Literally Means Striving or Struggling, Merely the Use of Word ‘Jihad’ Would
Not Be Proper To Brand the Accused as a Terrorist,” The Special Judge Said
than Twenty Percent of Indonesian Students Support Idea of Caliphate: Defense
Francis Seeks More Freedom in Theology Taught In Catholic Schools, Dialogue
Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia Declared Unlawful
Will Be Blacklisted If It Fails To Complete Action Plan by October 2019: FATF
Says Australian Teen Was Islamic State Propagandist
Abdullah of Jordan Slams ‘Hate-Filled Outlaws of Islam’
Lawmakers Press Trump Official to Say Iran Not Behind 9/11
Senate Passes Bill To Block Saudi Arms Sales
State’s Sinai Province Renews Allegiance to Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi
Approves Strikes on Iran, but Then Abruptly Pulls Back
Literally Means Striving or Struggling, Merely the Use of Word ‘Jihad’ Would
Not Be Proper To Brand The Accused As A Terrorist,” The Special Judge Said
government is acting like one of particular community only: Babri Masjid Action
Men Beaten Up In Assam's Barpeta, Forced To Chant "Jai Shri Ram"
Members Burn Effigy of SP MP Shafiqur Rehman Barq After He Refuses To Chant
to joining Hizbul, former SPO worked with PDP: NIA
for Israel at UN not tied to Palestinian cause: India
move court if ordinance is brought for Ram temple: Babri Masjid Action
bullets re-entry poses threat to J&K forces fighting militants
link: 2 hard discs seized as NIA carries out raids in Tamil Nadu
Jokowi Revive The Vanishing, Tolerant Indonesian Islam?
Islam or the economy, PH has failed us, Hadi tells PAS members
PAS-Umno ties won’t jeopardise non-Muslim rights
PAS Youth chief tells members to stay vigilant for ‘subtle threats’ against
Europe must repatriate its ISIL fighters and families
chief urges maximum restraint after Iran shoots down US drone
Iran-US conflict would be 'catastrophe'
needs to learn from Turkey on hosting refugees’
Thwarts India’s FATF Blacklist Move But Danger Still Lurks
Security Forces Kill 2 Suspected ISIS Terrorists Linked to Abduction of Former
PM Yousaf Gilani's Son
Senate expresses sorrow over Morsi's death
presented before accountability court as NAB's physical remand ends
finds fault with budget, discloses details of IMF talks
hosting of refugees exemplary: Mazari
Bajwa reaches London on official trip, says ISPR
Zealand opens gun buyback after mosque killings
Abdullah of Jordan Slams ‘Hate-Filled Outlaws Of Islam’
Demonstrate For Civilian Rule In Sudan’s State Capitals
attack: Forces deployed as survivors recall killings
State says it killed 12 Nigerian soldiers in Borno state attack: statement
jihadists undeterred by Western-led fightback
commander marching on capital dismisses negotiations
military fires attorney general over crackdown
adds Cuba, Saudi Arabia to human trafficking list
Speaker Pelosi Calls On US To De-Escalate Tensions With Iran
Khalid bin Salman: Saudi Arabia supports ‘maximum pressure' on Iran
Trump tells Iran that strikes are imminent but offers talks
Syrian Islamic State sympathizer in Pittsburgh planned to bomb North Side
envoy for Iran traveling to Middle East: State Department
US deployment in Middle East includes more Patriot missile defenses
warned Iran via Oman that US attack was imminent, called for talks
decries US 'drone airspace intrusion'
approved strikes on Iran but pulled back: report
Iran made 'a very big mistake' in downing drone
Terrorists Set Up New Centers at Iraqi-Syrian Borders to Train 2nd Generation
exploiting UN loopholes to facilitate terror financing
after Muslim told he cannot rent in Christian area
killers called Khashoggi 'sacrificial animal' before murder
aid chief: Syria, Russia attacks on civilians 'deliberate'
Rockets Strike Oil Fields in Southern Iraq
jet fighters kill two Islamic State jihadists in Diyala
IS militants killed in attacks in Iraq
Lebanon, Syrian refugees face new pressure to go home
Four Seasons closes down following US sanctions on Syrian oligarch
Arabia buys $300 million worth of spy software from Israel: Report
Bin Salman’s aide had key role in Hariri’s abduction
parliamentarians urge UN to call Houthis ‘terrorists’
Parliament classifies Houthis as a terrorist group, calls on UN and Arab League
to do the same
FAA prohibits operators from flying over some Iran-controlled airspace
releases flight path image, grid plot for drone shot down by Iran
Zarif: US is waging ‘economic terrorism’ on Iran
House adviser: US efforts to cut off Iran oil revenue working
IRGC: Downing of US drone carried a message to Washington
Houthis launched projectile at desalination plant in Saudi’s Jizan
drone attack halts air traffic in Saudi airport
Food Programme suspends Yemen aid in Houthi-controlled Sanaa
Fighting Claims Over 40 Lives within 24 Hours
Taliban And ISIS Militants Renounce Violence in Nangarhar Province
Taliban militants killed, 4 detained in Farah and Nimroz operations
militants killed, 50 thousand kgs of opium and 4,400 rounds of ammunition
confiscated in Farah
envoy: Goal now must be Afghan-Taliban peace negotiations
Afghan leaders invited to Bhurban moot ahead of Ghani visit
refugees long for home but Bangladesh says still too volatile
message to Taliban regarding peace process is clear: UN envoy
Lanka prosecutor orders probe of nine officers over Easter bombing lapses
by New Age Islam News Bureau
to jump to conclusions’
person cannot be branded as a terrorist merely for using the word “jihad”, a
court in Akola observed while acquitting three accused of terror charges.
court of special judge A.S. Jadhav was hearing a case against three people
accused under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Arms Act
and Bombay Police Act.
Razzaque (24), Shoeb Khan (24) and Salim Malik (26) were booked under various
Indian Penal Code sections, including 307 (attempt to murder) and 332
(voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty), following an
attack on policemen outside a mosque in Pusad on September 25, 2015, over the
beef ban in the State.
to the prosecution, Mr. Razzaque arrived at the mosque, stabbed two on-duty
policemen with a knife, and said he would kill policemen because of the beef
ban. The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) claimed the accused were part of a
conspiracy to influence Muslim youths to join terrorist organisations.
Jadhav observed, “It appears that accused Razzaque exhibited his anger by
violence against the government and some Hindu organisations for ban on cow
slaughter … No doubt he used the word ‘jihad’. But it was adventurous to jump
to the conclusion that only for using the word ‘jihad’ he should be branded as
a terrorist,” he said.
to dictionary, the word ‘jihad’ literally means “struggle”, he pointed out.
“Jihad is an Arabic word which literally means striving or struggling …
therefore merely the use of word ‘jihad’ by the accused would not be proper to
brand him as a terrorist,” the judge said.
Razzaque was convicted and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for
voluntarily causing hurt to policemen. As he had been in jail since September
25, 2015, he was released following the court order.
A study by Indonesia's Defense Ministry has revealed that 23.3 percent of high
school and university students in the country agree with the idea of an Islamic
state or a caliphate.
[the official state ideology] is fading away. This might not be a big problem
now, but will be in the next 20-30 years, if we do nothing. It will spell the
end of this nation," Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said at the
Indonesian Military (TNI) headquarters in East Jakarta on Wednesday.
study also shows that 19 percent of civil servants and 18 percent of employees
in private companies disagree with the Pancasila ideology.
percent of staff in state-owned companies also say they do not agree with
Pancasila and 3 percent of TNI personnel also disapprove of the state ideology.
is very worrying. We must overcome this together," the former Army
Tigor Naipospos, the deputy chairman of Setara Institute for Democracy and
Peace, said it is particularly worrying that some in the TNI support the
establishment of a caliphate.
is a serious threat. They are trained soldiers. If they sympathize with a
terror group, the impact would be unimaginable," Bonar said in Jakarta on
also said the data need to be checked for accuracy.
data came from a study conducted by a government institution. We need
comparable data from independent and academic institutions to validate
them," Bonar said.
CITY: Pope Francis called Friday for a reform of the way theology is taught in
Catholic schools, saying students must learn about dialogue with Judaism and
Islam, and that overall there must be greater freedom in theological research
and academic pursuits.
Jesuit pope made the call during a speech at the Jesuit-run theology university
in Naples. It follows his outreach this year to the Muslim world with the
signing of a joint statement with the imam of Cairo’s Al Azhar, the seat of
Sunni learning, establishing the relationship between Catholics and Muslims as
brothers, with a common mission to promote peace.
his speech, Francis said dialogue and partnership with the Muslim world is
necessary “to build a peaceful existence, even when there are the troublesome
episodes by fanatic enemies of dialogue.”
theology students must learn the culture, language and way of thinking of Jews
and Muslims “to better understand and live out our relationship,” he said.
the theologically doctrinaire papacies of St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict
XVI, Francis has stressed instead the need to “walk together” with interfaith
partners, often joking that theologians should ruminate on a deserted island
while religious leaders press ahead with dialogue on the ground. He has also
called for a more pastoral, merciful and conscience-driven approach to sticky
theological problems, such as Communion for the civilly remarried.
freedom is necessary,” Francis said Friday. “Without the possibility of trying
new paths, you don’t create anything new.” Speaking off the cuff, Francis,
though, made a distinction between the necessary freedom required for
theological study and the need for theological precision in preaching to the
called for a revision of the way theology is taught so that it focuses on
welcome, dialogue and flexibility. In addition, lay people should be encouraged
to take up theological studies, especially women, he said.
Arms sales to Saudi Arabia declared unlawful
weapons exports to Saudi Arabia have been declared unlawful as they have
contributed to high levels of civilian deaths and casualties in the bombing of
Yemen by Saudi-led coalition forces, Britain's court of appeal said Thursday.
ruling was passed down by three senior judges after they accepted the legal
challenge from the Campaign Against Arms Trade group, which has accused the
government of licensing arms sales when it was clear their sales could breach
to Campaign Against Arms Trade, around £4.7 billion ($5.9 million) worth of
arms exports to Saudi Arabia have been licensed by the government since the
Saudi-led intervention began in 2015 with record sales taking place before
U.K. government "made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led
coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law in the
past, during the Yemen conflict, and made no attempt to do so," the court
weapons exports are signed off by the foreign, defense and international trade
ministries with Tory leadership candidates Boris Johnson, former foreign
secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the current foreign secretary, have defended the
country's arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
U.K. government has said it would challenge the ruling that its arms sales to
the kingdom are unlawful as they contribute to high civilian fatalities in the
Saudi-led war in Yemen.
judgement is not about whether the decisions themselves were right or wrong,
but whether the process in reaching those decisions was correct" a
spokeswoman from Downing Street said in a press statement. "We disagree
with the judgment and will be seeking permission to appeal" she added.
estimated 8.4 million people are at risk of severe famine and more than 22
million people, 75 percent of Yemen’s population, are in need of humanitarian
Yemen has been wracked by conflict since 2014, when the Houthi rebels overran much
of the country, including capital Sanaa.
conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies launched
a wide-ranging military campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains and shoring
up the country’s Saudi-backed government.
war has resulted in a collapsed economy and a cholera outbreak that has
affected over 1.1 million people.
has repeatedly accused the Houthis of acting as a proxy force for Iran, Saudi
Arabia’s arch-foe in the region.
have been made to governments across the globe to halt weapon sales to Saudi
Arabia, resulting in Germany suspending such sales.
international criticism against the Gulf kingdom rose especially after the
murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October last year.
damning UN report said Wednesday that the Saudi state was responsible for the
Khashoggi murder and called for further investigation into the incident.
will be blacklisted if it fails to complete action plan by October 2019: FATF
DELHI: Pakistan will be blacklisted if it fails to complete its action plan by
October 2019, the Financial Action Task Force has told Islamabad, according to
June last year, Pakistan was placed on the 'grey list' of the international terror
financing watchdog and given a 27 points action plan. The 'grey list' is a
warning given to a country when it fails to curb terror funding and money
this week, during a review of the plan, Pakistan had failed to complete 25 of
the 27 points in the plan.
the run-up to the FATF plenary in Orlando, Florida from June 16-21, diplomatic
sources have said Pakistan will, at the very least, remain in the 'grey list'
which it went back into in 2018.
the second review meeting in Guangzhou, China, the Asia-Pacific Joint Group - a
committee set up by the FATF to monitor Pakistan's compliance, distinct from
the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) - told Islamabad over the weekend that it has to
take serious steps to stay off the black list which would mean shutting of all
doors to international finance.
is pushing for Pakistan to be blacklisted. But the opinion among the others is
that by keeping Pakistan in the 'grey list' they can continue to pressure
Islamabad as well as scrutinise its actions.
FATF action plan was earlier reviewed at the last plenary of the FATF in
October 2018. In February 2018, the country was put into the 'grey list' after
India submitted new information about Pakistan-based terrorist organisation.
FATF continuing Pakistan in the 'grey list' means its downgrading by IMF, World
Bank, ADB, EU and also a reduction in risk rating by Moody's, S&P and
blacklisted, it will add to the financial problems of Pakistan, which is
seeking aid from all possible international avenues.
far, Pakistan has seized 800 properties belonging to JUD, FIF, JEM and arrested
some of their leaders. But pointing out that seizures do not show compliance,
FATF has asked Pakistan to explain certain things, like where is the
investigation about the source of funds for these bodies. Secondly, Pakistan
has not shown any action against terrorist assets - armouries, weapons, explosives
and camps. FATF has asked for more detailed action and reporting on this.
says Australian teen was Islamic State propagandist
Australia – A security analyst says the eldest of three orphaned Australian
siblings pleading for repatriation from a Syrian refugee camp has been an
Islamic State group propagandist who could potentially face terrorism charges
National University counterterrorism researcher Jacinta Carroll said Wednesday
that Zaynab Sharrouf was taken from Sydney to Syria at the age of 13 in 2014 by
her extremist parents and became both a victim and supporter of terrorism in a
case that was legally and morally complex.
Australian government has said it is working with the Red Cross to repatriate
17-year-old Zaynab, her two children, her 16-year-old sister and 8-year-old
brother from a Syrian camp.
has discovered that Zaynab became a prominent Islamic State group propagandist
making social media posts supporting atrocities.
Abdullah of Jordan slams ‘hate-filled outlaws of Islam’
/ SINGAPORE: Attacks on interfaith harmony, mutual respect and trust are the
“world’s single most important threat,” King Abdullah of Jordan warned.
on Thursday at the International Conference on Cohesive Societies (ICCS) in
Singapore, Jordan’s monarch condemned both “outlaws of Islam and extremist
of hate-filled messages are distorting our religion’s great heritage and
teachings,” he said.
Abdullah called on the global community to tackle this challenge by “resisting
hatred and exclusion,” supporting economic growth and protecting the
a keynote speech, the Jordanian ruler urged 700 delegates from 40 countries to
apply the golden rule. “Loving one’s neighbor is not just an ideal. It is the
golden rule that enables all of us to live side by side, to look beyond
ourselves, and to achieve what we can only achieve in common.”
conference was organized by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
(RSIS) with the support of Singapore’s Ministry of Culture, Community and
Keng Yong, executive deputy chairman of RSIS, described the Singapore
conference as a platform for constructive dialogue to strengthen mutual trust
and understanding across communities.
is a multiracial, multi-religious society, and we work hard to keep our country
peaceful and secure. At the same time, we are part of the global community,
which faces challenges posed by increased connectivity, intensifying identity
politics, and infinite technological development,” he said.
Abdullah listed Jordanian efforts including the Amman Message, the Common Word
Initiative, and UN World Interfaith week.
when it comes to hate speech on the internet, solutions are not exclusively the
responsibility of governments and big companies, he said.
a very real way, the internet belongs to its users. Moderate, positive voices
need to reclaim this space and redirect the dialogue away from misinformation,
insults and fear, and toward understanding and respect. Young men and women
have a vital role in speaking up on social media and social networking sites,
and using their talent for innovation to promote mutual understanding and
Jordanian monarch also called for a “holistic approach to address security and
the issues that extremists exploit.”
must also help to resolve conflicts, especially the core crisis of my region,
the long denial of Palestinian statehood. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has
fueled global discord and radicalism. We all need a lasting peace, meeting the
needs of both sides, with a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian state,
on 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, but living side by side with
Israel, in peace and security.
must safeguard Jerusalem, a holy city to billions of people around the world.
As Hashemite Custodian of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites, I am
bound by a special duty. But for all of us, Jerusalem must be a unifying city
Abdullah is in a very difficult spot,” said Dr. James M. Dorsey, a Middle East
expert and senior fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
to Arab News, Dr. Dorsey said the king’s speech reflects the geographical
situation his country is facing.
single border of his country is conflict-risk and impacts the country’s
stability. If there is one country that desperately needs to get away from
polarization and conflict and move toward conflict resolution, it is Jordan.”
speakers are the conference include Dr. Ali Al-Nuaimi, chairman of the World
Muslim Communities Council; Bishop Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, president of the
Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue; Dr. Nazirudin Mohd Nasir,
deputy mufti and senior director at Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura; and John
Alderdice, former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
the weekend, Singaporeans can experience key elements of the conference through
a series of “Heartland Dialogues and Experiences” at locations across the city.
These include “learning journeys” and opportunities to speak with conference
parallel with the conference, the “Many Beliefs, One Future” exhibition
explores human connections across different beliefs through a collection of
artworks and artifacts.
exhibition is open until June 13 at the Raffles City Shopping Center.
Abdullah is in a very difficult spot,” said Dr. James M. Dorsey, a Middle East
expert and a senior fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.
with Arab News Dr. Dorsey said the king’s speech reflects the geographical
situation his country is facing.
single border of his country is conflict-risk and has an impact on the
stability of Jordan. If there is one country that desperately needs to get away
from the polarization and conflict and toward conflict resolution, it is
the weekend, Singapore people can experience key elements of the conference
through a series of “Heartland Dialogues and Experiences” at locations across
the city. These include “learning journeys” and opportunities to speak with
conference speakers. In parallel with the conference, the “Many Beliefs, One
Future” exhibition explores human connections across different beliefs through
a collection of artworks and artefacts. The exhibition is open until June 13 at
the Raffles City Shopping Center.
lawmakers press Trump official to say Iran not behind 9/11
lawmakers have warned the administration of President Donald Trump not to
attack Iran by using a war authorization legislation passed following the
September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
of a foreign affairs subcommittee in the US House of Representatives on
Wednesday pressed Brian Hook, the US special representative on Iran, to
acknowledge that Tehran was not behind the 9/11 attacks.
repeatedly declined to say if Trump legally enjoyed the right to attack Iran,
echoing the comments in April before Congress by US Secretary of State Mike
not a War Powers Act scholar. I can only tell you that everything we would do
would be lawful," Hook told the subcommittee.
pressed by Democratic Representative Brad Sherman on whether Iran was
responsible for the deaths of Americans on 9/11, Hook replied, "No."
claimed that any potential US military moves on Iran would be defensive,
saying: "There is no talk of offensive action."
Representative Ted Deutch, who heads the House subcommittee on the Middle East,
said Trump's policy on Iran was incoherent and had provoked tensions with
Tehran rather than Washington’s desired outcome.
than force Iran back to the negotiating table, the administration's policy is
increasing the chance of miscalculation, which then would bring the United
States and Iran closer to a military conflict," he said.
the 9/11 attacks, the US Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military
Force (AUMF) on September 14, 2001 to authorize then President George W. Bush
to go to war in Afghanistan, where al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was based.
authorization has since been cited by administrations to justify military
actions in countries such as Yemen and the Philippines where al-Qaeda militants
are allegedly present.
in his April appearance before a Senate committee, made baseless claims to link
Tehran to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
9/11 attacks were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000
people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure
officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists
but many experts have raised questions about the official account.
believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice
President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in
order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.
Senate passes bill to block Saudi arms sales
Senate on Thursday passed a resolution that would block the sale of arms to
Saudi Arabia, offering a rebuke to U.S. President Donald Trump.
bipartisan bill passed with a 53-45 vote, and is the first of 22 resolutions
that are aimed at blocking the military sales to the Middle East.
vote was the first in a series of three back-to-back votes, and would
potentially stop billions of dollars in munitions sales to Riyadh.
the bill still has to pass through the House and it is likely that Trump will
veto the bill, and the Senate does not seem to have enough of a majority to
override a potential veto.
and Republicans have joined forces in their anger at the Trump administration
over using its declaration of an emergency over Iran to bypass Congress and
approve arms sales to the Kingdom.
nearly two dozen joint resolutions of disapproval are meant to rebuke the Trump
month, Trump invoked a rarely used provision of U.S. arms control laws to
circumvent Congress and authorize weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Gulf
allies. While arms sales usually go through a 30-day congressional review
period, the provision allows for this process to be skipped in the case of an
was notified by the Trump administration of the invocation and was shown a deal
comprising 22 separate arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and
Jordan valued at $8.1 billion.
group of Senators, both Democrat and Republican and led by Sen. Bob Menendez
and Sen. Lindsey Graham, had initially filed 22 resolutions of disapproval, one
for each of the arms sales the White House approved.
is also bipartisan anger within Congress over the Trump administration's
support for Saudi Arabia despite pressure from lawmakers to punish the country
over the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal
Khashoggi last October.
Wednesday, the House also passed an appropriations bill that would expire a
2001 authorization for military force that some lawmakers feared Trump would
use to justify going to war with Iran.
Michael D. Shear, Eric Schmitt, Michael Crowley and Maggie Haberman
— President Trump approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for
downing an American surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching them on
Thursday night after a day of escalating tensions.
late as 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were expecting a strike,
after intense discussions and debate at the White House among the president’s
top national security officials and congressional leaders, according to
multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the
said the president had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian
targets, like radar and missile batteries.
operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior
administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in
position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the
Mr. Trump, “judgment time is coming” on how to respond to Iran.]
abrupt reversal put a halt to what would have been the president’s third
military action against targets in the Middle East. Mr. Trump had struck twice at
targets in Syria, in 2017 and 2018.
was not clear whether Mr. Trump simply changed his mind on the strikes or
whether the administration altered course because of logistics or strategy. It
was also not clear whether the attacks might still go forward.
about the plans for a strike and the decision to hold back, the White House
declined to comment, as did Pentagon officials. No government officials asked
The New York Times to withhold the article.
retaliation plan was intended as a response to the shooting down of the
unmanned, $130 million surveillance drone, which was struck Thursday morning by
an Iranian surface-to-air missile, according to a senior administration
official who was briefed on the military planning and spoke on the condition of
anonymity to discuss confidential plans.
strike was set to take place just before dawn Friday in Iran to minimize risk
to the Iranian military and civilians.
military officials received word a short time later that the strike was off, at
possibility of a retaliatory strike hung over Washington for much of the day.
Officials in both countries traded accusations about the location of the drone
when it was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile launched from the Iranian
coast along the Gulf of Oman.
Trump’s national security advisers split about whether to respond militarily.
Senior administration officials said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; John R.
Bolton, the national security adviser; and Gina Haspel, the C.I.A. director,
had favored a military response. But top Pentagon officials cautioned that such
an action could result in a spiraling escalation with risks for American forces
in the region.
leaders were briefed by administration officials in the Situation Room.
destruction of the drone underscored the already tense relations between the
two countries after Mr. Trump’s recent accusations that Iran is to blame for
explosions last week that damaged oil tankers traveling through the strait, the
vital waterway for much of the world’s oil. Iran has denied that accusation.
announcement this week that it would soon breach one of the key limits it had
agreed to in a 2015 pact intended to limit its nuclear program has also fueled
tensions. Mr. Trump, who pulled the United States out of the 2015 pact, has
vowed that he will not allow Tehran to build a nuclear weapon.
Thursday, Mr. Trump insisted that the United States’ unmanned surveillance
aircraft was flying over international waters when it was taken down by an
drone was in international waters, clearly,” the president told reporters on
Thursday afternoon at the White House as he began a meeting with Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau of Canada. “We have it all documented. It’s documented
scientifically, not just words.”
what would come next, Mr. Trump said, “Let’s see what happens.”
government fiercely disputed the president’s characterization, insisting that
the American drone had strayed into Iranian airspace. Iran released GPS
coordinates that put the drone eight miles off the country’s coast, inside the
12 nautical miles from the shore that Iran claims as its territorial waters.
Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, wrote in a letter to
the Security Council that the drone ignored repeated radio warnings before it
was downed. He said that Tehran “does not seek war” but “is determined to
vigorously defend its land, sea and air.”
Democrats emerged from the president’s classified briefing in the Situation
Room and urged Mr. Trump to de-escalate the situation. They called on the
president to seek congressional authorization before taking any military
is a dangerous situation,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. “We are dealing with a
country that is a bad actor in the region. We have no illusions about Iran in
terms of their ballistic missile transfers, about who they support in the
region and the rest.”
destruction of the drone appeared to provide a boost for officials inside the
Trump administration who have long argued for a more confrontational approach
to Iran, including the possibility of military actions that could punish the
regime for its support of terrorism and other destabilizing behavior in the
in his public appearance, Mr. Trump initially seemed to be looking for a way to
avoid a potentially serious military crisis. Instead of directly accusing the
leaders of Iran, Mr. Trump said someone “loose and stupid” in Iran was
responsible for shooting down the drone.
president said he suspected it was some individual in Iran who “made a big
mistake,” even as Iran had taken responsibility for the strike and asserted
that the high-altitude American drone was operating over Iranian air space,
which American officials denied.
Trump said the episode would have been far more serious if the aircraft had
been a piloted vehicle, and not a drone. It made “a big, big difference” that
an American pilot was not threatened, he told reporters.
year, Mr. Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear pact with
Iran, over the objections of China, Russia and American allies in Europe. He
has also imposed punishing economic sanctions on Iran, trying to cut off its
already limited access to international trade, including oil sales.
has warned of serious consequences if Europe does not find a way around those
sanctions, though it has denied involvement in the attacks on tankers near the
vital Strait of Hormuz. On Monday, Iran said it would soon stop abiding by a
central component of the nuclear deal, the limit on how much enriched uranium
it is allowed to stockpile.
Washington and Tehran said the downing of the drone occurred at 4:05 a.m.
Thursday in Iran, or 7:35 p.m. Wednesday in Washington. The drone “was shot
down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in
international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz,” the United States Central
Command said in a statement. “This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S.
surveillance asset in international airspace.”
ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was
developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down,
surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of
how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more
troops and steps up surveillance in the region.
Gen. Joseph Guastella, the Air Force commander for the Central Command region
in the Middle East, said the attack could have endangered “innocent civilians,”
even though officials at Central Command continued to assert that the drone was
over international waters. He said that the closest that the drone got to the
Iranian coast was 21 miles.
Thursday, the Defense Department released additional imagery in an email to
support its case that the drone never entered Iranian airspace. But the
department incorrectly called the flight path of the drone the location of the
shooting down and offered little context for an image that appeared to be the
drone exploding in midair.
was the latest attempt by the Pentagon to try to prove that Iran has been the
aggressor in a series of international incidents.
foreign affairs minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said in a post on Twitter that
he gave what he said were precise coordinates for where the American drone was
00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian
airspace,” he said in a tweet that included coordinates that he said were near
Kouh-e Mobarak. “We’ve retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR
territorial waters where it was shot down.”
Trump’s comments on Thursday afternoon in the Oval Office reflected the
longstanding tension between the president’s desire to be seen as tough on the
world stage and his campaign promise to make sure that the United States did
not get tangled in more foreign wars.
president has embraced a reputation as someone who punches back when he is
challenged. Only months into his tenure, Mr. Trump launched 59 Tomahawk cruise
missiles at an air base in Syria after a chemical weapon attack.
he has often talked about ending American involvement in long-running conflicts
abroad, describing his “America First” agenda as having little room for being
the world’s police force. In a tweet in January, he said he hoped that “Endless
Wars, especially those which are fought out of judgement mistakes” would
“eventually come to a glorious end!”
to Iranian news media, a foreign minister spokesman there said that flying a
drone into Iranian airspace was an “aggressive and provocative” move by the
Salami, the commander in chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said
crossing the country’s border was “our red line,” the semiofficial Mehr news
are not going to get engaged in a war with any country, but we are fully
prepared for war,” Mr. Salami said at a military ceremony in Sanandaj, Iran,
according to a translation from Press TV, a state-run news outlet. “Today’s
incident was a clear sign of this precise message, so we are continuing our
news media said the drone had flown over Iranian territory unauthorized, and
reported that it had been shot down in the Hormozgan Province, along the
country’s southern coast on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.
the United States and Iran identified the aircraft as an RQ-4 Global Hawk, a
surveillance drone made by Northrop Grumman.
was a show of force — their equivalent of an inside pitch,” said Derek Chollet,
a former assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs
during the Obama administration, speaking of Iran’s decision to shoot down the
G. Stavridis, who retired as a four-star admiral after serving as the supreme
allied commander at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, warned that the two
countries were in a dangerous game that could quickly spiral out of control. He
described Iran’s downing of the drone, which costs about $130 million, as a
“logical albeit highly dangerous escalatory move by Iran.”
D. Shear and Michael Crowley reported from Washington; Eric Schmitt from Palo
Alto, Calif.; and Maggie Haberman from New York. Reporting was contributed by
Helene Cooper, Eileen Sullivan and Emily Cochrane from Washington; David D.
Kirkpatrick, Megan Specia and Michael Wolgelenter from London; and Daniel
Victor from Hong Kong.
(Uttar Pradesh) [India]: The Babri Masjid Action Committee has alleged that
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath led state government is “not acting as per the
written statement submitted by Uttar Pradesh government in 1950 in the case
pertaining to Babri Masjid, and is rather acting like government belonging to a
certain community only.”
meeting of the committee chaired by Maulana Yasin Ali Usmani to deliberate upon
the Babri Masjid Title suit also expressed its “concern over the statements
given by various leaders including that of VHP regarding the construction of
Ram Temple at Ayodhya.”
concern is expressed that the present State government is acting contrary to
the written statement submitted by the Uttar Pradesh government and magistrate
in the case in 1950, because in the statement they have accepted that Muslims
are offering Namaz in Babri Masjid since centuries and Hindus have never prayed
there,” said the statement by Babri Masjid Action Committee.
present government is acting assuming that it is the government of a particular
community only,” it added.
Supreme Court had on March 8 referred the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land
dispute case for court-appointed and monitored mediation and expressed the view
that the proceedings should be conducted with “utmost confidentiality” to
ensure its success.
hearing the matter on March 8, a five-judge Constitution bench of the apex
court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said: “We have considered the nature
of the dispute arising. Notwithstanding the lack of consensus between the
parties in the matter, we are of the view that an attempt should be made to
settle the dispute by mediation.”
Supreme Court-appointed mediation committee for resolution of the Ram
Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute held its first sitting on March 14 and
heard all parties who attended the proceedings.
ASSAM: Complaints were filed against a little-known right-wing organisation on
Thursday for allegedly assaulting a group of Muslim men in Assam and forcing
them to utter slogans "Jai Shri Ram" and "Pakistan
Murdabad" on Tuesday.
FIRs were filed against the right wing organisation and its founder by the All
Assam Minority Students'' Union (AAMSU) and the North-East Minorities Students'
to the police, the Tuesday night incident came to light after a video of the
purported attack and the forcible chanting of slogans went viral on social
complaints stated that a group of men claiming to be members of the right-wing
group stopped an autorickshaw in Barpeta town and beat up the people travelling
in it. The victims were then forced to utter slogans like "Jai Shri
Ram", "Bharat Mata ki Jai" and "Pakistan Murdabad".
Members Burn Effigy Of SP MP Shafiqur Rehman Barq After He Refuses To Chant
of the BJP's youth wing, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Thursday burnt an
effigy of newly elected MP from Sambhal, Shafiqur Rahman Barq, for refusing to
chant 'Vande Mataram' after taking oath as a member of the Lok Sabha.
reading out his oath in the House on Tuesday, the Samajwadi Party MP had
refused to chant 'Vande Mataram', saying "it's against Islam". His
statement drew protests from members of the treasury benches who demanded an
apology from him.
activists burnt Barq's effigy at Fawwara Chowk in Chandausi area here.
unit chief of BJYM, Vishal Chauhan, said, "Shafiqur Rahman Barq while
taking oath in the Lok Sabha had opposed 'Vande Mataram', saying it is against
Shariat. This shows his anti-India mindset. We would request the Government of
India to disqualify him as MP."
alleged that the Sambhal MP is trying to incite Muslims by making such
Delhi: Adil Bashir Sheikh, who as a special police officer (SPO) attached to
then PDP MLA Aijaz Ahmad Mir had led a weapons heist at his Srinagar residence
in September 2018 and later joined Hizbul Mujahideen, was earlier a PDP worker,
an NIA probe has found. He had assisted the party in organising rallies in
Wachi assembly constituency, from which Mir was elected, during 2014 assembly
poll in J&K.
per the chargesheet filed by NIA on June 6 in the case relating to theft of 7
AK rifles assigned to Mir’s PSOs and a pistol from the ex-MLA’s house, Adil -
named as an accused along with cousin Rafique Ahmad Bhat, arrested in December
last year; Yawar Ahmad Dar, killed in a subsequent encounter on May 16, 2019;
and Abid Manzoor Magray, a senior Hizbul terrorist also killed in an encounter
on May 31, 2019 — was also involved in stone-pelting and is named in FIRs
registered in Shopian. Though Adil, now a ‘C’ category terrorist, was hired as
an SPO in March 2017, he was actually working as a cook at Mir’s residence.
was aware of duty timings and movements of then PDP MLA’s personal security
officers (PSOs) as well as movements of the MLA himself, states the
chargesheet. He therefore conspired with Yawar and Rafique in August-September
2018 to steal the weapons of PSOs deposited in a trunk at the Mir’s government
quarter, while the MLA was out of station on September 29, 2018. He met Abid
Manzoor Magray, an A-plus category terrorist of Hizbul Mujahideen, along with
Rafique days before the heist and discussed his plan to steal the weapons for
distribution among active Hizbul cadres and recruits for furthering their terror
September 29, 2018, Adil, Rafique and Yawar arrived in Maruti car at the MLA’s
residence, aware that Mir had flown out of Srinagar. The car was driven by
Yawar who parked it by the house’s boundary wall. Adil entered the quarter
where the weapons were kept in a trunk, which he unlocked with a duplicate key.
He handed over the weapons to Rafique and Yawar over the boundary wall. Adil
then boarded the car and the three accused drove to village Achan and hid the
arms in a maize field. During this time, Adil was in touch with Abid.
Rafique and Yawar later handed over the weapons to Abid. The three accused then
joined Hizbul Mujahideen and became active terrorists. They went to Darangar in
Shopian and got weapons training in the forests. Adil is absconding since, while
Rafique was arrested.
and Abid were killed in separate encounters last month.
of the stolen AK rifles were recovered from the site of an encounter in Shopian
on November 6, 2018, in which two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, Idrees Sultan
Mir and Amir Husain Rather, were killed.
DELHI: The government said on Thursday that India's vote in favour of an
Israeli resolution meant to prevent an NGO with alleged terror links from
obtaining observer status in a UN body should not be seen as a vote against
Palestine. The foreign ministry clarified India's vote was only meant to ensure
proper vetting of the NGO before it's allowed in.
had on June 6 voted in favour of proposal submitted by Israel at the Economic
and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN for further scrutiny by the Committee on
NGOs of the application from an NGO 'Palestinian Association for Human Rights
(Witness)' requesting consultative status.
the chorus for Ram temple construction in Ayodhya through an ordinance is
gaining momentum after the Lok Sabha polls, the Babri Masjid Action Committee
(BMAC) has reiterated that it would challenge any such move in the Supreme
a press conference in Lucknow, BMAC convener and All India Muslim Personal Law
Board (AIMPLB) member Zafaryab Jilani said "The recent statements given by
state deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, other leaders and the Vishwa
Hindu Parishad (VHP) members are against the constitution.
are pitching for an ordinance for Ram temple construction despite knowing that
the matter is pending in the SC. Their statements hold no value because Prime
Minister Narendra Modi has already said that no law can be brought for temple
construction before the SC verdict. If any such attempt is made then we will
challenge it in the SC."
seems that the UP government is only working for a particular community. The
top state leaders openly support Ram mandir in Ayodhya.
can't make one-sided statements since dispute is being settled in the SC. We
have decided not to react to their remarks. We all should wait for the apex
court verdict and the entire country should abide by it" added Jilani.
BMAC has called a meeting of all its members in Lucknow on the Ayodhya issue as
the demand for speedy construction of Ram mandir in Ayodhya is gaining
deputy CM Kehsav Prasad Maurya had recently said that the Centre will bring an
ordinance for temple construction if the matter doesn't get resolved in the SC
and through talks.
seers in Ayodhya also demanded that the temple construction should begin within
Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray along with his newly elected MPs also offered
prayers at the make shift Ram mandir in Ayodhya on June 16. They also urged the
centre to bring to enact a law for temple construction.
to Jilani's statements, UP BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla said "Our
government believes in 'sabka saath sabka vikas'. We have provided benefits of
every scheme without any discrimination.
security forces in Jammu and Kashmir are taking both immediate and long term
remedial measures to counter the threat posed to deployed troops by militants’
use of steel-coated armour piercing bullets.
immediate and long term remedial measures are being taken to avert the threat
to security forces in light of the recent and past use of steel-coated armour
piercing bullets by the terrorists in the state.
measures would include further reinforcement of protective shields used during
counter insurgency operations. Long term measures would include upgrade and
improvement in the bullet-proof equipment, including helmets and jackets used
by the deployed troops,” a senior security forces officer said.
alert was recently sounded across various security agencies and the state
police following an internal probe by the CRPF into the killing of five of its
troops and an officer of the state police in a militant attack on K P Road in
Anantnag town on June 12.
probe findings revealed that the lone Fidayeen militant, a Pakistani national
belonging to Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM), involved in the attack was able to inflict
maximum damage because of the use of steel-coated bullets.
rifle magazine of the slain militant contained 18 live steel-coated bullets
even after he had used quite a few of them to target the CRPF troops and the
state Police Station House Officer (SHO), Arshad Khan, sources said.
CRPF probe also revealed that the JeM militants had used steel-coated bullets
in 2017, but not during militant attacks carried out last year.
National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday raided a 26-year-old man’s
residence in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore over his alleged links with a suspect
arrested earlier this month for allegedly operating a Facebook page containing
propaganda of the so-called Islamic State (IS), according to people aware of
Shinoid’s house was raided on the basis of the interrogation of the suspect,
Mohammed Azharudeen, 32.
[Azharudeen] was also a Facebook friend of Zahran Hashim, the mastermind Sri
Lanka’s Easter bombing. While interrogating Azharudeen, he said that he has
given two hard discs to Shinoid. Therefore, we raided his place...” said an NIA
official on condition of anonymity.
official added they have recovered two hard discs from Shinoid’s house and told
him that he would be summoned for an inquiry, if needed.
NIA had conducted searches at seven locations in Coimbatore in connection with
a suspected IS Kerala-Tamil Nadu module on June 12 and 14.
registered a case against Azharudeen, Akram Sindhaa, 26, Y Shiek Hidayathullah,
38, M Abubacker M, 29, A Sadham Hussain, and Ibrahim, 28, on May 30 for
propagating the IS’s ideology on social media with the intention of recruiting
vulnerable youths for carrying out attacks.
Jokowi revive the vanishing, tolerant Indonesian Islam?
in his limousine, the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo, rolled out a
32-second-long video message on Twitter on June 10. He said in Bahasa, “Let’s
join hands, unite, and put our mind and energy to build a developed Indonesia.”
since Widodo got re-elected for a second term last month, his focus has been on
development. But soon after his re-election, he faced disruptions. As the final
election results were declared, riots broke out in the capital city of Jakarta
for over two days, killing eight people and injuring seven hundred others.
Early reports suggest that apart from a group of paid thugs, members of the
militant Islamist group, Front Pemuda Islam, attacked the police with rocks and
these hardline Islamists supported Jokowi’s opponent, the former army
commander, Prabowo Subianto. The grand imam of FPI, Habib Rizieq Shihab,
addressed his election rally from Saudi Arabia via video call. Analysts call
Prabowo and Shihab ‘bedfellows’, united by a common enemy — Widodo.
win could create trouble for the FPI. Its status as a legally registered social
organization expires today, and there are chances that its appeal for
re-registration would be rejected. Public pressure is mounting on authorities
to do so. A petition called ‘Stop the Permit of FPI’, filed by Ira Bisyir at
Change.org, has received over 4,81,665 signatures so far.
this last term, analysts say that Widodo would give a fresh push to his liberal
and progressive image, which was largely compromised earlier. In his previous
term, the “hard-metal-loving secularist” failed to protect free speech, the
rights of religious and ethnic minorities and those of LGBTs. But Indonesians
still pinned their hopes on him. They preferred to choose a ‘moderate’ Widodo,
representative of ‘pluralist’ Indonesia, over a ‘conservative’ Subianto,
representative of a ‘hardline Islamist’ Indonesia. Clearly, this is a positive
shift from the faith-based politics, which is thriving elsewhere.
example, across the Indian Ocean, Australia, a country whose politics has long
been secular, recently re-elected the 51-year-old conservative, Scott Morrison,
as prime minister. In 2008, while he was delivering his maiden speech in
Parliament, he said that he derived the values of loving-kindness, justice and
righteousness from his ‘faith’. While quoting the American senator, Joe
Lieberman, who had said, “the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not
from religion,” Morrison asserted at the same event, “I believe the same is
true in this country.” In April this year, Morrison, who holds regressive views
on immigration and same-sex marriage, invited television cameras to film his
Easter Sunday service at a church.
similar trend is visible in India, which has re-elected the 68-year-old Hindu
nationalist, Narendra Modi. Like Morrison, Modi loves to wear his religion on
his sleeve. A day before the last phase of the general election, Modi invited
television cameras to film him meditating inside a cave near the Kedarnath
shrine. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, which rose to power by playing divisive
faith-based politics, won 303 seats in Parliament. On the day of his victory,
Modi had tweeted, “India wins yet again.” Perhaps he was referring to the India
that has lapped up his politics of religious identity and Hindu
politics has played a leading role in the politics of neighbouring Bangladesh
too. Bangladesh re-elected Sheikh Hasina Wajed last year. Wajed, a ‘secular’
leader, has been wooing the radical Islamist group, Hefazat-e-Islam, for many
years. She introduced religious education in government schools, edited out
poems and stories that conservative Islamists deemed atheistic and also
recognized the Qawmi Madrasa degrees. In return, the Islamist group’s head,
Shah Ahmed Shafi, bestowed the honorific, ‘Qawmi Janani (mother of the qaum)’,
upon Wajed. Like Wajed, who hobnobbed with the Islamists to garner the support
of the large Qawmi Madrasa populace, Widodo chose the conservative cleric,
Ma’ruf Amin, as his running mate to strengthen his candidacy’s Islamic credentials.
that Widodo has been re-elected, questions have been raised regarding his
present term by his constituents who gave him a second chance. He has stressed
upon development and democracy, but will he abjure faith-based politics? Will
he revive the vanishing, tolerant Indonesian Islam? How is he going to do all
this with Amin — he issued a fatwa opposing religious pluralism, liberalism and
secularism — as vice-president?
what if Widodo adopts the political strategy of the leaders in his neighbourhood?
What if he becomes like Morrison, someone who doesn’t like being labelled a
‘fundamentalist’ but has reservations about gay rights? Or like Wajed, who
calls herself ‘secular’ but appeases religious extremists? Or, perhaps, like
Modi, who talks of ‘inclusive’ India but doesn’t bat an eyelid when minorities
get lynched on the streets?
Opening his party’s second muktamar after the historic election that saw PAS
relegated to the east coast, Abdul Hadi Awang today accused the Pakatan Harapan
(PH) government of not defending Islam as well as failing to manage the
his policy speech, Hadi, the Marang MP, said the country had lost political and
economic direction under PH.
list of the PH-led government’s weaknesses, he said, was too long, and the
coalition only knew how to blame others. He added that many of the former
administration’s programmes were now being rehashed with cosmetic changes.
are some who label PH as a government that is weak and unreliable.
people can judge PH’s lies in their manifesto promises which have not been
delivered, the fraudulent academic degrees among ministers, and their silence
towards those who insult the sanctity of Islam and the Prophet.”
said the government had also failed to create job opportunities and address concerns
over the rising cost of living.
the theme of the muktamar, “Islam Memimpin Perpaduan” (Islam leads the way for
unity), Hadi also touched on a number of issues.
way forward for PAS
said PAS would defend Malaysia’s multiculturalism as prescribed by Islam and
not for political purposes.
have a non-Muslim wing in PAS, and then there is Umno which is Malay-Muslim and
staunchly Bumiputera yet has an unbroken bond with all other races.
we will fight anyone who wants to fan racial flames and religious fanatics who
destroy our multicultural society, and we will not back down from defending
Muslim leadership in accordance with the spirit of the theme.”
said PAS was consistent in choosing the most peaceful approach in politics, adding
that the party’s door was always open to dialogue and political cooperation
based on principles.
principles, he said, should benefit Islam, the nation and race as well as
emphasise unity among the people.
told non-Muslims not to fear that their rights would be diminished under an
Islamic administration, adding that these have been guaranteed by the Quran and
the Federal Constitution.
then accused some parties of openly challenging the position of Islam, the
Malay rulers and special provisions for Malays, saying it would cause tension.
defended PAS’ rule in Kelantan and Terengganu, saying both states have been
exemplary in showcasing the party’s commitment to ensuring justice for all
said the party’s Supporters wing, made up of non-Muslims, should be
strengthened with the involvement of all races and religions.
offered to have discussions with non-Muslim parties and NGOs, citing the
success of PAS’ discussions with Indian party MIC where he said they had found
common ground in some areas and discussed differences peacefully.
said PAS would uphold the “Charter Guaranteeing the Protection of Non-Muslims”
which among others, prioritises relations, peace, and brotherhood in a
multicultural society, fairness for all, the protection of non-Muslim
sensitivities and the freedom to do what is allowed by their religions while
respecting the sensitivities of Muslims.
also said PAS was committed to making Malaysia corruption-free, transparent and
competitive through constructive criticism.
allegation of corruption and breach of trust needs to be investigated and
brought to court for trial, not a media trial by ministers.”
said PAS supported the calls for a royal commission of inquiry or a
parliamentary select committee to study every report and recommendation
provided by the National Audit Department, Malaysian Anti-Corruption
Commission, police and Bank Negara Malaysia to strengthen government bodies
such as Tabung Haji, Felda and Mara.
his speech, Hadi also urged PAS members to prepare for the 15th general
election which he said could take place sooner than expected.
must be given to boosting membership, recruitment of new voters, widening our
influence and the strategic use of the media.”
added that the mandate for political cooperation, distribution of seats and
selection of candidates should be left to the Shura Council and central
leadership to decide.
Sabah and Sarawak, Hadi said PAS wanted to see the standard of living improve
in the two states.
June 21 — PAS and Umno’s political cooperation is only meant to protect Islamic
interests but not at any cost to non-Muslims, the Islamist president said at
his party’s 65th annual congress here today.
Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said non-Muslims should not feel anxious about the
proactive steps taken by the two Malay Muslim parties to resolve their own
community’s problems and improve unity among the ummah.
requires us to maintain bonds of fellowship among family and race.
the same time Islam also commands us to maintain the ties of human relations,
based on the concept of a holistic community, one that is fair to all and
without coercion into adopting Islam,” Hadi said in his opening speech at the
Indoor Stadium of the Pahang Sports Complex here.
Marang MP added that both parties would defend the continuation of a
multicultural, multireligious society as referred to in Islam.
said PAS has proven its commitment to diversity with the creation of a
non-Muslim wing in the party while Umno continues to have relations with other
races even though it is a party for Malay-Muslim Bumiputera.
also said PAS remains open to holding discussions with non-Muslim parties and
named MIC as an example, saying discussions have been positive, transcending
cultural and religious barriers and that they reach understanding on common
interests due to mutual respect.
information programme via social and print media, especially for non-Muslims,
is a primary agenda to provide explanation and clarity to them on what Islam is
and PAS’ struggles based on wisdom, no coercion in religion, and fairness for
all,” he said. Hadi then appealed to Sabahans and Sarawakians, asking them to
reject extremism and to preserve communal unity, promising to improve the
living standards in Borneo Malaysia but without explaining how.
is resolved to increase the living standards of Sabah and Sarawak’s Pribumi,
and calls upon all parties to strengthen their commitment to the Malaysia
Agreement 1963 by rectifying all the weaknesses throughout its implementation.
is so the Constitution can be strengthened and the gulf of differences which
have existed for so long can be further shortened,” he said.
cited the separatist conflicts in South Sudan and East Timor as examples and
called for the rejection of such obstacles to unity.
June 20 — Outgoing PAS Youth chief Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi called upon the
party’s Youth members to never tire in continuing their struggle to uphold and
the wing’s muktamar or annual congress, he also urged the assembled delegates
to be on the constant vigilance for subtle threats against Islam in the
Youth is the final stronghold in facing the challenges Islam has to confront,
even as PAS remains but a chain in the overall struggle.
this Pakatan Harapan era, Islam is under threat as many issues touching upon
the sensitivities of Muslims have come into focus,” Khalil said in his closing
claimed that Muslims in the country are being “oppressed” by liberalism and
pluralism, claiming the ideologies are far more dangerous than physical threats
and violence against Muslims elsewhere in the world.
liberal Islam and pluralism, among others. These are far more dangerous than
mosque burnings in Myanmar, or being forbidden from fasting in China.
we are careful, such things will one day bring about our destruction. The
movement to equalise all religions will invariably lead to the worship of the
human intellect, instead of utilising the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet
as a source of guidance,” he said.
also expressed confidence in his belief that the wing members will be able to
take over Putrajaya in the future.
he had claimed that the Pakatan Harapan administration has allegedly continued
to threaten and ridicule Islam.
European intransigence on ensuring that citizens detained abroad as ISIL suspects
or their family members can return home made world headlines recently when an
Iraqi court sentenced nine French citizens to death following trials tainted by
allegations of torture.
including France, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands insist that
logistical challenges and security risks make it practically impossible for
them to help their citizens accused of membership in the Islamic State of Iraq
and the Levant (ISIL). But others, like Kosovo, Turkey, Russia, and especially
Central Asian countries are showing that where there is a will to bring
citizens home, there is a way.
Central Asian states - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan - have
repatriated 756 nationals so far, most of them women and children. Kyrgyzstan
is discussing possible repatriations as well.
stark contrast, repatriations by Western European countries have been
piecemeal, despite far greater resources and, in many cases, fewer numbers of
ISIL-linked detainees. Their focus, such as it is, has been on children.
for example, in early June repatriated five orphans from northeast Syria but
left 35 other children behind. France since March has flown home 17 children
from northeast Syria and one from Iraq, most of them orphans. But the
government says more than 400 other French citizens remain detained in
northeast Syria, at least half of them children, and there is little sign of
any French movement on their returns. Sweden and the Netherlands have brought
home seven and two children respectively from Syria; Germany has flown home
fewer than 10 from Iraq.
be sure, repatriation is a complex process. In Iraq, the authorities are
prosecuting hundreds of foreign ISIL suspects, including some women and
children, in deeply flawed trials but want to send home children detained
without charge. In northeast Syria, the Kurdish-led authorities, who do not
have an internationally recognised government, are not prosecuting any of the
13,000 non-Iraqi foreigners - 2,000 men and 11,000 women and children - they
say they are holding and want their home countries to take all of them back.
detainees, particularly children, lack birth certificates or other documents to
confirm their nationalities. And many detained children were born to parents
from two different countries, raising the issue of which nationality they
could, and should, legally claim.
most difficult obstacle to repatriation may be public opinion. Fearful of being
blamed for an attack by a repatriated ISIL member, spouse, or child, government
officials often prefer to let nationals remain detained in squalid conditions
abroad and even, in some cases, revoke their citizenship. Western European
governments say the onus is on their citizens to reach a consulate and request
repatriation, but detainees cannot leave the camps and prisons they are locked
in to do so.
Asia instead has cast airlifts as humanitarian rescues, with some of them
releasing footage of cherub-faced children and of women, their black veils
replaced by colourful kerchiefs, kissing the tarmac upon arriving home.
Asian governments should follow such messaging with greater transparency on
what happens to repatriated citizens upon return, allowing independent
oversight and monitoring of rehabilitation programmes to ensure they comport
with international human rights standards. They should take the same approach
to any prosecutions of returnees, given the region's history of unfair trials
May, the United Nations independent expert on human rights and counterterrorism,
Fionnuala Ni Aolain, expressed concern that Kazakhstan's anti-terrorism
legislation may conflate violent extremism with non-violent religious views and
infringe on freedom of expression, assembly and belief. Yet she also found much
to praise in the country's repatriation and rehabilitation efforts, noting that
it was doing far more than Europe.
countries, including Western European ones, with citizens held in Iraq and
northeast Syria need to address two basic issues: the right of everyone to
return to their home country, without their home state throwing up direct or
indirect barriers; and the duty to ensure justice for the worst crimes
committed in Syria and Iraq through fair trials for those most responsible.
conditions in camps and detention centres in northeast Syria and Iraq are dire,
with children reportedly dying from preventable diseases in al-Hol. The camps
are also ideal incubators for violent extremism. That makes it all the more
urgent that Western Europe stops dragging its feet and ensures that its
citizens are repatriated.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is concerned by the Iranian shooting down of
US drone and urges all parties to exercise maximum restraint, a UN spokesman
said on Thursday.
important that all parties exercise maximum restraint and avoid any action that
could inflame the situation,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.
between Iran and the U.S. would be a catastrophe for the region, Russian
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.
conflict would have "unpredictable consequences" and would lead to an
outbreak of violence and to a new wave of refugees, Putin said, speaking at an
annual event where he answered questions from the Russian people.
that Iranians are “capable of extremities in case of their own necessity for
defense and protection of their country,” Putin added: “What these extremes
will result in, no one knows, and whom they will affect, it is difficult to
say. It would not be desirable that events developed according to this
have been rising between the U.S. and Iran since last year, when the U.S.
unilaterally withdrew from a nuclear pact between Tehran and the five permanent
members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
a series of incidents including attacks against oil tankers in the Persian
Gulf, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is examining all
options to counter Iran in the region, including the military one.
on U.S. President Donald Trump saying he and Putin might meet on the sidelines
of the June 28-29 G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, Putin said he was "ready for
this dialogue as much as U.S. partners are ready for it.”
have plenty to talk about in the sphere of international security and
disarmament, -- the START Treaty Is coming to an end in the near future -- and
in terms of establishing normal inter-state relations in all areas, including
the economy," he said.
would be among the issues he and Trump would discuss, he said.
is one of the problems that we must solve together, first of all with our
colleagues, with whom we have made significant progress -- I mean Turkey, Iran
-- and with other countries involved in this conflict, of course, first of all
with the United States. The issues related to the political settlement, the
establishment of a constitutional committee, and the beginning of its
functioning, the rules of its work are on the agenda," he said.
also said Egypt, Israel, Jordan have to join this effort, along with European
countries which have taken in Syria refugees.
has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Bashar
al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected
then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and more than 10 million
others displaced, according to UN officials.
U.K. panel on Wednesday discussed the humanitarian role of Turkey in the
refugee crisis and analyzed the details of the European Union’s immigration
policy, including those of the 2016 EU-Turkey deal.
conference organized by the TRT World Research Centre was held in the Houses of
Parliament. It was hosted by Lord Mark McInnes with guest speakers including
Talip Kucukcan, a professor in Marmara University in Istanbul, Shoshana Fine,
an academic at CERI Sciences Po, and Eiko Thielemann, an associate professor at
the London School of Economics and Political Science.
a statistical perspective, Turkey today hosts the greatest number of refugees
in the world. When you look at the Turkish economy and the geography, it is not
that big," Kucukcan said.
when you look at the number of refugees Turkey hosts and the money spent on
taking care of them, Turkey is spending more money on the wellbeing of refugees
than any other country in the world,” Kucukcan said.
needs to learn from Turkey on hosting refugees", he asserted.
also cited a UN report released Tuesday which said there are 75 million people
displaced throughout the world, of which 25 million are recognized as refugees
and of which 4 million are residing in Turkey.
said that in 2018, Turkey spent more than $70 billion on humanitarian purposes,
and not just within Turkey but across the world. He also praised Turkey for
allowing millions of refugees in the country access to free healthcare,
education and public services.
refugees have benefited from the Temporary Protection Regulation that was
passed by Turkey’s parliament in 2014 which allows Syrian nationals to be
admitted into Turkey, to apply to the Turkish government for protection and
prevents them from being sent back to Syria. It also granted them a number of
rights such as free healthcare, education and the right to work.
theme of today’s panel is looking at Turkey in this issue of refugee
government, and I’ve been looking at migration practices in Turkey for quite
some time now, but very much from the perspective of European and international
interventions in Turkey,” Fine said, explaining how Turkish humanitarian
organizations have been trained by European and international organizations for
the migration policy.
also explained how the categorization of Turkey as a “transit country” for
refugees is reductive and overlooks the complexities of so-called “transit
migration”. Many are led to believe that “transit migration”, in the case of
Turkey and the EU, implies that migrants and asylum seekers are simply using Turkey
as a transit point to their main destination, which is Europe.
however, explained that many migrants who initially planned to travel to Europe
have decided to remain indefinitely in Turkey, the “transit country”, and thus
“transit migration” as a category has been criticized as it does not take into
account migrants’ intentions. Rather, it generalizes certain trends that
nominally point to Europe as being the final destination for migrants and so
has been labelled a “Eurocentric” category.
know that actually, migration is much more complex, and there is also an
illegalized connotation for ‘transit migration’ in which it is associated with
people smugglers and illicit forms of mobility. But we know, once again, that
we see refugees and migrants using these same pathways, so I think that this
categorization is quite problematic.”
the EU’s immigration policy and its response to the refugee crisis prior to the
EU-Turkey deal in 2016, Thielemann said the bloc needed to take more
responsibility in accepting refugees and implementing laws that would protect
their status and give them a fair representation when being accepted into a
are a couple of things that the European Union should do. On the one hand, it
should provide safer entry routes for asylum seekers and refugees. As we all
know, a lot of migrants die in the process of trying to reach Europe. It should
try and close implementation gaps that exist in the various member states where
refugee representation is unequal, despite there being one policy for member
states,” he said.
also emphasized the need for the EU to share responsibilities for refugees more
equally, and as such, attention should be given to introducing quota-based
approaches to share refugee responsibilities equitably across member states and
effectively ensure their rights and protections by enforcing the laws they have
introduced regarding refugee rights.
to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Turkey hosts up to
4 million refugees, of which 3.6 million are Syrian as well as hundreds of
thousands from Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq, a figure that represents 4% of
the Turkish population.
thwarts India’s FATF blacklist move but danger still lurks
has managed to garner much-needed support from three member states of the
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to avoid being placed on its blacklist, but
black clouds are still hanging over it.
has been on the global money laundering watchdog’s radar since June 2018, when
it was placed on a grey list for terrorist financing and money laundering risks
after an assessment of the country's financial system and security mechanism.
was the only country that had opposed the move backed by the United States, the
United Kingdom and Pakistan’s arch-rival India. However, Islamabad’s longtime
ally, Beijing abstained.
one step further, New Delhi — co-chair of the joint group of FATF and Asia
Pacific Group — wants Islamabad to be placed on the Paris-based watchdog’s
blacklist of the countries, which fail to meet international standards in
combating financial crimes.
an aggressive diplomatic push from Islamabad has frustrated the looming threat
with the support of Turkey, China, and Malaysia.
to the 36-nation FATF charter, the support of at least three member states is
essential to avoid the blacklisting.
the development that took place at the five-day meeting of the watchdog’s
Plenary and Working Group meeting in Orlando, Florida last week, an official at
Pakistan's foreign ministry admitted that “the danger is still not over”.
on FATF’s grey list: what, why, and why now?
group will formally announce the decision of not blacklisting Islamabad in its
Plenary scheduled in Paris on Oct. 13-18.
is certainly a positive development that there is no imminent threat of
blacklisting [by the FATF] due to crucial support from Turkey, China and
Malaysia,” the official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity as he was
not allowed to make a public statement due to the sensitivity of the matter.
he added, Pakistan had to meet the FATF deadline — January 2019 — to complete
its action plan aimed at fully blocking the money laundering and other
Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal refused to comment on the development.
a statement in February this year, the FATF said: “Given the limited progress
on action plan items due in January 2019, the FATF urges Pakistan to swiftly
complete its action plan, particularly those with timelines of May 2019.”
watchdog agreed that Islamabad had made progress towards implementation of the
action plan — negotiated between Pakistan and the FATF members — in June last
year but still sought “dissuasive sanctions” and “ effective prosecution” in
at a meeting in Guangzhou, China last month, was reportedly asked to “do
more" as its compliance on 18 of the 27 indicators — pointed out in the
action plan — was unsatisfactory.
in recent months, has taken some major steps in accordance with the action
plan, which includes, no foreign currency transactions without a national tax
number, and ban on currency change of up to $500 in the open currency market
without submission of a national identity card copy.
addition to that, Islamabad has also proscribed several militant groups and
seized their assets, including Jamat-ud-Dawa’h, and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) —
the groups blamed for several terrorist attacks such as the 2009 deadly Mumbai
attacks killing over 150 people.
of active diplomacy
foreign ministry official said that Pakistan was in constant touch with Turkey
and other friendly countries to use their good offices to help Islamabad move
out of the grey list.
had faced a similar situation in 2011 when it was included in the grey list and
was taken out only in 2015 after it successfully implemented an action plan.
requires at least 15 out of 36 votes to move out of the watchdog’s grey list,
which is causing an estimated loss of $10 billion per year.
Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who is currently on a state visit to the UK,
claimed on Wednesday that London had agreed to support his country in its
efforts to move out of the list.
and security analysts, however, reckon it will not be a walk in the park.
is good news but the danger is still looming”, Ali Sarwar Naqvi, a former
ambassador told Anadolu Agency and added, “This is just a temporary relief
allowing us to rally more and more support to permanently get rid of this
observed that Pakistan was still required to meet some key FATF conditions to
move out of the list, and avoid being blacklisted.
who served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Jordan, Belgium, and Austria from 1970
to 2006, said that active diplomacy with the help of friendly countries would
give a boost to Islamabad’s ongoing efforts steer out of FATF scanner.
far as I know, they [foreign ministry] is already in touch with FATF and Asia
Pacific Group members and other friendly countries, and briefing them of
measures it has taken to combat terror financing and money laundering
recently,” he said.
the US opposition to Pakistan in the FATF, Naqvi, who also served as an acting
ambassador to the US, said: “Pakistan cannot do much to persuade the US. The
fact is that the US opposition is not based on FATF charter but on political
consideration, mainly because of clash of interests in Afghanistan, and
Islamabad’s ever-growing relations with China.”
Aazim, a Karachi-based economic analyst thinks that Pakistan is likely to be
removed even from the gray list though FATF may make some observations urging
Islamabad to remain vigilant and continue to strengthen its anti-money
laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime.
removal of Pakistan from the gray list is likely both due to diplomatic support
of China, Turkey and Malaysia and due to a host of measures the country has
taken to stop money laundering and terror financing," Aazim told Anadolu
the diplomatic front, he opined, seeking the help of other countries notably of
Saudi Arabia and the US would be important but even with the already available
support of China, Turkey and Malaysia, it was very much likely that Pakistan
would get out of the grey list.
the economic front continuing with strong resolve all measures taken to stop
money laundering and terror financing and initiating more measures is important
to avoid any hostile FATF action in future, he maintained.
Two suspected ISIS terrorists, who were allegedly involved in the abductions of
former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's son and a US national, were killed
by Pakistani security agencies in Punjab province, police said on Thursday.
terrorists, identified as Muhammad Rizwan and Imran Saqi, were killed in a late
night raid on a house in Multan district on Wednesday, the Punjab Police's
counter-terrorism department (CTD) department said.
were also involved in the killing of three intelligence officers.
a statement, the CTD said it received information that five terrorists of
banned terror group ISIS were hiding in a house in the district, around 350 km
said a team surrounded the house and told the terrorists to surrender.
"The terrorists instead of surrendering opened fire on the raiding team
which returned fire, killing two terrorists on the spot while three of their
accomplices managed to escape taking advantage of darkness," the CTD said.
terrorists had planned to attack personnel of intelligence agencies. Nine hand
grenades, explosives and weapons were seized from the house, it said.
were involved in the kidnapping of US national Warren Weinstein in 2011 and
Yosuf Gilani's son Ali Haider Gilani in 2013.
who was abducted from Lahore, was accidentally killed in a US drone strike in
2015 on the Afghan border, while Haider Gilani was rescued from Afghanistan
after three years.
Senate on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution expressing deep sorrow and
shock over the death earlier this week of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first
democratically elected president.
resolution was made by Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami, one of
Pakistan’s main religious parties, and won support from all the political
parties in the Senate.
Senate of Pakistan shows its deep shock at the tragic death of Muhammed Morsi,”
said the resolution.
struggle and sacrifice for the cause of democracy parliamentary supremacy,
constitutionalism, civilian supremacy, the rule of law and justice and
fundamental rights will not go in vain and shall be recognized by all the
democratic people around the world in general and the future generations in
Egypt in particular."
Senate also expressed dismay and disappointment at the general world apathy
towards the suffering of Morsi and other political prisoners.
body also endorsed the call by Human Right Watch for an independent judicial
inquiry into the circumstances that led to the death of the former president.
senate urge the government of Pakistan to approach the government of Egypt and
where necessary other Islamic states to secure fair trials and fair treatment
of political prisoners in line with the UNHCR, UN charter, and the Organization
of Islamic Cooperation’s 1981 universal Islamic declaration of human rights.
died during a court appearance on Monday.
leading member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group, Morsi won the country’s
first free presidential election in 2012.
Guramani | Naveed Siddiqui
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team presented former president Asif Ali
Zardari before an accountability court in Islamabad on Friday as his 11-day
physical remand comes to an end.
former president will be presented before accountability court judge Mohammad
day after his arrest on June 10, Judge Malik had granted NAB physical remand of
the former president and ordered that Zardari be presented before the court
again on June 21.
of his appearance before the court today, strict security arrangements were
made and all routes leading to the court were closed.
leaders — including Senator Sassui Palijo, Shahida Rehmani, Senator Gianchand
and others — who were gathered outside the court were initially stopped by
police from entering. They were eventually allowed entry into the court.
Secretary General Nayyar Bukhari, Amir Fida Paracha as well as the former
president's lawyers also reached the accountability court. While speaking to
media, Zardari's counsel Latif Khosa said, "It is the court's decision
whether it favours its judicial orders or whether the NAB chairman overpowers
June 10, a 15-member NAB team, accompanied by police personnel, had arrested
Zardari from his residence in Islamabad after the cancellation of his
pre-arrest bail by the Islamabad High Court in the fake bank accounts case.
the previous hearing at the accountability court, NAB had presented the grounds
for his arrest.
Opposing a decision of the government of his own Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to
increase taxes on items of daily use, former finance minister Asad Umar on
Thursday called for an investigation into a constant increase in sugar prices.
part in the debate on the budget in the National Assembly soon after the speech
of a subdued Asif Zardari, who attended the sitting for the first time since
his arrest by NAB on June 10 after issuance of his production order by Speaker
Asad Qaiser, Mr Umar asked the government to reconsider the decision to
increase tax on sugar, ghee and cooking oil and impose Federal Excise Duty
(FED) on small cars.
Umar, who was removed from the post of finance minister weeks before
presentation of the budget and in the middle of the talks with the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), said it was inappropriate to increase tax on
sugar as its prices were already on the rise.
(rise in tax on sugar) should be taken back and there should be an
investigation as to why sugar prices are already on the rise,” Mr Umar
also disclosed for the first time some of the details of his talks as finance
minister with the IMF and claimed the credit for making the Fund agree to
soften its tough conditions for the bailout package.
brief presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan and a verbal clash between the
members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement
(MQM) over the matters related to Sindh were the other highlights of the
Zardari’s daughters Bakhtawar and Aseefa were present in the galleries when he
delivered a brief speech focusing only on the budget. He was greeted by the
opposition members when he entered the house with his son and PPP chairman
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s firebrand MNA Khwaja Saad Rafique, whose
production order was also issued by the speaker on Wednesday night, reached the
assembly from Lahore at the fag end of the day’s proceedings.
house also witnessed a few verbal skirmishes between the government and the
opposition when the members from the two sides during their speeches made
personal attacks against the leadership of each other, forcing the chair to
expunge a few words from the proceedings.
senior ministers — Shafqat Mehmood and Ghulam Sarwar Khan — in their speeches
mainly targeted the opposition parties, particularly the PML-N, instead of
discussing the budget.
Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, who was given the floor during the presence of the
prime minister, earned the ire of the speaker when he objected to his decision
of issuing a production order for Mr Zardari, saying that the speaker was bound
to ensure the presence of the arrested members only during voting on the
angry speaker reprimanded the minister saying he had discretionary powers to
issue production orders and was not “bound to anyone in this regard”. He
switched the minister’s mike off when the PML-N members protested over his
remarks when he started naming PML-N leaders, accusing them of receiving
kickbacks while awarding contracts of major development projects.
former minister lauded the new economic team of the government for presenting a
“budget for tough times”.
Umar, who is presently heading the house committee on finance, said the
turnover tax should not be imposed at least on new investments for five years.
Similarly, he said, the decision to levy Federal Excise Duty on small cars
should also be reviewed to provide benefit to the middle class people.
Umar recommended that there should be a further increase of 10 to 15 per cent
in pensions. He advised the government to either withdraw the gas
infrastructure development cess on fertilisers or make arrangements to recover
it from the owners of the factories who were collecting it from the farmers,
but not depositing it to the government’s kitty due to some litigation on the
Umar said now when he was no more a minister he could disclose some of the
details of his talks with the IMF. He said there were five main factors —
electricity prices, gas prices, tax rates, policy rates of State Bank of
Pakistan (SBP) and rupee devaluation — which were discussed during negotiations
with the IMF before his “resignation” from the cabinet.
said the IMF wanted an increase of 50pc and 94pc in the prices of electricity
and gas, respectively. However, he said, the National Electric Power Regulatory
Authority had recommended an 11pc increase in electricity price, saying there
might be three to four per cent further increase in it.
claimed that it took him four months to make the IMF agree on one-fourth of the
94pc suggested increase in gas price. He said he was happy to see that the SBP
governor had already announced that there would be “flexible exchange rate” in
the country, instead of “free float.”
Umar said the IMF wanted the government to increase the policy interest rate
from 9pc to 15pc. Similarly, the IMF put a condition that the tax-to-GDP ratio
be brought to 13.2pc, which the government now intends to bring to 12.6 per
Mr Zardari in his first speech since his arrest did not target the National
Accountability Bureau or the prime minister and suggested that the government
and the opposition should sit together and discuss an economic policy “to move
give the economic policy [collective] ownership so that it continues forever,”
said Mr Zardari who was the first speaker of the day.
the budget is so good and if we are getting money from the IMF then why are
people crying? Why are industries crying?” he asked.
said his party leaders had rendered sacrifices for the cause of democracy and
he also raised slogan of “Pakistan Khappay” after the assassination of his wife
and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
Zardari said when they assumed power after a military rule, they did not
victimise any politician. He said detention was not new for them, saying: “I
used to come to the assembly from jail in the past too.”
said there was so much fear among businessmen and investors that they weren’t
ready to invest in the country.
me doesn’t make any difference to the party. The PPP is further strengthened,”
he said, adding that an ordinary person was worried that if Zardari sahab could
be caught, then what next.
warned that the entire country might protest because of these measures
(arrests) and then no political party would be able to do anything.
part in the debate, the MQM’s Salahuddin said Mr Zardari who was known as “Mr
10 per cent” had now become “Mr 100 per cent”.
said his party had voted for the 18th Amendment, but the people of Sindh were
not getting any benefit out of it. He alleged that the Sindh government was not
spending money on welfare of the people which was evident from the dilapidated
condition of the cities. He said there was not a single model union council in
Sindh where people were not forced to drink contaminated water. He said even
the Supreme Court had declared that Sindh was the most “corrupt province”.
Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari said on Thursday that Pakistan’s
hosting of refugees in vast numbers has been exemplary and far beyond its
Mazari issued a statement on the eve of World Refugee Day.
said Pakistan continues to host Afghan refugees despite the loss of interest by
the world community, and Prime Minister Imran Khan has moved to improve
facilities for them.
said Pakistan has done this despite not being party to the 1951 Refugee
fact, we should sign the convention as we have gone far beyond its requirements
without gaining any of the benefits and there is always more everyone can do
better in terms of treatment of refugees,” she said.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in London today
(Thursday) on an official visit, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR)
army chief is scheduled to meet senior civil and armed forces leadership of
England during the trip.
trip will underscore matters pertaining to defence, security and geo-strategic
situation of the region.
Zealand opened a gun buyback scheme Thursday aimed at ridding the country of
semi-automatic weapons similar to those used in the Christchurch mosque attacks
that killed 51 Muslim worshippers.
Minister Jacinda Ardern vowed in the hours after the March 15 killings that New
Zealand’s gun laws would be tightened and her government has expedited the
change in just three months.
buyback and amnesty have one objective – to remove the most dangerous weapons
from circulation following the loss of life at Al Noor and Linwood mosques,”
Police Minister Stuart Nash said.
Australian man accused of the killings, Brenton Tarrant, is alleged to have
used an arsenal of five weapons, including two military-style semi-automatic
rifles (MSSAs), in the attacks on two Christchurch mosques.
voted to outlaw MSSAs, which allow the rapid fire of high-caliber bullets, by a
margin of 119-1 in the wake of the worst massacre in modern New Zealand
firearms owners will have six months to surrender weapons that have now been
deemed illegal under the scheme, with an amnesty ensuring they will not face
prosecution during that period.
the amnesty expires, possession of prohibited firearms is punishable by up to
five years in jail. Compensation will be based on the model and condition of
the firearm, with the total cost of the scheme estimated at NZ$218 million
includes NZ$18 million towards administration costs for what Nash said was “a
huge logistical exercise”. He said police knew of 14,300 registered MSSA rifles
and there were an estimated 1.2 million firearms in the community, with the
vast majority still legal under the new rules.
said they were organizing “collection events” around the country where firearms
owners could submit their weapons. Tarrant last week pleaded not guilty to
terrorism charges, as well as 51 counts of murder and 40 of attempted murder.
was committed to stand trial in May next year.
demonstrate for civilian rule in Sudan’s state capitals
of Sudanese demonstrated in state capitals on Thursday, putting pressure on the
ruling military council to cede power to civilians in ongoing tumult since the
overthrow of former President Omar al-Bashir more than two months ago.
were gatherings in each of the state capitals of Wad Madani, Al-Ubayyid and
Port Sudan to call for the Transitional Military Council to relinquish power.
also demonstrated in the national capital Khartoum, including employees from
the private Bank of Khartoum, chanting “Civilian!” and waving Sudanese flags.
between the military and an opposition alliance collapsed when security forces
stormed a protest sit-in outside the Defense Ministry on June 3, killing
two sides had been wrangling for weeks over whether civilians or the military
would control a new sovereign council to lead the Sudan to elections after the
military deposed and detained long-time president Bashir in April.
prolonged chaos has concerned world powers including the United States, which
sanctioned Sudan under Bashir over its alleged support for militant groups and
the civil war in Darfur.
opposition accused the military council of ordering the sit-in’s bloody
dispersal and wants an international inquiry. Witnesses said the paramilitary
Rapid Support Forces, headed by the military council’s deputy, carried out the
military said a crackdown on criminals spilled over to the sit-in area, but
some officers have been detained for presumed responsibility.
Thursday, the military council named Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah as public
prosecutor, judicial sources told Reuters.
had recently been appointed prosecutor for Khartoum, a role in which he was overseeing
an investigation into the storming of the sit-in, state news agency SUNA said.
military council called for a renewal of negotiations on Wednesday, but there
was no response from the opposition.
have been no direct talks since the dispersal, but Ethiopian Prime Minister
Abiy Ahmed and the African Union have been trying to mediate. An envoy for Abiy
would soon return to Khartoum with proposals for both sides, opposition sources
in the nation of 40 million is crucial for a volatile region struggling with
conflict and insurgencies from the Horn of Africa to Egypt and Libya.
attackers behind the latest attack to have hit central Mali identified victims
one by one before executing then, survivors have said.
attack on the Gangafani and Yoro villages in the Mopti region was the last in a
cycle of apparent tit-for-tat violence between the Dogon and Fulani
least 38 people were killed in the villages where survivors and officials say
Fulani gunmen arrived by motorbike before attacking villagers in "revenge"
for suspicions that they had collaborated with the Malian army.
Goro, a security guard, had been travelling by truck to his father's funeral
near the two villages, when about 40 armed men intercepted the vehicle and
forced the passengers into the bush.
did identity checks and they only looked for the people from Yoro and
Gangafani, and all those who were from those two villages were set apart,"
killed them in front of us, with rifles, and released us afterwards."
raids followed a massacre of dozens of people earlier this month in another
Dogon village, Sobane Da.
attack came months after suspected Dogon militiamen in late March killed more
than 150 Fulani in two villages in central Mali, one of the worst acts of
bloodshed in the country's recent history.
government said on Wednesday the army had dispatched a contingent to reinforce
security and protect property in the Gangafani and Yoro villages, near the
border with Burkina Faso.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called for restraint in order
to end the "vicious circle of violence".
our teams prepare to provide emergency assistance to the survivors of Sobane
Da, we have learned that other villages in the Mopti region also suffered attacks,
causing a large number of casualties," Jean-Nicolas Marti, the ICRC head
of delegation for Mali, said in a statement to Al Jazeera.
now seen four major attacks since the beginning of the year, on top of daily
violence. Our colleagues on the ground see an overwhelming amount of need and
remain determined to support the victims of the violence, first and foremost
through the provision of medical care."
tensions in central Mali surged after an armed group led by preacher Amadou
Koufa emerged in 2015 and recruited mainly from among the Fulanis. Clashes
increased with Dogons and Bambaras who formed their own self-defence militias.
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita appealed for an end to revenge attacks after he visited
the site of the Sobane Da massacre.
despite military help from France and the United Nations, Mali's government is
struggling to calm violence that began in the north of the country in 2012,
sparked by rebel fighters and Tuareg militias, while groups linked to al-Qaeda
and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have used central
and northern Mali as a launch pad for attacks across the Sahel region and stoke
tensions among different communities.
Monday's attack, witness Goro said, the gunmen blamed inhabitants for having
"cooperated" with the Malian and Burkinabe military about 15 days ago
in a raid in the neighbouring town of Dinagourou.
the local level, "there is a dispute between the people of Gangafani and
Yoro against the Fulani," Goro said.
kidnappers were taking revenge," the security guard said.
officials said the situation has calmed down, but residents were shocked how
the gunmen were able to arrive en masse by motorbike even after the government
imposed a ban on the vehicles as a way to tighten security.
need to strengthen security," said Amidou Maiga, a local retired civil
servant. "People are frightened."
UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, said in May it had recorded nearly
500 deaths in attacks on Fulanis in the central regions of Mopti and Segou
since January 2018.
Fulanis caused 63 deaths among civilians in the Mopti region over the same
period, it said.
(Reuters) - Islamic State said on Wednesday its West African branch carried out
an attack on a Nigerian army base in northeastern Borno state and that its
fighters killed 12 soldiers.
military source put the toll higher, saying up to 25 soldiers were killed after
insurgents traveling on trucks mounted with guns attacked the base on Monday
around 5:30 p.m. (1630 GMT). He said fighting lasted for about three hours. A
local resident said he saw the bodies of six dead Nigerian soldiers.
attack in the town of Gajiram, in which the insurgents said the barracks were
burned, followed a similar assault on a base last week and suicide bombings
that killed 30 people on Sunday. The attacks raise questions about government
assertions to have almost defeated the insurgents.
Nigerian soldiers were killed and others injured following an attack by Islamic
State fighters on their barracks in the northern Nigerian town of Gajiram,”
Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) said in a statement published on
the SITE Intelligence website.
Nigerian army spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed more than 30,000 people and
displaced about 2 million since 2009. President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired
general, was re-elected in February after a campaign in which he vowed to
The Sahel region has become a haven for jihadist groups, who are now carrying
out attacks almost daily in the vast, fragile region despite a fightback by
international and local armies.
latest strikes included Tuesday's raid in northern Burkina Faso, which killed
17, and another at the gates of the Niger capital Niamey that claimed the lives
of two policemen.
members of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara were meanwhile killed in a
joint operation by US, French and Niger troops near Niger's border with Mali,
Niger's defence ministry announced on Tuesday.
June 8-18 operation took place in the northern border region of Tongo Tongo and
targeted a group "implicated in an ambush on May 14," in which 28
Nigerien soldiers were killed," it said.
volatile western rim of the southern Sahara includes conflict-ravaged Mali as
well as Mauritania and Chad, which have become hunting grounds for a range of
armed militia including some linked to the Islamic State (IS) group.
Sisyphean, it never stops!" said a French security source, referring to
the figure in Greek mythology whose name signifies endless labour and
was punished for eternity by being forced to roll a boulder to the top of a
hill, only to see the rock roll down again once it neared the peak.
complicating matters are the Boko Haram fighters from Nigeria who have now
extended their attacks to neighbouring countries in a decade-long campaign of
violence that has killed 27,000 people in Nigeria alone.
are 13,000 soldiers in a UN peacekeeping force in Mali, while France -- the
former colonial ruler of several western Sahel countries -- has deployed 4,500
troops to Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad in a mission codenamed Barkhane to
help local forces flush out jihadists.
so-called G5 Sahel group -- comprising Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and
Niger -- have sent 5,000 troops to help expand their anti-terror campaign.
their impact seems so far to be meagre.
President Roch Marc Christian Kabore on Thursday called for "more
concerted action" against the jihadists and said the countries "must
overcome our differences and individual interests."
security expert said that despite repeated operations (the jihadists) still have
this ability to strike regularly.
month there are fairly complex attacks, improvised explosive devices are
planted... giving the impression that the insurrection is growing slowly but
surely," the expert said.
number of incidents and victims are not reducing, rather it's the
problem facing the international forces was that they were
"reactive", said Jean-Marc Balencie, an Africa expert at French consultancy
can assume that the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (present in Mali, Niger
and Burkina Faso) has suffered some serious blows, lost chiefs, been in a state
of withdrawal and yet they have successfully pulled off several spectacular
operations in recent weeks," he said.
real area of concern is the capacity of resilience and recovery from
Savadogo, a researcher at Senegal's Gaston Berger University, said the
jihadists' huge advantage was their invisibility.
just melt into the population," he said, and then stage "sporadic
foreign armies face a problem of intelligence. For the time being, the locals
seem more inclined to provide information to armed groups than to local
armies," he added.
often play on inter-ethnic tensions, further complicating an explosive
situation and breeding hostility towards local armies.
soldiers often face suspicion and anger from people who view their presence as
a loss of sovereignty.
the end of May, around 1,000 people gathered in the Niger capital shouting
"Down with foreign military bases!" and "Down with the French
violence was largely unknown in Burkina Faso before 2015 and some claim that
the arrival of the French Barkhane troops fuelled Islamist attacks.
also fan the flames by blaming external forces for the mess, analysts say.
personally think if France had not intervened in Mali in 2013 (when a rapid
response from French military prevented Islamist groups from storming Bamako),
there wouldn't be a Malian state, so that was a good thing. But since then, the
situation hasn't really improved," Burkinabe Defence Minister Cheriff Sy
said in a recent interview.
A Libyan commander, whose forces are fighting to take the country’s capital of
Tripoli from militias allied with a UN-backed government based there, has
dismissed an initiative by its prime minister for negotiations to end the
Khalifa Haftar vowed in comments to a news website on Wednesday that his
fighters would press on with the weeks-long offensive until Tripoli is rid of
what he described as “terrorist militias.”
military operations will not stop” until Tripoli is taken, Haftar told
situation is excellent and I call on the Libyans to ignore rumors about our
withdrawal,” Haftar said in interviews with Libyan news websites The Address
and The Observer published overnight Wednesday to Thursday.
offensive to seize the capital “will not stop before all its objectives are
reached,” he said.
campaign by Haftar’s Liberation National Army has raised fears of another bout
of violence after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime ruler
Muammar Qaddafi. Since then, the country has sunk into chaos, with rival
administrations in the east and the west, and an array of forces and militias
allied with either side.
Monday, the World Health Organization reported the latest casualty tolls for
the fighting in and around Tripoli, saying 691 people have been killed so far,
including 41 civilians, and 4,012 wounded, 135 of them civilians.
head of the Tripoli-based government, Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj, told a
news conference on Sunday he is proposing a “Libyan forum,” aimed at finding a
peaceful solution to the conflict.
talks would draw up a roadmap for parliamentary and presidential elections to
be held before the end of 2019, Al-Sarraj said.
his remarks to the news website, Haftar dismissed Al-Sarraj’s initiative and
criticized him as an ineffective leader.
have no meaning unless they are brave and carry clear clauses that address the
causes of the crisis and its very roots,” Haftar said.
Asem, Bahram Abdel-Monem
ruling military council on Thursday fired the country's attorney general over
ties with recent deadly crackdown on protestors.
Transitional Military Council (TMC) dismissed prosecutor general Alwaleed Sayed
Ahmed Mahmoud and appointed Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, a judicial source told
Thursday, TMC spokesman Shamseddine Kabbashi told media outlets that the
country's attorney general participated in a security meeting to provide legal
advice regarding the deadly dispersal of a sit-in in front of the army
headquarters in Khartoum.
June 3, Sudanese security forces stormed the sit-in in central Khartoum and
dispersed it by force. The crackdown left more than 100 people dead according
to opposition sources while the TMC puts the death toll at 35.
Sunday, the Attorney General, Alwaleed Sayed Ahmed, denied discussing the
sit-in with the TMC and threatened to resign over intervention in his powers
has remained in turmoil since April 11, when the military establishment deposed
long-serving Omar al-Bashir after months of popular protests against his
Transitional Military Council (TMC) is now overseeing a two-year “transitional
period” during which it has pledged to hold free presidential elections.
TMC has announced it will draw up a transitional technocrat government and hold
general elections within a year.
U.S. on Thursday added Cuba and Saudi Arabia to the lowest tier in a new report
on human trafficking.
countries were newly designated as Tier 3 countries, which could make both
subject to restrictions on U.S. assistance. The countries join China, North
Korea, Russia, and Syria as Tier 3 trafficking offenders.
of State Mike Pompeo unveiled the report on trafficking alongside U.S.
President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka at the State Department.
3 countries can face restrictions on "non-humanitarian, non-trade related
foreign assistance" and on "government official or employee
participation in educational and cultural exchange programs," according to
Pompeo mentioned Cuba by name during his remarks, he did not mention Saudi
Arabia, even though it is in the report.
Saudi Arabia's profile in the report, it is stated that the country "may
have funded Yemeni militias that in some cases may have hired minors in
added that 25 million people across the world are subject to trafficking
including those “in the United States, and indeed in this very city we’re
sitting in today.”
secretary of state also mentioned that 77% of traffickers exploit victims in
their own countries.
trafficking is a local and global problem,” he said.
Trump administration also marked the countries Libya, Somalia, and Yemen as
special cases, where humanitarian conflicts make the ability to access
Speaker Pelosi calls on US to de-escalate tensions with Iran
US House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday called for the
United States to de-escalate tensions with Iran, after top lawmakers attended a
White House briefing on the downing of an American drone by Tehran.
is essential that we remain fully engaged with our allies, recognize that we
are not dealing with a responsible adversary and do everything in our power to
de-escalate,” Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said in a statement.
is a dangerous, high-tension situation that requires a strong, smart and
strategic, not reckless, approach,” she added.
not seek war, write Iran to UN chief
ambassador to the United Nations called on Thursday for the international
community to demand the United States end its “unlawful and destabilizing
measures” in the Gulf, saying Tehran did not seek war but would act to secure
Majid Takht Ravanchi, in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres,
said Iranian forces targeted an unmanned US aircraft on Thursday when “despite
repeated radio warnings, it entered into the Iranian airspace.”
Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed Iranian aggression
in the region with the visiting US special envoy for Iran and affirmed the
kingdom's support for the America's policy of applying “maximum pressure"
Khalid said he met special representative Brian Hook to “explore the latest
efforts to counter hostile Iranian acts and continuous escalation that threaten
the region’s security and stability”.
a series of Twitter posts on Friday, the deputy defence minister, who
previously served as ambassador to the US, said Saudi Arabia backed the US
“maximum pressure campaign on Iran” in response to “continuing Iranian
hostility and terrorism”.
bin Salman خالد بن سلمان
to meet with United States Special Representative for Iran Mr. Brian Hook to
explore the latest efforts to counter hostile Iranian acts and continuous
escalation that threaten the region’s security and stability.
AM - Jun 21, 2019
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affirmed the Kingdom’s support for the United States maximum pressure campaign
on Iran, which came as a result of continuing Iranian hostility and terrorism,
and discussed the latest Iranian attacks on the Kingdom
people are talking about this
Khalid's tweets came after Iran shot down a US surveillance drone in the Strait
of Hormuz, escalating tensions between the two countries. Tehran claimed the
aircraft entered its airspace while the US said it was attacked over
attack followed a series of explosions targeting oil tankers in the Gulf of
Oman and the Strait of Hormuz that Washington and Riyadh have blamed on Iran.
Khalid said he also discussed with Mr Hook the “dangerous role the Iranian
regime plays in Yemen", where Houthi rebels are fighting the
internationally recognised government supported by a Saudi-led coalition.
other tweets earlier this month, Prince Khalid said that for 40 years the
Iranian regime has been “spreading chaos, death and destruction, by sponsoring
and financing terrorist organisations including the Houthis”.
Yemeni rebels have stepped up drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia in
recent weeks, damaging oil infrastructure and injuring dozens of people at the
civilian airport in the popular mountain resort of Abha.
US State Department said Mr Hook is visiting allies in the region to discuss
Iran’s regional aggression” and share intelligence on the range of threats
posed by Iran.
Trump sent a message to Tehran through Oman on Thursday to say that a US attack
on Iran was imminent but he would rather begin talks, according to Iranian
officials spoke to Reuters shortly after the New York Times reported that the
US president had ordered strikes against Iran in retaliation for the downing of
a US drone on Thursday, but cancelled them before they could be launched.
his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to
Tehran about various issues ... He gave a short period of time to get our
response but Iran's immediate response was that it is up to Supreme Leader
[Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei to decide about this issue," one of the officials
made it clear that the leader is against any talks, but the message will be
conveyed to him to make a decision," a second official said.
"However, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will
have regional and international consequences."
to senior administration officials quoted by the New York Times, Mr Trump had
approved strikes against Iranian targets such as radar stations and missile
batteries. Aircraft and ships were preparing to launch the attacks when the
president ordered them to stand down.
was not clear whether Mr Trump simply changed his mind or his decision was
based on logistical or strategic reasons.
US however barred until further notice all American civilian flights from the
area where the Global Hawk drone was shot down in the Strait of Hormuz. The
Federal Aviation Administration order cited danger to flights
"demonstrated by the Iranian surface-to-air missile shoot-down of a US
unmanned aircraft system".
downing of the drone, which the Pentagon says was above international waters
but Iran says was over its territory, raised tensions between the US and Iran
even further after a series of attacks on tanker ships in the region that
Washington blamed on Tehran.
Trump had struck a combative tone in his initial response to the attack.
"Iran made a very big mistake!" he said on Twitter. "This
country will not stand for it, that I can tell you," he said later at the
as fears rose of open conflict between the US and Iran, something both sides
have said they do not want, Mr Trump softened his comments.
find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the
truth," he said. "I think that it could have been somebody who was
loose and stupid that did it."
president's mixed message left the world unsure what Washington's next move
will find out," Mr Trump said when asked about possible retaliation.
president held meetings with top officials and Congressional leaders to discuss
Republicans called for a "measured response" to the incident after
meeting Mr Trump at the White House.
Trump and his national security team remain clear-eyed on the situation and
what must be done in response to increased Iranian aggression," said Kevin
McCarthy, Michael McCaul, Devin Nunes and Mac Thornberry.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for de-escalation. The
"dangerous, high-tension situation" needed a "strong, smart and
strategic, not reckless, approach", she said.
main point of dispute is whether the drone was in violation of Iranian airspace
and therefore a legitimate target.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that parts of the drone had been
recovered in Iranian territorial waters, as Tehran moved to bring the incident
before the United Nations.
don't seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land and waters," Mr
Pentagon denounced the "unprovoked attack", claiming the navy drone
was 34 kilometres from Iran when it was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile.
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said it brought the drone down as it
was "violating Iranian air space" over the waters of Hormozgan
Zarif provided coordinates to back the claim.
00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian
airspace," Zarif tweeted. "It was targeted at 04:05 at the
coordinates (25°59'43"N 57°02'25"E) near Kouh-e Mobarak."
retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it
was shot down," he wrote on Twitter.
a letter to the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres,
Iran protested against a "dangerous and provocative act by the US military
forces against the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Iran".
the Pentagon published a map showing the flight path of the drone, which
indicated it travelled outside of Iranian waters and included a photograph
showing it was at the coordinates (25°57'42"N 56°50'22"E) when it was
drone downing came as Iran was already accused by Washington of carrying out
attacks on tanker ships in the congested Hormuz area. Tehran denies involvement
but has frequently threatened to block the sea lanes used to ship much of the
world's oil exports.
commander of the US Naval Forces Central Command, Sean Kido, said a mine
allegedly used in one of the attacks matched Iranian weaponry and that
incriminating fingerprints had also been collected.
shipping attacks came soon after the US decision to beef up its military
presence in the region in response to counter Iranian threats and as Iran faces
increasing pressure on its economy as a result of US sanctions that have
greatly curbed it own oil exports.
sanctions were re-imposed last year after Mr Trump pulled the US out a deal to
curb Iran's nuclear programme. He has repeatedly said he does not favour war
with Iran unless it is to stop the country getting a nuclear weapon, something
Iranian leaders insist they are not pursuing.
Trump critics say his policy of "maximum pressure" – crippling
economic sanctions, abandonment of the nuclear agreement, and sending forces to
the region – make war ever more likely.
key Republican ally, Senator Lindsey Graham, said the president's "options
are running out".
if he believed the countries were nearing conflict, he replied: "I think
anybody would believe that we're one step closer."
young Syrian refugee living in Pittsburgh plotted to blow up a North Side
church next month in support of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham,
according to the FBI.
Mousab Alowemer, 21, who came to the U.S. in 2016 and recently graduated from
Brashear High School, was arrested Wednesday morning by the FBI's Joint
Terrorism Task Force.
had been due in federal court Wednesday afternoon but the hearing was postponed
until Friday so a lawyer could be appointed to represent him.
Alowemer planned to blow up a tiny church called Legacy International Worship
Center on Wilson Avenue, according to the FBI, with the help of someone he
thought was another Islamic State member but who turned out to be an undercover
met with the employee and another FBI source several times in recent months as
the plot developed and in June drove both of them to the church to show them
the target and decide where to place a homemade backpack bomb, according to a
federal complaint. His motivation was to support the Islamic State and inspire
other sympathizers in the U.S. to join to together to commit similar crimes,
the FBI said.
rejecting other potential targets in Pittsburgh, including a Shia mosque, Mr.
Alowemer chose the Wilson Avenue church to "take revenge for our [ISIS]
brothers in Nigeria," the complaint said. He described the church as
Christian and Nigerian.
was going to meet with his supposed collaborators one more time Wednesday to
finalize plans for the attack, set for July, when agents took him into custody.
is charged with attempting to provide support to the Islamic State and two
counts of distributing information relating to an explosive device in connection
with the bomb plot.
Anthony Day, pastor at the church, said the FBI called him Wednesday morning to
say the church had been placed on a terrorist attack watch list and that Mr.
Alowemer had been arrested.
said he was "grateful God protected us...We have a growing church and
we're happy to be alive."
said he plans to meet with the FBI to learn more about the case and ensure the
safety of church members and the community.
can we make sure our congregation is comforted that this can't happen or won't
happen," he said, "or that he doesn't have any friends to keep these
Bill Peduto said news of the plot was especially alarming “due to the suspect’s
alleged target of yet another place of worship in our city, like the Tree of
Life synagogue, which should be peaceful places of refuge and reflection that
are free of threats of violence.”
is how the case developed, according to the FBI:
April 2018 the bureau identified a social networking site used by Mr. Alowemer
in which he expressed a desire to commit violence in the name of the Islamic
State. He also began communicating with "Person 1" in Wisconsin, a
fellow Islamic State supporter who has pleaded guilty in Wisconsin to
attempting to provide support to a terrorist organization.
March, he began communicating online with a covert FBI employee who posed as an
Islamic State "brother." In those conversations, all in Arabic, he
said he wanted to "answer the call for jihad," wanted to meet other
Islamic State members and offered to provide information about targets in
April, the covert FBI employee put him in contact with an undercover FBI
employee and another person described in the complaint as a confidential
Alowemer offered to provide information on local Kurdish Yazidi families so
fellow Islamic State "brothers" could attack them out of revenge for
"our brothers in al-Baghuz."
are ethnic Kurds often targeted by Islamic State radicals. Al-Baghuz is a town
in Syria where Kurdish-led Syrian forces assisted by the U.S. battled with
Islamic State fighters in February and March. The Islamic State lost control of
that part of Syria.
Alowemer said he was excited to meet the undercover FBI employee. They met
April 16 in Pittsburgh, along with the confidential source, during which Mr.
Alowemer discussed opportunities for attacking Yazidis, Shia Muslims and a lone
regard to the military member, Mr. Alowemer said he had seen a soldier in the
woods by himself and could kill him.
killed our sisters in Baghuz and in Iraq," he said. "Why should we
FBI employee gave him a cell phone for future secure communications and Mr.
Alowemer offered to drive the two FBI operatives around Pittsburgh to look at
a meeting April 25, Mr. Alowemer decided against the Shia mosque because it had
too much security but reiterated his desire to carry out a bomb attack and
escape to Syria.
we have a goal, we can leave a book bag or something," he said, referring
to a bomb.
Alowemer later began discussing carrying out bomb attacks using a timer and
sent the undercover operative instructional materials on how to make bombs,
including one called "Beginners Course for Young Mujahadeen."
Alowemer and the FBI operatives met again June 2, when he identified a
"Nigerian" church for an attack. He said he chose the church because
"all of them are Mushrikeen [polytheist Christians]" and to take
revenge for "our brothers in Nigeria."
spelled out his plans, talked about planting a second bomb to kill responding
police and presented Google satellite maps of the church.
a fourth meeting June 11, he provided additional details about the plot and
presented bomb-making materials he had bought, including batteries, acetone and
also drove the FBI operatives to the church to case it and said he would
conduct further surveillance on his bicycle to check on security cameras and
the best spot to place the bomb.
said he wanted to meet with them one more time, on Wednesday, to finalize the
Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook will travel to the Middle East on
Wednesday for meetings in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait
and Bahrain to discuss “Iran’s regional aggression,” the State Department said.
will also share additional US intelligence on the range of active threats Iran
currently poses to the region,” the department said in a statement.
travels next week to Europe to meet with officials from Britain, Germany and
France “to discuss a range of issues concerning the Iranian regime,” the
Wednesday, the US envoy told a congressional hearing that Tehran was “without
question” behind last week’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
who have seen the intelligence all come away without any question Iran is
behind these attacks,” Brian Hook told the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
latest deployment of 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, which was
announced on Monday, will include a Patriot missile battalion, manned and
unmanned surveillance aircraft and “other deterrence capabilities,” the
Pentagon said on Wednesday.
United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we are postured and ready
to defend US forces and interests in the region,” a Pentagon spokeswoman said
in a statement.
of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since last
week’s attack on two oil tankers at the entrance to the Gulf, which Washington
blamed on Tehran. Iran denies the accusations.
Monday, acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced the deployment
of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were “defensive
purposes,” citing concerns about a threat from Iran.
recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have
received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that
threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan
said in a statement.
Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message
from US President Donald Trump through Oman overnight warning that a US attack
on Iran was imminent.
spoke shortly after the New York Times reported that Trump had approved
military strikes against Iran on Friday in retaliation for the downing of a US
surveillance drone, but called off the attacks at the last minute.
his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to
Tehran about various issues...He gave a short period of time to get our
response but Iran’s immediate response was that it is up to Supreme Leader
(Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei to decide about this issue,” one of the officials told
Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
second Iranian official said: “We made it clear that the leader is against any
talks, but the message will be conveyed to him to make a decision...However, we
told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and
weeks of rising tension amid a spate of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf,
Iran said on Thursday it had shot down an unmanned US military surveillance
drone, fanning fears of an overt military confrontation between the longtime
New Times quoted a senior administration official as saying, US warplanes took
to the air and ships were put in position for a retaliatory attack only for an
order to come to stand down, without any weapons being fired.
had included Iranian radar and missile batteries, the paper cited senior
administration officials involved in, or briefed on, the deliberations, as
strikes were set for early in the day to minimize risk to the Iranian military
or to civilians, the Times added.
was unclear if attacks on Iran might go ahead later, it added, nor was it known
whether Trump had changed his mind or whether his administration had become
concerned about logistics or strategy.
Russia accused the US on Friday of deliberately stoking dangerous tensions
around Iran and pushing the situation to the brink of war, the RIA news agency
has protested the "violation" of its airspace by a U.S. "spy drone"
which it downed on Thursday.
an emergency phone call, Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi expressed
his country's protest to Swiss Ambassador in Tehran Markus Leitner, whose
country represents U.S. interests in Tehran, Iran's Foreign Ministry said in a
Thursday, Iran’s military released a video of the downing a U.S. surveillance
drone over the Strait of Hormuz.
and the U.S. dispute the drone’s location when it was downed. Tehran maintains
the drone violated its airspace, while Washington says it was in international
asserted there was "indisputable evidence that the drone had breached
was not the first time Americans have committed such an act, as this has
happened a number of times before," he stressed.
"will not hesitate for a moment to decisively defend its territory against
any aggression," Araqchi added.
the incident, U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that "Iran made
a very big mistake."
President Donald Trump approved airstrikes Thursday evening against Tehran in
retaliation for the downing of an American surveillance drone but pulled back,
The New York Times reported.
multiple officials from the Trump administration, the Times said the White
House hosted intense debates and discussions among Trump's senior national
security officials and congressional leaders over a response against Tehran.
late as 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were expecting a
strike," said the report, adding the U.S. president approved a couple of military
targets including radar and missile batteries.
and the U.S. dispute the drone’s location when it was downed. Tehran maintains
the drone violated its airspace while Washington says it was in international
in the day, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif also shared the coordinates of
where the drone was shot down and announced that the wreckage fell into Iran’s
senior official said planes were flying in the air and ships were in position
until the attack was aborted, according to the report.
the airstrike went ahead, it would have been Trump's third military action in
the Middle East after 2017 and 2018 airstrikes in Syria.
report said it remained unclear whether the airstrike might still go forward.
strike was set to take place just before dawn Friday in Iran to minimize risk
to the Iranian military and civilians," the Times added.
the Oval Office while meeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump
said the public will "find out" what the U.S. response will be to the
made a big mistake. This drone was in international waters, clearly,"
a fresh development late Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
issued an emergency order prohibiting U.S. airline operators from flying over
parts of Iran-controlled airspace, according to Reuters news agency.
have been rising between the U.S. and Iran since last year, when Washington
unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the
five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the EU.
U.S. has since embarked upon a diplomatic and economic campaign to ramp up
pressure on Iran to force it to renegotiate the agreement.
of its campaign has included the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on exports of
Iranian crude oil, which has sent the Iranian economy into a nosedive.
U.S. has also increased its military presence in the Middle East, deploying a
carrier strike force, bomber task force and Patriot missile battery and using
threats from Iran as justification for the actions.
President Donald Trump said on Thursday that Iran made a big mistake after it
had shot down an American drone.
made a very big mistake!" Trump tweeted.
on Thursday, Tehran announced that it shot down a U.S. military drone.
Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that a "Navy Broad Area Maritime
Surveillance (or BAMS-D) ISR aircraft was shot down by an Iranian
surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over
the Strait of Hormuz."
attack took place at around 3 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday.
BAMS-D aircraft was a RQ-4A Global Hawk, a high-altitude unmanned aircraft used
for reconnaissance purposes by the Navy.
reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false," CENTCOM spokesman Navy
Capt. Bill Urban said in a statement. "This was an unprovoked attack on a
U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace."
confirmation comes amid growing hostility in the Gulf region between Washington
have been rising between the U.S. and Iran since last year, when Washington
unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the
five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
U.S. has since embarked upon a diplomatic and economic campaign to ramp up
pressure on Iran to force it to renegotiate the agreement, and other behavior
not covered by the original pact that the administration views as destabilizing
of its campaign has included the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on exports of
Iranian crude oil, which has sent the Iranian economy into a nosedive.
U.S. has also increased its military presence in the Middle East, deploying a
carrier strike force, bomber task force, and Patriot missile battery and using
threats from Iran as justification for the actions.
Arabic-language al-Ma'aloumeh news website quoted Head of Badr Organization's
Office in al-Anbar Qusai al-Anbari as saying on Thursday that the ISIL
terrorist group is after training the second and third generations of its
members to replace the fighters who have been defeated by the security forces
and Hashd al-Shaabi (popular forces) in Iraq and Syria.
added that the terrorist groups have established training centers and recruited
children between the ages of 10 to 15, calling them with different names,
including the lion cubs of the caliphate.
disclosed that the training centers are protected by the US air force and bases
in al-Anbar province.
reports also said in March that the ISIL terrorist group had restarted training
children for war and suicide operations in a region protected by the US and its
allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir Ezzur in Southeastern Syria.
Arabic-language al-Manar news website quoted sources affiliated to the Syrian
government's armed opposition as saying that the ISIL had again set up a
military base to train what it calls 'The Caliphate's Lion Cubs' in
Southeastern Deir Ezzur near the border with Iraq.
reports said in recent months that the ISIL is recruiting again in Syria with
the US help to attack the Syrian army positions in Deir Ezzur and destabilize
said the child militias training center has been set up under the supervision
of the former commander of ISIL bases in Raqqa, Abu Mohammed al-Fransi, adding
that a large number of Syrian and foreign children had been recruited in there.
Alexander Ivanov, the spokesman of Russia's airbase at Humeimim, said that
"real evidence" indicates that the ISIL would resume operations with
the support of certain regional and trans-regional states.
Blacklisted terrorists from Al Qaida and Daesh have been able to tap into their
bank accounts despite a UN asset freeze, according to documents reviewed by the
Wall Street Journal.
reason for this, the documents showed, are loopholes in the the current UN
Security Council sanctions procedures.
financier, Khalifa Al Subaiy, is among those who have accessed their funds.
US believes Al Subaiy to be a longtime funder of Al Qaida’s senior leadership,
including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
UN has allowed Al Subaiy to take up to $10,000 a month from frozen accounts for
“basic necessities”, despite being placed on the terror blacklist in 2008.
the Security Council has approved 71 out of 72 requests, the documents show.
blacklisted terrorist are, in theory, not allowed any access to their
financies, a loophole in the sanctions policy allows their home crountries to
applied for exemptions to give them access to small amounts of money for food,
housing and basic necessities.
member countries are not properly monitoring the blacklisted terrorists living
within their borders.
UN officials who spoke to the Wall Street Journal say the exemptions procedure
is too loosely structured and lacks oversight.
more selective process is needed because practically anyone who asks for the
exemption now is being granted it.
revelation of Al Subaiy’s financies came from a leaked data base from the Qatar
National Bank, the WSJ reported.
bank admitted its systems had been breached by unknown hackers in 2016.
why a designated terror supporter would have an active account, both the bank
and a spokesman at Qatar’s Embassy in Washington declined to comment on Mr.
Subaiy’s case, citing confidentiality.
Subaiy was tried and convicted in absentia in 2008 in Bahrain on charges of
financing and facilitating terrorism, then was arrested in Qatar and imprisoned
for six months, according to the U.N.
his release, Al Subaiy reconnected with Al Qaida agents and resumed organizing
funds in support of the group, as well as linking up with operatives in Iran in
2009, 2011 and throughout 2012, and sending cash to senior Al Qaida leaders in
Pakistan through 2013.
would be hard-pressed to find someone more prominent than him in the whole
terrorism financing side,” said Hans-Jakob Schindler, a senior director at the
Counter Extremism Project and former adviser to the U.N. Security Council. told
the Wall Street Journal.
Subaiy’s six-month sentence was criticised by former U.S. Treasury officials
for its leniency.
security analysts said Qatar’s assurances that it would monitor his activities
fell flat after the UN revelations that he had continued his activities.
A Muslim citizen who tweeted that he was barred from renting a flat in a
predominately Christian area has triggered waves of criticism and accusations
against the Al Hadath municipality chief.
Awwad, a Lebanese citizen, tweeted that he was turned away from renting a flat
in Al Hadath area on orders from the region’s Municipality Chief George Aoun.
tweeted that the municipality call centre’s attendant informed him that he
cannot rent a flat because he is a Muslim following a decision by Aoun that
rent is limited to Christians.
tweet triggered a massive outcry on social media where users criticised Aoun.
up on the incident, a reporter called the Municipality posing as a tenant, who
was told she cannot rent if not a Christian.
audio recording of the call of the exchange also went viral on social media.
Lebanon’s interior minister, Raya Al Hassan, said Aoun’s decision was
“unacceptable and unconstitutional”.
Hassan said she asked the governor of Mount Lebanon [the governance under which
Al Hadath Municipality operates] to listen to what Aoun has to say concerning
the controversial decision before deciding to act accordingly.
[Aoun] will be asked to retract his remarks if they turn out to be true,” the
minister told LBCI TV station.
News contacted Al Hadath Municipality Chief Aoun who said the decision dates
back to May 2010.
are baselessly being accused of preventing Muslims from renting and this is a
slanderous campaign. What we’ve been doing is asking Christians to stop
migrating, selling or renting out their properties. The area’s population
counted 120,000 amongst who are 70,000 Muslim Shiites we have always been and
continue to be Lebanon’s best example of religious coexistence. Between 1990
and 2010 Shiites purchased 60 per cent of the properties. Since then, we asked
Christians to stop leaving, selling or renting for demographical reasons,” Aoun
told the newspaper.
the killers waited for the victim, the Saudi autopsy specialist reassured them
that dismembering the body would "be easy." "Joints will be separated,"
he said. "It will not be a problem." Then, as the minutes passed, a
Saudi intelligence officer asked whether the "sacrificial animal" had
"animal" was Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist,
and the exchange between the Saudi operatives as they waited to ambush and kill
him last October was among the many details disclosed on Wednesday in a new
United Nations report on the case.
a day, the report said, new teams of Saudi operatives were already working
diligently to thwart investigators and cleanse the crime scene - the Saudi
consulate in Istanbul - including setting a fire in a barrel outside that may
have been used to destroy evidence.
Nations officials alleged that Syria's and Russia's forces may be deliberately
targeting hospitals and schools in the rebel-held northwest of Syria as a
tactic aimed at "terrorising" civilians.
Syria and Russia denied the accusations on Tuesday.
aid chief Mark Lowcock told the UN Security Council since late April the World
Health Organization had confirmed 26 incidents affecting healthcare facilities
in the Idlib region.
facilities often provide their exact coordinates to military officials involved
in conflict zones to help protect them from inadvertent artillery or air
said some hospitals in northwestern Syria were now not sharing their locations
with warring parties because it "paints a target on their back".
a facility whose coordinates were shared as part of the UN's deconfliction
system is simply intolerable," said Lowcock. "A number of
partners ... have drawn the conclusion
that hospital bombings are a deliberate tactic aimed at terrorising
is the last remaining bastion of anti-government rebels after eight bloody
years of civil war.
which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, and Turkey, long a
backer of rebel groups, cosponsored the de-escalation pact for the area that
has been in place since last year.
the deal has faltered in recent months, forcing hundreds of thousands of
civilians to flee.
am deeply concerned about the escalation of the fighting in Idlib, and the
situation is especially dangerous given the involvement of an increased number
of actors," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters,
appealing to Russia and Turkey "to stabilise the situation without
me underscore, even in the fight against terrorism, there needs to be full
compliance with international human rights and international law," he
political chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the council for Syria's close ally Russia,
the presence in Idlib of the former al-Qaeda affiliate Hay'et Tahrir al-Sham
(HTS) "is not tolerable", and "for Turkey, time is required to
effectively isolate and address HTS' most hardline fighters".
a humanitarian catastrophe'
said the de-escalation deal with Turkey " was being fully
implemented" telling Security Council members it "doesn't ban but
rather encourages the fight against terrorism".
added all military activities were in response "to provocations from
terrorists" saying HTS controls 99 percent of the Idlib de-escalation
think that the issue is not that it's a humanitarian catastrophe,"
clear that the issue is the desire to keep the territories that are not under
Damascus' control for as long as possible regardless of who prevails in
war has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions since it
started in 2011 with the repression of anti-government protests.
Alissa J. Rubin
Iraq — Two rockets struck separate targets on Wednesday in oil fields just
outside Basra, not far from the headquarters of many international and domestic
a bit more frequent in recent weeks, rocket attacks have been rare since the
Islamic State was pushed out of Iraq more than 18 months ago, and oil fields
generally have not been targets. Basra, in southwestern Iraq just above the
Persian Gulf, is one of the richest oil production regions in Iraq.
the first attack, three employees of an Iraqi drilling company who were injured
when a Katyusha rocket hit their sleeping quarters were taken to a hospital,
said Khalid Hamza, the deputy director of the Basra Oil Company, an Iraqi firm.
were no injuries reported in the second attack. No other details were available
about the strike, and officials would not say who they believed was responsible
for the attacks.
rocket strikes come as tensions are escalating between the United States and
Iran after attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, for which Washington
blamed Tehran. Iran said on Monday that it would soon breach curbs on its stock
of low-enriched uranium set out in the 2015 pact limiting its nuclear program.
In response, President Trump ordered an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle
East and affirmed his pledge that Iran would not be allowed to develop a nuclear
soldiers near the entry to the Zubair oil field on Wednesday after a rocket
struck a building housing several oil companies.
Trump administration withdrew the United States from the nuclear pact last year
and has reimposed painful economic sanctions on Iran, including a prohibition
on oil exports that has cut off a large portion of its government’s revenue.
analysts have described the attacks on the oil tankers as an effort by Iran to
signal that if it is blocked from selling its oil, it will penalize the rest of
the world by making the shipment of oil riskier and more expensive.
rocket attacks in Iraq have included one in the Green Zone, home to the
embassies of the United States and other countries. Other strikes appeared to
take aim at Iraqi security forces.
Iraqi government has been resolute about keeping out of any conflict between
Iran and the United States.
think its an operation that aims to drag Iraq into the crisis between Iran and
America and to involve Iraq in a war,” said Gen. Yahya Rasool of the Baghdad
Joint Command, which includes American and Iraqi forces.
first rocket landed before dawn Wednesday near the Zubair oil field in an area
that includes the headquarters of many oil companies, including those of Shell
and Exxon Mobil; the second landed in the area of the Rumaila oil field, one of
Iraq’s oldest and largest oil patches, where BP is operating. Shell said in a
statement that all its staff members were accounted for and that the company was
continuing normal operations in Iraq.
Maher, the mayor of Al Zubair, said the first rocket had been launched from his
by Mohammed Ebraheem
(IraqiNews.com) – Two Islamic State militants were killed and a terrorist
hotbed was destroyed in an airstrike conducted by Iraqi warplanes in the
eastern province of Diyala.
a press statement carried by the privately-owned Baghdad Today news agency, the
Iraqi security media cell said that jet fighters killed two Islamic State
fighters and destroyed one of their hotbeds in al-Makhisa village in Diyala.
further details were given, the statement read.
January 2015, Iraqi forces announced liberation of Diyala province from Islamic
State extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and
Syria in 2014.
June 19 (Xinhua) -- A total of six Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on
Wednesday in an airstrike and an ambush in the Iraqi provinces of Nineveh and
the northern province of Nineveh, a force from the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi
units acted on intelligence reports and ambushed four IS militants in al-Baaj
area, in the west of the city of Mosul near the Syrian border, a Hashd Shaabi
paramilitary members clashed with the IS militants and killed them all, the
Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, an Iraqi army's gunship carried out an
airstrike in the village of Mkheisa, some 95 km northeast of the Iraqi capital
Baghdad, a statement by the media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command
airstrike resulted in the killing of two IS militants and the destruction of
their vehicle and a hideout in the area, the statement added.
repeated military operations in Diyala, remnants of IS militants were still
hiding in rugged areas near the border with Iran, as well as the sprawling
areas extending from western part of Diyala to Himreen mountainous area in the
northern part of the province.
security situation in Iraq was dramatically improved after Iraqi security
forces fully defeated the extremists IS militants across the country late in
Sarah El Deeb
Lebanon — Lebanese authorities are making their most aggressive campaign yet
for Syrian refugees to return home and are taking action to ensure they can’t
put down roots.
the rise of anti-migrant sentiment in Europe and around the world, some in
Lebanon say that after eight years of war in neighboring Syria they have had
enough of the burden of hosting the highest concentration of refugees per
capita in the world — 1 million amid a Lebanese population of nearly 5 million
— especially at a time when they are facing austerity measures and a weakened
sentiment in Lebanon has waxed and waned in the past. It’s been persistent but
limited among a public torn by conflicting feelings — resentment over past
domination by Syria and worry over the refugees’ impact on their country’s
delicate sectarian balance, but also sympathy for the refugees amid memories of
their own displacement during Lebanon’s long civil war.
this time a rising star in the country’s politics has latched onto the issue.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil leads the campaign, saying Syrians should return
home and using nationalist language, like saying the “genetic distinction” of
Lebanese will unite them to confront the refugee issue.
one rally organized by Bassil’s party this month — held under the slogan of
“Employ a Lebanese” — protesters chanted, “Syria get out.” Some attempted to
storm a shop run by a Syrian, sparking a scuffle. Posters have popped up in
streets and online calling on residents to report any Syrian working without a
tensions point to how a backlash in host countries burdened by intractable
refugee situations intertwines with local politics. Numbers of displaced
worldwide have swelled to record levels. The U.N. refugee agency said Wednesday
71 million people are uprooted from their homes as of this year — 26 million of
them refugees, double the number 20 years ago.
of this grim number, Lebanon stands out as the country that has the highest
number of refugees per capita,” said Mireille Girard, the UNHCR representative
in Lebanon. “It is a huge responsibility that Lebanon is shouldering and the
whole world has to show solidarity with the countries that are in the front of
of Bassil in the government have begun enforcing laws that were previously
rarely implemented, shutting down shops owned by or employing Syrians without
permits and ordering the demolition of anything in refugee camps that could be
a permanent home.
refugees are trying to weather the storm.
the town of Arsal, near the Syrian border, where 60,000 refugees live in
informal camps set up in the fields, Syrians have been tearing down brick and
concrete walls they had added to their shacks of canvas, sheet metal and
plastic, trying to make them able to withstand the harsh winters in the
mountainous area. The military gave them until July 1 to remove any wall taller
than waist high.
Syrians said no matter how much authorities squeeze them, they have no choice
but to stay.
think a concrete block is what’s keeping us here?” one woman, Um Hassan, said
angrily. She said she can’t go back because her sons will be drafted into the
military of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The demolition order, she said, left
her and her family sleeping without a roof over their head for over a week.
Syrians who came to Lebanon since 2011 were impoverished and dispossessed.
Despite years of receiving aid, 51 percent of Syrian refugee families survive
on less than $3 a day and 88 percent of households are in debt. Of more than
660,000 school-aged Syrians in Lebanon, 54% are not enrolled in formal
education and an estimated 40% remain out of any kind of certified schooling.
Lebanese, in turn, complain that — despite $6 billion of foreign aid invested
to support Lebanon — the flood of refugees has overwhelmed schools and the
already debilitated infrastructure, increased rents and forced Lebanese to
compete with cheap Syrian labor. Some are resentful of aid stipends some
Syrians receive, pointing out that they don’t pay taxes and often work
illegally as well.
face an upcoming year of austerity measures, and critics say politicians are using
the Syrians as a scapegoat for a damaged economy and endemic corruption.
Lebanese public is frustrated and ... wants anything to dump all their anger
on. So who is the weakest, the refugee,” said journalist Diana Moukalled.
is the leader of the largest Christian party in parliament and the government
and the son-in-law of the country’s president. He has been mobilizing a popular
base and boosting his credentials as the prime protector of Christians — some
believe with the aim of one day replacing his 84-year father in law, President
has popularized the term “Lebanon above all,” while warning of an
“international conspiracy” to settle Syrians in Lebanon, like what happened
with the Palestinian refugees. The influx of Palestinian refugees, who fled or
were driven out during the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel, upset
Lebanon’s sectarian balance, and armed Palestinian factions were a key factor
in the 1975-1990 civil war. After decades in Lebanon, the Palestinians’ numbers
have dwindled to about 175,000, living in squalid camps with no access to
public services, limited employment opportunities and no rights to ownership or
pushing at home for implementation of laws against refugees, Bassil has lobbied
abroad for increased aid to Lebanon and an organized return of Syrians.
one who speaks of refugees returning is not a racist or a fascist, and those
accusing us of racism either benefit (from the issue) or are conspirators,” he
said during a recent conference.
has gained ground in a political sphere divided over refugees and the Syrian
war in general.
ally, Hezbollah, has backed Assad’s government in the fight against rebels.
Bassil’s political opponents — including other Christian parties and the main
Muslim Sunni party led by Prime Minister Saad Hariri — have sided with Syria’s
opposition. Hariri called Bassil’s rhetoric “racist,” and the prime minister
and his allies have pushed against his campaign.
a recent small rally in Beirut, politicians, activists and Syrians held banners
against hate speech. Paula Yacoubian, an independent Armenian Christian
politician at the rally, said the campaign to “dehumanize” refugees is
is destructive and, even if it brings someone popularity for now, in the long
run it is very harmful, for Lebanon and the Lebanese first of all,” she said.
Yassin, a professor of public policy at the American University of Beirut, said
he doesn’t believe there will be a widespread public backlash against the
refugees. But the rise of similar sentiments around the world makes it harder
Europe is actually violating human rights when it comes to pushing people
trying to cross the Mediterranean back to the Libyan militias, they will turn a
blind eye or (be) silent when the Lebanese government is applying it,” he said.
campaign is not simply political rhetoric.
vigilantes recently set fire to three tents in a refugee camp in the eastern
town of Deir al-Ahmar, and Syrians there scuffled with the Lebanese
firefighters, injuring one. An eviction order followed from the municipality,
forcing 400 Syrians to move their tents to a new spot.
a possible violation of its international obligations, Lebanon in April
deported at least 16 Syrians, including some registered as refugees, after they
arrived in Beirut airport. Human Rights Watch and other groups said some of the
deported expressed fear of persecution in Syria and were forced to sign
“voluntary” repatriation forms, despite Beirut’s commitment not to forcibly
return any Syrians.
authorities estimate that over 170,000 Syrians have returned to their country
between December 2017 and March 2019, many through government-organized bus
groups and many Western countries say conditions are not yet right for
refugees’ return to Syria, with lack of a political resolution and guarantees
for their security.
Arsal, Abu Fares, an organizer of the Syrian camp, said the campaign to apply
labor and building laws really aims to harass Syrians into returning home. He
is campaigning for an exemption or longer grace period for the disabled or
elderly in the camp who can’t do their own demolition.
defector from Syria’s police force, Abu Fares said he can’t fathom returning to
Syria without a political settlement, a pardon and new laws.
if they can’t have us here, just say it and take us out of Lebanon” to another
country besides Syria, he said.
have succumbed to pressure. Arsal’s mayor, Bassel al-Hujairi, said nearly 200
Syrians registered to return to Syria after the orders to bring down the walls.
Ossama, a 74-year old Syrian and a retired army general, said he put his name
on the list.
you for your interest in Four Seasons Hotel Damascus.” That is the message on
display on the hotel’s website, which adds that the “hotel is no longer managed
by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.”
announcement comes close on the heels of the US imposing sanctions on 16 individuals
and entities associated with an international network benefiting the Assad
those who were sanctioned is prominent Syrian businessman Samer Foz and his
family, who have close ties to President Bashar al-Assad. According to a
Bloomberg report, the Four Seasons Damascus hotel was owned or controlled by
Arabiya reported last week that the US Treasury said it was imposing sanctions
on Foz, his siblings Amer and Husen, and the family-owned Aman Holding, a
company run by the Foz family from the coastal city of Latakia.
Arabia has reportedly purchased $300 million worth of spy software from Israel
as Riyadh presses ahead with its crackdown against dissidents and pro-democracy
campaigners in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
al-Khaleej Online news website, citing unnamed senior Arab sources, reported
that representatives from the Riyadh regime and Israeli firms met and struck a
deal without a mediator in the British capital city of London at the end of
Aviv and Riyadh have no diplomatic ties as Saudi Arabia does not recognize
Israel. But the two sides have increased backchannel cooperation in recent
to the sources, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates are aware of the deal, which
they described as “major and fairly lucrative.”
They said the first phase of the accord includes the delivery of 1,000
small but sophisticated tracking devices, which can be placed in the target’s
mobile phone to fully monitor the movements of their owners both in Saudi
Arabia and abroad.
representatives have received full payment for the deal before handing over the
second part of the deal will be implemented by 2020, under which another 2,000
devices will be handed over to Saudi officials.
November, Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz revealed that Saudi Arabia had
negotiated the purchase of a system that hacks into cellphones with a secretive
Israeli technology firm.
report exposed Riyadh’s behind-the-scenes attempts to buy Israeli cyber attack
software, citing a complaint filed with the Israeli police by a European
businessman, who said representatives of Israel’s NSO Group Technologies had
offered their Pegasus 3 technology to high-profile Saudi officials during talks
in Vienna, Austria, in 2017.
report identified the Saudi officials as Abdullah al-Malihi, a close associate
of Prince Turki al-Faisal – a former Saudi spy chief – and another top Saudi
official, Nasser al-Qahtani, who presented himself as the deputy of the current
their meeting, NSO representatives showed a PowerPoint presentation of the
then, NSO was promoting its Pegasus 3 software, a sophisticated espionage tool
that does not depend on the victim clicking on a link before the phone is
hacked, as defined by Haaretz.
spyware needs only a phone number to ensnare a device. As soon as a phone is
breached, the speaker and camera can be used for recording conversations. Even
encoded applications like WhatsApp can be monitored via the spying software,
according to the report.
week, American financial and business news website Business Insider reported
that authorities in Saudi Arabia are reportedly resorting to military-grade
technology and making use of the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI)
number in a bid to track down the cellphones of women who are fleeing the
repressive and male-dominated system in the country.
Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction
of peaceful dissidents and human rights campaigners.
investigators say a close aide to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who
was involved in the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, had played a central role
in the abduction and interrogation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on
Saudi soil two years ago.
a report released on Wednesday, UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard said that
Saud al-Qahtani, who was said to have been fired last year for his role in the
killing of prominent dissident journalist Khashoggi, was one of two officials
who had “personally interrogated and threatened” Hariri at the notorious Riyadh
Ritz-Carlton hotel after being summoned to the capital in 2017.
close to the incident suggested the prime minister was a victim of
‘psychological torture’ and treatment that may have been ‘cruel, inhuman and
degrading,’” the UN official said in her report, which was based on a six-month
said that Qahtani was involved in the kingdom’s bid back then to force Hariri
to resign as Lebanon’s prime minister.
to eight Saudi, Arab and Western diplomatic sources, Hariri was also verbally
humiliated and beaten during his detention in the kingdom.
stunned Lebanon and the world on November 4, 2017 by announcing his resignation
in a live television broadcast from Saudi Arabia. He accused Iran and Hezbollah
of sowing strife in the Arab world, an allegation rejected by both sides.
sources close to Hariri and top Lebanese officials said Riyadh had coerced the
Lebanese premier into stepping down and put him under house arrest.
President Michel Aoun stressed at the time that the prime minister was being
detained in Saudi Arabia against his will.
Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary General, also noted that Saudi
authorities had clearly and openly declared a war on Lebanon by holding Hariri
hostage and forcing him to quit.
however, managed to get out of the kingdom amid international pressure on
rescinded his resignation after returning home. The prime minister has, himself,
denied that he was mistreated during his stay in Riyadh.
New York Times report later revealed that Hariri, upon arrival in Riyadh, had
found himself manhandled by Saudi forces and forced to resign.
UN’s report also detailed the results of an inquiry into the murder of Saudi
a former advocate of the Saudi royal court who later became a critic of bin
Salman, was killed and his body was dismembered by a Saudi hit squad after
being lured into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, last year.
Washington Post, for which Khashoggi was a columnist, reported in November last
year that the CIA had concluded that Bin Salman personally ordered his killing.
Riyadh strongly denies the allegation, claiming that the murder has been
carried out by a “rogue” group.
believed to be bin Salman’s right-hand man, is one of the highest-profile
figures implicated in the brutal assassination of Khashoggi.
to reports, Qahtani has not been charged with any crime and continues to work
closely with the crown prince despite being dismissed from his official
parliamentarians gathered in Cairo on Wednesday urged the United Nations to
list Yemen’s Houthi militia as a “terrorist organization” while accusing it of
attacks on Saudi Arabia.
Houthis have intensified attacks in the past few weeks against the kingdom,
which launched military operations in Yemen in 2015 as part of a coalition to
push back against the Shiite militia.
parliament of the Arab League decided on Wednesday to “ask the UN and the
Security Council to take a firm and immediate position by classifying the
putschist Houthi militia a terrorist organization.”
body made up of representatives from the parliaments in the pan-Arab bloc
accused the Houthis of “regularly targeting civilian and vital infrastructure
in Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles or drones.”
June 12, a missile fired at Abha airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia wounded
dozens of civilians - in an attack claimed by the Houthis.
Houthis also claimed responsibility for a series of drone strikes on Saudi
Arabia, including an attack that damaged two oil pipeline pumping stations on
Arabia accuses its regional arch-rival Iran of being behind the attacks, either
directly or through supporting the Houthi militia.
Wednesday, the parliamentarians meeting in Cairo also asked the Arab League to
put before the UN Security Council “the issue of Iran’s threats and
The Arab Parliament announced on Wednesday that it has designated the
Iranian-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist group for its role in deliberately
targeting civilians and civilian installations, calling on the League of Arab
States and the UN to take similar action.
resolution was issued during an Arab Parliament meeting in Cairo in the wake of
the “terrorist attack on civilian installations in Saudi Arabia and commercial
vessels in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates and the Sea of
Oman,” reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
Arab Parliament called on the UN and the Security Council to adopt a firm and
immediate position to classify the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization;
for its flagrant violation of international law and its deliberate targeting of
civilian and vital installations in Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles and
also called on the world body to also pursue its leaders, financiers and
supporters, whether they are states or groups.
bin Fahm Al-Sulami, spokesperson of the Arab Parliament, said the Parliament
will not condone any group targeting civilian areas, such as the Houthi attacks
on neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia.
attacks are a war crime,” he said.
also mentioned that the Houthis are threatening Yemeni MPs for attending parliament
sessions. The parliament condemned in the strongest terms the Houthi attack
targeting two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom’s Abha
International Airport in the southwest.
also condemned the sabotage of four commercial vessels of a number of countries
near the UAE’s territorial waters and two vessels for transporting oil in the
Sea of Oman, affirming its full solidarity with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in
maintaining their security and stability and the measures they take to protect their
security and the safety of their citizens.
Arab Parliament denounced Iran’s negative interference in the internal affairs
of Arab countries, directly or indirectly, as well as threatening to close the
Strait of Hormuz, which is an international strait for international navigation
and can not be attacked or harmed, or to mobilize its terrorist organizations
within Arab countries to destabilize security and stability.
parliament also denounced the continued launching of Iranian-made ballistic missiles
by the Houthi militia on Saudi Arabia, which has seen more than 225 rockets
launched toward the Kingfom and have even targeted toward the holy city of
Arab Parliament gave its full support for the resolutions issued by the Arab
emergency summit held in Makkah in May, calling on the Arab League to raise the
issue of Iranian threats and its interference in the internal affairs of Arab
countries to the UN Security Council to halt these interventions.
Parliament called on the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and the
Inter-Parliamentary Union to shoulder their responsibilities toward Iran’s
violation of Yemen’s sovereign rights and the smuggling of weapons and
ballistic missiles to the Houthi militia with the aim of destabilizing the
region and maintaining chaos. It also urged the UN to compel Iran to comply
with Security Council Resolution 2216, which prohibits the supply of arms to
Arab Parliament also condemned the continuing Iranian interference in Bahrain’s
internal affairs, including the formation and support of militias, supporting
extremist groups and terrorist organizations, training terrorists, supplying
weapons and fueling sectarianism to destabilize security and stability in the
also condemned Iran’s continued occupation of three occupied islands of the
United Arab Emirates: Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa, and stressed its
full support for the UAE in all its actions to restore its three islands.
US Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday issued an emergency order
prohibiting US operators from flying in an overwater area of Tehran-controlled
airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman due to heightened
a separate advisory to operators, FAA said according to flight tracking
applications, the nearest civil aircraft was operating within around 45 nautical
miles of a US Global Hawk drone when it was shot down by an Iranian
surface-to-air missile this week.
were numerous civil aviation aircraft operating in the area at the time of the
intercept,” FAA said.
agency said it remained concerned about the escalation of tension and military
activity within close proximity to high volume civil aircraft routes as well as
Iran’s willingness to use long-range missiles in international airspace with
little or no warning.
Pentagon on Thursday released an image it said showed the flight path for the
drone that was shot down by Iran, but did not immediately provide a detailed
explanation of the image.
US release of the image appeared to be an effort to bolster its case that the
drone was shot down in international airspace.
said it was on a spy mission over its territory and was shot down in Iranian
US official said the drone was a US Navy MQ-4C Triton.
reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false,” said Navy Captain Bill
Urban, a spokesman for the US military’s Central Command.
was an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace,”
President Donald Trump will be meeting later on Thursday with senior Pentagon
officials to determine the nature of the response against Iran.
General Joseph T. Guastella, speaking from al-Udeid air base in Qatar, said in
a Pentagon briefing that the US drone did not enter Iranian airspace, adding
that Iran’s downing was “escalatory” and “irresponsible.”
Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeted on Thursday saying that the US is waging
“economic terrorism” on the republic, adding that Tehran will complain to the
UN over drone aggression.
US wages #EconomicTerrorism on Iran, has conducted covert action against us
& now encroaches on our territory,” his tweet said.
the same tweet, Zarif said that Iran does not seek war, but will “zealously”
defend its skies, land, and waters.
US wages #EconomicTerrorism on Iran, has conducted covert action against us
& now encroaches on our territory.
don't seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters.
take this new aggression to #UN & show that the US is lying about
PM - Jun 20, 2019
people are talking about this
take this new aggression to #UN & show that the US is lying about
international waters,” he added.
House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Thursday that United States efforts
to cut off Iran’s oil export revenues through sanctions are succeeding.
we’re trying to do here, which is succeeding, is to cut off their export
revenues. They sell oil, they sell petrochemiclas, they sell iron and steel,”
Navarro said in an interview with Fox News.
certainly working – it’s working beautifully.”
borders “represent our red line,” the head of the country’s powerful
Revolutionary Guard warned after Tehran said it shot down a US drone over its
waters on Thursday.
response to the drone was “a clear message” from the “defenders of the borders”
of Iran, said Hossein Salami, quoted by Tasnim news agency.
will “respond to all foreign aggression and our reaction is, and will be,
categorical and absolute,” Salami added.
comments come hours after the Revolutionary Guard said it shot down a US-made
surveillance drone in Iranian airspace near the Strait of Hormuz, just a week
after attacks on two tankers in the strategic waterway.
US military confirmed the incident and said that it took place in international
airspace, challenging Iran’s account that the US aircraft had been flying over
Arab coalition said on Thursday that the Iranian-backed Houthi militia launched
late on Wednesday a projectile at a desalination plant in al-Shuqaiq city, in
the southern province of Jizan in Saudi Arabia, state news agency SPA reported.
coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki said security forces were working to
determine what type of projectile had been used.
added that the projectile did not cause any casualties or damage.
Reuters reported that US President Donald Trump has been briefed on the details
of a missile strike in Saudi Arabia, citing White House spokeswoman Sarah
Arabian officials have been forced to suspend air traffic at an airport in the
southern province of Jizan following yet another major drone attack by Yemeni
resistance forces in retaliation for the kingdom's ongoing war against the
Yahya Saree, the spokesman for Yemeni Armed Forces, said that the attacks on
Thursday by the Yemeni Air Force saw indigenous Qasif-2K drone destroy a number
of targets at the Jizan Airport.
to Al Masirah television network, the air traffic remained suspended as of the
time of this writing.
attack was yet another testament to the Yemeni resistance forces' expanding
power in responding to the years-long Saudi war against the country, which has
killed thousands of people since it started in March 2015.
Houthi Ansarullah movement has so far carried out several high-profile drone
and missile attacks against vital targets across Saudi Arabia, successfully
bypassing the advanced air defenses of the kingdom which are mostly provided by
has advanced techniques, US systems, spread throughout Saudi Arabia, cannot
intercept them," Saree said.
also pointed that Yemeni ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones are
able to hit any targets in Saudi Arabia and that strikes will not be limited to
Najran, Jizan and Asir which are closer to Yemeni territories.
warned the Riyadh regime that Yemen was going to broaden its "deterrence
general also confirmed that Yemen had the ability to continuously manufacture
missiles and drones for the years to come despite an aerial and maritime
blockade by Saudi Arabia and its allies.
also underlined Yemen's "full right and legitimacy" in responding to
snipers hunt 11 Saudi soldiers in Jizan and Najran
to Al Masirah, sniper units of Yemen's Army and Popular Committees targeted 11
Saudi mercenaries in 24 hours.
Yemeni forces also fired a short range Zilzal 1 missile as well as a Bader F
ballistic missile at gatherings of US-Saudi mercenaries in Najran.
The World Food Programme has begun the partial suspension of aid in areas of
Yemen under Houthi control.
move announced Thursday comes after the UN agency warned this week that the
Iran-backed militia was diverting food away from those most in need.
suspension will start in Sanaa, affecting 850,000 people, WFP said. The city is
the former capital of Yemen where the Houthis seized power from the
internationally recognized government in 2014, sparking the conflict.
organization said the decision was taken as a last resort after negotiations
stalled to introduce controls to prevent food being diverted away from those
who needed it by Houthi officials.
in any conflict zone, some individuals seek to profit by preying on the
vulnerable and diverting food away from where it is most needed,” the WFP said.
has been seeking the support of the Sana’a-based authorities to introduce a
biometric registration system that would prevent diversion and protect the
Yemeni families we serve, ensuring food reaches those who need it most.
we are yet to reach agreement.”
agency said it will maintain support in the city for malnourished children,
pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Beasley, the WFP’s executive director, warned the Houthis Monday that aid would
be suspended unless the militants immediately implement registration and
said up to 60 percent of beneficiaries at seven centers in Sanaa “confirmed
they had not received any assistance.”
are dying right now because of this”, Beasley told the UN Security Council.
fighting claims over 40 lives within 24 hours
June 19 (Xinhua) -- More than 40 fighters with majority of them the
anti-government militants had been killed elsewhere in the militancy-battered
country over the past 24 hours, officials said Wednesday.
government forces in the latest crackdown against militants launched airstrikes
against a Taliban hideout in Farah Rod district of the western Farah province
on Wednesday, killing four armed insurgents on the spot, provincial police
spokesman Mohibullah Mohib said.
a fighting between security forces and the Taliban fighters for the control of
Shuhada district in northern Badakhshan province claimed nine lives including
seven militants and two security personnel on the same day, an army spokesman
Abdul Hadi Jamal confirmed.
more militants sustained injuries in the fighting, according to the official.
clash between Taliban fighters and police in Yahya Khil district of eastern
Paktika province on Wednesday morning claimed the lives of one police officer
and three militants, police spokesman in the province Shah Mohammad Aryan said.
to Aryan, three more police and three militants were injured in the firefight
which lasted for three hours.
fighting for the control of the strategically important Ghormach district in
the western Badghis province had left 25 militants dead and injured 16 others
since Tuesday, army spokesman Mohammad Hanif Rezai reported without providing
information on the possible casualties of the security personnel.
Taliban and government forces have intensified operations recently.
Taliban and ISIS militants renounce violence in Nangarhar province
group of 24 Taliban and ISIS militants renounced violence and joined peace
process in Nangarhar province.
Governor’s Office of Nangarhar in a statement said Wednesday the Taliban and
ISIS militants renounced violence due to the efforts of provincial intelligence
statement further added that militants have vowed not to return to the
the governor of Nangarhar Shah Mahmood Mia Khel said 7 ISIS militants and 17
Taliban fighters renounced violence and joined peace process.
Khel further added that the militants also handed over their weapons to
also added that the militants were involved in destructive activities in Surkh
Rod, Chaparhar, Khogyani, Momandara, Lalpur and Ghani Khel districts.
to Mia Khel, around 550 ISIS and Taliban militants have renounced violence in
Nangarhar province since the start of the year.
security forces killed 6 Taliban militants during the operations in Farah and
security forces also detained 4 others during the same operations.
informed military sources said Thursday that the Afghan Special Forces killed 2
Taliban militants during an operation in Bala Boluk district of Farah.
Special forces also wounded another Taliban fighter and destroyed 1,000 pounds
of Hashish and a small cache of weapons.
the security forces conducted an airstrike in Bala Boluk district and killed 4
Afghan Special Forces also detained 4 Taliban militants during a separate
operation in Khash Rod district of Nimroz province.
security forces killed four Taliban militants including one of their key
commanders during the operations in Farah province.
Police Headquarters of Farah in a statement said the Afghan Special Forces
killed a key Taliban commander and his fighter during an operation in
statement further added that the Special Forces also wounded another Taliban
militant during the same operation.
Special Forces also confiscated 50,000 kilograms of opium, 4400 rounds of
amunition, 5 weapons, 7 motorycles and 4 vehicles during the operation.
Police Headquarters of Farah also added that Special Forces destroyed the
confiscated opium and munitions together with two compounds of Taliban and drug
lab of the group.
the Police Headquarters of Farah said a coalition airstrike killed two
militants of Taliban commander Mawlavi Esmat in Qala-e-Nasrullah area of Bala
airstrike also destroyed a vehicle packed with explosives and weapon, the
Edith M. Lederer
NATIONS — All peace efforts in Afghanistan including a new initiative by
Germany and Qatar for talks among Afghans must be aimed at starting formal
negotiations between the government and the Taliban, the U.N. envoy for the
war-torn country said Wednesday.
Yamamoto told the Security Council he’s encouraged by increasing support for a
political settlement and called on countries “with direct contacts and with
influence over the Taliban to intensify their efforts toward this goal.”
deputy U.N. ambassador Jurgen Schulz said there is “great support” from the
Afghan government, other key political actors and civil society for an
“Intra-Afghan Dialogue Conference” in the Qatar capital Doha.
he said there are still “obstacles,” stressing the need for a united
international community to send the Taliban and other Afghan parties a clear
message “that it is time to talk about a common future.”
first talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government were scheduled to
start in late April in Qatar but were indefinitely postponed after a falling
out over the delegations that should attend.
the postponement, U.S. special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has met on
several occasions with the Taliban and has pressed for Afghan-to-Afghan talks,
had hoped the Qatar meeting would bring the sides closer to a “roadmap” for a
political efforts currently stalemated, Afghan government forces on the ground
face not only a resurgent Taliban but also militants from the Islamic State
report by U.N. experts circulated Wednesday said the number of Taliban
fighters, facilitators and non-combatants are estimated at approximately
experts monitoring sanctions against the Taliban said during the past 12
months, “control of 40 percent to 50 percent of Afghan territory was contested
between the Taliban and government forces.”
panel of expert said between 25 and 30 districts are now reported to be under
full Taliban control, roughly double the number it reported last year.
Taliban have continued to undermine the morale of the Afghan National Defense
and Security Forces by carrying out nocturnal attacks against isolated
checkpoints, aided by new supplies of night vision scopes and sniper rifles
arriving into Taliban arsenals,” the panel said.
simple yet effective tactic has aided the Taliban’s battle for control of rural
areas and is likely a key reason for the Afghan National Defense and Security
Forces ceding further ground to Taliban forces this year in an effort to
consolidate government-held areas without taking excessive casualties in remote
military outposts,” it said.
experts said the Taliban remain the primary partner for all “foreign terrorist
groups” operating in Afghanistan including al-Qaida, except for the Islamic
State extremist group. It said IS suffered military setbacks in the past year
“but Afghanistan remains its largest and most threatening manifestation”
outside Syria and Iraq.
Islamic State group “is still assessed as commanding between 2,500 and 4,000
fighters” and it has carried out a series of attacks, the experts said.
experts noted that the Taliban took advantage of parliamentary elections last
October “to harass overstretched government forces and disrupt the process
panel said Afghan security officials are concerned about preparations for
presidential elections scheduled for September 28th.
observed that it would be difficult to fight the Taliban and protect the
elections at the same time, as had proved to be the case with parliamentary
elections in October 2018,” the experts said.
envoy Yamamoto said the U.N. is working with the new Independent Electoral
Commission and Election Complaints Commission, both headed by women for the
first time, in all aspects of election preparations.
Afghan political leaders have been invited to a peace conference in the scenic
town of Bhurban ahead of President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Islamabad.
Afghan prime minister and Hizb-e-Islami chief Engineer Gulbuddin Hekmatyar is
among the senior Afghan politicians who have confirmed participation, a Hizb
leader Ghairat Baheer confirmed to Daily Times from Kabul late Thursday that
Hekamtyar would lead a delegation of his party in the conference on June 22.
other important leaders include head of the High Peace Council Mohammad Karim
Khalili, presidential candidate Haneef Atmar, Jamiat-e-Islami leader Ustad Atta
Mohammad Noor, former minister Younas Qanooni and former governor Ismail Khan.
Lahore Center for Peace Research (LCPR) and the South Asian Strategic Stability
Institute (SASSI) are organising the event.
30 senior Afghan leaders have been invited to the conference and the list seen
by Daily Times also has the name of former president Hamid Karzai among the
guests. However, Karzai’s participation has not yet been confirmed.
sources say Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will also speak at the
meeting while President Arif Alvi will host a dinner for the senior Afghan
conference has assumed importance in view of the growing activities to press
for political solution to the Afghan conflict. The Bhurban conference will
provide opportunity for the Afghan leaders and Pakistani experts to exchange
views on peace process.
the conference is being organised by two independent think tanks, the event is
part of Pakistan’s effort to establish close contacts with cross section of
Afghan society, which will help Pakistanis understand Afghan perspective from
important political leaders.
of leaders from cross section of Afghan society will also diversify Pakistan’s
closer engagement and contacts with all ethnic groups in Afghanistan.
conference underscores Pakistan’s desire to strengthen progress made by
Afghanistan despite enormous challenges in human rights and women development.
is a private initiative, which provided an opportunity to new government in
Pakistan to engage with movers and shakers of Afghan people opinions in a
positive, academic setting.
event will also provide a greater depth and meaning to Ghani’s June 27 visit as
an important people-to- people interaction. More such interactions are now
required in both countries.
list of the invitees include Hamid Karzai, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Maulavi Abdul
Hakim Muneeb, Anwar ul Haq Ahadi, Dr Ghairat Baheer, Haneef Atmar, Omer
Zakhilwal, Umar Daudzai, Madam Fauzia Kofi, Latif Pidram, Mansoor, Mir wais
Yasini, Pir Hamid Gillani, Ishaq Gillani, Qutbuddin Hilal, Habibur Rahman
Hekmatyar, Arghandiwal, Attaullah Wahidyar, Ustad Karim Khalili, Ustad Atta
Mohammad Noor, Abdur Rasheed Dostum, Ahmad Zia Masood, Ahmad wali Masood,
Younus Qanooni, Alhaj Mohammad Islamail Khan, Salahud din Rabbani, Mohammad
Saeed Hashemi, Mohammad Mohaqiq, Mohammad Karim Khalili, Atif Mashal, and
Aminullah Jan Mujadidi.
BAZAR, Bangladesh, June 20 (Reuters) - Rohingya Muslim refugees in camps in
Bangladesh long to go back to their homes in Myanmar but a Bangladeshi official
said on Thursday things were still too volatile for a safe return.
than 700,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh in 2017, according to U.N.
agencies, after a crackdown by Myanmar's military sparked by Rohingya insurgent
attacks on the security forces.
hundred Rohingya refugees rallied at the Kutupalong camp, near the southeast
Bangladeshi city of Cox's Bazar, on Thursday to mark World Refugee Day.
more refugee life, we want to return to our homeland," the refugees
held up placards that read: "We want a life of freedom, peace and
regards Rohingya Muslims as illegal migrants from the Indian subcontinent.
investigators have said the 2017 Myanmar military operation that drove more the
Rohingya into Bangladesh was executed with "genocidal intent" and
included mass killings, gang rapes and widespread arson.
Buddhist Myanmar denies widespread wrongdoing and says the military campaign
across hundreds of villages in the north of Rakhine State was in response to
the attacks by Rohingya insurgents.
year, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed to begin to repatriate the refugees but the
plan has been opposed by many of the refugees, who want Myanmar to agree to
certain conditions first.
U.N. refugee agency and aid groups are also doubtful about the plan as they
fear for the safety of Rohingya in Myanmar.
situation is volatile there due to fighting between the army and insurgent
groups," said Abul Kalam, Bangladesh's refugee relief and repatriation
commissioner, who visited the refugees on Thursday.
we're still trying to begin repatriation as soon as possible."
UN Secretary General’s Special envoy for Afghanistan Tadamachi Yamamoto has
said the common message to Taliban regarding peace process is clear, insisting
that the group should directly engage with the Afghan government.
made the remarks while briefing the UN Security Council on late on Wednesday.
UN envoy further added that the Taliban group should come to the table and
negotiate directly with the Afghan government.
said “I am encouraged by signs of increasing consultations between countries
leading these initiatives in support of a political settlement. The common
message to the Taliban is clear: come to the table and negotiate directly with
the Afghan Government.”
also added that “I call upon those countries with direct contacts and with
influence over the Taliban to intensify their efforts towards this goal.”
he emphasized that ultimately, there is no substitute for the Afghan people
taking ownership and advancing their inclusive dialogue towards a peace
UN envoy also added that the government and political leaders must foster
consensus and create structured arrangements to effectively represent the
interests of all Afghan people in their engagement with the Taliban.
the meantime, the UN envoy emphasized that preparations for the presidential
elections should not distract from the necessary work.
comes as efforts are underway to launch direct peace talks between the Afghan
government and Taliban group.
Lanka’s main prosecutor directed the acting police chief to carry out an
investigation into nine officers who are suspected of failing to help prevent
the Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 250 people, a document showed.
than 250 people including 42 foreigners were killed in the attacks, for which
ISIS group has claimed responsibility.
attacks sent shockwaves through the Indian Ocean island state, which had
enjoyed relative peace since a civil war ended a decade ago.
are hereby directed to initiate criminal investigations with regard to the lapses
of the above officers to prevent/minimize the above attacks,” the Attorney
General wrote in a letter to the acting police chief seen by Reuters. The
letter named the nine senior police officers.
three advance intelligence reports from India on pending attacks, Sri Lanka’s
top defence officials failed to act before the Easter day suicide bombings by
Islamist militants that targeted three churches and three luxury hotels.
said the attacks were carried out by two little-known domestic groups: the
National Thawheedh Jamaath (NTJ) and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim.
Sri Lanka's main prosecutor directed the acting police chief to carry out an
investigation into nine officers who are suspected of failing to help prevent
the Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 250 people, a document showed.
than 250 people including 42 foreigners were killed in the attacks, for which
Daesh has claimed responsibility. The attacks sent shockwaves through the
Indian Ocean island state, which had enjoyed relative peace since a civil war
ended a decade ago.
are hereby directed to initiate criminal investigations with regard to the
lapses of the above officers to prevent/minimize the above attacks," the
Attorney General wrote in a letter to the acting police chief seen by Reuters.
The letter named the nine senior police officers.
three advance intelligence reports from India on pending attacks, Sri Lanka's
top defence officials failed to act before the Easter day suicide bombings by
militants that targeted three churches and three luxury hotels.
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