Holds Pakistan's Feet to Fire on Terrorism
Cyber Trail in India’s Pulwama Proof Establish Role of Jaish
Muslim Litigants Meet AIMPLB Officials, Clerics Before Ayodhya Panel Begins
Midwestern States Shaken By Influence Of Islamic State
Paper: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi under Control of US Army Troops
Sees ‘Urgency’ As UN Security Council Takes Up JeM Resolution
Peace Talks with US, Taliban Wipe Out Entire Afghan Army Company
Does Not Even Allow an Illegal Extension in A Mosque: Pakistan SC
of Further Escalation between India, Pakistan over: Pak Govt Assessment
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Exposes Hizbul Mujahideen’s Plot to Spread Terror Network in UP, Assam
to attach 25 properties linked to Hafiz Saeed, Srinagar businessman Zahoor
Attack: Evidence Shows Pakistan’s Mentoring Of Jaish Continues
oppose Ravi Shankar on Ayodhya mediation committee
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by New Age Islam News Bureau
The Supreme Court Tuesday observed that Islam did not even allow an illegal
extension in a mosque.
top court’s observation came during the hearing of Jamia Hafsa case.
court directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to submit a
comprehensive report on a 20 Kanal plot allotted to Jamia Hafsa — a seminary
for women — in Sector H-11. A three-member bench of the court, headed by
Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Ijaz Ul
Ahsan, heard the case. During the course of hearing, Justice Gulzar asked on
how much area was Lal Masjid built and who owned its land.
deputy attorney general responded that Lal Masjid was built on the state land.
On this, Justice Gulzar summoned the chairman CDA.
CDA Amir Ali Ahmed informed the court that the authority had allotted 9,533
yards of land in 1970 and 206 yards were allotted to Jamia Hafsa. He told the
court that Maulana Abdullah was appointed as the mosque's muezzin, and he was
succeeded by his son Maulana Abdul Aziz.
Gulzar remarked, “It means Maulana Abdul Aziz is a government employee.” Amir
Ali Ahmed said Maulana Abdul Aziz was removed from the position in 2004 but he
still controlled the mosque. Justice Gulzar asked if the mosque was Maulana
Aziz’s personal property. Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan also asked where was the
federal government writ that it could not even free up a mosque in the federal
parents of two children also appeared before the court and said their children
had been missing since 2007. "We do not need buildings and lands, we only
need our children. Even the Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav is allowed to meet his
family but we are not allowed to meet our children," they parents
action, the court took directed the deputy commissioner to submit a detailed
report on the missing children and adjourned hearing for a month.
Holds Pakistan's Feet To Fire On Terrorism
The Trump administration is holding Pakistan’s feet to the fire on the issue of
terrorism, asking Islamabad to take 'meaningful steps' against terrorist groups
operating in Pakistan and de-escalate tensions with India in the face of
Pakistan trying to deflect responsibility and attribute the most recent
flare-up to India’s 'aggression'.
a pointed rebuke of Pakistan’s effort to blame India for clashes following the
Pulwama terrorist attack, US national security advisor John Bolton on Monday
issued a terse tweet saying: ''Spoke with Pakistani FM Qureshi to encourage
meaningful steps against JeM and other terrorist groups operating from
Pakistan. The FM assured me that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists
and will continue steps to deescalate tensions with India.''
with Pakistani FM Qureshi to encourage meaningful steps against JeM and other
terrorist groups operating from… https://t.co/7M3M7hAfam
John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) 1552332422000
tweet came some five hours after Pakistan put its own spin on the conversation,
saying that in a phone call to ''provide him (Bolton) Pakistan’s perspective on
the recent regional developments … Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Indian
aggression of 26 February was a violation of Pakistan’s territorial integrity
and sovereignty as well as the UN Charter. He also said that Pakistan’s
response on 27 February was purely in self-defence against external
the Trump administration has rejected the Pakistani narrative from the get-go,
describing the Pulwama bombing claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed
as a terror attack and India’s response in striking the Balakot terror camps as
counter-terrorism action. Many other world capitals have taken the cue from
Washington and demanded that Pakistan roll up the terrorists and terror groups
that operate with impunity in Pakistan, often with state patronage, and
initiate attacks against India.
US State Department, too, has followed the White House’s tough line on the
Monday, following a meeting between India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the department’s deputy spokesman Robert
Palladino said "Pompeo affirmed that the United States stands with the
people and government of India in the fight against terrorism'' and the two
''discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for the attack to
justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist
groups operating on its soil."
noted the strength of our partnership and discussed ways to further enhance
cooperation, including on counterterrorism.
also discussed our complementary visions for the Indo-Pacific, US-India defense
cooperation, and the growing US-India economic partnership, including joint
efforts to expand bilateral trade in a balanced and reciprocal manner,'' the
State Department said in a statement.
the Pakistani statement on Qureshi’s phone call with Bolton said ''The need for
dialogue between Pakistan and India to find peaceful resolution to all
outstanding disputes was also emphasized,'' (it did not say who emphasized it)
the immediate emphasis from Washington is that Pakistan needs to roll up terror
networks and de-escalate before any other issue.
Pakistani statement also said the country foreign minister "cautioned
against any Indian misadventure, keeping in view the forthcoming
elections" and claimed "Ambassador Bolton concurred."
the battle of perception being fought on social media and mass media, Pakistan
believes that following the Pulwama attack, it has managed to bring world
attention to the so-called Kashmir; India on the other hand believes the focus
has returned to Pakistan’s use of terrorism and terror groups operating in
Pakistan to keep Kashmir on the boil.
cyber trail in India’s Pulwama proof establish role of Jaish
investigations into the Pulwama terror attack have established the involvement
of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist group, which had anyway
claimed responsibility for the attack.
proof – the group used the same Internet Protocol (IP) address from a location
near Rawalpindi, Pakistan, to upload the video confession of the suicide bomber
Adil Ahmad Dar, and also the statement of its spokesperson Mohammed Hassan – is
part of the body of evidence India has handed over to Pakistan and also to top
diplomats of other countries (including permanent members of the United Nations
Security Council) as New Delhi attempts to once again get Pakistan to act
against the terror group, and to have its leader Masood Azhar listed by UNSC as
a global terrorist.
will decide that on March 13, but there has been no response from Pakistan to
the evidence India has shared with it. The US, UK and France are leading the
resolution for the UNSC designating Masood Azhar a global terrorist.
which has previously blocked efforts directed at this, is expected to take a
last-minute decision on whether to apply a three-month hold on it or go with
to the evidence collected by Indian security agencies, and seen by Hindustan
Times, investigations reveal that the WhatsApp number 7006250771, associated
with JeM spokesperson Muhammed Hassan, was used to claim responsibility for the
terror attack. This number was last active on WhatsApp on February 14, 2019 at
4.42 pm with the associated IP address of 126.96.36.199. This IP was tracked to a
location near Rawalpindi.
used the same Indian tele-selector to upload the confessional video of the
suicide bomber on social networking sites including pro-JeM Telegram channel
“Afzal Guru Squad—Al Islam” as soon as Adil Ahmed Dar triggered the
vehicle-borne, RDX-packed device against the Central Reserve Police Force bus
at Lethpora in Pulwama. Kakapora resident Dar was an active terrorist of the
Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind since March, 19, 2018, according to the evidence. The
same Jaish spokesperson also claimed the group’s responsibility for the attack
on an army brigade in Tangdhar in 2015.
to the evidence, the plot for the Pulwama attack was hatched by JeM chief
Masood Azhar and his younger brother Abdul Rauf Asghar, the de facto
operational commander of the terrorist group, to avenge the death of their kin
Talha Rasheed, son of Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law Abdul Rasheed. Talha
Rasheed was gunned down by Indian security forces at Kandi Aglar, Pulwama on
November 6, 2017. Rauf Asghar’s close confidant/bodyguard Mohammed Ismail and
Mohammed Umar, son of Masood Azhar’s elder brother Ibrahim Azhar, infiltrated
into India in mid-2018. Usman Haider, another son of Ibrahim Azhar, was gunned
down by Indian security forces in Tral, Awantipora, Pulwama on October 30,
2018, within days of his infiltration into the valley. India has told Pakistan
that JeM cashed in on the killing of Talha Rasheed and Usman Haider for
radicalizing more young people in the valley against India and raising funds
for terror strikes.
investigations have also revealed that Jaish’s Abdul Rasheed Ghazi infiltrated
into the valley on December 9, 2018 with the objective of training local
radicalized Kashmiri youth to avenge the killing of Usman Haider and Talha
Rasheed. An Afghan war veteran, Ghazi is an explosives expert. The execution of
the Pulwama attack was carried out by Pakistani national Kamran, who along with
another Pakistani national Haider were killed in an encounter with the Indian
security forces on February 18.
evidence collected by India includes a series of annexures – videos of
speeches, pamphlets, and social media posts using Pakistan numbers on WhatsApp,
Telegram and Facebook. In one 2018 speech, Mufti Asghar says in Balakot, the
Jaish terror factory struck by Indian Air Force jets on February 26, that he
will turn Pulwama into Talhawama by taking spectacular revenge for the killing
of his kin. The evidence also includes an audio message from Masood Azhar on
February 5, asking Kashmiri Muslims to unite, and that if this happens, they
will achieve their ends within a month.
evidence also shows that Pakistani intelligence operatives made pseudonymous
calls to CRPF offices, hospitals, police control rooms and locals to ferret out
details of casualties as well as the movement of Indian troops after the
attack. These details were used to propagate the notion that the strike was
carried out by a disaffected native Kashmiri and was an outcome of mass unrest
in the Valley.
also has shared brief details about six prominent and older JeM attacks
including the near simultaneous attack on Pathankot airbase on January 2, 2016
and the attack on Indian consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. The
evidence concerning the Pathankot attack shows that all four terrorists were in
touch with Pakistani phone numbers with one number +92321312786 actually being
associated with JeM headquarters in Bahawalpur, Pakistani Punjab. The two JeM
handlers of the Pathankot airbase attackers were identified as Shahid Latif and
Kashif Shahid Latif; both were released by India in 2010 after serving 16 years
in jail on terrorism charges.
attack on the Indian consulate at Mazar-e-Sharif was carried out by three JeM
terrorists, who before being gunned down by Afghan forces in a 25-hour battle,
inscribed “Afzal Guru Ka Intekam—Ek Shaheed, Hazaar Fidayeen” in their own
blood on the wall of a nearby building. The evidence shared reveals that the
three JeM terrorists moved into Afghanistan from Pakistan and were hosted by
local Taliban commander Atta Mohammed.
Indian evidence shared with Pakistan and other countries through diplomatic
channels also recounts dozens of JeM attacks in Jammu and Kashmir. The evidence
also has a list of 80 JeM terrorists thriving under Islamabad’s patronage
across the border. Despite sharing the past jihadi history of Masood Azhar,
Ibrahim Azhar, Rauf Asghar and the pin-point locations of terror training camps
in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, there has been total silence from
the Imran Khan government, Indian security officials said.
day before the negotiation panel constituted by the Supreme Court begins the
process in Ayodhya, Muslim litigants in the Babri Masjid-Ramjanmabhoomi title
suit case reached Islamic Seminary Nadwatul Ulama in Lucknow Tuesday where they
held a meeting with the chairman and prominent office-bearers of the All India
Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), and clerics.
chairman Maulana Rabey Hasan Nadwi is also the rector of the Islamic seminary.
At the meeting, the litigants, who will be appearing before the panel to reach
an amicable solution for the dispute, and others reportedly talked over the
argument to be presented in favour of their case.
Ansari, whose father Hashim Ansari was the oldest litigant in the case,
representing his father after his death, said Hindu seers in Ayodhya have
raised objection over Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar being in the
panel and that should be considered. Others litigants present at the meeting
included Mehboob Ali and Mahfuzur Rahman.
Action committee convener Zafaryab Geelani, who is also a member of AIMPLB and
a lawyer, AIMPLB general secretary Maulana Mohammad Wali Rahmani, Sunni cleric
and AIMPLB member, Maulana Khalid Rasheed Firangi Mahali, and Jamiat
Ulema-e-Hind’s Uttar Pradesh president Maulana Ashhad Rasheedi were present at
to reporters after the meeting, Iqbal Ansari said, “Ravi Shankar ka virodh
pehle Hinduon ne kiya hai, baad mein hum kar rahe hain… Hum Ayodhya mein rehte
hain. Sadhuo ke saath mein rehte hain. Agar sant saath mein nahi hai, toh hum
Ravi Shankar se koi baat nahi karenge (Ravi Shankar’s name was first opposed by
the Hindus, now we are opposing it… We live in Ayodhya. If they (sadhus) are
not with us, then we won’t talk to Ravi Shankar).”
if he was opposed to Ravi Shankar being a mediator, Iqbal Ansari told The
Indian Express over phone, “Hum toh yeh keh rahe hain ki hum court ka samman
karte hain. Panel ka bhi samman karte hai, jo ki court ka hi banaya hua hai.
Jab Ravi Shankar ka Ayodhya ke sant virodh kar rahe hain, toh baat kaise hogi?
Humein virodh nahi hai (I am saying that we respect the court. We also respect
the panel constituted by the Supreme Court. When Ravi Sankar’s appointment is being
opposed by the seers in Ayodhya, how will a disucssion happen? We have no
jaise hi bana, Ayodhya ke santon ne Ravi Shankar ka virodh kiya (The moment the
panel was formed, seers in Ayodhya opposed his name),” he said adding the seers
of Hindu Mahasabha and Nirmohi Akhara are opposed to Ravi Shanker being in the
is a 70-year-old issue. We want to settle it peacefully. We don’t want any
conflict between the Hindus and Muslims. Harmony between the two communities
should not be disturbed… We will first listen to what the panel says and will
then decide what to do,” Ansari said.
State may be on the brink of defeat in Syria, but its ideology remains a potent
recruitment tool. In the American midwest, a region that has proved fertile
ground for the terror group and other extremist recruiters, communities and law
enforcement officials face a new challenge: dealing with returning jihadists
and dozens of extremists due for release from prison in the coming years.
to the programme on extremism run by George Washington University in the US
capital, Minnesota and Ohio make up two of the three US states with the highest
per capita rate of individuals travelling to join Islamic State, also known as
attraction to the terror group remains a worry for US authorities. Last
October, 19-year-old Naser Almadoaji, an Iraqi-born US citizen from Dayton,
Ohio, was arrested while attempting to board an aircraft to Kazakhstan, from
where he planned to cross into Afghanistan and join up with an Islamic State
who attended a school in the suburban district of Beavercreek until 2015 and
worked at a local supermarket, also attempted to make contact with an unnamed
terrorist group after travelling to Egypt and Jordan last year.
Alebbini (28), also from Dayton, was arrested before attempting to fly to Syria
in April 2017. Prosecutors say Alebbini has since been open about his support
for Islamic State.
the threat of international terrorism is something that is present in Dayton,
in the southern district of Ohio and throughout the country,” Ben Glassman, the
US attorney for the southern district of Ohio, told reporters in December.
Contacted by phone, several people involved with the local Muslim community in
Dayton refused to comment on whether radicalisation was a concern among their
has experienced several Islamic State-related attacks and near misses in recent
years. In November 2016, a Somali refugee was shot dead in the state capital,
Columbus, after staging a car and knife attack that was later claimed by
month later, a 20-year-old Islamic State sympathiser from Cincinnati was
sentenced to 30 years in prison after buying automatic rifles and ammunition
that police officers say he planned to use to attack government targets in
Washington DC. At least eight people from Ohio have been charged with
attempting to travel to Syria or Iraq to join Islamic State, and one,
Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud from Columbus, returned with plans to conduct a
a largely rural state bordering Canada, has the highest per-capita rate of
individuals in any US state travelling to join extremist groups in Syria, Iraq
and Somalia. In November 2017, a 20-year-old man stabbed and badly injured two
people at a mall in Bloomington, Minnesota. The perpetrator, Mahad Abdiraham,
said his actions were to “answer the call of jihad.” Abdiraham received a
15-year jail term but may be eligible for release in 2026.
than 40 per cent of those who left the US to join extremist groups such as
Islamic State and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria,
remain unaccounted for, and while President Donald Trump has called on European
countries to repatriate Islamic State fighters from Syria, he has refused to
allow American extremists, such as Hoda Muthana, a 24-year-old woman from
Alabama, return to the US.
“rehab for terrorists” successes have been recorded. Minnesota is home to the
first de-radicalisation programme in the country, the Minnesota Extremist
Disengagement Program, which works with defendants formerly involved with
foreign and American terrorist organisations but who are deemed fit for
temporary release before sentencing.
30 people charged with involvement with foreign terrorist organisations in the
district, 12 were deemed suitable to take part in the programme. Of those 12,
10 completed it successfully. While the number of participants is too few to
definitively call it a success, its results are promising.
vast majority [of radicalised Minnesotans] are males in their late teens on
through to early to mid-20s,” says Kevin Lowry, Minnesota’s former chief
federal probation officer and the architect of the programme. In many cases those
involved would have started looking at or been exposed to radicalisation
materials in their mid-teens, he says.
Lowry says, are second-generation immigrants whose parents work multiple jobs.
“I think that they’ve been targeted by [the east African-based terror group]
al-Shabaab [but] the number of these cases is minuscule when you’re looking at
a community [of Somali immigrants in Minnesota] upwards of 100,000 people.”
the dearth of de-radicalisation programmes is concerning for many. About 80
people convicted of terrorist-related crimes are set for release from US
prisons in the coming five years. No disengagement programmes exist in American
prisons for ex-jihadists, and funding, Lowry says, is hugely lacking.
in Minnesota and Ohio have been forced to place individuals convicted of
terrorist-related offences in halfway houses or delay their sentencing because,
upon their release, there are insufficient facilities to help with their
specific reintegration needs.
Paper: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Under Control of US Army Troops
Yeni Shafaq published a picture of al-Baghdadi in a US armored vehicle, disclosing
that the CIA spy agency is monitoring the presence of al-Baghdadi and his
Turkish newspaper pointed to the issuance of passport with new names and IDs
for al-Baghdadi and 140 ISIL terrorists, and said that provision of the fake documents
is just part of the US secret operations that is aimed at relocating the
terrorists to Iraq.
noted that the US spy agency has interrogated 2,000 ISIL terrorists in special
centers that the US has set up in the camps controlled by the Kurdish forces in
Syria and Iraq before giving new passports and documents to them.
is while French, Israeli and British inspectors regularly visited the camps
has announced that the US and Turkey know the whereabouts of the ISIL (Daesh)
leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Ambassador to the UN Bashar al-Ja'afari said in an interview with al-Mayadeen
television channel in early March that the West is working "to prolong the
crisis in Syria" and that the administration of US President Donald Trump
is seeking to keep up "investing in terrorism" in Syria and Iraq in
order to pursue its agenda in the region.
also accused the US-led coalition of transferring Daesh elements.
a relevant development in early February, a senior source in the Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) said that al-Baghdadi was being protected by the
Americans in Eastern Syria, adding that Washington plans to play a
Hollywood-like scenario to declare end of the ISIL caliphate.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik news agency quoted the source as saying on
Sunday that Baghdadi was being heavily protected by the American forces in a
secret place in Eastern Euphrates region.
added that the Americans "are waiting for an opportunity to conduct
heliborne operations by their marine forces in Southeastern Deir Ezzur and
declare the capture of al-Baghdadi and end of ISIL on footage".
source insisted that the time for the "above-mentioned theater is
close", adding that the American forces have held SDF back from further advances
in the ISIL-occupied regions in Eastern Euphrates to play the scenario.
President Donald Trump said in early February that the country would likely
announce that all of the ISIL terrorist group caliphate had been retaken in
Syria and Iraq.
should be formally announced, sometime probably next week, that we'll have 100
percent of the caliphate," Trump stated during his remarks at a
ministerial meeting of US-led coalition member states.
the American president said during his second State of the Union address that
it was time to return US troops deployed in Syria back home.
December, Trump declared the ISIL terrorist group defeated in Syria, and
announced the US troop pullout from the country but gave no timeline.
in early February, a senior US administration official told reporters that
Syria’s Al-Tanf region would be the last place in the country that American
troops leave as they implemented a planned withdrawal.
terms of Al-Tanf — that is, in terms of the drawdown plans — Al-Tanf would be
the last place that we would withdraw from, and I think that’s something that
has not been scheduled; it would be conditions-based," the official noted.
sees ‘urgency’ as UN Security Council takes up JeM resolution
The United States is urging Pakistan to see the “urgency” of taking action
against “terrorists” as the UN Security Council takes up a resolution declaring
Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo emphasised the need for an immediate
action against terrorists at a meeting with Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay
Gokhale in Washington on Monday, the State Department said. The UN Security
Council (UNSC) is expected to take up a resolution on March 13 that seeks to
declare the JeM chief a global terrorist. But China, which has vetoed similar
moves in the past, reminded the UNSC on Monday that “a responsible solution”
can come only through discussions.
urged the international community to also focus on the Kashmir dispute while
demanding such issues. “China’s position on the designation of a terrorist by
the 1267 Sanctions Committee is consistent and clear,” said Chinese Foreign
Ministry spokesman Lu Kang when asked about China’s stand on the issue.
adopted a responsible attitude, followed the rules of the procedure of the
committee and participated in the discussions in a responsible manner. Only
through discussions can we come up with a responsible solution,” he said.
sources in Washington said that the United States, which jointly moved the
resolution along with Britain and France, wants the UNSC to adopt the
resolution this time. Besides asking China not to veto the move, Washington is
also using its influence in Pakistan to soften its opposition, the sources
call to FM Qureshi
Secretary Pompeo met his Indian counterpart in Washington, US National Security
Adviser John Bolton spoke telephonically with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood
Qureshi on Monday to discuss this and other issues with him.
the telephone call, Mr Bolton released a brief message on Twitter, which
includes the points Secretary Pompeo discussed with the Indian foreign
with Pakistani FM Qureshi to encourage meaningful steps against JeM and other
terrorist groups operating from Pakistan,” he tweeted Monday afternoon.
FM assured me that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists and will continue
steps to de-escalate tensions with India,” he wrote.
Foreign Office also issued a statement on Monday which said that Mr Qureshi
informed Mr Bolton that the Indian aggression of Feb 26 was a violation of
Pakistan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty as well as the UN Charter.
“Pakistan’s response was purely in self-defence against external aggression,”
simmering conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir had escalated into a
potentially dangerous confrontation when Indian planes violated Pakistani
airspace on Feb 26. Next day Pakistan and India were involved in an aerial
dogfight and Indian fighter pilot Abhinandan Varthaman was captured by
Pakistan. Some days later Pakistan had him returned as a goodwill gesture and
to defuse the crisis.
Qureshi also underlined measures Pakistan had taken to defuse tensions,
including the decision to release the Indian pilot. “Pakistan wishes peace and
stability in the region,” he said, pointing out that last week, Islamabad sent
its envoy back to New Delhi and was sending an official delegation to India
this week to discuss the reopening of the Kartarpur corridor.
Kartarpur corridor is about 120km north of Lahore and will be used by Sikh
pilgrims coming from India on a visa-free basis to visit their holy sites in
was also ready to continue weekly contacts at the Military Operations
Directorate level, he added. The Military Operations Directorate is part of
both Indian and Pakistan armies and headed by the Director General Military
Bolton appreciated Pakistan’s measures, which helped defuse the crisis and
urged continued restraint on both sides, the Foreign Office said.
sides emphasised the need to resolve all outstanding issues and Mr Qureshi
cautioned against any Indian misadventure, the statement added.
peace talks with US, Taliban wipe out entire Afghan army company
Taliban fighters killed or captured an entire Afghan national army company of
more than 50 soldiers on Monday, Afghan officials said, the latest in a series
of major attacks by the group even as it pursues a peace deal with the United
attack, in which Taliban were reported to have killed 16 soldiers and taken 40
prisoners, took place in northwestern Badghis province, close to the country’s
western border with Turkmenistan. It came as Taliban negotiators entered a
third week of talks with US diplomats in Qatar, at the end of which on Tuesday
both sides claimed “significant progress”.
the assault, a large force of Taliban insurgents surrounded a base in the Bala
Murghab district. After four hours of fighting, the militants captured or killed
all of the soldiers in their base, as well as others at two outposts nearby,
according to Abdul Aziz Beg, head of the Badghis provincial council.
episode was the deadliest in a weeklong insurgent campaign that has killed,
wounded or captured 70 soldiers in the district, Beg said. “The district is on
the verge of collapse,” Beg said. “The fighting has gone on for a week, but the
government is not paying any attention.”
Mangal, a spokesman for the Afghan ministry of defence, confirmed the attack
and said that four security outposts were captured by the Taliban.
of further escalation between India, Pakistan over: Pak govt assessment
The threat of further escalation between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama
terror attack is over, an internal assessment of the Pakistan government has
Express Tribune reported that the assessment was shared by a senior official on
Monday in a background briefing on the current state of relations between the
two neighbouring countries.
is a visible de-escalation in tension," the official said.
official told journalists that Pakistan did not foresee any further
"aggressive action" from India, the report said.
flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based
Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir's Pulwama district
on February 14.
mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force carried out a counter-terror operation,
hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on
next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat
and captured Indian pilot, who was handed over to India on March 1.
was fear that India may launch more strikes or escalate the situation to end
the crisis on a high note, the paper said.
asked whether Pakistan feared another possible ‘misadventure' by India before
the elections in the country, the official confidently replied: "There is
no room for such aggressive action from India".
upbeat assessment of the government is apparently linked to hectic diplomacy
involving many regional and international players, seeking de-escalation in
tensions between the two countries, the paper said.
a first sign of easing of tensions, Pakistani and Indian high commissioners
resumed their diplomatic work in Islamabad and New Delhi on Saturday.
countries called back their envoys for consultations soon after the Pulwama
handed over to Pakistan a dossier on "specific details" of
involvement of the JeM in the attack.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has reiterated that Pakistan is a great campaigner of
peace in the region and for the reason it is prepared to settle all disputed
with India through negotiations.
was talking to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Deputy Chairman of
Cabinet of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid
Meredov here at the Prime Minister Office (PMO) on Tuesday who called on him.
two foreign ministers had meeting with the prime minister separately. Talking
to German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, Prime Minister Khan praised the
leadership of German Chancellor Angela Merkel particularly her handling of the
immigration crisis. Welcoming the German Foreign Minister, the prime minister
said that Pakistan attaches high importance to its relations with Germany,
which are characterised by shared democratic values and multifaceted
cooperation. Prime Minister Khan apprised the German Foreign Minister on the
current regional situation, including India and Afghanistan as well as the
steps taken by his government towards de-escalation. He stressed upon the
international community to take notice of the grave human rights violations in
Indian Held Kashmir (IHK).
bilateral front, the prime minister welcomed Germany’s investment in
hydroelectric power generation and automobile sectors of Pakistan.
German foreign minister welcomed Pakistan’s efforts towards peace and stability
in the region. He appreciated prime minister’s responsible handling of the
situation, particularly the decision of releasing the Indian pilot, which has
been noted positively by the international community.
Minister Maas underscored Pakistan’s key role towards peaceful settlement in
Afghanistan. The foreign minister reiterated German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s
invitation to the prime minister to visit Germany.
Minister Imran Khan received a courtesy call by the Deputy Chairman of Cabinet
of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan, Rashid Meredov
who is visiting Islamabad. The prime minister warmly received the Minister and
his delegation and welcomed them to Pakistan.
Meredov conveyed the sincere prayers and good wishes of his leadership for
peace, prosperity and goodwill of Pakistan, its government and people. The
prime minister reciprocated with his message of sincere prayers and best wishes
for Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov and his people.
Turkmen Foreign Minister briefed the prime minister about the existing
fraternal relations between Pakistan and Turkmenistan that are marked by mutual
trust and understanding.
Turkmen Minister for Energy, Charymyrat Purchekov and Ambassador to
Turkmenistan to Pakistan were also present during the call.
Minister Imran Khan says steps are being taken to ensure business friendly
environment to the foreign investors and improving ease of doing business in
the meanwhile Prime Minister Imran received message of Japanese government
pertaining to its decision to enhance its engagements with Pakistan on Tuesday.
The message was conveyed by Mitsubishi Corporation Chief Executive Kimihide
Ando who called on the prime minister along with his delegation. On the
occasion the prime minister said that steps are being taken to ensure business
friendly environment to the foreign investors and improving ease of doing
business in the country.
conveyed to the prime minister that his government has decided to increase its
engagement with Pakistan and support Japanese companies in increasing
investment in Pakistan. Talking on the occasion, Kimihide Ando said that the
company is encouraged by the business friendly policies of the present
government and intends to further strengthen its footprint especially in
meeting energy requirements of the country.
prime minister welcomed the decision of Japanese government and the interest of
Mitsubishi Corporation regarding exploration of greater business opportunities
in Pakistan. Advisor to Prime Minister Abdul Razzak Dawood, Chairman Energy
Task Force Nadeem Babar and senior officials were also present on the occasion.
long awaited meeting of two ruling coalition leaders Prime Minister Imran Khan
and former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has taken place here at the
Prime Minister Office (PMO) Tuesday afternoon. Shujaat Hussain who heads his
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) met Prime Minister Khan on his invitation
and sorted out differences with him cropped up due to non-fulfillment of
certain commitment by the administration made two months ago.
no word has been given about the difference or elimination of differences but
well placed political sources told The News that the meeting that had added
significance since it took place a day after a meeting in Lahore prison between
former prime minister and Quaid of the PML-N Nawaz Sharif and Bilawal Zardari,
succeeded in ironing out the differences and in all probabilities the PML-Q
share in the federal cabinet will be enhanced in a couple of days.
nephews of Chaudhry Shujaat will be inducted as federal minister in the cabinet
before the next sitting of the National Assembly. The two leaders met with each
other after long pause. SAPM Naeemul Haq played an important role in paving the
way for meeting since he met the Chaudhry Shujaat thrice in between.
sources pointed out that the affairs in Punjab were significant part of the
discussions where PML-Q’s speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervez Elahi is
supporting PTI Chef Minister Usman Buzdar despite opposition within the ruling
Minister Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema and SAPM Naeemul Haq were also present in
Pakistan and India will hold foreign-ministerial level dialogues on March 14
following a major development in the opening of Kartarpur Corridor, a local
news outlet reported on Tuesday.
Office (FO) spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal will lead the Pakistani delegation
in the dialogues to be held in Attari on Thursday.
Pakistani delegation will hold a press briefing at Wagah border at 8:30 am
before departing to India for Kartarpur Corridor talks.
delegation will inform about the progress of the dialogues on the Kartarpur
Corridor project after reaching back at Wagah border.
“The Objectives Resolution, adopted by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on
March 12, 1949, was a deviation from the Quaid-i-Azam’s perception of Pakistan,”
said Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed, one of the leading scholars of Pakistan Studies,
during his talk at the University of Karachi’s department of history on
resolution over the years stirred much debate on its rationale and utility and
even after 70 years it is important to reassess this historic document with
objectivity, he added.
Dr Jaffar reminded, did not have a constitution in 1947 as the Government of
India Act of 1935 served as the interim constitution here. Meanwhile, India was
quick in making its own constitution after independence which led to pressure
on the government from the Pakistani press for not being able to do the same.
was in February of 1949 that the Constituent Assembly met and the draft of the
resolution was presented after which Shabbir Ahmed Usmani sent it to jail to
Maulana Maududi there who was doing time for his fatwa on jihad in Kashmir. It
was after Maududi had made amendments to the text of the Objectives Resolution
that it was passed by the Constituent Assembly,” he said, adding that the
resolution had made Pakistan a theocracy.
resolution talks about democracy, it talks about federations, it talks about
provincial autonomy and it also talks about minorities. Then what is the
objection?,” the scholar asked before saying that finding out required careful
reading of the constitutional documents.
will not find the word ‘republic’ in there,” he said. “It means that the
drafters were trying to avoid the sovereignty of the state to the people.” And
they drafted that the sovereignty over the state belongs to God.
what then is the role of the parliament?” he asked. “For example, if the
parliament is discussing a bill which has been proposed, who will decide the
will of God or His intention? Therefore the parliament was given a devolved
authority as for all laws it needs to be seen whether they fulfil the spirit of
the Quran and Sunnah,” he explained.
his famous August 11, 1947 speech, the Quaid-i-Azam named the Constituent
Assembly as having sovereignty. But after what happened Quaid’s philosophy was
compromised. The bureaucracy here wanted to take control, too. And then a
civil-military nexus emerged taking shelter in the slogan of Islam,” he said.
1956, when the first Constitution was finally made, the Objectives Resolution
was made a preamble. In the 1962 and the 1973 Constitutions, too, as the
preamble it was put in the beginning of the Constitution. Then in 1985 there
was the eighth amendment drafted and enforced by the technocratic-military
government of General Zia to change Pakistan’s system of governance to a
semi-presidential system while removing martial law. The eighth amendment made
Islam and Article 2 and then Article 2(A) a part of the Constitution and thus
that preamble became an operative part of the Constitution. It was all being
done in the name of Islam,” said Dr Jaffar.
eighth amendment also changed things for minorities in Pakistan. “On the
surface everything seemed fine but one word, ‘freely’, mentioned in the Quaid’s
Aug 11 speech where he had talked about minorities being allowed to freely
practice their religion was missing,” he said.
25 years no one noticed. Then in 2010 it was noticed at the time of the 18th
Amendment. The word could not have been dropped accidentally because you need
an amendment in the Constitution even if you need to put in an extra comma. And
here neither the assemblies nor the Senate knew anything about it,” he said.
was a clear departure from the neutrality the Quaid wanted in Pakistan. But it
was said that when making his speech the Quaid at the time was only saying that
to pacify the feelings of the minorities here. Such kind of talk only belittles
his speech and what he was trying to say,” he said.
Pakistan's military is taking a key role in the development of one of the
world's biggest untapped copper and gold deposits, which is currently stalled
by a multi-billion dollar legal wrangle with foreign mining firms, multiple
sources familiar with the situation said.
Reko Diq mine has become a test case for Prime Minister Imran Khan's ability to
attract serious foreign investment to Pakistan as it struggles to stave off an
economic crisis that has forced it to seek an International Monetary Fund
current and former provincial and federal government officials and mining
sources familiar with the project in the Baluchistan region say the military
has become the most important voice on the future of Reko Diq, which it sees as
a strategic national asset.
military will not only be in a position to decide which investors develop the
deposit, but an army-controlled engineering firm, Frontier Works Organization
(FWO), is positioning itself to be a member of any consortium involved, these
has been taken over by GHQ," said a senior Baluchistan government
official, referring to the Pakistan army's General Headquarters in the garrison
city of Rawalpindi.
a statement in response to Reuters' questions about its role in Reko Diq, the
military spokesman's office said: "(The military) may only participate in
government's plan of development of Reko Diq, as per national
it acknowledged that FWO, best known for building roads through Pakistan's
rugged and lawless border regions, has developed "substantial" mining
capability in recent years and would be interested in taking a role in the
an opportunity arises of participating in developing Reko Diq, FWO may work at
par with other competitors (or) companies provided the project is financially
viable (or) suitable," the statement said. When asked, a spokesman
declined to elaborate on the statement.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said civilian authorities in the
insurgency-hit southwestern province of Baluchistan were in charge of Reko Diq
and, along with Khan, would take a decision, but added that the military
"and all other stakeholders are obviously important players".
referred questions to the military spokesman's office. Khan's spokesman
Iftikhar Durrani said Baluchistan province was in charge of Reko Diq, and
referred questions to the provincial government and the military spokesman's
manoeuvring behind the project shows how the military, which has historically
dictated Pakistan's security and foreign policy, is leveraging its sway over
the civilian government at federal and provincial level to carve a growing role
in the nation's business affairs.
army has ruled the nuclear-armed nation for nearly half its history and is
considered to have a major influence over Khan's recently elected government. A
military spokesman declined to comment.
military has taken a front seat," said Ayesha Siddiqa, author of the book
"Military Inc.", which analyses the army's business interests and
influence in Pakistan.
understood that the economy is important for having a strong military,"
she said. "Control of the economy also gives the military a handle over
expanding their business interests."
at the foot of an extinct volcano near the frontier with Iran and Afghanistan,
the mine's development has long been delayed by a dispute with previous
investors in the project, Canada's Barrick Gold and Chile's Antofagasta.
government is urgently trying to settle the dispute as a World Bank arbitration
tribunal, which ruled against Pakistan in 2017, is in the next few months
expected to announce how much in damages the country must pay to the foreign
firms, who are claiming more than $11 billion.
dispute relates to the withholding of a mining lease.
is also trying to find new partners to invest in the project.
any new investors will need the blessing of Pakistan's military, according to
government officials and mining sources.
companies from resource-hungry China have long coveted Reko Diq and more
recently Saudi Arabia has shown interest, according to Pakistani officials.
Western diplomats say the Reko Diq dispute has been a significant foreign
investment deterrent, with international businesses unnerved at how Pakistan
dealt with the companies that had pledged to invest $3.3 billion to develop the
country's then-biggest mining project.
Gold and Antofagasta, whose joint venture Tethyan Copper Company (TCC)
discovered vast mineral wealth in Reko Diq, say they had invested more than
$220 million by the time the Baluchistan government, in 2011, unexpectedly
refused to grant them the critical mining lease needed to keep operating.
argued its move was legitimate because TCC's feasibility study was incomplete
and the country's Supreme Court voided the deal in 2013. But in 2017 the World
Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled
did not respond to requests for comment and Antofagasta and Barrick Gold both
declined to comment. Reuters could not determine whether either company would
be willing to return to the project.
last serious attempt at settling the Reko Diq case was scuppered in 2016 by the
military, which vetoed paying hundreds of millions of dollars to TCC, according
to a senior Baluchistan official and two former senior officials in Islamabad.
the military has since changed its stance and is more open to a settlement with
TCC, according to a lawmaker close to the military and a source close to Prime
Minister Khan. The military was also involved in appointing Pakistan's current
response to a Reuters question about blocking the previous settlement effort,
the military said: "Let's see how the case progresses." It did not
elaborate or comment on whether it was playing any role in the latest
mining experts say a likely solution would be for a new investment consortium
to pay the settlement fee on behalf of cash-strapped Pakistan in exchange for
future royalty fees or mining rights.
Minister Chaudhry said Pakistan was engaged in negotiations with
"both" the current investors about a settlement and also potential
new investors, with interest coming from the Middle East and Europe. He
declined to name the potential investors.
Finance Minister Asad Umar said in October that Saudi Arabia has inquired about
investing in Reko Diq and another government official confirmed talks were
Arabia did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on Reko Diq. During
Crown Prince bin Salman's visit to Pakistan last month, the kingdom pledged to
invest $2 billion in mineral development projects, though the provisional
agreements were vague and did not mention any specific projects.
state-owned miner China Metallurgical Group Corporation (MCC), which operates
the Saindak copper and gold mine close to Reko Diq, has been eyeing the bigger
deposit for more than a decade, according to mining and MCC officials.
few years ago Chinese state giant Norinco also made an approach, according to
two sources familiar with Norinco's offer.
and Norinco did not respond to requests for comment.
a mining company approached former general Abdul Quadir Baloch about Reko Diq
around 2016, when he was federal minister for the frontier regions, he took
their proposal not only to then-premier Nawaz Sharif, but also to the army
military has to give a (security) guarantee to any company coming in to explore
or exploit this project, so they are a stakeholder," said Baloch.
military declined to comment on Baloch's assertions. Sharif, who has since been
jailed on corruption charges, could not be reached for comment.
army-run FWO does not have the funds or the expertise to develop the Reko Diq
project, which boasts 5.9 billion tons of ore. But it could be part of a
consortium alongside global miners who have the know-how to mine such a
military's role in developing natural resources in Baluchistan also carries
risks, however, analysts say.
China and Pakistan plan to upgrade their jointly-produced JF-17 Thunder fighter
jet to enhance its "informatised warfare” capability and weapons which
experts says could effectively defend against strong opponents like India.
development and production of the JF-17 Block 3 are underway, Yang Wei, a
Chinese legislator and chief designer of the China-Pakistan codeveloped fighter
Pakistan media claimed that JF-17 aircraft was used to carry out an attack
along the Line Of Control (LOC) on February 27. The Indian Air Force, however,
said a US made F-16 has been shot down during the attack.
up-gradation of JF-17 is aimed to enhance the jet's "informatised
warfare" capability and weapons, the state-run Global Times reported on
warfare” is often used by the Chinese military which broadly refer to use of
information and communication technology in modern wars.
JF-17, which was previously referred as FC-1 Xiaolong, a single-engine
multi-role light fighter was being jointly produced by the two countries for
several years with engines supplied by Russia.
is mostly used by Pakistan than by China as the Chinese Air Force has acquired
new generation aircraft like Russia's Sukhoi as well as array of home grown new
planes including stealth aircraft.
JF-17 is currently contending with India's Tejas and South Korea's FA-50, the
Global Times report said.
related work is being carried out," for JF-17 Block 3 Yang was quoted as
saying by the daily.
third block will see the JF-17's informatised warfare capability and weapons
upgraded," Yang said.
Dongxu, a Beijing-based military analyst, told the Global Times that the JF-17
Block 3 is expected to be fitted with an active electronically scanned array
radar, which can gather more information in combat, enabling the fighter jet to
engage from a farther range and attack multiple targets at the same time.
helmet-mounted display and sight system could also allow pilots to aim whatever
the main user of the JF-17, could further share information between the fighter
and other platforms, taking advantage of the whole combat system to effectively
defend against strong opponents like India, Wei said.
the new upgrade, Wei expects the JF-17 Block 3 to match an improved version of
the F-16 fighter jet.
said that the development and batch production for the JF-17 Block 3 are going
simultaneously, thanks to the broad experience.
said this probably means while the upgrades like the new AESA radar are still
in development, the airframe, which remains roughly the same, can be
manufactured without waiting.
new developments are complete, they can be fitted on the airframe very fast,
ensuring a quick delivery time, Wei said.
A meeting of the Apex Committee, presided over by Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan
Alyani, has decided to pursue zero tolerance policy on terrorism and vowed to
purge Balochistan of the menace of terrorism by implementing the National
Action Plan (NAP).
Southern Command Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, provincial Home Minister Meer Zia
Langove, Chief Secretary Dr Akhtar Nazeer and civil and military officials
attended the meeting.
decided to prevent negative propaganda against national security institutions
and take measures to effectively highlight the state’s narrative.
action against terrorist groups and their funding networks, the apex committee
directed law enforcement agencies to establish strong communication for
carrying out decisive action against armed groups disturbing peace.
satisfaction over declining crime rate in Balochistan, the committee decided to
beef up security on all national highways in the province.
apex committee reviewed the security situation in the province and decided to
expand the network of the Counter Terrorism Department across Balochistan.
stressed the need for strong prosecution system, prevention of cyber crime,
fostering religious harmony, protection of rights of minorities and adequate
security for their places of worship.
committee was given briefing on Quetta and Gwadar safe city projects and
resolved to expedite progress on the projects by removing hurdles.
attaches Gurugram property linked to LeT chief Hafiz Saeed
a major crackdown against those sponsoring terror in India, the Directorate of
Enforcement (ED) has attached property of Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT's
chief Hafiz Saeed.
to the agency, "We have attached a property worth Rs 1.03 crore of Zahoor
Ahmad Shah Watali, a financial conduit, in the matter of terror financing by
Hafiz Muhammad Saeed (Founder of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-Ud-Dawa)."
Today has learnt that the attached property is just few miles away from the
national capital in Gurugram.
attachment is part of the investigation that the agency is conducting against
Srinagar-based businessman Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, Hafiz Saeed, Mohd.
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen head Yusuf Shah alias Salahuddin and others.
ED initiated the investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act
(PMLA) based on a charge sheet filed by National Investigation Agency (NIA)
against Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Mohd Yusuf Shah alias Salahuddin, Aftab Ahmad
Shah alias Shahid-Ul-Islam, Altaf Ahmad Shah alias Fantoosh, Nayeem Ahmad Khan,
Farooq Ahmad Dar alias Bitta Karate , Mohammad Akbar Khanday, Raja Mehrajuddin
Kalwal, Bashir Ahmad Bhat alias Peet Saifullah, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali,
Kamran Yusuf and Javed Ahmad Bhat under IPC sections 120B, 121 & 121A, 1860
read with section 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 38, 39 and 40 of the Unlawful Activities
(Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.
accused Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali has been found to be involved in fund raising
and as a financial conduit for Hurriyat leaders. The NIA investigation also
revealed that the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and other secessionists
instigate the general public, especially the youth, to observe strikes and
issue directives to the masses to hold anti-India protests, demonstrations and
processions through press releases, newspapers and social media," said the
probe agency further during the investigation found that the secessionists
instigate the masses to resort to violence, particularly stone pelting at
security forces at encounter sites and also after the dispersal of Friday
prayers. "This is done wilfully to create such circumstances which will arouse
disaffection among the people of Jammu and Kashmir towards the Indian
government," said an officer.
to the ED, it was revealed during the investigations that Hurriyat leaders are
receiving funds from Pakistan through conduits and also from the Pakistan High
Commission directly. It was substantiated by an incriminating document seized
during the search from the house of Ghulam Mohammed Bhatt, who worked as the
cashier-cum-accountant with Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali.
document shows that Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was receiving money from Hafiz
Saeed, the ISI, Pakistan High Commission at New Delhi and also from a source
based in Dubai," added the office.
ED claims, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali was remitting the same to the Hurriyat
leaders, separatists and stone-pelters of Jammu and Kashmir. "The said
document has been maintained in regular course of his business and is signed by
Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali himself. This document clearly shows that Hurriyat
leaders were receiving funds from Pakistan through the officials of Pakistan
High Commission and through Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali. The signature of Zahoor
Ahmad Shah Watali has also been verified and as per the expert report, his
signature on the questioned document matches with his specimen handwriting as
well as his admitted handwriting," said the ED document, a copy of which
was acquired by India Today.
Ahmad Shah Watali along with other nine accused are under Judicial Custody at
Central Jail, Tihar, New Delhi in the case investigated by NIA.
investigations conducted by ED has resulted in quantification of proceeds of
crime to the tune of Rs. 7 Crore (approx.) . One immovable property of accused
Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, located in Gurugram, having a value of Rs. 1.03 Crore
has been attached provisionally under PMLA," said the ED.
continuation of their crackdown against terror funding, the ED is all set to
attach 24 other properties linked to Srinagar based businessman Zahoor Ahmad
Shah Watali and Hafiz Saeed. These properties are spread across Jammu and
Kashmir and other parts of the country. The ED suspects a substantial part of
the money came through Hafiz Saeed-led Hizb-ul Mujhahideen.
NATIONS: The fate of the proposal to designate Pakistan-based terror group
Jaish-e-Muhammed's chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security
Council will be known in less than 24 hours when the deadline to raise
objections to the bid expires.
proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 al-Qaida Sanctions Committee of the
UN Security Council was moved by France, UK and the US on February 27.
was under the no-objection period and Committee members had a period of 10
working days to raise any objections to the proposal. The noobjection period
deadline ends 3 pm Wednesday (12:30am IST).
Committee makes its decisions by consensus of its members.
eyes are on China, which has in the past blocked India's bids to get Azhar
listed as a UN-designated global terrorist.
to the listing rules of the al-Qaida Sanctions Committee, if no objection is
received by the end of the no-objection period, the decision will be deemed
adopted, meaning that Azhar will become a UN-designated global terrorist.
proposal is the fourth such bid at the UN in the last 10 years to list Azhar as
a global terrorist.
2009, India moved a proposal by itself to designate Azhar, whose JeM had taken
responsibility for the suicide attack against Indian security forces in Pulwama
on February 14 in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were
2016 again India moved the proposal with the P3 - the United States, the United
Kingdom and France in the UN's 1267 Sanctions Committee to ban Azhar, also the
mastermind of the attack on the air base in Pathankot in January, 2016.
2017, the P3 nations moved a similar proposal again. However, on all occasions
China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked
India's proposal from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee.
UNSC designation will subject Azhar to an assets freeze, travel ban and an arms
embargo. An assets freeze under the Sanctions Committee requires that all
states freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic
resources of designated individuals and entities.
travel ban entails preventing the entry into or transit by all states through
their territories by designated individuals.
the arms embargo, all states are required to prevent the direct or indirect
supply, sale and transfer from their territories or by their nationals outside
their territories, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related
materiel of all types, spare parts, and technical advice, assistance, or
training related to military activities, to designated individuals and
diplomatic and political parleys have preceded the closely-watched March 13
deadline as New Delhi reached out to member countries of the UNSC.
the wake of the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama, India launched a major
diplomatic offensive against Islamabad, holding briefing for envoys of 25
countries, including from the five permanent UNSC members -- the United States,
China, Russia, the United Kingdom and France -- to highlight Pakistan's role in
using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
also handed over to Pakistan a dossier on "specific details" of
involvement of the JeM in the Pulwama terror attack.
two days before the March 13 deadline on Azhar's listing, Foreign Secretary
Vijay Gokhale met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington. The Ministry of
External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi said in a statement that Pompeo expressed
his "understanding" of India's concerns regarding cross-border
agreed that Pakistan needs to take concerted action to dismantle the terrorist
infrastructure and to deny safe haven to all terrorist groups in its territory.
They also agreed that those who support or abet terrorism in any form should be
held accountable," the MEA said.
State Department said in a statement that Pompeo affirmed that the United
States stands with the people and government of India in the fight against
and Gokhale "discussed the importance of bringing those responsible for
the attack to justice and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action
against terrorist groups operating on its soil", according to a statement
by Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino.
Monday, America's National Security Advisor John Bolton tweeted that he had
spoken with Pakistani Foreign Miniter Shah Mahmood Qureshi to "encourage
meaningful steps against JeM and other terrorist groups operating from
said Qureshi assured him that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists
and will continue steps to deescalate tensions with India.
inkling of Beijing's view on the issue came during Foreign Ministry
Spokesperson Lu Kang's press conference Monday in Beijing when he was asked
about how China would respond to the proposal to list Azhar in the UNSC.
exposes Hizbul Mujahideen’s plot to spread terror network in UP, Assam
started as a case related to fake Indian currency when Uttar Pradesh Police
began an investigation in September 2018, arresting a member of Hizbul
Mujahideen, the Kashmiri terror outfit with counterfeit notes from Kanpur.
investigation was handed over to the National Investigation Agency within days.
the dots investigators have unraveled a plot by the terror group to go beyond
Kashmir and target places in Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh and even spread
its tentacles to the east by setting up bases in Assam.
is part of a chargesheet filed by the agency in a special court in Lucknow.
of the arrested persons, who has now been accused of terror activities by the
NIA in its chargesheet filed on March 11, is Kamruj Zaman from Assam's Hojai
district. He was arrested from Kanpur on September 13, 2018.
Bin Javed, the other person to be charged is absconding and belongs to South
have been accused of raising funds for terror activities by a banned group and
conspiring to carry out terrorist acts under different sections of the anti-terror
law, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
completion of training, Zaman was directed to set up hideouts and select
targets in UP and Assam for terrorist attacks," NIA has stated.
first came under the gaze of agencies when on April 8, 2018, a photograph of
his brandishing an AK-47 rifle went viral on social media.
later escaped to Bangladesh fearing his arrest.
he was constantly in touch with and Riyaz Naikoo, HM operational commander in
Kashmir, over BBM chat application. In the first week of August 2018, he
returned to India and stayed in Assam for some time," NIA said.
25 August 2018, on directions of Javed and Riyaz Naikoo, he proceeded to Kanpur
where he carried out reconnaissance of a few temples to carry out terror attack.
He was also trying to collect arms and explosives to carry out terror activity,
according to NIA.
has said that the investigation has established that both Zaman and Javed had
joined Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) and were given a nine-month weapon training from
June 2017 to March 2018 by two HM cadres identified as Mohammad Amin and Riyaz
Ahmed--both from Kishtwar. The two are also absconding.
case was originally registered by Anti Terror Squad of UP against Zaman and
others under of UA (P) Act on allegations of hatching a criminal conspiracy to
carry out terrorist attacks by HM cadres at different places in UP. Later this
case was re-registered by NIA.
a separate chargesheet filed in Guwahati NIA stated that Zaman recruited others
returning from Bangladesh, he conspired and recruited his associates namely
Sahnawaz Alom, Saidul Alam, Omar Faruk and others as members of
Hizb-Ul-Mujahideen, to raise an HM module in Assam.
a major crackdown against terror funding and Hafiz Saeed, the Enforcement
Directorate(ED) is in the process of attaching 25 properties in Jammu and
Kashmir and other parts of country associated to Srinagar based businessman
Zahoor Ahmed Shah Watali.
probe agency believes a large amount of money that was used to procure these
properties came from chief of Pakistan based terror organisation
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hafiz Saeed.
have told India Today that the agency has initiated the process of attaching
these properties which include bungalows, palatial houses and farmhouses across
is being investigated by the agency for allegedly handling Hafiz Saeed's
finances in India.
ED's investigation is based on a case registered by the National Investigative
Agency. Watali was arrested by the NIA in August last year for his alleged
involvement in terror funding.
to sources, these properties worth crores are part of "proceeds of
crime" invested by Watali.
has named Hafiz Saeed as an accused in its case. Watali, Hafiz Saeed, Hizbul
Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and nine others have been accused by the NIA
of "conspiring to wage war against the government" and sponsoring
terrorism in the Kashmir valley.
attack: Evidence shows Pakistan’s mentoring of Jaish continues
evidence India shared with Pakistan following a suicide bombing in Pulwama that
killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers shows that the
neighbouring country has kept up efforts to launch and support terror groups
including the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), according to
findings of investigations by Indian agencies.
Indian government stepped up diplomatic efforts to isolate Pakistan after the
JeM, a terror group based on its soil, claimed responsibility for the February
14 attack. India shared evidence of terrorist safe havens with the Pakistan
government shortly after the attack, even as Islamabad said the Masood
Azhar-led group has denied its hand in the bombing.
has regularly provided weapons, training, financial support and use of its soil
for these terrorist groups. Pakistani forces help the infiltrating groups to
cross over into the Indian territory using all means, including covering fire.
Mentored and facilitated by the Pak establishment/ISI, Pak/PoK-based terrorist
outfits operating in J&K continued their inimical activities against
India,” India told Pakistan in a document, reviewed by HT.
collected by security and intelligence agencies shows that 254 terrorists were
killed in Jammu and Kashmir last year, and 115 of those were of Pakistani
origin. “Since 2004, over 1,900 Pakistani terrorists have been killed in the
state,” the document added. India has maintained that the ISI, Pakistan’s spy
agency, has continued to assist Pakistani terrorists crossing over into India
by providing them training, identifying new infiltration routes, coordinating
among terror camps and raising funds.
terrorist group led by Azhar, who is said to be living in Pakistan’s
Bahawalpur, is behind some of the worst terrorist attacks in India, including
the September 2016 raid on an Indian Army facility at Uri that killed 19 and an
assault on an airbase the same year in Pathankot.
the Pathankot attack, JeM terrorists have carried out more than a dozen attacks
in India, according to the document. “The involvement of JeM terrorists in
connivance with Pakistani security agencies is evident in all these attacks.
However, Pakistan continues to remain in denial mode despite glaring evidence.
Moreover, no action has been taken by Pakistan Government on Letter Rogatories
(LR) and investigation requests by India.”
is making efforts along with the United States, France and Britain to list
Azhar through the United Nation’s Islamic State and al Qaeda Sanctions
Committee. The listing will go ahead on March 13 if it isn’t blocked by any
member of the UN Security Council. China has in the past vetoed attempts to
part of its cyber campaign, several hundred audio/video messages of Masood
Azhar have been despatched from across. JeM continues to mobilise public
opinion for the ‘Kashmir cause’ as well as seek support from Pak
establishment/ISI. In 2018, JeM succeeded in recruiting large number of local
youths in Valley as well as exploited routes on IB [International Border] for
infiltrating its cadres into J&K,” the document said. “JeM was also noticed
for targeting SF [security forces] camps using assault rifles of bigger calibres
like M4 rifle. All this would not be possible without state’s patronage,” it
fighter jets on February 26 bombed a site in Balakot in Pakistan, known to be a
terrorist training centre of the JeM, after the Pulwama attack. The strikes
triggered a sharp escalation in tensions with Pakistan, which attempted an air
operation in retaliation, and brought back into focus Islamabad’s inaction over
curbing terrorist groups operating on its soil.
Supreme Court-appointed mediation committee on the Ayodhya dispute is set to
meet litigants for an interaction on Wednesday to kick off the mediation
process even as Hindu saints continue to oppose the presence of Art of Living
founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the panel.
A Muslim litigant, too, has asked the spiritual
leader to quit the
panel if he fails to clear his stand on a letter in which he had purportedly
suggested that Muslims should give up their claim on the disputed land.
Sri Ravi Shankar is not an independent mediator as he had written a letter to
us in the past asking us to give up our claim on the disputed land. Hence, I
have asked him to either clear his stand or recuse himself from the panel,”
said Iqbal Ansari, son of Hashim Ansari, one of the main litigants in the
Ayodhya title suit.
from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the mediation panel comprises Justice (retired) FM
Ibrahim Kalifulla and senior advocate Sriram Panchu.
saints of Ayodhya are opposing any kind of mediation in the case and they
consider Sri Sri Ravi Shankar “a rank outsider” on the Ram Mandir issue.
Sri Ravi Shankar has never been associated with the movement,” said Mahant
Nritya Gopal Das, head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas, which spearheaded the Ram
temple movement in the late 1980s and the early 1990s.
day after Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat
Conference, refused to appear before the National Investigation Agency in Delhi
in connection with a probe into alleged terror funding, Kashmiri groups on
Tuesday described the summons sent to him as interference in the region’s
Majlis Ulema, a body of religious scholars headed by Farooq, held a convention
against the NIA summons to Mirwaiz and a ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami, and called
for a protest shutdown on Saturday.
Bolton says Pakistan committed to easing tensions with India
White House national security adviser John Bolton said on Monday Pakistan’s
foreign minister has assured him Islamabad is committed to de-escalating
tensions with India and dealing “firmly” with terrorists.
comments follow a Feb. 14 suicide bombing, claimed by Pakistan-based militants,
which killed at least 40 Indian paramilitary police.
with Pakistani FM (Shah Mehmood) Qureshi to encourage meaningful steps against
JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) and other terrorist groups operating from Pakistan,”
Bolton said on Twitter.
FM assured me that Pakistan would deal firmly with all terrorists and will
continue steps to deescalate tensions with India,” Bolton added.
which denies Indian accusations of aiding militant groups, last week announced
a crackdown against all proscribed outfits.
foreign ministry late on Monday said Qureshi informed Bolton “about the
de-escalatory measures taken by Pakistan” in the wake of the aerial bombing
missions carried out by both countries in late February.
told Bolton that Pakistan’s strike in Kashmir on Feb. 27 was in self-defence
and retaliation to India’s raid on its territory a day earlier. New Delhi said
it hit a JeM training camp in Pakistan, but Islamabad denies any such camp
two countries fought an aerial dogfight over Kashmir on Feb. 27, and a couple
of days later Pakistan returned a downed Indian pilot in a gesture that
appeared to de-escalate the crisis.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, in a joint conference with Qureshi, commended
Pakistan on Tuesday for returning the pilot and offering talks with India. But
he also urged Islamabad to stamp out militant groups which attack neighbouring
both agreed that cross-border terrorism has to be permanently stopped and there
too there have been positive signs in the past few days that we welcome very
much,” Maas said. “Ultimately it’s about fighting any kind of terrorism and
and Taliban negotiators wrapped up their longest round of peace talks on
Tuesday with progress made but no agreement on when foreign troops might
withdraw, officials from both sides said.
16 days of talks, in which the United States also sought assurances that the
Taliban would not allow militant groups to use Afghanistan to stage attacks,
are expected to resume in late March.
negotiations in Qatar included the Taliban’s political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani
Baradar and a US team led by special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad.
an Afghan-born veteran US diplomat, said the sides made progress on discussions
about counter-terrorism assurances and a troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
conditions for peace have improved. It’s clear all sides want to end the war.
Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides,”
Khalilzad said on Twitter.
Taliban have held multiple rounds of peace talks with the American team led by
Khalilzad but have so far refused to talk to the Afghan government.
the agreement in draft about a withdrawal timeline and effective
counter-terrorism measures is finalised, the Taliban and other Afghans,
including the government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political
settlement and comprehensive ceasefire,” Khalilzad said.
spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the sides made progress on the issues of
withdrawing foreign forces and preventing future attacks on other countries
in a statement, he stressed that no agreement was reached on a ceasefire or
talks with the Afghan government.
spokesman for Afghan President Ashraf Ghani tweeted that he hoped to see a
long-term ceasefire agreement and the start of direct talks between the
government and Taliban soon.
said he would return to Washington to brief US and international officials.
ended on a day in which Taliban insurgents stepped up pressure on the
battlefield, killing 20 Afghan soldiers and capturing another 20 in western
Afghanistan. In another province, officials said an air strike killed both
Taliban fighters and civilians.
14,000 US troops are based in Afghanistan as part of a US-led NATO mission to
train, assist and advise Afghan forces. Some US forces carry out
United States has been pushing the Taliban to agree to a ceasefire and to talk
with Afghanistan’s government, which the militant group considers a US puppet
US officials were pressing the Taliban to declare a ceasefire, but our leaders
were clear that a ceasefire can only be announced after the foreign force
withdrawal announcement (is) made,” said a senior Taliban commander privy to
Taliban source said on condition of anonymity there was frustration on some
issues during the peace talks and that a senior member of the extremist group
told US officials at one point that the Taliban are “not their servants” and
need no US approval for any future decisions.
intervened in Afghanistan in 2001 to help overthrow a Taliban government that
had sheltered Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda group, responsible for the Sept. 11
attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.
US-led international force has fought since then against a Taliban insurgency.
The foreign presence peaked in 2010 at more than 130,000 troops including
100,000 Americans, but was sharply cut back after 2014.
President Donald Trump can’t get enough of Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Democratic lawmakers try to turn the page after the liberal legislator’s use of
anti-Semitic tropes ignited an embarrassing, intra-party fight, the Republican
president is trying to prolong and weaponize the issue for his 2020 campaign,
asserting during a private weekend fundraiser that Democrats “hate” Jews.
Trump publicly muses about winning over Jewish voters for his re-election, his
motivations are more complicated and expansive. The president’s rhetorical
escalation also is designed to unsettle the Democratic primary debate, exploit
an issue that can energize his supporters and move past his own history of
toying in anti-Semitic motifs.
on Tuesday promoted comments by former model and 2016 campaign staffer
Elizabeth Pipko, who said on Fox & Friends that “Jewish people are leaving
the Democratic Party.”
who serves as spokesperson for the group “Jexodus,” which bills itself as
speaking for “Jewish Millennials tired of living in bondage to leftist
politics,” saw her comments amplified by Trump on Twitter. “There is
anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party,” she continued. “They don’t care about
Israel or the Jewish people.”
comments mirrored Trump’s charge on Friday that Democrats had become an
“anti-Israel” and “anti-Jewish” party, responding to the House voted a day
before to disapprove of all prejudice in response to Omar’s invocation of
“dual-loyalty” charges against American supporters of Israel earlier this
later that evening, Trump went even further in an appearance before Republican
National Committee donors, charging that Democrats “hate” Jewish people,
according to a person who heard the remarks but spoke on condition of anonymity
to describe the president’s comments at a private event.
had sparked a political firestorm that derailed the Democrats’ focus on
investigations of the Trump administration, including a public back-and-forth
over how, or even if, her party should condemn her comments. The ultimate
resolution, which passed the House overwhelmingly, didn’t call out Omar by
a small percentage of the nation, American Jews are not a particularly
significant voting bloc, nor is Israel their decisive issue of concern. And
both parties acknowledge the controversy is unlikely to alter dramatically the
electoral votes of the American Jewish community, which has skewed decisively
toward Democrats for more than a generation.
a small shift, though, can be significant.
slicing the salami very thin, and an incremental shift in traditional
Democratic blocs to the other side can have a profound impact,” said Matt
Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. He said his
group plans to make “the largest investment that we’ve ever had in the 2020
race in terms of outreach, advocacy and independent expenditures on behalf of
the fight also gives Trump an opportunity to deflect criticism of his own
rhetoric, invigorate evangelical Christians for whom the Israel issue is a
powerful motivator and paint Democrats into a radical corner.
also plays into Trump’s attempt to cast Democrats as radicals ahead of the 2020
campaign, said conservative commentator Seth Mandel, executive editor of the
Washington Examiner magazine. He noted that Democratic Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders pushed back against efforts to condemn
Omar’s comments. “It makes it very easy to say they’re just adopting whatever
the socialist says.”
House press secretary Sarah Sanders kept the controversy alive on Monday by
criticizing Democrats for failing to explicitly repudiate Omar.
something that should be called by name,” she said. “It shouldn’t be put in a
pointed to Republican condemnation of Rep. Steve King earlier this year,
including stripping the Iowa Republican of his committee memberships, after he
made remarks defending white supremacy. But King had long espoused racially
charged ideas, and the GOP only took action after it lost its majority in the
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination,
warned that Trump’s politicization of the issue “threatens the bipartisan
support for Israel.”
problem is that the president sees it somehow as a way to make some kind of
political hay and a wedge,” she said. “And he keeps addressing it that way. And
I just think it’s a mistake, as someone that’s a strong supporter of Israel,
that he keeps doing it.”
Soifer, the executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America,
said her group welcomes Trump’s focus on the issue of anti-Semitism. “He
himself has emboldened anti-Semites in our country by both repeating
anti-Semitic tropes and conspiracy theories,” she said. “He has no credibility
with Jewish voters.”
has been among the loudest critics of Omar, including last month when he called
on her to resign from the House, or at least resign her post on the Foreign
Affairs Committee over her suggestion that Jewish money drove support for
Trump himself has repeatedly deployed some of the same tropes that sent fire
toward Omar. He was slow to condemn white supremacists who marched violently in
Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017. In 2016 he circulated an image of a six-pointed
star alongside a photo of Hillary Clinton, a pile of money and the words “most
corrupt candidate ever.” And he told a group of Republican Jewish donors he
didn’t expect to earn their support because he wouldn’t take their money.
want to control your politicians, that’s fine,” he told the Republican Jewish
Coalition in 2015. Ultimately, the group and many of its donors backed Trump.
Brooks said Trump’s comments were meant obviously in jest and any suggestion
otherwise is “unfair and ridiculous.”
is hardly the first time Trump has tried to peel away minority voters from the
Democratic coalition. He has pushed the “WalkAway” and “Blexit” movements to
win over black voters to the GOP, but those efforts proved to have limited, if
to AP Votecast, a survey of more than 115,000 midterm voters and 3,500 Jewish
voters nationwide, voters who identified as Jewish broke for Democrats over
Republicans by a wide margin, 72 percent to 26 percent, in 2016.
US special representative for Afghanistan announced on Tuesday that a draft
agreement has been reached with the Taliban on counter-terrorism assurances and
troop withdrawal after 13 days of talks in Doha.
Khalilzad, the first US official to lead talks with the extremist group,
tweeted on Tuesday that the talks have concluded in Doha and he was on his way
back to Washington.
conditions for #peace have improved," Mr Khalilzad said. "It’s clear
all sides want to end the war. Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track
and made real strides."
Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad
Just finished a marathon round of talks with the Taliban in #Doha. The
conditions for #peace have improved. It’s clear all sides want to end the war.
Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides.
PM - Mar 12, 2019
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said a peace agreement would focus on four issues: counter-terrorism
assurances, troop withdrawal, including the Afghan government in talks and a
January talks, we agreed in principle on these four elements," Mr
Khalilzad said. "We're now 'agreed in draft' on the first two."
the draft agreement will need to be finalised, he said.
that happens, “the Taliban and other Afghans, including the government, will
begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political settlement and comprehensive
ceasefire”, Mr Khalilzad said.
will meet again soon and there is no final agreement until everything is
Taliban also voiced optimism on Tuesday.
now, both sides will deliberate over the achieved progress, share it with their
respective leaderships and prepare for the coming meeting, the date of which
shall be set by both negotiation teams,” the group told The Washington Post.
US waged its war in Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban and Al Qaeda in 2001
after the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
despite 18 years of war, the group remains undefeated.
President Donald Trump has expressed interest in withdrawing troops from
America’s longest war but his military generals have said no such order has
been given yet.
the US envoy is hoping to seal an agreement before Afghan voters go to the
polls in July.
former US diplomats including Ryan Crocker have warned against legitimising the
Taliban before it abandons terrorism, or using the talks as a justification for
shuts Jerusalem Al-Aqsa mosque compound after unrest
Unrest at a highly sensitive Jerusalem holy site led Israeli police to shut off
access to it on Tuesday after several weeks of tension at the location.
said they evacuated the Al-Aqsa mosque compound after a Molotov cocktail
damaged a police post.
spread online of scuffles between police and Palestinians before the site was
than 10 people were arrested, police said, while the Palestinian Red Crescent
reported two people hurt.
police officer suffered from smoke inhalation, police said.
said they found a number of firecrackers and Molotov cocktails in searches of
said police were also restricting Palestinian access to Jerusalem’s Old City,
where the site is located.
later prayed outside the locked gates of the site in protest.
the custodian of the site, condemned its closure as “unacceptable.”
Nasser Abul Al-Basal, Jordanian minister of Islamic affairs, told state-run
Al-Mamlaka TV that the closure was an “attack on religious freedom.”
compound is the third-holiest site in Islam and a focus of Palestinian
aspirations for statehood.
is also the location of Judaism’s most sacred spot, revered as the site of the
two biblical-era Jewish temples.
are allowed to visit but cannot pray there and it is a frequent scene of
is located in east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and
later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.
weeks have seen scuffles over a side building at the site known as the Golden
worshippers have been entering the site despite an Israeli order that it should
to the Golden Gate was closed in 2003 during the second Palestinian intifada
over alleged militant activity there, police say.
officials argue that the organization that prompted the ban no longer exists
and there is no reason for it to remain closed.
and Jordan are believed to be holding discussions to resolve the issue.
have filed a request with Israeli courts for an order to re-close the building,
but the court has reportedly delayed any decision to allow for more
are concerns in Israel that tensions at the site could boil over and become a
political issue ahead of April 9 Israeli elections.
and Baghdad have hailed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s historic three-day
visit to Iraq as a “turning point” in efforts to strengthen “strategic”
cooperation between the two neighbors based on non-interference in each other’s
a joint statement on Tuesday, Iran and Iraq said they discussed regional
issues, common challenges, fight against terrorism and ways to promote
security, stability and economic cooperation in the region in line with the
interests of its nations.
to the statement, the two sides emphasized the need for the establishment of
security in the Middle East as a contributing factor to the region’s economic
growth and development.
added that Iran and Iraq also expressed their firm determination to battle
terrorism and organized crimes, which pose a threat to regional security and
peace, calling for collective cooperation to uproot terrorism in all political,
intellectual and financial aspects.
two sides said they held important talks in a cordial and constructive
atmosphere and expressed their willingness to enhance relations in various
spheres, including politics, security, economy, healthcare, trade, culture,
science and technology.
and Iraq further emphasized that the 1975 Algiers Agreement and its attached
protocols should be carefully implemented with goodwill and agreed to start
joint operation to dredge Arvand Roud as soon as possible.
1975 Algiers Agreement (commonly known as the Algiers Accord, sometimes as the
Algiers Declaration) was an agreement between Iran and Iraq to settle their
border disputes and conflicts (such as the Shatt al-Arab, known as Arvand Roud
in Iran), and it served as basis for the bilateral treaties signed on June 13,
Last night, PM hosted dinner w/unprecedented
guest list—a who's who of Iraqi politics: All Iraqis are our friends;
leaders issued historic joint declaration:
to implement 1975 Treaty
dredging of border river:
another vestige of Saddam war.
PM - Mar 12, 2019
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a post on his official Twitter account on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif pointed to the “historic joint declaration” and said the
two sides urged commitment to the implementation of the 1975 Treaty and the
expeditious dredging of the border river.
major powers hatching plot after plot against nations’
on Tuesday, the Iranian president said big powers, particularly the United
States, have constantly been hatching plots against Middle Eastern nations.
in the past, Iran is ready to take steps to solve regional problems and promote
dialog and interactions among regional countries,” Rouhani said in a meeting
with Leader of Iraq's National Wisdom Movement Ammar al-Hakim in Baghdad on
Tuesday, the second day of his visit to the neighboring country.
called on Iranian and Iraqi officials to make more efforts to fulfill their
duties towards the two nations.
Iranian president further said Tehran and Baghdad play an influential role in
the region, adding that the two sides should make plans in accordance with the
current circumstances in the region as well as common goals and work to
strengthen bilateral cooperation in all fields.
Iran ties help Iraq’s development, reconstruction: Hakim
Iraqi official, for his part, said Iraq has managed to overcome major
challenges, adding that further expansion of relations with Iran can help
accelerate Iraq’s reconstruction and development.
stressed the importance of maintaining unity and coherence among various
political groups in Iraq and emphasized that the National Wisdom Movement feels
duty-bound to resist against anti-Iran media propaganda and excessive demands of
arrogant powers from the Islamic Republic.
is in Baghdad at the head of a high-ranking politico-economic delegation on his
first visit to the country since 2013. The trip is aimed at solidifying
strategic ties despite US efforts to keep the two neighbors apart and curb
Iran's influence in the region.
and Iraq on Monday signed five memorandums of understanding for the expansion
of bilateral cooperation in various economic and healthcare sectors.
documents were signed by senior officials of the two countries in the presence
of President Rouhani and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad.
al-Sha’abi plays key role in Iraq national unity: Rouhani
Iranian president also said on Tuesday that Iraq’s pro-government Popular Mobilization
Units (PMU), known in Arabic as Hashd al-Sha’abi, plays a highly important role
in fighting terrorism, establishing national security and reinforcing unity in
the Arab country.
a meeting with Faleh al-Fayyad, the PMU head and Iraq’s National Security
Advisor, Rouhani added that the Iraqi nation’s fight against terrorists was a
source of pride for the Muslim world.
Iraqi official, for his part, said the Iranian president’s visit to Iraq would
serve the two nations' interests.
expansion of cooperation between Iran and Iraq would prepare the ground for
major developments in the Middle East, Fayyad added.
emphasized that Iraq always considers itself as a defender of the Islamic
Republic in different areas and is proud of neighboring Iran’s political,
economic, regional and international achievements.
November 2016, the Iraqi parliament voted to integrate Hashd al-Sha’abi, which
was formed shortly after the emergence of Daesh, into the military.
President Hassan Rouhani says the fight against terrorism is not over yet
despite the collapse of the Daesh terror group in Iraq and Syria as the United
States is now relocating the Takfiri terrorists from the Middle East to
Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Caucasus.
a meeting with Iraqi religious and tribal leaders and elites in Baghdad,
Rouhani said the hegemonic powers brought Daesh and other terrorists to the
region in an attempt to sow discord among neighboring countries, nations,
tribes and religions so they could justify their illegitimate presence in the
region, portray a violent image of Islam and ultimately represent themselves as
he added, the Iraqi and Syrian nations -- along with the vigilant people of the
region -- foiled the plots hatched by the imperialist powers.
in the region managed to let the world know that the terrorists are not true
Muslims, and that Islam is the religion of justice, mercy and peaceful
coexistence among all ethnicities and religions, contrary to all the
Islamophobic propaganda,” Rouhani said.
nations, he said, showed the world that the global arrogance, itself, is the
main sponsor of terrorists, adding, “It is clear where they (terrorists)
receive financial and military support, and how and in which markets they sell
the looted artifacts.”
did not allow imperialist powers to present themselves as the region’s saviors.
Now everyone knows that Western powers had no role in the elimination of the
terrorists from the region,” the Iranian president said.
terrorists were in fact banished thanks to the endeavors of the Iraqi nation
and army as well as the fatwas issued by religious leaders, Rouhani added.
Iranian president warned, however, that the issue of terrorism has not yet been
may still create problems for the people of the region in various different
ways as the Americans have other plots in mind
for the region and are now transferring the terrorists to Afghanistan,
Central Asia and the Caucasus,” Rouhani said.
is his remarks, the Iranian chief executive hailed Tehran-Baghdad ties as
excellent and exemplary, urging strong unity between the two neighbors as well
as other regional friendly countries.
on Tuesday, Rouhani held talks with the former Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi.
the meeting, the Iranian president expressed his satisfaction with the growing
bilateral relations and called for boosting cooperation in the fields of trade,
economy and higher education.
for his part, highlighted the importance of Rouhani’s trip and hailed close
cooperation between the two neighbors in the fight against terrorism over the
Iraqi parties and politicians support the enhancement of ties with Iran, he
said, noting that the strategic relations would not be undermined in any way.
has denounced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his “blatant
racism” against Arab Israelis after the rightist premier said the occupied
territories do not belong to all its citizens.
Rotem Sela, a popular Israeli TV host and actress, took to Instagram to
criticize anti-Arab comments by Culture Minister Miri Regev, an outspoken
fired back by referring to a controversial law adopted last year that declares
the occupied territories exclusively “the nation-state of the Jewish people.”
is not a state of all its citizens,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “According
to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation state of the
Jewish people – and only it.”
Israeli prime minister also suggested on his online Likud TV webcast that Arab
citizens had more affiliation with the Arab countries in the region than with
Arab citizens have 22 nation states around them and they do not need another,”
remarks sparked condemnations, with critics saying Netanyahu was demonizing the
Arabs, who make up some 17.5 percent of Israel’s population, in a bid to boost
right-wing turnout for the April legislative elections.
Tuesday, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin strongly condemned
Netanyahu’s “blatant racism and discrimination.”
million Arabs/Muslims live in Israel. Will the Western governments react or
keep silent under pressure again?” Kalin asked on his official Twitter account.
Netanyahu says that Israel is “a nation state
not of all its citizens but only of the Jewish people”.
strongly condemn this blatant racism and discrimination.
million Arabs/Muslims live in Israel.
the Western governments react or keep silent under pressure again?
PM - Mar 12, 2019
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however, responded hours later, calling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
a “dictator” who jails journalists and judges.
slams Israel’s ‘brazen attacks’ on al-Aqsa
on Tuesday, Ankara censured Israel’s stepped-up raids on the sacred places of
Islam after the regime forces closed all entrances to the al-Aqsa Mosque
compound in Jerusalem al-Quds amid clashes with Palestinian worshipers.
today, Israel’s aggression has increased with encouragement from the US. We
talk about all these issues and will not give up our sacred and national
causes,” Turkish Foreign MInister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in the province of
also called on the international community to stand against Tel Aviv, adding,
“It is time to put a stop to Israel’s recklessness. We can’t tolerate brazen
attacks on our holy places and the world must react to this.”
have long been wary of Israeli attempts to change the status quo of al-Aqsa
Mosque, which is Islam’s third holiest site and where only Muslim prayers are
allowed under the status quo reaffirmed in 1967 between Israel and Jordan.
between Ankara and Tel Aviv soured in 2010 after an Israeli raid on a
Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla killed 10 Turkish activists in high seas.
CAIRO: New fighting has erupted in northern Yemen as support for Iran-backed
Houthi militias in their heartland crumbles.
of civilians caught in clashes between warring factions are trapped in the
impoverished Hajjah governorate.
number of people displaced has doubled in the past six months, with over 5,300
families fleeing in the past weeks, according to the UN Office for the
Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Houthis imposed tight control over Hajjah’s mountainous district of Kushar
after powerful local tribesmen took up arms against them. The Houthis shelled
the district — home to 100,000 people — and killed and wounded scores of
civilians. Thousands were displaced. As the Houthi siege strangled the area,
the Saudi-led coalition airdropped food and medicine to the tribes.
fighting in the north of Hajjah is creating an extremely concerning situation
for the population,” said the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, which
is operating in the region.
district’s tribes remained neutral in Yemen’s civil war after a 2012 deal with
the Houthis. But after the Houthis tried to use the district to send weapons
and reinforcements to the front lines, the deal collapsed.
Argash, a Yemeni university professor who grew up in Kushar, said that for the
past two months mediation between tribal leaders and Houthis failed to prevent
were searching for peace and told them, you are the de facto authority, tell us
what you want and we will do it,” he said. “We tried to avoid the war but we
were forced into it.”
fighting underscores the fragmentation of the Houthis’ support base in northern
Yemen, where they have mostly been in control since the start of the conflict.
human rights chair urges justice for Khashoggi
must be achieved for slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, the chair
of the EU's Subcommittee on Human Rights wrote in an opinion piece published
heinous murder shines a light on how these rights have been brutally trampled
on under the Saudi regime," Antonio Panzeri wrote in the Washington Post
was brutally murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last October
shortly after he entered the diplomatic facility. Riyadh initially denied any
role in the killing but has since sought to blame his death on a botched rendition
operation carried out by rogue agents.
November, the CIA concluded with high confidence that Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's killing, according to The Washington
said that despite going on a "tour of world capitals" to tout reforms
in his country that portray it as being a regional leader in human rights, bin
Salman's government has been "following a path that leads in a completely
regime, despite small concessions, has continued to behave in an authoritarian
and repressive manner," said Panzeri. "The need to forge
relationships with international powers explains the crown prince’s occasional
concessions. Fortunately, there are still some leaders who see through the
smokescreen and have some qualms about trading with a dictator."
says will blacklist UAE, Oman as havens for tax evasion
finance ministers of the European Union have agreed to revise a blacklist for
tax havens outside the bloc, adding 10 countries including the United Arab
Emirates, Oman, and British and Dutch oversea territories to the list, despite
last-minute push-back by some EU nations.
officials said Tuesday the bloc is increasing the number of blacklisted
countries from 5 to 15 as part of a plan to raise the bar of tax good
governance globally and cut out the opportunities for tax abuse.
EU list is composed of countries that failed to deliver on their commitments to
comply with required good-governance criteria.
United Arab Emirates facilitates offshore structures and arrangements aimed at
attracting profits without real economic substance, and has not yet resolved
this issue,” the Council of the European Union announced on Tuesday.
Saint-Amans, head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD)’s tax group, had earlier described the UAE as a concern and argued that
the country has not been “proactive” in curbing abuse.
documents seen by Reuters show that Italy and Estonia objected to the new tax
haven list, as they opposed the inclusion of the United Arab Emirates, but to
new EU blacklist also includes Oman as the Sultanate “does not apply any
automatic exchange of financial information, has not signed and ratified the
OECD Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance as amended,
and has not yet resolved these issues.”
Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba, Barbados, Belize, the British overseas
territory of Bermuda, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Dominica are also
included in the new list released by the 28-nation bloc.
join Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago, and three US territories of American Samoa,
Guam, and the US Virgin Islands which were already on the blacklist.
blacklist was first set up in December 2017 after revelations of widespread tax
avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their
from the United States, Saudi Arabia and Panama prompted EU governments earlier
this month to block another blacklist of countries that show deficiencies in
countering money laundering and terrorism financing.
unanimous majority of European Union member states moved to block the new EU
money-laundering blacklist that included Saudi Arabia and several US
territories, following an appeal by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al
King Salman has reportedly written letters to all EU leaders appealing against
the oil-rich kingdom's blacklisting.
special exhibition of the Syrian Heritage Archive Project hosted by Berlin's
Museum of Islamic Art takes visitors on a virtual tour through the Syrian
cultural landscape ravaged by the country's war.
special exhibition, which opened on February 28, features one of the most
comprehensive archives on Syria created outside the country, including
artefacts, images, maps and films.
Art Museum Director Stefan Weber noted that "it is one of the largest,
maybe the largest photo archive on Syria in the world."
exhibition focuses on Aleppo and such Syrian towns as Palmyra and Raqqa that
have been severely affected by the drawn-out war in the country, with many
cultural treasures destroyed or irretrievably lost.
Are The Types Of Islamophobia Fox News Is OK With
about it. [Rep. Ilhan] Omar wears a hijab,” Fox News host Jeanine Pirro looked
straight into the camera and told her viewers Saturday night. “Which, according
to the Quran 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested. Is her
adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law,
which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”
on-air comments, which explicitly questioned Omar’s loyalty as an American
lawmaker simply because of her religious beliefs, were widely criticized, with
civil rights groups nationwide calling for Pirro’s resignation. Her employer
even condemned her comments in a statement released on Sunday, saying they “do
not reflect those of the network.”
(D-Minn.), one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, later thanked
the network on Twitter for its condemnation. Shortly after that, Pirro released
a statement defending her segment, saying that she did not call Omar
un-American and that her “intention was to ask a question and start a debate,
but of course because one is Muslim does not mean you don’t support the
to say Pirro’s comments do not reflect Fox News’ position is far from the
truth. For years, she has propagated anti-Muslim disinformation without any
consequence — and so have her colleagues throughout the network. Fox News has
amassed a well-documented history of spewing anti-Muslim propaganda with
has been a one-woman source of Islamophobic sound bites
a 2016 segment of “Fox News Live,” Pirro advocated for mosques to be surveilled
and supported Newt Gingrich’s call to “test every person here who is of a Muslim
background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported,” as he told
the network’s Sean Hannity.
2015 she invited a Steve Emerson, a “high-profile Muslim-basher,” according to
the Southern Poverty Law Center, to discuss his since-disproved theory about
so-called no-go zones in the U.K. and France; he claimed Muslims who refuse to
assimilate reside in enclaves that are beyond the control of local law
enforcement and even bar non-Muslims from entering.
the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack in France, Pirro’s show promoted bigoted
inaccuracies — among many during Fox News’ coverage. The network was forced to
issue not one but four corrections in a single day for wildly inaccurate
reporting about Muslims in Europe.
year, she went on a seven-minute Islamophobia-riddled tirade in which she said
a “reverse Crusade” was in progress against white Christians. In another
instance, she called for the mass murder of Islamists — a label used to
describe politicians who run on political platforms influenced by the Islamic
few days after the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast, a national interfaith event
held in Washington, D.C., Pirro again took to her show and collectively blamed
Muslims, a community of 1.6 billion people, for a series of terrorist attacks.
She berated then-President Obama to “stop defending Islam” and to “start
this: The first World Trade Center attack in 1993, by Muslims. The USS Cole
bombers were Muslim. The Fort Hood shooter was Muslim. The shoe bomber was
Muslim. The underwear bomber was Muslim. The Boston bombers were Muslim. The
Sept. 11 hijackers were Muslim,” she said. “Mr. President, please identify what
other violence is being committed against Americans in the name of any other
religion, or is it just coincidence?”
Fox News, numerous other hosts and guests have traded in anti-Muslim bigotry,
lies and fearmongering
News has repeatedly pushed anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, hosted numerous
Islamophobic personalities and consistently weaved in blatant hate and bigotry
in its coverage of Muslims.
Fox News representative told HuffPost that these instances occurred under old
Matters, a nonprofit research center dedicated to monitoring and correcting
misinformation in American media, has long documented Fox News’ Islamophobic
definitely not isolated to her show. That’s a given,” said Rebecca Lenn, Media
Matters’ director of external affairs. “Fox News has definitely been a leading
driver of the anti-Muslim fervor in the media landscape for a long time. There
is no doubt, taking a step back, that bigotry and extremism are at the very
heart of the network, and that’s becoming even more of a reality since the
network has positioned itself as Trump’s go-to propaganda network.”
is no shortage of examples of blatant anti-Muslim rhetoric broadcast on Fox
“Fox & Friends,” co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed in 2010 that “all
terrorists are Muslims.” In another episode of the same program that year,
co-host Pete Hegseth had some advice for the Muslim community, saying, “If you
don’t want to be portrayed in a negative light, maybe don’t burn people alive
and set off bombs and things like that.”
immigration means more Islamic terrorism,” said Pamela Geller on Sean Hannity’s
show in 2017. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated her “the anti-Muslim
movement’s most visible and flamboyant figurehead.”
have to admit, there is a Muslim problem in the world,” Jesse Watters said on
“The O’Reilly Factor” in 2017.
anti-Muslim hatred goes back for years. In 2010, when Muslim Americans wanted
to construct an Islamic center known as Park51 in lower Manhattan, Fox News
commentators regularly demonized idea in a number of segments. In August of
that year, Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson said New York Muslims should
“give up their rights” in order to be “good neighbors.” One month later, Fox
News host Bill Hemmer said the center “could also be the first stop for a
radical jihadist who comes to America who wants to go pray.”
Obama was running for president and throughout his time in the White House, Fox
News anchors continually recycled the narrative that he was a Muslim (he
isn’t), insinuating that just being of the Islamic faith would be problematic.
with Pirro’s recent smear against Omar, former Fox News contributor Eric
Bolling claimed in 2012 that Obama was a Muslim who “answered to the Quran
first and to the Constitution second.”
examples of Fox News’ perpetuation of anti-Muslim hysteria include pushing the
conspiracy that Sharia, a religious framework that Muslims adhere to in
everyday life, is set to take over the U.S. government and replace it with a
violent, backward legal framework. (No national Muslim organization has ever
called for Sharia to supersede American courts. In fact, the sheer idea goes
against how Sharia actually works.)
said Pirro’s latest comments are just another example of an overarching problem
at Fox News that is unlikely to end anytime soon.
Rohingya refugees prefer death in Bangladesh over repatriation to Myanmar
BAZAAR, Bangladesh (RNS) — When 60-year-old Dil Mohammad found out in November
that he was on a list of some 2,000 Rohingya refugees to be sent back to
Myanmar, he grabbed the bottle of rat poison and poured it down his throat. His
wife forced him to vomit and rushed him to the nearby Médecins Sans Frontières
Mohammad, suicide, a grave sin in Islam, was preferable to returning to the
persecution that his people have suffered for decades in their historic home in
better to die in Bangladesh, where I would get a proper Islamic burial, than be
killed in Myanmar for being Muslim,” he said. “God will forgive my act of
suicide because he knows our pain.”
700,000 Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority from northern Rakhine state across
the border in Myanmar, have flooded into refugee camps in Bangladesh since
August 2017, when Rohingya militants known as ARSA (the Arakan Rohingya
Salvation Army) attacked Myanmar border police, setting off a violent
retaliation. Rohingya villages have been razed and Myanmar troops have allegedly
raped and killed thousands of Rohingya civilians.
and his family, fearing for their lives, walked for days through forests in
torrential rain, arriving in Bangladesh in September 2017.
was nothing here when we arrived, just trees and land,” said Mohammad. Local
Bangladeshi families helped the refugees set up shelters and provided food and
water until aid groups and Bangladesh’s armed forces arrived to set up
Hamid, a community leader in the camps, said he left a flourishing restaurant
business and expansive ancestral farmland in Myanmar. Now he and his family
live off meager rations of rice and lentils supplemented by occasional meat and
vegetables when they manage to secure cash. They sleep in a dusty hut with sewage
running in a gutter out front.
struggle with the refugee life here, but we’re grateful to be alive. We’d
rather die here than be killed just for being Muslim in Myanmar,” Hamid said.
October, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to put into effect a bilateral
repatriation agreement, with the first 150 refugees scheduled to return in
mid-November. The plan was opposed by the U.N.’s refugee agency, UNHCR, and
other aid groups, as well as by the refugees.
I heard we were on the list, I sent my family away to one camp and I ran away
to another,” said Hamid.
few weeks before repatriation began, officials from Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief
and Repatriation Commission summoned 54 refugees and, according to Hamid, told
them that those who were willing to go back to Myanmar would receive
identification cards to replace ones that had been confiscated in Myanmar under
a 1982 law that stripped the Rohingya and other minorities of their
measure also prohibited them from traveling, while making life at home
difficult. It blocked access to state schools beyond primary grades, made
minorities ineligible for government jobs and placed restrictions on marriage,
family planning and religious choice.
proving their identity, the assembled refugees were told in November, their new
cards would guarantee them certain rights.
told us Bangladesh would bring us back if we were treated badly there, but how
are we supposed to believe that?” asked Hamid.
Bashir, another community leader, said he and his family were also on the list,
adding that all the families in his section of the camp were ready to take
poison if the authorities forced them to go.
a mice problem in the camps right now, so we all have rat poison in the house,”
Bashir explained. “We were all prepared to die.”
to a recent Amnesty International report, satellite images show that Myanmar’s
military has built bases and roads where the Rohingya villages once stood.
of us are ready to go back until the 1982 law is repealed and we get full
rights as citizens in Myanmar,” explained Mohammad Ilyas, whose name has been
modified to conceal the identity of his family.
of the few educated members of his community, Ilyas, who owned a pharmacy in
Myanmar, said he had taught himself about medicines after being forced to leave
school after the 10th grade.
officials and UNHCR representatives approached Ilyas to help survey the
families in the camp block where he lives. The agencies often come to him for
help, he said, because he is respected in his community for being one of the
few educated members, despite not being an official community leader. When he
learned that his family was also being surveyed, he became suspicious.
repatriation day in November, none of the 150 refugees in the first group,
including Mohammad, Hamid, Bashir and Ilyas, agreed to go back. Since
Bangladesh and Myanmar had agreed to only take those who were going back to
Rakhine state voluntarily, the cars that were supposed to take the refugees to
temporary transit camps went away empty.
a U.N. Security Council meeting on Feb. 28, Bangladesh’s foreign secretary,
Shahidul Haque, called on Myanmar to address the decades-long state practices
of deprivation, disenfranchisement and atrocities.
a single Rohingya has volunteered to return to Rakhine due to the absence of a
conducive environment there,” he told the council.
Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated nations in the world, has been
hosting more than a million refugees for more than a year. The government
appears to be very much set on repatriation.
to local media reports, preparations are underway to relocate more than 23,000
Rohingya to Bhasan Char, an uninhabited Bangladeshi island in the Bay of
Bengal, starting in mid-April. The island takes two and a half hours to reach
by boat, and during monsoon season the water there rises up to 8 feet above
Rights Watch and aid groups have condemned Bangladesh’s decision to relocate
the refugees to Bhasan Char. The U.N. special rapporteur on Myanmar, Yanghee
Lee, who visited the island recently, questioned “whether the island is truly
habitable,” pointing out that “Ill-planned relocation, and relocations without
the consent of the refugees concerned, have the potential to create a new
of the refugees Religion News Service spoke with were willing to relocate to
told the Security Council that his country will no longer be able to take in
any more refugees. Bangladesh’s priority now, he said, is to ensure the “safe,
voluntary, sustainable and dignified return of the Rohingyas.” He called on
Myanmar to dismantle existing internally displaced persons camps, where more
than 130,000 Muslim inmates have been detained for more than six years.
Rohingya have made the release of the prisoners one of their demands for
returning to Myanmar.
we see that our relatives in Myanmar have gotten full citizenship rights and
treated humanely, no one will have to force us to go back,” explained Hamid.
“We will gladly go back ourselves.”
negotiators ‘agreed in draft’ on troop withdrawal, counter-terrorism
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad and Taliban political leaders have ‘agreed in draft’ regarding the
withdrawal of forces and counter-terrorism during the fifth round of talks in Qatar.
conditions for #peace have improved. It’s clear all sides want to end the war.
Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides,”
Ambassador Khalilzad said in a Twitter post.
said “Peace requires agreement on four issues: counter-terrorism assurances,
troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire. In
January talks, we “agreed in principle” on these four elements. We’re now
“agreed in draft” on the first two.”
also added “When the agreement in draft about a withdrawal timeline and
effective counterterrorism measures is finalized, the Taliban and other
#Afghans, including the government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a
political settlement and comprehensive ceasefire.”
Afghan Military in the North has announced that the National Defense and
Security Forces have launched Walid-40 operations in northern Balkh province.
209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said at least six Taliban militants were
killed or wounded during the first day of operations.
statement further added that the operations have been launched to suppress
militants and eliminate existing threats.
to Shaheen Corps, the Afghan Special Forces and Air Forces have also taken part
in the newly-launched Walid-40 operations.
least three Taliban militants were killed and three others were wounded during
the first day of operations in Baba Qushqar area of Chematal district, the
209th Shaheen Corps said, addign that several fighting postions of Taliban have
fallen into the hands of armed forces so far.
member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Khurasan (ISIS-K) group has
surrendered to Afghan forces in eastern Kunar province, the Afghan military
to a statement released by 201st Silab, a member of ISIS-K group identified as
Hezbullah has surrendered to Afghan forces in Manogi district.
statement further added that Hezbullah was involved in anti-government armed
insurgency in Manogi district.
201st Silab Corps also added that Hezbullah has also handed over a weapon to
armed forces after renouncing violence.
anti-government armed militants including ISIS-K sympathizers have not
commented regarding the surrender of the militant so far.
clash broke out between Afghan armed forces and militants of the Red Unit of
Taliban in northern Baghlan province leaving at least 12 dead or wounded.
209th Shaheen Corps in a statement said the clash took place at around 10:10 am
todayin Tapa Qarghan area of Dand-e-Ghori district, leaving at least 4 Taliban
militants dead and 4 others wounded.
statement further added that two soldiers of Public Order Forces of the
military also lost their lives in the clash and two others sustained injuries.
to 209th Shaheen Corps, the clash broke out after Taliban militants attacked on
security outposts of Public Order Forces.
822mm rocket launcher and some weapons were also confiscated following the
clash, the 209th Shaheen Corps said, adding that the dead bodies of two
militants were also left in the area.
pendatang, forever dhimmi, forever grateful
the past few weeks, as the competition between Pakatan Harapan (PH) and the
Umno-PAS alliance for the Malay vote has heated up, we’ve been given stark reminders
of how the Umno-PAS leadership views non-Malays and what we can expect should
the Ketuanan Melayu ideology they espouse dominate Malaysian politics.
view of non-Malays, put simply, is forever pendatang, forever dhimmi and
concept of the non-Malay as pendatang is of course, intrinsic to the Ketuanan
Melayu ideology and central to the thinking of Umno and PAS leaders.
regards non-Malays as interlopers, without commitment or loyalty to the nation
and, therefore, undeserving of equal treatment or constitutional protection. It
is intended to strip them of their very identity as Malaysians and suggests
that they have no inherent right to be here.
their view, non-Malays, no matter how long they have lived here, are pendatangs
and penumpangs and will always remain so.
– Muslims from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Middle East – can migrate
to Malaysia and quickly become proud Malays but Malaysian-born non-Malays are
doomed to remain pendatangs and penumpangs in perpetuity unless they convert.
racial division is further reinforced by a religious worldview that segregates
Malaysians according to their faith into Muslim and dhimmi.
historical Islam, the “dhimmi” were conquered people who had submitted to
Islamic rule. They had few rights, and had to pay a special tax and be forever
subservient to Muslim authority in exchange for protection.
Islamic scholars have also argued that dhimmis are automatically excluded from
all participation in the political process.
surprise then that men like Abdul Hadi Awang are constantly complaining that
there are too many non-Muslims in Parliament or that key positions like the
chief justice and attorney-general are held by non-Muslims. In their twisted
theocratic version of Malaysia, non-Malays, as dhimmis, have no business being
in Parliament or holding important positions.
religious establishment is largely supportive of this religious division; in
recent discussions on the issue, the muftis of Pahang and Perak, for example,
insisted that there was nothing wrong with viewing non-Muslims as dhimmis.
for this privilege – the privilege of being pendatang and dhimmi forever –
non-Malays are expected to remain forever grateful.
Hadi likes to constantly remind us all, “Other races should appreciate [that]
Muslims… accepted them as citizens and allowed them to practise their religion
and use their language.”
is no longer viewed by Ketuanan Melayu ideologues as part of the Merdeka
agreement between all Malaysia’s ethnic communities, but as an act of
unilateral generosity for which eternal gratitude must be given.
Hadi, such gratitude must be manifested by perpetual submission, docility, and
servility especially involving anything PAS says or does. To do otherwise is to
be ungrateful and unmindful of Malay sensitivities.
course, Umno and PAS leaders insist that all this does not amount to
discrimination against non-Malays. Mohamad, for example, insists that he was
not trying to sideline non-Malays, and that he wants every community to “feel
comfortable” while PAS vice-president Iskandar Abdul Samad reiterated that
PAS-Umno cooperation would not give rise to an extremist government.
is a sign of how delusional, irrational, even duplicitous Umno and PAS have
become to expect non-Malays to be comfortable with such a racist system or that
non-Malays will see such policies as anything but extremist.
the nation into Muslims and dhimmis might be acceptable in a theocratic Islamic
state like Saudi Arabia but it can never be acceptable in a secular democratic
state like Malaysia.
from bestowing a divine right to rule on anyone, the Federal Constitution
bestows upon all citizens – Muslim and non-Muslim – certain inalienable rights,
rights that may not be unilaterally abrogated by muftis or anyone else.
goes without saying that the Ketuanan Melayu vision of Malaysia is at variance
with the Federal Constitution. It threatens to strip non-Malays of their
constitutional rights, privileges and protections. Clearly, it is not the
Malays and the position of Islam that are under threat; it is the non-Malays
who now face an existential threat from the Ketuanan Melayu ideologues and their
this situation, it is hard to fathom how MCA and MIC can continue to remain
unperturbed by the Umno-PAS cooperation or how they can continue to work with
the very groups that are out to disenfranchise the minority communities they
claim to represent. Are they so devoid of principle that they would minimise
the very real dangers that the Ketuanan Melayu ideology of Umno and PAS now
poses to non-Malays just for the sake of a few crumbs from Umno’s table?
Federal Constitution indisputably acknowledges Islam as the official religion
of the federation and confers special rights on the Malays, but that can never
be used to justify an ethno-religious apartheid state or legitimise a system of
discrimination against any citizen.
it or not, Malaysia is by constitutional mandate a secular democracy that makes
no distinction between Muslim and dhimmi or Malay and pendatang. And, like it
or not, we are all Malaysia’s sons and daughters.
of us can change the past; we can only try to make the most of our diversity
and endeavour to forge a better future. And that journey can only truly begin
when we confront the Ketuanan Melayu ideology and expose it for what it is: a
sinister and contemptible racist creed that has no place in a multicultural
constitutional democracy like ours.
Chris Buckley and Amy Qin
— A senior official from China’s far west said on Tuesday that the internment
camps for Muslim minorities there were like boarding schools and that their
numbers of inmates would shrink, as the government pushed back against
international criticism of the mass detentions.
sweeping confinement of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang
region has drawn condemnation from foreign governments and international
bodies, including in recent weeks. A United States envoy called it part of a
“war with faith.” Turkey, once quiet about the detentions, has become critical.
The United Nations high commissioner for human rights recently demanded
at the annual meeting of China’s national legislature, which began last month,
Communist Party officials from Xinjiang appeared serenely unbowed about the
experts, citing satellite images and government documents, have estimated that
the camps have held without trial as many as a million Uighurs, Kazakhs and
other Muslims in a program that tries to turn them into loyal, Chinese-speaking
supporters of the party.
a meeting room jammed with foreign and Chinese journalists, the chairman of the
Xinjiang government, Shohrat Zakir, dismissed that estimate, but did not say
how many inmates they held.
voices internationally have said Xinjiang has concentration camps or
re-education camps. These claims are pure lies,” Mr. Zakir said at the
gathering of Xinjiang delegates of the Communist Party-controlled legislature,
the National People’s Congress, which was opened to journalists.
fact, our centers are like boarding schools where the students eat and live for
free,” Mr. Zakir said, using their official name, “educational training
indicated that the camps could eventually be phased out, but did not say how
long that might take.
all, the education training centers will have fewer and fewer people, and if
one day society doesn’t need them, these centers can gradually disappear,” Mr.
last year, Mr. Zakir, a Uighur, has served as one of the government’s most
prominent defenders of Beijing’s offensive against Islamic religious activities
and ethnic dissent in Xinjiang. In October, he was the first Chinese official
to defend in detail the mass detentions.
Zenz, a lecturer at the European School of Culture and Theology in Germany
whose research concluded that the indoctrination camps in Xinjiang could hold a
million or more inmates, said that the facilities worked under at least eight
names, and not just the training centers that Mr. Zakir mentioned.
my view, it might well be as high as 1.5 million,” he said of the population
held for indoctrination. “There is virtually no Uighur family without one or
more members in such detention, and a rising number of Kazakhs and other Muslim
minorities are likewise affected.”
Zakir’s latest remarks underscored how the Chinese government has been unmoved
by the global criticism of its policies, and confident that its propaganda
drive of closely supervised visits to Xinjiang by selected diplomats and
journalists could blunt the condemnation.
press event on Tuesday was part of that propaganda effort. Held in the Xinjiang
room at the imposing Great Hall of the People, the gathering featured around 60
officials, including some from the Uighur, Hui, Tatar and Mongolian ethnic
minorities, sitting before a floor-to-ceiling painting of a snowy mountain
scene from the region.
the nearly two-hour session, the officials took turns to praise China’s leader,
Xi Jinping, and the party’s drive to eradicate poverty, invigorate the local
economy and attract tourists to the region. They often invoked the pomegranate,
the multi-seeded fruit that the government treats as a symbol of ethnic
official described how policies to improve waste sorting and install modern
toilets had helped transform a village.
lives are getting better day by day,” said Chen Liang, the local official. “For
all of these good things, we really have to thank Xi Jinping and the party.”
arguments resonate with many Chinese people but were unlikely to stem the
global criticism, which has drawn on accounts from former camp inmates and
extensive research documenting how hundreds of detention camps have expanded
across Xinjiang since 2017.
Uighurs are a Turkic people who share traditions and language traits with
Islamic populations across Central Asia and Turkey. Last month, the Turkish
Foreign Ministry accused China of the “reintroduction of concentration camps in
the 21st century” and called policies in Xinjiang a violation of the
“fundamental human rights” of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims.
Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, kept up the criticism later in February.
recognizing China’s right to combat terrorism, we think that a distinction
should be made between terrorists and innocent people,” Mr. Cavusoglu said at a
meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, said she
wanted independent access to investigate reports of “enforced disappearances
and arbitrary detentions,” especially in Xinjiang.
Brownback, the United States’ ambassador at large for international religious
freedom, has been much blunter. “We need to call these camps what they are;
they’re internment camps created to wipe out the cultural and religious
identity of minority communities,” Mr. Brownback told journalists in Hong Kong
in a possible sign of China’s influence, some activists abroad who have
denounced the internments in Xinjiang have come under growing pressure.
Bilash, the founder of an organization in Kazakhstan that helps ethnic Kazakhs
who have fled neighboring Xinjiang, was detained on Sunday in Almaty.
was placed under house arrest for two months in Astana, the capital of
Kazakhstan, and was being investigated on suspicion of “inciting ethnic
hatred,” his lawyer, Aiman Umarova, said by telephone.
Beijing, Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang, remained
mostly silent in the presence of reporters. Mr. Chen is the chief enforcer of
tough policies in the region, but he let Mr. Zakir do most of the talking. The
Xinjiang police often follow and restrict foreign journalists who visit the
region, but Mr. Chen struck a different note in his brief opening comments.
LUMPUR: A group of 13 Malaysians who left to join the terrorist group Islamic
State (IS) to fight in Syria are now itching to return to Malaysia.
13 are caught in the all-out offensive by the United States-backed Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF) against IS fighters in eastern Syria and some have
contacted their families pleading to return home.
reported that Malaysian police were working with the Syrian authorities to
bring them back home.
news agency, quoting Special Branch counterterrorism unit head Datuk Ayob Khan
Mydin Pitchay, reported that as the offensive was entering its final stage,
more Malaysians were longing to return home.
are trying to bring them home.
you know, the situation is difficult as it involves many parties from different
countries,” he told Al Jazeera.
Khan said Muslim leaders and psychologists would evaluate the returnees’
ideology, even as some countries are attempting to strip former fighters and
their families of citizenship and prevent them from returning.
has made it clear that its citizens would be allowed to come back, provided
they comply with checks and enforcement, and completed a one-month
government-run rehabilitation programme.
everyone will be detained but all returnees will be interrogated,” Ayob Khan
will conduct thorough checks and investigations on each returnee.
will bring in ulama and psychologists to evaluate their ideology and
will compare intelligence which we received from friendly foreign services.
there is evidence that a returnee was involved in IS militant activities, he or
she will be charged in court,” he was quoted as saying.
date, 11 Malaysians have returned to the country. Eight were charged in court
and convicted, all of them men. The other three were one woman and two children
aged 3 and 5.
woman went through a rehabilitation programme and has now returned to her
kampung,” Ayob said.
continues to be monitored.”
though IS has all but collapsed in Iraq and Syria, police said there were
Malaysians who were still willing to fight for the group.
are keeping an eye on them,” Ayob said.
who cannot go to Syria are now setting their sights on Mindanao in southern
Philippines where militant groups have links to IS,” he said, adding that there
were still 51 Malaysians in Syria, including 17 children.
total of 102 Malaysians are known to have left the country to join IS.
Nur Aqidah Azizi
The special unit set up by the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia
(Jakim) to monitor all forms of provocation against Islam has received 10,000
complaints in just seven days.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Fuziah Salleh said the unit was set
up last Thursday to monitor the conduct of irresponsible parties who insult the
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and Islam in all platforms, including social media.
complaint is being investigated because some of the posts came from fake
accounts and there were also repeated complaints and that is what we are going
to look into,” she told a press conference after the pre-launch of the
1440H/2019 National Tilawah Al-Quran at the Seremban Municipal Council hall,
is worrying is the numbers are growing and it seems there’s no stopping
it," she said.
added that the approach taken by the current government was to bridge the gap
among all races so that Malaysians could live in harmony and respect one
don’t want to resort to punishment but more to find ways to fix the situation.
government today has sent a clear message that this culture (religious
humiliation) should not be continued in society and we should live together as
a multi-racial society and respect one another," she said.
what action would be taken by Jakim on the participation of a group of people
championing the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) at
a Women's March gathering in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, Fuziah said the case had
been handed to the police for further investigations.
Coup Attempt Exposes Hazimite Faction Within Islamic State
Islamic State (IS) was losing its last strongholds in Syria to the advancing,
U.S.-backed, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), there were reports of a coup
attempt against its leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi. The attempted ouster of the
IS leader started with reports about fighting near the town of Hajin in Eastern
Syria near the border with Iraq, which is one of the last IS-controlled areas
to fall to the hands of the U.S.-backed forces. The plan included an attack on
his convoy with an improvised explosive device (IED)—a direct attempt on the
life of al-Baghdadi (Asharq al-Awsat, February 8).
attempt had apparently failed, but it revealed the scale of the internal
division between IS and a more radical group within it known as the Hazimite,
named after the radical Saudi jihadist cleric Sheikh Ahmed Bin Omar al-Hazimi.
Al-Hazimi was arrested in his home country and has been in prison since 2015.
Media reports indicated that IS issued a warrant and put a bounty on an
individual named Abu Muath al-Jazairi, who was accused of leading the
ultra-radical Hazimite faction (Alsumaria, October 7, 2016). 
recent events also indicate a possible new path for the group after losing all
the territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria. One of the features of this next
period could be shaped by the rivalry between two or more IS factions over who
is more genuine in its extremist ideology and practices.
Muath al-Jazairi is believed to be a prominent leader of the Hazimite faction.
He is from Algeria and is better known as Abu Muath al-Asimi.  Hazimites and
their supporters appear to hold high respect of al-Asimi and his writings.
Since the arrest of al-Hazimi and the killing of other Hazimites, al-Asimi
emerged as a Hazimite ideologue.  A considerable number of IS members from
North African countries are believed to have become Hazimites. That could be
tracked to the years al-Hazimi himself had spent in Tunisia after the Arab
Spring upheaval that struck the region in 2011 and after (Noon Post, July 31,
central point of the disagreement between Hazimites and the rest of IS concerns
the notion of takfeer (excommunication). IS is well-known for its broad,
extremist definition of who should be declared apostate or non-Muslim and
consequently excommunicated, but Hazimites believe IS has not gone far enough.
According to the doctrine introduced by al-Hazimi and promoted by those
influenced by him, anyone who does not embrace a radical Salafist
interpretation of Islam is not a Muslim. In their world, ignorance of their
ideology or having no access to it is not an excuse for an individual or a
group not to embrace al-Tawheed (literal meaning is monotheism, but for them,
it is specifically Salafism and more specifically their interpretation of it).
Accordingly, those who do not believe in al-Tawheed should be considered kafir
(non-believers) and anyone who does not consider them kafir should be
excommunicated as he is equally a nonbeliever (Almarjie-Paris, May 9, 2018).
last notion has been alarming for many IS members and its leadership because it
could lead to what is called “chain takfeer,” an endless chain of denunciation
for the group’s members and even leaders who showed the slightest degree of
tolerance. Before his killing in a coalition airstrike in 2015, Bahraini IS
ideologue Turki al-Bin Ali wrote arguments against the Hazimites condemning
their hard lines (Al-Quds, July 26, 2017).
2016, IS launched a purge against the Hazimites. Prominent Hazimite figures
were executed but al-Asimi survived and is believed to be living in Turkey now.
He has written a number of essays against IS leadership. As the military
campaigns against IS intensified and reached the largest two cities it
controlled—Mosul in Iraq and its self-declared capital Raqqa in Syria—IS
communication lines became difficult to maintain. In an attempt to tackle that
challenge, al-Baghdadi delegated some of his power to a body called the
Delegated Committee and decreased his visibility significantly in order to
avoid being detected. The Delegated Committee, which was created to go around
logistical and field challenges, found itself in the middle of the theological
debate of who should be kafir and what were the limits, if any. In May 2017,
the Delegated Committee issued a statement that was perceived to be an
acknowledgment of the Hazimi doctrine. At one point, even an article in the IS
weekly publication al-Naba attacked and condemned prominent jihadists like
al-Qaeda’s Attiyah al-Libi as kafir (Jihadology, June 15, 2017). That implied
that al-Baghdadi himself might be considered kafir as he previously praised
al-Libi. That led al-Baghdadi to appear again to take back control of his group
which was seemingly about to disintegrate. He reshuffled the Delegated
Committee, removing members and putting more trusted men in charge (Al-Quds,
October 21, 2017). However, by the time al-Baghdadi introduced his new measures
the Hazimites seemed to have morphed into a distinct, new entity that is not
part of IS. That led to a significant question—will the Hazimites split
completely from IS or try to take it over?
the inception of the Hazimite group, the question was if it was part of IS or a
new group. The writings of al-Asimi indicate the latter, but the recent attempt
on al-Baghdadi’s life suggest otherwise. The appeal of the Caliphate figure has
been quite attractive to jihadists around the world, and convinced many to
declare allegiance to IS and consider themselves parts of the movement. IS
might be very weak and lost in Iraq and Syria, but there are other regions that
could be well suited to become its new headquarters, helping maintain the claim
it persists and holds territory, or according to its infamous slogan, is
“remaining and expanding.”
Hazimites have already gained a base of support in West Africa. The leader of
the Nigerian radical group Boko Haram Abubakar Shekau is already leading a
faction that was condemned by IS as too extremist (Mauri News, November 21,
2017; See Militant Leadership Monitor, January 4).
Hazimite ideology is more suitable for an age of total violence without any
consideration of governing a territory. Yet the symbolism of the Caliphate has
been central in the IS’ appeal to jihadists. By eliminating al-Baghdadi, Hazimites
could well be poised to take over leadership of the IS heartland in Iraq and
Syria in order to subsequently inherent influence over its franchises in North
and West Africa.
in 2016-2017, IS and its leadership obviously do not have the capacity to quell
a better-prepared coup attempt. One of the main reasons behind IS’ domination
in Syria was that it was less prone to splits compared to other militant
groups. By moving to areas controlled by the Syrian government, IS will need to
face new challenges that are not similar to the environment of 2011-2014.
Groups of IS fighters have reportedly already moved to the areas controlled by
the Syrian regime, fleeing the SDF’s final campaigns against their last
remaining pockets. The IS element in the Syrian civil war was vital to the
survival of the Syrian regime which always wanted the war to be portrayed as a
confrontation between a secular government and savage jihadists who threaten
not only the regime, but the world. Therefore, the regime would not accept
being excluded from the U.S. and SDF endgame. Both IS and the Hazimites will
likely try to initiate new bases or revive old ones in Syria.
however, remains IS and its leaders’ favorite retreat. More than a year and a
half since the Iraqi government declared victory against IS, the group is not
completely defeated. It lost all the territory it held in Iraq, but a new phase
of IS insurgency has emerged. Despite deployments of thousands of Iraqi armed
forces and Shia militias in the areas IS controlled, the group is still able to
launch attacks and destabilize the area. The Iraqization of the IS leadership,
which was introduced by al-Baghdadi, was vital to the group’s ascendancy. It
will likely be key to any strategy of survival and revival. But that will
always require keeping the position of the Caliphate intact and occupied by
al-Baghdadi or one of his inner circle when he dies. The Hazimites have proven
to represent an imminent threat to that.
The bounty is new but the warrant was issued in 2016. See November 7, 2016
Al-Jazairi means the Algerian in Arabic. Al-Asimi means the one who comes from
al-Asima which means the capital in Arabic and that is a common word Algerians
use to refer to their capital.
See writings about al-Asimi July 7, 2016 https://justpaste.it/vy9e
plans to help 5,000 more ISIL terrorists get out of Syria and reach Iraq,"
Sabah al-Akili told the Arabic-language al-Maloumeh news website on Tuesday.
Iraqi security expert described the US move as an attempt to create insecurity
inside Iraq as the Iraqi parliament is determined to expel ISIL terrorists from
US intends to gather up the ISIL terrorists in Iraq to release them later
exactly as it did before," al-Akili said.
pointed to the move by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to hand over the ISIL
militants to Iraq with the US green light, and said that Iraq had agreed to
receive the militants because they were Iraqi nationals, but French terrorists
were also among them and this shows that the US plans start of a new round of
chaos in Iraq.
a relevant development in late February, the Syrian sources said that the US
Army has transferred senior ISIL commanders to safe places in lieu of receiving
over 50 tons of gold treasure from the terrorists.
to the initial information obtained in Deir Ezzur, the US Army troops stationed
in Al-Jazeera region of Eastern Euphrates agreed with the ISIL commanders to
relocate them to safe places after receiving tens of tons of gold ingot that
the terrorists had stolen from different parts of Syria and Iraq, the state-run
SANA news agency reported.
local sources, meantime, reported that the US Army took control of ISIL's 50
tons of gold treasure in Baqouz region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur after it had
reached an agreement with the terrorists.
pointed to the recent intensified movements by the US choppers concurrent with
flights over several ISIL-controlled regions in Eastern Euphrates, and said
that the US has conducted important heliborne operations in key areas where the
ISIL commanders' hideouts are located and where the gold treasure was hidden.
a relevant development earlier in February, a source close to Kurdish forces
said that the US Army was taking ISIL's gold treasure that is estimated to
weigh around 50 tons from Eastern Syria to America.
Kurdish-language Bas News quoted a Kurdish source as saying that the Americans
have transferred tens of tons of the gold ingots they have seized from the ISIL
terrorists in Baghouz region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur to their own country
and only kept a small portion of the treasure to be given to the Kurdish
source who spoke on the condition of anonymity reiterated that about 50 tons of
ISIL's gold has been sent to the US from the US military base in Kobani in Northeastern
report comes as the US has been using the airport in Southern Kobani for
transferring consignments and military equipment in recent years.
a relevant development also last month, the US Army troops took out a sum of 40
tons of gold ingots belonging to the ISIL in heliborne operations after
agreeing with the terrorist group and while Washington is preparing to announce
the end of ISIL in Eastern Euphrates.
US troops in concordance with the ISIL terrorist group relocated big boxes
packed with ISIL's gold treasure on several helicopters from al-Dashisheh
region in Southern Hasaka," the SANA news agency quoted local sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur said.
sources pointed to boxes containing 40 tons of gold ingots that the ISIL had hidden
in the Eastern part of al-Shadadi city, and said that the ISIL had stolen the
treasure of gold from the Iraqi city of Mosul and different parts of Syria.
US troops reportedly took out a group of ISIL terrorist commanders from Eastern
Syria in two heliborne operations in Hajin region of Eastern Deir Ezzur and
al-Dashisheh in Southern Hasaka and they were directed to the place where the
gold treasure was hidden.
a relevant development earlier this month, the London-based Syrian Observatory
of Human Rights (SOHR) said the Washington-backed militants were trying to find
and seize millions of dollars and at least 40 tons of gold left behind by the
ISIL terrorist group.
SOHR reported that the ISIL terrorists had stolen about 40 tons of gold and millions
of dollars from the population once under their control in Iraq and Syria,
which was later transferred to Eastern Euphrates in Eastern Deir Ezzur.
US-led coalition forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) deliberately do
not target the areas under the control of the ISIL terrorists and commanders in
Eastern Euphrates in Deir Ezzur as they are trying to locate this treasure by
forcing the ISIL militants to speak about its location after
surrendering," it quoted informed sources as saying.
noted that part of the cash dollars and gold have been transferred from Turkey
to the areas under the ISIL control by Turkish brokers and intelligence service
who have close ties with the ISIL.
an SDF Commander, Adnan Afrin, said that the ISIL is now under the siege of the
SDF in an area no larger than one square kilometers in Eastern Euphrates.
a relevant development earlier in February, a prominent Syrian military expert
revealed that Washington plans to transfer the remnants of the ISIL terrorists
from Eastern Euphrates to other regions through Turkey and Iraq.
Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted Brigadier General Mohammad Issa as
saying that less than 600 ISIL militants are stationed in a 4-km/sq region in
Eastern Euphrates who will be soon evacuated from the region to foreign
added that the operations to transfer these militants will be conducted similar
to the operations earlier carried out to evacuate the ISIL terrorists from
Raqqa, saying that the US forces will transfer them via Iraq or Turkey to some
other Arab states for future operations.
questioned the US forces' claims of fighting against the terrorist groups along
with the SDF, stressing that the Syrian army will soon move to retake control
over this region.
reports said last Sunday that the US army had agreed with the ISIL on the
latter's exit from areas under Washington's control in Eastern Euphrates.
US-led coalition troops and the SDF had reached an agreement with the ISIL
terrorists on the militants' retreat from areas under the control of the US and
its allied forces, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen TV news channel reported.
pointed to the preparations by the ISIL to move its terrorists out of Eastern
Euphrates, and said that the ISIL terrorists might be transferred to al-Anbar
desert of Badiya al-Tanf in Western
report comes as the SDF claimed that it had started the final battle for
uprooting the remaining elements of the ISIL from Eastern Euphrates.
the Arabic-language service of RT quoted media activists as saying on Saturday
that the US-led coalition forces have carried out heliborne operations in the
Eastern Badiyeh of Deir Ezzur.
al-Sham has claimed that it is fully in charge of security of the demilitarized
zone and prevented the Turkish Army from patrolling the region," the
Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper quoted sources close to the Ankara-backed
National Liberation Front (NFL) as saying.
sources noted that the Turkish Army's patrolling has been suspended for the
coming days in order to prepare the grounds for resolving the rising disputes
among Tahrir al-Sham militants.
said that Tahrir al-Sham believes that the Turkish Army patrols in the
demilitarized zone will serve as a pretext for future patrols by the Russian
troops in the outskirts of the region to be followed by the implementation of
others parts of the Sochi Agreement, while the terrorist group is standing
tough against its implementation.
analysts also pointed to Ankara's efforts to show the extent of Tahrir
al-Sham's power in Northern Syria, and said the move by Tahrir al-Sham has
probably taken place with the green light of Turkey or the US.
had demanded that Turkey do more to tackle hardcore fighters in Syria's Idlib
province and fulfill promises it made as part of a deal with Moscow last year
early February, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the situation
in Idlib was rapidly deteriorating and Tahrir al-Sham was trying to seize
control of the entire area
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has also stated that some Western countries wish
to preserve an enclave that is a terrorist hotbed in Syria’s Idlib province
faced imminent defeat in its final enclave on Tuesday as hundreds of extremists
and their families surrendered and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces said
the battle was as good as over.
besieged enclave of Baghouz is the last shred of territory held by the
extremists who have been driven from roughly one-third of Iraq and Syria over
the past four years.
Reuters journalist in Baghouz saw hundreds of people surrendering to the SDF,
which launched its final attack to capture Baghouz on Sunday, backed by US-led
international coalition air strikes and after weeks of siege.
official Mustafa Bali said a large group of ISIS fighters and their families
had surrendered en masse.
our forces confirm that everyone who wants to surrender has done so, ... the
clashes will resume,” he said. The extremists’ defeat was very near, he said.
Baghouz enclave was pounded overnight with barrages of rockets and fires raged
inside, but the situation was calm on Tuesday morning.
operation is over, or as good as over, but requires a little more time to be
completed practically on the ground,” SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel told al-Hadath
SDF has been laying siege to Baghouz for weeks but repeatedly postponed its
final assault to allow the evacuation of thousands of civilians, many of them
wives and children of ISIS fighters. It finally resumed the attack on Sunday,
backed by coalition air strikes.
said 25 ISIS extremists had been confirmed killed so far in clashes, in
addition to an unknown number of extremists killed by air strikes.
SDF, which is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, has been advancing slowly
into Baghouz to minimize its losses from sniper fire and landmines.
defenses include extensive tunnels. The extremist group’s most hardened foreign
fighters are holed up inside the enclave, the SDF has said.
Baghouz is the last populated territory of what was once the group’s
self-proclaimed “caliphate”, extremists still operate in remote areas
elsewhere. It is widely assessed that they will continue to represent a potent
bulk of the people evacuated from the diminishing ISIS territory have been
transported to a camp for internally displaced people in al-Hol, in
northeastern Syria, where the United Nations says conditions are dire.
camp, designed to accommodate 20,000 people, is now sheltering more than
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said on Tuesday 38 ISIS fighters were killed in
a US-backed offensive against the extremists’ only remaining enclave in eastern
Syria, after the area was pounded in a bombardment overnight.
returned to Baghouz with no sign of fighting on Tuesday morning after Reuters
TV footage showed the fierce bombardment, during which the enclave was targeted
with rockets and fires raged inside.
enclave is the last shred of territory held by the extremists who have been
driven from territory in Iraq and Syria over the past four years by an array of
enemies, including a US-led international coalition.
SDF has been laying siege to Baghouz for weeks, but repeatedly postponed its
final assault to allow the evacuation of thousands of civilians, many of them
wives and children of ISIS militants. It finally resumed the attack on Sunday,
backed by coalition air strikes.
Bali, head of the SDF media office, said the SDF command had confirmed 38 ISIS
fighters had been killed.
SDF fighters were killed and 10 wounded, he wrote on Twitter. The extremists
had fired two rockets, he added, an indication of continued ISIS resistance.
coalition jets mounted 20 air raids that had destroyed ISIS military vehicles,
defensive fortifications, two ammunition stores and a command post.
does not believe any senior ISIS leaders are in Baghouz, assessing they have
gone elsewhere as part of the group’s shift towards an insurgency, a US defense
official has said.
group still operates in remote territory elsewhere and it is widely assessed
that it will continue to represent a potent security threat.
bulk of the people evacuated from the diminishing ISIS territory have been
transported to a camp for internally displaced people in al-Hol, in
northeastern Syria, where the United Nations says conditions are “extremely
camp, designed to accommodate 20,000 people, is now sheltering more than
66,000, the UN said.
support voiced by many evacuees for ISIS, particularly among foreigners, has
posed a complex security, legal and moral challenge.
Russian and Syrian coordination centers on returning refugees have warned about
severe water shortages in a refugee camp near Syria’s frontier with Jordan amid
attempts by US-backed terrorists to disrupt water deliveries to the civilians
the camp’s wall are reservoirs with a volume of 210 cubic meters, into which
water brought from Jordan is filled and then distributed among the camp’s
residents,” the centers said in a joint statement released by the Russian
Defense Ministry said on Tuesday.
calculations show that each resident can receive no more than 5 liters of water
per day. That is not only barely enough for cooking and drinking, but also
insufficient for washing and doing laundry, which leads to unsanitary
conditions,” it added. The statement added that members of the US-backed Jaysh
Maghawir al-Thawra (Revolutionary Commando Army) terrorist group disrupt water
deliveries to the camp, criminally using it as a bargaining chip for
blackmailing and profiteering purposes.
ministry then pointed to the persistent shortage of food, warm clothing and
medication in addition to the poor sanitary and epidemiological situation in
Rukban camp, noting that refugees there suffer from exhaustion, acute
intestinal diseases and infections.
700 new graves discovered outside Rukban camp
Russian satellite images have shown three more cemeteries near the Rukban
refugee camp with hundreds of graves.
and Syrian coordination centers on returning refugees said the cemeteries were
located in close proximity to water points, which are a source of spreading
700 graves have been found in the unmarked burial sites,” the centers pointed
week, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Russian satellites had found a cemetery
with 300 graves immediately outside Rukban camp’s fence.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on March 6 that the United States needs the
Rukban refugee camp in order to justify its illegitimate military presence in
fact that people are not allowed to leave [the camp] and are held hostage makes
one suggest that the US needs this camp to continue justifying its illegitimate
presence there,” Lavrov said at a joint press conference with Kuwaiti Deputy
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Hamad Al Sabah in
added, “This is in line with the US policy aimed at creating something like a
quasi-state on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. It does not want these
territories to get back under the control of Syria’s legitimate authorities.”
United Nations says about 45,000 people, mostly women and children, are trapped
inside Rukban, where conditions are desperate. This is while Geneva-based
international aid agency Doctors Without Borders has put the number there at
Syrian government has severely censured the recent remarks by a US Republican
senator and a close ally of President Donald Trump that the occupied Golan
Heights should remain “forever” under the control of the Israeli regime.
statements (by Senator Lindsey Graham) show the arrogant mentality of the US
administration, and that it views regional issues with Zionist eyes in a way
which serves Israeli interests,” an unnamed official at the Syrian Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and Expatriates was quoted by official SANA news agency as
saying on Tuesday.
official added Graham’s statements not only show his ignorance of historical
and geographical facts, but also demonstrate Washington’s disregard for
United Nations resolutions – particularly Security Council resolution 497,
adopted unanimously on December 17, 1981, affirm the legal status of the Syrian
Golan as occupied territory, and declare Israel’s annexation of it as null and
void,” the official pointed out.
concluded that the Syrian people in general, and the people of the occupied
Syrian Golan in particular, are determined to continue their struggle until the
occupied Golan is fully liberated and restored to the homeland.
Monday, Graham told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu he will push for
the United States to formally recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel.
said the idea of the strategic plateau going to any party other than the Tel
Aviv regime was “off the table”, vowing to work to have Washington recognize
the occupied territory as part of Israel “now and forever.”
the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets in Syria in
what is considered as an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been
suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces.
in April 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially admitted
for the first time that the regime's military had conducted strikes in Syrian
says Israel and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist
groups operating inside the Arab country, while the Tel Aviv regime's military
carries out such sporadic strikes against Syrian government forces. The Israeli
regime has even set up field hospitals to treat wounded militants evacuated
the Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons
and advanced military equipment from the foreign-backed militants inside Syria.
Daesh was close to defeat in its final enclave on Tuesday after ferocious
bombardments overnight and the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said
the offensive to capture the area was nearly over.
beseiged enclave of Baghouz is the last shred of territory held by the
extremists who have been driven from roughly one third of Iraq and Syria over
the past four years by its enemies, including a US-led international coalition.
operation is over, or as good as over, but requires a little more time to be
completed practically on the ground,” SDF spokesman Kino Gabriel told Al-Hadath
TV. Daesh was still putting up resistance with weapons including car bombs.
Baghouz enclave was targeted with barrages of rockets overnight and fires raged
inside, but the bombardments ceased on Tuesday morning.
SDF has been laying siege to Baghouz for weeks but repeatedly postponed its
final assault to allow the evacuation of thousands of civilians, many of them
wives and children of Daesh fighters. It finally resumed the attack on Sunday,
backed by coalition air strikes.
said 25 Daesh fighters had been confirmed killed so far in clashes, in addition
to an unknown number of militants killed by air strikes. Another SDF official
earlier said 38 extremists had been confirmed killed.
SDF, which is spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, has been advancing slowly
into Baghouz to minimize its losses from sniper fire and land mines.
SDF fighters have been killed, Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, said
defenses include extensive tunnels and Daesh’s most hardened foreign fighters
are holed up inside the enclave, the SDF has said.
the United States does not believe any senior Daesh leaders are in Baghouz,
assessing they have gone elsewhere as part of the group’s shift toward
guerrilla tactics, a US defense official has said.
bulk of the people evacuated from the diminishing Daesh territory have been
transported to a camp for internally displaced people in Al-Hol, in
northeastern Syria, where the United Nations says conditions are dire.
World Health Organization on Tuesday said 106 people, mainly infants, have died
on the journey to Al-Hol, which takes at least six hours, since December.
support voiced by many evacuees for Daesh, particularly among foreigners, has
posed a complex security, legal and moral challenge.
see through a glass darkly with respect to Boko Haram, the deadly and resurgent
Islamist movement centered in northeastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin.
Conventional wisdom is that there are two main factions: the oldest is led by
Abubakar Shekau, while the newer faction, which split around 2016, has been led
by Abu Musab al-Barnawi up to now.
2015, Shekau pledged allegiance (whatever that might mean) to Abubakar
al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State (IS). However, IS apparently withdrew its
recognition of Shekau and in 2016 tapped the al-Barnawi faction, referred to as
the Islamic State West Africa (ISWA). Shekau’s faction, however, did not
disappear but continued operations. The primary difference between the two
appears to be that Shekau’s faction takes a harder line on who is an apostate
Muslim, and therefore deserving of death. There are varying reports about the
degree of tactical and strategic cooperation between the two factions.
is said to be a son of Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram whom the
police extra-judicially murdered in 2009. However, some commentators believe
the “brains” behind the faction was Mamman Nur, a close colleague of Yusuf and
a fellow preacher. In September 2018, there were reports that Nur was murdered
by his own faction because he was too “soft,” that he misappropriated ransom
money, and that he might have been open to a dialogue with the Nigerian
government. In late February 2018, al-Barnawi reportedly replaced with Abu
Abdullah Ibn Umar al-Barnawi as head of ISWA. (The two al-Barnawis do not
appear to be related; al-Barnawi signifies that the person is from Borno.)
There remain questions about the fate of Abu Musa al-Barnawi. Abu Abdullah Ibn
Umar al-Barnawi appears to be an unknown figure.
a dearth of confirmable facts, there are hypotheses. One is that Abu Musa
al-Barnawi has been murdered, and another is that he has returned to Shekau’s
faction. Others speculate that, because there has been no IS announcement about
the apparent change in leadership, IS must not have been involved, suggesting
that it has little control over the faction. Some have suggested that, with its
defeats in Syria and Iraq, IS needs ISWA more than ISWA needs IS.
respect to the alleged removal of al-Barnawi, there has been silence from all
of the presumed dramatis personæ: nothing from al-Baghdadi or Abu Musab
al-Barnawi or Abu Abdullah Ibn Umar al-Barnawi or, for that matter, Shekau.
to make of the fog? First, Boko Haram is far from a unified movement, and there
is a pattern of assassination within both factions. But they are still deadly;
there has been a recent upsurge in violence associated with its factions
documented by the Nigeria Security Tracker, primarily against military targets.
Second, the influence of international groups, primarily IS, appears to be
marginal and waning, depending on whether they advance primarily local
grievances. Finally, unlike IS, Boko Haram lacks an international agenda, and
its attacks are concentrated in the Lake Chad Basin and northeast Nigeria.
special forces killed eight al-Shabaab militants overnight in the country’s
Lower Shabelle region, state media said Tuesday.
security forces conducted an overnight operation in Daru Salam village in Lower
Shabelle and killed eight members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group,” the
Somali National News Agency reported.
Mohamed, a Somali National Army captain in Lower Shabelle, confirmed the
operation to Anadolu Agency by phone.
special forces alongside our international partners conducted an operation against
al-Shabaab in Daru Salam in the Lower Shabelle region after we received
intelligence and killed eight al-Shabaab fighters,” Mohamed said.
al-Shabaab claimed it had killed one U.S. serviceman and wounded two others.
government organized a protocol training program for dozens of Gambian officers
ahead of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit slated for
Turkish team -- led by Emre Zeki Karagol, deputy director general for protocol
at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, included colleagues Yigithan Ozden and Turgay
program ended on Tuesday. Among 58 participants were security officials and
friends and I have held around 18 different meetings … We are here to share our
experiences,” said Emre Zeki Karagol.
will share our mistakes so that you do not repeat those …”
Touray, permanent secretary at Gambia’s Foreign Ministry, said the training
“could not have come at a better time”.
are heading for the OIC summit and we want Gambia to do the best… Our protocol
is still young so I will urge the participants to take advantage of this,”
has been instrumental in helping to build the capacity of Gambia as it prepares
to host the OIC in several areas. Since 2017, Turkey has organized several
training programs for country’s security forces, particularly the police.
ambassador in Banjul Ismail Sefa Yuceer said Turkey’s aim is to help Gambia
hold a successful OIC summit. Turkey is the current chair of the OIC.
is one of the greatest events in the world… We are ready to share our
experience with our Gambian brothers so that this event will be a success,”
US Africa Command (Africom) has not responded to reports by Al-Shabaab
militants that an American soldier was killed during a military operation in
Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region.
media in that country report that during Tuesday’s overnight operation, carried
out by Somali Special Forces supported by Africom, eight Al-Shabaab militants
Somali National News Agency reported on Tuesday: “Somali security forces
conducted an overnight operation in Daru Salam village in Lower Shabelle and
killed eight members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.”
Mohamed, a Somali National Army captain in Lower Shabelle, confirmed: “Our
special forces alongside our international partners conducted an operation
against Al Shabaab in Daru Salam in the Lower Shabelle region after we received
intelligence and killed eight Al-Shabaab fighters.”
Nigerian Army on Tuesday said its troops successfully foiled a coordinated
attack by Boko Haram insurgents at a military location in Borno.
Isa, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Operation Lafiya Dole, stated this
in a statement issued in Maiduguri.
Isa disclosed that troops of 152 Battalion neutralised a number of the
insurgents when they attempted to infiltrate its location on Monday at
Bula-Yobe-Banki axis in Borno.
said that the troops killed unspecified number of the insurgents while many of
them escaped with gunshot wounds, adding that various caliber of ammunition and
equipment were recovered in the encounter.
Isa said “the dogged troops of 152 Battalion successfully crushed some Boko
Haram terrorists when they attempted to infiltrate their location on March 11,
2019, at about 19.00 hours at Bula –Yobe-Banki axis in Borno.
terrorists, in their futile attempt came in with several gun trucks mounted
with Anti-Aircraft (AA) guns and motorcycles.
troops engaged the terrorists with superior fire power and inflicted heavy
casualty on them and their equipment.
fierce gun battle set confusion and disorganisation in the terrorists’ camp,
with them withdrawing in disarray while the troops gave them a hot pursuit.
the process, unconfirmed number of terrorists was neutralised while several
others fled with gunshot wounds”.
Isa added that a gun truck mounted with AA gun and several motorcycles
belonging to the insurgents were destroyed, while one gun truck mounted with AA
gun and Mortar Carrier were recovered from the terrorists.
to him, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Benson
Akinroluyo, through the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division,
and Commander Sector 1, Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig.-Gen. Bulama Biu, commended
the troops over their gallantry.
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