in Europe Are Ill-Advised To Buying Churches and Turning Them into Mosques
Men Face Pressure to Ignore Their Mental Health Problems in Britain
London Needs a New Mayor, Khan Is a Disaster
Sanctions on Turkey May Open Pandora's Box at NATO
Students Bag 80 Percent Of Government Scholarships Offered Under 20 Central
Government Schemes In 2018-19
Lanka to Set Up Religious Reconciliation Council to Dispel the Suspicions and
Misconceptions among Religions
Should Not Try Balancing Ties with India and China’: Nasheed Former President
Will Engage With India on 'Basis of Equality': Shah Mehmood Qureshi
Crown Prince Warns Against 'Exploiting' Khashoggi Murder
Iran To Continue Scaling Back Its Nuclear Deal Commitments
cannot solve problems of Europe or Asia'
opposition leader targeted over comments on Iran escalation
envoy denies Iran summons over tanker attacks claim
Ottoman-Era Mosque Opens after Renovation
Corbyn says no evidence of Iran role in attacks
Corbyn hit by online backlash over criticism of UK stance on Iran
Administration Is Itching For a Fight with Iran: Political Analyst
Sanders warns against Trump's 'pretext for war' with Iran
should remain firm and resolute against Trump and his henchmen: Scholar
looking into university funding from Qatar and other outside sources
Terror Funding Case: NIA Nails Top Separatist Leaders
more held in Tamil Nadu ISIS module bust
ISIS men nabbed in 2018 were in touch with Pakistani recruiter
Pakistan's Jammu & Kashmir terror fund trail
'gravest threat' in Asia, says S Jaishankar
fear displacement from Jama Masjid area as Agra Metro project moves forward
panel meets AIMPLB delegation
body to track all terrorism cases in Jammu and Kashmir
Lankan Muslim Ministers Who Quit Likely Reconsidering Decision on Request of
Special Forces arrest another Taliban fighter holding Pakistani NIC
Peace Talks with the Taliban: Will Trump Succeed in Ending America’s Longest
War in Afghanistan?
kill 5 Taliban; Special Forces detain 3 in Helmand province
Taliban militants killed, 10 arrested in Logar and Ghazni operations
Taliban militants killed in Special Forces raid, airstrike in Zabul
city resident arrested for cooperating with the terrorists: MoI
crisis can destabilise region if not solved: Bangla Prez
quick breakthrough in Taliban talks, warns Ghani
seek foreign help to deal with IS fighters
Mahathir visits Albukhary Foundation Gallery at British Museum in London
with Malaysian students to kick off Dr M’s busy UK schedule
of Pak Bomb Moves HC, Seeks Freedom of Movement
discusses with aides accountability, strategy to counter opposition
orders resumption of hepatitis programme
appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for regional peace, says Qureshi
hasn’t come out of its poll mindset, Pakistan will engage on ‘basis of
equality’, says Qureshi
Rights Watch Declares Houthi Abha Airport Attack A ‘War Crime’ As Another
Missile Targets City
Refugees Staying In Lebanon for Economic Reasons, Not Security Fear: Bassil
crown prince lashes out at Iran over tanker attacks
attack on Iraqi base home to US troops, no casualties
flare-up kills 35 fighters, including 26 pro-regime forces: monitor
Crown Prince: We don’t want war but we won’t hesitate to deal with threats
cause explosion at Syrian military zone in Damascus suburbs
base home to US troops comes under mortar attack north of Baghdad
Nazanin begins fresh hunger strike in Tehran jail
air defence forces intercept Houthi drone targeting Abha
slams southern EU nations on drilling bid off Cyprus
Turkey presidents express opposition to sanctions, unilateralism
drones target airport installations south of Saudi Arabia
retaliation expected after Saudi jets bomb Sana'a
Erdogan sees Russian S-400s coming from July: NTV
Says Military Council Suspends Decree on UN Sites
Double Car Bomb Blasts Kill 9, Wound 25
prosecutor: Omar al-Bashir to be referred to trial after appeal period
Dozens of migrants stranded off Tunisia for 15 days
Al-Bashir due in court within week
Police Blame Al-Shabab for Blast Near Somalia That Left Officers Dead
police reservists abducted in Wajir by suspected Al-Shabaab militants
by New Age Islam News Bureau
acts, with no thought given to their consequences, by members of Europe’s
Muslim communities are fuelling hatred and violence. The trend of buying
churches and turning them into mosques is giving the extreme right in Europe
one more card to consolidate its dominance over Europe by inciting hostility
controversy sparked in Germany about Muslim communities buying churches to
convert them into mosques revealed the communities’ lack of understanding of
the turbulent situation of European society and the rise of Islamophobia.
Christian association called Friends of the Protestant Church in Berlin
published a report on the conversion of ten churches this year in Germany into
mosques. It said the phenomenon was not new but it was repeated and deliberate.
the end of 2018, the Nur Mosque was inaugurated in Hamburg after a Muslim
investor bought a church and donated it to the Islamic centre of the city.
Similar actions were carried out in the Netherlands, Britain and France. The
most prominent examples of the actions were the openings of Al Fateh Mosque in
Amsterdam, the Sultan Ayoub Mosque and the Osman Ghazi Mosque in the
Netherlands. In France, the Dominican Church in Lille and the Saint Joseph
Church in Paris have been turned into mosques.
association said: “What the Muslims are doing is not wise behaviour.”
controversy serves to highlight the great crisis experienced by Muslim
communities in Europe as they were joined by recent waves of immigrants. More
and more, the communities are coming under the fire of angry populist
right-wing politicians in Europe.
controversy raised by the behaviour of some members of the Muslim communities,
which some see as a provocative gift that stimulates the birth of more extreme
right-wing, anti-Muslim discourse, comes at a time when anti-Muslim rhetoric
based on the concept of Islamophobia is on the rise in Europe in conjunction
with an increase of anti-immigration discourse by populist political parties.
parties target Muslim immigrants in particular under the thin pretext of taking
anti-terrorism prevention measures and stopping the threat of terrorism from
extremist Islamic groups.
said the biggest problem for Muslims in Europe is that they cannot properly
integrate in Western societies. This simple reality opens opportunities for
radical Islamist groups to spread extremist ideologies among the Muslim
communities and transform citizens dissatisfied with the West into time bombs.
reports reveal that many Islamic centres in Europe, controlled by radical
Islamist groups, consider buying a church and turning it into a mosque as one
form of jihad for the sake of Allah, no less valued than self-sacrifice.
Islamist groups are finding dozens of churches for sale across Europe and
encouraging Muslim businessmen to buy them so they can be converted into
mosques. They follow a provocative style in announcing the conversions and
reinforce feelings of anger and resentment by publishing pictures of the
removal of the cross and replacing it with a crescent, to mark “a tribute to
the Islamic religion.”
is going through an identity crisis, not only at the political and economic
levels but also at the religious and ideological levels. This has led to a
decline in the construction of churches and the closure of about 250 churches
annually because of declining numbers of worshippers.
issue of transforming churches into mosques has been a sensitive one between
the Orient and the West for more than 1,000 years. Some may think that, as the
European citizen’s attachment to his Christian faith has declined, the time has
become ripe for Muslims to expand. However, historical conflicts between Islam
and Christianity have long been linked to issues of dignity and victory.
Farouk, an expert on political Islam groups, said the issue of transforming the
identity of one building from one religion to another has been complex for
hundreds of years and continues to cast a shadow.
still keep the memory of the church of the Byzantine Empire in Turkey, Hagia
Sophia, that the Muslims had transformed into a mosque, alive even after nearly
200 years and Muslims continue to dream about resuscitating their mosques in
Granada, Cordoba, Malaga and Seville, all of which were transformed into
churches,” said Farouk.
said that turning churches into mosques is a foolish act, even if the law
permits it and it is approved by residents because that behaviour reflects a
lack of maturity on the part of the Muslim community. “It is a card that will
be used at one point in time against Europe’s Muslims,” said Farouk.
is not possible to separate between the isolation of the Muslim communities in
European societies and the growing anti-Muslim hatred that is strongly
supported by the extreme right that is inching closer to power in many European
Muslims deliberately or unwittingly contribute to the propagation of right-wing
ideas through reckless behaviour that paves the way for a wider spread of
decisions and actions of some members of the Muslim communities in the West
reflect the ironically common ground between radical Islamist groups and the
far right in Europe. They are sides of the same coin, pushing each other
towards more radicalism in the service of certain ideological and intellectual
goals that further fracture the European society.
National Men’s Health Week and men’s health – physical and mental – is in a
state of crisis in Britain. Male obesity levels are rising, prostate cancer
incidences are rising and so are eating disorders like anorexia which, until
recently, were very uncommon. With suicide being the leading cause of death of
young men under 35, the mental health trends are perhaps the most alarming.
Globally, depression has overtaken back pain as the number one cause of
disability, as the illness has surged amongst men of all backgrounds.
my years on the frontline of the NHS during emergencies like Grenfell, as well
as volunteering with refugees and internally displaced people in Calais, Lesvos
and Iraq have opened my eyes as to how mental illness affects Muslim men, like
myself, in slightly different ways.
the culture, you see. We’ve inherited sometimes noble, often harmful ideals of
traditional masculinity, of the importance of stoicism, of being seen as the
unbreakable, impenetrable provider without weakness.
downright dangerous traditional views also persist. Blame is often placed on
the person who is depressed, and their faith questioned as if it is an issue of
belief. Mental illness is often seen as a weakness.
community members believe that because depression isn’t visible, it is simply
not real. In fact it speaks volumes that the word “depression” doesn’t even
exist in many of the South Asian languages most widely spoken by British
Muslims. The closest equivalent phrase means “long-term psychotic type condition”.
of all backgrounds are on average one third less likely to seek medical help
than women – BAME men even more so. Me and my healthcare colleagues are looking
at a ticking time bomb. So many of these men are in denial about their health
issues, and only seek help when it is nearly too late.
recently had a Muslim man who came to see me in my GP practice every few weeks
without any obvious reason. We discussed everyday life in London, the cricket
World Cup and how to make a proper cup of tea. Anything but actual medical
didn’t feel right. And as I tell I tell the juniors I train now – if it doesn’t
feel right then it’s probably not. Trust your GP spidey-senses.
the penny had dropped, things became clearer for both me and Mr Khan: fifteen
minutes later, he left my clinic room with a diagnosis of depression, a plan in
place and a follow up appointment to review him in a few weeks’ time.
got to Mr Khan in time. But many are not so lucky. Lots slip through the net –
our over-stretched National Health Service simply doesn’t have the resources to
help them as quickly and effectively as we would like.
why am I writing this? As a GP, a health campaigner and a long-term advocate of
preventative medicine, now is the time to speak up. To Muslim communities and
community leaders, it is time that we addressed the issues that exist head on,
to address taboos and to support the congregation with their health needs.
there should be culturally competent mental health provision, that caters to
BAME experiences. These services should provide holistic health and wellbeing
support from the community, for the community.
finally for all of those men, ethnic minority or not, who are suffering from
depression or other forms of physical or mental health problems, I wish to
remind you that you haven’t done anything wrong; that God is not angry with
you, and that you don’t need to suffer in silence.
is the time to share any concerns you have about your health with your local GP
or healthcare team – it is never too late to seek medical attention.
London needs a new mayor, Khan is a disaster
President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack Saturday on London Mayor Sadiq
Khan, calling for him to be replaced as soon as possible.
needs a new mayor ASAP. Khan is a disaster - will only get worse!” Trump said
on Twitter, days after labeling the mayor a “stone cold loser.”
attached his latest comment to a retweet about crime in London – where three
men were killed in the span of 24 hours – from right-wing columnist Katie
Hopkins, who has been widely accused of Islamophobia and in 2015 called
president’s plane had not even touched down in London early this month for the
start of a state visit when he tweeted his “loser” comment. Khan had criticized
the red carpet treatment being given Trump for the visit.
said the mayor should “focus on crime in London, not me.” He also made a
comment about Khan’s height.
London’s first Muslim mayor, had led opposition to Trump’s visit, writing a
newspaper article in which he compared the US leader to European dictators from
the 1930s and 1940s.
that time, the mayor’s spokesman called Trump’s tweets “childish” and “beneath
the president of the United States.”
a trip to London in July last year, Trump accused Khan of doing “a very bad job
on terrorism,” linking immigration to a deadly wave of crime in London.
feud began when Khan, the son of a bus driver who emigrated from Pakistan in
the 1960s, criticized Trump’s travel ban on people from certain Muslim
sanctions on Turkey may open Pandora's box at NATO
strong reaction against Turkey over its decision to purchase Russia’s S-400
missile defence system may reinforce disputes within the NATO alliance,
according to an analyst.
tensions between Turkey and the U.S. will result in greater Turkish military
cooperation with Russia, said Karol Wasilewski, Turkey analyst at the Polish
Institute of International Affairs (PISM).
will also result in more U.S. limitations on military cooperation with Turkey,
comments come at a time when tensions between the two countries may rise
further as the delivery date approaches for the Russian S-400 system, which is
scheduled for next month.
stronger U.S. reaction may also reinforce disputes within the alliance, given
the expected opposition of some countries," he said, citing Germany as an
is said that possible U.S. sanctions against Turkey may spur tensions within
the alliance due to the large trade volume Turkey has with another NATO member,
also underlined that the decision to acquire the Russian system is part of
Turkey’s desire to achieve "strategic autonomy".
2053, Turkey wants its arms industry to be self-sufficient, which has forced
the country to systematically reduce its dependence on Western suppliers,
currently dominant in arms transactions, and acquire new technologies," he
said one of the crucial aspects that facilitated Turkey’s S-400 transaction was
Russia's willingness to include technology transfer, in contrast to Western
allies' proposals, which failed to meet Turkey’s military demands.
December 2017, Turkey agreed to buy Russia’s S-400 air defense system after its
initiatives in 2013 to purchase U.S.-made Patriot missiles fell on deaf ears.
the height of the expanding Syrian civil war which threatened Turkey's southern
borders, Washington was aware of Turkey's need for an air defense system yet
proposed an exorbitant price for its Patriots.
an interview this April with Defense & Aerospace Report, Stephen Flanagan,
a senior political scientist at policy think tank the RAND Corporation, said
the U.S. had "concerns" about Turkey at the time.
2013, the U.S. assumed that Turkey would be unable to secure its defense needs
through other vendors, Russia in particular, since the two countries were at
odds with each other over the Syrian war until 2016.
later shopped for European alternatives, especially Italian. But in 2017, when
Russia offered its state-of-the art S-400s at a reasonable price and with a
fair contract, the Turkish government signed the deal.
then, although Turkish officials have repeatedly stressed their commitment to
NATO’s mission and said Turkey is not choosing Russia over NATO, Washington has
pursued a policy of issuing threats.
policy reached a new low last week, when the U.S. State Department gave Turkey
a July 31 deadline to suspend the S-400 deal or face consequences.
the deadline, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the S-400 issue is a
"done deal" and "backtracking is out of the question,"
while Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said “no one can force Turkey to choose
between NATO and Russia".
contributions to F-35 project
U.S. threat to cut Turkey out of the F-35 project ignores not only its settled
contract to buy the jets but also its long and integral role in producing
technology for the advanced planes.
by defense giant Lockheed Martin, Turkey joined the U.S. F-35 Joint Strike
Fighter Program in 2002 along with the U.K., Italy, Australia, the Netherlands,
Norway, Denmark and Canada, and to date has invested more than $1.25 billion.
has partnered with Lockheed Martin for more than 25 years, primarily on the
F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft.
also manufactures more than 900 aircraft parts for all F-35 variants and
of participating countries have been contributing to the program.
of the most complex structural sections of the aircraft, the F-35A Center
Fuselage, is produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries as a second source.
Turkish defense firms Aselsan, Havelsan, Kale Aero, Kale Pratt & Whitney,
Ayesas and Alp Aviation also manufacture essential components of the F-35 and
provide cutting-edge engineering services.
the U.S. system, as a Level 1 country, Britain has the most privileges,
followed by Italy and the Netherlands at Level 2 and five other countries,
including Turkey, at Level 3.
Japan and Singapore have participated in the project as export customers.
industry’s participation contributes significantly to the program’s cost
effectiveness, which is one of the most major concerns for the project’s
plans to purchase 100 of the F-35A conventional takeoff and landing variant.
to official statements, the development phase will be completed by 2020 and
full-scale production will start.
Delhi: Students from the Muslim community received about 80 percent of total
scholarships offered under 20 Central government schemes in 2018-19, official
from the Christian community came in at second place with 7.5 percent share
while it was 5 percent for Sikhs and 4.7 percent for Hindus, according to the
National Scholarship Portal managed by the Ministry of Electronics and
than 1.4 Crore applications were received in 2018-19, of which 1.08 Crore were
the students who received scholarships, 88 Lakh were Muslims, 8.26 lakh
Christians, 5.45 lakh Sikhs and 5.2 lakh Hindus.
were 1.94 lakh (1.8 percent) Buddhists and 1.07 lakh (1 percent) Jains in the
list of beneficiaries.
total amount disbursed under these scholarship programs sponsored by 14 Union
Ministries was Rs 2,157 Crore in 2018-19.
the total amount, Rs 1,032 Crore was spent on scholarships for Muslims students
while Rs 183 crore was spent on Sikhs and Rs 128 Crore for Hindus.
Ministry of Minority Affairs topped the list of allotments with 77 percent
scholarships of the total offered.
Of Labour and Employment, Department of Higher Education, Department of School
Education and Literacy, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities
also featured among the top five.
Bengal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Kerala were the top five
states to receive scholarships.
terms of the amount received under these scholarships, Uttar Pradesh came first
with Rs 356 Crore, followed by West Bengal at Rs 281 crore.
Lanka To Set Up Religious Reconciliation Council To Dispel The Suspicions And
Misconceptions Among Religions
June 13, 2019: Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says he accepts the recent
announcement of Buddhist prelates and will take steps to set up a council to
dispel the suspicions and misconceptions among religions and build religious
premier told a function in Baddegama June 08 that a religious reconciliation
council will be established under the leadership of all religious leaders.
main objective of this program is to reconcile religions and communities, he
prelates have pointed out that there will be no solution by removing Muslims
and Tamils from the mainstream.
noted that whatever religious views they hold, everyone should have the right
to practice their religion freely.
that the constitution has established that priority should be given to
Buddhism, and all other religions have also accepted that, he said that on that
basis the religious reconciliation council can resolve issues between the
will be made to promptly formulate the laws and regulations necessary to set up
the council, he added.
says Male cannot afford to have defence ties with Beijing; terms Modi’s recent
Maldives should not try to balance relations with India and China, according to
Mohamed Nasheed, Speaker and former President. “In my personal view, the
Maldives shouldn’t even try to do that. Those who think it is possible to
balance ties with these two powers are being naïve,” he told The Hindu, on the
sidelines of a press conference in Colombo.
is not to say we should be hostile with China,” Mr. Nasheed said. “We will be
happy to maintain cultural ties with China. But we can’t afford to have defence
cooperation. Development or economic partnership too will be hard if China
doesn’t change its modus operandi.” A vocal critic of China-backed development
initiatives during the previous Yameen administration, Mr. Nasheed has in the
past sought an audit of the ongoing projects in the Maldives.
comments come a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the island
nation, on his first visit abroad after being re-elected to office. It was also
his first bilateral state visit to the country — he attended President Ibrahim
Mohamed Solih’s swearing-in ceremony last year — signalling a dramatic reset in
New Delhi-Male ties. Relations had soured in the past few years, with New
Delhi’s growing apprehension over former President Abdulla Yameen’s
“China-tilt”. Describing Mr. Modi’s recent visit “very productive and
positive”, Mr. Nasheed said it showed “that India really values the relationship”.
Vice-President Faisal Naseem, Mr. Nasheed, some Ministers and about 65
parliamentarians are on a “solidarity visit” to Sri Lanka, nearly two months
after the Easter terror attacks. The leaders called on Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya among others.
Lanka and the Maldives have an age-old bond. So many Maldivians were born in
Sri Lanka, they live in Sri Lanka. We stand by Sri Lanka,” Mr. Naseem earlier
said, addressing a press conference along with Mr. Nasheed. “We have come here
to express our support and solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka, and call on
the world to come visit Sri Lanka. It is safe now,” Mr. Nasheed said.
a “symbolic gesture”, the contingent flew Sri Lankan airlines, the state
carrier, and all members of the visiting team are staying at Hotel Cinnamon
Grand, one of the three hotels that were bombed on April 21. Describing terror
as the “single biggest issue” facing nation states, Mr. Nasheed sought
collective action in the region in combating the threat.
about the government’s initiatives to tackle extremism, amid reports of dozens
of Maldivians joining jihadist wars abroad, he said: “We know who they are, and
where they are. The government and security forces have a good grip on the
situation.” Observing that a few in the Maldives were drawn to a radical
version of Islam, he said: “President Solih has been able to engage with
religious-minded people on this issue.” There was no popular political support
for the “misguided ideology”, he added.
the Islamic State’s fight in the West Asian world waning, the organisation
would want a foothold elsewhere, he remarked, adding: “We are taking all
measures to ensure that they don’t get that footing in the Maldives.”
will engage with India on 'basis of equality': Shah Mehmood Qureshi
Pakistan will hold talks with India on the "basis of equality" and in
a "dignified manner", and it is up to New Delhi whether to engage
with Islamabad to resolve all outstanding issues, foreign minister Shah Mehmood
Qureshi has said.
who was in the Kyrgyz capital to attend the 19th Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation (SCO) Summit, said this while confirming exchange of plesantaries
between Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and his Indian counterpart Narendra
Modi here on Friday on the sidelines of the multilateral meeting.
the meeting did take place, there was a handshake and exchange of pleasantries,"
Qureshi told Geo News.
accused the Indian government of being in the "election mindset" to
keep their "vote bank intact".
has said what it had to," Qureshi said.
India has to make this decision, we are neither in haste, nor troubled. When
India prepares itself, it would find us prepared, but we will hold talks on the
basis of equality, in a dignified manner.
we need to run after anyone, nor we need to demonstrate stubbornness.
Pakistan's approach is very realistic and well thought-out," Qureshi said
when asked to comment on demand by some people that Pakistan should not
repeatedly invite India for talks.
said India had to make a decision whether to hold bilateral talks with Pakistan
to resolve all outstanding issues, and that Pakistan sought the dialogue to be
based on equality.
has not come out of its election mindset and the extreme position they had
taken to influence their constituency and to keep their vote bank intact. It is
still confined in that," Qureshi said.
exchange of pleasantries between Khan and Modi came over two weeks after Khan
and Qureshi wrote separate letters to their Indian counterparts, pushing for
restarting the bilateral talks.
has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at
Pathankot in January of 2016 by a Pakistanbased terror group, maintaining that
talks and terror cannot go together.
had also made a telephone call to Modi on May 26 and expressed his desire to
work together for the betterment of people of the two countries.
his part, Modi said creating trust and an environment free of violence and
terrorism was essential for fostering peace and prosperity in the region.
this year, tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber
of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir's
mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out a counter-terror
operation, hitting the biggest JeM training camp in Balakot in Pakistan on
February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in
an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was later handed over to India.
crown prince warns against 'exploiting' Khashoggi murder
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has warned against "exploiting"
the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi for political gains, in what appeared
to be a veiled attack on Turkey.
ties with Saudi Arabia have come under strain since the brutal murder last
October of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which tarnished the
international reputation of the crown prince.
officials were the first to report the murder and have continued to press Saudi
Arabia for information on the whereabouts of his dismembered body, which has
yet to be found.
death of Jamal Khashoggi is a very painful crime," Prince Mohammed told
pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in an interview published Sunday.
party exploiting the case politically should stop doing so, and present evidence
to the (Saudi) court, which will contribute to achieving justice," he
added, without directly naming Turkey.
prince, however, added that he wants strong relations with "all Islamic
countries including Turkey".
CIA has reportedly said the murder was likely ordered by Prince Mohammed, the
de facto ruler and heir to the Arab world's most powerful throne.
authorities strongly deny the allegation.
prosecutors have absolved the prince and said around two dozen people
implicated in the murder are in custody, with death penalties sought against
a US resident, had written critically of Prince Mohammed and was killed in what
Riyadh described as a rogue operation.
Mohammed said the kingdom was committed to "full justice and
accountability" in the case, as he faces international pressure to punish
Iran to continue scaling back its nuclear deal commitments
will continue scaling back its compliance with its nuclear deal commitments in
the absence of “positive signals” from other signatories to the pact, Iranian
President Hassan Rouhani told a meeting of Russia, China and other Asia leaders
stopped complying in May with some commitments in a 2015 nuclear deal that was
agreed with global powers, a year after the United States unilaterally withdrew
from the accord and tightened sanctions.
has said in May that, unless world powers protected its economy from US
sanctions within 60 days, Iran would start enriching uranium at higher level.
offers no solution for the problems of either Europe or Asia, the continents
straddled by Turkey, said the Turkish presidential spokesperson on Saturday.
will solve neither Europe's nor Asia's problems. In the short term, it may
serve narrow-minded populist agendas, but it in the long term, it could lead to
more victimisation of minorities and ethnic and social upheaval,” Ibrahim Kalin
wrote in an op-ed for Al Jazeera English.
recalled an June trip meeting between Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu
Kyi and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
a statement after the meeting, calling migration the “greatest challenges” for
both countries, the Hungarian government said: “Both regions have seen the
emergence of the issue of coexistence with continuously growing Muslim
response, Kalin wrote that actually Muslims are not the biggest problem of
said it is strange for them to express concern over “growing Muslim
populations” as neither of them faces such a “problem.”
presenting them as a threat is a useful strategy to deflect attention from the
real problems of social disintegration, economic stagnation, the rise of
populism and far-right movements, the erosion of traditional values, the
failure of mainstream politics and a host of other issues that have practically
nothing to do with Muslim or other minority groups,” he added.
noted that the Muslim population in Hungary is just around 5,000 and the
government did not allow any refugees moving through the country to stay there.
also told how Myanmar expelled hundreds of thousands of Muslims from its
northern Rakhine state, where it had had a “large Muslim community” for
lauded as a proponent of human rights and civil liberties, Suu Kyi has stood up
in defence of Myanmar's military which has unleashed an unprecedented campaign
of persecution against the Muslim-majority Rohingya,” Kalin wrote.
Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced
heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in
to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and
children, fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces
launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.
also said the Muslims who stayed in Myanmar still face the threat of violence
and violations of their basic rights, but little has been done to stop the
touching on the civil war in Syria, he added that like the Rohingya issue, the
Syrian issue has not been addressed properly.
2015, eager to placate their angry electorates, European leaders pushed for a
deal with Turkey to stem the flow of refugees into Europe, placing the burden
on Turkish shoulders,” he said, noting that Turkey currently hosts 3.5 million
Syrians, more than any country in the world.
then, Syrians have continued to be killed at an alarming rate in the conflict,
with hundreds of thousands displaced internally, sometimes multiple times, and
many still trying to flee to safety and dying in the cold waters of the
Mediterranean Sea,” Kalin wrote, adding that Europeans failed to put an end to
the Syrian war as their primary concern is “Muslim” migration.
there is concerted effort to instrumentalise Muslim communities within
old-fashioned identity politics to stoke fear and justify conflict. Islam and
Muslims are increasingly treated as the opposite of what both the secular and
Judeo-Christian West supposedly stand for; they are the new common 'enemy'.
Thus, right-wing, left-wing, liberal, conservative, evangelical and other
groups which normally argue over a thousand different issues on a daily basis,
readily agree on this perceived Muslim 'threat'," he added.
150 years ago, Marx rightly said that the promise of freedom, equality and
fraternity in Europe was dependent on the inclusion of Jews. Today, in Europe,
Asia, and elsewhere, it is very much dependent on the acceptance of Muslims as
equal human beings and fellow citizens."
government and anti-Iran lawmakers in Britain’s ruling Conservative Party have
targeted opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his comments on Iran
and the fact that he urged London not to rush to rush to conclusions on the
case of explosions affecting two tankers in the Persian Gulf waters.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Saturday called Corbyn "pathetic"
for criticizing his department after it blamed Iran for the Thursday
explosions, saying that the Labour leader had expressed same remarks defending
Russia when London blamed Moscow for an attack on a former double spy in the
southern English city of Salisbury last year.
and predictable. From Salisbury to the Middle East, why can he never bring
himself to back British allies, British intelligence or British interests?”
comments came a day after Corbyn posted a tweet saying Britain should not
blindly follow the United States in blaming Iran for tanker explosions as it
could increase the risk of a major conflict in the Persian Gulf region.
credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government's rhetoric will only
increase the threat of war,” Corbyn had said.
senior Tory figures also criticized Corbyn for the comments, claiming his
judgments have always served other countries rather than Britain.
is Jeremy Corbyn never on the side of the country he seeks to lead?,” said
interior minister Sajid Javid, reminding that Corbyn had expressed same
criticism of the government when it blacklisted Lebanese resistance movement
Hezbollah in February.
is Jeremy Corbyn never on the side of the country he seeks to lead? Time and
time again - be it the provenance of Novichok, or the banning of Hizbollah - he
gives the benefit of the doubt to those who threaten our national security
should act to ease tensions in the Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that
began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. Without credible
evidence about the tanker attacks, the government’s rhetoric will only increase
the threat of war.
PM - Jun 15, 2019
Ads info and privacy
people are talking about this
Raab, a former minister for Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, also
accused Corbyn of being anti-American.
again Jeremy Corbyn allows his anti-American prejudice to skew his moral
compass and political judgment. #notfittolead,” Raab wrote in a tweet.
comments from the three major Conservative politicians come as they are
involved in a race to succeed outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May. Hunt is
second in the race far behind favorite Boris Johnson while Javid and Raab are
struggling to survive until a final leadership vote between 150,000 Conservative
Party members planned for late July.
top Labour official on foreign policy defended Corbyn’s posture on Iran’s case,
saying the Tory-led government was recklessly pushing Britain into a big war.
Britain’s ambassador to Iran on Sunday denied he was summoned by the Iranian
foreign ministry after London accused Tehran of “almost certainly” being
responsible for tanker attacks in the Gulf.
And news to me,” ambassador Rob Macaire said in a tweet a day after the Iranian
foreign ministry said in a statement that it had summoned the envoy over his
asked for an urgent meeting with the Foreign Ministry yesterday and it was
granted. No ‘summons’. Of course if formally summoned I would always respond,
as would all Ambassadors,” Macaire wrote.
foreign ministry said the head of its European affairs Mahmoud Barimani met
Macaire on Saturday and “strongly protested against the unacceptable and
anti-Iranian positions of the British government.”
Friday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said London had concluded Iran
was “almost certainly” responsible for Thursday’s tanker attacks.
was echoing remarks by US President Donald Trump who said Thursday’s attacks on
two tankers in the Gulf of Oman had Iran “written all over it.”
has denied any involvement in the twin attacks.
dismissed Hunt’s accusations as “false” and chided London for its “blind and
precipitous alignment” with US views, according to the foreign ministry.
latest incident comes as ties between Tehran and London have been strained in
recent months, namely over the fate of a British-Iranian mother jailed in Iran
on sedition charges.
has repeatedly called for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was
arrested in April 2016 as she was leaving Iran after taking their infant daughter
to visit her family.
who is serving a five-year sentence for allegedly trying to topple the Iranian
government, has begun a hunger strike in protest at her detention, her husband
said on Saturday.
previously went on hunger strike in January.
Ratcliffe urged the Iranian authorities to immediately release his wife and to
allow the British embassy to check on her health, and also asked they grant him
a visa to visit her.
Ottoman-era mosque opens after renovation
restoration helped an Ottoman-era mosque -- the oldest in the Balkans -- reopen
for worshippers on Saturday.
mosque, built by the Ottomans in 1394 in the southeastern Bulgarian city of
Haskoy, was renovated with Turkish help, Ali Erbas, head of the Turkish state
Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), told the mosque’s reopening ceremony.
distinguished work was taken under protection in light of its history with the
renovation work conducted by the Grand Mufti’s Office of Bulgarian Muslims,” he
also thanked the Bulgarian government for its cooperation and said such
renovation work also contributes to cooperation between the two countries.
leader of Britain’s opposition has said there is no “credible evidence” that
Iran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers on Friday, urging the
government to refrain from escalating tensions in the region.
party leader Jeremy Corbyn said late Friday that the government’s response
risked increasing the threat of war with Iran following the foreign office’s
conclusion that Iran is almost certainly behind the attacks.
should act to ease tensions in the Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that
began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement,” Corbyn said on
Twitter, warning that “without credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the
government’s rhetoric will only increase the threat of war.”
Hunt, the foreign secretary, criticized Corbyn’s statement on Twitter, calling
it “pathetic and predictable” and that “from Salisbury to the Middle East, why
can he never bring himself to back British allies, British intelligence or
shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, said on Saturday that independent
evidence should be brought forward that shows who was responsible for the
attacks but warned the government from getting dragged into a large-scale war.
to BBC Radio 4’s Today, Thornberry said “these are extremely dangerous
developments and we really have to pause and think about where we are going
next” and that there are times when the government should not follow the U.S.
made a dreadful mistake when it came to Iraq and we must not make the same
mistake again,” she said.
Friday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that a video provided by the
U.S. was not sufficient to prove that Iran was behind the tanker attacks.
President Donald Trump has blamed Iran for the attacks, citing a U.S. Central
Command video that purports to show a patrol boat with personnel docked near
one of the oil tankers.
leader of Britain's main opposition party has questioned whether the government
had evidence to back up its accusations that Iran was behind attacks on oil
tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and warned against escalating tensions.
on Friday joined the United States in blaming Tehran for the attacks, raising
fears of a broader military confrontation in a vital passageway for the world's
US military had released video footage they say shows Iranian special forces
removing an unexploded mine from one of the tankers.
has denied any involvement.
credible evidence about the tanker attacks, the government's rhetoric will only
increase the threat of war," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote on Twitter
late on Friday.
should act to ease tensions in the Gulf, not fuel a military escalation that
began with US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement," he said,
referring to Washington's withdrawal from a 2015 pact to curb Tehran's nuclear
replies were supportive of Mr Corbyn's tweet but a number were critical, with
several highlighting his past paid appearances on an Iranian government TV
AM - Jun 15, 2019
people are talking about this
foreign minister Jeremy Hunt, who is one of the leading candidates to succeed
British Prime Minister Theresa May after she announced she would step down,
described Mr Corbyn's comments as "pathetic and predictable".
can he never bring himself to back British allies, British intelligence or
British interests?," Mr Hunt said, according to Reuters.
Raab, another candidate to be the next Conservative leader, said Mr Corbyn's
comments show he is unfit to lead Britain.
allows his anti-American prejudice to skew his moral compass and political
judgment," he said.
again Jeremy Corbyn allows his anti-American prejudice to skew his moral
compass and political judgment. #notfittolead
PM - Jun 15, 2019
people are talking about this
foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had described the timing of the attacks
Corbyn has in the past - between 2009 and 2012 - been paid for appearances on
the country’s state TV channel, Press TV.
TV had its licence revoked by media regulator Ofcom in 2012, citing a breach of
broadcasting licence rules over editorial control of the channel and failure to
pay a £100,000 fine (Dh474,560). The media regulator also concluded that the
editorial decisions on the channel were being controlled by the offices in
Tehran, instead of the UK.
Stewart, the dark horse contender to be the new UK prime minister, said on
Twitter: "Jeremy Corbyn is wrong. The tanker attacks are almost certainly
the work of the IRGC Quds Force linked to attacks in Yemen and Syria. No one
should minimise the threat to stability in the region and beyond."
administration is itching for a fight with Iran: Political analyst
administration of US President Donald Trump is spoiling “for a fight with Iran”
and this is why it is making different accusations against the Islamic
Republic, says Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South Asia at the
Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center.
administration is itching for a fight with Iran,” The Washington Post on
Saturday quoted Kugelman as saying. “Unfortunately, that sometimes entails
making some accusations against Iran that are somewhat questionable.”
comes after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly blamed Iran for a
bombing attack on US forces on May 31st in Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul that
had already been claimed by the Taliban militant group.
weeks after the attack and amid Washington’s growing enmity against Tehran,
Pompeo referred to the Kabul bombing as an example of one “in a series of
attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against
American and allied interests,” The Post reported.
there was clearly a belief that Iran had hit troops in Afghanistan, it would
have been huge news right away,” said Kugelman pictured below.
the incident that took place in eastern Kabul, a bomber detonated his
explosives near a US convoy, killing four Afghan passersby and slightly
wounding four American servicemen and at least three civilians.
the time, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, with spokesman
Zabiullah Mujahid claiming in a phone interview that 10 US troops were killed.
State Department has declined to comment when it was asked to clarify the
allegation Pompeo made while speaking to reporters on Thursday.
between Tehran and Washington escalated this week after the US had accused Iran
of being responsible for the recent attacks on two oil tankers in the Sea of
attacks on the Marshal Islands-flagged Front Altair and the Panama-flagged
Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous sent shock waves through the world which was
awaiting the news of a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in Tehran.
said immediately, “It is the assessment of the United States government that
the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in
the Gulf of Oman today.”
and China, however, warned against reaching hasty conclusions, arguing that a
thorough investigation should be carried out into the incident.
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has slammed Washington’s attempt
to blame Iran for purported attacks on oil tanker vessels in the Sea of Oman,
warning that the move is aimed at generating a “pretext for war.”
Gulf of Oman incident must not be used as a pretext for war with Iran,” said
Sanders on Twitter, insisting that any military action on Iran would not only
be illegal, but “an unmitigated disaster for the United States, Iran, the
region, and the world.”
development came as officials from multiple countries, the United Nations as
well as one of the owners of the ships struck in the recent incidents have
discounted or contradicted Washington’s claim accusing Iran of staging the
it remained unclear what exactly happened to the ships, US Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo insisted on Thursday that Iran had carried out the attacks on the
two tanker vessels without offering any evidence. US client states in the
Persian Gulf as well as the UK also followed suit the next day.
the US military further published a blurry video clip on Friday with Pentagon
officials claiming that it proves commandos of the Iran’s Islamic Revolution
Guards Corps (IRGC) had planted explosives on one of the ships. The footage,
however, proved not very convincing to authorities of other countries and
ship owner contradicts US version of attack
Katada, the owner of the Japanese tanker attacked near the Strait of Hormuz,
however, offered a different account of the attack on Friday, saying that the
Filipino crew of the Kokuka Courageous believed that their vessel had been hit
by flying objects rather than a mine.
crew are saying it was hit with a flying object. They say something came flying
towards them, then there was an explosion, then there was a hole in the
vessel," he told reporters. "Then some crew witnessed a second
contradicting the US version of events, Katada added: "To put a bomb on
the side is not something we are thinking. If it's between an explosion and a
penetrating bullet, I have a feeling it is a penetrating bullet. If it was an
explosion, there would be damage in different places, but this is just an
assumption or a guess."
“Not enough” to prove Iran's guilt.
Thursday, company officials said the vessel had first been hit by what appeared
to be an artillery shell toward the stern, causing a fire in the engine room
that was extinguished.
hours later, the ship was again attacked on the same side in the center of the
hull, at which point the captain felt it was no longer safe and ordered the
crew to take to the life boats, officials said.
the shell hit, it was above the water surface by quite a lot," Katada
further underlined on Friday. "Because of that there is no doubt that it
wasn't a torpedo."
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who recently visited Tehran to meet with his
Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, emphasized that the video was “not enough” to
prove Iran's guilt.
President Donald Trump is engaged in a good cop, bad cop charade with Iran and
“the only response to Trump and his henchmen is to remain firm and resolute,”
says Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long
interest in international affairs.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Friday suggested that the United States
should take military action against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro so
countries opposing the US are intimidated and surrender to Washington's
handle foreign conflicts “we need points on the board,” Graham said. He said that the US needs to resolve its
issues with other countries using military force.
however said on Thursday that he wants Iran to get back at the table, following
attacks on two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman which Washington has blamed on
an interview on Fox News on Friday, Trump blamed Iran for the attack on oil
tankers without providing any solid evidence, as did his secretary of state,
Mike Pompeo, a day before.
day after the incident, Iran warned the US to stop playing a blame game through
"suspicious" attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East, describing
the American behavior as "worrying".
an interview with Press TV on Saturday, Etler, a former professor of
Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, said, “It says something
about the nature of US Imperialism that the President, who said while
campaigning for office, ‘I would say I'm the most militaristic person on the
stage, but I would also say that I know when to do it,’ is now a voice of
moderation within his own administration.”
for all his rhetoric of wanting to avoid foreign interventions seems to have a
penchant for hiring the most virulent war-mongers on the face of the planet to
do his bidding,” he stated.
for instance John R. Bolton, National Security Advisor to Trump, he who ordered
the deployment of the Abraham Lincoln carrier group and B-52s to the Persian
Gulf and told the Pentagon to draw up plans to send 120,000 US troops to the
region. Is it any surprise that he is charging Iran with using mines to
sabotage four oil tankers outside the Strait of Hormuz? There needs to be some
excuse for US war preparations against Iran other than his vague pronouncements
condemning its leader’s intents to destabilize the region. Problem solved,
create an incident to justify them,” he stated.
mania grips Trump's henchmen
there is Vice President Mike Pence. To quote from his recent bombastic Sturm
and Drang (storm and drive) commencement address given to the graduating class
at West Point, ‘It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield
for America at some point in your life. You will lead soldiers in combat. It
will happen,’ … ‘and when that day
comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you
will fight, and you will win. The American people expect nothing less,’” the
but not least is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently said that the US
was founded on the principle that ‘peace wasn’t the norm’ and ‘conflict is the
normative experience for nations.’ The time is now, according to Pompeo, to
‘confront regimes squarely opposed to our interests and our values.’ Like his
predecessors in the past administrations Pompeo reiterated that Trump,
‘believes America is exceptional — a place and history apart from normal human
experience,’ and ‘American exceptionalism ... will remain alive and well in the
21st century. What’s good for the United States is good for the world,’” he
is little wonder then that ardent Trump supporter and erstwhile friend of the
late Senator John McCain, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, is also on the
warpath, stating that, ‘We need points on the board. Start with your own
backyard… Fix Venezuela and everybody else will know you’re serious,’ an
obvious reference to North Korea and Iran. And how to do that? According to
Graham, ‘When Cuba got involved in Grenada, what did Ronald Reagan do? He
kicked them out. That is what I'd do with Venezuela,’” he noted.
Venezuela is no Grenada, and the sheer idiocy of comparing the two stretches
the bounds of credulity and has the sound of a hyena howling at the moon,” he
US Education Department has opened investigations into foreign funding received
by Georgetown University and Texas A&M University, including from Qatar, as
part of a broader push to monitor international money flowing to American
universities are being ordered to disclose years of financial records amid
concerns they have not fully reported their foreign gifts and contracts to the
federal government, according to letters sent to the schools on Thursday.
law requires US colleges to report contracts and donations from foreign sources
totaling $250,000 (Dh918,000) or more, but past filings from Georgetown and
Texas A&M “may not fully capture” that information, according to the
an example, department officials wrote, both schools should have reported
funding related to branch campuses they operate in Qatar, which hosts the
outposts of several US colleges.
to data submitted by Georgetown, the school has received more than $415 million
from abroad since 2012, including $36 million last year.
all of Georgetown’s foreign money reported for 2018 came from sources in Qatar,
including $33 million from the Qatar Foundation, a nonprofit that has a
partnership with Georgetown to support the school’s campus near Doha.
filed by Texas A&M show that the school has received $285 million from
foreign sources since 2014, including $6.1 million last year. All of Texas
A&M’s reported funding from last year also came through a partnership with
the Qatar Foundation.
records being sought by investigators go beyond Qatar, though, and include
dealings with China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, and specific companies in those
ordered both schools to disclose funding from Huawei or ZTE, the Chinese tech
giants that some US officials call a threat to national security. Georgetown is
being asked to detail money it received from any sources in Saudi Arabia or
Russia, including Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity company.
funding information that schools submit to the Education Department often
provides little detail about where the money comes from and none about how it
is used. Typically schools report only the amount of money, the date of the
agreement, the country it came from and, sometimes, a specific source within
letters to Georgetown and Texas A&M warn that they could face legal action
and financial penalties if they are found to have broken the rules.
investigators find a violation, it can be referred to the US attorney general’s
office for action “to compel compliance and to recover the full costs’” of the
investigation and enforcement, according to the letters.
officials said the school is reviewing the letter and will co-operate with the
inquiry. The university said in a statement that it “takes seriously its
reporting obligations and provides all information as required by the
Department of Education every six months”.
A&M issued a statement saying it takes compliance and security seriously.
“We just received the document today from the US Department of Education and
are reviewing it. We are fully co-operating with the inquiry.”
crackdown follows complaints from some legislators that the Education
Department has not done enough to review foreign funding to colleges. The issue
has gained attention amid heightened tensions with China and some other
February, a bipartisan panel in Congress urged US colleges to cut ties with the
Confucius Institute, a Chinese language programme funded by a branch of the
Chinese government. Some critics say it is a threat to US national security and
same panel found that 70 per cent of US schools receiving $250,000 or more from
China to operate Confucius Institutes failed to report the funding, and that
the Education Department failed to provide adequate oversight.
Rob Portman, chairman of the panel, told the department in January to issue
updated guidance and improve its oversight practices. On Thursday, he applauded
the agency for taking action.
US schools take money from foreign governments, the American people deserve to
know about it,” he said.
have complained that the rules are unclear. In January, the American Council on
Education, which represents dozens of college chiefs, asked for clarity on
several aspects of the law and noted that the last guidance on the topic was
issued in 2004.
terror funding case: NIA nails top separatist leaders
top separatists in the net in Jammu and Kashmir terror funding case of 2017,
the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claims to have clinching proof against
four of the big leaders.
is after the anti terror probe agency arrested Yasin Malik, leader of JKLF,
Asiya Andrabi, Duktaran-e-Milat, Separatist leader Shabir Shah of JKDFP and
Masrat Alam of Muslim League. All the four accused were taken into police
custody for custodial interrogation few weeks ago.
matter pertains to 2017 where a case was filed against terrorists belonging to
Jammat ud Dawah, Duktaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Toiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and
other separatist leaders in the State of J&K for raising, receiving and
collecting funds for funding separatist and terrorist activities in Jammu &
Kashmir and entering into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in Kashmir
valley and for waging war against India.
it is only two years after the FIR, the crackdown against separatists happened
in what is being seen as a "hard approach" of Modi government.
per NIA sources, Yasin Malik admitted that he was instrumental in bringing
together the disparate factions of Hurriyat conference and formed the Joint
Resistance Leadership (JRL), which spear headed the violent agitations in 2016
in Kashmir Valley, by issuing "Protest Calendars" leading to economic
shut down for over four months.
also caused death and injuries to civilians and security forces during the
Malik admitted that the JRL and Hurriyat Conference Gilani Group collected
funds from business community as well as certain other sources and ensured that
economic shut down and violent protests continue to disrupt the daily life of
common citizens in the valley.
female separartist leader Asiya Andrabi revealed to NIA that she had been
collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and Duktaran-e-Milat had
been organising protests by muslim women in the valley.
Andrabi was confronted with evidence regarding funding of educational expenses
of her son in Malaysia from 2011 onwards through foreign remittances made by
is one of the main accused in terror funding case and an influential
businessman of the valley.
today has learnt that NIA has already approached the concerned authorities for
providing evidence relating to certain bank accounts used by Mohammad bin Qasim
(son of Asiya Andrabi) while he was studying in the university.
the custodial interrogation, Shabir Shah was confronted with evidence relating
to transfer of money by Pakistan based agents and representatives of APHC
factions to parties affiliated to Hurriyat in J & K.
was also confronted about his investments in various hotels and businesses in
Pehalgam, properties in Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag. Evidence regarding many
of his benami properties is being collected.
was confronted with some of his personal staff and associates who have provided
vital information regarding the sources fund raising and investment details.
Investigation into these aspects is underway.
the latest arrest of Masarat Alam is being termed as big as NIA investigators
believe that he is the so called poster boy of stone pelters and violent
agitations in Kashmir valley.
has revealed that Pakistan based agents route the funds through hawala
operators which were transferred to the separatist leaders including Syed Shah
Gilani Chairman APHC (G).
Alam also revealed that there are rifts in the Hurriyat conference regarding
collection and use of funds.
revealed that Zahoor Ahamad Shah Watali is one of the main hawala conduit, who
used to generate and receive funds from Pakistan, ISI, UAE, and had floated
various shell companies to disguise foreign remittances for further transfer to
separatist leaders and stone pelters in the valley.
funds were used to fuel unrest in the Kashmir valley and organise violent
agitations and anti-India activities, which resulted in large scale violence,
leading to numerous injuries and deaths of civilians and security forces.
for its investigation carried out nationwide searches at various locations
across the States of J&K, Delhi and Haryana.
electronic and documentary evidences were recovered which point towards the
pattern of raising, collection, transfer and use of funds for terrorist and
evidence relating to funding of these separatist elements through Pakistan and
UAE based businessman, ISI, High Commission of Pakistan in Delhi has been
collected and presented to the NIA Special Court in the chargesheets.
concluded that mastermind and kingpin of the crime Zahoor Watali had approached
the trial court for grant of bail which was rejected by the NIA Special Court.
approached the Delhi High Court, challenging the order and High Court granted
him bail on September 13, 2018.
filed an SLP in the Hon'ble Supreme Court challenging his bail order and the
Division bench of Hon'ble Supreme Court cancelled the bail of Zahoor Watali.
the plea of NIA, Hon'ble Supreme Court observed that the High Court has not
appreciated the material which found favour with the designated court to record
its opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the
accusations are prima facie true.
also noticed that the High court ought to have taken into account the totality
of the materials/ evidences which depicted the involvement of the respondent in
the commission of the stated offences, besides the offence under section 17 for
raising funds for terrorist activities.
has charge sheeted 13 accused including Hafiz Mohammad Saeed (leader of Jammat
ud Dawah), Syed Salahuddin (head of proscribed organisation
Hizb-ul-Mujahideen),7 separatist leaders, 2 hawala conduits and some stone
what is being seen as a continued policy of zero tolerance to terror, the Modi
2.0 government will come down hard on anti India activity.
on Saturday arrested three more youths from Coimbatore in connection with the
recently-busted IS module in the city.
this week, NIA had arrested two youths who were found to be part of a
Kerala-Tamil Nadu ISIS module with links to Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of
the April 21 Easter bombings in Sri Lanka.
DELHI: At least two Islamic State Jammu & Kashmir (ISJK) terrorists arrested
from Srinagar in November 2018 for an attempted strike on am police party, were
in online contact with a Pakistani and active Islamic State cadre based in
Afghanistan, Huzaifa, who instigated and motivated them to work for Islamic
State in J&K.
chargesheet in the case filed on May 22 names four accused — the motorcycle-borne
attackers Tariq Ahmed Khan, Haris Mushtaq Khan and Asif Suhail Nadaf who jumped
the police naka and attempted to lob a grenade — and Asif Majeed, who allegedly
provided food and shelter to the co-accused and collected weapons at the
instance of Haris.
per the chargesheet accessed by TOI, the presence and influence of ISJK has
been manifesting since 2014 when IS flags were first waved in Kashmir, followed
by killing of IS-inspired Mugees Ahmed Mir in November 2017 whose body was
wrapped in IS flag, declaration of Kashmir-based IS wing Al-Hind in 2016,
killing of ISJK head Dawood and three others in Srigufwara in June 2018 and
more recently, announcement by IS-linked Amaq News Agency in May of ‘Wilayah of
Hind’ after the killing of ISJK terrorist Ishfaq Ahmad Sofi.
offers a fertile ground as it has a long history of Pakistan-sponsored
terrorism against the state, gingered with local demand for azaadi,” the
chargesheet said adding that social media expansion has only raised the
opportunity to reach potential aspirants.
Ahmed Khan had come in contact with Asif Nazar Dar, a self-styled commander of
ISJK now killed, in 2018. They shared jihadi material, IS-related content,
voice and text messages. Tahir also came in online contact with Huzaifa, a
Pakistani IS cadre based in Afghanistan. Nazir convinced Tahir to join ISJK in
September 2018 at his house in Srinagar, where Ishfaq Sofi was present. Nazar
directed Tahir to operate in Valley and put him under ISJK terrorist Adil Wani.
Tahir came in contact with Pervez Ahmad, an ISJK terrorist now killed, who
arranged his meeting with Haris, the second accused.
chats showed he was in touch with militants of Dalut-e-Islamia or IS. He
mentioned support to Ansar Ghazwat ul-Hind chief Zakir Musa and his contact
asked him to motivate AGuH militants to join Dalut-e-Islamia.
too was active on social media and came in contact with Huzaifa, who proposed
that he work for ISJK in Kashmir. Haris came in contact with Asif Nazar and
Adil Wani in 2018. Asif radicalised him to join ISJK. Haris, who was trained by
Ishfaq Sofi, Pervez and Adil Wani provided Asif Majeed, fourth accused, a bag
of weapons. Haris came in contact with Tahir through Asif Nazar.
DELHI: The custodial interrogation of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik by NIA in April
and that of JKDFP chief Shabir Shah, prime organiser of stone-pelting protests
of 2016 Masarat Alam and Dukhtaran-e-Milat chief Asiya Andrabi earlier this
month has allegedly corroborated how terror funds were routed by Pakistan-based
sources via hawala route to Kashmiri separatists, who then used them to fuel
unrest and organise violent agitations in the Valley.
sources told TOI that Malik, interrogated by NIA sleuths here in April,
revealed that he was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions
of Hurriyat Conference to form the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) that
spearheaded the violent agitations of 2016 in Kashmir Valley following the
killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani. JRL had then issued
‘protest calendars’ leading to economic shutdown for over four months. Many
civilians and security forces were killed or injured in these protests.
has purportedly admitted that JRL and Hurriyat faction headed by Syed Ali Shah
Geelani had collected funds from the business community and certain other
sources and ensured that the economic shutdown and violent protests continued
to disrupt the daily life of common citizens in the Valley.
interrogation earlier this month, Asiya Andrabi is said to have admitted to
collecting funds and donations from foreign sources for Dukhtaran-e-Milat,
which organised protests by Muslim women in the Valley. Andrabi was confronted
with evidence regarding funding of educational expenses of her son in Malaysia
from 2011 onwards, allegedly through foreign remittances made by Kashmiri
businessman and arrested accused in the case Zahoor Watali.
has already approached the concerned authorities for providing evidence
relating to certain bank accounts used by Andrabi’s son Mohammad bin Qasim
while he was studying at the University in Malaysia.
Shah, during his interrogation over the past few days, was confronted with
evidence relating to transfer of money by Pakistan-based agents and
representatives of APHC factions to parties affiliated to Hurriyat in J&K.
He was also confronted about his investments in various hotels and businesses
in Pahalgam, besides properties in Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag. He was
confronted with some of his personal staff and associates who have provided
vital information regarding his fund-raising and investment details.
Alam has meanwhile told NIA investigators how Pakistan-based agents had routed
funds through hawala operators, which were transferred to separatist leaders in
Kashmir including Geelani. Alam allegedly pointed to rifts in the Hurriyat conference
regarding collection and use of funds.
has so far chargesheeted 13 accused in the J&K terror funding case including
Jamaat ud Dawah chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, Hizbul Mujahideen head Syed
Salahuddin, seven separatist leaders, two hawala conduits and some stone
revealed that Watali is one of the main hawala conduit who used to generate and
receive funds from Pakistan, ISI, UAE and had floated various shell companies
to disguise foreign remittances for further transfer to separatist leaders and
stone pelters in the Valley.
DELHI: Describing terrorism as the "gravest threat" in Asia, foreign minister
S Jaishankar, in his maiden address at the CICA summit, said "terrorists
and their victims must never be equated."
the summit in Dushanbe, Jaishankar said, "CICA has always shown a strong
commitment to combat terrorism and extremism and adopt a comprehensive strategy
to combat terrorism. Early finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on
International Terrorism, proposed by India, is today even more essential and we
seek your support in this regard." His statement came a day after Prime
Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the SCO Summit in Bishkek, asked that
countries "sponsoring, aiding and funding" terrorism must be held
changing world dynamics both in the strategic and the economic contexts,
Jaishankar said, "India supports a rulebased order in Asia, as in the rest
of the world. But we confront unavoidable challenges such as terrorism,
conflicts, transnational crimes and maritime threats. There are also issues of
sustainable development including the lack of energy security, low
intra-regional trade and deficit of connectivity. These must be urgently
remedied for our common good."
added India supports a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan that is
Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. "All initiatives and processes must include
all sections of Afghan society, including the legitimately elected
government," he said.
Ministry of Railways, UP government and the local administration of Agra are
actively involved in the planning for Agra Metro Rail project.
per an estimate, at least 10,000 houses and commercial establishments will come
in the demolition zone when the Metro will be constructed through the densely
populated city which has already triggered voices against the project in Agra.
voices are getting louder as the project advances as was seen when the Metro
project team reached the Jama Masjid area of the old city for a survey.
large group of local residents surrounded the team and demanded that the Metro
project be scrapped altogether or at least kept away from their area as the
city does not need a Metro.
to IndiaToday,in, Sami Aghai, Chairman of Bhartiya Muslim Vikas Parishad (BMVP)
said that there is no need for a Metro train in a small city like Agra. If the
entire project is not scrapped, then at least the Jama Masjid route should be
removed from the detailed project report (DPR) of Agra Metro as the streets
here are very narrow and construction of the Metro will cause massive
displacement of the local population.
Aghai said, "These streets are used for prayers on Friday when thousands
of Muslims come to Jama Masjid for weekly prayers. The festival of Eid is
celebrated in this area around the mosque and at that time, the roads get
jam-packed with Muslims and if the roads are taken away by the Metro project,
there will hardly be any space around the mosque left to handle such huge
activist Vijay Upadhyay said that instead of the Metro project, the local
administration and state government should think about improving the state of
roads in the city and regulate the traffic on these roads.
entire city was suffering from drainage problems and instead of investing in
improving the existing infrastructure of the city, a huge financial burden of
the Metro project was being laid on the city's back which will only harm its
economy," Vijay Upadhyay said.
Biradari Vice-Chairman Vishal Sharma said that Agra is a tourist city and the
first priority for the administration should be to improve the city's
facilities so that the tourists do not get stuck in traffic jams.
jams tarnish the image of the city and the need of the hour is to ensure that
the traffic moves smoothly. There was no need of a Metro in the city as the
city wasn't that big to necessitate a Metro train. The Metro is being
unnecessarily used as a status symbol," Vishal Sharma.
to IndiaToday.in, Agra Vyapar Mandal President TN Agarwal said that the Jama
Masjid area is the bulk market for garments and fabrics and every day,
transactions worth crores take place here.
Supreme Court-appointed Ayodhya mediation panel on Saturday held
three-hour-long discussions with an All India Muslim Personal Law Board
were invited by the panel for talks. We communicated to them the AIMPLB stand
on the Ayodhya land dispute,” said a member of the delegation led by AIMPLB
general secretary Maulana Wali Rahmani.
did not give any written submission to the panel but simply conveyed our views,
which were finalised in a meeting of the AIMPLB at Nadwa College in April,”
said the member, adding the board was in favour of an amicable and peaceful
settlement at the earliest.
deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya reiterated that, if required, a law
would be enacted for construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
was in Ayodhya to attend the closing ceremony of the nine-day birthday celebrations
of Mahant Nritya Gopal Das, head of the Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas.
said: “There are two ways to resolve the Ram Mandir issue. One is through the
courts and another is through dialogue between the parties (Hindu and Muslim
the processes are underway, he said. “If required, a law will be enacted for
construction of Ram temple,” he said.
multi-disciplinary terror monitoring group, which is led by the Jammu and
Kashmir Police and includes representatives from the Intelligence Bureau,
Central Bureau of Investigation, National Investigation Agency and the income
tax department, will now expand its ambit to monitor the progress of all
terror-related cases in the Valley, officials aware of the developments said on
group was initially set up to evaluate evidence when the Centre had decided to
declare Jammat-e-Islami (Jammu and Kashmir) and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation
Front (JKLF) as banned organisations under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention)
group will continue to monitor major terror-related cases. The primary motive
is to ensure that terror-related cases, especially those before the courts, do
not fall between two stools for lack of evidence. That is why the J&K
Police has been made the fulcrum,” a senior official of the ministry of home
affairs said on condition of anonymity.
the first six months of this year, security forces have killed 111 militants,
including some top commanders of terror outfits in different parts of Kashmir.
In the deadliest terror attack in the Valley, 40 troopers of the Central
Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in a suicide attack in Pulwama in
February. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the
agencies are also looking into cases of terror funding, with Kashmiri separatist
leaders such as Shabir Shah, Asiya Andrabi and Masarat Alam Bhat being
investigated over such charges. Arrested by the NIA, the three separatists have
been sent to judicial custody till July 12.
second official said the NIA’s terror financing investigations in Jammu and
Kashmir have revealed a steady flow of funds for terrorist activities.
Pakistan-based Hafiz Saeed, the chief of the banned terror group Jammat-ud-
Dawa, Hizbul Mujahedeen chief Syed Salahuddin and other Hurriyat leaders are
key accused in the terror-financing case that the monitoring group will track,
the official said.
official said that Masarat Alam Bhat is believed to have told the NIA that
Pakistan regularly sends funds through the hawala route.
Sri Lankan Muslim ministers, who resigned recently in the wake of growing
anti-minority sentiments in the country following the Easter suicide bombings,
are likely to rejoin their office on the request of chief Buddhist prelates.
with the nine ministers, two provincial governors from the minority community
also resigned on June 3 to allow the Lankan government to investigate
allegations against some of them on links to an Islamist extremist group blamed
for the deadly terror attack that claimed 258 lives.
will be a meeting on June 18 to reconsider our positions since we have been
asked to return to our ministerial positions,” AHM Haleem, who was one of the
ministers to quit, told reporters here on Saturday.
who was the Minister of Posts, said the ministers are reconsidering their
decision after the chief Buddhist prelates urged them to return to the
are 19 Muslims lawmakers in the 225-member Parliament and nine of them held
Cabinet, state and deputy ministerial positions.
nine Muslim politicians had also protested what they term the government’s
inability to ensure the safety of their community which constitute 9 per cent
of the island’s 21 million population.
resignations came four days after thousands of people, majority of whom were
Buddhist monks, launched a protest in the pilgrim city of Kandy, demanding the
expulsion of three Muslim leaders whom they alleged were linked to the National
Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) – the banned outfit blamed for the attacks on three
Colombo hotels and three churches.
three were Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Badiyudeen, Western Province
governor Azath Salley and Eastern Province governer ALM Hisbullah. All of them
have rejected the allegations.
a related development, former governor Hisbullah was questioned for over eight
hours on Saturday by the Terrorism Investigation Division of the police over
his alleged links to the NTJ.
Afghan Special Forces arrested another Taliban fighter who was holding a
National Identity Card of Pakistan.
Special Operations Corps in a statement said the Special Forces conducted an
operation in Kajaki district of Helmand on Thursday night.
statement further added that the Special Forces destroyed 3 compounds of
Taliban during the operation.
also killed one Taliban fighter during the same operation.
the Special Forces arrested two Taliban fighters with one of them holding a
Pakistani National Identity Card, the Special Operations Corps added.
the Special Forces confiscated some explosives, two motorcycles and a radio
communication device during the operation.
author is a researcher at the department of International Relations at
Stockholm University in Sweden. He was recently the Vice President of the
Stockholm Association of International Affairs (SAIA) and has worked with
different national and international organizations in Afghanistan.
Trump inherited his predecessor’s fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan, at
the peak of its intensity and has been fairly consistent in vowing to defeat
the extremist group and bring U.S. troops back home.
December he unexpectedly announced pulling out roughly 2,000 U.S. troops from
Syria, which filled everyone with shock and hysteria. The screaming grew louder
when it was reported that he intends to withdraw half of the American forces
from Afghanistan, a move that immediately set off a storm and prompted
bipartisan backlash from lawmakers and his own national security advisers.
than seventeen years after the US invasion, the Taliban are stronger and more
dangerous than ever. The Afghan government is in disarray. The conflict has
reached something close to a stalemate and the American forces are not even
closer to defeating the Taliban.
frustrated with stalemate in Afghanistan, last year decided to open talks
directly with the Taliban to end America’s longest ever war. The adversaries
now are making headway in negotiations and have agreed in principle on a
framework to end the conflict.
special envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad is leading the American side in the talks and
Taliban is represented by their office chief, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai and
co-founder of the movement Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar. They have so far
completed their sixth round of face-to-face peace talks that began in late 2018
in Doha, the Qatari capital.
since 2018 three meetings have been completed in Moscow between the Taliban,
representatives from Afghanistan’s High Peace Council and prominent Afghan
politicians, including previous president Hamid Karzai.
two sides have agreed on a “draft framework” that discusses the withdrawal of
U.S. troops in return for some sort of guarantees from the Taliban, that the
Afghan soil will never again be exploited by international “terror” groups and
implementation of ceasefire all across the country. However, the Taliban
insists that it will make no commitments until U.S. announces a withdrawal
militant group, however, has repeatedly refused to negotiate with the Afghan
government directly. They believe that the country has been occupied by the
foreign forces when their regime was overthrown in 2001 by the US-led military
intervention. The government in Kabul has no real power, calling it a U.S.
imposed “puppet” regime. Engagement of any sort with the government in Kabul
would grant it legitimacy, the group says.
consider two possible scenarios here: What will happen if the US-Taliban peace
talks succeed or fall apart?
is certainly a growing desperation for peace among ordinary Afghans and if the
talks collapse, war will further intensify and the civilians will suffer more.
The U.S. and rest of the world would have to cope with a security vacuum in
which extremist groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda find fertile ground. In
addition, alarming rise in the production of drugs and a massive influx of
refugees would not only pose dire challenges to Afghanistan, but the entire
region and rest of the world.
if the Trump administration rushes into some kind of peace settlement with the
Taliban, the pact certainly won’t be devoid of setbacks for human rights and
women’s rights in particular. Majority of Afghans, especially women fear that a
peace settlement with the Taliban could restrict their freedom and rights that
have been won since the regime was toppled by the U.S.
on the other hand, has reassured that if they return to power, women rights
would be protected, as long as they are in accordance with the Islamic and
Sharia principles. A statement that leaves much to interpretation.
conflict in Afghanistan is the longest in American history, outlasting World
War I, World War II, Civil War, Korean War, and Spanish-American war combined.
Thousands of American and NATO forces died along with tens of thousands of
civilian casualties, and a trillion-plus dollar in expenditures, there will be
no outright victory in Afghanistan anytime soon.
series of airstrikes killed 7 Taliban fighters in Helmand province in South of
Afghan Special Forces arrested 3 Taliban fighters during a separate operation
in this province.
informed military officials said Sunday that the Special Forces arrested the
Taliban fighters in Nahr-e-Saraj district.
Special Forces also destroyed 30 kilograms of illegal narcotics.
an airstrike killed 2 Taliban fighters in Nahr-e-Saraj district of Helmand
officials also added that a similar airstrike killed 5 Taliban fighters in
Sangin disrrict of the province.
security forces conducted operations in Logar and Ghazni province killing at
least 7 Taliban fighters.
informed military sources said Sunday that the security forces also arrested 10
Taliban fighters during the operations.
sources further added that the Afghan Special Forces arrested 10 Taliban
fighters during an operation in Pul-e-Alam district of Logar.
the security forces conducted three airstrikes in Andar district of Ghazni and
killed 7 Taliban fighters.
security forces killed 12 Taliban fighters during separate operations in two
districts of Zabul province.
informed military sources said Saturday that the Afghan Special Forces killed
11 Taliban fighters during an operation in Shah Joy district of Zabul.
sources further added that the Special Forces also detained two militants
during the operation.
sources also added that an airstrike killed 1 Taliban fighter in Shinkay district
police forces in Kabul have arrested a resident of Kabul city on charges of
cooperating with the terrorists.
Ministry of Interior (MoI) in a statement said the police forces arrested the
suspect from Chelsitoon area of Kabul.
statement further added that the suspect was cooperating with Taliban
ministry has not disclosed further information regarding the detained
the Ministry of Interior added in its statement that the suspect is in police
custody and an investigation is underway from him.
President Ashraf Ghani said late on Friday that a breakthrough in Afghanistan’s
peace process will require more time.
consider the US commitment to a political solution to be credible and are
coordinating to build the necessary international consensus on peace. But
without a regional consensus on peace and addressing Taliban’s
interdependencies with their supporters, breakthroughs will take time,” Ghani
made the comments on Friday at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit
in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. His remarks are his first in public since a series of
talks between US special envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, and Taliban
emissaries held in recent months in Qatar.
government delegates were excluded from the discussions because the Taliban
consider Ghani’s administration a puppet of the West.
is in Afghanistan hoping to revive talks between the Taliban and other Afghans,
including government delegates, after Ghani called off such a gathering in
April in Qatar. Ghani summoned a grand traditional assembly, or Loya Jirga, afterwards
in Kabul to set a mechanism for talks with the Taliban.
Bishkek, Ghani said his government’s mandate for seeking peace with the Taliban
comes from the 23-point resolution of the Jirga.
said that “although the Afghan war is multi-dimensional, reaching a peace
agreement with the Taliban is a key component for the reduction of violence.”
put forward four proposals for an Afghan peace deal. It includes the formation
of a regional and international coalition for peace and the creation of a regional
task force to develop bankable programs and projects for regional connectivity
and poverty reduction.
said dealing with drugs as a driver of conflict and criminality should be
comprehensively addressed within the peace-making and peace-building framework.
Agreeing to a regional framework for fighting terrorism was also essential.
said his government will hold the presidential elections on Sept. 28, which
have been delayed twice so far. Some of Ghani’s rivals accuse him of using
government resources in his favor for the poll, while other politicians,
including Khalilzad, favor postponing the poll until the talks with Taliban
have finished so that the latter can also take part in the elections.
Badar, a former governor who is a member of the government-appointed High Peace
Council, said that, given the regional and international involvement in
Afghanistan’s long war and the complication of the conflict, headway cannot
been expected soon in the talks.
are countries in the region and beyond who want their interest to be protected
in Afghanistan post the peace deal,” he told Arab News. “So it is natural for
the peace process to drag on and on. These countries have a consensus on ending
the war, but not on their interests and future involvement here.”
The Maldives Saturday called for international help to rehabilitate up to 160
of its nationals languishing in Syrian detention camps after the defeat of the
Islamic State group.
Mohamed Nasheed said the Maldives kept a close tab on citizens who had joined
the militant group, but that the island nation was not ready to accept them
back without an internationally supervised reintegration programme.
neighbouring Sri Lanka where 258 people were killed in jihadi attacks recently,
Nasheed said the question of foreign IS fighters in Syria should be addressed
as a global issue.
many as 160 Maldivians are thought to be held in detention camps after the fall
of IS in March.
do not know the situation they have gone through. We don’t have the capacity to
rehabilitate these people to the extent that they will not have a further
impact on society,” Nasheed said.
think the international community should join together and decide what we
should do to the returnees. Hopefully, there is an international arrangement
where they are first received, not necessarily to their countries of origin or
said the Maldives was concerned about the 30 to 40 children said to be of
Maldivian parents now living in detention camps in Syria, but insisted that
there should be international involvement to screen the parents.
don’t think we should say they can come back in the first flight they can
catch,” he added.
said the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims was keeping a close watch on any
attempt to radicalise its population, which is known to practise a liberal form
of Islam – and relies heavily on luxury tourism.
than two-thirds of the Maldivian parliament was spending a three-day holiday in
Sri Lanka, to demonstrate it was safe for foreigners to visit the island after
the deadly Easter Sunday attacks, Nasheed said.
a chilling warning of the impact of terrorism on tourism, Sri Lanka’s thriving
tourism sector is projected to lose at least US$1.5 billion revenue this year
with a 30% slump in the number of holidaymakers visiting the island.
and his legislators were staying at the luxury Cinnamon Grand – one of the
three hotels hit by a local jihadi group which pledged allegiance to IS leader
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – to show Sri Lanka was still a safe tourist destination.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flew to Sri Lanka last week, the first world
leader to visit the island after the Easter attacks.
Lankan authorities say they have arrested all those who were involved in the
April 21 attacks that also hit three Christian churches.
June 16 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday visited the
Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World at the British Museum in
spent about one hour exploring the gallery, with the museum's deputy director
Johanathan Williams explaining the awe-inspiring historical artefacts that
reflect Islam’s glorious heritage.
arrival he was greeted by museum officials, Malaysian High Commission officials
and the children of businessman and philanthropist Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar
Albukhary — Sharifah Sofia and Syed Danial.
at the gallery were Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Youth and
Sports Minister Syed Sadiq Abdul Rahman. Dr Mahathir’s presence at the museum
attracted the attention of hundreds of visitors with many aware of the world's
oldest prime minister.
visit is part of Dr Mahathir’s itinerary during his three-day working visit to
the United Kingdom beginning yesterday.
Albukhary Foundation Gallery is helping British Museum redisplay its important
collections on Islamic heritage, and reflects the connections between the
cultures of Islam and the ancient world on the one hand, and the cultures of
the Mediterranean world and Europe on the other hand.
Albukhary Foundation, an international non-profit charity organisation that
focuses on social development, was established by Syed Mokhtar Shah Syed Nor
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived here last night for a three-day
working visit to the United Kingdom, accompanied by his wife Dr Siti Hasmah
Minister Saifuddin Abdullah, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman
and several senior officials had arrived earlier to accompany Mahathir for the
first itinerary is a meeting with representatives of the United Kingdom and
Eire (Ireland) Council for Malaysian Students this morning at the Malaysian
High Commission here.
the afternoon, the prime minister is to tour the new Al Bukhary Foundation
Gallery of the Islamic World at the British Museum in Bloomsbury here.
gallery, established with the support of Malaysia’s Al Bukhary Foundation, is
helping British Museum redisplay its important collections of Islamic heritage,
which reflect the connections between the cultures of Islam and the Ancient
World on the one hand, and the cultures of the Mediterranean World and Europe
on the other.
the visitors will attend a Hari Raya open house hosted by the high commission
at Templewood Gardens in Camden, before Mahathir heads to Cambridge University,
about 100km away, to give a talk on “Democracy in Malaysia and Southeast Asia”
at the Cambridge Union.
January, Dr Mahathir had delivered a talk at the Oxford Union, the debating
society whose members are primarily from Oxford University, the oldest
university in the English speaking world established in 1096.
talk at Cambridge is expected to attract UK personalities and academicians as
well as students from higher learning institutions, high commission officials
part of the government’s efforts to attract foreign investment, Mahathir will
attend a session with investors and industry players in the UK organised by
Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (Mida) and Maybank to explore areas
of cooperation to strengthen bilateral trade.
between Malaysia and the UK had recorded a growth of 2% per annum with an
annual bilateral trade ranging between RM12 billion and RM17 billion over the
last 10 years.
of Pak bomb moves HC, seeks freedom of movement
Founder of Pakistan's uranium enrichment programme Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan on
Saturday filed a petition in the Lahore high court, requesting it to allow him
freedom of movement.
filing the petition, Qadeer had sent a letter to Lahore HC chief justice Sardar
Shamim Ahmed Khan, claiming that former president general (retd) Pervez
Musharraf, under the influence of the US, had pressured him to confess that he
was responsible for nuclear proliferation. Qadeer wrote in the letter that he
was handed over a written statement from Musharraf and ordered to read it on
further stated that Musharraf had promised him that he would restore him to his
position as a nuclear scientist after a few days of the televised confession
but the former military dictator did not honour his promise. "Former prime
minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and lawyer SM Zafar were also witnesses in
this matter," Qadeer said in his letter.
no response from the CJ, the nuclear scientist filed the petition in the HC,
requesting it to allow him to move freely and contest his case himself.
am restrained from going anywhere, which is against the norms of moral values.
I cannot go anywhere or attend any ceremony, which is regrettable," Qadeer
respondents (the government of Pakistan and Strategic Plans Division Force)
have imposed an illegal ban on me. I wish to appear before the court in person
to explain my grievances but I am being restrained," the petition read.
9/11, the US had mounted pressure on Pakistan, accusing it of giving nuclear
weapons technology to North Korea, Iran and Libya. In early 2004, the then
regime led by Musharraf detained Qadeer in his home. On February 4, 2004,
Qadeer appeared on state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV) and confessed to
running a proliferation ring, transferring technology to Iran between 1989 and
1991, and to North Korea and Libya between 1991 and 1997. He was immediately
pardoned by Musharraf but placed under house arrest. Later, he retracted his
confession and accused Musharraf of making him a scapegoat.
February 2009, Qadeer was freed from five years of house arrest on a court
order. In September that year, the US had warned that Qadeer still remained a
serious proliferation risk, prompting Pakistani authorities to restrict his
movement to his home again.
Hours after returning home from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, where he attended the 19th
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday
spent a busy day at his Banigala residence holding meetings to discuss the
post-budget political situation in the country and finalise the strategy to
counter the opposition’s narrative on the economy situation and the ongoing
ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) also announced on Saturday that the party
had decided to form a provincial level organisation for yet to be constituted
south Punjab province.
prime minister also presided over a meeting of the National Task Force for
Health, which had been established to look into health-related issues and make
a strategy to provide health facilities to masses.
most important gathering of the day at Banigala was a meeting of the party spokespersons
and other senior members to discuss the strategy to highlight the party’s
narrative on the budget and to counter the opposition’s protest.
PTI spokesman told Dawn that in the meeting, Adviser to the Prime Minister Dr
Abdul Hafeez Shaikh gave a briefing to the participants on the salient features
of the budget which needed to be highlighted through media. The adviser also
briefed the participants about the steps which the Ministry of Finance planned
to take for achieving the revenue targets.
among those who attended the meeting were Chairman of the Senate Standing
Committee on Information and Broadcasting Faisal Javed, Federal Minister for
Communications Murad Saeed and Punjab Information Minister Samsam Bokhari.
spokesman said the prime minister also apprised the participants about the
proposed high-powered commission to probe as to how successive governments of
the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) took
Rs24 trillion loans during the last decade and brought the country on the verge
of bankruptcy. He said the prime minister had stated in the meeting that the
commission with its terms of reference would soon be constituted.
commission, he said, would also investigate those rulers who had set up camp
offices at their home town residences and spent huge taxpayers money on them.
a source quoted the prime minister to have stated that the country’s economy
had come to a takeoff position and the economic woes of the nation would soon
source said the prime minister also made some comments about Pakistan-India
World Cup cricket match scheduled to be played in Manchester (UK) today
to an official handout issued by the party’s Central Media Department, during a
meeting between Mr Khan and the party’s chief organiser Saifullah Khan Nyazee,
it has been decided to form a provincial level organisation for south Punjab.
Nyazee later in a statement said the PTI was committed to protecting rights of
the people of south Punjab, including their political and administrative
rights. He stated that he had sought directives from the prime minister to
establish provincial level organisation which would be constituted as per
guidelines laid down by the chairman.
organisation will carry forward the agenda of people’s welfare,” he said,
adding that the reorganisation process of the party across the country would
also be concluded soon.
PTI chief organiser apprised Mr Khan on the homework so far done for
reorganisation of the party.
Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the resumption of the Prime Minister’s
Programme for Prevention and Control of Hepatitis C on Saturday.
directions came during a meeting of the National Task Force for Health, which
was established to look into health-related issues and make a strategy to
provide health facilities to the public.
Prime Minister’s Hepatitis Prevention and Control Programme was in place across
the country, but was abolished after the 18th Amendment devolved health to the
contacted, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services
Dr Zafar Mirza said that the prime minister was briefed on the hepatitis C
situation in Pakistan.
to which Mr Khan directed to come with a line of action within a fortnight so
that the programme would be started again,” he said.
are five types of hepatitis, from A to E, but hepatitis C is a leading cause of
death all over the world. According to estimates, more than 12 million people
within Pakistan suffer from hepatitis B or C and each year brings about 150,000
disease is called a silent killer because many patients remain undiagnosed and
untreated for years before developing complications and dying.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Russian President Vladimir
Putin appreciated Pakistan’s role and efforts for promoting regional peace and
talking to media, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan and Russian President
Vladimir Putin met briefly on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation (SCO) Summit in Bishkek.
leaders discussed the Afghanistan issue, the situation in the Middle East and
Iran. PM Imran also took the Russian president into confidence on Kashmir’s
situation, Qureshi told reporters.
said the SCO forum provided an opportunity for peace, stability and regional
the summit on June 13, the prime minister while giving an interview to the
Russian media, expressed his desire to increase military ties with Moscow.
Khan said he was happy with the burgeoning relationship between Pakistan and
is not the 60’s, things have changed drastically from the past riddled with
‘cold war’,” said Khan.
that Pakistan would hold talks with India on the “basis of equality” and in a
“dignified manner”, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said the ball was
in India’s court to engage with Islamabad and resolve all outstanding issues.
India has to make this decision, we are neither in haste nor troubled. When
India prepares itself, it would find us prepared, but we will hold talks on the
basis of equality, in a dignified manner,” Qureshi told Geo News on the
sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit.
asked about the demand by some people that Pakistan should not repeatedly
invite India for talks, Qureshi said, “Neither we need to run after anyone, nor
we need to demonstrate stubbornness. Pakistan’s approach is very realistic and
Pakistan foreign minister also accused the Indian government of being in the
“election mindset” to keep their “vote bank intact”.
has not come out of its election mindset and the extreme position they had
taken to influence their constituency and to keep their vote bank intact. It is
still confined in that,” Qureshi said.
was the first to confirm on Friday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his
Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan exchanged pleasantries and a handshake in the
leaders’ lounge. “They exchanged pleasantries and shook hands,” he said. He
also told Pakistani media that Khan congratulated Modi on his election victory.
the Indian government sources, too, said Modi “exchanged usual pleasantries
with Pakistan PM Imran Khan in the leaders’ lounge”. But they were also
emphatic that there was “no meeting, no pull aside”.
has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at
Pathankot in January of 2016 by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, maintaining that talks
and terror cannot go together.
Rights Watch declares Houthi Abha airport attack a ‘war crime’ as another
missile targets city
A leading rights group has called an attack by the Iranian-backed Houthis on Abha
airport in Saudi Arabia an "apparent war crime" as the city was
targeted again Saturday by the militia's missiles.
Al Arabiya reported said Saudi forces intercepted a ballistic missile above the
southwestern Saudi city. On Friday, Saudi forces intercepted five drones from
Yemen, the Arab military coalition fighting to support the government said.
drones targeted Abha airport, where a Houthi missile on Wednesday injured 26
civilians, and the nearby city of Khamis Mushait.
Rights Watch on Saturday urged the Houthis to stop attacks on civilian
infrastructure in Saudi Arabia. "Commanders who order deliberate or
indiscriminate attacks on civilian objects are responsible for war
crimes," the group said.
coalition targeted Houthi military sites in Sanaa on Saturday, including the
militia’s air defense systems, Al Arabiya reported.
spokesperson of the coalition, Col. Turki Al-Maliki said the operation aimed to
destroy the Houthi militia’s threat to regional and international security.
Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil says Syrian refugees are staying in Lebanon for
economic reasons, even though three quarters of them could return to their
homeland as they face no fear of political persecution or threat to their
of the Syrians – much more than 75% – are no more in security and political
fear, but are staying for economic reasons. We know more than 500,000 Syrians
are working in Lebanon. They are working everywhere in breach of our labor
laws, and yet even though they break the law they are not being
are working in Lebanon, taking jobs from the Lebanese because they are paid at
cheaper rate as they have no taxes to pay and they are being assisted on top of
the wages they are paid,” Bassil said in an interview with British newspaper
the Guardian published on Saturday.
further stressed that it was not his government’s policy to try to force
Syrians to return to their country.
top Lebanese diplomat then lauded his country’s record of welcoming Syrian
one country did what Lebanon did. No one country is able to host 200 refugees
per square kilometer, more than 40% of its population… Despite all that we have
endured we never thought of forcing anyone to return. We are talking of a
dignified and safe gradual return for people who are willing."
now applies to the majority of Syrians in Lebanon because now most of Syria is
safe and most of those in Lebanon do not face any political or security
obstacles for their return. They are staying because they are assisted to stay
in Lebanon, and if they go back to Syria they will lose that assistance. This
is the main reason,” Bassil noted.
are receiving aid for every aspect of their lives; they are receiving free
education, shelter and healthcare. They are better covered on health than the
Lebanese. They are afraid that once they leave, they will lose the assistance,”
the Lebanese foreign minister asserted.
than one million Syrian refugees are registered with the UNHCR in Lebanon.
Beirut government estimates that the true number of Syrians in Lebanon stands
at 1.5 million.
February, Lebanon's minister of state for displaced affairs said his country
would stick primarily to a Russian strategy for the return of Syrian refugees
to their homeland.
Russian strategy will be adopted as a basis for our approach toward the return of
Syrian refugees to Syria,” Saleh Gharib told China’s official Xinhua news
agency on February 6.
also did not deny the possibility of visiting Syria, or conducting a direct
dialogue with high-ranking government officials in Damascus to secure the return
of Syrian refugees.
strategy to help Syrian refugees go back to their homes was drawn up following
a meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart
Vladimir Putin in the Finnish capital city of Helsinki on July 16, 2018.
specifies about 76 residential neighborhoods in Syria's central provinces of
Homs and Hama, the northwestern province of Idlib as well as Damascus to enable
the return of 360,000 Syrian refugees as a first step.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accused arch-rival Iran of attacks on oil
tankers in a vital Gulf shipping channel, adding he “won't hesitate” to tackle
any threats to the kingdom, according to an interview published on Sunday.
tankers were struck by explosions on Thursday in the Gulf of Oman, the second
attack in a month in the strategic shipping lane amid a tense United
States-Iran standoff, sparking fears of a regional conflagration and sending
oil prices soaring.
do not want a war in the region... But we won't hesitate to deal with any
threat to our people, our sovereignty, our territorial integrity and our vital
interests,” Prince Mohammed told pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, in his first
public comments since the attacks.
Iranian regime did not respect the presence of the Japanese prime minister as a
guest in Tehran and responded to his (diplomatic) efforts by attacking two
tankers, one of which was Japanese.”
prince also accused “Iran and its proxies” over May 12 attacks on four tankers
anchored in the Gulf of Oman off the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah.
attack on two tankers — the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous that was carrying
highly flammable methanol when it was rocked by explosions and the
Norwegian-operated Front Altair — came around the time Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe was meeting with Iranian leaders in Tehran.
President Donald Trump has said the twin attacks had Iran “written all over
it”, rejecting Tehran's vehement denial.
Arabia, a close US ally, is a bitter regional rival of Iran.
US military on Friday released grainy footage it said showed an Iranian patrol
boat removing an “unexploded limpet mine” from one of the tankers.
UAE's Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Saturday called
on world powers “to secure international navigation and access to energy”, a
plea echoed by regional ally Saudi Arabia after the incident sent crude prices
has repeatedly warned in the past that it could block the strategic Hormuz
Strait in a relatively low-tech, high-impact countermeasure to any attack by
so would disrupt oil tankers travelling out of the Gulf region to the Indian
Ocean and global export routes.
UAE's Sheikh Abdullah, whose country is bitterly opposed to Iranian influence
in the region, called for a de-escalation of tensions. “We remain hopeful in
attaining a broader framework for cooperation with Iran,” he said at a summit
Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih called for a “swift and
decisive” response to threats against energy supplies after Thursday's
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned against “exploiting” the murder of
journalist Jamal Khashoggi for political gains, in what appeared to be a veiled
attack on Turkey.
death of Jamal Khashoggi is a very painful crime,” Prince Mohammed told
pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat in an interview published on Sunday.
party exploiting the case politically should stop doing so, and present
evidence to the [Saudi] court, which will contribute in achieving justice,” he
added, without directly naming Turkey.
prince, however, added that he wants strong relations with “all Islamic
countries including Turkey”.
prosecutors have absolved the prince and said around two dozen people
implicated in the murder are in custody, with death penalties sought against
five men. Khashoggi, a US resident, had written critically of Prince Mohammed
and was killed in what Riyadh described as a rogue operation.
Iraqi military says three mortar shells have hit an air base just north of
Baghdad where American trainers are present, causing a small fire but no
military statement says the attack on Balad air base occurred early Saturday.
attack comes amid rising tension in the Middle East between the United States
and Iran, which ratcheted up on Thursday after suspected attacks on two oil
tankers near the Strait of Hormuz.
month, a rocket exploded less than a mile away from the US Embassy in Baghdad’s
heavily fortified Green Zone.
least 35 combatants including 26 pro-regime forces were killed Saturday in
clashes and air strikes that erupted at dawn in northwestern Syria, a war
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian regime and
Russian air strikes killed nine extremists and rebel fighters and clashes left
26 pro-regime forces dead in the north of Hama province.
Friday, Turkey’s foreign minister said Ankara did not accept Russia’s “excuse”
that Syria would not listen to Moscow and stop regime strikes in Idlib
an interview with Asharq al-Awsat, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said
that the Kingdom does not want war but will not hesitate to deal with any
kingdom does not want war in the region ... but we will not hesitate to deal
with any threat to our people, our sovereignty and our vital interests,” he
said in the interview.
Iranian regime did not respect the presence of the Japanese Prime Minister as a
guest in Tehran. During his presence, they responded to his efforts by
attacking two tankers, one of which belongs to Japan,” the Saudi Crown Prince
the interview, the Saudi Crown Prince added that Iran’s recent attacks in the
region required a firm stance from the international community.
reaped the economic benefits of the nuclear deal in order to support its
hostile acts in the region and to spread chaos and destruction,” he said.
the situation in Yemen, the Saudi Crown Prince said that Saudi Arabia supports
"all efforts in reaching a political solution to the Yemeni crisis, but
unfortunately, the Houthi militias are advancing Iran's agenda instead of the
interests of Yemen and its people."
in the Kingdom cannot accept the presence of militias who operate outside of
state institutions on our borders,” the Crown Prince said while adding: “We
recently saw the malicious Houthi terrorist attacks on the oil facilities and
Najran airport and the arrogance of the Houthi leaders who claimed the attacks.
This proves once again that these militias do not care about the interests of
the Yemeni people and in any political process to resolve the Yemeni crisis.
Their actions reflect Tehran's priorities and needs, not Sanaa’s.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Asharq al-Awsat that Riyadh sees the
importance for strategic relations with the United States as “a key factor in
achieving security and stability in the region.”
strategic relations with the United States will not be affected by any media
campaigns or positions from here and there,” he said.
Sudan, the Saudi Crown Prince said the Kingdom cared about Khartoum’s security
and stability and “will continue to support our Sudanese brothers in various
fields until Sudan reaches what it deserves in prosperity, growth, and
Saudi Crown Prince also spoke to Asharq al-Awsat regarding the late Saudi
journalist Jamal Khashoggi, describing the killing as a “very painful crime.”
seek full justice and accountability. Any party seeking to exploit the issue
politically should stop and provide to the court in the Kingdom any evidence
which will contribute toward achieving justice,” he said.
is the full text of the interview:
al-Awsat: The region has recently witnessed dangerous developments that
threaten the security and stability of the region and world. What is Saudi
Arabia’s stance towards these developments and how does the Kingdom deal with
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: Saudi Arabia’s stance is clear as stipulated in its
official statements. It does not want a war in the region, but we will not
hesitate in dealing with any threat against our people, sovereignty and vital
interests. Our priority is our national interest and achieving the aspirations
of our people through the economic and social goals of the Kingdom’s vision
2030 and through development, and economic and social reform. This demands a
stable and enabling environment within the Kingdom and region. This is why you
will find that the role of the Kingdom, whether in the Arabian Gulf, North
Africa, Horn of Africa or other regions, is supporting stability and peace.
This is a policy that the Kingdom has adopted since its establishment whereby
it has always sought to shun division, sectarianism and extremism and instead
preserve unity and stability in the region and international peace.
Kingdom also plays an important role in the international community through its
efforts to ensure that oil supplies pass through vital routes that surround it
with the aim of protecting the stability of the global economy. The world
witnessed how we dealt with the Iranian tanker in the Red Sea. It was handled
based on what our morals and principles and what international treaties and
norms demand. In return, we see how the Iranian regime and its proxies have
carried out sabotage operations against four oil tankers near Fujairah port.
Two of the tankers were Saudi. This confirms the approach followed by this
regime in the region and entire world. Plenty of evidence supports this and
which has accumulated over many years.
must not forget that this regime had openly declared since 1979 that its
priority and main goal is to export the revolution. It seeks to achieve this at
the expense of the aspirations of its people and the peoples of the region.
This explains the behavior of the Iranian regime. The export of the revolution
and Wilayat al-Faqih principle demand the destabilization of countries and the
region, stoking sectarianism, spreading extremism and dedicating the resources of
the Iranian people towards financing and arming terrorist militias.
this, the Kingdom has constantly extended its hand for peace with Iran to avoid
the horrors of wars and destruction on the region and its people. Saudi Arabia
even supported the nuclear deal with Iran because the Kingdom has throughout
history never spared an effort to resolve any crisis through diplomatic and
peaceful means. We had hoped that the Iranian regime would have taken advantage
of this initiative to change its behavior towards the countries in the region
and see it as a first step towards Iran’s return to the international community
as a normal state. Unfortunately, Iran misused the economic benefits of this
deal to support its hostile acts in the region. It continued to violate
international resolutions. It was better off dedicating the economic benefits
in improving the lives of the Iranian people, developing infrastructure and
achieving economic development instead of continuing its destructive behavior
in the region.
recklessness has reached unprecedented levels. After the nuclear pact, the
Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ budget increased and it intensified its
support for sectarian militias in the region and even the whole world. We have
all seen how terrorist and hostile Iranian operations were recently thwarted in
Europe. This is why the Kingdom supported the re-imposition of US sanctions on
Iran. It did so out of our belief that the international community needed to
take a decisive stance against Iran. It must also take the necessary measures
to limit the regime’s ability to spread chaos and destruction in the whole
developments in the region, including the targeting of Aramco oil pumping
stations by the Iran-backed Houthi militias, underscores the importance of our
demand for the international community to take a decisive stance against an
expansionist regime that has supported terrorism and spread death and
destruction over the past decades not only in the region, but the whole world.
choice is clear before Iran. Does it want to be a normal country that plays a
constructive role in the international community or does it want to be a rogue
state? We hope that the Iranian regime would opt to become a normal country and
cease its malign behavior.
al-Awsat: You have pointed to the American stance on Iran, which coincides with
the Saudi stance, as is the case with the majority of strategic issues. Recent
months have, however, seen criticism directed at the Kingdom from within the
United States over a number of issues, especially the Jamal Khashoggi case. Has
this criticism affected the strategic cooperation between the two countries?
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: The Kingdom places great importance on the
strategic ties with the US. They are relations that extend to more than 70
years during which this strategic partnership has defeated several challenges
that have targeted the security, stability and sovereignty of our countries.
Our ties with the US are important and pivotal, not only for achieving joint
interests, whether economic, on the security level or others, but they are a
main factor in achieving regional security and stability. Together with the US,
and in cooperation with several countries in the region and world, we seek to
achieve sustainable stability in the region that would establish the necessary
environment to meet the aspirations of its people to live in dignity and real
development. We do so by confronting the forces of chaos, destruction and
instability embodied in terrorist organizations and their state-sponsors,
starting with the Iranian regime, and confronting all forms of extremism.
for media campaigns or some stances in the US, they certainly do not serve the
joint interests of our countries. Throughout the Kingdom’s history, however, we
have previously faced such campaigns that are often biased and not based on
accurate information. We constantly seek to clarify facts and misconceptions by
some parties in the US and other countries. We listen to various views and we
welcome constructive and rational advise, but ultimately our priority is our
national interest. Our priority is the citizen in Riyadh, Jeddah, Jazan, Tabuk,
Dammam and other regions in the Kingdom, not the beliefs or views of others
about the Kingdom. Throughout the Kingdom’s history, we have managed to work
with our main allies, despite natural differences that exist between all
countries, by respecting the sovereignty of nations and avoiding meddling in
their internal affairs. We expect nothing less than reciprocal treatment when
it comes to our sovereignty and internal affairs. I am confident that our
strategic relations with the US will not be affected by media campaigns or
for the murder of citizen Jamal Khashoggi, as I have previously said, this is a
very painful crime that is unprecedented in the history of the Kingdom. Such
acts are alien to our culture and contradict our principles and values. The
Kingdom has taken the necessary measures, whether through the judiciary to hold
the perpetrators to account or through taking procedural measures to prevent
such unfortunate crimes from taking place again in the future. These measures
stem first and foremost from the importance we place, in the Kingdom, on the
lives of every Saudi citizen, irrespective of their views. These measures have
not and will not be affected by any other factors. We are a state governed by
the rule of law and it is unacceptable for the life of a citizen to be violated
in such a painful way under any circumstance. Unfortunately, the suspects are
government employees and we seek to achieve full justice. Any party seeking to
politically exploit the case must cease doing so and present whatever evidence
it has to the courts in the Kingdom to help achieve justice.
al-Awsat: Does the agreement with the US on Iran apply to the situation in
Syria, especially in wake of the American decision to withdraw from the
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: We are in agreement on the objectives in Syria,
which are the defeat of the ISIS, preventing the re-emergence of terrorist
organizations, dealing with the destabilizing Iranian influence in Syria and
using all possible means to achieve political transition according to
Resolution 2254, in a manner that preserves Syria’s unity. We are working with
friendly countries to achieve these goals.
al-Awsat: How do you interpret the Japanese Prime Minister’s recent visit to
Iran and his meeting with the supreme leader?
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: We thank the (Japanese) prime minister for his good
intentions and the Kingdom’s hand is always extended for peace to achieve
security and stability of the region.
Iranian regime, however, did not respect the (Japanese) prime minister as a
guest (in Iran) during his visit and in effect responded to his efforts by
attacking the two oil tankers in the Gulf, one of which was apparently
Japanese. It also employed its militias to carry out a heinous attack against
Abha Airport. This is clear evidence of the Iranian regime’s policy and
intentions to target the security and stability of the region. Iran is the
party that is constantly escalating tensions in the region. It carries out
terrorist attacks and immoral acts of aggression directly or through its
militias. The problem lies in Tehran, not anywhere else. As I have previously
stated, Iran must choose between becoming a normal country that plays a
constructive role in the international community or remain a rogue state and
assume the international consequences of its choice.
al-Awsat: The Turkish president and other Turkish officials have recently
escalated their rhetoric in questioning the credibility of the Kingdom’s
judiciary and held the Kingdom and its leadership responsible in Khashoggi’s
case. How do you respond to such accusations?
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi citizen and there is no
doubt that what happened to him was painful and unfortunate. The Kingdom has
taken all measures to hold the perpetrators accountable and the accused have
been referred to the judiciary. The judiciary in the Kingdom is an independent
authority and no one can meddle in its affairs. We confront any development
firmly and without hesitation, by taking the steps that are necessary to
achieve justice, rectify any flaw and prevent mistakes from taking place again,
while disregarding any claims and accusations.
for the statements by some Turkish officials towards the Kingdom, the Kingdom,
as the home of the two holy mosques, seeks strong ties with all Islamic
countries, including Turkey. This is important for the interest of the region
and joint Islamic work in particular. In the Kingdom, we work in service of the
holy mosques and their visitors. We work on achieving the security and
stability of our nation, not becoming embroiled in disputes that harm the
interests of our nation and Islamic world. We will forge forward in achieving
these goals, without getting distracted by positions taken by some for their
own domestic considerations that are known to everyone.
al-Awsat: Four years have passed since the Arab Coalition kicked off its
operations in Yemen. How do you assess the political and military progress that
has been achieved and what are the prospects for resolving the crisis in Yemen,
especially in wake of the Stockholm deal and terrorist Houthi attacks on Saudi
oil pumping stations and its Najran and Abha airports?
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: Many parties forget or claim to forget how the
crisis in Yemen first broke out. The coalition operations began after the
international community had exhausted all political solutions between Yemeni
parties and the Houthi militias. One must be reminded that the Kingdom is the
pioneer of the political solution. It presented the GCC initiative and worked
on achieving peaceful political transition in Yemen in 2011. It supported the
national dialogue and presented over 7 billion dollars in economic support for
Yemen between 2012 and 2014. Since 2011, the Kingdom’s efforts have sought to
achieve smooth political transition in a manner that preserves the country’s
independence and sovereignty and unity of its political and security
institutions to prevent it from slipping into chaos.
the Yemeni parties met in Riyadh and signed the GCC initiative and its
implementation mechanism. All Yemeni parties, including the Houthis, were
present at the comprehensive national dialogue.
Iran obstructed the political process in Yemen through its proxy houthi
militias, which started to occupy Yemeni cities and seize the state’s various
resources and capabilities. The Kingdom offered all possible opportunities to
resolve the situation through peaceful means, but Iran was following a policy
of imposing a new reality in Arab countries by force of arms. Unfortunately,
the international community at the time did not confront Iran’s expansionist
and sectarian agenda. Iran therefore, continued to try, through its militias,
to impose its control in Yemen. The Yemeni people and leadership, however, made
a historic stand against this Iranian interference. Along with our brothers in
the coalition, we responded immediately to the appeal of the legitimate
government to protect Yemen and its people and our national security. The
Kingdom cannot accept the presence of militias operating outside the apparatus
of states on our borders.
Yemeni territories have been liberated and we have supported all efforts to
reach a political solution to the crisis. Unfortunately, the Houthi militias
prioritize Iran’s agenda over the interests of Yemen and its people. We have
recently witnessed the terrorist attack on oil facilities and Najran airport,
which the Houthis boasted of claiming. This once again demonstrates that these
militias do not care for the interests of the Yemeni people or any political
process to resolve the crisis. Their actions reflect the priorities of Tehran,
Arab Coalition’s stance is very clear about resolving the crisis. We support
efforts to reach a political solution based on UN Security Council resolution
2216, the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanism, and national
dialogue outcomes. We accept the participation of all Yemeni parties in the
political process, but according to the three references. The Kingdom will not
accept the militias to remain outside state control. We will pursue this
ultimate goal and maintain our operations and continue on offering support to
the Yemeni people in their effort to protect their independence and sovereignty
despite our sacrifice. The Kingdom will also maintain its humanitarian and
economic relief in Yemen. We not only seek to liberate Yemen from the Iranian
militias, but achieve prosperity and stability for all of the people of Yemen.
al-Awsat: You have spoken of a dream to transform the Middle East into the new
Europe. How do you confront obstacles in reaching this dream given the major
regional political upheaval and economic and development challenges?
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: We must not become hostages of temporary conditions
that prevent us from fulfilling our primary duty, as leaders in the region, of
reviving our states. Today’s challenges must also not prevent us from working
promptly to achieve a better future for the coming generations.
mentioned political upheaval. This is undoubtedly taking place in the region.
At the same time, however, we must look at the overall Arab region and realize
that the majority of the countries are unanimous in prioritizing a dignified
life for the people and achieving security and stability. The people do not
want to be hostages to ideological conflicts that waste their potential. We are
before a precedent in that everyone shares one goal. Competition between the
majority of our countries focuses on reaching the best standard of living for
the people, attracting investment and achieving development in all fields.
source of political upheaval is well known. They are terrorist groups, such as
ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and policies of the Iranian regime, the
top sponsor of terrorism and extremism. We will not waste our time in offering
partial solutions to extremism as history has proven the futility of such
efforts. God willing, we will continue to forge forward in our unwavering
approach in confronting all forms of extremism and sectarianism, and the
policies that support them.
Kingdom is the home of the Two Holy Mosques. It has been blessed with natural
resources, a strategic location, and wise leadership since the days of its
founder and until the present reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.
It is also blessed with its great and innovative people. Today, it is living in
security, stability and prosperity. It is unbecoming for this great nation not
to occupy leading positions in all fields regardless of the conditions and
challenges. We will not rest until we first achieve this goal for our nation
and then our brothers in the region.
al-Awsat: How do you assess the upheaval in Sudan and the political changes?
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: We are greatly concerned with the security and
stability of Sudan, not only due to the strategic importance of its location
and danger of the collapse of its state institutions, but also the strong
brotherly ties that bind us. Our brothers and sisters in Sudan have been and
continue to be a part of our social fabric, they have contributed greatly to
our progress in all fields. We will not spare any effort to achieve the
security and stability for Sudan and its people. The Kingdom has taken measures
to support the brotherly people of Sudan, including an economic aid package and
depositing 250 million Dollars in its Central Bank. We will continue to support
our brothers in all fields until Sudan achieves the prosperity and progress it
al-Awsat: Three years after launching Saudi Vision 2030, where are we at?
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: We moved from the planning and design phase to
implementation on all levels, and started seeing results on the ground. On
developing the financial sector, for example, we have seen noteworthy progress
after the launching of the Vision as the Saudi market joined three global
indices, the FTSE, the Morgan Stanley (MSCI) Emerging Markets Index, and
S&P Dow Jones Indices. This will pump capital worth billions into the market.
The Kingdom has seen a 40 % increase in investors in investment funds, a first
since 2006. The Kingdom has recently achieved the greatest leap among some of
the world’s most competitive countries in the IMD World Competitiveness
Rankings 2019, ranking 26th, moving up 13 ranks compared to last year, and
ranking 7th among G20 member states.
the telecommunications and information sector, we witnessed remarkable
development. The contribution of the digital economy to the GDP increased both
directly and indirectly, with the Kingdom becoming one of the top 10 fastest
e-commerce growing countries worldwide with a rate of 32%. Simultaneously,
Internet speeds have improved fourfold to accelerate digital transformation.
The Kingdom was also the first country in the Middle East and North Africa
region to roll out 5G network services back in 2018 in the Eastern Province for
trial. Today, we have 1,000 communication towers in the Kingdom that are
offering this new service and expanding.
the field of energy and industry, non-oil exports increased by 22% in 2018
compared to 2017, and we launched many industrial cities in different regions
across the Kingdom.
confirms the keenness of the government of the Custodian of the Two Holy
Mosques to achieve balanced and comprehensive development in various cities and
regions, including the King Salman Energy Park (Spark), Jizan, and Waad Al
Shamal where the first phase of the production of phosphates and phosphate
fertilizers has been achieved, laying down the foundation for the second phase,
which will make the Kingdom, God willing, the second largest producer of
phosphate fertilizers globally.
would like to note that what is happening in the Kingdom is not simply a set of
financial and economic reforms aiming to realize specific figures, but a
comprehensive restructuring of the Kingdom’s macro-economy aimed at improving
economic and development performance in the medium and long terms. We have
undertaken major economic and structural reforms that contribute to fiscal balance
and financial control and the diversification of income sources, while
maintaining a continuing macroeconomic growth, sustaining public finances,
supporting social expenditures, raising government spending efficiency and
stimulating the private sector, which is considered a key partner in growth and
development, and achieving the Vision’s objectives.
al-Awsat: But there are claims about setbacks in some of Vision 2030’s
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: What is happening in the Kingdom is a comprehensive
structural change in the economy aimed at creating a shift in medium- and
long-term economic performance. The Vision 2030 and its programs, like all
strategic plans has to be reviewed and updated according to circumstances that may
arise during implementation, without compromising its foundation or objectives
and with the aim of achieving top results, especially at a time we have gained
a higher quality of decision-making based on studies, analyses, figures, facts
to your question about some Vision-related initiatives that might be in
decline: We do not expect this. The Vision’s programs are effectively
contributing to the economic transformation process and we are now shifting
from a rentier economy to one that is characterized by productivity and global
al-Awsat: Some may argue that the Public Investment Fund (PIF) is giving the
private sector a run for its money with its direct investments and mega
projects. What role does it play in achieving the Vision and how can negative
effects be avoided?
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: In line with Vision 2030 and in order to achieve
its objectives, it was important to review the role of the PIF and transform it
into a state sovereign fund. In 2015 we re-launched PIF with a new vision and
mission aimed at developing new sectors in Saudi Arabia, investing in leading
international partnerships and the formation of a new board of directors under
my leadership. Between 2016 and 2018, the number of staffers increased from 40
to nearly 500 employees. Meanwhile, PIF assets have increased from SR500
billion to SR 1 trillion, nearly doubling within two years.
PIF is now a vital state instrument for economic diversification, and targets
both domestic and international investments. Domestically, it targets major
project investments that the private sector alone cannot finance, such as NEOM,
the Red Sea project and Qiddiya, that will offer dozens, if not hundreds, of
good investment opportunities for the private sector.
PIF and the government, it is of utmost importance to involve the private
sector. We have earmarked 13 programs for privatization, giving the private
sector a greater opportunity to participate in investment, achieve profitable
returns and improve spending efficiency and services.
terms of foreign investments, apart from achieving attractive returns on its
assets, PIF will play an important role in establishing economic partnerships
that will help boost knowledge exchange, stimulate high-efficiency investments
and enhance local content, generating long-term returns for future generations.
The PIF also targets new strategic sectors such as tourism and entertainment.
These sectors have an important dimension in stimulating foreign investment,
regional development, creating a large number of jobs and improving overall
quality of life.
PIF operates under an outstanding level of corporate governance and transparent
investment strategy, which were approved after completing its reform and governance
process in 2015. It operates within a system that includes a board, executive
committee and investment committee that play clear roles in guaranteeing
distinguished levels of professionalism in performance. The PIF also has
investment portfolios distributed according to development priorities, such as
in Saudi companies, promising sectors and major projects.
al-Awsat: What are the latest developments in the privatization program?
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: We now have an exceptional and global center
specialized in privatization that is built on the best practices drawn from
experiences of more than 20 countries that have undertaken privatization in the
past. When establishing the center, it was taken into account that it contains
a legal structure ensuring the rights of both the state and investors. We have
identified promising opportunities for privatization in 12 sectors. Our goal
from the privatization program is for it to strengthen the effectiveness of the
role of government and to maximize the contribution of the private sector to
2019, the National Center for Privatization (NCP) supported the signing of five
agreements with a total value exceeding SR 12.5 billion, inked by local and
international companies in various fields and with 70% foreign financing from
six countries. These agreements include projects that focus on sewage
treatment, desalination plants and health services, through dialysis centers.
NCP is currently working on finalizing agreements totaling over SR2 billion and
that cover flour mills and medical and shipping services. These agreements are
expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Work is also underway for
privatizing education sector projects, expected in 2020 with investments adding
up to about SR1 billion.
the future, the private sector will also have the largest investment share in
electricity sector projects, especially power generation plans and including
major renewable energy projects previously announced.
al-Awsat: Amidst such economic transformation, what is your Highness’s message
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: I am proud that Saudi citizens are driving change
at a time many feared the Vision will face resistance due to the size of the
change it entails. Many have told me that the most difficult part I will face
in realizing this strategic transformation is resistance. But I saw this as a
very small factor when looking at Saudi youth that is now leading change.
would like to pay tribute to the role of young people in the transformation
currently taking place in the Kingdom. It is a young Vision with a young
have shifted from a change desired from the state to the change we all make
al-Awsat: When following news about the anticipated Saudi Aramco’s IPO in
global markets, we find there is a lack of information about the issue and the
timeline. Where are matters now? And what actions have been taken in this
Prince Mohammed bin Salman: We are committed to the initial public offering of
Saudi Aramco, but under the appropriate circumstances and in a timely manner.
As I mentioned previously, I expect that it will happen between 2020 and the
beginning of 2021, and setting the location of the IPO now is premature. Much of
the work has been successfully completed, and the timeframe for the offering
will depend on several factors including: market conditions for the IPO, given
its size, and Aramco’s acquisition of a majority stake in SABIC from PIF.
latter is a deal which would create a stellar transformation through
establishing a fully integrated national energy and petrochemical company that
will lead the global energy sector and further enhance Saudi Aramco’s growth
potential and profitability in volatile oil markets.
for preparations for Aramco’s IPO, several important actions have been taken,
including the issuance of the hydrocarbon tax system, the re-issuance of an
exclusive franchise agreement, the appointment of a new board of directors and
the first-ever releasing of Aramco’s annual financial report and audit of its
oil reserves. All these measures reinforce transparency, which is a core
principle of Saudi Vision 2030, which is committed to protecting the Kingdom’s
interests and those of potential investors.
official news agency SANA says an explosion at a Syrian army ammunition depot
in a military zone northwest of the capital Damascus was caused by wildfires.
ammunition depot for the Syrian army in northwestern Damascus exploded after a
fire in nearby fields started spreading,” a military source, who spoke on
condition of anonymity, told SANA on Saturday.
report added that the ammunition depot was located in a military zone in Dummar
district, which is located in the northwestern flank of Damascus.
so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the explosion wounded eight
pro-government forces, with some of them being in critical condition.
development came on the same day that Syrian government forces, backed by
allied fighters from popular defense groups, made fresh gains in the country’s
northwest, tightening the grip on members of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri
terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.
army troops and their allies managed to take control of several strategic areas
in Hama and Idlib provinces, dealing heavy blows to the foreign-sponsored
Damascus government says militants positioned in the two provinces are
attacking army bases and residential areas in flagrant violation of a truce.
Syrian army has warned that any possible large-scale attack by terror groups
would mark their end. The stern warning comes amid reports that Takfiris are
preparing to launch new attacks on government-held areas in the western part of
a deal reached following a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city
of Sochi on September 17, 2018, all militants in a demilitarized zone, which
surrounds Idlib and also parts of the adjacent provinces of Aleppo and Hama,
were supposed to pull out heavy arms by October 17, and Takfiri groups had to
withdraw by October 15 last year.
National Front for the Liberation of Syria is the main Turkish-backed militant
alliance in the Idlib region, but the Takfiri Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)
terrorist group, which is a coalition of different factions of terror outfits,
largely composed of the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, holds a large part of the
province and the zone.
HTS, which is said to be in control of some 60 percent of Idlib province, has
yet to announce its stance on the buffer zone deal.
is estimated that between 10,000 and 15,000 members of different factions of
armed groups, which Syria, Russia and Turkey consider terrorists, are active in
the volatile province, which is home to around three million inhabitants.
Iraqi military says unknown militants have launched three mortar shells into an
air base just north of the capital Baghdad, where American trainers are
military said in a statement that the attack on Balad Air Base, located 64
kilometers (40 miles) north of Baghdad, took place early on Saturday and caused
small fires in bushes on the base, The Associated Press reported.
statement added that the projectiles did not cause any casualties, and the
fires were extinguished immediately.
Iraqi army general, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the assault
occurred shortly after midnight Friday, adding that American trainers are
stationed at the air base.
attack comes only two days after the Iraqi satellite television channel Afaq
TV, citing a report published by Arabic-language Ababeel news agency, said several explosions had been heard near the US
embassy in Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone.
report said the diplomatic mission sounded sirens following the blasts, which
rocked areas adjacent to its premises.
official statement confirmed the report and no further details were released.
May 19, two Iraqi security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said an
explosion had been heard in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
source told Arabic-language Shafaaq news agency that the explosion was believed
to have been caused by a Katyusha rocket slamming into the area.
Green Zone is one of the world's most high-security institutional quarters.
Located in the center of the Iraqi capital, it houses parliament, the prime
minister's office, the presidency, other key institutions, top officials' homes
British-Iranian mother being held in a Tehran prison on sedition charges has begun
another hunger strike in protest at her detention, her husband said on
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 40, is refusing food as she marks her daughter’s fifth
birthday, Richard Ratcliffe said in a statement.
wife was arrested in April 2016 as she was leaving Iran after taking their
infant daughter to visit her family. She was sentenced to five years for
allegedly trying to topple the Iranian government.
had informed the judiciary that she has begun a new hunger strike (she will
drink water) -- to protest at her continuing unfair imprisonment,” he said.
is something she had been threatening for a while. Nazanin had vowed that if we
passed Gabriella’s fifth birthday with her still inside, then she would do
something -- to mark to both governments -- that enough is enough. This really
has gone on too long.”
project manager with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the media group’s
philanthropic arm, she denies all charges.
demand from the strike, she said, is for unconditional release. She has long
been eligible for it,” said Ratcliffe.
do not know the response from the Iranian authorities.”
urged the Iranian authorities to release her immediately, for the British
embassy to be allowed to check on her health, and, if she is not released
within the coming weeks, for him to be granted a visa to visit her.
month, London changed its travel advice for British-Iranian dual nationals,
warning them against all travel to Iran, citing Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s case.
Arabia's air defense forces intercepted a drone launched by the Houthi militias
targeting the southwestern city of Abha on Saturday, the Arab Coalition
confirmed in a statement.
Coalition Spokesperson Col. Turki al-Maliki said that the Houthis were “trying
to target civilian facilities and civilian objects in desperate and repeated
affirm our legitimate right to take the appropriate deterrence measures, with
such hostile acts and in conformity with international humanitarian law and its
customary rules,” he said.
reports had said that the attack on Saturday was in the form of a ballistic
forces on Friday intercepted five drones launched by Iran-backed Houthi
militias, an Arab-led military coalition said.
has criticized the leaders of southern European Union nations for urging the EU
to consider taking action against Turkey over its bid to drill for gas in
waters where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights.
Turkish Foreign Ministry said Saturday that a declaration issued by the leaders
of France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Malta shows the EU cannot be a
“neutral and trusted actor” to resolve divided Cyprus.
called on EU states to acknowledge Turkish Cypriots’ equal rights over the
island's resources. It added that Turkey, which has sent a drill ship to
Cyprus’ western coast, was determined to protect those rights.
of Iran and Turkey have expressed their opposition to any kind of sanctions and
unilateralism in international relations.
is keen to expand relations with Turkey in all fields, particularly in economic
and trade sectors, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a meeting with his
Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the fifth summit
of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia
(CICA) in Tajikistan's capital of Dushanbe on Saturday.
and Turkey have taken valuable steps to expand and deepen relations in recent
years and this trend should be accelerated in proportion to enormous capacities
and opportunities," the Iranian president said.
and Turkey have agreed to step up their economic cooperation with the aim of
reaching a $30-billion target set for their annual trade, voicing concern over
the re-imposition by the US of unilateral sanctions against the Islamic
Republic, a move which they say could affect the entire region's economy.
Iranian president also hailed "effective, successful and important"
cooperation between Tehran and Ankara on regional issues and said,
"Bilateral and trilateral cooperation, including with Russia, on regional
issues, the Astana [peace] process, the fight against terrorism and Syria's
stability are very important and in line with promoting peace and stability in
the end of the first day of the 12th round of Astana talks on April 25, Russian
president’s special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentiev said Iran, Russia, and
Turkey, the three guarantor states of a ceasefire regime in Syria, are “clearly
determined” to continue their fight against terrorism in the Arab country.
talks dealt with the situation in Syria in general, and in the northwestern
region of Idlib in particular where the terrorist organization of Jabhat
al-Nusra controls the majority of the area,” Lavrentiev said.
firm to boost all-out ties with Iran: Erdogan
Turkish president, for his part, hailed growing relations between Tehran and
Ankara and said his country attaches importance to further expansion of ties.
is determined to enhance its relations with Iran in all fields, Erdogan said.
ties with neighbors, Iran's foreign policy priority: Rouhani
Iranian president said the expansion of relations with neighboring and friendly
countries, particularly Qatar, is among main priorities of the Islamic
Republic's foreign policy.
and security of regional countries are intertwined," Rouhani said in a
meeting with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on the sidelines of
the CICA conference.
and multilateral consultation and more cooperation are the only ways to reduce
differences and solve regional problems," he added, expressing Iran's
readiness to play a role in this regard.
Iranian president stressed the importance of forging unity and integrity in the
Muslim world and said Tehran and Doha can make joint efforts to achieve this
relations between the two countries are beneficial to regional nations, he
added and urged both sides to make use of great potential to further boost
economic relations to serve the two nations' interests.
collective cooperation only solutions to regional conflicts: Al Thani
Qatari emir, for his part, said dialog, collective cooperation and political
approaches are the only solutions to regional conflicts.
Houthi Ansarullah movement has launched fresh drone attacks on areas south of
Saudi Arabia to compensate for kingdom’s devastating bombardment of the
Houthi-run al-Masirah TV said in a Saturday report that the “large-scale and
measured” drone operations had successfully targeted airports in Jizan and Abha
cited a spokesman of the Yemeni armed forces as saying that the installations
targeted in the operation by Qasif K2 drones were now out of service. It said
the control rooms in Jizan airport and the fuel station in Abha airport were
the main target of the attacks.
spokesman said the attacks were in retaliation for Saudi “aggression” against
Yemen, saying such attacks will intensify in size and number if Riyadh
continued with its bombardment and blockade of the impoverished Yemenis.
said air traffic monitoring centers at Jizan and Abha airports had confirmed
the Saturday attacks.
Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV said that a ballistic missile targeting the city of
Abha, located to the southwest of Saudi Arabia, had been intercepted.
Houthis have intensified their so-called retaliatory attacks on military
positions in southern Saudi territories over the past few days. The main
targets in those attacks have been installations in Jizan, Najran, Abha and
a major attack last month, Yemeni drones managed to hit key oil installations
in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
attacks come as Saudi Arabia continues to target crowded civilian locations
across Yemen heedless of international criticism.
Saturday attacks came a day after Saudis bombarded areas in Yemen's capital
Sana’a and in the northwestern province of Hajjah.
Arabia has launched new airstrikes on Yemen's capital and the northwestern
province of Hajjah after the Houthis called for “serious talks" to reach a
Arabic-language al-Masirah news website said Saudi warplanes pounded the Bani
Hushaish district in Sana’a late Friday. Saudi media confirmed the air raids.
state TV claimed that the airstrikes targeted military positions, including
air-defense systems, in the Yemeni capital.
Saudi warplanes also conducted air raids on the city of Harad in the province
of Hajjah on Friday, al-Masirah said.
were no immediate reports on possible casualties as a result of the air raids.
Arabia launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal
of bringing the government of former Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi
back to power and crushing the Houthi movement.
US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit
conflict-research organization, estimates that the Saudi war has claimed the
lives of over 60,000 Yemenis since January 2016.
war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying
hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in
dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme
levels of hunger.
army and allied popular committees have carried out various attacks on Saudi
positions in retaliation for the kingdom’s fatal aggression against their
on Friday, Yemeni Qasif-2K drones targeted an airport in the Saudi province of
Asir. The attack was the second on Abha airport in less than a week.
ready for talks with 'influential' countries
Saudi airstrikes came after Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the chairman of Yemen’s
Supreme Political Council, said Sana'a is ready to hold “serious talks with the
influential countries” to achieve “fair peace”.
told the Yemeni News Agency (Saba) that the aggressors have committed crimes in
Yemen for years as the international law has not been applied.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he expected Russian S-400 missile defense
systems to start arriving in Turkey in the first half of July, broadcaster NTV
reported on Sunday, a development set to fuel tensions with NATO ally
discussed the S-400 subject with Russia. Indeed the S-400 issue is settled,”
Erdogan was cited as telling reporters on his plane returning from a visit to
Tajikistan. “I think they will start to come in the first half of July.”
says military council suspends decree on UN sites
transitional military council has suspended implementation of a decree
demanding that the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur hand
over its premises as part of its withdrawal next year, a Sudanese diplomat said
Ahmed Mohamed Ahmed told the UN Security Council that the transitional military
council also decided on Thursday to withdraw all armed forces and other
security forces from sites the government has already received from the
peacekeeping force known as UNAMID.
United Nations has opposed the transitional military council’s decree, saying
under an agreement with the Sudanese government its facilities when handed over
are to be used solely for civilian purposes.
July, the Security Council voted to dramatically cut the UNAMID force in the
vast western Darfur region in response to reduced fighting and improved
security conditions. The target for ending the mission is June 30, 2020, and
Ahmed urged the council to keep to that timetable.
reject any attempt to postpone or suspend the exit of UNAMID given that there
are no conditions, no justification or reasons for its presence,” Ahmed said.
and China backed Sudan and urged the Security Council to stick to the
Britain, Germany, South Africa, the United States and others raised questions
about the impact on Darfur of the transitional military council’s crackdown on
protesters last week that killed over 100 people and wounded hundreds more.
this week, the Security Council strongly condemned the violence and urged
Sudanese authorities to immediately end the use of violence, respect human
rights, and ensure justice and accountability.
monthslong popular uprising against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year
rule led to his fall from power in April, but there has been a standoff since
then between the protesters and the transitional military council that
Deputy UN ambassador Jonathan Allen told the council that his government and
Germany are proposing “a technical rollover” to extend the UNAMID mandate,
which expires June 30.
“would provide time for progress on the broader political situation,” he said,
and give time to resolve the issue of the handover of UNAMID sites.
Africa’s UN Ambassador Jerry Matjila said “there is an urgent need for an
assessment of the drawdown” of the UNAMID force, given the political situation
following al-Bashir’s ouster.
must also ensure that its assets are handed over to civilian authorities - not
the military, he stressed.
Double car bomb blasts kill 9, wound 25
least nine people were killed and more than 25 wounded when a double car bomb
blast rocked the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday afternoon, officials
Abdi Mohamed, Somali police commissioner, told reporters after the attacks that
the first car bomb blast targeted a security checkpoint near the parliament
building and killed eight people.
second blast -- on a main road leading to the airport -- killed one person, he
25 people were wounded and transported to hospitals for treatment, he added.
group has yet claimed responsibility for the car bomb attacks, but officials
blamed terrorist group al-Shabaab, also suspected of being behind an attack in
neighboring Kenya on Saturday.
president Omar al-Bashir will be referred to trial after an appeal period of
one week, Sudan’s acting prosecutor general told reporters on Saturday.
had been charged with corruption. The announcement came more than two months
after the military overthrew Bashir on April 11 following months of nationwide
protests against his 30-year rule.
“will appear in court next week following charges of corruption and possessing
foreign currency,” Al-Waleed Sayyed Ahmed said, without specifying the day.
added that the investigation launched against Bashir for the charges had been
April, Sudan’s army ruler General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan said that more than
$113 million worth of cash in three currencies had been seized from Bashir’s
said a team of police, army and security agents found seven million euros ($7.8
million), $350,000 and five billion Sudanese pounds ($105 million).
acting prosecutor general said that 41 criminal cases have been opened against
members of the former administration and they were under investigation.
did not name the others accused but said most of the charges were related to
the “possession of land”.
also said the dispersal of the protesters was not discussed at the meeting he
attended on dealing with criminals near the protest site.
rates of corruption
suffered high rates of corruption during Bashir’s rule, ranking 172 out of 180
countries in Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index.
month, Ahmed ordered Bashir questioned over money-laundering and “financing
an effort to quell protests that erupted against his rule in December, Bashir
imposed a nationwide state of emergency on February 22.
of migrants rescued in international waters off Tunisia are still stranded 15
days later as authorities refuse to allow the boat carrying them to access a
nearby port, the UN said Friday.
tugboat Maridive 601 rescued 75 migrants off the southern Tunisian coast in
late May after they embarked from Libya, a key launchpad for sub-Saharan
Africans making dangerous bids to reach Europe by sea.
vessel has been anchored since May 31 off the southern port of Zarzis, where
authorities have refused to allow the vessel to dock despite an appeal by the
UN’s International Organization for Migration said on Friday that the vessel’s
owners have since been providing those aboard with food and water.
officials contacted by AFP refused to comment on the situation, although an
interior ministry official said last week, on condition of anonymity that “the
migrants want to be welcomed by a European country.”
groups say Tunisia, which has already received several hundred migrants since
the start of the year, is reluctant to take on more new arrivals, demanding
that they agree to be repatriated before being allowed to enter Tunisian
IOM said at least 32 unaccompanied minors were on the boat, and offered to help
Tunisia host the migrants.
added that 10 of those aboard the boat - nine Egyptians and a Moroccan - had
expressed interest in returning home.
ask for the reinstatement of mechanisms to care for migrants rescued at sea” to
prevent similar incidents in the future, said IOM’s Tunisia head Lorena Lando.
2018, Tunisian authorities prevented more than 11,400 irregular crossings of
the Mediterranean, Interior Minister Hichem Fourati told parliament on Friday.
said they had also arrested hundreds of people suspected of involvement in
ousted president will appear in court within a week, said the nation’s acting
attorney general on Saturday.
Al-Bashir’s trial will begin next week, as he has appealed the charges against
him, which include corruption and ordering protesters killed, said Al-Waleed
Sid-Ahmed Mahmoud, the acting attorney general.
to reporters, Mahmoud also denied his own involvement in the breakup of a
sit-in outside army headquarters in the capital Khartoum.
than 100 people have been killed since June 3, when the army stepped in against
further stressed that he did not attend a meeting with the Transitional
Military Council (TMC) that ordered dispersal of the sit-in.
claim is at odds with the account of council spokesman Shams Aldin Kabashi, who
told reporters Mahmoud was there.
also vowed he would resign if any official tries to intervene in his work or
al-Bashir was deposed in April, a Transitional Military Council (TMC) began a
two-year “transitional period.”
Police Blame Al-Shabab For Blast Near Somalia That Left Officers Dead
officials in Kenya say the al-Shabab extremist group is responsible for a
deadly explosion Saturday morning that reportedly killed 10 police officers
near the country's border with Somalia.
10:50 a.m. local time, a police vehicle carrying 11 officers on patrol hit an
improvised explosive device, killing several of the officers, Kenya police
spokesman Charles Owino told NPR.
10 deaths were reported by The Associated Press but Kenyan officials say
they're still trying to confirm the number of police officer casualties, Owino
killed, according to the AP, were pursuing extremists who had kidnapped police
a statement to NPR, Kenya's Inspector General of Police Hilary Mutyambai said
additional resources have been deployed near the Somali border, including
Al-Shabaab militants on Wednesday night abducted Three National Police
Reservists in Wajir.
three NPRs Noor Mohamed Adan, Mohamed Bushar Hussein and Mohat Salat Gedo are
believed to have been taken across the border in the deep forests of Gedo
region which has been an Al-Shabaab stronghold in recent years.
have informed Nairobi News that the abuction happened after the militants
stormed Konton centre and engaged the reservists in an exchange of fire before
the latter ran out of ammunition.
the attack, the militants got away with motorbike and a tuk tuk belonging to
area chief’s brother.
week the National Intelligence Service warned that at least 40 militants had
crossed over to Mandera and were planning to execute retaliatory attacks on
militants are believed to be hiding in Lafey in Mandera County with a mission
of carrying retaliatory attacks following the death of one of them last week at
are aware of a plan to carry out a revenge attack but I dare them to come, we
are ready for them,” Mr Jeremiah Kosiom, the Mandera County Police Commander
Saturday seven Kenyan police officers were killed when their vehicle ran over
explosive device during a patrol near the border with Somalia, police sources
Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News,
South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic
Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in
West, Islam Women and Feminism