterrorism organizations and individuals, Jamaat e Islami is a
terrorist organization with network in a number of Western countries including
United States, United Kingdom and Canada. Commenting on Jamaat e Islami (JI),
Abha Shankar, Senior Analyst at the Investigation Projection Terrorism Investigative Project on Terrorism and Sam
Westrop, Director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum in an
article wrote, “In the decades since the 1971 war, JI has committed violent
acts all across South Asia and, today, the Bangladeshi branch is closely
involved with Islamist terror in both Bangladesh and India. JI leaders have openly
expressed support for Taliban terrorists and mourned their deaths. And in 2017,
the U.S. government designated Hizbul Mujahideen, a Kashmiri jihadist group and
JI Pakistan’s “militant wing,” as a terrorist organization.”
hates Indo-Bangladesh offensives on militancy:
a Pakistan-based research report conducted by Abdullah Khan, the Managing
Director of Pakistan Institute for Conflict and Security Studies (PICSS) said,
counterterrorism and counter-militancy initiatives of Bangladesh and India are
“state sponsored terrorism”. It said Islamic State (ISIS) is “provoked by the
governments of India and Bangladesh which are known for their ‘state-sponsored
terrorism’ against the Muslim communities”. The report claims, “Bangladesh,
India and Pakistan are under a new Eresulting from a major shift from the
to the PICSS report, ‘Wilayat-e-Hind’ (WeH) is the new chapter of Daesh which
is quickly attracting the educated youth in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, and
promoting its radical Islamic and antisemitic ideology.
study titled “Prospects of Daesh’s Expansion in South Asia” further said, “An
unorganised presence of WeH militants has been identified in parts of Pakistan,
India, Bangladesh and other countries of the South Asian region. The WeH
operates as an Indian chapter of the ISIS which was formally announced in
highlights that the Indian citizens, especially from Kerala State, find ISIS
more attractive than any other radical Islamic militancy group and at least 54
people from Kerala have announced to join the ISIS during the past three years.
who have joined the Wilayat-e-Hind are well-educated and most of them are
engineers, doctors and MBA degree holders. Indian citizens are mostly joining
Khorasan chapter of Daesh than the core group in Syria or Iraq. However, the
possible launching route of Indian ISIS members to Afghanistan is not clear
yet,” the study reads.
the counter-militancy initiatives of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,
Abdullah Khan told Pakistan Today, “…… the WeH Bangladesh chapter was another
surprise addition where the so-called secular regime of Prime Minister Hasina
was targeting religious Muslim groups under a witch-hunt drive.”
Pakistani research group falsely portrays notorious radical Islamic militancy
groups such as Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), Ansar Al Islam (AAI), Jamaatul
Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) and the student front of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh
(JIB) as “Muslim groups” with the ulterior motive of misleading the global and
in particular Western counterterrorism bodies.
State Department branded Jamaat affiliate HM as terrorist entity:
Department of State in a report dated August 16, 2017 said, “The Department of
State has designated Hizbul Mujahideen—also known as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, also
known as HM—as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the
Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist
(SDGT) under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. These designations
seek to deny HM the resources it needs to carry out terrorist attacks. Among
other consequences, all of HM’s property and interests in property subject to
U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging
in any transactions with the group.
in 1989, HM is one of the largest and oldest militant groups operating in
Kashmir. Hizbul Mujahideen is led by Specially Designated Global Terrorist
Mohammad Yusuf Shah, also known as Syed Salahuddin. Hizbul Mujahideen has
claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the April 2014,
explosives attack in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which injured 17 people.
action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that HM is a terrorist
organization. Terrorism designations expose and isolate organizations and
individuals, and deny them access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover,
designations can assist the law enforcement activities of U.S. agencies and
about Jamaat-e-Islami’s network:
Shankar and Sam Westrop further wrote “In America, JI [Jamaat-e-Islami]
operatives have their own prominent institutions, which pose as representative
bodies of American Muslims. These institutions and their officials have served
as vocal supporters of JI in Pakistan and Bangladesh, helped coordinate
protests against the War Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh, and organized lobbying
and PR efforts in D.C.
fact, one of the JI war criminals tried in absentia in Bangladesh,
Ashrafuzzaman Khan, fled to the U.S. and helped establish and lead one of these
American JI organizations: the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA).
Testimony and evidence showed that Khan served as the “chief executor” of a JI
killing squad, named Al-Badr. The war crimes tribunal concluded that he had
carried out the abduction and murder of 18 Bangladeshi intellectuals. “They
killed top professors, journalists, and doctors to make the nation devoid of
any talent,” senior prosecutor M.K. Rahman said immediately following the
guilty verdict against Khan.
does not hide its JI affiliations, and is openly identified as a JI proxy
within Islamist circles. ICNA’s educational programs have featured staunch
hardline ideologues, and JI founder Maududi’s books have been promoted on the
website of ICNA’s youth division, Young Muslims. In fact, JI leader Yusuf
Islahi, a leader of JI’s Indian affiliate (JI Hind), has spoken at ICNA
conventions and is a chief patron of an ICNA
proselytizing project named “WhyIslam.” At a 2001 JI Hind event hosted in the
Indian city of Aligarh, Islahi reportedly blamed Jews for the 9/11 attacks,
which he nevertheless described as a befitting response to American arrogance.
operates an international relief arm named Helping Hand for Relief and
Development, a 501(c)(3) which raised an astonishing $40 million in 2016.
Despite its position as one of the wealthier charities in America, Helping Hand
organized a conference in Pakistan last December with the Falah-e-Insaniat
Foundation, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the State
Department in 2010 because of its function as the charitable wing of the
Pakistani terrorist network Lashkar-e-Taiba, which helped mastermind the 2008
Hand chairman Mohsin Ansari (also the former chairman of ICNA Relief) openly
identifies as a JI member, and refers to the convicted 1971 killers as “heroes”
whom the “Pakistani nation will remember… for centuries to come.” He praises
Islamist politicians who are elected in spite of efforts by “anti-Muslim media
headed by jews [sic].” And in 2016, Ansari revealed that ICNA was asked to
arrange funeral prayers for one of the executed war criminals, Motiur Rahman
Nizami, the founder of the Al Badr killing squad. Ansari praised Nizami and
noted that his son had “has worked in USA (sic) tirelessly for years to help
relieve the victimization of Jammat workers in Bangladesh.”
ties have dogged American JI groups for years. One of the two women indicted
for their role in a 2015 Islamic State bomb plot lived in an ICNA-run shelter
and appeared in ICNA promotional material. And just the other week, on Sept. 6,
an ICNA official in Connecticut, Fareed Khan, was indicted by a grand jury
after lying to the FBI about his involvement with ICNA and Helping Hand. An FBI
affidavit revealed that Khan had been questioned on suspicion of financing
terror in Pakistan through the purchase and sale of medical supplies.
President Trump save Bangladesh from becoming another Syria?
BNP, Jamaat and the bloc of radical Islam and militancy are aggressively
working in grabbing power by exerting force. They are seeing the December 30
general election as the most suitable scope of ousting secularist forces from
power. It may be mentioned here that, both BNP and Jamaat are favorable to
radical Islamic terrorism. According to counterterrorism experts, if this nexus
manages coming to power on December 30, Bangladesh may become the next safe
haven of radical Islam and militancy. Jamaat promotes “Allah’r ain” (Allah’s
rule) meaning Caliphate. On the other hand, Islamist coalition partners of BNP
are in favour of replacing Bangladesh’s secular nature to brute Sharia rule.
analysts say, US President Donald Trump only can save Bangladesh from going
into the grips of radical Islamists. As a time-tested friend of Bangladesh,
United States needs to effectively help Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina in saving the country from becoming a Sharia nation or Caliphate.
has blocked a leading human rights official from visiting the “re-education
camps” which hold as many as one million Uighur Muslims.
Kofler, the German human rights commissioner, had planned to travel to the
heavily-policed northwestern region of Xinjiang to observe the country’s
treatment of the minority group.
follows reports that the Chinese government has extended state surveillance
into the homes of Uighur families as part of what it claims is a clampdown on
religious extremism and terrorism.
am shocked by reports of the treatment of the Turkic Uighur minority,” Ms
Kofler said in a statement. “Unfortunately, my request to travel to Xinjiang
was refused. “I would have liked to have gained a first-hand impression of the
situation there and will continue to push for permission to visit Xinjiang
UN‘s top human rights official, Michelle Bachelet, is also seeking access to
the region to verify reports of conditions in the camps.
have been asking for direct access to the region to be able to check and verify
the worrying reports we are receiving,” Ms Bachelet told a news conference in
Geneva on Wednesday.
inmates and monitoring groups say those interned in the camps are subjected to
prison-like conditions and forced to renounce their religion and cultural
background while swearing loyalty to Communist Party leader and President Xi
state has also imposed an increasingly strict security regime in the region
since 2017, including armed checkpoints and streets lined with facial
in one city, Hami, ordered Uighurs to hand themselves in if they followed
“problematic” Islamic practices such as abstention from alcohol.
has responded to increasing international concern by warning foreign
ambassadors not to “interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.”
government’s refusal to allow Ms Kofler to visit the region means she will
instead spend two days in Tibet on 6 and 7 December.
Kofler is due to chair talks with her Chinese counterparts in Lhasa about the
human rights situation following reports of excessive controls, restrictions on
religious freedom and punishment of relatives for the crimes of family members.
had been largely independent before communist forces invaded in 1950 and China
responded to riots and protests in 2008 with a deadly crackdown before accusing
the Dalai Lama of orchestrating an uprising.
has also extended its campaign against Muslims and other religious minorities
to other provinces such as Gansu, where authorities shut down a school teaching
deeply concerned about the human rights situation in China,” said Ms Kofler.
“It has become even more serious in recent years. This is particularly
affecting the critical voices in civil society – human rights lawyers,
journalists and bloggers.
believe it is important for a regular, close and direct exchange with the
Chinese Government to take place. That is the only way that we will be in a
position to openly discuss issues on which we disagree.”
two countries last held human rights talks in Germany in 2016, after China
cancelled the scheduled dialogue in 2017.
US actor Sean Penn has arrived in Turkey to gather information for a potential
documentary on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi case.
to some US media, Penn has been very often used as a “weapons against the US
administration’s policies by communist dictators and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
is expected to meet with Hatice Cengiz, alleged fiancée of Khashoggi, on
Wednesday as reported by Turkish daily Sabah. The Oscar winner, who interviewed
Cuba’s Raúl Castro and late Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s socialist president, met
with Turkish officials in order to collect information on Khashoggi’s case.
has occasionally conducted interviews for certain US media outlets and
political documentaries echoed his sympathy toward his subjects. The Turkish
daily confirmed that Penn has already met with many officials in Ankara, who
cooperated with his requests.
work by Sean Penn linked him to favoring leftist governments and with causes
affiliated to Muslim Brotherhood in the region, as the US actor supported
Argentina and not England over the issue of the Falkland Islands. He was also
linked to Iran as he played a role in the release of two Americans who were
imprisoned in Iran, in 2011.
is very pro-refugee, which is aligned to the “demographic Jihad” promoted by
the Muslim Brotherhood, according to wordpress.com. Sean Penn earns millions of
dollars for his movies.
to the Maritime Affairs Unit of Foreign Ministry Khurshed Alam conveyed the
government’s strong protest to the ambassador when the latter met him at his
office on Wednesday.
senior official at the foreign ministry told bdnews24.com that the secretary
asserted that the statement made by Myanmar's religion minister hurt the
sentiment of the Bangladeshis. He also sought formal apology for the comment,
said the official who cannot be quoted for this story.
Minister for Religion on Tuesday said Rohingya Muslim refugees living in
Bangladesh were being "brainwashed" into "marching" on the
Buddhist-majority nation amid a diplomatic spat over the fate of the persecuted
than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state in the wake of a brutal army
crackdown last August, UN agencies say, and are now living in crowded refugee
camps in Cox’s Bazar.
investigators have accused Myanmar soldiers of carrying out mass killings,
rapes and burning hundreds of villages with "genocidal intent".
Myanmar denies most of the allegations.
Aung Ko said Bangladesh was "not letting them return", referring to
the Rohingya as "Bengalis", a term commonly used in Myanmar to imply
that they are recent interlopers from Bangladesh. Rohingya say they are native
to Rakhine state.
we release them, the population will drop," he said in a video shared by
NewsWatch, a news website.
then, they, at the camps, also feed and brainwash Bengali youths to truly
march. They will march on Myanmar. The future goal of those over populated
Bengalis is to march on Myanmar."
to repatriate an initial group of 2,260 Rohingya from the camps last month were
scrapped after none of the refugees agreed to go back, saying they wanted
guarantees of safety and citizenship.
has earlier signed an agreement with Bangladesh to take them back.
you execute me, I will become a shaheed, says Zakir Naik
you put me in jail I will spread the message of Allah. If you exile me, I will
contemplate on the magnificence of Allah's creation. If you execute me I will
become a shahid."
these words, controversial preacher Zakir Naik appeared to put on a defiant
front against Indian authorities. He claimed that he was being targetted for
discourse was given on December 1 and it was uploaded on social media on
Wednesday (December 5).
his discourse on the issue of terrorism, Naik spoke about how he handles hate
like the Constitution of my country India which gives the right to every
citizen to preach, practice propagate the religion. I did not break a single
law of the country but because I was spreading peace, I was giving solution to
humanity, all the people who don't like peace to prevail don't like me,"
said that all the more his detractors try to "break him down", the
more resolute he becomes.
claimed that his channel Peace TV had 200 million viewers out of which hundreds
were non-Muslims who were accepting Islam.
does not go down well with the enemies of Islam whether it is a western country
or the country where I was born, India. They don't like it," said Naik.
said that this was the reason why he was being persecuted.
is being probed under terror and money-laundering charges by the National
Investigation Agency (NIA). Naik is also under investigation for issuing
alleged hate speeches that inspired a deadly terror attack on a popular cafe in
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh in 2016.
Quietly Deporting IS Sympathisers of Indian Origin
United Arab Emirates, India's close strategic partner in the Gulf, has not only
been formally extraditing fugitives but also quietly deporting Indian-origin
sympathisers of the Islamic State (IS) since last year.
last year, UAE has deported a number of IS sympathisers to India including two residents
of Jammu and Kashmir. An Abu Dhabi based cell of the IS recruiters run by Indians
was busted following close coordination between Indian security agencies and UAE,
sources told ET.
cell comprising three UAE-based Indian youth recruited eight men from Indian
state of Tamil Nadu and one from Indian state of Telangana and sent some of
them to Syria to join the IS, sources said. The three recruiters identified as
Adnan Hussain from Karnataka, Mohammed Farhan from Maharashtra and Sheikh Azhar
Al Islam from Kashmir, were arrested and deported to India.
Hussain, 34, an accountant from Bhatkal town in Karnataka who had been working
in the UAE since 2012, came on the radar of Indian authorities after he was
found to have transferred funds to the account of Abdul Basith, a youth from
Hyderabad who had been recruited to join the IS.
Hussain alias Adnan Damudi, transferred funds to an account linked to Basith to
help him to travel to Syria along with four others recruited from Hyderabad,
but the trip came to an abrupt end after the families of the youth got to know
of their plan and got help from police to bring them back, sources said.
Damudi, while working in the UAE, was involved with Shafi Armar in managing two
pro-IS media websites run by Al Isabah media and Ansar ul Tawheed, a breakaway
group of the Indian Mujahideen, sources claimed.
investigations of the activities of Damudi and two others of the Abu Dhabi
module, have revealed that several people had been recruited for IS activities
in south India by the module with some also travelling to Syria.
another instance, a resident Kashmir, suspected to be a sympathiser of the IS,
was deported by UAE in August. The 36-year-old Irfan Ahmad Zargar, a resident
of Chattatabal area on the outskirts of Srinagar, was deported from the Gulf
country on August 14. Zargar, an engineer, is alleged to have been "quite
active" on social media.
was picked up by the authorities in Dubai on April 28 this year when he was
entering the country from Oman. He was subjected to intensive questioning by
Dubai authorities, sources said, adding, another youth from Ganderbal in
Kashmir, Azhar ul Islam, was deported from the UAE last year for being an
alleged IS sympathiser.
UAE has worked with India to hand over terrorists and terror masterminds in the
past decade, the counter-terror partnership gathered steam with the UAE
choosing India as a key pillar of its Look East Policy amid growing
disenchantment with traditional ally Pakistan.
is now hoping that UAE will deport Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives found guilty of
terror activities in India who have taken refuge in the Gulf country, officials
said. Over the past few years, Abu Dhabi has voluntarily shared information
with Delhi on terror operatives and their networks. UAE has one of the most
sophisticated security systems in the region including state-of-the-art cyber
capabilities that have helped it to catch terrorists and criminals.
and the UAE have agreed that resolute and credible steps must be taken to eliminate
safe havens and sanctuaries that provide shelter to terrorists and their
two countries agreed that extremism and terrorism cannot be defeated by the use
of force alone and acknowledged the need for a holistic approach, which
includes disrupting the use of the internet and social media for promotion of
extremist and violent ideologies; preventing the use of religious centres to
radicalise youth and recruit terrorist cadres and promoting tolerance.
of the Babri mosque demolition anniversary and the prevailing communal tension
in Uttar Pradesh following the Bulandshahr violence, the Agra Police on
Wednesday held peace committee meeting.
meeting, attended by all the senior police officials of the district as well as
representatives from the administration, focused on maintaining law and order
in Agra and surrounding areas ahead of the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary
on December 6. Chairing the meeting, Agra SSP Amit Pathak expressed hope that
both the Hindu and Muslim communities will maintain peace.
Pathak said any negative incident in the city will tarnish the image of Agra
and the country.
SSP has tasked several leaders of both communities to ensure that any spark of
violence in the city is curbed immediately by the community leaders through
timely intervention and coordination with the other community.
another meeting held in the Sadar Bhatti area of the city, Muslim leaders have
appealed to the community to avoid subscribing to violent thoughts as Islam has
always favoured pluralism and democracy.
Muslim Vikas Parishad chairman Sami Aghai said that radicalism and extremism
often lead to violence, posing danger to peace and harmony and require positive
intervention and discussion by Islamic scholars and community leaders. He said
that the Prophet himself had ratified pluralism, democracy and peaceful
co-existence, reproving Al-Salaf, Dar-ul-Islam, violence and hatred being
propagated by radicals and terrorists for the invested interests.
said that the Prophet himself professed to peace and harmony which is evident
from his initiatives like treaty of Hudaybiahh and Misaq-e-Madina’ aiming to
pluralism and universal brotherhood. He said that no true Muslim will oppress and
infringe the human-rigts of another Muslim or non-Muslim.
Biradari secretary Ziauddin said Indian Muslims are committed to the values and
are inclined towards inclusive religious narrative focused on spiritual synergy
with the people of all faiths.
five-member French police team probing the 2015 Paris terror attack arrived on
Wednesday to question a suspected Islamic State (IS) operative from Kerala, who
is under judicial custody for the last two years since his arrest in connection
with an IS module in the state.
French investigators have got permission from the NIA court in Kochi to
question Subahani Haja Moideen, alias Abu Jasmine, who is now lodged in
Thrissur central jail.
33, Subahani was arrested in October 2016 for his alleged links with the global
terror outfit, as also for allegedly planning an attack on foreigners in South
in the NIA said the court has granted permission to question Subahani for three
days, starting Wednesday. “They are looking at his French connections, while he
was with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria during 2015,’’ a source said.
had earlier told NIA investigators during interrogation that he had received
arms training along with Salah Abdeslam, the Belgium-born French national who
was arrested in March this year by the French police in connection with the
NIA has claimed that Subahani fought for the IS in Mosul, and after he got
tired of the violence, was allowed by the terror group to return home after
undergoing time in jail and extreme torture. On return, he allegedly got back
in touch with IS handlers over the Internet, and had gone to Sivakasi in Tamil
Nadu to procure explosives for blasts when he was arrested.
to the NIA, Subahani, a native of Thodupuzha, settled in Tirunelveli in Tamil
Nadu in order to become a member of IS in April 2015. To further IS activities,
he went to Iraq between April and September 2015, joined the terror
organisation, and waged war against the Iraq government.
to the NIA, Subahini was subjected to forensic examination, which revealed that
he had radio-opaque material embedded on his leg, which the agency said could
have been acquired from the war zone.
had told the NIA that he had sustained injuries on leg while training with and
fighting for the IS in Iraq.
govt hits Islamist group with sedition, terrorism charges
Imran Khan government has formally pressed sedition and terrorism charges
against the leaders of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) for staging violent
protests, attempting to provoke an uprising in the armed forces and ridiculing
leaders of the TLP have been taken into “protective custody” and several
thousand supporters detained in a nationwide sweep last week timed to prevent
the capital from being shut down by yet another major protest.
political analysts have reacted cynically to the clampdown, saying the TLP was
“mainstreamed” – nurtured and supported for political objectives – but was now
being destroyed because those “objectives”, notably winning power from the
Sharif Nawaz government, had been achieved.
rights activists, meanwhile, fear that the government might face a backlash
over its firm action against the TLP, but advised that they should stay firm –
to try to separate religion from politics.
clampdown follows violent demonstrations last month which saw TLP’s radical
leaders make fiery speeches after the Supreme Court’s acquittal in late October
of Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who has been on death row since 2010 for
contentious charges of blasphemy.
leaders urged army men to revolt against the military’s top brass including
commander-in-chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa for having an affiliation with
“heretics” and helping Bibi be released. They also called for the personal
staff of the Supreme Court judges to kill them for overturning the blasphemy
charges that Bibi faced.
protests spread and the mobs of supporters wielding clubs started vandalizing
public property, setting public buses on fire and harassing citizens.
TLP finally agreed to end the nationwide protests on November 2, after inking a
five-point deal with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government, which
included initiating a legal process to put Bibi’s name on the exit control list
to prevent her leaving the country.
country’s new prime minister appealed to TLP’s hardline leaders, in a message
aired on state-run Pakistan Television, not to clash with the state, or the
state would exercise its power available under the constitution.
the TLP, sensing that the government was not sincere about implementing their
agreement, called on its supporters last week to go to the capital Islamabad
for a sit-in on November 25.
police and paramilitary forces took Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the firebrand
preacher and head of TLP, into “protective custody” on November 23 along with
at least three other regional leaders. Authorities also detained several
thousand party supporters in a countrywide clampdown on the radical Islamist
now, not 2017?’
Khan, spokesperson of Awami National Party (ANP), said: “Why did they [the
military hierarchy] not allow such a drastic step against the TLP in November
2017 when the federal capital [Islamabad] was paralyzed for well over three
weeks? Why did they distribute compensation money among the protesters and
force the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government to sign a humiliating
agreement with the TLP?”
said Imran Khan and the establishment should apologize for using the card of
religion to weaken the previous government and divide its vote bank during the
believe in non-violence and do not approve of vigilantism. In that sense, we
support the government’s move against the TLP but at the same time we want similar
punishment for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) leadership who brought the
federal capital to a standstill for 126 days in 2014, vandalized democratic
institutions, called for a civil disobedience and refused to pay taxes and
bills. What this government has done during its sit-in in Islamabad warrants
institution of seditious charges against them.”
Mehdi Hasan, a left-wing journalist, historian and longtime rights activist,
told Asia Times: “Politics should not be intermixed with the religion. The parties,
which are doing politics in the name of religion, always end up in total chaos
and turmoil. The nation has paid a heavy price for these religious-political
entities since independence and now the time is ripe for a change in our
said one million people had died in the post-independence period, with 50,000
girls abducted and 10 million people migrated to safer places to avoid death
and humiliation in the time of religious turbulence.
media, he said, could play a role in educating people and discouraging
religious extremism. “Arrests and coercive steps are against the democratic
norms and civilized society. These elements should be de-radicalized through
sustained counselling and advocacy,” he added.
Rehman, secretary-general of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), said
the government did not take the people into confidence on issues relating to
minority rights and crowd politics.
they [state] show leniency, and sometimes they go berserk on these issues. We
want the law to take its course and no one should face unlawful treatment,”
Information Minister Fawad Choudhri addressed a press conference on Saturday,
at which he revealed that besides Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the government had also
charged TLP’s patron-in-chief Pir Afzal Qadri, Inayatul Haq Shah and Hafiz
Farooqul Hassan with sedition and terrorism.
convicted by the courts, the suspects could face life in prison under these
charges, he said.
also revealed that 2,899 people have been taken into custody from Punjab, along
with 139 from Sindh and 126 from Islamabad both during the protests early last
month and in the crackdown last week. But he said a good number of detainees
would eventually be released if they were found not to have been involved in
The US Special Representative for Afghan reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met
Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Wednesday, seeking Pakistan’s
assistance as part of the US effort to end the 17-year conflict in Afghanistan.
arrived in Pakistan on Tuesday, a day after Khan received a letter from
President Donald Trump seeking Islamabad’s cooperation in the Afghan peace
process. This is Khalilzad’s third visit to Pakistan since September. Ahead of
assuming charge as US special envoy, he was known for his staunch views against
Pakistan. He had always held Pakistan responsible for instability in
Afghanistan and accused it of harbouring terrorists in its tribal areas. Until
recently, Khalilzad had maintained that Taliban insurgency was
Khalilzad’s views about Pakistan, the human rights minister Dr Shireen Mazari
tweeted ahead of his visit, “This time perhaps you (Zalmay Khalizad) should
bring a less arrogant and hostile mindset when you visit Islamabad!”
his anti-Taliban and anti-Pakistan perspective, Khalilzad has succeeded in
bringing insurgents to the negotiating table.
delegation of Taliban is also currently present in Islamabad which has arrived
from Qatar to hold dialogue with Khalilzad, his team and Pakistani authorities,
a senior Taliban leader revealed. The claim, however, has neither been
confirmed nor denied by Pakistani officials.
letter and Khalilzad’s visit has slightly opened a window for mending strained
ties between Islamabad and Washington.
The Punjab will have a uniform syllabus by March 2020, says provincial minister
for school education Murad Raas.
syllabus will be ready by August 2019 and books printed by the time the next
session starts by March,” he said in the Punjab Assembly. He said a committee had
been formed and it’s working on the project and regularly conducting meetings.
Experts from Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had also been included because
eventually the syllabus had to be implemented in the entire country.
want to further expand the scope of the committee to have wider opinion. Once
the draft of the policy and syllabus is ready, it would be duly shared with the
public to have a debate on all contours of it,” Mr Raas assured.
to a question by Naseer Ahmad, the minister explained that the new syllabus
would be aimed at promoting “critical thinking and analysis.” “The current
syllabus encourages rote learning and not critical faculties. This needs to be
pressed further to explain what “uniform” would mean, the minister said the
government planned to start with official schools and madressah (seminaries)
and would eventually take the syllabus to the private schools as well.
three sources of education (government, private schools and seminaries) would
have to have the same system of learning,” he said.
about the Daanish School System, the minister said he could neither defend
these schools nor could he wind it up. “Each student in Daanish School is
costing Rs18,000 a month compared to Rs1,400 in a government school. How can
one defend this kind of dichotomy,” he claimed.
Renowned religious scholar Maulana Tariq Jamil on Wednesday appreciated Prime
Minister Imran Khan’s stance to change the country into a model welfare state
like that of Medina.
addressing a symposium hosted in Supreme Court (SC) on population control, Jamil
said that PM Khan is the first leader who announced to organise Pakistan like
the welfare state of Medina.
asserted that the major reasons behind increasing population are ignorance and
poverty, besides social pressure, a private news channel reported.
said that good and bad intentions of the leaders affect the country. “The main
ingredients of a welfare state are justice, action and economy,” he explained.
Khan and Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar also attended the
to details, matters regarding the new demographic realities of Pakistan, family
planning, mother and child’s health and advocacy campaign for population
planning in the country were discussed in the event.
of National Health Services Secretary Zahid Saeed, in his address, said that
the chief justice has called the rise in population a matter of human rights.
He said if the population continues to rise at the existing rate, it will
become double in thirty years’ time.
secretary said a number of meetings were held on the issue and the provinces
have also given their recommendations on controlling the population. He said
the Prime Minister called meeting of Council of Common Interest on this issue
in which all recommendations were approved with consensus.
A three-member team of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday
adjourned the hearing of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) registration and
funding case till January 2, after serving a notice to TLP chief Khadim Hussain
commission was informed that the TLP chief was in a protective custody and he
received the previous notice.
case was heard by commission members Abdul Ghaffar Soomro, Justice (r) Altaf
Ibrahim Qureshi and Justice (r) Shakeel Ahmed Baloch.
the last hearing on Thursday, a five-member commission headed by Chief Election
Commissioner Justice Sardar Muhammad Raza, issued another notice to the TLP
chief and instructed the district election commissioner to ensure that the
orders are obliged to as neither Rizvi nor his counsel appeared before the
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday reiterated that Pakistan wanted a
political solution to Afghan peace and reconciliation.
to US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad
who called on him at the PM’s Office, PM Imran assured the visiting diplomat of
Pakistan’s complete support to the US and Afghanistan in bringing peace to the
the meeting, Khalilzad conveyed US President Donald Trump’s best wishes to the
US leadership is looking for a peaceful solution to the Afghan peace process
and mutual cooperation between the two sides,” Khalilzad told the premier to
which he was told that Pakistan is also making efforts for a negotiated
settlement in Afghanistan.
Pakistan had assured the United States of its complete support in facilitating
a negotiated settlement in war-torn Afghanistan.
assurance was given during a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood
Qureshi and US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad who arrived in
Islamabad on Tuesday to hold meetings with Pakistan’s political and military
leadership about bringing the Afghan Taliban to peace talks.
to a statement issued by the Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal,
Khalilzad called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and reiterated US
President Donald Trump’s desire to seek Pakistan’s cooperation for peace and
stability in Afghanistan.
has assured the US side of Pakistan’s steadfast support for a negotiated
settlement in war-torn Afghanistan, the FO said.
visit comes a day after Trump wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan,
seeking Islamabad’s “assistance and facilitation in achieving a negotiated
settlement of the Afghan war”.
his first letter to PM Khan, President Trump sought “Pakistan’s full support”
for the US-led peace process in Afghanistan and for his special envoy’s trip to
will also travel to Afghanistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Belgium, the
United Arab Emirates and Qatar in a stepped-up effort to find a peaceful end to
the Afghan war.
will meet with Afghan government officials and other interested parties to
support and facilitate an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan, empowering
the Afghan people to decide their nation’s fate,” read a press release by the
US Department of State.
Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, in reply to Khalilzad’s tweet
regarding his regional visit, asked the special envoy to “bring a less arrogant
and hostile mindset when you visit Islamabad [this time]”.
has a prickly relationship with Pakistan, having often accused Islamabad of
fomenting violence in Afghanistan by supporting the Taliban.
Muslim voices drowned out in Indonesia
was a small turnout on Nov. 23 outside the Jakarta offices of the Indonesian
Ulema Council (MUI), the country's main Islamic body. Some 30 members of the
Indonesian Youth Santri Coalition demanded that the MUI issue an edict — a
fatwa — declaring as haram (unclean) a vote for the Indonesian Solidarity Party
(PSI) in legislative elections next April.
rumor floated around the staunchly Muslim community of West Sumatra that such
an edict had been issued, but the local branch of the MUI denied the rumor.
or no, the PSI has little hope of gaining power in the legislative election and
may not even get enough votes to pass the 4 percent threshold to take a seat in
the national parliament. But it's still making waves.
leader Grace Natalie had stated at the PSI's fourth anniversary celebrations
that it would not support any regional regulations based on religious
principles, whether stated in the Quran or the Bible. That earned a police
report on behalf of the Indonesian Muslim Workers Brotherhood (PPMI) from
hardline Muslim lawyer and activist Eggi Sudjana, saying she had insulted
must apologize, and since her statement was deemed to express hostility, it
could also be categorized as hate speech against religions," thundered
was questioned by police for six hours on Nov. 22 in connection with Sudjana's
report. Natalie, backed by a number of party members and reinforced with
documents including the constitution, which declares Indonesia a secular state,
told reporters later that she had received a flood of support for her position.
Police said they were continuing their investigation.
founded the PSI in 2014 as an alternative to the mainstream political parties.
Often dubbed the "party of millennials," it isn't seen as a real
threat to the establishment but has demonstrated an ability to grab media
questioning religion-based regional regulations, Natalie was echoing the fears
of many who believe Indonesia has been hijacked by religious interests. While
no recent tally has been made, in 2014 there were 422 local regulations based
on Islamic law. A researcher found that 40 percent attempted to govern morality
and another 15 percent were concerned with giving alms.
the government, through the Home Affairs Ministry, has rolled back many
regional regulations that contravene the nation's secular ideology of Pancasila
or restrict foreign investment, it has tended not to touch by-laws based on
Muslim law, or Sharia.
principles attempt to govern behavior such as women straddling motorcycles or
dancing in public places. They are most common in Aceh, which under a deal
agreed in 2005 in an attempt to end a long-running separatist movement was
allowed to apply a degree of Sharia.
staunchly Muslim areas such as West Sumatra and Gorontalo have followed the
lead. In Tangerang, right next to Jakarta, selling alcohol is banned.
Rights Watch has been warning for years that these by-laws, by setting
standards of what is right and wrong, disproportionately target Indonesian
Muslims have attempted to cool the passions. Muhammad Abdullah Darraz,
executive director of the Maarif Institute, said Natalie's comments didn't
deserve to be criminalized. Her comments on regional regulations based on
religion should be used as an opportunity to educate the public and create
healthy debate, he said.
nominee Ma'ruf Amin, who stood down as head of the MUI to run for office with
incumbent President Joko Widodo, tried to take a middle way. "There is no
need to polemicize it," Amin said on a visit to a religious school. Since
Sharia regulations are formulated at regional level, it means those regions must
need them, he argued.
would not oppose by-laws of other religions if their followers felt the need to
enact them too. The Bible could become a source of law, he added. "If
residents in the regions can prove that the Bible was the first [religious
scripture] there, it's their right," he said, adding that the issue should
not be debated.
is lending Islamic weight to the re-election bid of President Widodo but many
liberals might prefer someone who thinks like Natalie. But liberals remain a
minority of the vote and the electorate is becoming more conservative, not
Natalie, fighting to get her party's name into the headlines, provoking the
hardliners can be useful. She earned support from one potential voter who
tweeted "Grace Natalie has bigger balls than most Indonesian male
politicians." That tweet was retweeted nearly 600 times.
same is true for the Muslim hardliners. They lie in wait for perceived breaches
of religious sanctity, ready to pounce with a lawsuit that will convince their
followers that they are the true defenders of the faith and that somehow their
religion is at risk from hidden enemies.
Muslim voices like that of the Maarif Institute are being increasingly squeezed
out of the debate. And while Natalie might be able to speak out on behalf of
oppressed minorities, the same regional regulations that she argues against are
increasingly used to stifle debate.
leaves a few pockets of the country wondering what their future is in an
Indonesia increasingly dominated by Muslim fundamentalism. A Balinese
businessman, asked how he feels about the potential for Islamist domination,
says "we'll move the island to Australia."
that may be a light-hearted response to a serious question, there remains a
risk of a Balkans-style break-up of the country if the Islamist hardliners get
their way. Christian-majority areas such as East Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi
and Papua and Hindu Bali, for instance, might fear that they had no future in
the republic. For that reason, cooling off hot-headed Muslim radicals remains
the country's most important homework.
And Opposition Play Race Card Against The Government In Kuala Lumpur
Lumpur (AsiaNews/CNA) – Islamists and opposition parties will flex their
muscles next Saturday at a rally in Kuala Lumpur against the United Nations
(UN) treaty on racism.
warn that seven months after a new government took power, race and religion
have taken centre stage fuelled by interests that could threaten national
Malaysia, "race" and "religion" are official administrative
criteria found on the national identity card of all citizens over the age of
notions of "Malay supremacy" and "Muslim supremacy"
("Ketuanan Melayu" and "Ketuanan Islam") are closely
linked, since Malays are legally required to be Muslims.
sectarian violence in the late 1960s, the government adopted a series of
policies in favour of ethnic Malays, who make up around 60 per cent of the
country’s 32 million people. Ethnic Chinese are around 23 per cent whilst the
Indian population stands at 7 per cent.
to what Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad promised in September, the government
on 23 November announced that it would not ratify the International Convention
for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).
this, supporters of Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and the United Malays National
Organisation (UMNO) continue to view the treaty a threat to the rights of the
Malay ethnic group and Islam’s influence in the country.
fact, despite the government's U-turn, opposition parties decided to go ahead
with their rally, where "thousands of people are expected".
capital’s police and city council gave the green light for the event, which
will be held along Jalan Raja opposite Merdeka (Independence) Square.
ultra-Malay groups are trying to stir up racial issues to show up the new
government, to prove that Pakatan Harapan cannot handle racial tension,” said
Prof Syed Farid Alatas of National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department
Prof Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani, a political lecturer at the Universiti Utara
Malaysia (UUM), the situation underscores the need for a new law against hate
speech. The government must “put more efforts on unity and dialogue programmes
among multiracial Malaysia,” he said.
concern remains high among observers and in public opinion over the recent
violence at the Seafield Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple in Subang Jaya
26 November 26, the planned transfer of the place of worship triggered two days
of unrest, resulting in damages and 68 arrests.
LUMPUR: The challenge by women’s rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS) against
the fatwa imposed on it will proceed for full hearing on March 13 next year.
Majdah Musa, who is representing the Selangor Islamic Religious Council, said
the High Court fixed the date during case mention today.
case will be heard before judge Nordin Hassan,” she added.
present was SIS lawyer, Farhan Haziq.
Court judicial commissioner Faizah Jamaludin had heard the case mention after
it was remitted to the High Court from the Federal Court.
High Court will decide whether civil courts can hear judicial reviews involving
filed a legal challenge in 2014 in a bid to revoke the fatwa by the state’s
fatwa committee which said the group subscribed to liberalism and religious
pluralism, and deviated from the teachings of Islam.
years later, another High Court dismissed SIS’ challenge on grounds that civil
courts cannot hear issues on religious matters.
year, however, the Court of Appeal said civil courts could hear religious
of Muslim minorities in Xinjiang severe human rights crisis: US
mass detention and deployment of high-tech surveillance technologies to
systematically repress Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minority groups in
China's Xinjiang province is the most severe human rights crisis in the
Communist nation since the Cultural Revolution, the Trump administration has
told US lawmakers.
situation in resource-rich Xinjiang has been restive as the native Muslim
Uighurs have been resisting increasing settlements of majority Han Chinese from
estimated 1.1 million people have been placed in internment camps, including
re-education camps where, according to former detainees and other witnesses,
inmates are subjected to intense political indoctrination and abuse.
before a Congressional committee, Laura Stone, Acting Deputy Assistant
Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, alleged that China is
doubling down on repressive domestic controls in stark contrast to the
universal values that the US and its partners have championed for many decades.
most severe human rights crisis in China - perhaps since the Cultural
Revolution - is the mass detention and deployment of high-tech surveillance
technologies to systematically repress Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim
minority groups in Xinjiang," Stone told lawmakers during a Congressional
recent years, we have witnessed a regression in terms of China's respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms, including religious freedom; the rule of
law; and civil society," she said.
mass detentions of members of Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang, while perhaps
the most egregious example, is only one of many recent actions taken by the
Chinese leadership that run counter not only to China's international human
rights commitments, but also to Chinese law," she said.
to Stone, there have been continued reports that Tibetan Buddhists have been
subjected to forced disappearance, physical abuse, arbitrary detention, and
Chinese government asserts authority over the selection, approval, and
veneration of reincarnations of Tibetan Buddhist lamas and supervises their
to human rights activists, China severely restricts the religious practices of
Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and continues to suppress religious rights of
remain concerned about the lack of meaningful autonomy for Tibetans, and we
regularly urge China to cease restrictions on the rights of Tibetans, as well
as their unique religious, linguistic, and cultural traditions and
practices," she said.
oppressive activities aimed at residents of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous
region reportedly have severely intensified, as documented by the dogged
reporting of diplomats, reporters, academics, and Muslim communities abroad,
concluding observations on China by the UN Committee on the Elimination of
Racial Discrimination further shined a spotlight on the worsening human rights
crisis there, she said.
the guise of fighting "terrorism" and so-called "religious
extremism" China's leadership, she alleged, is intensifying long-standing
repressive policies targeting individuals who practice non-violent cultural and
religious practices in Xinjiang, including by reportedly torturing and abusing
prisoners held for their beliefs and forcing individuals to renounce their
religion and pledge allegiance to the Communist Party.
are particularly alarmed by reports that since April 2017, extremely large
numbers of Uighurs and other members of Muslim minority groups have been
detained in camps," the US official said.
are reportedly trained to diminish their ethnic identities, religious beliefs,
and nonviolent cultural and religious practices. There are reports of abuse,
including torture, and deaths in these camps. China's claims that these camps
are all "humane job- training centers" are preposterous, she said.
terrorists executing local residents in Syria's Dayr al-Zawr, top UN official
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has warned
against the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria’s troubled eastern
province of Dayr al-Zawr, saying that Daesh Takfiri terrorists are putting
local residents to death.
to a news conference in the Swiss city of Geneva on Wednesday, Bachelet voiced
deep concern for 7,000 civilians, whom she said had been caught between Daesh
militants preventing them from evacuating Dayr al-Zawr, located 450 kilometers
northeast of the capital Damascus, and US-led coalition airstrikes.
also have reports of Daesh executing people perceived as cooperating with SDF
(Syrian Democratic Forces) or other parties to the conflict,” she said.
high-ranking UN official went on to say that civilians in Dayr al-Zawr province
are being used as “pawns and bargaining chips” in the conflict.
army forces foil militant infiltration attempt in Latakia
Syrian government troops have thwarted an attempt by a group of
foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants to sneak into Kinsabba town in the
country’s western coastal province of Latakia.
official news agency SANA reported that army soldiers engaged in a fierce exchange
of gunfire with the Takfiris, leaving scores of them killed and injured.
military source, requesting not to be named, said the slain militants hailed
from Ain al-Haour area, situated only five kilometers north of Kinsabba, and
were planning to attack a military position.
army uncovers militant weapons cache in Idlib
Syrian government forces have discovered considerable amounts of munitions and
highly explosive materials from militant hideouts in Tell Silmo village of the
northwestern province of Idlib.
in the southwestern province of Dara’a, Syrian troops found weapons belonging
to Takfiri militants in Nasib village.
has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian
government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are
aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
Egyptian court has sentenced five people, including the head of the outlawed
Muslim Brotherhood, to life in prison on charges related to inciting violence
and supporting militants.
Cairo Criminal Court has convicted Mohammed Badie and five others of providing
weapons, ammunition and explosive devices to militants.
sentences are not subject to appeal. The court also acquitted six Muslim
Brotherhood leaders, including former speaker Saad el-Katatni, in the same
suspects were also charged with inciting riots, violence and premeditated
murder outside the Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo’s Mokattam neighborhood
in 2013 that killed nine people and injured 91.
chief Badie has gotten several death sentences in separate trials since his
sources reported that the fighter jets and the Syrian Democratic Forces' (SDF)
artillery units targeted over 40 times residential areas in the town of Hajin
in Southeastern Deir Ezzur, killing 25 civilians and wounding 17 more.
toll is expected to rise as some of the injured are in critical conditions.
week, airstrikes by the US-led coalition warplanes killed many more civilians
in the Eastern part of Deir Ezzur, informed sources said.
US-led coalition warplanes struck the homes of civilians in the town of
al-Sha'afah in Eastern Deir Ezzur, killing at least 14 civilians from a family
most of them children and women," battlefield sources in Eastern Deir
sources noted that many other civilians were also injured in the US airstrikes
on the residential areas.
large number of houses were destroyed and the region's infrastructure was
extensively damaged in the US warplanes' raids," the sources added.
quoted a source in Idlib as disclosing that the chemically-armed missiles that
the terrorists used recently to target Aleppo city were manufactured and
modified by French experts and were handed over to Hosrras al-Deen, Turkistani
Islamic Party and Tahrir al-Sham Hay'at (the Levant Liberation Board or the
Al-Nusra Front) terrorist groups.
the report said an Operation Room that is supervising 650 non-Syrian terrorists
from different nationalities, that could also cover activities of these French
weapons experts, has started work only 3km away from border with Turkey.
late November, Syria's government TV channel reported that the chemical
shelling targeted a crowded Nile Street, Al-Khalidiyah and Jam'iyat al-Zahra
neighborhoods. Police blamed al-Nusra Front (terror group outlawed in Russia)
for the attack.
month, Sputnik quoted informed sources close to the terrorist commanders in
Idlib province as saying that French experts were assisting Tahrir al-Sham
Hay'at to arm their missiles with chemical warheads to launch a false-flag
chemical operation among the civilian population with the help of the White
said that the White Helmets transferred a consignment of toxic chemicals from
one of Tahrir al-Sham warehouses in the town of Kafr Nubl in the Western parts
of the town of Ma'arat al-Nu'aman in Southern Idlib to an underground storage
in Idlib city which has recently been built near the Central Prison.
sources noted that the black French experts arrived in the underground storage
recently, adding that the chemical cargos were delivered to them to arms the
to the report, a number of missiles along with missile-launchers were
transferred to the region through borders.
TV channel reported that the army units carried out an ambush operation in Beir
al-Hblah and Beir al-Safawaniyah in the depth of the Eastern desert of Homs to
hunt the remaining pockets of the ISIL terrorists.
further said that a sum of 23 terrorists were killed and two military vehicles
of them were destroyed in the operation.
Tuesday, the army men engaged in heavy fighting with ISIL in Humeimeh region in
Eastern Homs and managed to repel their attack after inflicting major losses on
remaining pockets of the terrorists retreated after their failed attack.
Egyptian court has sentenced five people, including the head of the outlawed
Muslim Brotherhood group, to life in prison on charges related to inciting
violence and supporting militants.
Cairo Criminal Court has convicted Mohammed Badie and five others of providing
weapons, ammunition and explosive devices to Islamic militants.
sentences are not subject to appeal. The court also acquitted six Muslim
Brotherhood leaders, including former speaker Saad el-Katatni, in the same
suspects were also charged with inciting riots, violence and premeditated
murder outside the Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo's Mokattam neighborhood
in 2013 that killed nine people and injured 91.
least 40 Pakistani Taliban killed in Ghazni operations
Afghan Military in the Southeast claims at least 40 Pakistani Taliban militants
have been killed during the operations of the Afghan forces and coalition
airstrikes in Ghazni province.
203rd Thunder Corps in a statement said the Afghan National Defense and
Security Forces and coalition forces conducted operations and airstrikes in
Nawa, Khogyani, and Gilan districts.
statement further added that at least 72 militants have been killed during the
operations, including around 40 Pakistani Taliban militants.
to 203rd Thunder Corps, at least 2 militants were also wounded and at least 17
others were arrested during the same operations.
commander of the Taliban identified as Jabar is among those killed, the 203rd
Thunder Corps said, adding that 18 motorcycles and around 45 vehicles were also
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the operations so far.
and staff working in the camps said those that have moved into the new
accommodation remain under the same severe movement restrictions as before
the world was focused on abortive efforts to begin repatriating hundreds of
thousands of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh to Myanmar last month, hundreds
of their fellow Muslims still in Myanmar were boarding boats seeking to escape
attempted flight cast the spotlight back on 128,000 Rohingya and other
displaced Muslims still living in crowded camps in Myanmar’s western state of
Rakhine, six years after Buddhist mobs razed most of their homes.
government of Aung San Suu Kyi, under international pressure to address their
plight, says it is now closing the camps on the grounds that doing so will help
development and put the labour of camp residents to good use.
Reuters interviews with more than a dozen residents from five camps and
internal United Nations documents show the move simply means building new, more
permanent homes next to the camps - rather than allowing them to return to the
areas from which they fled - leaving their situation little changed.
that have moved into the new accommodation remain under the same severe movement
restrictions as before, residents and staff working in the camps say. A network
of official checkpoints and threats of violence by local Buddhists prevent
Muslims from moving freely in Rakhine. As a result, those sources say, they are
cut off from sources of livelihoods and most services, and reliant on
we moved to new houses – it’s correct to say (the camp is closed),” Kyaw Aye
said, a community leader from a camp called Nidin, in central Rakhine. “But
we’ll never be able to stand on our own feet because we can’t go anywhere.”
spoke to displaced Muslims in Rakhine by phone as reporters are denied
independent access to the camps.
Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement Win Myat Aye said the government
was working with the United Nations on a national strategy to close camps
housing people forced out of their homes by violence in Rakhine and elsewhere,
known as internally displaced persons or IDPs.
were no legal restrictions on the movements of displaced people in Rakhine, as
long as they accepted a so-called national verification card that also gives
them equal access to healthcare and education, he said in a written response to
workers and Muslim residents say severe restrictions persist even on those who
have accepted the identity card, which most Rohingya reject because they say it
treats them as foreigners who have to prove their nationality.
UN Chief in Myanmar, Knut Ostby, warned in a September 24 private note that the
government’s plan for camp closures “risks further entrenching segregation
while denying IDPs many of their fundamental human rights.”
office declined to comment on the note, but in a written response to Reuters’
questions said the UN had been invited to comment on the government’s plans for
closing camps and was preparing its response.
response would include recommendations that all displaced people be granted
freedom of movement, were involved in planning their resettlement and could
return to their homes or another place of their choosing, Ostby said.
community leaders say that improving conditions for those still living in
Rakhine is one of the keys to persuading the hundreds of thousands sheltering
in refugee camps in Bangladesh to return.
730,000 fled a military crackdown after attacks by Rohingya militants in August
2017. UN-mandated investigators have said the Myanmar military unleashed a
campaign of killings, rape and arson with “genocidal intent.” Myanmar has
denied almost all the accusations against its troops, who it says engaged in
legitimate operations against terrorists.
baulked at a plan for repatriating them that was supposed to begin in
mid-November, arguing that conditions were not right for return.
at least three boats, each carrying scores of men, women and children, have
departed from Rakhine for Malaysia since monsoon rains abated in October,
following the hazardous maritime escape route used for years by Rohingya fleeing
what they say is persecution in Myanmar.
they are making the choice to go by boat, it’s clear proof of the conditions in
the IDP camps,”a Rohingya youth activist in Bangladesh Khin Maung said.
is in touch with fellow Muslims who are “living like prisoners” in the camps in
central Rakhine, Khin Maung said. “If they are living like that how can we
agree to go back?”
Myat Aye, the minister, said Myanmar was working to improve the lives of both
the IDPs and potential returnees.
assume that the displaced people are leaving with boats because they (have) not
fully understood what we arranged for their accommodations, livelihoods and
socio-economic development,” he said.
camp, among the 18 remaining in Rakhine, lies outside a central Rakhine town of
Myebon, which was torn by communal violence in 2012.
3,000-strong Muslim community was expelled and put in the camp, known as
Taungpaw, on a narrow strip between the now Buddhist-only town and the Bay of
Bengal, in what was supposed to be a temporary arrangement.
year authorities built 200 new houses on rice paddies next to the camp, despite
concerns that the area was prone to flooding. They were inundated in early
June. In September, the government also built two new buildings set to become
is a sign the Rakhine state government is investing in permanent segregation
rather than promoting integration,” a previously unpublished memo said, dated
September 30 and circulated by UN officials setting out the concerns of aid
workers operating in the camps. The UN said it did not comment on leaked
Muslims in Myebon have Myanmar citizenship and others have accepted national
verification cards. They say they still cannot visit the town, where communal
tensions have stayed high since the 2012 violence. Rakhine Buddhists have at
times blocked aid deliveries to the camp.
they gave people new homes, if there’s still no freedom to move, there’s still
no opportunity to do business,” Cho Cho, 49, a camp resident said.
Thar Kyaw, a leader among the Rakhine Buddhist community in Myebon, said the
two communities were too different to live together, labeling Muslims “so
government already built them new homes so they don’t need to enter town,” he
Lei Aye, an official in the Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and
Resettlement, referred questions about the specific concerns in Taungpaw to
Rakhine state government officials, who could not be reached for comment.
the humanitarian community’s efforts to convince Myanmar to change course,
including by giving technical advice on camp closures, “the only scenario that
is unfolding before our eyes is the implementation of a policy of apartheid
with the permanent segregation of all Muslims, the vast majority of whom are
stateless Rohingya, in central Rakhine,” an internal “discussion note” said,
prepared by the UN’s refugee agency in late September, first reported by
Frontier Myanmar magazine and reviewed by Reuters.
Myat Aye said he was “not concerned” about such warnings because the government
was progressing with its camp closure strategy in consultation with UN
agencies, non-governmental groups and foreign diplomats.
UN estimates humanitarian assistance in Rakhine will cost about $145 million
residents of Nidin, about 100 km (62 miles) north of Taungpaw, told Reuters
their situation had barely improved since state media declared the camp closed
are unable to return to Kyauktaw, the town where many lived and worked before
the 2012 violence.
Wai, a Rakhine Buddhist doctor in Kyauktaw, said Muslims could “go freely
outside the town.” But if they try to return, he said, “they will be killed.”
Lwin, deputy chief of the Kyauktaw police station, said Muslims “can’t enter
the town,” but denied they would meet with violence. “We have the rule of law,”
Muslims now live marooned among rice paddies that do not belong to them. Rohingya
fishermen say what they catch barely covers their rental costs as they do not
own their equipment.
with no clean water supply, children have contracted skin rashes from washing
in agricultural run-off.
- Direct peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban movement may
start either this year or next year, Ihsan Taheri, the representative of
Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, told Sputnik, adding that the desire to
launch such talks was growing among the members of the Taliban.
are hopeful that the peace negotiations between the government and Taliban
could start very soon, because, according to our sources, the tendency is
growing at different levels of the leadership of the Taliban … tendency for
direct talks to start with the government of Afghanistan, tendency for considering
peace a major issue … We are hopeful, either this year or next year, peace
negotiations between government and the Taliban directly … should start,”
representative of the council said that all the major obstacles to the start of
the direct talks were removed.
don’t have any problem left, except the decision to be made by the Taliban
leadership to announce their delegation, to announce their readiness for direct
talks to happen between the government and themselves … The major problems,
everything is solved now,” Taheri said.
council is willing to help ensure that the talks are held in any place that the
Taliban deems secure. “The HPC [High Peace Council] will facilitate any place,
anywhere, the Taliban thinks is safe for them, is secure for them and is good
for them to start direct negotiations with the government of Afghanistan,
including [within] Afghanistan and out of Afghanistan,” he said. Taheri
explained that Kabul was ready to negotiate with the Taliban as it saw the
movement as armed opposition, unlike other militant groups active in
in 2010 by then-President Hamid Karzai, the HPC is a body in charge of
negotiating peace with the Taliban.
long-awaited peace negotiations may start this year or next year. There is “a
growing desire” among Taliban commanders to engage in the talks “without
intermediaries,” according to the official.
Kabul is open to discuss “any issue crucial for Afghanistan’s future,” the
official said. There are “no problems” for the government and the Taliban even
to talk changes to the country’s constitution because is provisions allow for
making amendments. Now, it is up to the Taliban to respond to the HPC’s peace
gesture and confirm if they are ready for direct talks, Taheri noted. The
militant movement has long rejected the government’s offers of talks, saying
they will only deal with the US. In the meantime, they sent emissaries to meet
with Afghan government officials in Moscow in early November.
talks in Moscow mark the first time the Taliban has publicly appeared in the
international arena since they were removed from power in Afghanistan following
the US-led invasion in 2001. The meeting, brokered by Russian diplomats, helped
pave the way for a future dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban, Taheri said.
“The atmosphere was very friendly at the end of the conference,” he said,
adding that the Kabul delegation was comfortable sitting in front of the
Taliban officials. “The discussions were going on even during coffee breaks…
there was no negativity at all.” There has been low-key diplomatic activity
going on in and around Afghanistan.
local commander of the Taliban group and his comrades were killed during an
operation of the Afghan commandos in northern Faryab province of Afghanistan.
209th Shaheen Corps of the Afghan Military in the North in a statement said the
Afghan commandos conducted an operation in Garziwan district of Faryab, leaving
three militants dead.
statement further added that a local commander of the Taliban was among those
killed with his two comrades.
209th Shaheen Corps also added that two other militants also sustained injuries
during the same operation of the commando forces.
anti-government armed militant groups including Taliban have not commented
regarding the report so far.
urges UN to condemn Iran missile test
United States on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to condemn Iran’s
ballistic missile test, which it described as “dangerous and concerning” and a
violation of a UN resolution.
council met behind closed doors at the request of France and Britain which
along with the United States have accused Iran of test-firing a ballistic
missile on Saturday.
and Britain maintain that missile launches are inconsistent with the UN
resolution that endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal while the United States has
taken a harder stance and maintains it is an outright violation.
recent ballistic missile test was dangerous and concerning, but not
surprising,” US Ambassador Nikki Haley said in a statement.
international community cannot keep turning a blind eye every time Iran
blatantly ignores Security Council resolutions.
the Security Council is serious about holding Iran accountable and enforcing
our resolutions, then at a minimum we should be able to deliver a unanimous
condemnation of this provocative missile test,” she said.
has neither denied nor confirmed the launch that US Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo said involved a missile of a medium range, capable of carrying multiple
warheads and striking parts of Europe and the entire Middle East.
UN resolution calls on Iran to refrain from testing missiles capable of
carrying a nuclear weapon, but does not specifically bar Tehran from missile
has long maintained that its missile program is defensive in nature and not
aimed at ensuring the delivery of a nuclear weapon, a stance supported by
Russia at the Security Council.
is inconsistent behaviour with (resolution) 2231 and it concerns the council,”
British Ambassador Karen Pierce told reporters ahead of the meeting.
need to know exactly what happened and then we will reach a judgment about how
we want to characterise it,” she said.
United States decided in May to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal and
reimpose sanctions on Iran, to the dismay of its Europeans allies.
nuclear deal provides for a lifting of sanctions against Iran in return for
curbs on its nuclear activities.
remaining five signatories to the nuclear deal -- Britain, China, France,
Germany and Russia -- have backed an EU effort to set up a special payment
system in a bid to maintain trade and business ties with Iran.
leader in Texas says he is getting ousted for being a Muslim
GOP politician in the US state of Texas says there is a movement to oust him
because he is a Muslim.
Republican Party vice-chairman of Texas’s third largest county said his
colleagues were trying to oust him for being a Muslim, The Washington Post
Shafi, a trauma surgeon in Fort Worth, has been accused of promoting Sharia law
and being affiliated with terrorist groups by precinct Chairwoman Dorrie
is, therefore, petitioning to have the Tarrant County Republican Party
“reconsider” his appointment.
has previously said that Shafi is a “fake Republican” who could have
infiltrated the organization at the request of the Muslim Brotherhood.
is, unfortunately, not the first time that people or my political opponents
have tried to use my religion against me to distract the voters,” Shafi said.
“And unfortunately, I don’t think it will be the last either.”
formal motion has been launched to strip Shafi of his leadership position by
O'Brien and her supporters.
only reason she had was because he was a Muslim,” said Darl Easton, the chairman
of the county’s party. “That was the only reason she gave.”
further called the move an embarrassment to the Republican Party.
Commissioner George P. Bush was among other Texas Republicans to condemn the
urge the Tarrant County GOP to stop this attempt to remove a hardworking county
party official based on religious beliefs. We must move towards a more
inclusive Republican Party and stop tearing down our own if we are to keep
Texas red,” Bush said.
in India and raised in Pakistan, Shafi came to the US in 1990.
nabs Huawei CFO for ‘breaking’ US bans on Iran
on Wednesday arrested the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of global telecom giant
Huawei, sparking the protest of the Chinese government which urged her
Wanzhou, one of the vice chairs on the Chinese technology company's board and
the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver, where
she is facing extradition to the United States on suspicion she violated the US
sanctions against Iran.
Globe and Mail quoted a Canadian Justice Department spokesman as saying that
the Chinese national had been arrested on Dec. 1 and a court hearing has been
set for Friday.
Canadian source with knowledge of the arrest said the US is alleging Meng tried
to evade the American embargo against Iran.
protested the arrest and urged Ottawa to immediately release her as she faces
extradition to the US.
Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions
which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim," a statement by the
Chinese embassy in Canada said.
Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side,
and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal
freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou."
confirmed the arrest in a statement and said that it has been provided with
little information of the charges against her, adding that it was "not
aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng."
Huawei statement said Meng, who has also gone by the English names Cathy and
Sabrina, was detained when she was transferring flights in Canada.
handset and telecommunications equipment maker said it complies with all
applicable export control and sanctions laws and US and other regulations.
arrest drew a quick reaction in Washington. US Senator Ben Sasse praised the
action and said that it was "for breaking US sanctions against Iran."
added, "Sometimes Chinese aggression is explicitly state-sponsored and
sometimes it's laundered through many of Beijing’s so-called 'private' sector
arrest could drive a wedge between China and the United States just days after
President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping held a meeting in Argentina
where they agreed to steps to resolve a brewing trade war.
authorities have been probing Huawei since at least 2016 for allegedly shipping
US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and
in April, it was reported that federal prosecutors in New York had been
investigating since at least last year whether the Chinese tech company
violated US sanctions in relation to Iran.
February, Senator Richard Burr, the Republican chairman of the US Senate
Intelligence Committee, cited concerns about the spread of Chinese technologies
in the United States, which he called "counterintelligence and information
security risks that come prepackaged with the goods and services of certain
authorities in April banned American companies from selling to ZTE for seven
years, saying the Chinese company had broken a settlement agreement related to
Iran sanctions with repeated false statements - a move that threatens to cut
off ZTE's supply chain.
ZTE ban was the result of its failure to comply with an agreement with the US
Commerce Department reached last year after it pleaded guilty in federal court
to conspiring to violate US sanctions by illegally shipping US goods and
technology to Iran.
2016, the Commerce Department made documents public that showed ZTE's
misconduct and also revealed how a second company, identified only as F7, had
successfully evaded US export controls.
US President Donald Trump’s top diplomat promised on Tuesday a new democratic
world order in which Washington will strengthen or jettison international
agreements as it sees fit to stop “bad actors” such as Russia, China and Iran
a twist on Trump’s “America First” policy, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
said Trump was not abandoning its global leadership but instead reshaping the
post-World War Two system on the basis of sovereign states, not multilateral
the finest traditions of our great democracy, we are rallying the noble nations
to build a new liberal order that prevents war and achieves greater
prosperity,” Pompeo told diplomats and officials in a foreign policy speech.
are acting to preserve, protect, and advance an open, just, transparent and
free world of sovereign states,” Pompeo said, adding that China’s ability to
benefit from the current US-led system of trade and other agreements was an
example of “the poisoned fruit of American retreat.”
in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said Pompeo’s
statements “did not accord with the spirit” of the meeting just days earlier
between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Argentina.
don’t know for what purpose someone would applaud then and now say something
like this,” Geng said, referring to media reports that applause broke out after
Xi and Trump agreed to a trade war cease-fire at their meeting in Argentina.
said that while the United States “flies the flag of America First, and wields
the baton of protectionism and unilateralism,” China was an important
contributor to multilateralism, the international rules-based order and global
a former Army officer who is regarded as a Trump loyalist with hawkish world
views, said Trump was also pushing both the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund to stop funding countries such as China, saying they already had
access to financial markets to raise capital.
address, which was met with polite applause, rejected concerns among many
traditional US allies that Trump is undermining the West by withdrawing from
climate, free-trade and arms control accords.
said such criticism was “plain wrong.”
said Trump was reforming the liberal order, not destroying it. He cited
Britain’s decision to quit the European Union as a sign supranational
organizations were not working.
also took aim at “bureaucrats” responsible for upholding multilateralism “as an
end in itself” and cast doubt on the EU’s commitment to its citizens.
drew a rare rebuke from the European Commission, the bloc’s executive.
to reply to the Secretary of State’s remarks, its chief spokesman offered an
explanation of how the EU executive is subject to control by citizens via the
directly elected European Parliament and by the governments of the member
is "no doubt" Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was involved in
the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Senator Marco Rubio
from what we know about Saudi Arabia, what we know about the crown prince and
what we know about this murder leaves you with no doubt that the crown prince,
at a minimum, knew about it and condoned it, and perhaps at worst was actually
involved in directing it," Rubio told CNN.
senator said he knows bin Salman was involved in the murder because he has
"absolute control" of the country.
Arabia is not some decentralized government that operates with all sorts of
people acting independently," he added. "Everything there is very
comments come one day after CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed a select group of
lawmakers on the agency's intelligence regarding Khashoggi's murder on Oct. 2
in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
was not among the group, but said as a member of the Senate intelligence
committee he had prior knowledge of it.
they knew, whatever they learned in that meeting, we've known," he said.
why U.S. President Donald Trump and his senior officials have obviated on
placing responsibility directly with bin Salman, Rubio said in his view
"they are trying to preserve from a realistic perspective the importance
of the Saudi-US alliance, which I agree with.
is a critical one. But all alliances have buffers, all alliances have
limits," he said. "And the crown prince will continue to test the
limits of this alliance until those limits are clearly set."
United States is reportedly exerting pressure on several Arab countries to back
its draft UN resolution against the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas in
support of the Israeli regime’s latest wave of attacks on the besieged Gaza
UN General Assembly is scheduled to vote Thursday on the US-drafted resolution
that condemns Hamas for “firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence.”
daily newspaper Haaretz reported on Tuesday that Jason Greenblatt, President
Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, had sent letters to diplomats from Morocco,
Oman, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt
and Qatar in order to win their support for the resolution.
US administration official said Greenblatt had claimed that while denouncing
Hamas, the motion urges support for efforts towards Palestinian political
countries which oppose terrorism and want stability in the region “have no
reason” to reject the document, the US envoy was further quoted as writing.
is also said to have described the resolution as the first UN condemnation of
Hamas, claiming it is especially relevant amid a fresh escalation in the Gaza
has urged Arab countries not to join the Palestinian Authority’s efforts
against the motion.
its Arab allies, the highly pro-Israel administration in Washington has also
been lobbying its allies in Europe in support of the anti-Hamas draft.
week, Israel’s UN Ambassador Danny Danon said US diplomats had been in talks
with their EU counterparts to secure their backing for the resolution, which
has sparked criticisms from different Palestinian factions.
Head of Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh wrote to the UN to highlight the
importance of international work to thwart Washington’s “aggressive” efforts
meant to delegitimize the Palestinian resistance.
further reiterated the right of the Palestinian nation to defend themselves and
resist the occupation, describing Hamas as a movement that acts for “the
fulfillment of the Palestinian aspirations.”
Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah have also rallied behind Hamas.
al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official, said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had
instructed the envoy to the UN to work on foiling the US resolution.
is part of the Palestinian people, and we won’t accept any attempt to add it to
the list of terror groups,” Ahmed told Arabi21 news website.
Fatah spokesman Osama Qawassmeh condemned the US-led motion, saying instead of
denouncing Hamas, the world should rap Israel “which is the true face of
will stand against all hostile efforts to condemn Hamas at the United Nations,”
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO),
stressed that the Palestinian leadership was “leading a battle” at the UN to
prevent the US from “criminalizing” Hamas by labeling it a terrorist group.
will remain a Palestinian movement, whether we agree or disagree with it,”
month, Gaza witnessed its worst flare-up of violence since the 2014 war. It
began with an Israeli commando raid and a spate of deadly airstrikes against
United States has renewed its diplomatic presence in Somalia after almost three
decades, amid controversy surrounding Washington’s military operations in the
Horn of Africa country.
US State Department made the announcement on Tuesday, claiming that the move
reflected Washington’s determination to shore up Somalia’s UN-recognized
historic event reflects Somalia’s progress in recent years and is another step
forward in formalizing US diplomatic engagement in Mogadishu since recognizing
the Federal Government of Somalia in 2013," State Department Spokeswoman
Heather Nauert said in a statement.
return demonstrates the United States’s commitment to further advance
stability, democracy, and economic development that are in the interest of both
nations,” she added.
US closed down its embassy in Mogadishu in 1991 amid violence, starting to
handle diplomatic work concerning the country in the US Embassy in Kenya.
years later, an ill-fated military operation saw two American helicopters go
down in the Somali capital, killing 18 US forces.
US military launched an aerial campaign in Somalia in 2007 with helicopter
gunships, using terrorist presence there as an excuse.
also began using unmanned armed aircraft in June 2011 to carry out airstrikes
on positions purportedly belonging to al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda terror group’s
American mission has, however, failed to uproot the Takfiri militants, who have
only grown more powerful in central Somalia and carry out attacks against
government, military, and civilian targets in the capital, Mogadishu, as well
as regional towns.
US military currently has more than 6,000 forces stationed across Africa mostly
under the pretext of confronting Takfiri terror groups.
Brexit quits party over anti-Muslim fixation
Farage, the leading Brexit campaigner, is quitting his Eurosceptic political
party in protest at its Islam ‘fixation’ and the recruitment of a far-right
extremist as a senior adviser.
Farage, the former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), announced he was
quitting the party after failing to persuade its executive to replace new
leader Gerard Batten, who has promoted an anti-Muslim rabble-rouser to his top
Batten appointed Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the far-right English
Defence League, as an adviser despite party rules barring former (EDL) members
from joining the party to avoid its outspoken British nationalism being
Mr Farage’s near decade-long leadership, UKIP became a powerful if short-lived
political force that succeeded in its main objective of winning the 2016
national referendum to leave the European Union. He quit as leader shortly
party has since slumped in the polls and the recruitment of Mr Robinson, a
populist nationalist notorious for anti-Muslim sentiments, has been seen as an
attempt by UKIP to tap into his fanbase of disillusioned white working-class
Batten realises he has to appeal to a broader base," said Professor
Matthew Feldman, the director of the UK-based Centre for Analysis of the
Radical Right. "It's opportunistic but whether that gamble pays off is
largely tied to Brexit,"
Batten responded to Mr Farage’s announcement by claiming that he left “UKIP in
spirit” after the referendum.
party is now organising a “Brexit Betrayal” rally on Sunday in London, where Mr
Robinson is one of the key speakers, seeking to transfer his anti-Muslim street
protests into a mainstream political campaign.
party released a photograph of its planning committee which showed a man
convicted of an attempted kidnapping with a seat at the top table. Daniel
Thomas was jailed for two years after he went armed with a knife to a man’s
house in an apparent dispute over drugs.
said it was unaware of the man’s past and said he was only there to act as Mr
are just a few days away from the most ill-judged political event I have ever
been aware of in British politics,” wrote Mr Farage in a newspaper article
announcing his decision to quit.
very idea of Tommy Robinson being at the centre of the Brexit debate is too
awful to contemplate.”
march will be two days before Mrs May seeks parliamentary approval for her
Brexit deal. Both Mr Batten and Mr Robinson will speak at the event.
of Mr Farage accused him of hypocrisy, citing his unveiling of an anti-migrant
poster that showed a queue of mostly non-white people with the slogan:
“Breaking point: the EU has failed us all”.
head of the Church of England also condemned Mr Farage after he claimed that
sexual assaults by migrants were the “nuclear bomb” of the EU referendum
gall of the man takes some beating,” said a spokesman for and extremism
campaigning group Hope Not Hate. “This is the beast that he helped to create.”
his article, Mr Farage said that he was confronted by “several angry young men…
who all seemed to be obsessed with Islam and Tommy Robinson” while speaking at
that party’s annual conference earlier this year.
wondered at the time if I’d just given my last UKIP speech,” he said. “There is
a huge space for a Brexit party in British politics, but it won’t be filled by
success of UKIP in tapping into disaffection with the EU, saw it win the third
highest number of votes in national elections in 2015.
party had only two MPs but Mr Farage’s international recognition was far beyond
his party’s level of representation.
was the first British politician to meet with Donald Trump following his
presidential election victory and the American leader proposed him as an
ambassador to the US.
Robinson – who has criminal convictions for offences including violence and
fraud - has been shunned by conventional parties because of his anti-Muslim
rhetoric. But he has a large online following and has received financial
backing from far-right donors in the United States.
Mr Farage and the executive had opposed his appointment, but Mr Batten faced
them down saying that the most recognisable face of the far-right had been
“persecuted by the state” because of his anti-Muslim views.
former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) was wise to leave the party
after it shifted its focus to campaigning against Islam and embrace of
far-right figures, a political analyst in London says.
think that he (Farage) was very wise to do that,” said Rodney Shakespeare, an
author and retired academic from London, adding that the popular British
politician had recognized that he cannot stay with “a party which has become
narrow-minded, xenophobic, Islamophobic and racist.”
said last month that a decision by UKIP leader Gerard Batten to appoint
Britain’s top Islamophibic figure Tommy Robinson as an advisor showed that the
party was no longer the one that had a clear political and social mission.
former UKIP leader said Tuesday upon resigning that the party had become
unrecognizable due to its “obsession” with the anti-Muslim policies under
said the UKIP had over the past years developed more and more “racial and
anti-other-people elements” who wanted to exploit the public sentiments against
immigrants, especially after the Brexit referendum in 2016.
Britons voted to leave the EU simply because they were not happy with the
growing number of migrants in the UK who come from eastern European countries.
he said, the UKIP has failed to
understand that anti-immigrant sentiments were rooted in economic and
political reasons and had nothing to do with racism.
British people as a whole, half of whom voted to get out of Europe, are not
racist. There are elements there. There are certainly elements of Islamophobia,
but they are not. Their case against Europe was primarily economic and
political,” said Shakespeare.
said even Farage, whom he described as a highly critical politicians, had
realized that UKIP was travelling on the wrong path.
has recognized that the party with which he was identified has probably
outlived its usefulness,” said the analyst.
German human rights group on Wednesday criticized the country’s arms sales to
Saudi Arabia in light of Riyadh’s notorious rights record and its involvement
in the conflict in Yemen.
a press conference on Wednesday, Beate Rudolf, head of the German Institute for
Human Rights (DIMR), stressed that Berlin has committed to pursue a pro-human
rights foreign policy, but its arms exports are an exception to this.
have observed that in government authorization of arms exports to Saudi Arabia
and the United Arab Emirates, the human rights situations in these countries,
and their compliance with international humanitarian law, did not play any
role,” she said.
its annual report released on Wednesday, the group underlined that Germany’s
most controversial arms exports last year were made to Saudi Arabia and its
regional ally the UAE, which have been directly involved in the military
intervention in Yemen.
countries systematically violate human rights, both have been involved in armed
conflict since 2015, and neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE fulfill their
obligations under international humanitarian law, such as the avoidance and/or
investigation of military strikes to which civilians fall victim," the
the federal government at the time continued to grant authorizations for arms
exported €254 million worth of arms to Saudi Arabia last year and €214 million
to the UAE.
this October, Berlin approved weapons exports worth €416.4 million to Saudi
group criticized the government for not being transparent about its arms
exports authorizations and urged stricter standards.
federal government should also have to justify its decisions to parliament in
order to facilitate a more informed discussion about the authorization
procedures,” it said.
the Oct. 2 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in
Istanbul, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government halted all arms exports to
weeks of denials and shifting stories, Saudi authorities admitted Khashoggi
died there, but blamed a team of “rogue” agents.
Turkish Justice Ministry official at Turkey’s Embassy in London was dismissed
on Wednesday amid a so-far unsuccessful attempt to extradite a member of the
FETO terrorist group, according to judicial sources.
attache faces an investigation and was summoned home on Nov. 30 over improper
paperwork on the extradition of Akin Ipek, a fugitive member of the Fetullah
Terrorist Group (FETO), the group behind a 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.
post shared on social media allegedly sent by the Justice Ministry regarding
FETO fugitive Akin Ipek's extradition process doesn’t reflect the truth,” the
Justice Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
ministry said they sent proper documents to the British court on Sept. 13.
have ascertained that our official in London prepared a one-page information sheet
on his own and sent it to the British Prosecutor’s office without ministry
approval," it said.
Nov. 28 a British court rejected Turkey’s request for extradition of three
suspects linked to FETO, but the verdict is open to appeal.
and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July
15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
moves closer to adopting law against funding terrorism
Iran’s parliament approved a tweaked draft law against funding terrorism on
Wednesday which officials hope will bring Tehran closer to global standards and
help remove it from investment blacklists as it faces renewed US sanctions.
official news agency IRNA said lawmakers had included amendments requested by a
powerful clerical body, which must vet all legislation passed through
parliament before it becomes actual law.
hope the legislation, once passed, will allow Iran to join an international
convention against the funding of terrorism and comply with measures against
money laundering set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
in parliament have opposed parts of the legislation, saying it could hamper
Iranian financial support for allies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which the
United States has classified as a terrorist group.
Guardian Council clerical body had asked lawmakers to include clauses including
a guarantee that the law would not clash with the constitution.
Paris-based FATF said in October that Iran had until February to complete
reforms that would bring it into line with global norms or face consequences.
businesses say legislation that includes FATF guidelines is essential if they
are to increase investment.
Western companies have already ceased cooperation with Iran after the United
States pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran in May
and reimposed sanctions.
files arrest warrants for Saudi crown prince allies over Khashoggi murder
Turkish prosecutor has issued arrest warrants for two Saudi nationals close to
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the brutal murder of dissident journalist
Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday that there is “strong
suspicion” that Ahmed al-Asiri and Saud al-Qahtani were “among the planners” of
Khashoggi’s assassination inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in early
Turkish official told Reuters that the fresh move “reflects the view that the
Saudi authorities won’t take formal action against those individuals.”
also stressed that the wording of the warrants appeared to indicate that more
arrests could be sought.
General Assiri, the deputy chief of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence, and Qahtani,
in charge of media affairs at the royal court, were among five high-ranking
Saudi officials who were dismissed last month over the murder case.
to Khashoggi’s friends, Qahtani, who is believed to have overseen the
journalist’s murder, had previously tried to persuade him to return to the
kingdom, even offering him the prospect of a government job.
Washington Post columnist, however, had declined the offer amid worries that it
could be a trap.
a tweet in August 2017, Qahtani had said, “I don’t do anything from my own head
without an order. I am an employee and executer to my king and my crown
a one-time royal insider who had been critical of the crown prince recently,
was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
weeks of denials of any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, the Riyadh
regime eventually acknowledged the “premeditated” murder, but has vehemently
sought to distance the heir to the throne from the case.
Saudi prosecutor said Khashoggi's body had been dismembered, removed from the
diplomatic mission and handed to an unidentified “local cooperator."
CIA is said to have concluded that bin Salman had “probably ordered” the
government representatives were expected to join a rebel delegation in Sweden
on Wednesday for high-stakes peace talks aimed at ending four years of
12-member team from the Saudi-backed government headed by Foreign Minister
Khaled al-Yamani left Riyadh early Wednesday, sources told AFP, a day after
rebel delegates landed in Stockholm accompanied by the UN peace envoy.
first Yemen talks since 2016 are widely seen as the best chance yet for peace,
as the international community throws its weight behind resolving the
devastating conflict that has pushed the Arab world's poorest country to the
brink of famine.
government delegation was carrying the "hopes of the Yemeni people to
achieve sustainable peace", the head of exiled President Abedrabbo Mansour
Hadi's office, Abdullah al-Alimi, said in a tweet.
delegation had delayed its departure until the rebels had arrived in Stockholm
after they failed to show up for the last UN bid to convene peace talks in
September, complaining they had received insufficient guarantees of safe
passage through the blockade enforced by a Saudi-led coalition since March
2015, sources close to the government told AFP.
rebels flew in on a Kuwaiti plane from Sanaa on Tuesday -- accompanied by UN
envoy Martin Griffiths, who had promised to travel with them to allay their
arrival followed two major confidence boosts -- a prisoner swap deal and the
evacuation of 50 wounded insurgents from the rebel-held capital for treatment
in neutral Oman.
US State Department hailed the peace talks in Sweden as a "necessary and
vital first step" and called on all parties to "cease any ongoing
United Arab Emirates, another key backer of the Yemeni government, said the
planned talks offered a "critical opportunity" to bring peace to a
country in the grip of what the UN has described as the world's worst
no date has been announced for the start of the negotiations, Yemeni government
sources said they could begin as early as Thursday.
in right direction'
head of the 12-member rebel delegation, Mohammed Abdelsalam, said it would
"spare no effort to make a success of the talks to restore peace and end
the same time, he called on rebel fighters to remain "vigilant against any
attempt at a military escalation on the ground".
announcement of a deal on Tuesday to swap hundreds of detainees was hailed by
the International Committee of the Red Cross, which will oversee the exchange
after the first round of talks in Sweden, as "one step in the right
direction towards the building of mutual trust".
agreement, struck by the UN envoy in weeks of shuttle diplomacy, came after the
wounded rebels were flown out for treatment on Monday meeting a key rebel
precondition for joining the talks.
government official Hadi Haig said between 1,500 and 2,000 pro-government
personnel and between 1,000 and 1,500 rebels would be released.
the government side, they include former defence minister Mahmoud al-Subaihi,
who has been held by rebels ever since they overran the capital in late 2014,
and President Hadi's brother Nasser, a general and former senior intelligence
official Abdel Kader al-Murtadha confirmed the deal, adding he hoped it would
be "implemented without problem".
of prisoners have been captured by both sides in the grinding war of attrition
that has devastated Yemen at a cost of nearly 10,000 lives since the Saudi-led
coalition intervened in March 2015, according to World Health Organization
rights groups put the death toll far higher.
resulting humanitarian crisis, already the world's worst, will deteriorate in
2019, the UN said on Tuesday, warning the number of people needing food aid is
set to jump by four million.
24 million people in Yemen -- roughly 75 percent of the population -- will need
humanitarian assistance in 2019, UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told
reporters in Geneva.
said the stark figures underlined the importance of progress in the talks in
the negotiations show results, "it is possible that we could find by the
second half of the year that the extreme edge could get taken off the suffering
of those people who have no form of income," he said.
support for the new peace bid has been spurred by UN warnings that 14 million
Yemenis are at risk of famine.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s bid to shore up his country’s economy got a boost when
Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamid Al Thani and his finance minister visited Turkey in
August and offered a direct investment of $15 billion.
economy had suffered following the rift with the US and the subsequent fall of
the Turkish lira.
emir also sent Erdoğan an ultra-luxurious Boeing 747-8 VIP jet worth over half
$500 million as a gift kicking up a controversy in Turkey at a time when people
were facing economic hardships.
flow of goodwill did not stop there. The two countries met again in in Istanbul
on November 26 to hold the fourth meeting of the High Strategic Committee,
signing many agreements presided over by Sheikh Tamim and his ministers.
in his speech thanked his guests for their support against at a crucial time
when the country’s economy was facing “speculative attempts” from outside.
day after the meeting with Qatar, Erdoğan announced in parliament the names of
20 new candidates for the local elections next March.
to Zülfikar Doğan of Ahval News, “some other significant details from the
president’s speech escaped notice.”
notes: “President Erdoğan said that in December, alongside his electoral
manifesto, the government would announce a new “investment and employment
mobilization” plan, which appears to be a set of incentives to voters similar
to those offered before the referendum in 2017 and the elections last June.”
talking up the prospects of economic recovery at home, Erdogan also said it was
time to capitalize on foreign investors’ mounting interest in Turkey.
specifically mentioned Qatar’s funding. “The $15 billion in direct investment
and funds pledged by Qatar should come into play before the local elections,”
has sparked speculation that the Turkish President was trying to use the
funding from Doha specifically as electoral sops to boost the prospects of his
ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the coming local election.
has been such a precedent in the earlier elections in 2015, when municipalities
controlled by the AKP gave temporary employment to 150,000 laborers to plant
trees and clean public spaces.
pattern is being repeated in the coming elections, with Education Ministry has
employing 50,000 temporary school janitors. More can be expected in the run-up
help from Qatar will come in handy to fund all of this.
a meeting between the Qatari and Turkish trade ministers in September, The two
sides are to disclose which sectors would receive the $15 billion Qatari direct
investment very soon.
nuns were detained by Houthi militias from a Hodeidah hospital that they were
volunteering in, to be moved to the Yemeni capital Sanaa, sources said.
sources have confirmed that Houthi militias moved 12 nuns from Hodeidah to
Sanaa after detaining them along with dozens of others from Dar al-Salam
hospital specialized in psychiatric and neurological diseases.
hospital is now being used as a military base by Houthis.
said that the volunteering nuns are from different nationalities, and that they
were detained by Houthi militias several days ago before being pressured by the
UN to move them to Sanaa.
sources said that the foreign nuns were volunteers in the hospital for the past
was also indicated that the nuns demanded their return to their countries after
Houthi militias controlled the hospital and turned it into a military base.
of the Saudi-led coalition waging a war on Yemen have mistakenly targeted
allied mercenaries in the country’s central Bayda Province, leaving several
dead or wounded.
al-Masirah television network reported that the Saudi jets mistook a group of
troops loyal to the former Riyadh-backed president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, for
members of the country’s Houthi Ansarullah movement in Qaniyah in Bayda
Province on Wednesday.
Saudi regime and an alliance of its vassal states launched the war in early
March with the aim of reinstating Hadi -- a staunch ally of Riyadh -- and
undermining the Houthi movement.
campaign has failed to achieve its objectives amid firm resistance by Yemeni
armed forces, led by the Houthi movement. The pro-Hadi militants fighting on
the ground on behalf of the Saudi-led military alliance have been taking heavy
blows from Yemeni forces on several fronts.
another development on Wednesday night, Yemeni soldiers launched a drone strike
against a position of Saudi mercenaries in the Nehm district, northeast of the
capital, Sana’a, leaving several of them dead or wounded, al-Masirah reported.
Riyadh-led war is estimated to have killed over 56,000 Yemeni people. Coupled
with a naval blockade, the campaign has also destroyed Yemen’s infrastructure
and led to famine in the import-dependent state.
8.4 million Yemenis are now facing starvation. The number is likely to increase
to 14 million.
in June, the Saudi-led coalition launched an offensive on the port city of
Hudaydah despite international warnings that it would compound the war-torn
nation’s humanitarian crisis.
delegation from Yemen’s former Saudi-sponsored government has left Riyadh for
Sweden to attend UN-brokered peace talks with representatives from the Houthi
Ansarullah movement as a push by the world body to end a devastating Saudi-led
war on Yemen gains steam.
12-member team headed by ex-foreign minister Khaled al-Yamani departed the
Saudi capital Riyadh early Wednesday, a day after the Houthi delegation,
accompanied by UN peace envoy Martin Griffiths, landed in Stockholm.
delegation represents the government of ex-Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur
push gained momentum due to a global outrage directed at the Saudi regime over
the gruesome assassination in early October of dissident journalist Jamal
Khashoggi, which is being widely blamed on the architect of the Yemen war,
Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman.
growing international pressure, Riyadh and its allies ultimately submitted to
Ansarullah’s demands and returned to the negotiating table for the first time
since 2016 in the hope of finding a way out of the war, which has failed to
achieve its objectives of reinstalling Hadi and undermining the Houthi
had resigned as Yemen’s president and fled to Riyadh months before the Saudi
war began. In the absence of an effective government, Ansarullah has been both
running state affairs and defending the country against the Saudi-led
Houthis’ arrival in Sweden followed two major confidence boosting measures -- a
prisoner swap deal and the transfer of 50 wounded Houthi fighters from Sana’a
to Oman for treatment.
Tuesday, Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the spokesman and chief negotiator for the
Ansarullah movement, wrote on his official Twitter page that the Houthis “will
spare no effort to make a success of the talks to restore peace and end the
the same time, Ansarullah officials called on Houthi fighters to remain
“vigilant against any attempt at a military escalation on the ground.”
Britain has presented a draft UN Security Council resolution on Yemen, and
called on the parties involved to restart peace negotiations.
draft sets a two-week deadline for the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi
fighters to remove all barriers to humanitarian aid, halt attacks on civilian
areas and allow unhindered access to the strategic port city of Hudaydah.
United States, however, said a vote on the measure should be put on hold until
negotiations are held in Sweden.
and London have been two major sponsors of the Riyadh-led war, which is
estimated to have left 56,000 Yemenis dead.
Saudi-led offensive, coupled with a naval blockade, has destroyed Yemen's
infrastructure and led to famine in the import-dependent state.
Judge Throws Out Rioting Charges Against Shiites
judge in Abuja on Wednesday dismissed charges against 35 Shiite Muslims who
were among hundreds of people arrested after deadly protests in the Nigerian
total of 120 members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) were charged with
"rioting, disturbance of public peace and causing hurt" on the
outskirts of Abuja in October.
have been frequent clashes between the security forces and the IMN in recent
years, whose leader Ibrahim Zakzaky wants an Iranian-style Islamic revolution
in secular Nigeria.
120 defendants appeared in groups of up to 35 in different courtrooms at a
central Abuja magistrates court, according to an AFP reporter.
one courtroom, magistrate Musa Ibrahim said defence lawyers had applied for the
case to be struck out against 35 defendants because state prosecutors had not
the absence of the prosecution, the defendants are hereby discharged," he
told the court.
remaining defendants, who have all pleaded not guilty, were given conditional
bail to reappear at further hearings in the coming days.
and the military have been accused of heavy handed tactics in response to the
IMN protests calling for the release of Zakzaky from custody.
has been held since a military crackdown on his supporters in the northern city
of Zaria in December 2015 in which troops killed more than 300 and buried them
in mass graves.
early November, the Nigerian army triggered outrage after using a video of US
President Donald Trump saying soldiers would shoot migrants throwing stones to
justify opening fire on the Shiite protesters in Abuja.
tweet was later taken down. The military says six people were killed when it
fired live bullets at the protesters but human rights groups and the IMN say
more than 45 died.
call for criminal probe into migrant deaths off Libya
rights group called Wednesday for an international criminal investigation after
15 migrants died following 11 days drifting off the coast of Libya without
protest came as rights groups expressed growing concern about the plight of
migrants attempting the dangerous Mediterranean crossing -- and accused
officials in several countries of blocking their efforts to help them.
a tweet Claus-Peter Reisch, founder of the German group Mission Lifeline,
accused the EU agencies Frontex and Eunavfor Med, which police the bloc’s
border and coastguard activities, of “crimes against humanity” and called on
“the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate”.
Steier, a spokesman for the group, told AFP that both agencies “have military
vessels, satellites, reconnaissance planes covering all of this zone.
had the means to see that these refugees were in distress. But they did
nothing, they left them to die,” he added. “That’s called a crime.”
group of 25 migrants left Sabratha, 70 kilometres (44 miles) west of Tripoli,
in a bid to reach the Italian coast, said the Libyan Red Cross.
the currents meant that they drifted for 11 days without food or water,
capsizing off Misrata, 270 kilometres further east, and washing up on a beach
were only 10 survivors, two of them women, and all of them were suffering
severe dehydration when they were found.
aid agencies Wednesday also denounced the lack of help for migrants attempting
the perilous Mediterranean crossing to Europe.
Without Borders (MSF) tweeted of “increasingly alarming” reports confirming its
own observations: “search & #rescue capacity is insufficient, and boats in
distress are being ignored or refused help”.
this time, civilian rescue vessels are prevented from carrying out their
mission by targeted political attacks,” said a statement from French migrant
rights group SOS Mediterranee.
vessel the Aquarius, run jointly with MSF, is currently stuck in the French
Mediterranean port of Marseille after Manama revoked its flag rights, which
means it cannot legally set sail.
Lifeline’s main vessel, Lifeline, is itself stranded at the Maltese port of
Valetta, also for legal reasons.
least eight Nigerian soldiers were killed in recent Boko Haram raids on some
military positions in the northeastern Nigeria, the local media reported on
Nigerian daily Punch quoted the army spokesman Sani Usman as saying that more
than 10 Boko Haram militants were killed in clashes between the troops and the
militants in Kangarwa, Malumfatori and Arge areas of northeast Borno State and
Buni Gari town of Yobe State between Saturday and Monday.
is not true that Boko Haram is holding any area,” the spokesman was quoted as
saying, refuting reports that the militants are now holding territories.
eight of our gallant troops paid the supreme price, while over 10 Boko Haram
terrorists were killed by the troops during the encounter at Buni Gari.”
militants’ attacks in the region have led the critics to question the
government's narrative that it has decimated the insurgents, while it is also
encouraging neighboring nations and development partners to join it to turn the
heat on the terrorists.
commandos backed by US forces raided two al-Shabaab checkpoints at which the
extremists extort money from commercial vehicles, killing several fighters,
Somali intelligence officials said on Wednesday.
officials also said two US airstrikes in the area during the overnight raid
destroyed an explosives-laden minibus that was prepared for a complex attack on
an unspecified location. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because
they were not authorised to speak to the media.
US Africa Command had no immediate comment.
of Awdhegle, a farming village in Lower Shabelle region in southern Somalia,
told The Associated Press they had heard gunfire and explosions.
big happened here last night. We only know that al-Shabaab was under attack,
said one elder, who gave his name only as Yusuf for fear of reprisal from the
we woke up to find fighters sealed off the whole area in the morning," he
US military has stepped up the fight against al-Shabaab since President Donald
Trump took office, carrying out more airstrikes in 2017 than over the previous
decade. The US has carried out at least 37 airstrikes this year.
uses widespread extortion of businessmen and travelers to fund its high-profile
attacks in major cities such as Mogadishu, collecting millions of dollars a
US military in coordination with Somali forces, as well as an African Union
force, have targeted al-Shabaab's finance operations in recent weeks.
month, Somali intelligence officials said at least four missiles hit a base for
over 30 extremists assigned to collect livestock taxes from nomadic communities
in the central Mudug region.
Haram jihadists have attacked two military bases in Nigeria's restive
northeast, killing one soldier and injuring two, security sources told AFP on
Wednesday, in a week that saw insurgent assaults on troops intensify.
in trucks fitted with anti-aircraft guns, fighters from the self-styled Islamic
State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction of Boko Haram launched a raid late
Tuesday on troops in the town of Gudumbali, sparking a fierce firefight in which
two soldiers were injured, a military officer said.
was a tough battle," said the military officer who asked not to be named
as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
fought hard and repelled the terrorists, two soldiers were injured in the
fight," he said, adding the base was on "high alert" for a
Monday, ISWAP fighters had attacked another base in the town of Malam Fatori
near the border with Niger, which was repelled with air support, according to
two military sources who said a soldier was killed and several injured in the
ISWAP attack Saturday on soldiers in Buni Gari village, in Yobe state, left
eight soldiers dead, the Nigerian army confirmed on Tuesday.
said air support and reinforcements from a military base in the nearby town of
Buni Yadi helped push the militants out.
ISWAP faction has in recent months intensified attacks on military targets in
Borno and neighbouring Yobe state, prompting questions about the military's
grip on security.
the Malam Fatori army base was attacked, it was already sheltering a contingent
of soldiers who had abandoned another base near the fishing town of Baga on the
shores of Lake Chad.
soldiers had run out of ammunition during a fierce gun battle on November 29,
in which one was killed and seven injured.
didn't received supplies and decided to leave the base and move to Malam Fatori
on Saturday," the first military officer said.
had no ammunition to fight in case of renewed attack and had to abandon the
base," said the second military officer.
July, AFP has reported at least 22 attacks on military bases and positions in
Borno and Yobe.
claimed responsibility for most of them.
Nigerian military has hit out at media reporting of the attacks and even
threatened legal action against organisations for publishing unofficial
and Yobe, along with nearby Adamawa state, have borne the brunt of nine years
of jihadist violence that has claimed 27 000 lives and devastated the remote
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