Parties Struggle for Relevance in Muslim-Majority Indonesia
Imran Khan Vows to Rid Pakistan of All Militants, Says Has Army Backing
Bibi To Leave Pakistan Within Weeks: Imran Khan
Son: The King And Crown Prince Are Guardians to All Saudis
Al-Bashir Steps Down, Transitional Government Announced: Al-Arabiya TV
Africa’s Zuma Denies He Has $30m Of Qaddafi’s Cash
Dialogue Delayed As Kabul Fails To Finalise Participants
Historical Mosque Comes Under Racist Attack
Reluctant To Label Far-Right as Terrorist: Report
and Israel Should Lead the Fight on Terrorism
Minister: University's Choice Whether to Host Zakir Naik
New Edict To Lure More Sharia Stock Investors
Failure to Address Criticism of Rome Statute Spurred Students to Leak Briefing
Takes Team Of Diplomats To Site Of Balakot Air Strike
with Zardari just a normal routine, says Fazlur Rahman
won’t join street protests against govt, Fazl told
journalists given access to madressah near site of Balakot strike
Pulls Out Of Anti-Iran Alliance Envisioned By US, Allies: Reuters
blacklisting of IRGC proves Washington's fiasco in Middle East: Nasrallah
offers to try all Daesh foreigners for a fee
officials: 4 policemen killed in 2 Sinai attacks
Haftar Recruiting Child Fighters: Tripoli Gov't
rally organizers urge Khartoum residents to throng protest site
army downs Libyan govt. military plane
police say 11 killed in Khartoum incidents
forces ‘capture’ military camp south of Tripoli
decries Libyan commander’s assault on Tripoli
gov’t to have a central role in peace deal with Taliban: Pompeo
Bangladeshi lawmaker charged over death of prominent Catholic
security crisis grows in Bangladesh Rohingya refugee camps
Government Adviser Sacked Over Comments On Islamophobia
Turkey, Russia lawmakers meet in Moscow
cadets get UK training amid Yemen abuse reports
solution should be political, not military: EU
police raid NGO offices for alleged Hamas ties
calls on Iran and Turkey to help return Syrian refugees
chief Yasin Malik to be in NIA custody till April 22
Indian elections begin, Pakistan fears tensions could worsen with its nuclear
Coalition Strikes Houthi Drone Capabilities In Sanaa
demands annulment of Istanbul election results
Delivery of Russian S-400 may be brought forward
says Israeli-Palestinian peace plan to be presented ‘before too long’
Says Iran Tied To Al-Qaeda, Declines to Say If War Legal
senators introduce bill to sanction Turkish officials over detentions
chief condemns US decision on Iran’s RGC
Omar condemns TV host's dual-loyalty remark
continuing support for terrorist YPG/PKK in Syria
Egypt would face sanctions over Russian Su-35s
by New Age Islam News Bureau
a predominantly Muslim country, Islamist representation has been visible in
politics since Independence Day, marked by the rise and fall of Islam-based political
parties. In the country’s first general election in 1955, Masyumi and the
Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) were among winners, placing in second and third behind
first president Sukarno’s Indonesian National Party (PNI).Masyumi was later
disbanded for its alleged involvement with Revolutionary Government of the
Republic of Indonesia (PRRI) rebel movement in West Sumatra, leaving the NU and
three other political parties — the Indonesian Muslims Party (Parmusi), the
Indonesian Islamic Union Party (PSII) and the Islamic Education Union (Perti) —
to participate in 1971 election.Former president Soeharto later restructured
the multi-party system and merged all of the Islamist parties into a party
called the United Development Party (P...
Imran Khan vows to rid Pakistan of all militants, says has army backing
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan vowed to rid his country of the militants
created and tolerated by the powerful military, including groups carrying out
attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.
have decided, for the future of our country — forget the outside pressure — we
will not allow armed militias to operate anymore,” Khan said during an
interaction with a small group of foreign journalists in Islamabad on Tuesday.
“Those to be dismantled include groups involved in attacks in Jammu and
Kashmir,” he said.
added that the Pakistan Army had created these militias in the 1980s when his
country and the United States were backing Muslim insurgents in Afghanistan
against Soviet forces.
there is no use for these groups anymore,’’ he said, adding the crackdown had
the full support of Pakistan’s powerful army.
according to media reports, promised this new crackdown would go far deeper
than previous ones.
Bibi to leave Pakistan within weeks: Imran Khan
Minister Imran Khan, in a meeting with BBC News, uncovered that Chiristian lady
Asia Bibi will leave Pakistan in few days.
News World Affairs proofreader, John Simpson, got some information about the
present status of the Christian woman who was vindicated by the Supreme Court
in obscenity case.
to the inquiry, the PM said she will leave the nation soon.
is safe to say that we are discussing days or weeks?’
this, PM Imran Khan said ‘inside weeks’ including that there are a few
confusions in such manner that couldn’t be talked about in media.
I guarantee you that she is sheltered, Imran told Simpson.
son: The King and Crown Prince are guardians to all Saudis
Khashoggi, son of late Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, posted a statement on
his official Twitter account saying there was no third party authorized to
speak on behalf of the Khashoggi family. He called upon anyone with information
on the case to bring it forward.
Khashoggi was a respectable journalist and a patriotic Saudi citizen. The
recent attempts to smear his legacy and draw friction are ill and immoral,”
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and the Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman are considered and regarded as guardians to all
Saudis. Acts of generosity and humanity come from the high moral grounds they
possess, not admission of guilt or scandal,” Salah said.
added that Jamal Khashoggi’s family were brought up “to thank acts of good not
understand the urge to know what transpired regarding the case, and we will be
sharing the developments as soon as they are legally admissible and allowed.
There are no friends or consultants or any third party authorized to speak on
our behalf or claim to be a source of information except us, Jamal’s children
and Mr. Motasem Khashoggi our attorney,” he said in his tweet.
regard to the trial, Salah said it is still ongoing and “no settlement
discussion had been or is discussed.” “The people who committed and were
involved in this crime will all be brought to justice and face punishment,” he
information or evidence pertaining to the case is welcomed and encouraged to be
brought forward by the righteous. Assisting in justice is a holy and good act
that can only be met with respect and admiration. We believe with such pure and
honest acts and intentions that Jamal Khashoggi and his family truly obtain
justice,” the statement said.
Al-Bashir steps down, transitional government announced: Al-Arabiya TV
The Sudanese army announced on Thursday the formation of a transitional council
after the resignaiton of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir, Al-Arabiya TV has
transitional council will be headed by Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, the First Vice
President and Defense Minister of Sudan, the army was reported as saying. The
Sudanese Professionals Association, which has spearheaded the protests, said they
will only accept the handover of power to a civilian transitional government.
Sudanese opposition party said they reject any changes that don’t meet the
demands of the public, also adding how the Sudanese youth have the power to
affect change in the country.
gathered in front of the military headquarters as military vehicles were
deployed on key roads and bridges in Khartoum. They were reportedly shouting
“It has fallen, we won,” Reuters said.
former and current Sudanese officials including Bashir’s former Vice President
Ali Osman Taha and acting head of the National Congress Party Ahmed Haroun were
reportedly arrested, as well as Bashir’s personal guards.
also said the Khartoum airport was closed.
Sudanese army was Thursday planning to make “an important announcement,” state
media said, after months of protests against the longtime leader.
of Khartoum residents flooded the area around army headquarters where
protesters have held an unprecedented sit-in now in its sixth day.
Sudanese army will issue an important statement soon. Wait for it,” the state
television anchor said, without giving further details.
protests, which erupted in December, have become the biggest challenge yet to
Bashir’s three decades of iron-fisted rule.
are waiting for big news,” one protester told AFP from the sit-in.
won’t leave from here until we know what it is. But we do know that Bashir has
had enough of this regime — 30 years of repression, corruption, rights abuses,
of demonstrators have spent five nights defiantly camped outside the sprawling
headquarters complex, which also houses Bashir’s official residence and the
has been an often festive mood at the sit-in with protesters singing dancing to
the tunes of revolutionary songs.
military vehicles carrying troops entered the compound in the early hours of
Thursday, witnesses said.
witnesses said many army vehicles carrying troops were deploying in the center
of Khartoum early Thursday.
group spearheading the nationwide demonstrations urged residents of the capital
to mass outside army headquarters.
call on our people from across the Khartoum capital and the region around to
immediately go to the sit-in area and not leave from there until our next
statement is issued,” the Sudanese Professionals Association said.
Africa’s Zuma denies he has $30m of Qaddafi’s cash
South Africa’s ex-president Jacob Zuma has denied allegations by a local
newspaper that he is in possession of $30 million (€26.7 million) belonging to
the late Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi.
Sunday Times at the weekend reported that before he was captured and killed in
2011, Qaddafi had given the funds for “safe keeping” to Zuma, when he was
president of South Africa.
paper said Zuma had stashed the money at his home in the southeastern village
of Nkandla before moving it to neighboring eSwatini, formerly known as
president Zuma is not aware of any money directed to his Nkandla home from
former president Qaddafi, nor has he ever received funds from Qaddafi,” the
ex-president’s foundation said in a statement cited Wednesday by South Africa’s
The Star newspaper.
himself tweeted sardonically on Tuesday that he was surprised to hear that he
was keeping $30 million when he was in need of cash to pay for legal bills to
fight graft charges.
I owe millions in legal fees.... I now hear that I have been keeping money
belonging to my late brother Qaddafi. Where’s this money because His Majesty
knows nothing about it?” he tweeted, referring to the king of eSwatini.
who was ousted last year over multiple graft scandals, could be liable for the
equivalent of $2 million in legal bills.
eSwatini government spokesman Percy Simelane also refuted the existence of
Zuma’s money in his country.
are not aware of any money secretly stashed anywhere in eSwatini from former
South African President Jacob Zuma belonging to former Libyan President Muammar
Qaddafi,” Simelane told AFP in Mbabane.
African Foreign Affairs Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Sunday said “there is no
money that we are aware of.
have not found any money that belongs to Libyans. If the Libyans make a request
for us to investigate this matter, we will.”
Zuma, South Africa had vociferously opposed the NATO-led military intervention
to oust the Libyan dictator.
also said Qaddafi should have been handed to the international war crimes court
after his capture.
dialogue delayed as Kabul fails to finalise participants
anxiously awaited intra-Afghan dialogue in Qatar has been delayed for five days
apparently after the Kabul administration failed to finalize its delegation for
the face-to-face meeting with the Taliban, Afghan and Taliban officials said on
talks were scheduled to be held on April 14-15 in Doha, the capital of Qatar,
where the Taliban have their political headquarters. The talks will now be held
on April 19-21, according to Afghan officials.
Ashraf Ghani met members of a high-level forum and decided to delay the meeting
with the Taliban, officials said. Section of the Afghan media reported that
several committees, which were assigned to prepare agenda and a list of
participants, could not complete their work.
37-member Reconciliation Leadership Council decided to meet again on Saturday,
a council statement said.
political spokesman Suhail Shaheen in Qatar also confirmed postponement of the
meeting. However, he refused to offer more comments.
for Doha meeting, completion of the members of the council and the formation of
the negotiating team were discussed in the meeting, Tolo TV reported, quoting
the Reconciliation Leadership Council’s statement.
assigned committees briefed the council delegates on the formation of
government delegation for Doha meeting, an inclusive negotiating team and
governments’ red lines in the peace talks, the statement said. Taliban and
senior political leaders, including former President Hamid Karzai, in Moscow in
early February in a major step towards the opening of intra-Afghan dialogue.
President Ghani’s administration had stayed away from the Moscow meeting and
even criticized the move. Qatari officials have encouraged the Taliban to meet
representatives of the Afghan government, who will join other politicians in the
talks, sources told Daily Times. A senior Qatari official, who is involved in
Taliban-US talks, in his visit to Kabul this month also convinced President
Ghani to send government representatives for the intra-Afghan talks, the
sources familiar with the development said.
reject ‘loya jirga’
on Wednesday angrily rejected offer by the Kabul administration to join a
consultative ‘joya jirga’ or grand assembly to discuss peace in the war-torn
country scheduled to be held in Kabul on April 29.
Islamic Emirate – as a representative of the its nation – rejects such fake
jirgas and any participation in them and asks all fellow countrymen to not
become victims of enemy plots at such a historically sensitive juncture by
abstaining from participating in such superficial jirgas,” a Taliban statement
said. “The Kabul administration and various plots under the name of loya jirgas
over the course of 18 years were and are misused as tools for the continuation
of occupation and widespread administrative and moral corruption as well as to
cement and protect interests of the invaders,” it added.
Historical mosque comes under racist attack
historical mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina was vandalized with with
spray-painted symbols of Nazis and extreme Serb nationalists late Tuesday.
Arnaudija Mosque was come under racist attack when the assailants spray-painted
Nazis' swastika, and "4S” symbol of extreme Serbian nationalist, meaning
"Only the unity saves Serbs".
in the Banja Luka city of Republika Srpska (RS) entity in northwestern Bosnia
and Herzegovina, Arnaudija Mosque was completely demolished by Serb forces
during the Bosnian War between 1992 and 1995.
has currently been under reconstruction of Turkey's General Directorate of
Srpska police said on Wednesday that the case is being investigated.
investigation has been launched to find the perpetrators of the ugly attack on
mosque walls," said a police statement.
the attack "extremist and nationalist," the statement also condemned
the racist act.
Arnaudiye Mosque was built in 1595. It was completely demolished by the Serb
forces in 1993. Turkey's Directorate General of Foundations started the
reconstruction of the historical Ottoman mosque in 2017.
reluctant to label far-right as terrorist: report
extremists are three times more likely to be labelled as terrorists by the
media than far-right extremists, according to a recent study.
research undertaken by Signal AI analyzed media coverage, including radio
broadcasts and TV transcripts, on a number of terrorist attacks that had taken
place in the last two years and came to the conclusion that there is a
consistent reluctance by media organizations to identify right-wing extremists
a study of over 200,000 global news articles, the analysis found that Muslim
extremists were labelled terrorists 78.4% of the time. However, right-wing
extremists were identified as terrorists only 23.6% of the time.
in terms of the language used, and the quantity of coverage, media treatment of
differing forms of extremism is skewed. A Muslim can be expected to be
immediately labelled a terrorist, whilst the media is hesitant to apply this
term to white people,” the research body said in its publication released on
the aftermath of the Christchurch attack in New Zealand, in which 50 Muslim
worshippers were slaughtered by a far-right terrorist, Signal AI found that of
the articles analyzed, 90,000 articles made no links between the attack and
terrorism and over 40% of global coverage had not labelled the attack as an act
research compared the coverage of the Christchurch attack and five other
far-right attacks to those of Muslim extremist attacks in the last 15 months.
For far-right attacks, the term "terrorism" was not used 84.1% of
results were described as “striking, if uncomfortably unsurprising” and that it
is evident that media coverage on Muslim attacks is largely different to that
of far-right attacks.
belief that the media treats terrorism unequally depending on the background of
the attacker is grounded in the numbers. In the attacks studied, articles on
Islamic extremism did not mention terrorism one quarter of the time. Articles
on far-right attackers did not mention terrorism three quarters of the time.
This is an issue that will apply to media in all topics, not simply terrorism,”
the analysis said.
media outlet can be taken as an impartial source, each weave their own
preconceptions and biases into narratives regardless of the topic.”
analysis, however, also found that in the case of the Christchurch attack,
media outlets, unusually, were willing to label the right-wing extremist as a
terrorist attack as New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had declared the
incident an act of terrorism within six hours of it taking place. Such a
decision, which has been described as bold, caused the media to follow her
is in contrast to world leaders, such as U.S. President Donald Trump, who are
reluctant to label far-right attacks as acts of terror and as such the media in
turn follows suit. One example given is that of the October 2018 Pittsburgh
synagogue terrorist incident in which Trump described the attack as an act of
to research conducted by the Independent newspaper, far-right extremism is
growing in the U.K. and white British people are more likely to sympathize with
extremism than those of Asian Muslim descent. The government has been warned to
not solely focus on Muslim oriented extremism as far-right extremism is an
And Israel Should Lead The Fight On Terrorism
terrorist attacks on democratic countries continue to raise questions on their
ability to unite against militant Islamic terrorism. While it’s true that
democracies are not the only targets of terrorist groups, their Islamist
leaders openly show their disdain for democracy, as they see this idea as a
serious threat to their core concept of world domination. In a scenario where
one group is fighting for a common cause and the other is not even able to develop
a common consensus, it seems that this clash is going to exist for much longer
than the civilized world anticipated.
1984, at the “2nd International Conference on Terrorism” organized by the
Jonathan Institute, a group of political leaders, parliamentarians, scholars,
security officials and senior journalists from the United States, England,
France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia, Israel and other countries, gathered
in Washington to discuss the growth of global terrorism.
the conference, the historian and father of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
the late Benzion Netanyahu, raised a serious concern about the attitude of
democratic countries toward terrorism, saying, “Our attitude toward terrorism
and the way we treat it, the way we are getting conditioned to its horrors, and
above all our reactions to the dangers of enslavement represented by the
terrorists and their masters, indicate that we are struck with a serious moral
sickness that debilitates our capacities to act as free men.”
is an unpleasant reality that after more than three decades, the topics
discussed in that conference are still relevant, and the “serious moral
sickness” hinted at by Benzion Netanyahu has grown exponentially.
has evolved from a national security challenge for some countries to a threat
to the entirety of human civilization. Against the thriving evolution of
terrorist ideologies and their continuous improvisations, there is a long track
record of unsuccessful attempts by the victims of terrorist nations to even
develop a mutually agreed definition of terrorism.
one of his recently published articles, “An International Definition for
Terrorism,” International Institute for Counter-Terrorism founder &
executive director Prof. Boaz Ganor mentioned that the lack of a universal
definition for the term “terrorism” enables some states to say they stand
against it, while in practice they support it.
further states, “International counter-terrorism cooperation efforts are
dangerously stunted by the lack of global consensus regarding what constitutes
the threat. Such consensus is necessary to effectively block terrorist funding
sources, disrupt related money-laundering schemes, and foil recruitment
the years, the invention of some clever terms, such as “Islamophobia,”
“demonization of Islam,” and “anti-Muslim prejudice,” etc. has created a new
kind of chaos. The word “terrorism” itself is becoming more and more complex,
and those parts of the world which earlier provided the launching bases to
international terrorism are now attempting to reshape the fight against it.
Terrorism thrives on hypocrisy.
2015, the international hypocrisy reached a new height when the Kingdom of
Saudi Arabia announced the creation of an Islamic Military Counter Terrorism
Coalition (IMCTC), which they declared as “a unified pan-Islamic front against
terrorism.” The IMCTC’s primary objective, as mentioned in the official
document, is to protect Muslim countries from all terrorist groups and
terrorist organizations. When this inter-governmental military alliance was
announced, some 34 Islamic nations – including the Palestinian Authority and
Pakistan – joined the league. As of November 2017, its membership is 41, and
most of its participants are the members of Organization of Islamic Cooperation
January 6, 2017, Pakistan’s former chief of army staff, Gen. Raheel Sharif, was
appointed IMCTC’s first commander-in-chief. This is the same general who in
2016 gave a threat to “wipe Israel off the Map.” These kinds of anti-terrorism
efforts are a serious concern as these can take the fight against terrorism on
a different path and can redefine terrorism and global counter-terrorism
policies in their own terms.
and Israel both have suffered a lot due to the international hypocrisy and
definitional fuzziness, and both are tackling it in their own unique ways.
Israel sees terrorism as a cause which originates mainly from Iran, with a
quest for world domination and threats to wipe off Israel from the world map.
India considers terrorism a threat to humanity and rejects the idea of an
artificial distinction between any of its forms.
has a rich experience, and over the years has developed some crucial
operational capabilities in counter-terrorism, which today every country seeks
to learn from it. On the other hand, India’s rich diversity, plurality, and
unique culture of co-existence have enabled it to acquire a wider acceptance,
even in the Muslim world, and strengthened its voice in the international forums,
which is equally crucial in the fight against radical Islamist ideologies.
to Prof. Ganor, every counter-terrorism strategy must address two variables –
motivation and operational capability. And an effective counter-terrorism
strategy is one which has the desire to reduce motivations underlying the
phenomenon of terrorism, as well as reduce its operational capabilities. As he
mentioned in one of his articles, “Only the correct combination of these two
variables and a parallel coordinated struggle can bring the phenomenon of
terrorism to its knees, or at least reduce its scale.”
philosophical traditions – some of which it is pursuing to date in its
diplomacy, such as “vasudhaiva kutumbakam,” which means the world is one family
– and its conflict avoidance approach, have the potential to defeat the idea of
terrorism. India to a large extent can help some Muslim-majority nations in
their process of deradicalization. Meanwhile, Israel’s proven capabilities and
rich experience of counter-terrorism can help in effectively limiting the
operational capabilities of terrorist regimes. Together, both countries make a
perfect combination which is needed to deal with the global menace of
major part of the world is a victim of terrorism, and they are looking for the
right direction in their counter-terrorism efforts. It will be interesting to
see whether in their next governments India and Israel will explore some
possibilities in this direction.
LUMPUR, April 11 — Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching said it is
Universiti Utara Malaysia’s (UUM) prerogative to decide if it should permit
controversial Islamic televangelist Zakir Naik to give a talk there.
to reporters at the Parliament building, she said her ministry’s stance was to
allow universities to make their own determination in such matters.
need to answer that firstly, it is after all part of their (right to)
autonomy,” Teo said when declining to further comment on the matter.
flyer for the event circulating online recently asserted that Zakir is set to
give a three-hour talk titled “Duty of A Muslim As A Professional” on April 18
at the Mu’azdam Shah Hall in UUM’s Changlun campus in Kedah.
event appears to be organised by the One Centre group, in collaboration with
five other Islamic NGOs.
preacher, a Malaysian permanent resident and Saudi citizen, has been accused in
the past of denigrating other faiths and being a threat to Malaysia’s
multiethnic and multicultural harmony.
is wanted by India’s police on charges of money laundering and hate speech.
new edict to lure more sharia stock investors
capital market may be seeing more Muslim investors after the Indonesian Central
Securities Depository (KSEI) received an edict from the Indonesia Ulema
Council’s (MUI) sharia division on its sharia-based services.The newly issued
edict on sharia-based securities transaction settlements and custodial functions
complements the council’s existing list of edicts on sharia-compliant
investments, which have been flourishing in the Muslim-majority country.One of
them is an edict issued in 2011 on the Indonesian Stock Exchange’s (IDX)
sharia-compliant equity trading.KSEI president director Friderica Widyasari
Dewi expressed hope that the edicts received by her company and the IDX, along
with the Financial Services Authority’s (OJK) Islamic securities list, could
lure potential investors who were previously worried about whether the nature
of the stock exchange was acceptable under Is...
failure to address criticism of Rome Statute spurred students to leak briefing
JAYA, April 9 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s withdrawal from the Rome
Statute led a group of student activists to expose a briefing by a group of
academics to the Conference of Rulers.
Pembebasan Akademik leader Asheeq Ali Sethi Alivi told Malay Mail that he and
eight others decided to leak the briefing’s executive summary after Putrajaya
failed to directly address the misinformation which led to public confusion.
the leak took place because there was no accountability by the government to
solve the confusion and to encourage public discourse for education purposes.
the leak has triggered various academics to come in and provide their views on
the matter to an extent educate the public at the same time,” he said when
Asheeq Ali, the other eight students involved in the leak are Ainina Sofia
Adnan, Nurhuda Ramli, Suhail Wan Azahar, Ahmad Taqiyuddin Shahriman, Wong Yan
Ke, Chong Kar Yan, Nik Azura Nik Nasron and Siti Nurizzah Mohd Tazali.
Sunday, the nine student activists leaked the executive summary which was
allegedly presented at the Conference of Rulers on April 2.
the document, four academics warned the rulers that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
(YDPA) may be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as he is the
supreme commander of the country’s armed forces.
paper was allegedly prepared by Universiti Teknologi Mara’s deputy
vice-chancellor and dean of Faculty of Law Prof Datuk Rahmat Mohamad,
International Islamic University of Malaysia’s law lecturer Assoc Prof
Shamrahayu Ab Aziz, and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia’s law lecturers Fareed
Mohd Hassan and Hisham Hanapi.
that the group took a big risk by leaking the paper, Asheeq Ali said to date no
party or even the academics themselves have disputed the document’s
it is wrong, they (academics) could have denied it. Since the leak, there has
been no denial or a single word from the academics who released the paper.
if I was being untruthful, I am ready to be sued in court,” he said.
day before the leak, the group launched an online petition urging the
government to reconsider its decision to withdraw from the Rome Statute for the
sake of those who died in the MH17 tragedy.
petition said the alleged perpetrators of the tragedy could not be brought to
the ICC because of Malaysia’s status as a non-signatory country.
has garnered almost 8,400 votes as of 7.30pm today.
have not decided anything in regards to halting the petition. We will decide
whether we should stop or continue further when it reaches our target of 10,000
signatures,” Asheeq Ali said.
said response to the leak was expected but he added he did not expect a former
Cabinet minister to disagree with the withdrawal.
this week, Gua Musang MP and Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah suggested
that the Conference of Rulers may have been “ill-advised” about the Rome
Asheeq Ali said he was surprised that not a single representative from the
federal government has initiated contact with the group over the leak since
they are really keen to solve the confusion and educate the public and stop
this whole debacle, they should not sweep the Rome Statute under the carpet.
we will continuously advocate for the Rome Statute because the government seems
uninterested for now,” he said.
Friday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government was forced
to bow to political pressure from opponents who spread unnecessary fear and
takes team of diplomats to site of Balakot air strike
THAN a month after the Indian Air Force struck at Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)
terrorist training camps in Balakot, the Pakistan army is learnt to have taken
more than two dozen defence attachés to the site on Wednesday.
diplomats, sources said, were taken early morning and given a tour of the area.
According to sources, among the diplomats were five women defence attachés, and
Pakistan authorities took them to a madrasa which had nearly 130 children. They
were subsequently taken to four surrounding areas where bombs had landed,” a
official familiar with the development said, “Islamabad is trying to deny any
damage to Balakot JeM camp and trying to say that there wasn’t a terrorist camp
but madrasa for children.”
IAF conducted pre-dawn strikes at Balakot on February 26 in retaliation to the
terror attack in Pulwama on February 14 that killed 40 CRPF personnel. Earlier,
a group of eight journalists were taken to the Balakot strike site by the
has questioned timing of the visit and said that Islamabad is again trying to
peddle propaganda and deny to the world the existence of terror camps in
Chief of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Maulana Fazlur Rahman met with Co-chairman
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday night.
on Tuesday, he had a meeting also with Mohammad Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim
with media after the meeting with Zardari, Maulana said that it was just a
normal routine meeting in which they only had a dinner.
said that both leaders talked on various national and political matters and
there was a complete understanding between them.
prime minister and supreme leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N),
Nawaz Sharif has reportedly turned down a request of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI)
chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman to join the opposition’s street agitation against
the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, according to reports.
JUI-Fazl chief had sought support of the PML-N in the protests announced by the
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and other opposition parties during a meeting
with Nawaz at his Jati Umra residence.
privy to the issues discussed in the meeting said that Nawaz refused to give a
clear commitment to Fazl regarding his party’s participation in street
protests, saying he would discuss the matter with other leaders.
PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair categorically said that his party will not
participate in the street protests called by PPP.
in a TV channel’s talk show, Zubair said that the party did not intend to join
hands with PPP and other parties in street agitation.
April 4, while addressing a ceremony on the 40th death anniversary of PPP
founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari had announced
that he would march towards Islamabad along with his party workers to oust the
‘selected’ prime minister’s bubble has burst. The government does not have
funds to run the country. I want to tell him that if he cannot collect funds
through the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) then he should leave,” he said,
adding that his party cannot give this government any more time as it does not
care about the people, therefore, it has decided to march on Islamabad to oust
reporters after meeting Nawaz, Maulana Fazl said that the opposition should
join hands to terminate the government.
JUI-F chief said he had been in touch with other political leaders, including
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Asif Ali Zardari. He added that he will
also call on Zardari in the next few days as believes that “internal
connections [among opposition parties] should remain intact”.
agenda of the meeting was limited to inquiring about his [Nawaz Sharif’s]
health, but we also discussed our shared concerns about towering inflation,
which is affecting the common man, and the troubled economy,” he said while
responding to a question.
Prime Minister Imran Khan a “fake and khala’i [extra-terrestrial]” premier,
Rehman described the current regime as an “installed” one. He added that the
ruling regime has no knowledge of the ideology of Pakistan, the ground
realities of the country and the economy.
repeated that the JUI-F has completed 10 ‘million marches’ against the
government and that they are ready for a decisive one.
is an institution of revenge. You should not expect accountability or justice
from NAB. I think we need to take some strict decisions when it comes to NAB,”
group of international journalists, mostly based in India, as well as the
ambassadors and defence attachés of various countries on Wednesday visited the
impact site of the Feb 26 Indian airspace violation near Jabba, Balakot,
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistani
military, announced late evening.
General (DG) ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor briefed the delegation on the events of
the day of the attack, "negating repeated false Indian claims with ground
were shown bomb craters of the Indian air strike attempts in barren open spaces
with no loss of human life or infrastructure," the ISPR said. "The
group also visited a nearby madrassa that India claimed it had struck and
killed scores of terrorists at."
visitors, according to the ISPR, were allowed to interact freely with students
and teachers and saw for themselves that the madressah, where "innocent
local children were getting education, stood on ground and was untouched".
DG ISPR reiterated that "India should accept the reality, stay a
responsible state for peace in the region and look inwards to identify reasons
for the out-of-hand situation in Indian occupied Kashmir."
international delegation also visited APS Swat — a state-of-the-art educational
facility established by Pakistan Army as a gift for the resilient people of
Swat in recognition of their contributions and sacrifices in defeating
terrorism as terrorists had specially targeted educational institutions during
the unrest," the ISPR press release stated.
group were also given a tour of Sabawoon, the army-run rehabilitation and
deradicalisation centre, where "juvenile offenders are given psychological
treatment" and nurtured back to normal life so they can become useful
citizens of the society.
caused by 1,000kg bomb was medium-sized: BBC
journalist Usman Zahid, who was a part of the delegation, said that the bomb
site was located on a difficult hilly terrain and it took an
hour-and-a-half-long trek to access it.
said that the crater shown by the Pakistan Army was of medium size, as he
recalled that the Indian army had claimed to have used a bomb weighing 1,000
BBC representative further said that at the bomb site there was only one house,
which had only suffered minor damage. He also found a person who had sustained
said that the delegation was also taken to the madressah situated at the summit
where they saw between 150 and 200 children, none aged above 12 to 13, getting
of the teachers was asked specifically if the facility was run by
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). "We do not know who this madressah is under the
care of," the teacher replied.
DG ISPR, in an informal interaction, was asked why the visit was arranged now
when the incident had taken place in February.
pulls out of anti-Iran alliance envisioned by US, allies: Reuters
has reportedly turned its back on a US-led initiative to establish a NATO-style
alliance of Arab countries primarily aimed at countering Iran out of concerns
that such a coalition could increase tensions with the Islamic Republic, among
sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday that Cairo had
informed the US and the members of what is to be called the Middle East
Strategic Alliance (MESA) of the withdrawal plan ahead of their Sunday’s
meeting in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Egypt had not
sent a delegation to the Riyadh event.
Arab source stressed that Egypt had pulled out of the so-called “Arab
NATO" because of its doubts about the seriousness of the proposal as well
as the danger that such an Arab front would increase tensions with Tehran.
reasons were uncertainty about whether US President Donald Trump will win a
second term in 2020 and whether his successor may scrap the initiative to form
an anti-Iran alliance, the Arab source added.
described Cairo’s move as a blow to the Trump administration’s anti-Iran
Saudi source also confirmed problems with the plan, saying, “It’s not moving
two other sources emphasized that the remaining MESA members were moving ahead
with the initiative and would press Egypt diplomatically to revoke its
withdrawal from the anti-Iran group.
all want them back,” said one of the sources.
Arab source, however, noted that Egypt could not be convinced to return to the
so-called “Arab NATO,” which is comprised of Jordan and six Persian Gulf Arab
countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait,
Oman and Qatar.
officials have not yet commented on the report.
alliance was first proposed by Saudi Arabia back in 2017 in a bid to counter
Iran as well as Russia and China, according to a classified White House
document reviewed by Reuters last year.
has, however, faced several obstacles such as a diplomatic standoff between
Qatar and a Saudi-led quartet of countries and the fallout of the
state-sponsored killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
problems have delayed a summit in the United States, which would feature the
signing of a preliminary accord on the anti-Iran alliance.
report about Cairo’s withdrawal plan came following a meeting between Egyptian
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Trump in Washington.
the meeting, Trump had said he would exchange views with Sisi on security
issues, but it was not clear whether they discussed the MESA issue.
US and its allies in the Persian Gulf view regional powerhouse Iran as a common
“threat.” They constantly accuse the Islamic Republic of “regional
interference,” a claim Tehran vehemently rejects.
– who came to office in early 2017 with a highly belligerent anti-Iran agenda –
has been pressing its Arab allies to act on the Saudi initiative and move to
form the NATO-like military alliance.
parallel, the US president has also been encouraging the Arabs to step up their
attempts towards normalization with the regime in Israel in favor of a
coalition against Iran.
February, a controversial US-organized summit in Warsaw, Poland, brought
together Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and representatives from a
number of Arab states, including Oman, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab
Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia and Kuwait, among other
the sidelines of that event, Netanyahu said the Arab countries participating in
the Warsaw forum were “sitting down together with Israel in order to advance
the common interest of war with Iran.”
has also repeatedly warned the Persian Gulf littoral states against the US’s
divisive policies in the Middle East, saying the planned Arab alliance would
merely be a tool for the US to fuel tensions in the region and advance its own
secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement has censured
the United States for designating Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)
as a terrorist group, stating that the move is a concrete proof that Washington
has miserably failed in its plots in the Middle East.
impudence and folly went beyond limits when it branded Iran's IRGC as a
terrorist organization. The force has made a great deal of sacrifice in order
to stand against the US and Israeli hegemony in the region. We, hereby, condemn
the US decision, and express our support for our friends at the IRGC,” Sayyed
Hassan Nasrallah said as he addressed his supporters via a televised speech
broadcast live from the Lebanese capital Beirut on Wednesday evening.
then described the US as the main source and sponsor of terror in the world,
emphasizing that Washington humiliates a whole nation for the sake of the
“terrorist” Israeli regime and terror outfits.
also highlighted that resistance fighters have well managed to thwart US plots
in the Middle East, noting that the IRGC designation was rooted in America’s
rancor against the force as it is strong and challenging Washington’s
the IRGC and Hezbollah is a proof of our strength not weakness. It is our
fundamental right besides a humanitarian and moral duty to confront all those
who threaten us and our achievements. The resistance front has many cards up
its sleeve to respond to US sanctions and measures,” the Hezbollah chief
further noted that the US and Saudi Arabia are doing their utmost in a bid to
sow the seeds of discord and division among Muslim nations in the Middle East,
emphasizing that the Riyadh regime is helping Washington to liquidate the
Palestinian cause so as to appease Israel.
went on to say that US President Donald Trump offered Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu major concessions in the wake of the regime's general
Hezbollah leader then lamented the ongoing Saudi-led military aggression
against impoverished Yemen.
would have happened to Persian Gulf countries and monarchies if totalitarian
(Saudi Crown Prince) Mohammed bin Salman had emerged victorious in the war on
Yemen? Had Bin Salman won in the war, he would have forced the Palestinians to
sign (Trump's so-called) deal of the century,” the Hezbollah secretary general
stressed that the incumbent US administration, Trump in particular, insists on
continuation of the Saudi-led onslaught against Yemen.
in his remarks, Nasrallah touched upon the US policy of incitement and sedition
in Lebanon, underlining that Washington is still pressing ahead with its
fiendish bids despite the failure of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to
the Arab country.
Iraq has offered the US-led coalition to put hundreds of accused foreign
militants on trial in Baghdad in exchange for millions of dollars, three
government sources have told AFP.
countries have been rocked by fierce public debate over whether to repatriate
their citizens who joined Daesh, which held swathes of Iraq and Syria for years
before losing its last speck of land last month.
1,000 suspected foreign Daesh militants are in detention in northeast Syria, in
addition to around 9,000 foreign women and children in Kurdish-run camps there.
Iraq has proposed trying and sentencing the foreign suspects if the US-led
coalition covers operational costs, three Iraqi officials have said.
countries have a problem, here’s a solution,” one told AFP, speaking
anonymously because he was not authorized to give details to the press. The
source said Iraq had proposed a rate of $2 million per suspect per year,
calculated based on the estimated operational costs of a detainee in US-run
made the proposal last week but have not gotten a response yet,” the source
second official said Iraq had requested $2 billion to try the suspects as “one
of several options,” and could ask for “more money to cover the costs of their
has already tried and sentenced several hundred foreign Daesh members, and
others are in detention in Baghdad awaiting trial.
include at least 12 French nationals who were transferred from Syria in
February. A third Iraqi official said detainees from as many as 52 countries
could be put on trial in Baghdad.
proposed to the coalition setting up a special tribunal to try foreigners.
There’s been a constructive beginning to those discussions,” the source said.
setting up the court could be complicated, the official said, with questions
over whether international funding for it would preclude any implementation of
the death penalty.
source added that Iraq had opted to propose the arrangement to the US-led
coalition as a whole because it was simpler than negotiating with each country
US-led coalition did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.
Kurds have called for an international court in northeast Syria to try Daesh
militants, but the US says countries should repatriate their own citizens.
Egypt: Egyptian security officials say two separate attacks have killed three
police conscripts and an officer in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula.
officials said Wednesday that the first attack took place in the city of
El-Arish when an explosive device targeted an armored vehicle, killing a police
officer and two conscripts.
explosive device hit an armored vehicle in the town of Rafah, killing a
conscript and wounding four others.
officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to
brief the media.
group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which bore the hallmarks of the
attacks came a day after a Daesh suicide bomber killed four policemen and three
civilians, including a child, in the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid.
Arabia's King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent cables of
condolences to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Haftar recruiting child fighters: Tripoli gov't
Tripoli-based government on Wednesday accused forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar,
who is affiliated with a rival government based in the country’s east, of
recruiting child soldiers.
a Wednesday statement, Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha decried the alleged presence
of “minors” fighting within the ranks of Haftar’s forces, which since last week
have been waging a campaign to capture Tripoli.
the ongoing campaign as “illegal” and “unacceptable”, Bashagha called on
Haftar’s forces to leave the capital and its environs, “or we will have no
choice but to confront you with all force and firmness”.
a related development, Foreign Minister Mohamed al-Taher Siala has reportedly
lodged a complaint with the UN Security Council in which he, too, accused Haftar’s
forces of recruiting child soldiers.
week, Haftar announced the launch of a campaign to capture Tripoli, where
Libya’s UN-backed government is headquartered.
Monday, however, the campaign appeared to have lost momentum, with
pro-government forces recapturing two military bases near Tripoli after they
were briefly seized by Haftar’s forces.
two sides have since continued to trade blows over three strategic airports
located on the capital’s outskirts.
has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising
led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after four decades in
then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of
power: one in eastern Libya, with which Haftar is associated, and another in
Tripoli, which enjoys UN support.
of nationwide protests against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir called on
Khartoum residents Thursday to mass at army headquarters as state media said
the army would make an “important statement.”
sit-in outside army headquarters, which also houses Bashir’s residence, entered
its sixth day on Thursday with protesters gathered in what the European Union
has described as “an unprecedented number.”
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is set to step down, Al Arabiya sources
confirmed adding that some current and former officials have been arrested.
months of protests have plunged Sudan into its worst crisis in years. The
demonstrations initially erupted last December with rallies against a spiraling
economy, but quickly escalated into calls for an end to embattled al-Bashir.
protests against al-Bashir gained momentum last week after Algeria’s President
Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power for 20 years, resigned in response to weeks of
similar protests, according to the Associated Press..
marches in Khartoum marked the 34th anniversary of the overthrow of former
President al-Nimeiri in a bloodless coup. It was one of the largest turnouts in
the current wave of unrest.
military removed Nimeiri after a popular uprising in 1985. It quickly handed
over power to an elected government. The dysfunctional administration lasted
only a few years until al-Bashir - a career army officer - allied with Islamist
hard-liners and toppled it in a coup in 1989.
has banned unauthorized public gatherings and granted sweeping powers to the
police since imposing a state of emergency last month, and security forces have
used tear gas, rubber bullets, live ammunition and batons against
so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), headed by renegade Field Marshal Khalifa
Haftar, has shot down a military aircraft operated by the UN-backed government
of Libya en route from the city of Misrata, an official says.
reports have just emerged that the Libyan National Army shot down a military
aircraft that departed from Misrata," LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said
at a news conference in Benghazi on Wednesday.
reports say the Aero L-39 Albatros plane, a Czech-made training jet often used
in a ground attack role, belonged to the Government of National Accord (GNA)
and was shot down over Qasr Bin Ghashir south of Tripoli.
has been the scene of increasing violence since 2011, when former dictator
Muammar Gaddafi was killed in a NATO military intervention that followed a
popular uprising. Gaddafi's ouster created a huge power vacuum, leading to
chaos and the emergence of numerous militant outfits, including the Daesh
GNA is the internationally-recognized government of Libya seated in Tripoli.
But it has been unable to exercise state powers over the entire Libyan
territory, where militia groups have been active since an uprising against the
then-dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
major power faction that lays a claim to power is based in the city of Tobruk,
in Libya’s east. It has its own quasi-army, led by self-styled General Khalifa
week, Haftar ordered his forces to advance on the capital, in what seems to be
an attempt to unseat the GNA.
political process and risks further escalation with serious consequence on
their way to Tripoli, Haftar’s forces have overtaken several oil fields and
towns, but have faced stiff resistance from forces loyal to the GNA near
Tripoli, where they have been stopped. The situation is deadlocked, and
fighting continues despite international calls for an end to hostilities.
fighting between rival domestic forces continues near the capital Tripoli and
elsewhere, and that prompted the UN to postpone a conference in Libya that had
been meant to discuss the possibility of holding elections in the country.
blocks EU call to stop Haftar's offensive
France on Wednesday blocked a European Union statement which called on Haftar
to halt his forces’ offensive in Libya.
draft statement, seen by Reuters, would have said that the military attack
launched by Haftar on Tripoli was “endangering the civilian population,
disrupting the political process and risks further escalation with serious
consequences for Libya and the wider region, including the terrorist threat.”
and Italy disagree on how to handle the latest escalation in the troubled North
which has oil assets in eastern Libya, has provided military assistance in past
years to Haftar in his eastern stronghold, Libyan and French officials say.
Information Minister has cited a report by Khartoum police as saying that 11
people were killed during security incidents in the capital on Tuesday.
to a report by the Khartoum state police chief, six members of "state
forces" were among those killed in the Tuesday incidents, said the
minister, Hassan Ismail.
who is also the government spokesman, provided no details on how they died.
Khartoum witnessed attempts by intelligence and riot forces to disperse a
sit-in by protesters opposed to President Omar al-Bashir in front of the
country’s Defense Ministry headquarters on Tuesday, prompting soldiers guarding
the compound, which also includes Bashir's residence and the national security
headquarters, to protect them.
sit-in area, however, expanded slightly on Wednesday, with soldiers being
heavily deployed around the sit-in, which began on Saturday.
demonstrators chanted, "Fall, that's all!," "The people want to
build a new Sudan", and "Our army protects us."
the army's presence, we feel safe," one of the sit-inners said. "The
army is protecting us and we will continue the sit-in until the regime
falls," the 23-year-old engineering graduate, Ayman Abdullah, added.
has been struggling with persisting protests since December 17, when an
anti-government campaign erupted over price hikes and shortages of food and
fuel. That initial public display of anger quickly spiraled into calls for the
75-year-old Bashir to step down.
embattled president has declared a state of emergency, dissolved the central
government, and replaced state governors with security officials. But the
rallies have not stopped.
led by Commander Khalifa Haftar on Wednesday claimed to have captured the
Yarmuk military camp, south of the capital, Tripoli, from the UN-backed
forces said in a statement they set control over the camp and are advancing
towards Tripoli’s center.
last week, the fighters have carried out a military attack to seize the capital
from the UN-backed government.
Yarmuk military camp is in the Ain Zara area which had been witnessing clashes
between the Haftar forces and government forces.
UN-backed government has not yet issued a statement on the claims.
another development, airstrikes on Wednesday targeted several sites south of
Tripoli, including the El Azizia area -- 28 miles (45 kilometers) south of
Tripoli, and former Tripoli International Airport 16 miles (25 kilometers) from
Tripoli, Anadolu Agency correspondent reported.
side claimed responsibility for the airstrikes until 1700 GMT.
the Haftar forces hold a small part of the former airport, the remaining is
mainly controlled by the government forces.
El Azizia area is mostly held by the Haftar forces.
week, Haftar announced the launch of a campaign to capture Tripoli, where
Libya’s UN-backed government is headquartered.
Monday, however, the campaign appeared to have lost momentum, with
pro-government forces recapturing two military bases near Tripoli after they
were briefly seized by Haftar’s forces.
has remained beset by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising
led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after four decades in
ongoing military campaign by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar -- launched with
the aim of capturing Tripoli -- is “unacceptable” and must stop immediately,
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi said Wednesday.
made the remarks during a phone call with Fayez al-Sarraj, leader of Libya’s
Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA)
unacceptable military campaign hurts the stability of Libya and endangers
civilian lives,” Essebsi told al-Sarraj, according to a statement released by
the former’s office.
for his part, reportedly voiced his appreciation for Tunisia’s “brotherly
stance” on the issue, going on to stress that the GNA would continue to resist
week, Haftar, who is affiliated with a rival government based in the country’s
east, announced the launch of an ambitious campaign to capture the capital,
where the GNA is headquartered.
Monday, however, Haftar’s campaign appeared to have lost momentum, with pro-GNA
forces recapturing two military bases near Tripoli that had been briefly seized
by Haftar’s forces.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has assured that the Afghan government will
have a central role in a peace deal that would be concluded with the Taliban
his testimony before the Appropriations Committee of the U.S. Senate on
Tuesday, Pompeo said that he will make sure that America’s counterterrorism
interests are protected as well.
response to a question raised by Senator Lindsey Graham on whether the Afghan
government will be a meaningful participant in any pace deal, Pompeo said “More
than that, they will be at the center.
It will be Afghan-led.”
comes as efforts to find a political solution to end the ongoing war in
U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay
Khalilzad has so far participated in five meetings with the Taliban political
leaders in Doha Qatar to find a negotiated settlement to ongoing war in
former Bangladeshi parliamentarian has been charged with the murder of a
prominent indigenous Catholic who died five years ago.
Kalam Azad, a former ruling Awami League party MP from the Govindaganj
constituency in Bangladesh’s north, was charged with 12 others on April 9 with
murder over the death of Ovidio Marandy.
brother, Father Samson Marandy from Dinajpur Diocese, filed the case on behalf
of his family. Family members had attempted to register a murder case for
Bhadra, senior judicial magistrate, accepted the complaint and fixed June 12 as
the case’s first day of hearing.
the time of his death Ovidio Marandy, then 32, was assistant commissioner of
land in Govindaganj of Gaibandha district.
was found dead and his motorbike partly damaged on a village road in the area
on Jan. 11, 2014. He was reportedly driving to his place of work after spending
a weekend at his home in neighboring Naogaon district.
authorities declared his death a road accident and hastily buried his body. Six
months later, a court ordered his body to be exhumed for a post-mortem
examination. The subsequent report has not been made public but Jahidul Islam,
officer in charge of Govindaganj police station, told ucanews.com that it
supported the claim that Ovidio’s death was due to a road accident.
police case also recorded it as an RTA (road traffic accident) and detectives
also identified it as an accident,” Islam said.
police say they are still investigating the case.
court complaint alleges the accused plotted and killed Ovidio because he
resisted illegal activities allegedly being committed by Abul Kalam Azad and
the criminal activities that Azad was allegedly involved in, the family say,
was the grabbing of land from local indigenous peoples.
conducted a reign of terror in the area for a long time,” Father Samson Marandy
told ucanews.com. “He grabbed and leased land held by poor people including
ethnic communities plus government’s tax-free land,” he said.
was also allegedly involved in the violent eviction of thousands of ethnic
Santal Christians from disputed land in the area in November 2016.
priest alleged anyone who stood up to Azad put their lives at risk. “My brother
clashed with him over the land grabbing issue, so Azad plotted and had him
killed,” he said.
then used his political position to make it look like a road accident and
Ovidio’s family was blocked from seeking justice through the courts, the priest
is less powerful now because he is no longer a MP. His party has denied him
from candidacy in the last election, so we can now seek justice,” Father
became an MP in the 2014 national elections, but he failed to secure his
candidacy in last national election in Dec. 30, 2018.
has denied charges made against him and called them a “political conspiracy.”
is political vengeance. Ovidio Marandy died in a road accident and a police
probe is nearing completion supporting that outcome. I am surprised that the
court has accepted a new case in this regard,” Azad told Bengali Daily Samakal
on April 9.
Sebastian Tudu of Dinajpur said the Church would support Ovidio’s family in
shows refugee settlements and nearby residential areas in Bangladesh face
significant food insecurity as Bangladesh police shoot refugee suspects accused
of economic crimes.
around Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh are facing a worsening food
security crisis, according to a report by a UN organised body.
its annual Global Report on Food Security, The Food Security Information
Network (FSNI) said residents of Bangladesh’s Cox's Bazar city are struggling
for food and other resources due to the huge influx of Rohingya refugees.
a million members of the largely Muslim Rohingya community have sought refuge
in Bangladesh, fleeing acts of genocidal violence by Buddhist gangs and the
community has settled in one of the poorest and most vulnerable regions in
Bangladesh, where most local households typically derive their livelihood from
small farming plots of around a hectare or less, and fishing.
least 100 hectares of cropland in Teknaf and Ukhiya have either been occupied
by refugee settlements or rendered useless by sandy soil flowing down from the
mountain slopes,” the FSNI said in the report.
security for host communities showed a marked deterioration, with the percentage
of households with poor or borderline poor food consumption increasing sharply
from 31 percent in 2017 to 80 percent in the August to September period of
said that nearly 2,000 hectares of forest reserves have also been damaged due
to the settlements, depriving the local community of a means to earn a living
750,000 kilograms of timber, vegetation, and roots are collected daily by the
community from the forest for cooking fuel.
FSNI is an initiative organised by the UN World Food Programme and others.
Rohingya headed to the southeastern region of Chittagong, or to Cox’s Bazar to
escape persecution and killings by the Myanmar government, which the UN has
described as ‘textbook’ ethnic cleansing.
become vulnerable to crime
situation with food scarcity is forcing some Rohingya into petty crime to make
suspected robbers were shot dead in a gun fight in Cox’s Bazar on Saturday,
according to the Bangladesh police. The assailants, who were all young Rohingya
refugees, were staying in a camp nearby and were hiding weapons on a hill when
they encountered the officers.
March, a female Rohingya refugee was killed during an apparent gunfight with
border guards, also in Cox’s Bazar.
troops had come across suspected drug dealers when the firefight erupted.
government adviser sacked over comments on Islamophobia
UK government has decided to sack a senior adviser after he suggested in an
interview that the problem of Islamophobia is not real.
government said on Wednesday that Sir Roger Scruton had been removed from his
post as chairman of government commission on building better quality housing
after he endorsed Islamophobic comments by Hungarian President Viktor Orban who
has accused Muslims of trying to invade the West.
said in an interview with the New Statesman that Islamophobia was a hoax made
up by the Muslim Brotherhood, the most popular political party in the Muslim
said Islamophobia was a propaganda word “invented by the Muslim Brotherhood in
order to stop discussion of a major issue”.
a major academic known for his philosophical ideas, is a close friend of Orban,
a prominent far-right politician and a committed Islamophobe who has previously
referred to refugees coming to Europe to escape war and poverty in the Middle
East as “Muslim invaders”.
controversial figure has endorsed Orban’s other views, especially those made
against American billionaire businessman George Soros who Orban believes is
running an empire from his place of birth in Hungary to advance the interests
of the Jews worldwide.
comments about Islamophobia come amid a clear surge in hate crimes against
Muslims in the UK and other Western countries.
by prominent Islamophobes in Britain, an Australian man massacred some 50
Muslim worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand last month.
Opposition Labour party called for Scruton’s removal from the government,
saying his language is instigating hate against the Muslims.
comments by Roger Scruton are despicable and invoke the language of white
supremacists,” said Dawn Butler a senior Labour MP who serves as shadow women
and equalities minister, adding, "His claim that Islamophobia does not
exist, a few weeks after the devastating attack in Christchurch, is extremely
dangerous, and his defence of the prejudice stoked by Viktor Orban’s government
in Hungary is appalling.”
first trilateral meeting between the foreign affairs committees of parliaments
of Iran, Turkey and Russia has been held in Moscow. The participants have held
talks to promote peace and stability in the region.
than 40 Saudi military cadets have been receiving training in British military
colleges amid human rights abuse reports against the Gulf state’s forces in
Yemen, local media reported on Wednesday.
to the information received through freedom of information channels by The
Guardian, the cadets are being trained at Sandhurst, the Royal Air Force school
at Cranwell and the Royal Navy College since 2015.
British Ministry of Defense declined to inform the daily about the amounts of
the contracts, the report said.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt criticized Germany for halting arm sales
to Saudi Arabia, following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in
Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle is quoted by the newspaper as saying that Britain’s
training of Saudi officers in the U.K. was “the tip of the iceberg of British
enablement of the Saudi war machine to devastate the people of Yemen”.
government argues that helping Saudi prosecute its war crimes is stabilising
the Gulf. This is a cynical, morally bankrupt and, most importantly, erroneous
position taken to make money out of human suffering,” he said.
U.K. has sold at least £5.7billion ($7.47 billion) worth of arms to the
Saudi-led coalition, which is fighting in Yemen since 2015, according to an
analysis released by Sky News last month.
state has been under criticism for not halting arm sales to Saudi Arabia
following multiple reports of human rights abuses and one of the worst human
tragedies involving civilian deaths due to hunger in Yemen.
U.K.’s arm sales have been under scrutiny and came under focus again after the
murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate.
Shadow Secretary Emily Thornberry previously called the killing a “disgraceful
murder” and said the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman “takes his allies
for fools,” mentioning some of the alleged crimes attributed to him.
the U.K. government to use the Magnitsky powers for anyone involved in the
murder, including those who ordered it, Thornberry asked for financial
penalties on those responsible and the suspension of U.K.'s sales of arms to
had said the reports about Khashoggi’s death, if they prove true, “are not
compatible with our values".
to the United Nations, Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. As the
conflict enters its fourth year, around 14 million people in Yemen, or half the
total population of the country, are at risk of famine, the UN says.
solution to the Syria crisis should be a political and not a military one, head
of the EU Delegation to Turkey said.
an interview with Anadolu Agency, Christian Berger said the crisis needs a
solution that also includes Syrians in finding a political settlement of the
said that both Turkey and the EU are working together and support the UN-led
process in Geneva.
for a political transition in Syria began in Geneva in June 2012 under the
supervision of the UN.
we don't find a political solution, this will continue," he added.
bloc’s ambassador also praised Turkey's fight against the terrorism, saying the
country and the EU continue dialogue on counter-terrorism issue.
said that Turkey is in a "very difficult geographical situation" with
a civil war going on in Syria, a conflict in Iraq against the Daesh terrorist
organization, as well as fighting against the PKK.
the last two years, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch operations
liberated the region of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists, allowing hundreds of
thousands of displaced civilians to return to their homes.
its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a
terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible
for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children. The
PYD/YPG is its Syrian branch.
is an important ally of the international community's coalition in the fight
against Daesh," he added.
helps Turkey on mine clearance
said that the EU runs a very comprehensive project with Turkey on clearing
mines at the eastern borders of the country.
are instrument of war," he said, adding that Turkey together with the
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) runs a mine clearance project which
targets to dispose 220,000 land mines.
“Socioeconomic Development through Demining and Increasing the Border
Surveillance Capacity at the Eastern Borders of Turkey” project was developed
in 2014 and is funded by the EU.
is the first partnership of UNDP in Turkey with the Ministry of National
Defense, Turkish General Staff and Ministry of Interior in the field of mine
clearance, according to the UNDP.
recalled that many countries -- including Turkey and the EU member states --
are members of the "Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling,
production and transfer of anti-personnel mines and on their destruction",
also known as the Ottawa Treaty.
joined the convention in 2004, Berger said, adding that since that time the UN
helps to remove the mines that have been laid during the cold war period.
project volume is about €40 million (around $45.2 million) and co-founded by
both the EU and the Turkish government, he said.
police on Wednesday raided offices of several non-governmental organizations,
alleging that they provided support to the Palestinian resistance group Hamas.
90 properties across Germany, including offices of WWR Help und Ansaar
International, were searched by the police, the Interior Ministry said in a
are indications that they have provided financial and propaganda support to
Hamas,” the ministry said.
Minister Horst Seehofer stressed that Germany will not allow charities to
provide support to Gaza-based Hamas group, arguing that German laws prohibit
activities that violate the principle of international peaceful understanding.
European Union keeps Hamas in its terror list, despite strong objections by the
Palestinian group, which describes itself as a national liberation movement
practicing all types of legitimate resistance against the Israeli occupation.
German government has been a strong supporter of Israel and repeatedly
underlined its “special responsibility” for the Israeli state due to the
member of Russia’s lower house of parliament, Sergei Neverov, has called on
lawmakers in Iran and Turkey to coordinate with Moscow to help millions of
displaced Syrians return home.
Neverov, deputy chairman of the State Duma aligned with the ruling United
Russia party, proposed that lawmakers from Turkey and Iran who are responsible
for international affairs should hold a joint conference to help facilitate the
return of Syrian refugees displaced by the eight-year conflict.
am confident that in the framework of parliamentary diplomacy, we can
significantly move forward in solving this serious humanitarian problem
affecting the fate of hundreds of thousands of innocent people who are forced
to endure hardship and suffering,” Mr Neverov said during a meeting in Moscow
with the foreign affairs committees of the parliaments of Turkey and Iran.
July 2018, Russia launched an initiative to repatriate the 5.6 million people
who have fled Syria since 2011. Officials in Lebanon, which is hosting more
than 1 million Syrian refugees, welcomed the initiative, but have told The
National last year that the plans have stalled over a lack of funding.
Vidakas, Russia’s Charge D'affaires in the UAE, told The National that the move
was part of his country’s “practical” approach to the two biggest issues that
Moscow sees in the Middle East – regional security and displaced Syrian
again, this is a different level of our collaboration because we are concerned
about the Syrian refugees,” he said pointing out that there were already
military and senior diplomatic discussions on such topics.
policy is a constant one, Syrian refugees and regional security are of primary
concern and [if it’s] parliamentary [delegations] or any other instrument but
if you make things slightly better and minimize the negatives on the situation
then it will be great and it will contribute to peace and the safe return to
the war in Syria slowly grinds to a halt, Russia has lobbied Western
governments to deliver vital funding to facilitate the return of Syrians from
Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. But EU and US officials and humanitarian groups
have been reluctant to greenlight further funds over concerns of ongoing
fighting in the country and a lack of reforms within the Syrian government.
Vidakas said there is concern in Moscow about Western reluctance to back the
return of refugees to Syria and added that “we have to reconstruct Syria and
whether you like [President Bashar Al] Assad or no, ok… but the people are
suffering and this is one of the ways that we are suggesting.
Tuesday, Russia's UN Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said during a meeting on
refugees at the UN Security Council that more than 177,000 Syrians had returned
since the Russian initiative was launched. However, some Russia analysts have
expressed scepticism over figures cited by Russian officials.
trilateral meetings in Moscow on Wednesday are part of a new format between
Russia, Iran and Turkey, which will see the parliamentarians gather later in
Ankara and Tehran.
leaders of Iran, Turkey and Russia met together in the Black Sea resort city of
Sochi in southern Russia on Valentine’s Day this year to negotiate a resolution
to the eight-year conflict in Syria.
day after JKLF chief Yasin Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu, the NIA on
Wednesday arrested Malik in connection with a case related to funding of terror
and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court
which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.
was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail on Tuesday after NIA secured his production
remand. He was produced before Special Judge Rakesh Syal.
was brought to the national capital after a special NIA court in Jammu gave the
go-ahead for his custodial interrogation by the probe agency. The JKLF chief
was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged
in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
whose organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre, is also facing two
CBI cases. These relate to the kidnapping of Rubaiya Saeed, daughter of then
Union home minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, in 1989, and the killing of four IAF
personnel in 1990.
NIA official said they plan to confront separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
and Malik regarding the sources of funds allegedly received by them and role of
the Joint Resistance Leadership. Mirwaiz is being questioned by the NIA for the
past three days in connection with their probe into terror funding.
agency registered a case on May 30, 2017 against separatist leaders, including
unknown members of the Hurriyat Conference, who have allegedly been acting in
connivance with militants of proscribed terrorist organisations, including
Hizbul Mujahideen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Pakistan — The rocky trail to the spot where war almost broke out between
Pakistan and India winds upward through alpine meadows dotted with grazing
cows. In one pasture is a huge bomb crater, filled with broken boulders.
Further above, almost hidden behind the ridge crest, sits a low cinder-block
Wednesday, a rhythmic hum emanated from the structure. Inside, dozens of boys
huddled over wooden benches, rocking and chanting to memorize the Koran. One
religious teacher recounted the night of Feb. 26, when a series of booms jolted
everyone awake. An Indian military jet had just dropped four bombs nearby,
according to Pakistani officials.
was after 3 a.m. when we heard the sounds. There was total confusion,” Mohammed
Ajmar, 34, told foreign journalists. He said he had taught at the Madrassa
Talim al-Koran since 2012. The visit to the remote site, arranged by the
Pakistani army’s public relations office, was the first allowed since the
officials assert that the building was a training center for Jaish-e-Muhammad,
a Pakistani militant group that claimed it carried out a Feb. 14 bombing in the
nearby Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir. India said its airstrike killed “a
very large number” of militant fighters at the center. Pakistan said the Indian
plane missed its target, that no human was harmed, and that the building was a
seminary with no other purpose.
happened on that ridge, the reverberations have continued to roil relations
between the two nuclear-armed rivals as the polls open Thursday in nationwide
Indian elections that could see its Hindu nationalist leader, Narendra Modi,
reelected for a second term.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an interview Tuesday with foreign journalists,
expressed concern and sorrow over the deterioration in relations with India. He
said the Modi government was unleashing domestic hostility against Muslims, a
minority of more than 200 million, and that the very idea of “Muslim-ness” was
Khan also suggested that if Modi were to win reelection, his “right-wing”
government might actually be more likely to reach a settlement on Kashmir,
which both countries have claimed since they were partitioned in 1947. The
opposition Congress party, he said, might be “too scared” to move decisively on
invitation for foreign journalists to interview the prime minister and military
officials and to visit the site of the Indian airstrike came on the eve of the
Indian elections and in the midst of a domestic economic crisis that has left
Pakistan desperate for international support.
Prime Minister Imran Khan attends a military parade to mark Pakistan National
Day in Islamabad last month. (Anjum Naveed/AP)
Khan’s hopes for peace in Kashmir, some Pakistani and international experts
have predicted that if Modi’s ruling party makes a strong enough showing, India
would probably continue harsh tactics in its portion of the disputed territory,
provoking more protests by Kashmiri Muslims. Modi has threatened to revoke
several laws that grant Kashmiris certain special rights, such as property
continues to smolder and remains a nuclear flash point,” said Michael Kugelman
of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.
weekend, Pakistan’s foreign minister said there was “reliable evidence” that
India might attack Pakistan in the next two weeks, and that it might “stage”
another bombing in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir to justify such
military action. Indian officials dismissed the claim as “preposterous” and
“aimed at whipping up war hysteria.”
said little is likely to change if Modi is reelected. “We can expect to see the
same kinds of repressive policies in Kashmir,” as well as anti-Muslim rhetoric
and policies that could give Islamist militants a “pretext for attacks on
India,” he said.
bomb crater in a meadow in a remote area of Pakistan, left behind after an
Indian fighter jet conducted an airstrike. (Pamela Constable/The Washington
Khan came to power, his government has taken steps to rid Pakistan of Islamist
militant groups, such as the one that claimed the Feb. 14 bombing that killed
40 Indian security forces. After that attack, authorities arrested dozens of
members of Jaish-e-Muhammad, though not its top leader, and began seizing
financial assets and charities run by such groups. There are plans to begin
“rehabilitating” former militant guerrillas, with job training and counseling.
say the government has also begun working to bring Islamic seminaries under the
state education system, requiring them to modernize their curriculum and
register with the government. Such actions could help assuage Indian fears
while complying with an international task force that has strong influence on
foreign lending — and that has threatened to blacklist Pakistan in May if it
does not do more to crack down on religious extremism.
is the sweep and outreach of some of these groups that one of them, namely
Jaish-e-Muhammad, nearly brought two nuclear-armed South Asian countries to the
brink of war,” Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former Pakistani diplomat and senior
official, wrote Tuesday in an essay in the Express Tribune newspaper.
and others expressed concern that the crackdown would soon subside, noting that
previous efforts have petered out. This was largely because some militant
groups enjoy wide public support, especially those that oppose India and
support the cause of Kashmiri Muslims there.
some past skeptics, though, said Khan and the current army leadership appear to
be seriously committed to implementing the proposals in a sweeping national
plan against extremism that was adopted but then ignored by the previous
and the United States have repeatedly accused Pakistan of continuing to harbor
extremist groups, which it once nurtured to fight proxy wars in India and
Afghanistan. But military officials said they now see these groups as a serious
threat to Pakistan’s stability, economic development and relationships abroad.
March, Gen. Qamar Bajwa, the chief of army staff, ordered the military to
initiate a crackdown on militant groups that are banned by the United Nations.
In briefings this week, Brig. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the army spokesman, said
Pakistan had fought and defeated the Pakistani Taliban, whose forces were
driven from the northwest border region through military raids in 2014.
that we have eliminated the kinetic threat, we want to root out extremism and
the roots of terror,” he said.
military officials have promised to respond forcefully to any new Indian
aggression, they also hinted at a possible sea change in their traditional
dominance over foreign and security policy. They spoke about the importance of
loyalty to civilian authority, and they echoed almost word for word several
comments made by Khan.
coalition strikes Houthi drone capabilities in Sanaa
The Arab Coalition in Yemen said it had struck Houthi targets in the capital
Sanaa, Saudi TV reported early Wednesday.
Houthi workshop manufacturing unmanned drones and a launchpad were hit in the
attack, said the coalition, which is tasked with supporting the internationally
recognized government of Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthi militia that
control the capital.
spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki said that at 4:17 a.m. the Joint Forces Command
carried out an operation in Sanaa to destroy two legitimate military targets,
including a workshop used by the Houthi militia for installing and
booby-trapping UAVs and a store for platforms for launching and preparing UAVs
to carry out terrorist operations.
said that the targeting operation was an extension of previous military
operations (on Jan. 19, 31 and Feb. 9 and March 23), which were conducted by
the Joint Forces Command to destroy an Iran-backed terrorist Houthi militia’s
integrated network for UAV capabilities and its logistical facilities, in
addition to the locations of foreign experts.
affirmed the commitment of the coalition to preventing access by the Houthi
militia and other terrorist organizations to such capabilities, and taking all
measures to protect civilians and vital areas from the threat of UAV terrorist
attacks in accordance with customary international humanitarian law.
reaffirmed that the targeting operation was in accordance with customary
international humanitarian law, and that the Joint Forces Command had taken all
precautionary measures to protect civilians and avoid collateral damage, while
the Iran-backed terrorist Houthi militia used residential neighborhoods and
civilian facilities as military zones for manufacturing workshops, including
ballistic missiles preparation and installation workshops, UAV workshops, mines
and improvised explosive device workshops, and weapons storage.
coalition, also represented by the Child Protection Unit of the Joint Forces
Command, handed over seven children to the representative of the Yemeni
children had been deluded and were arrested during military clashes with
Iran-backed Houthi terrorist militias in a number of fighting fronts on the
handing-over ceremony was held at Sharurah Force Command in the presence of a
representative of the Yemeni government. The seven children represent the
eighth batch where 120 children have been handed over to their families.
child received an amount of money as a gift from the Joint Forces Command of
the Operation Renewal of Hope in addition to gifts from Sharurah Force Command.
Memorial photos were taken. The children were moved by bus to Marib.
the Houthis sent an unmanned drone toward the southern Saudi city of Khamis
Mushayt. The drone was shot down by Saudi forces without causing any casualties.
The coalition said that the Houthis were using residential neighborhoods for
the manufacturing of ballistic missiles, land mines and advanced bombs.
Arabia and its Arab allies entered the war in Yemen in 2015 against the
Houthis, who drove the internationally recognized government into exile in
2014. The Houthis have fired dozens of missiles into Saudi Arabia in the
four-year conflict. Most of the missiles have been intercepted by the Saudi
president has called on electoral authorities to annul the results of local
elections in Istanbul -- the country’s
economic heartland and his home city -- due to alleged irregularities.
Tayyip Erdogan said the authorities had failed to appoint “civil servants” as
ballot box officials at some polling stations in Turkey’s largest city during
the March 31 elections, Turkey’s Daily Sabah paper reported on Wednesday.
Instead, the authorities had put “regular people” in those positions,
compromising the elections’ fairness, he added.
colleagues have established this. Naturally, all this casts doubt. If they take
a sincere view, this will lead to annulment,” he noted.
polls saw Turks voting to elect scores of mayors, municipal councils, and other
local officials. Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party secured an
overall victory with some 51 percent of the votes.
AK party, however, suffered major defeats in the elections, which handed a
victory to the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the political
power base, Ankara, and the third-largest city of Izmir.
showed the CHP had narrowly won control of Istanbul, seemingly bringing an end
to the AK party’s 25-year-old rule there.
decision to annul the elections rests with the High Election Board.
board has already once rejected an AK party appeal to recount the votes cast in
31 of Istanbul’s 39 districts. The electoral body has only agreed to a recount
of 51 ballot boxes in 21 of the districts.
senior official was cited by Reuters as saying on Tuesday that the party would
demand a new vote in Istanbul now that the board has turned down its appeal.
and the AK party had won every election since the party first came to power in
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country’s purchase of Russia's S-400 is
a “done” deal, and that the delivery of the missile defense system may happen
sooner than the date set.
made the remarks to reporters on his plane while returning from a trip to
Russia, Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Turkish president said that he and his foreign minister were frequently asked
about Ankara’s decision on the purchase of the S-400 system from Moscow.
answer that ‘this deal is done, everything is settled.’ The delivery of the
S-400 missile defense system was to be in July. Maybe it can be brought
forward,” he emphasized.
also noted that Turkey’s requests for defense support had not received positive
responses, leading Ankara to find its own alternatives.
further accused the US of having double standards on Russian S-400 while
countries such as Greece, Bulgaria and Slovakia have similar defense systems.
shouldn’t one of NATO’s strongest militaries have a strong air defense system?”
has signed a $2.5 billion deal with Russia for the purchase of S-400 batteries
with the delivery set to begin in July. It has, at the same time, ordered 30 of
the US F-35 stealth fighter jets and plans to buy over 100 in total.
Ankara’s military deal with Moscow has angered Washington, with the latter
issuing an ultimatum for Turkey to stop buying the Russian system or risk
losing its NATO membership.
the Pentagon halted the delivery of equipment related to the F-35 to Turkey.
Leaders of the US Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees warned
Turkey on Tuesday that it risked tough sanctions if it pursued plans to acquire
the end of the year, Turkey will have either F-35 advanced fighter aircraft on
its soil or a Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system. It will not
have both,” Republican Senators Jim Risch and Jim Inhofe and Democratic
Senators Bob Menendez and Jack Reed said in a New York Times opinion column.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined on Wednesday to publicly say the
Trump administration still backs a two-state solution to the conflict between
Israel and the Palestinians.
are now working with many parties to share what our vision (is) as to how to
solve this problem,” Pompeo told a US Senate hearing where he was pressed for a
response on the issue.
Donald Trump said Benjamin Netanyahu's election victory had improved the
chances of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
said the administration “has been working on a set of ideas” for Middle East
peace “that we hope to present before too long,” adding that he hoped they
would provide a basis for discussions on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian
Senator Tim Kaine asked Pompeo, a former Republican member of the House of
Representatives, if he thought a peace agreement including one state for Israel
and one state for the Palestinians was an outdated idea.
certainly an idea that’s been around a long time, senator,” Pompeo responded.
the individuals in the region will sort this out,” the secretary of state said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured re-election on Wednesday, and a
record fifth term in office, with religious-rightist parties set to hand him a
parliamentary majority, despite a close contest against his main centrist
challenger, a vote tally showed.
a rare turn during the campaign toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,
Netanyahu alarmed Palestinians by pledging to annex Jewish settlements in the
occupied West Bank if re-elected. Palestinians seek a state there and in the
Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
came after Trump signed a proclamation during Netanyahu’s visit to Washington
on March 25, officially granting US recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli
territory, a dramatic departure from decades of American policy.
move, which Trump announced in a tweet days prior, was widely seen as an
attempt to boost Netanyahu as he ran for re-election on April 9.
captured the Golan in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move
not recognized internationally.
says Iran tied to Al-Qaeda, declines to say if war legal
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday accused Iran of ties to Al-Qaeda
and declined to say whether the Trump administration had legal authority to
invade the country.
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo hedged on whether the
authorization of force by the US Congress days after the September 11, 2001
attacks would allow the United States to strike Iran.
would prefer just to leave that to lawyers,” Pompeo told Senator Rand Paul, a
Republican who is critical of US foreign interventions.
factual question with respect to Iran’s connections to Al-Qaeda is very real.
They have hosted Al-Qaeda, they have permitted Al-Qaeda to transit their
country,” he said.
is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and
Al-Qaeda. Period, full stop,” he said.
Pompeo denied Paul’s suggestion that President Donald Trump’s designation
Monday of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards was aimed at making a legal case
was not part of the decision-making process. The designation was a simple
recognition of reality,” Pompeo said, citing US figures that Iran was behind
more than 600 deaths of US troops in Iraq after the 2003 invasion when Tehran
backed Shiite forces.
has piled pressure on Iran after last year withdrawing from a nuclear accord
negotiated under previous president Barack Obama, slapping sweeping sanctions
as Washington seeks to roll back the clerical regime’s regional influence.
voiced concern that Pompeo had not rejected war with Iran under the 2001
authorization, which has been used to back the war in Afghanistan as well as
attacks on Al-Qaeda in countries as diverse as Yemen and the Philippines.
US senators on Tuesday introduced a bipartisan bill requiring the imposition of
sanctions on Turkish officials responsible for the detentions of US citizens
and local consulate staff in Turkey, a statement on the legislation said.
bill, introduced by Republican Senator Roger Wicker and Democrat Ben Cardin,
also calls on President Donald Trump to urge Turkey to respect for the
fundamental freedoms, saying thousands were victims of politically-motivated
Turkish government’s false imprisonment of Americans and Turkish citizens
employed by the United States in Turkey is a gross violation of their human
rights,” Senator Cardin said in the statement. “Our bill makes clear that the
United States will not tolerate years of Turkish recalcitrance on these cases.”
detention of US consulate workers and American citizens is one of many issues
dividing NATO allies Ankara and Washington, also at loggerheads over Syria
policy and Turkey’s planned purchase of Russian missile defenses.
detentions prompted Washington in October 2017 to suspend all non-immigrant
visa applications from the country, triggering a reciprocal move from Ankara
that contributed to a deep crisis in bilateral ties.
bill introduced Tuesday would require the US administration to impose sanctions
on all senior Turkish officials responsible for the “wrongful” detentions of US
citizens and staff, including barring the officials from travel to the United
States and freezing any US assets.
the Turkish government made a step in the right direction with the release of
Pastor Andrew Brunson last October, more needs to be done for Turkey to show
good faith and act like a NATO ally,” said Republican Senator Thom Tillis, one
of six original sponsors of Tuesday’s bill.
Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Wednesday condemned the U.S.’ decision to
declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (RGC) as a “terrorist organization”.
United States humiliates an entire nation [Iran] for Israel, makes terrorist
groups and facilitates them, and then declare defenders of the land and
sanctities terrorists," Nasrallah said in a televised speech.
his group’s support to Iran, the Hezbollah leader said the Washington’s
decision reflects “U.S. President Donald Trump’s disappointment over the
strength and influence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps”.
Monday, the U.S. administration took the unprecedented step of officially
designating Iran's RGC as a “foreign terrorist organization”.
move marked the first time for a government agency to be designated as a
“terrorist” entity (although Iran’s Quds Force, a component of the RGC, was
dubbed a “supporter of terrorism” by the U.S. Treasury in 2007).
Supreme National Security Council, for its part, responded to the move by
officially designating U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) -- and all affiliated
bodies -- as a “terrorist organization”.
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif described the U.S. decision as a “gift” to Israeli
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in advance of Tuesday’s Knesset elections (in
which Netanyahu’s Likud-led coalition won a majority of seats).
powerful RGC was originally founded to serve as the vanguard of the country’s
1979 revolution. It currently enjoys more autonomy than the rest of Iran’s
military, answering directly to Iran's supreme leader.
Ilhan Omar called out a conservative TV talk show host's "dangerous"
comments that questioned her loyalty to the U.S.
is dangerous incitement, given the death threats I face. I hope leaders of both
parties will join me in condemning it," the Muslim lawmaker tweeted.
"My love and commitment to our country and that of my colleagues should
never be in question. We are ALL Americans!"
criticism Omar faced was in response to comments she made about the Sept. 11,
2001 terrorist attacks, in which she said Muslim Americans should not be
considered second-class citizens because of it.
too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class
citizen," Omar said at an event for the Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR). "And frankly, I’m tired of it. And every single Muslim
in this country should be tired of it. CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they
recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to
lose access to our civil liberties."
network host Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends, responded with "you have
to wonder if she's an American first."
Crenshaw, a congressman from Texas, was also critical of Omar, saying her
description of the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks as "some
people" is unbelievable.
Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of
Americans on 9/11 as 'some people who did something'," Crenshaw tweeted.
a Democratic representing Minnesota's 5th district, is one of the first two
Muslim lawmakers to be elected into U.S. Congress.
has been faced by a slew of attacks and death threats in recent weeks, a part
of ongoing criticisms and attacks she has faced since she made comments
U.S.-led coalition against the Daesh terror group delivered vehicles to depots
belonging to the YPG/PKK in Deir-Ez Zor province in Syria, according to local
sources who spoke anonymously because of safety concerns.
engineering vehicles will be used to construct positions, fronts and tunnels in
areas occupied by YPG/PKK terrorists in Syria, according to the sources.
convoy of 100 U.S. trucks were also seen carrying closed chests, tankers and
SUVs from Iraq to a YPG/PKK-occupied area in Syria on April 2.
maintains nearly 2,000 troops in Syria following its announcement that only a
few hundred would remain after withdrawal efforts.
President Donald Trump declared victory over the Daesh terror group and
signaled a "slow and highly coordinated pullout" of U.S. troops from
Syria last December.
White House announced in February plans to keep 200 troops in northeastern
Syria as part of an international peacekeeping force, in addition to 200 others
to secure a garrison at a strategic Syrian border town.
the date set for the pullout has passed, the U.S. has yet to reduce its
military presence in Syria.
the contrary, 300 trucks were sent to areas occupied by YPG/PKK terrorists in
Syria from the Iraqi side at the beginning and the end of February.
Feb. 4, the U.S. delivered nearly 150 truckloads of armored vehicles and
equipment to depots belonging to the YPG/PKK in Harab Isk and Sarrin.
Pentagon announced March 12 that $300 million would be allocated to the YPG/PKK
from its fiscal year 2020 budget.
has long criticized the U.S. working with and supplying arms and ammunition to
the terrorist YPG/PKK to defeat Daesh.
officials argue that using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.
U.S. warned Egypt on Tuesday against purchasing Russian Su-35 multi-role
fighter aircraft, saying it would face sanctions should it go through with the
made clear that if those systems were to be purchased, the CAATSA statute would
require sanctions on the regime," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a
Senate budget hearing.
received assurances from them that they understand that, and I’m very hopeful
that they will decide to not move forward with that acquisition," he
Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions (CAATSA) act was passed in
2017 to impose sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia. The aim of the
legislation is to combat those countries' influences across the globe.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee's top Republican and Democrat and 15 of
their colleagues sent a letter to Pompeo Monday raising a number of issues,
including Cairo's decision to reportedly purchase 20 Russian Su-35 fighter
letter also voiced "serious concerns about the erosion of political and
human rights" in Egypt and warned that the country is "unjustly"
jailing at least a dozen Americans.
did not consider Egypt's leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a tyrant after being asked
by Senator Patrick Leahy.
would not use that characterization," Pompeo said.
though he locked up political opponents and claimed victory after a sham
election?" Leahy asked.
no doubt that it’s a mean, nasty world out there, but not every one of these
leaders is the same. Some of them are trying to wipe entire nations off the
face of the earth, and others are working with us to help keep Americans
safe," Pompeo said in response.
might call them a tyrant, you might call them authoritarian. But there’s a
fundamental difference in the way the United States should respond."
said he had met with Sisi, who arrived in Washington on Monday, and talked to
him about "cases concerning U.S. citizens in Egypt," but didn't
has led Egypt since the 2013 ouster of elected President Mohammad Morsi. He was
re-elected last year with nearly 98% of the vote after running virtually
unopposed, with most major challengers either being jailed or stepping aside
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