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Islamic World News (11 Mar 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)


Kuala Lumpur Says Foreign Militants Eyeing Malaysia as Safe Haven

















Two petitioners are protesting against new policies that restricts children from conducting Muslim prayers within school compound.

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Kuala Lumpur Says Foreign Militants Eyeing Malaysia as Safe Haven

Yoursay: No Double Standards, Go After Zakir Naik Too

Diversity Is Part of Human Nature, Says Muslim World League Chief Al-Issa

Curbs Imposed On Religious Parties at the Behest of US, India: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F

Pakistan Hindu Council Has Passed A Unanimous Resolution Against Indian Aggression

Madrasas Spread Religious Education, Not Terrorism: US Entrepreneur, Frank Islam

Samjhauta Blast Case Verdict on March 14, Court Reserves Order: 10 Points

Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Lived Next To US Afghan Base: Biography

Israel ‘Not A State of All Its Citizens,’ Netanyahu Says

Kenya: Parents Sue over Ban on Islamic Prayers at School

UK Studying How to Get Children Of ISIS Followers Out Of Syria

 

Southeast Asia

Kuala Lumpur Says Foreign Militants Eyeing Malaysia as Safe Haven

Yoursay: No Double Standards, Go After Zakir Naik Too

China Protests US Criticism of Its Policies on Muslim, Tibetan Buddhist Minorities

Kit Siang: Nik Aziz Saw Non-Muslim As Allies, But PAS Now Makes Them Targets

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Arab World

Diversity Is Part of Human Nature, Says Muslim World League Chief Al-Issa

US Army, SDF Help Thousands of ISIL Terrorists Move out of Eastern Deir Ezzur

Raqqa: US Army Choppers Rescue ISIL Commanders Holding Valuable Intel

Syria now facing economic war through sanctions: Assad

85% of Kuwaitis reject cooperation with Israeli regime, survey finds

Syrian Democratic Forces begin attack on Daesh's last enclave

Saudi film to premiere in Vox cinemas for first time

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Pakistan

Curbs Imposed On Religious Parties at the Behest of US, India: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F

Pakistan Hindu Council Has Passed A Unanimous Resolution Against Indian Aggression

Moot for encouraging culture of dialogue to promote peace

The Christian Science Monitor names PM Imran Khan on list for Peace Prize

Iran calls upon Pakistan to take ‘decisive’ action against militants

Pakistan Must Realise That Any Action against JeM Is In Its Own Interest

2 Pakistani-Origin ISIS Brides Lose British Citizenship: Report

Ties with US going to take a new turn, says Qureshi

Pakistan concerned over Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia

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India

Madrasas Spread Religious Education, Not Terrorism: US Entrepreneur, Frank Islam

Samjhauta Blast Case Verdict on March 14, Court Reserves Order: 10 Points

Surf Excel Advertisement Promoting Hindu-Muslim Harmony Theme Faces Flak

Pulwama terror attack mastermind believed to be killed in encounter: Officials

Lok Sabha Dates Clashing With Ramzan to Ensure Minorities Unable to Cast Votes: TMC Leader

Indian team’s visit to Pakistan for Indus River basin inspection postponed

Valley halts over summons to separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

3 terrorists killed in Pulwama gunbattle

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South Asia

Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Lived Next To US Afghan Base: Biography

Muslim Leader Says Bangladesh Should Take In ISIS Bride Shamima Begum

Suicide bomber and his companion arrested in Kabul: NDS

Dutch writer claims Mullah Omar lived within walking distance of U.S. base in Afghanistan

Three wounded in a magnetic IED explosion in Herat city

Prominent Taliban commander Maulana Mansoor killed in Paktika: MoI

Taliban leader Omar lived next to US Afghan base

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Mideast

Israel ‘Not A State of All Its Citizens,’ Netanyahu Says

Palestinian Authority cuts back wages in tax, prisoner dispute with Israel

Saudi war damages education sector in Yemen: UNICEF

Palestine’s Abbas appoints close ally as new prime minister

Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian youth in West Bank

Erdogan says US angered by Turkey’s independence

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Africa

Kenya: Parents Sue over Ban on Islamic Prayers at School

Nigeria: 50 Boko Haram Militants Killed

Malaysia deports Egyptians, Tunisian for alleged terror ties

‘Sudan opposition leader nabbed, sentenced to week in jail’

Libya declares state of emergency in Sirte

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Europe

UK Studying How to Get Children Of ISIS Followers Out Of Syria

Somali Teens in UK Sent Away To Escape Rising Knife Crime

Britain removes citizenship from two more Daesh brides: report

Brussels will have to look at a future where Al Assad rules Syria

Smuggled Babylonian relic to be handed back to Iraq

ISIS cells are planning their revenge says imprisoned Italian fighter

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North America

'Never-ending' numbers in last IS scrap shock US-backed fighters

US, France, UK in talks to prolong Syria presence: Bolton

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/kuala-lumpur-says-foreign-militants-eyeing-malaysia-as-safe-haven/d/117992

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Kuala Lumpur Says Foreign Militants Eyeing Malaysia as Safe Haven

March 11, 2019

Malaysian police said yesterday that it has uncovered a plan by foreign militants to use the country as a "safe haven" transit and logistics centre, following the collapse of terrorist outfit Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the Middle East.

The militants plan to marry local women to get spousal visas to enable them to live in Malaysia, or to remain in the country by using education facilities, or by being involved in business, Malaysia's police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement yesterday.

His statement accompanied the announcement of the deportation of seven foreigners, some of whom he said were planning to launch large-scale attacks in several countries.

Several suspected foreign militants were captured in Malaysia in recent months, including last month. They were registered as students of colleges or as lecturers.

Two Malaysians were also nabbed by anti-terror police in the raids last month.

Inspector-General of Police Fuzi said that investigations by the Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division found that the foreign terrorists were trying to make Malaysia a base.

"We view seriously the infiltration of foreign terrorist fighters in the country due to the defeat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," he said.

"These foreign terrorist fighters could also set up base here to attack another country, or by even launching attacks in Malaysia," he added.

Malaysian police have in recent years captured foreign militants who were using Malaysia, including Sabah, as a transit point between the Middle East and the southern Philippines - the home base of several militant groups, some of which are affiliated to ISIS.

Tan Sri Fuzi said that the suspected militants have been deported to their countries of origin and blacklisted to prevent them from entering Malaysia again.

They included five men who admitted to being members of Egypt's Ikhwanul Muslimin, or Muslim Brotherhood.

Rights groups say they are concerned that members of the Muslim Brotherhood may face possible torture in Egypt, as it is branded a terrorist group in the country.

The police chief said a Tunisian and an Egyptian, who were members of Ansar al-Sharia al-Tunisia, a group listed as a terrorist outfit by the United Nations, were among those deported.

"This terror group is suspected of being involved in plans to launch large-scaled attacks in other countries," he said in the statement, referring to the Tunisian group. He did not say which countries were being targeted in the planned attacks.

"Three suspects - a Malaysian man and woman, together with an Egyptian man - were nabbed in Serian, Sarawak, for concealing information on the presence of Ansar al-Shariah al-Tunisia's operatives who transited in Malaysia," Mr Fuzi said. "They protected them and acted as a facilitator in providing lodging, jobs and purchasing of flight tickets."

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/kl-says-foreign-militants-eyeing-malaysia-as-safe-haven

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Yoursay: No double standards, go after Zakir Naik too

March 11, 2019

'He takes great pleasure in running down other religions to the delight of his Muslim audiences.'

David Dass: Only morons and extremely foolish individuals would insult Islam or the prophet or any religion knowing what the consequences could be. The current crackdown should serve as a warning to all.

While it is okay for Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa to speak so firmly about people who insult Islam, he should be equally firm about those who insult other religions.

Nothing that has happened so far can equal using a cow’s head as football as a deliberate provocation of the Hindus and the desecration of the consecrated host sacred to Catholics by two Malay journalists.

No major action was taken against any of them. And then, there is preacher Zakir Naik who takes great pleasure in running down other religions to the delight of his Muslim audiences.

All should respect all religions. No one should show disrespect to other religions. That said, a line should be drawn on intellectual discussions involving interpretations of holy books that could adversely impact the rights of non-believers.

Not Convinced: If we are to take action against those who are sowing religious hatred, then at least make sure that there are no double standards.

Apart from Zakir Naik, the authorities should have taken action against Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali.

Instead, he was left off the hook for his ‘burn bibles’ call in 2014 because, according to the then BN government, “he was only defending the sanctity of Islam”.

FairMind: Indeed, insults against Islam and the prophet are clearly not acceptable, just like insults on other religions.

Surely, insults against PAS interpretation of “syariah-compliant” lies and legitimacy of Umno’s kleptocracy because it is for unifying the Muslims for the sake of personal enrichment of the leaders of PAS and Umno have their justification.

They themselves have made the non-Muslims misunderstand the true and good teachings of the prophet and Islam.

Shouldn't the first task of Mujahid and the police be to catch those people who have conveyed the falsehood in the teachings of Islam that result in the misunderstanding of a good religion?

Honestly, other faiths don't understand why a bad thing such as lying and stealing in their own faiths are considered permissible in another religion.

They can't understand how turbaned and five-times-a-day mosque-going PAS/Umno leaders can amass immense, unexplained wealth and own expensive cars and properties that ordinary Malaysians cannot even dream of and yet tell their followers their lies are sanctioned by God and that people of other faiths have stolen their wealth.

People want to know how a pious and top religious leader can gloat over how he is being clever to receive monies belonging to the sweat and tears of the rakyat, lie about it and go around across the country promoting the giver as his “bossku”.

The first priority is to educate and explain to the people of other faiths, instead of catching them when they are misled by the very persons who should be upholding the good teaching of Islam.

People are frustrated. They want to ask these questions but they are not good in putting it in words and hence have written in a way that appears to have insulted Islam and the prophet.

Many educated Malays would also like to know the answers to these questions, too.

The Wakandan: This (monitoring religious insults) is a dangerous move. We do not need the secret police in Malaysia to breath down our necks monitoring what we do.

This is against human rights and our freedom of expression. We already have all those repressive laws, we do not need to add any more to them.

Besides, there is no clear boundary on what constitutes an insult. It can be abused to victimise people that they do not like.

All in all, a repressive measure. The people do not deserve this.

Anonymous 673761437718749: We voted for Harapan so that we can build a New Malaysia which is fair to all, regardless of skin colour, race and religious belief.

Insulting other religions and races should be monitored and not only for Islam alone.

Kural: Insulting another’s religion is obviously provocative. Seeking clarification on faith-based principles and any possible misrepresentations ought to be distinguished from insulting. Espousing religious prerogatives indiscriminately should be proscribed.

Needless to say, a number of prominent faith-based civilisations have for centuries confronted the ‘reformation’ passion of ordinary adherents to unfavourable facets of institutionalised religion and it seems this accommodation, even when accorded grudgingly, has resulted in improved human development and social progress.

Kader: We need a (Racial and Religious) Harmony Act. The play on anybody’s race or religion for any reason whatsoever should be severely dealt with.

Now with the “marriage” of PAS and Umno, the play on race and religion, especially baiting the non-Malays/non-Muslims into difficult situations will become the norm.

Desperate people will resort to anything, even to the extent of destabilising the country. Laws must be put in place to stop this on the onset. There must be a clear separation of religion and race in politics.

Anonymous_3af6378a: We should have a special unit formed to monitor politicians and (so-called) religious leaders who insult our intelligence. Round them up and kick them out.

Old Fella: What about insults against Gautama Buddha, Lao Tze, Lord Shiva, Guru Nanak, Jesus Christ?

Dizzer: @Old Fella, not forgetting Odin, Thor, Zeus, Osiris, Anansi, Ahura Mazda, Romelu Lukaku... you see the problem with this, right?

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https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/467372

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Diversity is part of human nature, says Muslim World League chief Al-Issa

March 10, 2019

LONDON: The world needs generations raised with an education that teaches them how to think, promotes accepting and respecting others, and instills a belief that diversity is part of human nature, according to Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL).

Al-Issa’s comments came during an address to the Wilton Park Forum, held for three days in the UK to discuss “Promoting Inclusive Citizenship,” with the support of the British government and the attendance of a number of religious, political and intellectual figures.

“All of our participations aim to protect human dignity, including protecting people’s rights and legitimate freedoms in the light of the constitutional provisions and laws,” he said. “We have also agreed on the importance of understanding the nature of diversity as a human nature that God has created and then guided people to dialogue for the sake of reaching mutual understanding, convergence and cooperation.”

Al-Issa quoted a verse from the Qur’an that says: “And if Allah had willed, He could have made you (of) one religion, but He causes to stray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And you will surely be questioned about what you used to do.”

The MWL chief added: “God has created diverse people, and had He willed, He could have made them one nation, which means there will be a negative difference between them and only an aware group of people will be able to overcome this difference by realizing God’s wisdom in diversity.”

He pointed out that the verse indicates that God created people for that diversity. “This invites us to reflect on the divine wisdom, the test it conveys, and the subsequent reward in the Hereafter,” he said. “If people were not diverse, they would have been a different creation like angels, who were created in one form.”

Al-Issa discussed the challenges facing inclusive citizenship, in particular the lack of awareness that often arises from a negative family or school environment, a negative general culture established by religious, political and legislative discourse as well as the negative discourse of civil society institutions, in addition to the availability of fair values in the vision, mission and objectives of each state.

“We must explore ways to treat this problem, review ideal global experiences in this regard, and learn the secret behind their success and excellence in inclusive citizenship and positive integration between their religious and ethnic diversities,” he said.

The MWL chief said that the most important problem associated with inclusive citizenship has to do with the foundations of the general culture, which requires the employment of effective practical programs that suit the conditions of each society.

“How great it would be to see everyone during national occasions at the height of convergence as they rally under the flag of one country, proving in practice that difference does not mean hatred or exclusion. It is also important to build inclusive moral institutions on the foundations of the citizenship project.”

“From here, we welcome the human harmony, or the human family, that exceeds the abstract meaning of fraternity imposed on us as a fate. Man is the brother of man, whether he wishes it or not. How great it would be if this harmony included everyone, not only in spiritual words or through the Abrahamic system so as not to fall into the taboo classification and exclusion of humanity in general.

“Spiritual people can also set their own framework for fraternity, harmony, or the faith family. For instance, the Abrahamic system in the human harmony project has a restriction that excludes half the population of the earth.

“Special groups, whether Abrahamic or otherwise, can cooperate in any productive work that is beneficial for them and for all mankind without bearing any exclusionary message on the subject of coexistence and human peace in general,” Al-Issa said.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1464736/saudi-arabia

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Curbs Imposed On Religious Parties at The Behest of US, India: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F

MARCH 11, 2019

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman on Sunday said that the country has bankrupted economically. Addressing a press conference in Multan on Sunday, he said that the country is being divided ideologically, adding that discussions to accept Israel are underway in the country. The JUI-F chief said, “I strongly condemn the civilization that was demonstrated on the International Women Day. Indian culture is being promoted in the country.”

Opposition parties are in contact with each other and they have complete support of the nation, he said. “India faced defeat in recent escalation,” Fazlur Rehman said and added Narendra Modi is using war hysteria to score points to win upcoming elections. The JUI-F chief said that Indian pilot should have been released after guarantee, adding that if former prime minister Nawaz Sharif or former president Asif Ali Zardari had released the pilot, they would have been accused of friends with the Indian PM. He went on to say that injustice is being done with Nawaz Sharif and the government was taking revenge by not providing him access to doctor. Fazlur Rehman said that restrictions have been imposed on religious parties at the behest of the United States and India.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/363768/curbs-imposed-on-religious-parties-at-the-behest-of-us-india-fazl/

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Pakistan Hindu Council Has Passed A Unanimous Resolution Against Indian Aggression

March 11, 2019

KARACHI / ISLAMABAD:  Pakistan Hindu Council has passed a unanimous resolution against Indian aggression and vowed to support brave Pak Army for defending motherland.

According to a press release issued on Sunday, the Managing Committee, during its meeting held at PHC House, also termed the recent visit of prominent parliamentarian Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani to India a remarkable peace initiative to defuse Pakistan-India regional tensions.

In order to acknowledge the successful Pakistan Movement, Pakistan Hindu Council also announced to dedicate upcoming Holi festival to Pakistan Day. Holi is occurring on 20th March 2019 as per Hindu lunar calendar.

“Every year the Holi festival reminds us of the victory of the good over evil. Also known as the festival of colours, it is celebrated all across the world and with every passing year, it is increasing popularity among all faiths,” the resolution said.

Pakistan Hindu Council, in connection with Holi festival and Pakistan Day, will hold a colorful mega event on Wednesday, 20th March 2019 at the Shri Panchumukhi Hanuman Temple, Soldier Bazar, Karachi. The event will start at 06:30PM, dignitaries will attend at 07:30PM while it will be concluded at 10:30PM.

On the occasion, a large number of Pakistani Hindu families, holding national flags, will be present to demonstrate their love for beloved Pakistan.

Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, who is also patron-in-chief of Pakistan Hindu Council, while talking to media, expressed that patriotic Pakistani Hindu community has decided to celebrate the Holi in a very unique way. He said that this year’s Holi festival will acknowledge the noble achievements of Quaid-e-Azam and our elders to organize historic Lahore Jalsa on 23rd March 1940 for passing Pakistan Resolution.

He also appealed to all segments of society to actively participate in Holi celebrations, emphasizing that their presence would deliver a positive message to show solidarity with Non-Muslim minorities, promote interfaith harmony, strengthen patriotic zeal and represent diverse Pakistani society, according to Quaid-e-Azam ‘s vision.

The meeting was attended by Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani (Patron), Gopal Khamuani (President), Parshotam Ramani (Gen. Secretary), Paman Lal Rathi (Joint Secretary), Bharat Kumar Mangalni (Finance Secretary), Prem Talreja (Advisor) and other members.

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/03/10/pakistan-hindu-council-dedicates-upcoming-holi-to-pakistan-day/

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Madrasas Spread Religious Education, Not Terrorism: US Entrepreneur, Frank Islam

March 10, 2019

Stressing that Madrasas spread religious education, a renowned US entrepreneur and civic leader has said that the Islamic institutions should start speaking out against terrorism of all types.

"Personally, I believe the vast majority of Madrasas are in the religious education business and not in the business of terrorism. The Madrasas cannot change this perception by themselves. What they can do is to speak out against terrorism of all types," Frank F. Islam said Sunday.

"More importantly, Madrasa representatives should join other religious leaders of various denominations and persuasions to advocate intercommunal peace and harmony in India," he told PTI.

"I have spoken on the need for collaboration at institutions such as Benares Hindu University (BHU) and my alma mater AMU on several occasions and will continue to do so," he added.

Terming Madrasa education in India as "not a formal systematic study", Islam said in order to change the perception, ecumenicism not isolationism was the need of the hour.

"The single general core challenge that I see is that the Madarsas provide an Islamic-centric education and in many cases an Islamic-only education. Literacy and knowledge are learned and interpreted through a religious lens," he said in an interview.

"This creates a myopia which retards a student's participation and socio-economic integration into society at large," he added.

There has never been a formal systematic study on the nature and state of Madrasa education throughout India, he said.

Only 2-4 per cent of students attend those schools across the country, he noted, adding that a majority of the Madrasas operate independently rather than as part of a structured and organised network.

"So, what may be true overall may not be accurate in a specific instance," he said.

Elaborating the remedies, Islam who hails from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh said the Madrasa educational curriculum needs to be diversified and balanced.

"There needs to be an emphasis on science, technology and mathematics in the early years and there needs to be vocational and technical training that prepares the student for employment and advancement later in the schooling process. What is required is 'ecumenicism not isolationism'," he said.

"The problem is that because of the independence of the Madrasas, it will be very difficult to implement and to get uniform compliance and acceptance of what I would call a bi-focal approach as opposed to an Islamic-only approach to education," he said.

"This difficulty is compounded by the fact that the the primary orientation of the faculty and administration of Madrasas is toward religious thought and action as opposed to academics or skills development," he added.

Describing the key hurdles, Islam said there were two main barriers.

"The first is the mindset of those running the Madrasas. Many of them would have what I label hardened values, attitudes and beliefs that were formed in their childhood and have been reinforced by what they have learned and done throughout their lives," he said.

"Thus, to change or to do something in a contrary or different way is extremely difficult," he added.

The second barrier is the governmental failure to provide the necessary support to ensure quality education for all regardless of caste or creed, he said.

"I recently learned that the AMU also has a bridge course to enable Madrasas graduates to join graduate courses at the university," he said.

"The course curriculum includes English, information technology, and personality development to prepare students for a transition from a purely secular and isolationist education to one that is more robust and integrative," he added.

https://www.business-standard.com/article/pti-stories/madrasas-spread-religious-education-not-terrorism-frank-islam-119031000272_1.html

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Samjhauta Blast Case Verdict on March 14, Court Reserves Order: 10 Points

by Mohammed Ghazali, Edited by Debjani Chatterjee

March 11, 2019

PANCHKULA:  A court in Haryana's Panchkula today reserved its order in the Samjhauta Express blast case till Thursday. The 12-year-old case saw a number of twists and turns, with the alleged mastermind found murdered and another out on bail. The NIA interrogated 290 witnesses and 30 among them turned hostile. Early morning on February 18, 2007, a terrible blast on Samjhauta Express - the bi-weekly train that runs between India and Pakistan - killed as many as 68 passengers including many Pakistanis.

Here are your ten facts about the Samjhauta Express blast of 2007

Blast took place close to Dewana railway station in Haryana's Panipat district, while on its way to Attari on the India-Pakistan border.

A special investigation team (SIT) was formed on February 20, 2007, to probe the case. It was finally handed over to the National Investigation Team (NIA) in 2010.

The investigators had initially believed that activists of the banned SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) were behind the blast, but later said that the attack was planned by a group with right-wing links.

NIA investigators found that an improvised explosive devise or IED and other munition were used to trigger the blast.

In its charge sheet, the NIA named, Naba Kumar Sarkar also known as Swami Aseemanand, Sunil Joshi, Lokesh Sharma, Sandeep Dange, Ramchandra Kalasangra, Rajinder Chaudhary and Kamal Chauhan as accused.

Sunil Joshi, the alleged mastermind, was found dead in 2007, in Madhya Pradesh's Dewas, while Ramchandra Kalasangra and Sandeep Dange could not be traced.

Aseemanand, a right-wing activist, who was allegedly involved in the Ajmer Dargah bombing and the Mecca Masjid blast in Hyderabad, is out on bail.

Aseemanand was acquitted in both the Ajmer Dargah bombing and the Mecca Masjid blast.

The special NIA court that acquitted Aseemanand held that his confessional statement was recorded when he was in police custody and that it was not "voluntary".

2007 saw three high profile terror attacks -- the Samjhauta Express blast in February, Mecca Masjid blast in May and the Ajmer Dargah bombing in October.

Source: ndtv.com/india-news/samjhauta-blast-case-nia-court-to-pronounce-verdict-in-attack-that-killed-68-people-in-2007-2005676

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Taliban leader Mullah Omar lived next to US Afghan base: Biography

Mar 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Taliban founder Mullah Omar lived within walking distance of US bases in Afghanistan for years, according to a new book that highlights embarrassing failures of American intelligence.

Washington believed the one-eyed, fugitive leader had fled to Pakistan, but the new biography says Omar was in fact living just three miles from a major US Forward Operating Base in his home province of Zabul before his death in 2013.

"Searching for an Enemy", by Dutch journalist Bette Dam, reveals the Taliban chief lived as a virtual hermit, refusing visits from his family and filling notebooks with jottings in an imaginary language.

Dam spent more than five years researching the book and interviewed Jabbar Omari, Omar's bodyguard who hid and protected him after the Taliban regime was overthrown.

According to the book, Omar listened to the BBC's Pashto-language news broadcasts in the evenings, but even when he learned about the death of al-Qaeda supremo Osama Bin Laden rarely commented on developments in the outside world.

Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 which led to the fall of the Taliban, the US put a USD 10 million bounty on Omar and he went into hiding in a small compound in the regional capital Qalat, Dam writes.

The family living at the compound were not told of the identity of their mystery guest, but US forces twice almost found him.

At one point, a US patrol approached as Omar and Omari were in the courtyard. Alarmed, the two men ducked behind a wood pile, but the soldiers passed without entering.

A second time, US troops even searched the house but did not uncover the concealed entrance to his secret room. It was not clear if the search was the result of a routine patrol or a tip-off.

Omar decided to move when the US started building Forward Operating Base Lagman in 2004, just a few hundred metres from his hideout.

He later moved to a second building but soon afterwards the Pentagon constructed Forward Operating Base Wolverine home to 1,000 US troops, and where American and British special forces were sometimes based — close by.

Despite his terror at being caught, he dared not move again, rarely even going outside and often hiding in tunnels when US planes flew over.

According to Dam, Omar would often only talk to his guard and cook, and used an old Nokia mobile phone, without a sim card, to record himself chanting verses from the Koran.

Omar's Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, and has waged an anti-government insurgency since then.

Omar, who delegated effective Taliban leadership after 2001, appears to have acted as more of a spiritual leader, and the militant movement kept his death in 2013 secret for two years.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/taliban-leader-mullah-omar-lived-next-to-us-afghan-base-biography/articleshow/68352309.cms

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Israel ‘not a state of all its citizens,’ Netanyahu says

March 11, 2019

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in full campaign mode ahead of April 9 polls, on Sunday said Israel “was not a state of all its citizens” in a reference to the country’s Arab population. The prime minister, in comments on Instagram, went on to say all citizens, including Arabs, had equal rights, but referred to a deeply controversial law passed last year declaring Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people.

“Israel is not a state of all its citizens,” Netanyahu wrote in response to comments from an Israeli actress. “According to the basic nationality law we passed, Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people — and only it. “As you wrote, there is no problem with the Arab citizens of Israel. They have equal rights like all of us and the Likud government has invested more in the Arab sector than any other government,” he said of his right-wing party. As the comments caused waves in Israel, Netanyahu again spoke of the issue at the start of a Cabinet meeting, making similar comments. He called Israel a “Jewish, democratic state” with equal rights, but “the nation-state not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people.”

Netanyahu has been accused of demonizing Israeli Arabs, who make up some 17.5 percent of the population, ahead of April polls in a bid to boost right-wing turnout.

He has continually warned that his opponents will receive the support of Arab parties and that they will make significant concessions to the Palestinians.

Netanyahu, under threat of indictment for corruption, is facing a tough challenge from a centrist political alliance led by former military Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and ex-Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

The alliance’s centrist positions and its security credentials — it includes three former military chiefs of staff — have helped it beat back Netanyahu’s claims that its leaders are “weak” leftists. Arab parties would be extremely unlikely to be part of any coalition government after elections.

Arab Israelis are Palestinians who remained on their land after the 1948 creation of Israel and are largely supportive of the Palestinian cause.

Netanyahu leads what is seen as the most right-wing government in Israel’s history and says he wants a similar coalition after the upcoming polls.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1464786/middle-east

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Kenya: Parents Sue Over Ban on Islamic Prayers at School

11 MARCH 2019

By Maureen Kakah

The battle over religious practice has once again been dragged to the courts.

In a suit filed by the Supreme Council of Kenya Muslims (Supkem) and a parent, the two petitioners are protesting against new policies that restricts their children from conducting Muslim prayers within the school compound.

DISCONTINUED

They argue that Muslim pupils at Oshwal Academy had been going home over lunch hour for their dhuhr (midday) prayers but they have since been stopped from doing so.

Since the introduction of the policy barring parents from picking their children over lunch hour, the pupils had resorted to conducting their prayers in the classrooms.

However, the school issued a directive banning them having prayers within the school compound.

According to the petitioners, the management said it would not allow "ritualistic prayers at the school as one can pray in his heart where God lives".

They said the directive is discriminatory against Muslims considering that Jain prayers are conducted during assemblies and opening days.

"The school's board is coercing and making veiled threats through circulars which demand that parents should commit that their children shall abide by the new policies lest their enrolment at the institution is discontinued," the parents said through lawyer Ali Mahmud Mohamed.

SECURITY

They argue that the threats are aimed at silencing them from pushing for their children to be allowed to exercise their religious rights, saying Muslim pupils should be allowed to conduct their prayers through the principle of accommodation under the right to equality.

The policy stopping parents from picking their children over lunch hour was introduced soon after the September 2013 Westgate terror attack that left 67 people dead. The school said the measure was taken for security reasons.

Pupils were also prevented from walking to the nearby Parklands mosque in 2017.

A further directive was issued by the principal barring Muslims from conducting their prayers in the classrooms in May last year.

Two circulars were issued this year regarding the same issue.

The circulars noted that it was an offence to hold Islamic prayers in the school compound and that one risks being expelled.

PUBLIC INTEREST

The policies also stress that the board has the absolute discretion to terminate enrolment of any pupil if his or her parent or guardian interferes with the school's running as a faith-based and academic-oriented institution.

In the suit documents, the parents and Supkem said the court needs to consider that Muslims pray five times in a day while bowing and making specific supplications.

They said Muslim pupils are now facing a violation of their right to education and freedom of religion, belief and opinion.

While noting that the issue of observance of Islamic prayers has never been adjudicated by superior courts, they said their case is a public interest matter.

The National Gender & Equality Commission, Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, National Cohesion and Integration Commission, Education Cabinet Secretary and the Attorney General have been enjoined in the suit.

https://allafrica.com/stories/201903110212.html

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UK studying how to get children of ISIS followers out of Syria

10 March 2019

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt says he is looking for ways to help the children of British citizens who joined ISIS extremist group in Syria.

Hunt told the BBC on Sunday that he and International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt are studying how the children could be brought to Britain without putting government officials at risk by sending them to Syria, The Associated Press reported.

He spoke after the newborn son of 19-year-old Shamima Begum, who at age 15 ran away with two friends to join ISIS, died Friday in a refugee camp.

Begum’s passport was revoked after she asked to be allowed back into Britain. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said she hadn’t shown remorse for the extremist group’s actions.

The Sunday Times reports similar actions were taken with two other British women with children in Syria.

Reema Iqbal, 30, and her sister Zara, 28, left east London for Syria in 2013, and between them now have five boys under the age of eight, The Sunday Times newspaper said.

Citing legal sources, the paper said they had been stripped of their British citizenship.

The pair, who are of Pakistani heritage, reportedly married into a terror cell linked to the murder of western hostages, according to AFP.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/03/10/UK-studying-how-to-get-children-of-ISIS-followers-out-of-Syria.html

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Southeast Asia

 

China Protests US Criticism of Its Policies on Muslim, Tibetan Buddhist Minorities

March 2019

HONG KONG: China has issued a protest over remarks the US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom made criticising Beijing's polices toward Muslim and Tibetan Buddhist minorities and saying the country was "at war with faith."

The foreign ministry's office in Hong Kong said the speech Sam Brownback gave Friday "slandered" China's religious policies.

It said it had registered its dissatisfaction Saturday with the US Consulate in the semi-autonomous Chinese region, where the speech was given.

China's constitution and laws protect freedom of religion and critics should "cease their slander of China's policies on religion and the situation with freedom of faith and cease using religious issues to interfere in China's internal affairs," the office said in a statement.

US officials and UN experts say China is believed to be holding 1 million Uighurs, Muslims and members of other majority Muslim ethnic groups in political education camps in Xinjiang.

The US and other governments have criticized the crackdown.

The Chinese government says those camps are vocational training centers designed to rid the region of extremism.

Brownback said President Donald Trump's administration is "deeply concerned and considered it a deliberate attempt by Beijing to redefine and control these Muslim minority groups, (their) identity, culture and faith."

He urged Beijing to grant free access to the camps to investigate claims of abuse of inmates.

More generally, Brownback said, China is "at war with faith."

"It's a war they will not win," he said.

"The Chinese Communist Party must hear the cry of its people for religious freedom."

Brownback was expected to meet local religious leaders and religious studies students and instructors while in Hong Kong.

The territory enjoys the freedom of speech and religion far beyond that in mainland China, where the officially atheist government keeps tight control over any potential challenges to its authority.

Brownback, the former governor of Kansas, was due to travel to Taiwan for a regional meeting on religious freedom Monday.

In his speech, the Catholic conservative called on China to release Wang Yi and John Cao Sanqiang, detained pastors in the "underground" church that operates independently of official government agencies.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2019/mar/10/china-protests-us-criticism-of-its-policies-on-muslim-tibetan-buddhist-minorities-1949260.html

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Kit Siang: Nik Aziz saw non-Muslim as allies, but PAS now makes them targets

10 March 2019

By Zurairi AR

KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has lamented today that PAS now sees non-Muslims as political targets, unlike the allegedly moderate and compassionate party it was under the late Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s spiritual leadership.

Lim said non-Malay-Muslim communities and groups are feeling threatened that they may be made scapegoats by PAS and Umno for many problems occurring in this country.

“PAS was a moderate and compassionate party believing in justice for all under the revered [Nik Abdul Aziz] when he was still alive,” Lim said in a statement.

“Sadly the PAS under Nik Abdul Aziz that sees non-Muslims as an ally against injustice and corruption is now no more, but replaced by an extremist PAS that sees non-Muslims as a target to attain political power.”

Nik Aziz died in February 2015 from prostate cancer.

Then Pakatan Rakyat, consisting of PKR, DAP and PAS, broke up in June that year after his demise.

The Iskandar Puteri MP today asked whether PAS is willing to shed its purported extremist image by withdrawing and apologising for its allegedly unconstitutional and seditious remarks.

He gave the example of PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s previous insistence that Malaysia should be led by the Malay-Muslims as they are the dominant community, therefore the group should hold the top decision-making positions in the Cabinet.

Full report at:

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2019/03/10/kit-siang-nik-aziz-saw-non-muslim-as-allies-but-pas-now-makes-them-targets/1731111

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Arab World

 

US Army, SDF Help Thousands of ISIL Terrorists Move out of Eastern Deir Ezzur

Mar 10, 2019

"Over 60,000 ISIL terrorists and their families have been helped out of Baghouz region in Eastern Deir Ezzur by the US and the US-backed militants since the beginning of last December," the Kurdish-language Bas news website quoted an informed SDF source as saying.

He noted that over half of the terrorists leaving Eastern Euphrates are Iraqi nationals, and the rest come from a variety of nations.

This comes as the US-led coalition and their allied militants are eyeing an agreement with terrorists to exit the areas under their control in Eastern Euphrates in a bid to declare the end of the ISIL in the region.

In a relevant development in late February, the Syrian sources said that the US Army transferred senior ISIL commanders to safe places in lieu of receiving over 50 tons of gold treasure from the terrorists.

According to the initial information obtained in Deir Ezzur, the US Army troops stationed in Al-Jazeera region of Eastern Euphrates agreed with the ISIL commanders to relocate them to safe places after receiving tens of tons of gold ingot that the terrorists had stolen from different parts of Syria and Iraq, the state-run SANA news agency reported.

The local sources, meantime, reported that the US Army took control of ISIL's 50 tons of gold treasure in Baqouz region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur after it had reached an agreement with the terrorists.

They pointed to the recent intensified movements by the US choppers concurrent with flights over several ISIL-controlled regions in Eastern Euphrates, and said that the US has conducted important heliborne operations in key areas where the ISIL commanders' hideouts are located and where the gold treasure was hidden.

In a relevant development earlier last month, a source close to Kurdish forces said that the US Army was taking ISIL's gold treasure that is estimated to weigh around 50 tons from Eastern Syria to America.

Bas News quoted a Kurdish source as saying that the Americans have transferred tens of tons of the gold ingots they have seized from the ISIL terrorists in Baghouz region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur to their own country and only kept a small portion of the treasure to be given to the Kurdish fighters.

The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity reiterated that about 50 tons of ISIL's gold has been sent to the US from the US military base in Kobani in Northeastern Aleppo.

The report comes as the US has been using the airport in Southern Kobani for transferring consignments and military equipment in recent years.

In a relevant development earlier last month, the US Army troops took out a sum of 40 tons of gold ingots belonging to the ISIL in heliborne operations after agreeing with the terrorist group and while Washington is preparing to announce the end of ISIL in Eastern Euphrates.

"The US troops in concordance with the ISIL terrorist group relocated big boxes packed with ISIL's gold treasure on several helicopters from al-Dashisheh region in Southern Hasaka," the SANA news agency quoted  local sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur as saying.

The sources pointed to boxes containing 40 tons of gold ingots that the ISIL had hidden in the Eastern part of al-Shadadi city, and said that the ISIL had stolen the treasure of gold from the Iraqi city of Mosul and different parts of Syria.

The US troops reportedly took out a group of ISIL terrorist commanders from Eastern Syria in two heliborne operations in Hajin region of Eastern Deir Ezzur and al-Dashisheh in Southern Hasaka and they were directed to the place where the gold treasure was hidden.

In a relevant development also last month, the London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) said the Washington-backed militants were trying to find and seize millions of dollars and at least 40 tons of gold left behind by the ISIL terrorist group.

The SOHR reported that the ISIL terrorists had stolen about 40 tons of gold and millions of dollars from the population once under their control in Iraq and Syria, which was later transferred to Eastern Euphrates in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

"The US-led coalition forces and the SDF deliberately do not target the areas under the control of the ISIL terrorists and commanders in Eastern Euphrates in Deir Ezzur as they are trying to locate this treasure by forcing the ISIL militants to speak about its location after surrendering," it quoted informed sources as saying.

They noted that part of the cash dollars and gold have been transferred from Turkey to the areas under the ISIL control by Turkish brokers and intelligence service who have close ties with the ISIL.

Meantime, an SDF Commander, Adnan Afrin, said that the ISIL is now under the siege of the SDF in an area no larger than one square kilometers in Eastern Euphrates.

In a relevant development earlier in February, a prominent Syrian military expert revealed that Washington plans to transfer the remnants of the ISIL terrorists from Eastern Euphrates to other regions through Turkey and Iraq.

The Sputnik quoted Brigadier General Mohammad Issa as saying that less than 600 ISIL militants are stationed in a 4-km/sq region in Eastern Euphrates who will be soon evacuated from the region to foreign territories.

He added that the operations to transfer these militants will be conducted similar to the operations earlier carried out to evacuate the ISIL terrorists from Raqqa, saying that the US forces will transfer them via Iraq or Turkey to some other Arab states for future operations.

Issa questioned the US forces' claims of fighting against the terrorist groups along with the SDF, stressing that the Syrian army will soon move to retake control over this region.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13971219000868

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Raqqa: US Army Choppers Rescue ISIL Commanders Holding Valuable Intel

Mar 10, 2019

The US-led coalition helped four senior ISIL commanders to escape Raqqa province in a heliborne operation that included six helicopters flying in al-Rafedin region in al-Tabaqa town in Southwestern Raqqa, local sources in Raqqa said.

The sources, meantime, noted that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had besieged the region where heliborne operations were conducted.

Meantime, the Arabic-language service of the Russian Sputnik News Agency said that the relocated ISIL terrorist commanders had previously fled to Raqqa after the Syrian and Russian armies conducted military operations to set free the city of al-Qoryatayn in Homs province.

It noted that the ISIL commanders most probably have secrets of the US Army troops with them.

In a relevant development last month, a source close to Kurdish forces said that the US Army was taking ISIL's gold treasure that is estimated to weigh around 50 tons from Eastern Syria to America.

The Kurdish-language Bas News quoted a Kurdish source as saying that the Americans have transferred tens of tons of the gold ingots they have seized from the ISIL terrorists in Baghouz region in Southeastern Deir Ezzur to their own country and only kept a small portion of the treasure to be given to the Kurdish fighters.

The source who spoke on the condition of anonymity reiterated that about 50 tons of ISIL's gold has been sent to the US from the US military base in Kobani in Northeastern Aleppo.

The report comes as the US has been using the airport in Southern Kobani for transferring consignments and military equipment in recent years.

In a relevant development also month, the US Army troops took out a sum of 40 tons of gold ingots belonging to the ISIL in heliborne operations after agreeing with the terrorist group and while Washington is preparing to announce the end of ISIL in Eastern Euphrates.

"The US troops in concordance with the ISIL terrorist group relocated big boxes packed with ISIL's gold treasure on several helicopters from al-Dashisheh region in Southern Hasaka," the SANA news agency quoted  local sources in Eastern Deir Ezzur said.

The sources pointed to boxes containing 40 tons of gold ingots that the ISIL had hidden in the Eastern part of al-Shadadi city, and said that the ISIL had stolen the treasure of gold from the Iraqi city of Mosul and different parts of Syria.

The US troops reportedly took out a group of ISIL terrorist commanders from Eastern Syria in two heliborne operations in Hajin region of Eastern Deir Ezzur and al-Dashisheh in Southern Hasaka and they were directed to the place where the gold treasure was hidden.

Also last month, the London-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR) said the Washington-backed militants were trying to find and seize millions of dollars and at least 40 tons of gold left behind by the ISIL terrorist group.

The SOHR reported that the ISIL terrorists had stolen about 40 tons of gold and millions of dollars from the population once under their control in Iraq and Syria, which was later transferred to Eastern Euphrates in Eastern Deir Ezzur.

"The US-led coalition forces and the SDF deliberately do not target the areas under the control of the ISIL terrorists and commanders in Eastern Euphrates in Deir Ezzur as they are trying to locate this treasure by forcing the ISIL militants to speak about its location after surrendering," it quoted informed sources as saying.

They noted that part of the cash dollars and gold have been transferred from Turkey to the areas under the ISIL control by Turkish brokers and intelligence service who have close ties with the ISIL.

Meantime, an SDF Commander, Adnan Afrin, said that the ISIL is now under the siege of the SDF in an area no larger than one square kilometers in Eastern Euphrates.

In a relevant development earlier in February, a prominent Syrian military expert revealed that Washington plans to transfer the remnants of the ISIL terrorists from Eastern Euphrates to other regions through Turkey and Iraq.

The Arabic-language website of Sputnik quoted Brigadier General Mohammad Issa as saying that less than 600 ISIL militants are stationed in a 4-km/sq region in Eastern Euphrates who will be soon evacuated from the region to foreign territories.

He added that the operations to transfer these militants will be conducted similar to the operations earlier carried out to evacuate the ISIL terrorists from Raqqa, saying that the US forces will transfer them via Iraq or Turkey to some other Arab states for future operations.

Issa questioned the US forces' claims of fighting against the terrorist groups along with the SDF, stressing that the Syrian army will soon move to retake control over this region.

Media reports said last Sunday that the US army had agreed with the ISIL on the latter's exit from areas under Washington's control in Eastern Euphrates.

The US-led coalition troops and the SDF had reached an agreement with the ISIL terrorists on the militants' retreat from areas under the control of the US and its allied forces, the Arabic-language al-Mayadeen TV news channel reported.

It pointed to the preparations by the ISIL to move its terrorists out of Eastern Euphrates, and said that the ISIL terrorists might be transferred to al-Anbar desert of Badiya al-Tanf in Western Iraq.

The report comes as the SDF claimed that it had started the final battle for uprooting the remaining elements of the ISIL from Eastern Euphrates.

Also the Arabic-language service of RT quoted media activists as saying on Saturday that the US-led coalition forces have carried out heliborne operations in the Eastern Badiyeh of Deir Ezzur.

Full report at:

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13971219000816

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Syria now facing economic war through sanctions: Assad

Mar 10, 2019

As the Syrian government emerges victorious from eight years of a battle against foreign-sponsored militancy, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says his country now also faces an economic war.

Speaking at a meeting with visiting Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodon and an accompanying delegation in Damascus, Assad said some hostile powers were waging the new war against Syria by resorting to such methods as “boycotts, withdrawal of ambassadors, economic siege, and the use of terrorism,” reported Syria’s official news agency SANA on Sunday.

The Syrian president underlined the importance of international efforts to counter terrorism and find a political solution to the ongoing crisis in the Arab country.

He noted that fighting terrorism will lead to a political solution in the end, but any talk of political solution to the Syrian crisis while terrorism spreads across the country would be an illusion and a deception.

Assad emphasized that fighting terrorism cannot simply be carried out via military action, but an even more important aspect of this war is to combat intellectual and ideological aspects of terrorism.

An armed conflict began in Syria in 2011. The Damascus government, aided by its allies Russia and Iran, managed to gradually retake almost all of the areas in the country from the militant and terrorist groups that had overtaken them, and the conflict is considered to be winding down.

But Washington has been imposing sanctions on hundreds of companies and individuals that it accuses of involvement in developing “chemical” munitions in Syria. This is while Damascus surrendered its stockpile of chemical weapons in a process monitored by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in 2013.

The European Union (EU) has also imposed an oil embargo on Syria, placed restrictions on certain forms of investment in the country, frozen the assets of the Syrian Central Bank across the bloc, and imposed bans on dozens of companies linked to Damascus. The EU voted last May in favor of extending the bans until June 1, 2019.

Syria’s mission to the UN earlier this year condemned the economic sanctions targeting the country, saying they blight the lives of ordinary Syrians.

“The unilateral, coercive measures imposed on the Syrian people represent an economic terrorism... [and] are largely affecting the lives of the Syrians and hindering the delivery of their daily basic needs,” the country’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Ja’afari said on January 31.

During the meeting between Assad and the Chinese officials on Sunday, the two sides affirmed the need to bolster coordination between Beijing and Damascus in “political, military, economic, cultural, and technological” fields.

Chen hailed the resistance by the Syrian nation and voiced China’s readiness to keep standing by the Arab country and providing it with all forms of support.

In a separate meeting with Chen, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem also suggested that China play a role in rebuilding Syria.

Assad, who has estimated that rebuilding Syria would cost 200 billion dollars at a minimum, has insisted he would refuse to take Western contributions.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/10/590695/Syria-Assad-economic-war-China

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85% of Kuwaitis reject cooperation with Israeli regime, survey finds

Mar 10, 2019

A recent opinion poll has found that a large proportion of Kuwaitis oppose their country cooperating with Israel amid reports that a number of countries in the Persian Gulf region are warming ties with the Tel Aviv regime following years of clandestine contacts.

The survey, conducted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, revealed that 85 percent of the respondents disagree with the idea of Kuwait working with Israel on issues like technology transfer and counterterrorism despite the existing differences between the two sides. According to the poll results, 46 percent of respondents "disagree strongly" with the idea while 39 percent "disagree somewhat."

Moreover, 52 percent said they supported the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, which is in control of the besieged Gaza Strip, while 63 percent accepted a proposal by the US for Arab states to be involved in the so-called Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the press monitoring organization, the Middle East Monitor, reported.

Support for US President Donald Trump among the 1.5 million Kuwaitis surveyed did not exceed five percent, the poll found, noting that 64 percent supported Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Chinese President Xi Jinping came out with a 49-percent approval rate.

Additionally, 25 percent of those who participated in the poll said they felt positive about the Houthi Ansarullah movement in Yemen.

About the relationship with Iran, 52 percent said Kuwait City should maintain good ties with Tehran.

The poll noted that an overwhelming majority of Kuwaitis believe their government has not been successful in the fight against corruption, while between 30 to 40 percent believe their government is working well regarding women's rights, privacy and dealing with tax issues.

Kuwaitis’ strong opposition to normalization with Israel comes as delegates from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt at a recent meeting of Arab states reportedly opposed bids condemning the normalization.

Russia's RT Arabic television news network reported on March 4 that Abdullah ibn Muhammad Al ash-Sheikh, the speaker of Saudi Arabia's Consultative Assembly, together with his Emirati and Egyptian counterparts opposed a paragraph in the final communiqué of the 29th Conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union in the Jordanian capital city of Amman, which demanded an end to efforts aimed at normalizing ties with Israel and condemned all forms of rapprochement with the occupying regime.

The paragraph states that “one of the most important steps to support Palestinian brethren requires the cessation of all forms of rapprochement and normalization with the Israeli occupiers. Therefore, we call for resilience and steadfastness by blocking all the doors of normalization with Israel.”

On February 17, a report published by Israeli Channel 13 television network said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had held a “secret meeting” with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita last September.

Additionally, the Warsaw conference, a US-sponsored gathering that was held in the Polish capital on February 13-14, brought together Netanyahu and representatives from a number of Arab states, including Oman, Morocco, Saudi Arabic, the UAE, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt.

The Israeli regime also recently re-launched a “virtual embassy” in a bid to “promote dialogue” with the Persian Gulf Arab states.

In the most high-profile visit by an Israeli official to Persian Gulf kingdoms, Netanyahu in late November last year visited Oman, where he met Sultan Qaboos at the Bait al-Barakah Royal Palace in the coastal city of Seeb near the capital Muscat.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/10/590677/85-of-Kuwaitis-reject-normalization-with-Israeli-regime-survey-finds

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Syrian Democratic Forces begin attack on Daesh's last enclave

March 10, 2019

BAGHOUZ, Syria: The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an assault on Sunday against the final Daesh enclave in eastern Syria, aiming to wipe out the last vestige of its self-declared "caliphate" that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria.

While the Baghouz enclave represents the last shred of populated land held by the extremists, the group is still widely seen as a big security threat with remote territory elsewhere and the continued capacity to launch guerrilla attacks.

The SDF, spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, has been poised to advance into the enclave for weeks, but has repeatedly held back to allow for the evacuation of civilians, many of them wives and children of Daesh fighters.

Mustafa Bali, head of the SDF media office, said no further civilians had emerged from the enclave at the Iraqi border since Saturday and the SDF had not observed any more civilians in the area, prompting the decision to attack.

"The military operations have started. Our forces are now clashing with the terrorists and the attack started," he said.

Tens of thousands of people have streamed out of the shrinking territory held by Islamic State over the last months.

Bali said more than 4,000 militants had surrendered to the SDF in the past month.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1464651/middle-east

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Saudi film to premiere in Vox cinemas for first time

March 10, 2019

JEDDAH: A Saudi film to the core, “Roll’em” was developed, written and produced over three years with an all-Saudi crew, from the actors to the sound director.

Vox cinema will have a private screening on Wednesday and a public one on Thursday. “Roll’em” is directed and produced by Abdulelah Al-Qurashi and co-produced by Abdulrahman Khoja.

The film follows the story of Saudi filmmaker Omar Nizar who, while on a journey to discover Jeddah, realizes that he does not know his beloved city as well as he thought he did.

He meets a retired cinematographer whose glory days were in the 1970s as he divided his time between France and Cairo.

Screenwriter Yasser Hammad said “Roll’em” is a co-production with Saudi film production company Cinepoetics, owned by Khoja.

“It’s a Jeddawi film to the core. The post-production was in Egypt. The areas where we don’t have expertise in we had to outsource, but everything that had to do with the creative work is purely Saudi,” Hammad told Arab News.

“The idea (for the characters) came up from a joke actually. I was pretending to be an old cinematographer and using Hejazi words and the accent. It inspired me to create a character,” he said.

“We had our inspiration from actual film directors from the 1970s in Saudi Arabia that no one knows about. They tried to pursue the same dreams we had, but failed because of their circumstances,” he added.

“The idea is someone has a dream and wants to achieve it, but the circumstances aren’t allowing him to. The difference between the two generations makes the difference. Why can we make films today, and why couldn’t we make them back then?”

Hammad said having the film screened in Jeddah “is like a dream come true,” adding: “Without this city, I wouldn’t be able to create art.”

Naif Al-Daferi, who plays Mohannad in the film, told Arab News: “The audience will see a different image of Jeddah … To add to that, the story talks about someone who’s struggling in the field of filmmaking in capturing Jeddah.”

He said: “There’s entertainment value, the characters are diverse and the cast is incredible.” Al-Qurashi “is a true filmmaker,” Al-Daferi added.

Jeddah’s first cinema opened its doors to the public in January, and an industry expert said he expected up to 35 million people in the Kingdom to go to the movies every year.

Cinemas were banned in the country for decades until the first one opened last April in Riyadh.

Cameron Mitchell, CEO of the regional cinema chain Majid Al Futtaim, said Saudi Arabia had the capacity for high audience numbers. He was speaking at the opening ceremony for Vox Cinemas in Jeddah‘s Red Sea Mall.

“If you look at Dubai we have some 15 million customers there per annum. On the short-term goal in Saudi Arabia we are expecting the market to reach about 30 million customers,” he said.

Research from PwC Middle East in November estimated that total cinema revenue in Saudi Arabia would reach $1.5 billion by 2030. The forecast was based on a projected 2030 population of 39.5 million, and 6.6 screens per 100,000 people.

Last year, Vox Cinemas said it would be investing $533 million to open 600 theaters in the next five years.

“Some 95 percent of our employees here are from Saudi Arabia,” Mitchell said.

“We expect the cinemas in the Red Sea Mall to be showing a mix of films, probably about 300 films per year with at least six new movies every single week. It will take a while for us to have enough cinemas for everyone to get to go to the cinema whenever they want to.

“In my opinion, the cinema is a good place for families to spend time together in a social environment, especially in hot summer days, when outdoor activities are limited.”

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1464711/saudi-arabia

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Pakistan

 

Moot for encouraging culture of dialogue to promote peace

MARCH 11, 2019

Speakers at a series of seminars have stressed the need to promote peace and harmony in the country by encouraging the culture of dialogue and discouraging the growing trend of imposing one’s opinions and beliefs on others.

The first event of the series organized as part of a week-long awareness campaign under Paigham-e-Pakistan initiative of the government of Pakistan was held at Darul Uloom Naeemia, Lahore, on Tuesday, followed by another seminar in Sargodha the same day. The third event of the same series was held in Sialkot on Wednesday while another one at Darul Uloom Naeemia, Lahore, on Saturday.

Jamia Naeemia patron-in-chief and Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) member Allama Raghib Hussain Naeemi presided over the sessions. Hundreds of religious scholars, ulema, madaris teachers besides thousands of students from Dr Sarfraz Naeemi Research Institute, Jamia Ume Ashraf Jamaal, Jamia Ghausia Islamabad and Jamia Sarajia Naeemia Lahore participated in the seminars.

A unanimous resolution was passed and a joint declaration was issued at the concluding ceremony. Through the joint declaration, the participants pledged to continue efforts for the protection of human rights and the rights of the minorities in the light of the teachings of Islam, besides promotion of interfaith and intersect harmony in the country.

The participants pledged support to all efforts for unity of Muslim Ummah, global peace and reconciliation and resolution of domestic as well as international disputes through peaceful means. They vowed to take the message of love, peace, harmony, brotherhood and unity to every nook and corner of the country.

The resolution condemned all acts of extremism, violence, terrorism, social injustice, intolerance and suicide bombing, which is prohibited in all religions of the world including Islam.

The participants paid rich tribute to the armed forces of Pakistan, especially Pakistan Army, for rendering matchless sacrifices to rid the country of the menaces of terrorism and extremism through Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad. The resolution maintained that through their untiring efforts, the security forces had broken the back of the terrorists and made Pakistan a safe and strong country by foiling all conspiracies being hatched by the enemies.

The participants unanimously supported the gestures of peace taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan vis-à-vis recent escalation with India. They declared that the stance taken by the Pakistani government was backed by 220 million people of the country, adding that the Pakistan’s peace initiatives have been hailed by the world community which has helped improve country’s image at the international level.

They also offered their all-out support to the government and the Pakistan Army in all such peace endeavors in future.

The joint declaration announced to celebrate the year 2019 as ‘Paigham-e-Pakistan Year’ and pledged to disseminate the message of peace, unity and brotherhood to every nook and corner of the country.

https://dailytimes.com.pk/363821/moot-for-encouraging-culture-of-dialogue-to-promote-peace/

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The Christian Science Monitor names PM Imran Khan on list for Peace Prize

MARCH 10, 2019

NEW YORK: United States newspaper “The Christian Science Monitor” names Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan on its list for Nobel peace prize for this year.

The Christian Science Monitor stated “Perhaps the biggest surprise in peaceful leadership – and most critical to the world – is Imran Khan. The former cricket star became Pakistan’s prime minister last year in a country where the military traditionally controls security policy. After a Feb. 14 suicide attack arranged by a Pakistani terrorist group killed 44 Indian security forces in disputed Kashmir, India launched its first airstrike inside Pakistan since a 1971 war. The two nuclear-capable states were primed for all-out conflict.

In a goodwill gesture that suddenly changed the mood, Mr. Khan returned an Indian fighter pilot shot down inside Pakistan. He also offered talks with India and promised to seize the assets of terrorists groups operating in Pakistan. “Nobody wins in a war. Especially countries that have the sort of weapons that India and Pakistan possess should not even think of war…,” said PM Khan.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/363593/the-christian-science-monitor-names-pm-imran-khan-on-list-for-peace-prize/

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Iran calls upon Pakistan to take ‘decisive’ action against militants

MARCH 10, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday called for ‘decisive’ action by Pakistan against a militant group behind a deadly suicide attack in a border area, and said inaction by Islamabad could jeopardise relations between the neighbours.

Iran’s state news agency IRNA said Rouhani’s remarks came in a telephone conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who said he would soon have ‘good news’ for Iran, according to the agency.

A suicide bomber killed 27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards in mid-February in a southeastern region where security forces are facing a rise in attacks by militants from the country’s Sunni Muslim minority.

The Sunni group Jaish al Adl (Army of Justice), which says it seeks greater rights and better living conditions for the ethnic minority Baluchis, claimed responsibility for the attack.

“We are awaiting your decisive operations against these terrorists,” IRNA quoted Rouhani as telling Khan. “We should not allow decades of friendship and fraternity between the two countries to be affected by the actions of small terrorist groups, the source of whose financing and arms is known to both of us,” Rouhani said.

Iran has blamed its regional rival Saudi Arabia and arch-enemies Israel and the United States for the attack and other cross-border raids, an accusation rejected by the countries.

“It is in Pakistan’s own interest not to allow our territory to be used by terrorist groups, and the Pakistani army is prepared to confront the terrorists more decisively with the information provided by Iran,” IRNA quoted Imran Khan as saying. Khan said Pakistani forces have come close to the terrorists’ hideout and there would soon be ‘good news’ for Iran, IRNA reported.

According to a statement issued by the PM Office in Islamabad, Prime Minister Imran Khan had a telephonic conversation with President of Iran Hassan Rouhani as part of his contacts to brief important regional countries and their leadership about the regional situation. Both leaders reiterated the importance of strengthening bilateral relations, the statement said.

Both sides looked forward to the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Iran in the near future. They agreed that the visit would help deepen bilateral coordination and cooperation.

Prime Minister Imran khan expressed his heartfelt condolences on the recent terrorist attack in which 27 Iranian guards were killed. The two leaders agreed on the need for closer cooperation among the two intelligence agencies in combating terrorism.

Prime Minister Khan also briefed the Iranian president about the latest situation vis-a-vis India, and Pakistan’s untiring efforts to defuse the situation through dialogue and improve bilateral relations with India. He underscored the role of important brotherly countries like Iran to help in this situation.

The prime minister thanked the Iranian leadership for their consistent and principled support for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Full report at:

https://dailytimes.com.pk/363487/iran-calls-upon-pakistan-to-take-decisive-action-against-militants/

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Pakistan must realise that any action against JeM is in its own interest

Mar 11, 2019

Avinash Mohananey

On March 4, the Pakistan government launched a “crackdown” against banned terror organisations such as Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). It issued an order to streamline a process for the implementation of sanctions against individuals and entities of all banned outfits as designated by the UN Security Council. In other words, the Pakistan government took over the control of all proscribed outfits operating in the country.

This action, however, was not surprising. India has seen such “crackdowns” before. In fact, it was far more dramatic against the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) after the Mumbai serial attacks in 2008. But that crackdown has not produced anything concrete: The Mumbai attack trial is heading nowhere; the accused are moving around freely in Pakistan, and organising more attacks against India. The net result of the latest crackdown will not be any different.

It is, however, significant that Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, in two separate interviews to CNN and BBC on March 1, acknowledged the presence of a “very unwell” Masood Azhar in Pakistan, but claimed that the JeM leadership was denying its involvement in the February 14 Pulwama attack. Without naming the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Qureshi revealed that his claim was based on the information given by those (ISI) known to them (JeM leaders). This comment confirms what India has been claiming for years: there is a strong linkage between the ISI and the Pakistan-based terror groups.

So has Pakistan finally realised that it can no more hide serpents, which are meant to bite India, in its backyard from the world? Or is it a tactical position adopted by Pakistan to let the crisis blow over and in the meantime improve its precarious economy that needs a bailout? The terror groups can then be reinvigorated to continue Pakistan’s regional proxy wars in India, Afghanistan and now in Iran also.

Like his predecessors, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has also inherited the institutionalised policy of use of non-State actors by the Pakistan army and the ISI for its regional ambitions. But now his neck is on the chopping block, thanks to aggressive Indian posturing and international scrutiny. Any concession to India, even symbolically, would not go down well with the Pakistan army and the ISI. He will have to do a delicate balancing act. It is a difficult contradiction to manage. Coming out of the crisis unscathed is almost impossible. Khan also knows that he heads a government that has a thin majority and can be toppled any time by the military establishment.

So what are the options available to Khan as he faces mounting international cry to put Azhar Masood on UN sanctions list and take action against JeM?

First, deny the involvement of the JeM leadership in Pulwama attack by saying that Masood is unwell and could not have organised the attack. This is laughable. Masood doesn’t have to even move out of his room to organise an attack; his well-oiled terror infrastructure is functioning smoothly in Pakistan under the overall control of the ISI.

Second, assuage Indian anger by assuring action on any specifics given by New Delhi. The promise rings hollow given the fate of hundreds of Indian dossiers given to Pakistan about the country’s involvement in terrorism, beginning with the militancy in Punjab. None of the Pakistani leaders took action against those causing mayhem in India. Former Pakistan’s foreign decretary Salman Bashir had the audacity to say that the evidence handed over to him on the Mumbai attack mastermind, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, were pieces of literature.

Third, start with a clean slate. It is difficult to accept the contention of Khan and Qureshi that their government has come with a new mindset and approach on the issue of terrorism. That would only mean that India should forget previous attacks committed by Pakistan’s non-State actors and make a fresh beginning with the Khan government.

This would not be acceptable to the Government of India and the citizens. Will Khan apply the same logic domestically and not pursue those who were responsible for the attack on school children in Peshawar in December 2014 just because he was not in power that time?

Pakistan should realise that any crackdown against JeM is in its own interest as the group has strong links with Sunni sectarian organisations that target prominent Shias. Pakistan should listen to former President Pervez Musharraf, who only recently accepted on TV that Masood Azhar had tried to kill him and he had no sympathy for the latter.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/pakistan-must-realise-that-any-action-against-jem-is-in-its-own-interest/story-4XN2OF4wkvDpRN7dFjrQLJ.html

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2 Pakistani-origin ISIS brides lose British citizenship: Report

Mar 10, 2019

LONDON: Two Pakistani-origin sisters from London are believed to be the latest set of mothers to lose their British citizenship for marrying into the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group in Syria.

Reema Iqbal and her sister, Zara, have five boys under the age of eight between them and are being held in a Syrian detention camp.

Reports of them losing their right to return to the UK after losing their citizenship rights come as it was confirmed that Bangladeshi-origin Shamima Begum lost her three-week-old baby in a Syrian refugee camp days after her British citizenship was similarly revoked.

'The Sunday Times' quoted legal sources to say that the Iqbal sisters, from east London, have had their British nationality rights revoked for marrying into an ISIS terrorist cell.

Their parents are from Pakistan, so the UK Home Office would argue they are eligible for Pakistani nationality instead. Their five sons, however, are likely to remain British citizens.

The newspaper report says the two women headed to Syria from London in 2013 after marrying into a six-man cell of ISIS recruits with close links to the filmed murders of western hostages by British Arab ISIS fighter Mohammed Emwazi, dubbed “Jihadi John” for his UK connection. The sisters' husbands were later killed in fighting.

Zara, 28, already had a son when she made the journey and was heavily pregnant with her second child, to whom she gave birth in Syria. She later had a third boy under the so-called “ISIS caliphate”.

The family is believed to be in either Al Hol camp or another facility at Ain Issa in Syria.

Her older sister, Reema, 30, has two sons, one of whom was born in Britain. They are in Roj camp, to which Shamima Begum was reportedly recently transferred.

There is growing pressure on UK home secretary Sajid Javid since it was confirmed that 19-year-old Begum had lost her child, Jarrah, to pneumonia in the refugee camp on Thursday.

Diane Abbott, the UK shadow home secretary, said the baby's death was “a stain on the conscience of this government”.

Javid's own Conservative Party colleague and former justice minister, Phillip Lee, urged the government to "reflect" on its "moral responsibility" for the tragedy.

"We cannot just export the problem,” he said.

A UK government spokesperson said: "The death of any child is tragic and deeply distressing for the family."

The UK Home Office said it did not comment on individual cases, adding that “decisions to withdraw citizenship from individuals were evidence-based and not taken lightly”.

Under international law, the UK can revoke a citizenship of a British national only if the individual would not be made stateless and can acquire the citizenship of another country.

The use of the powers has risen sharply in the UK, with 104 deprivations of citizenship in 2017, compared to 50 in the previous decade, according to Home Office figures obtained by the immigration law website Free Movement.

Full report at:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/2-pakistani-origin-isis-brides-lose-british-citizenship-report/articleshow/68343992.cms

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Ties with US going to take a new turn, says Qureshi

Shakeel Ahmed

March 11, 2019

MULTAN: US-Pakistan relations were under strain because of FATF but because of Pakistan’s role in US-Taliban peace dialogues, the relationship with the US is going to take a new turn, said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Sunday.

Invited to a gathering of media persons and his supporters in his constituency NA-156, Mr Qureshi spoke at length about US-Taliban peace talks in Afghanistan, the government’s dealings with India over Kashmir and relationship with neighbouring countries.

“US had placed Pakistan in the grey list of Financial Action Task Force [FATF] and consequently, its relationship with Islamabad was not that great. But because of our successful foreign policy ties between both countries are improving,” he said at the Multan Tea House, a café on the lines of Pak Tea House in Lahore, located inside the Multan Arts Council.

He attributed this to Pakistan’s behind-the-scenes role in US-Taliban peace dialogue. “Our relations with the US are going to take a new turn. US-Taliban peace dialogues are underway in Doha and positive results are expected.”

“If peace is restored to Afghanistan, Pakistan could not only purchase cheap hydel energy from central Asia but the country’s economy would strengthen and there would be an increase in the country’s exports.

“For long the war is underway in Afghanistan and it used to say that terrorists coming from Pakistan are carrying out terrorist activities in their country. But this was a planned policy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who wants to isolate Pakistan. India wants Pakistan’s isolation on diplomatic level but it has failed.”

Regarding the recent tensions with India over Kashmir, he said: “Pakistan wants peace in the region but will not compromise on Kashmir. We raised our voice over human rights violations in India-held Kashmir at every forum, including the House of Commons, the United Nations and the European Union.”

The foreign minister said it was a big achievement for Pakistan that despite its boycot of the Organisation of Islamic Countries meeting, the forum termed Indian atrocities in held-Kashmir state terrorism.

“We had already informed the world that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi could carry out some adventure in Kashmir before elections.”

With regard to Iran, he said: “Friendly ties with Iran are quite important to us. We foiled all attempts that were being made to poison our relationship with Iran. I have had three meetings with the Iranian foreign minister and they were held in good atmosphere.”

About Saudi Arabia and the UAE, he said: “When the PTI [Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf] came into power Saudi Arabia was not ready to listen to us while relations with the United Arab Emirates were also not good. Pakistan adopted a balanced policy on the Yemen issue as it has friendly ties with both Saudi Arabia and Yemen. [Prime Minister] Imran Khan categorically said Pakistan could not become a part of the conflict between the two rather it could play the role of a bridge and mediator,” he said.

Yemen’s nearly four-year old civil war has pitted the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels against the Saudi-backed government of Abd Rabou Mansour Hadi who fled and went into exile to Saudi Arabia and the Saudi-led coalition then intervened in Yemen.

He mentioned Saudi Arabia’s plans to invest in Pakistan, announced last month. “Saudi Arabia is going to establish a big oil refinery in Gwadar at a cost of $10 billion while it has provided oil worth $9.6 billion.”

Full report at:

https://www.dawn.com/news/1468922/ties-with-us-going-to-take-a-new-turn-says-qureshi

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Pakistan concerned over Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia

March 11, 2019

Pakistan on Sunday expressed concern over a Houthi airstrike on Saudi city Abha and expressed full solidarity with the leadership and the people of the kingdom against any threats to its territorial integrity and Harmain Shareefaen.

In a statement, the Foreign Office (FO) also commended the government and the Royal Defence Force of the kingdom for timely intercepting and destroying the drone before it could cause any serious damage. FO also stated that the news of injuries to Saudis and other expatriates, as well as damage to properties, as a result of falling debris of this drone remains a matter of concern.

Pakistan reiterated full support and solidarity with the leadership, the government and people of Saudi Arabia against any threats to its territorial integrity and Harmain Shareefaen and added that such attacks, targeting the unarmed civilian population, are a clear violation of international law and pose a serious challenge to regional peace and security. Condemning, the attack, Islamabad reiterated that it stands in solidarity with the Saudi government in fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

Saudi Arabia’s air defence systems shot down a drone over the kingdom on Friday, the Saudi-led military coalition said. The kingdom accused Houthi fighters of launching the aircraft and targeting civilians. According to Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV, the drone had been heading toward residential areas in Abha, around 230km north of the border with Yemen.

Some civilians suffered light injuries from debris when the drone was shot down, Saudi state television quoted coalition spokesperson Colonel Turki al-Maliki as saying.

“The United Nations and the international community must unequivocally condemn Houthi terrorist operations both inside and outside Yemen,” said Rajeh Badi, the spokesperson for the Yemen government. “The complacency about, and non-condemnation of, such operations will embolden not only the Houthis but also all other terrorists in the world to continue to threaten international peace and security everywhere.”

“The coalition’s priority is Yemen’s security and stability, and the war was imposed on it by the Houthi coup,” Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir.

Full report at:

https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2019/03/10/pakistan-concerned-over-houthi-drone-strike-on-saudi-arabia/

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India

 

Surf Excel advertisement promoting Hindu-Muslim harmony theme faces flak

March 11, 2019

Detergent brand Surf Excel, known for its heart-warming advertisements, recently faced flak over its latest advertisement-cum-campaign ahead of Holi. On February 27, the brand released an advertisement around the Hindu-Muslim harmony but instantly faced criticism for the concept.

Surf Excel’s one-minute Holi special ad Rang Laaye Sang’ (colours bring us together) features two kids a young Hindu girl and a Muslim boy. The girl, dressed in a white t-shirt, chooses to get stained in Holi colours to protect her Muslim friend who has to go to a nearby mosque.

The advertisement ends with Surf Excel’s classic tagline, daag acche hain’ (stains are good).

Agar kuch achha karne mein daag lag jaaye toh daag achhe hain.’ (Stains that come as a part of a good deed are good stains), goes the tagline.

The advertisement was released on February 27 and has already managed to garner around 8,583,942 views and 26k thumbs-up on YouTube.

While Hindustan Unilever, owner of Surf Excel, tried to promote religious harmony with the advertisement, it did not go down well for some who felt it to be humiliating, Hindu phobic, promoting love jihad and controversial. Some even said that the advertisement wants to showcase that namaz is more important than Holi.

Twitter is filled with tweets criticising the ad under the hash tag #boycottSurfexcel.

#boycottSurfexcel because you also know that the add is humiliating Hinduism. And promoting love jehad. Gender selection and talking holi colour as "daag" is not acceptable by Hindu because it is done intentionally. Gender selection could have been reverse also, read a tweet.

One Twitter user wrote: "Dear Sir, please ban the advertisement of Surf Excel which promotes love jihad." The Twitter user added that it is hurting the religious sentiments of the Hindus.

A Twitter user said that the advertisement humiliates Muslims and wrote, "#SurfExcel ad is humiliating Muslim girls to the core.. it is directly saying that a Muslim male child needs help of a Hindu girl for doing his prayer. This is shaming and humiliating all Muslim children."

While many raised objections over the theme, there were also many who are appreciated the Surf Excel Holi advertisement on the Hindu-Muslim harmony and the idea and message behind it.

Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said, "He who objects this ad by Surf Excel is nothing but against the idea of India. Hats-off who created this beautiful film. #JaiHind."

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also welcomed the advertisement promoting Hindu-Muslim harmony and slammed the "bhakts" for objecting to its theme.

She said, "I have a better suggestion. Bhakts should be washed properly with Surf Excel. Kyunki Surf ki dhulai daag ko karain saaf."

Another wrote: "Didn’t know about the Surf Excel ad but thanks to the #BoycottSurfExcel hashtag trending, I saw it and loved it so thank you right wing for the lovely recommendation."

Earlier this year, HUL Kumbh Mela advertisement had irked several Twitter users. In the advertisement, a son contemplates abandoning his aged father in the crowd, but soon realises his mistake and comes back to him.

Soon after the ad was shared on the HUL twitter handle, people objected to it by saying it hurt sentiments of Hindus and portrayed the festival in wrong light.

https://www.indiatoday.in/trending-news/story/surf-excel-advertisement-hindu-muslim-harmony-theme-flak-1475018-2019-03-11

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Pulwama terror attack mastermind believed to be killed in encounter: Officials

March 11, 2019

The mastermind of the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel is believed to have been killed in an encounter in the Tral area of South Kashmir, officials said Monday.

The encounter in Pinglish area of Tral in south Kashmir's Pulwama district lasted past midnight in which Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorist Mudasir Ahmed Khan alias 'Mohd Bhai' was among the three militants killed, the officials said.

The families of muddassir is in Awantipora thana. They have claimed his body.

Of the three terrorists killed, one is a foreign terrorist.

The bodies of the three militants are charred beyond recognition and efforts are on to establish identity of the third terrorist.

The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Pinglish after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of militants in the area.

The operation turned into an encounter after the militants opened fire at the search party of the forces who retaliated.

Lesser-known JeM terrorist Khan has been identified as the brains behind the audacious terror strike in Pulwama that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel dead on February 14, officials said on Sunday.

Piecing together evidence gathered so far, security officials said that 23-year-old Khan, an electrician with a graduate degree and a resident of Pulwama, arranged the vehicle and explosives used in the terror strike.

A resident of Mir Mohalla of Tral, Khan joined the JeM sometime in 2017 as an overground worker and was later drawn into the terror outfit by Noor Mohammed Tantrey, alias 'Noor Trali', who is believed to have helped the terror group's revival in the Kashmir Valley.

After Tantray was killed in December 2017, Khan disappeared from his home on January 14, 2018 and has been active since then.

Suicide attacker Adil Ahmed Dar, who blew his explosive-laden vehicle next to a bus in a CRPF convoy on February 14, had been in constant contact with Khan, officials said.

After completing his graduation, Khan did a one-year diploma course as electrician from an Industrial Training Institute (ITI). The eldest son of a labourer, Khan is also believed to be involved in the terror strike at the army camp in Sunjawan in February 2018, in which six personnel and a civilian were killed.

His role has also come under lens in the Lethpora attack on a CRPF camp in January 2018 that left five CRPF personnel dead.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the February 14 terror attack, had carried out searches at the residence of Khan on February 27.

A Maruti Eeco minivan was used in the Pulwama terror attack and it was bought by another JeM operative just 10 days before the suicide attack.

Full report at:

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/pulwama-terror-attack-mastermind-believed-to-be-killed-in-encounter-officials-1475039-2019-03-11

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Lok Sabha Dates Clashing With Ramzan to Ensure Minorities Unable to Cast Votes: TMC Leader

March 11, 2019

Kolkata: Following the announcement of Lok Sabha election dates (to be held in seven phases in West Bengal) by the Election Commission on Sunday, political parties in the state are divided over some of the dates that are clashing with Ramzan (May 5-June 4, 2019).

With nearly 31 per cent Muslim voters, election during Ramzan will become a key issue of Bengal politics in the upcoming days.

In Malda and Murshidabad districts alone, the minority voters’ strength is nearly 52 per cent and 66 per cent, respectively.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and Kolkata Municipal Corporation Mayor Firhad Hakim said, “People will face problems in exercising their voting rights as some poll dates are clashing with Ramzan. Since the Election Commission is a constitutional body, I don’t want to comment much in to the matter. But they should have considered that people will suffer during Ramzan (in casting votes).”

He said, “EC has announced the poll dates on Ramzan so that minorities are unable to cast their votes. But I would like to tell them (the BJP) that the people of Bengal are with (Trinamool chief) Mamata Banerjee.”

This is not the first time that the Trinamool Congress is raising the issue of Ramzan.

During the last panchayat election, party leaders led by minister Partha Chatterjee met West Bengal election commissioner AK Singh and requested him to conclude the rural polls before the month of fasting for the minority community begins.

West Bengal Congress president Somendra Nath Mitra also said the poll panel should consider the matter.

“We have a large number of Muslim voters and the EC should consider the poll dates as per the Ramzan observance,” Mitra said.

However, the BJP’s all-India secretary, minority morcha, Arshad Alam, said, “It’s not written anywhere in Islam that one has to take rest in air-conditioned rooms while fasting during Ramzan. For us, Ramzan mean ‘Ibadat’ under any circumstances.”

“A true Muslim will keep ‘roza’ during Ramzan and will also perform his/her normal duties towards society and family. I don’t understand why political leaders every time drag Ramzan during elections. This time, we have decided to make this an issue and we will make people aware that please don’t fall in this trap of the opposition.”

The BJP is gearing up to target 22 of the 42 parliamentary seats in Bengal. At present, the party has two Lok Sabha seats (Asansol and Darjeeling) in the state.

Full report at:

https://www.news18.com/news/politics/lok-sabha-poll-dates-clashing-with-ramzan-to-ensure-minorities-are-unable-to-cast-their-votes-tmc-leader-2062651.html

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Indian team’s visit to Pakistan for Indus River basin inspection postponed

Mar 11, 2019

Amid heightened tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad, a reciprocal visit by the Indian team to Pakistan for inspection of projects in Indus river basin this month has been postponed, senior officials said Sunday. During the 115th meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission held in Lahore from August 29-30, 2018, both the commissioners had agreed to undertake the treaty-mandated tours of the Indus basin on both sides,the official said.

The tour of the Pakistani side was originally scheduled in October 2018 but was postponed because of local bodies elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently, the Pakistani team visited India in the last week of January to inspect projects in the Chenab basin in the state.

Pakistani Indus Commissioner Syed Mohammad Mehar Ali Shah and Indian Commissioner PK Saxena along with respective advisers visited the under-construction Indian hydropower projects in Chenab basin namely Pakal Dul (1000 MW), Ratle (850 MW) and Lower Kalnai (48 MW). The delegation also visited the under-operation Baglihar hydro electric project (900 MW). The Pakistani commissioner extended an invitation to his counterpart to undertake a visit of the Indus basin on Pakistani side. The Indian team was supposed to visit Pakistan this month, a senior official said. “But amid the ongoing tension it has now been postponed,” the official added.

The official remained non-committal about the date, but said the visit has to take place by March 2020.

Under Article VIII of the treaty, both commissioners are mandated to undertake, once every five years, a general tour of inspection of the rivers for ascertaining the facts connected with various developments and works on both sides. The current five-year block ends in March, 2020. The PCIW, formed under the Indus Waters Treaty, was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, and it includes Indus commissioners of both countries. The treaty provides for both the commissioners to meet at least once every year, alternately in India and Pakistan.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/indian-team-s-visit-to-pakistan-for-indus-river-basin-inspection-postponed/story-CW0fUT0pmBcBvwy5EEK2TK.html

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Valley halts over summons to separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

Mar 11, 2019

Ashiq Hussain

The Srinagar administration on Sunday imposed restrictions in several parts, bringing the old city to a halt during a two-day shutdown against the summoning of separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

On Saturday, NIA summoned Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz and Syed Naseem Geelani, the son of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, to Delhi on Monday for questioning in connection with an alleged terror funding case.

In a joint statement on Saturday, several trade bodies said the summoning Mirwaiz and Geelani was “totally undemocratic and will not be tolerated by the people of Kashmir in general and the trader fraternity in particular”.

The police and Central Reserve Police Force increased deployment in the city to maintain law and order. Mirwaiz is also chief cleric of Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid where he delivers weekly sermons. Naseem Geelani works as an assistant professor at an agriculture university.

Full report at:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/valley-halts-over-summons-to-separatist-leader-mirwaiz-umar-farooq/story-3lwzpNYbk2BnzhKgPgr6AK.html

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3 terrorists killed in Pulwama gunbattle

Mar 11, 2019

SRINAGAR: Three militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Pulwama district of Jammu & Kashmir on Sunday, a defence spokesman said.

The security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Pinglish in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of militants in the area. The search operation turned into an encounter after the militants opened fire at the search party of the forces who retaliated. The gunfight is going on, the spokesman said, adding the identity and group affiliation of the slain militants is being ascertained.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/3-terrorists-killed-in-pulwama-gunbattle/articleshow/68350630.cms

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South Asia

 

Muslim leader says Bangladesh should take in ISIS bride Shamima Begum

March 11, 2019

A top Muslim leader says the IS bride is “not practicing Islam” but should be shown sympathy and adopted by a Muslim country.

His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who represents tens of millions of Ahmadi Muslims worldwide, said that:

“If the British Government has stripped her of her nationality then another country should adopt her, any Muslim country,”

He added that:

“Since her parents were from Bangladesh, the first duty is of Bangladesh to take her as a national.”

Speaking at the Baitul Futuh Mosque, in Morden, south west London, he added that he did not blame the British government for the death of her 18-day-old baby Jerah.

In 2015 Shamima Begum left Britain with two other schoolgirls to join the IS terror group. She had earlier begged to return to the UK with her boy as the self-styled caliphate collapsed, but the British Home Secretary revoked her passport amid fierce public debate.

https://www.rabwah.net/muslim-leader-agrees-with-britain-says-bangladesh-should-take-in-isis-bride-shamima-begum/

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Suicide bomber and his companion arrested in Kabul: NDS

10 Mar 2019

A suicide bomber and his companion were arrested during an operation of the Special Forces of National Directorate of Security in Kabul.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS) in a statement said the two suspects were arrested during the operation which was conducted in Surobi district of Kabul.

The statement further added that the NDS Special Forces also confiscated a suicide bombing vest, a pistil, and two hand grenades.

According to National Directorate of Security, the detained suicide bomber has been identified as Rahmanullah son of Waliullah and his companion has been identified as Raz Mohamamd son of Mohammad Hassan.

Rahmanullah was recruited by a Taliban group leader Baghdadi and was trained and prepared to target a gathering of people and security forces in Surobi district, NDS added.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/suicide-bomber-and-his-companion-arrested-in-kabul-nds-03457/

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Dutch writer claims Mullah Omar lived within walking distance of U.S. base in Afghanistan

11 Mar 2019

A Dutch writer has claimed in her latest book the Mullah Mohammad Omar, the founder and former leader of Taliban group, was living within walking distance of U.S. base in Afghanistan.

The writer and journalist, Bette Dam, has released her latest book recently after five years of research and interview with Jabbar Omari, the bodyguard of Mullah Omar who hid and protected him after the fall of Taliban regime.

The book ‘searching for an Enemy’ reveals that Mullah Omar lived as virtual hermit, away from his family.

Mullah Omar was also listening to BBC Pashto news broadcast, was filling notebooks with jottings in an imaginery language, and used an old Nokia mobile phone, without a sim card, to record himself chanting verses from Holy Quran.

He was rarely commenting on developments outside the world despite learning about the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in an American operation.

The book also reveals that Omar went into hiding in a small compound in Qalat city of Zabul province after the U.S. announced a 10 million Dollars bounty on him.

According to Dam, Mullah Omar remained hidden despite ongoing patrols and search operations which were conducted by the American forces in the area.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/dutch-writer-claims-mullah-omar-lived-within-walking-distance-of-u-s-base-in-afghanistan-03459/

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Three wounded in a magnetic IED explosion in Herat city

10 Mar 2019

At least three people were wounded in an explosion triggered by a magnetic Improvised Explosive Device in Herat city.

According to local security officials, the incident took place later this afternoon in Herat city.

Provincial police spokesman Abdul Ahad Walizada confirmed that a magnetic IED planted in a pickup vehicle went off, leaving at least five people wounded.

No individual or group has so far claimed responsibility behind the incident.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/three-wounded-in-a-magnetic-ied-explosion-in-herat-city-03456/

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Prominent Taliban commander Maulana Mansoor killed in Paktika: MoI

10 Mar 2019

The Ministry of Interior has confirmed that a prominent Taliban commander was killed during an operation of Afghan Special Forces in southeastern Paktika province.

The Ministry of Interior in a statement said a prominent Taliban commander, Maulana Mansoor, was killed during a raid conducted by Special Forces in Paktika province.

The statement further added that Maulana Mansoor was in lead of Taliban militants in Paktika province and was involved in majority of high level and complex attacks in this province.

Thea anti-government armed militants including Taliban have not commented regarding the killing of Maulana Mansoor so far.

Full report at:

https://www.khaama.com/prominent-taliban-commander-maulana-mansoor-killed-in-paktika-moi-03455/

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Taliban leader Omar lived next to US Afghan base

March 11, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Taliban founder Mullah Omar lived within walking distance of US bases in Afghanistan for years, according to a new book that highlights embarrassing failures of American intelligence.

Washington believed the one-eyed, fugitive leader had fled to Pakistan, but the new biography says Omar was in fact living just three miles from a major US Forward Operating Base in his home province of Zabul before his death in 2013.

“Searching for an Enemy,” by Dutch journalist Bette Dam, reveals the Taliban chief lived as a virtual hermit, refusing visits from his family and filling notebooks with jottings in an imaginary language.

Dam spent more than five years researching the book and interviewed Jabbar Omari, Omar’s bodyguard who hid and protected him after the Taliban regime was overthrown.

According to the book, Omar listened to the BBC’s Pashto-language news broadcasts in the evenings, but even when he learned about the death of Al-Qaeda supremo Osama Bin Laden rarely commented on developments in the outside world.

Following the 9/11 attacks in 2001 which led to the fall of the Taliban, the US put a $10 million bounty on Omar and he went into hiding in a small compound in the regional capital Qalat, Dam writes.

The family living at the compound were not told of the identity of their mystery guest, but US forces twice almost found him.

At one point, a US patrol approached as Omar and Omari were in the courtyard. Alarmed, the two men ducked behind a wood pile, but the soldiers passed without entering.

A second time, US troops even searched the house but did not uncover the concealed entrance to his secret room. It was not clear if the search was the result of a routine patrol or a tip-off.

Omar decided to move when the US started building Forward Operating Base Lagman in 2004, just a few hundred meters from his hideout.

He later moved to a second building but soon afterwards the Pentagon constructed Forward Operating Base Wolverine — home to 1,000 US troops, and where American and British special forces were sometimes based — close by.

Despite his terror at being caught, he dared not move again, rarely even going outside and often hiding in tunnels when US planes flew over.

According to Dam, Omar would often only talk to his guard and cook, and used an old Nokia mobile phone, without a sim card, to record himself chanting verses from the Qur’an.

Omar’s Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, and has waged an anti-government insurgency since then.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1464866/world

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Mideast

 

Palestinian Authority cuts back wages in tax, prisoner dispute with Israel

10 March 2019

The Palestinian Authority is scaling back wages paid to its employees in response to a cash crunch deepened by a dispute with Israel over payments to families of militants in Israeli jails, it said on Sunday.

In February, Israel announced it was deducting five percent of the revenues it transfers monthly to the Palestinian Authority (PA) from tax collected on imports that reach the occupied West Bank and Hamas-run Gaza Strip via Israeli ports.

Israel said the sum represented the amount the PA pays to families of Palestinians jailed in Israel or killed while carrying out attacks or other security offenses.

Palestinians see their slain and jailed as heroes of a national struggle but Israeli and US officials say the stipends fan Palestinian violence and are scaled so relatives of prisoners serving longer sentences receive larger payments.

After Israel’s deduction announcement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the PA would not accept any of the tax revenues, which totaled 700 million shekels ($193 million) in January and account for about half of the authority’s budget.

As a result, Palestinian Finance Minister Shukri Bishara said the PA would pay full salaries - which had been due on March 1 - only to its lowest-earning employees, or the 40 percent of its workforce that takes home 2,000 shekels ($550) or less a month.

Civil servants earning more than that, including cabinet ministers, will have their wages cut by half, he told a news conference.

However, Bishara said prisoners’ families will continue to be paid their full allocations.

“No force on earth can alter that,” he told a news conference.

Bishara said the PA will have to take bank loans of between $50 million to $60 million for the coming five to six months to weather the crisis.

An Israeli official, commenting on condition of anonymity, said the PA had a cash-flow problem as a result of US cuts in aid to the Palestinians and the tax revenues dispute but that the situation would not spiral out of control.

“The nightmare scenario of the PA collapsing, or of PA security coordination with Israel ceasing, won’t happen,” the official said.

“No one, including us and the United States, would allow that. If need be, we’ll look for ways of preventing this,” he added.

The US has cut all aid to the Palestinians, including $360 million it used to give to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees. The cuts were widely seen as a bid by Washington to press the Palestinians to re-enter peace talks with Israel that collapsed in 2014.

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2019/03/10/Palestinian-Authority-cuts-back-wages-in-tax-prisoner-dispute-with-Israel.html

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Saudi war damages education sector in Yemen: UNICEF

Mar 11, 2019

The United Nations children's agency estimates that out of seven million school-aged children in Yemen over two million are not being educated amid a Saudi-led coalition’s war against the impoverished Arab state.

“The situation of Yemen’s education sector is daunting. Out of 7 million school-aged children, over 2 million children are already out of school,” a regional director of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund said on Sunday.

“School infrastructure is badly damaged and learning materials are in short supply. One in five schools in Yemen can no longer be used because they are damaged or being used in the fighting or to shelter displaced families,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Apart from education, the Saudi aggression has killed or endangered the lives of Yemeni children since 2015.

Last month, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said tens of thousands of children under the age of five have died of starvation in Yemen ever since Saudi Arabia and a number of its allies launched their atrocious military aggression against the impoverished country nearly four years ago.

“Children did not start the war in Yemen, but they are paying the highest price.  Some 360,000 children are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, fighting for their lives every day.  And one credible report put the number of children under 5 who have died of starvation at more than 80,000,” Guterres told a donor conference in the Swiss city of Geneva on Feb. 26.

The UN chief warned of the worsening health and humanitarian situation in Yemen, saying, “Over half of all health facilities are out of action, and nearly 20 million people lack access to adequate health care.”

“In 2017, the worst cholera epidemic in history reached unprecedented levels as water supplies and sanitation and public health services collapsed… Almost 18 million Yemenis still do not have adequate access to safe drinking water or sanitation,” Guterres noted.

In the latest Saudi attack on Yemeni civilians, nearly two dozen women and a child were killed on Sunday, when Saudi warplanes bombarded residential buildings in Talan village of Kushar district in Yemen's northwestern province of Hajjah.

According to a report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi-led war has so far claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/11/590721/Yemen-UNICEF-Children-education-saudi-aggression

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Palestine’s Abbas appoints close ally as new prime minister

Mar 10, 2019

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed longtime ally Mohammad Shtayeh as prime minister and asked him to form a new Palestinian government, in a sign of potentially renewed discord between the Palestinian leader’s party and the rival Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas.

Abbas received 60-year-old Shtayeh in his office on Sunday afternoon and, in a decree published by Palestinian Ma’an news agency, appointed him as the Palestinian prime minister with the task of forming “the 18th government during the given period.”

Shtayeh, who holds a doctorate in economy and development from Sussex University, is a member of the Central Committee of Fatah, the ruling Palestinian nationalist political party led by President Abbas. He has also been the minister of the Palestinian economic council for the past decade.

Shtayeh’s government will replace the outgoing Rami Hamdallah’s government, which resigned in late January but continued as a caretaker government.

Hamdallah was politically independent and his government was formed during a period of improved relations between Fatah and Hamas. The resistance movement had even expressed support for the outgoing premier and his government.

In the decree, Abbas said the mission for the new government would be to speed up reuniting the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip as well as to work toward holding legislative elections in the West Bank — including East Jerusalem al-Quds — and the Gaza Strip to boost democracy.

The Palestinian leadership has been divided between Fatah and Hamas since 2006, when the latter scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in Gaza. Hamas has since been running the coastal enclave, while Fatah has been based in the autonomous parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Previous reconciliation attempts by the two sides to form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have failed.

Shtayeh’s government is expected to be dominated by the ruling Fatah, though other parties will be represented. Hamas is not expected to hold a share in the new government.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/10/590685/Palestine-Abbas-Mohammad-Shtayeh-new-prime-minister-Hamas

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Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian youth in West Bank

Mar 10, 2019

Israeli forces have fatally shot a Palestinian youth at a makeshift checkpoint in the West Bank.

The incident took place just north of the city of Jericho early on Sunday.

The Palestinian Health Ministry identified the victim as Salameh Salah Kaabneh, 22.

Palestinian Wafa news agency reported that Kaabneh was killed “in mysterious circumstances.”

Israeli police, however, claimed in a statement the “masked” Palestinian, who was driving a car, had attempted to run through the checkpoint and not heeded an officer’s order to stop.

“As a result of the gunfire, the car stopped and its Palestinian motorist, a resident of one of the villages nearby, was hit and pronounced dead,” the statement added.

The Israeli military regularly opens fatal fire on Palestinians, accusing them of seeking to attack its personnel.

Human rights groups have repeatedly slammed the Tel Aviv regime for its shoot-to-kill policy as a large number of the Palestinians killed did not pose any serious threat to Israelis.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/10/590662/Israel-Palestinian-shoot-Jericho

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Erdogan says US angered by Turkey’s independence

Mar 10, 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the United States is pressuring Turkey to cancel an arms agreement with Russia because Washington is angered by Ankara’s independence.

“The issue is not about (the Russian defense system) S-400. It is because Turkey takes action of its own will regarding regional developments, particularly in Syria,” President Erdogan said in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir on Saturday.

Turkey has been maintaining military presence in Syria to ward off Kurdish militants, whom it associates with anti-Ankara separatists. The US, which has also been present on Syrian soil, has been arming those Kurds under the pretext of helping them fight the Takfiri terror group of Daesh. Ankara has been at loggerheads with Washington over that support.

Russia and Turkey finalized an agreement on the delivery of Russian S-400 missile defense systems in December 2017. Turkey is expected to take delivery of the systems between later this year and early next year. The US has been selling its own Patriot missile systems to regional countries to push back against Russia’s expanding influence among them.

A day before Erdogan made the comments, the US Department of Defense warned Turkey of “grave consequences” if it took delivery of the Russian equipment. “They (the Turks) would not have access to Patriot and the F-35,” acting Pentagon spokesman Charlie Summers said, also referring to an advanced American fighter jet that the Turks plan to purchase.

The US was about to sell the Patriots to Turkey before Ankara chose to purchase the Russian systems. It is also contracted to deliver 100 F-35 stealth warplanes to Turkey. Washington claims that members of the Western military alliance of NATO, including Turkey, should be using certain weapons to ensure “interoperability.”

Erdogan, however, said, “Everyone knows that this issue has nothing to do with either NATO and the F-35 project nor the security of the US.”

Turkish-US tensions are at a peak mainly due to Washington’s support for the Kurds and Turkey’s subsequent imprisonment of an American pastor.

Last year, Ankara also imposed tariffs on US goods in response to American tariffs on Turkish-supplied steel and aluminum.

The two sides are separately at odds over Washington’s refusal to extradite Fetullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based Turkish cleric accused of masterminding an abortive 2016 coup against the Turkish government.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/10/590645/Turkey-US-Erdogan-independence-S400-Patriot-F35

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Africa

 

Nigeria: 50 Boko Haram militants killed

Rafiu Ajakaye  

10.03.2019

No fewer than 50 Boko Haram militants were killed on Saturday in two encounters with the West African regional troops who foiled the terrorists’ attack on their base in a town straddling Niger and Niger Republic.

Timothy Antigha, spokesman for the regional army, said in a statement early Sunday that 27 militants fell during their attacks on troops’ position in Gueskerou, a community about 30 kilometers from Diffa in Niger Republic.

He said the troops also destroyed six gun trucks and capturing several equipment, arms and ammunition belonging to the militants.

Antigha said additional 23 terrorists died in a face off with soldiers in Mallam Fatori area of northeastern Borno state while large cache of weapons -- including 20 rifles three machine guns and seven gun trucks -- were seized from them or destroyed.

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/nigeria-50-boko-haram-militants-killed/1413879

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Malaysia deports Egyptians, Tunisian for alleged terror ties

11 March 2019

Malaysian police said Sunday that six Egyptians and a Tunisian man believed to be linked to an African-based terror group have been detained and deported.

One of the Egyptians and the Tunisian national are suspected members of Ansar Al-Sharia Al-Tunisia, which is based in North Africa and listed as a terrorist group by the United Nations, national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said in a statement.

Fuzi said the two were detained in 2016 for trying to illegally enter an African country. He said they used fake passports to enter Malaysia in October last year and were planning to sneak into a third country to launch attacks.

Five other Egyptians and two Malaysians were detained last month for providing food, shelter, air tickets and employment for the two suspected terrorists, Fuzi said.

He said authorities are concerned with the entry of foreign terrorist fighters as investigations showed they may use Malaysia as a “safe haven” or a logistics hub to launch attacks in other countries.

Full report at:

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/world/2019/03/11/Malaysia-deports-Egyptians-Tunisian-for-alleged-terror-ties.html

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‘Sudan opposition leader nabbed, sentenced to week in jail’

Mar 10, 2019

A Sudanese emergency court on Sunday sentenced an opposition leader to a week in jail, as police detained several people intent on marching on parliament to protest a state of emergency.

Mariam al-Mahdi — daughter of opposition Umma Party chief and ex-prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi — was sentenced to a week in prison by an emergency court, Mohamed al-Mahdi, another of the party's leaders, told AFP.

Mariam al-Mahdi and her sister Rabah were among those arrested earlier on Sunday.

Protest organizers had called for a march to challenge the state of emergency imposed nationwide by President Omar al-Bashir on February 22.

Bashir's move came after an initial crackdown on demonstrations that have taken place against his rule since December last year failed to rein in the protest movement.

The president has ordered a slew of tough measures to quell the demonstrations, including banning all unauthorized rallies and setting up special emergency courts to probe transgressions.

Sunday's procession was to start at the Umma Party's offices in the capital's twin city of Omdurman.

"As some of our leaders came out of the party office to lead the march, security agents arrested them," said Mohamed al-Mahdi, who is not connected to the former premier's family.

Alongside the two daughters of the former premier, "five other leaders of our party have also been taken away by security agents," Mohamed al-Mahdi said.

"We are still awaiting court verdicts for Rabah and the other five," he added.

He said riot police fired tear gas at the protesters who had gathered outside the party office.

"Police dispersed the protesters before they could stage the march," a witness said.

"Protesters have now launched demonstrations in some areas of Omdurman. Many of them have been arrested," the witness added.

Protests initially broke out on December 19, 2018 after a government decision to triple the price of bread.

The demonstrations escalated into nationwide rallies against Bashir's rule.

Anger has mounted for years over soaring inflation and an acute foreign currency shortage.

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/10/590687/Sudan-opposition-leader-jailed

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Libya declares state of emergency in Sirte

Hamdi Yildiz  

11.03.2019

Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli declared a state of emergency and mobilization in the north-central city of Sirte.

The decision came after forces of east Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar, known as the Libyan National Army, reportedly move forward to the southern outskirt of the city.

All troops of the militia connected to the UN-backed unity government were called to duty, said a statement from the security and protection force in Sirte, affiliated to the GNA.

“Any attack on the city will mean a declaration of war and its consequences will turn into a disaster,” said the statement, adding that Haftar’s forces took provocative steps recurrently.

Meanwhile, some activist posted videos on social media showing armed men loyal to Haftar patrolling at the southern gate of the city.

Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the death of longstanding leader Muammar Gaddafi after four decades in power.

Full report at:

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/libya-declares-state-of-emergency-in-sirte/1414427

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Europe

 

Somali teens in UK sent away to escape rising knife crime

Mar 10, 2019

Somali families living in the United Kingdom are rushing their children back to Africa to avoid them being trapped in knife crimes and growing violence on the streets.

The Observer said in a report that many Somali teenagers have been sent back to the Somalia, Somaliland or Kenya as their parents are becoming increasingly worried about their safety in the UK, where stabbings and gang violence continue to affect children and young adults almost on a daily basis.

Most of those families are from a Somalia community living in Islington, London, where they have been based since the 1990s when civil war in their home country left them displaced. Children of the community, however, have been mostly hired or exploited by gangs and drug traffickers as most of them have found it hard to integrate and live a normal life.

Local authorities say many families from the community are now sending their children back to Africa as they are concerned about their safety.

“Sending them away has become the only way they can be safer. This issue of safety has been repeatedly raised by the community but nobody has listened,” said Rakhia Ismail, Islington deputy mayor, adding, “So many children have gone abroad. Two weeks ago, there was a stabbing and a child was taken back home two days later.” 

Representatives of the Somali community in Islington say 50 to 70 percent of the families in the area have been directly affected by drug trafficking and knife crime.

“Hundreds of youngsters have been taken to Somalia, Somaliland and Kenya, some taken all the way to the rural areas. Parents feel they have no choice if they want their son to be safe,” said Sadia Ali, a senior member of the local forum and founder of an organization campaigning for the rights of the minorities.

This comes as Somalia is still grappling with high levels of violence and terrorist attacks that continue to target civilians in various parts of the country.

Knife crime epidemic became a bigger concern in the UK after two 17-year-olds were killed in unprovoked attacks in London and Manchester last week.

Many have blamed the ruling Tory government’s austerity measures for the spike in violence, saying an understaffed police have been unable to contain gangs and respond to emergencies in large cities.

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/10/590673/UK-knife-crime-epidemic-Somali-teens

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Britain removes citizenship from two more Daesh brides: report

March 10, 2019

LONDON: Britain has revoked citizenship from two more women who joined the Daesh group in Syria, a newspaper reported Sunday, raising questions about the fate of their children.

The revelation follows a row over a similar decision regarding London teenager Shamima Begum, whose newborn baby died in a Syrian refugee camp last week.

Reema Iqbal, 30, and her sister Zara, 28, left east London for Syria in 2013, and between them now have five boys under the age of eight, The Sunday Times newspaper said.

Citing legal sources, the paper said they had been stripped of their British citizenship.

The pair, who are of Pakistani heritage, reportedly married into a terror cell linked to the murder of western hostages.

The British interior ministry said it does not comment on individual cases.

A spokesman said: “Any decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on all available evidence and not taken lightly.”

Begum, who married a Dutch Daesh fighter, was located by journalists in a refugee camp after fleeing fighting between the terror group and US-backed forces.

She had asked to return to Britain with her baby, after her two other children died under Daesh rule.

Interior minister Sajid Javid revoked her citizenship amid security fears, but has been criticized for not doing more to help her son.

British law states that the government cannot remove a person’s citizenship if that would make them stateless.

Begum was thought to be eligible for Bangladeshi citizenship through her parents, but Dhaka said she could not go there.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1464596/world

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Brussels will have to look at a future where Al Assad rules Syria

Federica Marsi

March 10, 2019

European member states will meet in Brussels this week to raise financial aid for the 11.7 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance.

As President Bashar Al Assad consolidates his position after a brutal eight-year conflict, cracks have started to appear in the EU’s unified approach on how to deal with a regime accused of war crimes against its own population.

The Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region, between March 12 and 14, will need to move beyond securing pledges for humanitarian aid and deal with pressing issues including the struggling UN-led peace process, reconstruction aid and the demands of activists and women.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, expressed confidence in the event's ability to advance the EU agenda in Syria.

"We have already had exchanges with the new UN special envoy for Syria on how to use this conference for defining how we can support a political transition in Syria and the UN role in this respect," Ms Mogherini said last month.

She said the meeting would also bring together local interests and represent “a Syrian week” on the global diplomatic calendar.

But EU member states, which together count as the world’s biggest aid donors, are more divided than they were a year ago.

Important states such as Italy, Austria and Hungary are run by anti-immigration governments, which are calling for the return of refugees through talks with Syrian authorities, regardless of prior objections.

Poland’s nationalist ruling party said it would be ready to finance homes and schools to help Syrians return.

Officially, the EU has made its reconstruction support conditional on a UN-led peace process.

France, Germany and Britain oppose allocating money for reconstruction that will fund Mr Al Assad’s cronies.

More than 270 people are under EU sanctions for their roles in the Syrian regime, including Syria’s interior minister and six other Cabinet members who were blacklisted this week.

In January, the EU Council sanctioned prominent businessmen involved in construction projects.

Humanitarian organisations complained that the Assad regime was channelling aid to loyalists and called on the EU to demand it reach all Syrians.

The European Commission secured $1.25 billion (Dh4.59bn) for assistance to civilians in Syria, but was unable to deliver all of it because of access problems.

Similar challenges can be expected to block distribution of the funds raised this year in Brussels.

Financial aid for reconstruction could be the last bargaining chip in the hands of the EU.

The success of a UN-led peace process that establishes a credible, inclusive and non-sectarian governance would pave the way for the EU’s full engagement in Syria.

Geir Pedersen, the fourth UN negotiator working to resolve the bloodshed in Syria, said that “there will be no sustainable peace in Syria unless all Syrians are included in shaping the future of their country".

But the chances of this taking place in the near future are dimming. Russia, Turkey and Iran have been mediating their own peace process and are placing themselves to reap the profits of Syria’s rebuilding deals, estimated by the UN to cost $388bn.

As a major backer of the Assad regime, Russia is putting pressure on western states and institutions to provide the much-needed capital for reconstruction.

But the EU fears profits will be pocketed by Assad loyalists, who are behind major luxury housing and entertainment projects in Damascus-area municipalities. More are scheduled for Aleppo and Homs.

The populist front inside the EU is pushing for investments in Syria regardless of whether or not this will benefit the house of Assad, under the token that it will enable more than one million Syrians in Europe to go back home.

Eighty per cent of Syrians are living below the poverty line and half of the population is unemployed, UN estimates show.

Socio-economic challenges are acute, particularly for women who have largely become primary breadwinners and face violence.

Delivering aid is also difficult and expensive, as the regime charges between $700 and $800 for the entry of Jordanian and Lebanese trucks.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/mena/brussels-will-have-to-look-at-a-future-where-al-assad-rules-syria-1.835432

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Smuggled Babylonian relic to be handed back to Iraq

March 10, 2019

A Babylonian treasure will be handed back to Iraq later this month after UK border officers foiled an attempt to smuggle it through Heathrow Airport.

The 30cm-high inscribed stone, dating back more than 3,000 years, was one section of a larger antiquity that is believed to have been looted from southern Iraq.

The stone is a rare kudurru, an official document with cuneiform writing drawn up on the instructions of the king to record lands handed to individuals, according to UK newspaper The Guardian. It is believed to date from the reign of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar I (1126-1103 BC).

The newspaper reported that a border official became suspicious after the cargo was described as a “carved stone for home decoration” that was made in Turkey. The stone was believed to have been once located at a temple.

“Importantly, this kudurru has been neither previously recorded nor published and must therefore come from illicit digging at a site in southern Iraq,” Dr St John Simpson, a senior curator at the British Museum, told The Guardian.

The return of the kudurru is part of a broader effort by officials to return antiquities looted in the last decade of the rule of Saddam Hussein and its chaotic aftermath.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/smuggled-babylonian-relic-to-be-handed-back-to-iraq-1.835405

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ISIS cells are planning their revenge says imprisoned Italian fighter

March 10, 2019

An Italian man who joined ISIS said that although the militant group is poised to lose its last territory east of the Euphrates, it has long been planning for a new phase by smuggling out hundreds of men to set up sleeper cells in Iraq and Syria.

Mounsef Al Mkhayar, who is of Moroccan descent, told Reuters the terrorist group has vowed to "get revenge” for their current struggles.

The Italian is in a prison in north Syria, run by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), after abandoning ISIS two months ago as US-backed forces closed in.

Al Mkhayar was sentenced to eight years in jail by a Milan court in 2017 for spreading ISIS propaganda and trying to recruit Italians to the group.

Once an atheist with an affinity for rap music and a dream of moving to America, Al Mkhayar joined ISIS at 18.

He said he had spent most of his life in Milan with an aunt he calls his mother, before being placed in a home for troubled young people. He also spent a month in prison on drugs charges.

He began watching ISIS videos and speaking to recruiters online. It took him just a month to decide to go to Syria with a friend four years ago.

After military and religious training, Al Mkhayar fought on various fronts. His friend was killed on the battlefield.

As ISIS lost its Syrian headquarters at Raqqa, he left for Mayadin on the Euphrates river, then moved farther east across the desert, towards the Iraqi border.

After a string of defeats in eastern Syria, ISIS leaders were in disarray, killing off rival clerics and emirs, Al Mkhayar said.

He had then tried to quit the fight but had been imprisoned and then sent back to the front lines.

Al Mkhayar ended up in Baghouz, where he said the last fighters were split between wanting to give up or fight to the death.

He said his wife, a Syrian Kurdish woman from Kobani, who he married three years ago, convinced him to leave.

“‘That’s it’, we said, ‘we’re getting out.’ I saw my little daughter turning weak. I was scared my children would die,” he said.

Al Mkhayar said he could not sleep because of thinking about his wife and two daughters in a camp for displaced people in another part of north-east Syria. His wife is due to give birth in a month.

The Italian citizen said he still believed in the idea of a caliphate for Muslims, but accused ISIS leaders of governing their land like “a mafia”, seeking only to make money and breaking their own rules with impunity.

Commanders had stolen money and fled to Turkey, Iraq or western Europe, while ordering people to stay and defend Islam, he said.

The SDF, meanwhile, reportedly detained a former Irish soldier who joined ISIS. Irish police said they were “aware of an Irish woman who left Ireland three or four years ago having become radicalised. She was previously a member of the Irish Defence Forces”.

Irish news media named the woman as Lisa Smith, 37, from Dundalk.

She is said to have spent about a decade in the army before joining the Air Corps, where she reportedly served on government jets.

Irish media shared an image of her among the flight crew when Ireland’s prime minister at the time, Bertie Ahern, visited the US in April 2008.

The news of two more detainees comes as western governments grapple with what to do with their citizens who fled to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS.

The UK government stripped teenager Shamima Begum of her British nationality in February after she gave an interview saying she wanted to return home, having fled to war-torn Syria with two school friends at the age of 15.

Full report at:

https://www.thenational.ae/world/europe/isis-cells-are-planning-their-revenge-says-imprisoned-italian-fighter-1.835323

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North America

 

'Never-ending' numbers in last IS scrap shock US-backed fighters

March 9, 2019

US-backed fighters have been hoping for weeks that the final day has come for the Islamic State group's "caliphate", but its last tiny sliver of land just won't seem to empty.

Tens of thousands of dust-covered women, children and men have streamed out of the ragged tent encampment in the Syrian village of Baghouz since December -- and despite that exodus they still keep on coming.

The numbers have flummoxed the Kurdish-led forces and bogged down their offensive to finish off the once sprawling proto-state.

"When we began the operation we knew there would be civilians, but not in such a big number," Adnan Afrin, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, said Thursday. 

In recent days thousands more men and women -- including those who once flocked to join IS from across the globe -- left the IS pocket.

That upended assumptions that few families remained holed up in Baghouz and those who refused to leave or surrender were choosing to die there. 

"They're coming from underground... they're never-ending," said one SDF official.

The International Rescue Committee on Friday said as many as 12,000 people from Baghouz have arrived in one camp for non-combatants in northeast Syria over the past 48 hours, including some 6,000 people on Thursday alone.

The women trucked out of the bastion this week gave drastically varying figures on the holdout families that remain in the bombed-out and besieged jihadist bastion. 

"There's still more," said Umm Aboud from the northern Syrian city of Al-Bab.

"You see how many people have come out in the past few days, there's that many still inside," said the mother of four, her bright green eyes peering through a black veil.

More than 55,000 civilians have arrived in the Kurdish-run Al-Hol camp since December, according to the International Rescue Committee. 

"The IRC and other agencies are doing all they can do help the new arrivals but Al-Hol camp is now at breaking point," the organisation said Friday.

"No one could have guessed that such a large number of women and children were still living in Baghouz."

Questions remain as to how aid planners, as well as SDF officials and their coalition partners, could have so severely underestimated the number of people left in the crumbling "caliphate".

Carrying what they could manage, black-clad women trucked out of Baghouz in the past few days have said they were living crammed together in trenches, tents and cars near the bend in the Euphrates as the bombing campaign rolled the redoubt back.

"There are thousands of families leaving... (but) there were thousands and thousands of families there, even I was surprised," 35-year-old Umm Alaa, from the Iraqi town of Heet, said Wednesday after fleeing. 

The mother of 10 said she lost a child last week due to hunger as the situation grew increasingly desperate. 

Footage obtained by AFP from the Free Burma Rangers, a Christian aid group run by a former US special forces operative, showed hundreds of people still remained in the riverside camp. 

In the images said to have been filmed Thursday, women draped in black walked through the makeshift dwellings as overturned cars and scraps of twisted metal littered the ground.

The aid group has come in close proximity to the camp in recent days and its head, David Eubank, told AFP some two thousand people could remain inside.

Analyst Mutlu Civiroglu, on the ground in eastern Syria, told AFP that IS was purposefully trying to conceal its numbers.

They have regularly been "releasing certain numbers of people, including fighters, in controlled amounts" in an attempt to buy time, he said. 

"If they really wanted to surrender, they would have... and if they wanted to fight again, they could have," he added. 

The delay was "a deliberate effort, maybe to prepare for something else... what that is though is unclear".

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/03/09/never-ending-numbers-in-last-is-scrap-shock-us-backed-fighters.html

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US, France, UK in talks to prolong Syria presence: Bolton

Mar 10, 2019

US National Security Adviser John Bolton says he has discussed a long-term military presence in Syria with his British and French counterparts, despite an order by President Donald Trump to evacuate American troops from the Arab country.

Speaking to ABC News on Sunday, Bolton was hopeful that Britain and France would also join the US efforts to prevent Daesh’s resurgence.

"It hasn't happened formally yet, but they're looking at it. I think it's very important that we try and get this up. The ISIS threat, the al Qaeda threat, the terrorist threat is an ideological threat worldwide and it's something that I think we have to be vigilant against for the foreseeable future," he said using another acronym for Daesh.

Bolton reaffirmed President Donald Trump's assessment of Daesh’s defeat in Syria but cautioned that the threat still persisted because members of the group were spread around the world.

"The president has been, I think, as clear as clear can be when he talks about the defeat of the ISIS territorial caliphate," Bolton said. "He has never said that the elimination of the territorial caliphate means the end of ISIS in total.

"We know that's not the case. We know right now that there are ISIS fighters scattered still around Syria and Iraq, and that ISIS itself is growing in other parts of the world. The ISIS threat will remain."

The remarks once again highlight Washington’s shifting messages since Trump’s announcement of a swift withdrawal from Syria.

In a video posted to Twitter in December, Trump declared that "we have won against ISIS" and "it’s time for our troops to come back home" from Syria. Back then, the president said he had directed his commanders to complete the process in three months.

While some of the nearly 2,000 US troops in Syria have already moved to the neighboring Iraq but the process has reportedly come to a halt to address concerns in Washington.

Last month, the Trump administration announced that some 400 American troops will stay in Syria indefinitely after the withdrawal was completed to allegedly protect allied Kurdish militants in Syria from possible Turkish attacks while keeping an eye out for Daesh’s reemergence.

Bolton said Sunday that the decision was out of concern that Daesh could regain its footing.

"One reason that the president has committed to keeping an American presence in Iraq and a small part of an observer force in Syria, is against the possibility that there would be a real resurgence of ISIS, and we would then have the ability to deal with that if that arose," he said.

Last week, General Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command which oversees US military operations in the Middle East, said the fight against Daesh was "far from over."

Full report at:

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/03/10/590703/US-Bolton-UK-France-Syria-presence-Trump

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-world-news/new-age-islam-news-bureau/kuala-lumpur-says-foreign-militants-eyeing-malaysia-as-safe-haven/d/117992

 

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